When weighing a new opportunity for my own growth, I always ask myself one question: Does it scare me?
If the answer is yes, I act.
Recently, I received an unexpected phone call from an old friend. They wanted to run something by me and check my interest in a new project. After listening to him, I checked my calendar. I had just had a client cancel and because of that, the time he needed me for, I was suddenly free.
Instantly, I jumped at the opportunity.
Because I was afraid of what might happen if I said yes.
As a person who thrives on routine, habits, and discipline, I love knowing what is coming next. I plan my calendar religiously, oftentimes setting appointments weeks into the future. Obviously, I coach my clients to do the same.
There is power in routine. Freeing up our minds from the chaos of the day-to-day is a powerful way to get more done in less time.
At the same time, I challenge myself with new opportunities by asking one powerful question.
Does it scare me?
If the answer is yes, I force myself to try it.
If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try. – Seth Godin
Life, growth, progress, abundance, goal achievement, happiness, fulfillment, all of it happen when we step outside our comfort zone.
Comfort zones bring death. They slowly destroy and erode our souls, our brains, and our bodies. By courageously stepping out into the unknown, we live a life worthy of the greatness coursing through our veins.
That next client.
The dream vacation.
Your future spouse.
A long-established business.
All of it happens in the space outside of your comfort zone.
So go for it.
Ask yourself: Does it scare me?
If it does, go for it. You’ll be surprised what you learn about yourself, what you achieve, and the joy you find in the unknown.
What makes all the difference in the world, is the process to make it stick.
Here’s a quick recap on how to set good goals: S.M.A.R.T.E.R.
Specific – Is it clear?
Measurable – Can it be defined?
Achievable – Is it possible?
Relevant – Do I really want it?
Timely – When does it need to be done by?
Energy – What’s the feeling I gain by achieving the desired result?
Reward – How can I remind myself it all matters?
Notice the difference between these two “goals”
I will lose weight.
I will lose 25 pounds by March 15. This will give me extra energy and confidence for the cruise my wife and I are taking to celebrate our anniversary over spring break. When I lose those twenty-five pounds, I will reward myself with a new swimsuit for the trip.
Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.
Develop the process.
Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.
To help develop the process in any goal you want to set, here are three quick questions you can ask yourself:
1.) Who do I need to become?
Goals, growth, and progress all require change. You cannot strive to attain something and remain the same. Identify who you need (and want) to become. Create the process and choices that will help you achieve the desired growth.
2.) What should I K.I.S.S.?
In this context, K.I.S.S. is an acronym for Keep, Improve, Start, Stop.
What is working well that I should keep doing? This is about amplifying the good.
What could be working better? This is about refinement.
What do I need to start? Action is key and sometimes we don’t get it right the first time. This is about continuous motion and improvement.
What should I stop? Not everything goes as anticipated. Sometimes, we just need to let it go.
3.) How will I avoid distraction?
We’re not perfect. I’m sure you’ve logged on to social media before to make a meaningful and business-related post only to be sucked in by mindless scrolling. It happens to everyone. Learning our personal triggers (being tired, hungry, bored, etc…) and building around those moments minimizes distractions and keeps us focused.
2022 is young and fresh. It is a year full of possibilities and I hope and pray the best for you. On your journey remember one thing:
As I sit down to review my 2021 goals, I realize all I set out to do that I didn’t accomplish … that means it’s time to celebrate failure!
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill
It should come as no surprise that I set pretty lofty goals.
As we look to wrap up an incredibly fast-moving 2021, I’m sitting down to review some of the goals I set for myself and my business.
I attained relatively few of what I set out to accomplish, but I’m here to tell you that’s a good thing. It means I get to celebrate failure. And while not pleasant (or natural) it is what will keep me going in the new year.
And it is the best-kept secret of the ultra-successful.
Learning to Walk
What happens when a baby is learning to walk?
It falls over.
No parent, in their right mind, would see their baby fall and just assume walking isn’t for them.
Well, sweetie, you tried walking once and failed. Clearly, you’re not meant to be a walker.
Instead, we pick them up. Celebrate that they were at least able to stand by themselves, and then make them try again.
Then we celebrate the first step.
And soon, they are running around and we just pray we can keep up.
But each milestone comes with a celebration, even in the midst of failure.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, we stop finding that so natural. Instead, we beat ourselves up and become our own worst critic.
(Re)Learning to celebrate failure pushes us to keep reaching for our goals and makes the status of “mission accomplished” that much more enjoyable.
So, where am I celebrating failure as we wrap up 2021?
Here are a few of my personal highlights.
1.) Books Read
I made a goal to read 70 books this year. While I have a few weeks left, the final number will be somewhere around 40. That’s down from last year and significantly short of my goal.
So what I am celebrating? First, the quality (and most of the time length) of books I read went up. The biography of Alexander Hamilton was over 800 pages. These sorts of endeavors take longer than one or two hundred page books.
Second, I’m celebrating more implementation of these ideas. My homesteading and gardening have improved significantly. The time I could have spent reading was spent outside doing. I could say the same for my speaking content, parenting, and relationship with my wife.
Action trumps knowledge.
2.) Income generated
Wait, what? You want to celebrate not making your financial targets!?!
Well no, not really. This is one of those times where I say it’s necessary but not natural. To be honest, though, I set a really lofty goal. I more than doubled any of my previous financial goals.
And while I won’t hit that number, I can say I made significant growth over 2020 (though that wasn’t hard with a worldwide pandemic and all 😬😂).
More than my business growth, I focused on filling the need in my micro-niche. I also focused on helping others grow their businesses and their dreams. I feel as though I have succeeded at those as well.
So yes, while I didn’t hit my wild-crazy number, I did make a lot of progress in my own profession and in those, I work with.
Service trump selfishness.
3.) An amazing vacation
Maybe the hardest one for me to admit I need to celebrate is that our family won’t be taking the big fancy vacation I hoped for at the start of the year. Some of it is still certainly pandemic related, but most of it is a change in our own values. Instead, my family has simplified it’s values (and living) and adjusted the way we interact with things.
One of those big differences for me is better work-life balance. Gone (mostly) are the days of working until 8-9 pm, and starting again at 4 am. Instead, over 90% of the time, I’m done working between 4 and 5 pm.
(This also partly explains number two above).
My kids have quality time with me almost every day.
I attended my daughter’s volleyball games.
I read books to my kids (though I’m not counting those to help me get to 70).
I spent more time snuggling, instructing, teaching, laughing, and building.
I’ve also taken my wife on more dates this year than our previous 15 combined.
So do we get a fancy two-week vacation? No. But we are gaining so much more.
Quality trumps quantity.
I’m off to celebrate and set even bigger goals for next year.
The story we tell ourselves, our internal narrative about the way we are, determines the trajectory of our story.
Understanding the Programming
Early on in life, we all start to acquire an internal narrative, programming, about the way we are. This identity-shaping story becomes one of the largest determining factors in who we end up becoming. From an early age, we all start to experience those labels.
We’ve all been called things like:
good for nothing
The words may start off as meaningless but slowly, after hearing them enough, they become an accepted part of our worldview.
We all know the person who heard, “You’ll never amount to anything” growing up. Pretty soon, they would be saying, “I’ll never amount to anything.” In the blink of an eye, they had given up on their dreams, settled for less than they were worth, and didn’t amount to anything compared to their true potential.
It’s a heartbreaking reality for many of us.
The good news is that not only can that destructive cycle be broken, but what is true of negative stories is also true of positive ones.
Telling a Better Story
If we want to reach our dreams, we have to be willing to rewrite the story we tell ourselves.
The hard work of personal growth happens internally. Putting in the time, effort, and energy into filling our minds with good things.
It involves telling yourself:
I am competent
The story we tell ourselves influences the person we will ultimately become.
The Story We Tell Ourselves
I was working with a client recently on this idea and explained to him the three camps we can fall into.
1.) We have a negative story and believe it.
This is like the first example. The story we heard growing up is the story we believe. We are somehow not enough, unloved, unworthy, or pitiful.
In coaching, I see this story all the time. It’s one of the main reasons people don’t achieve the goals they start out with.
Why would a lazy, good-for-nothing, unlovable, unworthy, pitiful person try something as grandiose as starting their own business?
It probably wouldn’t work anyway.
In reality, they have everything they need and are totally capable of amazing success. The problem is not they have believed the lies.
2.) We have a positive story and believe it.
These are the fun ones. The easy ones. They already believe the right things. These people know that they are strong, competent, and capable. They are able to set goals and achieve them because they believe in their ability to accomplish hard tasks.
3.) We don’t know what to believe.
This is the place where my client found himself. The bad news was that he didn’t have a positive story about himself. However, the good news, was that he didn’t have a negative view of himself.
He was somewhere in the middle. Drifting in the open ocean with no paddle, he didn’t know which way to go. I asked him to come up with five adjectives to describe himself he knew to be true.
He couldn’t give me any.
It should be no surprise then, that goals have been hard for him. Without the confidence and clear direction of knowing what to believe, he has trouble setting and staying accountable to goals. Without knowing the truth about himself, he doesn’t know what direction to pursue.
The story we tell ourselves matters.
Get clear on what you believe, not just about the world, but about yourself.
Give yourself positive imagery to believe about yourself and put it into practice. How would you, the strong, competent, capable person you are solve this problem? Once you believe that, you’ll crush any goal in your path.
Accountability is important. Want help reaching your goals and changing the trajectory of your life? Try coaching!
Happy November. We’ve got sixty days left this year to make a difference. What are your commitments?
Time Passes By
As my kids get older, time seems to be moving by more quickly. In what feels like an overnight change, we’ve left the diaper stage and are six months away from our first teenager. Even our children are starting to notice. Recently, my oldest son said, “Dad, I can’t believe it’s the end of July already. Kind of feel like summer’s over and we should start planning for Christmas.”
Does anyone else feel like that? The passage of time marches on, whether or not we’re ready for it. More than seasons, dates, and calendars, I’m sure you also notice changes in your own life. All of a sudden you look up and realize that there are only sixty days left in this year.
2022 is knocking on the door. We all know how quickly the holiday season flies by so it will be here before you know it. What’s your plan?
2021 only has 60 days left.
In an instant, it will all be over and you’ll be wanting to set new years goals.
You have 9 Monday’s left to make progress on your goals.
9 Mondays left to do something of significance.
9 Mondays left to radically shape and influence your future.
If you’re sitting around waiting for something, conisder this your wake up call.