Life’s A Golf Course, So Start Swinging

Golf is a game of personal accomplishment. Just a little ball sitting there waiting for you to move it in a specific direction. If you do it successfully you get all the credit. If you don’t, you get all the blame. And it takes concentration and relaxation to be good at it

When you’re about to go perform, whatever you do, you’ve got to know the yardage, know which club you need, understand the feeling. This preparedness comes from the hours and hours of quiet practice away from the limelight; days and weeks and months of unrewarding and repetitive work that no-one will ever see. But you’ll know it’s there. And you’ll need it.

Samuel L Jackson

Life is a funny thing. It’s a great deal of things, in fact. However, one thing it should never be, is passive.

Life isn’t something that just happens. It’s whatever we make of it. While some people are genuinely happy to sit back and watch life go by, this is only because they have achieved all of their big goals, and now want a slower pace of life with which they can better enjoy their accomplishments and families. Until the rest of us reach that stage, we need to take a proactive approach to life.

We all know what we want to achieve in life. We know what we do and don’t like. We have an idea what a happy, fulfilled life looks like. Better yet, we know what we have to do to achieve our goals because there are no secrets in this respect. Hard work, perseverance, networking, gaining knowledge and skills and integrity. That’s not an exhaustive list, but they will certainly bring you a better quality of life if you adopt them all.

I’ve interviewed and worked with a great number of people who were unhappy with their lives and felt stuck in a rut. One thing that they all had in common was their approach to life. They were reacting to circumstances, and instead of working tirelessly for what they wanted, they were waiting for it all to fall into their lap. Which will never happen. They wanted all the good things and experiences, but were not doing anything constructive with their time in order to make that possible. They claimed that they were waiting for the right time or conditions before acting. This is, however, the quickest route to disappointment. Perfection does not exist, so you’ll be waiting an awfully long time for it. Time in which you could have been taking small, daily steps towards your goals, with the results already showing. This is, after all, how success is achieved. Small steps. Small wins. Every day. Over time there is a cumulative effect, and the small wins lead to huge achievement. It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens as a result of the right actions and choices being made every day, consistently.

Like golf, the game of life takes countless hours of hard work and preparation. Not to mention the countless hours of practice while no one is watching. While everyone is out getting drunk, if you are serious about achieving greatly, you will be reflecting, planning and making minor changes to try and improve your performance. Things will not always go to plan. You will have failures and bad days. As with a professional golfer having a bad tournament, you don’t dwell on it and beat yourself up. You reflect on what happened, learn from it and make whatever changes you feel necessary in order to bounce back stronger. As any professional sportsman or woman will tell you, failures are a priceless learning experience, and can provide all the motivation and feedback you need to achieve great things.

Your life is like that little golf ball. Sit back and watch it, and you’ll notice that nothing happens. However, if you grab a club you will be able to send the ball in the direction which you want. The more time and effort you put in, the better you become at directing the ball. So is this true of life. When you decide where you want to go in life and what you want to achieve, magic happens when you get up and take action. And the more you plan, prepare, reflect and act, the better you will become at shaping your future.

It’s all in your hands. Will you act on, or react to, life?

Antoine Says..Do It Now!

The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It’s Sunday evening here in London, and the calm before the Monday morning storm. Thoughts turn to the week ahead right about now for us all. Some dread the return to work, and giving up their freedom for a job they don’t particularly enjoy. Others, however, will be getting excited right about now. Even if they hate their job, they are looking ahead at a week full of possibilities and potential. This second group understand that, if they work hard for what they want, a week is a very long time in which anyone can make good things happen. We all need to be more like this second group.

The second group are the ones that tend to be more accomplished, fulfilled and happy. They don’t just possess an optimistic, positive mindset and a strong work ethic, though. What sets them apart is their understanding of a very important truth about life in general. They understand that;

  • There is no such thing as perfection. Your work is never finished. The most successful and accomplished people are those who reflect frequently and as themselves, “what can I do better, or more of?”
  • There is no ideal pairing of time and circumstances to take action. The time to take action is as soon as you know what you want to do, how you plan to do it and what resources you have available to you. Once you know this, go for it. It’s that simple. Think it through, make a plan and then act.
  • Don’t stop reflecting, experimenting and trying new things. When you set out on a course of action, you will notice two things in particular. There will be good times and fast progress, especially at the start. You will also face challenges. Lots of them. and they will test your resolve. This is why it’s important to stop at regular intervals and reflect on your progress;
    • What has worked well so far, and you could do more of?
    • What hasn’t worked, and what challenges have you faced? What have you learned that can help you to move forward?

The biggest killer of hopes and dreams is perfection, and the fear that we will fall short of it. Perfection is a myth. The only way to get anywhere and achieve anything in life is through baby steps, the accumulative effect of small actions over time which get you closer to your goal, slowly but surely.

Slow and steady is the only way. It may be frustrating, but along the way you gain new knowledge, skills and experiences, but you also grow as a person. This is the thing to remember; the journey which we embark on is about more than what we can achieve and obtain, it’s also about the person we become as we learn and grow.

So what if somebody else achieves more than you, and quicker?! Be happy for them, look for anything in their experiences which you can learn from, and get back to work on yourself. What others do is none of your business. Your business is the journey which you are on.

So, if you are stuck, waiting for inspiration to tap you on the shoulder or suffering from perfection paralysis, stop it. And yes, it is that simple. Stop it.

No matter your circumstances or resources, for the next week set yourself the goal of taking at least one action EVERY DAY which will get you a step towards your endpoint. Not only will this all add up and start to build some noticeable momentum, but it will give you the confidence that you may be lacking right now.

All the waiting around that you are doing right now, is just a waste of time. Start now. Start small and then build on it. The “perfect time” to start is always right now. Take that first step and watch the magic happen.

The Time Is Now

Time passes so quickly, that you don’t even notice it until it begins to show. We forget this, though, and live as though we have all the time in the world to accomplish everything which we desire. We put things off, and tell ourselves that we will make them happen when the time or conditions are right.

The only thing that this attitude will achieve is to erode your confidence, stall your progress and leave you feeling unfulfilled and dejected. This is because there is no such thing as the “right time” or a perfect situation in which to make your move. This is a lie peddled by the lazy, fearful, those low on confidence and the unmotivated to justify to themselves why they are sitting on their arses eating pizza rather than working on their personal and professional development and chasing after their goals.

Those who sit around and wait for the right time to take steps towards their goals, are the same who curse their bad luck when others around them are progressing in life and having fun. “Why am I stuck in the same spot? Why is everyone else doing well, but not me? Why? Why? Poor little me…blah, blah, blah… It’s not rocket science, so quit the pity party and open your eyes.

Those around you who are experiencing success are doing so because they are putting the time, effort and work in to make good things happen. You’re stuck in the same spot, because you are sitting around and waiting for the planets to align and inspiration to strike. See the problem? People who take control of their lives and take action are rewarded for their proactive approach with success. Eventually. Those who choose to sit around and wait, taking a reactive instead of proactive approach to life…they stagnate, and only have themselves to blame.

The only way to achieve anything in life is to work for it. Stop waiting around and procrastinating. Start, instead, taking baby steps every day which will get you closer to achieving what you want and becoming the person you really want to be. This is especially true if you lack confidence. Waiting around and overthinking will only make it worse. Action is the only way to build confidence. Small actions completed successfully every day will help to build momentum, which in turn builds confidence. Everybody is afraid before starting on a big project, but those who conquer that fear and achieve great things are those who take action, no matter how worried they are. So;

  • Have a think about what you really want.
  • Make a list of all the resources you have, or the people who could help and support you
  • Make a plan of action.
  • Go for it. Schedule in regular checkpoints to stop and reflect on your progress to that point
    • What has worked well so far?
    • What have I learned during this process, and what can I apply from my learning?
    • What hasn’t worked as well as it could? Why?
    • Going forward, how can I adapt my approach to bring even more progress and success?

Don’t wait for the perfect, or right, time to do that which you want to do. Wear those fancy shoes you’re saving for a special occasion, take that trip, eat the donuts, watch the late movie, read that book and take more chances.

The time to live your life is now. Stop putting it off until an unspecified later date. Tomorrow is promised to no-one, so make the most of the time which you have.

Knowledge and Action

We live in exciting times. There are massively successful and influential people who, over the centuries, have condensed their life’s work into books which we can devour in less than a week. Or, better yet, we can go online and find exactly what we are looking for. This enables us to acquire incredible amounts of knowledge in a relatively short time. Better yet, you don’t have to attend a fancy school or university to acquire this knowledge. If you have access to a computer with an internet connection, it’s all at your fingertips. There are no excuses.

But….but…what if you can’t actually read? Well, you can access that knowledge through the increasing number of audiobooks, podcasts or instructional videos on Youtube. OK, but…what if you’re blind? Thankfully, a great number of texts are available in Braille. You get the idea. The information that we really need to be able to change our lives, and the lessons to be learned from the knowledge and wisdom of those who came before us, is available to almost everybody. So, in a day and age where we all fight to stand out from the crowd, it’s clear that access to these sources of knowledge and information is not what makes us unique.

What makes us unique is not that we think in a particularly original way either. Our uniqueness comes from the way in which we absorb and understand the existing knowledge and ideas, before reacting to it in our own individual way. It’s in taking existing knowledge and ideas and challenging them, or improving upon them, that we become unique and original ourselves.

Set your ego and your fears aside, and open yourself up to change. Now, put that knowledge which you’ve acquired so far into action.  Act and learn. Discard the elements which don’t work, make adjustments and tweaks wherever you feel necessary and do more of what works. This is how you can actually improve your life, by acting on the knowledge which you acquire and learning from it. Or, would you rather make it to 60 years of age and look back with regret at a life full of unfulfilled potential, in which you had the knowledge with which to make your mark on the world, but instead did nothing with it? The choice, for me at least, is an obvious one. After all, knowledge is useless unless you do something with it.

If you are not using the knowledge which you acquire, why are you even bothering to read?!

Read…Learn….Act…Learn some more…Grow…

Define Yourself, Instead Of Trying To Find Yourself

Authenticity, and being ourselves, are incredibly important. So we try our best to find out who we are. How do we go about this? We think of self discovery and authenticity as a process, journey or quest, so we create a plan of action. This plan basically involves going out into the world, living your life and trying to look for signs as to who and what you are. This approach gets you nowhere.

Think for a moment about what is happening when we follow the above course of action.  We essentially put ourselves at the mercy of others, and passively become what the world decides we should be. Instead, we should be actively deciding who we are, before taking decisive action to become that person.

You must decide who you are and live your life in a way which reflects that decision.

Sounds simple, so why aren’t more people actually doing this? People fear being labelled as a fraud or an impostor. They fear that if they consciously decide who they want to become  and take action to make that a reality, that they would be regarded as inauthentic and living a lie. The truth, however, is that you cannot find yourself by going out into the world and waiting to be told who you are.

Stop waiting for your family, friends or boss to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with your life. Stop waiting for others to tell you you are or aren’t good at. However well meaning it may be, it’s just their personal opinion and not a statement of fact.

  • Reflect on who you believe yourself to be. What makes you happy? What motivates you? What are you passionate about? What direction do you want your life to take? What are the strengths and weaknesses in both your character and skills.
  • Decide what you want to excel at, and where you want life to take you.
  • Set your goals, create a plan for how to achieve them, and then take determined action.

Decide who you are and what you want. Then take action to make that a reality.

Self discovery is all about making decisions. You must play an active role in shaping who you are, and your future. Don’t wait for others to define you. It is up to you to decide who you want to be and back this up with the consistent actions which will forge that life.

You don’t FIND OUT who you are, but you DECIDE who you are.

Life is not a passive journey, it is intentional. Self discovery is about deciding where you want to go, and along the way learning and growing into the person you decided to become.

Make a decision about who you want to be. Visualise this vividly in your mind. You should be able to close your eyes and see this future you in all its detail. Now, take action to become that person.

You can reinvent yourself at any time. This is important, because as we learn and grow, our priorities change. Successful people are those who decided who they wanted to be, and did whatever was necessary to become that person.

It’s YOUR decision. It’s YOUR life. Only YOU can decide how that life will be lived.

If you wait for the world to determine what you become, you will become average. The world wants you to be the same as everyone else, but if this is not for you and an average life is unacceptable, it’s in YOUR hands to do something about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You Can’t Measure It, Is It Even Real?

Every January, we convince ourselves that this will be our year. We declare this proudly, and share our goals with the world, along with the determination that nothing will stand in our way. Maybe we even take the first tentative steps towards these big shiny goals and then…silence. Sound familiar?

Setting goals is great. I swear by it. However, setting big goals for the year ahead is not enough. Desire and the best of intentions are not enough either. Neither will all the support and encouragement in the world be of much help. Unless you have a certain magical, mystical failproof key which will bring it all together and lead to massive success. Now, at this point, most online celebrities will ask you to buy into a program or buy a book to get the answer. I hate that, because we don’t need to splash the cash on these unless we absolutely want to. Especially in an age where so much great advice and information is available online for free. We already have the key. It’s within all of us.

The name of this key? Careful planning and determined action. It sounds far from the catchy self-help marketing nonsense we get bombarded with, but that’s ok. It works, and that is all that matters. Alone, it works great but with some of the above it can work even better. The uncomfortable truth is that there are no shortcuts to success. You have to really want it, and really work for it.

While I stated that big goals are not enough, they can be a great place to start. It’s what you do with them next that really makes all the difference. Break these big goals down into smaller goals and milestones, each of which will take you one step closer to the desired end result. Add to this some reflection, through which you become aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and the resources available to you. This will help determine your course of action.

Now, you have a plan of action. You have a good idea of what you are capable of doing and how you can go about it. All that remains is to actually do it. Take those steps towards your small goals. Don’t focus on the end result, but just move forward one step at a time. At regular intervals, stop to review your progress so far. It is important to measure how far you have come, and how far you still have to go, as it helps you to remain focused and identify any potential issues which might affect your efforts.

If all you have is a big goal but no idea of how to achieve it, then it isn’t really a goal at all. It’s just a daydream which is never going to become a reality no matter how much you wish for it.

Without a plan, and some determined action, your goals will just remain a dream. You have a choice to make. Do you want to remain a fantasist living in a dreamworld, or are you prepared to wake up and work for what you want?

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

Action is the foundational key to all success

Pablo Picasso

A rolling stone gathers no moss (Publilius Syrus). Of all the sayings and quotes which have stuck with me over the years, this one is up there with my favourites because it speaks volumes. For me, the “moss” refers to the dangers of stagnation, comfort and complacency. If you keep taking action and moving forward, however, you will likely find yourself full of fresh ideas and creativity.

Another interpretation for the “moss” is as a roadblock on the journey towards your goals. No matter how well you have planned for it and how decisive the actions you take, you will encounter challenges and problems on your journey towards your goals. It’s only natural, and happens to all of us. Becoming a “rolling stone” is what will help you to overcome these roadblocks, and set yourself apart from those who fall short of their goals. A rolling stone keeps moving, and in doing so gathers momentum. So it stands to reason that when you are serious about achieving your goals, you become more like that stone. When disaster strikes, don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself and give up, but rather learn from the experience, apply that knowledge and keep moving forward.

I started this blog because I have a passion for learning and development, and what we can do to reach our potential. I write to inform, inspire, provoke thought and motivate through my own efforts as well as the poems, books or quotes which have moved me. Credited to Publilius Syrus, the rolling stone quote is up there with the best of them. To me it tells the importance of taking action towards your goals. As you take action, no matter how small, you start to build momentum. Consistently take action and momentum will increase to the point where your progress becomes almost unstoppable. Success is intoxicating. Experience it, even just a small victory, and you will want more. Lots more. So you capitalise on this newfound motivation and take more action, and bigger steps. Any problems you encounter will not derail your efforts, but merely provide a learning opportunity. As a result, you keep moving forward and making progress, in the process learning, becoming and achieving more than you thought possible.

The key here is to take action. By taking action, you not only move forward in the direction of your goals but you also discover more about yourself and who you are. You get a clearer idea what your purpose in life might be. Don’t just take my humble word for it, though. It has been phrased much better than I could have hoped by someone far wiser than me;

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.

Thomas Jefferson

So what does the process of taking action look like? Before you start, you will need to reflect honestly on who you are and what you hope to achieve in life. This will inform the goals which you will then set for yourself and how you plan to achieve them. Only once you know who you are and what you want, you are ready to embark on your journey.

Set out each day to take at least one step in the direction your goals, no matter how small. Alternatively, you could always take the easy option and do as little as possible, provided that you are happy to suffer a life of mediocrity and missed opportunities. The choice is yours. Do you take the risks and put in the hard work now in order to achieve your goals and live a fulfilled life, or do you settle for less than you are capable of and suffer later in life from regret over the missed opportunities and your unrealised potential?

Choose wisely.

There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.

John F Kennedy

The Power of Small Victories.

Before we start, let’s please just get one thing clear. Success and great achievements DO NOT occur overnight. There is no magic book, pill, potion or secret. You need patience, persistence, self belief and HARD WORK.

A big reason why some people fail to realise their true potential is largely a matter of confidence. Some look at their big goals and doubt their ability to achieve them. Others spend too much time in the planning and researching stage, struggling to muster up the courage to make a start. For those who do start on their journey towards their goals and make initial progress, confidence can also be affected when things stop going according to plan, leading to self-doubt and ending in them quitting prematurely.

Confidence was never my strong point, and far too often I let negative self-talk, the doubts of others and minor setbacks keep me from persisting in the pursuit of my goals. If you find yourself in the same situation, there is a great way to overcome self doubt and it works wonders.

Darren Hardy, public speaker and editor of Success Magazine, calls this phenomenon The Compound Effect and his book on the subject is well with a read. The Compound Effect is about how small actions all add up, and over time lead to huge success. In other words, over time small victories can lead you to fulfilling your potential.

Life is all about learning and growing, and that won’t happen if you play it safe. You don’t need to have it all figured out to before you get started on the journey towards your goals. You just need to have;

  • Reflection. Before starting, it is important to have reflected enough that you are aware of your strengths and weakness, and what resources you have at your disposal.
  • Goals. As well as that, it helps to know  what you ultimately hope to achieve and set yourself small, achievable goals which will help you to get there.

Reflection and goal-setting alone won’t help too much with any confidence issues. You need to pair them with action. With small, defined and achievable goals to aim for, you will find that your confidence grows and momentum builds as you reach those goals. Make sure to celebrate, briefly, as you meet each on. After all, each goal met, no matter how small, is an achievement and progress in the right direction. For example, if your ultimate goal is a new job or a career change, your small goals may involve applying for jobs, reaching out to recruiters and attending careers fairs, each of which can be ticked off and rewarded on your journey and will provide a confidence boost.

There is a snowball effect, or compound effect, at work here and the more small goals you achieve and celebrate, the more your confidence will grow and spur you on. Even when disaster strikes, the confidence gained from achieving your goals so far will help you to pick yourself up and keep going. In short, to take advantage of the confidence boosting effects of meeting your goals;

  • Break your big goals down into small, achievable goals which will get you there.
  • Take action, and enjoy the confidence boost as you meet your small goals
  • If you hit a roadblock, look for lessons to be learned before picking up where you left off.
  • Keep going.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flashback Friday

Friday is over and we are finally headed into the weekend, when people traditionally unwind and recharge their batteries. This is essential, if you want to avoid burnout and fatigue, but it does not mean that you have to put your personal development on hold, though.

In the spirit of the flashback Friday hashtag which is popular on social media, I would like to share a little something I read from author and coach Brian Tracy a while ago. Short and sweet, but motivational and informative, he offers the keys to success in 4 simple steps;

Four life-changing keys to success:

  • Decide exactly what you want
  • Set a deadline
  • Take action every day
  • Persist until you succeed

In essence, you need reflection, goals with deadlines, plenty of action and the resilience to keep going when times get tough. Of course it won’t bring you overnight success, but it will get you closer to your goals.

I hope this gives you some food for thought and keeps the fire burning..

Stop waiting, and start creating

“Purpose is that feeling that you are part of something bigger than yourself. Purpose is what creates true happiness. JK Rowling got rejected 12 times before she finally wrote and published Harry Potter. Even Beyonce had to make hundreds of songs to get to Halo.The greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail. Ideas don’t come out fully formed, they only become clearer as you work on them. You just have to get started.”

Mark Zuckerberg

 

I love the above quote, as it contains so much wisdom in a short call to action. Zuckerberg wants us to just start doing whatever it is that we are contemplating. This could mean writing a novel, making music or starting a business.

Most important of all, though, the above quote describes the process which we must undergo if we want to create something meaningful and achieve success. It is commonly accepted, but often presented in a different order, that there some unmistakable ingredients in the recipe for success;

  • Purpose. This is your WHY. Having a clearly defined purpose will keep you inspired and motivated, even when things do not go according to plan. It also ensures that your work, or message, is consistent. Reflect on who you are and what you value in life in order to discover your own purpose.
  • Embrace failure. Failure feels like a kick in the teeth. It makes us question what we are doing and why. It hurts. We tend to take it personally and feel that we are not good enough. We get tempted to give up before we embarrass ourselves any further. Failure, however, doesn’t have to be fatal to your progression. It’s all in the mind and how you view it. Failure can actually be a very valuable learning experience. Painful as it may be, when you reflect back on the actions taken and decisions made when something goes wrong, you will likely find some valuable indicators as to how you can improve. Whether it be through addressing your decision making process, seeking information or learning a new skill, take that lesson and act on it to move forward stronger and better equipped for success.
  •  Ideas and their development. Overnight successes do not exist. They are a myth, used to sell books, magazines and expensive training programmes. The truth is that before a writer, artist or entrepreneur tastes success, there will have been plenty of drafts, plans, sketches or ideas which fell short and probably didn’t see the light of day. The end product or service, which propels its creator to stardom, is usually the result of learning, adapting and improving after much trial and error. So, be realistic about your expectations.
  • Get started. Once you have the purpose, plan, strategy and ideas you have to take action. There is no right moment or perfect time. You just start. Then, you learn, adapt, develop and grow. This is the process, and it doesn’t start until you take that first step.

To this I would just add reflection, which is priceless in personal development. If you are serious about learning, growing and leading a successful and fulfilled life then regular reflection is essential. After all, you won’t know where you are going or how you will get there without self-awareness.

We all have ideas, passions and a purpose. Without action, they are merely desires or dreams which will lead to disappointment and unhappiness if left unfulfilled. So, as the father of Facebook advises, take action. Learn, adapt and grow but most of all enjoy the journey. Who knows where it may lead?!

The Blame Game

This has to be one of the most popular games in modern times. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of the quickest and easiest ways to ensure that we never fulfill our potential. The game itself is easy to follow and there are very few rules. In order to play, you must simply list everything in your life which has not gone according to plan, which you consider to be unfair or which makes you unhappy. It’s best to list these on paper so you don’t lose track. Once you have your list, you then take each item in turn and list who or what it can be blamed upon. You must not list yourself against any of these items and doing so will result in instant disqualification. Don’t worry about situations, circumstances or causes, all that matters is that you have a scapegoat. The quickest person to find a scapegoat for all of their issues is the winner.

Sounds ridiculous, right?! Of course it does, yet countless people do this, whether they realise it or not. When things go wrong, we take the easy route and look to assign blame for it. I say “we” because I am far from perfect, and just as guilty of this as everybody else. This route is attractive because it requires minimal effort and absolves you of all responsibility for what happens in your life. This is the passive approach, waiting for things to happen, before bemoaning your helplessness and giving up. It’s also the approach favoured by low-achievers. With this being the easy route, it stands to reason that there must also be a more difficult way to deal with our issues.

The difficult route is the one which requires hard work. It can be uncomfortable, but also offers the greatest rewards. The easy route appeals to us because it simply requires us to determine who or what else is at fault for our problems, convince ourselves that there is nothing we can do about it and then give up. The difficult route, on the other hand calls for reflection and action.

The difficult route is the route of responsibility. When things fail to turn out as we had liked, the first thing to do is carry out a post-mortem. Carry out a thorough investigation of the circumstances which might have led to the situation in which you find yourself. Look for clues which could reveal errors in decision making or missed opportunities. Revisit your strengths, and determine how they could’ve been better used to succeed. Also look at your weaknesses, and determine where the gaps in your knowledge or abilities lie, before taking action to remedy them. In time, if you choose this route often enough, you will adopt a more proactive approach to life. Rather than waiting for things to happen, you will go out and make them happen. You will discover just how much power you have over the course which your life is to take, and do everything within your power to ensure that you fulfill your potential and live the life you crave.

Stop blaming others for your circumstances. Your actions and decisions have led you to the point at which you find yourself. There are, of course, some things which are out of our control, and can’t be helped. Stop dwelling on these but focus instead on what is within your power. There is no limit to what you can achieve when you stop feeling sorry for yourself and instead feel driven to succeed in the face of adversity. Adopt this mentality and mindset,and you can start taking ownership of your life. Adversity and failures will then stop halting your progress. Instead they will just be another challenge to be overcome through persistent effort and hard work.

Once you change your perspective and approach, you will realise just how much control you have over your life. More importantly, however, it will become clear that if you are wasting your talents, skills, knowledge and opportunities, you only have yourself to blame.

Dare to go after what you really want in life

“You spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about your pathway to the future. But all there will ever be is what’s happening HERE. And the decisions we make based in either LOVE or FEAR. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect so we never DARE ask the universe for it”

JIM CARREY

Impossible, as we discussed yesterday, is often a reflection of the limitations of others which they try to impose on us. The choice, however, is ours as to whether we listen to them or not. If we want to achieve great things in life and business, we need to test the limits of what really can be achieved. The only way to do this is to take action. When you do this, one of two things will happen. You might achieve initial success, in which case you need to reflect on the process so far and do more of what has worked well. You could even identify further opportunities for progression towards your goals. Alternatively, if you fall short of your goals, view this as a learning opportunity. Take some time to honestly reflect on what happened and identify what you can learn from the experience. What could you have done better? What opportunities were missed? Determine what skills or knowledge you may be lacking, address those areas and try again.

The time has come to stop playing it safe. In doing so, you are not only short-changing yourself, but also denying the world of so much goodness and beauty. When you chase after your goals with passion and determination, and challenge what is commonly held to be impossible, there is no telling what might be achieved or discovered.

Let’s say, for example, that you dream of being an artist but don’t have a formal education in the arts. You want to express yourself, create something beautiful and share it with the world, but you fear being criticised or ridiculed. You also have a full-time job and are short on time. What do you do?! Forget about everybody else and just do it anyway. Rather than watch box sets in the evenings and weekends or going out, devote that time instead to your creation. Sketch, draw, paint, write and just put it out there. The internet has a seemingly unlimited number of outlets for your work so you can then share it with the world. Some will compliment, some will criticise and others will offer constructive feedback. The truth is that we rarely get it right on our first attempt, so listen to the feedback and keep creating. You can only achieve greatly once you leave your comfort zone and challenge yourself.

The same applies with anything else which you may be seeking the courage, or waiting for the right time, to attempt. By all means, tell your friends and family what it is that you intend to do, but don’t be dissuaded by any hesitation or misgivings which they may have. Be bold enough to go for it. You will be embarking on a journey by the end of which, even if you don’t achieve your initial goal, you will have grown as a person and have gained knowledge, skills or abilities.

Be brave. Take action and challenge what really is possible. You might push boundaries, start a movement, solve an important issue or find a way to help others in a meaningful way. You won’t know until you actually try, though. Don’t hide your gifts and talents, and deny the world of what you might achieve, just because you are being swayed by the doubts or others or lack confidence. Take that first step and see where it leads.

Is it really impossible? Do you know for certain?!

“Impossible is just a big word thrown about by small men who find it easier to live in the world they have been given than to explore the power they have to change it”

Muhammad Ali

Impossible. It can’t be done. Be realistic…. We hear this an awful lot, and are often discouraged. Far too easily, in my opinion. I would like today to ask you, next time someone tells you that something is impossible, to see it as a challenge rather than a fact. Don’t just take their word for it, but put their theory to the test and see if it really can’t be done. When someone declares your proposal to be unachievable, it is a reflection of their own limitations and not yours. They can’t accomplish it themselves, so assume that nobody else could either. Overlooked in this instance are not only only your knowledge, skills, ability and experience but also your determination to succeed.

Act, and see where it leads you. You may succeed and prove your doubters wrong. Alternatively, you may fail in your initial attempt, but in the process discover what knowledge skills or abilities you lack. By working on these areas and trying again, you may succeed or learn further valuable lessons. Life is a journey of discovery, learning, growth and development and the only way that all of this becomes possible is through action. Challenge what is commonly believed to be impossible, and see which doors open for you and where that leads.

The truth, is that those whose achievements we admire and who we look to for inspiration weren’t dissuaded from their efforts when others believed they were aiming for the impossible. They took action and tested that theory. They faced challenges and setbacks from which they learned and adapted, and kept going until success was theirs. At the time, these were people who were regarded as dreamers and doomed to fail. Some were ridiculed, others were simply ignored but we now look to them as visionaries and trailblazers.

Like the greats before us, we need to test the boundaries of what is possible and see what exactly it is that we are capable of. We may very well fall short of achieving what we set out to, but even if this happens all is not lost.  If you do not achieve the impossible, you will learn the limits of your capabilities and plenty more besides. Who knows what else you might stumble upon instead? After all, viagra  and penicillin are just 2 discoveries stumbled upon by accident while looking for solutions for very different problems.

“Action, or work, is the connecting link between desire, plan and fulfilment”

Napoleon Hill

The Blueprint

“All you need is the plan, the road map and the course to press on to your destination”

Earl Nightingale

As the weekend draws to a close and we turn our thoughts to the week ahead, I would like to offer two more of my favourite quotes.

The first, is all about the quest for success, and tells you at a glance what you need to get started. The plan is your overall vision, your big goals and the timeframe in which you will achieve them. The road map describes the small goals along the way and your strategy for achieving them. Your strategy, in this case, is simply how you will be making the most of your strengths and resources in order to achieve your goals. The course is the journey which you will be on. This is, arguably, the most important part as this is where you learn and develop. Throughout the journey, you gain knowledge and skills while improving your strengths and addressing your weaknesses. Finally, the destination  is your ultimate goal. This is not the end of the process or the journey at all, though. Once you reach your destination, reflect on the skills and knowledge which you have acquired before starting again. Life is a journey of continuous progression and personal development after all.

There is one element which i’d add to the above, though, and that is the initial reflection. I strongly believe that you should first reflect on who you are and what you want to achieve before you can set goals and pursue them. You have to know what you are good at, and where your weaknesses lie. You also need an idea of what success would look like to you. Without this, how would you know that you have achieved success?

As for the second quote, it’s about taking action now and not wasting time.

Taken together, both quotes offer an important piece of advice. You don’t need much to get started on your journey towards success. Reflect, formulate a clear idea of what you want to achieve, set your goals and get after them. Don’t waste time overthinking it.

I’ll leave you with quote number two from one of my favourite actors, Robert de Niro;

“Time goes on. So whatever you’re going to do, do it. Do it now. Don’t wait”