Onward….March!!

Change is difficult. Change is scary. Change can be painful, but change is also a very important part of life. In fact, it’s essential. Without change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we stagnate, and that’s how we end up living lives in which we feel bored, unfulfilled and having fallen short of our potential. The apathy and frustration leads us to give up hope of a better life, so we accept the status quo and just live day to day, never pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones.

Life is not about getting up and doing the same thing every day. Life is about each and every one of us pushing ourselves to become the best possible version of ourselves, before helping others to be able to do the same. Life is all about experiences, from which we learn about ourselves and the world around us. It’s about self discovery and growth. Life is a journey, and on this journey it’s only natural that as we change, we outgrow that which we currently know. Don’t fear the changes which are a necessary part of life, embrace them and learn from them.

Recognise when a phase, job, a life stage or a relationship is over and let it go. Allow yourself to gracefully exit situations which you have outgrown. Moving on doesn’t have to be catastrophic, dramatic or associated with intense pain. It’s all a matter of how you frame the event in your mind.

Reflect on what you have learned and gained so far, but then accept the fact that in order to continue to grow, you may need a job which will offer more of a challenge and the opportunity to increase your knowledge and skill set. Accept that, while a relationship might have been wonderful so far, there is the possibility that you become different people who want different things. That is not to say that you MUST change everything, but be aware of when a change is necessary for your personal or professional development.

Humans generally fear the unknown, but that’s not a good enough reason to hold on to that which you have outgrown or which might be hindering your progress. Let things, situations and people go if you have to so that you can move forward. Embrace the unknown because that is where opportunity lies. Move forward with valuable experience, knowledge or skills. Above all, though, move forward with peace and clarity.

You can move in any direction, as long as it’s forward.

Going All The Way..

If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?!

Joe Namath

As Sunday draws to a close, our batteries are recharged and we gear up for the week ahead, I wanted to share the above quote with you. Why? Because too many people still play it safe, and are denying the world all that they have to offer. You could have it within you to become a great artist or musician, teacher or doctor, but unless you actually do something about it, nothing will happen.

Playing it safe exposes you to less risk, requires less physical or mental energy expenditure and frees up time to focus on things which bring instant gratification. This could manifest itself in the form of a steady job which pays the bills, mortgage and holidays. Or that you willingly avoid relationships. Or perhaps spend your evenings and weekends socialising, watching tv or just doing whatever you regard as fun. Whatever it is, the result is almost always the same. While it could lead to more time for fun, and experiencing less stress now, there is a price to pay, and that is frustration and the feeling of unfulfilled potential later on.

The best way to avoid this is to change your mindset. Go from being satisfied with mediocrity, to constantly seeking improvement. Seek to make small improvements in your life every day, and watch those small steps lead to massive success if you keep going.

This really is as easy as it sounds. Identify what areas of your life you would like to see a change in. New job or career change? More money? Better health and fitness? Now, think about where your strengths and weaknesses lie in relation to your goals. What are you good at and could be doing more of to make quicker progress? What areas do you need to work on improving? Are there skills which you need to learn or gaps in knowledge which need to be addressed?

This is different for everyone, so you need to do the reflection yourself. There is no one-size-fits-all formula to do this because we are all unique and each of us has different wants, needs and reasons for wanting that which we crave. We all know that there are no shortcuts to success. It requires lots of hard work and perseverance. When it all comes together though, and success comes knocking, it feels all the sweeter because of the effort which it took to reach your goals.

There are 24 hours in the day, and this is the same for every one of us. No exceptions. The only difference between the most successful people and everyone else, is largely a matter of how they use their time. For example, they spend less time watching tv and more time reading. Furthermore, they are more selective in what they read. They read to gain knowledge and understanding, which could potentially help them.

Have a think about how you spend an average day. Outside of work, how much time do you spend on positive activities such as exercise, networking, reading, studying or listening to audiobooks or podcasts? How much time do you spend out with colleagues with friends or watching tv?

What changes can you make in how you spend your free time? Can you turn off the tv one hour earlier and read in bed instead? Can you use your morning commute to listen to podcasts or read? Can you give up one or two nights a month to attend networking events?

Small changes to your daily routine (we love routines!) can add up to massive progress over time if we are consistent. In this way, with baby steps and small daily sacrifices we can turn the potential which is within us into a reality.

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