Hello, my friends.
I get an opportunity to teach every week at a university, and I also guest lecture and have many other opportunities to be around young people. If young people sense that you respect them and that you’ll give them straight answers, they really do have a lot of questions for people who are older – those who have been there and done their stages of life.
I get a lot of questions, all centered on the area of life hacks (shortcuts to success). Now the truth of the matter is, there are no shortcuts to success. It takes good old-fashioned hard work and good thinking, but there are some things you can do to accelerate your growth.
Here are just a handful of them.
1. Have a plan.
Even though your plan may not come to fruition, keep in mind, it’s not the plan, it’s the planning. It is the time you take to reflect and think about what you are good at, what you enjoy, what your skill sets are, and where they happen to align. It is about projecting forward into your future and asking yourself, “What would I like my life to look like in two years, four years, or ten years?”
Don’t be like most people and say, “Well, there are too many variables. It’s hard to predict. There’s no way you can accurately predict where you’re going to be in the future, so why bother?”
People who say that are actually missing the point. When you spend considerable time thinking about those things, you will actually come up with some really wonderful understandings about who you are, what you enjoy, and what gives you a feeling of success and significance. Being armed with that awareness of yourself and your gifts can help you make wonderful decisions moving forward.
2. Choose passion over practical or pragmatic.
You have gone to school – maybe high school or college – and you have a steady job. There are many people who will tell you to just hang onto that job. Those same people may tell you they don’t like their job, or it’s just “okay”.
Well, I’m telling you, you do not want to be in a job that’s just “okay” and that you just tolerate. Now are there circumstances where you have to suck it up and just stick with a job that pays the bills or helps you meet your obligations for a period of time. Of course, there are. I’m not suggesting that you be foolish or reckless, but do not settle.
Do not accept that which is practical and say, “Well this is just my destiny. This is my fate.”
Find and pursue your passion, especially when it involves more risk than the safer road. Think of the Robert Frost poem, where he says (and I paraphrase), “I came to a fork in the road, and there were two paths. I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Find that road less traveled for yourself that represents your passion…that which you really love, where time ceases to exist. Pursue that, and make a career out of that, even if you have to take a few steps backwards financially in order to reach your ultimate destination.
3. Immerse yourself with great stuff to read.
Watch videos, read blogs, read books, listen to podcasts. Immerse yourself with positive things. You are that which you listen to. You become that which you focus on. Be very conscious and intentional about what you focus your attention on and who and what you spend your time with. What goes into your eyes and ears goes into your brain and into your heart – and it becomes who you are.
4. Have a strong inner circle.
Watch whom you’re around. You’re going to have to fire some people that are in your inner circle. This may be painful. You might get judged. You might suffer repercussions from some folks, but it is okay. You’ll live through it.
You may have to “vote somebody off the island,” so to speak. You may have to block them on your mobile devices, or give them a ring tone that reminds you that this is somebody who might have had a great role in your life back at a particular time, but not now. They are just going to be somebody who will pull you back into your past place that you do not want to live in.
You want to carve out a path for yourself, and move forward. I have seen so many times, people who have tried to make changes in their life, but who failed to change their inner circle. That made it very difficult.
5. Get a mentor or coach, or get into a program or an online virtual community that will hold you accountable.
Get a mentor who can listen to what it is you say and provide sold advice. Or get a coach who will be a confidential sounding board and ask you provocative, really well thought-out questions that help you uncover what your gifts are, what your strengths are, what your values and principles are, what your true dreams, goals, and aspirations are, and then what it is you’re going to do make those dreams become reality. I’m not talking about spending a lot of money. Quite often, it can be a relative or an older friend of yours who can play that role. Seek wise counsel. You may be amazed at who is willing to help you and invest in your growth.
And remember, no matter where you are in the great big beautiful world, make it a great day! Take care my friends!