How many times have you promised more for yourself? Every day millions of people wake up imprisoned in a bubble of complacency. As we navigate through our daily routines, we seldom forget that life has more to offer. As I delve into this article, remember that although everyone says they want to be successful, very few have the courage to execute on the plans they have set on paper. Luckily, you will now have the tools to enable you to reflect, plan, and act so that all your dreams will become a reality.
First, I need you to ask yourself what you want to be remembered for. Although death is thought of as a gloomy subject, you can use this fear as a motivator to spark a sense of urgency in the way you go about your day. Time is not infinite, and as life progresses on its natural course we must quickly find a way to fulfill all that we have envisioned. Les Brown (motivational speaker and author) said that the graveyard holds the world’s greatest ideas. Ideas that were not acted upon, but left idle by those who lived in silence. At the end of the day, we are all playing this game called life. So, rather than sitting on the sidelines and watching the players, get up and join the action.
STOP: write down exactly what it is you love doing, day in and day out. The best way to figure this out is by asking yourself, “If I had 6 months to live, would I want to wake up tomorrow morning and go to this job”? Ultimately, you will never be able to succeed if you go to work miserable. That is no way for anyone to live. You OWE YOURSELF the gratification of unleashing the capabilities that you were designed to orchestrate. By doing the thing you love most, your passion will drive your intellect to places never seen before. Then, will you be able to bring forth value to yourself and those around you.
Now that you know what you want to do in life, you must breakdown in detail all the tasks that will enable you to reach that level. Personally, my goal is to one day become a CEO of a leading institution. That may seem a little far-fetched for a kid who almost failed high school and was overweight half his life. But the one thing that helped me improve one step at a time is the fact that I never let other people’s opinion of me become my reality (Les Brown). Every morning I wake up, I envision myself as a leader. By doing so, I trigger associations in my brain that become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a result, my behavior will mimic the people I hope to one day become.
I decided that if I was to be serious about my long term goal, I would have to sit down and reflect on how I was to get there. Mapping out my life plan was the single most important action I took in helping me succeed daily. I took out a pen and began writing in my journal.
1st: If I was going to be productive every single day and operate at a 100% efficiency, I would need more energy. This meant that I had to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Saying to yourself that I want to lose 10 pounds to fit in certain clothing is not a productive goal to set. You need to attach purpose to action for it to be meaningful and beneficial to your life. I deeply believed that I needed positive energy to help me push through tough times in both my personal and professional life. So I committed to waking up at 5 am every morning and hitting the gym. Why so early George? Because successful people realize that every second of every day is CRUCIAL. Without time, progression cannot persist. I use the action of waking up early to improve other facets of my life. The ability to commit to a goal provides me with confidence and reassurance that no Goliath is too big for any David. Also, exercising in the morning will give you the necessary vitality for the remainder of the day and enable you to execute daily tasks more efficiently. Not to mention the fact that when you look good, you feel good and if your attitude changes, so does your altitude.
2nd: Information is important, but useless if not disseminated into knowledge that is acted upon. I realized that most CEO’s read a lot. Reading the right books can have a profound impact on your life. For instance, your vocabulary range expands which improves your communication skills. You also become better versed in different topics and are better apt to hold conversations with executives. This also makes for a great question to ask a professional in a networking situation such as “what book changed your life?” Thus, be open to learning different ideas, opinions, and topics because you will have a greater ability to connect with others on a personal level and not one that is merely superficial for the purpose of gaining something in return.
3rd: Reflect on your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. The Great Wall wasn’t built in a day. But the stones that make up this extravagant structure were placed carefully every single day until they eventually resulted in a wall. Ask yourself, “What do I have to do today that creates a better tomorrow?” Figure out what you need to do that is specific to your aspirations. If you want better grades in school/university then you must outline every action that you must take to help boost your grades. I would, for instance, wake up early to read chapters in advance, meet with my professors after class to go over questions, create study groups to enhance the learning process, join clubs to keep things fun and interesting, etc. When you decide where you are heading, you will need to draw the path to get you there.
4th: The last thing you need to do is to write down your why. The WHY part is probably the most important of all. Eric Thomas (motivational speaker and author) said that in times of tribulation and turbulence, your why will keep you going when your mind and body give up. You need to find a reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. The best way to stay motivated in following your plans is to do these things for someone other than yourself. The single most gratifying feeling is being able to give back. I personally work hard for my family. I saw with my own eyes the struggle that my father had to go through when we immigrated to Canada. He was unemployed for a year. Even when he found a job he would work 100 hours a week for 6 straight years (between his day job and studying for certifications at night). Seeing his dedication ignited a fire in my mind that made it necessary for me to one day become successful and give back to my parents more than they ever gave to me. In addition to my family, I wanted to provide people with the idea that if an ordinary person works hard and sticks to the game plan, in small steps big outcomes will occur.
Plans don’t always pan out the way you have written down. Things will occur along the way that will push you off course. The main takeaway from planning is that your mind will be activated and aware of what you want it to do. It will find a way, using references from your map, to help you get there.
Have the confidence in yourself and believe that you can accomplish anything. After all, Edison created the light bulb, Jobs created the iPhone, Page created the search engine Google, and you can now create whatever you set your mind to.