Have you ever compared yourself to the people you grew up with and wondered how you became the person you are today, and they ended up like…well, them?
You can take two people, put them in the same environment, give them the same amount of resources and instruction and their lives could still end up completely different. You could say this is because of luck, but I would argue that this is because of the mindsets each person learns to develop as they grow.
Life will always throw us curve balls. For some of us, it feels like life has pointed an automatic pitching machine right at us and put it on high speed just for funsies.
But when those curve balls are coming at us at 60 mph – how will you react?
Will you be the person who screams and runs away or shut your eyes and duck hoping it won’t hit you?
Or will you be the person who learns how to bat, or figures out how to dismantle that annoying freaking machine?
We choose what to focus on, and what we focus on influences how successful we are. No matter how you define success for yourself, there are core mindset competencies you can practice to make sure you’re always bringing your mental A-game in any scenario.
Practice these patterns of thinking and they will create the pillars for your success.
Let’s be honest with each other for a moment here. Think about everything in your life that you’re unhappy about.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Oh good, you’re back.
I’m pretty sure that there was at least one thing (or person) that immediately popped into your mind that is a big pain point for you right now. It’s probably something (or someone) you think about every day, and you’re DYING for all of this negativity to be out of your life.
Now, think about the reasons you believe you have that problem. After you get through your rant, ask yourself if any of those reasons are things that you can actually do something about.
See, you have more control over the situation than you think.
When you truly, whole-heartedly internalize this, you will see that this is true for almost any scenario that happens in your life.
Because here is the bottom line: Success won’t come unless you firmly believe that you are responsible for everything that happens in your life – good or bad.
Everything that is happening to us right now is the result of a series of decisions we’ve already made.
Have a stomach ache from eating too many chocolate eggs you bought on sale after Easter? Guess what? You chose to sit on the couch and eat all of those eggs.
Have a sucky job that you can’t seem to escape? You can decide to either stay in that job and let your mental health deteriorate every day or create a savings goal as a safety net while simultaneously developing new skills that can help get you the job you want.
Have a friend or acquaintance who is causing drama in your life and you feel like you can no longer stand it? It’s your call who you keep in your life, how you choose to react to others, and it’s also your call to decide what relationships you want to put the work in to change.
The trick is to start slowly changing your life by focusing on the actions that are within your control.
Do this now!
Fill in the blanks.
A problem that I’m having right now is _____________________________________________.
Something that is within my control to change this is __________________________________.
When I start to feel discouraged, I’ll remind myself that it’s important to me to make these changes because:
- Insert meaningful reason 1
- Insert meaningful reason 2
- Insert meaningful reason 3
Notice that I’m asking you to list multiple reasons about why this change is important to you. You can even list more than three.
This is because whenever we do something difficult that pushes us outside of our normal habits, it can be easy to lose the motivation, but what can help give us a boost to keep going are reminders about the most meaningful reasons we set out to make that change in the first place.
Do you ever spend your time daydreaming about different imaginary scenarios about what you wish your life was like?
“I want to get to a point where I can run a team of 4-6 people and provide real value to my organization. Have a nice apartment, maybe a loft, and play board games with friends.”
“I want to finally be able to go on a decent vacation, and not worry about the next check.”
“I want to put myself and my family in a position where we don’t have to worry about money anymore. I don’t want to live like that anymore… It would mean everything.”
Dreams are intense motivators, and they hit deep emotional chords. We think about what life could be like, we feel that hyped up energy deep in our chest, but we just sit there – and then the feeling’s gone.
Here’s the hard truth about dreams and goals: 92% of people won’t achieve them.
That means that out of the three people above, only one of them will have a slim chance of actually following through and succeeding at what they want to do. And notice how each sentence started with, “I want” (a feeling) instead of “I am working on” or “I am creating a plan for” (actions).
Taking action is where many people get stuck. But action – not wishing, wanting or dreaming – is what actually changes things in your day to day life.
You can daydream, hope and wish all you want, but a better version of your life is on the other side of an action you haven’t taken yet.
In order to make real change you have to commit to a decision, and take action on whatever choice you’ve made.
Do this now!
Write down one of your goals. Next to it, write all of the consequences you’ll face if you don’t follow through on that goal.
I bet you wouldn’t want those consequences to happen. So stay consistent, focus, and start taking action on your dreams by committing and following through.
Not everyone is going to like you. You are not for everyone.
The sooner you accept this, the faster you’ll be able to use the precious energy you spend worrying about others on things that actually matter.
There are ways in which we alter our behaviors depending on the situation we are in. Sometimes, we do this for what feels like a good reason, and sometimes we do this out of fear.
You’re running late leaving your parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner but wanted to head out early to beat the traffic. You’re looking around for your keys but realize that your grandma is actually sitting on them… asleep on the couch. You know that if you try to get them you’ll wake her up, so you decide to stop being such a hardass about your schedule and just stay an extra half-hour or so until she wakes up. Because you love your grandma.
You disagree with the direction your boss is taking a project and can foresee that this will lead to him to assigning a part of the project to your team that is actually just duplicative work. You want to share your ideas about how to do the project in a more efficient and impactful way, but your boss has a pattern of shutting down your ideas and you feel like it’s a waste of energy to even bother speaking up. So, you keep your mouth shut during the meeting and just suck it up.
If you’re at a point in your life where you feel energetically squished, whether it’s because of your job, environment or relationships, it’s likely because you’ve let your power be taken away.
Our power gets taken away whenever we don’t speak up or act on something that wants to come out of us. Have an idea? Say it. Want to do something? Do it.
Those authentic feelings that want to come out are our true selves looking to break free and show themselves to the world, but if we constantly censor or stop them, it can feel like never letting out the steam in a pressure cooker.
Follow the momentum of those authentic feelings, and act on them as often as possible.
Authenticity is like a magnet for the type of people, experiences, and feelings you want around you. We attract the type of energy we exude, so if we are serious about living happier lives then we need to start living authentically in order to start creating a life that works for us and our personalities.
Do this now!
I challenge you to say one word or phrase out loud right now that feels authentic to you. I don’t care if you’re in a packed subway car, sitting on your couch, or camping in a tent in the middle of the wilderness. Whether it’s a whisper or a scream, say it out loud so that you know at least once today, you’ve done something that is true to you.
Last note about success
When I asked around to learn about what some people wish they had done earlier in their careers, it was that they wished that they learned how to ask for help.
They wish that they had asked people they admired to mentor them in a structured way, and not been so afraid of asking or worrying about wasting someone’s time.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone more experienced than you. Instead, approach things from the mindset that you are someone worth mentoring.
If you want to grow your network, I’m sharing the e-mail scripts I used to cold-email top executives to land informational interviews and find job leads. These scripts broke barriers for