“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” ~ Mark Twain
Do you remember when you were a kid, and you still believed you could do anything you wanted? A fire-fighter. A mermaid. A princess. President or Prime Minister.
As a child, the world – and your whole life – stretched out in front of you in an endless expanse of potential options.
But then something happened…
Call it ‘life’. Call it ‘realism’. Regardless of what you call it, you lowered your expectations. You adjusted your ambition to match your circumstances… and maybe even society’s expectations.
But here’s the thing. You only get one life.
So pull out one of those dreams you had, dust it off, and do something with it…
Figure out Why…
The first thing to do with that idea is figure out what it would mean if you achieved it. This is the beginning of getting motivated. Finding your why.
How would your life be different? What would change for your family? What would change for your current profession or occupation? Would you have to change cities? Or countries?
Spend some time with a blank piece of paper, away from distractions, and write down what that dream would mean for you if achieved it.
Be as explicit as you can. Describe a day in the life of the person you’d be if you achieved that dream – from the mundane to the delicious. The tastes, the smells, the sounds. Who are you with? What are they doing? How do you feel?
Delight in the details.
…Then Take One Step
Just the first step. That’s all it takes. But this is trickier than it sounds. Because to take that one step, you have to decide.
The most powerful thing you can ever do is decide.
Decide to give up smoking.
Decide to lose weight.
Decide to start a business.
Decide to quit your job.
Decide to go back to university.
Once you’ve decided – actually decided – the rest is easy. The plan falls into place, and the actions become obvious. Getting motivated becomes the least of your worries. Because you’ve decided.
Write it Down…
Distil your goal to a sentence, write it down, and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day.
This matters – because life happens. It happens every day, whether you want it to or not. You get busy. You get distracted. You get removed and distanced from the urgency and the emotional connection you created to your goal.
You need to retain that connection – and the best way is to remind yourself why it matters. Daily. This will help you stay motivated, even when you get busy and distracted.
…and be Accountable
This means telling somebody. Not everybody. But someone you trust. Someone who will call you when you make bulls#*t excuses. Someone who understands what the goal means to you and your family, and will remind you about why it matters when you start wandering off track.
Maybe get a coach. Maybe find a mentor. Maybe your spouse can do this for you. Or your best friend.
Whoever it is, you need to come clean with them right up front about how committed you are – and they need to ‘get it’. Otherwise they’ll accept your excuses. Because you’ll be terribly persuasive! You’ll explain all the reasons why you didn’t really mean it, or why you have shifted the goal post, or why the actual thing you want to focus on is this other shiny thing over here…
Celebrate your Progress
If you had told me six months ago that I could create a blog, with a couple of thousand readers per month, build a Twitter following of over 5,000 and write an eBook – all while having a day job and an active toddler, I wouldn’t have believed you. I had convinced myself that I had nothing to say that hadn’t been said already. And that I wasn’t sufficiently qualified to have an opinion on these things. And that I knew absolutely nothing about building a social media presence or managing a website.
And yet here we are – you’re here reading this… That’s pretty awesome. I hope it’s been worth your while – I’d hate to waste your time.
But I try and make sure I celebrate what’s been accomplished in a relatively short space of time.
Even more exciting, I try and imagine what could be possible if the growth and progress continued at the same rate for another six months… or a year… or five years.
Your goal is just made up hundreds of little steps, and the majority of them have to be taken one at a time, in some sort of order.
So get started – and recognise that the journey is at least as important as the destination. Don’t save up the reward or the celebration for when you arrive… Instead recognise the stages of the journey, and the growth that you’ve experienced in accomplishing those milestones.
Every one of them matters.
And you matter. So get on with making that life of yours matter too.
I want to help you to lead. Not from a position of power, but from exactly where you are now.
So I’m writing a book specifically for you. It’ll be out early next year (28 February 2018 to be precise).
If you’d like to know more, please sign up for my newsletter (I don’t spam, just a weekly newsletter) where I’ll keep you up to date on progress, test some ideas, and even share a preview or two as we get closer to launch-day.
Let’s do this!