Are you where you want to be in your life? Did you cross all the items off your bucket list? Have all of your dreams been chased?
If the answer is yes, yes and yes – congratulations! You can proceed with the rest of your day.
But, if you’re like me, you probably answered no to at least one of those questions.
We’re all a constant work in progress. A product of years’ worth of experiences, behaviors, and thoughts that have shaped us into who are now. We’re not the person we were ten years ago or even one year ago. Plans we make and habits we start today will form who we are tomorrow.
As a young recruiter, I wondered out loud how my boss Marilyn always seemed to make the phone ring. Her advice was simple: “Chris if you have a good plan of action and have good jobs for people, they will call you back.”
In other words: Stop watching and wishing for something to magically happen. Create a plan and then go out and make it happen. Live with intention. So, I did. And after, the phone rang for me too.
Today, many years later, the phone still rings for me. Now, my vision is to leverage my hard-learned lessons to help others create the epic lives they really want but aren’t sure how to get there.
Before we talk about how you can create positive change in your life – I want to acknowledge how daunting the journey can seem.
How many times have you caught yourself saying “There’s not enough time”, “I don’t have enough money”, or “That will never work, it’s too risky.”? How many dreams have these thoughts stifled?
Change is hard for a reason. When we change, we experience the uncomfortable effects first and the gain much later. If we start working out, we are sore well before our energy rises or the jeans fit. When we choose to save money for a new fridge or a house payment, the loss of morning gourmet coffee looms large well before your bank account shows any real promise.
The life I want, lived the way I want to live it, is worth every brief period of discomfort. It has to be.
Here’s an example. Since the age of 10, I had always wanted to climb a big mountain. It was on my bucket list for years. At 50, I decided it was time to tackle this challenge and I recruited my misfit hiking buddies to join me. I got up to train at 4:30 in the morning for months. Preparation for the trip ate into my savings. I sacrificed time with friends and family to train, work, train, sleep and then do it all over again. Why did I put myself through so much mental and physical stress? Why did I put this dream above all else for a few months? Because I wanted to be the guy who climbed a mountain after 50. I wanted to cross it off my list. I wanted to feel the thrill. The challenges did not outweigh my desire to achieve this dream.
Bottom line: You have to want the thing more than the barriers to get the thing. Nobody can make you want it. That, my friend, has to come from inside. Once you unlock that passion and resolve yourself to chasing that dream – every excuse you once gave won’t even matter.
We are our thoughts. And our life is a series of decisions. Over the years, I’ve developed a set of intentional thoughts and behaviors that I commit myself to in order to reach my goals. Here they are:
1) I revisit my life plan. Picture your life as a beautiful tree and each limb is a decision. What direction do you want that tree to grow? Where will those branches curve? With a plan, you decide the shape of the tree. That doesn’t mean your plans can’t change – but without a compass, you’ll have a pretty wonky looking tree. I block off intentional time to dream, to think about where I have been, what I have achieved, and what I want to do next. Regular “life checks” are critical to being able to make the adjustments in your life that matter most. Plan. Evaluate and Adjust. Plan again. Do this at least a few times a year.
2) I am disciplined. That doesn’t mean I never fall off the wagon. I skip a workout now and again, eat two pieces of pie sometimes, and take a mental day off even when I’m working. The key is that I always get back at it – I never let a break get in my way or slow me down. The breaks allow me the opportunity to recharge. The fuel I need to get back out there even stronger.
3) I surround myself with people that hold me accountable. I hold myself to a high standard and thrive when others expect the best from me. Having people you trust hold you accountable to your goals is a great way to ensure you don’t lose sight of them.
4) I get to the good stuff. Think about a journey you’ve started with a dream in mind. You put the work in but never got to “the good stuff”. Maybe you got distracted? Or forgot why you wanted it in the first place. Don’t lose sight of that. Keep pushing. My latest good stuff? Starting Placers Cares, a not for profit organization that can aid helping local workers get retrained and acclimated back into the workforce.
I know reading one humble man’s version of success seems like just another self-help hack approach to oversimplify the hardest life challenges. That’s not what Outside Insights is. My “secret to success” worked for me after years of adjustments, slips, and lessons. The key to all of this is to win the moment. Be disciplined and make productive decisions a habit. Act with intention. You will look up one day and have the life you wanted.
I know hitting “go” on your dream – whatever it may be – is hard. Do it anyway. Dig deep inside yourself until you want it badly enough that the challenges ahead merely look like opportunities.
What has stopped you from working towards a dream in the past? If you could hit “go” today – what dream would you chase?
At Placers we are making the following Acts of Kindness Promises:
We will be your career coach free of charge to assist you with any and all part of your job search.
We currently have temporary work for folks that need short-term funds.
We will act as a consultant to businesses that need a 90-day plan – free of charge.
We promise to go above and beyond in our individual communities.
If you need help in any way, simply fill out this quick form and we’ll connect you with a helping hand. No strings attached.