Many of us are running a sprint and don't realize it. We move from activity to activity, put our heads down and blinders on and run forward with blinding speed. A marathon sounds much better: you're still moving forward quickly, but taking the time to pace yourself so you can be more resolute and burn your energy when and where it matters while getting a good dose of the scenery.
If you let it, life will always take control. There’s always a new project, a new job, another presentation to make, another meeting, another challenge – the demands and decisions are constant. That's all fine and understandable -- that's just the way it is. The real secret to enjoying life and work is finding the zeal in your ethos, your life and your surroundings. Passion and loving what you do is what keeps you chasing your dreams, improving every day and taking yourself to the next level.
Translating passion into action is the foundation to success. Everybody has a passion for something, but unless it’s actionable, it’s simply aspirational. If you set your sights on your goals, develop your plan and work towards it every day it’s amazing what you can achieve -- just love whatever "it" is.
As a marketing professional, I’ve learned a lot about A/B testing. I’ve also learned that life is a constant A/B test -- trial and error, learning ways to succeed and finding what works best for you. Success is not always a direct path. There are a lot of detours and curves along the way. Keeping your dreams in sight will help you navigate that path, which is usually full of pot holes and bumps.
...life is a constant A/B test. Success is not always a direct path.
Dreaming has to be more than dreaming or it will wither on the vine. Only a small percentage of people – about 30% -- actually achieve their dreams. Many simply give up or forget them all together. There are many reasons for ending the chase for your dream, but there are a few primary ones that cause many people to pause in their pursuit:
1) Fear: Fear is the greatest poison to motivation. It causes people to become stationary, settle for less and miss out on opportunities that may be awaiting them. Taking chances, sticking your neck out and trying something new are all fearful for many people. The first step is always the hardest, but once you’ve taken that first step, you’ve beaten fear. There’s no need to look back and reconsider your goals after you’ve started down your path.
2) Priorities: As life ebbs and flows, priorities change. Changing priorities can be a deterrent or, at the very least, delay dreams. Family commitments, job responsibilities or life just takes over. The secret is to never give up on those dreams. Keep your dreams alive and work your plan to achieve your dreams. Hustle and grind every day to get there.
3) Changing Interests: Just as life changes, so do our interests. What seemed like the ideal career as a child may not be as interesting as you became older. That’s actually fine, and it's okay to write your plans down with dry erase markers. You can always reimagine yourself, readjust and retarget. Just don’t let time go by once you’re ready to put your new dream in motion. Time and regret are can become your greatest enemies if you delay.
Sometimes you just hear or read something that resonates with you. As I was ramping up my personal plan for 2017, thinking through my personal and professional goals for the year, I stumbled across an impactful article on Lifehack.org. It spoke to me; sage advice broken down into digestible, vignettes that made a lot of sense at this point for me personally and professionally as I reimagined myself in the coming year. These are my daily marching orders:
1) Stand out. Be Exceptional. Be Unstoppable.
2) Use your brain and body, rather than your brain and body use you.
3) Create the most empowering environment around yourself.
4) Visualize, believe and have the most explosive outstanding attitude
5) Make prompt and quick decisions
6) Don't procrastinate on your biggest dreams
7) Imitate as close as possible your masters and outperform them
8) Develop deep empathy, the highest social intelligence and cultivate and understanding of people
9) Never give in. Never.
All of these lessons are profound and motivating. But it's the last one that spoke to me the most -- Never give in. Never. It's not about being stubborn, but rather about determination. It’s about thriving, keeping momentum and focus. Don't accept setbacks or detours that push you totally off the path. Don't ever stop working toward your dreams.
Never give in. Never.
We've all experienced life events that made you feel like throwing in the towel. Most of us don't have the luxury or means to do that, nor do we really want to when it's said and done. Mine happened when I lost my son. Pulling yourself up, dusting yourself and realizing that if you give in, you've lost. Don't stay down.
As you weave through life, setbacks occur. That’s just part of it. One of my favorite marketing mentors is Gary Vaynerchuk, who talks about "crushing it" every day, in everything you do and "cashing in on your passion". That's what chasing your dreams is really about -- work hard, fueling your passion, giving it everything you have and don't let anything stand in your way. If there is a “no” try to turn it into “yes”.
Crush it--every day! Cash in on your passion.
Life isn’t perfect. It’ll throw you curveballs, knock you down and make you fight. Just remember, as you strive for your dreams, don’t ever settle for anything less. Use your zeal, your passion and your imagination. There’s the saying, that there’s no excuse for hard work. Well, it’s really that there’s no excuse for not working hard. Just don’t forget to live life in between and passionately love what you do. The stress will take its toll if you don't.