How do your favorite people treat you?
Think about your favorite teacher in school. If you’ve had a boss you really enjoyed, think about them for a moment. Do you remember what you liked about them? Were they kind, or friendly? Did they treat you as not just a student or employee but someone who could be trusted and shared with? Did they treat you as you could be, rather than what you were? Was your potential cultivated?
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey points out how one person can have a tremendous effect on others. Most of us have been in a position where we felt like we didn’t have much wiggle room in our work or assignments. For the most part our teachers have treated us like students. This doesn’t sound so bad, they’re there to teach. But what if, instead of treating you like a student or an employee, your teacher or boss treated you like someone who could run the company some day?
That could be by offering you more responsibility and bigger tasks. Tasks that you can handle and excel at, that will enable you to grow your role. You’ll feel more respected and important, and in turn you’ll start acting with more confidence in your work.
This isn’t just for people who have others working under them either. You can do this for your coworkers as well. Treat your coworkers as people who can both help you and bring new ideas to the table, rather than just people you work with. You may find that they’ll go out of their way to help you in the future.
Not every famous person is billboard famous
There are many potential ways to be famous. There’s fame where everyone knows who you are because you are a superstar singer or actor or athlete or scientist or inventor – spotlight famous.
There’s also famous within smaller spheres. Like being president of a company – making you famous to everyone that works in that location. Dial it down a little and you can make a case for people being famous all the way up or down the ladder within an organization.
You can also be famous within your family or school or on your team for accomplishments over time or a single outstanding moment.
Perfectly wonderful everyday people
There may be many potential opportunities to be famous in one capacity or another, yet the majority of us will not be more than another person in the crowd for the majority of our lives. And we are here to say that’s perfectly wonderful.
Not everyone will be or needs to be famous, or a head turner, or the talk of the town (or dinner table). A person’s worth has nothing to do with how famous or well-known they are. It has everything to do with what they bring to this experience we all share called life.
Purpose and service have nothing to do with fame
The people most deserving of our recognition and our esteem are those that realize no matter how far apart or how different we may all seem from each other, we are essentially one big family. Thus the most important thing we can do is help each other in whatever ways we can. That may be as small as helping someone standing confused at a bank machine terminal. It may be as regular as a weekly volunteer stint at a soup kitchen. It may be through the donation of time or money to causes close to our hearts.
The greatest people among us are not the most famous. They are the ones who share their hearts with others.
The courage to run into a burning building
When you see images of a firefighter running into a burning building to save the lives of people trapped in there your heart races with worry and fear. You can’t believe the courage this firefighter summons from the depths of their being every day of their lives.
Courage you see and courage you don’t
Some people have courage written into their job descriptions like firefighters, soldiers, emergency room doctors. However, not all acts of courage are that obvious at first glance.
The writer who has had a manuscript rejected several times, goes back into the work for more revisions then sends it off to another publisher. A person who has developed a fear of highway driving because of a car accident faces their worst fear when they venture onto the on ramp. A mediocre student who decides to put all their brain power into studying for LSATs despite words of discouragement on all sides are all examples of unseen courage.
All shapes and sizes
Some of the greatest acts of courage are the ones no one ever sees. When someone is working toward a goal and they encounter failure after failure and still manage to come back and try again, that is great courage. Getting up when you’ve fallen, facing a co-worker who intimidates you, saying yes because it’s the right thing to do even when you would prefer to say no are all courageous acts of rebellion against the easy comforts of staying down, staying quiet, saying no.
Courage comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be loud as a lion and it can be quiet as a mouse. Courage is the ability to fail and try again. To be afraid and step forward anyway.
If you want to achieve anything you need to have a very clear idea of what you want to accomplish and why. That’s why it’s so important to make a specific list of your goals including the whys. I want to earn $60K a year isn’t enough. I want to earn $60K a year so I can buy a new car and live in a nicer apartment is better. Adding the why to your goal helps you stay motivated. It keeps you on track.
Give yourself a deadline
If you want to achieve a goal sometime in the future then you’ll probably get around to it sometime in the future. If you’re serious about achieving your goal then set yourself an achievable deadline. Not too close that you’ll freak out about not having enough time and not so far away that you can put off working toward it. A Goldilocks deadline that keeps you on your toes and motivated to keep at it.
Keep a running list
Maybe in order to achieve your goal you need to take a class or have lunch with a certain individual or achieve a smaller goal first. To keep yourself on track it’s helpful to keep a running list of what you need to accomplish on the way to achieving the goal. The list isn’t something that needs to be written in stone. It’s more fluid and changeable, something that grows and shrinks as the goal evolves. As you think of new items, add them to your list.
When we have a list of things to do, sometimes it’s tempting to do the easiest things first, or the ones we like to do most. Which leaves the hardest things and the things we least want to do for the end where they may fall through the cracks left by a loss in motivation. Look at your list and prioritize it, then set about accomplishing those things in order.
Keep the momentum going
Working towards goals is something that needs to be part of everyday. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about staying motivated and continuing to believe in yourself and what you can accomplish.
The problem with comfortable
Do you ever feel like you’ve been going along on auto pilot for a while? Like you’re passing through life rather than living it? That starts to happen when we do the same thing day after day. We fall into patterns, get comfortable and without noticing, our life becomes more routine than anything else.
Years when you learned something new every day
When you were young learning was thrust upon you every day. As you worked towards your career goals you kept pushing into uncharted territories. And then you reached some of your goals and learning new things became less of a priority. Constant striving is exhausting. Everyone needs a break. The problem is when a break turns into a longer break. After an extended period of learning nothing new, the thought of doing it seems tiring. Then it seems daunting and then before you realize what’s happened, learning a new thing starts to feel impossible.
Exercise your learning muscle
When you’re in the learning groove, you’re used to the challenges. The stimulation, the triumph, the frustrations, the excitement of new information and ways of doing things are part of your everyday life. Even during the frustrating parts, learning new things is exhilarating.
Learning new things makes us feel like more than we are. Because we are actually adding to what we are. But when we haven’t done it for a while we forget how great and alive it makes us feel. And when we haven’t done it long enough we become too intimidated to even try. That’s why it’s so important to keep trying new things, to keep learning, no matter how daunted we may feel. “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”
Why you will never achieve your dreams and aspirations
You’re going along your life thinking about all the reasons you can never achieve your dreams and aspirations. Some of those reason have to do with the past. Things we tried without success. People we wish we’d spoken to, others we wish we had steered clear of. Co-workers who got the promotion we were after, chances not taken.
Some of those reasons have everything to do with the future. I am not qualified for that position, I will never get it and even if I do it will immediately become obvious that I’m not up to the task. I will fail anyway, so why should I try? What if I actually hate this thing I always say I want to try? Better not to disappoint myself by trying.
You can achieve your dreams and aspirations
The fact is, aside from what it can offer as a learning experience, the past does not have any bearing on what you can do. The future on the other hand, is a complete unknown. That’s the great thing about it. What you do today totally impacts your future.
You don’t need a crystal ball to see the future
So many people wish they had a crystal ball to see what the future holds. What they don’t realize is they do have a crystal ball and they’ve had it all along. Same way Dorothy was wearing the shoes that would take her home the whole time she was stuck in Oz. All Dorothy had to do was click her heels three times and wish herself back home. It’s not quite that easy for the rest of us, but we do have the ability to take what we’ve got and work with it to create the future we are after. Every one of us has what we need to succeed inside us. It’s up to us to focus it and prime it and channel it.
You often hear the saying, “think outside the box.” This is what you will want to do when something isn’t going the way you want. Or when you just want to experience something different in your life. But how to you actually ‘think outside the box’?
First off, you need to understand that thinking outside the box requires you to take risks and approach problems with new and innovative ideas. Here are five ways to do something other than what everyone else is doing.
Talk to people outside of your industry
Chat with people who completely have nothing to do with the industry or line of work you are in/want to get in to. For example, if you’re an engineer, talk to someone in the music business. Those people might not be able to help you directly with engineering, but they also go through struggles and find ways to overcome it. Don’t trap yourself in the engineering bubble. New ideas from new people can set that light bulb off in your head.
Copy successful people
Copying people you look up to or have been down the same career path that you desire can really help you think outside the box. Learn about how people in the past have dealt with struggles and found ways to overcome it. Motivational books can also help. The best things about these books are that you get to read about the people who did things differently and how they were able to achieve success in their careers by not doing the same thing as everyone else.
Take a class
Who cares if you’ve already graduated? You can always sign up for part-time classes or take one full-time class and work on the side. Classes will help you learn something different and push new ideas into your brain. Plus, you also get to meet new people who can help you with your career or future goals!
Do some yoga
Mind, body and soul. Not to get too philosophical but you need to sometimes get in touch with your inner self, forget all the other things around you, and focus. Focus on a fresh new start.
Never say never
Just because it hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean YOU can’t be the first to do it. It also doesn’t mean this thing you’re thinking of doing is the wrong way to do it. The whole point of thinking outside the box is to outsmart everyone and come up with something new and creative!