It’s easy to forget what is most important, especially when something that seems urgent outweighs what is truly important to you and your career. To make this year more productive–and more successful–make these affirmations every day:
1. “No one else is willing to do that, so that’s what I will do.”
Often, the easiest way to be different is to do the things other people are unwilling to do.
So pick one thing other people won’t do. It can be simple. It can be small. Doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, do it. You’ll instantly be a little different from the rest of the pack.
Then keep going. Every day think of one thing to do that no one else is willing to do.
After a week, you’ll be uncommon. After a month, you’ll be special. After a year, you’ll be incredible–and you definitely won’t be like anyone else. (And in the process, you will develop remarkable mental toughness.)
2. “Hey, that wasn’t so bad after all.”
The most paralyzing fear is fear of the unknown. (At least it is for me.)
Yet nothing ever turns out to be as hard or as scary as we think. Plus, it’s incredibly exciting to overcome a fear. You get that “I can’t believe I just did that!” rush, a thrill you may not have experienced for a long time.
Every day, do something a little scary, whether physically or emotionally. (If you need a quick boost of confidence to get you going, here are some really simple tricks to use.)
Then, trust that you will figure out how to overcome any problems that arise.
Because you will.
3. “I can’t do everything today, but I will take one small step.”
You have plans. You have goals. You have ideas.
Who cares? You have nothing until you actually do something.
Every day, we let hesitation and uncertainty stop us from acting on our ideas. Pick one plan, one goal, or one idea. And get started. Just take one small step.
The first step is by far the hardest. Every successive step will be a lot easier.
4. “I won’t care what other people may think.”
Most of the time, we should worry about what other people think–but not if it stands in the way of living the lives we really want to live.
If you really want to start a business–which you can do in just a few hours, mind you–but you’re worried that people might say you’re crazy, do it anyway. Pick one thing you haven’t tried because you’re concerned about what other people think or say, and just go do it.
It’s your life. Live it your way.
5. “I’ll show you.”
I’m ashamed to admit it, but one of the best ways to motivate me is to insult me–or for me to manufacture a way to feel insulted, regardless of whether I’m actually justified in feeling that way or not.
“Justified” is not the point. Fueling my motivation to do whatever it takes to prove that person wrong, and, more important, to achieve what I want to achieve, is all that matters.
Call it artificial competition or manufactured anger; call it immature; call it creating perceived insults–whatever you call it, it works for me. (Hey, it was good enough for Michael Jordan.)
And it can work for you.
6. “It’s not perfect, and I’m fine with that.”
Yes, you get only one chance to make a first impression. Yes, perfection is the only acceptable outcome.
Unfortunately, no product or service is ever perfect, and no project or initiative is perfectly planned. Work hard, do great work, and let it go. Your customers and colleagues will tell you what needs to be improved, and that means you’ll get to make improvements that actually matter to people.
You can’t accomplish anything until you let go. Do your best, let go, and then trust that you’ll work hard to overcome any shortcomings.
7. “I should have done better.”
We’ve all screwed up. We all have things we could have done better. Words. Actions. Omissions. Failing to step up, step in, or be supportive.
Successful people don’t expect to be perfect, but they do think they can always be better.
So think back on your day. Think about what went well. Then think about what didn’t go as well as it could have and take ownership. Take responsibility.
And promise yourself that tomorrow you will do a lot better.
8. “If nothing else, I can always do more.”
Like Jimmy Spithill, skipper of America’s Cup-winning team Oracle USA, says, “Rarely have I seen a situation where doing less than the other guy is a good strategy.”
You may not be as experienced, as well funded, as well connected, or as talented, but you can always outthink, out-hustle, and outwork everyone else. (Or, as I like to say, the extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland.) Even when everything else seems stacked against you, effort and persistence can still be your competitive advantages–and they may be the only advantages you truly need.
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