Are you living your best life?
Too many people complain about not having the life they want. The main reason people fall short of their own expectations is the same reason most companies fail to achieve their objectives: poor planning and execution. In fact, I am amazed at how many successful executives create strategy for their business, leaving their life to chance. Often it’s more comfortable (note I didn’t say easier) to complain and blame outside factors for lack of accomplishment or unhappiness than to take time to work on life rather than in it.
Here are my 7 tips for creating your own destiny:
1. Plan a preferred future
As Lewis Carroll said: If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will get you there. Choose an upcoming birthday to be the milestone for this journey. Give yourself a decent gap (if you are currently 45 then choose 50 or 55) so that there is plenty of time to make course corrections and absorb any external factors thrown at you. Your planning should be specific and measurable. Take time to examine and discuss the details of every aspect of your life (with a close friend, spouse or therapist), personal and professional, to achieve integrated success and happiness.
2. Be pragmatic
You probably won’t be playing for the NBA at your age. The future has to reflect what is physically possible with available resources and limitations. Pragmatism isn’t in itself restrictive, however; while on this journey, you should harness your creativity to design an aspirational future that exploits every opportunity and asset you have. You should also create filters to keep you from wasting time and energy on what’s unachievable or irrelevant.
3. Decide the Who, not the What
We’re defining who we want to be at 50 or 55, not what we want to be doing. The who centers on passion, core competencies, and core satisfaction, such as material requirements. If I know who I truly want to be, I can detail what to do, what to own, resources I need, etc. I can also determine what not to do, own, etc., focusing time and resources where required.
4. Be honest
Challenge yourself constantly to get to the truth of who you are and who you wish to be. There should be no quiet politeness on this trip. Don’t let yourself believe your own stories and rationalizations that can cause misdirection and distraction. Choose the best accountability partner for you. Warning: Allowing this dialogue requires intimate knowledge of each other and great trust. Pick your accountability partners wisely.
5. Consider the tools around you, old and new
Every resource is important. Someone you met 10 years ago who showed you how they use creative visualization to formulate their success. You should also consider new resources like crowdsourcing. It’s simple, interesting, and effective, which is why it’s gaining traction. In this planning exercise, no resources, new or old, are off the table to help you achieve your desired future.
6. Ignore the naysayers
I live for constructive criticism. But outside perspective that is baseless conjecture or stems from emotional baggage (think dissatisfied family or friends) is destructive for achievers. Put these people in a box where they can’t distract you from your ambitions. Find people who get it, and put them in your corner. Engage them in your preferred future, and help them achieve theirs.
7. Don’t settle for mediocrity
Although being the next Steve Jobs or U.S. president is likely off your agenda, you should want to be pushed to the limits of your potential. Too many people settle for what is easy rather than engage their energy and creativity to create something different and meaningful. Then they wonder why their work has no significance.
People who take a reactive approach to growth and development will suffer the same fate as companies, managers, and employees who let the markets, technology, and competitors determine their destiny. The game of life rewards aggressive players who leverage their energy, smarts and creativity to determine and obtain the life that truly makes them happy. Good and bad luck comes to all; it’s how you plan and execute that determines your return on luck.
Note: If you’re interested in learning more about this process, contact me. I am ready to take your hand and lead you to a Life Of Bliss if you are ready to live your preferred future. Don’t hope for it; determine, plan, and execute.