You have to Work Hard first, then you can hope for Success!

Hard Work

I always seem to hear inspiring thoughts and quotes from many people around me. For some time now I’ve been getting this feeling that I could be doing more than what I am now. People around me keep telling me I shouldn’t discount what I’ve already accomplished, but still I feel I should have more. I wrote about this in a previous post, how the pressure from my family and background has left me feeling like I should have accomplished more in my life. You can find my previous post here: “Taking a Stand to find my Happiness. I was browsing Facebook yesterday and came across a post where Mike Rowe, the guy from Dirty Jobs and various Ford Trucks commercials, answered a few questions from a fan about finding the right career. The fan seemed to have a question most of us can identify with, how do you find the right career, take a look at the full response: “A Fan Asks Mike Rowe For Life Advice…”

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Mike RoweGet yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.
Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you. Good luck – Mike Rowe

This last part of Mike’s comments really got me thinking, perhaps this is part of what I’m experiencing. Success seems like such a loaded term, but in today’s age of things being fast and instant, could the idea of “Delayed Gratification” be a lost life skill? I want to find success now, but do I have to put in the hard work too? Why can’t life just give me what I want? I’ve been here long enough, I deserve to get what I want! I want to put in as little work as possible and reap the max rewards, I’m entitled to that am I not? Ok so I’m being facetious about all those things, but it’s still a hint of truth behind it, I want to do as little work as possible but still expect or even feel entitled to get more than I’ve put into it.

Here are my takeaways after reading that article about how to find a perfect career:

  • Success isn’t’ about the perfect … landing in your lap. Sure there are stories out there about someone finding the perfect job after just a short search. But those stories are the exception not the rule. Success for most people comes after long years of hard work, so if you want to reap the benefits, you’ll have to endure the time it takes to plant the seed, watch it grow, nurture it, and then wait for it to bloom.
  • In life the reality is that anyone who has something good, has worked hard, very hard for it. Whether that’s a relationship, a job, or just life itself. An ex-girlfriend told me once “sometimes you don’t find the perfect person, but someone who’s willing to put in the work, to make it work.” Now what I’m not saying is that you stay in a situation that is completely wrong for you. Instead find something that works, something that with time and the right resources will eventually turn into what you’re looking for. Princes and Princesses only exist in Disney Movies, and for those select few who are Lucky, they’ll find the perfect match. Perhaps that’s why it’s called “Luck” not everyone has it. So don’t look for the perfect … instead find the one that has potential to turn into something that’s great. Ok now I hear what you’re saying, sorry it took so long to sink in.
  • Life is a mix of working with what you have, and putting in the work to get what you want. There are people that say “I’m a screw up, I’m not good enough…, I’ll never achieve …” That’s a lie they tell themselves so they can remain in that state. As humans it’s in our nature to constantly improve and work on both things and ourselves. If this wasn’t’ true, we would not have evolved, and there won’t be a new craze or device to do things bigger, better, faster. Self improvement is part of our DNA, so if there is something we’d like to improve about ourselves, we’ll have to put in the work to accomplish it.
  • It’s easy not to put in the work when faced with a challenge. So what if you face a new challenge, do something about it. Although success is relative, meaning that each person has a different definition of success. Successful people do have one thing in common, they worked hard, and with time and lots of hard work, they were able to accomplish their goal. So if I’m to be successful I’ll have to put in the work, that’s whether it’s my career or my relationships, I’ll have to work hard to get the kind of future I desire.
  • Despite what I learnt for this article, I still believe one thing though, sometimes some things aren’t meant to be accomplished. Sometimes challenges are meant to show us that we have limits, and they humble us. Although we’d like to keep people in our lives, some people are only here for a season. Sometimes some people and jobs aren’t right for our soul, they will only bring us heart-ache, and those are the ones we have to learn to let go of.

Although this doesn’t radically change my view of life, it has made me think about the way I approach certain things, especially a career. For some time now I’ve questioned whether I’ve actually put in the work, or am I just thinking that I’m entitled to certain things. I’m not completely convinced that I haven’t been guilty of just sitting back, and hoping that something will fall in my lap; feelings of entitlement have made me lazy.

What about you, how would putting in the work change the way you look at your life and relationships?

Would that radically change your life, or is it the slight course correction you were looking for?

New Year Resolution. Not the Best Idea?

Happy New Year

Ahh it’s 2014 and the New Year is here, time to start with the New Year’s Resolutions. This year I’m not starting it out on that foot. Ask yourself, how much of your Resolutions have you actually followed through with? If you’re like me and your a young 30’s something, you’ve done this for the past 10 years. At the beginning of each year you sit down and reflect on your life the past year, you make a list of a few things you’d like to change about yourself. But if you’re like me 3 months later that list is no where to be found, or it’s still on your desk from when you drafted it. I’d like 2014 to be better than 2013, and I believe that it’s my year for triumph. But for the love of all things sane, why should I make a list of things I’m never going to get to. My suggestion is this, instead of starting something you’re never going to finish, instead Finish something you started. I’ve made a lot of great progress this past year, so why not continue that. It’s been said that it takes about 3 months or 90 days to form a habit. As for behavior, well that’s much harder to change. If you spent all last year not doing the things on your New Years Resolution list, why are you going to do them in 2014? It sounds like you’re destined to get back on that hedonic treadmill, each year you start a list of things you’ll just stop in a few months. Seems I’m not the only one thinking abut this, I read this post on The Daily Love yesterday “Don’t make Resolutions, Do this instead!

After reading that post, I wasn’t sure if I should still write this one, but hey what the heck. Writing has been a kind of savior for me this year, it’s helped me to better express my thoughts, and sometimes it looks much better on paper. So here are a few key things I’ve learnt in 2013 that I want to continue. To set the stage, I think it’s important to reiterate that I’m on a path to be more Loving, and kind. It’s also important to me to be authentic, to show my true self, and then let the rest happen naturally.

It’s good Being Me

As part of being more authentic, I’m learning to love and appreciate me, call it self-love if you will. I’ve got a unique gift and perspective on life. Although there are billions of people on our home planet, why am I where I am? My faith is strong so I choose to believe that God has put me here for a reason, my world has more meaning for me that way. There are things I can’t begin to understand, but I’m beginning to see that each aspect of my life has a purpose. I was thinking last night, not to worry no brain cells were lost in this process, but I believe I’m living the life that best serves my purpose. Things like money, status, and prestige are good to some extent, but it’s more important to me to live a life that is fulfilling. Having nice things aren’t as important to me as it is to know I’ve done something to make someone else’s life better. What about you, what things are unique about you? What’s your gift you offer to the world? Find those things and work on those, it will make your life more fulfilling. Without getting into too much detail about it, what I’m getting at involved Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow believed that we have a set of needs that we try to fulfill as we navigate our lives. Going from least important to most important they are: Physiological, Safety, Love and Belonging, Esteem, and Self-Actualization. My goal is to focus on at least the bottom four.

I’m the key to my Success

To a certain extent I’m in control of my destiny. I can choose to let my ego cloud my judgement, and tell me that there are things I can and can’t do. Or I can choose to do things and see where it leads me. I chose to join The Marines because I knew it was going to be very challenging. I also felt that it would change my life, and it did all of that and more. If I had listened to all the people who said I wasn’t going to make it, many of them who now tell me how proud they are that I did it; I would never have joined. Even while going through the training, there were many reason’s to quit. Looking at my stature, I don’t exemplify what a “Marine” should look like. Although I may not look the part, if you’ve spent any time with me you’ll see many of those aspects come out in my personality. I may smile virtually ALL the time, but that smile will quickly go away if you’ve overstepped a boundary. My future is uncertain, but I’ve learnt that I will always have people and resources around me to help me. At each stage of my life, no matter the challenges, I’ve always had what I needed at each stage. When the time is right, things seem to fall into place perfectly. For me I choose to believe that God played a large part in that. What about you, what are you stopping yourself from doing? Do you thing of yourself in terms of I’m too… I’m can’t… I will never… Those are called Limiting Beliefs, we place barriers on ourselves. In many cases the things we claim we’re not, aren’t usually true. It’s instead part of the lie we tell ourselves, we try to protect ourselves, but instead do more harm.

What’s Important to me

To know where you’re going, it’s important to know who you are. After reading The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz, I’ve incorporated four pillars in my daily life. 1. Be Impeccable with my word: Speak the truth, and don’t use my words to hurt other, but rather to build them up. 2. Don’t take anything Personally: When I interact with others, understand that it’s through the lens of their life. 3. Don’t make assumptions: It’s important to ask questions, especially when communicating with others, remember they see life through their lens. 4. Always do my Best: give only as much as I can each day, if there’s more I can give tomorrow, well I’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes. As for what’s most important in my life: 1. God 2. People (family, spouse, friends) 3. Stuff (cars, money, job etc). What about you what’s important to you, and what are your guiding principles to your life.

Trust my Instincts

Since going on the path to be more loving and kind to others, and to be more authentic about who I am. I’ve seen a remarkable change in my instincts. Aside from understanding myself better this year, I’ve also come to understand the role my faith plays in my life. It’s actually through a course I took at my church D.E.S.I.G.N that I came to understand what my gift and purpose is. It’s remarkable because many of the personality inventories that I took during that course, I had taken previously in my Undergraduate studies. I guess I was not quite ready to put it all together until I had taken that class. By learning to listen to the still small voice, I found that I was able to pick up on others emotions. To some extent I’m able to discern the intimate details of other’s circumstances without being told, let’s just say it made for some interesting conversations. Over and over I’ve felt certain things, and my instincts were spot on. So this year I’m going to trust them more, they haven’t lead me astray so far, so why not depend on them more. What about you, what is your instincts telling you about a certain situation? Do you feel like they’re warning signs going off about someone or a situation? Or perhaps there is something that you feel compelled to do. Life is short, if we don’t take risks, we won’t reap the benefits.

Align your Heart and Mind

For the most part we make decisions from two places, the logical evidence based Mind, or our instincts/heart. It’s important to make sure that both of them are aligned. Have you ever tried walking with both your arms swinging the same direction? Or what happens if your legs want to go right and your arms left, well you can imagine what happens! As uncomfortable as that feels, think of it this way, each body part does it’s own thing, but they work together to move you in One direction. Consequently if your heart is taking you one direction and your mind is going another, well I’m sure you can imagine the result. Learning how to align these two can be difficult, but I’ve found it easier in my quest to be more authentic. By being Love and speaking the truth, I’ve found that my mind will find facts to support what my heart wants.

These are just a few aspects of my life that I’ve managed to actively work on daily, then why not do better in 2014. Why try to re-invent the wheel? I’m already making progress in those areas, why start a whole new list, especially if I’m just going to stop in a few months. What about you, will you join me and Finishing something you started, rather than starting something you’re never going to finish? Let’s all do better in 2014, continue to do the things that work for us.