I often get bouts of self-doubt that are the mental equivalent of being shackled in chains. I need the confidence to just get moving again to achieve what I want and need to do.
Reading a post or article can often get me thinking in another way from a different angle which is the kickstart I need. The catalyst is sometimes something light and at other times its “deep and meaningful”.
Here are a combination of kickstarters – 8 smart perspectives chosen from a broader list authored by the incredibly ‘deep’ Benjamin P Hardy;
1. Know & Define Your WHY
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
The purpose of clarifying your WHY is two-fold.
- Clarity leads to motivation
- Operating from your deepest conviction creates authentic and optimal performance
So how do you get to your why?
It’s really not that hard.
I recently learned a brilliant strategy for getting to your why from Joe Stumpf, who is an author, CrossFit champion, and renowned transformational coach.
Here’s how it works:
Think about what it is you want, and ask yourself this simple question:
What about ___________ is important to me?
Just answer the first thing that comes to mind.
Don’t over complicate it.
If your goal is to work from home, then ask yourself the question:
What about “working from home” is important to me?
Your answer might be something like, “to have a more flexible schedule.”
You then put THAT into the previous question.
What about “having a more flexible schedule” is important to me?
Feeling less stressed and controlled.
What about “feeling less stressed and controlled” is important to me?
I work better, and am happier, when I can manage myself.
What about “working better, being happy, and managing myself” is important to me?
It’s good to go at least 7-questions deep into this exercise.
If you’re answering really honest with yourself, this exercise will expose two things:
- Key events that have shaped you (often from childhood)
- Key beliefs/values you hold about the world
If you can get to the core of WHY you’re doing what you’re doing, you can then realize just how important that thing is to you.
Far too often, we only think of our base-level motivations for what we’re doing, which is less personally meaningful. Thus, our performance doesn’t come from our core.
For example, I’m starting this business to have more flexibility in my schedule.
Sure, that’s important. But it’s not THAT INSPIRING. Why do you want more flexibility?
A lot deeper.
And once you get the crux, then remind yourself, daily, OF THAT REASON, for starting a business.
Here’s what’s great though. You get to decide HOW YOU FRAME your “Why.” You get to decide your reasons for what you do.
Those reasons COME FROM YOU. They don’t need to be assigned from an outside source.
To quote the famed Diana Ross, “You can’t just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream, you’ve got to get out there and make it happen for yourself.”
In her epic TED talk, philosopher Ruth Chang explains how to make really really hard choices. You get down to the WHY, and then ultimately, you define that WHY for yourself.
Yes, you have a story. But you get to shape that story. You get to shape your reasons. And when you do, then not only can you act from your highest values, but you get to proactively decide and define what those values are.
2. Decide What Kind Of Life You Want and then figure out , How To Get It
“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”— Oscar Wilde
Very few people live within their means.
Most people, particularly in Western Culture, have bought heavily into consumerism. They live paycheck-to-paycheck.
For most people, the notion of “living within your means” is the best advice that could be given.
And indeed, living within your means should be the foundation of a healthy financial life.
But that’s where most financial advice stops.
Rather than basing your lifestyle on what you’re currently making, a far more powerful and creation-based approach is to proactively decide what you want, and then figure out how to get it.
When you’re a giver, it’s not about HAVING more solely for the sake of it. Although having more is certainly not a sin.
The problem is becoming absorbed in stuff, trying to keep up, etc.
In an interview at the annual Genius Network Event in 2013, Tim Ferriss was asked, “With all of your various roles, do you ever get stressed out? Do you ever feel like you’ve taken on too much?”
“Of course I get stressed out. If anyone says they don’t get stressed out they’re lying. But one thing that mitigates that is taking time each morning to declare and focus on the fact that ‘I have enough.’ I have enough. I don’t need to worry about responding to every email each day. If they get mad that’s their problem.”
Ferriss was later asked during the same interview:
“After having read The 4-Hour Workweek , I got the impression that Tim Ferriss doesn’t care about money. You talked about how you travel the world without spending any money. Talk about the balance and ability to let go of caring about making money.”
“It’s totally okay to have lots of nice things. If it is addiction to wealth, like in Fight Club, “The things you own end up owning you,” and it becomes a surrogate for things like long-term health and happiness — connection — then it becomes a disease state. But if you can have nice things, and not fear having them taken away, then it’s a good thing. Because money is a really valuable tool.”
Money is a tool. The more you make, the more good you can do.
Rather than fitting your dreams into your current lifestyle, fit your lifestyle around your dreams.
Decide what you want. Create a bold vision for your life. Decide how you want to contribute, how you want to live. THEN, figure out the means of making that happen.
When your WHY is clear and powerful, you’ll figure out the means to make it happen. That’s how faith as a principle of power works.
3. Start Your Day With Your #1 Priority (Not what’s urgent)
“Good is the Enemy of Great –Jim Collins”
It’s easy to start the day with something that seems good, but ultimately isn’t all that important.
There are countless good things you could do.
But what is the FIRST thing you should do?
What’s the ideal way to START your day?
That depends on your #1 priority in life. If it’s your faith, you should probably connect with God and increase your faith. If it’s your business, you should probably get moving on your business.
For several years, the first thing I did in the morning was go to the gym. And although health and fitness are essential to me, they are not my #1 priority.
If you don’t make time for your #1 priority, then is it really a priority?
In the book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey explains the importance of putting “first things, first.” To illustrate the concept, Covey puts several rocks in a bucket. When you put the little rocks in first, you can’t fit all of the big rocks. But when you start with the big rocks, the little rocks can easy fill the empty spaces.
How you start something determines your trajectory.
Getting up early isn’t enough. You need to put first things first. When you put your top priorities first, then you ensure they make it into the bucket of your day. After your main priorities have been completed, the rest will fill the gaps.
This is essential to quality decision making. The best decision makers do things that simultaneously make everything else in their life easy.
You make ONE decision that makes several other decisions either irrelevant or easier. When you fill your time only with THE BEST, then everything else takes care of itself. The distractions and lower priorities are either given their allotted time or they disappear from your life. Because you already filled your life with stuff of much higher value.
4. How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything
“You cannot simultaneously want to eat a chocolate cake every day in front of the TV and want to be slim” — Malti Bhojwani
This Is Fact .When you’re out of alignment, your whole life becomes a mess.
You may compensate in one area of life for a while. For example, you may obsess about your work or your health, while neglecting your higher priorities.
But this is extremely unsustainable. Eventually and always, it will come back to you.
The things you excel at will eventually become your greatest weaknesses, unless you keep them in proper balance.
5. Work With People Who Are a Craftsman, not a Salesman
“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.”— Aristotle
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”— Steve Jobs
Similar to the points above, the quality of life you have (and the quality of the work you do) is based on who you spend your life with.
I’ve seen through multiple collaborations that most people have LOW STANDARDS for themselves and their work.
They procrastinate, then scramble to get things done last minute resulting in a lack of quality in the final product.
They’re takers — meaning they try to do AS LITTLE as possible rather than trying to do AS MUCH as possible.
How a person does anything is how they do everything. If they lack details in their work, they lack important details in the design of the other areas of their lives.
More recently, I’ve decided to work with people who are true craftsman and craftswomen. Yes, the process may be a little bit slower. But the final outcome is 10X or 100X better.
Things are less rushed.
Quality of life is better.
Quality of planning is more thorough.
Expectations of results are much higher.
Learning is much deeper.
There is less stress and feeling like an imposter.
When I say quality of life, I mean that in the literal sense. Working with people who expect a lot of themselves in their work, but also in the foods they eat, how they spend their time, who they spend their time with, the quality of products they buy, etc.
Far more attention to detail.
Far more passion for living.
For more GIVING to life and experiencing moments.
There are lots of people who are strictly SALESMAN, out there. These people are generally takers. They’re really good at talking, but their life is a mess.
You want to work with people who are craftsman and professionals. Yet, these artists are also scientists and marketers. Their first priority is in doing brilliant work, but they aren’t starving artists. They study the business-side as well, and also the strategy and marketing.
You can’t be a one-trick pony.
You need to work with people who care about the success and reach of your work. And who will help you raise the expectations you have for yourself, for your work, and for the service you can do in the world.
6. Become The Best In The World At What You Do.
Know your niche, know your audience, and serve that audience better than anyone else is.
What is it you actually do?
More importantly, who are the people you help?
And even more important than that, what is the PROBLEM you’re trying to solve for THOSE PEOPLE?
Don’t define your audience or ideal customer by their demographics. Instead, define your audience by the problems they have.
What are they challenged with?
Why does this matter?
How can you help?
How can you help better than anyone else in the world?
How can you help them so much that you become a hero to them?
How can you give so much to these people that you completely change their lives for the better?
In order for you to do this, you not only need to know your audience, you need to know your niche.
You need to develop the skills, philosophies, and services that will solve their problems.
The people you serve may not even know they have the problem. But you do, and you’re gonna to create a new and better future for them. Because you’re a both a craftsman and a giver. A true professional.
7. Invest Heavily In Yourself – the more you invest, the more committed you will be
Throughout my doctoral research as an organizational psychologist, the singular concept I’ve focused my studies on is what I call, The Point of No Return.
This is the moment it becomes easier to move toward your goals than to avoid them. Actually, it’s the instant that pursuing your highest ambitions becomes your only option.
How does this work?
Primarily, it happens in the form of an intense investment, which forces you to move forward out of compulsion.
Once invested to the point you must go forward, your identity and complete orientation toward your objective changes.
Because you must go forward, you’re no longer confused about what you need to do. You’re no longer uncertain if you’re going to act. You have already acted, and now you need to make good on that action. And there’s several psychological reasons why you need to make good on that action:
- To not look like an idiot (although this isn’t very powerful)
- To justify your investment
- To be consistent with the behaviors you’ve performed (hint: your identity follows your behavior, not necessarily the other way around despite “common wisdom”)
- Because you truly want to achieve a particular goal, and you’ve now created external conditions that will eventuate in a self-fulfilling prophecy
Here’s my favorite narrative from my Master’s Thesis, where I interviewed several entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs. The main difference? Entrepreneurs have had some form of “Point of No Return” experience, whereas wannabe entrepreneurs haven’t created such experiences.
One of the people I interviewed was a 17-year-old kid who wanted to sell shoes. He and his “partner” — one of his high school friends — invested $10,000 into a shipment of shoes. Here’s how he describes his “Point of No Return”:
Yeah, once we had all of our money in the same inventory it was all or nothing. That really scared me, just knowing that it was like do or die. I had to sell the shoes. You couldn’t turn back, you couldn’t just get rid of them and get cash back,you had to go forward.
My follow-up question was, “Did anything change after this moment?”
Here’s what he said:
After that, once I realized that we were truly going and everything, I think it really just opened me up to what I was able to do. At that point, I was like okay, I actually started a company, I’ve invested in it and now I need to run this thing. That’s when I think I really saw that I was running the company. It really changed my leadership role, I think, with my partners.
Once you’ve passed your point of no return, you’ve fully bought into your own vision. You’re committed. Your role, and thus identity, change. You’ve removed alternatives that were nothing more than distractions anyways. You’ve forced your own hand and now must move in the direction you want to go. You’re all in.
What about you…
Are you invested?
Your level of success can almost directly be measured to how personally invested you are.
8. Take A Few Minutes Every Night To Mentally Prepare Yourself For The Next Day
“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”— Thomas Edison
The success of your morning begins the night before.
All you have to do is spend a few minutes making FIRM decisions about what you’ll do when you first wake up. You don’t need a huge to-do list. You just need to know the FIRST thing you’re going to do.
Right before bed, you set the stage for all that will happen EVEN WHILE YOU SLEEP.
Just a few minutes of thoughtful and affirmative meditation will put your subconscious on a path toward achieving your goals.
When you wake up the next morning, you’ll be primed for success. The only thing you need to do is immediately get out of bed.
Don’t renegotiate with your pillow. You’re in no state to make a decision.
You already made that decision.
So just get up, get moving, and have an incredible morning. Then have an incredible day. Then have an incredible year. And then make an amazing life.
Successful mornings don’t happen by chance. They happen by choice. Neither does a successful life.
If you want more from Benjamin Hardy check out this extended list of 23 smart ways to increase confidence, productivity and income.
For coaching to increase confidence and build mental toughness contact us.