So I felt it was time for a little pep talk because this is right about the time when your best New Year intentions start flying out the door, and your old habits kick in.
I don’t want that for you. This year is going to be different.
If you really want to live with purpose, make an impact and live life on your own terms, then you’re going to need to fight your biggest opponent in life….you.
You know it’s true. The only person getting in the way of yourself is you.
It’s the thoughts you feed yourself every day about not being good enough.
Who am I to take this one, to launch this thing, to speak at this event, to call myself an expert?
Actually who are you not to? As Marianne Williamson so brilliantly puts it:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
I love this quote and think it’s the perfect one to pin on your wall, vision board or have as a screen saver, whenever you’re feeling like quitting on yourself.
The thing is, this battle is one you’re going to have to face again and again in your life. So you need to be prepared and have a strategic plan of how you’re going to lead from the front and win.
Each time your negative, disbelieving, small-minded, fearful self arrives on the battlefield, you’re going to get better and better at defeating it.
As you do you’ll grow stronger, more powerful and more fulfilled because you’ll be fighting to win at living your best possible life.
To give you a head start on your quest to build an empire you love, that fills you with the kind of happiness and freedom that money just can’t buy, I’ve got some key battle-worthy tactics you can employ.
I know they work, as trust me I’ve fought, and continue to fight these battles too, because living a life on your own terms is worth fighting for.
Courage is Your Secret Weapon
When you head into battle it’s likely that you’ll be acting on adrenaline and a healthy dose of being scared as hell. It’s the same in fighting to make your dreams a reality.
I’ve had to find courage this week to get back on a motorbike, and overcome any fears I have of crashing or losing my life, and instead treat it as an adventure to explore the roads of Northern Thailand.
I am all at once struck by the awesome power of the 650cc engine below me and the speeds I can get up to, as well as the complete vulnerability I feel when sitting exposed on a motorbike.
If you back down at the sign of any challenge, you simply won’t make it. Of course you need to pick your battles, but each time you face them head on, with your mind, body and soul, you’ll find the courage to make it through almost anything life throws at you.
“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” ~ Maya Angelou
To live life on your own terms you must be willing to also make sacrifices in order to work on your art. That means staying in to work on that book you’re writing, or that product or service you’re launching, rather than going out to party every weekend.
Courage is also making sacrifices to get your art to the world, despite friends and well-intentioned family, providing resistance along the way.
You will always have people who will tell you it can’t be done, or that try to deter you from the path you’ve chosen. You need to be strong and choose to carry on regardless in the face of fear and uncertainty.
Example In Action
I am so damn proud of my friend and former coaching client Amy Clover, from Strong Inside Out. She’s the perfect example of one person showing immense courage.
My life had always been about waiting until the point at which I would finally gain the courage to leave this world. It had always been a certainty. In fact, it’s the only thing I was certain of.
You see Amy is celebrating the 30th birthday she may never have had, had her suicide attempt been successful many years back.
She’s found her recovery through fitness and she wants to inspire hope into thousands of people across the world who want to give up in her amazing 30 x 30 Project.
Amy’s currently touring across the US and Canada teaching 30 donation-based bootcamps in 30 different cities to raise money for the non-profit movement called To Write Love On Her Arms.
Focus is Your Most Powerful Friend
The real key to any success in your endeavours is what I like to call fierce focus. If you’re truly serious about achieving what you want in life, you cannot be distracted. Period.
Of course this is way easier to talk about than actually apply, but the reality is that Twitter, Facebook and email can wait. These tools that help you stay hyper connected are also your enemies in disguise.
They can be powerful weapons when the time comes to release your work to the world. But during the process they will do everything in their power to distract you.
I am at my most productive and focused when I’m on a plane, train or boat with no wifi, and no way to do anything but create and deliver. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you give yourself the space and supporting environment to just get it done.
Have your goals and objectives for the day stuck on your screen or written on the wall so you constantly remind yourself what it is you’re wanting to achieve and why.
You Are Leading Your Own Army
Ever catch yourself wanting to be someone else, having what they have, looking like them, acting like them and having their status or success? When has that ever made you feel better about yourself?
I guarantee never.
We all do it, it’s a natural human tendency to judge what we believe are our inadequacies by comparing ourselves to others. The thing is we’re often comparing apples with oranges.
We have no real understanding of what challenges and opportunities they’ve had to get to where they are. At the end of the day, nothing compares to you.
“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Quit idolizing others and giving away your power. Instead step into your own power by being your best self and leading others to do the same. Focus on what you’re good at and get better.
Compare where you’ve come from to where you are now and take pride in the learning you’ve applied and the advances you’ve made. If you’ve gone backwards, then look at what you need to do to get back to, and surpass where you were.
Example in Action
This weekend in Chiang Mai, I was made the captain of my team in the Ultimate Frisbee Hat Tournament.
My leadership style is pretty obvious here on the blog, I aim to create freedom every day and show you how to too.
I lead by example by doing what I say. Actions do speak louder than words right, so I live and breathe my values.
It seems it’s working as over the last 4 days in particular, I’ve had an abundance of lovely feedback and messages from all over the world from my community on how I’ve inspired them.
However, every leader has their downfalls. For me, I’m well aware that I get intensely competitive in sports, and that this can sometimes be at the detriment of losing my cool with others.
I was determined to ensure my team had the best possible tournament of their lives by making it fun, being very patient and leading by example.
The long and short of it was, `Snowwhite and the 17 Dwarves’ was a team full of lots of newbies and we lost every single game.
But we won Best Team Spirit – the ultimate prize in this sport that’s based on fair play and sportsmanship (hence no referees). In addition I won Best Player!
What really made my day though was that several team members came up to me during the tournament, and after, to thank me for being a great captain.
They said they learned so much and that my continual motivation and support during the games made it the best tournament experience they’d had.
As a leader, that’s the best thing you can possibly achieve. It’s not about you, but it certainly starts with you.
No One Needs to Give You Permission
Are you waiting to be picked? Why not pick yourself, as Seth Godin writes.
“It’s a cultural instinct to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission and authority that comes from a publisher or talk show host or even a blogger saying, “I pick you.” Once you reject that impulse and realize that no one is going to select you–that Prince Charming has chosen another house–then you can actually get to work.”
Why do we think we need someone to give us the green light signal for go? Put your foot on the gas, and hit the highway! Drive boldly forward in the direction of your dreams, and do everything in your power to stay on course to reach your destination.
Don’t sit around waiting for inspiration or someone to approve of what you’re doing. Act in anticipation of what you can achieve.
So visualize where you want to be in 2-3 years time, write it down in a painted picture and then set about with a plan of action to get you there, no distractions, no excuses, and green lights all the way!
As Stephen Pressfield writes in Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work
“The professional may seek instruction or wisdom from one who is further along in mastery than he, but he does so without surrendering his self sovereignty.“
Compassion and Ruthlessness are Required
On the one hand, you must show yourself compassion, and celebrate the moments where you feel you’ve done great work, completed a big goal or simply felt proud of what you’ve accomplished.
I like to use the Gratitude App to record five things I’m grateful for daily, and I add in a photo that reminds me what gift today brought me.
“Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.” ~ Mason Cooley
On the other hand you have to be ruthless with yourself. No one else is going to hold you to a higher standard but yourself.
If you’re going to publish a mediocre blog post because it’s in your schedule, don’t. Instead wait until it’s your best work. No excuses.
You have focus on being your best self and serving others with integrity always.
You can’t do that if you’re not performing, or simply settling because it’s too hard, or too much effort.
Building Your Empire
To pull this all together, it’s important to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. What are you fighting for every day?
For me, personal freedom is my ultimate priority in life and business, and I will always fight for it. This is why I do what I do.
I inspire people to create freedom in business and adventure in life so that they love what they do, and they live with purpose.
I work with those people who know there’s a better life out there for them, where they dictate their own terms for work, life and love.
On the days when I struggle to get the hard work done, or I stall on a launch plan, or I simply can’t write my blog post, I remember my why.
So how are you going to fight for what you truly believe in today, and charge through the obstacles that are holding you back from living your best life?