One of my coaches challenged me years ago with a comment that changed my life. He said, “The idea that you can continue to grow while leading an orderly, predictable, and risk-free life is the grandest form of self-delusion.”
Ouch! That hurt. I wanted all the goodies in life but I didn’t want to take any risks. The very thought of risk taking frightened me, so I suddenly realized I was stuck with what I had in my life, my career, and my relationships.
I had good intentions but not much else to show for it. Have you ever been there?
Then I have a bit of advice for you, the same thing Mark Twain said years ago. He said, “Good intentions are like crying babies in church. They should be carried out immediately.”
You need POSITIVE CHANGE instead of fear, and you need POSITIVE CHANGE in addition to your good intentions. You need real, visible, tangible results. And that’s exactly what my entire career has been devoted to … helping you and thousands of others get that kind of change and those kinds of results at work, at home, in life, and everywhere else.
In last week’s Tuesday Tip, I gave you four tips on how to do that. Here are two additional strategies.
► 5. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.
Those were the words of a famous song produced by singers like Bing Crosby and Johnny Mercer. And those words are great advice for anyone who wants to see more POSITIVE CHANGE in their lives. Because every change, no matter how good or bad it might be, always has some positive and negative elements to it. What you focus on … the positive or negative … will determine how far you go.
When my teenaged daughter got her first paycheck, she complained that it was less than it should have been. I carefully explained how the state, federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes were subtracted from her gross pay. But she only complained more vigorously. She said, “Dad, you don’t understand. I didn’t give them permission to take those things out of my check.”
Where do you need to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative?
It’s one of the things you will learn how to do in my upcoming Champion Edge Master Class that runs from May 6 to June 3.
► 6. Take more risks.
In a classic study done by Aetna, hundreds of people in their 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 100’s, were asked what they had learned about living a full, successful life. Almost without exception, they said take more risks. Those who were the happiest in their later years were risk takers. Those who had played it safe were typically unhappy and wish they would have gone for it.
It makes sense. When you think about the high points in your life, when you think about the times you were really growing, when you think about the times you felt the most alive, you were probably taking a risk of some sort.
You were taking a risk when you asked out that special girl or boy. You risked rejection. You were taking a risk when you invested more and more into that relationship. You risked hurt if things didn’t work out. But you were also feeling ALIVE and EXCITED about all the possibilities.
You were taking a risk when you discovered a better way to do your job and told some of your coworkers about it. You risked someone saying, “But we’ve always done it this way.” Nonetheless, you felt proud of yourself and your ingenuity.
You have a choice to make in your life, work, and relationships. Risk or regret. Do it or regret the fact you didn’t even try.
Paul taught me that lesson. When Paul was born, he was badly deformed. His arms and legs were so badly twisted into knots that he never learned to walk or care for himself. At age eight, Paul heard the doctors tell his parents he wouldn’t live that long, so there was no sense in “wasting” any time or money on him. His parents were told it would be best to put him in an institution.
So that’s where Paul lived–until he was 68. It was then that Paul decided he had had enough. He wanted to live, not just exist. He decided to take a risk and live his life … really live instead of just exist.
That’s when I met Paul. He showed up in one of my classes at the university where I was teaching. Paul said he wanted to get a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree, and go into the counseling profession. He wanted to help other people.
I couldn’t help but admire him. Paul had so little. He hardly had any money, no family members, and only a few years of life left. All he had was the person he hired to push him from class to class, care for his physical needs, and write out the papers he dictated. But he was taking the risks to make his plan come true.
I continued to follow Paul’s progress. He took several classes from me at the university, so we had many chances to talk. In fact, he joined me and my family for several Christmas celebrations. I watched him as he started a Toastmasters Club on campus, got elected to the Student Senate, eventually graduated and became a licensed professional counselor.
How will you accentuate the positive this week so you can move ahead with more POSITIVE CHANGE in your life? What risks will you take?