I’m rather sick of it. People everywhere saying “I want … I want … I want.” I want my company to … I want my boss to … I want my spouse to … I want my kids to …I want my parents to … I want the President to … I want Big Tech to …”
As a speaker, coach, and consultant, I’m much more interested in what YOU are doing to get what you want. After all, everybody wants to be happier and more successful, but only a few people are willing to do what has to be done to get there.
► 1. Do ten hard things.
As Dan Waldschmidt, an international business strategist and extreme athlete, says, the hard things are the things that no one else is doing. Or the things that scare you. Or the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity or outrageous success.
Of course, the hard things are the easiest things to avoid, or excuse away, or pretend they don’t apply to you. But the brutal truth is the most accomplished people invariably do these ten hard things.
How many of these hard things are true of you?
- You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is
- You have to give more than you get in return right away.
- You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.
- You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
- You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
- You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts.”
- You have to try and fail and try again, even though you may look like an idiot, for the time being.
- You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
- You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
- You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.
The more of the ten hard things you’re doing, the more success you’re going to experience. It’s that simple. It may not be easy, but it is fairly simple.
By contrast, there is one easy thing that success demands of you. You must …
► 2. Clarify your purpose.
As I tell my students, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” It’s the price you pay for not having a clear, powerful, meaningful purpose guiding your life and work.
Or as author Rick Warren asks in his book The Purpose-Driven Life, “What on earth are you for?” If you don’t know the answer to that question, you may get through life, but you will never soar through life. You’ll be a duck but never an eagle.
You see, eagles soar above the crowd. They catch your attention, and when you see one, you probably stop for a moment just to watch them. And if you’re with someone, you’ll say, “Oh wow! Look at that. An eagle. Oooh. Aaah.”
In a very similar sense, that’s our reaction when we’re around purpose-driven people. We experience a bit of awe and extend a bit of respect.
On the other hand, when you see a duck, chances are you aren’t filled with admiration. You may not even look at it. And if you’re with someone else, I would guess you don’t say, “Stop! Stop! Look at that! A duck. Oh wow, wow, wow.”
Why is that? Because ducks are pretty common and they pretty much do what every other duck is doing. They get in line. Whenever they fly, they’re in line. When they walk, they’re in line. And when they swim, they’re in line. They’re always in line. They don’t seem to have any other purpose in life that is directing them.
The trouble with being a duck in line is the view ahead of you. So if you live your life as a duck, without a clearly defined purpose, you tend to develop that viewpoint toward life. And you tend to do what everyone else is doing … which may not be the best that life has to offer you.
You only get the best with a clearly defined purpose … which is the one easy thing success demands of you. You have to know where you’re going and why you’re going there if you ever expect to get there.
That’s why I invite you to my next live webinar: How to Clarify Your Purpose for a More Meaningful Life. It will be February 17, 2021, from 4:00-5:00 pm ET. To join me, click here.
Of course, most people are somewhat like those ducks I just mentioned. They have no idea how to find or clarify their purpose. So let me get you started by suggesting that you …
► 3. Ask yourself one key question.
There is a process you can follow to discover and clarify your purpose. It begins with a series of questions. Of course we don’t have time for all of them today, but take this one for starters.
- What problem were you created to solve?
You were created to solve a specific problem, and once you know that, you’ll have a pretty good idea what your purpose is.
Unfortunately, many people see problems as something bad or negative. They couldn’t be more wrong.
In reality, problems are the catalysts for creativity. Think about it. When inventors invent something, their creativity is ignited by an existing problem. Their invention solves the problem.
When Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb, he solved a light problem. When Henry Ford mass produced the automobile, he solved a cost, convenience, and transportation problem. When you sell your products or services to customers you solve one or more of their problems.
So problems aren’t necessarily bad. They turn on your creativity. The question is, what problem were you created to solve? Figure that out and you will possess one of the keys to your unique purpose.
Perhaps you’re here to raise positive kids in a negative world. Maybe you’re here to build a team that scores major victories or delights its customers. Quite simply, you are a solution to somebody somewhere. Figure it out and you’ll have a good start on the defining of your purpose.