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May 31, 2011

Success Perils

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In the last 12 months, I cut out working with 7 clients to work exclusively with New Media Labs. Initially, this cut my income by roughly 30%.  I hear the cries of why…

I made the changes to feel more successful.  Time will tell if I actually am more successful. Right now I am starting to see the success, but I have a longer term plan.

As you may know, personal freedom is essential to me. I ride, run and play outside as an expression of this freedom.  However, I’m searching for more than the freedom to do what I choose.  To create a sense of well-being, I’ve noticed that I need:

  • A couple hours of daily exercise (1 hour twice a day seems to work best for me);
  • Connection to a community (that would be you); and
  • A sense that I am spending my time effectively (if I don’t, I tend to implode).

Working merely to buy more stuff I want and don’t need, being overly busy and creating busyness for myself, multitasking and the rest, these things cause me undue stress in large volumes. That said, creating space so that I can sit around in a coffee shop all day, doesn’t leave me satisfied. I did that for ages and I know quite a few people who do this currently and it creates a growing hole. I need a mission that I can do well.  It’s why I am suited to endurance athletics and project based consulting. An essential realization for me, because this in turn shifted my career from being a salesman to managing projects.

So essentially, have a mission, be a part of a community and do it well. Those 3 elements are key things to ensuring my happiness.

In my life, exercise is my meditation – it integrates my thoughts with my body; let’s me release stress/noise and stimulates my brain.  When I listen to others talk about prayer, it sounds a lot like how I feel about my training.  I have a huge connection going when I am stress free. A connection to the world around me and how conscious I actually am to what is going on around me.

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The following passage comes from a blog I am a passionate fan of.

The first tip that I’ll offer is a question I ask myself every-single-day. How would I live my life if I knew that I was going to die? As I think about that (trick) question, I remind myself:

Acceptance – I will not be able to get everything done in my life.  That’s OK, I’ve acknowledged that being busy works against my personal goals.

Choose – Because I won’t be able to get to everything, it is wise to make choices.  Given that “doing well” is important for my sense of well being, I’m going to identify the #1 goal that I can do well.  Given that setbacks are inevitable, I’m going to pick a defensive goal as well.

Priorities will change and shift over time.  What’s useful for me is: limiting focus; being clear about what I am seeking to achieve; and what’s required to achieve it.

Say No — we are lousy at saying “no” – to ourselves and to our communities. That’s why the first two steps are so important – realize that you can’t (and don’t want to) do everything then choose what you want to do. Then create a habit of saying “no” to attractive opportunities that distract you from your mission. My main strategies are avoidance and routine.

Write it down and share with people who are important to you. This gives a bit of backbone to your wishbone.

Most of our friends, clients and competition, will not be able to pull off what I outlined and that is OK.  However, when you come across people that can pull it off then keep them in your life — they are valuable additions to your peer group. Likewise, when it’s clear that someone isn’t fully aligned with your mission then you’ll want to phase them out — with compassion, as we never know where life will take us.

Don’t try to be perfect, just keep chipping away towards your goals.  When I find myself stressed out, I back off, rest a bit and remember my mortality.

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Great lessons in there today. There is a reason I am putting it out there too.

I am now accountable to you.

Backbone.

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