Tag Archives: goals

Imagine…

Who is your favorite hero? A star of stage and screen? A figure from history? A contemporary business leader?

Picture that individual.

Now imagine that person waking up as you today. In your body. With your friends, family and job. Your skill set, your contacts. What would he or she do to jumpstart your career and life? Would they settle? What steps would that person take today to achieve success?

Imagine!

Who do you want to be?

In recent years, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been taking shots from the tabloids regarding his personal life, his record as governor, and his recent movie comeback.

But instead of chuckling at late night jokes at his expense (whether deserved or otherwise) the success-minded will ask themselves some questions: do I have the strength within me to achieve everything I ever wanted? Can I even dream that big? Arnold’s words, taken from a 2009 USC commencement address demand harsh introspection and action.

Dig deep down and ask yourself who do you want to be? Not what but who? What is the point of living on this Earth if all you want to do is be liked by everyone and avoid trouble?

Arnold started with no money, no connections, no U.S. citizenship, no command of the English language. There were a million reasons he should have just stayed in Thaal, Austria. This video features lots of imagery of Arnold in his prime, but it’s really less about him (he got his) and more about you.

Watch it, and put your dreams against his template for success.

Jump in

You’re not Michael Phelps so of course you can’t do what he does. After all he’s a big strong guy and you’re just a kid.

Except if you’re Charlotte Samuels, a 15 year-old who just swam a 17.5 mile open water swim through New York Harbor to Sandy Hook, NJ. She lets Phelps have the pool while she tackles the ocean. But she’s young, she has the time and energy to swim all day, you don’t if you’re, say, a busy mom in your 40’s.

Except if you’re Lynn Ascione, a mom who happened to swim the same race. Like Samuels, she has her sights set on swimming the English Channel one day. So good for them, but maybe you’re around retirement age, someone will probably say it’s not smart to swim extreme distances.

Except if you’re Diana Nyad, who now in her 6th decade of life, has made four attempts to swim from Havana to the Florida Keys–that’s 100 miles–without a shark cage.

So it seems there’s no excuse if you think you’re too young, no excuse if you’re a busy parent, and no excuse if you think you’re too old.

So what’s stopping you from jumping into whatever it is you want to do?

Revive a reading regimen

libraryThese days, even with a Kindle, it can be tough to find time to read. You’ve got mind-numbing games and endless apps on your smartphone, hundreds of channels of reality shows on your FiOS, and all those “Hangover” movies downloaded on your tablet. But if wedging some reading time into your day is important to you, use these tips to get started.

Keep a list. I maintain a list in my black notebook of all of the books I want to read. The list keeps me motivated. It’s a list that will never end and I find a certain amount of joy in checking off a book after I’ve read it. You can also create a list on Amazon to share with others.

Start with something. Never been a big reader? Relax, you’re not in school anymore so you can pick out books you want to read. Want a short biz book? Try The One Minute Manager, Poke the Box or Do the Work. And if you find yourself bored you can always set it aside and try another one, no one else is keeping score.

Mix it up. Biographies provide inspiration and insight, business books let you keep on top of the latest thought leaders in your industry and beyond, the classics expose you to the proven great thinkers, graphic novels can fire your creativity, and current bestselling titles provide enjoyment and convenient social ice breakers.

Steal time. I saw this tip in a book about JFK. The young president was an avid reader but naturally had a crazy schedule, so to adapt he always had a book handy and read while standing up. This trick lets you read a few lines while waiting for an appointment, on hold with the airline, or waiting for that leftover Mako shark to cook in the microwave. Reading a page here or there will help you get through books much faster than if you wait to find time to relax on the couch.

Ritual reading. Instead of falling asleep in front of your flat screen, make reading a good book before bed a nightly ritual. Sleep experts agree watching TV or playing Xbox just before bed isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep anyway.

Jot notes. Sometimes you may want to take notes or underline passages for later reference, but how do you find them again when you need them? Easy. In a blank page in the front of the book create your own informal index. In pencil jot down the item and the associated page number. Something like, “Job search tip, page 53.” Writing notes, ideas and doodles gives a book character and makes it your own. (Librarians may not agree.)

Don’t let excuses get in your way. Sure you’re busy, but busier than Theodore Roosevelt? (NYC Police Commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York , naturalist, explorer, hunter, author, colonel, VP and President.) In addition to building out the most incredible resume ever, Teddy was famous for reading at least one book a day…amounting to thousands over his lifetime. (Oh, and he found time to write 36 of his own books.) Here is some advice to read like TR.

Use social media. Twitter and LinkedIn can help you find fresh new books and reintroduce old classics. Use Twitter to ask questions and interact with authors and other fans, and try LinkedIn to join book-related groups and discussions.

Educate yourself. Remember this Matt Damon line in Good Will Hunting? “You dropped a hundred and fifty grand on an education you could’ve got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.” Some of us have sheepskins on the wall and some of us don’t. But no matter what you’ve spent on education it’s in the past and the future belongs to those willing to keep learning.

It’s never been a better time to get back into books!

Pope

Jorge Mario Bergoglio woke up this morning as a cardinal. This afternoon he was elected pope and became Francis I. In his first appearance he asked the crowds for their blessing as be began his “journey’ as head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

Are you ready for a new journey if the opportunity presents itself? Are you making yourself available for an opportunity to present itself? You’re not too old, Bergoglio is 76 and his life just changed a few hours ago.

Pope lesson: be true to yourself, but always be ready to assume a new responsibility and identity.

Strange deer

It was midnight as I negotiated a turn and slammed on my brakes as a four-legged creature materialized on the side of the road. I had never seen anything like it. It was about the size of a small deer and almost entirely white in color. It looked at me with curious brown eyes and hopped away for several yards before stopping. Yes, it hopped. It also had a small hump, like a camel. I have spent many years in the outdoors and I had never seen anything like it.

Google revealed it to be a piebald deer. Apparently it possessed a one-in-a-hundred inherited genetic trait.

Imagine, an encounter with a rare ungulate right in my own neighborhood. If there can be deer-size things living in your neighborhood that you’ve never seen, maybe there are jobs nearby that you’ve never imagined.

It’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time…and the more you’re out there looking, the better the odds.

What do you tell yourself?

I’m not handy.

I’m bad with numbers.

I can’t draw.

We become used to saying these things. But when you were a kid you improvised, you knew your flash cards and you drew whatever you wanted. What happened? Maybe you decided it was easier to be bad at things. Not everything, just something.

Buy a house and you’ll become handy because things will need to be fixed.

Put yourself in charge of a budget and your numbers skills will improve.

Get a notebook and start doodling and you’ll see your ideas take shape.

Enough people will tell you what you’re not good at, why add to the noise?

The waiting place

“I can’t wait until my vacation.” The person in the store said.

“Is it Friday, yet?” The delivery guy asked.

“Only three weeks until Daylight saving time.” Another pointed out.

They mean well, but unfortunately they’re all in “The Waiting Place”, which of course you know from Oh, the Places You’ll Go! It’s perhaps the worst of the many pitfalls one can face in one’s life and career. Dr. Seuss portrays this a a sort of self-imposed Pergatory where everyone just waits for something to happen. It’s an easy place to visit, and it’s easy to linger there. After all something has to happen sometime right?

Except when it doesn’t.

Find a door to open and get out of there.

Bilbo

In The Hobbit the protagonist, Bilbo Baggins, has a number of good reasons to not join the dwarves on a grand adventure.

His home is warm, comfortable and well stocked with food and drink.

The quest sounds dangerous, and staying home is safer.

He would have to learn new things that he never planned on having to learn, such as wielding a sword and riding a pony.

As a Hobbit, he’s not expected to go adventuring.

There’s a fire breathing dragon involved.

If he makes it back alive, he won’t be the same person he was when he left.

These are all sensible reasons to not look for treasure mountain, but Bilbo doesn’t stay home. And a marvelous adventure unfolds.

What are your reasons?

Island

Forty miles from the nearest Scottish inhabitants lies the remote island of Borelay, one of the most inhospitable places on the planet. Ringed by a treacherous coastline and pounded by furious seas it was always clear to experts why Borelay was devoid of settlements.

Except it wasn’t. Archaeologists have found evidence that prehistoric people once lived on the island. How did they get there? How did they survive? The answer may be lost in the mists of time.

Or maybe they went there because no one told them they couldn’t.