Have you ever taken lots of actions, only to be left disappointed with the results you’ve gotten?
Some will say that you just need to take more action. Do more, and the tides will eventually turn.
But what if taking action is only a small piece of the puzzle?
What if action taken from the wrong place only left you more frustrated and disappointed?
I’ve found that all the action and doing in the world doesn’t amount to much if my internal programming is broken.
When you hold disempowering beliefs about yourself and the world, you can push, push, push and still end up in exactly the same place. Wherever you go, there you still are, right?
The worst part is that most people are walking around acting from these self-defeating beliefs and they’re not even aware they’re doing it.
Let’s be clear about one thing: we take action because we want to experience some improved future state. That state is not really a physical outcome, but a change in the way we feel.
For instance, you want to quit your job and do what you love for a living, because of the feeling of freedom and joy that will bring you.
If you accomplish this goal without changing your internal beliefs and attitudes, you could end up in exactly the same place as you were when you worked at a job. You’ve shifted the external, but without addressing the internal mechanisms driving your feelings, you could be just as shitty to yourself as your old boss. You could impose even more unreasonable and draining expectations than working for someone else.
You’ve changed the outside, but the way you feel has been left neglected and unaltered.
When you focus on the internal first, the external tends to take care of itself. You might quit your job, or you might stay. But what you’ve been after all along is a more empowered, better feeling. A different way of being. That different way of being is driven by the beliefs you hold and the internal programming dictating the way you show up.
If you want to be truly successful at doing work you’re passionate about, excited and empowered by your calling, not just changing your schedule, you need to take on a radically new way of being.
These are the most important beliefs and attitudes I’ve found over years of studying what makes people successful, inside and out.
When you adopt these mindsets, your actions will take on a whole new dimension of power and depth. Your purpose will be realized in every moment you stay grounded in them.
I recommend you brew a cup of coffee or tea and eliminate all distractions before you dive into this post. These shifts require your full presence and attention. If you just skim this, you probably won’t benefit from it much.
Ready to go all in? Let’s start with the game you’re playing.
1. I make the rules
If you believe that you have to follow the rules of others, and essentially live your life based on a template created by someone else, you will not be happy, even if you’re the most successful person in the world.
That’s because you’ve only succeeded at playing someone else’s game.
If you want to truly be successful, you need to create your own game.
This takes balls.
Creating your own game means testing assumptions, and always remaining curious.
If you feel like you want to play a certain way in your work or life, but feel like that’s not possible, why not challenge it? Test your assumption that it won’t work, see it as an experiment and find out what happens when you decide to be the rule maker.
Life is a game to be played, not a problem to be solved. The challenge is most people are unconsciously playing the game society dictated for them, not realizing that at any time you can opt-out and choose to play your game. Courage and a willingness to experiment is all it takes.
To practice creating your own game, ask yourself:”What kind of game do I want to create in my life? If I could design my work exactly the way I want it, what would that look like?”
2. I am Bigger Than My Circumstances
Most people mistakenly give their power away to the external. Life happens to them. They are trapped by their job, their marriage, their finances, or whatever they’ve beed led to believe is keeping them trapped.
Little do the realize that their power is never in what is outside of them. Their power is always within, right here, right now. It’s never in the future when circumstances are improved.
Successful people happen to life. They don’t ask “how is life treating you these days?” They ask “how are you treating life?”
It may seem impossible, but you really can feel the way you want to feel, despite whatever might be going on around you. Does that mean it’s not challenging? Of course not. It’s easier to feel good and empowered sitting on a beach with a big bank account, but some people can still not even feel good in this situation. There’s always something more to prove, more to earn to feel good enough.
To be bigger than your circumstances ask yourself:
What choices do I have right now? Can I choose to feel empowered, alive and free where I am, right now?
3. My Why Drives Everything
Most people make the mistake of being driven by what they don’t want.
They don’t want to be trapped in a deadend job.
They don’t want to be trapped by debt.
They don’t want to be overweight and tired.
When you’re motivated by what you want to get away from, you’re trapped in a state of anxiety. There’s something chasing you that you’re constantly trying to run away from. That, my friend, is an incredibly draining way to live.
Yes, there is power in making a stand against what you don’t want. You can use that as fuel to change. And most people only do change when they reach a bottom, and have finally had enough.
But that only gets you so far. At some point you have to decide what you’re living for, not just what you’re fighting against.
How to embody the why-driven approach to life:
Take some time to get clear on what you really want, and why you want it. If you’ve been practicing focusing on what you don’t want, this might be challenging. Stick with it.
Then keep going back to what you want and why you want it, even when you feel the urge to want to escape, or fight against your circumstances.
Put your big reason why somewhere you can see it every day and be constantly reminded of it so you never forget.
4. It’s Just a Matter of Time
Too often I see people caught up in “when it’s going to happen.” When will they finally arrive, do it, accomplish and achieve the result.
This manifests itself in being obsessed with when they will be at the ideal weight or body composition. When they will finally work for themselves. When they will be out of debt.
This is backwards approach that only leads to anxiety and a state of chronic tension with where you are.
Instead, adopt the mindset that whatever you want to achieve, is already done. It’s just a matter of time, after all. This requires that you are absolutely committed, and a willingness to do whatever it takes. You’re all-fucking-in.
It’s not a matter of if, or when. It’s inevitable, because you will keep walking the path no matter what.
How to practice “it’s just a matter of time:”
Pick something right now that you want to achieve, something you’ve been hungry for for a long time. Decide right now that it doesn’t matter when, but that it’s already done.
Commit to the path, focus on the process, and keep trying new things until you find something that works.
5. Life is On My Side
Einstein said the most important decision a person can make is deciding whether the universe is inherently good, or inherently bad.
I couldn’t agree more.
And I think either belief is true, if you’ve invested your energy into it.
When you believe that life is on your side, it is. When you believe it’s not, it’s not.
Either way is completely valid, but one is much more fun and enjoyable.
Decide right now that life is on your side, even if you haven’t been experiencing that lately. Challenge yourself to adopt this mindset for 30 days and see what happens. I think you’ll be amazed at the results.
How to practice the “life is on my side” mindset:
Decide right now that life is on your side. But don’t stop there, right down at least 10 ways in the last year that life has supported you, that you’ve been assisted in ways that you didn’t expect or anticipate.
Commit to at least 30 days of waking up and telling yourself as you drink your morning coffee that life is conspiring in my favor.
6. All Problems Are My Opportunities
I put this belief next because it’s crucial to really cementing the one that comes before it. If life is on your side, what about all the problems, challenges and difficulties you’ve been facing?
What about the traumas and the undeserved suffering you’ve faced?
With these difficulties, we have a choice. We can see them as just bad things that have happened to us with no meaning or purpose, or we can view them as opportunities.
No growth can happen without stress. We can’t become who we are meant to be without being faced with shit that challenges and breaks us.
With my body, injuries have been my greatest teachers. They’ve helped me understand ways that I was carrying myself or moving that weren’t serving my structural integrity. They made conscious what was previously unconscious for me. Did they suck? Were they incredibly frustrating at times? Absolutely. But they also served as opportunities for me to become stronger and more resilient than I was before.
Whatever has broken you can serve as an opportunity for you to heal and grow even stronger than you were before. But it only happens if that’s the way you choose to respond.
How to practice seeing problems as opportunities:
What’s the biggest problem you’re currently facing in your life? Choose something that’s chronic, preferably something that occupies a lot of your mental energy and attention.
Now ask yourself: “Where is the gift in this?”
7. 1 > 0
When you’re first starting out trying to build your business and follow your purpose, it can be incredibly overwhelming. There’s so much to do, so many hats to wear. You might have grand, epic plans to create a movement that changes the world in a big way. Maybe you want to helps thousands or millions of people.
That is awesome. Don’t ever give up on that.
But right now, you need to build something, and start helping people now. You need to give your gifts now, and not worry about the massive tribe or movement you’re going to rally.
It’s more helpful at the beginning stage to focus on one person. Who is one, singular individual that you can help, and truly make a difference with?
If you can help one person, surely you can help two, and it can snowball from there.
Remember, one is greater than zero. If you have just one follower, or one subscriber, don’t get down on yourself. Help the shit out of that person, and your following will grow.
How to practice the 1 > 0 mindset:
Find one person today that you can help, even if it means just making a small difference for them.
How can you serve this person? What’s a problem you can help them solve? In what way you can you add more joy and ease to their life?
8. I Shape My Environment
You’ve heard it before: you are a product of your environment. You are what you eat. You are how you move. You are shaped, inevitably, by whatever habitat you occupy.
But only seeing this side of the coin, it can feel like we’re at the mercy of our environments. We don’t see that we have the ability to consciously shape, control and choose the environment that we reside in.
This extends not to just the place you live, but the type of people you surround yourself with, the type of food you keep in your pantry, the music in your playlists, and the art you hang on your walls.
We tell my clients and students in Trailblazer all the time: taking back control of your environment is the closest thing possible to a “shortcut” for success.
In reality, there are no shortcuts to success. But, there are levers that make things much easier. Consciously choosing and shaping your environment is the highest.
How to take back control of your environment:
Take a look at where you live, who you surround yourself with and what your physical space is like. What one thing or aspect is creating the most drag, or feels like you have to really fight against to be who you really want to be and live the life you really want?
Now what’s one thing you could do today to change it?
9. I Fill My Cup First
Let’s get one thing clear right now: your ability to give, serve and make a positive impact is in direct proportion to how well you feed, take care of and nourish yourself.
The more you fill your cup, the more you have to give. The more you radically love, accept and stand for your self care being the number one priority, the more you are standing for serving the world.
When you sacrifice yourself for others, no one wins. Martyrdom might seem like a noble cause on the surface, especially since it’s perpetuated by our cultural myths, but it rarely leads to anything good. Even if you do help others through martyring yourself, it just sets the example for others to suffer and sacrifice their happiness. And that’s not the kind of model you want to be, right?
Radical self care is the path to greatest impact. Unapologetic focus on your needs is the kindest thing you can do not only for yourself, but for others.
How to practice filling your cup first:
What’s one thing that you desperately need right now to nourish yourself and be at 100%?
Is it more sleep? Taking a long hike alone in the woods? Going to a sauna twice a week?
Decide today what you’re going to make a regular practice of doing so you can serve the world at a higher level.
10. I Focus on the Next Step
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed these days, especially if you’re trying to build a thriving, world-changing, freedom-creating business.
I’ll just assume that you have a full time job. Perhaps you have kids and other responsibilities on top of that. Now let’s not forget that there’s Facebook, Twitter, email, Netflix and a million other things distracting you and vying for your attention.
Building a passion-based business in this day and age is a pretty heroic feat. And needless to say, it’s incredibly easy to get overwhelmed.
To combat this, you need to take on the mindset of The One Next Step.
Forget the complicated business plan and your five year projections. All of that is often masturbatory fantasy. What you need is grounded momentum. And the only way to get that is by focusing your attention on the next step.
Stay on the path, trailblazer, don’t get distracted by the push to the summit, it will only tire you out and discourage you. Our minds do best when we focus on getting to the next switchback, the next tree on the path. It’s doable, manageable.
We can wrap our heads around the next step.
So, what is the next, bold step you need to take to start doing work you actually care about?
Maybe, it’s something boring or confusing that you need to tackle, like registering your business, or getting your website off the ground.
Whatever it is, commit to doing that thing now. Your future self will thank you.
How to embody The One Next Step mindset:
Make a list of ten things you could do to make progress on your business today.
Once you’ve done that, take a minute to just breathe. Take your focus off it and let your mind wander.
Now return to your list. Scan it quickly and without thinking about it too much, circle the one thing that feels like would make the most progress. If that thing is something that contains a lot of small steps, define the very first thing you need to do right now, and do it.
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