- self growth
“Faith in oneself is the best and safest course.” – Michelangelo
When we do work that is meaningful or that serves an obvious purpose, we feel empowered and connected to our life. However, mindless work with no explicit purpose or observed results make us feel disconnected, bored and in some cases depressed.
People love things that challenge them. Challenges force our creativity to flourish. When we come across obstacles, we kick into high gear to overcome them. This is where deliberate living comes into play.
In the previous posts i have shared about how we need to lock in and be intentional about the way we want to live life. Deliberate living is kind of the icing on the cake. Many of us are going through life and not actually living life. We are not really in control of what is happening but we react to our environment and circumstances.
Let me introduce you to internal motivation or intrinsic motivation. It is the driving force behind your thoughts and choices regarding your career, hobbies, relationships, and other activities. It doesn’t concern itself with outside influences or external factors. Instead, internal motivation is centered on your personal desires and needs. So if you want to learn how to motivate yourself so you can begin achieving your goals and being a better you, keep on reading.
Internal motivation occurs when you act upon your impulses without the need for external rewards, such as money or recognition. These actions are, instead, inspired by happiness, exploration, or knowledge. It could be a hobby, like gardening, or it could be a fulfilling career, such as teaching.
When you pursue an activity for the sheer joy of it, you’re doing so because you’re intrinsically motivated. You engage in the activity simply because you choose to. It means something to you. And that, in itself, can be its own reward. However, when you’re driven by external motivation, you do things to gain external rewards. In this case, you’re motivated by factors outside of you. Parents, colleagues, friends and society come into play here.
To put it plainly, here’s the difference between the motivators.
Internal: singing as a form of creative expression and passion for music.
External: singing to gain fame in the music industry.
Internal: becoming a medical doctor because of your caring nature or interest in medicine and the human body.
External: becoming a medical doctor to earn a high salary.
Internal: reading a resourceful book for enjoyment.
External: reading a resourceful book as part of a school or work assignment.
Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with being guided by external factors, it’s important to understand that external situations aren’t always permanent. They tend to be far more fickle. And sometimes, external motives can also be counterproductive. For instance, you may need to switch companies, or your salary may decrease. You might have to relocate to another city. That’s why, in spite of what’s happening around you, you need to be aware of the internal motives behind your actions. Deliberate living needs to be exactly that. Deliberate.
So how does one get motivated into deliberate living? Three things are key: Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy.
It’s perfectly natural to want your work and efforts to mean something. But your craving for purpose may be more important to your wellbeing than you realise. Injecting a sense of purpose into your life increases productivity and engagement. The happiest people are the ones that feel their efforts serve something greater than themselves. When you feel like your work has meaning, you become more invested in it. You care about the quality of what you produce. And that care shows.
Believe me, after a certain amount, money doesn’t buy happiness. What does consistently make people happy, however, is the ability to create or contribute to something that will outlast themselves and that makes the world a better place. And luckily, there are so many problems that need solved in the world, there’s plenty of purpose to go around!
Think back to the last time you really struggled to master something but finally did. It was exhilarating, right? You probably felt confident and proud of yourself, and like you could overcome anything you put your mind to.
Overcoming challenges and mastering new skills feels good because it’s what you’re designed to do! As people we are deep, creative thinkers; we love to solve problems. But mastery requires constant and consistent engagement.
You may not be able to change your environment but you can absolutely increase your own ability to engage with your environment.
Autonomy in the business world is the ability to work unsupervised. When you’re autonomous, there’s no manager hanging over your shoulder, judging your every move, waiting to punish or reward behavior. You’re free to work at the pace that suits you.
Now i believe that applying this concept in your day to day life will also bring great results. Working autonomously might seem like it’d be a sure gateway to laziness but studies show this couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you learn to keep yourself motivated, you will achieve goals on your terms.
As a gentle reminder, try using the following techniques to help you rediscover your internal motivation:
- Visualise. Ignite your passion through visualization. Close your eyes and visualise yourself achieving your life goals.
- Rest. Even if you’re pursuing something that you’re passionate about, rest is vital. Take breaks and recharge when you need to.
- Focus. There’s no competition when you’re focusing on yourself. Ignore the competition and focus your energy on becoming your very best.
- Listen. Push your passion further by listening to uplifting audiobooks, documentaries, or lectures.
Control. Take your control back. Only you have the power to create your dreams and generate motivation.
Circumstances may change. Your external environment may not always remain the same. So if you really want to learn how to motivate yourself, it must center on the one constant throughout your life: YOU.
“Instead of trying to build a brick wall, lay a brick everyday. Eventually you’ll look up and you’ll have a brick wall.” – Nipsey Hussle
The marathon continues… Top of the Top… Victory Lap… Crenshaw… King Nipsey
In the past few weeks, the phrase above and one name have dominated the internet and entertainment news. Nipsey Hussle.
I shall not get into much detail about him but his life and death has caused many conspiracy theories. From big pharma assassinations, Illuminati sacrifices and gang-related violence.
For me, the rabbit-hole led me to research about his life and community activism and what I found out was amazing. You can read about some of it here.
I believe we are all born into genius. You’ve been built to amaze. And you’re designed to make history. The only problem is, do YOU know it and are you willing to do it.
It all comes down to discovering your “Why”, reconnecting with your purpose and radiating your passion. I know this sounds simple, it should be but is it really? While I was reading about Nispey I found out he was big on personal development. Most of his conversation was him talking about a book he was reading, a new habit he was instilling or a better routine he was working on. Because of this those around recognized him for his mastery, celebrated his acumen and praised his excellence.
He was fresh and brave, he would befriend a stranger, deliver hope to the hopeless and model decency. This came about only after he turned pain into power, fear into fortune and confusion into clarity. We are often victims of the world in general but it takes you working to let go of your past, rewire your present and rewrite your future.
You need to get to that point where you release your excuses, shatter your doubts and break free of your chains. What happens after this process is you open yourself to set larger goals, take bigger risks and go to your limits.
I believe personal development is the only way you will experience true gratitude, speak real appreciation and feel sincere happiness. Regardless of how people perceived Nipsey, he was all right with himself. He was quoted saying “I’m at peace with what I’m doing, I feel good with what I wake up doing and about my lifestyle.” You need to get to that point where you do not need anyone’s approval to be you.
I bet if you ask any person that knew Nipsey on a personal level they would safely tell you how he showed uncommon kindness, was a giver, not a taker and left people better than they found them. This can be your legacy too, it can be your story. But the question is do you have the hunger to survive the principle of discipline so that you do not suffer the pain of regret? As a father, entertainer, entrepreneur and activist I learned so much from Nipsey. Was he perfect? I have no idea, but what he did teach through his very short life is that there is more joy in mastering yourself and pouring out yourself for the benefit of others.But in this time of deep uncertainty – where so many people live in fear – we all need to do everything possible to avoid negativity. To stay focused on opportunities versus problems. To keep our minds nice and free. Click To Tweet
I challenge you to discover you. For you to take that risk, finish that book, close that deal, push that boundary. Leave behind a story for people to tell about how you lived life and make it a positive one.
Borrowing from Morpheus in The Matrix here’s an interesting thought on how to live YOUR life. But in this time of deep uncertainty – where so many people live in fear – we all need to do everything possible to avoid negativity. To stay focused on opportunities versus problems. To keep our minds nice and free.
May I suggest you limit the amount of adverse news you expose the precious resource of your mind to. Surround yourself with inspired and upbeat people. Read great books. Think beautiful thoughts. Listen to uplifting music. Seek only positive energy.
During any challenging life cycle, commit even more fully to daily learning. In our everyday lives, there are lessons to make us better. The best in business – and in life – viscerally get that the best thinkers get the best results. So they invest in ideas and personal development. Because the more you grow as a person, the more you will grow in success. Though Nipsey Hussle is gone, millions will uphold his legacy forever.
What will your story be?
“There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that?” – Ernest Hemingway
Changing a lifetime’s mental habits is an ongoing process, not a one-time quick fix. Our brains are built to reinforce behaviour that feels safe and comfortable, even when that behaviour hurts us more than helps us. Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful in the ongoing quest to harness your own power.Our power lives in us, not outside of us. We do not have control over the outside world, but we do have control over what is inside of us. Click To Tweet
1.Look inward for reinforcement, not outward.
When you feel stress or anxiety, resist the urge to look for external reinforcement. External reinforcement is the sugar high of emotions; it comes in a quick blast and then fades, and then you need another hit. All those seemingly harmless behaviours—scrolling social media, reading news blurbs—are ways to distract you. They are ways of trying to get external reinforcement that this moment is okay.
Our power lives in us, not outside of us. We do not have control over the outside world, but we do have control over what is inside of us. When you feel the need for reassurance, remind yourself that all the resources you need to be present and at peace are inside you. Remember that they have always been there, and they will always be there.
2. Control your information stream.
Put your news consumption on a diet. Put your phone away. Regulate your use of external information for emotional support, especially from social media. Facebook, Twitter and the rest can be wonderful ways to connect with friends. But overuse them and they begin to make you feel disconnected instead and left out. It’s so easy to feel inadequate because of the controlled environments we expose ourselves to.
3. Write down your goals—and then throw them away.
Goal setting is a great way to prioritize what’s important to you. Just remember that goals are about the future. Once you’ve identified them, let them float away into the future, where they belong. The real rewards are not in attaining your final goals, but in working towards them. And that only happens in the present. Do not just write or talk, EXECUTE.
4. Embrace gratitude.
At regular intervals take a few moments out of your day and list five things you feel grateful for. Gratitude is an amazing weapon against anxiety, and it is a powerful way of reminding ourselves of the power and value of the present moment.
A great way to immerse yourself in gratitude is to perform acts that help other people. Volunteering and acts of kindness help us focus on others, rather than ourselves, and are an amazingly effective tool for living presently.
5. Practice mindfulness.
Develop a simple, repeatable mindfulness habit. If meditation is your thing, spend fifteen minutes each morning in quiet contemplation, simply being present. The core of my contemplative process is taking walks. It’s my way of burning out the noise and anxiety of the future and the past (which do not exist) and bringing my awareness back to the present moment. Experiment and figure out what works best for you, and then make it a habit.
We sometimes get so detached from the present moment that it seems like foreign territory, and lowering our defences to allow it in can seem scary. When we let go of the future and allow ourselves to be in the now, we are actually committing an act of bravery. Diving in may be hard, but it’s the only way to find the true richness of life.
Good Luck lads.
“I don’t see myself being special; I just see myself having more responsibilities than the next man. People look to me to do things for them, to have answers.” – Tupac Shakur
The road to hell is paved with good intentions and nowadays more in the form of misinterpreted life advice. I feel there are so many cultural narratives about the roads that lead you to success that are unhelpful at best, and destructive at worst.
In this social media age, we take concepts like “willpower” and “passion” and dilute them down to their most essential meanings, leaving out complexity, reason and logic. But it’s more than just unhelpful moral statements here and there. People base their whole lives and their careers around ideas like “follow your passion” without understanding that relying on an emotion-based drive is a terrible plan (find out why I think so here).People base their whole lives and their careers around ideas like follow your passion without understanding that relying on an emotion based drive is a terrible plan. Click To Tweet
They try to change habits by amplifying their willpower, not realising that doing so often just worsens their pre-existing internal conflicts. It is clarity, principle and the willingness to grow that doesn’t just get us through life but builds meaning and effortless drive. Here, I list 5 of the most misinterpreted perceptions of life “advice” that severely hinders success while under the guise of being helpful.
Passion is such a heavily used buzzword when it comes to defining what makes for meaningful and aspirational work. When people say “pursue your passion,” what they really mean is to find something you care about enough to work on consistently. Passion is emotion-based, and therefore, unpredictable if not fleeting. If you rely on passion alone to propel you through your life’s work, you will be constantly at the whim of it. Cultivating principles means adopting behaviours that consistently work you toward your goals, whether or not you always “feel” like it.
2. Unrealistic self-sufficiency
Ok, so you want to go it all by yourself and be Clark Kent? As Michael Dell says, never be the smartest person in the room. Self-sufficiency is a virtue, but unrealistic self-sufficiency is an Achilles’ Heel. You cannot and are not meant to do or be good at everything. Truly fulfilled people don’t do everything themselves, they identify what they are fundamentally responsible for and good at, streamline, and then outsource where they lack or are not as strong. It is wise to do things like hire an accountant, or automate bills, or otherwise ease your own workload each day. It will make you more effective, productive, and likely happy. Remember, you are adequate but not enough.
3. The need to be liked by everyone
It’s true that having kindness, compassion and universal respect for other human beings is one of the noblest principles to which we can aspire. However, some people interpret “be nice to people” as a means to get everyone to like them, which is a fruitless and ultimately a self-eroding goal. One of the most significant things that hold people back in life is trying to be liked by others, mostly because they think it is what you have to do to “be a good person.” Being kind to others for the sake of it is one thing, being “nice” to everyone to be liked, admired and approved of is another. Accepting that you won’t get along with everyone – and that you are not meant to – frees you in that you don’t have to harp on trying to win over everyone you meet and know. You are better off finding a small group of people with whom you genuinely connect, and giving your energy to them. Find your tribe.
4. Waiting for your circumstances to change before you do
Most people live the majority of their lives waiting for their circumstances to change before they will change. What this means is that they wait until they’re offered a better job to start performing like a top-earning professional. They wait until they’ve found the “right” significant other to start going out and being more social. They wait until they’re out of more debt to start budgeting like someone who has their finances managed. They wait until other people approve of them [ career, appearances, spouse, Instagram, facebook, twitter] before they feel proud of themselves.
This is a way of externalising your base of control. It means that you assume your thoughts and feelings are dependent on what’s happening outside of you, rather than your perspective and interpretations. This belief paralyses people because they perpetuate the behaviours that are keeping them stuck, rather than transforming their habits and therefore changing their lives. It doesn’t matter if your stage has 3 people in the audience, perform like you are performing for millions.
5. Arriving at the next goal before you let yourself be happy
Let me brutally honest with this one. If you were not able to sit back, sip your coffee this morning and enjoy the day ahead of you, you will not be able to do so no matter how wealthy, successful, in shape, popular or admired you become. It is one of the most devastating failures that we have convinced ourselves that life begins on the other end of our achievements. It doesn’t. Happiness is not something we earn or work for, it is something we become. Life unfolds from the inside out – not the other way around. You cannot perform at your highest level if you are not happy, so before you think of conquering the world or chasing greatness ask yourself “Am I happy?”.
So the way that you see things and understand them is important to how you will navigate through life. Instead of being driven by popular culture commit to not sabotaging yourself. Share with us your story in the comments section, we would love to hear from you.
“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours, and let every new year find you a better man.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Drinking coffee. Hip-hop music’s playing. Still can’t believe the year is almost over, just 4 days to go. I sit in my dream room, my mind, and I think…
I think of the highs, the lows and all the in-between of 2018. I think of the people I’ve met recently. At events, in airports, work, in the streets. Good people. Great intentions, but so many sharing that they long for so much more. To feel more fully alive. To know what it truly means to feel and be inspired. To totally know their purpose, talents and potential. And to discover the bravery to let it all see the light of day.
You’re smart and talented and cool so you know that potential unexpressed turns to pain. You know that you have something so strong within you and it needs to come out for you to live truly. You know that the seductions of success that society sells you are meaningless at the end. You know that what this game’s really about is using each day as a platform to express your greatness. You know that the clock is ticking and that mastery postponed never gets done.
You know that you just can’t afford to wait another day to become the person you’ve always dreamed of being. And so I respectfully suggest that you make your start today (every master was once an amateur you know). In this coming year have the guts to go to your edges because as you meet your limits, your limits will expand, and remember that the easiest thing is rarely the best thing.
So to be practical, here are 3 fresh habits I need you to work into your 2019:
Habit #1: The 90/90/1 Rule
For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your work day to the one best opportunity in your life. Nothing else. Zero distractions. Just get that project done whatever it is. Period.
Habit #2: The 30 Minute Inspiration Pocket
Schedule 30 minutes every day for the next week to get re-inspired. Please remember that you need to get your mindset right before you can achieve any results in your outer world. All masters make the time to fuel their well of inspiration, daily. Go to art galleries, read fascinating autobiographies and drink coffee with giants. Walk in parks, listen to awesome music and eat beautiful food, take aimless walks.
Habit #3: Write Your Ideal Days
This one’s cool. Every morning–while the rest of the world sleeps–write out the way your day will look if it were to unfold at perfection. Doing this will train your brain to look for opportunities to make your daily vision happen. Your mental focus muscles will grow stronger. And since your days are your life in miniature, this new habit is a life transformer. I call this the game changer.
Hope this sincere burst of words that I needed to share with you before the year ends inspires, encourages, supports and serves. And I express my deep and real gratitude to you for believing in me, following my work and being a model of possibility out in this world we belong to.
May you take on 2019 with more purpose, vision and determination. Be Great.
“See how the mass of men worry themselves into nameless graves, while here and there a great unselfish soul forgets himself into immortality.” – Emerson
It is so easy to get caught up in the thick of thin things, to spend a career or a life just reacting to the trivialities of your daily hours rather than using your days to advance the creation of something great.
But leadership is about making things better. It’s about transcending the petty cravings of our egos and donating our lives to build something that will outlast us, a legacy of service. And when we really get this idea, we begin to experience true happiness, perhaps for the first time.
Your life is no accident. You are here for a purpose, some central mission that has the potential to make you extraordinary. Some main aim that – once focused on – breaks all chains that might have previously bound you. Your challenge is to discover your WHY.
Listen, there are no extra people on the planet. Each one of us has our own unique form of genius and authenticity within us that is aching to be accessed. The sad fact is that too many amongst us let the busyness of our lives suffocate the deeper purpose of our hearts. Rather than leading and being our best today, we lie to ourselves and say we’ll make the changes we need to make when the conditions are better. And that day never comes.
So we slowly shut down, the why becomes vague. Discouragement sets in. We start to medicate ourselves with too many petty things such as TV or technology. We smile the fake smile and coast out a life telling people that being brilliant is a fate selected for the chosen few. Rather than realising the truth: we wasted our lives.
I was in the company of a certain gentleman who at just over 60, will be graduating with a law degree in 2019. Now, like me, you are probably thinking to yourself why would he do that, he probably doesn’t have time to establish himself as a lawyer. And you are probably right, but I will tell you that his WHY gives him greater reason not to look at his age but at what needs to be achieved.
I will give you a brief insight into his story, a few years ago he and his wife got divorced and because of a legal error by his lawyer, his wife ended up with all his wealth. So he said to me ” it would take me more time to try and build my wealth all over again than it would take me to study law and represent myself in court and get what is mine.” I will let that sink in a bit.
The moment your ‘why’ is greater than your excuses, the ‘how’ becomes easier. There is no kind of distraction that will move you away from your purpose if you clearly know why you need to do what you need to do.
The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote this in his book Meditations (1 of my favourite books, highly recommend): “Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. But make sure you guard against the other kind of confusion. People who labour all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time—even when hard at work.”
I want you to understand that it is important to live in your purpose not just because every day more of our life is used up and less and less of it is left, but this too: if we live longer, can we be sure our mind will still be up to understanding the world and why we are a part of it?
Without purpose, we’ll still go on breathing, go on eating, imagining things, feeling urges and so on but not getting the most out of ourselves, calculating where our duty lies, analysing what we hear and see, deciding whether it is taking us a step closer to who we are born to be.
So we need to hurry. Not just because we move daily closer to death but also because our understanding, our grasp of the world, may be gone before we get there.
There is only a few days left in 2018, define your why now and begin to move toward it.
Share with us your thoughts in the comments section.
“I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact” – Elon Musk
So we have just 26 days left until 2019 who out there is super excited as me? I have been having interesting conversations lately and today I found myself talking about how I “calculate” my life too much. Honestly, for a lot of people it seems unspontaneous or systematic like I am a robot but my reasoning is this, I would rather think of future generations than just think of the rest of the day. And this conversation is what inspired me to write this today.
I just read that only 5% of the world’s population is living at their fullest potential, this means 95% of the world is consuming what the 5% is creating. This got me thinking that we all have the same 24 hours, so what is stopping us from walking in our purpose? A lot of people are always saying we don’t have enough time to accomplish what we want and let me say this is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves.
You ABSOLUTELY have time to create the life you want, but the clock is ticking so it will take sacrifice. To be in the 5% it is not about time but about priorities, and I promise you on my life that your leisure time will be all the more sweeter when you know you have put a priority on tapping into your purpose. Warren Buffet said, ” write down 25 most important things in your life, now delete the bottom 20 and focus on the 5 because those are the core of your life”.
If you are going to truly harness your purpose in 2019 there are 3 things I need you to focus on.
Learn to say NO – I am guilty of this one too, thinking I am Superman and I can do EVERYTHING, but the truth is saying No to a lot of unnecessary things opens up time for you to prioritise what is right in line with your purpose. You need to be able to say no to things that are good so that you make room for things that are best. So you can start by saying no to spending and yes to saving, no to perfection and yes to progress, no to trivial attractions and yes to purpose-driven goals. It could mean taking a social media sabbatical, maybe you need to go out a little less and work on your future a little more.
Make room for interruptions – A lot of people’s lives are so jampacked that if something unplanned happens their whole life is disturbed. You need to stop, and proactively map out your way through life and consider things that could go wrong. I am not saying be pessimistic that things will go wrong but plan for them so that if they do happen you are ready. Consider sickness, death, inflation, delays, denials, rejections and see how you will work around them rather than be stopped by them. Do not jam-pack your life, a busy life is not always a sign that you are organised, sometimes it is the total opposite. Plan for failure, even up to plan Z.
Plan for rest – Do not burn out. Let me say this again, do not burn out or be a slave in the name of grind. Plan to rest, literally, plan to do nothing related to your purpose. Switch off your mobile, kick off your shoes and just chill. Truth is we are all slaves to our purpose, careers, jobs, school and all but you need to rest and have faith that even if you take some downtime, everything will be alright. And do not take holidays when your tank is already on empty, but rather do so when you are still half full so that you regenerate faster and efficiently. Plan to rest even daily, set aside an hour or 2 just to reset. You could also incorporate your hobbies, hit the gym, read a book, listen to your favourite podcast, paint, draw, cook, whatever it is that gets you to revitalise. Do it.
You need to start 2019 refreshed and not maxed out, create space right now for the coming year. You have 26 days to come up and start a schedule that will allow you to breathe. So make space in your finances, your health, your relationships, your purpose. Stop running so fast that you are about to reach your limit, I need you to create space between your limit and your current pace.
Let us know in the comments section how you are getting ready for the year coming, we would love to hear your plan.
“God has given me a gift…only one… I’m the most complete fighter in the world” – Scott Adkins
I love seeing people win.
I love it so much.
When we work together in such a way that sees new layers of understanding take place. When the depth of self-awareness serves the discipline of self-leadership that leads to the delight of outcomes to be proud of, that gets me out of bed. I’m all about becoming better, becoming a better friend, a better employee, a better employer, a better manager, a better son, a better father, a better everything, not perfect but better.
There are questions that you need to ask yourself and be truthful about where you want to be in life and how you are going to get there. The most effective way is to look into yourself first before looking at the people around you.
I have come up with these questions and they are in the first person to help you get grounded immediately.
HEART – Your Self
Am I at peace? WHY? Peace is a possession of your soul that helps you make every and any kind of decision.
How do I describe my ability to manage my emotions right now? WHY? Becoming self-aware of what ‘pushes your buttons’ helps you navigate maturity, discipline and change.
Am I holding any offence, revenge or unforgiveness towards anyone? WHY? You can’t celebrate someone you harbour offence towards, plus they will always have a hold on you that you approve.
Am I finding joy in meaningful life experiences? WHY? Similar to peace, joy is something you possess and its absence reveals an inability to delight in your ordinary life.
HEAD – Your Mindset
When people approve and affirm me, what is the dominant narrative in my head? WHY? You move toward, and become your most dominant thoughts. You are what you think.
Is my attention and energy focused predominantly on me or others? WHY? People get tired when you make it all about you… Ndapedza (Enough said).
Am I tolerating any unresourceful patterns of thinking right now? WHY? We move toward what we focus on. You need your mindset to be taking you to a destiny you’d be happy to be.
How well am I balancing my unique strengths, superpowers and humility? WHY? You are world class at something, trust me, you are the Steph Curry of 3 pointers in your field, so please do that with all your heart. But avoid arrogance and hubris at all costs.
HANDS – Your Activity
What behaviours must I take full responsibility of? WHY? All change starts with taking responsibility. Simple and hard at the same time.
If I did nothing differently for 12 months would I be happy with where I ended up? WHY? Direction determines the destination. You are headed somewhere. Be excited and proud to be there.
What have I avoided for more than 10 days? WHY? Sabotage and procrastination are subtle and unresourceful beasts. Accountability helps.
Where do I notice myself to be motivated without assistance? WHY? Do what you would do for free so well people will pay you for it. Excellence and stewardship matter. Plato said, “The first and best victory is to work on yourself.”
What a fantastic beginning you’ve made!
“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither” -Alan Cohen
In life, I have noticed how easy it is to get sucked into the rat race and find yourself in a vicious cycle of work and more work. Especially in this time and age where everyone has a side gig or a side hustle, finding the right balance has been a challenge for a lot of people. I hear a lot of people say I do not have time to take a break or go on holiday or take a sabbatical. Yet I believe that it is very important for you to take time away from your normal daily routine. When you take a break, it doesn’t mean a complete shutdown, it means finding a rhythm in doing other things that will compliment your usual routine. I have outlined some of the reasons that may help you realise why it is important to take a break once in a while.
1 – TO REFRESH BODY, SOUL & SPIRIT
To take time out of the regular life commitments and responsibilities in itself creates space. It changes the day in and day out nature of work and life. To invest in intentional refreshing, learning, debriefing and dreaming in a way that nurtures your soul is a key to this period.
To be able to “unplug” from the routines and responsibilities so when you plug back in it is with renewed clarity and enthusiasm. Ensuring you make time to read, listen, reflect, write, whatever creates the health and momentum for you. Be deliberate about stopping unresourceful habits and creating new ones with the additional time. Dig deeper into books, podcasts, programs, classes, conferences, and mentoring sessions. Do the things that refresh you but do not overindulge, do not party or get yourself exhausted.
2- TO REFLECT ON THE PAST
Taking some time to reflect on what has been is essential in this period. How have you experienced the last year? The last three years? The last five years? What are you proud of? What do you wish didn’t happen? What would you have done differently with your time again? Are there things that you have celebrated? Challenges that have not gone away? Relationships established? Broken? Mended? Write down what has been the top five highlights of the last season. Aim to be clear about WHAT they were and do some reflection as to WHY.
Look for patterns, consistencies, and themes. Personally, I usually reflect on these simple questions. What am I proud of? How far have we come? What am I NOT proud of? What evidence is there of the positive impact of my leadership? What, if anything, is continuing to impact me and my leadership negatively? Based on the above, what can I REALLY influence? How? For those of you in Christian leadership, it’s worth adding some reflection around being true to what God has called you to do.
Reflecting on what degree of peace you have with the recent past and how you sense the leading of God to be into the future. Where there is peace and the absence of peace? They will all serve to give you a sense of where you’ve been and in many ways shape step three.
3- TO DREAM ABOUT THE FUTURE. AND PLAN FOR IT TOO (SEE POINT 6)
What would you create if you could? Really? When you close your eyes and see the job, the team, the marketplace, your marriage, your family, what do you see as possible? This goes well past the hyped “if you can see it you can have it” and deep dives into the truest reflection of who you are and what really is in your heart. What do you believe is possible? What dreams are in your heart that need a voice? What needs to be given language so others who read it can attach themselves to it and run. It’s a time to challenge yourself to be bold, audacious, courageous and faith-filled during this time.
4- TO CREATE SPACE IN YOUR HEART, MIND AND DEVELOPMENT
For me, it’s early in the morning. When I am freshest. When I haven’t been distracted by the day. To sit, read, reflect, and write. To spend time reviewing and previewing. To learn as best as I can, to digest as much as I can, to be sharpened as well as I can. Who can challenge your thinking, invest in your potential and call out the best that resides in you? Even more, what lies in your heart that you have a conviction about making happen? What do you sense God calling you to? How can that begin to take shape? This kind of self-leadership, with a spirit of humility and service, is the kind of leadership that can be a significant benefit to others. Grow you, and you grow what’s in your hand.
5- LEARN, GROW & BE SHARPENED
I have been learning this regularly in leadership mentoring, learn in themes. Just like movies, films and books have themes, your life does too. My themes are based around my spiritual gifts, my responsibilities and my passions. So for me, I concentrate on growing in the following ways. As a husband As a father. As a leader. As a communicator. As a mentor (disciple maker) Attend conferences, speak, be mentored, buy lunch. Do whatever it takes to get in the way of activities that sharpen and grow you. Then do more of those activities.
6- TO PLAN THE FUTURE
Begin to write down how the future might look upon your return from this time away. What must be focused on in the next 90 days to serve the team and the organisation you are part of? Be clear. Be specific. Be intentional and be prepared for your arrival back into your working world. I suggest the following staged approach to your return.
Immediate – get done in the next 90 days
Mid Range – Include the team if any, in the next 3-6 months
Longer Term – What can you and your team shape for the next 3-5 years
One word of warning. Avoid the “overload trap” here. The overload trap is when you return, all refreshed and ready for the next big thing that you’ve spent all this time dreaming up and your team has been carrying additional responsibilities and activities in your absence. Then on your return, they have even more to accomplish because YOU have had time and space to think about all the things that are in your heart to accomplish.
That will most likely overload your team. Be able to distinguish between immediate “runs on the board” and the strategic things that need to be co-created with your team. Better you return with clarity and humility than clarity and overload. As you take this time may it be rich in reflection, deep in growth, profound in transformation and powerful in progress. May you BE a more effective leader as a result. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, how you have managed your time away from your busy routine.