why saying you want change is not enough

Every Sunday morning, I drive by a park. It’s on the left-hand side of the street with a basketball court, play structure, and large soccer field clearly visible.

During the week, in afternoons and evenings, the park is full of excitement. Parents sit and talk, children play, teenagers ride skateboards, grown men show up to play basketball.

But early on a Sunday morning, the park tells a different story. It is quiet and completely empty—except for one person who, without fail, works out in the field every weekend.

For as long as I can remember, every Sunday when I drive by that park, I see a young man (high school age) exercising in that park, running sprints and working on his football skills with a private coach. Some weeks, I find him running 40-yard sprints while his trainer tracks his time with a stop watch. Other weeks, I find him high-stepping through tires, weaving through cones, or back-peddling quickly to improve his foot speed.

By the time I drive by, he is clearly exhausted. Often times I have seen him complete a drill and walk slowly back to the starting line. He will put his hands on his knees and take a deep breath—the physical pain obvious even from my vantage point. And then, with a heavy sigh, he will put his fingers on the ground, arch his back, wait for the whistle, and push himself again.

I know nothing of this young man. I don’t know his name, his exact age, or where he lives. I only know that he inspires me.

He reminds me that a goal without action is not really a goal at all.

He reminds there is a big difference between saying you want something, and actually working to make it happen.

My son is in 7th grade and loves playing sports. Many of his friends do as well. In fact, they love sports so much that when I ask them what they want to be when they grow up, most will say, “I want to be a professional athlete.” Their response doesn’t surprise me. When I was younger, I said the same thing.

It is a common dream that is tough to outgrow. No doubt, even in high schools all over this country, the dream of becoming a professional athlete remains.

In my mind, I imagine this young man from the park plays on a football team at one of our local high schools. His team is full of other high school students. Many of which would tell you they have a goal: to one day become a professional football player.

There are countless boys who claim they want to play in the NFL… but there is only one I see up early on Sunday morning running sprints until his legs hurt. There is only one working his tail off to make it a reality. And I am inspired because that is the dedication required to become a professional football player. I won’t be surprised if he makes one day.

The whole scene reminds me of a conversation I witnessed shortly after graduating college. A mentor of mine was interacting with a gentleman older than me when the man made this statement, “I want to buy a Corvette.”

My mentor responded to his desire quite frankly, “No you don’t.”

“What do you mean? Of course I do. I’d like to own a Corvette.”

My mentor responded with words I have never forgotten, “No, you don’t really want to buy a Corvette. You see, if you really wanted to buy a Corvette, you could buy a Corvette. You could sell your home and maybe also your business. Then, you would have enough money to buy a Corvette. You say you want to own a Corvette… but if you really wanted to buy a Corvette, you’d be changing your life to do exactly that.”

I learned a valuable lesson that day from my mentor, “Saying you want something is one thing, but actually doing something about it is very different.” We prove what we desire most by our actions, not by our words.

We see this and experience it all the time.

We want to get out of debt, but continue to spend money on unneeded things. We want to get in shape, but never make the changes in our diet or exercise habits to accomplish that. We want to start saving for retirement, but never pursue the answers we need to get started. We desire to start a business or change jobs, but continue to spend our evenings and weekends watching television.

Or how about this one? We desire to live in a clutter-free home, but continue finding reasons why we need to keep all the stuff around us.

In each case, what we say we want is different from what we actually pursue.

Again, saying you want something is one thing, doing something about it is very different. We prove what we desire most by our actions, not by our words.

So let me ask you: What is it you want most? What life change do you desire?

Then, ask yourself this follow-up question: Are you taking the steps necessary to accomplish that goal? Or, are you settling for something else instead?

After all, a goal without a plan is just wishful thinking.

Becoming Minimalist

hi ho hi ho off to work…

7dwarfs

 

Work, work, work, work, work, work; this is the hook to Rhianna’s hot new summer track entitled Work.  An uplifting song that invokes the twerk in some and the running man in others. For me it’s the latter, no twerking for this dude. I often find myself humming this tune as I am driving into work. It kind of reminds me of the Seven Dwarfs marching off to work, singing HI HO HI HO off to work we go….(insert your whistling now), a much livelier step with a Rhianna remix.  That happiness has me bouncing in to work, however somedays I think I am the only one happy. Because soon after entering the hallowed walls of work the day begins.   There are some cheerful good mornings on the way to the elevators and then there are some head down don’t speak to me walkers, and then there are those straight up “I’m not a morning person’” greeters.  So here we go work, work, work, work, work, work!!  One more door and you enter cubicle land. This is the land of no privacy and open conversations. Laughter is often heard, but that gets drowned out by the phone call on the other side of you (a wife ripping a husband to shreds for not taking out the trash), usually followed with a “hey honey, I’m at work”. Work, work, work, work, work, work!!  You may even hear a couple of dudes discussing how far they chased, followed, trapped, grabbed (hell I don’t know) a Pokemon last night. And  then someone yells the company stock skyrocketed. I’m wondering why they are at work, cause chasing that thing sounded like fun. Put your phones down and answer that multi-buttoned, digital screened contraption on your desk and get to work! That’s what we came here to do. Off to work we go just a whistling. NO complaints here though, it is that work that pays the mortgage, the rent , the car note, the cable bill, etc.,etc. All I can say is the Seven Dwarfs and Rhianna make work sound like fun, so I will continue jam on in to work…whistling as I go Hi HO Hi HO, off to work, work, work, work, work, work we go!

 

Guest Post

David Bowman

95503-david

how to connect with absolutely anyone – presistence wins most battles

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; no plans.

Perer F. Drucker

 

Persistence wins most battles. If you can’t get a direct referral, simply click send on that email or leave a message after the beep. But do not stop there, as most the world tends to. The first attempt is just the very beginning. Realize that the first try may get you nowhere, but the fifth or the tenth tries are the ones that start to yield results. An unreturned email or voicemail doesn’t mean they don’t want to connect with you. It’s your job to be persistent! I sometimes get hundreds of requests in a day from readers who want to connect, but only about 2 percent ever follow up. Don’t be in a hurry, but don’t be invisible either.

3 Keys to Finding More Happiness at Work

In our world today, we are overwhelmed with promises to quit our jobs and chase our dreams. We are told that we deserve to be happy and that if we buy enough things that it will eventually happen. We are told to work for the weekend and plan that next vacation. But why can’t we be happy with the life we have right now?

We live in a culture that prizes leisure over labor and longs for a “four-hour work week.” Sadly, like many things in our culture, this promise is an illusion. The truth is you don’t have to hate your job. Work can become a source of fulfillment for you if you choose to see it that way.

For my recent book The Art of Work, I interviewed hundreds of people who had discovered their purpose in life. And as I spoke with these people who had found their callings I learned several lessons. Here are three of them.

1. Hating your job won’t make you any happier.

We don’t have to hate the work we do even if that work isn’t ideally suited to us. Everyone I met who found their calling in life ended up doing something that surprised them. Which means that connecting to your purpose is more about perspective than circumstance.

During World War II, Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl discovered an important lesson about human happiness: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Frankl learned this from living for years in a Nazi concentration camp. Everything was taken from him. His family. His work. His well-being. And yet he realized there was one freedom he could never lose: his.

If you choose to change your perspective, how things look will begin to change. You don’t need to win the lottery to find contentment. In fact, sometimes the very things we think will liberate us will actually only further prison us.

The easiest way to do work you love is to start loving what you do. This is a choice we all have. So let’s stop making work the enemy.

2. Do better work and the work will become more enjoyable.

One way to enjoy your work is to become better at it. It should be no surprise that we find greater fulfillment in activities that we are skilled at doing. But how much this is true is startling.

Laura Carstensen is a psychologist and the director of the Stanford Center on Longevity where they study what makes people live longer and happier lives. What they found was that people who continue to learn enjoy their work more and actually live longer.

Education, according to this study, is the single greatest predictor of lifespan. So you want to live longer? Be happier? Learn a new skill or get better at the one you have. And why not start with the place where you probably already spend eight hours a day?

Once we reach a basic level or proficiency, work that was once tedious may now be enjoyable. As Daniel Pink writes in his book Drive, mastering any skill makes the activity intrinsically more motivating. So if you are struggling to want to go to work in the first place, try doing better work.

3. Realize your whole life is a form of work.

Whether or not you have a day job, you go to work every day. You watch the kids or clean up the house. You mow the lawn or go grocery shopping. Every day, you are working, whether it’s at an office or at home. Whether you are retired or just beginning your career.

We all have important work to do. And that work is our life. Your magnum opus is not just one great thing you did. It is more like a body of work that you are constantly contributing to every day.

In that respect, we all get to decide what kind of job we have and how much we enjoy it. Of course, there are some things that are within our control, like our perspective, and some things that are not, like our circumstances. Your job is to learn to let go of what you can’t control and embrace what you can.

One important lesson about being happier with your life and work is learning to make trade-offs. It’s the dream of many people to want more of everything. More money. More stuff. More time. But you can’t have all three of those all at once.

So decide what’s most important to you. You can do almost anything you want in life but not everything. If you’re not doing what you want, you can quit. But that choice has consequences. You can stay where you are and there is a cost to that as well. One choice isn’t necessarily better than the other, so long as you realize you can’t have it all right now.

There is, however, something beautiful about not getting everything you thought you wanted. Constraints create contentment. Because in those constraints you realize what’s really important.

Jeff Goins is the author of four books including the national best seller, The Art of Work, which you can get for $2.99 this week only. You can find him on Twitter or follow his award-winning writing blog.

 

finding your true self

morningcoffee

Finding Your True Self

 

When we do the hard work of self-discovery—the stillness finding and the soul searching—we experience more peace and clarity than we ever felt when we were hustling.

And slowly, over time, the idea of the simple life moves from the head to the heart, until it’s really not about the stuff we fill our homes and lives with but instead about the people and pursuits we fill our hearts with.

And we can sit with our thoughts and enjoy our coffee…