The Success Sacrifice.

I think there is a lot of pressure on twenty something year olds to have it all figured out. We have the media telling us we are useless, the worst employees to date etc, we have people younger than us, those in their teens who are making millions and creating amazing apps and then we open our newsfeed and we see our friends and acquaintances travelling the world, getting married, starting families or rising up the career ladder. And then we look towards ourself and wonder what we have achieved. Have we even achieved anything? Am I not supposed to be a multimillionaire right now? Am I not supposed to be madly in love with the person I am going to spend forever with right now? Should I have not travelled the entire globe by now? What am I doing with my life?

Relax. Take a deep breath. Take a few more deep breathes. Now read this.

Everyone has their own timelines for success. And everyone has their own definition of success. Some people I went to university with will be fully qualified fledging lawyers before 25, while others will have married and had kids, while others will have travelled to a few countries. Some people will work 70 hour weeks and will become partner by 45 but may not have children, might never be home to see their partner, might not get the time to travel the globe, might retire by 60 and get to see the world. Others might postpone their professional careers and travel the globe, see the northern lights, eat pizza in Naples, dance in the Monsoon rains in India and enter the corporate world at 28, a few years behind others, forever perhaps playing catchup.

Every success requires sacrifice. If you want to become a CEO, no matter what, you are going to have to sacrifice some aspect of your life. You will not make it to every single one of your child’s recitals, you may not make every single meeting, you may not make every training session, every date night or see every country in the world. But you will make the ones that are important.

And thats the thing, to be great, to be an expert, you need to cut other elements out of your life. Figure out your priorities and eliminate anything which is not a priority. For example: when I was studying for my final law exams, I cut out socialising and sport for a year as those were not priorities. What were priorities? Study, sleep and my mom. That is where my time went, if I was not studying, I was sleeping. If I had time off from university, I was at home with my mom. Those were my priorities. And that is how I came out with a first class honours in law as I knew what my priorities were.

Now, that university is over, my priorities have shifted. The things I want to achieve in life are different. This brings me to my second point. Your priorities or the things you expend your energy on, don’t always have to be the same things. As soon as a priority is not bringing you happiness or a sense of achievement, reevaluate and change it. For example, health and fitness has been a massive priority for me the last couple of months. This meant I was eating clean and getting up before work to gym. Now, between being sick and in bed for the last week and getting on a flight to South Africa to spend two weeks with family, my priorities are shifting. I will be focusing more on family time and less on fitness and health. I will still be keeping myself accountable but will not be doing intense gym sessions, simply for the reason that if I stand up I feel like fainting, and due to possible time constraints.

What to take from this article: figure out your priorities, time is limited so you only have so much time you can expend. Make sure your time is going to a worthwhile place. Secondly, your priorities are not set in stone and can shift. Just because you make something a priority or a goal, does not mean it always has to be, as soon as you don’t feel a burning passion for that goal or it does not make you happy anymore, reevaluate it and change it if required. 

Prioritising your goals

One of the issues I face regularly when it comes to pursuing my goals is the manner in which they can clash. This happens on a regular basis for me.

To explain: As described in a previous post, I have the goal of getting a fit and healthy body. Great goal. However, I also have the goal of having more fun. One of my action steps to the broad umbrella goal of ‘have more fun’ is to socialise four times a week. However, most people socialise by getting food or getting drinks together etc.

This is where the clash occurs.

In order to get a great body, I have to commit to a fairly strict nutrition and exercise routine. This goal is compromised by my other goal to have fun which involves eating out with friends, going to the pub for pints etc.

Now, before I get to the essence of this article, I want to note one thing, socialising does not have to mean your routine goes completely out of the window. Make healthy choices when eating lunch/dinner out, go for coffee with friends instead of lunch/dinner, go for walks with friends and catchup instead of sitting in a cafe, have diet coke when you go out to the pub instead of alcohol, go to the movies instead of dinner. These are the things I do which allow me to still catch up with friends but it not affect my diet to a massive extent.

And now to the point of this article: prioritise your goals. Decide whether your health is more important than your social life. Decide where your family sits on your list. Decide where your career sits on the list. This list does not have to be static and can change.

Say for example, this time last year, my biggest priority was my education. I chose studying over going out with friends. I chose studying over going to the gym. I chose studying over eating healthy. Everything revolved around finishing my law degree as it was my priority.

Now,  my priorities have shifted. I have finished my degree and I am in my first graduate job. My studies are no longer a priority for me. Furthermore I have been shaped by experiences of the last year which have put health, relationships and having fun as priorities in my life. For this reason, I gym everyday, I stick to a nutrition plan, I keep in regular contact with my family and friends, I go out a lot, I try to travel, I have postponed further post-graduate studies for the meantime.

This shift can also occur for some people when they begin to have a family. Their attention shifts from their career to their partner and children. This shift can occur when someone has a health scare, they go from being a 70 hour a week workaholic, to cutting down their hours and spending more time on their health.

So in order to focus on what you want in your life and achieve your goals, make a list of your priorities and make sure your goals and time accurately reflect these priorities. This will enable you to achieve your goals and to assist you when you are faced with making a choice between two conflicting goals.

Let me know if you have any tricks or tips in the comment section below.

 

The importance of having clear vision

The most fundamental ingredient to success is having  clear vision. A crystal clear vision. Without this clear and precise vision, you are going nowhere. You could be the most capable, motivated, intelligent person in the world, but without a clear vision of what you want in life, you are never going to get to that point.

Think of it like this: the most experienced pilot with the best plane is not going to get to Mozambique without a map, he might make it to that area there eventually by flying around the world for a few days, but without the location or end point, he will not make it to the precise place he wants to be.

Whereas take the pilot who has the map, he knows where he is going, he knows that he is going to have to fly down along the east coast of Africa and therefore he will get to his location quickly and easily.

Once you know exactly what you want out of life, you can then map out a path from Point A (where you are) to Point B (where you want to be).

For example: I want to have a great body like the below. tumblr_n42iakaiVt1s1x0cvo1_540.jpg

This is my  vision. It is clear. And having a clear vision allows me to make a plan in order to get from point A (my current body shape) to point B (my vision). I know to get this body, I have to go to the gym, I have to eat healthily, I have to make sure I get enough sleep etc. These are my action steps in order to achieve the vision I have.

The take-away of this post is that without a crystal clear vision, you will never get where you want to be. As the above quote says: Decide what you want (your vision). Write it down. Make a plan. And work on it every single day. 

 

Define yourself: Achieve your goals

“Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

– Robert Frost

One of the most dangerous things people do is believe other peoples’ definitions of themselves. We have all been defined from a  young age, either by well meaning parents, siblings, teachers, bullies etc and all these experiences create a voice in the back of our mind which tells us who we are and by default what we are capable of.

For example: One of the words used to always describe me growing up was along the line of intelligent/smart/brainbox/nerdy. Having this definition of myself meant that in school and in life, I had to be the overachiever. I had to get all A’s. I had to be the best academic. After all that was me.

Example two: I was labelled as lazy (despite growing up playing team sports every day after school and swimming every day), this led to me believing that I was lazy and thereby creating barriers to achieving my goals. I would never ever label myself as sporty or gym bunny or anything athletic at all, despite the fact that I go to the gym on average four times a week.

We all have these definitions and they create a story which runs in the back of our mind. This can be both useful and dangerous.

The danger in these definitions is that they cause limitations in our mind. Say for example you have been called fat your whole life, you identify with fat people and fat habits, you eat more because, hey you are fat, you don’t exercise because hey you are fat. Going to the gym would not be an option as thats what fit people do and you are fat. Therefore you do not go to the gym.

However, if you learn to define yourself. You could create your own barriers to live within. Say you want to get healthy, start defining yourself as healthy. Start identifying with the fitness industry people you admire, or your friend who is a gym bunny or that guy in work who is always going for a run.

The short version in this article is: Letting other people define you cause barriers to achieving your goals. Taking the power and defining yourself can be a powerful tool in achieving your goals. 

In the next post, I will explain how to use break down the barriers caused by definitions and how to use new definitions to help you to achieve your goals.