I’d like to welcome you to yet another year. We have another 365 days ahead of us to play with, to paint with new experiences, and claim as our own. What happens between now and 2019 is anybody’s guess, so settle in, find your groove and enjoy the ride.
A lot happened during 2017, both good and bad. I was forced to change a lot about myself and the world around me, but I managed to finish up celebrating all my victories both big and small. What started as a confusing time for passion, friendship and art, became a promising look at what I was able to build when I worked up the courage to own each day.
The analogy of a “brick wall” becomes a recurring theme when the conversation of building on goals and breaking down barriers comes up.
I definitely appreciate the mantra, it helped me work my way out of frustration and onto something better. With patience and determination, your very own wall is put together brick by brick. There is no rush to build the tallest, widest, wildest wall. The process becomes a focused placement of brick after after brick, to make sure that the final structure is firm, secure and you, the architect, have a good understanding of each piece that went into making it whole. Instead of panicking about the wall, you focus on the brick.
It helps to have some tools at hand to help in building your wall. I first came across these tools as words on a page, nothing more. It was only after hitting my head against the wall for a long time that was I able to pause and appreciate them for what they were. The tools I used are borrowed from a book called “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. The book draws up key habits to help anyone with their eye on a prize to reach that next level. The first three habits were game changers for me, these are the tools I’d like to share.
1. The first habit introduced is pro-activity.
This will be bad news to anyone who is waiting for the right moment, the right sign or the right opportunity to fall into their lap with little effort. Its better to be ready for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be ready for it. So it makes sense to sink your teeth into anything that can get the ball rolling for you, to keep you ready to receive your blessings when they come around. If you want the wall you’ve got to work at it each day.
2. Action is key to steering the year in a direction of your choosing.
Its the tool that will make sure you’re not in the same place year after year. At this point I can confidently say we are all for the idea of action as a key ingredient to getting the job done. Action is good, adding direction to mix will keep you on track to where you’re headed. Stephen Covey calls it, “beginning with the end in mind”. Action applied in the wrong direction can be worse than no action at all, knowing where you want to go can be the difference in winning the year and losing your way.
3. The third habit is nice and simple, put first things first
This one caught me cold in my tracks the first time I came across it, it cut the wings off all of my unnecessary thoughts and helped take some bite out of the tasks at hand. Thinking about steps 5, 8, and 10, before getting through steps 2 and 3 is a sure fire way to put a dampener on your excitement for the journey. Putting the process in order and knowing what needs to happen before the next step is a simple but easy step to forget. Think of something you want to achieve, somewhere you want to be, who you want to be by the end of this year. Now think of the 5 steps you’d need to take to get there. I picked up this 5 step trick from another book, High Performance Habits, by Brandon Burchard. Reading just happens to be one of my 5 steps to my goals.
There are plenty of opportunities to lose that spark that keeps you going sometimes. Its one of the risks of daring to dream. Setting the stage to build that wall brick by brick also opens a lot of opportunities to remember why you started the journey in the first place. Celebrating the victories big and small along the way, can remind you of the reason you started in the first place.
I don’t know how your 2018 has started, but I’m hoping you take charge of its finish. With your hands on the wheel, feet on the peddles, brick by brick you can make every week, every month and every year another chapter of your greatest wonder.