Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Bravely Forth into Action

I'm a total nerd for reading motivational and inspirational content.

I love a good self-help, personal development, diet or life-altering book.

Here's the problem ...

I love the book.  I tend to avoid the "life-altering".

There is something about planning to grow, change, lose weight, get fit, get more peaceful, find more depth and become a better person that I find so enthralling. The idea of becoming a "new", healthier, more evolved me is so enticing.

But ideas don't change shit (and you know it's true).

Only action leads to change.

You might remember there's that old saying ... The road to hell is paved in good intentions.  While I don't necessarily think all my reading about finding a better life will send me to hell, it certainly won't get me anywhere noteworthy without some action.

I have to get up out of my chair and DO SOMETHING.

What does this 'action' look like?  Well, it depends on your goals.

Meditation? Working out? Diet changes?

None of these sound nearly as fun as sitting with a good book and a cup of coffee soaking up the sun, birthing plans and dreams with the greatest of intent.

But it is only in doing something that I read about in the book that I might actually get closer to those dreams.  And once I put down the book and throw the mug in the sink, it's back to reality and it is only these actionable items that are going to determine what my "reality" looks (and feels) like.

So, we get up early.  We workout. We fuel our bodies with the things it needs to be healthy, digest, lose weight and stay active.  We cheat, yes.  And sometimes we completely fail (and it might even feel really good to cheat.)

But, at the end of the day, we keep coming back and putting our ideas, dreams and intentions into action. Over. And over. And over again.

It takes courage and a ton of support.  It means putting our dreams out there and becoming accountable for what we intend to do ... so that we actually DO IT.  It takes love and patience and strength both with others and yourself.

Let me tell you though, sitting there dreaming might feel good, but seeing those dreams materialize feels a HECK of a lot better ... for a lot longer.

And all it takes is starting.  Pick something, one thing, and do it.

Are you ready?

It will take courage and strength, persistence and fortitude (and the neat thing here, is the more you do, the more these virtues develop).

I may not be there yet, but every little thing I actually DO gets me closer than reading all the books in the world would. So keep reading and keep yourself inspired.

Then go and do.

I promise it will pay off.

Bravely forth my friends, 

Burn the Boats

I listened to an NPR podcast the other day called "Backup Plans" that talked about the idea of having a "Plan B".  You know, the thing you can fall back on if your current pursuit doesn't pan out.  The plan in place to save your bacon if you just don't quite cut it where you are.

Plan B thinking seems very responsible and we might applaud someone for having a well thought out backup plan. It seems somewhat obvious that having a Plan B will give you the confidence and security you need to take bigger risks or work harder in achieving success.

Until we really study it.

The simple fact is, it appears that having a Plan B (something to "fall back" on or an exit strategy) is a hindrance to success.  It appears that having a backup plan in place will actually have the opposite effect of inspiring confidence and boldness.

Having a backup plan actually decreases motivation. 

Now of course there are times in life when we need to have backup plans, emergency strategies or contingency plans.

If I leave the kids with the babysitter and he can't get ahold of me, a backup plan or second emergency contact is a good idea.

A spare tire is probably a smart thing to keep in your car.

But what about health, lifestyle, business or job scenarios?

If I know I have other options when applying for a job, will that increase my motivation to secure the job, or make me more lax in my interview preparation?

It appears that it might be the latter.

If I am training for a race and I start to tell myself, "Well nobody will notice if I need to walk for a half a mile so if I need to (but only if I need to) then I'll just walk".

Do you think having the security of this "out" will motivate me to train harder, push my limits and reach or surpass my goals?

It's an interesting thing to ponder because I find myself making "backup plans" ALL THE TIME.

I think I'm being responsible.  I think I'm being fair and smart.

But am I really selling myself short?

Am I robbing myself of the experience of struggle, pain, courage and victory that would come only if I pushed past excuses and exit strategies and reached new levels of success?

All I know is that I've started a lot of projects and never finished.  I've worked out for a week ... then I quit.  I've passed up opportunities in favor of the less risky, but also less satisfying Plan B.

So I'm trying a new approach.


No turning back.  No exit strategy.

Just hard work.  Perseverance. And a whole lot of potential success.

Are you in?

Bravely forth my friends,