Running Up That Hill
We all want to succeed. We all want to find our company at the top of the heap. But, after we’ve started, made some progress, put in a good amount of effort, where do we often find ourselves? Halfway to our goals. Dissatisfied. Not quite achieving our dreams. Unhappy. Stuck at mediocre.
How do we end up at mediocre? You did the planning. You chose good people. You did the market studies. You really wanted this. Well, we find ourselves there because, we make choices that impede our progress. In our daily battle with uncertainty and fear, these choices slow us down. Tire us out. Eventually, we allow comfort and apathy to take over. We don’t stand up for our beliefs and dreams. We don’t take action anymore. We stop moving forward. We find ourselves, and our businesses, losing momentum and speed running up that hill towards our goals.
Mediocre comes from the Latin words medi and ocrus. When combined, they mean “middle of a stony mountain”. When we accept mediocrity, we stop halfway up the mountain, halfway to our goal. We don’t plan to stop there. We don’t want to stay there. So, how do we get beyond this middle point? By being brave every day.
“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” -Gretchen Rubin
7 daily acts of bravery
1. Define your battles.
You will be remembered for what you fought for. When you started this journey, you were a fighter. You were determined and sure. You knew what you wanted. Now? You’re putting out fires, fixing problems that crop up. It’s time to pick your head up, step back and see the big picture again.
Where is your passion? Passion comes from the root word “to suffer.” What are you willing to suffer for? Your dreams. Your goals. They’re still out there. Go after them.
2.Be fiercely curious.
Your passion had you asking questions, looking for solutions. You stuck with your problems until you had an adequate solution.
It’s time to ask better and deeper questions, to get the right outcome. Don’t just fix the problem. You don’t want to stay where you are. You want to move forward.
to help yourself move forward, build “white space” into your daily life. Shelter yourself from the “noise” that surrounds you and distracts you. Focus on where you are going, not where you are.
3. Step away from comfort.
“Love of comfort is the enemy of greatness.” Once upon a time, you were willing to make sacrifices, to sweat a little bit. Now? Maybe we give up when we’ve got something done, but not done perfectly. Maybe we stop looking for answers when we come up with one answer to the question. We say to ourselves, “Well, things aren’t so bad right now” or, “This is good enough for the moment”.
Comfort lulls us into apathy. Your comfort zone is hard to get out of. We all know this. You weren’t in you “comfort zone” when you started, but with a little stability, a little repetition, we find ourselves stuck there.
Commit to the personal. This was your dream when you started. It was what got you out of bed in the morning. It was what kept you up at night. Get back to your personal goals and dreams.
4. Be honest about your abilities.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? What have you mastered? Take a long hard look at your skills. Assess them honestly. What you have as a strength may not be what the guy next to you has as a strength.
So, when you are looking at solutions, what is obvious to you may not be obvious to others. Don’t negate what you have, what you are. That is your starting point. Share it. Build upon it. Make something out of it.
Which is why you have to start from your strengths. If you hold back what is “obvious” to you, you are becoming what others want you to be. Which usually means behind them.
5. Be confidently adaptable.
Now that you know your abilities, make sure you are adapting to your situation. Don’t let your ego get in the way.
For example, a confident person would say, “I can get this right”. Someone who is letting their ego speak would say, “I can do no wrong”. Another example of a confident attitude might be “I am valuable” while an egotistical attitude might be “I am invaluable”.
A confident person puts the work first. An egotistical person puts themselves first. Don’t put yourself ahead of the work.
6. Find your voice.
Every day we have to face the unknown. Every day we have to make decisions that we may perceive has having far-reaching consequences. Fear turns something innocuous into something paralyzing. How often have you completed something new, like a roller coaster ride, and said to yourself after it was over, “Wow, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be”? That was fear that stopped you before. Fear escalates the perceived consequences of failure.
Don’t hold yourself back. Speak up. Stand up. Don’t let fear stop you from moving forward, or upward. To find your voice, answer these questions:
A. What angers you?
B. What makes you cry?
C. What have you mastered?
D. What gives you hope?
7. Stay connected.
You are not alone. You have support and resources all around you. Connect to colleagues. Share initial ideas. Get feed back. Get new perspectives. That fear is now gone.
With that fear gone, use your voice. Don’t hide in the group. Remember, what is obvious to you, may not be obvious to others.
As well, don’t let the egotist get the better of you. Don’t hide from the group. Keeping your input and value from the group is not helping yourself, or those around you.
Pursue the adjacent possible together.
Brilliance requires bravery every day.
This article was written after viewing Todd Henry’s presentation about bravery at Creative Mornings Cincinnati. You can view it here: http://creativemornings.com/talks/todd-henry/1