For the past two years we’ve all been living in a world none of us recognizes, or wants. Most of us want nothing more than to return to the lives we had before COVID changed everything. For some of us, the change was the stress of having to change how we lived our everyday lives – masking, vaccines, social distancing, boosters, mandates, and on and on. For others, the change came in the form of loss – loss of loved ones, family, friends, jobs, and even our businesses. It’s hard to imagine life ever being normal again, but it appears that we can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. So now what?
Whatever changes COVID brought to our lives, we have to keep moving forward. It’s our only choice, really. We can move forward, and build from here, or we can give up, and resign ourselves to being stuck. I’ve always believed that all of us has the capability with dealing with whatever gets thrown at us. We may not be able to change what has happened, and what is continuing to happen to us, but we always have the ability to change how we react to it all.
I’d like you to consider this – everyone of us can choose to see an opportunity for something good to come from this disaster. From every disaster, something good always emerges, and this one is no different. As Americans, we have a long history of picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off, and get about the business of living. In every disaster, some Americans also have a history to not just getting back to the business of living. Instead, they find a way to thrive in the face of any uncertainty. There is always an opportunity in uncertainty, it’s one of the 7 Secret Principals of Success. (And I’m not talking about taking advantage of others, I’m talking about discovering a way to thrive, no matter what).
So what are the 7 Secret Principals of Success? Let’s look.
Secret #1 is what I mentioned above; Uncertainty = Opportunity. When everything is turned upside down, it’s tempting to just throw up your hands and let life roll over us. It can be hard picking up the pieces and moving ahead. However hard moving on might be, it’s actually easier to look up and look ahead, than it is to stay mired in despair. All it takes is the willingness to take that first step.
When you look up, and look ahead, and take just one step, everything starts to look different. The reason everything looks different is that the experience changed you, and everyone else. Those willing to look up, and look ahead, and look around, can see thousands of ways to serve the people around them. They can see new needs to be filled; new fears to be overcome; and new frustrations to be dealt with. More importantly, they can see new dreams screaming for someone to help be fulfilled.
The first step in turning our current uncertainty into opportunity is to be willing to look up and see all the needs, fears, frustrations, and dreams, that need to be addressed. How do you do that? The answer is simple to say, but it can also be challenging to live into. The answer is to look at what needs doing, then asking yourself, what can I do to help? Answering that question will point you towards a myriad of opportunities to build a better future for yourself, and everyone around you.
Secret #2 is, the sooner you take action, the better. Don’t spend years trying to figure out what to do, find a direction and start moving right now. The sooner you take action, the sooner you can start making a positive difference in the lives of those around you, and the sooner you can start transforming your own life, and the lives of you family and loved ones.
One good way to think about why you should act sooner than later can be found in looking at the power of compound interest. When my oldest daughter graduated from high-school I gave her a guaranteed investment fund of $4000. I told her if she didn’t touch it, and added just $150 per month to it, she would have over $1,000,000 when she retires. Not bad.
If, however, she spent that money right away, and didn’t manage to save that $4000 until 10 years later, and didn’t start regular savings until then, she would only about $500,000 50 years later. Not bad, but not a million either. The difference is understanding that starting sooner is better.
Secret #3 is, Fear is Normal. In the face of uncertainty, or when recovering from hard times, it’s understandable to look at the unknown with trepidation. The future is unknown, so it’s understandable to fear the future. However, letting that fear stop you from moving positively into the future usually means things will get worse, not better.
When given a choice, human beings too often opt to stay with the misery they know, rather than deal with the possibly great things they don’t know. I mean, it could always be another disaster around the corner, right? So why risk stepping into the unknown? The answer is simple, if you’re taking positive steps forward, you’ll always be in a better situation, no matter what happens. If it’s another disaster around the next corners, you’re going to be in ahead of the game in dealing with it. If it’s a sunny day around the corner, you’ll be off to the races toward a far better future. Fear is normal, it’s part of being human. The only thing you need to fear about fear, is letting it stop you from creating a better future.
Secret #4 is, Never Figure it Out on Your Own. Huh? That’s right. Trying to figure it out on your own is a great way to miss out on the lion’s share of the great things you can create in your future. You may be brilliant. In fact, I know you’re brilliant. But I don’t care how brilliant you are, no one is capable of seeing everything. The problem comes in the fact that what you don’t see, what most people tend to miss, is something hiding right in the middle of one of the blind spots we all have.
When I say, never try to figure it out on your own, I’m suggesting you work with somebody who is skilled at making visible what’s invisible to you. As a coach, my job is to see what you don’t. That doesn’t mean I’m smarter than you, it simply means I don’t have your blind spots. Deciding you don’t need anybody’s help in accomplishing whatever it is you are trying to accomplish means you are likely cutting off your own nose to spite your face. You might eventually get the job done, but how much time, money, opportunity, and results will you lose if you miss something that might be obvious to someone else? Find a coach, a mentor, a guide, or someone skilled at making what’s invisible to you visible. Much more can get accomplished when you’ve got someone looking out for you than trying to do it all by your lonesome.
Secret #5 is, Mindset is 80% of Success. (Truth be told, mindset is probably closer to 90% of success.) As human beings we are all goal achieving machines. The problem comes when we let that little voice in our heads distract us. You know the voice. It tells you you’re not good enough, or not smart enough, to be a success. Or it tells you to chase another squirrel or crawl down another rabbit hole, instead of keeping your eyes on where you need to be going.
In addition to be goal achieving machines, humans are also meaning making machines. As humans, we are programmed to instantly make up stories about what every event in our lives means, then act as though the story we made up was true. Our minds are like digital hard drives that automatically records the meaning we gave to an experience in life at the same time it records the actual experiences. We can’t help it. And every time something similar happens, that original story gets reinforced, again and again, until it becomes an auto-pilot response to similar situations. They become part of our sympathetic and neuro-sympathetic systems, our fight-or-flight process. Those stories can hold us back as adults, even though they were installed in us during an event that happened to us when we were young! We may be goal achieving machines, but when we let the stories we made up as kids derail us from focusing on that success, we’re in trouble.
When you understand your mind made up stories you still live by today, you begin to see that you can change those stories and turn them into assets instead of liabilities. That’s called mindset. When you develop a bullet-proof mindset, nothing can stop you. Mindset has much more to do with your success that physical effort does.
Secret #6 is, The Stretch is Going to Happen. Tomorrow will stretch you, no matter what. That’s life. The question is, will you let that stretch end up ripping you to shreds, or are you going to let it stretch you into greater capacity, wisdom and growth?
Humans have a tendency to fight tooth-and-nail against change. We think if we just yell loud enough, or dig our heels in hard enough, then we can refuse to be dragged into that unknown world called tomorrow. Guess what, folks, it doesn’t work that way.
Tomorrow is coming at us all like the unstoppable freight train it is. We can’t change what is coming. What we can do, is train our minds, and our bodies, to be ready to adapt and grow, no matter what happens. That’s the beauty of being human – we all have the power within us to transform tomorrow. The curse of being human is that too often we refuse to use the gifts we are given. We think it’s easier if we don’t have to think or change or grow. We think it’s easier to stick our head in the sand and hope tomorrow doesn’t see us. But it will. Always.
The secret is to know the stretch is coming and prepare for it. If you want to run a marathon, you don’t start training for it the day before the event, you start preparing and training months, or even years, before the event. Well, you don’t’ know when the marathon, the stretch, is going to happen, so it’s always better to start preparing today. When you’re prepared, you can triumph in the stretch, no matter when it comes!
Secret #7 is, Take a Little Time Each Day to Connect. Connecting powerfully to the people and opportunities around you doesn’t happen by accident. For most of us, building a powerfully connected universe requires regular practice. It’s like building new muscles, or completing a marathon, or losing weight, or learning to ski, or learning to fly. You can’t do any of it without practice and regular effort, and a powerfully connected universe is a critical part of success.
The simplest way to build that universe, and the success that come with it, is a little at a time – everyday. Build rituals you can practice each morning. 20 minutes a day is enough to make massive change, and engrave into your brain and body. What are some of the things you might consider adding to your morning ritual? Here are a few suggestions:
· 5 minutes to visualizing/meditating on the future you want today
· 20 minutes of rigorous exercise
· Spend 5 minutes writing a gratitude journal
· Walk your dog a mile or two
· Listen to your favorite music while mindfully reviewing new stories to replace limiting ones
· Read a summary of a great book (or spend 20 minutes reading a great book)
· Spend 10 minutes doing deep stretching
· Spend 10 minutes doing focused breathing exercise
· Spend 20 minutes doing yoga
· Take 10 minutes to identify and write down a self-limiting story, create a new story to replace it, and jot down some evidence that shows the new story is right
These are only a few suggestions, but hopefully you get the idea. Create a list of anything that you think might help you train your mind and your body to have powerful new thoughts, a powerful new body, or powerful inspiration to achieve you dreams. Then create 5 or 6 twenty minute morning rituals to alternate throughout the week (and give yourself one day off).
The routines can be almost anything positive. The key is to take the time to focus on yourself and what you want to manifest in your life. Do it every day, and see yourself being who you want to be in the future, and start being that person right now, and you’ll find the life you want to manifest happening naturally.
There are a lot more “Secrets to Success”, but this list will hopefully get you rolling into a positive, and powerful tomorrow. The only thing in the way of creating the life you want, is not taking action, today.