This Is The Conversation You've Been Needing To Have About Why You’re Not As Successful As You Want To Be.
Speaking of candor. Let's talk about some uncomfortable truths.
If you don't put in enough hard work, you'll never achieve your dreams. No amount of luck or divine blessing is enough to undo the necessity of you putting in massive amount of effort.
But it's not just about raw effort. You have to keep your head straight along the way.
You have to manage your emotions.
That might be more difficult than you just putting in the time. Being successful requires more than just effort and emotion. It demand something spiritual from you. Almost religious.
In order to level up your financial success you're going to have to level up your spiritual life.
That means you're going to have to know yourself. And that comes from purposeful moments of quietness and meditation. It comes from deliberate work on the inside parts of you.
That might sound “foo foo” or fake or something you would read from a religious leader selling you books or expensive seminars. But it's the truth.
You need a higher purpose for all the effort and emotion that you are channeling.
Call it purpose or divine inspiration. Call it having a plan or a reason for getting up in the morning. Call it whatever you want.
Don't neglect any of that simply because you're too busy to pay attention.
Here's another thing worth mentioning. It's the small things that create your biggest undoing.
Take kindness for example. It's not rewarded in the moment. It's often overlooked and rarely recognized. But it's the stuff that leads to long-term significance.
The opposite is true as well. It's easy to brush off the jerkish arrogance that often comes along with brash goals and a “can do” attitude. But those seeds of immaturity have long-term consequences.
You attract bad things into your life when you sow seeds of selfishness and manipulation. It's karmic.
And it never fails to yield the consequences for which your behavior is due.
It's not going to happen instantaneously. That's the deceiving part.
It seems like you're getting away with something. It feels like you can do the wrong thing and no one will notice.
Just don't complain when those consequences rear their ugly head at the worst possible moment in your future.
When everything seems like it's going to be okay. When it seems like you've escaped the consequences of your past.
In those moments when your reckoning happens, know that it was because of who you were in the past. That's just the law of cause and effect.
What you do and who you are lead to the results of your existence.
Your destiny isn't an accident or a specific formula. It’s a bit more cloudy and complex. Your destiny is the end result of thousands of tiny, seemingly insignificant choices that you make on a daily basis.
The choice to learn and read and study instead of seeking entertainment.
The choice to invest your money in growth rather than sugary “feel good” addictions.
The choice to learn from your mistakes and level up rather than make excuses or point the finger at other people who are worse than you.
Those choices lead to outcomes that lead to more choices for you. Hard choices. Sometimes, uncomfortable choices.
It's not easy to look at yourself in the mirror and have to admit that where you are isn't anywhere close to where you want to be. It's painful and awkward and embarrassing.
But it is in those moments of discomfort where your choices begin to point most clearly to your eventual destiny.
If you're willing to put in more effort even though you're tired and miserable and don't see things moving as quickly as you would like.
If you're willing to restrain your emotions even though you would feel better defending yourself putting other people in their place.
If you're willing play the long game instead of seeking immediate recognition and reward.
Those choices — those “if you are willing” moments — are what eventually become your finished product. Your destiny. Your future.
Some time ago I was able to spend time with a men's group for a Southern Baptist Church that had many tens-of-thousands of members. For this event more than 6,000 men were jammed into an arena and I was tasked with inspiring them to look at life a bit differently.
But my memorable moment came after the actual event.
After speaking from the stage, I spent the next few hours shaking hands and providing encouragement to the individual members who were waiting in line for me.
One particular leader that I spoke with asked for my prayer because he was going through some financial hardships. I reassured him that I would indeed pray for his family and then almost automatically a second question tumbled out of my lips: “Have you thought about getting a second job?”
His answer left me speechless.
In front of a long line of men waiting for me to shake their hand and sign copies of my book, I was left simply shaking my head . Not entirely sure what to say or if I should simply let the moment pass.
“A second job won't work for me. My wife and I really enjoy watching Dancing with the Stars. It's our thing. It's how we work on our marriage.”
What I wanted to say was that “Your wife will respect you more if you get off your ass and go make enough money so that you can pay off your credit cards.”
What I wanted to say was “What the hell are you thinking even saying that out loud?”
I didn't say any of that.
I was too stunned in that moment. And then after a few seconds of composing myself and returning to my moment of signing books and encouraging leaders I was struck by a gripping thought.
“He's not the only guy making those silly excuses. I bet you're making a few of those silly excuses yourself” — That was a thought that came from deep inside my soul. It was a thought of conviction and concern.
A thought of worry. Genuine worry.
What are the excuses you are making on a daily basis about effort and emotion and destiny that are holding you back from achieving the future you dream so much about.
And so, speaking candidly, let's agree on a few simple facts about success.
There's no one, clear, guaranteed strategy to get you there.
The struggle to make progress is brutal. And grinding. And most days, extremely boring.
It's not sexy or glamorous to make the right choices. Especially when no one else is watching or around to give you praise.
If you don't know what to do, maybe you need to change who you are.
Maybe that's a clear sign that you need to level up.
If where you are isn't where you intend to stay, make time each day to be a better you. Keep working and improving on the inside parts of you.
Apologize when you get it wrong. Say “I love you” when you don't need to and “Thank You” more often than seems necessary.
Get help for your head and your heart. Seek wisdom from those have it. Pursue relentlessly your dreams.
Know unequivocally, that your choices matter, that you matter, and that nothing is impossible.