In this journey I've come to really value the folks I let in my life. Below are some rules that have helped me move things forward. I've learned these things from various sources, whether they come from books, blogs, podcasts or personal mentors. It's a good list for when we get stuck in our lives and it's something that happens to all of us. Even me. I've had my "bottomless problems" moments but have been blessed to have dope people snap me out of that. We all find ourselves self-wallowing here and there but you must ensure that it's a place you only visit on occasion and briefly, living there means you will die there. Seriously.
1. Write it down. Writing it down does something to us internally. It adds a necessary gravitas to the task at hand. After writing what we want down, our mind begins the process of organizing our thoughts to get us to our goal. Think about it. How many times have you written something down and then you acted with more urgency than normal even if you never looked back at what you wrote? There's some neurological reasoning regarding why this is but I don't care to explain that, I just care that it works so I do it!
2. Collect mentors. I work very hard to get the most out of everyone I come in contact with. I pay special attention to the folks that are successful in the things that I aspire to be great at. I don't just listen to them but I watch how they move and how they interact with others. I try to find the patterns in how they operate. I have a ton of mentors. A TON. Only about half of them know it. There are leaders that I may not know personally but I follow their moves closely and absorb the lessons they leave behind. I am aggressive and intentional with my learning so I work hard to get on my mentors' calendars. I offer to pay for coffee or lunch (even though they rarely allow me to). I try to think about what I want from them before I get their time. Time is valuable and you can't waste it. Remember, mentors are saying no to something else to say yes to you. Don't waste their time. By strategically utilizing your mentors, you begin to set yourself up for success.
3. Learn from EVERYONE. I also try to learn from people and situations that I may not be too fond of. Learning what not to do can be just as valuable as learning what to do. My past is well documented but growing up in the environment I did is one of the biggest blessings I've had. I learned from everyone around me. I actually attribute a large part of my learning to listening to people speak in my mother's NA meetings when I was a little kid. Hearing those stories from adults that were reflecting on their lives and outlining just how they became hooked on drugs was as valuable to me as my Seminar class in my graduate program. I value it that much. There's something to be learned from people you don't like, bad relationships, jobs you hated - EVERYWHERE! It's your job to find the lessons and apply it to your life goals. Take some time and really think about what lessons you've learned from those around you.
4. If you're the most successful one in your crew then add new friends. Calm down, I'm not saying ditch your friends or act better than people. Not at all. Love your people and never forget where you come from but if you want to get to the next level it's good to see folks doing things you want to do. For example, if you want to be a great husband or father, then it may behoove you to friend folk that are doing that. If you're trying to write a book, then spending time with someone that lives and breathes writing is a good look. Our friends make up a large chunk of our identity. When you hang our with street cats, you can't be surprised when you there are gunshots in the vicinity. The same can be said when you hang out with ambitious, focused folks, it's no surprise when you end up headline speaking at conferences benefitting your community. I've been in both situations. True story. Different article. I want you to make a list of the things you want to accomplish and then connect people in your life to those goals. If there are gaps then you feel them.
5. Don't punk out. This may mean different things to different people. What it means to me is that when we start something difficult that pushes us out of our comfort zone the first inclination may be to quit. You're going to fail a lot in the beginning when you try something new. Trust me. It's tough and it takes shot at your ego and confidence but you can't quit on your dreams. Yo, if you achieve your dreams with absolutely no failures along the way then you didn't dream big enough, straight up. So fight for what you want and don't punk out. This is where your inner-circle and set of mentors can really shine. If you have the right people they will push you through. They will hold you accountable.
These 5 quick steps can help get you assess where you are and get you on track to getting where you want to be. This list could be much longer so feel free to leave steps in the comments section. I may incorporate them in the follow up article. Cole Out.
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