As my first year of blogging with this blog and website Decisive. Empowered. Resilient. winds down, I thought it would of value to share with others the importance of listening to the beat of your own drum. That is, learning to value the path you are on, the journey you are pursuing, and remaining authentic.
This is not my first blog and I have been a writer for 12+ years now, tossing in 20+ years studying and observing people, success, motivation, health and fitness, and my ‘normal’ job experiences in management, leadership and working with the general public plus 8 years in the book industry.
If you are a writer (or blogger) or entrepreneur just getting started I want you know about two key elements that will contribute to your success or failure.
The first is understanding that success in anything is simply a process.
You must decide where you are going, what you want to do, and who you want to become. You must observe and learn what will be required for you to do just that. (You will have to grow from within first.) Then you take action. That is you implement a clear cut plan to become the person who can do what it is you want to do. Next, after achieving smaller goals or at regular intervals in pursuit of a big dream, you pause, observe yourself, where you are at in the process and timeline, what is left for you to learn, work on and do, and you make adjustments for your path from here on out. Then you repeat this process until you have reached your overall desired outcome.
If you are just getting started you likely feel overwhelmed and unsure about what your first steps should be. Perhaps you’ve been going at it for a while and are not seeing the results you are after.
The first thing to do is focus on exactly what your vision for your life looks like. The greater clarity you can create – the easier it will be to set sail in the right direction. The clearer definition you have for who you want to be (in 5, 10, 20 years) and what you want to be doing and how you want your life to be, the easier it is to SEE if what you are doing now is on track or off course.
If you are struggling along the way it is because you are lacking that clarity or you are resisting the personal growth (and lessons to be learned) required to rise up to that next level.
The second element that directly correlates with your success is knowing how to stay true to your vision. Note I did not say to who you are. (I will get to that in a minute.)
This means that while you are observing those who are already doing what it is you want to be doing and how they go about it (you must observe those who are failing, those who are succeeding, and those who have succeeded and fallen) you also at the same time need to be doing your own thing.
Let me make this easier to understand.
Success is a process.
That is there are clear cut routes to take to do what it is you want to do. If you want to become a teacher, there are clear cut pre-laid plans you can follow to do just that. The greater clarity you can create about what kind of teacher you’d like to be, and all the little details, the quicker it will be for you to figure out which route to take to become the exact kind of teacher you want to be. You decide what you want to do and who you want to be, find the plan (process) and implement it.
Let’s go back to staying true to your vision.
Your ideal life, your best self is something that is at a level higher than which you are currently living your life.
This means that to get there and become this best you, you will have to learn, grow and change. If you were to stay true to yourself right here as you are – you would never become anything greater than that which you currently are and you’d fail to reach your dream ‘life.’
So when you are stepping out from the starting block on the path to your dream vision, you have to learn about the specifics of what this desired you requires. You have to observe what similar people are doing, who they are (character), why they do it that way and what they don’t do and why.
You need to be able to recognize that those who appear successful may not actually be very successful at all (other parts of their life or character are lacking). You need to learn how to recognize factors that are holding some people back – that is once you can recognize the elements that others are not learning and doing well (in the process for success), you can check yourself. You can confirm internally, yes I have this figured out that that person hasn’t or wow, that person is slightly further than I am in this process and they are struggling with that particular issue/lesson/step. I better pay attention and see what I can learn.
You can quicken the amount of time it takes to achieve your goals by having this clarity in your vision, by finding solid mentors to follow (those who are doing it well), by observing those at various stages of the process and being aware of where you are at in the process.
So where exactly does listening to your own beat come into play?
There are no two exact same people on this planet. Every single person has their own purpose that is perfectly accustomed to them, to their interests, strengths and weaknesses, needs and ambitions.
The people who stand out in life, the ones who achieve true success (across the entire platform not just in career, health, wealth etc) are those who do things their own way. That is, they learned about the process and adapted the process according to their VISION for their life.
If you observe 3 people who are doing what it is you want be doing and you look closely, you will see their personal journeys are very different and yet their process for getting there is similar. Note they are likely at different stages in the process and their end results will be different.
While you are in the learning stages, again, pay attention to the process, the steps that others have taken. Now you don’t want to be them, so somewhere along the way you will deviate from this similar path and make it part of your own (the last stages of the process).
The more you allow yourself to observe, learn, grow and change, the quicker you will know what the steps in your journey will need to be. In learning what works and doesn’t work and why for others, you will be able to determine what will work for you to do what it is YOU want to do.
So, you are observing and learning from others, but you are not copying them. You have to continuously be adapting the process to accommodate the details of what your FUTURE vision looks like.
Jane over there may be an accountant at such and such big company, and John over there might be an accountant for a handful of small businesses and freelancers. Jim way over there has been in accounting for 30 years. He started in a small firm, transferred to a large corporation, then scaled back and only did tax season for a few years and now he’s about to semi-retire while he travels the world – still doing accounting work for 10 hours a week.
Just by looking at these three individuals – all accountants, you can see that by observing what they do, why they are doing it that way, what works for them, why they may have made changes, and compare it to your long term vision. You can learn scores of information, how to, what not to do, why, character required, lessons learned and so on, that will vastly help you on your personal journey. And then you take the pieces that fit into your vision and apply them.
Many people get stuck and frustrated….for the very fact that they are trying to force things into their journey that are not in alignment with their vision. That is it won’t work for them, not because they aren’t trying or going at it right, but because IT IS NOT part of their vision!
If your vision is to be self-employed, yes you need experience in working for others. So you know what you do and do not want for yourself, and also how to run a business and employ others, and to gain knowledge and skills you do need. But forcing yourself to continue working for others isn’t going to work for long. You have to get in, learn what you need to and then get out and carry on with your vision.
Consider this example with working parents. Your work hours might have to literally be in your kid’s school hours, or overnight in order for your life to actually function well. This narrows down the companies you are able to work for. Forcing yourself to take a job (long term) that doesn’t meet your ‘life needs’ will not work. You might have to temporarily but continuing to force things in your life to work only creates resistance.
If you force things into your life vision that are not part of the plan to get you there, that are not required for you by your vision, that are shoved onto you as being the only way and right way, the result is you will find yourself stressed, exhausted, ill, and losing the battle.
In other words, you won’t make it to your desired destination following someone else’s plan to a T every step of the way. You must listen to your own beat and adjust the path according to what your vision is for your future.
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Would you like to learn more about the process for success?
Read my book The Point of the Marathon – Raising the bar for a higher level of living.