I recently took a position with a new organization that requires a specific professional certification within 6 month of my hire date as a condition of employment. Failure to obtain this certification within the designated time will result in termination. Period.
I’ve been in this new position for 4 weeks and have been studying a little every day for the certification exam, and making good progress. However, in an effort to make sure I’m focused in my study, I imposed a deadline by registering to take the exam on August 18, 2016.
For me, having a deadline causes me to be more focused and purposeful in my study, because I know the test is only a couple of weeks away, and I need to take steps today so I can be ready when August 18th arrives.
It is easy to slack off or lose focus during the pursuit of a goal if we don’t have a very specific target in mind. Consider the following goals many people have:
- To get out of debt
- To lose weight
- To start a business
- To write a book
My question to people that state these and other goals to me is, “By when?”
Without a deadline in mind, it’s just a desire or a wish that may or may not ever be started, let alone completed. If I ask someone the “By when” question and they instantly give me a date, the probability of them being successful is quite high. They have a hard deadline they are working toward, rather than just a lofty dream. A deadline provides the motivation, the game clock on the scoreboard, to let you know if you’re on the track toward reaching your goal.
Do you have a goal or objective you’re working on that could use the boost of a deadline? If so, set yourself a deadline and use it to help you make consistent daily progress in the direction of your goal.
For Superman, Kryptonite was that one thing that rendered him ineffective and sapped all his strength and power. For me, it’s shots, blood draws, and other minor medical procedures.
I don’t know what it is, but these things cause me to freak out. And by “freak out”… I mean pass out! No joke! I’ve passed out after a tetanus shot, from having blood drawn for lab tests, and the worst of all, having my finger pricked for a health screening at work. That just happened this Tuesday. Fortunately for me the medical professionals I’ve been around during these occurrences have been very kind and understanding. I hope they get a good laugh out of the experience as well!
My latest “adventure” Tuesday got me thinking: I’ll bet everyone has their own form of Kryptonite they deal with. It may not be shots or medical procedures. Perhaps its public speaking, snakes, or even clowns (I’m surprised how many times people have told me they are really freaked out by clowns!). Whatever it is, we’re not at our best when our Kryptonite is present.
I’m trying to respond better when my Kryptonite is present (translation: trying not to pass out when I go to the doctor), but it’s proving challenging, as evidenced by last Tuesday. For me, I’ve found that the best thing I can do when I’m around Kryptonite is to tell the safe people around me about it. I have found that when folks know, they are compassionate and helpful.
I’ve also learned to be understanding of others when they experience their own form of Kryptonite. No matter how silly or unreasonable their Kryptonite may seem to me; it’s very real to them.
I’ll admit, passing out over shots and having your finger pricked is kind of silly. After the fact though, it makes for a funny story to share with others and always generates some laughs. Sharing our Kryptonite experiences with someone else is also a great way to be vulnerable and build connection with others, especially when they’re sharing their Kryptonite stories with us.
Let’s start this week’s post with a quick test:
- Who is ultimately responsible for the success of your relationships?
- Your friends
- Your parents
- Other people
- <Insert your name here>
- Who is ultimately responsible for your success at work or in your career?
- Your employer
- The customers
- <Insert your name here>
- Who is/was ultimately responsible for your success in school?
- Your teachers
- The school administration
- The financial aid office
- <Insert your name here>
- What is the strongest force that will shape the quality of your life?
- Santa Clause
- <Insert your name here>
Now check your answers:
How’d you do? Hopefully your test score revealed a strong understanding that you are the driving force behind any success in life you want to achieve.
Success will rarely come our way if we are of the mindset that other people should, or will, take the initiative for our success. Success requires effort and a self-starting mindset on our part. Does that mean we shouldn’t ask for help from others? By all means, seek the assistance of people who can help! (And depending on your belief, don’t forget to ask for assistance through prayer too!)
What we shouldn’t do is sit back and wait for anyone other than yourselves to make something happen for you. No one should be more motivated for your own success than you.
Imagine you’re camping and, in an effort to take the chill off and warm yourself up, you decide to build a fire. You crumple up some paper, collect and arrange wood in the fire pit and then… you never put flame to paper and light the fire. You’re still cold, and you’d still like to get warm, but you never light your fire.
Sounds silly, right? Yet how often do we do the same thing when we have a goal or a dream we want to pursue, we know the first (or next) step we should take, yet lack the motivation to get started? In a sense, we fail to light our own fire.
Motivation is the fire that moves us to get started and stay committed to our goal. This “fire” can look like, but is not limited to, a desire to:
- Life a healthy lifestyle
- Achieve an educational goal
- Start a business
- Be debt free
What’s important about the fire of motivation is that it has to come from us, not others. We are the ones who must light our own fires and motivate ourselves to take action. If we’re relying on others to motivate us before we take action, I would have to wonder if we really want the goal or dream we’ve laid out for ourselves as much as we may say we do.
If you’ve got a goal, but have been waiting for motivation to come from somewhere other than yourself before you get started, decide today to light your own fire. Determine why achieving this goal is important to you, focus on that, and move boldly toward the goal before you.
This Monday July 4th the United States will celebrate Independence Day, when this country’s founders declared their independence from British rule. Independence Day was a significant event for this country, as it marked a change in direction from the way things had been toward a new direction the world had never seen.
As I think about this holiday, I can’t help think about the things in our own life that we can declare independence from. These may include:
- Unhealthy habits
- Negative environments
- Limiting beliefs
- Toxic relationships
- Societal pressures
- The status quo
The founders of the United States could have decided that things were really “not that bad” or “good enough as they were” and gone with the flow. Instead, they had a vision of something better and chose to declare their independence from British rule.
What’s encouraging is that we have the same capacity to choose independence for ourselves.
Where in your life would you benefit from declaring independence? Determine what that area is and take action to become independent and begin changing the course of your life for the better.