By Scott Westerman
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“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
Today was the day when thousands of Spartans came to East Lansing to set up shop for a new school year. For some, the new beginnings were significant. It would be the first time they would live on their own, without loved ones making sure they answered an alarm clock, got homework done or washed the dishes. For nearly all, it would include a new set of teachers, a fresh set of lessons to be learned, a higher standard to be attained.
Whether it’s a new year, a new job or a new semester, the same rules apply. Things will change. We’ll look at the world through a lens polished or blurred by experience. And we’ll have choices to make. These are the rules of the game. So how can we maximize our chances to get the most benefit from a fresh start?
Here are 8 time tested skills that, when applied together, can take you in the direction of any objective, anywhere, anytime:
1. Set some goals – Nothing happens without a well articulated idea. Goals are the destination. It isn’t just circling the Monopoly board, it’s deciding you want to own Boardwalk and Park Place.
2. Write them down – When you know where you want to go, it’s time to map out how you plan to get there. Exceptional achievement is nothing more than a long list of little tasks, well executed. Become a list-a-olic. Find your own best organizational system and keep refining it. Give yourself clear success metrics and set up check points along the way to review your progress and re-analyze the value of the end result.
3. Open a Door / Close a Door – Time is our most precious and most finite commodity. Your days are already full, so you’ll have to de-prioritize some of the things and people in your current life to make room for the relationships and resources you’ll need to move you in the direction of the person you plan to become. Have the courage to risk the new and close the door on what is no longer creating forward progress and positive energy.
4. Work on Your Authenticity – The people you want to have in your world are ultimately attracted to authenticity. And being real isn’t just about being yourself. It’s learning to understand the authentic core of the hearts and minds of those around you. Your ability to listen and to have true compassion for others will develop the radar you need to spot authenticity and radiate an environment that makes it safe for everyone around you to be who they are.
5. Seek Out a Coach – The best athletes find the best coaches. The best businesses are constantly benchmarking best practices and incorporating them into their operating plans. Whatever you’re working on now, who is the best person to help you find the right game plan and hold you to it?
6. Take Care of Your Body – Nothing in life is fun if you’re not feeling good. And no goal is worth sacrificing your health. Life 101 is at work here. Put the right fuel in your body and strengthen your metabolism so that healthy energy is available to power your most important body part: Your brain.
7. Express Gratitude – Whatever your current situation, you have a reason to be thankful. Appreciate what you have and thank the people who have helped you achieve it. Be thankful for the negative role models, too. Sometimes they can teach you the most about what true success really means.
8. Celebrate Every Day – Sometimes it takes a major crisis to realize how important every day can be. But crisis is not a requirement for learning how to wring every last opportunity out of every 24 hour gift of life you receive… and to celebrate the lessons learned along the way.
You don’t need a new year, a new career or a new place of residence to practice the Great 8. Try them on your current lifestyle for the next 30 days. That’s the time it takes to ingrain a new habit. 30 days from now, take another look at your current reality. If you have conscientiously applied these habits, my guess is that your attitude and your achievements will be in a significantly better place then they are right now.
And to all my returning Spartans, welcome home. The best is yet to come.
Want a deeper dive on the skills winners use when they try something new? Review our message on that topic here.
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