The 5 Secrets of Achievers
Ever wondered what it really takes to live your dreams? What the great achievers of the world know that the rest of us don’t? Why some people do so much in life, and others never quite get there?
Well here are my five secrets. These are my own, personal takeaways that I’ve learnt over the years – the five things that have held true over and over again, that no one really talks about or teaches you, but are the absolute keys to living your dreams.
Whatever you want to achieve, you have to be passionate about it. It's not enough to just be interested or like it - you have to have passion. A burning passion that keeps you up at night dreaming about the possibilities and potential - until you're so wired you get up at 3am and start working on it. A passion that gets you so excited you can't imagine doing anything else, and one that's strong enough to pull you through the hours and hours of grunt work.
If you're doing something you're passionate about, work becomes play, and that passion will drive you to go the extra miles and become one of the best in your field.
And it's not just about your career! It can be yoga or watercolor painting or wood turning. It can be being passionate about raising well balanced kids, being a great wife, and having a gorgeous home. For most of us, there are are many things we are passionate about! I love to cook, and after many years of testing, I can now say I make some of the best Peach and Vanilla jam you'll find!
After passion comes vision - the channeling of all that raw energy and potential into a focal point or a goal - that picture you have in your mind of what success looks like.
And vision is also figuring out how you're going to achieve that picture. They say a goal without a plan is just a wish - and it's true. You can have all the passion and potential and dreams in the world, but without getting your vision clear and making a plan, I can guarantee you won't get there.
Crystallizing your vision and planning it out is crucial because it makes you say to yourself 'This is possible. And this is how I can achieve it. I just need to do this, then this, then this'. It gives you the blueprint to achieve your dreams. It gives you a clear path to follow. And it's the first step to achieving anything.
This is where most people first begin to stumble. Loads of people have enormous passion and talent, they know what they need to do and how to achieve it, but they never take the next step. Because they don't believe they can.
All sorts of really logical, grown up excuses come out. Work is crazy right now, I just don't have the time. We don't have the money at the moment. I need to focus on other things. I don't have the experience. I've never done anything like that before. I don't know what I'm doing... Trust me, no one who's never done something before knows what they're doing. You learn - that's the point.
All these excuses are really just saying 'I don't believe I can, and I'm scared.' We're all scared of things. It's just a matter of whether you're going to focus on that fear, or you're going to ignore it and focus on your vision!
I drafted this post out a few weeks ago, and as I started writing it today, I thought, 'Really? Achieving? Have I really achieved enough to start advising others on how to achieve? I mean seriously, aren't people going to look at this post and say 'Why would I take advice from her? She hasn't done anything much!'
But then I thought 'You know what, I want to share what I've learned through some hard lessons. So I'm going to do it. I believe I can contribute something meaningful to someone.'
And I shoved that fear aside and focused on writing a great post!
Any achievement is the sum total of hard work you've persisted with over time. Obviously the adage 'work smarter, not harder' comes into play here - and I'm assuming you're going to work smart. But you'll still need to persist.
There will be times when you've got a deadline to hit, so you stay up until 2am to finish the project. Times you think you can't run any further, but you keep putting one foot in front of the other until you finish. Times when everything is going wrong and falling apart, but you still sit down and try to fix it. When you wonder why you're doing what you're doing, when you think it was a stupid idea, times you lose your inspiration and motivation, and times when you cry and think it's easier to quit. But somehow, you keep going.
This is persistence - the ability to keep going and keep striving, no matter what happens. And if you don't have passion for what you're doing, a clear vision, and belief in yourself, this is where you will come unstuck. Many people start something, only to have a minor setback, and say 'Oh, it wasn't for me'. Imagine if they'd given it another go, tried again, and really persisted. Imagine what they could have achieved.
Trust me, if you keep going, one day at a time, one item on the to-do list at a time, you will get there eventually. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen - and when it does, oh my goodness, it'll be epic.
Understand that you are going to fail at some point. No one who ever achieved anything has done so without failing. It's demoralizing. It sucks. It's frustrating and sad and OMG you could just scream. But it happens to all of us at some point.
Failing is just like horse riding - if you fall or get thrown, you get back up on the horse and give it another go. Straight away. Don't pull back and worry about it for a few weeks - it'll be harder in the long run. Get back up and try again, straight away. You'll always know you could get thrown again, but you do it anyway.
Now I have had some utterly spectacular failures in my time. Really, really good ones,
that have wiped me out emotionally. After three fairly good ones in a row, I swore to myself that I'd never try again. I'd just kick back in a mindless little admin job forever and focus on not achieving anything. I'd aim to be utterly mediocre - because then I wouldn't fail again.
But I couldn't help it. I had so much passion and vision and belief. I had to try again. I had to risk failure. One more time. And that one more time? That was this blog.
So there we go! I hope this post has helped inspire you, and realize that you can achieve anything you want - it just takes passion, vision, belief, persistence, and a healthy acquaintance with failure.
And you know what? Once you achieve that first goal, you'll start saying 'What's next?' You'll make that initial dream bigger, more ambitious, more amazing, and start wondering what you can achieve across all the other areas of your life. Because once you start, once you know you can do it, achieving is addictive, and it'll become a way of life. Your way of life.
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