Step Up and Elevate Your Mindset Part 3: Personal Growth — Bold, Powerful You
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.” — Mahatma Gandhi
This is the third installment of a four-part series on elevating your mindset and stepping up through thoughts, words and actions. I focus on four areas to help you improve your relationships, career prospects, personal development work and in your community. Today is part 3, focusing on personal development work. You can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. What is your current plan? Do you have one? I hope you find this constructive and easy to apply!
I’m a big believer in objective thinking. Deep thinking, which leads to bold ideas that are unfettered, unfiltered, unbiased and free from overly positive or negative emotion. Because it is through this type of thinking that we find and seek the truth about who we are and what we want.
Deep thinking is fueled by two types of honesty: Honesty with yourself and asking someone or those very close to you — who you trust — to be honest with you.
As I’ve written about previously, step one in personal development is all about honesty. If you’ve been putting off your goals and dreams for a few days, months or perhaps even years, it’s time that you instill some discipline and make changes to think introspectively and truthfully about how you can get the results and outcomes you desire in your life.
The distillation of the best advice that I’ve received from successful people, like Amy Schumer, as well as my brother, Kevin Connors, and many Fortune 500 business leaders is to set small, incremental goals for yourself. I do believe it’s of high importance to have an overarching objective of how you define success, but where the “battle is really won” is in the trenches of achieving wins on small goals.
Amy Schumer is a close childhood friend of mine and someone whose dedication, commitment, hard work and confidence I greatly admire. I’ve watched her become the star she is today by grinding it out and taking small steps, which have led to enormous success.
When we talked yesterday, she told me about her mindset and the role that confidence has played during what has been her ascension to the top of the entertainment world. She first wanted to be a stand-up comedian. Then she decided that she wanted to make a living doing stand-up comedy. Next, it was the desire to become a comedian who hit the road and traveled the country and world.
She didn’t wake up one day and think, I’m going to be the next titan of comedy and it’s going to start right away! As she told me,
“When you think and dream in terms of instant gratification, you fall flat on your face.”
So, you’ve likely come to this page and to my article with a desire — a self-interest in wanting to grow and add valuable information to improve the way you think and act. That is, after all, what the net result of personal development should be! So, where are you on your journey? Have you spoken what you want for yourself over your life? Have you written it down? What’s holding you back?
We all know that real-life gets in the way, both in a good and bad way, and that obligations to work and family must come first. Where I’m interested in diving into with you is the time management mastery of your “free time.”
The time you have after school has ended and before dinner. After you’ve put your little one down to bed. That extra 30 minutes where you could sleep in but if you take the time to wake up and plan your day, you’ll be well on your way to a much more productive day!
So let’s talk about that and figure out how we can both get better.
“Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do. Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward.” — Napoleon Hill
As the age-old saying goes, “Everything begins with a thought.” This principle applies well to personal development work. You can’t just “dive in” and begin when you haven’t thought out what you really want to do. Or, you can. But the chances of succeeding without proper thought and planning are slim.
Then, you’re only reacting rather than proactively making decisions that are in the best interest of your time, money and future happiness.
It took me a while to master the self-discipline of actually waking up early. Do you struggle with that, as well? But now that I am able, it has revolutionized my thought process and productivity. I’m able to focus with greater intensity and energy during the time of the day where the most lucid, vivid thoughts enter my mind.
I begin each day by meditating and truly just letting my mind listen to all the thoughts that come my way. After about 10 minutes, I let those thoughts simmer and I write down what I want to accomplish each day. I do plan by the week, each Sunday, but I’m always willing to make adjustments if something is not working.
It’s critical that you are willing to adjust, if necessary, to the changes that come and can alter your plans. Because improvisation is very often a requirement!
Start with your thoughts. Plan out your objective, then think about and write down your goals in small, incremental measures. Before long, you have a plan that you can be proud of. And be proud of the goals and dreams that you want to accomplish. Don’t give in to self-criticism or the criticism of others. And equally as important, avoid jealous or envious thinking at all costs!
The only race that matters is the one you are running in. Compete with yourself and don’t worry about others.
The reason why I am a huge proponent of speaking your dreams and goals over your life — particularly to your family or loved ones — is because it strikes a verbal contract of accountability. Research and empirical observation have taught me that many people run away from their dreams because they’re afraid of what others might think of them.
For far too long, I was a living example of that. I was afraid to be vulnerable in my writing but not just that, I was afraid to demonstrate vulnerability in words to my readers. It took me overcoming insecurity and personal fear to even speak about my personal struggles and adversity with my wife! But once I did, it blasted open the door to interior freedom, courage and self-confidence.
Once I started telling people that I desire to become a New York Times bestselling writer and a person who makes his living — and supports his family — based on the work that blends his enthusiasm and talents, I started moving in that direction. I urge you to take your thoughts and convert them into words with someone — or several people — who you trust.
Find your family. I’m not talking about your Mom or Dad, necessarily, it could be your close friend, mentor or business partner. Someone who has rock-solid integrity and is willing to listen to what you truly desire for yourself. Infuse your words with positivity and hope! And then…
From there, it’s all about action. Are you willing to do what you said you would do — and what you imagined in your beautiful mind — through the power of your thoughts? From there, I can tell you what has worked for me. I use the Stephen Covey “Time Management Quadrant” as my guiding methodology.
I plan my day and work toward getting to Quadrant II with all that I do. I acknowledge that there will be distractions and fires to fight. I know that I need to be a responsible adult and take great care of my child while also cleaning up around the house. So I make a concerted effort to organize and categorize the “Not Important” time so I can maximize my efficiency.
I use Microsoft Outlook Tasks to group my 10 categories by color. I’ll list five examples for you:
- Family and Home Life
- Job (Coaching and Freelance Writing)
- Health and Well-being
- Faith Life
- Personal Development
I put my family first, as well as my work, while focusing on things like personal development, meditation, prayer and taking care of my body. There are more, but this offers some insight into how I view several of the most important things in my life. I’m always looking for “an edge” in my writing and coaching for clients. How can I get better today?
I demand a lot of myself without being too critical and thinking negatively. My most productive days are when I’m honest with myself, self-encouraging, and I work with enthusiasm and discipline to achieve my goals. I always find things to inspire me throughout the day, whether it’s a new article, thinking of my 2-year old son or a great song that makes me happy.
The actions that I take to be productive and toward personal development end up as the tangible results of my thoughts and words. I’m trying to improve everyday and I’ll continue to refine and improve my system with new advice. Think deeply about where you want to be. Think of the values that you hold dear. Start today to take action, to set small goals and to keep rising!
Thank you for reading! Follow me here on Medium and recommend my story if this inspired you!
I am sending out my first newsletter this Thursday. Please subscribe via my website and Like my Facebook writer’s page! My book on Values will be out in Spring 2017. My goal is to make both of us a better person. I will always do my best to achieve this. Keep Going on your journey!