What should I do?

It’s hard to escape the exhortation.

Every blog post is urging you to do something!

But there is an overwhelming sense of frustration: you know you are stuck but feel powerless to change.

Before long, you are caught in a vortex, and it’s no surprise that you end up doing a big fat n-o-t-h-i-n-g.

Point #1 – You have to do what’s right for YOU. And not just right because you have heard it said enough times, but right in your heart. You know you have a passion, desire or longing for change, and yet the Resistance has held you back.

Point #2 – Don’t focus just on the money – as in, if you do this thing enough you will be rich; but rather ask yourself does your likely behaviour chime with your values. I have seen far too many people pursue a course of action that was diametrically opposed to their values, leading to a loss of confidence, self-esteem and, ultimately, powerlessness.

Point #3 – Focus on the long term. Don’t worry about today, tomorrow or even next week. Will you be able to sustain the change over the long haul? If not, perhaps you should rethink your strategy.

Point #4 – Do less. Earlier this week I wrote about making a list of three things and doing them. It works. If all you ever do is rewrite your list every day, you will stay precisely where you are.

Point #5 – Focus. If you watch a 100m sprinter, they wear a race face both before and during the race. Maurice Green was the master of this. Try tuning out everything and it’s amazing the results. In these days of open-plan working, don’t be afraid to take yourself out of the environment and find your ‘Zen’ place to do your best work.

Point #6 – Get regular feedback on your progress. The more trusted the source, and the more they have worn the T-shirt so much the better. But don’t forget point #1.

Point #7 – Don’t give up. Let my caveat this. Of course, there are times where it is sensible to stop thrashing away, and try something new (see The Dip by Seth Godin or The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – both of these have free Pdf downloads); but don’t give up just because it’s hard. Too many people know that they are on to something but, by dint of the money, or public opprobrium decide to quit.

Point #8 – Get a mentor. The idea of mentoring goes in cycles. One day it is all the rage, the next people are pouring scorn on it. My idea of mentoring is perhaps more vague than what you might be used to but it involves finding the Jedi Knight in your industry who is willing to talk to you. In my experience, even the most successful people are willing to give you their time, if they think you are sincere.

Point #9 – Get a life! All work and no play makes Jack/Jill incredibly dull. When people chide you for working so hard, the temptation is to work harder. But, if you are focused on the long term, you will burn out, lose enthusiasm and perspective. Regular breaks and doing something completely different is essential

Point #9a – Make sure you don’t just think Me with your kick-off-the-shoes routine but have someone to share the experience.

Point #10 – Look after yourself. If you are dead you aren’t going to be much use to anyone! Stark but in the end there is more to life than work – although it may not always feel that way – but you have to get more than 3.5 hours of sleep, eat well (mindfully), exercise and find time away from the coalface. I know you will have watched it already, but it never hurts to re-watch Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech if you need to be reminded of the fragility of life.

And so, I have left you with another list, but hopefully you can find a way to balance all the important things that you have set your sights on, and keep refining your effort. However, if I could leave you with one final point it is this. Just remember that each day presents you with a unique opportunity to do something remarkable. You won’t, of course, always score a 9.5 – hell, sometimes you will be lucky if you hit a 1 or 2 – but don’t ever stop trying.

Working with me:

I am available for speaking, consulting and one on one coaching. Please feel free to email me at juliansummerhayes@gmail.com or contact me on 075888 15384.

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