“Tell me, what is it you plan to do, with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver
Life is designed to propel us onwards and upwards, it’s a fertile playing field which gives us an abundance of opportunities to grow and expand. It’s easy to spot the opportunities in the positive things that happen, but if you look deep enough, you will also be able to see them in the not so positive occurrences.
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut. We hunker down and play small, for several reasons; fear of failure, or perhaps we feel we don’t deserve more. But even in those times, there’s often a soft voice within us that calls us to be more fully ourselves.
Why not make 2019 the year you step into your own centre and move forward with purpose and direction?
Steering your life in a new direction need not involve making sweeping changes upfront. Sometimes it’s enough to quietly commit to a few changes in habits and mindset.
Here are six steps you that could take you to the next level, in your career and in the way you approach life.
- Begin with the end in mind
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” — Abraham Lincoln
If you have no idea of where you’re going, how will you know when you arrive? Also, if you don’t make a clear decision and you’re sitting on the fence of your own life, others will decide for you and you’ll find yourself living by default.
If you would prefer to take the bull by the horns and have a say in where you land up, set a clear vision for yourself. Become clear on the end goal. What is it that inspires you? What excites you? What vision for your future would make you get up with a spring in your step in the morning?
Set an audacious goal and then work backwards from there as to how you plan to reach it.
- Be curious
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein.
Numerous studies have linked curiosity to success. Along with curiosity comes the questioning of the status quo and along with that often come the best innovations. Have you ever met an entrepreneur who wasn’t passionately curious? Didn’t think so.
When we walk through life never questioning, we find ourselves half asleep and going through the motions in a robotic fashion. The acceptance of the way things are done without a critical lens, stifles a growth mindset.
Commit to cultivating that the Buddhists refer to as a ‘beginners mind’ which is a sense of wonder, really seeing and wanting to unpack how and why things work. This is the beginning of a commitment to lifelong learning. A beginners mind knows that it has never arrived, there is always more to learn.
- Don’t be afraid to fail
‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10 000 ways that won’t work!’ Thomas Edison
So you tried something different or you took a risk and you failed. Perhaps it was a new business venture, a change in direction of career that didn’t pan out so well, or a relationship which ended badly.
What was the worst that happened? You were embarrassed, you lost money, your heart was broken or your ego was bruised, your friends and family or colleagues thought you were a little crazy? Life went on though, people forgot all about your mishap. But the lessons you took with you were no doubt invaluable.
Often we learn much more from failure than we ever learn from success. Because the failures affect us so deeply, we tend to remember the learnings that those experiences give us.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and to put yourself on the line by taking a risk that you feel is worth taking at the time.
If you do this, you have a 50% chance right up front of it taking off. If you’re too afraid of failing to make a move, you’ve got a 100% chance of it not panning out.
Would you rather stand on the other side, regretting the moves you never made, or smiling wryly from a place of deeper wisdom, about the moves you made which taught you invaluable lessons and helped you to grow?
- Get connected
No man, or woman is an island. We can’t do this thing called life alone.
How many times have you been introduced to a new opportunity through acquaintances, colleagues or friends? Often, a simple referral or introduction from the right person is enough to open a new door and set your life on an entirely different course.
Expand your network and increase your chances of new doors opening. The more people you know, the greater the opportunities that are available to you.
So many people network in a transactional way with their main goal being to get something out of it for themselves. If a person picks up on the fact that you’re there to gain something without giving, it’s counter to building trust and reciprocity.
Here’s the thing about building a rock-solid network; set about creating it with the intention to give and to add value to others lives and in the process you will be building more meaningful relationships, not to mention good will which may come in handy for when you need to call in a favour.
- Put your hand up
Opportunity comes to those who step forward and put their hand up, volunteering to help with a new project or keen to participate in a discussion, it seldom comes to those who are hiding in a corner, afraid to take the risk or afraid to speak up.
You have the potential to be your own biggest fan and promoter, you and only you can showcase your capability by demonstrating it through your engagement. While you no doubt have family and friends who think you’re fabulous and who celebrate your success, there’s no one else out there who is as vested in your future as you are.
So, think about how you will step out of your own shell in 2019. The magic happens outside of your comfort zone, and often when you’ve extended yourself and are most vulnerable and uncomfortable. Do you remember having growing pains as a child? The gap between comfort and discomfort is where we grow.
- Commit to learning something new
‘I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.’ Maya Angelo
Keep your cognitive ability sharp and build new neural pathways by stretching your mind and learning a new skill. Learning new things keeps us engaged in life, in addition to opening up new channels to apply what we have learned.
We live in a time where entire countries, economies, organisations and industries are transforming rapidly. As the pace of change accelerates, employees are expected to display a mix of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that will contribute towards taking their businesses to the next level.
If one is to survive and thrive in the constantly changing world of work, continuous learning will be the way to achieve this.