As I expand my circle and branch out into ventures in life I have slowly come to realize the psychology behind my decisions. I understand that my lizard mind operates on a very narrow bandwidth. Like everyone I have goals and aspirations, especially for the new year. I don’t really believe in New Years resolutions but I do believe in goals and dreams and that they are an ongoing and ever changing target. My main question to people lately is not “what is your New Years resolution?” but rather, “what is the one big thing you want to accomplish in 2017?”. I’m not only changing words around but I am also re-framing the question in order for it to hold more value. I believe you should have at least one big thing you want to accomplish for this year (if not 2). I also believe putting this big thing down on paper in front of you everyday so you can look at it and analyze it is very important.
Breaking boulders into pebbles:
Let us say for example that you would like to give a talk to an audience of no less than 50 people about a topic you are truly passionate about. You want to convey a message you feel is so important that it should be shared with a large group of people. Let us assume that you have stage fright, as we all do. Let us also assume that you have no experience in public speaking. How will you ever get to this goal and make it a reality?
- Say no to everything that does not push your overall agenda:
- You have to say no in order to say yes. You have to make sure that your priorities not only align with your goal but that they align with your soul. I don’t mean this in some sort of other-worldly way. I want you to understand that there is a physiological mechanism that will tell you if something feels right or not. You must listen to that gut intuition. It is usually tied to a core belief that you inherently hold true. If your goals and beliefs do not match then you will have a major problem getting to where you want to go in life. Be willing to say NO to things that do not agree with your core beliefs as well as saying NO to things that do not bring you closer to your goals.
- Distill your goal to the highest priority:
- In order to make sure your goal is viable and realistic you must make sure it meets a few criteria. You should stress test your idea to see if it even makes sense. You have to see if it is a logical choice. If it is not a logical choice, does it even match with your core beliefs? Once you figure this out you can write it down and start to make plans to get to that goal. If your core belief is that you like to help people then the above example probably fits right into your lifestyle. This goal makes sense. If you don’t really care about helping people then maybe the goal is not realistic.
- Once your goal is set then take the small steps to work toward it:
- Rome was not built in a day.. neither was the world for that matter. Cliche? Probably, but there are truths to be found in cliches. Overnight success is a myth. 10 year overnight success is a much more plausible sentiment. People don’t just wake up one day and become super successful, or even semi-successful for that matter. It takes time, determination, persistence, grit, grind, and hard work. Sure you may start out with the winning biological lottery ticket and have some great natural skills but those things will only carry you so far in life. Hard work and persistence are the determinate factors between mediocre and amazing. This “little” goal of a public speaking event is no different. If you want to be an NBA basketball player, you have to go out everyday and shoot a basketball. If you want to be an Olympic swimmer, you have to be at the pool every day swimming. If you want to be a decent public speaker you have to get in front of an audience and speak… A lot! Don’t let the work scare you. Surround yourself with people who can help and guide you. Behind every great player is a great coach/team. Check out things like Toastmasters. Check out things like Snapchat and Facebook Live. Read a book on “Talk Like Ted“. Be a member of the audience at speaking engagements and critique them to no end. Do something! Anything! Just make sure it is something that is moving you toward your goals.
- Build credibility
- As an aspiring Real Estate Investor, I like to surround myself with people, read all the books, and network all over the place. Those things put me in the crowd but the only thing that will make me part of the actual crowd is to actually invest. I am no natural talent when it comes to investing. I have no prior Real Estate background nor do I have a Real Estate license. I do absorb things like a sponge and I know how I learn. I learn by doing. I bug people all the time if I can shadow them and do some of the dirty work. I make myself available to listen in and sometimes provide feedback about investment decisions. By doing this I am building credibility with people who actually matter in Real Estate investing. There is no differentiation when it comes to any other goal. You have to put yourself out there and do the work. You must build credibility, not only with others but with yourself as well. You are going to make mistakes along the way. It is part of the process. Embrace this process rather than get discouraged by it. Most importantly put what you want out into the world. If you put it out there, in casual conversations, in meetings, in church, in a restaurant people will hear you. If you are passionate about it people will hear you very clearly. People who believe in your passion will inadvertently want to help out if they have the means. This help will more than likely open doors you never saw before and expose you to the resources that will get you closer to your goals.
Your goals may change over time… but the overarching theme will not:
Will the road be twisty and take you down paths you never expected? Of course it will, that is all part of the excitement of diving into the unknown. Putting yourself way outside of your comfort zone is a critical part of learning and growing. Start with a small goal if you must but do something that challenges you. Not only does this spark ingenuity it also drives passion. Doing things that are not comfortable creates passion in life. Its not the big goal that will scare you, its the first step toward that goal. Set the goal and go do the first step as soon as humanly possible. That first step should be kinetic, something that demands physical involvement. If your goal is to learn a new programming language your first step should be to sit down and figure out how to set up the environment you need in order to start coding. If your goal is to do a public speaking gig, your first step should be to figure out how to set up an environment where you can practice on a regular basis. Find a topic. Find an audience. Build a presentation (no matter how ugly it may be in the beginning). Present the material. Record the presentation if you can or have someone do it for you no matter how primitive the recording device.
I would even say presenting on Facebook live would be a good way to start getting over your fears. GET FEEDBACK IMMEDIATELY AFTER (which you will with Facebook live). This has a two-fold effect. You actually do something toward your goal and you set some high stakes in the process. Our lizard brains, which I speak so often of, are primitive at best and want us to be as comfortable as possible. Slap that lizard brain right in the eye and tell him or her to shut the hell up. Don’t listen to your lizard brain, unless it is telling you to run from a tiger. This is something that, again, takes time to condition but it can be conditioned.
I was just recently introduced to a product that I completely fell in love with. I have no affiliation with the company but this product blew my mind. Something so simple and yet so effective. The product is called PAVLOK. It is a wearable that will zap you when you are doing a habit you are trying to quit doing. Biting nails for example. It knows when you bit your nails and when it senses you are doing it you get a small zap. Yes an electrical zap. It sounds a little twisted (you can also get a vibration or audible alert) but it makes perfect sense. Why no one has thought of this sooner is beyond me. It is the Pavlovian response that makes this work, hence the namesake. If you get zapped enough times when trying to bite your nails, you will eventually stop biting your nails. Lizard brain… such a simple animal to manipulate. You have to set some stakes in order for the effects of conditioning to work properly. You may not need an electric shock but you do need something that may scare you more than the actual task you are trying to accomplish. Along the same lines you should also have a reward in place after you complete each step. Something small like a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine. Loss aversion (stakes) will be greater than the reward but reinforcement can be tackled on both ends in order to solidify the effects.
Go out and do great things! Put your goals out into the world. Create small steps that will bring you to the larger goal. Build credibility. Slap the shit out of the lizard brain when you see him creeping around the corner!