I had an epiphany at 12 years old.
Staring into a mirror in a hallway bathroom in my house, I recognized that life didn’t owe me anything. There would be many on my path to love and care for me, but what I would become was up to me.
I don’t know all the reasons I arrived at that conclusion, but I somehow knew it was true.
And that realization became my personal mantra. I didn’t share it with anyone. I used it as fuel to push through challenges and to constantly explore the limits of my potential. It helped me to understand and accept myself.
It gave me tremendous personal power.
Other lessons have taken much longer to internalize and apply. Some are as obvious as mile markers on a highway yet equally mundane and easy to ignore. But that doesn’t make them any less true.
I’ve been thinking for months about what I wanted to share with you at this pivotal moment. A new year begins. What has been done is done—good or bad. It cannot be undone.
What counts now is what you will do—how you will maximize your time and your God-given potential in the season ahead.
I have many ideas I’d like to share with you on that topic over the next several months. This is a question I’ve been asking myself since I first stared into that mirror more than 40 years ago. If it’s all up to me, then how do I become the best me?
I believe good writing should teach us something. I admit I’ve read a ton of good advice I didn’t follow. I’ve read some of my own advice I didn’t follow! 😲
But when I sat down to consider what I would say to you today, it’s the following 5 additional epiphanies that life has been so kind to share with me in my 58 revolutions around the sun.
Don’t make these mistakes. I’ve already made them for you.
Mistake Number One — Quitting In The Valley
Accomplishing your most cherished goals will take longer and require far more than you planned. The business will take longer to catch fire. The relationship will be more difficult to build or restore. The renovation project will cost twice the budget.
Shall I go on?
My conclusion is this is simply how life works. You can push against this principle, or you can let it pull you out of the Valley of Despair when it feels like nothing is working according to plan. This is not a platitude. It will happen if you’ll remember:
The struggle is shaping your growth and potential. It is making you into the person you desire to become. Let it fuel your creativity. Allow it to develop your grit.
Difficulties don’t last forever. Life is a series of cycles—ebbs and flows. The tide goes out and returns to shore. God made you resilient. Your ship will come in.
You’re not alone. My 12-year-old epiphany and the others I’m sharing were borne out of pain. But they have shaped me for good, and I’m grateful. I’ve come to learn everyone I love and respect is experiencing phases of this dynamic at any given time. I’m not alone, and neither are you.
Difficulty does not mean your goal isn’t worthwhile or achievable. It’s the opposite—obstacles mean you are onto something.
Champions aren’t made on mountaintops. They are made in the valley. So don’t quit in the valley if you want to be a champion.
Mistake Number Two – Inconsistency
Success in any worthwhile pursuit requires dogged consistency. This is another Life Law you can take to the bank. Much of what we call broken, or some variation of “it didn’t work” can be attributed to a lack of consistency in the application of whatever it took to make it work.
Re-read that last sentence.
Let me be the first to raise my hand for this doozy. I won’t bore you with all the ways I would be thriving right now if I had only maintained consistency in my endeavors. Instead, I fell off, and called it something else.
This newsletter is an example of that. I am fighting to remain consistent. I don’t want to make this mistake in the year ahead. Please feel free to hold me accountable. Encouragement also helps. 🙂
The bottom line is if you are serious about an endeavor, you must find a way to be consistent.
✅ Schedule it.
✅ Automate it.
✅ Get accountability.
If you cannot find a way to be consistent, you should reconsider your goal.
Mistake Number Three – Inaction
My words for the year ahead are “Quantum Action.” That means I intend to act on my goals at epic levels. I am by nature a thinker. People love my creative thinking, but thoughts are only a beginning. Successful people add massive action to their thoughts.
To achieve your goals, you must get out of your head. You don’t need another podcast or YouTube explainer video. Instead, try experimenting with what you have already learned. Test it out in the theater of real life.
No one ever accomplished anything by incessant thought alone.
Mistake Number Four – Inattentiveness
In the past, I’ve come up with some Big Ideas and brought them to my audience. If the ideas didn’t work, I blamed the audience, social media platforms, advertising, algorithms, technology, partners, etc. The problem with that paradigm is the first part of that statement, i.e., “I came up with the ideas.”
Intrinsically, I know this is the wrong approach. I’ve written about it and taught it to many. But it’s one of those examples of not following my own advice.
The Internet affords everyone the option to validate any idea. The problem is this is a long-term approach. You have to continue to place your ideas before an audience and let them choose. Rather than offering what you think they want.
Flip the script.
Pay attention to your audience and let them tell you what they want. Then go and fulfill those needs with excellence. Adopt a “customer or other-centric” approach for your business or endeavor.
According to Forbes, over 4 million American workers quit their jobs each month in 2022. Much of this was attributed to stress at all levels of organizations, from line workers to the C-Suite. The World Health Organization now classifies burnout as a medical diagnosis.
I don’t have a silver bullet for this. I don’t think anyone does. What has helped me in times of excessive stress is to lean into my faith. But here’s the rub. I don’t wait for stressful times to do this. I practice relying upon my faith as a Daily Discipline, like exercise, professional work or attempting to eat 3 square meals a day.
That may sound strange to some people. Isn’t faith for the weekends? What does faith have to do with my office, clients, team, or any number of stressors in my life?
My short answer is everything.
We all have one life. We may live as if we lead different existences at the office, home, church, or temple, but that’s a fallacy. You are you.
Anywhere you go, there you are.
So, why not handle a business problem with a little more compassion, the way you would at home, or with some prayer and petitions to God like when you’re in a House of Faith? What’s the difference?
I believe it’s artificial. We create the boxes and the labels. We can create new ones or throw them all out.
I can’t count how many times I’ve closed my door and called upon God for help in a business matter. I also can’t properly articulate how healthy it’s been for me to know that I can turn to someone bigger than me and my problems to offload stress.
I recognize some of my readers may not claim any spiritual connection. This last piece is not a judgment about your spiritual practices or lack thereof. If that’s you, I used to be right where you are.
But I’ve found a better way.
For those who have stayed with this article, this long, a BIG THANK YOU!
I appreciate your time, and I hope some of my words will encourage and inspire you to action. On that note, I am shuttering some services, and experimenting with some new programs this year.
I am considering a Free Cohort on each of the following topics beginning in February. If you have any interest in being a Beta Participant, please send me a message through the link below and let me know which one.
Quantum Action MasterMind