No one characteristic defines success, but we should consider expertise and character. Some people find success through their expertise. Others find success by utilizing great character and relying on others for expertise. Which do you utilize best?
This is obviously not a right or wrong question. We need both character and expertise to succeed. You alone can’t be successful. It requires the help of other people. Even when it feels like you are working on a project by yourself, you are probably getting help from sources such as books, videos, research data, or online searches. Many times we forget to be thankful for all that help.
Our work is impacted by our character. Our character is embedded in what we do. It exists the results of the work, and also in how the results impact others. The things we value will be visible in our output and our actions.
When we take time to reflect on our successes or our challenges, the scale between expertise and character can give us new insight. What would improve your results over the next week? Should you invest more time in your character or your expertise?
I grew up without seat belts, air bags, and bicycle helmets. Cars did not have backup cameras and sensors. In my youth, we were anything but safe. I rode my bike on busy streets with no bike path. I talked with strangers. I drank water directly from the garden hose. I built many unsafe and unstable tree houses. My friends and I used to play war games. We did not have paint ball guns. We used BB guns, and I am amazed no one lost an eye.
The world has changed since then. We have a new level of safety and comfort. That is great, but our life’s purpose is not safety and comfort.
Life is not without risk. Each day we face struggles that change us, and challenge us. We long to be safe, secure, and comfortable. Yet, we grow because of risk. We don’t improve through comfort. We improve through the trials of our lives.
Let’s examine purpose. First eliminate safety. Then eliminate comfort. Then eliminate the pursuit of personal possessions. Now define purpose. Hopefully you have uncovered more important pursuits.
Think about our daily routines. We want comfort, safety, and possessions that make life livable. Those things can be a goal, but each day we will grow if we include the pursuit of a bigger purpose. Get uncomfortable. You will survive.
The decision to move forward is a personal decision we are capable of making. Many times it is not the first option we think about. Thomas Edison said, “Be courageous! I have lived a long time. I have seen history repeat itself again and again. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has come out stronger and more prosperous. Be as brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!”
We tend to fear moving forward. When times are good, we get comfortable. When times are bad, we would like to go back to when times were more comfortable. In reality, the best course of action is always forward regardless if times are good or bad.
The battle to move forward is within us. It is not an external battle. Courage to change allows us to have a greater tomorrow. For me, I work to win this battle every day. I constantly review habits and routines revealing what to keep, what to drop, and what to change. What is your method to overcome fear and move forward?
A friend of mine was recently working on a project and had let the upcoming completion date be a high source of stress. Deadlines can cause stress. Stress can prevent us from achieving the success we desire. My friend eventually worked through their stress and met the deadline for their project. Hidden in her story is a great little lesson.
Do today, what is most important today. If every day you do what is most important, tomorrow will take care of itself. She was able to meet her project deadline because she made a point to get done today the requirements that needed to be done today for the project. Having a longer term plan, but a short term focus can eliminate the stress.
Check your to-do-list. If it looks the same every day, never changing, then do something different. For a week, forget your to-do-list. Instead, define the most important thing (or two or three) to accomplish today. Use this focus to break through the to-do-list stagnation. Build momentum towards a larger goal.
Action is a strong deterrent to stress. I have coached many people that have missed deadlines because they put off taking action. A large project is accomplished through small meaningful actions accumulated over many days. If you can define the action that needs to be done today, and you achieve that action, a large project becomes manageable. If you can take action every day, you will feel the stress fade.
When you think of your biggest goal, what is the action you need to take today?