Do you even know?
So often we hear people stating they feel lost; that they aren’t making progress / succeeding, or are unhappy due to their state of life. I know I have gone through periods in my life where I felt adrift with no motor. Unsure which way I was going, let alone which way I SHOULD be going.
Here is a framework that has helped me and many others … wishing this helps you find joy and happiness in your work projects and personal passions.
What to accomplish
Whether we are in the beginning or middle of our journeys towards our ambitions we need to decide what we wish to accomplish. These can change — so relax, you aren’t committing to this for your entire life. They will evolve and reflect your life experiences.
Here are a few ways to uncover what YOU should be trying to accomplish:
- Write down what you want to achieve in life
- Write down what you love and have a passion around
- See how these share similarities
- Now create a list of of these for the near term and long term (near = 3 months, long = 1 year)
At this point we have a list of what we wish to accomplish based on what you love reflecting your current point in life. Here is my list:
- Grow skills to engage more with product development engineers on achieving market success (products people love)
- Extend my impact as a coach and mentor through leadership, lessons, and massive collaboration
- Live a very long life healthy and fit to allow me to explore the world and move at speed with my daughter
I use my intentionality practices keep these top of mind and monitor my energy against these ambitions
Define your direction
Once I have landmarks that align to my place in life, my heart, and ambitions that will make me a better human (by my standard ;), I then set a path. Much like steering a boat or snowboarding — see where you want to go, stare at it, and go that way. When you are steering a boat, where you look is where the boat goes — same with our ambitions.
Here is the secret to going towards your direction — it won’t be a straight line, so don’t expect it to be. We are moving in a general direction, as the path is fraught with landscape changes and influences, but focused on the ambition itself.
Daily practice is necessary for you to move towards your ambitions:
- Write down DAILY what you pursuing
- List 3–5 activities you are doing THAT DAY to move closer to your ambitions
- Don’t rest until you cross them off, ever
I use this practice and it is astounding how effective it is to achieve your goals. Please know — this is a slow process, it’ll result in success but you are chipping away daily. If you have more time to commit, your results will be bigger and faster. Calibrate your anticipation of results appropriately
Audit your efforts
Calibrating your mindset against the energy you put into your ambitions daily is insightful and a breath of fresh air. Here is where I feel we get a bucket of cold water tossed on our heads. If you are feeling lost or unsure you are making progress, DO THIS NOW.
Use these questions to get a sense of where we are and what you can change:
- Where are you spending your energy (time daily)?
- How much time did you spend on your ambitions over the past 7 days?
- Are your 3–5 activities for your passions checked off and complete? (i.e., is your say / do ratio good?)
- Write down WHAT you are trying to accomplish — refresh what you believe you are seeking. How does that match your mind’s eye?
- List out HOW you are working to achieve your ambition, are you doing them?
- What are the challenges and blockers — how are they going to be tackled (this may mean 5 months of little progress as you overcome the hurdle)
- BE BRUTALLY HONEST — Play with the devil and angel on your shoulders, be kind and altruistic, and then just flat out non-politically correct. (this helps me to remove the insecurities and safety bumpers I build around my efforts)
You aren’t lost, you just started
For all those who just left high school, college, or have reset their lives at 35 .. relax and be patient. You literally just started in life. When we are growing and getting a base education — whether that was through school or through hard knocks, you were a passenger and following the flow of a system.
That system is designed to produce office /factory workers. It is built with established curriculum and set milestones to achieve. Life is far different and the paths are developed based on your steps, not in some pre-programmed future. This is great, and bad.
It is great because it means YOU decide each step and whether you are 22 or 52, those beginning steps are your own. You are just starting and much like everything appreciate the simple steps, slowly developing lessons, and then cherish the achievements you make. Day by day you will be defining your own path and thus future.
A future without certainty is bad but only if you have no direction. The reason is simple — the future comes no matter what. Whether you did what was necessary to live, be happy, and achieve your ambitions or not. The future will be today in a single breath, so it is on you to act intentionally.
(shout to Gary Vaynerchuk for the idea of patience when starting out)
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I am a father, study of human behavior, strategist, cybersecurity veteran, and a coach and mentor on a journey to give more than I receive everyday. I lead teams globally, build products, and daily an executive for a leading company where I serve the largest companies in the world using the largest cloud deployments in the world impacting the financial services, healthcare, and fintech industries. I provide these publications and content through my media agency to deliver insights and advantages. Mindset, mental strength, mentorship, personal improvement, health, fitness, and humanist ideas are drawn from personal research and practice. Everything read and heard is my original works and my own perspective. All rights reserved for noted authors and sources. I produce research and strategy, as well as provide advisory services that include inquiries, briefings, consulting projects, and presentations on published findings as well as bespoke speaking engagements where I often keynote at conferences, seminars, and roundtables annually.