I don’t need to tell you how many obstacles stand between you and your dream becoming a reality. You know better than anyone the scale of what you are up against.
But, often, and I learned this the hard way, the biggest obstacle you face is you.
Or, more accurately, the biggest obstacle you face is the soundtrack that is constantly running through your mind – your self-talk.
A lot is made of self-talk – the words you speak silently to yourself as you confront the downs and embrace the ups of your journey. And rightly so, because self-talk can be your most powerful ally and yet also your most fearsome enemy, switching roles and allegiance in the blink of an eye.
I’ve seen, and been involved in, many projects that flourished through the power of positive self-talk. And I’ve seen, and been involved in, many projects that stumbled, and even failed, through the impact of negative self-talk. That experience taught me that no...
What if you didn't have to be the one - be the one to achieve it all, to make it to the top, to square the circle, or be the solution to the problem?
What if your goal - your purpose - was not to aim for, reach, and then break through your ceiling?
What if you didn't have to be the beginning, middle and end of the story, but rather the prequel to the next instalment of the adventure you found yourself in?
What would life look like then?
Totally amazing. That's how it would look.
The problem with having to be the one to make it to the top, or the squarer of circles, or the solution to the problem, or the whole story from start to finish, is that enough is never enough. Just as you think you've arrived you discover there is still more to do, further to travel.
And so you keep pushing. Pushing further, harder. Pushing to be bigger, better, stronger than you thought you needed to be.
Because the further you travelled, the more you came to realise that what you...
I'm a pretty confident guy, and I'm not short on self-belief.
Most of the time.
But, sometimes, in quiet, private moments, I sit and ask myself just who the hell I think I am: who am I kidding to think that I can change the world?
Do you have those moments, too? If you do, and I'm guessing you probably do, you'll know that in those quiet, private moments it's easy to convince yourself that you are a nobody, to compare yourself to the real revolutionaries who are making a real difference in the world. Who are you when compared to Richard Branson, or Blake Mycoskie, or Aung San Soo Yi, or Bob Geldof, or Bono?
But, frankly, why should it matter how you compare to Bono, or to anyone else for that matter?
The reason it seems to matter how you compare, and, for that matter. how your revolution compares, is that we have been conditioned to a vocabulary that espouses a message of 'bigger is better'. Words and phrases like 'create something epic', 'do something amazing',...
I'd like to share something personal with you, if that's OK?
Jeff Goins, a favourite blogger and author of mine, talks about being 'wrecked'. What he's referring to is the effect that some events can have on you - how they can 'wreck' you. These are the life changing events that impact you to such a degree that there is no way back from them. What was normal is gone, and what now is normal is something new.
I used to think of those events as being confined to third world mission trips, war zones and other far-away situations. I never imagined that you could be 'wrecked' in one of the western world's most vibrant and wealthy cities, home to a multi-billion dollar film industry and over a hundred thousand millionaires. But you can.
A year or two back, I was in Los Angeles for an amazing conference. As part of the conference experience we were housed in a $200 a night hotel. Ensconced in my funky, 300 square foot room, with flat screen TV and mini...
"Just go with the flow, man." It’s the battle cry of hipsters, the mantra of the 'spiritual’ and the ‘enlightened’. Going with the flow is the cool way to live. Maybe, if you believe the hype, it’s actually the only way to approach life.
Why get worked up? Why stress? Why strive? Why struggle? Just go where life takes you. Chill out. Relax. What will be will be.
Of course what will be will be. If you let it. If you let it, what will be can't be anything other than what it will be.
But why would you let it?
Why would you allow the course of your life - the path of your adventure - to be guided by chance, taking you to some unknown destination that is not of your choosing?
But, more importantly, why would you choose to deny the world the gifts and talents deep inside you, that are only ever brought to the surface by your stresses, your strivings and your struggles? Because that's what you do when you 'go with the flow' - you deny the world around you the...
The best adventures are messy - ragged around the edges, unpredictable, loose, fluid. They seem to stand far removed from the hum-drum of normal life, as they cry of freedom and craziness, of excitement and surprises.
But those adventures are out of reach for those of us who stand rooted in the hum-drum of normal life. Which is most of us. We will never get to taste the freedom, the craziness or excitement they offer, or experience the surprises they hold.
No, far from enjoying the wonder of adventure first-hand, those of us grounded in normality must satisfy our longings for adventure vicariously - through novels, or movies, or news reports and editorials of the achievements of others. Because, if movies, novels and newsreels are to be believed, adventures - especially the messy kind - are the sole domain of the real risk-takers - the action heroes and crazy fools who hold no regard for rules and order - the brave and reckless who live in the moment, with a sense of abandon for the...
About a week ago, I sat down and wrote a post. A shouty, ranty, pissed off kind of post.
But this isn't it.
I felt like I had my reasons for being shouty and ranty. It's been a tough few months. In fact, I'd go as far as to say it's been a shitty few months. Really shitty. So shitty, in fact, that I finally had enough, and, with Limp Bizkit's 'Break Stuff' blaring in the background, let rip in my journal. A proper spleen-venting session, releasing months of pent-up anger, frustration and disappointment.
And, as my spleen vented, and my fingers pounded the keys, the irony of having spent that day launching a new programme about managing your self-talk - mastering your inner voice so that your negative soundtrack stays firmly in its box - was not lost on me. Nor was the hypocrisy.
But, no matter how ironic, or hypocritical, the battle I was having with my self-talk undoubtedly was, I could not shake the soundtrack blaring in my mind.
A soundtrack that told me I was a failure.
We are all connected. Nothing exists in isolation. Yet so many revolutionaries end up on a lonely path, jaded from the knock-backs, let-downs and battle-scars, convinced that this thing that is ready to burst out of their soul must stand alone. But the problem with that lonely path is that it skews your reality.
I’ve walked that lonely path and experienced that skewed reality. I’d reached a point where I was so focused, so single-minded and blinkered in my approach, that it no longer bothered me that we couldn’t get the backing for our revolution, or build the team we needed, because I was going to change the world, by myself, if it killed me. I truly believed that my life was a self-contained book - a story written in its own right.
But that belief - that my life was a self-contained book - was arrogant.
The day I realised just how arrogant that belief was, I found myself deeply, deeply humbled. That day, I realised that, while...
Do you spend time wondering if you're making the right decision, or if you're in the right place, or if it's the right time? I do.
Or, at least I did.
You see, I've become convinced that there is no right decision, right place or right time. Instead, there's a 'sweet spot' - your 'middle'.
Your 'middle' is not about the decision you make, the location or the timing. It's all about alignment - aligning your activity with your strengths, skills and passions.
The significance of this hit me when I was chatting with my buddy, Steve.
Steve makes a ruckus wherever he goes. He's pioneered a ton of stuff. He's inspired others to make a ruckus and to pioneer new things. And he's enjoyed some real success. But now he's starting a new venture. And, as he was sharing his ideas and how they lined up with his vision, I realised how Steve's new venture aligned with his passions, his strengths and his skills in a way the other stuff he had been...