You want to make a dent in this world, but you’re not optimistic.
You have a business idea, but you can’t control the market and its level of interest.
You have a job with room to grow, but you have no say on who gets the next promotion.
You have some serious skills, but like a tree falling in an empty forest, does it matter if no one’s around to notice?
Simply put, you fear that the variables that would initiate positive change in your life–promotions, a product that sells, a job opening in your chosen field–have nothing to do with you. Or at the very least, you don’t have much control over them.
You don’t get to decide the details of when your life takes off, and that drives you nuts.
But there’s hope for you yet; I promise.
You Aren’t The Only One
Take a minute and think of 5 of the most successful people that you know. Have ‘em locked and loaded? Perfect.
Now, what I want you to understand is this: they had the same amount of control in the outcome of their life as you do.
They didn’t get to decide who would like their product.
They didn’t get to decide what kind of students were in their classroom.
They didn’t get to decide when an opportunity opened up in their field of choice.
I don’t know who the 5 people are that are floating between your ears, but I promise you that no matter their field or career path, they were at the mercy of outside circumstances…just like you.
What may be different for them, however, is where they focused their attention. Instead of putting their focus on things outside circumstances, they spent all of their time worrying about what they could control:
Instead of spending energy on their prick of a boss that promoted someone over them, they decided to get better at their craft.
Instead of looking out at the crowded market and deciding that their product wouldn’t survive, they made sure their product was the best around.
Instead of worrying about their competition, they sharpened their skill set so that their resume would find its way to the top of the stack every single time.
There were variables outside of themselves that they couldn’t control, but by getting good at what they do best, those outside forces yielded to their power.
Get Really Effing Good
Putting your attention and focus on what you can do to improve your life is Step 1.
Getting really effing good at what you can control is Step 2 (and to be honest, most of the steps thereafter).
Once you realize what you have control over, you need to spend all of your energy becoming the best at it. Once you become a master of your craft, you will notice that the Universe starts to “bend” in your favor.
Think back to the 5 people that you identified in the last section of the article. Has it ever seemed that things just “worked out” for them?
Like, “Of course John met his dream girl! Things tend to work out for that guy.”
Or, “Chelsea got another promotion? Must be nice.”
It’s not that these people have dumb luck…
If you think that they truly have dumb luck:
…it’s that they’ve prepared so well for their window of opportunity that they were a natural fit to level up in their life.
Devote every ounce of your energy to mastering your craft, whatever that may be.
You can’t control what others think about you or your business idea, but you can control the fact that you are head and shoulders above the competition. That’s completely up to you and how good you decide to get.
Focus on what you can control: check.
Get really effing good at your craft: check.
Here comes the best part of this process and the juice of this article: the more attention and energy you give to what you currently control, the more things you’ll get to control in your future.
Think on that for a second and really let it sink in. Let’s play this out in a couple of situations just to let it marinate some more.
All you had control over in the beginning of your career was mastering your craft and winning the next case. You spent more time with old case studies than anyone else, you practiced your delivery in the mirror, and you wrote and rewrote your closing arguments until it felt right.
As time passed and you began to create a buzz for your work in the courtroom, you started landing larger cases, bigger clients, and began climbing the ladder. You shot to the top faster than your colleagues and are now their boss.
You didn’t waste time comparing yourself to others.
You didn’t worry about how quickly you could make partner.
You just got really good at what you had full control over: your craft.
That and that alone put you in a more powerful position than you would’ve ever risen to if you worried about what you couldn’t control.
You have an idea for a product that you feel could revolutionize the way companies find the right candidates for open positions.
Things you can’t control: companies interest, saturated marketplace, and a laundry list of other variables that could cause you to fail.
Things you can control: your product and how well it fills a need of the businesses that you’ll try to sell it to.
You observe your potential competitors and the pros and cons of their product.
You survey potential clients to see what needs they have.
You make sure that your idea both exceeds their needs and improves upon the flaws of your competitors products.
You go all in on how your product can be better. Your energy is devoted to simply making your product stand out. By the time you launch–surprise, surprise–your product does extremely well. Before long, you have made a place for yourself in the market and have built relationships with companies that will give you more leverage moving forward.
By focusing on what only you could control, you’ve put yourself in a position to have more control moving forward. While everyone else was worried about external markers of success and trying to reach them, you put all your eggs in the most appropriate basket: you.
So, let this be the wake up call that your mind needed to get you into gear.
Just because other people hold the power to decide your fate, doesn’t mean that you don’t have a say in the matter.
Focus on yourself, get so good that they have no choice but to pick you, then watch as more and more doors of opportunity fly open.
You are the creator of your destiny. Convincing yourself otherwise will only cement your current station in life.
Originally published at movingpastmediocre.com