These four reminders kept me going when I didn’t know if I had the will to keep moving on.
The following article was taken from my upcoming book titled, Unlock Yourself. It has been re-purposed for this article on LinkedIn. The book is currently available on Amazon Kindle for FREE until April 24th.1. Focus on the Windshield and Not the Rear-View Mirror
You may be tempted to start thinking about your past and how everything that has happened hasn’t amounted to much. You started something and didn’t finish it, you set a goal that you weren’t able to accomplish, or you made plans that fell through.
I get it, I’ve been there. Frustrated because of the goals that I set, or the plans I had, weren’t accomplished. Thankfully, I had a mentor who encouraged me to stop spending so much time looking behind me, when I have so much more life in front of me.
You have to treat your life like a car. When you’re driving your car, where are you looking the majority of the time? In front of you, right? You’re looking through that big huge piece of glass called a windshield.
What would happen if you spent the majority of your time driving your car while looking in the rear-view mirror? (Insert horrible car crash sound!) 💥🚗
When you are creating a vision for your life, you have to keep your mind focused on what’s out in front of you, on the future, just like looking through that massive windshield. I’m sure you’ve noticed a drastic difference in the size of your rear-view mirror compared to your windshield.
Well, that is just a reminder for you to spend the majority of your time looking out in front of you, excited about where you’re going, and spending a very small amount of time looking at your past and sulking about where you’ve been.
Your past does not predict your future. No need to spend time dwelling on what’s behind you, when you have a vibrant and exciting life in front of you.2. Are you Running Away or Towards Something?
Maybe you were like me growing up. Maybe you didn’t know exactly where you wanted to go or what you wanted to do, but you just knew you didn’t want to be stuck in the same life you saw the people around you living.
I call this running away from something. It’s when you know, without a shadow of a doubt in your mind, that you want more, or something different, than the life you have. I “ran away” for years.
I knew I didn’t want to be like my dad. I knew I didn’t want to have a broken family. I knew I didn’t want to live in poverty. I knew I didn’t want to drop out of school. I knew I didn’t want to be stuck in the same rut that my family had been in, for the rest of my life. You know what I did? The opposite.
I countered the activity of every example I had in my life. My brother dropped out of school; I decided I was going to stay and finish. My dad abused drugs and alcohol; I decided I was never going to do touch that stuff. My brother had asthma from smoking; I decided to never pick up a cigarette.
I’m not throwing my family under the bus. I love and appreciate them to the fullest. I’m just giving you an example of decisions that I made to propel me forward. I was running. As a matter of fact, I was full out sprinting away from my circumstances.
I didn’t know where exactly I was going to end up, but I knew for sure that it was NOT going to be where I was. It’s okay to run away from what you don’t want. It is a great way to begin to envision a future greater than your current circumstances.
The only issue with that, is you never truly know where you’re going and you typically just end up running with no direction, wasting time and energy. At some point, you will have to determine a destination.
Honestly, I can say that I was “running away” until I was 22 years old. That’s when I met a mentor of mine who encouraged me to start running toward something. He helped me visualize the life I truly wanted to live, and more importantly, he helped me identify the vehicle that would allow me to achieve it.
All too often, we are running a race and we have no idea what is at the finish line. We climb corporate ladders that are placed against buildings that we don’t even want to reach the top of. Why? Because we haven’t slowed down long enough to determine where we want to go, or how we want to live.
You know, a GPS without a destination is pretty much useless. We owe it to ourselves to think about our future; think about how we really want it to look. Paint a picture of your upshot and work your butt off pursuing it.3. Backed By a Why
Your why is the thing that drives you, when everything, and everyone, is telling you to quit. Your why moves you to action when you want to just lay on the couch and watch Netflix. Your why is the fuel that will continue to thrust you toward your upshot.
A vision is great, but if it’s not backed by a deep emotional why, it has a very slim chance of being accomplished. What makes you cry? What can’t you live without? Who do you need to prove wrong? Who you need to prove right?
Identifying your why will give you a new sense of purpose in your life.
My why(s )have changed over the years. Growing up, it was primarily fear that motivated me. Fear of poverty. Fear of being like my dad. Fear of being stuck where I was forever. I hated that feeling so much that I did everything that I could to avoid that outcome.
Today, I’m not living in poverty. I am a dad and I’m nothing like mine. And I’m much further along than where I would have been if I let my past dictate my present.
Today, my why(s) are future focused. My number one why is my family. I have a wife, a son and, as I’m writing this, a son on the way. They are the primary reasons why I get up and do what I do, every single day.
If I don’t produce at work, they don’t eat. If I’m not a good positive example they can follow, it’s a good chance that they will develop negative habits. If I don’t lead myself, how can I ever expect to lead them?
Another why of mine is legacy. I want to leave a legacy for my kids, grand kids, and great-grand kids that I haven’t even met yet. I heard a speaker at a leadership conference who said,
“Whatever you create with your life: your accomplishments, your habits, your goals, will become the ceiling for your children to stand on. Your ceiling, becomes their floor, the new height from which they can now start from.”
How high will you build your ceiling to set your kids up for greater success than you? I get it, some of you may be reading this thinking, “I don’t even have kids.” But will you? If not, do you have nieces and nephews or younger siblings that you want to see succeed?
A legacy stretches much further than just yourself or your own family. Martin Luther King Jr. left a legacy that we are all living out today, long after his death.4. Take Action
Now that you have goal backed by an emotional why, what’s next? Take immediate, massive action toward your goals! What can you do RIGHT NOW that will bring you closer to your goal?
15 minute workout? A phone call to tell a friend about a business idea you have? Maybe it’s simply writing your vision down on paper. Whatever it is, take action on it NOW.
Good things in life come to those who wait, but great things in life come to those who act!
One of my favorite books is, The Magic of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz. He talks about, “getting the action habit.” Your life is too important to wait for something big to happen.
You have to actively attack your goals! When I played football in college, I played defensive line. My coach would tear us a new one if we weren’t “on the attack.” He didn’t want us sitting back and just reacting to the play that the offense was running. He wanted us to ATTACK, full speed every single play.
That’s what I want you to do. Attack your life every single day with an action that moves you closer to your goals. Besides, success is just small positive actions compounded over time.
About the Author:
Eddie is an author and keynote speaker. He has a passion to help youth and young adults to break self-limiting beliefs and earn the success they were all born to create. If you’re interested in booking Eddie at your next event, click here.
You can learn more about his story here.