Frank was right
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi
No excuses. Every action need not be extraordinary. But you have to start. You have to start with ordinary circumstances, execute the basics and keep pushing up. You have to attack the small stuff that’s right in front of you to get ready for the big leaps that show up later.
No brainer, right? Wrong. Too many compromise their steps up the ladder – they want to start at the top; they want to begin with quantum leaps rather than start with small steps. And they fail to complete the climb.
Doing the impossible is the rarified territory of the pros – the ones who just started by doing what’s necessary, and then moved their way up.
Be a pro.
Labor Day, Schmabor Day.
I respect those who work hard – everyone who puts in the time and effort. Everyone who intimately knows the struggle.
I also know the easy day was yesterday. Labor Day is a time to recharge, but it’s also a time to get ready to re-engage at a higher level. No matter our age.
To re-engage not in mere survival mode, but to re-engage and discover greater possibility within ourselves; to be always ready to seize opportunities that suddenly present themselves.
Opportunities show up unexpectedly. They occur in cycles of surge and stall. That’s why we don’t want to be caught napping. If we’re not out there, ready to ride the surge, we’re certain to fall with the stall.
Get ready, stay patiently persistent and engaged at full throttle. Be there to ride the surge.
Keep making choices
Smart ones. Deliberate ones. Purposeful ones.
Choices are experiments in shaping your life, in moving forward on your path.
They confirm that you’re in control – at least for the parts you can control. They give your actions meaning.
And always know that there is a way out when you make a not-so-great choice: it’s called forgiveness.
Explore the freedom in limitations
There is a kind of freedom in doing work under limitations. You narrow your scope. You focus on the essentials, and use your resources – money, people, and time – carefully. You get creative.
When there’s not enough money, and not enough time, and few resources available, you cut out the excess, you move past the way things are usually done, and you do the unusual.
When you embrace the freedom to innovate, you make magic despite limitations.
You don’t have to be a genius to make genius. – Ryan Holiday
Every day you experience moments of brilliance. Moments you miss if you’re not paying attention. Moments easily obscured when you focus on the ordinary, when you let yourself become distracted.
Don’t wait for inspiration. Don’t sit and dream about the time when genius might show up. It’s already there, already in and around you. Learn to be receptive.
Seize those fleeting moments and run with them. Probe them, ask questions of yourself and others. Test your ideas, push the envelope, and let those small moments build big momentum.
In a world consumed by distraction, single-tasking is a superpower.
When you’re with someone, be there. When you’re on a task, focus on it. Achievement is about prioritizing what you want to get done, and then getting it done.
You can’t straddle, and juggle, and dabble. You can’t have three conversations going on in your head at the same time. Engage the power of single-tasking and get things done.
Say what you mean
Dare to move beyond the verbal veneer. You have the right to be assertive with your thoughts and beliefs. You may be confronted by the politically correct crowd, the social justice warriors, the insolent, and those who just love to pick a fight. No matter. You know you can be assertive without being obnoxious, without being boorish..
Say what you mean, and know what you mean to say. Think first. Be deliberate. Remember: Thoughts can be incomplete. Words can be ambiguous and convey mixed messages. Intent can be misunderstood. People listen through their own filters, and everyone has an opinion. Make your message crisp and relevant.
Say what you mean, and believe in what you say. Speak thoughtfully and sparingly. Talk is cheaper than table salt, so wrap your words in value and love.
Recover from work
Unplug. Every day. Detach; create healthy boundaries. Resist the addiction.
Reduce the physical and psychological strain and stress that too much focus on work creates. It’s not sustainable. Too much work robs you of joyful life experiences, compromises relationships and leads to burn-out. At its worst, it can kill you.
Learn to do more in less time. Figure out what’s essential. Better to spend 5 hours in focused engagement – and get things done – than 10 hours in low-focus, distracted busyness.
Engage with your world. Find time. Create space. Grow and have fun doing it.
Pick up the phone
When something needs to be done, do it. Doing it is what separates you from most people. It drives your success.
Don’t play passive. Don’t start the job, and then walk away. Don’t just leave a voicemail, or email or text, and convince yourself you at least tried. Trying is a start, not an excuse. You have to get things done. You have to accomplish, to make the connection, and fulfill.
Win the battle that no one sees, and too few attempt. Complete the cycle. Finish what you set out to do.
In the dark moments
Be your best in the dark moments. When something crushes your spirit and leaves you doubting. When you feel you’re drowning in obligations and unfinished business. When it seems too hard, and you’re tempted to quit.
Reach inside, find the strength, and be your best. You will rise above your fears, doubts and fatigue, and take the next step.
Because you can.