1. Invest in others, not yourself
If you know me at all, then you know I’ve developed severe sensitivity to people who are selfish. Look around and most of what we hear revolves around, “take care of yourself, invest in yourself, look out for #1, if you haven’t taken care of yourself then how can you take care of others?”
All of that is indeed important, but let’s make sure we put others first. I believe in doing so, we cultivate a, “family, community, network” that will ultimately lead to a more fulfilling life.
Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s latest book asserts being a mentor and “paying it forward” is great, but being a sponsor is better. What’s the difference? A sponsor is a formal, structured agreement with the person you’re helping (i.e. protege) and has known mutual benefits for each other. Does that sound icky? I suggest taking her 7 major points, and only using the ones that are fully altruistic — and apply it to all aspects of your life, not just professionally.
- Identify the right mix of people to be with
- Include those with differing perspectives
- Inspire them and ignite their ambition
- Instruct them to develop key skill sets
- Inspect your picks for performance and loyalty
- Instigate a deal, detailing the terms of a relationship
- Invest three ways and reap the rewards.
2. Be nicer!
Last journal we emphasized focusing on others, not on ourselves. While doing that, let’s also remember to be nice to ourselves! Here’s why:
- You Can Perform Better — That’s right, thinking nice things about yourself leads to a better performance, both on your workout and in your meeting.
- You Can Be Happier — Isn’t this what we struggle so hard for in life? Get closer to it by doing this.
Too many ways to be nice:
As you can imagine, there are tons of advice out there that discuss ways to be nicer to ourselves. (Hence maybe why our society is so self-centered.) Yet, here I am giving you more advice on the same topic! Hmm, so let me try to be different!
- Develop a horrible memory — Instead of remembering all the details about when you failed at something, just forget it. Take the time to learn the lesson, but then just forget the details.
- Dump horrible people — It’s true that we are who we surround ourselves with. So why would you choose to hang out with people who are negative, mean to you and others? Ditch the drama and love only those who are positive, fair, and honest to us.
- Personal challenge — Agree to do at least a 30-day challenge, each day you write down something good that’s going on in your life. #positiveaffirmation
3. Reclaim your victory
Every so often, despite our best efforts, we start feeling down about ourselves. It could be in the gym when we feel like it’s not a good workout, or at work and feeling we aren’t performing the best, or at home in our relationship and not being a good partner.
The trick is, at any time, we can catch ourselves and simply start over. Master this and I guarantee you’ll be living smarter than most. I’ve been doing this more often and the only thing that gets in the way… is my own ego.
Ok, I stole this advice from a performance session on the Headspace App with founder, Andy Puddicombe, and Nike Running’s Global Head Coach, Chris Bennett. It applies to both meditation or while on a run, and I’m making the easy extrapolation it applies to everything in life.
Reclaim your victory means, for this example, while you’re running and you feel like you’re struggling, (i.e. not a good run for whatever reason), you can STOP your mental thoughts, and then start running in a way that you can be proud of yourself. In other words, why do you think it’s a crappy run? Because you feel like crap or because it’s a slow pace? Well, redefine what you think is success. “Maybe success for this run is just simply being outside and running!” That’s more than most people and more than just sitting on the couch! The moment you think to yourself this CAN BE a good run, it most likely will be. Apply this to halfway through a meeting, halfway in an argument, halfway in anything and redefine success. In other words, reclaim your victory.
4. Less “Regrats”
Is it possible to live a life of ‘no regrets?’ Would you even want to have a life of no regrets, and therefore look back upon a life where you lost nothing? Instead, how about we be honest with ourselves and realize there will be regrets, and it’s only a question of reducing them.
In other words, I’ve got tons of regrets in my life. From big ones like did I have stay in that relationship for too long, to small ones like should I have eaten that 3rd donut.
Here’s what I do… I simply ask myself, which one would I regret less.
I imagine going through with each option, and then “gut-checking” how it makes me feel.
- Is it nervousness or fear? Maybe you need to challenge yourself and get uncomfortable.
- Is the gut-feeling related to letting someone down or not being kind to yourself? Understand why you feel the way you do, then make the appropriate decision.
Most importantly, understand why you felt that way and learn something new about yourself.
- The Sponsor Effect: How to Be a Better Leader by Investing in Others
- The Performance-Boosting Benefits of Showing Yourself a Little Kindness
- How to get into running by getting into your head
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