I remember when I was in my mid-twenties… and even thirties. A formidable time when I was new to my career and business. And, I had a lot to learn.
Spoiler: I ended up taking advice, adopting beliefs and mindsets that in the long run, didn’t really serve me. I eventually created my own “advice”, beliefs and mindset and actually created my own practices around these.
One practice that started as chicken scratch I actually published into something physical. I tell you what that is at the end of the email — and yes, you can get your hands on it. And yes, there is a promo code.
I digress. In these formative years, I remember my mentors telling me to set goals. Envision the future and go for it. So I did. I imagined big dreams and pinned them into place. The message was “Do more, Be More, Have more.”
I remember being told to never stop learning. So, I read every book. Attended every workshop. Reading for enjoyment was for the unmotivated. No time to stop and smell the roses.
I remember I was motivated and toyed by the accomplishments. Part of that “goal setting” from above. You know, the adult version of a trophy collection. Instead of trophies that set on your shelf as a child, these are in the version of framed certificates or a next bullet point on your bio. For me, some of the biggest emotional rewards came in the form of a company awards ceremony announcement to be recognized as “Top in Sales,” (or some spin-off of that recognition).
Add on accomplishments like running an 8 minute a mile marathon to “qualify for the Boston Marathon,” or fill in the blank. But, did I ever stop to celebrate or let them sink in? Nope. I was just on to the next BHAG (big hairy audacious goal).
I remember being told to be grateful. I wanted to be grateful, but it seemed like, despite all the accomplishments, I was still failing. I was so far from my long-term goal. I wasn’t ungrateful, but there wasn’t time to sit around and think about things like this. I’d be grateful when I’d met all my ambitions and goals.
I remember being told that to be successful, you had to plan. Be “productive!” Not only did you need the goal, but you had to have the HOW all written down and fully spelled out. So, I would spend countless hours and meetings thinking through every metric and scenario. Then, the rest of the year would be about putting that plan into action, no sway — just follow the linear line. To not achieve the goal would be failure and that wasn’t an option. “Succeed at all costs…” If that’s not working, then work longer hours and be more productive.
And, although I was (am) a relationship person, because I was so driven to be successful — I didn’t have time for real relationships. Everything was business. So, all those times I meant to call or check-in… I didn’t because it didn’t fit into the business plan. And, there were only so many hours in a day.
Eventually — with some age and the wisdom that comes with it — I realized that I was missing my life in the pursuit of big business success and achievement. I called bullshit on so much of what I was told when I was younger and started making my own rules for success. Where it’s about life success that is gauged by the feelings of love and laughter…
Less about goals and more about intentions.
Less about being tough, and more about being present.
Less about how much I could learn, and more about implementing what I have learned.
Less about more is more, but “damn I did well.”
Less about what I needed, and more about what I had.
Less about the next thing and more about completion.
And less about my time and more the time I gave to others in my life.
Believe it or not, I developed a practice to be able to do this. Daily.
I tried the gratitude journal, it wasn’t enough. I tried writing my goals or intentions for the day on a sticky note — wasn’t enough. I tried making a to-do list, it wasn’t enough. I felt everything I’ve just mentioned deserved to share a space.
That shared “space” now lives in a journal I created.
It began as just chicken scratch in a blank journal I owned.
I began writing what I was thankful for. That same page then shared my intentions for the day. Later, I began to share my feelings in the moment, on that page. And more…
Eventually was born my proprietary journal, The IFLAGIT Journal.
If you haven’t learned by now, I work in acronyms. IFLAGIT is just that.
It looks like this: