This year isn’t about knowing you can. Those of us in developed countries with the foresight required to be reading professional development material all know that we can do anything we set our minds to. The question is “Will you do what you can do?”
I’m tired of seeing people who are less skilled, less competent, and less passionate than I doing better than me in the things I know I should be doing. So, this year, I’m knocking down doors to get where I need to be AND to get paid a fair amount in those spaces. Why? Not because I can but because I will. Will you?
And this isn’t just about your professional or entrepreneurial goals. In October, though I never had, I knew I could run 60+ miles but I didn’t know I would until I had 10 days remaining to run the last 35 miles. In college, though I never had, I knew I could graduate but it wasn’t until that fifth year that I knew I would. Make this stuff happen. This is your life. Put in the time. Ask for constructive criticism. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. He called you by putting a fire in you to make something happen. That’s your calling. Step up to the plate. Now is the time. What are you going to do this year that you’ve never done?
Make knowing you will a priority.
It is a new year (you can pretty much say that for the first month-ish of a year, right?). 2017 (Crazy that I was born 30 years ago). And, to me, that just means that this is a new day. But to some, that means resolutions. What resolutions have you made? What are you going to do differently today that you didn’t do three days ago? My good friend Greg E. Hill always says, every day’s goal should be to be 0.1% better. That should be your goal today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life. Improve yourself bit by bit, day by day. Every day, I want to be a better disciple of Christ. A better husband. A better uncle (and one day, father). A better blogger. A better friend. A better family member. A better professional. A better steward of my body. And, if 1/1/2017 is the day that you date the beginning of that daily change, go for it.
But, to be better, you need benchmarks and a plan. So, whereas, I don’t do resolutions, I do believe that, whenever you decide to change, there must be defined steps. What steps will you take this week that you will thank yourself for next year? Though I don’t want to tell you what goals to set, I believe that, in this day and age, to be the best relies heavily on your base of knowledge so I’d strongly suggest that you find a book that will make you better at what you do. Make reading more one of your steps toward greatness.
It’s not about your resolutions, but your resolve.
Make professional development a priority.
“The disciplined person is the freest person of all.” — Dean Smith
On Easter Sunday, I had forgotten that my church, Friendship Baptist, was changing service times for the Resurrection Sunday. Since Forest Hills Church Pastor David Chadwick had come to speak at Friendship a few weeks ago and did a great job, Des and I decided we’d visit his church for service. While I got a great deal from the service on a spiritual level, I also heard the aforementioned Dean Smith quote and knew I had to share it today.
I am big on consistency. If you’re going to start doing something, have the discipline to do it consistently. It proves that you has control over your mind and body. If you don’t have the drive to do what it takes to reach your goals, your are letting outside forces influence your ability to succeed, ultimately making you a slave to whatever forces are holding you captive. So ask yourself what is holding you back from realizing your goals? Is it money and materials? Sex? Sleep? Laziness? Substance abuse? Whatever it is, have the discipline to regulate it and set yourself free so you can truly reach your potential.
Do not let things you can control keep you from reaching your goals.
Tonight (Friday) on my way to the Bobcats vs. Bulls game, I saw a sign outside the NASCAR Hall of Fame building that said “If winning was easy, losers would do it.” That statement speaks volumes. It doesn’t take much effort to give up. But continuing to strive for greatness is a true test. Being able to wake up daily and do what you have to do to be the best is both a character trait and a blessing. Don’t spit in the face of the Creator by not working to your potential. That is what losers do.
When being made into a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. by way if the Playboi Pi Zeta chapter, I learned a poem titled “The Test of a Man.” Though I could post it in its entirety from memory, I will not. I will only post a few lines that will serve as a conclusion to this post, though they are the beginning of the poem. Lines that separate winners from losers. Lines that I recite to myself when I want to give less than my all. Lines that let me know I am passing the test. Take them with you. Internalize them. Let them change you.
The test of a man is the fight that he makes
The grit that he daily shows
The way that he stands upon his feet
And takes life’s numerous bumps and blows
A coward can smile when there’s naught to fear
And nothing his progress bars
But it takes a man to stand and cheer
While the other fellow stars
Don’t give up.