The Steps

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.

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Raw Materials and Raw Potential

The paper that you sign your name to when you sign your work benefits or go to the bank and fill out a withdrawal slip or sign an agreement with a new client is, at it’s rawest form, no more than wood that has been cut down by an ax or a chainsaw or some other tool. Raw materials make everything we have from smartphones to notebook paper to nutrients to even our bodies. Whether manufactured or not, everything on this earth was made from things that have always been found on the planet. Raw materials are the foundation of everything that our world is. It’s hard to think of it on such a basic level when we look at the greatness that has been created after millennia of human interaction but it’s all just rocks, wood, water, dirt, oil, and mined metals that have been manipulated to make that gorgeous Maserati you see on the street. Oh, and let’s not neglect the cows that made the leather interior. Either way, the car wasn’t made from car. It didn’t become great on its own. It was is the culmination of developing and combining many raw materials.

Now, let’s take that concept and apply it to being a young professional. Everything created by a successful person (however you define success) was created with raw potential. I’m not speaking of things that were passed down or gained by less than ethical means. I’m saying that any successful person who pulled themselves up did so by developing the raw potential they had into greatness. I look at the stories of motivators like Eric Thomas (at an elevated point in his career) or Greg E. Hill (at a strong point in his early years) and think about both of them hitting what they both expressed as being rock bottom, only to use that as momentum to shoot up. Or I look at Vince Jamael, a barber from Fayetteville, NC who is now one of the premier groomers on the east coast and I think about the fact that, when I saw him come to UNCG, he had raw potential and now he himself is a brand that is strengthening the brands around him. Or Devon Smith, a young man I met during his freshman (my junior) year who had a desire to succeed but didn’t know what he wanted  to succeed in. With some honing and grooming, he worked his way up to New York and now works at Revolt, a major player in the millennial lifestyle industry, as well as has developed a brand of his own, Infinite Magazine, that is gaining notoriety around the country. I even look at my immediate past blog post, A Moment of Clarity, and I realize that my raw potential and hunger primed me to take the risks necessary to just go for greatness. So, whether you want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, Mother Teresa, or Michelle Obama, you have to take your ideas, your passions, your skills, and your gifts and put them together to reach toward your potential and your purpose. And, if you didn’t know, you don’t have to do it alone. Your network is one of those raw materials that you have to develop. It may be the most important aspect of your success, especially in this day and age where one share from the right person can put you in a position to expand your brand’s reach exponentially. So take your most valuable resource (time), combine it with your most essential resource (faith), and go out grind, knowing that there is something better for you than what you have now.

 

Make professional development a priority.