Do Something You’ve Never Done

Last week, I posted about my 60 mile goal. With 11 days to go, I was 37 miles from my goal. Today, I hit mile 60 and, then, I kept running. Why? Because 62.14 miles is 100KM and I don’t know when I’ll ever be hitting this point again. Could be next month. Could be next year. Could be next lifetime. Who knows. All I know is that, today, I decided to accomplish something I’ve never done before. Why? Because, next time I want to accomplish something major when it comes to running, it has to be bigger than this. I’ve done a half-marathon. I’ve done a 100K month. What’s next? Either a full or 200K.

Now, let that translate to anything else in life. If you set a goal and you’re close to another goal, go ahead. Knock both out if you can. And then set a more challenging one next time around. You were given ability not so you could keep it to yourself but so that you could make some amazing waves on this third rock from the sun.

We’re 62 days until 2019. Don’t make excuses. Figure out how you can accomplish your goals.

 

Make smashing major goals a priority.

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Increase Your Likelihood of Success

At the beginning of this month, I told myself I would knock out 60 miles. Sounds easy, right? Just means I have to average 2 miles each day.

I started strong and continued strong. I was top three on my Nike Running Club app leaderboard… until homecoming. Since homecoming, I’ve had trouble making a dent in my goal.

Yesterday, I told myself, “You have 10 more days until the month is over and 35.4 miles to run. You can do seven five-mile runs (give or take), four ten-milers, or a variation of the two.” So, I knocked out 5.5 miles and called it quits.

Today, I recalculated; 9 days with 30 miles to do. That’s three ten-milers, ten three-milers, six five-mile runs, or five six-mile runs. I had time so I did the ten.

Now, as I recalculate for the remaining eight days, I have greatly increased my chances of succeeding. I can easily run five miles four times between now and next Wednesday to hit my goal. Tomorrow, I may knock out ten and really increase my chances of succeeding.

How can you take this and apply it to your life? What goals do you have for this month or year that seem to have gotten away from you? Maybe it’s saving money. Maybe it’s losing weight. Maybe it’s knocking out x books. Don’t think about the fact that you won’t get them done. Figure out how you will accomplish them. Do the math, then do more than the minimum. Keep chipping away and, before you know it, you will have reached the goal.

 

Make finishing a priority.

#TrendingThursday 2.0 – Num. 6

Success Lies Within You by Stephen T. Faley
This piece is by a guy I saw grow up with me in the Chapel Hill-Carborro City School system. He was a year or two younger than me and now he is a relatively successful businessman who I see making domestic and international business deals. This short piece is critical. So often, we look to others for the keys to success when, really, success is all about our own discipline and determination.

The Thriving Benefits of Curiosity by Dr. Srini Pillay
The older we get, the more we think we know. And, slowly but surely, our curiosity beings to dissipate exponentially with age until we think we know it all. The problem is, when we begin to realize we don’t know as much as we believe we do, we have real life responsibilities that deter us from following our curiosity. This piece, however, talks about the benefits of maintaining a level of curiosity.

3 Science-Backed Reasons You Need to Take a 5-Minute Walk Today by Abby Wolfe
I refuse to sit at my desk all day. Sometimes, I’ll look at the clock and see it says 3:34 and I’ve been sitting at my desk for the entire day (minus the necessary Keurig breaks). So I go out and take a walk around campus for 10-15 minutes. And now, it’s proven that doing that is actually good for me (not that I thought it wasn’t). Make sure you check out this article and then get up and move around sometimes.

 

Make professional development a priority.

9 Things Successful Women Never Do

While I don’t believe in the words “always” or “never” in the year 2017, I do believe that LaRae Quy makes some great points in this article. And, fellas, there is a ton we can take from this piece as well. All around good reading but, ladies, this one’s for you.

Often I was the only female FBI agent on my squad. I learned how to be successful amidst a variety of situations and circumstances. Most importantly, I learned what not to do if I wanted to compete in a male dominated environment.

I learned that my success was inexorably linked to the choices I made regarding attitude and subsequent actions. More often than not, it was the choice I made to kick myself into high gear rather than relying on someone else to do the kicking.

While every woman has her own definition of success, here are 9 things that successful women never do:

1. Successful Women Never Ignore Their Fears
If you want to move up, and ahead, you need to confront your fears head-on. Never waste valuable energy trying to avoid them; instead, use mental toughness to manage your thoughts, emotions, and behavior in ways that will set you up for success in business and life.

Suppressing a negative feeling only gives it more power, fueling our fears and slowing us down. In fact, trying to control what we fear will increase the likelihood it will happen.

2. Successful Women Never Run From Conflict
As a female FBI agent, I got burned by conflict, criticism, and unfairness—just like everyone else. The difference is that I did not cower into accommodating others to avoid enduring those negative feelings again.

People who shy away from conflict assume that conflict always looks aggressive, overbearing, and disrespectful. This is not true because conflict can camouflage itself in many forms. We need to be alert for any behavior from others that is attempting to manipulate our emotions or thoughts. Once we recognize conflict for what it is, we make a choice on how we respond to it, rather than react out of fear or ignorance.

3. Successful Women Never Listen To Their Inner Critic
I needed to nip that inner critic in the bud and eliminate inner voices of doubt and anxiety. I did this by choosing to focus my attention on positive feedback and constructive criticism—limited as it might be at times.

Mental toughness is being able to control how your mind thinks, rather than letting your mind control you. The key is learning how to manage your emotions with self-talk and using the right (and positive) words when controlling your thoughts.

4. Successful Women Never Expect Perfect Circumstances
Forget about finding the perfect job or waiting for perfect conditions before making a leap. Learn to differentiate between the pain of growing and the pain of suffering.

It’s easy to say that conditions are poor, nothing is going your way, and that you’ve been dealt an unfair hand. These are all excuses as you move further down the road of surrender.

Use what is at your disposal to keep moving forward in life—take a tip from MacGyver and learn to make the best of your situation. Mental toughness is approaching your circumstances with the right perspective and not expecting a break.

5. Successful Women Never Look At Their Past As A Mistake
I made a lot of mistakes as a new agent. At times it was embarrassing, but I vowed to learn from each one of them.

Some mistakes from our past can be painful or bad, but instead of wallowing in misery, look at them as opportunities to learn something that you didn’t know before it happened. Walk beside friends and colleagues who have made mistakes—you can learn from them, too.

The past does not define us, it simply prepares us for our journey toward success and wisdom.

6. Successful Women Never Miss Opportunities To Shine
I knew that many times the best way to be successful was to do what others were unwilling to do.

Identify those things that others hesitate to take on. It can be small and simple—it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, do it well and you will instantly differentiate yourself from the pack.

Then keep going because you never know where it will lead; often, we don’t know what opportunity looks like until we’re closer to it.

7. Successful Women Never Fail To Keep Their Cool
No matter my situation, I knew I was in total control of my life.

One of my favorite quotes is from St. Ignatius of Loyola: “Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you.”

Many people make excuses for themselves by saying luck determines whether they are successful or not. Mentally strong leaders are in control of their own luck because they see success or failure as something over which they are in control. Luck may have had some role in their present circumstances, but they don’t waste mental energy by worrying about what might happen.

Control your own luck by seizing opportunities to improve your life and situation. The result will either be a lucky break or the regret of a road not taken.

8. Successful Women Never Fail To Do Their Research
When I interviewed a suspect, I made sure I knew what I was talking about.

When you are meeting with potential investors, clients or customers, make sure you know what you are talking about—know where the landmines are before you open your mouth.

Do your homework; be polished, poised, and prepared.

9. Successful Women Never Say Quit
No matter how hard the investigation or how difficult the assignment, “quit” was the only four letter word I never heard in my 24 years in the FBI.

When you say “quit” or “can’t,” you are sacrificing ownership and control over your attitude and behavior. It shows you have created your own boundaries. When you say quit, you are sending a message about your fear of failure and a lack of grit in testing your limits.

 

LaRae Quy was an FBI undercover and counterintelligence agent for 24 years. LaRae is the author of “Secrets Of A Strong Mind” and “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths.” See her site and follow her on Twitter @LaRaeQuy.

 

Make professional development a priority.

What’s Really Important

The three most important things in my life are God, love, and peace. Is money nice? Sure. But I’ve had (what I saw as) obscene amounts and I’ve had none. Funny thing is, I was least happy in my life when my checking account balance was the largest it ever was as a single man. And, one of my favorite memories came at a time when I had no job, no money and my dad gave me what he had because he knew I needed it.

Love and peace are key because you cannot buy either. No matter how much money you have, you cannot purchase peace. You have to practice tranquility so that, when life does happen, as it always does, you can maintain a level of calm.

Simultaneously, love cannot be bought. Eventually, the money and the stardom dissipate. That is the ebb and flow of things. Kanye West won’t always be on the front page of The Inquirer. Joe Blow won’t always be in the unemployment line. Love has to be built on more than the right here and now.

Now, can a bunch of other subcategories be placed in those three? Certainly. I, personally, cannot have peace without health so I have to continue eating better and working out. I’m investing now in my future peace by going through a controlled level of struggle in the gym day by day. And, even though money isn’t everything, do I need to be saving so that I can enjoy retirement? Yes. Once again, it is an investment in my peace and the peace of my family.

Figure out what three things are important to you and how those three can connect to the rest of your life. Let that push you day by day.

 

Make figuring out what’s important a priority.

My Formula

Though I’m not yet “successful”, I am working toward success and I’m getting glimpses at it. My formula has been simple and will remain that way: create so much dope content consistently that, once you are discovered by an entity bigger than yourself, your body of work will speak for itself.

 Whether you see it every night or not, the moon does an amazing job of consistently taking the place of the sun in the sky. Some nights you see it in all of its magnificence. Some nights, you catch a sliver. Other nights, it isn’t seen at all. But it’s always there, doing its job because there are those nights when it really gets appreciated for all that it is.

I’m trying to be like the moon. I’ve been blogging for nearly 15 years now, jumping from platform to platform as my vision changed. For the past five years, I’ve been working on this, The Daniels Daily Reader. What once was a professional development blog for millennials is now a lifestyle blog for young professionals, touching on everything from business dress to leadership to issues facing society. I’ve written over 1,100 blog posts on this site and, as of late, 95% of the photographic content found on the blog is my own. My writing, my photography, and my points of view have matured since I began this blog but The Reader has always rested on two key characteristics: consistency and quality.

So, when Corey Freeman, Creative Director of LionsHead Media, approached me, said he’d seen my work and and presented me with the opportunity to work with his company, I thought “Wow. Writing on this channel for five years and now, my shot is here? I’m ready.”

I have a body of work. That body is so extensive, I am going to be able to use it to create a book without having to come up with too much additional content. And, as I continue growing, writing, and gaining more exposure, I know that what develops from this picture will be bright.

Consistency + Quality + Opportunity = Success


Make professional development a priority.

Really Take Time and Think

Success.  Such a simple word that is unable to be defined.  I can define every other word I have typed thus far in this post with ease for you.  The trick about success is you have to define it for yourself.  If you’re a musician, being successful could be represented by the winning of a Grammy.  But the Baha Men won one once upon a time and now they… Well, this post isn’t about who it was who let the dogs out.  Or, maybe a successful athlete defines success as winning a championship but you know Warren Sapp went bankrupt right?  In every field of human endeavor, there is a chance to be successful on a surface level.  But the truest success of all is leveraging your success to inspire a change.  More important than the Grammy is the song that wins it by influencing lives.  More important than the Super Bowl ring is the use of a player’s bonus to invest in a community center.

Take some time today to define success for yourself. Think of what it means long term.  Draw out a map of how you can get there.  And make it happen.  But, no matter what you do, don’t forget, “Who Let The Dogs Out?” should never be the end of your goal.

 

Make professional development a priority.