When you try to do anything challenging in life there are times when it can get overwhelming.
This can be especially true when you’re trying to make changes and improve your circumstances in life.
Depending on what else is happening you either get through it (all the better for the experience) or you start to sink under the weight.
I’ve certainly experienced that sinking feeling and I know where it leads… and it’s not a good place.
Groundhog day is real
I spent a good deal of time in that ‘not good’ place and I felt particularly frustrated that I was unable to apply all that I’ve learnt over the years from reading self-development books, the autobiographies of successful people and countless blogs.
I was finding it difficult do any meaningful work and struggling to keep on top of running the home, and as a work at home dad that’s an all round epic fail.
My relationships were suffering and I was spending all my time ‘putting out fires’ in almost every aspect of my life.
Making lasting changes seemed to be impossible and I kept slipping back repeating the same patterns over and over again ( just like in the movie).
I needed a solution
For a long time I had been aware of the “Be the change you wish to see in the world” mantra but I just didn’t get it. I mean I understood it, but it didn’t do anything for me. I couldn’t get excited about it, it was just too wide open, too broad in scope, too unfocussed.
I needed something definite to aim for, something I could act on immediately.
I recognised that part of the problem was I knew too much. I had read so many great pieces of advice and gems of wisdom that I had no hope of retrieving any of it during stressful or demanding times.
I knew I needed my own little mantra. Just one trigger – something that would set off a chain of thought that would lead me to make better choices and good decisions.
Be Awesome Every Day
I came up with “Be Awesome”, which quickly became “Be Awesome Every Day”
It’s not exactly ground breaking and it’s certainly not new (as I’ve subsequently discovered) but it has a special significance to me (that I’ll share at some point in the future).
And I know the word awesome gets a bad press but I like it, it hits the right note for me.
It suggests being or doing something special – something a little bit extra – something good – something worthy of the effort. It suggests impressive – important – cool – amazing – extraordinary – remarkable – outstanding – positive – optimistic – enthusiastic.
How To Be Awesome
But it was still too open-ended just like ‘Be the change’, so I added three more lines to it:
- Think Awesome Thoughts
- Do Awesome Things
- Be With Awesome People
Think Awesome Thoughts
Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”
You need to sort you out first before you can really make a dent in the world and this starts with getting your thinking straight.
Awesome thoughts are the thoughts that take you to where you want to go, not thoughts that anchor you in the past or paralyse you in the present.
You need to feel good about yourself, you need to believe in your own ability and override the lizard brain.
The voice in your head needs to become encouraging, positive and enthusiastic. You control this voice so make it say good things.
You have to have a dream. Having something to aim for that excites you, gives you something to get emotionally invested in. The emotional investment will give you the motivation you need to see it through.
You need to foster a positive mindset.
You need to be receptive to new information and be able to access a creative state of mind and it’s hard to do either of those things if you’re negative, anxious or angry.
Sometimes though we need to process the negative stuff, learn from it, and move on, quickly. Reframing helps enormously.
Decide what’s important and what isn’t ahead of time and spend most of your time thinking about important things.
Develop a robust mental toughness and a positive attitude – embrace positive self-talk, gratitude and optimism.
Changing the way you think takes time and requires continual practice, but it’s worth it. You’ll make better decisions and create better outcomes for yourself.
Do Awesome Things
Doing awesome things will move you to your goals much quicker than you might expect.
Doing awesome things, is doing what needs to be done for you to meet your goals and fulfil your dreams.
Actually, the things you do don’t have to be ‘awesome’. Often they’ll be mundane, sometimes tedious, sometimes unpleasant… but they become awesome by virtue of what they lead to.
Do the things that other people are not willing to do.
Do things that you’re proud of, things you can put your name to.
Do things that matter.
Be with Awesome People
Be with people you love. Make sure you protect these important relationships, because success without anyone to share it with is pretty hollow.
Be with people who share your enthusiasm and who leave you feeling amazing and invigorated.
(And avoid those who don’t ‘get you’.)
Be with people who inspire you and encourage you.
Be with people who have done what you are trying to do.
If you can’t be with them in person find another way to be with them. Read their blogs or their books. Listen to their speeches. Follow their twitter stream.
Be awesome even when you don’t want to
When the pressure is really on you won’t feel like being awesome… but you absolutely have to be!
When the pressure is on you’ll feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. You’ll be in pain and you’ll want to quit. You’ll become insular and defensive and if you let it go on for too long you’ll feel trapped.
When you feel trapped your survival instincts (lizard brain) will kick in and you’ll either lash out (probably at those closest to you), or you’ll curl up in a helpless ball hoping that it will all go away.
At the exact time when you need to be at your best (so that you can tap into your creativity and ingenuity) you’ll instead be crippled by fear and anxiety.
I know because I’ve been there.
It’s an aspirational thing
It takes time to incorporate this into your thinking and let it become part of your self-talk, but you have to try.
I know through bitter experience that you can’t afford to spend any time being ‘un-awesome’.
I’m not saying it’s easy to do, but I am saying it’s definitely worth the effort.
Hit reset, you jerk
Just like most other people I’m prone to moments of negativity. That’s normal and isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but what is bad is wallowing around in your misery and allowing it to prevent you from doing the things that matter, the things that will change your life and improve your situation.
‘Be awesome’ works for me because it acts as a reset.
When I catch myself feeling self-pity, or when the lizard brain is dominant and I catch myself behaving badly, it serves to snap me out of it.
It represents an opportunity to change and improve.
Being un-awesome (and I don’t mean as in average and ordinary, but as in the opposite of awesome) is damaging. It’s damaging to you, your relationships and your business / work.
And when you’re un-awesome there’s a good chance you’re probably being a jerk to yourself and to those around you.
“Be Awesome Every Day” is a reminder to myself to stop being a jerk and to be my best.
Can you really be awesome all day every day?
I think you’d be an impossibly smug person if you were truly awesome all day long, you’d have an ego the size of a bus, but that’s not what this is about.
It’s really a call to be your best self when you most need to be at your best – When time is short, when the pressure is high, when the baby has been crying for an hour, when you have a thousand errands to run, when you want to lose weight, when you’re tired, when you’ve had a set-back or two or three.
How you can use it?
What is it that you want to do?
- Lose weight
- Build a home business
- Change roles
- Deal with a midlife crisis
- Earn more money
- Run a marathon
- Cope with boisterous kids
- De-clutter your home
- Be financially independent
For you to realise your dreams, you have to do more than just turn up every day. Average and ordinary just won’t cut it. To achieve an awesome dream you need to be awesome every day.
Decide what your dream is. Decide what you need to do to achieve it and then do those things.
Become emotionally invested in the outcome and keep questioning whether your actions are in line with achieving the dream. If not: Think awesome thoughts – Do awesome things – Be with awesome people.
How have you been awesome today?
Picture (Creative Commons) Courtney Carmody