Wherever you are in your planning, here are six things your life is infinitely better with:
1. A clear purpose
It is not your sole responsibility to run a business, raise a family and maintain a social life as well as solve every pressing issue that exists: deforestation, global warming, pollution, inequality, homelessness and so on. In fact, trying to work on multiple causes often means you split your energy and have zero impact. As Confucius said, “The man who chases two rabbits, catches neither.”
Having a clear purpose that is true to your unique abilities and what you feel like you were put here to do helps align your every action and make the biggest different possible. In 2015 the United Nations agreed upon 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, to achieve a better world by 2030. You could choose one of these goals to focus your efforts towards. Be aware that contributing towards the goal of your choosing doesn’t have to be carried out on a worldwide scale. John Street, of charity free@last, works to eradicate poverty (UN global goal #1) in Nechells, Birmingham. His focus on a specific geographic area means his impact can be far higher than spreading his efforts thinly.
2. An inner circle of close friends
Where cultivating and maintaining relationships is concerned, quality is always better than quantity. Happiness comes from close friendships with a select few instead of arms-length, surface level interactions with hundreds. You do not need to know the daily lives of everyone on your Instagram feed, and they don’t need to know yours.
Problems and goals shared with close, trusted friends can mean they are alleviated and achieved in record time. Problems and goals shared with the whole world means your time is spent talking instead of taking action. Work out who in your life constitutes your inner circle and give just as much as you receive.
3. Your core team
No matter how productive or skilled you are, you cannot achieve the huge plans you have in mind without the help of a team. Having a team of business allies who are conscientious, dedicated and commercially aware is the difference between going far in a big way and feeling overwhelmed then giving up. I will never underestimate the impact of getting this right.
What’s most important is that everyone knows what they are responsible for and why, and has the best interests of each other at heart. Trust and loyalty aren’t given, they are earned, and that means for you too. Knowing that your core business team will always do the right thing, and that actually happening in practice, can be the single biggest factor of success, not to mention the single biggest factor for your sleep quality or your optimism for the future.
Confident people are impressive to watch, in the way they carry themselves, make eye contact, can handle any objectives in any situation and can always think on their feet. It’s awe-inspiring to watch someone in their element, doing what they do best, whilst making it look easy.
Whatever makes you feel like your most confident self is what you need to do. Think about how you dress, how you walk and talk, how you present yourself online and offline. Whatever makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable; address it head on and make a change. I believe that confidence is attainable for anyone and everyone’s life is infinitely better with it in tow. Confidence doesn’t mean being loud, brash or abrasive. Confidence can be quiet too. It might take more confidence to stay silent than have the last word. It might take more confidence to say no to an invitation than turn up out of obligation.
5. Awareness of your abilities
What are you really good at? What can you do better than 99% of others? What are the tasks you can complete excellently, every time and what are the activities that you find flow and enjoyment in carrying out? Knowing your strengths inside out means you can ensure your life is filled with not only those things you love to do, but those things that only you can do.
Similarly, have full clarity over your weaknesses. Know what you need to learn and how you need to improve, and keep addressing those things. That talk that didn’t go so well, that launch that flopped, that string of prospects who all said no; find out the reason and work on intentionally addressing it so that it doesn’t happen again. “We are what we repeatedly do”, said Aristotle. If you repeatedly display excellence you will repeatedly be excellent. If you repeatedly miss the mark and let people down, you’ll be a let down. Full awareness and intentional action is the difference between the former and the latter.
6. Role models
At any given time I have 3-4 people whose careers I follow. I choose people whose values align with mine and who I can take inspiration from. Role models should serve to inspire and motivate rather than provoke feelings of envy. My role models are constant proof that the goals I am trying to achieve can be achieved. If they are doing it, then I can too.
Wherever you are in your career, find people who remind you that you are capable of more. It stops complacency in its tracks and ensures you never stay still. You can pause and take stock, of course, but dreaming bigger and pushing past obstacles is part of this too. The role models you choose might have the reputation you’re after, the social media presence you’re working towards, the lifestyle you’d love or the business brand that you take inspiration from. You might one day overtake their efforts and seek new guidance.
An infinitely better life includes these six components: a clear purpose, a core team of business partners and close friends, full confidence and awareness in yourself and meaningful role models. It’s all attainable right now and you might be closer than you think.