What are the big things that you want to accomplish this year?
Will they happen by default, or will you have muster resources to enable success? I imagine that if your goals are like mine, they aren’t going to happen without a lot of dedicated and focused effort. And, if they are really good goals, the kinds that stretch you and move you out of your comfort zone, persistence will be necessary because you are likely to experience setbacks and failures along the way.
So, what will you do today to invest energy into moving your goals forward? How are you preparing your mind for setbacks so that you can acknowledge them, learn, and then continue to move forward when they inevitably occur?
“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress: Working hard for something we love is called passion.”
While hard work for something you love might be tiring, you go to bed at night ready to tackle the next day and do it all again. When you are doing something you don’t like and are stressed, you go to bed with dread over what is to come.
How did you wake up this morning, energized or filled with dread?
“Observe and learn instead of react and respond. Everything doesn’t need your reaction. Conserve your energy for what matters.”
If you choose to live in a reactive state, you will be allocating your energy based on responding to the things that happen in your world versus intentionally planning the things you want and need to happen. Sometimes choosing to ignore the unimportant things is the wisest possible choice. If you aren’t careful, you can spend your best energy on things that matter the least.
“Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Focus on your character, not your reputation. Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes.”
Roy T. Bennett
I once saw John Maxwell speak on the topic of maximizing strengths. He said, “most people try to shore up their weaknesses because the world says this is where you need to focus. But let’s face it, this is an investment of effort with limited return. Why would you put all your effort into improving an area where you score a “4” to become at best a “6”. Instead, why don’t you invest the same amount of effort to turn a “7” into a “9” or an “8” into a “10.”
We only have so much energy to invest; shouldn’t we find a way to invest in the most impactful manner possible?
“The key that unlocks energy is desire. It’s also the key to a long and interesting life. If we expect to create any drive, any real force within ourselves, we have to get excited.”
What is it that gives you passion in your soul and awakes a desire to do more, go more, be more? Have you clearly identified or articulated those things which excite and energize you?
Now for the tough question. How much of your time do you choose to spend doing those things?
If you are simply existing and surviving through life then I would challenge you to break free and spend time thinking deeply about how you can better invest your time into those things that energize you.
This isn’t a “quit your job and go plant sunflowers” edict (if sunflowers are your thing…) It is a charge to be intentional on how you spend your time whether it is time spent pursuing your vocation or your advocation. Do more of those things that you have a deeply rooted internal drive to accomplish.
But how do you accomplish this in a highly fragmented world where there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day?
You have to relentlessly and with laser precision cull out everything that reduces the positive energy in your life. If you want to live an exciting life you have to say to learn to say no to the things that hold you back and yes to the things that bring you true joy and excitement. Make the choice to invest your time into those things that you desire. The energy you derive from this will impact every aspect of your being.
Or you could settle for a boring and listless life. It is your life after all, you can live it however you like…
“You are today where your thoughts have brought you, you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
What is the tomorrow that you want to create? Do you have it beautifully, richly, and vividly defined in your mind? Are those thoughts like the strong current of a roaring river, carrying you towards your goal with every passing second?
Or are you bobbing along in life, just content to float wherever the current around you happens to carry you?
Life is too short and precious to waste a second of it. Choose your thoughts carefully and embrace them with all the passion you can muster. Those things you are focused on today will define your future, whether you want them to or not…
“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”
How many things in life do we do with little or no energy? Why do we do them at all? I can think of many things that are just general “administrative” tasks that need to be performed as part of the whirlwind of life. Things that just have to get done. Period. End of story.
The challenge is how do we guard against an attitude of “just getting it done” and not let that creep into how we approach the rest of our lives? How do we ensure that “white hot and passionate” is how we are living as a rule instead of as an exception?
I suggest that we should be intentional and reflective on how we approach the removal of things that we aren’t fully passionate about. Make a list of how you are going to spend your time today. Mark the things that you are energized to do. Mark the things that are just ho-hum.
Ask yourself this question, “does this thing, the ho-hum just get through it thing, really NEED to be done? Can I skip it?” If the answer is yes then kill it. Why is it even on your list in the first place?
If the answer is no, then take great care not to let that attitude and perspective creep into the things that you are passionate about. Rearrange your schedule, prioritize the energizing work, use your best hours of the day on the things that excite you. Above all else, guard your time that is to be spent on things that ignite your soul with the same passion that you protect your family and those that you love. If you don’t, then you are slowly, but surely, putting out your own fire…
“Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate.”
Jon Bon Jovi
Life is too short to waste a single moment. So what is “waste” as it relates to the entirety of our lives? Simply put it is doing anything where you can’t bring your energy and passion to bear in some way or another.
Passion is a choice. It is a choice in how you show up. It is a choice in how you choose to see the world. It is a choice in what you think, what you say, what you do, what you believe.
Is everything you do going to be something that you are 100% passionate about? Of course not. But every day, every single day, you can choose to find something that is worthy of all of your passion and your energy. It is there. You have to choose to see it, believe it and do it.
If you don’t make that choice are you truly even passionate about living?
“The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%.”
Where do you fall on this scale of energy and ability investment into your work? Are you “average?” Of course no one wants to be average so I assume that everyone would score themselves higher than 25%. But are you able to honestly say that you regularly put in more than 50% of your capacity?
If the answer is “no,” then why not? Not every day is going to be a 100% effort, or even a 50% effort kind of day. But the days where you invest over 50% should outnumber those that don’t. If that isn’t happening then perhaps there is something else going on.
If you are doing work that just doesn’t inspire and motivate you then let’s be honest, sometimes giving 25% can feel like 100%. It can feel like trying to fill a bucket that has tons of holes in it. No matter how much water you pour in, it simply won’t fill up.
There are two key components that are critical for you to score high on the work investment scale. One is the work itself, do you find it motivating and rewarding? The second is deeply understanding your “why.” Do you have a burning “why” that pushes you forward regardless of the work you are doing at the time?
Either the work will have to motivate you, or the “why” should. When you find both, that is when the magic happens. That’s how you score 100%.