Seneca wrote, “If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.”
Over the last couple of years, things have really taken unexpected turns for everyone. I do not know anyone whose plans have not been affected by the pandemic. Some are people who plan their day/week/year to the minute, while others just had plans to go to the movies on Saturday.
Regardless of which personality type you identify with, when you do not know where you want to go (port), all external events feel as if they are working against you (wind).
Here are my five strategies for knowing where I’m going daily/weekly/yearly. I look at each day as a chance to reset. These strategies are the conscious decisions we must make along the way to achieve our goals.
- All actions should be complimentary – If your goal is to compete in a triathlon, you cannot also compete in a hot dog eating contest at the same time. You may be passionate about both, but eliminating one of these will add insurance to your efforts for achieving the other. Focus on the triathlon this year and eating hot dogs next year. “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek thoroughly uncovers the logic and strategies behind making better and meaningful choices in a multitude of situations.
- You cannot “make time” – You can only decide what to do with it. There is no such thing as making time for something later. Choose what is important to work on first and delay everything else. Even so-called emergencies (which are usually created by other people) should normally be deferred. Be ruthless with your time in work, play, and rest. Check out “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey for a time-commitment decision grid.
- Allies multiply your efforts and shorten timelines – Let’s be honest: most people are not practitioners of items 1 and 2. It is easy to find people who want to be distracted by getting involved with your journey. I’m not saying you should take advantage of people. If your destination requires expertise you do not possess, ask around. You will be surprised at how many people are willing to help with their time and talents — paid and unpaid. Tim Ferris wrote “The 4 Hour Work Week” and it opened my mind to what is possible with allies.
- The miracle morning – I recommend “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. Without spoiling it for you, much of the book is about preparing your mind for the day ahead and maintaining the long-range focus you need. You will learn about S.A.V.E.R.S.: Silence, Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing (writing). Although I have clear goals, this book helped me to refocus each day and keep “noise” out of my life. Also, with a flex work schedule, “The Miracle Morning” helped to define why I should start my day with a routine.
- Add money to your team – It’s a mental leap to understand that money can be your co-worker. We often think of money as simply a transactional tool. Make money, spend money. When money is put to work, it frees you to focus on navigating the ship instead of bailing water constantly. Invest in stocks, buy real estate, or explore cryptocurrency trading as ideas. You sleep; your money never does. Money problems are huge detractors from being able to focus on your destination. Read “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clason if you want a practical framework for putting money (any amount) to work for you.
Is your destination achieving health and wellness, reaching your career peak, building better relationships on a personal and business level, or simply finding a point of reset?
The most common reason employees are exiting current employers and the workforce entirely is the search for a reset. Reset in the shape of working at a job that matters to them, finding an optimal balance between work and family life, and taking early retirement.
I believe implementing any one of these five strategies will be a great start to finding favorable winds to reset your course in an almost post-pandemic life. Choose one and build upon it.
If you already know where you are sailing, remember to show grace and empathy to those around you. You could very well be the favorable wind in someone else’s sails.
“Decide what kind of life you want, then say no to everything that is not that.” – unknown
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