The Great Pause is coming to an end across the country. Businesses are slowly (and hopefully safely) re-opening. Their owners are hoping to re-capture the magic they were experiencing in a vibrant economy before Covid-19 invaded our shores.
These brave souls have a job to do, a place to go, and a mission. But what about you? What kinds of things have you dreamed about during this downtime? While this pandemic has been very challenging and wreaked havoc across the land, it has also produced at least one silver lining-forcing us to come to a full stop and reconsider where we are and where we want to be. For 80 percent of us those two places are distinct destinations. We live where we are. We dream about where we want to be. Only 20 percent of us live where we dreamed we would- doing work that fits our skills and talents and interests and making a difference in our world. Surely you have pondered all of this while you sheltered in place. Me, too.
Now, it’s time to do something about what we have learned during this time. This is the hard part. There is momentum going one direction in your life and it’s going to take a real effort to turn it toward our true north. We’ll have to have a destination in mind and a road map to get us there. We’ll need benchmarks and signposts that let us know how the progress is, well, progressing.
Let’s begin with step one: Tuning out the naysayers around you. All great achievers who have lived successful lives have had the ability to choose great advisors who had their best interest at heart and no other agenda. Find those people in your life and keep them close. Make sure they are aiding your quest, not weighing you down as you walk. You need honesty, but you also need a cheerleader sometimes to encourage you to keep going. It’s important they understand your outsized dreams and not quash them.
There is a great Richard Branson story that I think illustrates what I am talking about. After he was already rich and famous with four of the largest corporations in all of Europe, he held a meeting with his closest advisors. At the beginning of the meeting, the financial expert in his organization passed out the financials to everyone present and then expounded on net profit for an hour or so. Branson pushed the paper aside and listened halfheartedly. After the meeting, one of his closest associates came to him privately and asked: “Richard, you don’t know what net profit is, do you?” It turned out that Mr. Branson suffers from dyslexia and couldn’t read the financials at all. The hour-long presentation and discussion only confused him. And, this had gone on for a very long time until this astute friend noticed on this day. After asking his question, Mr. Branson’s very good friend left the room they were in and in a few minutes he came back with a piece of poster board and a box of colored pencils. Without saying a word, he began drawing a picture of the ocean. “This sea, Richard, is your total income from all your companies.” Then, he drew a small net and placed it slightly above the water. It was filled with fish. “These fish are your net profit. There are a lot of fish in this net, Richard. Bottom line: we are doing well.”
This is what Generation Why Not?(R) people do. They don’t stop because they are challenged in some way. They press on anyway toward their dreams and their “Why”. They surround themselves with people like this amateur artist who kindly explained for the first time what Richard had guessed all along. He did it without judgement and his only agenda was to help.
I have lots of clients like Richard. Their goals are different. Some want to do a job from home so they can be with their kids more often. Some want to start their own business so they can touch lives every day. Some have big financial or artistic goals. They all have this in common: They believe they can and they wake up every day asking themselves, Why Not?
As you restart your life after this quiet time, ask yourself these questions:
- On a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being ideal), what thoughts do you need to be thinking… what words do you need to be saying.. to lead you in the direction of creating the business, relationships and life that you desire?
- What do you have to believe in order for you to reach your desired goals? For my book, I interviewed a teen actor named Colby who is autistic. Others thought he couldn’t do it and yet, he has made millions doing exactly that. I asked him what he had to believe to make it come to pass and he said, “I have to believe that I can do it! I have to believe in myself!”
- What is one new decision you will make to help reinforce your new thoughts and beliefs?
- What is one inspired action you will take today towards your desired goal?
Let me remind you it’s about attitude, not age. You can create your own life, the one you have longed for and you can begin the journey today by doing one thing. As our economy re-starts, re-start your dreams and then go out and accomplish them… because you can.
Ruth Klein is a brand strategist and productivity coach for CEO’s, entrepreneurs and sales teams and the author of the recently published book, Generation Why Not? 7 Principles to a Purposeful Business & Life, Driven by Attitude, Not Age.