Missing the Mark: Where’s the Bullseye?

There are two targets in life for any attempt at success. The one you aim for, and the one you land on.

Now, with this principle in mind, looking at the 8 targets above, you’d be surprised to find that we probably don’t agree on where the bullseye is.

Well that’s a little silly. Unless he means the circle around the bullseye isn’t the bullseye and that the true bullseye is the X?

Close! Actually, the bullseye for me is the smallest spot of black on the X. The middle of the X, and then smaller than that. Why?

Because most people don’t aim for it. However, it’s the only target I see. The bullseye IS the target….until I miss. Then I reevaluate my strengths and weaknesses based on where my shot landed (second target).

When you’re striving for excellence, are you narrowing your focus enough to pinpoint exactly where you want to be? Don’t let the world set the standard. In competition, the rings count for something. You will be awarded points.

But get this: While I get the same amount of points for hitting the X as I would for being inside the smallest ring around the X, it’s not enough. Your standard should exceed anything anyone could ever set for you.

REMEMBER–special note: While striving for excellence, appreciate where you are, but always push towards where you want to be. Perfecting over perfection. You may never arrive, but you can always strive as hard as possible.

And whatever you do, do it now.

 

If You’re On-Time, You’re In A Rush

“If you’re on-time, you’re late.”

Sounds wise and shocking, until you realize it’s not. Impressive, because it takes something acceptable and makes it sound as though it’s completely unacceptable. Clever.

You get a little older and realize this is a lie. Kind of like when you clock-in at the last minute, fly into the parking lot by the seat of your pants a few times, show up to pick up a date at 7pm…on the dot, turn in that writing assignment to your eye-rolling professor, write “Happy Birthday” at 11:57 p.m. on someone’s facebook wall, and somehow make it to the curb with your trash can in the morning…and you know what? You got away with it. Because you’re not late. You’re in a rush. 

That’s the true saying: “If you’re on-time, you’re in a rush.”

Until now, it’s been unnoticeable to you. Because when you’re on-time, you’re good. Not great, but you’re good. And who’s going to tell you about this? Nobody. Because it’s your right. And you’re abusing it or giving up a life of peaceful, swift, and graceful entries in and out of each experience during the course of your very hurried life.

Think about it. You’re always in motion. Everything in your schedule leading up to an event and deadline in your life is now a slave to perfection and the absence of friction when you’re on-time. You don’t get to smoothly transition. You get to hurry. What used to be a negligible amount of change or deviation is now a deal-breaker. Traffic is a something to worry about. Married and a family man? Ask me how that works. Wait, don’t. I’ll tell you. Your wife can’t forget anything on the way to the car. Your kids can’t forget their favorite toy. You don’t get to look for your favorite station on the radio. The car will remain on 0 miles to empty. You will run to work. You will breathe heavily even after you’ve “made it”. Because you don’t have time on your side anymore. You surrendered that partnership when you waited until it was too late to be early.

On the other hand, you don’t have to make people wonder. You don’t have to be the person that others would love to hate, but can’t. It would have been easier to say “You don’t have to be difficult”, but that’s really what I meant to say there.

Instead of breaking even with your day, let me repeat that…instead of BREAKING EVEN with your day (meaning you gained nothing), why not invest in a small reserve of time that allows for human error? Avoid frustration. You’ll have to acknowledge that you can’t control everything, and that necessitates the need for a cushion of reserve time before the next appointment or commitment you’ve made. But trust me, it’s worth it. You’re less of a headache that way. You have less headaches that way. Ever seen the guy that always has a silly reason for being late when he finally is? Nobody cares a whole lot about that guy. They sympathize, but they can’t change him. Be the master of your schedule and make “early” the ideal, not simply the “noble” thing to do.

And whatever you do, do it now.

 

Becoming Ruthless in your Endeavors

I can’t talk about my job in detail.

But what I can tell you is how I prepare for it. Every morning.

The successful have rituals: a list of items to complete that provides more than just a feeling of accomplishment. I adopted and modified this approach based on the studies of Tim Ferris.

I wake up before anybody else does. Two hours pass before I clock in. Once the alarm goes off, I check my email, look at the news, check my facebook notifications, and then roll out of bed. Reading always helps me rub out the fogginess in the corner of my eyes.

After showering, I get dressed and begin to cook an egg and a slice of bacon.  My work shirt is already on the iron board with the iron heating up. I sit down to eat while listening to some smooth jazz or watching a biker documentary on our smart tv. We’re about 35-45 minutes into my morning so far. The ironing begins immediately afterwards.

5 minutes or so go into reading some Scripture. I read John Maxwell’s Leadership bible and enjoy his excerpts and breakdowns of the characters involved. He makes sure to break down their leadership qualities as well as their formulas for failure. This is my coaching time.

Afterwards, I spend 5 minutes reflecting. I let God guide my thoughts on each topic and ask that I have clarity on the direction I should take with my day. Running through each role I play, I start to think about where I’ve met success and where I’ve come up short. Father, husband, employee, coworker, friend…..what can be done differently? Candidly, I critique myself and think about my growth in each area. How can I serve more? How can I simplify my routine? How can I improve the quality of time within each category? How is my attitude displayed during the trials that each facet will offer?

My daily prayers are basic, but meaningful. At the very least, “Lord, please bless my day indeed. Keep your hand upon us. Keep us from evil and from causing pain. May your will be done, today. …I put it all in Your hands. Amen.”

That’s it. That’s the jist of what I need… I ask for blessings. More than I can fathom. When I say “bless my day indeed”, what I’m really asking for is for Him to bless me so abundantly that I can hardly believe it’s real. I want so much to the point that I’m overwhelmed. I ask for protection. Not just from natural occurences, but from evil itself. And from being the person at fault in any situation that’s regrettable. And finally, “May your will be done, today. …I put it all in Your hands. Amen.” I’m literally saying “Just do whatever You want! I don’t know if I’m ready for it, but let’s do it. Head-on. It’s all in Your hands. If I missed anything in my prayers, you know what I need and want. You know how to take care of my life. I trust that.

“Amen.” Basically, if my will is God’s will, then both will be done. There’s the hope of an alignment there. There’s the risk that I’m not asking for what He wants to give me. But I’m confident that if it is, then it’ll happen. Period.

60- 70 minutes into my day, I kiss my wife goodbye, head out the door, and ride to work on my Harley. I talk with a few supervisors, grab a cup of coffee in the breakroom, then walk through the door to the office. That’s where the remaining 50 minutes go. No matter what happens today, I’ve had my personal time. I’ve taken back that half of the day by starting it with my own schedule and choices.

I’m more relaxed. I have a plan for what I can foresee. I’m well-dressed, fed, and spiritually ready to tackle whatever comes at me. And throughout the entire morning, I’m repeating a variation of this one phrase…“I’m going to be RUTHLESS in achieving my goals.” 

“Nothing will bring me down today.”

“Anything so-and-so says is NOT a big deal.”

“My finances are not the beginning, nor end of me. I will become successful.”

“Be ruthless in your endeavors.”

Instead of putting myself down with negative thoughts or doubt, I’m amping myself up with positive motivation. I’m already anticipating the suck, but I won’t be a contributing part of it. I borrowed this approach and statement from Anthony Robbins. He’s a little more vulgar, using “taboo words” to break through comfort zones and transcend norms and mental restraints. I do the same, just not on this post *wink*. I’ll let you fill in the blanks.

I’m more relaxed. I have a plan for what I can foresee. I’m well-dressed, fed, and mentally ready to tackle whatever comes at me.

It’s simplistic and effective. It’s routine, but interesting. It’s flexible for changes, but unchanging in effect. Since I’ve started this, my morning is no longer in chaos. It’s not rushed, it’s not “on-time”, and it’s not “something to do”. Every minute has a purpose. There’s a handful of minor investments in life the second I open my eyes. And it’s a small part of what makes the day go from “good” to “great”.

What are your rituals? How can you improve your day and start a solid, empowering routine that will help you overcome obstacles and put yourself in an ideal position to embrace the productivity of your day? Make a routine and stick to it.

And whatever you do, do it now.

 

 

Tackling Y for the Sake of X: Addressing One Problem to Fix Another, and Loving It

You have a problem. Up until this point in the office, it’s gone unnoticed. How do we make the solution more attractive and deserving of immediate attention? Easy. Address a bigger or more pressing dilemma.

Improving your work environment is usually contingent upon the approval of someone in a position of higher authority. This presents you with the challenge of compelling rather than begging your boss to address your needs and wants.

Let’s call this: problem X. This can be your office supplies, computer equipment, office staffing, approval for an increased budget, etc….

Now, let’s look beyond Problem X to Problem Y.

Boss: “Well, that would be a huge help. Scanning into PDF form, utilizing a shared drive on the computer, and batching our paperwork processing would save us a lot space when filing and for documents subject to retention periods. We needed to figure something out on that front. So thank you.”

You: “Perfect. While we’re at it, can we purchase a desktop scanner? Something cost-efficient that would enable me to remain at my desk and upload files right away would speed up the process. It would free up the main printer for the rest of the office as well.”

Boss: “I don’t see why not. Send me a few quotes and I’ll bring it up at the next quarterly meeting.”

You’re willingness to become more efficient will often necessitate the need or increase the appeal of accommodating your requests. Rather than simply doing more to appear worthy of a favor, continue the theme of exchanged services (which is really what a job is to begin with) and position yourself to receive the benefit of efficiency. Oil the machine that pays you. Fix a bigger problem than the one you already have. One that is connected to the original issue you’re dealing with. You’ll find much more satisfaction in the return.

The reason behind this approach lies in the worst-case scenario.

“No.”

What are you left with? The idea you had originally pitched has been approved, so there is still some progress with your overall work ethic and daily strategy. Build yourself up and hope that the pack follows suit or is swept up in the fervor. Over time, a consistent stream of ideas will make the idea of change and spending the ideal rather than a break from the ordinary.