"The difference between who you are and who you want to be, is what you (diligently) do.” say’s Bill Phillips. A few months back I was on a three day hiking trip with a group of guys. After the first day, I decided to help with the stragglers at the end of the line to see if I could motivate them to keep pushing towards the goal. After all my encouragement and coaching there was one guy that just wasn't getting it. His comments were continually, “I’m trying, but it’s too hard." He wanted to quit so bad that he just sat on the ground refusing to continue. Now this wouldn't have been too bad but the rest of the group wasn't stopping and we were in the middle of no where with several miles before getting to a rest point. After several hours of "I can't....", I replied with, “Don't say I can't any more! You can put one foot in front of the other. Let's do that and we will get to our destiny." We can be the same way with our goals, stuck in the "I can't" and going no where. When we are there we cancel our own abilities. The only thing that will help us reach the end is diligence. Diligence is the continual persistent effort we put into each step to be successful in the long run.
3 Diligent Aspects
1. Constancy – If we want to get strong results, we must be willing to consistently overcome strong challenges. The hiker in my story wanted to reach the goal but he didn’t want to overcome the constant struggle of first making the next step in his mind and then putting his feet to work on the ground.
Constantly carrying your load and doing what you might not feel like doing is a part of being diligent. Face your obstacles and learn to overcome them. Don't be afraid to mess up and fail, but don't fail to get up, learn from it, and try again. Develop the constant “I can do it attitude” all the way, continuously pushing and pulling yourself to be better than who you were the moment before. This is your way to long term success.
2. Meticulous – A great writer once said, “Winners actually do sweat the small stuff; because they know that getting the details right is the difference between success and failure.” So often it's easy to pass over the hard stuff to avoid conflict but passing a step can be detrimental to long term success. We must keep the details in view of what we are doing.
Be diligent about covering the right details. Comb through the details and align yourself to the requirements. Schedule time to reflect on the details. As you develop this skill you will learn that the details do matter in your daily journey to success.
3. Hard work – David Bly said, “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.” We have become numb to the concept of "hard work". If we were honest we probably would turn the other way when we saw it coming. However, to obtain the success level we desire we must be ready to work hard. We must be willing to put in some blood, sweat, and tears for what we desire. I’m convinced that the faster we accept hard-work the quicker we can achieve our goals.
Overcome your fear of hard-work by embracing the challenge. Seek to gain an understanding of the reward for the effort. Keep in mind if hard work is done in the wrong direction it can cause you to arrive at the wrong place. Therefore, make sure it's on point by efficiently and effectively moving closer to your goals. The amount of harvest is determined by the amount of hard work you put into planting the right things.
Summary – Diligence is the constant, persistent effort of working hard to achieve a goal. Achieve your success by diligently applying the right details to the proper tasks for success. Be diligent!
Experts say that our confidence comes from our inner perception of our abilities to fulfill jobs and tasks that are before us. In other words, if we feel that we can do something great we will have confidence to do it. On the other hand, if we feel that we are not capable of success we are more prone to be apprehensive. A great writer said it this way, "Confidence comes naturally with success, but success comes only to those who are confident." Boosting our confidence must come from genuinely increasing our internal strengths. Let's look at some non-verbal languages that are reflected in our outward confidence.
3 Non-Verbal Boosters
1. Appearance – What we look like does matter because first impressions are hard to erase. Every day we are making an impression with the way we look. We are speaking volumes to something we like or don't like. So it is up to us to speak to the ones that reflect the image we desire. We are judged by our appearances long before we open our mouths. Therefore our appearance should reflect the internal confidence of good character.
Build your confidence in the way you appear by having it reflect the image of who you desire to be. Make sure your appearance style shows confidence and self pride to others not just you and your peers. True confidence should come from building good character within first (because you work to make that image a reality) and then should be reflected outwardly among the public.
2. Stride – How we walk shows the public how we feel about ourselves. Is our walk slow, tired, or painful? Is it spirited, energetic and purposeful? Whichever one we show displays our confidence level to others. In the wild, animals that have a slow sluggish stride are viewed as weak and therefore an easy prey. When we walk disconnected and confused about our purpose, we can easily miss opportunities that are around.
Make every effort to walk with confidence and purpose. Pick up your pace as if you have places to go, people to see, and important work to do. Confidence is gained by choosing to be an important person (because you know you are) and walking as if so. Then watch how others respond to your confidence as someone important because you make each step purposeful.
3. Posture – Our greatest possession is our bodies. We use it every day to accomplish tasks and duties. How we carry ourselves is known as our posture. It tells a story about our level of confidence. When we sit or stand with slumped shoulders and move lethargically with our tasks, we can be viewed as having low self confidence.
Pep up your posture by standing erect with your head up. When you speak to people, make eye contact and shake their hand firmly but not too tight. Let others know you are interested in them by giving them your undivided attention. This is showing that you respect their time and who they are. Respectful confident posture is being alert and attentive to situations all around.
Summary - Your confidence level can be boosted by presenting an appearance that is positioned towards your direction for life, walking as if you have purpose, and standing as if you are prepared for whatever comes you way. You can change your success level by boosting your confidence. Be sure to keep your confidence high because of your internal integrity and your arrogance low with humility.
There is a phrase that says, "No magic potions. No fairy dust. No one to do it for you. Just me. I will push you, show you how to put one determined foot in front of the other. That's what I will do. I am inside you... I'm called your inner strength. Dig deep down and find me."
Deep within us is an area of our beliefs that feed our emotions. It defines our reactions that we possess in the present and future. Dr. Donna Hicks says that one of the deep down beliefs that we crave is "dignity". Dignity is the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect. Even if we don't deserve it, everyone wants to be treated like they are special (respected). But there are two challenges that we face with dignity. The first is, we must poses the qualities that match the high esteemed dignity we desire. Second, is showing others dignity (respect) even when we don't feel it's deserved. To have the total success we desire requires us to poses dignity and give dignity.
3 Dignity Lived Out
1. Acceptance – Let's face it no one is just like us. Even if we were twins we would have different views because of our different perceptions and perspectives on what we have experience. Since, everyone has their own uniqueness we can assume that, no one will meet our exact standards. With that being the case we must be open to accepting and working with other's differences.
To show dignity (respect) to others, approach people as being neither inferior nor superior. This might require you to be more tolerant to others instead of being critical of their differences. It is good to also assume that others have integrity (no hidden alterative motives) before putting them in the criminal or offensive category. Give dignity to others because it is what you desire from others.
2. Inclusion – It is tough to include people that we feel are weak or would slow down what we want to accomplish. However, improvement in this area requires us to work on making others feel and be a part of what's going on. When I played neighborhood basketball I experience of the power of inclusion. When a team captain chose me to be on his team I was excited and empowered with esteem and worth (dignity). I had an increased desire to do my best and be of value to the one who chose me.
Inclusion goes two ways - You being apart of others and others being apart of you. You can add value to people by taking a moment to include them into what you do and you can increase your value by finding areas to get plugged into.
3. Understand – Steven Covey says we should, "seek to understand before we seek to be understood". Gaining a understanding of what's going on is a part of living out dignity (respect). Recognizing someone else for their talents, hard work, thoughtfulness, and/or assistance is priceless and valuable.
Show dignity with your thoughts and words. Use them to analyze truthfully to gain the understanding to govern your words to encourage instead of tearing down. Work to treat others justly, without discrimination. Believe that another person's thoughts matter by giving them a chance to explain and express their points of view. Then be willing to actively listen for understanding. That is showing dignity to others.
Summary - Learn how to increase your dignity (respect) by determining what you value and showing it to others first. If you want to be accepted, then accept others; if you want to be included, then included others; and if you like to be understood then work to understand others. Personal dignity is only increased when given first.
Implementing change is a common notion for the New Year. Resolutions or better commitments are made to hopefully improve the upcoming year. Statistics show that over half of the commitments (resolutions) made at the beginning of the year are dropped or broken within the first six months. So how can we make resolutions that will accomplish the changes we need? Les Brown says, “We may not accomplish every goal we set – no one does – but what really matters is having goals and going after them wholeheartedly.” In other words, be willing and ready to fail with the mindset of getting back up to try again no matter what.
1. Know Why – I once had a co-worker that did things only because everyone else seemed to be successful at it. He didn’t care if it fit him or not he just did it because it worked for the other person. Our resolutions should be made on what we value and really desire.
Decide what you really want to achieve and write it down. Don't be too concerned about what others want for you, if it is not in your focus for bettering you. Make goals for yourself. Try to be specific and realistic about what you want to achieve. For example: "I want a new job," is an open-ended dream compared to, "I want to work at FedEx headquarters in Memphis, TN as a manager." The more you can narrow down your goals with details of the passions within you, increases your chance for successful goals.
2. Know When – Often times I have set goals at the beginning of the year but had not really set a deadline when I wanted to reach my goals. This mind set caused many of my goals to be lost and forgotten due to just burn out and just everyday life.
Put a time limit on your goals. Sometimes to do this requires you to break up large goals into smaller ones that you can manage and gauge the progress. For example, if you're a freshmen in college, don't make your goal to graduate this spring. Your goal requires four years or more of consistent work. You present goal should be to get an “A” on the assignment you currently have; then to pass the class and so on and so forth. Consider the requirements needed to accomplish what you've set out to do and make your goals realistically connect.
3. Know Action – Many great plans never get acted upon. We might know “why we should do it” and “when we should do it”. But acting on our plan today and the days that follow require long term diligence. Zig Ziglar said this about action, “Setting goals helps to bring our future into our present because in the present is where we take action.”
Make everyday a day of "action" on the plan. If you really want to accomplish your specific goals, review them daily. Set a regular time to evaluate. (e.g. First thing in the morning, first fifteen minutes in the office, and/or a moment before going to bed.) Don’t be afraid to tweak and refine your goals as you act upon them you are bound to learn something with every act.
Summary – If you are making resolutions for the New Year and want to be successful, keep in mind - why the change is needed, when the change is best, and continuing acting out the desired change. Someone once said, “People with clear written goals accomplish more in a shorter period of time than people without them can ever imagine.” Go reach your goals today!