No matter how wonderful life has been for you in the past, no matter what achievements you’ve enjoyed, a fantastic future still awaits you.
Your best days are still ahead of you! Believe in yourself and your dreams, and continue taking steps.
Your homework today is to take the next step and the one after that and the one after that. Break the steps into small pieces and break those into tiny bits. Keep breaking them down until you get to increments that you know for sure are a breeze for you to do. Then do them! Keep following through!
Oftentimes we can sense that we do have inside us all the raw talents, all the strength, all the intelligence, and everything we’ll need to achieve our dreams. But we don’t know how to access them. We don’t know how to pull them out, how to dig deep to get to them.
Sometimes the wrong idea gets stuck in our head that we have to be a lone wolf and achieve our success all by ourselves. We think that if we don’t do it alone then it somehow makes our success inferior or less than those people who it seems did achieve all by themselves
It’s okay to ask for help!
It’s extremely rare that someone achieved success totally on their own. The vast majority have all had help. They’ve all had someone who reached out a hand to them.
For proof of this, observe successful people that you know or know of. You’ll see that they collaborate with colleagues and co-workers. They ask questions to learn and to clarify their understanding. They read books, take classes, go to lectures and workshops. They observe and emulate people who are more successful than they are.
These are all ways of asking for help. And it’s more than okay to do what you need to do and ask what you need to ask to get the help you need!1
Your homework today is to ask for help with that step that you’re too overwhelmed to take or the one that you’re dragging your feet over or that other one that frightens you. Ask for help! It’s okay! Go ahead and ask for help!
Have you ever had one of those days when you’re feeling discouraged? Perhaps you’ve worked hard over a period of time and you just don’t see the progress. Or maybe things were going along just fine, then things started getting shaky, the next thing you knew it all fell apart…and now you’re back at square one.
Perhaps you’ve had one of those days when you were too anxious and fearful to do anything substantial, and you barely did the minimum to make it through the day. Maybe the anxiety comes from the fact that in order to achieve your dreams, you have to do things that you’ve never done before, or your dream is taking you to a place that you’ve never experienced. Or maybe it’s some sort of free-floating, nebulous fear. It isn’t enough to totally debilitate you but it’s certainly got you shackled.
Maybe you’ve had days where you know what you had to do but it was just so overwhelming. You didn’t know where—or how—to start. Perhaps the project/journey/task seemed too hard, too big, too much. Just thinking about it made you feel small, weak, and incapable.
When you’re having one of these kinds of days, you know you need to get yourself out of it. You know that staying in these states does not help you. They don’t make you feel good about yourself, they don’t energize you, and they don’t help you move forward.
The absolute worst thing you can do is to stay in these states.
But you don’t quite know what to do so you stay there, stuck, until something gets you out. But you never really get back to your full, triumphant stride. Instead, you sort of limp and hobble along.
What can you do to help yourself rather than relying on this hit-or-miss strategy?
The very best thing you can do is to ask—and answer!—the question “What can I do?”
Let’s say you are overwhelmed with the project of cleaning out a corner of one of your rooms so that you can have a clutter-free work space. Just thinking about it makes you want to go back to bed and pull the covers over your head! Instead, ask yourself what you can do on this project. Can you identify the easy things about this job? Can you then set the timer for 15 minutes and work on one of the easy things, such as tossing out all the junk mail or throwing away the things that are broken? If 15 minutes is too long, can you turn on your favorite song and work along to the beat (pop songs average 3 – 5 minutes)? Keep asking yourself “what can I do?” Follow through on doing it!
Same thing goes if you’re feeling anxious. What little thing can you do that flies under the radar of your anxiety, thus not triggering it or further enflaming it? Can you adapt the timer or favorite song technique and work on the periphery of the thing that’s causing anxiety? Sometimes there are thin edges and fragile protrusions that you can chip away at. They don’t amount to much when you look at them by themselves but over time they will—and do—add up! Flying under the radar like this helps you acclimate to the new place/skill/task and helps you see that there’s really nothing to be afraid of. Then you might be able to take bigger steps!
If you’ve hit a setback or you aren’t seeing progress and you’re wondering if you should throw in the towel…don’t do it! Don’t throw in that towel! Instead, ask yourself “What can I do?” This can be an opportunity to review what’s happened. Can you look at the journey/product/task from a different angle or perspective—such as from your customers’ point of view? Perhaps as you were working on the project, there was a tangent or offshoot that you noted but didn’t do anything about. Can you investigate that? Perhaps it’s a shortcut to where you’re trying to go!
There is always a little something that you can do. These little somethings add up to small bits. These small bits then pile up to make steps, which turn into progress and forward movement that you can really see!
Your homework today is to answer the question “What can I do?” Keep asking, keep answering, and keep following through!
You can do it, I know you can!
I’m so proud of you. You have an awesome can-do spirit!
Today is life—the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto, ~Dale Carnegie, author
Your homework today is to focus on what interests you, deeply interests you. Don’t be half-hearted or willy-nilly about it. Take the advice of the quote and let your interest get into your bones. Your interest has tremendous power and energy in it; let it infuse you!
It might be a little scary at first to delve into what interests you—especially to feel the potency of its energy. Take it one small step at a time, making each of them small enough to comfortably handle. Soon you’ll feel at-ease!
Dale Carnegie wrote and lectured on topics of self-improvement, salesmanship, interpersonal skills, and public speaking. He’s most famous for his blockbuster bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People.
He was remarkably astute in his observations. The following are several insightful quotes from him.
~Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest steppingstones to success.
~Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
~Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy!
~If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.
~Feeling sorry for yourself and your present condition is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.
~The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.
Your homework today is to carve out time to review your week. With Dale Carnegie’s quotes in mind, what can you learn from things that didn’t go right this week? What can you do in a different way that might lead to success? Is procrastination a problem? If so, can you break steps into small pieces and tiny bits to help yourself take action on them?
Next, make a plan for the upcoming week. Be realistic! Remember that there’s no race and no deadline so a slow and steady pace is just fine.
Also, make sure you acknowledge things that went well for you this week. Applaud yourself for the progress you have made, no matter how small. You are doing it; you’re making progress toward your dreams!