Since the beginning of this year, I have been meeting with many folks to share ideas and emotions around the current state of affairs as well as how to boost inspiration and create opportunities towards achieving our greatest success possible.
Most recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with a great friend, Luis Miguel Jiménez García, lawyer and co-owner of the firm Accuerda Abogados SLP. He is a very positive and proactive person, not to mention seasoned in his field, and always offers an endless array of wise insights and great ideas.
During our conversation we began to address key issues around what it is to operate – both as a professional and as a business owner – with dignity and success during this year, which so many have predicted will be a tough one. What emerged was so interesting that I wanted to share it with you here. To be clear, just as with positivity, it is not about always being happy, faking optimism or ignoring the very real challenges that we have in front of us. And to be certain, many people are enduring grave situations or working under unjust or unsustainable conditions, simply to support their families.
But I continue to insist that it is important that we keep addressing these issues because without actively discussing and fighting for solutions, we cannot expect success to find us. And we certainly cannot wait for external conditions to change as a prerequisite to mobilizing our best strengths in moving forward.
Some points in this article may seem more oriented towards business owners but they are, in fact, very relevant to us all. And this wonderful experience of exploring such topics with my dear friend has inspired me to launch a series of blogs dedicated to further conversations with people all over the world about how we can optimize our strengths, opportunities and positivity in times to come. If you wish to participate, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas and we can explore together how best to reach the greatness in each and every one of us.
1) Don’t drink the Kool-aid
We have to be aware and knowledgeable of the real circumstances in front of us but we cannot allow ourselves to buy into negative stories of impossibility and woe. If we continue to think in this manner, retelling the same complaints and disappointments, it will be the only thing we are capable of seeing. Not to mention the negative effect this will undoubtedly have on our energy and wellbeing.
Here is a truth: there is a great deal of available money in the world. It may seem unlikely as stories of scarcity run rampant these days but all you have to do is go out to your nearest mall or city center to see folks spending their money on countless things, many of which they don’t actually need. We also live in the age of the Internet where connecting with people and opportunities all over the world – or creating new businesses – is simply a matter of strategy, knowledge and a solid amount of motivation and effort.
“Like attracts like” and knowledge, like mood, is contagious. There are many people and organizations launching initiatives nowadays towards creating positive change in our world and boosting positivity. Reach out to them proactively. They will inspire, guide and connect you to many opportunities and resources that can lead you to the success and happiness you are looking for. You just have to ask.
At times we may be timid to initiate contact and ask for help, but if there is anything I have learned during my experiences, it is that positive and successful people are usually very willing to help out others who they see as genuinely dedicated to looking for solutions and creating positive change. My own opportunities, successes and revelations were in great part due to the help of people such as these.
3) Connect, connect, connect…
It is a question of numbers. The more contacts you make with people and organizations who complement your work, values, and interests, the more probability you will have in finding great opportunities. Many of them will be like seeds planted for the future but the more people know you and value your talents, the greater the possibility that they will remember you when a relevant opportunity arises.
Let it be natural and meaningful. Which is to say, it is not about indiscriminately distributing your resume or services to mass audiences, but rather strategically looking for and connecting to those who can really benefit from what you have to offer, both personally and professionally. Also, don’t forget to follow up with new contacts following an event, work in optimizing your presence on social network such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and show up as your authentic self, with your best energy and focus.
4) Know who are your real clients and employers.
Many people nowadays are using the crisis as an excuse to ask for free services or at a price way below the true value that you provide. This can be very dangerous because if you position yourself at a devalued level right now, later it will be very difficult to rise to the one that you deserve. Your talent and effort is valuable and don’t forget that you, like everyone else, have bills to pay and people to support.
BUT – and this is a very big “but” – it is completely different to strategically reach out to people and organizations with whom you wish to work, collaborate or simply connect and as such, offer them your time, attention or a sample of your work in order to establish a meaningful connection with future potential. Search them out actively and organize opportunities to meet – professional and casually – for the chance to listen to them, share ideas, all with the sincerity of offering your best as well as enjoying whatever benefits they may provide you. To receive, first you must give, but in a thoughtful and honest manner.
5) Serve, instead of selling or pleasing
I have a contradiction – I love to meet, listen, and speak with people but at times I have found it hard to fully “launch myself” and participate in events to connect with others and grow my network. For years I kept saying that I was a bit introverted and that I didn’t like to “sell myself”. But after a while I realized that deep down, I harbored an insecurity regarding my own personal and professional worth and how new people might receive me.
My core mission has always been to support people and organizations in achieving their own brand of happiness and success. And yes, organizations can also operate with and generate happiness in our communities. But at the moment of presenting my services, I would return to the uncomfortable notion of having to “sell myself” and to combat this, fell into the equally ineffective stance of trying to please others.
One of my own coaches, Sandy Schussel, helped me to change my perspective by re-centering myself in my original calling of SERVING, rather than pleasing or selling. It is not about me, it is about the good that I can provide to others. We all have a unique combination of talents that we can contribute to our world and there are always – ALWAYS – people who need and are looking for exactly what you have to offer.
Once I internalized this concept, I found a renewed confidence, and even passion, in participating in any opportunities where I could proactively connect with like-minded people.
How do you use your unique talents to serve our world?
6) Be strategic and patient in your mission
It is very easy to lose ourselves in thoughts about who we “should” be and what we “should” have already achieved. But this is a lie. Every initiative needs its proper time and effort to evolve, as well as the benefit of continued interaction with its real community. And this is a highly unpredictable process.
According to recent research about success in any profession, we need 10,000 hours of experience to become experts in something. Respect your own path and continue your work with the confidence that the good and bad that you encounter on your way is just part of the journey. The future never exists, only the present.
7) Invest in yourself
Your are your best advantage and as with any asset, you need to be well nurtured. A crisis is the exact moment in which we need to take advantage of education and the services of experts who can help us in achieving our goals. It doesn’t mean that you, as you are, are not “sufficient”. But the value of continued learning and the experiences that can bring out the best in us are unquestionable. Often times, simply opening yourself and reaching out to the support that is around you, will actually make you feel more confident, motivated and prepared as you continue forward.
There are many free or reasonably priced resources and others, though costly, that can provide you a benefit well above the price you will pay for them. I, myself have registered for various online courses, have hired an additional coach, and am even considering doctoral programs to further my research.
This includes openly and actively asking for feedback from experienced and trusted people in you life, that you can then apply as you best see fit. You will know who they are as they will be able to provide you with honest and respectful advice from the genuine desire to see you succeed.
You are worth your dreams.
Now, how can you boost your chances in achieving them?
8) Confront your fears, and then move on.
We all have fears. This is completely normal and a part of being human. The key is not existing without fear, but rather confronting it and finding ways to manage it and move forward.
Yet many of us avoid the very things that make us afraid thinking that if we look them in the face, we might fall into despair. There is a very important difference between allowing our fears to hijack us, create panic and anxiety, thus taking away our power AND confronting them in a proactive, organized and positive manner in order to address key issues and implement strategies to manage them and advance.
It is also a question of knowing ourselves. Some fears are about things we feel will trap us, pressure us towards something that we don’t want or force us into taking risks that we are not prepared to assume. These fears make sense and should be well analyzed.
But in the majority of cases it is about challenging our insecurities and going beyond our comfort zones in reaching the greatness to realize our dreams. And these fears are actually doors to growth, which with effective strategies, determination and experience, can be overcome. We have to realize that these types of fears are about things we imagine in the future that may never happen. Because success, can be just as likely.
As my friend says, when we actually experience in reality the situations that we have always feared, we often find that we are much stronger and more capable than we thought. And if we allow ourselves to let go of our negative “stories” and crutches, we will actually come to feel our true potential.
What strategies do you use to motivate past your fears?