Teammates, how do you stay Fired UP? It's a great question and one that I hear all the time. News flash -- you're not going to be Fired UP all the time...yep it's true, "I'm sorry to say so but, sadly it's true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you." Dr. Seuss continues,"unslumping yourself is hard to do." This quotation is from one of my favorite all-time books Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss: it acknowledges what every one of us will deal with in life...and some of us will have more "bang-ups and hang-ups" as we dare to do things differently and we challenge ourselves in new ways. When you push the envelope in whatever you do -- you will fail -- failing is a fact of life -- the key is understanding that you only ever fail if you never learn from your "failure". Thomas Edison once said he learned over 5,000 ways not to invent a light bulb -- I learned 1,475,000 dollars worth of how NOT to launch a fitness product -- in other words, you're not learning if you're not Failing!
So really, the key question is how do you stay Fired UP to keep trying -- to keep doing -- to keep persevering -- to keep from quitting -- to keep from giving up -- to keep persisting -- to keep pressing on after you've had your failures, or as Dr. Seuss would say, "your hang-ups and bang-ups."?
Having failed many more times in life than I've succeeded, I humbly offer you my three "secrets" for staying Fired UP in the face of adversity -- here goes:
1. When you set your goal -- the thing you want to accomplish and are willing to devote time to it -- first take the time to understand and visualize why this particular goal is important to you. Literally define the goal's purpose -- example: I want to create a fitness company -- its purpose to me is: working in an industry that will always be a part of my daily life and the joy I receive from helping others take control of their bodies is immeasurable -- furthermore, I want financial freedom and scheduling freedom to be with my family during the most precious years of their young adult lives. I've linked this purpose so strongly to my goal that failure to achieve isn't an option -- it's a similar linkage I had when conducting SEAL training, my attitude was they (the instructors) would have to kill me before I'd quit. I promise you, if you spend the time creating this linkage of purpose with your goal and you visualize both the pleasure of achieving it with the pain of not achieving it, you will have a created a foundation for tireless perseverance and there will be no brick wall thick enough or tall enough to stop you2. The bigger your goal the longer it will take you to accomplish it -- which means you need to have the stamina to maintain course and speed when things get bleak. I've always found and firmly believe in the concept of healthy body = healthy mind. Get yourself in shape! Your brain relies on your body for nourishment -- to give yourself the best possible chances for success you need to keep your brain and body partnership thriving through exercise and great nutrition.
3. Assuming you have the stamina to press on through thick and thin, you'll still need protection against the "quitter demons" -- these are the little voices you'll hear in your head or from those you love and trust or from repeated failures. To beat the little bastards back use the weapon of Perspective. Remind yourself of your position in life compared to those less fortunate -- and dig deep here -- example -- you can read, remember how many can't or perhaps once could, but no longer can -- that no one is shooting at you -- that food will be on your table tonight -- that you have friends, loved ones, clothes, so on and so on. Unlike thousands struggling to rebuild in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, you have a roof over your head. The key here is appreciating the perspective of your situation in comparison to other things in life. It'll keep you grounded and on track when others might want you to join their misery...after all misery loves company!
As you attack your 2010 goals, I hope you're able to use these to keep your persistence engine stoked, because at the end of day, persistence is the only thing that gets, and keeps, you going to achieve your goal. I'll leave you with my favorite quotation of all-time:
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "Press On!" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. J. Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States.
CHARLIE MIKE -- (Press On in military speak!) ALDEN
P.S. A huge goal for me was to climb Mt. Whitney before I turned 40 -- my picture is proof positive. Read all about it at my SEAL buddy Tim Grizzell's Fire in the Gut website! AMM
Alden Mills, creator of the Perfect Pushup, is CEO of Perfect Fitness, based in CA. Massachusetts born, Alden went to the Naval Academy where he went on to become a Navy SEAL. After retiring in 2000, he earned his MBA at Carnegie Mellon. His ultimate mission is to inspire everyone to pursue their own dreams. For more from Alden, check out www.perfectonline.com.