Paris!

A monumental achievement. How about your life?

Welcome to my friend and first guest post contributor – Razwana Wahid, founder of Your Work Is Your Life.

This month marks the seventh month I have been living on my own in Paris.  On my own meaning I share the city with around 2 million other people, but I started off having no friends or family to welcome me when I arrived.  Being a little British-Asian girl from a small town in the north of England, and given that my sole purpose in life was supposed to be getting married and having children, this is quite an achievement for me.

I was never supposed to amount to anything.  Achievement or success was not on the cards.  In fact, the cards were of a completely different colour.  But as I grew older, I realised I had a taste for bigger things.  Well, pretty small things to most people, but big for me, given the expectations of me were so low.

So I left my small town, moved to London, had a blast, and then moved to Paris.

Pretty cool (for me).

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I want to do more. I want to feel like I am growing – in physical strength, emotional intelligence, and self esteem.

Do you feel the same?  Do you want to do more with your life; making changes now that you know will change you forever?

I am marking 2013 as the year of achievement.  It’s the year we all set goals for ourselves and achieve them, with flair and style (and in heels if you’re anything like me).

But before you set out to achieve those goals, there are a few things to consider.  Five, to be precise:

1.       Courage comes after the act, not before

A common misconception about courage is that you have to have some before you do anything.

Au contraire.

The truth about courage is that it is built within you over time – as you are doing, not before you do anything.

Remember Popeye?  Those cartoons fed us one big, fat, lie.  He would eat a can of spinach to give him strength and courage, eliminating all his fear, before challenging his opponent.

In reality, the fear never actually goes away – you just have to channel it differently.

People we admire are as scared as the rest of us. Do you think Felix Baumgartner drank a dose of courage before putting on his space suit?  His courage was built as he remained committed to his goal.  If he had waited until he had the strength to achieve it (and it took him 7 years of planning and work) he would never have even completed the thought, let alone put on his suit.

The simple truth is: you don’t know what you are capable of until you test yourself.  You are capable of more than you realise.

So to be courageous – do more of the stuff you are scared of.

2.       ‘I don’t’ is more powerful than ‘I can’t’

One of those ‘I’ statements is empowering; the other is the beginning of excuses.

Let’s take vegetarians as an example.  Do you think vegetarians think to themselves:

‘I know I said I’m a vegetarian, but just this once, I will have a steak’

No.

Their statement is simple: ‘I don’t eat meat’.

Saying ‘I don’t’ makes your intention clear.  You have made this decision.  ‘I can’t’ implies you don’t have the ability.

Now, of course, there are some changes that we make that do not necessarily mean we stick to them 100% of them time.  For example, I’ve made a commitment to wake up at 5.30am so I can work on my blog.  Will I do this every day?  Definitely not!

If you decide you are going to do something but will also take some breaks, then…

3.       It is not OK to take a break…

…when it is not planned.

We all have moments of weakness when we start something new.  But high achievers already know those moments of weakness will occur.  So what do they do?

They plan for them in advance.

Using the example of my goal to wake up at 5.30am without considering any moments of weakness:

My alarm goes off.  I open my eyes and evaluate how I feel on that particular morning.  Given that it’s still winter and dark outside, I will decide ‘well, just this once, I’ll press snooze; I can wake up early tomorrow’.  What are the chances I will actually get up when my alarm goes off tomorrow morning?  Pretty much zero.  This will continue on until 2 weeks have passed and I am feeling like a complete loser because I haven’t achieved my goal at all.

However, if I have planned which day I will not wake up early, then I know that that day is my ‘cheat’ day and I can stick to my schedule knowing I have a day of indulgence just around the corner.

It’s only human to fall off the wagon,  don’t use this as an excuse to slack off.  Plan your humanness into your schedule.

4.       The purpose of ‘what if’s’ is to ignore them

 What if I decide to have a Paleo diet and I then have no social life because all my friends like to eat is burgers and fries?

What if I go running every morning and eventually damage my knees?

What if I start my blog and nobody reads a word of it?

The ‘what if’s’ are also referred to as fears. Fears hold you back from starting anything.

The easiest way of managing fear is to listen to Vishnu – seriously!  Read this post on conquering fear here.  It contains all you need to know.

Yes, the ‘what if’s’ matter, but only when they don’t hold you back. Do think of the worst case scenario and consider what you would do if the worst case occurs. Is it really that bad?  No?  Then ignore this and move on to figuring out how you will achieve your goal.

But remember….

5.       Planning = Procrastination

There is a time to plan, and there is a time to do.

A plan is an obvious first step.  However, sitting and planning for weeks on end is comfortable and means you don’t actually have to do anything.

How do you feel when you tell your friends you your plans, like quitting your job or travel the world.  Doesn’t the mere concept of achieving something feel fantastic?

And how would it feel to actually achieve it?  10 times better, right?

So consider how you would feel if you talked about doing something, but never actually took one step towards it? Not so great, huh?

Are you ready to make 2013 the year of achievement?

Let’s make a commitment to test our abilities. Make it big or make it small. Anything.

Set a date.  Make a plan.  Get it done.

What fear is holding you back?  What will you do to curb the fear and get the achievement-train moving?  Please share your thoughts in the comment below.

Razwana

 

Razwana Wahid is the founder of Your Work Is Your Life, a movement created around finding wildly wonderful work and a courageous career path you’re truly passionate about.  Read more at http://www.yourworkisyourlife.com