Hard times had obviously struck paralysed former Australian NRL player Alex McKinnon, when he lay on the ground of the stadium not able to feel his legs.
In the wake of his devastating neck injury he suffered in 2014, those hard times compounded when he learned that this was going to be a long-term scenario. But Alex has an unbreakable resilience, an inner drive that can power him though the hardest of times. And I can see where he gets it: his fiercely ambitious and quietly humble old man.
Alex has been working fervently to make the best of his personal situation. He works at maintaining his positive mindset, and works his body as hard as he can. This is not just to keep busy. This man has a goal. He is working toward walking again, and he’ll get there if hard work can do it.
The thing that really struck me like a bolt of lightning was when Alex’s dad, Scott, was talking about how hard Alex was working at the gym and how diligent he was with his rehabilitation. He quoted “The secret to success is to be ready when your opportunity comes”.
Wow. That’s it, isn’t it?!
In coaching circles, we talk about certitude. An absolute certainty or conviction that something is the case. Imagine if you acted with the certainty that you would achieve your goals. Whether it is to surpass your professional targets or achieve an education certificate or to walk again. The thing is that if you have certitude of achieving a particular thing, then you act accordingly. Simply put, you DO the things that will make it so.
“The secret to success is to be ready when your opportunity comes” – Benjamin Disraeli
It is no coincidence that the people that sit on their butts dreaming, remain dreamers. The people that take action are the people who enact their dreams. Your life and your potential is fully and absolutely in your hands. This moment NOW is an opportunity to move forward with the certainty of a powerful future.
The big question is how do you acquire the certitude of success? Taking action when one is confident of a successful outcome is not a great difficulty. However, persevering through our own fears and doubts is significantly more challenging. In fact, I would make the bold statement that more often than not, that is why people fail. They stop trying because they lack the certitude of success and allow their fears and doubts to engulf them.
There are 3 things you can do to acquire the certitude of your success for any given goal:
1. Find inspiration in evidence
Many of us have these preconceived notions that people who have become massively successful in business and life are somehow different to us. That they are more intelligent, more talented, more privileged, or just ‘luckier’. This usually isn’t the case.
Go and feed your brain with biographies of successful people and books written by entrepreneurs. You soon start seeing a pattern forming, that these are just normal, regular, average people who simply followed a process to arrive at their success. A process that is entirely replicable. This confirms in your brain that success is possible.
2. Have a foolproof plan
Many people these days would say they set goals, but these ‘goals’ largely consist of sitting down once a year, writing down a wish list, then feeling guilt and disappointment three months later when the realisation hits that they’ve entirely fallen off the wagon. Don’t do that. Instead, put some real work into your plan.
Identify the major steps of your goal and break it right down to the daily, weekly, monthly actions that will have you arrive at your goal. Your plan should include strategies for how you keep yourself accountable and how to overcome challenges. This gives you total confidence that the plan will work (if you should just put it into practice).
3. Foster belief through visualization and affirmation
Most people are comfortable with the concept of problem versus solution focused. If you focus on the problem, all you find are problems, whereas if you focus on the solution, your brain is wired to take on a problem solving function. What interests me is how much people devalue the power of visualization and affirmation. These mental processes make your brain seek solutions. Through visualization you are using your mind to create a detailed tangible vision of what you want to achieve. This makes your goal real in your mind. Through affirmations you are taking control of what you say to yourself so that your thoughts result in emotions and behaviors that empower you to win. This effectively means that you use your brain in a way which brings about what you would like to have happen. It gives you the belief that YOU can make it work.
The certitude that one’s success is imminent is not a sign of egotism or cockiness. It is the self-belief and confidence of oneself and in the strategy employed that is a vital ingredient in the recipe for success. Alex McKinnon has a sense of certitude in gaining control over his body again because he has seen personal stories of this happening, he is doing the work to ready himself for the opportunity, and he can see it, feel it, and taste it in his mind.
There is truth behind the saying that “If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it”. Belief is the power behind action, and action is what leads to results. So before you embark on your next goal, create the certitude of success in your mind. When you see the outcome you want as a tangible truth that is within your power to create, it will be so.
Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
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Working alone at home might sound like a nightmare to some, but as a fully signed up introvert, working alone at home is an absolute dream. No energy-draining small talk, no noisy distractions, just peace and quiet to complete deep and focused work. Well not quite. Working alone at home has more challenges than you might expect. Boredom, lack of focus and lack of motivation to name a few.
When you start working for yourself, you quickly realise that one of the biggest problems you face isn’t the job itself. Maintaining your motivation poses a potentially huge difficulty. Much of that difficulty stems from working alone, rather than in a traditional office setting. There is also the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand. With no boss or supervisor looking over your shoulder, social media can distract or cat videos interrupt you.
But the greatest problem by far is a simple lack of motivation. There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to finish this project right now, making it far too easy to put it off until later. Left unchecked, a lack of motivation can cripple the work you are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few go-to tactics to improve my lone working motivation.
Here are some of the tools I’ve used to stay motivated and on-task.
These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.
1. Include short breaks
My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.
2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking
Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.
3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule
A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!
These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!
This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!
2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery
When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.
3. Love what you do
This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.
These last few tips are Industry-related!
1. Make sure you have fun projects
Not all of your work projects will be fun, but fight to make at least a couple of them fun. These might even be personal side projects, not particularly related to your main job. Or they might be in the same general field, but not your specific focus.
2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year
Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.
3. Schedule at least one call a week to learn something within your industry
View this as an opportunity for personal development. At least once a week, try to learn something new about your industry. For me, this might mean calling a new tool provider to demonstrate their gadgets. Whatever your industry, try to expand your horizons a little bit every week. You’ll learn new methods and make new connections at the same time.
These tips worked for me, hopefully, some of them will help you out as well. Above all, strive to enjoy what you do, stick to a “work schedule,” and look for opportunities for constant self-improvement. With those ideas in mind, you’ll find staying motivated much easier to do alone or in a group!
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