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Last Updated on November 25, 2019

How to Jump on the Road To Success Today

How to Jump on the Road To Success Today

It was like being hit in the head with a sledge hammer as she turned the corner expecting a clear street dotted with tall trees and bird song, her face had a look of utter shock and horror, how could this have happened? How could she find herself here?

When you are someone that works hard to get what you want in life, how can it be that you find yourself on the wrong road? How can you tell you are on the wrong road and what can you do about it?

The person above was a recent client, although to be fair it could be anyone of thousands who I’ve helped in one way or another who suddenly as they divulge their inner most thoughts, feelings and desires realises with acute horror that this is the wrong road.

That realization that they had been working incredibly hard and it is going to get them no nearer their goals and ambitions. The person above had come to me to look at how they could work their way up their career ladder while growing their own business.

And the reason for the smack in the head the opposite of a Eureka moment was because they’d realized they’d spent the last 2 years working tirelessly, long days, with determination and passion on a goal that they didn’t really want.

Often you find that people are working in a direction thinking it will lead them to what they want when in actual fact they are getting no closer to the things that really matter like happiness, health, fun and time.

Let’s look at how you can identify the wrong road, what you can do to get off of it and how you can get yourself working in the direction you really want so you can have a life that makes you feel genuinely happy, successful and full of life.

So what are the signs that you are on the wrong road?

  • Your bank balance looks healthy and yet it fills you with no joy.
  • Your schedule is booked with new business and yet you dread the thought of every meeting and every minute of work.
  • You get home at the end of the day dispirited and wishing you were on holiday.
  • You can’t get the idea out of your head that other people have better lives.
  • You lean heavily on the wrong things in life – box sets, alcohol, gym fixes, chocolate or spending sprees to feel good.
  • You procrastinate even when deadlines loom and don’t feel a lot of guilt if you miss deadlines or make mistakes.
  • Your face smiles and says “I’m fine” when people ask you how you feel and yet your heart and mind can’t register your smile or any satisfaction in the conversation.

These (and many more) are all signs that life is not working for you, that you don’t feel like you are on the road to success; rather the road to purgatory, endlessly destined to feel negative emotions and like you need a good holiday far away from here.

So, how to jump on the road to success?

I want to take you on a metaphorical journey, share with you some ideas I know work (because they’ve helped so many of my clients) and some routes to success from my clients about the kind of results you too could get if you are ready to jump on the road to success today.

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1. Plan Your Journey

    Sometimes we can be too close to the problem to create solutions.

    Have you ever noticed you are a genius at fixing other people’s life dilemmas and yet you lay awake thinking “What the hell do I do now?” or “How do I get out of this? Or “How do I get where I want to go?”

    A good idea can be to pull away from what you are looking to achieve and think in a more metaphorical way. When we stay too close to our problems and in our own heads, it can be hard to think clearly. That is often because our minds get bogged down with the negative emotions that our mind is happy to play out like any series of Friends that is on a loop somewhere in the world.

    Our brains love to finish things for us; find yourself thinking 1 + 1? It’s hard not to conclude “2”. Therefore when you want to find a new road to success first of all stop travelling down this one for a moment to assess where you are and where you thought you were aiming to go.

    You wouldn’t get in the car and drive from Alaska to Argentina without some preparation, would you? (My friend is about to do this very journey on a motorbike and the planning has taken nearly a year!)

    Consider your own journey and can you say you put in the effort to appreciate:

    • Where are you going?
    • Are you prepared?
    • Have you planned your route?

    Think about a long journey and the things you would load up into your car. Food, water, good music, a phone, GPS, or map? What else would you take with you?

    A journey planned is far more likely to reach its destination. Don’t think of your own ambitions or goals in life (remember we can be too close to our problems to work out the best course of action) imagine a road trip and the items you would deem essential, now add what you would feel would make the journey more enjoyable?

    Now bring yourself back to the issues that you feel are in your way, did you really plan for this trip properly? What do you need to add or do to help you get where you want to go?

    2. Choose the Right Transport

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      Would you jump on the highway on a 3 year olds tricycle? No? Why not?

      It will move you forward, it has wheels, what’s the issue? Obvious right, it clearly is the wrong tool for the job. It would be dangerous, you could physically get squashed and it could take you an awful long time!

      A perfect example is the client who was looking to take on a big challenge and they’d made the mistake of treating their friends and family like their mentor or coach. A real mentor or coach is only on your agenda, that is tough for a family member or friend to do without a lot of training. The minute this client realized that these people had an vested interest and didn’t want this person to get hurt, they could see they needed a new coach.

      One that would listen, challenge and enable them to go for what they really wanted. Tools for the journey come in many guises, metaphorical and physical, would you say you are using the right ones?

      3. Don’t Follow Everyone Else

        If you get lost, you might find you can see everyone else taking the turning up ahead and think to yourself “that must be the best way to go.” And before you know it, you are on a country lane in the middle of nowhere!

        If you have planned what you want, you then need to stick to it. Just because other people are going in different directions that doesn’t mean it is right for you. It is so important to know who you are.

        I think one of the most powerful things I do with clients is enable them to appreciate the science of being who they are, knowing what matters to them, what makes them excited, passionate, angry, determined. If you don’t know your own values, desires and passions in life, it can be all too easy to find yourself heading down someone else’s definition of success.

        Another sign that you are following other people’s roads to success is that you are easily convinced to try something new. Trying new things is good for you and your success, however they are detrimental to your success if you can’t honestly justify that they fit into your own agenda and life plans.

        4. Stay in the Same Lane

          Have you ever been stuck in a traffic jam and found yourself switching from one lane to the other, only to discover that the new lane seems to be the slow lane and the one you were in is now faster?

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          Infuriating isn’t it?

          A study by The University of Toronto researchers Dr Donald Redelmeier and Dr Robert Tibshirani found that cars that constantly switch lanes actually spend more time being passed by other vehicles than they would overtaking them. And probably find themselves a lot more stressed by the journey too.

          Sometimes you have to accept that the route to success is going to have a slow day and stick with it. On those days it is worth checking you are doing the best you can and are on the right track.

          Are you working in the best possible way? Could it be more beneficial to slow down and take the time to research ideas or further your knowledge (something you can always do in the car on a long journey with a podcast) so that your patience is rewarded with a broader knowledge to achieve your success.

          Don’t be tempted to divert from where you want to go, a slow day is still getting you nearer your success.

          Remember sticking to your own path that is right for you will not always feel easy. Sometimes it is the people that dared to think differently and act differently that change the world. Your own path is far more likely to help you be one of the disrupters, innovators, and thought leaders.

          A slower day can also be a great opportunity to ask yourself these questions:

          • What can I visualize coming up ahead?
          • What obstacles may I find in the future?
          • What plans do I have to deal with those obstacles?
          • What have I just been through that I know has helped me to get to this stage?
          • What have I journeyed though that I can replicate in the future?

          Understanding the science of being you, what works, how you naturally deal with obstacles can be massively empowering and motivating.

          5. Swap Lanes

            “Whoa Mandie, you just told us to stay in the same lane. Now you are telling us to swap, make up your mind!” I hear you complain.

            Hear me out.

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            I’ve seen clients belligerently carrying on with a plan of action and slogging their guts out on stupidly long hours and they look completely emotionally destroyed and like they will never get what they want. I remember one client who was stacked with new clients, business was booming and they were great at their job, but they hated every minute of it.

            It was really tough to admit that this was not what they wanted after all. They clung on for dear life to a perception of reality that didn’t exist and was causing a lot of stress and even the risk of burnout. By accepting how much they hated their job, they were able to change lanes.

            The assumption had been that they’d “been lucky” and couldn’t replicate that level of success again, that their partner would be frustrated and annoyed with them; breaking down the barriers to honesty and enabling them to see what they really wanted and needed to have the guts to do literally changed their whole life.

            They even discovered the constant stomach troubles that plagued them disappeared too. That was a bonus they’d not expected! It takes guts to change lane and realise you were going the wrong way, don’t be hard on yourself and go it alone, who will you lean on to ensure you know you are doing the right thing and can help you to achieve it?

            6. Know That Floods Will Be Ahead

              Whether you are facing a road block, a diversion, blizzards or storms. On the journey to success, no one gets a clear ride all the time.

              I know someone that lost their premises and they were devastated. They had put so much time, effort, money and life into their big ambition only to lose the premises that would bring it all beautifully to life.

              As we worked together, you could see that that was so huge to them they could easily have given up and be knocked into a path of action that would never make them happy. Here’s what we did to help them keep going (and for the record they are now in far more awesome premises and one of the leading distributors for their company in the country!)

              1. Is this really what you want?
              2. What have you learned from this situation?
              3. What could you do? (Make this a massive long list of options, don’t narrow down to time restrictions, financial consideration, health implications or even skill set. At this stage, write every possible idea down for your brain to process and play with.)
              4. What do I know I can do to move forward?
              5. Who do I need to rely on?
              6. Who is my positivity and results vampire? (You know the person that says things like “I told you it wouldn’t work” and “it’s probably for the best” and “Maybe it just was never to be.” Keep negativity out of your life, it won’t help you.
              7. What is my plan of action?
              8. How will I know it is working?
              9. What time scale am I working to?

              Pick Your Road and Go for It

              I hope our metaphorical journey has helped you to visualize what you wish to achieve and given you some easy to action tools to make it happen. It does take confidence to go for it and find your true road to success; however, don’t turn out like the person that it took 7 years to come and see me.

              They’d considered it on numerous occasions and they’d always found a reason to keep plodding on hoping things would miraculously improve, it cost them their home, their marriage and their health before they really felt the pain and decided to re-write their future.

              Remember that no matter what road you wish to take in life, it is yours for the choosing. And if you don’t choose one, life has a way of throwing you on a road and you never know where you may end up!

              More About Achieving Success

              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

              More by this author

              Mandie Holgate

              Coach, International BEST Selling Author, Speaker & Blogger helping thousands around the world.

              How to Make a Positive Change for a Fulfilling Life 13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride How to Move Forward When You’re Stuck in a Rut How to Jump on the Road To Success Today How to Fight Your Irrational Fears And Stay Strong

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              Last Updated on January 13, 2020

              How to Use the 5 Minute Journal to Invest in Your Happiness

              How to Use the 5 Minute Journal to Invest in Your Happiness

              I was 10 and it was a white Lisa Frank journal with a red bubble gum dispenser on the front. It also came with a heart-shaped lock and key which was a must considering I had an older brother living under the same roof who was always looking for new and inventive ways to humiliate me.

              That one little journal (okay…I called it a diary back then) unlocked a world of potential to me which quite literally became my saving grace, my happy place, for the rest of my life.

              Over the years, the aesthetics of my journal evolved, as did my writing subjects and style thankfully. But the one thing that’s been constant is that, no matter how sad I am or how bad things have seemed before I started writing, somehow the world and my place in it always becomes clearer and less noisy after just 5 minutes of “writing it out.”

              In this article, we will take a look at how investing a few minutes a day in the 5 minute journal can lead you to happiness.

              The Benefits of the 5 Minute Journal

              For most of my life, I never really knew or cared why writing for even 5 minutes made me happier, I just knew it worked.

              If I was feeling lost or unhappy, I’d eventually realize I hadn’t written in a while (duh!). So I’d meet myself back at the blank page and word by word, start feeling more like me again.

              To be completely honest, I did (and still do) this forgetting-to-journal dance way more often than I’d like to admit. For the life of me, I don’t know why I don’t keep doing the thing I know makes me happy every day instead of waiting until I’m unhappy to do the thing. Can you relate?

              I’m pretty certain it’s not just a me thing: it’s a human thing. We know we’ll be happier if we eat better, exercise, disconnect from technology, get more sleep, etc. but often times, it takes us feeling unhappy in order to put in the effort to be more happy.

              A couple of months ago, I found myself in that place:

              I’d hit a wall of resistance around my business and a downturn in my health that caused me to doubt what I was capable of accomplishing. I was completely confused and indecisive about the direction of my business and where I should be focusing my limited energy, so I hired a coach to help me sort through my noisy brain.

              As I laid out all of my decisions and endless to-do lists in front of her, she asked me an important question:

              What’s one thing you can start doing everyday that will have a positive impact on all of these things?

              In other words: What if instead of having to worry about ALL THE THINGS to be happier, you could just do ONE thing and everything else would get better too?

              I could start every day with a few minutes in my journal.

              It’s both hilarious and embarrassing that as a coach and a writer (and a coach who works with writers), that I hadn’t thought of this myself. Alas, as the saying goes, doctors are the worst patients.

              Of course, the answer was writing in my journal! Isn’t the answer almost always the most obvious thing?

              But sometimes, the answer is so obvious, so simple, so free and convenient that we convince ourselves that it can’t possibly do that much to improve our situation. Somehow in the busy-ness of life, I’d convinced myself I just couldn’t spare that time to do something so…(cringe) arbitrary.

              Yet, as I thought about my coach’s question and the ONE THING that could positively affect all the things, I realized that journaling for me has always been so much more than a random outlet for exploring my feelings.

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              Sure, nothing actually happened but me sitting on my bed in my pajamas writing. Over the years, from breakups to big moves, my most life-changing moments–like my decision to pursue writing as a career, to uproot my entire life and move cross country, and my finally feeling ready to become a mother–happened in the quiet moments between me and the pages of my journals.

              How to Be Happy with the 5 Minute Journal

              The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about writing this article. I asked her how often she journals and if she thought it made her happier.

              In general, she said, yes, journaling does seem to help her get things off her chest but she doesn’t always feel better afterward. And, in fact, sometimes if she’s already in a negative place, she can spiral even worse while journaling and go to an even darker place.

              She told me that usually with time and perspective, she can see that just the act of writing and getting out of her head is therapeutic but, suggested that for people like her, prompts to help her not spiral into the negative abyss would be super helpful.

              And so, in order to make sure you get the most out of your 5 minute journal, I’ve broken up each writing prompt based on how you’re feeling so you can let your emotions guide the best prompt for you that day to increase your happiness meter.

              1. When you’re burnt out, talk to your inner hero (a.k.a the “real” you).

              What’s the one thing everyone tells you about maintaining happy, healthy relationships?

              You’ve gotta have great communication!

              But what about your relationship with yourself? How do you connect with you? How do you continue being the hero in your story?

              The same way that you have to make the time to connect with the people in your life who mean the most to you, you also have to make the time for you to hear your voice:

              To remember what YOU sound like amidst all of the noise in the world. To listen to your inner hero.

              For me, the only way I know how to do this, the only way I’ve ever known how to do this, is through journaling.

              Our brains can go down negative spirals, especially when we’re tired and stressed.

              In my last Lifehack article about finding motivation, I walk you through some questions you can ask yourself about whether you’re playing the role of victim or hero of your story. Definitely check it out if you’re really on the brink, or in the midst, of some serious burn out.

              Essentially, if you’re burnt out, you’ve somehow let your circumstances take control of your life. In other words, you’ve started to act like the victim instead of the hero.

              Luckily, just 5 minutes in your journal can help you find your inner hero (your true voice) and reclaim your right to live your happiest life.

              Write down these questions in your journal and answer them one at a time–permission to be 100% honest granted:

              • What do I believe is the #1 reason I’m feeling burnt out?
              • Who or what did I blame in my last answer?
              • Taking 100% responsibility for my own life and decisions, and casting blame on no one (including myself), how can I improve this situation?
              • What decisions am I currently making to stay in these circumstances (how am I choosing them)?
              • What new decisions can I start making to get closer to where I want to be?
              • What do I need to let go of in order to get my energy back? What do I need to say “no” to?

              When you start to own your role of hero, you start to realize how your current choices and limiting beliefs may be holding you back from living the happiest version of your life.

              The great news is once you realize your past choices have brought you to your current circumstances, you also realize that you can make different choices to bring you to a happier place.

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              2. When you’re doubting yourself, write off the gremlins.

              Whenever I’m feeling down on myself, it usually has less to do with what’s happening on the outside, and more to do of what’s happening between my ears. In other words, how “I’m” talking to myself.

              We all have little shame gremlins (I call mine “Mean Girls”) who live inside of our heads and tell us we’re dumb and ugly and worthless. The only way to combat those noisy buggers is to expose them for the liars they are.

              Writing down these lies makes them powerless. Once they’re out of your head and on paper, you realize how ridiculous they truly are (even though they were completely owning you just moments before).

              I like to write out all the nasties and put them in their place (which is on the page and out of my head, pronto). Then I can go back to living my happy truth.

              Here are some powerful questions to ask your inner gremlins (perhaps better known as you being a real jerk to yourself). Write down each question and answer them in your journal.

              Ask your gremlins:

              • What are you saying about me? (Don’t hold back. Really write down all of the terrible thoughts you’re having about yourself)

              Then ask:

              • Is anything true about each of the things I just wrote?
              • Repeat this same exercise for each of the nasty things your gremlins are saying about you and expose them in their lies once and for all.

              When you’re done, answer these powerful questions:

              • Knowing what I know now, what’s one thing I can do to improve each of these areas of my life?
              • Knowing that the voices of the gremlins are strong, what are 3 new beliefs or positive affirmations I can say daily about myself to drown out their negativity?

              For example, let’s use a fictional character of a guy named Sam. Sam’s gremlins are telling him “you’re a lousy parent, a terrible spouse, and mediocre at work.”

              If Sam asks himself, “Am I really a lousy parent?” Maybe his answer is “No, I love my kids and I’m doing the best I can. I just wish I could be more attentive when I’m with them instead of so distracted by work.”

              So maybe Sam decides to not bring his work computer home with him anymore and really unplug once he leaves the office so he can give his kids his full attention.

              Sam decides that his new daily affirmation is: “I’m a loving father and am fully present for my kids. I save the best of me for my family.”

              Imagine how much better you’ll feel when you start to take back control over your self talk and program in the messages that empower you and get you closer to the person you strive to be.

              3. When you’re indecisive or afraid, talk to your fear.

              Those same shame gremlins or mean girls inside of our heads feed off of fear. It’s like a good piece of gossip they can’t help but spread and exaggerate.

              Luckily, when we write out how we’re feeling and what negative thoughts are spiraling, we can generally recognize when it’s actually just our fears talking.

              You’re probably wondering how to tell if it’s fear talking or your intuition, right? This is where exploring your feelings comes into play.

              Are you feeling powerless? Are you feeling anxious or sad? Everyone’s response to fear is different but it’s never a positive feeling.

              If you’re at peace and calm but feel nudged that something isn’t right, that’s most-likely your intuition talking. But if you’re in a glass cage of negative emotions, you can bet fear is the culprit.

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              Don’t hate on fear too much though. Our fears are just trying to protect us from something–the rub is they also usually keep us from something even better in the process.

              I like to use journaling as a way to have a little talk with my fear, understand where it’s coming from and then decide if it’s worth listening to.

              Here’s your journaling prompt for hashing it out with your fear:

              Again, write down these questions in your journal one at a time and answer each one:

              Ask your fear:

              • What are you trying to protect me from?

              Once you answer that, ask:

              • What are you preventing me from having if I listen to you?

              If the thing you really want is on the other side of your fear, then you know what you have to do next (luckily journals are a great place to make to-do lists as well)!

              My last and favorite questions to ask fear is:

              • What’s the absolute worst-case scenario?

              For example, let’s say you’re terrified of breaking ties with a client who is making your professional life miserable. You may answer this question with something like “My client blacklists me and smears ugly rumors about me all around town and not only do I lose one client but my entire business goes down.”

              Eeesh. That does sound scary. Now ask yourself:

              • What are some steps I can take to ensure the worst case scenario doesn’t happen?

              And then:

              • How likely is it that the worst-case scenario will actually happen (especially if I use the plan above)?

              Maybe, when you think about it, the client is actually preventing you from bringing in new business because they’re taking up so much of your time.

              And maybe that client doesn’t even have the best reputation so the chances of them being able to bring you down are pretty small.

              What if you spent one hour a week for the next 3 weeks working on bringing in new business to replace the the income you make from that client, and figure out a way to end the contract in a very respectful, classy way to hopefully make the odds of them making a stink minimal?

              Now you have a plan! But there’s one more question to ask yourself:

              • If the worst case scenario happened, what would you do?

              Maybe you realize that if you really needed to, you could always go back to your previous job; they loved you and beg you to all the time. Or you could get by for a couple of months until you were able to bring in some more clients, especially if you cut back on expenses.

              Once you stare your fear in the face, it magically loses its power. Left inside of your head, it can destroy you; but taking a few minutes to look at it and use it as a friend who’s showing you where you may need to implement a plan in order to protect yourself, you can take back the reins of your happiness and realize that fear really isn’t all that scary at all.

              At this point, it needs to be said that journaling isn’t only good for getting out the nasty feelings, it’s also super useful for recording the good stuff of life which leads me to the fourth writing prompt.

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              4. When you’re in a funk, focus on gratitude.

              Just about any happiness book or article you read will tell you that being in a state of gratitude dramatically increases your happiness. For me, having a place to get down to the truth of my life and what’s actually going really well and what I’m grateful for helps put everything into perspective, especially when I’ve got a case of the blues.

              Here are some of my favorite gratitude prompts to help get me out of a funk and focusing on the sunnier side of life.

              Write down these questions in your journal one at a time and answer each one:

              • What is something good that happened today?
              • What made me laugh or smile today?
              • Who am I grateful for today?
              • What am I grateful for today?
              • With my “gratitude glasses” on, how do my problems or the funk I’m in look in relation to all of the good things I have in my life?

              Take a look at this article too to learn more about keeping a gratitude journal: How a Gratitude Journal and Positive Affirmations Can Change Your Life

              Shifting out of a funk and into gratitude shifts your energy out of “woe is me” and into “yay for me” which means, based on the Law of Attraction, you’ll begin to attract more of the things you want and less of what you don’t. Seriously, yay for you!

              5. When you’re uninspired or bored with the status quo, let it flow.

              One of the best and easiest ways to tap into your inspiration and feel a little bit of creative magic in your life is through stream of consciousness writing.

              I dare you to put your pen on a blank page for 5 minutes and do nothing but make sure the pen doesn’t stop moving.

              No thinking. No judgements. The only thing you’re not allowed to do is overthink or judge your writing. It’s all good. Everything that comes out is good (even if it’s total crap).

              When I was in grad school, I took this awesome class on creativity and in it read a book called From Where you Dream by Robert Olen Butler. The book is mostly about fiction writing but essentially, he says that the best time to tap into your subconscious (where your “flow” lives) is when you first wake up in the morning. Since you’re fresh from dreaming, your brain is still tuned to that frequency, so to speak, and not clouded by “reality” from your day-to-day life.

              So my last and final 5-minute journal prompt for you, uninspired one, is to wake up and let yourself keep dreaming on paper.

              Here are your instructions:

              1. Set the timer for 5 minutes.
              2. Open your journal.
              3. Pick up your pen.
              4. Keep your pen moving until your timer stops.

              What I love about this is it requires releasing all expectations and giving yourself creative freedom to let whatever needs to come out come out.

              Become Happier in 5 Minutes (or Even Less)

              Giving yourself a safe space to not expect anything other than to just show up and be honest is incredibly liberating.

              In a world where there are endless things we are supposed to be doing, and ways in which we’re supposed to be doing them, I love showing up to a blank page with no requirements other than to just let my hand move.

              It’s free and requires nothing from me other than just showing up wherever I am–talk about an endless source of grace!

              Plus it gets my myriad thoughts out of my head and allows me to release them from my body, which research at top universities has shown can dramatically reduce stress.[1]

              You don’t need to change EVERYTHING in your life all at once (it doesn’t work anyway, trust me, I’ve tried).

              Start with giving yourself the gift of reflection in your journal every day and see how your life starts to change. I guarantee you’ll feel more connected with yourself in the process and over time everything in your life will start to be a better reflection of you and what you value.

              And that, my friends, is the key to lasting happiness.

              More Journaling Ideas

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Harvard Health Publishing: Writing about emotions may ease stress and trauma

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