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Breaking Free from Mediocrity

Breaking Free from Mediocrity

So tell me, how mediocre are you today? Sorry, let me rephrase that, who are you hanging with today?

If the people you hang with all very successful, daring to be different,  and doing things you want to accomplish, I bet it inspires you to be the best you can be. If everybody around you is looking up to you as their hero in every aspect of life, however, you’d better wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe it’s time for some changes?

Social Creatures

People are social creatures—even if you are a loner or prefer to work alone, I bet you have some form of social network around you, in real life and online. If you examine your network you will most likely find that the people you interact with most have similar drive, similar levels of success, and similar ambitions. What does that mean? Simply put, you are becoming an average of each other. Does that scare you or inspire you?

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You may know somebody who has made some bad choices in life and ended up in bad places. With effort, they may have come out of those bad places and started making positive changes: during this period, they might have great support from counselors or similar, but what happens afterward? Well, some may go on to become successful to some degree, but there are always some who fall back into their old habits. The difference? My money is on the changes they have made in their social network: if they make no changes to their network at the same time as they were going through their other positive changes, all their efforts may very well be for nothing. Why? Because their old network is supporting their old way of life and will make them gravitate towards their old habits.

The same goes for very successful people—who do they have in their network? The answer is: very successful people!

Putting it Together

So what does that mean to you? Well by making some adjustments in who you surround yourself with, you can accelerate the changes you are implementing. People can help each other by teaming up with others of complementary strengths, for example, so together they can catapult each other into greatness. Sounds good, right?

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So then, where do you get these complementary boosts? Well, there are a number of ways to choose from and it depends on what you want to accomplish. Want to become fit? Ask a fit friend to work out with you and spend more time with that person, or join a running class or a gym with team training to get inspired, and find friends that pull you forward instead of weighing you down. Want to start a business? Join an entrepreneurs’ club, visit online forums, network online and off-line, and get advisors or mentors.

Remember, understanding this and recognising this means nothing unless you make changes where you see the need for them. Action!

So here is what you do:

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  1. Take a long, hard look at who you interact with most: list them and quantify their level of success in relevance to where you want to be.
  2. Quantify the time you spend with these people.
  3. Identify the energy thieves—that’s anyone you feel is giving you more negative energy than positive. Look for clues like people who complain a lot, never give you encouragement or try to put you down.
  4. Now take action to break free from these energy thieves, and with that, kiss some of your mediocrity goodbye.
  5. Identify people in your circle whom you admire or who have a lot of success in an area you are interested in.
  6. Take initiative to spend more time with these people, and be inspired to be the best you can be!

Does it sound scary? It can be, but remember: sometimes you have to put yourself first, so make yourself a priority!

Conclusion

In closing, I want to stress that a you don’t ditch friends because they are going through a rough stretch in life and need your energy to stay afloat—we all have to roll with life’s punches and that’s when friendships are tested, so cherish those friendships that stand strong during difficult times. This post refers to the fake friends and acquaintances who give a false feeling of friendship—flush them out and invest your precious time with those who can lift you to new heights.

Have you considered how your network affects you?

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Featured photo credit:  Full length of muscular guy via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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