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Set Yourself on Fire

Set Yourself on Fire

Set yourself on fire to achieve real success in life

    Have you heard of a guy called Fred Shero?

    No?  Until recently, me neither. I’m not a big sports fan and Fred was a hugely successful Canadian NHL player and coach with a string of many hundreds of wins and numerous awards and accolades to his name. Pretty good going, but it’s not his sports record that I admire.

    What I love Fred for is something that he once said:

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    “Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire.”

    Reading that sent lightning bolts through my spine, as there have been many times in my life when I’ve been sitting back, subconsciously waiting for the world to bring me the success I thought I wanted. To be completely honest with you, even now I sometimes find myself expecting someone else to ‘set fire’ to me, waiting for spontaneous combustion rather setting myself on fire and finding my own success.

    I have to catch myself when I slip into that way of thinking before it sets in, because Fred’s absolutely right.

    People all too often wait for success to happen to them. “If only it would fall into place…”, “Surely someone will discover who I am and what I can do soon…” or “Just a little while longer and it’ll all come good…” are examples of the things we say while we’re waiting for success to come along.

    Of course, the big thing I’ve come to learn is that it doesn’t work that way. Finding success – real success – isn’t a passive thing. It’s not something that happens to you like watching a movie or getting your hair cut. Finding success is something that happens in you.

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    Here are 4 things for you to think about:

    1. What does success look like to you?

    What comprises success? How much of it is material? How much of it is emotional? How much of it is spiritual? Get specific about what success does and doesn’t mean to you.

    2. Imagine yourself towards the end of your life

    Picture yourself towards the end of your life as happy and content as you can be. What is it about that future you that tells you as clear as day that they’re happy and content? Picture yourself walking up to them and asking them what it is that allowed them to reach that point. What single piece of advice can they give you?

    3. How focused are you on working on your success?

    What are you willing to do to get the kind of success you want?  What are you waiting for the world to deliver to you so that you can have that success?

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    4. Are you driving your success?

    How would it be if you were driving that success rather than waiting for it?  What changes do you notice in how you do things and how you feel about things?

    I’m not suggesting for one minute that you can’t ask others, the world, the universe or whatever higher power you happen to believe in for help.  I’m not even suggesting that you become wholly focused on working towards your success. That’s missing the point.

    The point is that we humans tend to be focused on working towards happiness and success and assume that until it comes along we have to spend time being unhappy, suffering or struggling.

    You don’t have to struggle…

    The truth is that things happen much easier and more readily if we don’t struggle, suffer or assume unhappiness – the assumption that you need to struggle or fight for your success is a false one. Real success comes much easier and becomes more consistent when you operate straight from that place of success instead of assuming it’s out there in the world somewhere.

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    Go after what’s important to you and get going on all those shiny things you’d love to have, do and be in life, but recognise how much more pleasureable it’s going to be when you’re feeling happy and successful rather than unhappy and unsuccessful.

    Fred got it right. Don’t wait for spontaneous combustion or for someone to set light to you. Dive into your own happiness and success, engage with those things and operate from a place where they’re real and present.

    Don’t wait, set yourself on fire.

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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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