On today’s morning ride, I caught Jeff Johnson’s weekly commentary on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. His message on today’s “Jeff Johnson Has His Say” was one encouraging people to start, or restart, those goals that they’ve put off. Although his message was geared towards an older crowd (he briefly mentioned his 20th H.S. reunion being on the horizon), there was an underlying message that I felt resonate with me:
Don’t forget your number one fan.
There are many reasons that people become so bogged down that they forget about their personal dreams. Life, and all that comes with it, can be quite unreasonable for a dreamer — but that shouldn’t stop you from reaching your potential. Bills (a constant reminder that nothing is free) will always be there, and no matter how many hours you work at that job that your despise, the same bills will come the next month. Don’t let the darkening agents of everyday life be the compass of your life.
As someone who has recently turned 25, I took the moment to reflect on what was now guiding my life. I asked myself, “In which direction did I see it going and why?” The answer was that it’s going to an unhappy place and quite quickly — all because I’d simply forgotten about my “#1 Fan.” This is the person who is with me through the thick and the thin. The Pep Talk Professional. The dreamer. The comedienne…and any other positive buffer that allows me to continue trudging through life — myself. Currently, my situation is less than ideal (meaning, I’m not 100% happy with where I am) and I found myself questioning everything that I’m doing. Things as simple as going to dinner with friends are now met with, “Well, are you sure you should be doing that?”
THAT doubt is leading me to the place that Jeff Johnson was speaking about in his commentary — the place of “I could have been great!” I don’t want to be a citizen of that city and you shouldn’t either.
The good news is that it is very simple to keep yourself from becoming one of those people who utters the phrase, “I could have been and done so much!” There are five simple steps to keep you from that place in your life (remember, the steps are easy BUT the journey may prove to be otherwise).
Step One – Write It All Out
Seeing is believing! There is more truth to that little statement than people want to give credit. Once you write down your goals, they become tangible. They’re real. They aren’t just imaginary tales of success that are floating around your head while reflect on the face that you are checking out some agitated customer who is angry about your store return’s policy (oh wait, I’m projecting there). Take it a step further and add pictures. We’re visual people and we react to what we see on a daily basis. Once your goals are written out, you can decide the path you want to take to get there. You can set a time-frame in which to accomplish everything. You can, and you WILL, move…but it’s because of that daily reminder. So break out the pens and paper, or that laptop and get to typing. Take it a step further and create a vision board. Whatever you do, just make sure you write it down.
Step Two – Build A Network
Sounds simple enough? It isn’t. This step is almost as crucial as the first step and is sure to be more time intensive. However, it’s doable! You should search for two types of people in this group — Mentors and Peers.
Your Mentors should be people who are doing what you wish to do. Ask them what they did to get where they are. This is important because it will highlight whether or not these goals actually fit your morals. We all want nice things and success but we want to make sure we can sleep at night after we reach our goal. Ask them the potential they see in you and would they be willing to take you under their wing, give you access to their network, and actively instruct you as you go along your way. One thing that people fail to realize is that your success will depend largely upon who you know. Sure, you’re talented and amazingly driven — but who can vouch for you? What does it say about you when certain people put their names and reputations on the line for you? A lot!
Your Peers are your fellow dreamers. These are the people who will go through “The Struggle” with you. I liken them to a cohort of students who are navigating the challenging sphere of education or any type of training (think military). These are the people who you will cry to and get your thoughts together when you want to present a problem to your mentor. These are the people who cheer you on when you do amazingly well, and I mean, they CHEER! They send motivational texts to your phone or an inspiring email when they know you’re down. These are the people who give you a “Big Head” when you’re too afraid to do it yourself. They also buy you drinks and help you chase your worries away. You need them!
Step Three – Take the First Step
It’s as simple as it sounds — it’s moving to action. Let’s face it, you can prepare all you want and talk about everything that you’re going to do but it doesn’t mean anything until you DO. You must move towards that goal if you ever plan to reach it. As Jeff Johnson said, “If you can’t move, lean forward a little bit. At least you’re a bit closer to your goal after having fallen on your face.” So MOVE! Take that step! Leap! Jump! Whatever you do, just get closer.
Step Four – Remember & Edit Your Goals
You’ll always have to come back to your goals. You’ll hit roadblocks and you’ll question yourself. When you do this, pull out that piece of paper that you wrote your dreams on or look at your vision board. Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. After having taken the steps towards the goals, ask yourself, “Is this what I want?” If the answer is yes, GREAT! If the answer is no, AWESOME! You now know which direction you need to go in. Just know that it’s normal to wonder and question and edit your goals. You shouldn’t shy away from this but embrace it as a part of the process.
Step Five – Remember Your #1 Fan
This is what it’s all about! It’s you and the legacy that you wish to build. But why not put this step first? Simple — there are people out there who will make it their personal mission to discount, discredit, and dismiss your goals. They’ll see the rough drafts of the masterpieces you plan to paint and they will destroy them. Now, this isn’t their intent (well, not for the large majority of people) and you should just remember that these are the people who have fallen victim to letting time get away from them. Here’s what you do — you act like time AND GET AWAY FROM THEM! While you’re distancing yourself, remind yourself that you are great and can accomplish anything that you’ve put your mind to. Remind yourself WHY you want whatever it is that you want for yourself and keep moving towards that goal.
After all, your life is about You, your #1 Fan!