I used to live my whole life without a clear sense of direction.
Everything was being paid for by my parents. The threat of getting murdered or ending up homeless couldn’t put a dent in the confidence that my mother and father would always be there to protect me. I was happy and carefree.
I assumed that in the end we’d all remain together as one happy family.
Then in a blink of an eye, everything changed. My parents separated and divorce proceedings were underway. It shattered the rosy image of my future.
“With a broken family, where would we go? Were we going to be okay anymore? Without a father, where could I hope to end up?”
It seemed that although the fighting in my home had ceased, a war within my brain had just begun. I didn’t know how much more I could handle.
But through all that uncertainty and pain, I realized the one thing that I was missing. The one thing that separated me from the people who were more confident in their futures:
They had more than just a destination. They had a direction.
Did you notice that as soon as my parents split apart, that the vision of my destination was destroyed? That never would have happened if I already had a direction for my life. When you only have a destination, you leave yourself to be unfocused. If something goes wrong in your life, you’re destination is instantly derailed because of one unlucky occurrence.
Most people will say that as long as you know where you’re going, you’ll be more likely to get there. They’d be wrong.
The number one reason people are insecure is not that they don’t know where they’re going, but they just don’t know how to get there.
You feel good when you make New Year’s resolutions and set goals, but you end up feeling bad when you never follow through. What do you expect? Did you think saying, “I want to make more money this year”, at the beginning of some random year was going to magically insert cash into your pockets?
Focus less on your destination and more on the direction. Less on the “where” and more on the “how do I get there?”
This advice alone will get rid of your insecurity and have you achieve more of your goals, but I’d to help you out a bit more. Here are three tips to get your direction right:
- Don’t get direction and destination mixed up
When you make goals, you designate their value by what result it will bring. For example:
I want to be a famous doctor; the best in the world.
I want to go to Brazil, and learn Spanish and Portuguese to better communicate with the locals.
While these goals sound great on paper, they’re not very practical. If you look closely, you’ll see that these statements are just destinations. Instead of merely stating a destination to be achieved, you’ll be better off using changing these goals into action steps, like so:
“I’m applying for medical school, where I intend to learn and network with some of the greatest medical professionals in the world.”
“I’m practicing to be semi-fluent in Spanish so I can at least have some sort of foothold when I go to Brazil. I’m going to practice three times a week and have already starting saving up for the trip.”
Practical application brings actual results.
- Choose the right incentives
Even if you have a direction in addition your destination, are you aligned with them? Is this where you want to go? What’s your incentive for going this way?
You set the goal to make more money, but why do you actually want to make money? To buy the next overpriced Apple product or to travel to a new vacation spot? Whatever your answers, understand that you will never prevail if you do what you do for the sake of a cause you don’t resonate with.
My parents wanted me to be a doctor (another one of my many destinations). I agreed because I wanted to make them happy. Unfortunately for them, I discovered that I just didn’t find that career to be appealing. I chose instead to be an entrepreneur.
I chose my own direction.
- Don’t be afraid to blaze a new trail
The time will come when you’re fed up following paths you don’t resonate with or doing work that doesn’t matter. When this time does come, whether you’re ready for it or not, be prepared to blaze a new direction all your own. Yes, I know—you’ll hesitate because you’ll either be:
- so scared to strike out on you’re on that you’ll remain where you are, or
- eventually screw up and feel miserable
Let’s get this out of the way before you come to my blog complaining about it later… you will screw up if you go in a new direction. You’re going to mess up a lot and it’s going to feel really bad for a long time. You’ll feel like giving up every chance you get.
But what makes those who choose their own path successful is they have the courage to stick it out, even when their situation starts to feel really dire. As long as your passion holds up and your confidence in your future remains sky high, nothing can actually stop you.
Only you can stop yourself.
|Written on 8/22/2010 by John Anyasor. John is the author of HiLife2B, where he inspires you to do what you love and go beyond perspective. Download his free e-book, 101 Maxims to Break the Mold and Conquer Your World||Photo Credit: Juliana Coutinho|