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The Art of the Follow-through

The Art of the Follow-through

“It is the ‘follow through’ that makes the great difference between ultimate success and failure, because it is so easy to stop.”

–Charles Kettering

In Dutch we have a saying: “Wie A zegt moet ook B zeggen”. It means something like, when you start something need to finish it too (literally: when you say A, you have to say B). I like this thought, because it can help you overcome procrastination, inaction, and quitting.

We already saw that goal setting, or having new year’s resolutions are great ways to get going. But how many of your resolutions and goals still stand? How many times have you passed the gym and remembered your intention to lose weight? How many times have you spent your weekend doing jack shit, and realized you could have read books, studied, developed your side-business, or travel the country?

I love it when people say something like, I’m going to save up money and somewhere next year I’m leaving this country to start a diving school in Asia. I love it, because this person obviously has a great dream and vision for his future. Furthermore, he has a plan on how to get there. And lastly when I meet him the year after and the plan hasn’t been executed, I kind of know what type of person he is. All talk no action.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want people to give up their dream. Quite the opposite actually! But I do like that the follow-through is more important than the intention. And the fact that this is true for all people all over the world. It is easy to say you are going to do this and that. But it is hard to begin, and even harder to follow-through.

In my mind, an inherent magnanimous characteristic is the art of the follow-through. The fact that you can force yourself to do you what you say. Or shut up. And otherwise go after it, and succeed or fail. But never procrastinate or stop at the start.

It’s never too late to start. Now is always the best time to live your dream. Think clearly about what you want, and make sure you follow-through even when times get rough. It is the only way to reach your potential.

 

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When Someone Says ‘No You Can’t’

When Someone Says ‘No You Can’t’

I had a conversation with Danny yesterday, and as usual we had lots of things to discuss. In the last blog Danny talked about his path, and how he goes about it. One thing that crossed my mind was the reason why I eventually started to work as an entrepreneur, and why I jumped on the path I knew was right for me. I think it is something that maybe more of you can relate to, and could use as well.

Somewhere around 2011 or so, I finished my studies at the University. I learned a lot, but was definitively still a rookie. I knew that perfectly well. I was always interested in entrepreneurship, and knew I would end up on that path one way or another. I wanted to have my own business, but had no idea in what. I had no particular skills (as far as I thought could be monetized), and zero experience in the business world. So I did what any rookie does, find a job.

After some searching I went to a job market and got a job at an employment agency. I had to place technical guys on projects in technical companies. Not particularly my thing, but I saw it as a great way to learn sales skills. And sales skills are quintessential skills for entrepreneurship. So I got into it. And did the work.

But after 2 months I started to have doubts. It was my first ‘real’ job and I didn’t know if I would see myself do this for any longer. I was under a lot of pressure, but I learned and worked to the best of my abilities. But there was an inner resentment to the work, the place, the whole thing. I still don’t exactly know what it was. But I was unsure about continuing the job.

The company I worked with had set up individual coaching for every employee. So when I had my first meeting with my assigned coach I addressed my feeling. I didn’t feel in place, but I thought I needed this. For I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I was asked what I wanted to be. And where I’d see myself in a couple of years. I told the coach I wanted to be an entrepreneur. She looked at the notes, my assessment, and quite quickly told me I wasn’t ready for that. She told it with such an uninterested voice, and with a flow that read something like ‘you can’t do that’.

I remember this sentence very well. I felt this burning in my torso. How dare she say that to me. You don’t know me. You can’t tell me what I can and cannot do. You definitively can’t tell me what I am capable of. At this moment it hit me. If I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I needed to be one. If you want to be a basketball player, you need to play basketball. If you want to be a pilot, get yourself in a cockpit. If you want to travel the world, stop dreaming, and book a ticket. You have to believe and act like the person you want to become.

I quit my job after 4 months. I traveled a bit, and started my own business. The rest is history. At first I was upset about the fact this ‘professional’ coach told me I wasn’t ready. But later I thanked her. I am grateful for the situation, the path. I am grateful for these explicit, direct words. It was exactly what I needed. It was the slap in the face, the breaking of the chain, or the spark to my fire that lit me up. It released me of the fear for the start. And now I had the extra willpower to show her and all others to show I could.

“If I would have listened to the naysayers, I would still be in the Austrian Alps yodeling.”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger –

So my question to you is; Are you happy where you are now? Are you on the path you want to be on? Is there something you really want to do, but aren’t doing? Do you have people telling you, you can’t do something, or aren’t ready?

Let us know…

 

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Action – And the Power of Doing

Action – And the Power of Doing

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson

It’s 6:30 in the morning. I unwillingly turn around and hit the button that shuts up the fake bird sounds of my phone. The cold dark morning greets me indifferently, and I rise up. The day has started. I read something, make breakfast and get behind my computer. I do the hard ‘thinking’ stuff first and I roll through the day. I am ahead of everybody else, and all the things I needed to do, I get done. When the business hours are done, I get to my sports. I work myself in a sweat, and get back home. I am broken, yet revived. I get behind my laptop for other projects. I read to end the day, and make a to-do list for tomorrow.

A perfect working day like this, revolves around action. I have days, where I get only a couple things done, and the time does not feel well spent. I guess it is natural. You can’t be your best every day. Action and doing things gives me the best feeling possible. Especially when most of it involves things I like!

I love to do things. Preferably physical activities, but a good day reading, writing, emailing, and making calls beats doing nothing any day. I will have to see the long term results that come out of the work, but my guess is that it’ll all be worth it. That’s the reason why I wonder, when people want something (at least they say they want it) and they do nothing about it.

However vague your wish for the future might be, waiting for it to become clear is useless. There will not be someone that will tell you exactly what to do. It’s the same as if you are writing a book. It will form as soon as you start writing. If someone else tells you what to write, it is not your book anymore. The same thing applies to your life. You have to form your own vision. And you are the only one that can make it a reality.

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” – Peter Marshall

Action is key. And the first small step is the hardest. That’s why you need to think in small steps. A small and clearly defined step is so much more easier to accomplish, and thus paves the way for the next small step. Every big project is made up of a lot of small clearly defined steps. Starting a business, can for example start with defining exactly what customer you are serving, with what service or product. Then you dig into finding your company name, your logo, your mission statement, etc., etc.

Think in small steps that anyone can do. Like calling a client. Just pick up the phone and dial the number. Step into the ‘action zone’, and leave your brain at home. Focus on doing, doing and doing. You can laugh later at how you fucked up the introduction on the phone (happens to me all the time..).

Magnanimity, I believe has everything to do with doing. We have a lot of philosophers, thinkers, and dreamers in the world. But to become a truly Great Mind, we have to link that brain to our body and start doing.

You have to do.

 “Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

 

 

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The One New Year’s Resolution – The Art of Not Giving a F…

The One New Year’s Resolution – The Art of Not Giving a F…

It’s this time of the year again. Christmas just went by and New Year’s eve is knocking at our doors. We both hope you all had an awesome Christmas! I actually did have an unhealthy one, so that’s good… Lots of good food, lots of good drinks, lots of good games, lots of laughter (which is inherently good). And I’d almost forget the presents!

New Year’s Resolutions

Then the one which is knocking at the door. NYE. New Year. New Beginning. New Year’s resolutions. At least for some of us. I actually do not understand why people make these. For me it sounds like an excuse for postponing an adjustment for the better in your life, that you actually don’t really want to make, although you know you should make it. And I would dare to bet on it that that’s part of the reason why a lot of people give up their resolution as soon as the next weekend has arrived. Why wait to make a change if it’s for the better?? Hats off to those who do push through.

New Year's Resolutions...
New Year’s Resolutions…

Anyways. This one is for the ones who do want to make a New Year’s resolution. And it’s also for the ones who make resolutions at the very moment they want to make it. Actually, it is for everyone who is keen on seeing some sort of progress in their lives.

Remember my first blog post, where I shared the roller coaster ride of publishing the first blog? About fear, comfort zones, choices and what not. My goal was to let you guys identify with those feelings and struggles and, ideally, to bring you a step closer to taking action. Getting what you want is impossible if you don’t take action. It is often the last missing link between what we want and what we get. I did indeed get some cool feedback from people who did recognize themselves in it. But unfortunately I haven’t heard or saw anyone taking action, yet.

Not Giving a F@&k

Now! Michel alerted me to an insightful article at Wait But Why, an awesome blog on everything life. Tim Urban, writer of the blog, wrote an awesome piece that indeed gives you a lot of insight in why you do what you do. Or better yet, why you do NOT do what you want to do. I see his blog post as a B-E-A-utiful compliment to my attempt to make you take action. And secretly as a personal blogging goal of mine.

Mr. Urban writes, how we are evolutionary wired to do what we think society finds we should do. He calls it the “Social Survival Mammoth”, and it’s in our way. After that he gives a recipe, and it simply boils down to: how to not give a f@&k (of course within sociopathic boundaries). He wants you to replace the Mammoth with your Authentic Voice.

How to Find the Authentic Voice?

Finding that Authentic Voice is the first part, and it might be the hardest. I think we all know someone, or a few people who are miles away from their Authentic Voice (AV). It might even be yourself. And that’s ok, but it is hard to admit it. And I speak from experience here. It’s not for nothing that I had to wait a long time to make the choices I wanted to make, and be happy with them on top of that! The feeling of freedom you get at those moments are even bigger than the feelings you get when you’re on holidays, or while skydiving! (although for some the latter feels like having been food poisoned… like the other guy… who puked… during the jump… with his instructor attached… behind him…).

Click Image to Read the Article at 'Wait But Why'
Click Image to Read the Article at ‘Wait But Why’

Catalyst

So, to accelerate the search for your AV, I want to share three of the techniques that have helped me.

  1. Meditate
    • I know this sounds wishy washy to a lot of people, but it isn’t! It’s only a breathing exercise. Ever saw a calm, healthy man breath fast and chaotic? Indeed. No. And furthermore, you’ll get to know your thought patterns. (which is really hard, seeing that humans on average have around 40.000 thoughts a day). More about this one in the future!
  2. Get comfortable being on your own
    • You have to be able being with yourself. Normally you’re surrounded by people you like, and you will accept advice from the people you like faster as well. So learn to be surrounded by yourself.
  3. Read books
    • Books (and blogs of course, which are shorter) give you insights and food for thought that you otherwise might not encounter. They will tell you a lot about yourself as well. Michel already wrote a cool, insightful piece about that one.
  4. BONUS:
    • Just. Make. The Choice. Often times you can only know if a choice is right, after you made it. You have to learn to trust your instinct, or gut feeling. The way to do that is to give it a chance. (It gets easier after you tried the first three, by the way). You will encounter dilemma’s in your life, and no analysis or science in the world can help you solve them. And it’s as good as never the end of the world…

 

Happy NYE Everyone! Have a Great 2017!!