IT’S NOT WHAT YOU ACCOMPLISH, BUT WHO YOU BECOME

Goals are very important. Not only do I stress that, but almost every great speaker and self-improvement coach will tell you that as well. Still, goals can leave us feeling unfulfilled once we accomplish them. Have you ever achieved a goal, especially one you have been working a long time on, and then wake up one morning to the question “Now What?” Worse is accomplishing a goal only to find yourself still unsatisfied at the state of your life. That is because when setting a goal, you must focus on the most important aspect.

The most important part of the goal is not what you set out to accomplish. What then is the most important part of setting a goal? The most important thing that can happen when you are achieving a goal is who you become in the process. Notice I said achieving. Even in the process of working on the goal you will learn and therefore grow. This is what makes the difference.

A prime example of people who accomplish goals, but do not learn or grow can be found in lottery winners. A good portion of lottery winners find themselves to have spent all of their money or even worse in debt only a few years after winning the lottery. That is because although they had accomplished their goal of winning a large sum of money they had not learned to be a person who can handle finances.

This is also the reason why after achieving a goal we can still feel empty and unsatisfied. Growth and contribution are what create a positive and rewarding life. If we have not developed in anyway from what we have struggled through the victory is hollow. This holds true not only for goal setting, but for making it through painful periods of our lives. It is only by using that pain and learning and growing from it can we truly heal. Whether that is to understand and treat others with more compassion, or motivate ourselves to be the best version of ourselves, pain becomes the victim if we use it to better ourselves.

Here is the flipside to all of this and the greatest thing about it. Most of us have been going about this backwards. When you set out to achieve a goal ask yourself the very important question, “Who would I have to become to make this goal become a reality?” Set out immediately to begin the journey of becoming that person. What kind of traits would they posses that you may not posses currently? Would they be more patient? Would they be in better physical shape? You can start becoming that person today.

Here is the greatest thing about all of this. As you become that person, you will find this goal becomes easier and less stressful to accomplish. On occasion, you may find the goal changes entirely. The best thing is that when you wake up you will never feel empty or unfulfilled. In fact, as each day goes by and you take steps to become the person you would be if you had accomplished the goal, you will feel better about yourself and more self-confident with each passing day. Ask yourself this important question every time you begin a new goal and you will never be disappointed.

WHAT IS YOUR STORY?

This blog post created itself last night. After Margie and I had finished our Wednesday night show and found ourselves driving with our friend Kelly. We began sharing defining moments from our childhood that defined who we are today. It caused me to reflect on a few moments that I would like to share with you. More so, it made me think of something far more important that we will get to right after this moment of reflection.

For those of you who may have been reading my writings of late, I have shared the story of my senior year English teacher. On the final day before graduation, she pulled me aside and said in an almost pleading tone, “I pray to God you will never have a career involving writing.” Given the evidence up to that point I would have been inclined to agree with her, but here we are.

Another fun story involved a teacher I had for business. She was a kindly lady. She kind of reminded me of someone’s grandmother from a Norman Rockwell painting. My relationship with this wonderful woman was great. We laughed, smiled and shared many good conversations. I would have said I was the perfect student with one glaring exception. In this class it just so happened I was surrounded by friends of mine. It also happened these were friends that like conversation as much as I did. Daily we shared conversations about life, love and our pursuit of happiness. When the time came out for giving everyone a grade I still recall what this teacher wrote. Written next to my grade was the comment, “Neil will do a lot better in life when he understands you can’t make a living discussing life and its challenges with people.” Once again, here we are. Discussing life and how to positively approach and overcome its challenges. Granted you might be reading this in Greenland, South Africa or Fiji while I am here in West Allis, Wisconsin, but virtually we are engaged in this conversation.

Let me share a more comical example from my youth. Second grade I do believe. I had a good friend who had just moved away and I found myself in trouble for something. That part seems to remain vague. As punishment I was to stand with my back against the wall and watch the other kids enjoying recess and playing on the playground. Sounds a little cruel in hindsight but I guess it served as a lesson – almost. As I was standing there I thought of a joke. One of the kids walked by and I told him my joke. He thought it was so funny he went to bring other kids to hear it. Before recess was over I found myself doing what could be described as a forced stand up comedy routine.

I saved this example for last because it was by far the darkest example. I was part of a group called ‘peer helpers’ in high school. The program was designed to help students who were facing addiction, abuse or any other emotional trauma. To me it sounded like a great idea on the surface. It became apparent very quickly that I disagreed with the approach of the program. It seemed to approach the issues from that of the adults who formed the group and not of the youths facing the challenges. I soon politely left the group. All would have been ok with one exception. I really did have the desire to help and still talked to many of the kids I had met in the program. I tried methods I believed might reach them. This was especially true because most of them had stopped asking for help from the Peer Helpers program.

Again, this would have all been good, but my locker happened to be right across the hallway from the lady who was in charge of the program. Once she noticed that quite a few of the students who left her group were coming up to my locker and asking questions she stormed over. She issued what can only be viewed as a veiled threat. She yelled how dare I think I could help kids better than she could and I better stop what I was doing “or else.” I really wasn’t trying to do anything but help people the best way I thought I could. I continued to do so with a little more discretion. Two days before I was set to graduate I was summoned to the principle’s office. When I arrived the teacher was there along with several police officers. This teacher, this adult, this individual who is supposed to be an example told all of them I had threatened to physically harm her. Not only was that a total lie, but I had no malice towards this woman, merely a difference in philosophy. Luckily, with the support and sworn statements of my character from other instructors I had and her changing her story several times the matter was all but dropped.

What is the point of all of these stories? The point is that anyone of these stories could have had a very negative impact on my life. What made the difference is that I chose what they meant to me. My high school English teacher could have prevented me from ever starting this site which has close to 1000 posts. What she told me could have dissuaded me from ever writing my book A Happy Life for Busy People. My business teacher tried to convince me there was no future in listening to the challenges people face in life and trying to help create solutions, but that is the basis of all I do.

Through my punishment that day in second grade I learned the power of humor to reach people. I also learned that sometimes when the world seems to be taken away from you, the best solution is to make the world come to you. It is a theme that kind of plays throughout the videos on my YouTube channel. It also showed me new and wonderful ways to make friends. The lesson that if you can introduce your material to enough people it can really change your situation didn’t escape me either.

The final dark situation could have steered me in many different directions. I could have decided not to trust authority. Certainly learning that ego can override professionalism and make people act in ways they shouldn’t. I could have decided that it meant if I try to do things on my own in a way I feel will help the most people it will lead to trouble and could land me in jail. Of course it also showed me the value of displaying and acting with the best character and highest standards.

What is your story? What events have transformed your life? Have you let them decide what you can or can’t do? Are they putting limits on your life or are you using them to motivate you? The story of our lives should not be told through the mouths or actions of others. Realize you are not a victim of your past but a victor over it. You have made it to today despite what you have been told and what has happened to you. Do not let your past or those in it steal your power for a strong future. Find the empowerment in every challenge you have faced, or may now be facing.

UNWANTED TO MVP

Have you ever felt defeated? Have you ever felt that everything you worked for might not work out? Have you ever felt like all the signs were pointing to the fact you should give up?

The picture above is of Nick Foles. After working hard in his youth to become a great professional football player, he had to wait until the third round to hear his name called. That could give you a feeling of being unwanted, watching player after player being picked before you. Knowing teams thought this player was better than you.

Nick didn’t give up though and joined the Philadelphia eagles. Eventually Nick earned the position of starting quarterback. Time to feel great right? Nick did not hold that position long and was traded to the Rams. Again, he was not wanted.

Nick didn’t give up though. Playing the best he could, often in the back up role. Soon, however, the Rams cut him from their team. Not even wanted as a back up.

Nick did not give up though. Soon he was resigned again by the Philadelphia eagles. This time, he was once again a back-up quarterback. Watching a younger player take the team to the top of their division and into the playoffs while he sat on the bench watching.

Nick did not give up though. What did all of this persistance get Nick Foles? A terrible injury took out the starting quarterback and suddenly he had to lead the team against the best defense in the league. Knowing if he were to lose he most likely would hear if they still had their starting quarterback they would have won.

Nick lead the team to a victory in the championship game, and into the super bowl. Now, on the biggest stage on the world against a team that had already won five super bowls in recent years.

Nick did not give up though. On super bowl Sunday Nick Foles went on to not only lead the eagles to their first ever super bowl victory, but was named the most valuable player as well.

You see my friends, sometimes when life seems to be giving us every reason to give up it is really just preparing us and giving us strength for a greater test and greater victory if only we were to hang on for one more day.

Never give up on yourself, and one day, just like Nick Foles, you will find you are the MVP of your own life.

CANI

The title of this blog may seem like a mistake, but please allow me to explain.┬áIt actually stands for ‘Constant and never-ending improvement’. As you can see by the picture I have been writing this blog for 4 years now. It really does not seem that long, and I have to confess I enjoy every day that I do it. It is my sincerest hope that if you go back and read my blogs from years past my writing would sound more improved today.

The more we do something the better we get at it. That can’t really be avoided. We learn things we didn’t know before both about ourselves and our subject matter. This website is dedicated to helping all of us live a more amazing life. Not only do I hope it has helped some of you, but writing these thoughts down has helped me as well. Spending my times researching ways in which people improve their life has helped me with my own as well.

So as this year draws to a close and we look back on all we have done in the last 12 months we can often be left with feelings of failure and regret. I know there were several things I had personally hoped to accomplish that have not come into existence yet. We can use these feelings in several ways. First, feeling that pain of regret should motivate us to work harder in the future. Realize that what we are now feeling is in large part due to our own inaction, or lack of consistent action. This may not sound so inspiring, but if we are going to improve we need to be honest with ourselves. My goal was to have my latest book completed by the end of the year. It is nowhere near done and so in that sense I have failed. That being said, I am using this feeling to motivate myself to have a complete book by this time next year.

That leads us to our next action we can take. Use the final month of the year to set yourself up for victory in the coming year. Sit down with a pad of paper and a pen. List things you feel you did not succeed at this year. Now think of and write down actions you can take, plans you can put in place, or other things you can do to assure success next year. Use the final month of the year to make a commitment to yourself. Use it as a practice month for what you are going to do next year.

One final note going back to the beginning of this post. No matter what you feel you did not accomplish this year know one thing, just by going through what you did you are a more complete person that you were 12 months ago. You have made it through all of your trials and challenges and as New Years day approaches you should feel good about that. Do not let it dull your drive, but do know as long as you are still in the game victory is right around the corner.