“This is your life. Do what you love and do it often.” – Holstee
The problem with future casting or setting a singular goal, is that it’s loaded with specificities that might not ever happen. And when and then they don’t happen, we blame the system quickly moving on to next. No learning, just forgetting as quickly as possible.
The best systems that I have ever worked with and for are usually the ones that work in the present versus living in the future. That’s the biggest thing to understand and learn I’ve discovered. A goal lives in the future and a system lives in the present.
I get people asking me all the time why I still use a planner that is analog balanced with one that is digital. The analog planner I use is a system I go through every morning to plan my biggest tasks of the day. The digital is a system that I use to track my progress, mostly the small chunks of tasks I get done along the way. So, I guess you could say I really don’t have any goals daily and weekly, I have a system that tells me whether I’ve achieved what I wanted to by the end of the day and week. I rarely plan anything outside of a week.
I’ve abandon a ton of different projects. Not because I failed at them. They were never really goals. Just failed systems that I learned along the way, that didn’t work. I’ve learned so many more skills and a variety of things by approaching my daily work/life this way. Had I been overly goal oriented, I would not have grown in skills. I might have mastered one but who wants to just be a master of one skill? I mean, that’s okay if you do. But, I love being a resource of others because of the many skills I have learned.
Today in my organization I’m not looking for someone with one skill. The best people I hire and interview are the ones that often have done tons of different jobs or taken many different classes. Specialization is not a great hire to me. That was the business of the past. General knowledge in a variety of fields is usually someone that isn’t afraid to innovate and try something to get somewhere. I love that in a hire. They will always have an increased market value to me and to the success of my team. The generalist often rules over the specialist. Specialist do not often feel comfortable with something new that pushes them out of their comfort zone of specializing.
Listen, I know failing is the last thing you probably want to feel or do. But, each failure is a learning point in your life. The obvious take away, you learn what doesn’t work. You’ll keep those learns in mind next time to try for something new. Often times, the very failure you learned from is what gets you the win the next time. You can use it to shape your success.
As you move through all these learns and experience new skills (winners and losers) you will find your niche. That is a form a specializing, so be careful. But, really you will find rather what makes you the most happiest. Using introspection and reflection along the way, you’ll begin to piece together where you feel the best about your life’s work. The things we also like to do at times will be the very same things we are good at. This is your x-factor. This is a noteworthy special talent or quality you have. Sometimes as you work the x-factor is the one variable in a given situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome. You don’t find your x-factor by specializing in one thing or skill. You find that by trying and failing many times.
I try not to ever work in areas that I feel relaxed. For example, last year on IBtP in November 2017 I challenged myself to write a blog every day, for the entire month with out fail. I did that and achieved it. Some where great reads and you responded with lots of views. Still others I learned were horrible not even receiving one view. That was super uncomfortable for me to do everyday and come up with content for everyday. What I learned however, was there were certain topics I was really good at writing. Those were usually the ones that came from the heart. I found my x-factor in certain topics I wrote, because they were a reflection of my life, either bad or good. Those are always the best posts I put up. When I write from my human experience over ones that are from others that inspire me, I will always reach more people with those posts.
You can narrow in on your x-factor a few different ways. The best way I’ve learned is to just ask yourself some great self-reflective questions and answer them honestly:
When do you feel most creative?
When do you have the most energy as you try something new or go after something worthy?
What’s the best environment and location that opens you up to your best self up?
What type of systems do the most successful people around you in your field have?
You want to put yourself into optimal conditions that replicate the chances of your x-factor to come out. Doing this simple self-reflection and answer system can help you find that place where you keep your energy and also make the best use of your time. Location and energy are keys.
The path to success over the years I’ve learned is never really a straight one. Setting goals to create that is just futile and depressing to me when I see it happen. Use systems and learn from the present. I’m not saying don’t have something you want in the distance to become, do that for sure. But, explore many different ways to get there. Learn from failures and fall in love with them. You will find a wide range of skills and talents can come from those failures. Once you find those talents and skills that give you the most energy and happiness, keep pushing the envelope.
Hope you’re enjoying any time off you can right now this weekend. I’m in full fall 🍁🍂🍃🌿 in my neck of the woods. It’s amazing! Get outside for a walk and take a look if you can! Get a change scenery, it could help.