I simultaneously occupied the role of student and mentor in my day job this week; different projects, different industries, other countries even but at the heart of both projects lay a common theme, humans and the way we interact with one another.
Or perhaps passenger and driver is a better analogy.
Getting to speak to people in one week who were at different ends of a journey has left me feeling whimsical.
So get ready for another annoying motivational piece from someone you have probably never met.
But, to use my favourite phrase at the moment. What else are you gonna do for five minutes?
Here are my top ten roadside thoughts about life and hopes and events along the way. They’re not aimed at writers or entrepreneurs particularly but humans because we’re all on the road to somewhere, or should be.
I’m going to open with a quote from my favourite playwright, Sam Shepard because you can’t have the word road in the title without thinking of him. Right?
That’s not to depress you, more to make a point that the road has it’s up and downs too. Success today is a story on the shelf tomorrow; the important thing is the momentum and staying the journey.
It’s about staying engaged.
In the same interview, with Carol Cadwalladr, he talks about his journey.
With that in mind here are my favourite roadside thoughts, road rules if you will, that I’ve gleaned from working with others and my own experiences, especially over the last week.
1. You might not always get out what you put in, but you’ll never get out what you don’t put in.
Something I scold myself with regularly; achievement and success only come with graft. Anyone who tells you otherwise wants you to buy something from them.
Change doesn’t happen on its own; neither does growth. We’re not plants.
It all requires effort. And to go back to my catchphrase — what else are you going to do right now? You may as well make it count and put effort into whatever you’re trying to do.
Furthermore, while the rest of the world is looking for the path of least resistance there lies a huge opportunity to distinguish yourself.
2. Your most giant judge will often be you.
Try to ignore the fear of being judged for trying something new, saying something loud or putting yourself out there.
Any opinions worth being interested in will be too busy creating their own life.
Anyone saying otherwise isn’t an opinion worth listening to.
It’s just you judge; so remember not to be too hard on yourself.
3. Getting something done is exponentially more valuable than getting something perfect.
Perfection is elusive, and the cruel truth about when you get there is that nobody else will notice anyway.
It’s a futile pursuit. Instead, be brave and tick off those to-do’s, those goals.
You’ll be giving more to the universe of greatness by completing tasks than you will provide burrowing in the darkness, attempting to find perfection.
4. Unless you’re a celebrity no-one notices or cares about your mistakes
This is related to the above point. The only way to honestly know if something works is to try it out first. No one cares about you falling over running for the bus, or including a typo in your blog or sending out the wrong date on an email.
5. Everyone has bad days.
Some people only have bad days; some people have long periods of hardship which comparing yourself to doesn’t help probably, but all humans have downtimes. Trying to squash them is counterproductive, trying to cure them uses up a lot of energy.
Sometimes all that remains to be done is to switch on Netflix or go back to bed.
The occasional bad day is human, not indicative of a failed mission.
6. All experts started as amateurs.
And, if they’re still learning, they’ll always have days when they feel like they don’t know anything.
The only truly amateurish move is to stop learning.
7. If you get something wrong, probably nobody is going to die.
Exception to those brave soldiers on the front line of the virus at the moment; risking their lives to keep everyone safe.
For the rest of us, our day to day activity will come with errors but they are usually fixable. Spend time getting upset with yourself over missed opportunities and big issues; not small errors.
We take ourselves too seriously sometimes. We all make errors and most of them are fixable.
8. Distractions don’t always come with a warning bell, and not everyone wants you to succeed.
Your life is your responsibility, and so is saying no to some things that don’t suit your growth. Real friends or allies don’t want to interrupt what you’re trying to do with your life.
Others do. It’s you or them. Spend your time wisely.
Sometimes distractions don’t realise what they are; other times it is intentional or semi-conscious.
9. We’ve all been there.
All humans make mistakes. The sillier and smaller the more sure you can be that someone has made it before. It’s no big deal, and nobody is going to judge you.
10. No one else is invested in your growth.
Teachers move on; mentors finish up, bosses transfer, even your parents have other things to do. The world keeps spinning, and you must take responsibility for moving upwards.
11. You are what you consume; choose wisely.
I am talking about digital health here. Reading too much depressing news will depress you. Reading angry and hateful twitter feeds will have a similar impact.
Consuming too many hopeless stories will make you feel out of control.
Mix it up to keep a balanced mind; except the nasty stuff, of course.
Similar to the ‘you are what you hang with’ sentiment, on the flip side reading, or spending time in the company of people you aspire to be more like will have a positive impact on your life.
Wishing you a successful week. See you on the road.
Thanks for reading.