How can you have your best year ever? That’s an important question, especially if last year sucked. Or you think next year could be the big one. In this post, I want to share my three steps how my year went from ‘Dud’ to ‘DUDE!’ in just a short time.
Here’s my story:
Two years ago I was looking back on what was a crappy year. Nothing seemed to have gone right – illness, problems at work, home, anxiety and the associated binge eating and weight gain that accompanies these things for me.
But it was also a good year. Because it was the year that I ‘found myself’ (my wife’s words, not mine).
It was a difficult and drawn out process which I’ve written about in numerous posts on this blog (like this).
But since then, everything has been on an up. That’s not to say it’s been plain sailing. In fact, my family has faced some of its toughest challenges this year.
Being able to look at family tragedy, trial, struggle and still come out swinging speaks volumes of the strength and purpose that is stored up in me and my family’s life.
Now we’re coming to the end of December and another full year of This Dad Does, I normally reflect on the year that’s passed.
But this year I want to do something different. Because this blog isn’t about me. It’s about you.
If I just wrote it for me, I’d be the same as all those narcissists that post endless drivel on Medium and Tumblr – all of it helping no-one.
Which is why this post has a different take. Because I’m reflecting on my best year ever, I want to share with you my steps to success in the hope that, even if 2017 sucked, 2018 will be your best yet. Keep reading to find out more.
Step 1: Find Your Mission
Having a mission in life (you might call it a goal or purpose) is absolutely critical to developing and maintaining focus. I believe in this so much I literally wrote a book about it.
If you don’t have a mission, then you’re no different from every other Joe-Schmoe out there who works his 9-5 and collapses on the sofa in the evenings for T.V. marathons. The only achievement that will get you is a rotted brain and an early death.
And if you sound a bit like Joe, then maybe that’s why last year sucked. And why you’re here reading some random guy’s blog about how to have a better one.
I don’t write that to chide – in fact that’s exactly where I was a few years ago: trapped in a groundhog day of repeated experiences, failures and disappointments.
Here’s the rub: you can’t have a mission without a vision. Vision is what drives you as you accomplish your mission in life. What is your vision? What do you want?
I know what I want and I’m working towards it every day.
The fact that my keys are dancing over this keyboard after I worked 9 1/2 hours in my sales and business development job are testament to that. What your vision is is up to you.
So I’ve made it my mission to learn those things and make my vision a reality.
Working that out year on year has led me to greater and more exciting things. But it doesn’t have to be a success thing. It could be anything.
A couple of years ago I had a vision of moving my family from the city to somewhere rural. Last year we did that and it’s been the best decision possible. Our quality of life has increased exponentially.
What if you don’t have a vision? Don’t worry – most people don’t. But the fact that you want one puts you ahead of the crowd already.
To develop vision, you need to apply the Gorilla Mindset technique of asking ‘What do I want more of?’ The answer to that question should fuel your vision.
Step 2: Acquire Knowledge
What ever your mission is, and however you plan to accomplish it, one thing is sure. You will need knowledge.
Just over two years ago I decided to write again, this time through a blog. I had no idea how to do it or where to start. I’d never used WordPress (the software that many bloggers use) or even knew what HTML was.
So I’ve spent the last two years learning what I needed to about web design, blog layouts, themes and even some basic coding in HTML (you can see little bits of that round the site if you know where to look).
But the knowledge journey doesn’t stop there. I’ve also learned:
I didn’t go on courses or to college to learn this stuff, it’s been a case of ‘Get stuck, Google, Repeat.’
Why bring this up? Simple – if you have a goal in mind – whatever it is – then you’re going to need to acquire the knowledge to fulfil your mission.
Getting that knowledge is going to bring you closer to your goal and help you have your best year yet.
Be Prepared to Pay for Knowledge
There are too many arm chair experts out there – people who spend a few minutes on Google or Wikipedia and BAM! they’re tenured professors in their chosen field.
Except that’s not how it works. If you really want to learn stuff, you’re probably going to have to spend money – whether that’s on books, online courses or try-by-doing (my favourite).
What do I mean by the last one? Here’s an example. The website you’re reading just now is self-hosted. I didn’t know how to run a self hosted site. The only way was to do one.
But I had to pay three years hosting up front at a cost of a couple hundred dollars. But that initial outlay has let me reach my goals, write my first book and connect with tens of thousands of fathers like me. I’d say that was money well invested.
The same can be said for books. Most people think £7.50 – $10 for a book is expensive (A Father’s Mission is only £5.99 but I digress). But if that book gives you 10x value from what you paid, was that a good investment?
Buy a book on internet marketing or copywriting and you might only learn one thing. But what if that one thing made you money?
When I was starting out, I bought ‘This Book Will Teach You to Write Better‘ by Neville Medhora. It cost $3. But I used the techniques to write my first successful freelance proposal and then used the techniques again to write the piece.
I only got paid $10 but then I was $7 up on my investment (I’ve used those same techniques again and again – they’re even on this page).
If you really are prepared to make this year your best, then you must be prepared to acquire knowledge.
But knowledge on its own isn’t enough. You also need to…
Step 3: Act Fearlessly
What does it mean to act fearlessly? Can anyone truly overcome fear? When I trained to become a low level military parachutist, I felt unimaginable fear – raw terror like I’d never experienced before.
But it was tempered by two things:
My desire and will to succeed.
Knowledge and understanding of the kit and techniques involved.
Armed with both of those, I was able to overcome my fears and propel myself out of an aircraft in the dark at 800 feet above ground.
To act fearlessly really required a good deal of prep work – to have and understand the vision and mission required.
And the knowledge to stand up, clip in and jump.
If you have a clear vision of what you want, and you’ve got the knowledge to make it happen, there will follow a period of action. If you want to be a writer, write every day. Want to be a runner? Run 3-4 times a week. Want to learn the piano… you know where we’re going with this don’t you?
It’s the ‘action’ part of the equation that most people skip out on. They are happy navel gazing, thinking about their next ‘big idea’ or they want the knowledge: “I was reading this great book about day trading.” but are unprepared to act.
Imagine if you got past that theory stage and into the world of ‘action’. Of overcoming fear. Would you year be better or worse?
More than a year ago, I (together with my wife) decided on a better life for us in the country – one closer to my family. A year ago we made that move and it’s been the best decision. And we’ve had our best year yet. Sure, it will be hard to beat. But I’m already on it.
If you want to have your best year, I recommend my book ‘A Father’s Mission‘ which has attracted five star reviews.