Nelson Mandela was spot on: “There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”. You will be more fulfilled if you’re striving, not sleepwalking. I want to make sure you don’t settle for less than you deserve.
So how does one ensure they don’t settle, instead go about achieving their potential?
Life has a wonderful way of halting our progress. There are obstacles, hurdles, difficulties, everywhere you look. Most of this is inside your head and you just need to get out of your own way.
I’ve learned a lot of these lessons and I want to give you some tips on how to avoid some of my mistakes. These mistakes were driven by much deliberation and procrastination, often simply because I needed to find the courage to leap.
The early days…
My first job after university was with one of the largest multinationals in the world. A true corporate giant. It took less than two years to go from excited and nervous to stagnating and bored out of my mind. I’d made some great friends, earned a good salary and learned a lot about the subject matter, but it was no longer turning me on.
One day I worked out that I needed 18 promotions to become the CEO, and so even with the $M’s I could earn and the fact that my Nanna always told me I’d be CEO one day, the thought didn’t excite me. I had to make a move.
It took me another 2 months to get the courage, but then I found the right job. It was a 40% pay cut but with a lot more long term promise. Many would balk at the idea of a pay cut moving from job to job as more moolah is often the sole reason we make these leaps.
This was about something more. Realising that I was capable and worthy of more, not just my immediate financial situation, but worthy of something much bigger in the long run.
I made the uncomfortable leap and haven’t looked back.
This is one of only two major moves I’ve made during my career. Well, that that is if you don’t count going from the checkouts to night-filler in Coles aged 17, moving on from my cold-calling, wine-selling gig at the end of uni, or the one where I successfully door-knocked houses west of Newcastle selling energy contracts and was never paid a cent (more on this some other time!).
The second major move was starting Sufficient Funds. Difficult move, yes, but as I said most of the obstacles are in your own head and there are some specific steps you can take to make it far easier for you.
Here are my tips to ensure you don’t settle:
What are you capable of? We all have great and not so great days. Think about your five best days at work. That is you tapping your capability! You’ve done it before – what was it about your mindset that gave you the edge on those days. Find it again and make it a more regular occurrence.
Are you associating with the complainers in the office? If you’re finding the negative rather than the good in everything, you’re off track and it’s time to shake things up.
What are your dreams? Get clear on this. If you’re not clear, you need to start working your way towards it, start setting some time to think through it and start the conversation with someone who can help.
“When inspiration does not come to me, I go halfway to meet it” – Sigmund Freud.
Your motivation is key. You can have lofty dreams and aspirations, but without the courage and hunger to chase it, you’re less likely to make the move and more likely to come up with excuses.
When you truly believe you deserve the next move, it becomes much less easy to ignore, or put in the too hard basket.
Develop a positive mindset, watch a few of Gary Vaynerchuk’s videos, or do whatever works for you to find the fire in the belly. You know you’ve got it, just reach in and rip it out!
Lose the deadweight
There will always be someone or something that keeps you where you are
- A boss that promises, but doesn’t deliver;
- Expectation from family, friends or partners;
- It might be you! If so, focus on your strengths and double down!
Your loyalty can be a great asset but more likely a weakness that holds you back. It is a big part of my DNA, but having the guts to momentarily leave it on the sideline has provided me with a couple of very specific, positively life-changing career moves.
Get a mentor
When I was in my early twenties and everyone told me to find a mentor, I’d usually tune out. All I could ever think of was the old, grey-haired CEO with many leather-bound books. These days the visual is much different.
I’ve been fortunate to have a number of super positive legends that have offered me sound advice along the way. So much so that I now devote a good chunk of my time to paying that forward.
The key is finding someone that aligns with your values and can give you the ammo to really step it up.
Don’t settle for just anyone – you’d be surprised how much time people have to give if you pay attention to their work and ask nicely.
If you need help getting clear on your direction, find someone who can give you perspective. If you need help firing up, find someone to ignite. Find your rockstar, reach out and say hi.
Never stop learning
One final tip to ensure you’re not settling for less than you deserve. Make sure wherever you land you are continuing to learn and grow. If you can honestly say you are becoming a better human day after day, chances are you are doing something you enjoy and stretching your capability.
Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide what you deserve. Figure it out, believe it, do it and don’t settle.