I’ve never been criticised for not thinking big enough. I’m a dreamer. I’ve also never had a problem with convincing myself that whatever I want, it is achievable.
In the Gallup Strengths Finder, “Futuristic” and “Positivity” are my top 2 strengths. Someone once told me that I’m too positive… I’m not convinced that’s possible as long as you back it up with action and the occasional dose of realism, but not too much of the latter. In my experience, self-belief and positivity are the keys to getting started, and jumping all of the hurdles along the way.
It’s been well established that life works best when you set big goals.
When you have something massive and meaningful to work towards you will move mountains to make it happen. Even more so when you experience small wins and feed off the positivity of those wins to aim towards your bigger goals.
I want to share with you some moments in my life where positive thinking and self-belief were required above all else.
I think back to my early days at university, planning for the student exchange to North America that changed my life. It was huge for me at the time to think about leaving all of my friends and family for 6 months, but the excitement and enormousness of what lay ahead made me save harder and put the additional hours in to organise myself and make it happen. The cost, the time to plan and prepare, and the unknown that scared me so much were all laid down as massive hurdles. The trip happened, I passed all three classes (just), made friends for life in Canada and the US, drove over 10,000 miles through 20 States and turned 21 in Vegas. Positive thinking (and the resulting action) turned this six months into a life-changing experience.
Fast forward to December 2006, my wife Tash and I were recently engaged and on relatively low income. It was no Kim Kardashian rock but I did spend 80% of two years savings on the ring. For a 25 year old in low-level corporate world, I’d splashed out.
The bank balance was bleak and we had just over 12 months to save from scratch for a wedding and honeymoon, and we also wanted to buy our first home. We were working our butts off to get ahead so we could make the life we wanted together and, although we’d already travelled extensively separately and together, we were going to reward ourselves with a honeymoon that blew all other trips out of the water.
We had to save 80% of our combined after-tax income, so after rent it left us with about $200/month to live on. This was a massive stretch for us, both financially and mentally, for the first time in our lives we were starting to earn decent money but couldn’t enjoy any of it.
Understand that all life decisions have a money aspect to them.
This is one of those cases where money intersected in a big way, but more important than money was the positive thinking and self-belief required to make it work. It required a focus on achieving our small goals and positively reinforcing that self-belief that we could get there.
As we saved hard for our wedding we also had to plan for it, book venues, send invites and book the honeymoon. We also started searching for our first home. I was simultaneously negotiating with real estate agents and cake decorators, and quickly learned the geography of Sydney as I visited clients who lived anywhere within 100km of where we lived, often arriving home very late at night. Tash was completing her Masters in Medical Science full time as well as climbing the ladder in her 10-hour-a-day job.
This taught us to be organised, support each other, make the most of any spare time, not to sweat the small stuff, but more importantly than anything, it taught us that self-belief and positivity are the key ingredients. Without this, all the planning, efficiency, saving and support in the world wouldn’t mean squat.
Financial well being is different for everyone but I would sum it up as having sufficient funds for your chosen lifestyle at a given point in time
Everyone longs for it but few actually achieve it. Mainly because they don’t believe in themselves and small obstacles turn into more couch time and less action.
Here are my 3 tips for overcoming this issue:
- Avoid negativity – you’ve heard this 1000 times. If they’re not building you up they’re bringing you down. Remove the people in your lives that bring you down or don’t believe in you.
- Keep your head up (literally) – changing your body language can have a massive impact. Look people in the eyes when you speak to them, get your chin up, shoulders back and chest out. It turns out those army guys know what they’re on about.
- Create a series of small wins – create a list of the big items and break it down into much smaller daily tasks. Do one thing every day to build momentum. Do this for a full fortnight and it will blow your mind how far you’ve come.
Self belief and positive thinking are the key to getting started, and jumping all of the hurdles along the way. It is a combination of confidence, motivation and a desire to learn and grow. Try putting this into practise and let me know how you go.