Read time: 6 minutes 8 seconds
85% of employees are not engaged at work, according to a 2017 Gallup poll.
You probably know employees like this. I know I do. They ebb and flow through the waters of life complaining about their day jobs while waiting for the weekend, the next vacation, or retirement. This Gallop poll has always fascinated me, so I explored strategies that anyone can use at any age to create their ideal life. The four themes that surfaced the most during my research were:
- Have a vision
- Think BIG!
- Invest in yourself
- Work harder than you ever worked before
Dani Johnson, now a multi-millionaire, who was raised on welfare, pregnant at 17, and homeless at 21, calls the first theme, “The Law of vision“. She encourages readers of her book, First Steps to Wealth: A Revolution to Increase Your Income, Improve Your Relationships and Expand Your Influence, to write down any dreams you have, no matter how big or small, even if they start out as seemingly selfish, monetary goals. At this point, you don’t need to know how to accomplish them. You simply need to write them down.
When writing your vision on paper, think BIG!! Don’t hold back! Norman Poole said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will still end up in the stars.” Let me give you an example. If you’re tired of shaking, and sweating profusely before, during and after a work-related meeting, join Toastmasters. If you are already a member, don’t quit. To expand this goal, you could:
- Aim to finish your first pathway in one year.
- Schedule your speeches in advance so you are continually moving forward at a steady pace and never, ever cancel a speech, even if you don’t feel ready.
- Compete in a Toastmasters competition.
- Become a club officer.
- Another idea is to work toward giving a TED talk. That is my ultimate goal. One day, I hope to speak from TED’s signature round, red carpet.
We’ve all heard the phrase if your goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. Grant Cardone, a bestselling author and owner of several multi-million dollar companies, says in his book, The 10x Rule, that you should push yourself to be scared. The more you push yourself, the less scared you’ll be.
I have found Grant’s advice to be true. As a seven-year-old, I loved ballet but I was paranoid at recitals. As soon as I got on stage, I stood there frozen looking around at all of the girls not knowing what to do even though I knew the routine. Within two years, I quit.
Fast forward over 30 years, my daughter asked me to join her tap class last year. Even though I was nervous, I said “Yes, let’s do it!” because I didn’t want her to be scared like me when she is my age. In the first year, we participated in two dance recitals. Three weeks ago, we started our second year of lessons.
Can you believe that I actually love the recitals now? When one is over, I can’t wait for the next one. So many people have come up to me afterward and said, “I could never do that!” to which I say, “Yes, you can! If I can overcome my fears, so can you!”
When you have your vision on paper, and your dreams are as big as they can be, ask yourself, “How are you going to get from point A to your final destination?” You are going to need a plan. Linda, a fellow Toastmaster, would tell us to build a door. The best way to build that door is to take Dani Johnson’s advice and invest in yourself.
- What can you do to increase your skills?
- What classes can you take?
- Who do you know that is successful? Go and talk to them.
- If you want to be a writer, talk to a successful writer.
- If you want a successful marriage, talk to a couple that has been married for decades.
When you start thinking big, you will notice that opportunities are all around you.
To achieve your goals, you will have to work harder than you have ever worked before. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a great example. As a young boy growing up in Austria after WWII, he desperately wanted to come to America. One day, he read a bodybuilding magazine article about Reg Park who grew up dirt poor in England. As he flipped through the magazine barely able to put it down, he learned that Reg Parks worked out for five hours a day. He went on to become Mr. Great Britain, then Mr. Universe twice, and finally secured the leading role of Hercules.
After that, Arnold’s vision was clear. He was going to move to America, become a champion like Reg on that same stage and become a movie star. Like Reg, Arnold weight lifted for 5 hours a day, took acting and language classes. Despite all the odds against him and directors telling him that nobody would ever hire an actor with such a strong accent, he was finally offered a few small roles. He got his big break with the move The Terminator. We all know who Arnold is. To view Arnold’s Five Steps to Success speech, click here.
If you don’t like where life has taken you, push yourself away from the bank, and swim towards a brighter future. You will encounter rough waters and naysayers, but know that if you have a vision, think big, invest in yourself and work harder than you ever have before that you will find yourself amongst the stars, and you may even end up on the moon.
P.S. The above blog post was my second Toastmasters speech from 19 September 2018 which took 6 minutes and 8 seconds.