Posts tagged ‘achiever’

The past doesn’t have to be linked to the future

For a long time, I thought that one of the things that motivated me was that my parents were dirt poor and I didn’t want to be like them. In my mind, this was the greatest motivator for me. So for many years during my adult life, my future was anchored and guided by the past; namely, the life of my parents.

I was liberated but the realization that I didn’t need to rely on my parents’ past to motivate my future.

Many people have managed to become successful despite a less favorable childhood  such as poverty, a lower social class or even abuse.  One possible interpretation is that human beings react differently toward the same event. For example, being attacked by a wild animal will cause some to be paralyzed by fears and others will feel adrenaline surge and have extra energy to run faster than they’ve ever run in their life. Hence, you could say that people like Oprah who come from a tough childhood were motivated by their past to “run” away from it to seek a better life.

I propose a different interpretation.

Recently I have come to realize that what has motivated me is this inner belief that somehow I didn’t have to be a slave of my past. It was important for me to learn that through my actions in the present I could control my future. In other words, my future depends only on the choices and actions I make in the present.

I am confident that many people who have overcome less favorable conditions would probably agree that what has made them successful is that they knew deep inside that they could control their future through their actions in the present.

At some point in life, we all face setbacks. Some start life with conditions that you would think would predestine them to be failures: parents who are alcoholics, drug users, controlling, abusive, poor, uneducated or worse, come to life without parents; siblings who were too smart that they could never measure up against; a village that was too small to offer any opportunity for success; limited opportunities for people with their gender or race in their culture. Even for people who come from a privileged background, at some point in their life they may have to overcome some daunting setbacks or failures such as loss of a close family member, losing a good job, a house or a business.

The good news is that past failures are not an indication of future greatness. What the present offers us is to make choices and take actions to reach the desired success in the future.

May 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm Leave a comment

Get a Coach

One of the many reasons that professional players are better than amateurs is that they have better coaches. Or perhaps I should say they have more coaches. Did you know that many of top players in sports team have their own coaches or coach-like consultants to help them improve a specific aspect of their game, such as posting-up or shooting free-throws? Similarly, most top executives in companies of all sizes use a business coach.

Why do business executives or athletes use coaches? An executive or an athlete may have more technical skills, natural talent or knowledge than the coach, so why hire someone else?  The simple reason is that it works.

For anyone reading this who thinks that they can’t afford a coach, let me point out that we all have coaches available to us. Your coach can be a co-worker, spouse or friend. In fact, you can return the favor to the person who is “coaching” you by being a coach for them in the same or a completely different area.

Here are a couple of advantages of coaching and why everyone needs a coach:

  • You can’t see your own mistakes: As humans, it’s very easy for us to see what’s wrong with people and much more difficult to see what’s wrong with us. Proof? Get a few of your co-workers together in one room, ask one of them to go out of the room and then ask the question to the remaining colleagues: “Guys what’s wrong with him or her?” I feel confident that more than likely, you will not hear, “This is the finest person in the world. There is nothing wrong with him or with her.” Just like a coach can see natural tendencies you have when you’re swinging a golf club, a coach selected from friends, family members or co-workers can help point out these natural tendencies that can hold you back.
  • A coach can hold you accountable: If you are an athlete and you expect to train at certain times, the coach will hold you to that. Having a coach can be very useful to hold you accountable to do the things that will help you reach your goal. Suppose you have a goal to lose weight and to reach that goal you plan to exercise three times a week. Having a friend to hold you accountable for going to the gym makes it more likely that you will indeed show up.  If you’re looking for work, you might have a “coach” hold you accountable to the number of resumes you’re sending each week or the number of job fairs that you are attending on a monthly basis.

The “coaching” arrangement doesn’t have to be formal.  For example, if you want to lose weight, it could be that you have a friend go to the gym to exercise with you. This means that if you don’t show up, you would have to cancel your appointment at the gym with your friend. It could also be that the arrangement would consist of showing a log to the person serving as your coach on what date and time you went to the gym, what activities you performed and for how long.

Having goals mean nothing if you’re not following the plan. If you don’t execute the strategies and tactics to reach these goals, you probably won’t achieve them. Having a “coach” holding you accountable to following the plan can go a long way in helping you reach your goals.

March 10, 2011 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

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