“I need this tool.”
“I really need to go on this course.”
“If only I had…”
These are things we might tell ourselves. They can be comforting, cushioning thoughts. For physical, hands-on activities it might well be true. But for knowledge work, for making change, I suggest that all we need is the following:
• Focus – to know our destination
• Brainstorming – to find the path
• Making a plan – to help us find our next step
• Ask questions/Google/for help – when we’re stuck
• Will – to take all the steps needed
(Lessons from Arnold Schwarzenegger and his midriff)
Apparently, Arnold Schwarzenegger only ever had a 4-pack. A 4-pack stomach is like a 6-pack stomach but not quite as ‘good’ (some of the abdominal muscles are still covered by body fat), or so I hear. There’s an 8-pack option too.
Genetics meant that even though Arnie was the Mr Olympia for a number of years he was never able to attain a 6-pack.
Did this bother him? Did it hold him back?
I’m not sure we can know the answer to the first question but by most standards the answer to the latter question is a resounding no.
What are the 4-packs in your life, home or business? How much time and effort are you exerting chasing a metaphorical 6-pack? What else could you spend that energy on? Where could you apply the rule of good enough?
The opposite side of the coin from incrementing to awesome is knowing when to stop.
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Yesterday, I went for a run through an unfamiliar area. Pretty soon I was lost but I was happy. I knew I had to get back and I knew I was very unlikely to simply turn around and retrace my steps. And I was cool with it.
Then, suddenly, I recognised where I was and I was hit with a sudden feeling of dread as I realised that I was around 2 miles from home.
It dawned on me that a) this made little sense and b) this happened to me a lot. I could be fully aware of, and happy with, a set of risks. But then one of those risks would materialise and boom! I’d experience fear.
Fear is a little like arsenic: it’s natural, ancient, potentially toxic and only occasionally useful. Humans are built to experience fear, to run away, resist change, stay put and hide under the duvet.
On the other hand, fear is good. Fear means we’re evolving. It means we’re pushing forward. Fear means we’re reaching for our awesome.
This blog is all about taking gentle steps but if we’re not ever scared perhaps the steps are too gentle?
‘Better than nothing’ is normally a dismissive term.
Sure, whatever, better than nothing right?
Let’s look at it from another perspective for a second. Consider the activities in our lives and businesses that contribute nothing to our goals. Pointless meetings, wasting hours on social media, dealing with the wrong kind of clients…
Now think of things that are simple, easy and better than nothing. If you did those things instead of the things with no value at all what do you think the net effect would be? After a day, week, year, lifetime?
A 5 minute walk is better than no exercise. Writing a few words is better than writing none. Reaching out to one person is better than helping no-one.
The best thing is, once these tiny better-than-nothings are in place we can do something very slightly better again.
It could be that the biggest opportunity we get in our lives is the opportunity to do lots of tiny things.