Rocket Fuel For The Soul – Take Aim and Shoot for the Stars!
July 18, 2013 11 Comments
A new contact of mine Annalieza Landa (Twitter: @allysimone) kindly said that my recent A to Z of Inspirational People was ‘Rocket Fuel For The Soul!’ Obviously that put a big smile on my face, because it’s always great to get good feedback. But more than that, I love the power of this phrase and Annalieza has kindly let me use it for the title of this post – I hope I do it justice!
So, now I’ve stolen with pride, what does ‘Rocket Fuel For The Soul’ mean to you? Getting a rocket to take off, break the earth’s atmosphere and beyond our solar system to the stars takes a huge amount of planning, energy, determination and investment. So it is for us as individuals if we want to shoot for the stars in our lives!
In putting this post together, it made me think about all of the elements in my life that really give me, and my soul, a boost of energy – people and relationships that are important to me, places that I love to return to, nature in its many forms, hobbies that I enjoy and successful projects I’m working on and so on. I’ve talked about energy in several other posts and quite specifically in High Energy, High Performance where I explained that Personal Energy is made up of a number of types of energy:
Personal Energy = Physical Energy + Mental Energy + Emotional Energy + Spiritual Energy
To shoot for the stars, you need more than the basic fundamentals of life and energy to get there. If you’ve been a Think Oak! reader for a while, you know my passion for having goals. Well that applies managing your Personal Energy too. Take a look at the following list of GREAT GOALS that provide ‘Rocket Fuel for the Soul’ and will help you on your journey to the stars!
G – Goals themselves and their importance in energy management
Goal setting is a powerful tool to change the quality of your life AND bring you renewed energy. It is valuable in your academic life, personal life, business life and for your health too. Goal setting identifies to both your conscious mind and your unconscious mind what it is you wish to achieve. Many academic studies have proved that setting clear and precise goals can have a significant impact on your life. One of the most compelling pieces of evidence of the power of goal setting is from the 1953 study of the Yale University graduate class that found only 3% of them had written goals. A follow-up 20 years later found that this 3% had a combined wealth exceeding all the other 97% put together!
To really get the most from goal setting, there are 5 steps you should think seriously about following:
- Decide exactly what you want from life
- Write your goals down AND put a time-frame on them
- Break your goals down into milestones and if necessary inch-pebbles – with target dates!
- Prioritise your goals, milestones and inch-pebbles
- Start TODAY and act against at least one of your goals every day
It works. Try it. TODAY. You’ll be amazed at what you accomplish in just one month!
R – Relationships and the importance of making them stronger
As Mark Twain said…”Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that. The really great make you feel that you too can become great.”
Surrounding yourself with the right people will have a hugely positive impact on your spiritual and emotional energy. Building strong and lasting relationships with these people can take your life to a whole new level.
Negative people, or ‘Energy Vampires’ as I like to call them, can have a major impact for the worse in your life. If you’re spending large amounts of time with people who constantly bemoan their situation and blame everyone and everything for their situation can easily drag you down to their level. Try a little test that will prove my point. Whilst you’re out and about, ask friends and colleagues how they are. Watch closely for your inward reaction to their response. If someone, says ‘Great thanks. I’m having a really good day!’, how does that make you feel versus the person that gives a 10 minute diatribe on how bad their life is, how horrible their partner is, how bad work is and finally how there’s nothing at all they can do about it. I think you’ll be amazed at the results. I know, that when I first came across this phenomena, and the positive and negative impact that it had on me, I had some serious decisions to make about who I spent time with.
Surrounding yourself with positive and ‘successful’ people can really add fuel to the rocket that is your soul. I put successful in quotes because we all have a different view of what successful is. But whatever your criteria, investing in building strong relationships with people who you admire, can learn from and whose company you enjoy, will make a big difference in your life and your attitude to it.
E – Exercise your mind as well as your body
We all know that looking after your body is important. Some of us do exercise and treat our bodies well, and some of us don’t, but we all know the consequences! I won’t dwell on this, as there are plenty of people more qualified than I to advise you.
Looking after your mind, however, and exercising that every day, can give you a huge boost in your personal and professional life. Many of us leave school, college or university thinking that that’s the end of study and we’re set for life. Not so. It’s so important to continue to invest in your skills and education throughout our life. Investing an hour or two per day in yourself can have a stratospheric impact on your career, your business, your aspirations and your thoughts and ideas.
I’m hearing shouts of ‘Where on earth am I going to find an hour or two per day? I’m already hugely busy!’ Well, many of us spend between 250 – 500 or more hours per year commuting to and from work. By using this time reading books or listening to audiobooks and podcasts you can get the equivalent of 14 weeks learning within a year! Add to that the hours of television you might watch in a day, week, month or year and you’ll immediately start to wonder how on earth you’ve missed out on this opportunity in your life. I started this process about a year ago and haven’t looked back. Give it a try!
A – Appreciate the world around you
How often do you take time to appreciate what you have in life? – Your family, your friends, the countryside, your town or city, your home, your garden…all the things we all sometimes take for granted. Taking just a few minutes a day, at the start or the end of the day work best, to be thankful for what you have, gives you that kick-start to the day or helps you to go to sleep that little bit brighter.
Spending time exploring new places or even your own village, town or city helps bring new perspectives and ideas. More than this though, spending quality time with the people we love or in places we love or ideally both, help us re-energise us much more than a good night’s sleep (although that’s important too!).
T – Take time for you
We all live very busy lives, and many of us have people who depend on us – our customers, our boss, our colleagues, our families, our friends, our communities. I could go on. Many people seldom make time for themselves because demands on their life are so high or because they feel selfish by taking time out. Spending time by yourself can actually reduce the risk of burnout and stress and more importantly helps you to put some perspective on life. Some people find that spending 20-30 minutes per day meditating really helps them with balance in their lives, for others it might be a run or a cycle ride, for others, like myself, a walking weekend in the mountains a few times a year. Find whatever helps you truly relax and get started!
G – Give of yourself to others
Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote: “Souls are like athletes who need opponents worthy of them if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers.” That’s an insightful analogy, for just as your muscles weaken without physical exercise, and skills weaken without practice and learning, so does your soul weaken without its special kinds of exercise. A great exercise for your soul is the practice of giving. As with physical exercise, the more you do it, the easier it is, and the stronger you will become.
What are the benefits of giving? Here are some of the things you can gain by making giving a greater part of your life:
- Creating new relationships
- A sense of empowerment, pride, and accomplishment
- Happiness that you’ve impacted someone’s life positively
- Maybe learned some new skills along the way
The paradox is that when you give expecting a reward, you won’t receive one. When you give with joy and selflessness, you benefit greatly. The attitude you bring to your giving will reflect the benefits you gain.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
― Winston Churchill
Giving of yourself could be in your local community, becoming a personal mentor for someone, doing a sponsored event for charity or even writing a blog to help other people develop!
O – Organise Yourself
The Pareto Principle (The 80/20 rule) states that in many things, 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes.
Studies over the years have observed this rule in action in many different spheres of life.
Business: 20 percent of customers will account for 80 percent of profit.
Relationships: Twenty percent of the people you know (friends, colleagues, family) provide you with 80 percent of nurturing support and satisfaction.
Productivity: Twenty percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your success.
How can we put the 80/20 principle to good use?
The Pareto principle is great to increase focus. Don’t try to do more. Just do more of the right things. If you have a lot of work to do, break it down to specific activities and figure out what twenty percent of the tasks listed contributes to eighty percent of the results you seek. Second, give your maximum concentration to those 20 percent tasks.
So how do you know if you’re working on the twenty percent that really matters?
It makes you feel good because you are doing what you always wanted or you know it’ll help with your goals.
You are doing the tasks that you’d like to procrastinate, but know that it is essential.
You delegate tasks to others that you aren’t good at.
You are doing something that uses your creativity
Hints that you aren’t utilising your time effectively:
You are doing things that other people want you to do.
You are doing things that you aren’t good at.
You are doing things you don’t enjoy doing (provided that it doesn’t also contribute to your goals).
You are doing things that always take you a lot of time and energy.
With a little effort, and the application of the 80-20 rule, we can save a lot of our emotional and physical energy to concentrate on stuffs that really matter and enrich our life.
A – Attitude is the engine that keeps you going, but like any engine, you need to maintain it
Think Oak Methodology outlines Four A’s for Success – Aptitude, Accountability, Anticipation and Attitude
Aptitude is our ability, talent or competency that we have honed and practised (or not) to do a particular task or role.
Accountability is us taking ownership for our actions, but more importantly our own lives.
Anticipation is our ability to think from the future and anticipate the markets we operate in or what we need to be planning for in our own lives.
Attitude is the engine that drives us to success. With a poor attitude, you’ll be very lucky to even take off, never mind get where you want to go.
In a previous post ‘Aptitude or Attitude~ What makes a Star Performer?’ I covered some of the key attitudes that will get you off the launch pad and beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, but there are two more things you’ll need to help you reach the stars!
L – Love Yourself
All of us at one time or another have self-doubt, are afraid of something or afraid to do something. Sometimes we may not like ourselves very much. But before we can truly be happy and successful loving yourself has to be a priority. Easier said than done, I know.
We’re taught by western society that our worth is found in the ‘core’ of our culture—technology, status, youth, sex, power, money, attractiveness, and romantic relationships.
If you base your self-worth on the external world, you’ll never be capable of self-love. Your inner critic will flood you with thoughts of, “I’m not enough, I don’t have enough, and I don’t do enough.”
Feelings of lack are never-ending. Every time a goal is reached or you possess the next big thing, your ego will raise the bar. It’s really important that you recognise when this is happening and put actions in place to reverse the process.
I’ve covered some of these areas in the Self-limiting Belief series (part 1, part 2), but there are other great sources available for you read that I’ve come across. One particular recommendation would be ‘The Chimp Paradox‘ by Doctor Steve Peters.
S – Stay Positive
Finally, on your journey to the stars you are bound to experience some bumps, turbulence, diversions and set-backs. Just remember that each of these is an opportunity to learn. Einstein famously said: “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” When you’re hit by a meteorite on your journey to the stars, see what you can learn from the experience, re-plan if necessary, change course if necessary, refuel and set-off again with focus on the end destination.
“Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow.” ~ Seth Godin
I’m hoping that these 10 focus areas will help you in your personal and business life, and give you a little Rocket Fuel for the Soul.