There is something about being high up in the sky that really changes your perspective. You see far more than you do on the ground. Last week my wife and I were on a flight back to Orlando from Pittsburgh. As we traveled over 500+ mph through the air we covered a vast amount of ground very quickly. In a single glance from the plane window we observed land as far as the eye could see, bodies of water, thousands of homes, big buildings, and specs of light moving from tiny cars driving on the roads below.
I couldn’t help but think about all of the people far below us living their lives. People facing good times and bad. Some dealing with joyous heart-warming moments and others figuring out how to face the world amidst a tragedy or loss. Some people making good decisions and moving in the right direction, while others flirt with disaster or remain stuck by their restricted thoughts, environment or situation.
It is easy to get wrapped up in daily life and routines. Many people turn on auto-pilot and do not take time for meaningful “high level reflection” that could lead them to a change in perspective resulting in a more fruitful reality, whatever that may be for the individual.
Here are 16 Ways to Soar to New Heights in 2015
- Determine your final destination (Have a clear vision)
- Ensure your compass is calibrated (Define your core values)
- Make sure your auto-pilot is functioning properly (Develop uplifting habits)
- Travel with the right crew (Surround yourself with good people)
- Travel outside of your comfort zone
- Build yourself a solid runway to help you take off
- Seek higher ground if you need a more fertile environment to grow
- Re-program your mental computer
- Be a good pilot (Know your strengths and weaknesses)
- Stay focused
- Get to know other passengers (build new relationships)
- Stay motivated through turbulent times
- Get rid of excess baggage (Declutter your world, space and life)
- Don’t forget to watch your belongings (Be thankful for what you have and treat it as such)
- Enjoy your trip (Take time to relax, have fun and enjoy your life)
- Upgrading yourself through reflection can lead to rapid rewards
If you do not know where you want to go then how will you know when you get there? There are unlimited possibilities and opportunities in this world. As Sun Tzu said, Opportunities Multiple as they are seized.” If you decide to travel down a given path and seize a certain opportunity then related opportunities will present themselves. This being the case, it is very important to have clarity and know the type of life you want to live. This clarity doesn’t mean that you will always know what decisions to make to bring that vision into existence. That is where your values come in.
Years ago I had the opportunity to work with an extremely successful entrepreneur named Peter Thomas (Founder of Century 21 Canada, Venture Capitalist, CEO of Thomas Franchise Solutions, Developer of the FourSeasons resort in Scottsdale Arizona, and many more impressive accolades).
One thing he regularly expressed is that your decisions are much easier when your values are clearly defined. Having clear values is very much like having a calibrated compass. Your values can help guide your life in the right direction.
In this circumstance, rather than think about moral values (another topic), think about values in terms of what is important to you. I defined my values after my conversation with Peter as – Health, Integrity, Wisdom, Freedom and Abundance. This is not to say that other things are not important. It is just my belief that the other things that are important to me will all flourish if I remain true to the core values I shared. For example – If I have good health, a sound moral compass of integrity, wisdom and freedom then I can create abundance in my life and those around me (family, friends, those in my community in need, those I work with, entrepreneurs, etc). This abundance could include nourishing experiences, positive seeds of wisdom that can bear fruit, financial upside and more. If you haven’t taken the time to do so yet, define your core values. It truly does make your decision making process much easier. If you have a significant other it helps to understand their values as well and define shared values for your relationship.
Habits can be your best friends or worst enemies. Routines of behavior become habits. Assess the current routines and habits you have in your life. Are they supporting your overall vision, life goal, or health? Understand what new routines you can work into your life that will create new habits to add value to your life…then stick to them. Discard negative routines and habits.
My wife Lindsay is starting an equine assisted learning non-profit organization called Crossroads Corral with several others. She recently attended training in Texas and told me of an exercise called “Temptation Alley”. In this exercise she and another girl were tasked with getting a horse down a path filled with treats, food and other distractions. They couldn’t touch the horse at all and if the horse grabbed any food or got off path they would have to start over. Lindsay thought this would be impossible, but her and another girl came up with a plan. They decided to stand on each side of the horse, get excited and encourage him to move then run along with him down the path. To everyone’s surprise they completed the exercise in record speed.
After the facilitator commended the two girls, another trainee rebutted….I don’t think it was that impressive. The horse didn’t even see the temptations along the path. To that point Lindsay replied…
“When you run with the right herd they can stop you from noticing temptation. The temptation may still exist, you just don’t even notice it.”
Just like Lindsay in the temptation alley horse exercise – those you run with should excite you, keep you focused on your path to accomplishing your goals, and help you stray away from temptation. It is important to assess those you spend your time with and determine if they are the right crew to take your life to new heights.
I have certain relatives that are scared to death of flying. They have never boarded a plane and didn’t even attend my wedding in Florida years back because of this phobia. Consequently they missed out on one of my biggest life moments and one hell of a party! It is easy to stay nice and cozy while living inside your comfort zone. However, if you do this you are really cutting yourself short. Take a chance in 2015. More risk, more reward. Of course that risk should be assessed and the decision should not be impulsive. If the decision seems too risky…consider building a runway.
Runways give you the room to prepare for take off to accomplish your goals. For instance, if your goal is starting a business there are many types of runways you can build. Personally in the early years of my business career I built the following runways: Leveraged my time and the resources available in college, purchased a duplex in the early years of my business with my fiance (now wife) to decrease our expenses, started a marketing agency to give me flexibility and provide low cost resources to my tech venture, joined the technology incubator to provide low cost rent early on, etc. All of these runways gave me the freedom to explore, take advantage of opportunities and take off. There are many other runways that can be built or utilized depending on your goal and current situation.
If your environment is not fertile to support your goals, values or vision it may be time to for a change. This higher ground could mean a change in your employment or overall profession, living situation, romantic relationship, friendships, etc. Some changes may be small, others may be large. In 2006 I made a decision to Orlando thus leaving all of my friends, family and girl friend to put myself in an environment I felt was more fertile for my success. This was one of the best decisions of my life. Though many did not agree with this decision they understood my reasons for the change and the ones that matter are all very supportive and happy for the success that this difficult change has brought me.
Your thoughts shape how you experience, interpret, feel and act in the world. Just like a computer, it is important to instill the right programs and information in your mind to improve your “operating system” and life. There are many things that you can do to accomplish this mental reprogramming. Meditation, self affirmations, reading, writing, developing new habits, speaking with inspiring or experienced people, etc. About six months ago I crafted a page long personal affirmation statement. I committed the statement to memory and say each morning and night. I did this so the affirmations can soak deep into my subconscious mind and ensure my thoughts, words, actions and consciousness all align with the life I want to live. I’ve noticed a big difference and suggest that if you are looking to bring about a change in your life that you give this a try.
Over the last few years I have taken several well-known personal assessments: Meyers Briggs and Strength Finders. My wife Lindsay also took the assessments as well as many of our friends. If you have not taken the time to take these assessments and better understand yourself then 2015 is the year to do it. Learn more
There are a lot of distractions that can deter you from reaching your final destination. It is important to stay focused. To a large extent this goes back to many of the other suggestions that were previously discussed – having a clear vision, understanding your values, developing good habits, being around those that will support you, etc.
I’m amazed by the great people I meet when experiencing life. It is true you can meet great contacts at networking events, but too often people neglect to start up conversations with new people they encounter in their daily lives. I’ve met some wonderful people on flights, shopping, at the gym, etc. Great entrepreneurs, politicians, non-profit directors, etc. I’ve really enjoyed my conversations with many of these people. In some cases it may even lead to new business or referrals to others in my network who can add value to their efforts. Take time to talk with those around you. You never know what you’ll learn, what introduction it could lead to, or how you could help one another.
Everyone encounters challenging obstacles in their life at one time or another. Learning to pick yourself up and move forward during difficult times is an essential asset to pack on whatever trip you are taking. Understand what positive triggers can give you an extra boost or lift you when you face set-backs.
When getting caught up in the daily activities and routines of life it can be easy to accumulate clutter, or excess baggage. Removing what you don’t need in your home, car, computer, email, drawers and life can be time consuming and hard at times. However, it is a great feeling once it is over. A decluttered environment can make you feel good, increase your productivity, improve your mental clarity and more. This not only relates to physical clutter that you may collect, but also emotional clutter, past negative experiences and toxic attitudes. Ditch the excess baggage in 2015!
Take time to be grateful for what you are thankful for in your life. This could be your health, skills, people you value, your time, clothes, car, house, animals, job, clients, business, etc. When you are in a mindset of gratitude you tend to find ways to express that appreciation. This expression could be taking better care of what you have, giving thanks to those you value or keeping what you value top-of-mind. All of which could inject more appreciation and joy into your life.
While striving to grow and reach our potential it is easy to forget to “take time to smell the roses” as my mom always tells me. If you’re like me you love what you do and it doesn’t really seem like work, but it is. This is especially true to those around you. My wife is great and truly supports my entrepreneurial activities. This didn’t happen initially, but through the course of 10 years of being together and many conversations. Through that time I also came to understand what she enjoys and was able to find more balance (this is often hard in startups, but gets easier as your business and team grows). Regardless of your stage of business it is still important to set aside time for fun, relaxation and enjoyment. Many people think that you cannot have a balanced life as an entrepreneur. The thought is that you must sacrifice your health, relationships and fun for the price of success. This is not true. It is true that sacrifices must be made at times, but I know many successful entrepreneurs who have abundance in various aspects of their personal and professional life. It is very possible. You just have to have the vision and values to support the life you want to develop.
Taking quiet time to reflect on your life and various situations can lead to great improvements. Many think that if they are not working on something tangible that they are not being productive. Granting yourself the upgrade of assessing your situation can lead to rapid rewards. Learning from various experiences can often be one of the most productive things that one can do. Don’t ignore it.
I hope that you enjoyed this post. If you have a clear and consistent vision along with the values, thoughts and habits to support that vision you are more likely to bring it into existence.
You may be wondering why I chose to share 16 suggestions and not 15. This goes back to vision (the first point). In order to excel in your current situation you have to have the vision to see past it. 16 therefore is a metaphor to encourage you to think past our current situation and time. Think big…just like when you look out from that window on an airplane.
I hope that all of you have a safe, healthy and prosperous 2015. Make it the best year yet!