How does one plan to achieve?
Well, for starters, you have to see it to believe it. After you have allowed the sight of your achievements to become real in your mind, you have to birth them into creation by writing them down. Only then will you be able to say you have taken the first step to becoming an Achiever.
What you need to know is all of us have been wired for greatness by the Creator. By giving us the free will to work out our own salvation, He is daring us to become more than who we are. But know this, the nest that we’re in is on the side of a mountain. And if we don’t learn how to spread and flap our wings, this same mountain is going to become our permanent home.
But if you have stayed with me this long, you must have some pretty strong wings. They have become stronger because you used them to break free of your doubts and fears so that you can finally see the sun rising and setting on the horizon. Now, you want to get there, where the sun is. To do that, though, you must learn the mechanics of flight.
The sun that you see rising and setting on the horizon can be anything you want it to be. But for the purposes of this book, it represents your Adult LIFE Vision in the areas of nurturing, learning, working and leading. When this Adult LIFE Vision comes into focus in your mind, you will be better able to connect what you’re doing today with what you see yourself doing tomorrow.
But notice what I did here.
I’m not talking about life.
I’m talking about LIFE.
To experience LIFE, you must adopt values that are reflective of your living independently fearless and empowered.
The L in LIFE means you’re active and thriving.
The I in LIFE means you’re not negatively influenced or controlled by others.
The F in LIFE means you’re bold or brave.
And the E in LIFE means you’re enabled or permitted.
Active and Thriving
As the oldest of three children raised by a once-poor, single-parent mother, I could have easily allowed my circumstances to dictate the course of my life. But I didn’t. Instead, I came to realize that my mother was once impoverished, not me. And just like her, I had to figure out how to make a better life for myself. This required that I make the power moves that needed to be made to position me for any and all opportunities that would come my way. Only then would I be able to thrive, or ascend to the next rungs on the ladder.
If you’re not moving forward and up the rungs of the ladder, you’re not being active, and you’re not thriving. The operative word here is moving. You cannot stand in one place and expect good things to come your way. You have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone, both personally and professionally, if you want to gain the knowledge, skills and experiences to display mastery as a nurturer, learner, worker and leader. Without this knowledge, without these skills, and without these experiences, you ability to display this mastery will be diminished, because you have not taken the time to develop a proper framework for achievement.
Not Negatively Influenced or Controlled By Others
Everyone is susceptible to being negatively influenced or controlled. You may have friends who want you to drink alcohol or use drugs. Or, you may have a boyfriend or girlfriend who is pressuring you to be sexually active in the absence of a ring being on it (your left ring finger). But what you need to understand is you are a thermostat, not a thermometer. You don’t gauge the temperature, you control it.
Therefore, you should not allow negative outside forces to dictate how you will nurture, how you will learn, how you will work, and how you will lead. You are the director of your own symphony in these areas, and you should be committed to selflessly showing others how you do what you do. In other words, because you have been blessed, you should always be striving to bless others for their benefit, not yours.
But what is the standard for determining if something is negative or positive? That’s a good question. Well, for starters, you have to ask yourself is this other person’s words or deeds promoting fairness, equality and justice?
Fairness means “impartial and just treatment or behavior without favoritism or discrimination” (Merriam-Webster.com).
Equality, or equal, means “like in quality, nature or status” (Merriam-Webster.com).
And justice means “acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good” (Merriam-Webster.com).
There is no gray area relative to this triad of ideas. You have two choices, embrace or shun. If you choose to shun these ideas, you increase your susceptibility to being negatively influenced and controlled (or duped) by others because now ideology and partisanship drive your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. And when you allow ideology and partisanship to ensnare you, the groupthink that follows causes you to adopt an us against them mentality, and the only thing that really matters to you, them, is being part of a collective that is committed to convincing unlike-minded people to think, feel and behave the way you do. To win.
But are you really winning when bad things continue to happen to good people. I say no. No because these good people want to exercise the same inalienable rights – life, liberty and happiness – that you have been endowed with by the Creator. Will there be times when their exercise of these inalienable rights infringe upon the exercise of your inalienable rights? Yes. But if we are to live in a world defined by our ability to get along, we must do what is morally right relative to fairness, equality and justice.
My religion, Christianity, guides my thoughts, feelings and behaviors in this area. Whenever, I say this, people tend to think I’m a bible scholar. I’m not. But what I am is an adherent to the two greatest commandments that are espoused by Jesus Christ in Luke 10:27 of the Holy Bible – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” They also think I’m intolerant of people whose thoughts, feelings and behaviors don’t align well with Christian dogma. Again, I’m not. I have learned that this intolerance hinders my ability to sow blessings into other people’s lives, as well as their ability to sow blessings into my own.
Does that mean I’m accepting of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors?
But it does mean I will be an active listener who will hold up what they think, feel and do to biblical truths. And then the love I have for them, my neighbors, will compel me to join them in the struggle to co-exist on common ground, working together to sow and cultivate the seeds of fairness, equality and justice for the benefit of all.
Bold or Brave
Sometimes, being bold and brave is a hard thing to do. For us married adults, one of the hardest things to do is apologize to our spouses after doing or saying something wrong or hurtful. For you, young Achiever, it may equate to doing or saying something wrong or hurtful to a friend or parent. When we find ourselves in these type of straits, we are afraid to step up to the plate to take our swings because we think it won’t end well. We may feel embarrassed by what we did or said. Or, we may fear the vitriol that we will receive once what we did or said is revealed. Know this, though: If you don’t step up to the plate to take your swings, you will never know what it is like to win.
You must win as a friend and parent.
You must win as a lifelong learner.
You must win as an employer and employee.
And, you must win as a servant-leader.
Boldness and bravery stem from courage and confidence. Courage is what allows you to look your adversary in the eyes. Confidence is what allows you to take the steps you need to take to turn your adversary into a friend. Bold and brave Achievers don’t go through life thinking they are worse than others. They also don’t go through life thinking they are better than others. Because the Creator sought to create using one blueprint instead of multiple ones, they understand they have been endowed by this same Creator with varying degrees of talents and gifts. Therefore, you must reject the negative messages being cast upon you by your detractors, the ones who regularly tell you that you are nobody. You are somebody, and the level of boldness and bravery that you display in our presence is what causes us to take notice of your unique, yet relatable, brand of existing.
But if you are existing without reaching for the next rung of the ladder, we will dismiss you outright to take notice of the person behind you.
But if you are existing to reach for and pull at the next rung on the ladder, we will consider you bold and brave, offering a hand up not a hand out if and when you request it.
Enabled or Permitted
Your very existence enables or permits you to achieve as a friend and parent, lifelong learner, employer or employee, and servant-leader. But many of us allow the unenlightened few to distract us from our purpose. They distract us because we think they have our best interest at heart.
But if they are not reaching for and pulling at the next rung on the ladder, like you, they are living miserably. Don’t get me wrong, even they have the capacity to change, but if they are underage and using alcohol and drugs, being sexually promiscuous, or doing poorly in school, they just want company. Nothing worse than being miserable all by oneself.
You, young Achiever, must resist the urge to be partner to their misery. You were created to be happy while making those around you happier. This happiness is the engine that enables or permits us to achieve great things as individuals and as part of collectives. And believe me when I write this: Happiness loves company too.