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I was once told by an English professor to never start a paper with a question. So naturally being a questioner of authority and a bit of a smart a** (surprising, I know.) I began every paper that semester with a question, and here we are again.

 

You see I believe that we learn through inquiring. The more questions you ask the more knowledge and information you get in return. But the real question is do we ask the right questions? I once heard “there are no stupid questions, just stupid people who ask them.” Never wanting to be one of the “stupid people” I always try to ask the right question. For example, gentlemen, you know what happens when you ask your significant other, “where do you want to eat?” ßWRONG QUESTION!

 

I can sense that many of you are beginning to question why you’re still reading this nonsense so here are my three questions for you in order of importance:

 

1) What is really important in your life? - You’re not allowed to take the easy way out: family, faith, friends… Be specific. 

 

2) What motivates you? - Notice I didn’t say “what do you want?” What really motivates you? What is it in this world that really fires you up and ignites your passion?

 

3) What are your goals? - No, not your worthless new year resolutions. Not your dreams or wishes. What are your goals? What are you currently, actively working to achieve?

 

 

Let’s unpack these a bit. First, what is important to you? I said to be specific because too often we have a prepackaged answer. We say something like “my family.” Is every aspect of “your family” important to you? Is your child’s outfit important to you? Is your spouse’s choice of toothpaste important to you? What really is important to you?

 

I know for me personally I couldn’t care less about my children’s grades (insert gasp here). I really don’t. Their passion for learning is important to me. Their never-ending quest for improvement is important to me. Their work ethic is important to me. I think if they have those things the grades will work themselves out. I mean let’s be honest when was the last time a grown adult asked you about your grades in school?

 

Second, what motivates you? I challenge our instructor team with this one all the time.  I think it is super important that you have a deep understanding of what inspires you. Why? Because when you feel beat down and need a lift this is what pulls you up.

 

For me, nothing motivates me as much as success and accomplishment, and I don’t just mean business and money. I love seeing my students succeed at achieving their goals. I love to see them accomplish something that has eluded them for some time. I love seeing my kids successfully learn a new skill or task. I love to see my instructors develop this same passion for seeing others succeed. I love this stuff so much that my bookshelves are full of biographies of successful people from all aspects of life: Michael Jordan (the basketball GOAT), Edmund Hillary (the first man to top Everest), Steve Jobs (the man who changed our world), Beethoven (legendary composer), Walt Disney (the visionary), Jesus (the most influential person in human history), Helen Keller (the undisputed champ of overcoming adversity), etc.

 

The point is once you find what really motivates you submerge yourself in it. This world has a way of consistently throwing us a beat down. That much defeat, struggle, and heartache will eventually overwhelm you and redefine you unless you find your motivation to keep getting up.

 

Finally, what are your goals?  Once you know what is really important and what inspires you it is time to create a plan to make both a reality. This needs to be a detailed plan complete with action steps and time deadlines. Consider the following crappy analogy:

 

Analogy Guy wants to take his family to Disney World. He researches the cost of hotels, tickets, gas, food, etc. He discovers that he’ll need $x to make this happen. He then decides that he wants to go during his children’s fall break which gives him 33 weeks to prepare. He’ll need to save $x/33 per week to have enough money. He books the rooms and purchases the tickets. He looks at the map (no he doesn’t have GPS) and maps out his route. Analogy Guy wants to leave at 6am so that he gets through Atlanta after rush hour. He knows that around 10am he’ll need to stop for gas and snacks. He knows that in another 4 hours he’ll need to stop again for more gas and lunch, but he and the family will be in Florida. It’s just a couple more hours from there to their hotel putting them there just before dinner.

 

You see all of the steps necessary for our hypothetical family to go on vacation. You know this process well don’t you. I even skipped several of the necessary steps (and the pee breaks). Now compare this process to the one you did on January 1 when you haphazardly said, “I want to get in shape.” No plan. No benchmarks. No timeframe. No real goal. No real action. No results. (“How did he know that?”)You must be specific.

 

“So what’s the point Mr. C? Why did I read all of this?” I honestly don’t have an answer for the second question, but here’s my answer for the first. Remember that success is my motivator. I want to see you successful: successful in life, in sport, in business. If you look at the sections of this post that I underlined you will find in no particular order my plan for success for myself and for you. Good luck!

 

  • Ask the right questions.
  • Develop a passion for learning.
  • Go on a never-ending quest for improvement.
  • Have a strong work ethic.
  • Gain a deep understanding of what inspires you.
  • Keep getting up.
  • Create a detailed plan for accomplishment.
  • Be specific.


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