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Squash Your Anxiety. It Does Not Serve You. A few months ago I was in the midst of losing the first big sale of my tech career. I had taken the prospect from mild interest all the way to a verbal commitment. But since that verbal, he had gone silent. It had been weeks since I’d heard from him. My brain started to retrace every step I made… where had I gone wrong? What had I missed? What would my boss think? Anxiety started to build. I felt I had no one to blame but me. My mind raced.
But one night during that time I went to a Yin Yoga class in my neighborhood and the instructor said something that resonated with me. She told us to “release what does not serve you.” Release what does not serve me? I thought… what’s not serving me right now? It’s this stress and anxiety. It’s weighing me down. And what purpose does it serve? None. From that moment forward I have decided to release what does not serve me. This method helps me whenever I become too entangled in my work or this blog. Whenever a negative thought creeps in, I ask myself “does this thought serve me?” The answer is almost always no… so I let it go.
Building the Foundation for Success. The easy part is envisioning the life that you want for yourself. If you close your eyes for a second I bet you can see it. But the hard part is figuring out how you get from here to there. There’s a mountain to climb but no clear path upward. The key, I’m learning, is to get yourself acclimated for the climb before you begin your accent.
Simply put, you must build a foundation for a successful life before you reach success itself. Bestselling author and the creator of Dilbert, Scott Adams, gives a 3 step framework for building this foundation.
- Step 1) Mastering Self: Adams argues that you must get the basic components of your life right before you can thrive. In this essential first step you must focus on mastering the fundamental aspects of healthy living such as sleep, exercise, diet, meditation, and sex.
- Step 2) Mastering Finances: Once you’ve mastered your physical and mental self you will be able to proceed to step 2 which consists of taking care of yourself financially. Here you should work on mastering your job, mapping out your career trajectory, paying down debts, investing and taking smart risks.
- Step 3) Family, Friends & Lovers: Adams explains that only after completing steps 1 and 2 will you be able to successfully care for your loved ones. The stability of your health and finances is essential to creating stability and happiness in your personal life. Once you reach step 3 the foundation will be set for you to provide for your family and lead a happy marriage – and even broader goals such as giving back to charity and creating a legacy. But none of this happens unless you build a foundation.
Podcast to Check Out:
WorkLife with Adam Grant by TED. A TED Original Podcast hosted by organizational psychologist and Wharton professor Adam Grant, WorkLifetakes you into some of the world’s most interesting workplaces to uncover the keys to better work. In it’s first ever episode, How to Love Criticism, Adam brings you behind the scenes of the world’s most successful hedge fund, BridgeWater Capital, where its CEO Ray Dalio explains their culture of radical candor where people are ranked and rated constantly. Ray argues that by creating a culture that encourages negative feedback they’ve been able to improve performance, morale and increase results for the company. Want some lessons on how to embrace criticism? Check out this episode.
Article to Read:
Success and Failure Don’t Change Who You Are. We have a terrible tendency to identify ourselves with the successes and failures that make up our lives. We believe that because we got a promotion we are a better person or since we got fired we are worthless. But, as this articleform The Daily Stoic explains, who we are is not determined by the events of our life. In fact, Ancient Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius said that every human is like a rock. If you toss a rock up in the sky and watch it fall to the ground the rock will remain unchanged. You too, despite your success and failures, remain the same person throughout. Don’t forget that.
Quote of the Week:
“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself” – Marcus Aurelius