Make July Your Month Of Independence
In the United Stated we have just finished celebrating the 4th of July. It’s a special time to Americans.
Not only are there picnics and parades, there is an understanding that over 200 years ago people got fed up with the way things were and pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” to making the changes they saw necessary for long-term success as a nation.
July is also halfway through the calendar year, six months away from the hopeful exuberance of New Year’s resolutions. This makes it a perfect opportunity to make July a month to declare your personal independence from the things that are standing in the way of your resolutions and goals. Revisit those grand dreams and declare your independence from the tyranny holding you back – pledging with the same revolutionary fervor as the patriots did to make the changes necessary for your success.
Declare your independence from failure.
How are you doing on the goals you made at the first of the year? Have you fallen so far behind that you haveshoved them back into a corner, pointedly ignoring them because you feel that you have failed?
• Have you given this goal your best effort?
• If you have – what are the reasons you could not be successful? Is it a lack of resources, knowledge or skill?
• How can you learn from where you are and make a plan to acquire what is missing – the resources, knowledge or skills – to allow you to be successful?
The great Roman general Marcus Aurelius asked the question a different way: “Does what’s happened keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straightforwardness?” In other words, does what you perceive as failure change your basic nature as a human being? If not, don’t waste time being held back by the failure. Instead use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Take that learning and growth into the future and continue on to achieve your goals.
Declare your independence from fear.
Television personality Mike Rowe tells a story when he stood before the camera to begin his first night as a host on the shopping channel QVC. He had a product he knew nothing about, he had no experience in live television, and he knew that QVC was not interested in on-air personalities who could not sell products.
In his story, Mike points out a key in declaring your independence from the tyranny of fear: Don’t hide your fear.
Acknowledge that you are scared to yourself and to those around you. In Mike’s case, he started out his segment letting the entire television audience know that it was his first time, he didn’t know anything about what the product did, and then he asked them to get involved and help him out.
The audience responded by filling the phone lines to talk about their experience with the products, encouraged by Mike’s willingness to be truthful and authentic with them. Most importantly, they were willing to purchase the products being pitched.
What Mike Rowe did was eliminate the best weapon of fear, which is the uncertainty that comes with doing something that you have not done before. By openly acknowledging the fear he made it clear that he was committed to success, and was able to tap into those who were waiting for an opportunity to make that success possible.
Declare your independence from going it alone.
The story that Mike Rowe tells also shows the futility of trying to go it alone. Many people set goals – whether they are related to education, fitness or career – then attempt to achieve those goals in the absence of any type of support system.
The self-made man is a myth. Throughout history, leaders who have been successful have had carefully developed support systems around them. Whether they are formal advisors, technical assistants, or just sounding boards who can help in the development of ideas, a support system is invaluable in helping you reach a goal.
Make yourself accountable to those who care about you. It does not have to be a formal accountability framework; something as simple as online social media can be very powerful. When I first started a fitness program, I posted each day’s run to my Facebook account. This was not so much that I wanted to be sure that my friend saw me run, rather, it was my motivation when I did not want to go run.
Declare your independence.
Make this July your personal “Independence Month” – a month to recommit to the goals that you want to achieve this year.
Adjust where necessary, learn from the attempts of the first half of the year, banish your fear, and re-engage with your support system.
You have the second half of the year to make your goals a reality, and the experiences of the first half of the year to get you there.