5 January 2014
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you are wondering how you got here, and you ask yourself “Why?” It usually comes at a time when you are feeling the pressure, here you are up against the clock, where time and circumstances conspire against you.
I seem to live in this zone. WHY?
A great mentor and friend Tony Robbins once taught me, “If you want to get something done, if you want to hit a goal, tell people. Make it official and you have no choice. You have to hit it.”
I don’t know if I have consciously involved people in my goals and desires since, but it certainly feels like I live in this zone between sleep and awake. A place where dreams become reality. A place where you can focus so hard on something everything is possible. Where even the toughest of obstacles are in your wake before you know it.
Actually that’s the answer, not the question. I have learnt that if you set a goal it’s unlikely that you will hit it unless you have good reason.
A great many people want the trappings of success, or to be achievers. Will they get there? Probably not to the level they desire unless they have a profound reason, a calling that drives them from the inside of their soul and beyond. Why? The simple answer is that in hitting a great achievement there comes a defining moment, a moment where you have to make a choice. Do you choose the path of least resistance? Or do you take the uphill struggle, the mountain path?
If you don’t have a good enough reason, if you don’t have a good enough “why” you will press snooze on your alarm and whilst you sleep someone will pass you by on the road to the top.
I have learnt a great deal about myself this Christmas. At home with my three wonderful daughters, I’d sent my wife back upstairs to bed as our youngest had kept her up so much in the night. It was boxing day and like everyones house after Christmas it was a bit of a tip! I got the girls motivated (bribed them) helping to tidy up to surprise Gail so that when she came down stairs the place was immaculate.
By the time Gail came down, we were so organised, the house was sorted, the kids here watching Disney and I was checking mail and messages. I stumbled upon a terrible story. One where a family had built and turned a small garden summerhouse into a sensory room for their son and on Christmas morning they’d come down stars to unveil the surprise, only, it had been burnt down.
I knew I wanted to help immediately. WHY? Sitting in our home with my 3 girls having the perfect Christmas yet knowing that someone a mile away was in dismay didn’t sit well with me. When you know you can help someone, do you sit by or do you help? You help. My “Why” that day was so big it drove not only me to try and change the lives of the Ratcliff household but my own and I believe a great many who helped and supported us over what was actually a pretty tough period.
I believe we are all a little bit different since that day. And the difficulties we encountered now pale in to insignificance now we tell the tale in the comfort of our homes, away from the biting wind.
At every stage we hit massive hurdles, too many to mention, but what was incredible is that like minded people joined force and offered help. Why? Like me they felt something too.
On reflection if we’d had one less pair of hands, if we’d had one less day, if we’d not had the collective determination of the entire team, none of this could have been achieved. But we had a good enough reason, a great reason in fact. A reason so strong that 50 people or more gave up their Christmas break away from their wives, kids and girlfriends, to see that Fiona and Harvey had that Christmas surprise that was robbed from them.
Was it worth it?
If I lived for a 1000 years I can’t imagine a better feeling. Watching Harvey walk into his new den looking up at the pictures on the wall and calmly sit down in the chair, is a vision I am cherishing.
Now it seems normal but stood up to your ankles in mud, in the rain in a garden in Wythenshawe when you could be snuggled up with your beautiful family at a time when you probably do need the rest, you have to ask yourself that same old question, why? But because the outcome is so important and because now others are relying on you and you have told people who have told their friends, letting people down is NOT an option.
So if you are going to set yourself your goals this January, or if you have done them already, and you want a sneaky cheat to help you hit them all, make sure you go through the list and put a reason “why” next to them. If it is merely, because you want one, or your neighbour has one, or it would be nice, it’s highly likely you wont hit that target, but if you ask yourself, “how can I look back on 2014 with pride knowing I have developed more than any other year of my life, helping more people and contributing to the highest level. What do I have to do to be in a position where I have maximised every minute of every day where when I rest I do so knowing I have done my very best?”
Now when you write or reflect on your goals, you have the ultimate answer “why” you are embarking on a journey of change or growth. You own personal purpose if you like.
Good luck in 2014. You don’t need it. If you are reading this you are one of the unusual characters who already get it and believe that you can, will and are making a difference. Your job is to spread the word. You like me are a connector and our job is to show people there is an alternative way.
Have fun in that place between sleep and awake, remain a kid at heart and dream hard. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done. It most certainly can. Enjoy your journey and I will see you there out on the field.
Happy New Year to you.