I’m going to tell you something you probably haven’t heard before. What I’m going to tell you will probably go against everything you were taught watching Sesame Street so I’ll ask you, do you really want to be successful in your work and your life? You’re going to have to really want it to do what I’m about to suggest.
To be successful in life you need to be selfish.
I want you to be more selfish. More selfish than you’re probably comfortable with. I hope you’ll stick with me so I can explain what I mean….
I have BIG DREAMS! I have big goals and big plans and I’m going to achieve them. To be successful I need to be more selfish. I need to spend time, money, and energy pursuing my BIG DREAMS. I need to be more selfish! Not at the expense of others, of course, but maybe at the expense of politeness. At the expense of niceness. At the expense of putting other people’s hopes and dreams before my own.
Let’s talk about the oxygen mask analogy. During the safety demonstration on an airplane we are advised in case of emergency to put our own oxygen mask on before assisting others.
It’s a good analogy but here’s how it’s failing you- you can’t achieve your BIG DREAMS by putting on your oxygen mask first. Think about it, putting on your own oxygen mask is what you need to do in case of emergency. It’s a method of survival.
Let me ask you, are you surviving or are you thriving? When it’s not an emergency are you assisting others before taking action on your hopes and dreams? You have to do more than just put on your oxygen mask- you have to be more selfish.
Do you have BIG DREAMS? Maybe you’re content to reach just a little higher but you’re more-or-less happy with the life you have. Good for you! If you don’t have BIG DREAMS you might just be able to get by putting other people first.
If, however, you do have BIG DREAMS, well, it’s about time you started putting yourself first. I’ll say it again, you need to be more selfish.
Let me give you some examples of what selfishness can look like.
People will make lots of requests and many of them will even be reasonable requests but to be successful you’ll have to say no to requests that aren’t aligned with your goals.
Think of it this way, unless you have unlimited resources, every time you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to something else. You agree to help your friend move, but that means you can’t work on writing your memoir this weekend. You agree to bake cookies for parent-teacher night, but that means you won’t have time to work on the business plan for your dream business this week.
Again and again, your BIG DREAMS are put off in favor of doing favors for just about everyone but you.
Ask for what you want
Most people are too busy being concerned about their own life to be concerned with yours. They don’t know what you want and even when they do, they aren’t going to give it to you unless you ask. You have to ask for what you want.
You want a raise? Ask for it. You want that client to work with you? Ask for it. You want to be considered for that big project? Ask for it. You want your spouse to support you while you pursue your dream? Ask for it. Want your kids to give you an hour quiet time every night while you work on your side business? Ask for it.
You’ve got to get comfortable asking for what you want to reach your BIG DREAMS.
If you’re going to work on your BIG DREAMS you need to schedule time for it. Block out time on your calendar to pursue your dreams and be unreachable during those times.
Turn off your phone. Close the Facebook tab in your browser. Go into a quiet room and close the door.
It’s going to be difficult. A friend will invite you for dinner. Your kids will want your attention. Your boss will ask you to work late. You’ll be tempted to give in. What will happen if you don’t give in? Absolutely nothing.
Whatever or whoever is clamoring for your attention can wait. Can you wait for your dreams?
Spend money you don’t have
To reach your BIG DREAMS chances are you’ll have to invest a little money. Money that you surely think you “don’t have”. When push comes to shove, you’ll use money as your go-to excuse to push your dreams aside.
Think about skipping the fancy dinner and drinks with friends, forego buying birthday presents for a year, stop loaning money to your deadbeat uncle, or otherwise find money to finance your dream. You can probably come up with money you’ll tell yourself you “don’t have”. Selfishly spend on your BIG DREAM first.
These are just a few examples of how you can embrace the idea of being selfish to be successful in work and life. Your BIG DREAMS are calling, are you going to keep putting your dreams on hold? Are you willing to be a little selfish to achieve great things?
Leave a comment below and tell me how you’re going to be more selfish to reach your dreams.