We tend to measure success by the results of our efforts. Did I get what I want? If I got what I wanted I might say, “life is great!” What if I didn’t get what I want- does that mean life isn’t great? Is my measure of success based on life going my way and only my way? No way!
What I’ve learned is success happens when I simply do my best and forget the rest. My success isn’t measured by where I end up but how much I value the experience of getting there- wherever there happens to be! And when I do my best every day, success is the natural result of my actions.
The yoga principles of abhyasa and vairagya have taught me to be purposeful in my practice and let go of my attachment to the results. In yoga this might look like being mindful of my breath, proper alignment of my body so I don’t injure myself, and the joy and release I experience in pose. Not attaching to the results suggests I don’t judge myself for how far I can stretch into the pose, and this encourages me to simply do my best and let go. These principles help me be my best in life as they do in yoga. A deeper stretch will come with practice.
Focusing on doing your best is all it takes to be successful. Don’t believe me yet? Here’s how it’s worked for me.
Taking it one day at a time
I’m living this moment. Doing my best is making the best of this moment.
When I take life one day at a time I experience all there is in the present and enjoy it for all it’s worth. I’m not thinking about what will happen tomorrow, I’m living today to the fullest. I’m doing what I can with what’s in front of me today.
“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”
Accept yourself as you are
I can only do what I can do. I may aspire to be more but first I must accept myself just as I am today. I literally can’t do more than I’m capable of right now.
If I want more than I have right now I must first know and accept myself just as I am today, and make the best of the person I am today.
“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Practice makes progress
The more I focus on results over actions, the more frustrated I feel when the results don’t happen how and when I want them to. But when I shift my focus to doing my best just for today, I make progress on my goals.
Practice makes progress. I can enjoy the process when I do my best today and let go of the result.
“You are doing your best only when you are trying to improve what you are doing.”
Great results come from great actions
Before I can get results I have to do the work. Ah, so great actions come before great results. All I have to is my best at the work in front of me and the results will follow in due time.
”Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”
All you have to do to be successful in life is wake up every morning and say, “how can I do my best today?”
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When I look at past struggles in life there is a common theme: fear. When I feel overwhelmed, when I feel stress, when I think too much- there is my old friend fear. Fear is behind boredom, complacency, discontent. My fear likes to whisper the worst case scenario in my ear; sometimes I even believe it. Fear warns me of all the things that could go wrong. It tells me to keep doing what I’m doing. It tells me change is a bad thing.
Fear is a liar.
The things I fear most are unlikely to come to pass and even when they do it’s never as bad as I feared. Fear’s power lies in anticipation, it lies in my mind. When I face my fears I find I am capable and competent. I can handle this. I can do this! If I don’t know how, I will learn. Oh, and by the way, I rock! Suck on it, fear! Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!
My one word goal for 2013 is FEARLESS.
This year I will fear less. I will trust myself. I will trust the process. I will relax and enjoy the ride. I will trust that a positive outcome is just as likely as a negative one. I will believe that all things are working together for good.
As I embark upon a year of living fearlessly, I will rock these 10 steps to be fearless:
01. Don’t believe everything you feel.
Emotions are information, not real world situations. I can be aware of my feelings and let them be just that- feelings. Just because I feel fear doesn’t mean I’m danger, unless you count the danger of dying unfulfilled and unhappy.
02. Don’t believe everything you think.
Perspective is everything and my thoughts are often an extension of past experiences but I’m embarking on a new experience! I can choose to act on thoughts that encourage a happy, healthy life and let go of thoughts that don’t.
03. Stop trying to figure it all out.
I’m sorry to break it to me, but I don’t know everything. I never have and I never will. It’s not up to me to figure it all out. Trying to figure it out invites my fear to set up camp in my head as I go over and over and over every possible scenario. I’ve got to get off the merry-go-round and stop over-thinking!
04. Do the work.
Productive activity exercises my heart, my body, and my mind. When I get stuff done I enjoy a sense of accomplishment and set the stage for an awesome tomorrow! I have to stop dreaming, stop wishing, stop thinking and do something!
05. Do what you can do today.
What happens tomorrow is not a problem for today. I don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. What I can do today is my best for this day only. I can be my best today. My best today may be just getting through the day, and that’s okay. Other days my best today will be amazing!
06. Be kind.
Kindness is a simple and powerful act that restores my faith in the goodness of life. I can do something nice for myself like take a walk or enjoy a good book. I can do something nice for someone else like smiling at a stranger or telling someone I love them. Kindness fills me up with good stuff so there’s less room for fear.
07. Be grateful.
Gratitude is the cure for all that ails me. Gratitude cheers me up when I feel down. Gratitude puts life in perspective. Any time I can write a short gratitude list and change my attitude. Gratitude washes my fears away.
08. Be honest.
I am most often tempted to be dishonest when my fear tells me bad things will happen if I am truthful but the truth is honesty honors me. When I am honest with myself I can do the things I think I cannot do and say no to the things that aren’t right for me. When I am honest, I am free to be the person I want to be.
09. Just do it.
Sometimes I just have to do it. It doesn’t matter how it works out. It does matter that I tried.
10. Believe in yourself.
When I look back at all I have overcome, I am awed. When I see all I have accomplished, I am powerful. I AM POWERFUL. I can do this. Oh, yeah!Join the Conversation
One of the hardest parts of creating change in life is dealing with setbacks. Everyone experiences setbacks, and yet many individuals pay more attention to the setback than to their progress.
Life isn’t all or nothing, it’s not black and white, yet some judge life, themselves, and other people as if there are only two choices- right or wrong. Sometimes there is no one right choice, nor one wrong choice.
When mistakes are made it’s all too easy to overreact and feel as if there’s no chance to recover but of course there is. Everyone makes mistakes, and mistakes aren’t the end of your journey, they are simply signs that tell you which way to go next.
Each positive choice you make is a positive choice, even when life doesn’t work out the way you expected. Don’t discount the good choices you’ve made when you make a bad choice. You always have the opportunity to make a positive choice next time.
Sometimes a setback is not a mistake, but a change in situation such as layoffs, a mentor or advocate moving away, or your car breaking down.
In the moment these situations can become larger-than-life, negatively affecting all aspects of your day. You may fail to see there are many possible outcomes, and even some new opportunities available to you. Happy and successful people recognize the value in making the best of your situation, especially when faced with setbacks.
Whatever setbacks you experience, the best thing you can do is move forward. Here are some other ideas for dealing with a setback.
Feel your feelings, then let them go.
It’s likely you’ll experience uncomfortable emotions as the result of a setback. You may feel angry, scared, embarrassed, or guilty. Find healthy and appropriate ways to express what you’re feeling. Acknowledge the emotion and let it go. The longer you hold on to your emotional response, the longer you’ll remain stuck right where you are.
Inventory your assets.
Every setback provides a great opportunity to make a list of everything that’s working for you. Consider all the good choices you’ve made, as well as your progress and growth. Make a list of your accomplishments. You can use this list to keep your setback in perspective, and recognize other possible outcomes and opportunities.
Get some perspective.
Very few life-changing events in life are as big as we give them credit for in the moment.Taking a break, performing a simple and easily accomplished task, or referring to your asset inventory can be a great way to put your situation in it’s proper perspective. This perspective allows you address the situation with new ideas and solutions.
Avoid information overload.
After experiencing a setback it can be tempting to try to find a reason for what happened, or information to help you avoid a similar situation in the future. Doing some research can be helpful, but too much information can be confusing and paralyzing. Often a solution or opportunity will be evident when you stop looking so hard.
Don’t be a victim.
As soon as you start blaming other people for your troubles, you’ve painted yourself as a victim in your mind and you’ll be hard-pressed to make positive progress. Whether you stumbled, or a change was forced on you, you always have options, and one setback doesn’t define you or your life.
Be nice to you!
You may need a little extra TLC when faced with disappointment or challenge so remember to be nice to you. Participate in an activity you enjoy, spend time with friends, eat something you love and do not beat yourself up about it!
When faced with a setback, many people give up altogether. You’ve got nothing to gain by giving up, and you could loose sight of your goals, your purpose, and your dreams. The only real failure is failing to try.
Image courtesy of justmakeit.
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