P U R S U E: Continue or proceed along (a path or route)
We all want 2023 to be bigger and better than last year. We all want to smash our goals and celebrate massive success. That is absolutely what I want…
…only, as pressure continues to build, the economy dictates a certain heaviness and the terrain gets more difficult for all of us who are trying to build differently. Add to this the weight of expectations we put ourselves under and our commitment to do our very best and it’s as if we’re rock climbing in blizzard conditions!
Writing is a discipline that gives me some time out of the noise and the strain, and as I was writing last week, the word PURSUE popped into both my head and my heart!
What do I mean by pursue? Well, pursue the role that I have been given, and focus on the responsibilities I have now without get distracted by comparisons. Although at times an easier life seems like a better option, I need to follow my heart as it disagrees with the thoughts in my mind.
As the year draws to a close, I want to encourage you not to give up and to…
P U R S U E
If you keep going you’ll make sense of the journey. Like you’re walking through a dense forest and then you enter a clearing. Now, everyone knows that adventures unfold to reveal the next challenge, whether it’s a rope bridge or a cliff jump. To complete the adventure you have to pursue your endeavour and move forward despite the challenges, you’ve got to pursue that thing that burns in your heart.
In our Heartset course we talk about being led by conviction and not circumstance, and how it’s the key to great decision making. That doesn’t mean that you ignore what is up ahead, it means that you get ready for it.
Recently, I watched a short documentary about Tom Cruise and the making of the latest Mission Impossible movie. He rode a motorbike off a cliff and then parachuted down, one of the most impressive stunts in the history of the franchise.The crew’s statement resonated with me when I heard it: ‘Don’t be careful, be confident’.
To me, building confidence means repeatedly doing the small things well. Repeating each discipline over and again so that it becomes natural. On Mission Impossible, from the base jump to the motor cycle leap, everything was well rehearsed, until they had the fluency to execute a world class stunt to a world stage!
You can watch it here:
The point is that pursuit doesn’t always look glamorous. In fact, it is a hard word, and can represent a journey that is long and arduous. The thing is that if you want to be a person who is led by impact, that is what will be demanded of you! You can’t meet everyone’s expectations but you can do all you can to meet your own. You were not born to be careful, you were born to be confident!
Knowledge and experience make us confident. Lessons born out of failure strengthen us and give us the courage to do it again and again, building our confidence further. The bottom line is to keep moving forward. Reflect on lessons learned, for sure, but keep on pursuing and make sure your team are on the same journey.
Tom Cruise put his life in the hands of his team and the team knew they needed someone brave enough to deliver the dream. They served their audience together.
For me, 2023 represents a quest to turn Mission Impossible into Mission Possible. As you look to move forward on your Mission Impossible, you too can be confident over being careful. Commit to filling in gaps in your knowledge to grow your confidence.
Here are my keys to pursuing the vision, and they might help you embrace the task that lies ahead of you!
Know what you want. Be specific. Don’t lose sight of what you are building. Look up. Vision boards are a great way to help you to do this. My vision board is my wallpaper on my phone and periodically I update it. The point is that what you aim at, you eventually hit. A vision board puts your objective in sight when the opposition is roaring loudly. That clarity ensures you can hear the future calling you above the negativity. Doing life for what is right!
New skills, scale
I never thought I’d write a book. It all started with the headlines that I would craft as an art director, the times when I had to become a bit of a copywriter out of necessity to get the job done. I really enjoyed writing those headlines and I could always come up with a good one! Over time that led to blogging. At first I outsourced it, and yet while the blogs were technically good, they somehow missed the heart of the mission I was trying to fulfil. I stepped in to write them myself. This meant embracing something to communicate what was in my heart and it felt right but my head was screaming not to do it. My English teacher at secondary school had basically written me off as a bit of failure when it came to expressing my thoughts on paper. When I posted my first blog the feedback was positive. So I kept going. The ideas formed and the words in my heart filled the blank pages on my phone!
Then, with the advantage and the power of having a great team, I was onto a winner. Clare, my wife, has skills as an editor, so she righted my grammatical wrongs and the confidence to write flooded in. Then, my friend Camilita, switched things up in a Clubhouse discussion. She told me to write a book! Why? Because she knew it was in there. She gave me a formula and today I’m a published author. It started as one chapter in a book for someone else and then a whole book!
What I am trying to show you is that confidence is crafted in the small. Do it enough and you’ll stand tall. Words were my nemesis, my ‘Mission Impossible’, but today they give me tools for traction. And the new skill that takes me beyond is filming podcasts… I hate being on camera, but now I know it is part of the next phase of growth!
You see everyone has something else they are investing in beyond what you see on the screens. For Clare and myself it has been our family and the crazy commitment to home educate. We might not always be smashing it in the eyes of LinkedIn and Instagram but one thing is certain, we are not leaving family behind!
You cannot avoid others and their successes, they simply show us what is possible, not that we somehow don’t measure up.
We all have something to overcome, and what you see on the surface isn’t all that there is to see. The iceberg meme for entrepreneurs rings true to me. One thing that isn’t mentioned is that the water is cold! Very cold! Starting any venture means dicing into deep water and it’s not warm by any means. Be prepared to be discouraged, disconnected and even disillusioned. The good news is that this water is where you will eventually be swimming best. As you talk to strangers, either one to one or to a crowd, you’ll be filled by faith, not fear. Although the butterflies might still be there, we now know what is on the other side.
There might be others swimming further, close to finishing or some who have even finished their journey. Search out some of these people who are ready to demonstrate true leadership and pour what they know into you so you can carry their lessons forward. Sometimes we will feel out of our depth BUT we need to learning to push out from the sides and swim out of our depth. Being able to touch the bottom will become unimportant!
P U R S U E isn’t about doing it at all costs (at the expense of others) but doing it with purposeful people. The hardest thing for me is knowing when the journey is changing. We have to embrace new characters in our story and realise that others have stories of their own without you. Life is a book to be handed to the next generation and when we’re writing new chapters, like chapter 2023, we need to make sure that everyone is aligned. This isn’t a dictatorship but a collective of collaborations that will shift. You see, we all want to be a hero in someone else’s story, but sometimes you might appear to be the villain (at least for a season).
I remember Andy Jackson at the Natwest Accelerator (Entrepreneurial Spark) playing that role when he said after 6 months we needed be out of the free entrepreneurial office space we had. It seemed as if he didn’t want us around. We drew on the white walls and put an X on July (it was Jan). Andy said if we didn’t leave then we wouldn’t do what we were supposed to do! Well, the betrayal worked wonders and papers were signed in the July. Andy the villain (in that moment) was challenging the momentum in our business by telling us to ‘grow up’!
Andy was someone who taught us to pursue. Pursuing uncomfortable rather than turning a campsite into a permanent home.
So for 2023, remind yourself that you have a story to tell, and even though it might not be easy it is what you are supposed to do. Things might change in the process of time but don’t lose sight of what you are building even if ‘how’ you are building it shifts.
Pursue your purpose, go all in, and be so clear that when others ask you why(?) you are ready to share and inspire them to find their own ‘why’ and pursue it.