By Andrea Goeglein
My goodness, it has been a long time. I hope your summer was filled with many adventures, good health, and being surrounded by loving friends and family. I know for me that was the case. Before heading out for an extended stay in our daughter’s childhood town, I presented a class on Zoom, The Language of Success, that made me realized how much of how we speak of success is by sharing numbers. That experience morphed into this blog.
Sometimes life can seem like a numbers game. When you are born, your address, the number of years of education you have completed, the number of years you are married, the age you made your first million dollars or the amount in your bank account. All those answers can be reduced to a number. We are indoctrinated into the numbers game. Perhaps, it gives us a feeling of order and logic.
For me, I have reduced life, happiness, and what I call life success to a repetitious series of three numbers. Those numbers are 1, 3, and 5. It started with the number one symbolizes that ONE thing can cause you to stop and assess so deeply that it marks a turning point in your life. For me, it was a book.
Reading allows for reflection. One book can turn your entire thought process… all that you know to be true upside down. When this happens, the epiphany… that “ah-ha” flash of enlightenment is momentous.
That one book changed my life more than any other. Up until that moment, books had come and gone, some memorable, perhaps. But none as impactful as this one. For me, it was The Road Less Traveled by the renowned late psychiatrist, M. Scott Peck. Later, the number one became representative of a goal, an idea, a dream of something different.
This one book started with three words… an idea that shifted my mindset. The words weren’t elegant or complicated. Three words with so much truth behind them. The simplicity was part of the beauty. The first three words of the first chapter are: “Life is difficult”. Just ONE book with THREE words:
Life is difficult.
Often, timing is truly everything. That one book and those three words hit me at a moment I was the most receptive. There is a saying in personal development, “people change when the pain to stay the same is so great, that it overcomes the fear of change.”
Until I read those words I believed, truly believed with every fiber of my being, that life was supposed to be easy. If life was difficult, I was doing something wrong. Yet, when I read those words there were things happening in my life that I knew, really knew, I had not caused.
The youngest of my three brothers had died. I did not cause that. The youngest of my bonus sons had cancer. I did not cause that. And my husband had been fired from a job he loved. I did not cause that. Clearly, there was a crack in my long-held beliefs, a small opening, a window of opportunity to allow for new information to come in.
Peck went on to say that those three words are the great truth – the truth above all others. He said,
“Once we truly know that life is difficult…then life is no longer difficult.
Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
Now, I know from personal experience that life doesn’t automatically become easy once we accept that life is difficult. But this new belief led me to reflect. I realized you need three habits before you are really prepared to make a major shift in thinking. First, you must become disciplined. Second, you need to get used to delaying gratification. And third, you must shift your focus from pleasing others to loving yourself. To create these habits, you must take action.
Your Actions Matter
Actions can shift your mindset and create new habits that support new disciplines. You are not born with habits. Tendencies, yes. Reflexes, yes. But habits, no. You have not had any repetitive mental experiences yet. Habits are not changed with willpower. They are changed by replacing the repetitive thoughts and actions that support your positive well-being, desires, and goals.
Meaningful actions will help support delayed gratification. Purposeful actions will allow you to put yourself and your spiritual growth above other activities. By committing to daily actions, you begin to rewrite your story. You create better habits to replace the ones that don’t serve you. You become more disciplined.
So, how can you create your own success by numbers? Think of the 1, 3, 5 formula and apply it to your life. Start by creating ONE goal for yourself. For every goal, there are actions you must take to get there. Thus, committing to THREE actions will help you see the tasks you must complete to achieve your goal. Finally, there needs to be a time commitment. Hold yourself to FIVE minutes and you will begin to see results.
For example, let’s say you are in the habit of being late for work. You are in the habit of saying, “I am not a morning person.” And perhaps the reason you aren’t a morning person is that you are also in the habit of watching all the late-night shows. The result of your habit is that you regularly cannot wake up to make it to work on time. With discipline, you can learn to change this habit and your mindset.
So, for now, your ONE goal could be to get to work on time. Your THREE actions could be to go to bed earlier (by FIVE minutes), get up earlier (by FIVE minutes), and to leave for work earlier (by FIVE minutes).
If your goal is to change your mindset, consider these THREE activities: reading, writing, and reflection. And start with FIVE minutes for each activity.
Commit to reading something inspiring or positive every day. Then write for five minutes. Writing 5 things you are grateful for is a useful 5-minute activity. It might take practice and you may only be grateful that it isn’t raining… that is okay. You will improve the HABIT with practice!
Then spend five minutes on reflection. Five minutes of silence. Five minutes imagining how great your day is going to be. Five minutes in prayer. Just five minutes when the world stops, you don’t look at your phone, you have nowhere to be but with your quiet mind or your creative thoughts. Remember keep it POSITIVE.
The continuous learning formula of One Goal, Three Actions, Five Minutes can be applied to all aspirations for self-improvement. I will leave you with words attributed to the late Stephen Covey lending support to the success by numbers formula:
“Sow a Thought, Reap an Action
Sow and Action, Reap a Habit
Sow a Habit, Reap a Character
Sow a Character, Reap a Destiny.”
To learn more about my services and how I can help you gain the tools you need to succeed, please contact me directly here. Join me and Kristi Atwater on the Hey, Boss Lady! Podcast. You can also follow me and join live events on social media on my YouTube LinkedIn Facebook, the Hey, Boss Lady! Facebook page, or Instagram