It’s easy and cliché to say that 2020 was a difficult year because it obviously was. However, I watched countless people stand up and wrestle 2020 to the ground no matter how formidable of an opponent it seemed.
This happened on a large scale. Walmart, Amazon, and toilet paper companies all had to re-organize how they did business at a breakneck pace or people wouldn’t have been able to get the basic necessities that make it possible to sustain our lives. They did it.
The government, in conjunction with the pharmaceutical industry, turned around a vaccine that is rolling out in completely unprecedented time. Those vaccines are rolling out to our society’s most vulnerable as I write this.
Those are the big stories that we all watched unfold in the news every day.
Unless you are also a coach, you might not have seen as many little victories in the lives of our friends and neighbors as I have.
I got to work with countless clients as they started businesses, jumped into new careers (sometimes by choice and sometimes by necessity), rebuilt their romantic relationships, created art and music, and started over against what many would call insurmountable odds.
Believe it or not, 2020 is almost over.
It’s odd because it feels like yesterday that I was thinking about the idea of New Year’s resolutions and the commitments we make to ourselves at the beginning of the year.
This year has thrown us a ton of curveballs and it’s been an honor to be on the frontlines of your lives with you throughout the year. I’ve worked with young people who are starting their professional lives in the most uncertain of times. I’ve worked with established business owners who had to fortify their business against a global pandemic and an economic shutdown. I’ve worked with couples who found themselves navigating an entirely new dynamic at home as schools and offices were shut down.
Through it all, I’ve watched all my clients grow, stay committed to living with passion, and stay committed to their results.
Personally, I don’t like to wait until late December to start thinking about progress and the new decisions I must make - especially in a year as disorienting as this one had the potential to be.
I encourage you to do the same. Whether you are a client, or just someone out there looking for ways to improve, start thinking about your 2020. Did you continue to grow? Did you decide to live in a great state of mind? Did you experience more good emotions than bad ones? Did you see opportunity, or did you only see challenges?
The truth is, making huge changes in your life comes down to one relatively easy concept: raising your standards.
Everything else, all the tips and tricks, exercises, and strategies are only useful if you’ve set the appropriately high standards for yourself.
When people hear this for the first time, they often get defensive. They’ll say something like “if that’s all it takes, everyone would have whatever they wanted.” To some extent – that’s true. And that’s true because most people here in the United States do have whatever they truly want.
This can be kind of tricky because part of you is reading this saying “well I want a Porsche and I don’t have that.” Or “I have 20 thousand dollars in credit card debt and I want it to be 0 dollars.”
It’s true, you may want those things, but you also want to only work 40 hours a week and to go shopping and out to the bars every weekend with your friends. The Porsche and paying off the credit card take a level of discipline and sacrifice that you absolutely do not want.
Tempus Fugit. Memento Mori. This is an old phrase in the Christian Faith that you don’t hear often anymore. Even in the world that deals with the afterlife, death is an unwelcome subject for so many.
Translated from Latin it means this: Time flies. Remember death.
To Christians, this phrase is used to help focus the followers of Christ – a reminder that this life is very temporary when compared to eternity; and that while it is easy to get swept away in drugs and alcohol, or Netflix, or one-night stands, remember that you only have so much time to get it right before your time is up and your judgment comes.
The phrase has a sort of whimsy to it that caught my attention when I first heard it. Often paired with skull and crossbones, I could imagine a Jack Sparrow type character saying it to me while winking. Like most people, when I first heard this phrase, death wasn’t something I thought of regularly. Nor did I want to. Death is an uncomfortable thing and we tend not to like to think that we too will meet our ends.
But then it occurred to me that even in the secular world, this phrase lives in the works of artists, musicians, filmmakers, and philosophers alike.
Think about it for a minute. How many times have you been asked, if this were the last day of your life, what would you do? How would you live your life?
I was listening to Pope Francis address a giant crowd of Catholics on Christmas today and I was moved by a lot of what he said.
His eventual point was interesting in that it was very close to the guidance I try to give to my clients. He talked about how we need to accept the gift of Christ so that we could in turn be the gift for others.
This is a Christian way of saying what I have thus far found to be one of the best directives in life: be more so you can give more.
As Francis discussed the idea of Christ coming as a gift for those who didn't “deserve” - he made it abundantly clear that we will receive the gift anyway and as such we should accept it gracefully and move forward in giving ourselves to others. Whatever your religious affiliation, we can all recognize that we are often extremely hard on ourselves to the point where we feel we don't deserve love and grace, let alone feel like we can contribute to the world around us.
That being said, in the personal development space there is no shortage of people obsessed with their own growth. People spend countless hours sculpting their physique, padding their back account, finding that strategic edge in their business, or sharpening their mind with the next best idea.
But for what?
One of the major areas of life that Americans struggle with is achieving optimal health, their body, and their body image. While there are new businesses, trends, and fads sprouting up every day to help people achieve better health, the basics are incredibly well known - eat less, move more, and sleep enough.
Yet every day, people give up on their fitness goals whether that be running a marathon or just fitting into the next pant size down.
So what’s going wrong in a relatively simple and well-understood process? Is a life coach the missing key to weight loss?
It’s no secret that who you spend time with determines who you are. Your friends, family, coworkers - every second you spend with them you are being shaped. Hopefully someone’s told you this and it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that if you are spending your time with optimistic, happy, winners - that you are more inclined to be optimistic, happy, and find ways to “win” (however you define winning).
If you want to be happier, you should extend this to the media you consume, as much as you do the people with which you associate. In the era of podcasts, 24 hour news/entertainment, and social media, you are constantly telling your brain what to look for.
People today are working so hard that burnout is on the tip of all our tongues -especially those of us who are students of exceptional performance or are exceptional performers ourselves.
Hard work has always been valued in our culture, but has made a strong comeback with the “hustle culture” promoted by personalities like Gary Vaynerchuk (who clearly leans on tip 3 and 4 btw).
The thing about hard work is that, like almost anything, it is a skill that people need to practice to become proficient. If you don’t master the skill of working hard then you’re going to flame out or burn out and people who are burnt out aren't going to inspire people with their performance.
If you have been feeling down about your job or are thinking about moving on or starting a new career, then you're probably burnt out.
Here are the best ways to deal with your burnout:
A mentor of mine from the RMT named Mark Peysha, a brilliant coach, always talks about what he calls the “one push-up workout.”
A one push-up workout sounds like a ridiculous workout and to some extent it is. After all, you’re not going to build a ton of muscle definition and strength by getting down and doing one push-up.
However, it is an amazing tool for you to overcome your own personal inertia and your inability to “chunk” activities you don’t want to do. Afterall, when you’re hungry, you don’t focus on the difficulty of eating, you just grab something out of the fridge or call a friend and go to your favorite restaurant.
When you’re thinking about doing something new or something you don’t like it’s way different. Working out has like a million steps that you get hung up on: finding a gym or a workout program, changing your clothes, showering, washing your clothes, going to the gym after you find it, meeting new people at the gym, getting sold a gym membership, and a million other steps and barriers your brain will throw up in front of you to keep you from working out.
Your life coach.
The Andrew Warner Podcast: