Somehow, recently, I found myself watching the men’s four rowing event from the 2012 London Olympics. Don’t ask me why, it just happened. The important thing is if you watch these guys do their thing, it’s a sight to behold. In this particular format, each boat had a crew of 4 and each crewmember had one oar. That’s 2 oars on each side of the boat. 4 oars total that need to be synchronized. You get the point.
Anyway, the horn blows and they take off. They slice down the waterway in perfect unison, each paddle hitting the water at precisely the same time on either side of the boat. There is no one else in the boat yelling “stroke, stroke!” It’s up to them to keep the rhythm going. If anyone of them is off by so much as a split second with their stroke the boat will drift off course. There’s no rudder, not even anyone looking in the direction they’re traveling, yet they maintain a perfectly straight line down the middle of their lanes as if they’re riding on rails! In the end, Great Britain won, holding the lead the whole time.
I thought about it afterward. What made that victory possible? The only thing I could think of was a complete focus and unity of mind toward one goal: the perfect stroke. If they all got on the same page and perfected their stroke, they would be unbeatable. Turning 4 individual men into one perfectly timed, organized, precision machine was no accident. It took work, work and more work along with a large helping of focus and determination.
Being successful in life is pretty much like that rowing team. If we want to win the prize, i.e. that dream life, we must be focused, determined and intentional. Oh, and one more thing. Each area of our lives must be uncluttered, organized and moving in perfect harmony toward the attainment of the final goal that means so much to us individually. If just one part of our lives is unorganized, or out of harmony with that goal, failure will be our lot. How can we avoid failure though?
I have found that we can break our lives down into 4 “Spaces”: Mind, Body, Environment and Finances. Removing clutter from these and organizing them toward a final goal takes work. I can’t teach you everything about it here, but I can give you a few pointers on getting all four lined up and moving in the same direction, just like that precision rowing team.
Mind. This is your inner being, everything that makes up your mental character. If you want to de-clutter your mind and get it organized you must train it, just like an Olympic rowing team. You have to feed it the right thing and avoid the wrong things.
- Read daily! Read books on self-improvement or the goal you want to pursue or the business you want to start. Set goals to read x-number of books every month or year.
- Model successful people. Look for people who are already successful in achieving the goals you want to achieve, like success coach Tony Robbins, financial guru Warren Buffet or media maven Oprah. Success leaves clues and all you have to do is follow the clues.
- Avoid negativity. This can be people or things. Avoid altogether or at the very least, limit, negative people and negative talk. Not everyone who you share your dreams with will wish you well. They’re miserable and want you to be too. So, they will criticize, sow seeds of doubt or outright attack you and your dreams. Shut them down and don’t let them poison your mind. But not only do you have to watch outside influences, you have to guard against self-sabotage from within. One way to do this is to retrain your speech patterns. Don’t say “if I get so and so,” say “when I get so and so!” See the difference? One is doubtful, the other is sure. As you train your brain this way, those words will carry power and speak your goals into existence.
Is your mind organized, focused and trained to move inexorably toward your goals?
Body. This is your physical self. And just like you have to feed your mind right and avoid what is hurtful to it, you have to do the same for your body. And you need to train it to reach the goals you have set.
- Get up early. Studies have shown that successful people rise earlier than others. They don’t have a love affair with their beds. You can’t pitch a customer, exercise or make a sale from your bed.
- Eat right. Proper nutrition feeds our bodies and our brains. I’m no nutritionist, but common sense tells us what we should and should not be eating. Pick a meal plan that makes sense to you and follow it. If you’re tired or out of shape you won’t have the energy to pursue your goals.
- Exercise. A fit body leads to a fit mind. When we exercise, our body releases endorphins into our bloodstream. This lifts our mood and sharpens our focus. If we are happier and more alert, we will have a higher chance of reaching our goals.
Is your body set up for success?
Environment. This is the place where we live, socialize or work. If it is cluttered, disorganized and/or unclean it will have a negative effect on reaching our goals. Or if we’re wasting our time in the wrong places that will have a negative impact on our ability to achieve our goals also. So, create a positive environment, one that tells the world and yourself that you are successful.
- Make your bed. It’s a quick victory that starts you off with a feeling of accomplishment. That sets you up for more victories later in the day.
- Do your dishes. Daily. A recent study conducted by researchers at FSU suggests that the simple act of doing dishes could actually encourage a state of mindfulness, which has been linked to improved well-being, reduced stress levels and an immune system boost!
- Organize your home and work space. Clutter, as many of you have already heard me say many times, is a monster that steals time, energy, mental health and finances. Don’t give away what you work so hard for to this beast. Tidy up regularly, make files, set reminders to do things and throw away what you haven’t used in the last year.
How organized and uncluttered is your environment?
Finances. Lord, this is a biggie. I could write a book on this one. Actually, I have! It’s been said that money can’t buy you happiness. And this is true. But money gives you this: options! Where to live, whose crap you have to take (you hear me?) and what healthcare choices you have access to, among other things. Make sure your money is as fit as it can be.
- Get on a budget. If you find you have too much month at the end of your money, you just might need a budget. A budget is you telling your money where to go instead of you wondering where it went.
- Get out of debt. Every dollar you spend on debt payments each month is one less dollar you can spend on you and your family. So, don’t set yourself up to be a slave to the lender. Get on an aggressive debt repayment plan and knock it out ASAP!
- Save. Not having an emergency savings of at least $1,000 is a major contributing factor to credit card debt. When the car breaks down, the furnace goes or the doctor calls too many of us reach for the credit card. But newsflash, a credit card is not an emergency fund. That’s the bank’s money. And if you haven’t heard, they want it back, with insane interest!
Are your finances helping you or hindering you towards reaching your goals?
So, are all the spaces of your life rowing toward your goals in perfect harmony? If the answer is no, you need to get your life organized. Each space is an oar and they each have to work in perfect harmony toward the achievement of your goals. Each space of your life must be synchronized and working together just like an Olympic rowing team. You need to be completely focused and determined to reach those goals. And if you saw anywhere above where there’s need for improvement, take action now. Not tomorrow, not next week, now! I hope you found these tips useful toward that end. All the best to you.
If you found this article helpful, please know that you can find more like it by following my blog at www.Org4LifeSolutions.com. There you will find all kinds of hacks, tips and useful info you can use to cultivate the good habits that will lead to better focus, organization and success in life. Until next time, remember: Own it. Be it. Achieve it!