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https://personalexcellence.co/blog/productivity-book/

 

My New Book ’10 Rules of Super Productive People’ Out Now!

Hi everyone! Today I’m super excited to announce that after many months of hard work and sweat, my latest book 10 Rules of Super Productive People is finally out! 😀 If you want to know how to be more productive, how to stop procrastinating, and how to do more in less time, this is THE book for you!

My Latest Book: 10 Rules of Super Productive People

10 Rules of Super Productive People is about the 10 underlying tenets of productivity that differentiate the super productive people from less productive people. If you apply the principles in the book to a tee, I guarantee you that you will increase your productivity at least 10- to 20-fold, if not more.

At 259 pages long, I consider this to be anyone’s one-stop manual to achieve super productivity:

  1. High-level productivity strategies. Many productivity blogs and books talk about productivity “hacks” like installing website blockers, using color-coded USB cables, and timing yourself with alarm clocks. While useful, these are low-level “hacks” to create a minute change in your productivity — not changes that will dramatically transform your life. What you need to make a monumental change in your life isn’t low-level tips, but high-level productivity strategies. I’ve filled Super Productive People with transformational high-level strategies in productivity that will make permanent and deep-rooted changes not just in your productivity, but also your life.
  2. Practical how-to’s and advice. From relatable examples, to practical tips, to step-by-step exercises, this book is chock full of tips that anyone, from a college student, to a corporate executive, to an aspiring entrepreneur, to a grandma can immediately apply. I’ve written this book to be easily understandable, practical, and transformational at the same time.
  3. The result of years of personal development. Having been a Dean’s Lister, the top Marketing student in NUS Business School (one of the top business schools in Asia Pacific), a corporate employee in a Fortune 100 firm, a multi-tasking business owner, the owner of one of the top personal development blogs in the world, and one of the Top 30 Coaches in the World who has coached many to greater success, I’ve learned much about productivity in my life. This book packs my best advice on personal productivity so that you can achieve similar (if not greater) results for yourself.
  4. Applicable for everyone. Whether you are a business owner, a corporate employee, a busy parent, an aspiring entrepreneur, or a student who wishes to get more out of your days, there’s something in this book for you. Likewise, regardless of whether you are a heavy procrastinator or a high-speed multi-tasker, there’s something for you here too. This book is about the universal principles of productivity that anyone can apply at any stage of their life to supercharge their productivity. No matter how productive you are already, there is always room to be better and to supercharge your life.
  5. Timeless advice. As with my articles at PE, I’ve written this book to be timeless. This means that no matter when you are reading this — be it now, five years later, or 20 years later — or which phase of life you’re in, the advice will still apply. On the contrary, while books on “How to use MS OneNote” and “How to Use OmniFocus” (a Mac software) may help you in your productivity today, the lessons quickly become obsolete since technology and software are ever-changing in today’s world.

Don’t just take my word for it — check out this feedback that PE reader, Lizette, sent me just two days after buying the book:

Collaboration with Lifehack, #1 Self-Help Portal

For Super Productive People, I’ve very proud to team up with Lifehack, one of the largest self-help portals in the world. (It is one of the top 2,000 websites globally, as ranked by Alexa!) The book is 100% written by me (no ghost writers, thank you very much), with Lifehack serving as my e-publisher and e-distributor. 

Quick Specs of the Book

  • Pages: 259
  • Chapters: 12 chapters: one introductory chapter, 10 chapters detailing the 10 rules, and one final chapter sharing my final words
  • Format: PDF e-book; compatible for Kindle (no plans for physical book at the moment)
  • Author: Celestine Chua
  • Publisher: Lifehack
  • Price$22.99 USD only

Download Your Copy Now

You can get your copy of 10 Rules of Super Productive People NOW at the Lifehack Book Store. It is the first book in the left column, with the bright blue cover. A preview comes up when you click on the cover image.

As far as I’m concerned, this is the only book I’m ever going to write on productivity — at the very least, for the next five years. I’ve written everything I have to offer on productivity in Super Productive People, and it’s the one-stop manual you will ever need to achieve ultimate productivity. If you can master the 10 rules I share in this book, then congratulations — you’ve become the productivity master!

This book is yours for an amazing price of only $22.90. That’s barely the price of a meal for one in New York City (or most modern cities for that matter)! A small investment not more than a regular meal price, for a lifetime of change in your productivity. I know that the book speaks for itself, so I’m not going to say more here — rather, I encourage you to get the book, read it for yourself, apply the principles, and see your productivity soar in a matter of weeks

Hurry, get your copy, and download it within the next two minutes! Readers who have bought their copy have already experienced shifts from as fast as just reading the first chapter:

And here’s another feedback from reader Victor who just finished the book:

Get your copy now at the Lifehack Book Store.

To all of you who have purchased a copy, thank you so much for your support! 😀

https://personalexcellence.co/blog/productivity-book/

 

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https://personalexcellence.co/blog/impostor-syndrome/

 

7 Tips to Overcome the Impostor Syndrome

Have you ever felt like a fraud? Like you are an impostor?

During my recent Anti-Procrastination Course, I was working with my participants to address their inner blocks for their goals. One of them has a goal to build her coaching practice. However, she kept facing procrastination, because she feels like she is perhaps a fraud. Even though she wants to build her coaching practice and host retreats, she feels unconfident about her abilities. She says,

Have you ever felt this way before? That you are a fraud, an impostor?

The Impostor Syndrome, aka “I’m a fraud”

The impostor syndrome is the phenomenon where you feel that you are not as good as what others think, or the image you’re trying to portray. Someone who suffers from the impostor syndrome carries a fear of being “exposed” for their lack of skills and ability, even though this “lack” may just be in their mind.

Research has estimated that 2 out of 5 successful people consider themselves frauds, while 70% of all people feel like impostors at one time or another.[1] Many famous people have admitted to feeling like a fraud before, including Chuck Lorre (screenwriter), Tina Fey, Emma Watson, and even veteran actress Meryl Streep and best-selling author Maya Angelou!

Meryl Streep. A 3-time Academy Award winner, she is regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time — yet she still experiences the impostor syndrome!

Perhaps the most ironic part is the impostor syndrome is most prevalent among high achievers — meaning the people with the least reason to feel like impostors feel it the most.

Needless to say, the impostor syndrome can lead to serious self-sabotage. In my Anti-Procrastination Course, a different participant shared how she constantly feels “not prepared enough” to start her speaking business (even though she really is), in turn making her put off her goal and take yet another qualification to be “ready.” Some avoid applying for better jobs or pass up promotions because they don’t feel qualified, even though they really are. With business owners like coaches and freelancers, some procrastinate on promoting themselves and getting new clients because they’re afraid of “exposing” themselves for not being skilled enough.

If you’re suffering from the impostor syndrome, don’t fret! Here are my 7 tips to deal with it.

1) Make a list of your achievements

As our harshest critics, we are often quick to cast doubt on our talents and abilities. We focus on what we lack and how we’re “not good enough.” This makes us feel like frauds even though we may already have the ability to do something well.

Before I started my blog, I had my doubts about why anyone would read what I had to say. Not only was I just 23 then, but there were already many great self-help blogs and gazillions of coaches out there who had been building their presence for years! Why would anyone listen to me? I thought. I felt redundant. I felt that there was no place for me in this field.

As I thought about how to differentiate myself, I decided to brainstorm on my unique strengths and achievements. While I initially thought that I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything, maybe 1-2 things at most, I was shocked when I came up with a full list of things that I had achieved throughout my life, through my hard work and merit, but had somehow forgotten! These included my scholastic achievements, personal troubles I had tackled, and accomplishments in my hobbies. Interestingly, I had swept them under the rug soon after achieving them. Seeing this list was pivotal as I thought, Hey, I can really do this. There is really something I can offer to others.

I then stopped feeling self-doubt when I started my journey. I believe this was a big reason why I could single-mindedly focus on my goal and achieve quick results in my passion journey.

Perhaps you may think: Oh, I haven’t achieved anything great. I’m not capable of anything. This is a typical impostor syndrome thought. Here’s a surprising fact: Whether you’re 30 or 20 or even 10, you already have a set of achievements under your belt, achievements unique to you. The key here isn’t to compare yourself with others but to see yourself in your own light.

I have 3 questions that I challenge you to journal on (write as many answers as possible):

  1. What are your strengths? Are you driven? Passionate? Humorous? Witty? Hardworking? Committed? Genuine? Caring? Meticulous? These are traits that you have, traits unique to you. While they may seem natural to you, they are a form of achievement because YOU have these traits over others.
  2. What challenges have you faced and overcome in life? We all have challenges that we face and overcome. What challenges did you face growing up? Teasing? Bullying? Self-doubt? Criticism? Anxiety? Living in an angry household? A broken family? Living in an oppressive culture? Negative stigmas? How have you dealt with them? These are achievements in themselves too.
  3. What have you accomplished in your life? These achievements can be related to your work, hobbies, relationships, health, and finance. Maybe you worked your way through odds jobs to pay your tuition fees. Maybe you lost 15 kg and achieved a healthier weight. Maybe you studied really hard and got a scholarship. Maybe you worked hard to build your relationships today. These are all achievements!

Go deep into this exercise; I promise you’ll be surprised by the results. 🙂

2) Don’t sell yourself short

(Image: Markus Grossalber)

Maybe you feel like a fraud because you don’t think you have anything good to offer. Maybe you feel that you’re just lying and pretending to be good when you aren’t. But know that whatever place you are at in life now, you are here because you are ready for it.

For example, say you want to be a coach. You feel like a fraud because you don’t feel good enough to coach others. Perhaps you feel like you self-assigned this title of “coach” and no one has officially endorsed you as a coach. Hence you feel terrified to market your work and put yourself out there, because, hey, What if someone realizes I’m a fraud, a phony?

Yet, consider this: What does “coach” (verb) mean? To me, it means to guide, support someone to greatness. Think back to your interactions with others in the past 10 years of your life. Have there been times when you helped someone move forward in their problems? Say when you helped a friend deal with a bad breakup? When you helped someone work through a career dilemma? Or when you inspired someone to take action? Aren’t these real people you’ve helped? So why would you think otherwise, when you’ve been coaching even before you started your business?

Here’s a different example: Say you just got promoted to be manager. You feel awkward as you are now leading your peers. Instead of working side by side, you’re now their manager who delegates work, critiques them, and manages their payroll. Because of that, some of them feel unhappy. Perhaps you feel embarrassed as there is a more senior person who should have been promoted over you.

However, recognize that you have been promoted for a reason. While you may feel that you aren’t good enough for this role, trust that your managers have carefully evaluated your skills sets, performance, and potential before promoting you. After all, managements don’t just randomly promote people without reason. Your managers wouldn’t have put you here if you couldn’t do it. So how about you start believing in yourself and work on being a fantastic manager to your staff, way better than anyone else could?

Don’t sell yourself short. You are where you are today because you have what it takes and you’ve worked your way there. So how about you make the best out of it? 🙂

3) Lose your expert hat

People with the impostor syndrome tend to feel that they need to live up to their role as an expert. And when they don’t, they feel like frauds.

Lose your expert hatStop feeling like you need to know all the answers. For example,

  • If you run a blog on X, be okay with saying, “Hey, I don’t know everything on this. But I’m constantly learning and I’m here to share what I’ve learned.”
  • If you are a manager, know that you don’t have to know everything. Own up to mistakes and knowledge gaps when they happen. Then, strive to be better.
  • If you’re a coach on dating, health, fitness, etc., you don’t need to pretend to know it all. Chances are there are things you don’t know, that you need to research on. And that’s okay.

Are you wearing an expert hat at the moment? Is it time to let it go? (Image: Kevin Spencer)

Why is it important to lose your expert hat? Firstly, rather than get caught up with maintaining a certain image (which becomes an ego thing), you focus on what matters: your work and your customers. Secondly, when you stop obsessing about your image, you can work on improving yourself, including your skills and knowledge. Thirdly, no one can know all the answers because there are always be new things to learn. The best actors will have new roles that stretch their acting ability. The best doctors will receive patient cases they have never seen before. The best life coaches will face problems of their own. I’m a coach but I face many issues of my own. Personal problems, family problems, and social problems, I deal with them just like anyone else.

Don’t get me wrong in that you can still position yourself as an expert, especially if it’s part of your job status. For example, the titles of doctor, coach, consultant, and trainer convey expertise over the average person. But don’t lose yourself in it because it’s just a title at the end of the day. There will always be things we don’t know and we should (a) humbly acknowledge our knowledge gaps and (b) continuously upgrade ourselves to close these gaps. Which brings me to the next tip.

4) Improve your skills

Addressing the impostor syndrome isn’t just about self-talk. Perhaps you feel like a fraud because deep down, you see a gap between your perceived and real skills. While tips #1 and #2 are about recognizing your achievements, this tip is about self-improvement. Because there is nothing more constructive than taking action to improve yourself.

When I started my business, skills improvement was huge on my list. It still is, but it was one of my top priorities when I begun. So much so that I created a scorecard of skills to build (coaching, speaking, writing), my personal rating for each skill, and plans to improve in them. For each skill, I had a workbook to map my progress. With coaching, I tracked all my coaching sessions and would evaluate my improvement areas after each session. I would work on these areas leading to the next session. I developed my framework of coaching techniques which I refined weekly. With speaking, I created a participant feedback form on various metrics: value of content, engagement, and so on. I would track and aim for perfect scores with every workshop.

I did these rigorously for 2.5 years. By then, I had developed a fair level of expertise, so it was no longer helpful for me to do such granular tracking. Today, I improve by studying the most successful icons, getting feedback, and helping my clients achieve breakthroughs.

For you,

  1. What area do you feel like an impostor in? What skills do you need to excel in it?
  2. How do you rate yourself in each skill, on a scale of 0–10?
  3. How can you improve such that you are a 10/10 in each skill? Research? Go for training? Consult experts? Get more hands-on practice? Read books?

Read more:

5) Focus on giving value

For a while I felt like a fraud running my site. Part of it was because I couldn’t keep up with the endless streams of people who needed my help. Another reason was the never-ending noise. No matter what I wrote, I would be criticized by people I didn’t know. No matter what I wrote, there would be unhappy people, people I couldn’t please.

My solution? Focus on the people I want to help. People in pain. People dealing with life’s challenges. People who want to better their lives. Then I ask myself, “How I can make a difference to them?” And I get down to work.

Impostor syndrome happens when you’re more concerned about your fears and image rather than what you want to achieve. Think about the people you want to serve. Create value for them. Forget the other things like fear, criticism, and naysayers because these are just noise that will be there no matter what.

How to deal with criticism:

6) Stop comparing with others

In today’s social media world, we are more connected than ever. Everyone’s updates are in our face — their Facebook posts, their likes, glamour shots, accolades, others’ praises for them, and for some, their monthly business income as they post their checks and earnings and what not.

When we fail to measure up to such people, we feel inadequate. A University of Michigan study showed that Facebook decreases subjective well-being among young adults.[2] A German study revealed that one in three people felt worse after using Facebook.[3] While I believe this is partly due to inherent issues with Facebook, another reason is that such close proximity among people and disparity in their achievements and success can create a sense of hopelessness among some people. For some, perhaps we feel guilty for not doing as well. Maybe we feel like phonies in comparison. We wonder, Why try when this person is already so good, successful, and well known?

But everyone starts from somewhere. When we compare ourselves with each other constantly, we prevent ourselves from coming into our own. We subject ourselves to others’ yardsticks which may not be relevant to us. We follow a track that may not be what we want. As Albert Einstein once said:

(Quote image: Personal Excellence. Photo: Pörrö)

Your goal here isn’t to compare with others. Your goal is to compare with and outdo yourself. Don’t let people’s success cloud your vision of you. Celebrate others’ success just as you build your own path and succeed. The world is big enough for everyone to win. Read: Why You Should Stop Comparing Yourself With Others (and How to Do So)

7) Remember that everyone is still figuring things out

(Image: Matthew Henry)

Our society celebrates perfection. Magazine covers are perfectly photoshopped. Cover stories are always about some rags-to-riches story that fits media’s narrative and appeals to people’s thirst for perfection. For example, a high-school dropout who becomes a millionaire with the next big startup. A woman who disrupts the male-dominated startup scene and creates some tech that revolutionizes the world.[4] Celebrities become larger than life when they appear on TV and magazines.

Seeing these, people start to think in terms of “success” and “failure”; “have” and “have not”; “amazing” and “crap.” All experts are seen as the former; anyone who isn’t as good is lumped with the latter. Some “experts” and gurus have full-time teams who market and generate good press for them, plus clean up any bad publicity/criticism. If people didn’t already think of them as Superman/woman, they now have to.

But remember that everyone, including the experts, is still learning. Just because people are not revealing their struggles doesn’t mean they aren’t facing them.

  • World-renowned comedian Robin Williams hung himself in 2014 at the age of 63; he was battling depression for a while.[5]
  • Lamar Odom, former NBA player and NBA Sixth Man of the Year, was found in a coma at a brothel in 2015, after an alleged drug binge. He is awake and now on the long road to recovery.[6]
  • Heath Ledger who played the Joker in The Dark Knight and won a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor was found dead in his home at the age of 28 from the abuse of prescription medicine.[7] He was said to be battling drug addiction and depression leading up to his death.[8]

Minus accolades and flashy possessions, we are not all that different from each other. All of us have struggles underneath our successes. If we can recognize that everyone is here as a human on their life journey, we can stop projecting a front and start living. We can stop judging others and start embracing who and what we are. We can stop trying to be someone we are not or stop trying to appear perfect, but work on being ourselves, being our best self.

How about you? Which tips can you apply? Time to stop feeling like an impostor — because you aren’t. You are you. 🙂 And you deserve the best.

Also check out:

 

https://personalexcellence.co/blog/impostor-syndrome/

 

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https://personalexcellence.co/blog/passion-market-skills/

Is It Realistic to Believe ‘Chase Your Passion and Money Will Follow’? (The Passion, Market, Skills Framework)

(Image: Skylines)

Hi Miss B! It’s definitely realistic to believe that you can chase your passion and earn money from it. I’m living proof of that.

However, how this works is probably not what most people imagine it to be.

  • Firstly, it’s NOT realistic to think that one can just quit their job, pursue their passion, and earn big bucks right away. Many don’t succeed. Those who do only start seeing real results after a few years.
  • Secondly, it’s not realistic to think that one can earn money from pursuing their passion in a random way, without considering market needs.
  • Thirdly, it’s also not realistic to think that one can generate money from their passion right away with no related experience/skills. Just like you can’t expect to get a job right away when switching to a completely unrelated field, you can’t expect to take off in your passion career by “boldly” pursuing it, without any plan or strategy.

The reality is it’s not easy. BUT it’s not impossible. As long as you are ready to put in the hard work, are prepared for the possibility of no returns for the first few years, and are versatile enough to turn challenges into solutions, then I say you have a good chance of success.

But how does one create their dream career? I’ve shared a couple of frameworks before — my Mind-Body-Heart-Soul framework and Message-Medium framework — which I recommend you to check out.

Today I want to share a different model which I call the PMS framework (nothing to do with what some of you may be thinking by the way!).

The PMS Framework: Passion, Market, and Skills

What is “PMS”? It stands for “Passion,” “Market,” and “Skills.” This is a framework I created from my experience pursuing my passion. (I later found out that it’s the same as a model used in career coaching — amazing.) Here’s how it looks like:

The 3 circles represent the different components of an ideal career.

  1. Passion stands for what you’re passionate about; what excites you, energizes you
  2. Market stands for what the market needs, wants
  3. Skills stands for the skills you have; what you’re able to do

Let’s look at common scenarios in the job market today (or self-employment for that matter):

  1. People with Market & Skills, but no Passion. These are people with marketable skills, which gets them a job that pays well. Miss B is in this category. However, without passion for their work, work becomes a dread. Even though someone can theoretically keep working their way up in such a career path, the job will eventually hollow them out. I was once in this category, and I subsequently quit to pursue my real passion to help others grow.
  2. People with Passion & Skills, but no Market. These people have a passion for their work and are very skilled in what they do, but there is little market demand to make a good living. A good analogy is the “starving artist” archetype, where you see talented artists who are not able to make ends meet because there isn’t a big (job) market for their work. Because of that, there is a limit to how much they can earn. Money is constantly a constraint in their decision making and life.
  3. People with Passion & Market, but no Skills. These people are better off than people in the first 2 categories in that they love what they do and they are in an industry with lots of opportunities. However, they don’t have the skills to land these opportunities. Note that by skills, I mean (1) skills relative to other players in the market, meaning you can be skilled but if there are plenty more skilled alternatives than you, the market will favor them, and (2) any skill required to succeed in your passion, such as skills in your craft (e.g., public speaking if you’re a speaker), skills in self-promoting, skills in networking, etc. Without competitive skills, these people struggle to land opportunities, sales, and good job offers.

Clearly, all 3 scenarios are not optimal.

While some may rationalize that having a job they hate is better than having no job (which is true), in the long run they’ll only be miserable as they get hollowed out from doing something they hate each day.

While some may rationalize that they’d rather pursue a passion and earn little money than be in a job they hate with lots of money (which is true for people with no heavy financial needs), in the long run they’ll find themselves restricted in how they live their life and how they can pursue their goals.

As for the last scenario, people in this scenario start off happy and excited, but are clueless at what’s about to hit them. An example would be someone who quit their job to start their blog business or to create apps (both of which are supposedly thriving industries now), but they have no idea how competitive the field is and are forced to quit later on when they fail to get any sales, despite months of hard work.

To you,

1) Can you spot where you are in this diagram right now?

2) Which is the ideal spot?

If you answered that the ideal spot is the intersection between all 3 circles, you’re right! This is a career (1) you’re Passionate about; (2) where there’s a Market demand for it; and (3) which you have the Skills to thrive in. That’s the career you want to be in.

How to Achieve Passion-Market-Skills

So how do you get into this sweet spot?

First off, I want to highlight that getting to this spot is a process that can take years, especially if you’re starting from scratch.

For example, if you have no idea what your passion is and you’re just entering the workforce, then it’s obviously going to take a while before you get a career with all PMS criteria. That’s because not only do you need time to figure out your passion, but you also need time to build your skills in it later — if it’s different from what you’ve been doing.

On the other hand, if you’ve been working for years in various highly skilled jobs, then all things being equal, even if you don’t know your passion right now, you already have some reference on what you may like / don’t like. Hence, you can better pinpoint what you want to do later. Not only that, working for so long would have given you some hard/soft skills that you can use for your passion journey later on vs. starting from scratch.

For me, it took me

  • A few months from the point I started to look for my passion/purpose to the point I discovered it. Note that in these few months, I was really DIGGING and SEARCHING to find my passion/purpose as opposed to playing lip service to the idea.
  • Before that, I was actively pursuing different goals and interests throughout my childhood and teens as I detailed here. You can count that as 15 years of “pre-work”before finding my purpose!
  • After discovering my passion/purpose, it took me another 2.5 years to pursue it. This would be December 2008, when I started this blog and my personal development business. Before this, I was working in a corporate job to gain as much experience as possible.
  • It would be another 3-4 months before I was generating a steady stream of income from my passion. This income quickly built up to sustain my needs, and subsequently exceeded my last drawn corporate salary in my 3rd year of business. It later on became a six-figure stream. (Money has never been my primary driver though; my focus has always been to give value and help others. That said, money is important to pursue our goals and bring our work to the next level — at least in this world we’re living in today — and this is something we need to recognize in any passion pursuit.)

This timeline obviously differs from person to person, but it gives you an idea of what things can look like. As long as you don’t expect some miracle result, as long as you keep working on your goals, you have nowhere to go but up. 🙂

So how do you achieve your Passion-Market-Skills career? I have 5 tips for you. 🙂

Step 1: Know your passion

The first thing you should understand about the PMS framework is that these 3 circles are like moving parts of a whole — they can be nudged, to some extent, to form your ideal career. For example, if you’re in a job you’re not passionate about, you can always try to find something good about it. If you have a passion that doesn’t have a big market, you can look for ways to adapt your passion to the market. If you have no skills in what you’re pursuing, you can always build them.

However, the circle that’s least “nudgeable” is “Passion.” With “Market,” there are practically no limits in who you can reach today, thanks to the internet and globalization. With “Skills,” there’s nothing you can’t learn as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort, since human potential is basically limitless. However, you can’t make yourself love something if you dislike, or even hate it.

Hence, “Passion” is actually the most definitive part of our ideal career, and the first thing you should work on uncovering. Even if you turn out to have zero skills in your passion and you have no idea how to pursue it (like me when I discovered my passion), you can, at that point, start taking baby steps to build your ideal career. Without knowing your passion though, you would be building random skills and building yourself up a particular career to earn more money, but you could well be leading your life to the wrong place.

As Stephen Covey said before, “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”

Now the question comes to, “How exactly do I find my passion?”

As I’ve already written a lot on finding your passion, I recommend to read the articles below. Doing this over the next few weeks will help you get closer to your passion, if not discover it:

There are some readers though who find difficulty in identifying their passion even after reading the articles and doing my purpose exercise. When I talk to them to understand the problem in detail, I realize that oftentimes, the issue isn’t with the exercise, but because they’ve not gathered enough experience about their likes, dislikes, and goals to actually know what they want. 

Finding your passion comes as a result of having gone through several worthy goal pursuits. You can’t possibly know your real passion unless you’ve taken the step to get out of your comfort zone, worked on goals with meaning to you, and experienced the ups and downs of a serious goal pursuit.

Thus, I recommend to give yourself time to explore and experiment. Identify 2-3 things that you like (or you think you may like), and then spend 3-6 months dipping your toes in them. Take courses, start something on the side, read up, etc. (This can all happen while you are in a day job by the way!) Then, take stock. How do you feel about them after these few months? Are you still excited? If yes, great! Continue. If no, repeat with 2-3 different things for another 3-6 months. During this time, take note of what you like and don’t like, while re-reading my articles above to introspect on your lessons. At some point you’ll find something you feel really good about, that you’d like to seriously pursue as a career.

What if you’re in between jobs or you’re currently in a terrible job at the moment? You’re not alone because I have many clients and course participants who are in such predicaments. I recommend getting an interim job that you don’t hate, that you’d be okay working in for a year or two. This would be a job that’s an improvement over your previous/current job and gives you new things to learn, while bringing you money at the same time. This way, you’ll not be weighed down by the burden of financial instability and have some time to properly figure out what to do next.

Step 2: Study the market related to your passion

After you identify your passion or a potential passion area, the next step is to study the market related to your passion. This is where we look at the second circle, “Market.” There are 2 goals here. Firstly, you want to know exactly what you’re getting into, as opposed to jumping in half-cocked. Secondly, you want to know what’s happening in the market so that you craft your best plans later on.

What is the market like for your passion? You want to research it in this step

During your research, you should answer these 5 questions:

  1. What are the typical career options in this field?
  2. What does each option entail? What are the requirements to enter this field? What are the criteria for success?
  3. Do any of these career options interest you? (Or are there any aspects of a particular path that interest you?) What are they? What do you like about them?
  4. Look beyond standard career paths. Who are the people thriving in this field today? What exactly do they do? Why are they so successful?
  5. Is there anything you like about what they’re doing, that you’d like to emulate in your own path? What is it and why?

What if you don’t know anyone in this field? Well, with the internet and meetup groups, you can get lots of information even without knowing anyone… yet. For example, say you want to be a trainer, but you don’t know anyone in training. What can you do?

  • Firstly, research online. There are many trainers with online presences today, so you can easily google for trainer blogs to read up. Be sure to read from varied sources so that you get different perspectives.
  • Secondly, meet up with people who have been living and breathing training as their job. Not people who are just talking about it, but people who are out there doing it.
    • Toastmasters is a great place to meet professional public speakers quickly, especially those serving as mentors or judges.
    • Meetup.com has so many meetups including on public speaking and training. With 550,000 monthly meetups in 180 countries, it practically has meetups on all kinds of topics in every corner of the world! Chances are, it has something where you live too.
    • Attend talks and workshops by professional trainers — it’s hard to meet trainers 1-1, but through these events you can easily meet them.
    • When attending these events, don’t just watch in the backgroundApproach these people and mingle. Understand how they got started and ask them for advice as someone starting out. They’ll be able to give you some ideas, even if briefly. Brief ideas from many people will give you a good overall picture.
  • Thirdly, study world experts. You want to get both a global and local view of the industry. Who are the most renowned people in training today? What exactly do they do? Why are they so successful? While you probably won’t know these people personally, you can study their bios, interviews, and books to learn from them.

The general steps above pretty much apply to any career field. Simply replace “trainer/training” with the name of your field and follow the tips.

As you’re researching, take notes of what you like, don’t like. Understand what works, what doesn’t work in this field. This information will be crucial as you craft your passion plan in Step 3.

One watch out during your research

During your research, it’s possible that you realize this isn’t your passion at all. This has happened to some of my clients before.

For example, my client K came to me last year with a strong interest in corporate training. As she didn’t have prior experience in this field, I asked her to do a deep-dive into the industry, including cold contacting corporate trainers on LinkedIn, networking, reaching out to managerial contacts, and talking to her friends. After much research, she realized that corporate training isn’t a fit for her! That’s because her real passion is to help others express themselves and become their true selves, which is more of a life skill, while corporate training typically involves teaching industry-specific skills with life skills weaved into them. After deep thought, K realized that life coaching is a better fit for what she wants to achieve, and is now developing her coaching portfolio and taking on trial clients, among exploring other career mediums.

If you ask me, this is a great thing. Imagine if K hadn’t done this research: she would have wasted years trying to get the right qualifications for a corporate training career, only to realize that it’s not right for her! Even though this shift might have seemed like a detour at first, and she had spent 2 months researching before realizing it wasn’t right for her, these were necessary steps to discover her ideal path. And this is something you need to recognize too.

So if you happen to realize that what you thought was your passion isn’t your passion, don’t worry. It’s part of the learning process. 🙂 Simply return to Step 1 to explore and find a new passion area. Then, return to Step 2 when you’re ready.

Step 3: Adapt your passion to serve the market

Once you do your research, let’s look at Step 3: adapt your passion to serve the market.

What does it mean to “adapt” your passion?

“Adapting” means to craft your passion in a way that’s relevant to the market. Even though you can pursue your passion without considering the world at large and be extremely happy doing so, you should convey your passion in a way that relates to others and adds value to their lives. Otherwise you are essentially pursuing your passion for your own benefit, independent of what others want, which is no different from pursuing it as a hobby. If your goal is to turn your passion into a sustainable career, you need to think beyond yourself and consider what the world wants, needs.

There are exceptions to this though, such as lifestyle bloggers and YouTube personalities who seem to make a good living just by living their lives and talking about themselves. Like I said, this is an exception, not the norm. Additionally, these individuals are actually giving value — knowingly or unknowingly — by what they do. This value can be entertainment value (bringing laughter to people), social value (making you feel emotionally rewarded by being connected with them), or educational value (helping you learn something).

This value can be a hit or miss though depending on what the market is looking for — for example, you could start a personal YouTube channel in hopes that people would be interested about you and your videos, but if your topics of interest aren’t things that people want to see, you’d be basically wasting your time (in terms of your career). Hence, it’s important to be deliberate about how you give value to others, because it ensures that you’ll definitely deliver the value your audience needs.

So how do you adapt your passion in a way that serves the market? 5 steps:

  1. Start by identifying the message of your passion. This is the essence of your passion. Most people get confused with their message and medium, when it’s their message that’s the most important. For example, maybe your passion is in stand-up comedy, but your real passion is “to bring laughter to the world.” Maybe your passion is to start your organic restaurant, but your real passion is “to improve health and nutrition of people, through wholefoods and diet.” The former is a medium while the latter is your message. Being clear of your message will subsequently widen your career options. Read about message vs. medium here: How to Discover Your Ideal Career: Your Message and Your Medium

    Your message should both be (1) something you enjoy and (2) something that will bring a positive impact to others. Other examples of messages are, “To inspire people and help them step into their light,” “To empower women and help them succeed in dating, work, and life,” and “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” (this is actually Google’s mission statement).

  2. Identify who you want to reach out to with your passion. Next, identify your target audience (TA). This is the group you are going to reach out to, to impact through your passion. Your TA should be a group that (1) you are passionate about reaching and (2) isn’t too narrow (otherwise you’ll end up in a Passion, Skills, but no Market scenario). While your TA doesn’t have to be as broad as mine (my TA is the entire world!), it should not be too narrow. For example, wanting to reach out to only people of a certain race+age group+gender is probably too narrow, especially if they make up a very small number. Know that when you restrict your audience, you prevent more people from benefiting from your stuff. Target as many people as you can while not diluting your messaging.
  3. Identify career mediums to best reach them. A medium is your vehicle to express your passion message and reach your TA. You should pick mediums that (1) you’re passionate about and (2) are readily used by your TA (you should have gotten some ideas during your research phase).

    For example, my message is to help others achieve their highest potential and live their best life. The mediums I use are blogging, ebooks, online courses, and videos. These are the mediums that (1) I feel passionate about and (2) are popular in today’s world. Recently, I started a podcast (!), something I thought I’d never do, because I see podcasting as an increasingly important medium in reaching out to all of you today.

    I recommend identifying at least 3 mediums so you have a variety of ways to reach out to your audience. Even if you are looking for a salaried job (not a business), you can still have different mediums, basically different career roles like a counselor, therapist, social worker, psychiatrist, trainer, and coach if your message is in self-help, personal growth. Even if you don’t have the right skills yet (which is normal), you can build your skills later if you decide that this is indeed the path you want to pursue. I write more on identifying your career mediums here: How to Discover Your Ideal Career: Your Message and Your Medium

  4. Identify the change you’re going to make in their lives. What is the change, the difference, your TA is going to experience when they come in touch with your work? This change can be anything, from an improvement in your audience’s happiness level, to an increase in their knowledge, to an improvement in their lifestyle. This should be a change that your TA is looking for and is relevant to their lives.

    As opposed to sitting and hypothesizing what your audience wants, I recommend getting out there to talk to them directly. Get to know your TA. Understand them in person. Understand what they need and what will most benefit them. This way, there will be no guesswork.

  5. Create your ideal career vision. Last but not least, create your ideal career vision. Based on all the info above, what is your ideal career like? Who would you be serving? Who would you be working with daily? How would you be reaching out to them? What would you be doing every day?

Notice how in each step, I kept asking you to think about what’s relevant to your TA, the market? That’s what it means to adapt your passion to the market. You want to ensure that you are doing something that will create an impact in others’ lives, while staying true to your passion.

Even if your passion is supposedly very niche, you can still create a relevant passion career — by detaching yourself from its form and focusing on your message. For example, maybe you love drawing but the industry for drawing is not big. Understand your motivation behind your passion in drawing: what is it? Perhaps it’s to express your creativity and yourself, and to help others do the same (so here, drawing is the medium to achieve this message). By being clear of your message, this suddenly opens up a new host of mediums (drawing, writing, music, graphic design, public speaking) for you to pursue this passion.

That said, there is a block you can face at this stage. This block is if you are only interested in salaried work vs. starting your business or venture. That’s because when you only look for jobs in employment, you limit yourself to the job vacancies in your country, which may or may not fit what you want. Not only that, you are subject to assessment of your potential employers (perhaps you are skilled enough but you lack formal qualifications, and because of that your employers pass up on your application). Even if you broaden your search to the region or entire WORLD, it may still be difficult to find something that matches what you want entirely.

This was what I discovered when I tried looking for jobs that would match my passion before starting PE, which I shared in my Passion or Money? article. After exhausting all options, even willing to move myself overseas with my own money AND getting a job with a severe pay cut (and still finding nothing), I realized that the solution to my ideal career didn’t lie in a job out there. Because my passion and vision were so unique, I realized that I needed to create my own business, my own vehicle, to make things happen. That’s why I created PE and the blog you are reading now.

While this was the case for me, it doesn’t have to be so for you. If you’re looking for a salaried job, I’ve these suggestions:

  1. Study all the job openings in the market right now. Research job portals, talk to headhunters, and seek out job agencies.
  2. Research each job. Is there any that resonates with you, that may be a fit with your career vision? Consider all aspects, from the job scope, to the company’s message and values, to the pay, to career development prospects.
  3. If yes, that’s great! What do you need to do to considered for these positions? (Move to the next section on skills.)
  4. If no, consider broadening your search criteria (expand your geography or check out related jobs) and continue your search for another 2 months. Are there any new job options that fit you?

    If the answer is still no, the answer to your ideal career may well not lie in the employment world. This is where you either heavily revise your career vision to be more reflective of current market options, or consider freelancing / starting your business. I’ve a business interview series where I interview successful entrepreneurs and their startup experience: Successful Businesses Interview Series

Step 4: Equip yourself with the skills to succeed

Now that you have your vision in mind, it’s now time to build the skills to succeed in your passion career! This is where the third circle, “Skills,” comes in.

Depending on your past experience and education, you may be starting from scratch. Or perhaps you have direct experience in what you want to do next, in which case you can simply pursue your passion career right away. For most of you though, you probably don’t have much related experience in your passion career. To that, I say, not a problem. After all, I used to be in this situation myself!

When I discovered my passion, I was in my graduating year at business school. I had already signed a job contract to start work at a consumer goods company. Clearly, neither my studies nor my upcoming job had anything to do with my passion in coaching nor conscious living. I was dismayed at first, and felt lost and empty… for a few days. What got me out of my funk was when I realized that even though what I was about to do had no direct relevance to my mission, it didn’t matter as I could use this as a channel to build my personal skills before pursuing my passion.

Subsequently when I started pursuing my passion in December 2008, I had no specific experience in coaching and training. The web landscape was also totally different from how I remembered it back in the 1990s. Even though it was a little overwhelming, I knew it was about quickly developing myself so that I could quickly get down to the things that matter, which is reaching out to you guys and helping you grow. I share some of the steps I took in my Skills Development article so I won’t repeat them here, but my point is that even if there is a wide gap between where you are now and the skills you need to pursue your passion successfully, there’s no need to feel sad and dejected. It’s simply about taking the steps to gain those skills. If you consider that most people today needed to study a 2-4 year degree/diploma to get into their current job, you should also expect some lead time before you’re able to soar high in your passion.

For example, I’ve a friend who is a very prominent public speaking trainer and runs a very successful training business today. He only started his business about 3 years ago, so he has done extremely well in a relatively short amount of time, in a congested industry. While his achievements look smooth-sailing and it seems like his success has just come naturally, he was building his skills many, many years before he started his business. Previously, he was a regular participant at Toastmasters, having his speeches evaluated on a weekly basis, and participating in club and division contests month after month. He subsequently competed at many national and regional TM contests and became a 5-time Toastmasters champion! If this wasn’t enough, he competed in speech contests outside of Toastmasters organized by independent, credible organizations, in turn further raising his profile and expertise.

If you’re starting as a complete newbie, start with these simple steps:

  1. Identify all the skills you need to excel in your ideal career.
  2. Order them by priority. Out of these skills, which should you be working on first?
  3. Do you have any transferable skills, past experience that you can draw on in your ideal career? Think about how to use them in your new passion career. (For me, I have graphic design and web development experience which I used to build PE website. I also have marketing / business management experience that I learned in my corporate job, which I used to quickly market my business and manage my work when I started.)
  4. Create a plan to start addressing your skill gaps, and take action.

I recommend tracking your progress as you’re working on your skills. Have a regular skill-audit to evaluate how you’re doing (you can use some self-created metrics, such as rating yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 in your skill, using meaningful attributes to track your progress, and so on). If you have the bandwidth, work on building 2-3 skills in one go, which can be helpful in drawing learning points across the board.

I’ve written more on skills development here:

Step 5: Execute and Fine Tune

Even though I label this as Step 5, it’s actually a step that can happen alongside Step 4 or even 3. As you’re building your skills, start to execute your ideal career plan. You shouldn’t wait until you feel 100% ready before you act. Why?

  1. It’s very unlikely that you can take action and see perfect results right away.There’s usually a big gap between our plans and reality. This is where it’s better to take lousy, imperfect action now and fine tune along the way, such that your plan is more accurate to reality. On the other hand, fantasizing in a dream world of perfect conditions and executing right at the end will usually lead to a horrifying situation where you realize your plans do not match reality at all, which then leads to lots of rework and time wasted. I’ve seen so many people fail because they refuse to test their ideas right away, instead hiding in an impenetrable cave where they assume everything they’re doing is perfect and right — in the end wasting months and years of their life working on an idea or direction that the market doesn’t want.
  2. You need time for the market to react. I call this the “lead time” for the market to respond to your efforts. For example, rarely do people get jobs right after sending their resume; usually they need to wait for companies to review the resumes, have internal discussions, and then arrange for an interview if they find you suitable. Rarely do businesses get customers right after launch; usually they need to market themselves, improve on their offering, and build trust before they get a solid customer base. For you, things like networking, marketing, researching, improvising, and engagement should happen earlier than later.
  3. Growth is supposed to be ongoing. It’s not possible to be 10/10 in a skill. Why? Because every time you reach 10/10, you’ll notice something else to improve on! By waiting only until you feel everything is perfect before taking action, you may well never be able to take action. The feeling of “I’m a fraud” or “I’m not ready” is also known as the impostor syndrome, and I’ve written about it before: 7 Tips to Overcome the Impostor Syndrome

Hence, no matter how far you’re from your ideal state, you can act on your plan NOW. Say you’re starting a business or freelancing. Look for opportunities. Network. Get your name out. Create a basic version of your product/service and test that with some people, for free. Get their feedback. Improve based on their feedback. Do this for a few iterations. Start charging a small fee when you feel your work is decent enough, and keep improving as you go along.

As I mentioned above, when I started my business, I had no past experience in coaching or training. I started my site after 1.5 months of in-depth research and self-learning, decided it was time to launch a “prototype” site/offering, and then fine tuned as I went along. As my readers and clients learned from my material, I was busy learning too: constantly talking to experts in the field to get their feedback, asking my own clients/readers for their thoughts on how I could improve, upgrading my knowledge, and improving my skills.

In the first year alone, I changed my layout countless times and changed my domain name, company name, logo, and brand colors. Even in my third year, I was still changing my domain name! This iterative process helped me build my business very quickly. If I had taken 1-2 years to strategize/plan in my magic cave, I think I would have wasted 1-2 years since I couldn’t have known what exactly people wanted or what I was doing “wrong” until I got to work with people directly.

Even if you’re seeking employment (not starting your business), you can start networking, applying for jobs, consulting experts, and attending recruitment fairs.

I once met someone at an event, Simone Brunozzi, who told me about how he landed his dream job at that time, the role of Technology Evangelist with Amazon — one of the largest companies in the tech world. What’s amazing is that: (1) He stumbled upon the job by chance, while he was checking out a job fair — without even knowing Amazon would be there; without even knowing a role like the Technology Evangelist existed. (2) He got the job despite being positioned “below the bar” (he worked and studied in a country town in Italy, which is poorly developed from a tech point of view).

After the fair, he went out of his way to illustrate his passion, commitment, and knowledge by looking up the hiring manager, and then spent over 30 hours creating and custom coding a program related to the role and sending it to him. Needless to say, the hiring manager was impressed, and after a dozen interviews, Simone was hired. He would then work in Amazon and do very well for 6 years, before quitting to join a different venture.

My point for sharing this story is to let you know that whether you’re looking for a salaried job, freelancing, or starting your business, there’s no “perfect time” to do it. Execute sooner than later. Then, fine tune as you go along. 

Closing Note

I hope you’ve found this post helpful. 🙂 I’ve made sure to pack it with practical tips and advice, and it ended up being 6,400 words long. All the best in your passion career! In the meantime, check out my articles in my passion series for tips on pursuing your passion.

 

https://personalexcellence.co/blog/passion-market-skills/

 

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https://personalexcellence.co/blog/plans-infographic/

 

Your Plans vs. Universe’s Plans For You [Infographic]

Some of us may have a simple plan on where we wish to go, how we wish our life to be. But sometimes the universe has different plans for us instead. 🙂

Click image for larger version (Infographic by Dog House Diaries)

Life isn’t meant to be a straight road, but a journey of ups and downs. And if you ask me, that’s what makes it exciting. 🙂 By having the downs, they help us appreciate the ups. By going through the downs, they help us learn more about ourselves, cope with challenges, and fight to achieve our dreams.

If you happen to be in a pit right now (like the guy in the picture), I hope you hang in there and push through. There is a better path ahead; you just have to figure out what it is and make it happen. Perhaps it’s not something that’ll happen right away or in a few months — as with any worthwhile pursuit — but as long as you stay positive and address the blockades one at a time, it will be a matter of time before you’re back up and steering smoothly to your end goal. 🙂

Chin up, and let’s continue to support each other in journey ahead! 🙂

Check out more infographics here | PE manifestos here

https://personalexcellence.co/blog/plans-infographic/

 

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Overcoming hopelessness | Nick Vujicic | TEDxNoviSad; 14:53 Min.; Ima prevod!

Published on Oct 17, 2012
Never miss a talk! SUBSCRIBE to the TEDx channel: http://bit.ly/1FAg8hB

Nick talks about the importance of parenting in early childhood and it's significance in overcoming hopelessness. Willpower is a driving force for making our big dreams come true, but if we don't get a miracle in life, we can always be a miracle to someone else.

Nick Vujicic was born in Australia to a Serbian immigrant family, with a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs. Most of his childhood he struggled with depression, and after a suicide attempt he decided to concentrate on what he did have instead on what he didn't. He realized that his life story inspires many people.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Category
Education
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My philosophy for a happy life | Sam Berns | TEDx; 12:44 Min.; Ima prevod!

Published on Dec 13, 2013
Never miss a talk! SUBSCRIBE to the TEDx channel: http://bit.ly/1FAg8hB

Sam Berns is a Junior at Foxboro High School in Foxboro, Massachusetts, where he has achieved highest honors and is currently a percussion section leader in the high school marching band. He recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. Sam was diagnosed with Progeria, a rare, rapid aging disease, at the age of 2. He is featured in the documentary Life According to Sam, which will premiere on HBO on October 21, 2013.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Category
Nonprofits & Activism
License
Standard YouTube License

If you want to achieve your goals, don't focus on them: Reggie Rivers at TEDx; 10:40 Min.; Ima prevod!

Published on Nov 7, 2013
Former Denver Broncos running back Reggie Rivers discusses how focusing on your goals is the one sure way NOT to achieve them. With humor and insight he goes on to explain how focusing on your behaviors is how you achieve goals.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Category
Education
License
Standard YouTube License

Achieve Goals Faster, Life's Purpose & Personal Development Techniques; 1:54:07 Min.; Ima prevod!

Published on Sep 1, 2016
Definition of Outcome, Life's Purpose and Personal Development by Tony Robbins. http://bookalicious.org/tony-robbins-... Brilliance in his mastery and teaching, Tony talks about the outcome and how to achieve goals faster using one of his techniques he developed called RPM, Rapid-Planning-Method. This is one of the best personal development videos, so don't miss it!

achieve goals; personal growth; personal development techniques; definition of outcome; outcome definition; purpose; tony robbins; self-help;

https://youtu.be/xEDFBX78sg4
https://youtu.be/2_Mj04r4XIY
https://youtu.be/oCcLEAtcgic
https://youtu.be/XPVSZZfYZyw
Category
Howto & Style
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Standard YouTube License

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https://personalexcellence.co/blog/impact/

 

What is Your Impact on the World?

(Image: Hernán Piñera)

As a person in this world, it’s easy to think that we don’t matter. But all of us have an impact on others by virtue of our existence. Even if you’re just quieting living out your life, you still impact others based on what you do or don’t do.

Take for example, a smoker. My neighbor smokes throughout the day, and his simple act causes my house to be filled with cigarette smoke multiple times a day. Because of this, I need to shut the windows every day and get an air filter for my work room. His smoking habit causes others — including his wife, his neighbors, and others in this estate — to breathe in pollutants, which affects their health. According to the CDC, there is no risk-free level of passive smoking.[1]

Another example is online trolls. An online troll goes around posting comments bashing people. When they post such comments, they probably do so recklessly without thinking. But for the person receiving the comment, they may feel upset or depressed, sometimes long after the incident. I receive negative comments, and sometimes I get affected by the sheer rudeness and insensitivity of some of them.

These are examples of negative impact, where you create negative value in people’s lives. Other examples include

  • Being rude to someone, including support staff
  • Denying someone’s cry for help because we’re too wrapped up in our own problems
  • Losing temper at our loved ones for no good reason
  • Making an insensitive remark
  • Not delivering our work in a timely manner, hence impacting our co-workers and clients
  • Abusing someone’s goodwill
  • Repeatedly rescheduling appointments without considering other’s agenda
  • Not delivering on an agreement
  • Not appreciating others’ hard work

What I want to talk about today is positive impact. Where you positively affect others because of your actions. For example

  • Doing the right thing, even if it’s not the most popular or profitable thing
  • Acknowledging when you are in the wrong
  • Providing a listening ear
  • Helping someone in need
  • Spreading a positive message
  • Doing a good deed

Positive impact involves thinking about others before yourself. Getting your head out of the matrices of today’s world — materialism, pop culture, luxury living, the race for quick results, capitalism, profiteering, vanity, mindless marketing — and actually look at the world as it is, plus the people around you as people for a change, not individuals to profit from.

1) Larry

Larry was one of my first coaching clients. He was 57 when we started our coaching. I still remember when he told me, “I feel it’s time I gave something back to humanity.”

Honestly, most people who are 57 are probably thinking about retirement and enjoying their golden years — and there’s nothing wrong with that. But Larry is interested in being of service to the world, and he wants to put his skills and faculties to good use, particularly through humanitarian work in developing countries.

Since our coaching, he’s been in Peace Corps, teaching and making an impact in the local communities. He’s 65 now. His first stint was in the Philippines, lasting 3 years. For the past 2 years he’s been based in China, training workers and teachers.

Larry is American and had never been to the Philippines or China, so these were new grounds for him. He had to learn Chinese and learn about the local culture to integrate. Recently he taught a 6-week English class to doctors who teach Chinese Medicine subjects. He also gave a talk to 100 university students, sharing his life as a foreigner in different Asian countries.

Larry with Chinese university students after a talk. He’s at the center bottom of the pic. 🙂 (Image: Larry K)

Some people wonder why he isn’t retired. For Larry, it’s because he sees his purpose as “To give something back to humanity” and “To continually learn and grow as a human being” (statements he set for himself during our coaching). He feels that these are the most meaningful things he can do, and this is the impact he’s creating in the world.

2) Malala Yousafzai

While many kids talk about hating school, Malala Yousafzai, 19 (as of 2016), has been busy fighting for a human’s right to education.

Born in Pakistan in 1997, Malala started speaking about education rights when she was 11. At that time, Taliban militants (an Islamic fundamentalist group) were taking over her home district, banning TV, music, and women from going to school and even the market. Bodies of beheaded policemen would be hung in town squares.[2To the Taliban, women are not allowed to work or study except study the Quran. To them, the women’s role is to marry, have kids, and care for the family.[3][4]

Malala was outraged. “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?” Malala spoke at a local club, in a speech covered by the media.[5]

Green Square, Mingora. It was also known as the Bloody Square as the Taliban would hang bodies there. (Image: McClatchy DC)

In 2009, Taliban militants banned girls from schoo. By then, they had blown up more than a hundred girls’ schools. Malala started to publicly advocate for female education, at a time when people laid low out of fear of being targeted.[6]

As she became more recognized, the Taliban leaders decided to get rid of her. On October 9, 2012, Malala was attacked on the school bus, shot with one bullet through her head, neck, and shoulder. She was just 15 then. She was in a coma for a week and the doctors fought to save her. She subsequently came out of her coma and had to learn to speak and walk again. Her recovery with no brain damage was a miracle.

Malala Yousafzai, hospitalized after being shot (Image: Time)

Today, Malala is an activist for human rights and education, giving speeches around the world. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and became the youngest winner at the age of 17.

Clearly, the ability to create impact isn’t limited to your age. Malala leads an organization today called the Malala Fund which enables girls to complete safe, quality primary and secondary education. Check out her UN Youth Assembly speech here.

Malala Yousafzai at the Oslo Education Summit in 2015. She was only 17 here. (Image: Malala Fund)

3) Terry Fox

Terry Fox (1958–1981) was a regular student like any other, with a passion for sports. However, he was diagnosed with bone cancer when he was 18. When his right leg got amputated due to the disease, he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. That’s 8,000 km (5,000 miles) in length, running on just one leg and an artificial right leg.

On April 12, 1980, Terry began his run. Every day, he ran a marathon (42 km/ 26 miles). His friend and brother drove closely behind, to watch over him should anything happen. Despite gale force winds, pouring rain, snowstorms, and sweltering heat, nothing stopped him.[9]

Terry Fox, running the Marathon of Hope (Image: Terry Fox)

The distance that Terry covered over 143 days — he had ran a total of 5,373 km (3,339 miles), despite the lack of a leg. (Image: Terry Fox)

Unfortunately, the physical demands of running a marathon every day without rest, on only one leg, took its toll on his body. He was forced to end his run after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi) as his cancer had spread to his lungs.

Up until he was forced to stop, Terry had barely taken any days off, not even on his 22nd birthday, except for events that he believed would raise more money for cancer research.

Terry died on June 28, 1981. He was 22. The Canadian government ordered flags across the country to fly at half mast, an unprecedented honor usually reserved for distinguished statesmen.[11]

Terry brought Canada together in a way not seen in history. Donations poured in and everyone prayed for his recovery while he was being treated before his death. As the then-Canadian Prime Minister said, “It occurs very rarely in the life of a nation that the courageous spirit of one person unites all people in the celebration of his life and in the mourning of his death… We do not think of him as one who was defeated by misfortune but as one who inspired us with the example of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.”[12]

By his death, Terry had raised over $24 million CAD, ($17.5 million USD). His mom Betty Fox set up The Terry Fox Foundation and has raised over $650 million CAD ($474 million USD) as of 2014.[13] The Terry Fox Run, a non-competitive charity run, is held every year to carry on Terry’s legacy.

Since Terry’s death, the cure rate for bone sarcoma has increased from 50% up to almost 80% in younger patients and 70% in older patients. Most patients today don’t get amputations but limb-sparing or limb-reconstructive surgery. This can be said to be due to advances spurred by the millions raised in Terry’s name.[14]

How About You?

There are of course tons of people making an impact on the world. The above are just three people, three simple examples.

My point is that impact can be created by any of us. Impact cannot be quantified in ROI, GDP, or monetary terms. If you are to measure the impact created by Larry, Malala, or Terry in terms of GDP, I’m sure it’d register as nothing. Yet I find their impact way more meaningful than say, some of the work that politicians, Silicon Valley businesses, and money-centered nations do today. Their work creates a positive impact on humanity and forwards people toward a better future.

The same can be said for scientists, researchers, cleaners, teachers, nurses, construction workers, caretakers, environmentalists, and activists. They may not be the highest paid people in the world, but they create massive value. The society today may not reward them in a way that matches their value, but that’s because our society today is still a child in its consciousness.

Perhaps you are already creating an impact on others. If so, that’s fantastic! Continue doing what you do.

Perhaps you don’t care about creating an impact. But remember that you already have an impact on others just by being in this world.

  • Your actions — and non-actions — affect others one way or another.
  • What you do or don’t do affect your family, your friends, and people around you.
  • What you consume, purchase, and interact with creates a ripple effect that affects the world.

This is known as the butterfly effect — that small causes can have larger effects. Your one little action today affects everyone around you, in more ways than you realize.

So… what is the impact you want to create? What is a cause that you believe in? And how can you make this change, starting today? 🙂

https://personalexcellence.co/blog/impact/

 

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