When I was 25 years old, a year after finishing my second Honours degree at uni, my career reached at point in which I needed to make some major decisions. I would either continue on the path I was on, working full time at a hospital or I would start to work for myself, and perhaps shape my own destiny. A book I read at this time, You Inc by real estate guru John McGrath, had a profound impact on me personally, and served as reference for many years as I made significant career decisions. Here are just some of the many words of wisdom from John McGrath that I took from this book, which I still refer to on a weekly if not daily basis to help guide my focus and decisions.
1) ‘Once you have set your course, develop laser beam focus and let nothing distract you from your life purpose’
At the time I loved giving myself permission to focus so fully on what I wanted in life and still today I remind myself constantly of the need to remain focused or time and life slips away. At times I have been guilty of sacrificing my life for work but I enjoy my work, in particular writing so much that it rarely feels like work.
I do notice though, when talking to clients that it is a lack of focus that constantly holds them back. Whether it is in regards to their life, their weight loss or other goals, all they often need is a little more focus, and less succumbing to distraction to really make significant changes in their lives.
2) ‘You create the whole of your own reality’
Another simple yet pertinent reminder that only ourselves can move our life in any given direction. If you want more money, a better partner, a new career, a new body, it is your daily decisions that add up and move you closer or further away from where you want to be.
3) ‘Refrain from speaking badly about anyone’
You can talk about me all you like, and yes, it will hurt sometimes BUT it does not mean I will lower myself to speak badly about you. I learnt long ago that beyond what emotional pain we can inflict on others, there is a little thing called karma that always comes to bite those who knowingly put bad stuff out there about others. It comes around, it always does.
4) ‘Everyone in the world has 24 hours at their disposal each day. What sets apart the highest achievers is what they do with that time’
Perhaps the most favourite of all the quotes I have kept and rewrite into my journal each year, is this one. People waste so much time – watching TV, commuting, on social media – time which could be spent on fulfilling activities that bring us joy or even work that helps us move forward in our career. I think the only difference between me and others when it comes to career is that I spend far more focused time working on it, and I do things instantly. If someone says email someone, I email then. Not tomorrow, not in a week -instantly. If I have 5 minutes in between clients, I write a letter or a blog. Not a scrap is wasted and when I go to sleep at night I know I cannot squeeze more out of that day. Time is limited. Use it wisely.
5) ‘Keep doing whatever it takes until you achieve your outcome’
Another version of never give up – when things are tough, get tougher. Try not to let other peoples negatively or low energy bring you down. Too often we stop and lose focus because things are too hard. Life is hard; someone will not come and put something in your lap. If it is not happening, chances are, you need to work harder for it.
6) One important lesson one, which I utilise consistently is that to be successful you need to have a dozen balls in the air at one time, because inevitably five or six of them are going to fall to the ground. Everyone has to expect that kind of failure rate – it’s logical that if you’re always stretching yourself to new levels and challenging the status quo not everything will go to plan. To be successful and have a great life you need only five or six balls to stay in the air. You don’t need to have everything work out for you all the time. What you need is for a few key things to work out for you some of the time.
Often we put all our eggs in one basket – I want to get married, or build a business or start a new job. It leaves us vulnerable to disappointment and failure. I always have a backup plan, for everything. If clients are quiet, I work on books. If I have plans, I have back up plans in case someone cancels. If I lose my job, I know what I will do next. Constantly keeping things moving and changing keeps life interesting and is always your own personal self-insurance.