You are not aiming high enough. I hate to break it to you, but you are simply not aiming high enough.
You, just like everyone else, are conditioned to play it safe. You are conditioned to settle. And while we are all attracted to the big, shiny objects, we often find more acceptance and camaraderie in being average. Being average is not lonely. Sadly, you’ll get a lot more attention and support for being mediocre, struggling, and failing than you will find in the pursuit of greatness.
On the surface, being average seems OK. But if you dig a little deeper, being average is painful. It really is. Having to budget and spend energy being thrifty due to lack of financial abundance is painful. And I use the word “pain” with clear intention. Being average sucks. Having an average job sucks. Having an average salary sucks.
Life is much better and exponentially more fun when you are great. When you are great, life becomes open, limitless, and full of options and possibilities. All you have to do to live a life of greatness is stop accepting average. The first step to doing great, seemingly impossible things is to live your life knowing that anything can happen next.
At first, choosing greatness can feel like a struggle because you are going against the ingrained acceptance of average. It may seem unnecessarily hard because you are choosing a life with more obstacles. But the truth is, obstacles are not the negative pitfalls they’re made out to be. They are opportunities to stretch and expand and grow. When you adopt this perspective, you can begin to do great things with less struggle, and more ease and flow.
Shifting our perspective around obstacles opens our world in an instant. The past loses all power over the present. What happened ten years ago, last year, or yesterday is irrelevant. Even what happened earlier today becomes irrelevant when obstacles are transformed into opportunities. Again, anything could happen next. Live knowing you are one moment from a game-changing opportunity.
If you aren’t familiar with my coaching methodology or my journey, you are probably asking, “How do you know this, Jason?” Well, I know this because, after more than 10,000 coaching sessions, I’ve come to understand the core difference between success and failure. The difference between success and failure is not talent, strategy, or skillset. It’s not even determination. It all comes down to alignment.
Success comes from alignment with success. The amazing news is shifting into alignment with success can happen in a microsecond. Once you understand how to align yourself with what you want, everything else becomes easy.
The simplest way to move into alignment with success is to decide, consciously and with deep purpose, to hit your target. Say to yourself, “I am going to hit the target, because I’m not going to stop until I do.” Tell yourself this until you believe it. Initially, it may seem hard to believe, but that process, that simple statement, is one of the easiest ways to get into alignment with success.
When you start in alignment with success, success happens much faster. If you start out of alignment with success, every action you take is pointless and often painstaking.
Knowing how to hit a target is not a prerequisite for making it happen. Before strategizing and planning, decide to expand what is possible. Make a conscious, committed choice to move beyond average. First, set that foundation; then figure out how to execute. In my experience—both in my own life and with my clients—the best strategy flows into place when you start in success, enjoy the process, and allow the details of your plan to evolve.
1. Start in Success
Hard work does not guarantee success. If it did, there would be a lot more billionaires in the world. Contrary to popular belief, how much you work and how hard you work don’t increase the likeliness of getting into alignment with success. But, if you want to radically shorten the time it takes to hit your target, get into alignment with success before you start. Beginning your pursuit in uncertainty and grinding your way into alignment with success makes the process harder and less enjoyable. Save and focus your energy by starting in success.
Decide to hit the target before you start, even if you don’t know how. It’s the fastest way to get there, because success only happens when you’re in alignment with it. Any action you take out of alignment is simply a waste of time and energy.
2. Learn to Live in the Unknown
The unknown is the realm beyond our comfort zone. It contains all you don’t know and have yet to do. For example, you may know how to buy a house, rent it out, and generate $100 per month in passive cash flow. If your goal is to earn $10,000 per month in passive cash flow, you could stay in your comfort zone, methodically acquire 100 properties, and hit your target.
A more exciting, inspiring way to approach your $10,000-per-month target is to seek larger deals. It is just as possible to close one deal that generates $10,000 as it is to close 100 deals. The only difference is you may not know exactly how to do it yet. Just because it is unknown doesn’t make it impossible.
The unknown is where our biggest success comes from. The problem is we are often blocked from attaining that level of greatness because it requires moving beyond the evidence of experience. To live in the unknown and make it work for you, fully embrace what has yet to be revealed. Don’t view success as possibility. Don’t even frame it as being likely. Decide that success in the unknown is guaranteed. Believe it is going to happen despite not knowing when or how.
Embrace the unknown by expecting amazing, unfamiliar things to arise. Expect new ideas, new connections, and new opportunities to find you at the precise moment you need them to conquer your next exciting obstacle. Make that certainty a part of your life. To live in the unknown, all you have to do is be open to it. It truly is that simple.
3. Don’t Obsess Over Strategy
Strategy is NOT the most important piece of the success puzzle. There is no denying that the right strategy is key to attaining success, but holding it above alignment with success can make it a stumbling block or even a deal-breaker. When we think we must have the perfect plan before going big, the lack of strategy or the part of our plan that is yet to be discovered stops us from moving forward.
The right strategy is required to hit your target, but what most people don’t realize is the right strategy will show up automatically once you’re in alignment. So, instead of obsessing over the plan, focus on aligning yourself with your target. View strategy as something to be revealed and expect it to arrive right on time. Don’t ask yourself, “What is my strategy?” Ask yourself, “What do I want to do? What amazing thing do I want to accomplish? How do I want to change the world?”
4. Pick the Right Target (Make It Big and Exciting)
Always pick a target that excites you. Forget the fabricated requirement that you have to know exactly how you will make it happen. Decide to do something amazing because it is more fun. Would you rather live a life of boredom or a life of amazing, boundary-breaking success?
Be general and not specific. From personal experience and working with clients, I’ve discovered non-specific targets work best. Picking a target like, “I’m going to increase my income this year” holds a lot more power than something like, “I’m going to bring in $350,000 by selling five properties over the next ninety days.”
Set your expectation around the general result while remaining open to the details and specifics shifting. Examples of empowering, limitless targets:
- I’m going to make a game-changing deal this year.
- I’m going to start an amazing business this year.
- This year, inspiring people will join my team, expand my impact, and increase my ability to create success.
A general, non-specific target does not slow down the process. It actually opens possibility and accelerates results.
Size doesn’t matter. The only difference between earning $100, $1,000, or $1 million is strategy. One strategy will bring in $100. Another strategy will make $1,000. And the only thing between you and a million-dollar deal is the right strategy, which you don’t need to have when you decide to go big. It’s that simple. Once you adopt this understanding, life starts to become very different.
Pick targets that embrace the unknown. That is where the magic happens.
My favorite questions for goal-setting:
- What do you want?
- What is possible?
- What is impossible?
Your answers to the third question hold the most power. They often reveal what you really want but have been socially conditioned to see as “impossible.” Those goals are the most exciting because they are internally based and are usually the best targets to go after.
5. Be Open and Ready to Pivot
Work with life, not against it. Life is always responding to you. The more you work with life, the more you’re able to shape how life responds to you.
When things don’t go to plan, it can feel like life isn’t going our way. Knowing that a larger process is taking place (a plan we can’t see) makes us more flexible and resilient. Don’t get stuck in details. It will make you rigid, and can block you from new ideas and connections that could be crucial to hitting your target.
When life leads you in a different direction, pivot. Work with life, and it will work more easily and more efficiently for you. For example, let’s pretend you want to be a celebrated and successful shoe designer. While you are pursuing this goal, you happen to move in next to one of the leading handbag manufacturers in the world. Two weeks later, your parents are on vacation, and they happen to meet and befriend a leading handbag distributor. These valuable connections may be life telling you to pivot from shoes to handbags. If you are stuck in the details, you could deny yourself a life-changing opportunity.
Life is a co-creation between you and all the people you encounter. Once you align with that concept, life begins to flow through you, even when it doesn’t seem to be going “your way.”
Pay attention to what life is bringing to you. Make this a habit. If the same thing keeps appearing, don’t just chalk it up to coincidence. Take notice. Life may be leading you in the direction of your greatest success.
The process of creating amazing success and hitting impossible targets is all about working with life. There are some parts of the process you can control and other parts that are beyond you. Amazing things don’t happen without life’s help. Be aware of what life is bringing you and stay ready to change direction when needed.
6. Fall in Love with the Process of Life
Decide to enjoy working with life. When we are enjoying life, it seems to accelerate. When we are on vacation, the old saying rings true: Time really does fly when you’re having fun. If you want to hit your target faster, don’t rush. Savor the process. Rushing slows the process. Savoring the process accelerates it. This may seem unimportant or even silly, but I know it’s true in my life, and I have many clients that would say the same.
Picture your path to success as a trail up a mountain, with your target at the top. There are sections of the trail that will be more difficult to climb. You may not like the section of mountain that is covered in ice, but if you try to run, you will fall, making the journey longer and more strenuous. If you decide to enjoy your path, even the most treacherous sections, and take methodical care in each step, you will reach the top faster and with less struggle. That is what it means to savor the process.
7. Use Your Guidance System
Follow your excitement. Though many of us have not been trained to use this invaluable asset, we all have a built-in guidance system. One part of the guidance system is a survival mechanism that works to keep you from physical harm. It tells you to do things like avoid touching a hot stove. Another part is your emotional guidance system. Your actions bring emotional reactions. Some tasks and encounters make you happy and excited, while others leave you sad and bored.
Emotions can feel like out-of-control, untamable forces, but what if they are actually your greatest gift? We are socially conditioned to ignore, avoid, and shut down our emotions because we can’t control them. I encourage you to stop trying to stifle your emotions and start following their lead. If you are bored with your work, it is time to make changes. Follow your excitement to find work that fulfills and stretches you, even if it takes you in a radically different direction. Doesn’t that sound like a more fun and enriching way to live?
I recently followed my excitement about buying a parking spot for my boat and uncovered strategies for doubling my business revenue. These two parts of my life were seemingly unrelated at the time, but that’s how life works. Following my emotions, instead of suppressing them, led me to new ideas and greater success. If you want to better understand how following your internal guidance system is your greatest gift, you can find the entire “boat hoist” story on my Instagram (@jasondreescoaching).
These tips I have provided are the exact steps I followed to grow my business ten times over in 2020 and another two-and-a-half times in 2021. I have discovered how to go big and get the results in my own life, and that’s what I share with my clients. I teach them how to use these tools to make the impossible possible. It is working for them, and it can work for you.
Remember, while you are wired to avoid pain and seek comfort, you were born to be great. Being great can be the simplest thing you’ve ever done. Decide to no longer accept being average, and the rest will unfold magically.
Now, go do something impossible.
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This article was written for BiggerPockets Wealth magazine, a bimonthly publication by BiggerPockets designed to inspire and educate real estate investors through data-driven pieces, thought-provoking editorials, and real-world advice. Subscribe today!