I'm often asked where I find inspiration for articles. Truth is, sometimes it comes out of thin air. Sometimes from things I'm experiencing; other times from what I see others experiencing. Even from words of advice that I've read somewhere else.
This week the inspiration came from a simple social media post by friend and colleague Austin Miller (@ausrmiller), VP of Talent Management at Sorenson Capital Partners. It was simple, unassuming, and read:
"Three simple rules in life. 1. If you do not go after what you want, you'll never have it. 2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no. 3. If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place."
This is not an original quote. And the true author remains a mystery (not every attribution on the Internet is accurate). But it struck a chord with me.
Sometimes we make life too complicated. Sometimes the guideposts we set limit us more than they guide us. Sometimes the rules we set for ourselves keep us from taking too big of a risk, for fear of experiencing too big of a failure.
But this advice strips it back to the basics. Three simple habits that make anything possible, with a little good old fashioned effort.
If you do not go after what you want, you'll never have it.
We all know this, but we forget it all too often.
I'm too old. I'm too young. I don't have enough education. I have too much education. People will notice. People won't notice. I don't have enough resources. It's beneath me.
When you step back for a moment, it makes you wonder what you've missed out on by not trying. How many things could you have accomplished?
Well, guess what? There's no time like the present to go after what you want. The world is full of potential when there are no excuses.
If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.
I once read that a toddler hears the word "no" up to 400 times a day. Think of that! And if that's true, no wonder we all have an unconscious fear of the word. We're preconditioned to expect all answers will be negative in response.
But what if we could break that mental conditioning? What if you could train yourself to be OK hearing a negative response? What would you ask for instead of settling for?
Try this for a day: Ask for what you want, even if you know the answer will be no. Ask for a discount. Ask for a promotion. Ask for a raise.
The answer will still most likely be no. But you'll get a lot more yeses just by the mere fact that you're asking more.
And if it's uncomfortable, that's good. It means you're growing.
If you do not step forward, you'll always be in the same place.
This is perhaps the hardest of the three to live up to.
Looking at the big picture is great, but it can be overwhelming because you see how much there is to do. And when you're overwhelmed, it's tough to get started. But you have to remember: Small steps will get you there just as sure as big steps.
The goal then is consistent forward motion. Daily progress. Weekly improvement.
If you wait until your circumstances are perfect before making a move, you won't go anywhere.
But, if you're determined to move no matter the circumstances, there will be no stopping where you go.
And that's really all there is to it. Three simple habits. Go, ask and do. What do you have to lose?