Ben Newman is a best-selling author, international speaker and highly regarded performance coach whose clients include Fortune 500 Companies, business executives, high performing sales people and athletes in the NFL, PGA & NCAA. Ben's most recent book, Leave YOUR Legacy, was ranked by CEO READ as a Top 25 business book of 2015.
I've spent my career surrounded by highly motivated people. Along the way, I've picked up plenty of advice from these accomplished and globally recognized leaders and athletes. It may surprise you, though, that the best piece of advice I've ever received didn't come from one of these visible and highly successful icons, but rather from my champion of a mother.
When I was 7 years old, my mother was diagnosed with amyloidosis, and her life quickly transformed into a full-time battle with painful medical procedures. Rather than wallow, though, she made a conscious choice to turn her pain into purpose. What once was an arduous journey from her St. Louis home to the Boston-based medical center instead became a fun family holiday. My mother's refusal to be belittled by her disease taught me my biggest life lesson: It's not how long you live; it's how you choose to live your life.
Ever since her passing in 1986, I have used this philosophy to teach others how to maintain perspective and make the right daily choices. Here are three big pieces of advice that will add fulfillment and success to your personal and professional life.
1. Let purpose overtake pain.
When I have a hard day, lose a big contract or struggle to find motivation, an image of my mother pulling an IV bag along with her to the dinner table pops into my head. My brother and I would be doing our homework, and she would always ask us about our day at school regardless of how well she was feeling. It wasn't easy for her to keep going, but she chose to stay connected to her purpose. Through her pain, she remained our leader and biggest supporter, knowing her strength would guide us in the future.
Let's imagine that you've lost a big contract. You can throw a pity party, or you can focus on connecting the behaviors that put you in a position to lose the contract and instead develop a solution. If you attack the process, you'll create more opportunities to silence the negatives. That will empower you to forget about the lost contract and focus on landing your next big contract.
2. Be courageous.
Life is too short to avoid tough conversations and situations. When you identify your goals and priorities, you must courageously and relentlessly pursue them--regardless of how difficult they may be to achieve.
Make an effort to pursue the relationships you believe in. We all get that gut feeling when we're uncomfortable and don't want to ask the questions necessary to get our relationships to the right place. Making ourselves uncomfortable is what gives us the ability to continue to grow.
Recently, I visited with one of the top financial boutique firms in the world, and the organization's leaders shared that more courageous conversations had driven them to the next level of success. They'd started asking the questions that needed to be asked of both themselves and their clients. We then talked about what was working and what wasn't. This ignited a spark and helped them to recognize that courage had made a difference in their success and their impact on their clients over the last 12 months.
3. Intend to succeed every day.
My mother taught me that to succeed, you need to give your best every single day. It doesn't matter whether you're tired, sick or uninspired. Live in the present moment and make a conscious decision every morning to be the best person you can be. Eventually, your commitment to greatness will create success on its own terms. No one can take this away from you, and you'll go to bed each night knowing that you did everything you could.
If you intend to succeed every day, then you have to be intentional in designing what it looks like to succeed. Take a look at the moment in time when you were most successful in your career. What did your behavior look like, and what daily actions did you take? Ask yourself what it would take for you to repeat those behaviors day after day. Use that moment as fuel to move forward with your business right now.
Greatness doesn't take days off. It lies in your ability to remain relentless in the face of fear and to be intentional in your actions every single day to grow your company and leave your legacy. You'll find yourself leading a more fulfilling career and meaningful life if you challenge yourself to let your purpose overtake your pain, be courageous, and intend to succeed every day.