Here’s the final installment of the Summer Shorts podcast blogs.
These posts have been meant for quick tips for health and wellness. I’ve managed to keep these fairly short in length and have enjoyed the writing and media outlet-- hope they’ve proved to be a helpful, easy listen or read each week.
All summer I’ve asked my adult guests on the podcast for 3 tips to leave for listeners as recommendations for a better, more successful life. You can backtrack and listen as each of these experts give their own unique tips each week. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak with these inspiring people, and I’ve certainly learned a ton. If you haven’t yet, check them out because I know you all will enjoy them as well.
So, as we start the new school year and finally say goodbye to summer 2019, here are three quick recommendations I have towards success and self-discovery.
Tip number 1: Define success.
The first question to answer depends on your specific endeavor. What exactly does success mean for you? When someone-- you, me, or anyone-- says “Be successful,” that will mean different things for different people.
So, what will it look like if you are successful in life?
Does that mean something general like being happy and content? Does that mean something specific, geared towards a current goal you have?
Whatever it is, make sure you have a definition of success so you know when you’ve reached it, and also so you can then adapt your future vision to match further success. This simultaneously allows change and challenge to take place. Defining success gives a chance for self-reflection, we can see the changes we’ve made. We know this is beneficial… we want to change. Change-- positive change-- is a good thing in life. Defining success also allows us to create additional challenges. Upon self-reflection, we can then look ahead to adjust goals in our new context.
To challenge is to change. And to change is to live.
Tip number 2: Just try it.
We all know the old Nike slogan, Just Do It. Well, there’s something there that’s so simple and concise. It’s easily accessible for motivation. If you want to do something, just do it.
However, it does tend to oversimplify success.
You can’t really “just do” everything-- for instance, if you want to be a better musician, you can’t just play or sing a difficult piece because someone told you to. If you want to improve as an athlete, you can’t just make a game winning play because you told yourself to. If you want to better your artistic craft, your writing skills, your technological knowledge, your strength and agility, things aren’t really going to happen by doing the most challenging thing in your chosen endeavor.
However, the key concept here is to start. Just start. It is a fantastic recommendation, and one I will back forever. Just start! Get going in that sport, skill, or hobby, and keep at it. Improve in baby steps, little by little, and soon you’ll find that those improvements aren’t so little at all.
I will add on to this notion-- just try it. Try things that are difficult. Try things that are new.
You can discover a lot about yourself in this way. You find out what you don’t like and what avenues in life you don’t want to take, which is sometimes just as important as figuring out what you do want to do and what interests you would like to pursue.
Just try it. See what self-discovery you can make.
Tip number 3: Remain mindful.
Self-awareness and emotional intelligence is really catching on lately, and for good reason.
Being self-aware is more than just self-concept, which is the view we have of ourselves. It is more than just self-esteem, which are the feelings we have of our self-concept. Self-awareness is tuning in to your personal character strengths, acknowledging any weaknesses, and working to mindfully live with both in each present moment.
So how do we tune in to our feelings, to our desires, to our place in the community and the world?
Simple question, difficult answer.
Start with communication skills to listen and learn how people perceive you. Learn empathy and strengthen communication. Identify in-the-moment feelings without self-judgement by using adjectives to describe each new emotion, and then take time to respond instead of just react. Strengthen leadership capabilities if desired by working through challenges-- critical thinking skills and creativity are some of the most sought after traits of an employee, but are also essential for a business owner or entrepreneur.
In the end, when we are mindful of ourselves, our environment, and our impact, we live more harmoniously-- physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially in balance.
In that constant drive to be better than yesterday, don’t forget to look in the rearview mirror from time to time to see all the great things you’ve done, all the success you’ve already had, that will help pave the road for all the success to follow.
“Growing Up Great!”
For more health tips geared towards adolescent boys, check out Growing Up Great!, a body-positive guide to getting through puberty confidently by respecting the body and all of its changes.