Mental health among people with big aspirations can be a tricky thing to manage. You set off on a journey to build an entrepreneurial empire, or be the best athlete on the planet only to find out that the inspirational Instagram quotes of “If you love something, the universe will deliver it”, or “Do something you love and success will surely follow”, have left some key elements out of the road to success.
Big dreams are important. I would argue that few people have dreams or aspirations as large as mine, so I am an advocate for dreaming big and aiming high. But in the process of dreaming big, many people forget about what is right in front of them.
I know you want to be the ‘Best’. Very few people start an enterprise aiming to be also-ran, and therein lies some serious difficulty.
‘The Best’ by definition, is one person. One Company. One Organisation. One Outcome. There can only be one ‘Best’. That’s what makes it the best!
Now the best can, and often does change. Some people are the best for only the briefest moment, and while it is possible to become the best, there can only be one at any given time.
It can be comforting to know, that while there is only ever one, there is always one, and it might be you….. One day.
Few things are as heartbreaking as feeling like you are not reaching your goals. Working really hard, and not quite getting something over the line. Training really hard, and coming second, third or even dead last in a competition! It can be demoralising, disheartening, and depending on what you have been telling your friends/family or yourself, it can be embarrassing.
This can be so mentally tough on someone that has set lofty goals, that we see many struggle, silently and behind closed doors. It takes a very special kind of person to maintain the necessary combination of both confidence and humility to continue to grind away and work hard even after a barrage of disappointments and little failures.
I would say to these people, stop looking at only trying to be THE best, and be ready to adjust your time frame for getting there.
Being the best is a destination, being YOUR best, is a very achievable goal. By setting your sights on being YOUR best, you take the power out of the hands of everyone else. If YOUR best is last place, then you can sleep tight knowing that you have done all that you can, and in this instance, unfortunately, there were people who were better than you.
YOUR best might not result in you starting a multi-billion dollar company from scratch…. But it might. I can tell you one thing for certain, you will never be the best in the world, or even the best in your city, if you are not operating at YOUR full potential. As long as you are actually doing your very best at all times, then there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.
The difficulty is in knowing whether or not you are actually trying your hardest, and operating at your very best. Practice regularly auditing your day for inefficiencies, catch yourself wasting time, even small amounts of it, and eliminate those bad habits from your day. Work to make each and every day as productive and positive as you can, and focus on the only thing you can really control… You.
Practically, here are a few tips that I use, to try and make sure that I am operating at my very best as often as possible.
1. Lists. Write a list of what you need to do at the start of each day. Complete that list. Make sure you don’t avoid the hard stuff (We all do sometimes though)
2. Audit your time. I use a program called ‘RescueTime’ To track what I am doing on the computer, it lets me know how much time I spend in ‘Productive’ programs, and how much time I spend on social media/news webpages/non-work related computer things. Compete against your productivity score and see if you can be productive when you are on the computer at least!
3. Time Management. You are not a robot, you will need small, regular breaks. I go hard for 30mins, then get up, grab a drink, go to the toilet etc for 5-10mins, then come back and start the clock again. When the clock is running, I am working through my list!
4. Take Facebook off your phone. You will literally miss nothing at all. I have a business account and you can still have the ‘Pages’ app and ‘Messenger’ app on your phone, without having the facebook app on your phone.
5. Leave your phone behind in the following places where it will waste your time when you should be doing other things –The Toilet (You don’t need it on the toilet) – The Gym (Go and train, follow your program, get in, get out, get it done) – The Shower (Unless you are taking product shots)
Being on a mission that no-one else understands or can see can be a lonely road, and a tough one to deal with by yourself. Constantly comparing yourself to your competitors can wear down even the most staunch operators. Spend more time in the early days, making sure that you are doing your best, once you know that you are definitely doing the best that you can do, and you do it consistently for a long time, then take the time to see where you can improve in relation to others. Excellence is a habit formed over a prolonged period of pushing yourself to be YOUR best.
Never get down on yourself for doing your best. Understand that sometimes your best won’t be the ‘Best’ and that is ok. Being the best takes time, practice, effort, talent and a little bit of luck along the way, and everyone can achieve amazing things in their own right if they start with becoming the best, hardest working and most focused version of themselves.
If you, or anyone you know is having a tough time getting to their very best, or is spending too much time, energy and effort comparing themselves to others, feel free to hit me up. Often all that is required is some time re-focusing, and an honest appraisal of what needs to happen to achieve their goals. There is nothing wrong with adjusting goals on the fly if it is required and productive and there is no shame in not being the best just yet… I’m certainly not, but every day I work to be MY best, and hopefully one day, I will actually get there!
Thanks very much for reading, go out there and get busy controlling the controllable, looking after one another and as always, Just Be Nice.
Cheers - J
It seems crazy to me, that with all the reasons that people can be concerned or worried about things, that we still have such a crazy inequality of worry.
As a man, there are a whole bunch of things in my day to day life that I never consider as a problem, while there are many of my female friends who have to consider a whole raft of other things when doing something as simple as leaving the house. I can't fathom being worried about those things, and many men can't, because we aren't taught to, and we rarely have reason to.
Its no secret that there are many problems in the world that need a lot of effort and collaboration to solve, There are also some that could be solved quickly, with a simple decision by the majority of people to be gentlemen and Just Be Nice to each other. Take the worry away from walking to and from cars, take the worry out of going out for a drink and that gives everyone more time and energy to focus on all the other problems that could use some solving!
Part Two looks at a couple of these opportunities and Part three will look at a few more in an effort to open the eyes of guys who actually don't even know these things are issues, and to help the good ones bring those who are unaware up to speed. There will always be things to worry about, I just hope that we can all start to worry about the same things together so that we can hopefully then go out and make a real positive difference for everyone.
Thanks so much for watching and subscribing, and remember...
Just Be Nice.
As a caveat, This is not really a feel good story. The Just Be Nice Project is about finding ways to help people Just Be Nice, but this issue is a particularly tricky one. It has so many moving parts that I feel like we avoid the conversation about it sometimes. Having experienced it first hand, seeing it during outreach work, speaking to professionals and hearing stories from friends, I want to try to bring the conversation forward so that we can look at constructive and effective ways to support people to move forward through these situations.
I have two friends.
Girl 1 and Girl 2.
Girl 1 used to go out with a guy, but now Girl 2 goes out with this same guy.
Girl 1 is scared of what might happen to her, if I tell Girl 2 that this guy is abusive. Exhibiting nearly every one of the classic signs of being an abusive partner, to date this guy hasn’t physically harmed Girl 1, but has been verbally and emotionally abusive over a period of time, threatened her, thrown furniture in the apartment etc. etc. While he hasn’t laid a violent hand on her to date he has nevertheless engaged in outbursts against others in the very recent past.
I have seen the messages, heard the voicemails, and I have known Girl 1 for a very long time. She is sad, anxious and worried about what this guy might do because his behavior has been getting violent escalating and really, there is the problem.
How do I bring this up with Girl 2? My initial advice to Girl 1 was to get an AVO so that it is recorded, and he can’t just rock up to her door, or go anywhere near her. In a usual situation abusive partners are seldom abusive in front of other people, and tend to do it in private times, or at times when the abused is most vulnerable. So the abuse hasn't always been via text or recorded voicemail. Even then she is concerned that if she gets an AVO he will get mad and attack her before the police can arrive. Hoping simply to ignore him and that he will just go away.
With an AVO there is third party verification (The police/magistrate) have enough reason/evidence to believe that this guy is a liability. It takes away the conjecture that it’s just crazy ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend talk. I feel like it makes the conversation with Girl 2 a bit easier if that’s the case, and I am less worried about what happens with Girl 1, because if this guy breaks the AVO then the police are able to intervene immediately.
But what if Girl 1 is unsure about the AVO?
She has never been so scared of anyone before, because he is so unpredictable and loose.
There is so much more in play here than simply feeling at risk. Girl 1 has had her self esteem attacked by her partner. Someone she loved and cared for. It was a gradual process, starting off with thinking that he was a great guy. He talked a good game. She looked after him and was a great girlfriend…. But over time, as these things happen, he got worse.
Like many others, girl 1 never thought she would be the kind of girl to be in a relationship like that.
I don’t think anybody ever does think they’ll be that person. And if someone was that aggressive and abusive on the first date, it’s unlikely they’d get a second date. But these situations happen over time, without people really noticing. You start to build a life together, you care about each other, and slowly you start to get isolated, your self-esteem starts to get clawed away, slowly. Jealousy, manipulation, a constant cycle of outbursts and apologies. Raging one minute and love and apologies the next.
Not wanting to make him angry, or cause a scene for fear that his aggressive tendencies would be turned toward her, Girl 1 may not even file an for a restraining order. Even though she understands now that like many others, this guy has had similar issues with former partners.
As a man, I am never quite sure how to deal with this. I have been face to face with male violence towards women and nothing boils my blood more. There is perhaps a caveman instinct to go and confront this guy myself….. But that is silly. There is nothing really to be gained from that, there is no benefit in being a vigilante here. Men like this guy are cowards. They prey on the weak, and break them down emotionally and mentally. They are not the ones to go toe to toe with another man, and confront their own failings, in all likelihood if I did confront him, nothing would happen to me, and he would take it out on someone more vulnerable.
So there goes that idea, and it should be gone. There is nothing to be gained from trying to be a big hero and go and call this guy out. I have seen it before and nothing good comes of it like that.
I do, however, need to tell Girl 2 what this guy is like. Knowing full well that at this stage the conversation will be about his crazy ex-girlfriend, and that this guy will be pouring it on, being the victim and promising the world. Even though two days ago, he told Girl 1 that he still loves her.
I am not sure how to support Girl 1 to get the help that she needs, after speaking to a police friend of mine, who said “I've been dealing with it for years - it's hard to watch girls never leave” when I said that I am concerned for my friend and every one of this guys girlfriend afterwards.
As the violent behaviour escalates, we can end up with violent men who have no official record, but are known to police and support services. Eventually an arrest occurs due to a larger, more violent outburst for some poor partner down the track. “Happens all the time [because] Most girls too scared to do anything”
In the end, I will tell Girl 2, and I am obviously here to help Girl 1 with whatever the outcome is. It is a difficult one because I don’t like to see my friends scared, or hurt. I don’t want to be concerned about the long term welfare of friends who are with guys (or girls) like this.
If, on the flip side, I was friends with this guy, and I knew him to be heading down the path of abuse/violence, I would help him to seek the appropriate help to deal with it. As a man and a friend it is up to us to step up and speak to other men that we know, if we know they are acting this way and tell them that it is unacceptable. If you have a friend who acts this way, it is ok to speak to their partner and let them know that you are there to support them and help find the appropriate professional help to deal with the situation. There is no point waiting until something catastrophic happens, if people start to act up, seek the help as early as possible to stop it escalating beyond the point of no return.
In my own experience, one of the most chilling memories of domestic violence was being on the end of my own fathers outburst, alongside my mother, while two of his friends stood there and said nothing and did nothing. I have long known that I would never be one of the men that stands by and just watches this happen… But it doesn’t make it any easier to know what to do in every situation.
I know that it isn’t pleasant, but without a conversation we can’t all move forward and provide a supportive environment for those in distress to speak out and act, and for those with issues to find the support they need to change their behaviours before it is too late. The statistics are far too chilling to just ignore.
Please note, that the discussion of male violence against women does not negate the acts of violence towards men by women. But this piece is written specifically about an experience I have had this week.
If you are unsure of the warning signs there are some here –HERE
If you need someone to call –1800RESPECT is the national family violence and sexual assault counselling service. It is a free, confidential service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1800 737 732 to speak to a professional counsellor.
If you need support you can use the DHS Service Finder - HERE
The quotes have come from online chat that I was having with my friends.So they are direct quotes.
Thanks very much for reading.
Just Be Nice.
I’ve seen a bit of this going on lately.
Being real is opening your eyes to what is actually happening around you. Being real in a first world country for many people should be about being grateful for living in such an amazing country and not taking it for granted.
Being real is being humble. Being real is looking after others. Being real is being considerate of the situation others find themselves in. Being real should be about more than just you and your opinion.
Your opinion is your opinion, everyone is entitled to one, and no-ones opinion is necessarily more ‘real’ than anyone else’s.
Being real is not just complaining about things and calling it realness. It’s not about putting people down and calling it real.
Real doesn’t have to be controversial or combative, it can be inclusive, understanding and forgiving.
It’s an exercise I have to practice daily, and it’s not always easy, finding a way to look for a positive rather than just point at the negative all the time. But you get energy where you give it, and if you are always looking at what is bad, you will always see the worst in everything.
There is as much real in the good as there is in the bad, so let’s try and even the score.
#RealTalk #BeReal #JBNProject
“Make Sure you Take Time For Yourself”, “Don’t Burn Out”, “Don’t Let Life Pass You By”. These are things that I have been hearing from caring and concerned friends and family for 15 years now.
They mean well, and their thoughts have all the best intentions behind them, but it has made me think often about goals. My goals, the goals of others and how they affect the way we live our lives, the way we work, the way we play and even the way we rest.
I have some very specific goals, and while I rarely spend time re-establishing them, I often take a moment to re-focus on them and make sure that I am not being distracted by excess noise, or unnecessary wants.
The more specific your goal, and the more narrow your focus the easier it is to work on a path to achieving them. However most people say their goal is one thing… But what they mean is much, much more.
For some examples, there are times when I have said that my goal is to be in very good physical shape. I’m sure that most of us have been there! If that was my only goal, it would be fairly simple, not easy, but simple to plan. It would require adequate exercise, nutrition, rest and in due course I would be in good physical shape. However, many times I have had the goal of being in good shape, but also, I didn’t want to be bored with my training, I didn’t want to be bored with my food, I wanted to still be able to eat chocolate and drink beer. At times my ego got in the way and I would want to lift more than was prescribed or overdo something and potentially injure myself!
I’m not saying that you have to have laser focus at all times. It is possible to get into good shape while avoiding boredom with my exercise choices, and still eating chocolate and drinking beer….. But it takes much longer.
It is the same with being an entrepreneur and athlete or even charitable work. If you have a singular goal… Then the fastest, most efficient path is to have as few conditions on it as possible. Each additional consideration adds time and takes energy away from your central purpose.
There is a lot of talk about self-awareness currently, and this is one time where it comes in very handy. For instance, I know that I am capable of working 15 hour days for a long period of time. I also know many people that can’t! I have seen entrepreneurs that have business goals, but ‘Need Weekends, and holidays’. Buying shoes or going on holidays before paying bills, Or that put Instagram likes ahead of sales figures. If your end goal is to make more sales, sometimes you need to spend time on improved business process or spend less on yourself. If your end goal is to help the most number of people possible, sometimes you may need to spend time behind the scenes ensuring the longevity and sustainability of your operations so that you can fulfill your goals for years to come.
If you have goals, remember that every other goal, and every other need adds time and takes energy away from your central purpose. The more focused you are, the more focused your results and faster you will get there.
Remember – The quickest path between two points is a straight line. Personally I know that I don’t need to have holidays, or go out all the time to deal with long days of work. Not before my goals have been reached anyway. In the meantime I will make do with a coffee, or some reading to keep my mind fresh. Find your path with the least amount of distraction, regularly check in with yourself to make sure you are focused, and go out and achieve your full potential.
Josh Reid Jones - Founder of The Just Be Nice Project and Odin Sports