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
Josh Reid Jones - Founder of The Just Be Nice Project and Odin Sports