3 Principles I Strive to “Live Into” in 2017
One thing you can probably tell from the titles, topics and length of these Friday articles is that I take an insane amount of notes. Everything from podcast interviews to keynote speeches, from TV shows and books, to conversations with new people I meet.
Call me intellectually curious . . .
Although, Kristin may have a different name for it. 😉
Some notes live in my phone, some in Evernote and others are woven into my daily (personal) journal entries.
Keeping a daily journal was a commitment that I made to myself last year. And one that I was unsure I was going to carry forward into 2017. That is, until I had the opportunity to sit down in late December and go back through all of my entries. Notes from the entire year. Looking to extract all of the memories, milestones, themes and lessons.
Turns out, it was one of the most valuable things that I did all year.
The result . . . six pages worth of lists and nuggets of wisdom that I wanted to continue to chew on.
Seeing a theme here?
One of the lists I put together, for myself, was titled, “Coming Into a New Awareness.” It ran a page and a half deep, highlighting more than 20 things that I learned over the course of the year, turned into actionable reminders of actionable ways that I can continue to grow into a better version of myself.
In this month’s newsletter, I wrote a brief article highlighting three of the primary principles that I am striving to “live into” this year. Three quick maxims that I handwrite at the top of my list of things to do each day.
That said, confined to the boundaries of one newsletter page, I felt like some of the important context was lost. And so, this week, I wanted to post a ‘beefed up’ version of that article. Here are a few things that I’m working on daily as I take aim at becoming the best version of myself.
BE A CONTRIBUTION
This came from a book I read called The Art of Possibility. A book recommended by Seth Godin in one of the hundreds of podcast interviews I listened to last year. In it, the authors write, “Unlike success and failure, contribution has no other side. In the game of contribution, you wake up every day and bask in the notion that you are a gift to others. You throw yourself into life as someone who makes a difference, accepting that you may not understand how or why, just yet. Naming oneself and others as ‘a contribution’ produces a shift away from self and engages us in a relationship with others that is an arena for making a difference.”
Ryan: I read something just the other day (written by a guru) that stated, in bold letters, “Success Is Getting Everything You Want.” I couldn’t help but think to myself … Really? Is that what it is? How often do we get exactly what we want? It’s rare. Besides, is that really the compass? Seems to me that carrying around that definition of success is at best shallow and at worst, stifling. What about reframing that definition as helping others get what THEY want? The idea of Being a Contribution — of being helpful and useful — to me that is liberating. That doesn’t take extra special talent. It only requires a little extra effort. But it’s that kind of effort that usually makes all the difference. I know, upon reflection, the days that I feel most “successful,” are the days when I’ve used my experience and my gifts to contribute to the life of another. And last time I checked, that starts by stepping out of oneself. Not into it.
This is a principle that Tim Ferriss highlighted in his book Tools of Titans – from his interview with Gabby Reece. She explained, “I always say that I’ll go first. That means that if I’m checking out in a store, I’ll say hello first. If I’m coming across someone and make contact, I’ll smile first. I wish people would experiment with that in their life a little bit: Be first, because most times, it comes in your favor … Other people are ready, but you have to go first. We are being trained in this world to opt out — nobody’s going first anymore.”
Ryan: How true is that! Furthermore, I have to think to myself, how many times have I been that person, the one waiting for someone else to step up and Go First. More than I’d care to admit. In 2017, I am going to make an effort to be the first one to smile, to say hello, to make an introduction or share in a group setting. It goes hand in hand with the idea of Being a Contribution. And I find that when I have the courage to operate from that mentality—when it becomes standard operating procedure— the discomfort usually dissipates and good things happen.
DO THE BIG WORK
This was the topic of an article I read online, from Jonas Ellison. I think he framed ‘the struggle’ appropriately when he said, “You can do the small work. You can try to find the thing that takes the least amount of effort … Or you can do the Big Work. I don’t know what your Big Work is. Only you do. But it usually involves butterflies in the stomach … difficult conversations … outright doubt … gravel embedded into knees. All the good stuff. And you oddly find this tortuous thing nudging you out of bed in the morning. It carries very little sense of certainty besides the surety of that flame being ignited in your soul while doing it. At a certain point, you wonder how you’re going to do this Big Work alone. You eventually reach the end of yourself and you either burn out or … You realize you can’t do the Big Work alone. And you begin to wonder why you would even want to.”
Ryan: I know what my Big Work is in 2017 … Do you? It’s the stuff that makes us irresistibly excited and at the same time incredibly uncomfortable. It usually involves new skills, new identities and the potential to make exponential impact. In the past, I’ve struggled with my Big Work—even burned out—because I’ve always tried to do it on my own. That is mindset is undoubtedly my kryptonite.
I’ll conclude with this … a note I jotted down from a recent Tim Ferriss interview with Adam Robinson. Robinson was telling stories about his childhood. His upbringing. He mentioned a comment that his father made to him before passing away. His father said, “I’ll always remember that you did everything on your own.” To which Robinson noted, “He did me a disservice because for decades I did do everything on my own and it’s only this past year that I’ve come to realize the importance of The Other, with a capital T and a capital O. Magic is unleashed … a circuit is opened only when you are connecting with someone else. That’s where the miracles occur. I wish I had known that earlier.”
2017 is a year in which I’m looking to capitalize the T and the O.
Together, let’s make some magic!
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