Welcome to the ‘dog days’ or summer. August is an incredible month that brings warmth, summer fun and BBQ’s. It is the time of year in Education that you “slide” completely out of teaching and “slide” into the heart of summer. For those in other professions, August seems to be a time of transition to days filled with beaches, hiking and some flexible time away from the office.
As I approach summer, I have been reflecting on my personal growth and I have had a huge revelation in my own life which I wanted to share with you.
Never slide down the slide of mediocrity.
They say that the biggest killer of creativity is the Nobel Prize. Once someone wins the Nobel Prize for creativity and innovation, they tend to ‘rest on their laurels’ and ‘slide’ away from creating anything world-changing or groundbreaking. They easily get trapped on the slide into mediocrity.
This year I caught myself being so relaxed at many points in my schedule that I began to slide down the slide of mediocrity. Simply put, if you ever been on a slide before, you know they bring you from a higher point to a lower point. Sometimes they are fast, sometimes they are windy, but ultimately they always lead downwards. Sometimes we slide so fast we forget what really happened or how far we fell from as an initial height.
This year was supposed to be a sabbatical of sorts for me. It was supposed to be a transition year. A year to gear back, refocus and move forward.
Once this was all accomplished mentally, I began sliding back away from my goals, as opposed to moving intentionally toward them. Why the change?
I was on a slow slide winding downwards this winter. After being mindful of this, I stepped back, re-evaluated my goals and got back to work on my dreams and ambitions.
Here are the five main reasons why I began feeling myself sliding away; instead of running towards my goals in my life this year.
Environment shapes behavior and defines your rate of success (RoS). If you are in positive environments, you will be lifted and grow towards your goals. A plant always chooses to grow towards the sun. The same is true for negative environments in that they cause you do not grow at all. They make it easy for you to slide towards mediocrity very easily. For example, when a small seedling is trying to grow in a thick forest, it may only get glimpses of sunlight and a few drops of water. It grows, but not nearly as fast as it should.
You are a sum of the five people you spend the most time with. You are also the product of past influences as well. Both can be positive or negative. Some relationships lift you or thrust you forward. Others weigh you down or drag you behind them. Then there is a middle group of influencers who are neither. They are stalemate influences that prevent your leadership plane from taking off or landing properly. In fact, your plane doesn’t move at all.
An “Easy” Life
When I left Canada, I sold almost everything. I downsized many of my assets and moved to a place where life is very easy. Going to the beach every weekend and being able to order healthy food right to my door allowed me to feel a false sense of pride and accomplishment in the life I was living. I had to put these feelings in check.
I began doing more trivial work than ever before. This was mostly due to my full-time work which was often unavoidable. I began getting so caught up in trivial work that I stopped working on what “I” wanted to do. I had nothing left for my hobbies and interests outside of my work that I began finding myself slipping away from my goals, growth charts, and overall ambitions.
After seeing the slide, I took action. I wrote two books, became a top writer on Medium and helped build financial capacity for two side hustles…All in addition to working full time.
I tell you all of this so that you see the warning signs early enough along your journey that you can make adjustments in order to get yourself back on track and in the fast lane toward crushing your goals, just like I did this year. If I hadn’t been mindful of what was happening to me I would have continued down this slide into mediocrity. I would not have become a top writer, published a book and developed two side hustles.
Each day is a gift to be cherished, nurtured and respected as such. Don’t treat it as mediocre. Time is not infinite and our days are actually numbered; whether you think about it or not. Strive to become the best version of yourself intentionally each day and you will avoid ending up at the bottom of the slide of Mediocrity.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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