|Read time: 12 min
Good morning, Achiever!
“Don’t be too quick to interpret the moment. Just keep quiet. My encouragement is: never think anything is against you. Everything is a blessing. Why should it be different? Just be quiet, see how it works itself out.”
MINDSET: Train your brain to win
Year of Yes
“You never say yes to anything.”
Shonda Rhimes is the master behind shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder and her recent book Year of Yes.
Year of Yes is her story about saying YES for a whole year all sparked by the words of someone who knows her best: her older sister Delores.
On Thanksgiving, Rhimes was telling Delores about the fantastic (and envious) invitations she was getting. Delores stopped her dead in her tracks by basically replying, “Who cares? You’re just going to say ‘no,’ anyway.” There’s nothing like the cold, hard truth for dessert when you were expecting pumpkin pie.
She knew it was true. Rhimes said ‘no’ too often because of her debilitating social anxiety and her unhappiness with her weight. She stayed in her comfort zone, living her life vicariously through the characters she wrote onto the screen.
It may sound easy to say yes to things like sharing a box with President Obama and Michelle Obama or posing on magazine covers. Still, the opportunity’s glamour and prestige don’t make saying yes any easier without self-love and acceptance. How could you say yes when you feel you’re unworthy of it?
It all changed when she committed to saying yes to everything for one whole year.
And so the first yes she tackles is an interview with Jimmy Kimmel about her political drama Scandal. Each new yes poses a new threat and is challenging in its own way. But with each ‘yes,’ she becomes more comfortable and willing to embrace challenging moments – moments of growth.
In that first year of yes, Rhimes becomes a master of her own life.
- She lost over a hundred and fifteen pounds;
- Gave the commencement speech at Dartmouth in front of over 10,000 people;
- Removed toxic people from her life;
- Became a more forgiving mother to herself;
- Made time to play and for her family;
- Worked to become her most authentic self (for Rhimes, this involved a difficult conversation about never wanting to get married and ending a relationship).
The bottom line, which Rhimes said herself, is “Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer.”
Saying YES is an action, and with it, you become the doer.
ACHIEVERS’ ARMORY: Equip yourself with proven tools & tactics
Learn To Breathe To Relax
Life is busy. No matter who you are or where you work, your day fills up quickly with things to do and tasks to accomplish. Often, we are so busy running around that we forget to breathe. Okay, so we don’t literally forget to breathe because that’s not possible. However, we forget to stop, take a breath, and relax our bodies, brains, and thoughts. This simple self-awareness exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Breathe2Relax is a free mobile app designed to guide you through basic but helpful breathing exercises. The goal is to support you when you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. The app requires you to rate your stress level to adequately supply you with the correct breathing and meditation instructions. The next time you feel as if your daily life is becoming overbearing, find a quiet place and follow the app’s instructions for 3-5 minutes.
To download this mood-altering app, click here for iPhone or click here for Android.
STAND UP EIGHT: Triumph & persevere
REACTing to Life Ambushes
A life ambush is what retired Navy SEAL, leadership expert, and bestselling author L.T. Jason Redman calls an unexpected catastrophic event that leaves a permanent impact on your life or career. It leaves physical, mental, emotional, or financial scars. Think job loss, divorce, loss of a loved one, (dare we say) a pandemic.
As a SEAL, Jason learned that to survive an enemy ambush, you first had to get out of the point of attack ASAP. The problem is that people outside of combat zones (and in the “real world”) struggle to react effectively and keep getting hit by the elements of grief, shame, guilt, anger, anxiety, and so many more. There’s no rush to get out of the point of attack. Instead, there’s analysis paralysis and indecisiveness.
Based on his experiences, Jason developed the REACT methodology to help you survive your personal life ambushes.
It goes like this…
- R: Recognize your reality. By admitting the severity of your circumstances, you can begin to move forward. Recognition brings clarity to the situation and allows you to stop focusing on your pain and misery. And keep in mind that SEALs don’t wear rose-colored glasses.
- E: Evaluate your assets and position. Evaluating your situation includes taking account of your resources and obstacles and that of those around you. Communicate, ask questions, and gather information to create a big picture. Be honest with yourself and others.
- A: Assess your options and outcomes. Once you know your reality and have perspective on your position, assess your potential actions and opportunities. Use the information you have available to you in the best way possible and know that course corrections might be necessary.
- C: Choose a direction and communicate it. Choosing the best option forward gets you out of the ambush zone. The smallest step forward (or left or right) is a victory to staying in the line of fire. A critical battle philosophy is to move, shoot, and communicate. If you’re working with others, make sure they know what direction your headed in and why.
- T: Take action. You’ve gathered information, identified your course, and now it’s time to move! Actually acting might be the most important part. The perfect moment won’t come, so don’t wait around for it.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Master the soft skills
Wait…What Does That Mean?
You’re in a conversation, listening intently and chiming in when you have something to say, when the person speaking says a word you’ve heard but don’t really understand. You don’t say anything and continue listening. A minute later they say another word you’re not quite sure you know. It doesn’t matter, they’re speaking fast and it isn’t worth stopping them. Before the conversation is over you’ve heard 6 words and 2 phrases you’re not 100% clear on. It’s okay though, if you don’t say anything your conversation partner will assume you understood everything they said and you can just ignore it and move on.
Sound familiar? God knows we’ve done this more than a few times. It’s reasonable and probably the best thing to do in many situations, but what about when it’s not? If you’re not 100% sure what some phrase or word means but you’ve heard it before, ask for clarification! You may think you’ll sound stupid or ignorant but in reality you’ll appear quite the opposite. It’s endearing and emotionally intelligent to seek to understand, and you should seek to understand.
When we really think about it, there’s a ton of words and phrases that we may have heard so we’re “familiar” with them, but aren’t really sure what they mean. The next time you read something where a word you don’t know, right-click that sucker and “Search Google”. We have a friend who is absolutely shameless about not knowing something and will stop someone dead in their monologue if she doesn’t get it and ask for an explanation. Every time, she’s seen as smart for clarifying and even better, the speaker has the opportunity to elucidate their point better. Now Google “elucidate” and see what we mean.
Take 7 seconds the next time you see a word you want synonyms for and look it up. If you’re reading this newsletter, you’ve already got the right attitude.
THE FIRST STEP: Seize the opportunity
Prepare For The Confused Looks
When you develop an idea for a business, you tend to think about it a lot before sharing it with the world. You nail down what the idea is, how it can make money, and who is more likely to buy it. You may even begin writing content and building a website. During all of this, your vision becomes even more evident. Soon, you are ready to share your idea with the world. Then, come the confused faces.
When you first pitch your new business, be prepared to be met with an array of reactions. Some or most will be positive and supportive. Those are the people you will lean on during the tough times. Unfortunately, some will be negative and poke holes in your plan. Those are the people that will motivate you to succeed, and there will undoubtedly be a handful of people who are just confused.
When you pitch your idea, and someone meets it with a confused look, it takes you by surprise. This is because you have been working so hard for so long that the idea, message, and vision is crystal clear… to you. You know precisely what you’re doing. However, the person you are talking to is not in your head. They are relying solely on you to walk them through the entire thought process. If they don’t get it, it’s your fault for not explaining it properly.
So, talk about your idea to as many people as you can. If they look confused, use it as an opportunity to refine your pitch. Ask what they are confused about and where you need to provide more information. Over time, you will be able to clearly describe your company to anyone you are talking to. Until then, harness the power of the confused faces to improve your brand messaging.
FUN STUFF – TRIVIA
What company’s first logo features Sir Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree where he supposedly discovered gravity, by an apple falling on his head? Answer below.
NEWS BREAK: Stay informed
1% BETTER: Improve each day
Read the first three paragraphs of a Wikipedia article on a topic you’re interested in but that’s new to you.
Trivia Answer: Apple. Apple‘s absolute first logo, pre-1976, was drawn by then co-founder Ronald Wayne.