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This article has been written by Andrew Jobling. Visit his website at www.andrewjobling.com.au
Five steps to get you there
I don’t think there’s anyone on the planet who doesn’t want the best for themselves. It would be hard to find someone whose sole purpose in life is to be miserable, unhealthy, broke, regretful and alone. Interestingly, ironically and tragically, many people, even in the pursuit of better things, find themselves experiencing one or more of; misery, poor health, financial stress, regret and/or loneliness. Sometimes, life and achievement can be difficult to navigate and, with so many people’s opinions to deal with, and, our own self-doubt, it can be easy to head down the path that leads in the opposite direction to the one we actually want.
At a young age, as a naïve child, I stumbled across a formula that took me to the elite level of Australian football. I call myself an unlikely athlete, because I was not suited, in any way, to play professional Australian football. I was born a middle child, and was sickly, skinny, sooky and had very little natural sporting ability, with one exception. I was able to run fast. As a sooky mamma’s boy, and with a surname of Jobling, I was clearly a prime target for bullies. My middle child smart-ass-attention-seeking nature, my lack of common sense and my spontaneity meant that my mouth often acted before my brain was fully engaged, resulting in me running as fast as I could to escape the clutches of a bully I had just aggravated!
Then one day, in my very early teens, I decided that if I was going to get the attention that I wanted, I would need to something great. Illogically I chose to be a football star. I didn’t focus on my obvious limitations, I focused on what I wanted, how it would feel and what I needed to do. Miraculously, maybe, or in fact predictably, based on my thoughts and actions, from the age of 16 to 23, I played with the St Kilda Football Club. So, the question I want you to ponder is; how can a sickly, skinny, sooky, largely untalented teen play football at the highest level in the country? And, the next question I want you to contemplate is; if he can do that, then why can’t I achieve something great, and, be the best I can be?
I want to offer you five simple steps that will, if you apply them in your own life, to something important, bring out the best in you, and, what you have to offer. Trust me, what you have is enough, and, you are enough, just as you are.
Step one – Think big
As I mentioned, I had no logical, practical or sensible reason to believe that I could play the highest level of football, so why would I even go there? One of the character traits I have, and the one I’m most proud of, is my willingness to think big, even when I don’t know how to achieve it. The reality is that you can and will only ever achieve what you can clearly visualise and have a strong desire to achieve. I could very clearly see myself running out onto the ground in front of a screaming crowd. I could hear the sounds, see the colours and feel the exciting emotion that went with it. I saw it, I felt it, desperately wanted it and so got to work making it happen. Honestly, it’s just as easy to think big, as it is to think small, so why not just think big and go for it?
Step two – Think less
What stops most people in their tracks is themselves. The moment they set a goal, big or small, many people go into over-analysis mode and start to think of all the reasons why it may be hard, why they’re not suited and why the time is probably not right. Then just as quickly as they create a vision, they talked themselves out of even trying. Again, the thing about myself, I’m most grateful for, is my propensity to act spontaneously, without too much analysis. Yes, it’s led to some expensive lessons, but I would not have played professional sport, nor would I be an author today, if I had thought about it for too long. In my mind, I thought, ‘other people had done, why can’t I?’ So, I started taking action, and amazingly, the answers came to me and the doors opened up to me as I went. My strongest encouragement to you, once you’ve decided what you want, is to switch off the analytical part of the brain and instantly switch on action!
Step three – Believe more
At the end of the day, we will only ever achieve what we believe we can. It was Henry Ford who said; ‘whether you think you can or think you can’t… you’re right!’ Possibly the hardest part of achievement is getting over, through or past limiting beliefs, doubt and fears. When I made the illogical and seemingly crazy decision to become a professional footballer, I don’t know if I truly believed I could, I just didn’t know that I couldn’t. I had no evidence to prove categorically that I couldn’t be successful, so I just chose to believe that I could. You don’t have to believe in the whole journey, you just need to believe in the first step, and then in each single and simple you step you take after that one. Have faith, believe that you can and get started today.
Step four – Act daily
Nothing moves if nothing moves, and, nothing happens if nothing happens. It sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many people want to achieve success, but then don’t do the only thing that will lead them there… act! The only answer is action. Not crazy, all-or-nothing, forget-everything-and-anyone-else action, but small, simple action steps that you will commit to every single day, whether you want to feel like it or not. The key to success is not talent, knowledge, age, background, money or most of the things most people believe it takes. The one thing that will lead you to the result you want, or in the other direction is the daily habits you create. Choose a few small things you need to do and do them every single day until, like brushing your teeth, they become a fully established habit. Do them whether you want to, or not. Do them whether you have the energy, or not. Do them whether you are in the mood, or not. Albert E. Gray, in his book, ‘The Common Denominator of Success’ said, “The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don't like to do.”
Step five – Dance until it rains
There is a story about the Red Indians living off the land in the prairies and plains of the United States of America. This was a very challenging time. The land had suffered from drought for a long period and the tribes were suffering as a result of the lack of water, lack of vegetation and lack of food. Across the land, and in this time of desperation, the legend grew of the tribe that would dance and make it rain. The other tribes set the goal to make it rain. Some would dance for 20-30 minutes, but stop with no success. Others would dance for hours until their feet blistered and give up. Some tribes would even dance for days on end, but, give in to their aching backs and the ridicule from neighbouring tribes. They would all give up disheartened and just as dry as when they started. A decision was finally made to track down this legendary tribe and find the secret to their success. So, the chief of each tribe took off in search of this one tribe. When they found the tribe, they sat at the feet of its chief and pleaded; "Oh great chief, we have tried to make it rain, we are suffering, we need your help. How can you make it rain? What is your secret?" "There is no secret,” Explained the chief, “WE DANCE UNTIL IT RAINS".
After three seasons at the club, I played my first senior game with St Kilda in round 22, the last of the season, 1983. I had worked hard to get there, was clearly excited and understandably expectant that my senior career had begun. I was wrong. I trained hard in the pre-season for the 1984 season and was ready to become a regular senior footballer, but I missed selection in the first game. Without wanting to drag this story out, I didn’t play my next senior game until round 8, 1985, some twenty months later. I wasn’t injured and my form was good. So, there I was – finally – after twenty months since my first senior game. In that time, I experienced: two back-breaking pre-seasons, two senior coaches, thirty reserve games, a best player in twenty-five of them, countless disappointments, numerous dummy-spits and scores of thoughts about giving up. I had finally done it and the only thing that I could give the credit to, was my decision to keep dancing until it rains.
These five simple steps to becoming your best are not dependent on; talent, intelligence, time, money, knowledge, connections, or any of the other things many people blame for falling short of their best life. Each one of these steps, you can do, if you choose it. So, I offer them to you and encourage you to push aside all of the things that you believe are holding you back and, get up, go out and be your very best.
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