Go Back to Basics
I turned 30 this year and with that came the pressure to finally woman up and go for it -- the big dream of success. I formulated my grown-up Vision and even internalized what Success means. I like to define it as the progressive creation and fulfillment of a greater purpose. As fancy and glamorous as that sounds, I’ve realized that the most effective activities that keep me on point towards my success are those that are rooted in the basics, the little day-to-day essentials, and fundamental self-care -- the practices that I learned as a kid and definitely unlearned as an adult.
It’s so ironic that I can, and should, look to my little slobbery nieces and goofy nephews, who still poop their pants, for wisdom and solid practices that can get me closer to my lofty image of success. In a way it humbles me to know that we grown-ups really don't have it all together, that the kiddos seem to have better sensibilities than we do.
As elaborate and grand as your own image of success may be, consider going back to these 10 childhood basics to build a solid foundation for success.
1. Remember what Mom taught you: Say “Yes,” “Please,” and “Thank You.”
Say “yes” and accept all opportunities, especially the ones you’re scared of. Say “please,” and be humble enough to learn and ask for help. And, say “thank you” to acknowledge and be grateful.
2. Again, listen to Mama and “Stop whining.”
In other words, give gratitude. Everyday. Being grateful means acknowledging everything you have as a gift, a blessing. All you have is not actually yours, and can be taken away at any moment. And, know that you literally have everything you need to do and be all that you want. Take responsibility; show gratitude for what you have by putting it to good use.
3. “Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.”
Ice Cube speaks the truth. Yes, I listened to Ice Cube, and a whole lot of hip hop, when I was a kid. Sooo many lessons. Like this one: It all starts with your attitude and your thoughts. A bad (or golden) attitude becomes a horrible (or successful) reality. So, don’t be a hater, to yourself or others. Ch-chiggity-check your thoughts and practice self-love and positivity.
4. Do like Simon and "make drawerings.”
As kids, we’d create random drawings of fairytale lands, make-believe creatures, and hilarious family portraits. As scribbly, unrealistic, and silly as they were, these works of art were a practice in Vision-making. They came from a very special place called imagination, the source of our creativity that gives oomph to our dreams. Grab your finger paint and crayons – the wide ones – and Vision away. You must have a vivid picture of success, so you can work towards it and know when you’ve achieved it.
5. Go outside and play.
Movement, sunshine, fresh air, and nature are essential to our physical health, mental fortitude and happiness. We do less of this as grown-ups when we need it just as much.
6. Eat your broccoli.
There is no excuse, now that you are an adult, for not eating your vegetables. You know why you need to eat them. So, find a way to enjoy them. Your sexy body and successful self will thank you for it.
7. Share your toys, and keep your hands to yourself.
We all have learned that sharing is caring. We must give before we can receive. And we have to know how to play nice with others. As social beings, our success and happiness depends on our ability to be in relationship, to collaborate, to create the win/win together. You will need help along the way, and nobody likes to play with a poopypants.
8. It’s time to go NightNight.
Chances are, you do not get enough sleep. That means between 7 and 9 hours. To do things like, say, have the body you’ve always wanted or land that dream job, you have to be at your best. How can you expect to perform like a pro if you are not giving your body the time it needs to recover and restore. Would you like your kids to be in bed Facebooking on their iPhones or staying up late to watch "The Walking Dead?" Zombies are awesome—fact. And, you can also catch 'em OnDemand (Oh, yes I did). Set a bedtime and stick to it.
9. Start with baby steps.
You didn’t pop out of your mom knowing how to walk. There was a progression, from being immobile to rolling around, crawling to standing, and then finally taking your first step before full-on running. Success, too, is a progression. You don’t need to start with a master plan for world domination. Create a simple plan of a first and second step. Soon, and a third and fourth step will take shape. Before you know it, you’ll be Master of the Universe. For now, be patient with the process.
10. Start, and NEVER STOP, asking “Why?”
One of my favorite things about kids is their game I call the Why Trap. Their curiosity, honesty, and their bold persistence to know Why for AllTheThings not only provide entertainment, they are examples we grown-ups ought to model. To succeed at anything, you must have a definite purpose, a rock solid Why for wanting and doing what you do. Your Why is what sustains you through the rough spots, long after your willpower has dried out. Strengthen your purpose by asking Why, again and again and again and again.
Know that your own unique picture of success is in fact closer than you think. It all starts with going back to the basics of the things you learned and practiced since you were itty-bitty. Revisit what it means to be a kid -- the playfulness, awkward phases of growth, the learning, the adventure, and, coolest of all, living fearlessly, doing as you pleased and being Supergirl or He-man anytime.
What is one basic thing you used to do as a little person that you can put back into play in your grown-up formula for success?