I’m a fan of “living your process.” To put it another way, this is about “approach over results.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of results. The problem is you can’t control all the events in your life or what happens to you. In life, you control your attitude and response … and it’s not what happens to you, but how you react.
In this post, I’m summarizing some of the best of the best of what I know about making the most of what you’ve got and being YOUR best. This isn’t about perfection or idealistic living. This is about real living for real people. It’s about unlocking your personal combination for results and unleashing your inner awesome. if you’ve put other people or their lives on a pedestal, those are nice trophies, but now it’s time to start living the world on your terms, finding your unique strength, and living your values. Life’s not a spectator’s sport. It’s meant to be lived. While there’s tons of roadmaps, only you can make the journey. Pack your bags with your greatest assets (which you’ll find in this post), and head out. When life happens, and you get knocked off your horse, get back on. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and carry forward lessons learned. Life is full of lessons waiting to be learned.
Living Your Process
Living your process is really about living life on your terms. It’s also about leveraging the timeless patterns and practices that have worked well for others. I think the keys to living your process are:
- Purpose. Know your purpose. See Vision, Mission, and Values for some ways to think about this. It’s tailored for business, but you can adapt it for your life. I have an example of my vision, mission, and values in my About page which can also help.
- Why. Know why you do what you do. This is the why behind the why. One technique for finding your “why” is the Golden Circle. For more on the Golden Circle, see Why Do You Do What You Do.
- How. Know how you do what you do. Identify your personal success patterns. If you flip back through your life, you can review what’s worked for you and what hasn’t. Carry the good forward. The Golden Circle technique also helps you figure out your personal success patterns. For more on the Golden Circle, see Why Do You Do What You Do.
- Values. When you live your values, you feel good. It’s that simple. First, you need to know what your top values really are. You have a lot of values, but you want to know the top values to optimize your life around. Once you know your values, your next move is to live your life like you mean it. This includes seeking out the situations and people that help you live your values, as well as bringing your values to the situation, no matter where you find yourself. See Finding Your Values.
- Strengths. You have a lot of strengths, but this is about your top 5 that set you apart. It’s your unique voice. It’s the strengths that come so natural to you that you might not even value them as a strength. One of the keys of going from good to great is focusing on your strengths over weakness. When you focus on your strengths, you get energy and you get stronger. Passion is your key fuel for making things happen. See Finding Your Strengths.
The power here is that it’s about unleashing your best and living life on your terms. You don’t depend on anything else. You simply depend on you. This means having enough self-awareness and being mindful of your ways. I think of it as smarter ways for better days.
Approach Over Results
The whole idea of “approach over results” or “living your process” is it’s about giving your best where you have your best to give, making the most of what you’ve got, and focusing on what you control over what you don’t. You can’t control the results (or scoreboard), but you can give your best shot when you get up to bat. In life, you control your attitude and response … and it’s not what happens to you, but how you react.
I like Covey’s definition of success … it’s when the response meets the challenge.
Live Your Why and How
If you live your “why” and “how”, you have a ton of flexibility in your “what”s. You can bring your A-game wherever you go. Remember that wherever you go, there you are, so mastering yourself is one of the best ways to master any situation. The real beauty of living your why and how is that you can do it immediately to make the most of your life, whether you live for one more moment or a million years. It’s being YOUR best in the moment, from moment to moment. Yes, your world really does revolve around you. Master your world and the rest of the world becomes a better place.
Here’s a sampling of success patterns:
- Learned optimism. Not everybody has a natural disposition for optimism. In fact, even if you do, events in your life can sour your outlook. There’s a reason some events are called “life changing events.” If you treat optimism as a skill and learn the thought patterns and behaviors, you set yourself up for finding opportunities. Luck is when skill and opportunity come together.
- Continuous improvement. If you don’t use it, you lose it. You can spiral up or spiral down. You can decline in areas you don’t invest. Avoid investing in your body and see how it responds when you need it. On the upside, a stitch in time saves nine.
- Growth mindset over fixed mindset. A fixed mindset assumes either you have it or you don’t. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. On the other hand, a growth mindset means you can learn and respond. You grow more with skills. Life is a skill you can learn. See Growth Mindset Over Fixed Mindset.
- Coach over critic. This means being your own best friend. Pick yourself up instead of shoot yourself down. Mastering your self-talk will take you further than just about any other skill. It’s how you make meaning in your life. It’s how you make the most of what you’ve got and how you make the most of every situation.
- Strengths over weakness. You can spend all your time improving your weaknesses or you can invest in your strengths. Investing in your strengths is how you unleash exponential results in your life.
- Fulfillment over happiness. There’s a lot of research to suggest that we’re not designed for happiness. Even so, happiness is a temporary state. I’m all for happiness, but there’s also a lot to be said for seeking fulfillment. Fulfillment is more enduring.
- Boundaries and budgets. Invest in your life hot spots: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun. If you invest in these hot spots, the sum is more than the parts. The key is to invest enough across these buckets and to balance. All work and no play is a problem. Find ways to leverage what you already do to have these hot spots support each other and help you be YOUR best. See Life Frame.
- Approach over results. Focus on what you control. While you should know the outcomes you want, you should make sure that you live your values, play to your strengths, and enjoy the journey. Stop and smell the roses. The journey may be all you’ve got. See Process Over Product Orientation.
- Solution-oriented. Find a way forward. Ask yourself questions such as “what’s the next best thing for me to do?” … “how can I make the most of this situation?” … “what the best way forward?” … etc. See Solution-Focused Questions.
- Adapt, adjust or avoid. Sometimes the best thing you can do is adapt yourself for the situation. Other times, the best thing to do is adjust the situation to leverage your strengths. What you don’t want to do is change yourself for the situation in a way that loses your strengths or breaks your values. Sometimes, the best thing to do is avoid situations entirely. When that’s not an option, get resourceful and find ways to live your process anyway. See Adapt, Adjust or Avoid.
- Test your results. It’s easy to make a lot of assumptions or get stuck or miss out on a lot of opportunities simply because you didn’t take action or test your thinking. Make it a habit to test your results. Surprise yourself. See Scrimmage Your Results.
- Model the best. Learn from the best of the best. No matter what you want to do in life, somebody can help you. There’s always lessons to learn. Start asking. Seek out your favorite mentors. Most experts love sharing what they know. Be a ready, willing, and able student. See Lessons From Per.
- Master Emotional Intelligence. Emotional intelligence is what separates us from the animals. If you master slowing down your fight or flight response, you give yourself a chance to think your best thoughts, feel your best feelings, and make your best moves. This is key for your interpersonal relationships and how you respond to the stressful events in your life. It’s one of the most important skills in life you can possibly master. See Master My Stories.
I’ll have more to say on this in future posts. To be fair, this post is more of a work in progress. In fact, I didn’t even plan this post, it was just something that I needed to put out, just in case it just might help somebody find just the inspiration they needed to live the life they deserve and give them enough of the skills and competence to make the most of what they already have. If I lit your fire, great. Remember though, that it’s all you. I’m just here to fan your flames.