There are many things that are important in life. One of them is this: being present while looking forward to the future. Sound like some sort of oxymoron? Well, I assure you, it's not. It's okay to have your eyes on the prize, but don't forget to look at your activity now and your next step. If you don't consider what you should be doing now and what your next step should be, you won't even make it to the ultimate prize. In the realm of the natural, the prize could be the manifestation of a new business, a fresh strong partnership with a company or organization, an executive position at a company, etc. So many people are mesmerized by the future that they lose focus on the present. You are currently in a process trying to get to "somewhere" and you are going to have to learn what it's going to take in order for you to navigate through your present circumstances so you can make sound decisions that benefit you, and not harm you.
You're also going to have to factor in other people, because no man is an island. You don't know when you're going to meet so-and-so who can help you get to your next destination while you are on your journey to the prize. When you meet someone for the first time, be careful that you don't underestimate them just because of how they look or because of something you heard about them. Get to know that person. Be present in the here and now and actually listen to what they have to say to you. You'd be surprised at what you can learn from people when you simply listen to them (and not trying to listen to them while you're on your cell phone, looking at something that has to do with "what's about to happen next" or "what's happening in the future" or what drama is unfolding on social media). That new person you meet, could very well hold one of the keys that can unlock a door you need opened so you can properly take that next step you are seeking after.
Your moves need to be strategic so you can truly optimize each day as well as each season of your life. Have a mind that embraces the future, but be sure to get your mind and heart right for what's happening right now. What you do now will affect what happens in the future. Don't let anything distract you from focusing on what really matters. Get rid of all distractions and get rid of things that are not essential for the task at hand. Get rid of any negative energy around you too. Even if you have to dismiss some people from your circle (no matter how close you are to them) for a little while or for a long time, do what you have to do to make it to the next level of growth and development. The "you" that you are striving to be depends on it.
Set priorities for the present day. Don't try to take on so much now while looking at the future that you get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing because you are burned out all of a sudden, instead of the something that can be prove to be fruitful, even if it is a little something. In the here and now, make a checklist of practical things you can do that will lead to fulfilling small milestones. Then the more you reach your different milestones, your confidence will increase and you will see yourself getting closer and closer to your big, ultimate goal, that is, your prize.
Here's another nugget for you. Do what you can do and don't worry about comparing yourself to other people. Everyone will have an opinion about what you are doing and what you are not doing, so just focus on what you can do while you have the energy to do it now. When you start comparing yourself to other people, you can start to feel discouraged and like you don't "measure up." The person to whom you are comparing yourself might be further down the road than you are or if they started on their journey at about the same time as you, he/she might be heading in a different direction because of their calling, vocation, etc. That person might have access to resources that you don't have and vice versa. So don't compare yourself to other people. One thing I am a proponent of though is getting advice from people who are further ahead of you on the same road you are traveling on. I believe in mentorship because it promotes the ideas of building relationships and giving back to those who are trying to grow.
Last, but not least, take some time each day or make time during a certain month (whether it's for a few days or for a week at a time) to get away from all media. That could mean tv, radio, or social media, or all of the above. Get away on a mini-vacation (it doesn't have to be some extravagant one) to clear your head. Instead of spending hours on your phone, go get some fresh air at a park and read a good book, go walk around town, visit a friend and just have a conversation, do something that does not require you to look at a screen. You'll be amazed at how many great ideas will come to you because you are not so focused on what's going on with regard to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the news, etc.
When you take time to be present, you'll realize how much you could be missing if you had not committed to being HERE, RIGHT NOW. Time is a precious commodity. You can earn and lose money, you can gain material things, but one thing you cannot get back once it passes is time. You don't want to wake up one day and feel like you have a bunch of regrets because you were not present when you needed to be. So make the most of your time now while you can.
To find great success, there will be many times when you'll need to have the courage to move outside of your comfort zone and outside of what you are familiar with and try new things. I learned early on that there is no room for complaining if we are not willing to make the necessary changes to get us from one place in which we might not particularly feel satisfied to a better place.
Sometimes it takes us digging deep to see what gifts, talents, and abilities God placed inside of us that we have yet to explore to make certain changes. But if we're going to go to the next level in life, we've got to explore options we didn't even think to consider all because we've been stuck in the boxes of "this is all I know" and "this is just how we've always done things". Don't let certain social constructs you might have grown up with keep you mentally imprisoned when you know something more is out there for you to explore.
You don't get to be your best self by only going for what's easy and convenient. Sometimes you've got to be challenged so you can then make a bold and daring move and challenge the status quo! You never know, God might use you to help others understand what He wants them to understand so they can have the opportunities to embrace becoming their best selves too! But you can't help free others if you are still in mental and social chains yourself. So what are you doing to be free?
One way you can make sure you are challenged and growing is by networking and meeting people that get you to think about different issues from fresh perspectives. Preconceived notions can prove to be dangerous when they are not rightly corrected when they need to be. You'd be surprised at how many people think they are right about so many issues when in actuality, they couldn't be any more off-base. Sometimes you need someone to tell you, "No, you're wrong, and here's why..." A wise person appreciates it when he/she gets to elevate their thinking because of good correction coming from a good, reliable source.
Another way to make sure you are challenged and growing is by studying topics you might not normally approach. Several examples of things you could learn about include art, cooking, marketing, science, technology, politics, and business & finance. A well-rounded person typically makes for a great conversationalist. It's not that you have to be a know-it-all, but you just might find yourself more comfortable in new settings than you ordinarily would be if you can learn how to bring some real substance to a conversation about something that's on a higher level than what you might be used to. Adaptability is crucial for navigating through the waters of "getting out of your comfort zone." You've got to be flexible. Moreover, if you want people to take you seriously so they can see you are worth investing in (with regard to time, energy, and especially money), you have got to show people that you are not a one-dimensional one-trick-pony. What worked "back then" might not cut it now. What you did to wow people "there" might not necessarily work "here."
So keep learning, keep challenging yourself, and keep growing. Sometimes these tasks might seem daunting, and there will be times when you feel quite uncomfortable, but you can do it! No one who ever made great strides in whatever they set out to do was ever comfortable all the time during the process. It's time for some pressure and pressure makes diamonds!
Most people don't want to work with someone else who doesn't bring their A-game each time they come into contact with each other. So, of course, it's important to know what you're talking about whenever you speak on something. Study your craft. Definitely do your homework and do your research on the field you are in. But when you enter into dialogue with people in your field (or maybe in another field you might not be able to call your home), don't try to act like a know-it-all. You might actually know a lot, but you don't have to act like it in an arrogant manner. There is great value in real humility. Let others sing your praises and do the same for others. Also, in dialogue, learn how to ask the right questions. Don't just make statements, but ask good questions. It shows that you are genuinely interested in what others have to say, and that you don't want to hear only the sound of your own voice. People respect that. People appreciate it when others with whom they are conversing are not narcissistic. A good conversationalist knows how to ask good questions and WHEN to ask those questions. Timing is key.
One more thing, listen to people to understand them, not just to respond back. So many people miss the mark on this as they are often in a rush to get their point across and they end up cutting across people when they are mid-sentence. Listen more than you speak. This is something I myself am working on too, because I see the value in being a good listener. Sometimes if you just listen to a person, you will get the answer to the question you have been dying to ask. Patience is another key in engaging people the right way.
When people know you are a good listener, you'll be surprised at how many people will want to talk to you and engage you on a variety of subjects. They know you care about what they have to say and they know you'll make the conversation interesting.
I just want to encourage and inspire as many people as I can for Jesus Christ.