Not in the literal sense, but we’re doing it nonetheless. Here’s what I mean:
Have you ever wanted to do something really bad – that you knew you were really good at – maybe you were even made to do it – and didn’t?
You settled for the job that paid the bills, the easy route, the plan someone made for you. Here’s a familiar one:
Go to school, get a good job, start a family, retire – and die (they left out that last part)!
One of my favorite speakers opened my eyes a few years ago with a quote in question form, and I’ll share it with you:
“Do you know the single most place on earth that has the greatest amount of potential?”
We’re dying with hopes, dreams, aspirations, goals, and potential fellas. The funny thing about it is, we can resurrect them at any time! We have the power to turn the lifeswitch and get into action with anything we want to do.
So why do I write about this during Men’s Health Month?
Because unfulfilled goals result in additional stress. Seriously. Guys, we blame others for not using our untapped potential, then we resort to feeling stressed when we see someone who’s used their own. Oh, we give it a try, and see that it’s harder than we thought. And we stop. In turn, we become even more stressed.
The reality is stress is one of the top causes of heart disease – which is the #1 killer of men!
See the relationship now?
So, what can you do to turn back the hands of time on baby burying? How hard is it really to give birth to your dream, nurture it, and be proud that you pursued that thing that you’re probably made to do? I’m glad you asked. Here’s My 8-Step Process to Fight Baby Burying:
- Assess your sklill set. There is something, even if it’s only one thing, that you’re very good at doing. Take inventory. Ask the five people closest to you. If you’re too shy, buy the book Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. It’s a little secret of mine I use with male coaching clients to get them used to finding their strengths. It’s well worth the $20 investment at only 30 pages to read and a self-assessment to take that will give you your Top 5 Characteristics to explore your best life.
- Leverage your strengths to change your life. Identify the top one to you and be relentless about developing it. Spend time learning more about it. Research it. Talk to people in your desired profession about their journey with the same strength. A great resource is score.org for you men who are thinking of making a business out of it. It’s a group of retired mentors waiting to help you through the journey of turning a profit from your natural talents. Oh, did I mention it was FREE?
- Take the NBS daily. That’s the Next Best Step. Looking at the mountain, instead of the next step is a flaw of men worldwide – and dead rock climbers. Ask yourself, what should I do next that I know how to do? Then repeat it every morning.
- Create an environment where you can thrive. When I was writing my first book, Consult in Jeans (Tate 2014), I intentionally set my alarm clock 1:15 earlier each morning. Then, I would rise, get coffee or tea, walk to the office (spare bedroom upstairs), turn on baroque music (stimulates creativity) and type for an hour before the rest of the people in the house woke up. Identify your strengths and make time and space for them.
- Keep a journal, even if it’s electronic. Some guys are a little shy about writing in a journal. They think it’s girly. Whatever. I keep an executive journal (Amazon, $10) where I jot down thoughts, ideas, book titles, article titles, and other random thoughts. I also make a 6 Most Important Things List 4-5 times/week. These are the things I must do to grow my business, improve my self-leadership, and give back through my talents. Try it. It’s a great way to relieve stress when you cross things off that list at the end of a steady day. And if you’re still squeamish about it, use your phone or tablet. Good grief!
- Watch your mouth. Think back to the last four hours. Have you heard yourself saying: I’m going to be late . . . or I can’t do this . . . or This is crazy . . . ? The greatest book in the world states that “There is life and death in the power of the tongue.” That applies to self-talk, too. Mind the words you speak, for they are great predictors. If you think you will be late, and voice it – you will. Just think, have you ever been early after saying “I’m going be late?” Probably not. By the way, on-time is late. Make a choice to only speak life-giving words to yourself and others. There’s something magical that happens when you do. Things just seem to come together. Make a persistent effort to also teach your children to do the same.
- Lose the Machismo. I’ll admit, I’m the king of “I got it”, when I really don’t. However, I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it. Being macho, carrying the world on your shoulders, bearing the load or whatever else you want to call it is note leading! It’s egotistical and doesn’t give others a chance to develop in those areas. Not to mention, it causes unnecessary stress. If you’re struggling in any area of life, there is strength in seeking help. Counselors, coaches and mentors exist for a reason-and many of them offer pro bono services. Find the help you need and use it. Google is a great resource.
- Get some exercise in. Ok, I know it’s hard, but it needs to happen. As a son of a recently diagnosed diabetic, I’ve researched Type II Diabetes for the past several months. It has lead me to several phenomenal resources, one being a book called The China Study. In it, the author talks about how he noticed the small number of Asian descendents with the disease and wanted to find out why. You want the Cliffs Notes version? Diet and exercise. Not even rigorous exercise either! You would be amazed what fresh fruit and vegetables and moderate exercise will do for us, fellas – especially in the bedroom (I’m just sayin’). Do your research, but I recommend 30 minutes of walking/light jogging and a game of your favorite sport twice/week. Cut back on the sweets, increase water intake, and eating after 8pm has to go. Those minor modifications can and will turn you into a new man, physically and mentally.
What you may not realize is when you make these life changes, you’re leading by example. Your family, colleagues, friends and community all take notice when you take these measures. You also unknowingly boost your own confidence in the process to do more and be more. Change isn’t easy, but it is simple. And today can be the first step. Take the challenge; give birth to your babies.
Chris Daniel, PMP is the founder of Regroup, a consultancy that helps new leaders create award-winning organizational culture and self-leadership techniques that foster phenomenal success. His new book Consult in Jeans is available at onechrisdaniel.com.