First, let’s get something out of the way. No man has ever been mindful, meditated, slept more, read more, dressed better, or developed a successful morning ritual without first successfully fulfilling these seven requirements to building a legacy worthy of your expectations for the coming year.
“I like broccoflower, I sing show tunes, and I can recite the entire last 30 minutes of the Godfather in both forward and reverse.” We’re not asking for your ‘talents,’ but rather what gives you drive and purpose every morning when you wake up. Hint, this should extend far beyond your career and luxury lifestyle aspirations. Think, personal accomplishments, and what you want to contribute to the world while you’re here. And if you do not experience drive and purpose when you wake each morning, it’s high time that you discover what you want out of your life. Hint: Often your greatest legacy lies hidden within the things you fear most.
This is not the same thing as knowing yourself, but you do need to have a pretty good relationship with your true self before you can know how to positively impact the world and your relationships. “Happiness comes from having relevance, purpose, and impact,” advises Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. “Being a blessing to others liberates men.” The world has become overly self-centered, and some might say this is a cause of so much unhappiness and unrest. True purpose does not come from how much money you earn, how many women you bed, or the car you drive. It comes from finding your bliss, which Pete Nelson of Treehouse Masters describes as “your gift – that thing you know in your heart that you might be really good at – better than most people you know.”
Fulfill Your Need to Conquer
If you are currently going through life without any plan of conquering something in your near future you are not being true to your ancestral urges. Every man is a warrior at heart, and I mean every man. Every man is driven by the prospects of adventure, challenge, and earning his right to be champion. Some men seek to satisfy this urge through bullying, and fighting, but in today’s modern world you can direct that energy onto more valuable commodities, like reaching out to (and making) new allies, learning how to use new business tools, building a stronger body, and living up to your physical expectations.
Join (Round Up) a Posse
“I think men spend a lot of time combating loneliness, isolation, ordinariness, and conscious rejection,” reminds Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. It is very difficult to succeed in this world without a posse to support you on the way. A man can do almost anything alone (and he often does), but why struggle it alone when you don’t have to. We are stronger as a group than as a single warrior and we succeed so much easier. It is never a sign of weakness to ask for help, but rather a sign of intelligence and humility – two traits that have forged some of the greatest men in history.
Finish What You Started
One of the best bits of advice that I ever received from a friend was to ‘not be a man who never finishes anything (and that includes the pint I just bought you).’ Yeah, this is a new year with new possibilities, but if you have left some unfinished business, that is no way to start anything right. It is the easy way out to avoid the things you don’t want to do (most likely out of fear of failure). And every time you get away with avoidance behavior you make it just a little bit easier to do it again. This is where the buck stops and the expectations of you getting more sh*t done begins.
Focus on Small Daily Improvements
Most men prefer to see the big picture of where they want to be and they hold that picture over their head in comparison to where they are now. To some this may seem like fuel for the fire, to others it is a giant blanket that muffles the flames of motivation, drive, enthusiasm, perseverance, and creativity. The reality is that small daily improvements are the path to staggering long-term accomplishment. Most of us process smaller goals much easier, and quite frankly they not only happen quicker but will also maintain themselves throughout your journey this next year.
Understand the Realities of Success
Success is often a fantasy driven view about what it means to win. This often includes a vision of you doing more of what you love and getting recognition for all that hard work. However, “the best preparation [for success] is getting real about what it means,” says author and entrepreneur, Carol Roth. “Everyone thinks that if you love to do something, you will get to do more of it – [but] that could not be further from the truth.” Becoming successful means wearing a lot of hats throughout the day (many that are quite boring and monotonous), including marketing, accounting, social media, and employee management. This is not to discourage, but to prepare you for the reality of attaining whatever it is that you want this coming year.
Becoming a better man is not often as visually rewarding as you might think, but don’t let that hinder your progress of the other six necessary steps to becoming a better man. After all, it is not about striving to mimic a fantasy, but rather working to build a legacy you can be proud of and live up to your fullest potential.