“The scheduled maintenance light came on; what do I do?”
As we enter December, which is the end of our calendar year, I thought of my wife’s comments above. She freaks out every time a light flashes. My reply was that it is simply time for the scheduled maintenance.
I went online and with a few clicks arranged to drop it off, get her a loaner car, and it was all done. Every auto manual lays out a timeline for maintenance based on mileage and what needs to be done in order for your car to work optimally.
Design your owner’s manual
It struck me that this is the perfect metaphor for careers and life. However, we do not get an owner’s manual for our lives.
So I wonder: As we close out 2014, what does your fictional owner’s manual say needs to be done?
This is not about a New Year’s resolution, which we have all been doing for years with a horrible success rate. No, your career strategy should be more in-depth. It is a live document that outlines the primary goal and your scheduled maintenance.
If you follow these steps in your car maintenance, you are pretty much assured that you will have a vehicle that will provide you flawless service over the years.
The same holds true for where your work life is headed, however a lot of us procrastinate year-in and year-out, and we can’t understand why we are not making progress.
Sure, there will always be detours along the way, but if you do not have a plan, you do not know what direction to go.
Don’t live life without it
Imagine driving a car and never changing the oil and filter, tires, or getting a tune up, or doing any maintenance. It would be only a matter of time before the car failed to start, and if you want it running again, it will cost you a great sum of money.
However, if you handled the maintenance during those regular intervals, these problems, for the most part, would not be there. And the cost would be spread out because you followed the plan in the owner’s manual.
Albert Einstein said “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is the definition of insanity. This is the way, however, a lot of us have run our lives. We want stellar results, but as we bumble along, we do not make adjustments.
But, this owner’s manual concept will work, and it has proven time and again that it can.
I am a big fan of autobiographies in that I love reading about the obstacles that many people faced. The vast majority of folks would have found it easier to just give up, but they preserved, and in the end, it worked out.
They had a plan and they followed a plan. They created their own user’s manual and lived, breathed and slept it. In the end they succeeded.
You and I are no different. There are no short cuts. A short cut to success is short-lived. The jails and courts are full of people who tried to circumvent the system on their way to whatever they wanted to find quick success with.
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There are a whole host of reasons for our complacency. No matter how much and how easy it appears to be, some will not make the effort.
Root cause of inaction
You must be willing to take action, and you must be willing to sit and draw up your own maintenance manual. Post your goals everywhere so that you are constantly reminded of them each and every day. My posting spots are my bathroom mirror, the dashboard on my car, and the desk at work.
I can’t live my life without seeing the reminders. Some days, I hate to look at it, but for the most part, it keeps me focused on the destination.
Distraction is another major cause of inaction. If we spent as much time on our careers as we do on Facebook or other distractions, we would easily be on our way.
The Internet is another time suck. I have friends that sit around and mindlessly Google search every available things that you can think of. If you want it you must channel your emotions, behavior and desires towards attaining whatever it is that you desire.
You are in charge
It takes self-discipline to persevere amidst all the distractions that we face today. Living a life of self-discipline is powerful and a whole lot less painful in the long run than regretting “what might have been.”
Sure, you will always have the Big D called DOUBT. It will eat away your ability to succeed if you do not remain confident in your vision and plan.
The thing that I have noticed about doubt is that at the time of the most doubt, you need to channel that into working on your project. Review, re-adjust and realign when you feel it coming on, and like a fog, the doubt will eventually rise and go away.
One thing you should always remember and keep paramount in your thoughts that you are in charge of your own owner’s manual. You design it, you live it, and you will relish the results. Success can be had.
As they say, it is not brain surgery.