GOING PRO

Are You Strategic In This Area?

I’m guessing that whenever you exercise you probably have a plan, right? There’s a muscle group you want to target, or a goal to specifically improve your endurance, speed, or strength. You wouldn’t walk into a gym and jump on the first machine that looks really interesting and new. Of course not! You would first determine your goal, and then choose the exercises that help you reach that end.

So why is it that when it comes to books so many men just read whatever someone hands them, recommends, or they see on the “new release” shelf at the store? We need to read as strategically as we exercise.

First we have to determine what area we want to improve. If we are passionate about improving our knowledge of early American history, politics, or apologetics, then we should strategically plan out which books we need to consume in order to master those subjects. 

It’s not easy to carve out the time to read. Your reading time is sacred so don’t squander it reading random books that you really don’t care about. Be selective in what you fill your mind and your time with. Read strategically.

Focus On Your Strength

If you’re anything like me, you hate to be terrible at something.  I lament the fact that I’m awful at auto repair and woodworking. I would love to be good at those things, and in the past, I’ve considered taking a class on them to improve in those areas.

But even if I took the classes, I still wouldn’t be as good at them as those who are really great. So I’d probably still wind up calling a pro to do the job. And all the while, I would be stagnating on my own strengths.

So here’s what I’ve learned: Stop trying to improve at things you suck at doing. That will only waste your time and make you mediocre at lots of things.  Focus instead on becoming even more incredible at the one or two things at which you’re already really good. Like the adage – Jack of all trades, master of none – we must resist the urge to do 23 hobbies poorly.

We need to embrace the outsourcing of our weak areas and pursue mastery of our strengths. Everyone around us wins when we do this!

Your Hero Narrative

A friend told me that his mentor had him write a “hero narrative” of his life. A story where everything is a smashing success and all dreams come true. Then he had to write a “mediocre narrative” in which he took no risks - a story of the ordinary and the unexceptional. Lastly, he wrote a “failure narrative” in which he made every wrong choice possible and destroyed his relationships, finances, and dreams.

We can get so busy in life thinking about the best route to avoid traffic, what to eat for lunch, and whether or not we should work out that we miss the bigger story of our lives that is unfolding each day.

The “failure narrative” may seem far beneath us, or maybe we’ve come through it already, and we’re just thankful to be writing a new chapter, but it’s that “mediocre narrative” that we have to watch out for. Mediocrity is insidious. It’s what happens to us by default.

Living out our “hero narrative” takes effort. It takes vision and risk, and we won’t achieve it if we don’t even know what it looks like. So write out your “hero narrative” today. Then live it.