I had ambition from an early age. But like many guys, my ambition was not fuelled by a lot of action. I said a lot and did little. This wasn’t me being an asshole, it was my ego trying to protect my lack of confidence, lack of knowledge and my fear of actually doing these things. Many guys I know are doing or have done this, and many will continue to delude themselves throughout their life until they have that wake-up call at 40.
For me today, at 25 I am in a position where I run two businesses that keep me on the edge of my personal growth. I’m relatively successful, incredibly engaged and purposeful. This is even with a history of anxiety, being on benefits and failing to get the ‘critical’ 2:1 at university.
But this isn’t about me and my journey. Instead I have a better collection of data that I have pulled together from coaching, interviewing and connecting with some of the best young talent in the UK (about 300 to date). Through my work, I know the pattern of what keeps many playing the average and what makes others thrive.
The great thing for you is, they are all
1) Achievable and
2) Inter-connected (so when you work on one area, you are indeed helping support another area)
These are not quick fixes. People have had to work at these to build this wisdom and experience, but you absolutely can to. Here are the 3 areas you can focus on developing.
1. Inner strength
As a man in your twenties, it is tough. Especially if you want something more than the average. You want to achieve, which is great, but with that comes a lot of failure, plenty of fear, and many times when you question yourself.
What successful guys do in their twenties is develop a confident mind-set that rolls with these challenges, and thrives on them. One guy I interviewed, a young entrepreneur and founder of a 10,000 strong creative platform, literally puts his progress down to him being “So f****** strong”.
Inner strength is built from experiences and habits that help you support the way you think, feel and act. You can shift your own beliefs and self-confidence to overcome a challenge.
To get started, I would strongly recommend a challenge to complete in the next 24 hours. Literally start your timer once you have thought of it. Whether it’s contacting someone you respect, getting a meaningful project done, or pushing yourself to do a ‘sky-dive’ moment (something that scares you). Focus on experiences that push you outside your comfort zone and watch your inner strength get buff.
2. Having a clear direction
There is a pressure to know what you want and a challenge to then pursue it. The noise in our twenties can be distracting, but it is just that: noise. Once the noise is quietened and you listen to what it is you truly want, you have a fantastic opportunity to turn that dream into your reality.
Imagine trying to read a map in torrential rain, a fog horn going off in your ear, and your other-half asking you “What do you think what I bought today?”. Distracting right?
Quiet the noise by taking time out COMPLETELY for 1 hour to focus introspectively on you. Control your breathing and ask questions such as: “What is important to me?” “Who do I want to serve?” “What do I want to be proud of?” “What talents do I want to share?”
These questions are like paintbrush strokes on a masterpiece. The more stokes you take, the clearer your own Monet becomes.
3. Making personal impact
One of the most common questions I get is along the lines of this: “How do I stand out from the crowd?”
When you look into this deeper, there is always a pattern. Truth is, we want to make impact; with our bosses, with our friends, and with that girl/guy at the bar, but we are so afraid to do one of the two things it takes to achieve that: be our best self.
Making impact with people is from presenting your comfortable authentic self as well as being in a state of flow (feeling engaged as well as relaxed).
To start on this, I recommend identifying exactly what it is at your core that you bring to the table. Maybe you are naturally funny, maybe you are naturally intelligent, or maybe you are brutally honest.
Whatever it is put of the 1000’s of options (mine is being playful by the way) enhance that strength. I call it your social superpower, and it is what you become known for when you meet people. Then the right people that like that natural trait will surround you.