Dedicated to the 43,631 people who
chose to follow and trust me as a source of inspiration and insight during 2015.
A huge & humble Thank You.
In the past, leaving me alone with my thoughts and a keyboard had only resulted in one unfortunate outcome…writers block.
Then something happened.
I remember it like it was yesterday (excuse the dramatic cliche) but it was in fact 3:15 am on March 5th 2015 and my alarm went off as usual signaling me to get up and start my day.
However this would be no ordinary day – I just didn’t know it yet.
What seemed like the start of my daily routine would actually begin what I describe as one of the most challenging and rewarding journey of my life.
As I got ready to leave for work, I came across a picture my son Charlie drew for me with a big heart representing how much me he loved me. This wasn’t a shock to see but definitely welcomed and just what I needed to start my day, so I hopped into my car and took off to my office.
Around 5 minutes into my drive I became present to how being a new parent (my son was 3.5 at this time last year) is closely linked and related to leadership development. The way in which we model behavior as parents (and people leaders) is directly impactful to how we groom our kids and develop people on our team.
The ideas started to flow quickly and shortly there after I pulled over to the side of 680 pulled out a pen and paper. Yes, a pen and paper – they still exist people. I started writing everything in my mind quickly and without hesitation. I had no idea what I was doing and the fact that it was pitch black outside only fueled my ability to write fast and get back on the road as quick as possible. I kept writing for about 20 minutes straight and then continued on my way. When I arrived at my office, I quickly hopped onto my computer and took my paper, my thoughts and my heart and placed them gently into the Linkedin Pulse format and anxiously sit there staring at the innocuous “publish” button. It was as if it was staring at me, testing me – almost challenging me to press it. Challenge accepted.
This is how it all started for me, how it all began.
My first Linkedin Pulse Article titled “I’ve Got Two Words For You” was officialy live and it was now time to unleash this side of Joshua Miller upon the world. Fingers crossed.
Almost one calendar year later, I have discovered, reaffirmed and learned some powerful life lessons that I couldn’t have imagined possible from putting myself out there week in and week out. I never intended to write so many articles last year but once I started – I couldn’t stop. Here is what I learned from writing 52 articles in 52 weeks in 2015:
DON’T BE AFRAID (Fear)
Being afraid is normal, in fact it’s part of your DNA and can be one the most motivating forces on the planet. That said, it can also cripple your spirit, vision and overall ability to believe in yourself. In life, I have learned that in order to grow, you must stare fear straight in it’s eyes and although you may blink, flinch or even contemplate stepping aside – holding your ground is critical for personal and professional growth. I had hundreds of reasons as to “why” I shouldn’t bother posting an article. For starters, what could I contribute to what appeared to be an already flooded stream of articles citing – “5, 7 or 11 Ways To…(blank)” or “Why or How Successful People…(blank)” but then I stopped myself and thought about my son Charlie and his drawing – the rest was history. I chose (no matter how uncomfortable) to stand firm, listen to my heart and remind myself “why” I started in the first place. I personally love this quote and read it daily:
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield
Lesson: What stops you today will ultimately define you moving forward. It’s okay to be scared but never stop pursuing your heart and dreams. Lastly, make it habit to remind yourself “why you started” along the way to keep the passion and purpose alive while embracing the fear.
FIND YOUR INNVER VOICE (Belief)
We all believe in something. The reality is that many of us aren’t sure what that is or how to even identify where it lives. For me, I am clear on my belief system and I hold myself accountable to upholding what that looks like in my life. With beliefs, come thoughts and ultimately actions. I always knew I had something to say but ignored that little voice in my head telling me I either couldn’t or that no one would care what I had to share. Embracing my belief (as a coach) that people are inherently great leaders but simply don’t know where to look to create a happy life is what charts my path for action every week. I believe in myself, what I write and keep this quote in mind daily:
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts” – Marcus Aurelius
Lesson: It’s important to pay attention to the little voice in your head which at times may not be so little or quiet but in the end, it’s there to tell you something and you owe it to yourself to listen. Understand who you are, what you like and dislike and begin building your life around the beliefs and values you determine mean something for you. From there it’s about finding an outlet to express your beliefs.
STAND FOR SOMETHING OR FALL FOR ANYTHING (Mindset)
I learned early on that getting knocked down on your ass is the best thing possible. Sure at the time, it sucks but once you take your lumps and learn – you have an opportunity to be bigger and better. When I look back at all my articles of 2015, I had some that were very popular within Linkedin and others that some would say were failures in terms of viewership, likes, comments and shares. I do care if my articles are liked and responsibly check how it tracks to ensure I am doing right by you – my audience. I don’t care about Linkedin algorithms or potential scientific factors that would make or break my article. Here is what I know – if I stay true to my beliefs, write articles from my heart that I believe will resonate with my followers, then all that other stuff will be there. Keeping this mindset has proven to be successful and allowed me to stay in my lane and although I explore other topics and avenues, I always come back to what I believe and what that voice tells me to write. I love this quote:
“It’s better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation”
Lesson: It’s okay to listen to your critics – you should as it’s important to hear the feedback but it’s equally important to understand what to do with it. Be open and flexible but always come back to your purpose and passion and see if you need to switch something up to make sure you are honoring whatever is needed to move closer to success.
BE PASSIONATE (Connection)
Here is what I discovered along this particular journey – if I’m not passionate about what I am doing, the end product suffers, period. Every minute and every moment I spend researching and writing on a topic is time well spent. Admittedly it gets challenging from time to time to keep the spark going but I wouldn’t trade the process for anything. When I found myself looking, wondering and waiting for the next idea to come to me, I looked inward and allowed what I am most passionate about to take the wheel. Leadership development and inspiring others to be their best has always been my passion and this particular quote fully resonates with me:
“Passion is born when you catch a glimpse of your true potential”
Lesson: Look to do what you love and are most passionate about. Everything else will fall into place once you find that thing. If you don’t believe me, look at some of the most successful people in business and they will tell you that it is/was and continues to be their passion for something specific that drives them daily.
DISCOVER WHAT MOVES YOU (Inspiration)
Similar to passion – but this time looking outward to discover what people and outside forces may provide can be the springboard to success. I have a series of websites, books, people and places I visit frequently to draw inspiration from. They all served me well in 2015 (and beyond). Thinking that I could create articles from thin air relying on my personal experience and narrative sounded like a great idea the first time I wrote and article but I quickly realized upon entering article number two that I would indeed need to expand my horizons. I love this quote as it summarizes in many ways my journey from my first article to the present day:
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going” – Jim Rohn
Lesson: Never be afraid to raise your hand, ask for support or simply acknowledge that you don’t know something. That’s the first critical step to succeeding – the second is to take action. Never forget the follow through.
BECOME A LEADER IN LIFE (Role Model)
You don’t have to write articles on Linkedin, be a parent or manage others to be a leader in life for yourself or someone else. If you interact with other people on a daily basis then you have the opportunity to impact another persons life simply by the way in which you treat them. For me, it’s all of the above but what I couldn’t have expected or anticipated was the outpour of personal messages from people regarding my weekly posts and how it’s impacted their lives. My commitment has been to acknowledge every person who takes the time to like my articles or leaves a comment so that they know they were heard and appreciated. Here is one of my favorite quotes on this topic:
“Be strong, you never know who you are inspiring”
Lesson: Become mindful of how you show up everywhere with everyone and in every place you show up. Pay close attention to what others show you in return. You can’t correct or adjust what you aren’t aware of. If you start here, you may be surprised what you discover about how others see you.
EMBRACE FAILURE (Growth)
For every article I completed there were many (and I mean many) more that never made it to the big stage. I never realized how confronting and rewarding the writing process could be. I wrote about this process and what’s possible when I came right up against this very thing the week of July 10th, 2015. This quote totally summarizes what I want to share:
“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure” – Napoleon Hill
Lesson: The next time you are about to give up on yourself or someone else, consider that this is probably a familiar place to be and what’s right on the other side is a breakthrough for you and most likely the other individual. Growth comes from stepping outside your comfort zone and failure happens right on the cusp of where we are comfortable and what is unfamiliar.
PLAN YOUR WORK, WORK YOUR PLAN (Time)
Finding the time to write a new article every week has gotten easier but not understanding the organic nature of the process was incredibly frustrating. I learned quickly on to be flexible and patient with myself. As a full time professional, owner of my own business, a husband, father, brother, son and many other things to many others – managing my time is a necessity rather than a luxury. I have grown in the area of time management but more importantly around prioritization of my commitments. This is an ongoing process and one I am working on even as I write this sentence. I think this is an excellent quote on to further my point:
“Time management is life management” – Robin Sharma
Lesson: Sure planning your work and working your plan is important but examining your actual relationship to your 24 hours in the day is where you should invest some learning so you can improve your skills in this area. We all have the same 24 hours, it comes down to what type of relationship you have with those hours and what’s most important to you. Lastly, I can’t stress enough to never use time as an excuse to not follow your passion. The excuse will always be there but the opportunity to explore your passion may not.
HAVE AN OUTLET (Balance)
For all the time I have spent thinking, typing, writing and re-writing my thoughts in proper Pulse form – I have spent the same amount of time (or more) on activities that are the polar opposite as a way to achieve balance. For me it’s always been around my physical well being and exercise. Something I take on 5-6 days a week with no exception. This has allowed me to gather my thoughts and use that time to toss around ideas as well as some kettle bells so it’s a win-win. Without that outlet as well as the support of my family and friends, I would never have been able to accomplish what I have thus far and continue to look to create in 2016.
“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go” – Rumi
Lesson: I know the words grind and hustle are widely used as terms of endearment for aiding in ones success but I would boldly assert that just because a rocking chair is in motion, it doesn’t constitute any forward progress. In short, focus on having balance and integration in your life and you will be one step closer to working “smarter” versus harder.
GET AWAY (Perspective)
Similar to finding balance but slightly different. One of the keys to my success is disconnecting completely without work on my mind. Being both mindful and intentional with walking away from what I am doing in order to strike not just the balance but gain some much needed perspective is critical to gaining clarity. Many of the articles (including this one) has taken many forms before posting a. This sums it up:
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer
Lesson: The next time you are following your passion and come up against a road block of some kind, remember that it’s okay to walk away with the intention to come back once you can gain some perspective. Lastly, consider finding both some places and people who can assist you in obtaining that important and critical piece called perspective.
HUNGER FOR MORE (Learning)
Asking powerful questions has been one of the secrets I have discovered to success when writing. Not backing down to ask both people and myself key questions to learn more about a topic I am researching has been invaluable. Just because it was said, written or noted somewhere doesn’t mean it’s always true or law. Being curious and wanting to know and understand more has been instrumental in both my ability to write each week but also to grow and expand my own learning. This quote really speaks to my journey:
“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you”
Lesson: Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. You have a voice and everyone has something to share. I invite you to question things all the time and never stop being curious. Our brains are hardwired to learn so don’t starve it. Who knows, you may just discover something you are passionate about.
LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION (Trust)
Needless to say that even with all the support, outlets, resources and getting away – in the end, listening to my gut has always served me well. Whether it was to abandon one topic for another or simply figuring out what to post each week – I found great peace and ease allowing the process to unfold “as is” versus trying to force it to be something it isn’t. Ironically, I wrote about this topic as I was sitting in silence thinking about what to write back in November. I realize this one may sound esoteric to some of you but as a coach, I have learned to trust my intuition when working with people but in this case – it was about working with myself. Think about this:
“Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect” – Steve Jobs
Lesson: We all posses intuition so you can’t say this doesn’t apply to you – sorry. Learning to hone this precise skill can provide you wonderful things in life. It comes with practice – so “patience” will be riding co-pilot for this journey but it’s one I highly recommend taking. Start now, what’s your intuition saying – can you hear it?
Since my first post, I discovered my voice and a platform to share my passion and commitment in supporting other peoples development. What I didn’t expect along the way, was to meet an incredible group of people – which is you, my audience…the reader. You are why I continue to plug away at this writing thing week in and week out.
Waking up wondering how to deliver motivation, inspiration and support to 40K plus people is crazy and at times daunting but it’s a welcomed challenge and one that I am honored and humbled to take on each and every week.
Thank you for allowing me into your heads & hearts each and every week.
Not-your-typical Personal and Executive Master Certified Coach.
Joshua Miller is a creative and impactful leader. His career experience has spanned both the advertising world and the world of leadership and organizational development. To learn more about Joshua, please visit www.JoshHMiller.com
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