Let’s get this out of the way: You are a badass.
So how come no one else knows that yet?
If your 2019 is going to have more juice, more success, and (yes, it’s okay to want this) more money, you’re going to need to claim your badass identity. So … what keeps you from doing that?
It’s probably not skill or smarts. I’m quite confident that you have plenty of both of those.
It’s not access to opportunities. You have access to a ton of excellent opportunities. There might be some things that are keeping you from seeing them all.
I think what’s holding you back is that it makes you uncomfortable to think big. You feel weird admitting, even to yourself, that you’re Kind of a Big Deal.
Here’s something I would love for you in the coming year:
I want you to be a warrior. I want you to have a monster year. To claim yourself as, in fact, a Very Big Deal.
And if you want to do that, you can’t be afraid of rattling some cages. Including (especially) your own.
Here are three cage-rattlers you might want to explore in the next month or so, to get yourself ready for a breakthrough 2019.
Rattler #1: Work harder than other people
The digital age is all about Easy. Less work, less friction, less time, less attention.
Did you see the Pixar movie WALL-E? Where the handful of survivors of the apocalypse floated around on gravity-defying rafts and sipped large drinks while keeping themselves mindlessly amused?
It was a horrifying fate. There was no dignity, no meaning, not even any real pleasure in that life.
I don’t think that’s what we want.
We don’t want a life without work. We want a life with meaningful work.
And while some will roll their eyes when you talk about wanting to do work that matters (get used to that one), that’s just a defense mechanism to cover their own internal dead zones.
When you find work that matters to you, you show up and do it. Again and again.
There is no mastery without hard work. Which is wonderful, because mastery without hard work would be boring and pathetic.
Rattler #2: Learn more than other people
Our digital ecosystem does love to cram us to the brim with information. We’re all gobbling down endless amounts of content designed to amuse us, and maybe teach us something simple without asking us to fire up too many unfamiliar brain cells.
What would happen if you decided to spark those brain cells, after all?
What would you find if you immersed yourself in your topic? If you committed to actually opening up and implementing the courses you’ve bought? If you read that stack of books on your bedside table or taking up space on your Kindle?
What would happen if you started asking a ton of questions? If you got involved with a focused group of like-minded professionals to help out one another?
What would happen if you got back in touch with how much you actually love to learn? With how alive and excited it makes you feel?
Rattler #3: Be better than other people
This is the scary one.
If you’re working harder than other people, and learning more, than you’re going to get … better.
That’s a tough idea to swallow. And an even tougher one to say out loud.
“I am better than my competitors.”
The word at can be helpful.
“I am better than my competitors at writing and content strategy.”
– You, again
Because that thing you’re doing now, where you stare at your feet (literally or virtually) and mumble that you’re not really an expert, that you certainly don’t think you’re better than anyone else, will get taken literally.
There’s not some Prince Charming to your Cinderella out there, who will miraculously see how extraordinary you are, and shout to the world that you’re amazing and smart and special.
If you say you are ordinary, you’ll get thrown onto the giant pile of ordinary.
Claiming that you’re better when you haven’t done a thing to earn it is elitist garbage. It’s why we dislike that word better.
But claiming that you’re better because you’ve put in the work, given it your time and attention, thought carefully about your approach, sought feedback, and given the details plenty of G.A.S. is not elitism.
It’s just being better. Because you’ve done the work to make yourself better.
Now — before one more year slips away in December — is a great time to decide.
You can be ordinary. You can do the bare minimum. And you’ll reap ordinary, bare minimum results.
Or you can embrace your weird, passionate side that truly wants to be better. And then you can make that happen.
What 2019 holds in store for you is all about which choice you make.