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Wouldn’t it be great when you become an adult that someone much older and smarter than you just handed you an instruction booklet for your life? That’s what Adulting 101: #Wisdom4Life, by Josh Burnette and Pete Hardesty is all about. There are some great common sense advice about budgets, insurance, even how to get the best deal on a new car! But we’ll be diving into some of the deeper advice that is woven into the book this week. Let’s dig in!
Before we get into the how-to’s of living life as a successful adult, it’s important to answer the question of “why” first. As in, “why am I going to make decision A over decision B?” Your why comes from “beginning with the end in mind,” which Josh and Pete explain:
A meaningful life will not just happen. […] No one just drifts into greatness. […] You have to live life with a purpose.
You’re at a discovery stage of life and trying to find out what matters and what’s important. Many things will try to coax you away from investing yourself in the important things. Some of them will even be “good” things. Some will seem urgent, but they won’t really matter in the grand scheme of life and your existence. You must give yourself to the important. The vital. The things that matter. (8)
Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “readers are leaders.” For so long, I heard that and thought, “well, I don’t really want to be a leader, so it doesn’t apply to me!” The truth is, no matter what your position is at work, or your stage in life, you can be a leader to the people around you. In the chapter called #Leadordie, Pete talks about the first meeting he had with the volunteers for the Young Life chapter at James Madison University, and it was a bit awkward as he started to cry when trying to rally the troops:
After an uncomfortable time of sobbing, I squeaked out, “I don’t have much to offer you, but everything I have, I will give you. […] For whatever reason, this was the best thing that could have happened. People believed that I wanted them to succeed. […] I learned some valuable lessons:
- In weakness, there is strength.
- In authenticity, there is strength.
- In humility, there is strength.
[…] IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. The sooner you realize this, the better your life will be. The bigger an impact you will have. The more people you will influence. The more fulfilled you will be. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.
We all struggle with trying to accomplish everything we want to do every day. There’s just not enough time! That’s where time management comes in. Josh and Pete call it, “Put the big rocks in first” :
Ask yourself, What’s the most important thing I should do today? Then go after it with everything you have. Right away.
Start big tasks with the first step. Don’t put Do project on your to-do list; use Start Project. Sometimes just a tweak as seemingly small as that can make a big difference
Prioritizing is like a muscle. When you first start, it’s awkward and feels uncomfortable and sore. But when you begin to figure out what’s important, you exercise it every day and decisions are more easily made because you know your priorities. (125)
This is something that I think translates to any age and stage of our life, “how to be wildly, stupidly successful at work.” And co-author Josh knows a thing or two because he owns a Chick-fil-a. His advice:
If you really want to succeed at work, serve with integrity. Don’t compromise. No job too big, no job too small. Look for greatness in the people around you, and bring it out. Do these things, and you will be silly successful at work (36)
Ok, back to leadership, I know we hit that a little on Tuesday, but there is a fantastic list of 20 principles of life-changing leadership on page 32, and number 10 really jumped out at me:
Don’t take yourself so seriously. Take your mission seriously, but yourself not so much. (33)
This is something that I’ve heard from multiple people and books, and as someone who tries to be happy-go-lucky but then can get all worked up instantly if I make a mistake, this is the truth I need to hear over and over again. I was telling my kids this when they said they were afraid to perform in front of others for their piano recital. I said “don’t take this the wrong way, but nobody cares about you. They are all there for other people and won’t remember if you made a mistake the second you leave the stage. ” That’s a freeing thought!
Once we remove the shackles of having to impress others, we are truly free to be ourselves!