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Personal Development Archives – Resist Average Academy

89 Ways to Find Your Purpose

By | Lists
Reading Time: 11 minutes

89 Ways to Find Your Purpose

“Tommy, how do I find my purpose?”

This is one of the most common questions I receive at least once a day —through the podcast, on social media or in random conversations.

Here’s the great news: you’re much closer than you think, and often thinking is what’s getting in the way of your truth. But there’s also some bad news: finding your purpose comes with great responsibility. You can no longer conveniently hide behind the excuse of looking for it.

What I’ve found to be true is our purpose finds us when we’re living in alignment and taking courageous steps forward. There’s no direct path, and it’s less about discovering more about allowing.

Allowing your inner truth to shine.
Allowing your curiosity to take center field.
Allowing the power of who you are to be unveiled.

Here are 89 ways I’ve used to help myself and others find their purpose, live a life of alignment and never look back with regret:

1. Find what you’re already curious about and pull on those strings: they contain gold to find your purpose.

2. Try everything — improv, comedy, dance, astronomy, speaking, cooking and go deep enough to know if you love it or not.

3. Go into the woods and don’t leave until your purpose comes to you.

(Thank you to David Deida for this one, and his brilliant work Way of The Superior Man.)

4. Give yourself permission to find your purpose — most people already know but they’re holding back in fear.

5. Take an energy inventory for the week and put a plus sign for anything that lights you up — there are hints in there.

6. Take a “you” day. What do you do, how do you spend your time? Where do you go?

7. Spend more time in activities that make you forget who you are, and where you lose all track of time.

8. Read texts that open up your world, and invite a deeper questioning.

(Some of my favorites include Emerson’s Self Reliance, Marcus Aurelius Meditations, Seneca’s On The Shortness Of Life.)

tommy baker find your purpose9. Train physically and push beyond your edge: there’s peace and clarity on the other side of physical intensity.

10. Create your own life philosophy and a set of principles you want to live by. This practice alone will shift your game in a world where 99% of people can’t answer this.

11. Turn off Netflix, CNN, ESPN or any of the other noise that’s not allowing your purpose to come to the surface. Distraction is a killer in regards to finding your purpose.

12. Spend 3-10 days in meditation, a spiritual retreat and get outside of your comfort zone and watch what happens.

13. Ask better questions, and seek answers to the deepest ones you’ve been asking and watch what happens.

14. Free write every single day for 10 minutes on your purpose and spend the next 365 days committing to it without any expectations.

(Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way has a technique called Morning Pages which is incredible for this.)

15. Go to an experiential training seminar or crucible experience where you’re left with nothing but finding your purpose.

16. Stop trying to find it analytical exercises — your purpose comes from your heart.

tommy baker 1% rule17. Sometimes, you have to stop trying to find it all together and simply surrender. At that moment, a gift will come to you.

18. Go back to when you were a kid and examine the things that you were most curious about — and which ones you miss the most today.

19. Take yourself to ten years from now, and grab a blank piece of paper. Write a letter to yourself.

20. Make a list of 20 things you’re deeply interested in, 20 real world, tangible skills you have — and then connect the dots between these on how you can solve a problem.

21. Imagine you’re giving a commencement speech. You have no time to plan — what is the one thing you’d want to leave the audience with?

22. Hit rock bottom. No, not the most fun way to do it — but sometimes we have to be stripped naked to find our truth.

23. Hire a coach or mentor to help unlock your purpose and ask you powerful questions.

24. Ask 10 people for feedback — and find an easy for them to tell you what they think you’re here to do.

25. Spend 20 hours in a float tank. This alone time will peel back your layers and you’ll get insights you could have never imagined.

26. Watch movies and films that make you question everything.

(Personal favorites include Into The Wild, Life Of Pi, Cast Away.)

27. Just make the decision you’ve been waiting to make. Take the leap, and simply go. No more analyzing, no more holding back…it’s time.

(I wrote an entire book on this, available for pre-order now. Stop waiting.)

28. Shift your environment: get a new office, move from your home and apartment and go somewhere new. Change your city. Do something different!

29. Do one uncomfortable action every single day. This will build your self-confidence and put the reps in as you continue your path of searching and self-discovery.

30. Write your eulogy. Go to your local cemetery and breathe in the lessons from those who have come before us. Now pull out a journal and write down how you want to be remembered.

tommy baker leap of your life

31. Do a daily meditation about your one year vision for the next 30 days. Keep a journal with you and make notes of the common patterns that come up time and time again.

32. Take the pressure off. You don’t need to build a business around your purpose today. But a purposeful life is one decision away.

33. Unplug from all social devices for a specific period of time. Spend this time in solitude and get to know who you really are.

34. Release the past. We all have emotional baggage that is now a heavy burden on taking our next step.

35. Do that one thing you’ve been putting off. The road trip you wanted to take, do it now. The conversation you’d been wanting to have. Just go!

36. Play. Sometimes, the best form of clarity you and I can get is when we don’t take it so seriously.

37. Read this post. It changed my life. It woke me up. I still read it all the time. We have all felt like John.

38. Take the smartphone test. Find your last 10 texts: if 8/10 aren’t inspiring and empowering…you’re hanging with the wrong crowd. Find a tribe designed to uncover your purpose.

39. Study the greats. Transcribe their texts. I’ve done this several times, and it taps into a much deeper part of who I am.

40. Listen to empowering information every single day. Even 15 minutes a day as a student will invite deeper questions, and you’ll begin to discover some truths.

41. Use Reverse Visualization to take yourself 3, 10 and 20 years down the line without you having done anything in regards to your purpose. How does this feel? Urgency creates clarity.

42. Be the Linchpin today. Stop waiting. If you’re an accountant, be the best in the world. If you’re a waitress, deliver 10X the value. Purpose is created when we’re committed to excellence.

tommy baker 1% rule43. Release the ego. Easier said than done: our egos blind us from the truth. Learn to be aware of the times it comes up and stubbornly stops you from doing what you must.

44. Spend an entire day in nature without a phone. Run, hike, climb, use a mountain bike. Explore the land and remember what it felt like to live in possibility.

45. Start something, anything. Start the blog you’ve wanted to start. Document your path of finding your purpose. Inspire someone else.

46. Spend time creating. You’re creative…trust me. Your purpose is your greatest creativity in action. The more time you spend creating, the closer you’re going to get.

47. Read the biographies of the masters. Those who changed industries and lives by stepping into their purpose.

48. Get in tune with your emotions and build your intelligence and resilience. A lack of understanding what we’re feeling blocks us from recognizing our deepest truths.

49. Go to at least one event per quarter in the realm of personal growth, development and/or business or spirituality. Taking time to work “on” you is crucial.

50. Grow 1% every single day. Even if you feel completely off purpose, you can do enough to grow 1%. This builds momentum and creates clarity.

(I wrote an entire book on this, of course…check out The 1% Rule right here.)

51. Get into flow states. These are created by intense focus, presence and the right dose of challenge. When you’re in these…anything is possible.

52. Identify and list your personal values. These are your highest priorities and what you want to be about. What are they? How do you exemplify them? Create a space to answer these questions.

53. Forgive yourself and others. This is a daily practice. The darker emotions of resentment, anger, and aggression will cloud all of your clarity and certainty.

54. On that note, don’t numb your dark emotions. They’re part the human experience…when you feel them, really feel them. But then choose to let them go.

55. Leave your comfort zone at least once a day. You’ll know you are when fear and doubt kick in with an equal mix of excitement. Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

tommy baker leap of your life56. Take the day off and go skydiving. Get into a boxing match. Create an adventure and tap into primal fear: this is a fantastic way to get rid of your excuses.

(I’ve done the skydiving one twice, both on random occasions. It woke me up and made me feel more alive.)

57. Take a 30, 60 or 90-day challenge. No alcohol. No TV. No fast food. No social media. Something to challenge you…and invite a more aligned habit.

58. Take on an intense physical challenge: a Spartan Race, a 10K, some type of test and adventure. These will open up your world and belief in yourself.

59. Grab a blank piece of paper and ask a simple question: what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Set a timer and write, write, write. Don’t judge it…go!

60. Do Holotropic Breathwork. This is one of my favorite ways to get in touch with the clarity of my purpose…and remind myself what matters.

61. Read the Bhagavad Gita, The Power Of Now, and other classic spiritual texts.

62. Stare in the mirror at yourself and hold eye contact for at least 5 minutes. This is not easy and will challenge you. Then write down what you saw.

63. Study at least an hour a day on the topic of purpose, creativity, passion and living an inspired life. Be the humble student…when something resonates, you’re pulling on the right strings.

64. Don’t do this alone. Invest your physical, mental, emotional and financial resources in a skilled coach, mentor or program to help you tap into your purpose.

(The number one excuse is “I don’t have the money” right now. This is why you’re stuck.)

65. Write your life mission statement. I’ve done this 100+ times. Every time, I get much more clear. Write it, print it out and look at it every single day.

66. Get rid of the relationships in your life that drag you down. You know who these people are: after you spend time with them, you’re exhausted and unmotivated.

67. Start living on purpose now. Do the dishes with purpose. Hold eye contact with purpose. Engage with your partner…with purpose.

68. Journal every single day and celebrate your wins. This will build your confidence and tune your awareness towards what is working…instead of how far you’ve got to go.

69. Stop trying so damn hard. I know, I know. But remember: what you think your version of your purpose is can be the rigidness that holds you back. Finding your purpose is an evolution closely tied to your personal growth.

70. On that note, fall in love with the art of surrender. This isn’t giving up…it’s about letting go with every part of your being.

71. If life isn’t working…great. Go deep into the darkness of your breakdown. Release the identity of who you “think” you are. There is magic in here. Avoidance of pain is true suffering. Facing our pain is liberation.

72. On that note, do the messy inner work of getting to know your deepest corners and places you feel guilt and shame about. Most people never do this and wonder why they keep repeating the same patterns.

73. Get honest! Come on…stop lying to yourself. You already know what to do.

74. Have conversations with other people who have been where you’ve been: Men’s groups, Women’s groups…anything to go deeper and beyond the usual surface area fluff most people engage in.

75. Cut out all distraction. Turn off all notifications. You will never, ever find your purpose in the noise.

tommy baker resist average academy76. Commit to a powerful morning routine every single day. Early on…it won’t make much of a difference. A year from now you’ll be a completely different person.

77. Honor divine timing. Stop trying to control every single outcome in your life. Do the work in front of you, and then let go. This is not your timeline. There are greater forces at play.

78. Read Seneca’s “On The Shortness Of Life.” Read “The Dash” Poem. Watch Steve Job’s Stanford Commencement speech. These are all beautiful reminders of how little time we have left.

79. Close your eyes, and meet the 7-year-old version of yourself. Hold space with them…and then do the same with the 77-year-old version of yourself. Repeat this exercise several times: what would they both be proud of?

80. Deconstruct the greatest moments of your life. Pull out a journal and pull apart the ingredients of what made these so special. There’s gold in there and these will help you find your purpose.

81. Release your emotions…allow yourself to be sad. Cry like there’s no tomorrow. There is clarity on the other side of emotional release.

82. Build your physical foundation. Big dreams and a powerful purpose requires a lot of energy. It’s hard to think big when your foundation is running on empty.

83. Have conversations with people in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. They’ve got some life wisdom you and I don’t.

(On that note, Bronnie Ware’s Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying is also a brilliant book to remember what matters.)

84. Remember the miracles happening at every moment. Trillions of cells are dying and growing right now. Your heart is pumping…still. You woke up today. You are here…that is enough.

85. On that note, you are enough. You are worthy. Spending your entire life trying to prove this is exhausting. Own your power. Own your worth.

86. Take yourself a decade or two down the line. Then write down what “you wished you would have known” at your current age.

87. Craft your North Star vision. Have a guiding compass for your life, otherwise, you’ll always be lost at sea and the storms will crush you.

88. Stop overthinking. Paralysis analysis and spreadsheets don’t matter to your purpose. What makes you good at business is what makes you terrible at things like purpose.

89. Allow. Allow your purpose to come through you. This is when you find your purpose. In a moment, you can make the decision to start living it right now, even if you don’t have the full picture.

Find Your Purpose and Pre-Order The Leap Of Your Life!

tommy baker leap of your lifeSo, there you have it —I wanted to share these with you because I am always being asked the same questions around purpose:

How do I find my purpose?
How do I really know it’s my purpose?
What if I don’t know what my purpose is?

This is your life’s journey —and the 89 ways I detailed above are all designed to point you in the right direction to find your purpose.

If you only do a few of these, I have no doubt you’ll create some clarity and momentum that you didn’t have prior.

Lastly, I wanted to remind you that my upcoming book, The Leap Of Your Life is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local bookseller and on this page for massive bonuses. This book was written for you: to help you identify the bold move in front of you and not just dream big…but live big.

What did you get from this? Post to comments!

change your life

How 60 Minutes on Sunday Can Change Your Life

By | Advice, Masterclass, Writing
Reading Time: 10 minutes

NOTE: I did a Quick Hit episode on this topic, which I’ve linked above. The audio is a simpler version of the in-depth process I’m sharing below, but can be a great companion to listen to.

How 60 Minutes on Sunday Can Change Your Life

Monday morning comes around —and there are typically two types of people out there:

95% of people wake up in a fog, scattered, and putting out fires. They have no clarity on where they’re going —they simply want to make it through the day as fast as they can, so they can come back, “relax” and/or lay on the couch, binge-watching Netflix.

(Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with Netflix…but distraction is usually a feedback mechanism for a lack of clarity and purpose.)

Then, there’s the 5% of people who wake up with intention —they’ve designed their day based on a broader desire or vision. Their actions, rituals, habits, and environments support where they’re headed. There’s a peace and calm, balanced with a deliberate focus to start their week.

Now, there’s no question who is more likely to create meaningful progress in their life and business between these two. But if you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer or work for yourself in some capacity —this becomes even more important.

One of my most prized rituals which I teach all of my clients and constantly share on the podcast, here on the blog or social media is simple: If you do it right, taking 45-60 minutes on a Sunday to reflect, course correct, commit and prepare can and will change your life.

In this post, I’ll share the exact process I use and teach —as well as tools and resources to help you do the same. Because if you do, you’ll create the clarity and momentum most people wish for.

And as you know, wishing is never a strategy for success. But first, let’s get clear on why this matters in the first place.

tommy baker change your lifeWhere Will You Be One Year From Today?

Barring some type of physical catastrophe in your life —you’ll be waking up in one year. And you’re either going to be in a radically different place than where you find yourself today…

Or most likely —you’re going to be exactly where you are now, but worse. If you’re in a career that isn’t working, you’ll be worse off. If you’re finding yourself lacking momentum, you’ll be even more stuck. If you’re not making the money you want in your entrepreneurial or freelancing gigs…your bank account is bound to look the same.

The truth is: success is quite predictable, and sometimes even boringly predictable —look at someone’s mindset, behaviors, and habits and you’ll get a clear picture of where they’re likely to end up. Sure, there are outliers. But I’m not going to bank my life on unicorns, even if they’re kinda cute.

But there’s also another possibility: you wake up, and you’ve seen tremendous progress over the last year. The little decisions you made to adopt a morning routine, get clear around your goals and invest in some accountability are now paying off.

Remember: this Sunday routine, like anything else —can seem insignificant in the moment. Because this Sunday, if you do it or you don’t, you likely won’t see monumental change. But if you take this practice and compound it over a full year, you can be living a radically different life. You could have finally achieved the momentum you wanted, made the extra $20,000 you dreamed of —launched the platform or written your first book.

Like I said earlier, during the thousands of hours I’ve spent in the trenches obsessing over peak performance, human behavior change and results —the Sunday ritual came up time and time again.

Now let’s explore exactly what you’ll be doing on Sundays to maximize your success and never look back.

tommy baker change your liifeStep 1: Reflection

When was the last time you pushed the pause button on the freight train of your life and asked some deep questions, such as:

Am I on the right path, and do I know where I’m going?

What is my level of excitement and enthusiasm for life?

Why am I doing this all for anyway —what’s my bigger why?

Now, here’s what I’ve known to be true: we all ask these questions, but rarely create the necessary container to answer them. Meaning: we may contemplate these riding high above the clouds at 37,000 feet, but then we check our phones or fall asleep.

We may have a moment after a workout where we tap into something deeper —and then start our workday. Put simply: because we live in a shallow, caffeinated, non-stop stimulus world —true reflection is rare.

So the first step of your Sunday Reflection protocol is all about reflection —and taking the time to check in with yourself by asking yourself the following questions:

What was your biggest win(s) of the last week and how did you make them happen?

The first part of the reflection process of Sunday Reflection is about one thing: celebrating your wins. Because too often, we either conveniently forget the places we won, or choose to focus on what isn’t working. I don’t care how challenging, hard and scattered the last week was: there are wins in there, and plenty of them. It’s not about the magnitude of the wins, this is about celebrating yourself.

Once you’ve identified at least three wins, take a moment to de-construct how you made that happen. Think of how’d you teach someone else the principles and tools you used to bring it to life.

For example:

My biggest win this week was making a decision on my next project —and completing the research phase.

Deconstruction:

How I made this win happen was by setting boundaries and taking focused action —even with a busy week, I created the time by planning and saying “no” to other opportunities.

Or, let’s use another example:

My biggest win this week was connecting with my significant other and kids with an amazing date night experience where we laughed and were all fully present.

Deconstruction:

How I made this happen and the lesson I’d teach others is: if you don’t schedule something in, it probably won’t happen. I’d noticed we hadn’t done a proper date night in months, because we were “busy.” By planning it out in advance, I made it happen and it was incredible.

By doing this, you’re not only putting your focus on what’s working (which as we stated earlier, is rare), but you’re teaching yourself how you made it happen. This re-wires your neural circuitry in real time and will help you replicate these results in the future. This is the path to self-mastery where you build on your successes time and time again.

Now, it’s time to move on to the second key question:

What was your biggest challenge(es) of the last week and what did you learn through them?

Once we’ve celebrated your wins and de-constructed how you brought them to life —it’s time to identify your biggest challenge. I usually keep this to the one big stressor or adversity experienced during the week.

Often, we don’t face our challenges and take the proper time to reflect on them —missing out on valuable lessons and growth. Often, the act of releasing our challenges on paper (or digitally, if you prefer) means they lose their emotional charge on us. In fact, research has proven

The same process applies to the celebration phase, but now you will identify the challenge and de-construct the lesson and perspective it provided.

For example:

My biggest challenge this past week was not securing new revenue or clients in my business and feeling financial scarcity and stress.

Lesson:

Don’t focus on what’s not working. Most of the week I kept checking client proposals, and there was nothing there. I felt depleted and lost my confidence by placing my attention in the wrong places. Because of this, I didn’t make any new proposals or finish the marketing plan.

Or, another example:

My biggest challenge this past week was only doing my morning ritual two out of the seven days. I felt stressed and the kids were sick —and I reverted back to old habits.

Lesson:

Simplify the routine when there’s less time, and/or wake up 20 minutes earlier. I was able to see the contrast of when I do the routine, and when I don’t. I need this “me” time.

Can you recognize the power of reflection after reading the above? This is how you supercharge your learning and use your wins and challenges as catalysts to faster growth.

Lastly, the key here is to completely own your win(s) regardless of their size and scope —and do the same for your challenges. But instead of judging yourself for the challenges, seek the lesson they taught you.

Because now you’re wiser for them and have the ability to make a new choice.

Step 2: Course Correction

The second step of how 60 minutes on a Sunday can change your life is about course correction. Because often what I’ve noticed is after we set our targets and goals —we rarely take time to ask some crucial questions:

Given where I am today, am I still on the right trajectory?

Am I behind, on or ahead of schedule with my targets?

What is something that is working that I can double down on, or something I must delete?

There are two parts to course correction. One, you must know where you’re going —personally, I break this up into my North Star vision (you can learn more about that here) and current quarterly targets based on the vision.

For example, if my goal was to bring in $100K of revenue in my business this quarter and I’m 45 days in and sitting at $25K —I may need to course correct to ensure I get where I’m going.

tommy baker leap of your lifeStep 3: New Commitments

Once we’ve done the first two steps, it’s time to look forward to the upcoming week —and create our new commitments. Notice the word choice here: this is not a hope, a wish or something you’re merely interested in:

This is a commitment, and there needs to be a powerful intention to bring this to life. The system I teach is based on doing this same process with countless mentors of mine —as well as leading my own programs.

Diving our lives into 4 areas, we ask a simple question:

What am I committed to this week in regards to my business and career?
What am I committed to this week in regards to my relationships and connection?
What am I committed to this week in regards to my physical vitality and health?
What am I committed to this week in regards to my spiritual practice and growth?

The key with these, as you’ve likely heard with most goal setting is to ensure it’s specific, and connected to your quarterly (and yearly) targets.

Here are some examples:

What am I committed to this week in regards to my business and career?

I am committed to reviewing our marketing and crafting the new plan.

I am committed to making 50 sales calls and follow-ups to potential clients.

I am committed to recording 3 podcast episodes and releasing one blog post.

Business is easy, so let’s show an example of the spiritual side of things (however you may define this):

I am committed to 10 minutes of daily meditation and reading 10 pages a day.

I am committed to one floating tank session (sensory deprivation).

I am committed to journaling every single evening about my wins of the day.

Once you’ve identified your commitments for each bucket of life, you should have a clear vision for the week. You know what you’re going to be creating, and this should fill up a decent chunk of your week. Because now, you’re part of the 5% who have clarity around their priorities, have identified specific behaviors in line with those —and have put pen to paper (and paper to the calendar, as we’ll do here in a moment).

Now it’s time for the next step: daily integration.

Step 4: Integration

The last step of this process is simple: integration. What I mean by integration is ensuring all the work you’ve done is going to turn into the real world, tangible behaviors.

The version of integration I teach and my clients use is ensuring all of the above goes into their weekly calendar. I know this is where most people stop reading, but what doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done. At least not long term: and if you’ve never used a calendar, this will be painful.

But it’s also going to be worth it. Because when you prioritize every part of your life, you don’t have space for the clutter. You don’t have space, time or energy left for gossip, mindless information, useless meetings or idle time where you’re left anxious, scattered and stressed.

Here’s an example of mine:

Don’t get stressed: because within this calendar, I have plenty of time to recharge. The yellow block above in the afternoon is called afternoon white space: no one can schedule me in here, and I get to do what I please (benefit #111 of being an entrepreneur.)

What I do after I’ve done all of this is add the little things that aren’t priorities, but still have to be done: email stuff, social media, checking in with my team and other efforts.

How 60 Minutes on Sunday Can Change Your Life

Every single mentor I’ve ever learned from directly or from afar has created the space for reflection. They all create a ‘bookmark’ to their week —and it happens on Sundays.

Whether it was Robin Sharma, Brendon Burchard, Dr. John Demartini or countless others —this is a life-changing practice. While we covered a ton of ground here, what I’ve found to work best is spend the next 66 days (the time it takes to build your habit) with your Sunday Reflection using a specific system and then start to make it your own.

Below, I’ve listed some tools and resources that help me with my reflection, as well as some research I used to bring this post to life.

I’d love to hear how it goes in the comments or if you have any questions about how to maximize your time and harness the power of this Sunday practice.

Pre-Order The Leap Of Your Life!

tommy baker leap of your lifeIt’s time, it’s time…it’s time. There’s a bold decision you’ve been waiting to make —one that will change your life. Maybe it’s quitting the job that’s eating you up inside, asking him or her out, launching your own platform or taking the risk calling you.

But you’re waiting, and every day that passes is a missed opportunity.

My latest book, The Leap Of Your Life is designed to help you identify the bold decision, execute now and ensure you don’t wake up years down the line wondering what could have been.

Learn more here, or order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or support your local independent bookstore.

 

60 Minutes Can Change Your Life Research and Notes

  • Journaling about stressful events: effects of cognitive processing and emotional expression. “This study indicates that journaling about a personally experienced stressful or traumatic event may facilitate positive growth from the event.”
  • Study focuses on strategies for achieving goals and resolutions, including the power of sharing your goals with others for a 70 percent increase in results.
  • Cal Newport Blog: Deep Habits: Plan Your Week in Advance. 
  • Brendon Burchard, High-Performance Planner. One of my favorite tools that has a simplified version of the above and I always do both.
  • The 1% Rule. In this book, I also write about the Sunday Reflection process, why it matters and how to connect all the dots to reserve engineer your success.
tommy baker leap of your life

Don’t Start (The Power Of Playing The Long Game)

By | Advice, Entrepreneurship
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Don’t Start (The Power Of Playing The Long Game)

Don’t start a podcast.

(There are 630,000 of them already.)

Don’t write a book.

(There are 1,052,803 published…every year.)

Don’t launch a business.

(There are 550,000 new entrepreneurs…monthly.)

Here’s the deal:

Don’t do any of these, unless of course —you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Because I’m here to tell you:

The odds are not stocked in your favor unless your idea of success is putting your entire net worth on Red 27 at the roulette table. In today’s post, I’m going to reveal a crucial concept (and centering question) to ensure you don’t wind up being another statistic.

Because if you’re doing what you’re doing for the right reasons, the worst thing you can do is start with a half-hearted approach. But if you do it right and play the long game, not only can you experience the deep fulfillment that comes with sharing your work with the world…

You can experience world class results and be part of the 5% who seek their goals to completion and never, ever look back wondering where they fell short.

tommy baker long gameAnyone Can Get Started, Few Can Endure

I remember standing in a crowd of people in Killington, VT at 4:30AM as thousands of athletes got prepared to attack the Spartan Ultra Beast.

As it sounds, this is the most intense race the Spartan brand puts on:

Around 30 miles of hiking the steepest double black mountains in Vermont for two days and one bone-chilling night. And yet, at the start of the race —the energy was palpable. It was also crowded, the music was blaring, and everyone felt amazing.

This is normal for what happens at the start of any endeavor:

Lots of enthusiasm and excitement, but the truth is:

When you look to your left, and you look to your right —two out of the three (including possibly you) won’t be there at the end of the race. This is true for the Spartan Beast (the pass rate at the time of my race was 15%) and mostly anything else in business and life. As Angela Duckworth, author of Grit says:

“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”

So, what does this mean to you?

Don’t waste all of your energy on starting —and don’t celebrate too much. Sure, there is power in making a decision and having the courage to get in the game…

But it’s only the start of what’s going to be a long, hilly and unpredictable path.

Because after you start, you quickly hit the place where 99% of people give up: the messy middle.

Rookies waste all of their energy on starting, while the professional plays the long game.

The Messy Middle Of The Long Game

It hit me at Mile 7 as I wiped another bead of sweat off my face and thought to myself:

This is going to be a grind.

Of course, I already knew this —you can’t have a 15% pass rate on any race and think it’s going to be a walk in the park. Especially knowing how curated the signups are: this isn’t your local 5K.

At Mile 7, the enthusiasm of the early morning fist-bumping EDM music was now a distant and forgotten memory:

I was officially in the messy middle.

Of course I’m using the race as a metaphor, but all of your endeavors will have the point in time you hit the messy middle.

This is where 99% of dreams go to die, and the realization is all the same:

This is going to be hard. Like really hard —like I-don’t-know-if-it’s-worth-it hard.

So, what’s the messy middle look like in different projects, businesses and endeavors?

It’s episode 29 of your podcast when you’re having the worst time trying to make another edit.

It’s 9,200 words in of your book when you’re finding yourself off course with no clarity in sight.

It’s 13 months into your business when you’ve had to fire your first employee —and cash flow is tight.

This is the messy middle, and what you choose next will decide your fate. Because here is where the dabblers and quitters move on to the next idea, project and endeavor.

Only to have the cycle repeat itself.

This is the messy middle, and what you choose next will decide your fate.

Most Success Stories Skip The Messy Middle

I love going to events, and hearing people’s stories of starting, encountering the messy middle —and then experiencing breakthrough. It’s one of the common themes on the podcast: leaning into the guests challenges, doubts and moments of deep questioning.

Except too often at the events I attend, people skip over most of what really matters: the messy middle. Of course, there’s great reason for this: in an 18 minute talk, you can’t possibly explain to the audience what’s really going to happen during the messy middle.

You do your best, of course —but the truth is much more complex than a polished talk could ever create.

And what this narrative does is simplify the messy middle and create an expectation in people’s hearts and minds that it won’t last too long.

But it’s not true, because most of your time in any endeavor will be spent in the thick of your own personal messy middle.

Starting is 5%, the messy middle is 90% and your breakthrough (or achievement) will be around 5%.

Let’s go back to how your fate will be decided.

The Messy Middle Is Hard, And Beautiful

So you may be thinking to yourself: why would I ever want to endure through the messy middle?

In a nutshell: this is where all the magic happens. Specifically, this is where you gain the confidence, skillset and belief that will transcend any “making it” moment on top of the mountaintop.

Most importantly: this is when you discover who you really are.

And trust me: there’s no amount of cold hard cash or shiny toys that will hold a candle to this feeling.

(And you don’t have to trust me, because the research is clear and obvious on what this does for your level of purpose and fulfillment.)

You’re also going to experience all types of breakthroughs during your messy middle: small wins, life-changing ones and everything in between.

So, how do you navigate this crucial aspect of your path? Let’s dig into the four tools designed to help you navigate this part of the path —and make sure you don’t get lost along the way.

Tool #1: Focus On Today’s Step

During the Spartan Beast, there were exhausted bodies everywhere. Men and Women sprawled out and ready to give up. For me, it was very easy to focus on them, and want to rest or slow down.

The first tool is to focus on what you can control today. Often, that’s the most important work in front of you —this step, and the next one.

Personally, as a writer —when I’m in the messy middle of a book, distraction is at its most tempting. It’s easy to focus on anything except the words. But these are the moments that make or break the work, and I focus on my 1,000 words for the day.

In your life, project or goal, what is the one thing you can focus on?

Tool #2: Keep Your North Star In Mind

The second tool is to remember where you’re headed —and why. This is the power of clarity: having a North Star you’re going after. I wrote about this in The 1% Rule: we all must have a North Star to guide us during the tough moments.

All we need are small reminders along the way of the what and the why. If you’ve done the work to know what these are, you’ll be in a great spot during your messy middle.

Every single day, remind yourself of your North Star for at least a few minutes. If you have time to scroll through Instagram, you have time do this.

Tool #3: Smile Through The Process

The third tool to help you navigate your goals and stay committed to the long game is to fall in love with the pursuit. I know this sounds like an Instagram quote, but it’s true:

Playing the long game means you’re going to have to love the process as much as the outcomes, checkpoints and breakthroughs.

Personally and with my clients, I work very hard to shift into a state of gratitude when things get really hard. I remind them that this is when most people quit, and every step they’re taking is cementing their belief, confidence and power.

Remember: there are people who would write you a blank check today to experience the challenges you’re going through. Never, ever forget the power of perspective and gratitude along as you play the long game.

Tool #4: Recharge and Refuel Along The Way

Lastly, it becomes impossible to endure during the long game if you’re not taking care of yourself. What I teach in my programs and coaching is to live at both ends of the spectrum: intense, focused work and plenty of open white space.

If you don’t recover, recharge and re-fuel along the way —you won’t last. We all need a radical self care routine: time for ourselves, being outside, walks, massages, reading a great book, meditating, floating and anything that re-centers us.

Often, this is the last stuff we do until it’s too late. Instead, ensure you are scheduling this work and making it a priority in your calendar.

It’s Time To Get Honest

Before you get started with anything, it’s time to get honest by asking:

Are you committed to this, or are you merely interested? Make no mistake: there is a vast chasm between these two, and 90% of people who start anything are not committed.

Because the average podcast lasts 6 episodes before they fold up shop.

(Don’t let this be you.)

The average book sells less than 300 copies during its entire lifetime.

(Don’t let this be you.)

Most businesses fail to ever get off the ground, and 90% fold up shop.

(Don’t let this be you.)

Are you committed to the long game? I’d love to hear it.

The Leap Of Your Life Available For Pre-Order!

tommy baker leap of your life

There’s a bold decision in your life you’ve been putting off…and every day that passes by is another chance of waking up wondering what could have been.

If you’re wanting to get clear about your bold decision and ensure you don’t wake up with regret 1, 3, 5 or 10 years down the line, my new book The Leap of Your Life: How to Redefine Risk, Quit Waiting For ‘Someday,’ and Live Boldly is your trusted companion.

The book is available at all major retailers and you can pre-order to claim some amazing bonuses at the link above or go to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

You’ll never be the same, and that’s a great thing.

33 Lessons From 33 Cycles Around The Sun

By | Advice, Entrepreneurship, Lists, Routines
Reading Time: 6 minutes

33 Lessons From 33 Cycles Around The Sun (Yearly Birthday Post)

Ahhhh, another ride around this beautiful, crazy, intense path we called life.

Birthdays for me (and likely you too) are deeply reflective.

Instead of crushing tequila, I’d much rather go on a hike and spend time thinking about the past 364 days.

Where I learned.

Where I fell short.

Where I created.

It’s a time to look back and ask some deep questions about where we are in life, what we’ve learned…

…and what truly matters.

Every year, I share some lessons —and here are 33 lessons from my time here.

I share these with you in hopes you will obtain some value, much like the intention I set with the Resist Average Academy podcast.

1. Sometimes the greatest form of knowledge and wisdom is forgetting what you (think) you know.

In other words: what got us here, won’t get us there. Letting go is hard, yet essential to get to the next level of growth and awareness.

2. We are all on a quest back to self love, appreciation and owning every part of ourselves.

This is how simple it all really is, and I’m always reminded of this core human driver.

3. The greatest quest we’ll ever go on is our own Hero’s journey —the jagged, uneven path to center, to return our gifts.

If you know every step of your path, it’s likely been created by someone else. Your path is yours, own it.

4. Life’s greatest moments are often not manufactured, and are more about allowing.

Take a step back and reflect on life’s greatest moments. Did you manufacture them with blueprints and spreadsheets, or did you allow them?

5. There is incredible power in contrast, the storms in our lives allow the beautiful sunset to taste that much sweeter.

The other day I was hiking in Arizona where we get 350+ days of sunshine a year, and there was an intense storm.

I looked up and thought: damn, that’s beautiful.

It was a reminder there is power in the contrast, and no matter what you’re going through —it will pass.

6. Urgency, and our mortality are beautiful motivators to remember the essential and go all in.

I call this the Cemetery Principle: remembering our own mortality is the best way to slice through the noise and make powerful decisions.

Because the truth is: it is a matter of life or death.

Once you get clear, there are countless ways to find time for what matters.

7. Waiting for an external result to feel fulfilled and at peace with ourselves will never, ever work out.

Start with your foundation, developing your inner power —or else you’ll achieve success and with a hollow and empty feeling.

8. The greatest communication skill is radical honesty —it releases the number one killer of relationships: assumptions.

Think about how assumptions have destroyed prior relationships —often, all we needed to do was have a real, transparent conversation.

9. The secret is you already have everything you need, and yet there’s always more to experience and grow from.

This is a beautiful paradox and makes our lives invigorating.

10. You know you’ve found your calling when you can’t not do it.

can’t not do what I do. If I had all the money, I’d still do it. If I had all the time, I’d still do it.

11. Our heads often block the most powerful parts of who we are: our hearts.

So many of the people I coach and consult with are stuck in their heads.

(I’ve been there, too.)

And yet, our heads take us away from what really matters: the deepest part of who we are.

12. Intuition will always trump logic, whiteboards and blueprints. Learn to listen to it.

Always trust the internal voice which always knows what to do.

It’s pure wisdom.

13. Go to the places that inspire you, and bring you to tears. Disconnect from the noise, to reconnect to what really matters.

Start here on your path to personal growth. For me, it’s nature —I literally packed my bags and moved cross country because it inspires me so much.

These days, I’m outside in nature 5-6 times per week and I always receive a gift.

What’s your inspiration?

14. Change something, anything! Don’t place yourself in a rigid box. Think you’re an introvert? Go to improv. Hate dancing? Sign up for Salsa.

I’m not a fan of personality tests. I believe they put you and I in boxes —keeping us stuck and rigid.

15. Every time you leave someone, ask yourself —if this was our last communication, would I be proud of how I showed up?

I use this often when speaking to parents or family.

16. The ego is always in the way of learning, growth, peace, acceptance —learn to dissolve it.

The first rule of all my programs is simple:

Drop the ego.

Without this, transformation is a pipe dream.

17. You are much more powerful than you give yourself credit for. And deep down, you know it. This scares you.

However, you’ve ignored the truth of who you are, we all have.

It’s time to get back into it and allow it back into the world.

18. There’s never a “right” time for anything. Dent the quantum field and create it now —book the trip, ask them out, launch the business and live out loud.

“When the kids are a little older.”

“When life slows down and I’m less busy.”

“When I have the money, I’ll invest in myself.

These are all excuses our minds use to keep us stuck, comfortable and playing small.

19. Distraction is a source of un-faced pain —usually in the form of lacking alignment with our purpose and vision.

The times in my life I was most lost, disconnected from purpose and lacking clarity were the times I was all in on fantasy sports, message boards, random entertainment, etc.

Distraction is a feedback mechanism.

20. Be yourself, and don’t apologize. I can be a very intense guy…for years, I tried to dim it —and then I presented myself.

Just be you. 

I’m intense, why would I fight it?

21. On that note, have way more fun. No one gets out of alive. Everyone’s naked anyway 😉

And yes, be yourself but also have a lot of fun along the way.

I’ve been practicing this more often and learning to spend time playing has nourished my spirit and creativity.

22. Fall in love with giving. You can give right now, even if you can’t pay your bills.

I call this the 2-for-1 principle: when you grab a protein bar at the gas station, get two. When you grab water, or drinks, or snacks, grab two. Then hand them out to people in need.

23. Positive psychology is (largely) ineffective. Your “bad” emotions aren’t —they’re a feedback mechanism. Let them be.

You’re human, act like it.

Don’t judge yourself for feeling sad, angry or triggered. Learn to understand your emotions instead of labeling them —and find ways to release them.

24. Clarity is a daily practice, and takes time. Don’t force it, but don’t use it as an excuse to not get started.

Every day, re-affirm your vision for at least 10 minutes.

25. If you wanted it bad enough, you’d find the time, money and energy. Seriously —this has never held a willing person back.

Just saying. A lot of people tell me they don’t have the time and energy. I’ve been broke, with overdrafts on all my accounts.

I still moved forward, because I was willing.

26. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and owned who you are? Do it today.

Tell yourself the truth: you are more powerful than you give yourself credit for.

27. Look up more than you look down. There are no answers in our phones, they all come from the curiosity and willingness to look up.

Be curious! Experience the zest of being alive. Ditch the phone for a weekend, take an adventure…live out loud.

28. Your breakdown can become your greatest breakthrough. Or, it can become your identity that you take to the grave.

Your choice —because playing the victim card leaves us power-less to change. It feels great for a minute, until it doesn’t anymore.

29. Don’t normalize extraordinary. Your heart is a miracle. Your brain is a mystery. This moment has magic.

To quote one of my favorite books, The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman: there are no ordinary moments.

30. Don’t settle in relationships. Be patient and wait for someone that lights your world on fire.

I didn’t settle, and yet I was tempted to. Nourish the relationship with yourself, and watch what happens.

31. Fall in love with pain —it is the greatest focuser, and suffering because of it is always optional.

Pain is part of life and becomes a great focuser —suffering is the avoidance of pain.

32. Sprint until you can’t anymore. Smile deeper than you ever have. Cry louder so everyone can hear you. Raise the volume on your life!

Turn it up, turn it up, turn it up!

33. There are no ordinary moments (thanks, Dan Millman.)

As I reflect back on this year…

I want to say thank you to anyone who I’ve come in contact with —who supported me, challenged me and allowed me to be my best self.

Because today, everything changes again.

Thank you for being here, and here’s to the next.

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Written by Tommy Baker.
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