Tuesday With Terry

Changing Your Perspective

A lot of people have been coming to me recently and asking, “Terry, what is your secret sauce?”

I always give them the same response: “The key to success is having the ability to put the right group of people together to support you.”

“And how do you do that?” they ask. “What does that really mean?”

I have this quote I often turn to in times like these — in fact, I’ve been using it for over 20 years — and it states that if you want to change some things in your life… well, you’re probably going to have to change some things in your life

But when you’re looking to change some things in your life, more often than not, you’ve got to start by making some internal changes to yourself: the way you view life, the way you operate, the way you treat people, to name but a few.

So that’s why when you’re looking for success, you need to start by taking a look at yourself.

On Success, Failure, and Perspective

Everyone, at some point in their life, has experienced success: they got the job, they wrote the book, they made it past the finish line. No matter how big or small, I’m sure you can identify at least a couple times in your life where you were successful.

And when you’re up on the top of that mountain, things look so beautiful.

On the other hand, you can likely — perhaps a bit more easily, as it goes — identify the times where you failed. When you’re in the valley, so to speak, your perspective starts to change. Things seem darker, uglier. Like all hope is lost.

I remember being in a similar place. This might seem surprising, as today, people only know me for my successes. But I suppose that’s the thing about success: it blinds others to the fact that any accomplished individual likely had tons of failures before they scored a win. I promise you every successful person failed at one point in their life — but the reason for their success was that they picked themselves up and kept on going.

I want to share with you a time in my life where I had just gone through a divorce, recently lost a job, and realized I absolutely had to start making some changes if I wanted to get myself out of the rut and back on top. 

So I grabbed a sheet of paper, drew a big circle, and divided it up into 8 different slices.

And inside those pieces of the pie, I wrote down different parts of my life:

  1. Daughter. I wanted to make sure I was being the best father I could possibly be and give her everything she needed to feel happy and be successful.
  2. Friends. I needed to be a beacon of support just as much as I needed one myself.
  3. Family. My family has always been there for me, and I wanted to make sure I was doing the same for them.
  4. Career. Of course, I had big dreams and goals ahead of me, and I wanted to make sure I was doing everything in my power to make sure they were actualized.
  5. Companion. I say companion because I had just gone through a divorce, and while I wasn’t necessarily looking for love or a wife, I wanted to have some sort of companion by my side.
  6. Money. Money’s not the most important thing in the world, but it’s necessary for survival.
  7. Health. I wanted to make sure I was getting my workouts in and leading a healthy lifestyle.
  8. Soul. Instead of my spirituality, I called it my soul. I needed to make sure the essential core of my being was well fed. 

And then what I’d do is I’d sit down every week and rate myself on how I was doing in each area on a scale of 1 to 10. If things were going fantastic, then it would be 8 to 10; if things were just okay, it would be a 5 to 7; and if things weren’t going so well, it’d be a 1 to 4. 

I then poured my focus into one of the areas that wasn’t as fulfilled as I’d like it to be, and asked myself, “What can I do this week to make some changes, even if they’re small, in order to feel better about this?”

It was as simple as saying yes when my friends invited me out even when I was feeling down about my divorce, or making sure to balance my checkbook and put a little extra into savings when I was worried about money, or making sure to get a workout in every other day when I was concerned about my health.

This allowed me to realize that there were always things in my life that were going relatively well: my relationship with my daughter, my friends, my family. Even when there were bad things, too, like my companionship or career.

But really, what it did was allow me to gain perspective on my life, and made me realize that what you focus on is what you think about.

If you only focus on the bad, you’ll only think bad thoughts. But when you start to focus on the good alongside the bad, you’ll realize that your life really isn’t so dark after all. Yin and Yang, and all that.

Yes, you might have lost your job, but you have a family and friends that love and support you. That’s a blessing. Even just waking up every morning is a blessing. Cherish the good things in your life, no matter how small. It will allow you to bring balance into your day.

Your life is never boiled down to just one thing.

So the next time you feel like there’s nothing good going for you, grab a sheet of paper, divide it up into sections containing all the relevant areas of your life, and rate yourself on a scale of one to ten. Pick an area you’d like to start working on, figure out one or two things you can do to make a change, and start building a healthier foundation for yourself to grow upon.

I’m telling you from personal experience that when you lead a healthy lifestyle, when you spend time with your friends, when you do things to improve your life no matter how small, you’re building a healthy self image that gives you perspective and allows you to continue to make the necessary changes in your life.

Because really, it’s those small little fundamental changes that make all the difference and allow you to build good habits. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and all that.

So to sum it up, my lesson for you today is that people make a difference, number one, but when trying to form concrete relationships with people, you really need to start with yourself.

And if you want to change some things in your life, you’re gonna have to change some things in your life — but just know you’ve got what it takes.

Thanks for Reading

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope it helped you figure out some ways you can go about implementing some positive changes into your life and gain a new perspective on the good and the bad within it.

I’ll have a new blog out every Thursday and will be releasing a new episode of my podcast every Tuesday, so be sure to keep on tuning in for more guidance on life, leadership, relationships, and so much more.

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