When I was a little boy, "I Dream of Jeannie" was a television show. Jeannie, played by Barbara Eden was so beautiful! And of utmost importance to a boy of my age, she had a bare midriff! Whoa! You could actually see her tummy and, for some reason, that was a big deal back then. But it gets better.
Not only was she every little boy's dream, she had a really cool super power: she could "crinkle" her nose and change things instantly.
My friends and I would tell each other what we would have her do.
"I'd have her make me a great hitter in baseball."
"I’d have her make me really smart, so I didn't even have to do my homework."
"I'd have her make all the girls think I'm cute."
You get the drift.
I wonder what we would wish for these days?
Now let's be clear, I'm not talking about your looks, your basic body shape, your voice, or your hairline. Those are settled at birth (unless you are rich and know a great plastic surgeon). I'm eliminating you winning the lottery and becoming rich (because more people will be hit by lightning this year than will win the lottery).
But, if you had the self-control, the mentoring, the help and direction you needed—and you had the privilege of changing something about your life…
what would it be?
I remember asking myself that question when I was in my twenties. I was popular and relatively smart. I had enough money to get by and pay for my college classes (I put myself through school).
But I instantly knew what I would want. I needed to get rid of the areas that were causing me shame.My thought was "I wish I could stop lying to so many people and trying to look better than I am."
You see, I was popular to others, but I still had to live with myself when I was laying in bed at night.
It wasn't pretty.
I wasn't meditating, resting easy, or experiencing a calm heart. I was wondering why I lied to a girl, or talked poorly about someone who wasn't present, or took something from my employer that I thought would look good in my fraternity house bedroom.
I would wake up the next day, full of resolve to stop lying, say positive things about everyone and be a better person. But like a perpetual dieter once again opening the refrigerator door or looking to see if there were any more cookies, I would return to my known pattern of behavior.
What do you do in those cases?
When you have an area of your life that you know that you need to change, but it is going to be brutally hard (if possible at all), what do you do? How do you begin to close those gaps?
And the super important question when it comes to personal change: When you do have the opportunity to improve and to be a better person, how do you take advantage of those opportunities?
Thankfully, there are answers. In Mark Miller's book, Smart Leadership, he goes into great detail the principles that will help you create an action plan in building your better version. Again, I won’t spoil it for you, but I’ll share my two favorite principles here:
Write it down.
Take a pen and paper or type it out on your computer—there’s just something that happens when an idea or a plan is transferred from your brain into actual words that you can read. It transforms from just an idea into a tangible and concrete actual plan of action.
This is also why Mark Miller did NOT provide a template of a plan. The most important thing is for it to be YOURS. You will follow YOUR plan, not someone else’s template. You can get a mentor or a coach, but it’s your choice If you will. Make your plan, and create it all on your own.
Mark Miller’s book shares a total of six principles for you to check out. It’s a lot, but take some time to reflect. Building the best version of yourself takes time, and it starts with making the smart choice to confront reality and act.
Again, I struggled in this—so if you ever feel stuck, if you want to act but something’s holding you back, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I hope I can help you get “unstuck.”
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