I’d like to think that I’m a “it’s never too late” type of person. For example, it’s never to late to visit a foreign country, start a new career or learn a new skill. But, let’s be honest, there are a lot of things that you should accomplish before you turn 30. Why? Because you have the energy, time, and freedom to do so.
While I’m over 30 now, I can look back on things I did do and things I didn’t do and laugh.
While there could be hundreds of accomplishments that I could have listed, here are my essential 29 things that you should accomplish before you turn the big 30. As Nike would say, “Just Do It.” You will be glad you did.
Note: I still recommend doing most of these things after 30 as well, it’s just easier to do most before.
Getting bogged down with student loans is definitely a concern. However, college provides priceless experiences like meeting new friends, getting out of your comfort zone, and learning skills that will help land a sweet job. And, most employment will require this.
Graduating will also give you a leg up on other people applying for a job.
Learn to cook for yourself
There’s nothing quite as rewarding as making a home-cooked meal and receiving compliments from friends and family. Besides, cooking your own food ensures that you stay happy and healthy for the rest of your life since it always includes fresh ingredients (wink) but overall, it can be a fun hobby.
You don’t have to become a gourmet cook unless you want to – think simple, straightforward, healthy meals.
Related: 6 Surefire Ways to Realise Goals
Know your family history
This gives you a chance to actually sit down and talk with your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles while they’re still in your life. Also, you may be able to learn about a new culture and even plan a visit to where your family originated from.
I ended up visiting England last year. This is where my heritage comes from. It gave me a new sense of meaning and understanding.
Run a marathon
“Running a marathon is one of those epic milestones,” Mort Nace, general manager of Medved Running and Walking Outfitters, tells USA Today. In doing so, you set goals, push yourself, build confidence, explore new places, and meet new people.
It’s also nice that for the rest of my life I can say I ran a marathon. Bragging rights.
Start a workout routine
The sooner you start working out, the better chance you have in maintaining a set routine for the rest of your life. It should go without saying that exercise controls your weight, mood, decreases stress and prevents many negative health conditions and diseases.
It may seem too early to think about your retirement. However, the sooner you start saving, the more money you’ll have when it’s time to enjoy your golden years.
The money you save in your 20’s will equal millions by the time of your retirement.
I would start by setting up a retirement account and contributing monthly to it. Even if it’s R200 a month, it’s something and will help long term.
Improve your wine knowledge
As you get older, you’re going to be invited to more events where wine will be served, so you don’t want to be intimidated. While it doesn’t mean that you have to become a sommelier, you should, however, learn the basics like general wine and food pairings or how to properly open a bottle of wine.
I don’t even drink wine and I could tell you a lot about it.
Find your BFF
It’s funny about friendship. When you’re younger everyone is your friend. As you get older, however, you realise you only really need a handful of friends. And, that most important friend is your bestie. You know.
The person who knows everything about you and is still friends with you. Find a quality friend whom you enjoy and remember that friendships require effort.
Put the time in so you have this important stabiliser in your life.
Land your dream job
There’s something to be said about working various jobs since they can teach you a variety of skills. But, do you want to be doing all that change-up for the next 20 or 30 years?
Find your dream job and make sure that you do all you can to secure it.
Find your cause
Doing good for others makes you a stronger and more well-rounded individual. Find out what you care about and devote yourself to it – whether it’s throwing a fundraiser or volunteering at the local soup kitchen. I personally help with Open to Hope, it gives me a sense of meaning and worth.
Rage at a music festival
While it would sound awesome to be 70 years old and attending an all day festival, chances are that you won’t be up for that.
Enjoy the loud music and large crowds while you can. Even if you don’t like it, try it once.
Write a story
Writing something like a fictional story can boost your creativity and help develop your writing skills, which in today’s fast-paced world of texting and tweeting could be in low supply.
Read, read, read
Reading has several benefits like boosting your imagination, improving your communication skills, keeping your brain sharp and help you learn new things and experiences.
Make reading a habit now and stick with it throughout your life.
Learn to get organised
This may not sound like the sexiest of topics. But working on your organisational skills now will pay off later since it will reduce stress and save you a whole bunch of time and money.
We all make foolish mistakes when we’re younger. And, for many of us, that mistake is smoking. It might have been cool in college, but it’s not a habit that is good for your health or those around you. And it’s pretty pricey, too.
Indulge yourself in luxury at least once
This doesn’t mean that you should max out your credit card. It does mean that you should enjoy the finer things every now and then, such as eating at an exclusive restaurant or purchasing a luxury item like a Gucci bag.
It will help you to save and budget for the purchase and the experience or product will last for years. Don’t be that person that always has to have the best and spend away your “real money” for the future, but do make a splurge at least once. It will also motivate you in the future and push yourself for better.
Yes, you read that correctly. Fail. And fail a lot. There’s no better way to learn, grow and drive yourself to succeed in the future than to fail. Fail fast and learn to pick yourself up fast as well.
I’ve failed countless times but it’s made me a much better person. Much easier to fail before 30 than after.
Learn how to network
Building a network can be beneficial in both your personal and professional lives. For example, maybe you had drinks with a couple from Britain while they were visiting the U.S. Now you have a contact overseas.
If you attend an industry event, you should be able to interact with influencers or employers and make an impression with them. If you need their assistance to advance your career, they’re only an email or phone call away. Networking rounds out your life.
Sing in public
Believe it or not, singing changes your brain. In fact, singing can make you happy and reduce depression or feeling lonely. If you have a fear of public speaking, there’s not a better way to overcome this fear than by singing your heart out in front of strangers during karaoke night.
Sing so much that someone tells you to shut-up and you won’t be fearful again.
Sing – even if you are really lousy at it. If you are truly too shy to do this – the shower is also a good option and so it belting out a tune in the car.
Travel by yourself
This may sound frightening. But traveling by yourself will push you to get out of your shell, help you discover who you really are and have experiences that you probably wouldn’t have had if you traveled with someone else. It will also give you valuable thinking time.
Related: Simplify Work Travel With Flapp
Familiarise yourself with a foreign language
I speak two languages and am learning another. If I can do it, you certainly can. You don’t have to become fluent in another language, though this would be the best option. You should, at least become somewhat acquainted with a foreign language.
After all, this helps you learn about new cultures, exposes you to new people and helps you become more open-minded. The older you get, however, the more challenging (but not impossible) this will become.
Enjoy the outdoors
There’s nothing as beautiful and inspiring as nature. Don’t take it for granted. Regardless if you’re just star-gazing, hiking or whitewater rafting, get outside as much as you can.
Rent a house with your friends
Whether if it’s renting out a beach house or cabin for skiing, take the opportunity to spend as much time with your friends as possible. You probably won’t have too many times to relive these experiences. Besides, you may even learn how to budget as you set aside money for the rental. I personally like to do this at least once a year.
There’s really nothing like hopping in the car and just driving to some unknown location. You never know what kind of adventure you’ll run into. Eventually you have to abandon some of these types of opportunities once you have responsibilities like a family.
Go out on dates
How else do you expect to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right? Best of all, you meet interesting people as well as enjoy the process of the dating scene before you do settle down. Stop worrying about having an awful boring night.
Learn to enjoy whatever happens and have fun with it. So what if lightening doesn’t strike? Learn how to date well.
Related: DatingBuzz: Dave Burnstein
Pull several all-nighters
No one is stopping you from partying hard after you’re 30. It’s just going to be a whole lot harder to recover. Get this out of your system while you can. This doesn’t have to be a binge of some kind. Go laser tag all night, dance all night, play pool, games or cards all night.
Get yourself out of debt
Debt is bad. There’s really no other way to say it. Make sure you can pay off as much debt as you can so that you’ll be able to save for the future. This will help you be able to afford things like a home or car. Better yet, stay out of debt in the first place. Debt is a downer and a stressor you don’t need as a weight choking you and holding you back from great opportunities.
Build your brand
Thanks to Google and social media we all have a brand nowadays. If you aren’t working on becoming the top Google result when you search for yourself or have some sort activity on social media then you’re doing something very wrong for your business.
Having a brand will help you network and potentially even land your dream job.
Move somewhere entirely new
It’s scary as hell. But it will force you to get out of your comfort zone and experience everything from new cultures to meeting new people. Everyone should do this at least once and don’t let yourself go back to the comfort spot until you have made it in your new local.
You won’t believe the difference in yourself. Here’s to some of the best years of our lives.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Unless You Track Your Progress, Setting Goals Is A Waste Of Effort
The single most common reason people don’t reach their goals is they forgot they set them in the first place.
I’ve always carried a notebook with me at work and on business trips. I usually jot down notes from meetings or random thoughts I have on how to improve our company. Recently, I found some of my old notebooks and I started flipping through the pages.
Despite the awful handwriting, their were actually some interesting ideas written down. I found some great goals and objectives for the past years, that I had never gotten around to implementing. I could have done most of these things and probably be more successful than I am now.
What went wrong?
Do you know what your team is doing?
Boardview writes that “two thirds of senior managers can’t name their firms’ top priorities” and “more than 80% of small business owners don’t keep track of business goals.”
So the problem is that while companies probably have some sort of goals (even if they are just “making money.”), the progress towards those goals is not measured. I have seen this behaviour at many companies I’ve worked with. Starry-eyed managers excitedly pitch a goal in an attempt to motivate their employees to get on board. This great initiative is then almost instantly forgotten, and three months later no one will even remember it at all. This is part of a wider problem of companies not prioritising goal setting.
The easiest way to make sure you have serious goals that you can follow is inform everyone in your company (starting with the senior management) of those goals. Then you’ll need a goal tracking system that makes sure you measure your progress regularly.
Related: The 7-Step Formula For Goal-Setting
Own your goals
Once you’ve written down a company or a team goal, two questions arise. Who is responsible for the goal (accountability), and how do you review the results (performance review)?
As for accountability, at my work we set impactful, quarterly objectives for each of our teams. We make sure each team goal is assigned to specific person who is responsible for achieving it.
These goals are not usually met 100 percent as they are designed not to. They are designed to force me and my employees to try new things, experiment and break old habits. It’s reaching for the moon and landing among the stars.
Step two: Tracking goals with meetings
You must track your progress towards said goal week by week. This is called continuous performance review. I review our team’s Key Results or KPIs every week. At our weekly status meeting, we start by discussing each Key Result and the progress towards our end goal.
Weekly status meetings are used in most companies. But you have to be careful with them as they can become pointless very easily if you haven’t set clear goals first.
If your company is not focused on goals, you are wasting time and money. You should never just chat about your work without knowing how that work aligns with your company’s goals and vision.
Having an impact every day
Christina Wodtke, author of “Radical Focus”, has said that success is not checking a box. It’s having an impact. Working towards your goals is something you need to do every day and every hour. Only then can you make an impact. Instead of weekly meetings, you can take in one step further with status reporting.
I like the Plans, Progress, Problems (PPP) approach. With it, you set 3 – 5 impactful plans for yourself every week that you focus on. What makes this great is that you can link each of those to one of your goals to make sure every big task you work on, actually moves you towards your goals. And the reports you get out of it, can be the basis of your weekly status meetings, making it easier to keep yourself and others focused.
A weekly review of your progress is vital for the long term success of goal setting. Many people can relate to a situation where you set goals and decide on a deadline that seems so far away. Then, a week before the time is up, you finally remember your goal and panic sets in. This is not the way to do it.
Great ideas should not be left to rot in a notebook. They should be written down, discussed with your team, improved and executed every day. Doing so will ensure that your best ideas are never forgotten and lost. Instead, they bring you satisfaction and success.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Finish The Year Strong To Carry Momentum Into 2019
Survey your accomplishments now, and reassess your goals, to conclude this year in kinetic alignment with where you want to go next.
At the end of every season I like to take some time to reassess my yearly outcomes. I also do this with all my coaching clients because it helps them see the progress they’ve made and how they can adjust their expectations.
This year, I decided to bring all my clients together for a two-day event to do their assessments in a group setting. This is going to be the main theme at this year’s Next Level Leadership Summit: “How to Finish Strong.”
I’ve been privileged to coach, consult and interview some of the most productive entrepreneurs I know, and I have learned as much from them as they have from me. The principles they have shared with me are timeless and easy to follow. I have used them time and time again to reset my goals to make sure I set myself up for a great closing to the year instead of being disappointed by what I didn’t accomplish.
Don’t let attachment to the outcome rob you of victory
Most entrepreneurs are very competitive. We have a vision and goals, and we want things to look a certain way. The truth is that things don’t happen the way we want them to most of the time. To keep the momentum, sometimes you have to adjust your vision.
Currently, I’m working with a real estate developer who is working on several projects. At the beginning of the year, he set a goal to close a deal that would net him $20 million. He found one and started working it. It looked like he was on his way to achieving his goal, but he later received news from his architect that he had miscalculated some numbers and that they would be making $5 million less than originally projected. Upset, he called me to tell me the news.
All I heard in his voice was how disappointed he was that he was not going to hit his goal. I reminded him of where he was three years ago when he joined my programme. He was burned out, had lost his purpose and didn’t have any deals to count on. And now, this is one of the many deals he has in the pipeline. Maybe he won’t get what he was aiming for, but this is still a victory.
This is what we do all the time. We beat ourselves up because we are attached to the way things should be. A high-performing entrepreneur looks at their life as a game. To finish the year strong, he must appreciate how far he has come and reset his outcomes according to his current situation.
Related: The 7-Step Formula For Goal-Setting
Focus on progress, not perfection
At the first of the year, you create a list of things you want to accomplish. You then wait and wait for the perfect timing. After nine months go by, you look at the list and you feel disappointed you didn’t get everything done.
I know a guy who is developing a productivity app. He has interviewed developers, created the overall design and is constantly asking for feedback from people on how the app should look. He has been working on this for years but he is always waiting for the perfect time to execute.
One of my other clients has just launched his first app, and he is getting rave reviews. What’s the difference between these two men? One is waiting on the perfect time and is paralysed by the illusion of perfection while the other one was focused on creating progress.
Each week I asked my client how his app was going, and he shared his progress. Was it perfect? No. Did he experience challenges to make it work? Yes. But he knew the first steps – finding the money, reviewing the design and creating the user experience – were going to be the hardest. Now he is working on improving it based on all the feedback he has gotten from users.
High performers know perfection is the lowest standard. To finish the year strong, take inventory of all the progress you’ve made and focus on making things better.
You are the product of your environment
We’ve been taught that mindset and positive thinking are the keys to success. But that’s only part of the equation. For the last decade, I’ve focused on being in an environment that supports my growth. It doesn’t matter how strong your mindset is. It doesn’t matter how positive you are. If you are around negative people or in a negative environment, you will lose.
I’ve helped one of my clients get clear on how he wanted to take his business to the next level. We created a plan and a timeline with clear outcomes. Then I asked him, What is one thing that can mess this plan up? He said if he continued to hang out with his drinking buddies and give in to his old habits, it could distract him from his plan. So I told him to change his environment for the next 100 days to see if that would make a difference.
Now, at day 110, everything – his business, life and relationship – are on fire. I not only asked him to change his environment, I also replaced it with a group of high-level performers who hold him accountable to his commitments. That group is on fire, and they are going to be recognised for their amazing shift at my Next Level Leadership event.
High performers evaluate their environment and make changes to align it with their vision. They eliminate any possible scenario that can prevent them from getting what they want.
Focus on the other R.O.I. – return on impact
As entrepreneurs, we must watch the bottom line at all times. Every move we make has to bring us a return on our investment. Lately, I’ve seen a big shift in the market. The “cut through to the bottom line” mindset can only take you so far. I’ve been able to grow my business faster by focusing on the impact rather than the income. Don’t get me wrong. I charge for my services, and I’m not running a non-profit, but income is not my main focus.
I recently helped a client create a framework in his business that gave him a sense of purpose. He was ready to sell all his assets and move to an island with his wife and kids because his idea of success was being met by his expectations in his business. I helped him see that he simply needed to focus less on the transactions and more on the transcendence his business could provide. He owns multiple businesses, so it took him some time to figure out how he could help his clients have a better experience rather than treating them as singular transactions.
When he came back to me, he had a list of things where he had made an impact. All of a sudden, his passion for running a business had returned. He had a new sense of purpose seeing how much impact he could make in he lives of others.
A high-performing entrepreneur measures his success on the amount of impact he has on people’s lives.
Reset, recharge and recommit
We all want to have more time. We are running 100 mph, and we don’t want to slow down. That’s the life of any entrepreneur who wants to succeed in this competitive market. But, if a car is running that fast every day, it will eventually crash. And that’s what happens to us. We crash and sometimes burn things down.
To avoid this, I meet with my clients several times throughout the year to reset our goals, recharge our batteries and recommit to the process. Nothing is better than iron sharpening iron. It doesn’t have to be a long period of time. We actually discover that all we need is one day per quarter, and we can compound time. When you’re busy, quality is better than quantity.
Each quarter, people travel from all over the country to our meetings so they can share their progress and see how they can help one another. The key here is to Reset your goals, recharge your mindset and recommit to your outcomes.
High performers know that proximity is power. They also know you need to recharge your batteries in order to get back into the game – especially if you want to finish strong.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Your Worth Is Not Measured By Your Productivity
Clients don’t ask too many questions if they’re getting regular updates and feel as though things are moving along.
We live in a world that glorifies the term ‘being busy’ and down plays terms such as ‘burn out’ and ‘mental health’. After all, that’s how we measure success right. It’s ok to be burnt out, because it means you’re successful and pushing yourself. It’s unthinkable that a woman can achieve her goals if she only works an 08h00 – 17h00 right. Wrong. I recently left my corporate job, with my comfortable salary, to pursue the unknown. I’m still ‘busy’, the only difference is that I’m more flexible now.
What that means is that I can take time away from work to cook dinner, attend a family birthday etc and work my schedule around that. When I worked in corporate that flexibility was not offered. It’s about making time for the things that matter, while still ticking off my to-do list and making sure my clients feel happy, secure and taken care of. Clients don’t ask too many questions if they’re getting regular updates and feel as though things are moving along.
1. Forgive yourself
It took me some time to learn to forgive myself. For putting my career above my friends, my family and myself. In my first week as a freelancer, I had been working late nights and on the Friday afternoon I crashed at 2pm, had an hour-long nap and then carried on. I kind of beat myself up for that. Accusing myself of being lazy, telling myself I didn’t have the luxury to have a nap during the day and I was disappointed with myself. I had to learn that it’s OK to give yourself what you need, when you need it, to thrive.
Whether it’s a late afternoon power nap or saying no to new business when you’ve reached capacity. It’s OK to do you, forgive yourself for being human.
It’s easy to stay motivated when things are going well. It’s a different story when things aren’t going well. Remember why you started your journey, remember your training and reach out to your network. Never be ashamed of your hustle. 90% of my current business came from me reaching out to my current network. It’s amazing how once you start doing things you love; how many people want to help you succeed and support you. They need to know what you’re doing first, to offer you their business.
I also remember, when I first started telling people I had left corporate to start my own venture I always received 1 of 3 responses:
- Wow you’re so brave, that’s so inspiring. I wish I could do what you’re doing
- Wow are you sure that’s the smartest thing to do right now, you know the economy and blah blah blah
- Oh wow, it must be so nice being a lady of leisure, do you go for coffee dates with friends and watch series during the day.
The doubters used to scare me because, to be honest, I had a little bit of doubt myself. ‘Can I really do this, will I succeed?, what if I fail?’, those are questions I kept asking myself. Now I use the comments as motivation, whatever the comment is, you’re inspired by me, great, keep watching…. You don’t recommend I start my own business in this economy…. Cool, please watch this space. You think I drink margaritas and tan all day, ok, watch my success, while I’m sipping on this pink drink. You need to be so mentally strong to be an entrepreneur and it’s your responsibility to stay motivated.
Routine is important when you’re a business owner. There will be days where you work a late night and need a little extra sleep in the am, I encourage you to get back into your routine as soon as possible though. On the days where you don’t feel like doing your work – those are usually admin days. Hack the system, go for a run, have a coffee, do what you need to do to re-set your mind and then get back into it. No-one is going to stop you from self-destructing, so keep the discipline and grind! No one is going to force you to do it, so you must force yourself.
While being your own boss is tough and comes with a different set of concerns, remember why you started. Enjoy the peace of mind and happiness, realising you are in full control of your destiny. Celebrate those small wins. It’s difficult to be motivated and disciplined, to find work and keep it. Celebrate your successes, a million people are killing 8 hours a day working jobs they hate, wishing they had the courage to pursue their dreams. You’re already doing that, you’ve taken the plunge and you have a responsibility to succeed. Enjoy the process throughout the way. There’s nothing as rewarding as gaining a new client, getting great client feedback or completing a job well done.
When I worked in corporate I would kill myself to pull off a campaign, giving up sleep, family time etc. Knowing I did a kick-ass job, never once receiving praise from a client. When I heard my manager ask why she never thanked us, her response was ‘But we pay you to do this, it’s expected, please don’t ask me to thank you for doing your job, when I’m paying you to do that job’. That’s when I realised I would have to find fulfilment and enjoyment from within.
You will mess up, it’s inevitable, you’re human. No matter how good you are, how committed you are or motivated you are, it will happen. Get up and keep going, pick up your crown and keep marching on. There’s no use crying over spilled milk. Whether you’re in corporate or you’re your own boss, remember these 5 tips, modify and apply them to suit your situation and remember that your worth is not measured by your productivity. You can be successful while taking care of yourself both physically and mentally. It’s time to shine!
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