Have you heard the advice: Become an expert at one thing and learn everything you can about it, participate in every possible event surrounding the topic and practice as intensely and as often as you can? This is great advice when you have found something you are immensely passionate about. I think about this advice often, however I have a few great passions and in order to follow this advice, I would need to choose between the few top focuses to which I am highly attached and invested.
As I was pursuing two of my passions, and tackling a long a seemingly never-ending climb on my bike in the beautiful outskirts of Rome, Italy, I realized that there is a hidden secret in the advice outlined above. You really can have it all. The topic you need to be an expert on is YOU!
If you focus intently on becoming an expert on yourself and you clearly outline your goals, and inventory the experiences/lessons of your life, you truly can pursue many passions and be immensely successful.
Get to know yourself. The value of personal time is underrated. Carve out some time to be alone and really focus on getting to know yourself and more importantly, getting comfortable with who you are. This does not need to be prescribed meditative time. I personally can’t do a yoga class because the pace is too slow, so watching a candle in quiet is certainly not a productive way for me to get focused. However, when I find the zone on my bike, I get some great personal thought time in. Maybe it’s just shutting out the suffering and my mind gets busy and maybe it’s because I am so in tune with my body and the barriers that are being broken down as challenges are being accepted. Whatever it is, I’ve found the sweet spot to take time for myself while pursuing one of my passions and bettering myself. Make time and explore ways to really get to know yourself, your values and what makes you tick.
Set meaningful goals. Your goals need to be meaningful to you. You need to be clear with the things you enjoy, the challenges you want to pursue and the accomplishments that you feel will move you to Best Yourself. I love to travel, I have a list of places in the world that I want to see. I have performance goals on my bike, I am always looking for the next challenge, I am addicted to the sense of accomplishment yielded by a gruelling ride. These two goals have come to be codependent, because I have gotten to know myself and the fact that I love to see new places in the world but my attention span is short, I don’t do well in art galleries and only some museum topics interest me, I get bored easily. For the last few years, as I’ve checked off travel destinations, I’ve also checked off some great cycling accomplishments around the world. My 2nd piece of luggage is consistently my bike box. Today, I checked off Rome on my travel list and put a tick beside “See the Colliseum” on my bucket list while riding the Campagnolo Gran Fondo Roma. Three goals, one day – Good one!! Set your goals and know why they matter to you. A goal with no meaning won’t bring the same dedication, reward and success trajectory.
Inventory your lessons and experiences. You are the sum of your own experiences. The lessons you have learned through your years are often hard to digest and even harder to keep in constant play. If you don’t use them, you lose them and then you’ve got to learn them all over again. Learning your same lesson twice is really painful. Find ways to share your lessons with others. Implement your lessons into your routines to use them consistently. Figure out how to apply experiences and lessons into the non-obvious aspects of your life. Understanding what you’ve learned will allow you to get to know yourself better, to keep track of your ever evolving self and to then set new and meaningful goals.
Start becoming an expert on one thing today. Get wildly passionate about knowing who you are, what you represent, the past experiences you bring to share with others and the future goals that drive you to Best Yourself. Take every opportunity to attend events that focus on yourself and your goals. Practice intensity every day to become the best version of yourself that you can be. YOU are one of the greatest gifts you can give!