Level Up – Part One

I saw a video on Facebook several weeks ago, and it stuck with me for two reasons. First, “level up” was my November mindset. Second, the public performance stands out. I want to talk about both, but this post will focus on the idea.

“Level Up” – I think most people understand what it means, but just in case you don’t, it’s basically a call to action to get yourself together to improve something in your life – usually your status. If you are somewhere kind of making it day to day but can do more, then this would be when you decide to stop settling and start achieving. If you have surrounded yourself with people who have no goals, dreams, or ambitions, it might be your cue to find some people who can dream with you or encourage you to reach your goals.

If you look at the lyrics to Ciara’s song, you will see her verses are saying that she’s learned from past mistakes and experiences. She’s moving forward with whatever lessons she learned and will keep rising higher. She’s done dealing with fake people and is refusing to settle when she knows there are better things available to her. At the same time, she’s not openly telling you what she’s doing either, which is usually a good thing when you’re surrounded by people who like to see you fail. She sings that we’ll just see the results when they hit.

This theme wasn’t on my mind due to the song. I had this in my head because of a conversation I had with an investor two years ago. Basically, I was told that I have the talent to learn what I need to succeed, I can get the tools I need, and that I needed to increase my income before I could hang out with the big boys. I wasn’t overly excited when I first heard it because it came across as materialistic. However, when I looked at it from another perspective, I see that people who want to improve themselves hang out with other people who want to improve themselves. How many people working 60+ hours a week spend all weekend lounging around with people who are unmotivated to get even a part-time job? I’m not saying people don’t have value or can’t contribute a gem or two, but we tend to flock to people who have our same motivations. We don’t necessarily have to share a lot in common, but we do need to be headed in the same direction. As a business owner, I am motivated when in the company of others business owners. We network together and understand frustrations we encounter. As a writer, I enjoy sitting in the company of other writers and hearing what they have to say. Not everyone is going to understand the conflicts or road blocks I have when I want to pen certain topics, but other creatives understand. So, when I think about the income bracket of the man who spoke to me vs. my income bracket, I can understand why he would say what he did. I can’t understand things he’s facing in much of his daily life because I have no idea what it’s like to live in that world. I haven’t learned the financial terminology, don’t understand the type of expectations he faces, and have yet to be able to have a story to relate to building that income. He could have some benefit to me, but he couldn’t quite see how I could be a benefit to him. That’s not to say that I had nothing to offer in the way of being an associate. It’s just that you have to protect the space you’re in and be careful about those you let near you. That conversation was the initial push I needed to get more serious about what I needed, which was the first income increase.

As I looked around me, I considered what I could do where I am now and how I could improve myself little by little consistently. That was the key word – “consistently.” I didn’t want to hop on and hop off something because it worked or didn’t work quickly enough. I found one thing I could practice to see small results regularly. When I finished the month, I tallied my results and realized that I had found one more thing I could do to improve my situation. What I did isn’t as important as the fact that I stuck with it one week at a time until I completed a month so that I would not frustrate myself setting too big a goal for myself (ex. 1 year doing xyz every day). Yes, I can dream big, but I set small goals so that I can see progress and not tire myself in the process of seeing my vision become a reality.

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