Here to There.
At the beginning of every year our Church goes through 21 days of fasting and prayer. Now, I know what you are thinking after reading that statement. Let me guess, “Oh that’s nice,” “Oh cool, we do that too,” “(insert eye-roll emoji),” “fasting and prayer huh, yeah right,” or you could be indifferent to whole thing. Personally, I find those seasons are great at resetting and gaining perspective on many things. A few years ago, it was no surprise and by little coincidence our Church was given a devotional by my pastor, Dr. James Johnson-Hill titled #HERETOTHERE. That’s right, a church that used a hashtag for a 21-day fasting and prayer devotion, and it was awesome. Credit for the context of this blog goes to you Pastor James – thank you.
At the time this devotional came out I was in a transition of my own and this one hashtag helped me not only get through that time of my life, but also set me up for my first management opportunity. I had been working a long time as a sales rep and when I was given the position of Area Sales Manager this hashtag along with the steps behind it inspired me to simply be better. I now use it as my first impression for any new hire I have and if anyone in any organization asks me how I manage my team I reference it. What I took from that study were some keys that I have used to apply to my work life, personal life and spiritual life as well. For the purpose of this blog and frankly - time and attention spans - I am going to lay out this #HERETOTHERE plan for you the same as I do my sales team, I have a privilege of managing.
First off, the hashtag is a great way to remember things. In fact, I recommend if you have an opportunity to speak in front of a group of people, have them stand up. Have them make a hashtag sign with their fingers. Have them repeat after to you “Hashtag - HERE TO THERE.” Have them sit down and listen to your presentation. Every time you mention the work “Hashtag” they have to repeat “HERE TO THERE.” I have done this, and it works great. Have fun. There’s nothing more humorous than some uptight business men and women forced to get out of their comfort zones.
Getting from #HERETOTHERE takes a few steps, but first and foremost you must understand where you are right now and where you want to be. Now, I'm not talking about you sitting in front a screen reading this (HERE) and wanted to go outside and take a walk (THERE). Let me give you an example: I am currently 37 years old, I have a wife, kids, a career and a great side gig writing children's books (HERE). I want to be married with kids, a career, a few New York Times best sellers, make an impact in the world through positivity and encouragement on a global stage and fulfill my destiny to be a crime fighting super hero (THERE). Sound familiar? Maybe not, but it’s an example to make you think beyond just the mundane, think beyond the status quo and dream a little. Getting from #HERETOTHERE isn’t for someone looking to just get by, it’s for someone believing there’s more.
Here are the steps:
Be Creative: The number one rule I tell my sales reps anytime we gather for a team meeting is to be creative. In sales especially, it’s easy to get caught up in the same routine repeatedly. You can only do so much cold calling before you just get beat up. You can only teach those kids the same thing so many times. You can only go to the gym and work the same treadmill routine so many times, etc. Mixing things up helps. Look at things from a different perspective, be problem solvers and not problem makers. Step out of your comfort zone and take a risk. Yes, you may fail, but just doing something different may give you the spark you need to push through to the next level. Let’s not forget the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results. Be creative, not insane.
Be Committed: Being committed to me goes straight to being loyal. When you get married you commit your lives to one another. When you join an organization, you become committed to reach the goals the company has set forth. An individual who is committed is fiercely loyal to their brand, spouse, organization or their own ideals. I commend these people daily. Mainly, because it’s not always rainbows and sunshine, storms come and go but it’s the committed that can weather the bad stuff and stand tall during trials. If you cannot classify yourself as being 100% committed to your quest to get from #HERETOTHERE it might be a tough go for you. You have to remain committed to the process, because there always is one. Writing books, there is a process of text editing, imaging editing, placement and final edits, and edits and more edits. No matter what you choose to go after, there will be a process to accomplish it. It’s a process, and you must trust in it.
Be Dedicated: Being dedicated speaks to your individual passions as it relates to your #HERETOTHERE journey. For instance, if I am wanting to go from a sales associate (HERE) to Manager of the Company (THERE) I must be dedicated to that individual goal. Distractions happen all the time and they are meant to derail you from your objective. Remaining dedicated through the processes and maintain your devotion to whatever cause or purpose you have on your heart. It’s simple to say, but stupid hard to accomplish if you aren’t careful. One way to accomplish this is by setting goals for yourself. Put a time stamp on those goals and dedicate yourself to hitting them. Remember this though, a goal without a plan is a wish. Stop wishing, start planning and dedicate yourself to the process.
Sacrifice: Understand this and make no mistake about it, on your journey from #HERETOTHERE you will have to sacrifice something. For a lot of us, it’s time. There are two things everyone wants more of and can never have enough of – Time and money. You’ll have to sacrifice something. Perhaps its waking up early every day for a period of time to get caught up on work. Maybe it’s staying up a little later some nights to meet a deadline. Or maybe it’s dropping some friends who are constantly distracting you and generally bringing you down. Whatever that sacrifice looks like for you, it’s going to be painful and not fun. It’s going to be annoying and it’ll make you want to quit. But, sacrificing something is part of your journey from #HERETOTHERE. Expect it.
Confidence: Throughout your quest to get (THERE). You will gain a ton of confidence along the way. For me, it’s been a mixed bag of trial and error – especially when trying to format a book to be published. But in the end, I learn something each time and sharpen the sword a little more. Confidence can be gained through two things, knowledge and communication. I tell my reps this and it’s translated like this: I want them to not only be the most knowledgeable sales rep they can be, but I want them to be able to communicate that knowledge to anyone they come across. Let’s face it, some people are better communicators than others, but in the end, is the message or messenger you end up getting the most from? I ague that if you can combine the two – then you can be dangerous. In order to get from where you are to where you want to be learn all you can about the subject and research, research, research. Once you’ve done that, practice talking about it and communicating it through different platforms. Through confidence, people see your passion and I believe you can get behind someone’s journey from #HERETOTHERE when you see their passion come out.
To recap, understand where you are and where you want to be. Be creative always. Be committed to the process – even when it’s not fun. Be dedicated to hitting those reachable goals along the way. Understand you will have to sacrifice something, for most of us that’s time, but it’s different for everyone. Be confident! You become confident through knowledge and communication. Research your tail off to get the knowledge and practice communicating. If you don’t practice, you run the risk of looking foolish. Don’t look foolish.
My hope is you have read this and there’s been that one thing that has started to come to mind. That one thing you almost started way back when but didn’t for whatever reason. Maybe it’s going back to school or starting your own business. Maybe it’s shedding some extra pounds or even something as big as moving forward in a relationship. It doesn’t matter what it is, all that matters is that you start somewhere. It might take you month, a year, or even a few years, but before you know it you’ll have moved from here to there.