Stretch. Today. That’s all I ask of you.
If you could whisper to your younger self from a year ago, what will you say? I'm sure you’re going to give some practical advice. I'm also sure your future self will have a lot more to add.
Why? Because we learn so much every time we try. When we fail, we sharpen our minds, strengthen our focus, and re-shape our tools to gear up for another try. We aim to divert from the old route and find the better way.
I’m a forty-four-year-old looking back at my younger self. I was shy. I hid in books because reality scared me.
With a little luck and a lot of time saving, I bought myself a computer and developed my skills in silent. I excelled in this little box. I became a powerful wizard for the first time in my life. I made people become successful with of my skills. But I was still shy, especially around girls.
When I was starting to grow in my career, everything felt surreal. I always though, five years ago, I would never imagine reaching this very successfull level. All my youth, I always felt that I was never enough to make it big.
But even when I found my niche, and I started achieving something career-wise, I still have that side that feels inferior and would prefer comfort to growth.
That side of me was evident this summer when I stared Pro-gamer Parent, a YouTube channel for parents of gamers.
I'm still fearful of the camera. I become nervous and sweaty in front of it. I never wanted this kind of attention my entire life. Whenever a camera arrives, I'm gone like a ninja before anyone notices.
I'm sure you have these moments as well. When you are letting something that matters to you rest on the table. Be kind to yourself. Embrace your uncertainties. Fear is fuel. Start something today and become a more empowered and accomplished person in the future.
The spark for this Pro-gamer parent adventure came to me while I was attending AltMBA.com #4 in March 2016. It took me almost two years to dare take the leap. And I felt so foolished and embarrassed when I started.
But I knew that there is a need for someone to help parents connect to their gamer kids. Parents need to appreciate gaming as a worthwhile hobby, see opportunities in them, and have interest in their child's passion. Children need to be understood by their parents for their love for gaming. Because gaming is not necessarily a bad thing. But it gets a lot of bad rep for things that are not necessarily associated with it. The State of Play is also a powerful force for greatness. Parents can be there for their children. They can help kids play wholesomely and have a balanced life. But to do that, they should reach out and establish genuine connection.
And I felt that I was the person to do all these things because I'm a parent and a gamer. And I'm also a mentor of leaders on self-leadership. And a fullblown data-nerd.
So I started this show where I'm mixing gaming, life-lessons, and parenting all together. I dont know if this will work in helping those young in need right now, but its worth a try.
Almost five years ago, I started a podcast to help managers become kinder and more generous, to unleash the potential in their people, and retain them longer. It is now very successful, and I get a lot of thank you notes with stories of how it helps people.
The first two years of doing “Relationship Power At Work,” I sounded like a strangled cat. I fought my inner critic who was telling me: who do you think you are?
I remember listening to Manager-Tools.com and Security Now in 2005 longing to do that kind of help to others but so scared to start. It took me nine years to dare to begin. Be kind to yourself but please start earlier. Starting isnt easy if its doing the important work, but its worth it.
Where you are in life right now used to be a future self for an even younger you. Don't you ever wish you started something long ago? So you can simple be enjoying the fruits of it now? see the fruits of those you helped?
Five years before starting that podcast I started my own company. I had a rather big number of trusty customers who wanted to work with me. I knew I had to find a way to serve them better, yet I was so afraid to start.
I was desperate for someone to give me a guarantee it would work out. I still haven’t gotten that, but my life has never felt better. Sure, I got awarded consultant of the year 2013 out of 7000 consultants by the Northern Europe's biggest consultant broker. At the time I wasn’t even comfortable talking about the publicity their award got me. If you’d said that to me, my knees would tremble I would not believe it. I chickened out for years before starting my own company. People kept calling me Linchpin, from Seth Godin's great book at that time so you’d think that would make me feel safe to start but I seriously didn’t feel ready for it one bit but dared the leap somehow anyway.
Now I’m grateful I did.
A few years before that I was made responsible for essential tools and software in 60 countries and 4500 stores. (promised on to name client thus the vagueness) Things that became normal and we even leveled up our deliveries there to, but I felt VERY nervous when I started taking on such a big responsibility. Having to understand local laws in countries, unions, local culture. For me, a simple IT-tech wizard that was scary stuff. It’s a marvelous world we live in, but it’s a lot of challenges if you’re working genuinely global. Something I would NEVER 5 years before that three-year assignment felt ready for.
Now I’m greatful for everything I learned and everything we together made so much better for those we all serve.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because I want you to start. Don’t wait. You can’t now fathom everything you’ll learn if you start. Every five years I realize how little I knew, and how stupid I was. How big I made the small things that don’t matter and how unaware I was of the big things that really matter.
Right now I’m still working hard of becoming better for those I want to serve, but I work hard not to wait anymore because I’ve learned that once I turn smarter, I will want to redo things anyway. There’s no point in procrastination, studying or polishing things alone. You need to embrace reality and ship often to those you serve so you’ll get real-life, feedback.
That’s the better way to learn. The better way to serve.
Doing what works AND doing things that might not work, to serve those you care about.
Eventually, I will plateau for a while-- until I come across another spark that will make me take another leap.
What are you waiting for? Action now is better. Your future self depends on you. No rescue boats are coming for you. Luckily, you can be your hero.
Go, with a wildly beating heart toward your mission in life. Those who need you thank you.