Not everyone can be a supermodel but anyone can and should be a role model. It is so much more powerful! I’d really love to see a magazine cover one day where the title reads “Role Model of The Year” instead of the nonsense of who is “best dressed” or has “the hottest” this or that. I don’t watch TV or any form of media for that very reason. I don’t want to feed my mind that kind of junk food. And neither should you.
Here are eight agreements you should make with yourself to help you build discipline and willpower in 2012. I do this exercise every year. Whenever I get complacent or fall into a rut I go back to these agreements and remind myself not to break them.
Health – Cherish your body. Nothing else matters more. Focus on the energy you have. Eat well, exercise and relax daily. Fill your daily life with purposeful activities that give your body a reason to manifest energy.
Love – Love yourself by looking after your health and guarding your mind against negative images, negative thinking and negative associations. Look your best by wearing clothes that make you feel attractive. Have the courage to show and give love to your life partner, whether or not they give it back. Tell your partner daily what you love about them – words are powerful. Work just as much on your love life as you do on your work.
Family – Support your family at all times. Give them the confidence to pursue their goals and dreams. Help them overcome obstacles. Focus on their strengths and their good qualities. Remind them daily of that. Tell them you love them no matter what happens – whether they succeed or fail at anything. Spend time developing a relationship with all family members.
Work – Choose to love your work. Always do your best. Focus on the difference that your product or service is making to society. Have empathy for your customers. Value the privilege of serving them from the heart. Be grateful that you live in a society where there is the opportunity to work. At all times be honest in the execution of your work. Master your job by constantly learning and evolving. Always ask yourself, ‘can I do this job better?’ Be impeccable in your conduct at work. Be fearless in your execution.
Friendship – Let your words, laughter and charm bring a smile to others. Help your friends see the lighter side of life and not take themselves too seriously. Act with integrity and hold true to your standards and beliefs. Never compromise them to be popular. Never pre-judge others. Be open to new friendships. Always greet people with a smile and a friendly hello. How others respond is their own reality and has nothing to do with you.
Learning – Commit to 45 minutes of learning daily about every aspect of your life and not just your work and wealth. Limit watching TV and other popular media. Watch uplifting talks by great thinkers on TED.com. Read books from pioneering minds. Attend courses and seminars organised by people who care and have something unique to share. Listen twice as much you talk. Discover your talents by having self-awareness for your thoughts and feelings. Live a conscious life where you decide what you want to listen to, read and watch.
Wealth – Invest in yourself first before you invest your money. If you have a business invest in your own field of dreams first before investing with others on the stock market. Live a frugal lifestyle and reduce your dependence on money. Spend less, save more. Say no to consumerism and your addiction to buying more and more things that end up collecting dust in the attic. But don’t skimp on things that improve your life.
Charity – Learn about the plight of others in need. Don’t shut yourself out to other people’s suffering. Help others by giving your time and/or money. Charity does not have to be grand. A simple kind word of support is sometimes all that someone needs. Help a team member at work. Share an idea that can help a friend live a better life.
Many years ago when I was a young lawyer, every so often I would ask my boss if he wanted to go for a walk at lunch and eat a sandwich in the park. It was a great way to connect and we rarely ever talked about work during those walks. We talked about family, sport, cars and world affairs.
Recently I saw him at a function and he reminded me about those walks and how he always appreciated the company. That was the thing he most remembered. He didn’t remember the cases I won or the fees I earned. Nor the new clients I brought into the firm.
It made me think, at the end of the day, whatever our title and our position, we are humans that crave connection. Always remember that. Whether you are going for a job interview or watching your idol at a music concert, the person you see yearns for the same things you do – food, water and honest connection.
It reminds me of something a nurse once told me. (He worked in a nursing home looking after the elderly). He said, “Sam, any human physical ailment can be managed, but loneliness is very painful for the heart. Humans need humans. We need company as much as we need air to breathe. We need that connection with others. Without it, we die emotionally. And that is the saddest thing to witness.”
I know that Mondays I usually post something on work performance but I thought I would mention this need for human connection because, as much as charity starts at the home, so it also does at work. Being charitable with our time and company is what the other person sometimes needs the most. It does not only have to be your boss that you ask out to lunch. It could be someone that just started at work or someone that needs an ear. You never know. This connection might also lead to improved performance at work. I did some of my best work when I forged a powerful alliance with someone at work.