For the last week and a half I’ve been travelling in Italy with my 18 year old daughter before she leaves the house. It’s an exciting time in her life, getting ready to move on from high school and go into the “real world,” whatever that means. Anyway, she said something a couple of days ago that made me think about this next phase and the natural changes you go through as you think about the growth that’s coming.
Specifically, she was talking about being inspired to step it up. This post was inspired by that conversation… and so without further ado, I want to share five ways to step it up… it being life, happiness, peace, relationships, whatever it is that you want to step up.
Step It Up through a Better Environment
Tis is our third hotel we’ve stayed in. It’s also the most expensive of the three. One of the best ways to have an extended vacation is to go on the cheap… which we have been doing. But this hotel is quite a bit nicer. I don’t say that to brag.
Anyway, Tay said being in this hotel makes her step it up… step up her dress, how she acts, etc. I found that to be profound. The last two hotels weren’t bad… they both had their charm. But this one is different. The people around here, the staff, even then neighborhood, it’s causing her to think about who she is, how she acts, and how she presents herself.
I read that if you have a rental and you keep it up, and keep it really nice, people tend to take care of it better. But if it’s junky, broken down, dirty, your renter doesn’t care if they add to the dirt. They also don’t care if they even clean up. Why clean up an existing mess?
This applies to your own environment. How is your bedroom? How is your home/apartment/condo/flat? Cleanliness is one thing, decluttering is another. Maybe you can upgrade that super old, ratty couch, or change the broken blinds, or get a fresh coat of paint.
Upgrading your environment can be anywhere from free (clean/declutter) to affordable (a can of paint or new blinds). Think about what you are in and around. Think about what you see and smell every day and night and consider whether you can step it up by being more intentional about creating the right environment.
Step It Up through Better People
If I’ve learned anything in my many decades on this earth it is that your friends will make or break you. Your friends could be the crabs who keep you from escaping the pot, because they keep pulling down anyone who is about to get out of the pot. Or, they could be people who inspire you to keep working, keep growing, keep studying, keep trying.
Maybe you have friends to just relax and recharge with, and that’s okay. But you need to find people who will help you be a better you. Find people who help you think bigger and believe in yourself. Find people who are working on being better themselves.
You need to have that kind of inspiration close to you. Being able to talk to big thinkers who are also doing things to create a career, family, or life that you want is important.
The life you see in Cheers or Friends or Seinfeld is fun. People want those friendships and relationships. But those people are actors, those characters are fake. They dramatize and humorize relationships which makes for great entertainment but not a great model for your life, career, or happiness.
I mean, I’m not down on friends and relationships, but you gotta realize to live like they do, in those places, with those activities, you probably have to have an awesome job. Which brings me to…
Step It Up through Better Pay
JibberJobber.com is all about helping you with your career. That might mean navigating a job search or working on a promotion. Somemtimes it’s about better pay, other times it’s about getting the right pay, or even just getting off of unemployment insurance.
I want you to think about how much you are worth, how much you need to earn, and how much you want to earn. Imagine going to work earning $10/hour. For many, that is a disposable job. Lose your job? Big deal. You can probably go find another job for more than that down the road at a fast food place or retailer.
Now imagine you get $60/hour. Do you think you might dress better? Would you treat your schedule differently? Would you treat your coworkers and customers differently?
I know you can’t just flip a switch or wave a magic wand and get better pay. I am asking you to think about how getting paid more would inspire you to step it up. Now, here’s the magic: Don’t wait to get that higher pay. Start acting that way now. Take your job, and your schedule, and the way you act, more seriously. Project that better job with better pay on yourself.
As you do this, and take the steps to learn the skills for that better job, you’ll find opportunities. Maybe opportunities will find you.
MAYBE OPPORTUNITIES WILL FIND YOU!
And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be “lucky.” You know, luck… where opportunity meets preparation?
This is one way to prepare to be lucky.
Step It Up through Better Input
What are you reading? What are you watching? What are you eating? What are you doing with your body?
Think about how you feel. Are you low on energy? Do you sleep well? I’m not saying that every bit of your health is controlled by your inputs. I don’t discount disease and DNA and all of that stuff. Some things are beyond green smoothies and yoga.
But for many of us, there are things we can do to step it, including what we put into our body and brain. I’ve written about this a ton in the past. I’ve written about healthier eating and better sleep schedules. I’ve written about what you read and watch.
This is something you can work on every day. Marginal improvements add up. Messing up, or failure, is okay, just move on and don’t wallow in it. I heard someone who talks about food/diet say, “Every bite is a choice.” This relieves you from figuring out and beating yourself up over cheating or failure. Just make a good choice next time.
Whether it’s input for your body or brain or whatever, step it up by making good choices. Be intentional about your input.
Step It Up through Better Thinking
Don’t discount your attitude. You can step it up by how you think. Think this is a game? Maybe it is. Is this fake, and just being optimistic and hopeful? Perhaps.
Or, maybe how you think really inputs how you are, and what you get. Maybe thinking differently, with optimism and hope, really works.
I’ve lived in, and visited, third world countries. I’ve seen people who live in houses made of used pallets with dirt floors. I’ve seen people who live in massive mansions and drive awesome cars who seem to have it all. One of those does not lead to happiness, joy, satisfaction, rich lives.
Actually, I’m not convinced that’s accurate. I don’t think that either “lead to” happiness or unhappiness. I think your attitude and how you think will lead to happiness or unhappiness. It’s not what you have, it’s how you think.
How do you think better? There are gazillions of resources. There are books on happiness, peace, attitude, etc. Maybe, just maybe, you should do a deep dive on this whole thinking thing and work on where you are at.
This is more than just being happy vs. being sad. To step it up can be life vs. death. Is it time for you to get serious about it?