There have been several things that have been on my mind a lot lately. The main theme seems to resonate over and over again.

What can I be doing better?

Mind my has been trying to analyze where I am, where I have been and where do I want to be. Am I taking the steps to get there or am I just spinning my wheels? What will it take to get there and what do I have to change in my thinking to accomplish my goals?

All typical life thought questions I am sure…but it has lead me to a conclusion that I feel is relevant in my own life when dealing with hobbies, professional life, friends and lifelong goals.

In order for me to succeed in personal and professional endeavors, I need appreciate where I have been by helping and talking with those that are where I was while listening and getting inspired by those who are where I want to be. Whether this be through my hobbies with biking, driving or photography…professionally with my company, my job and my goals…or through life with being a husband, a father and a member of a family…the same theory seems to ring true in all.

But why is this so hard?

When I try to answer this question, I often think of “the easy road”. What do I default to as the path of least resistance?

I think the easy road – at least for me – is to not have time for those that are where you were and to be intimidated by those who are where you want to be.

While I try hard not to do either, natural instinct is leaned more in that direction for some reason. My guess is that the hard road is to teach and learn without negativity. Sometimes it is hard to separate the frustration of lack of forward progress and the people around you. Emotion and jealousy is an easy beast to let take over while I am trying to achieve my goals. Those people must have had something easier than me…it can’t be all the hard work they put in that I can’t see…

The same applies to helping and talking with those that are where I used to be. Cycling has been a great insight into that as I have had several conversations with a friend of mine about where we are in the world of cycling as it relates to fitness. Everyone started somewhere…even those of us that enjoy more technical trail and longer rides. At some point in time, someone helped us and encouraged our progress achieve our goal to become a better rider and – by doing that for others – we get to continue our journey of forward progress.

I find it interesting that during the times I am encouraging others, I tend to learn more than I am giving out. Not that I am some massive resource of information or anything…far from that in fact. But the encouragement, positive thinking and getting back to the basics is really just teaching myself the same skills all over again. Whether it is crossing rock gardens or getting through that first month with a new baby…I learn more from every conversation than I give out…but for some odd reason…it is something I do not repeat enough. While we are all different with different journeys in life, we can all learn from each other no matter where we are in our progress.

That brings me to the second element that I really need to pay more attention to…learning and being inspired by those that are where I want to be. I find this easy in my hobbies. I can watch videos and other riders in cycling, I can see the magic that friends of mine and others put on the screen with photography, I can talk to dads with incredible families and kids…but the professional world needs a lot more attention.

I have been incredibly lucky in my life to work with some great people. I am learning a lot through new business partnerships as I try to grow oneninety8. But I need to do a lot better job of listening instead of talking. I need to pick up on the small things better and really appreciate what it took for some of the people I work with to get to where they are professionally. At the same time, I need to do a better job of being happy for my friends, family and colleges when they achieve progress in their professional lives.

Recently, a friend of mine wrote an article on what he looks for in the people he surrounds himself with in his life titled “Personal Brands I Am Loyal To“. One of those key aspects was:

I’ve said a few times that I try to appreciate others’ successes and feel good for them. Even when you have a rival, it can be a healthy rivalry. A success is a success to me. If it’s mine then that’s fabulous. If it’s something one of my friends or colleagues has worked for then I can feel good for them too. The success may be a function of timing, effort, situation or dumb luck. A friend’s win is always a good thing and doesn’t mean that I’m any worse off for it.

That idea and fundamental belief is at the core of being inspired by those that are where I want to be. By holding that true in my life, I believe I can learn more from those that are paving the way.

Anyway…that is where my mind is lately. For me, it makes it more real and concrete to get it down in writing. Now I have no choice but to better live my life by it.