Note from Mario – this article was first written in August 2011, at exactly the one year anniversary of my arrival to Denmark. The lessons, however, are ‘evergreen’ – I fully stand by them already more than two years after:
An absolute coincidence, but a cool coincidence – I just ran a half-marathon (first time) today, exactly one full year after I first arrived to Denmark.
I had a lot of feelings as I crossed the finish line – it has been ONE YEAR. Wow.
It was not just the last steps of the long 21KM race – it was the last line of a fantastic, excellent year. Copenhagen has been great – from the start until now. It keeps getting better, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
It’s GOOD TIMES – and it has been good for a while. Especially since I lost the elections I’ve been going from success to success. In health, relationships, money and career, it has been all going steady up.
Just as I reflected when I lost, I reflected on the victories – how did I make all this happen?
I came to the conclusion that it has been the continuous, and constant flow of victories – ‘small victories’, as I’ve been calling them – which, always in the horizon, kept pushing me to the right path and thirsty for more.
I’ve discovered which is my North, and lined up plenty of small (and sometimes bigger!), short and medium-term goals that will keep me going in that direction.
With success (and sometimes without), I’ve been fighting for these small victories and giving it all on the way. The results are pretty clear – life has never been better, and things will only go forward.
Here I want to give you a hand – and help you prepare and start lining up your own small victories. These are the three keys I found out:
1 – Have Very Clear Goals (And Dream High)
There are no limits to what you want to do in life. Have that very clear.
I may still be this young, idealistic dreamer. But hey – I live the dream. I love to prove ‘nay-sayers’ wrong, to keep showing (and inspiring) everyone on the way, and to keep achieving the goals other think are ‘undoable’.
And it’s not that I’m smarter, more attractive, more charismatic or more anything than the rest. No – I’m just like you could be. All I have is absolute confidence in myself and what I can do, a clear list of goals, and all the energy to make them real.
That’s it – no surprises. And to make things happen, the recipe is no other than to WORK – and to work really hard. If you want to emulate the most successful people, the number one quality they all share is that they work all the time, anywhere they are.
It sounds stressful (and it can be, sometimes), but as long as you really love what you do, as long as you are thrilled and excited by your goals, you’ll have the energy and passion to keep going.
All this ‘love what you do’ talk can’t be more right – just go and FIND OUT SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR. Find a big, kick ass goal that you want to make real – and then go for it.
Work your ass to get it right, to push it forward. If you don’t want to put your life for it, then you are not so much in love with it.
And if that’s the case, turn the page and look for something else. Look for something outstanding, something worth fighting for, and something that will give you an absolute sense of a mission.
Then break this mission all down – cut it down into smaller, short-term and achievable goals and work to make all of these real. Those will be your small victories.
Going back to the first example, I can’t run a full marathon without trying (and succeeding) at the harsh project it means to run just half the distance. And it feels so good now, that it gives me the motivation and inspiration to keep going for the bigger prize – and sooner (rather than later), the prize will come.
2 – Prepare, Practice, and Prepare More
Wise men say success comes when opportunity meets preparation. My past few victories have been all about preparation – and I’ll give you a concrete example.
A couple of months ago, I got a great job at the biggest and most important company in Denmark. The job itself inspired me – helping the world, making a difference in the lives of millions by using all of the company’s capabilities, assets and personnel to help in large-scale disaster response. Cool thing, and the type of project I like to work with.
But so might have thought the other hundreds of people who applied. I was up against an army of very, very skilled professionals – with more experience than I have, with better grades than I have, with more languages and hey, of course, an army of DANES. I’m from ARGENTINA.
But I! got the job. How? Well, I got a bit crazy about it – I had a matching profile, but then, knowing it was not enough, I took decided action.
After being called for an interview, I went quite berserk, and asked myself: what do I need to do – how I make sure that I do all what’s humanly possible to ace this interview?
Well, in the end, a job interview is quite straightforward – you know what you’ll be asked. They always ask the same – or at least 80% of the questions are always the same.
So well – I prepared seventy (70!) pages of notes, and a pin-pointed, precise and perfectly carved answer for the ~100 or so most likely questions.
When the time I came, I had researched, prepared and practiced the great majority of the questions I was asked. It felt like going to an exam, but knowing all the answers from the start – magic.
And I succeeded. A week or so after, I did exactly the same as I applied for the university’s start-up incubator. Same result – after twenty minutes, I was in.
People may call me crazy – I may take it a bit too far. But I won – and the others were left out of the race. There’s this quote, that says: “somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win.”
I am that someone, and you won’t win against me unless you are as crazy as I am. Hard life – but that’s how you need to play when you are aiming high. That’s how you pile up victory after victory.
For your own mind’s sake, just make sure only go all in in the things that really matter.
3 – Have Great People Next to You
My first small victory this year was to find a very special someone. I’m very sure of that – the road to success, glory and dreams is beautiful, but it’s also long and hard. Having someone (a great someone) with you makes the ride easier and much more pleasant.
That’s what I look for in a woman now – to feel inspired, supported, and, of course, loved. I like and enjoy saying: ‘If I’m here, it’s because of you – it’s because YOU helped and inspired me to come all the way’.
And while this is best and most clear in a romantic relationship, it still goes beyond – all men and women, anyone of your friends can be one of these great people.
Everyone, in his or her own unique way, is special and worth meeting and hearing. You just need to figure out who, at THIS specific time in your life, you should speak to and hear from most.
Here again comes the much-famed concept of a mastermind. I tried twice (and twice failed) to start a mastermind group in 2011, but I’ll try again. The benefits are too big – and I’m committed to keep going until I get it right.
I know, and I’m very sure, that as long as I spend my time around great and inspiring people I’ll be close to new small victories. I’ll spend time with people who are pursuing their own success – and I’ll help them, support the, and learn from their victories and mistakes along the way.
You should do too – it will help you immensely.
And You’ll Fail – But You Must Keep Going!
It looks that 2011 can’t get better – it’s just too good! But it will, as I’ll keep pushing myself for exciting, heart-pounding and special challenges.
I’ll fail, of course – as any other person striving for great. I failed and will fail a LOT. It will suck – but I’ll keep going. It won’t stop me.
If a road closes, I’ll go and look for another road. And if that one also gets closed, I’ll look for a third road. And I’ll look for 200 roads if I need to – I’ll just never give you.
Neither should you. It’s your life, it’s your dreams and it’s your own goals on the line. Take them seriously.
(By the way – all my respect for everyone who has ever run a complete marathon. 21KM were tough, and those guys run 42! – CRAZY.)