I wanted to start this week off with a family acronym which goes like this: “Life is T.U.F.F.” Now at first you may look at this statement and think to yourself, “Nathan, I thought that you were a motivational speaker?” How many motivational speakers do you hear going around saying, “Life is T.U.F.F.?” I often have my audiences repeat after me the words, “It’s hard!” And I tell them to say it like they mean it. You know why I do this? Because once you realize that life is hard, then you can get past that and get to work.
My father would always say, “Nathan, life is T.U.F.F., but so are you.” He spells tough a little differently than most. He spells it T.U.F.F.. Let me break it down for you. T.U.F.F. is a secret formula of success that can help you to overcome any obstacle that may get in your way or help you to accomplish any goal you set for yourself.
The first letter is “T” which stands for “TARGET” What is your target in life? Do you have goals? Are those goals written down? If not, they are simply wishes. A wise man once said, “A goal that is not written down is simply a wish, but a goal that is committed to paper is a dream with a deadline.” You have to know what it is that you want in life. Like the cheshire cat in Alice In Wonderland once put it, “If you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which road you take. As George Harrison once sang, “If you don’t know where you’re goin,’ any road will take you there.” Figure out what it is that you want out of life. That is the first step.
The second letter is “U” which stands for “UNDERSTAND.” You must understand what it is going to take to get from point A to point B. If you don’t understand what is required of you before you take the journey, you are bound to wind-up dead, or close to it, on the side of the road. Create a check list of everything that you are going to need and know before you get going what is going to be required of you. Are you dedicated enough to through all of that? Nothing good comes easy in life, especially when it comes to anything worthwhile. Having a road map to success is helpful. Speak to those who have been there before. Ask questions and seek understanding. One of my favorite books says, “Ye have not because ye ask not.” Get coaching, have mentors, surround yourself with people that are already doing that what you wish to do. It will make all the difference. Like Les Brown told me, “If you go running around with 9 broke people, I can guarantee you that you will be # 10. Be selective with the kind of people you hang out with. Are they negative or do they look to build you up? There is a term they use in psychology called, Relationship Sickness. There are literally people that can make you sick. They are the toxic dream-busters that are determined to bring everybody else down, simply because things aren’t working out for them. We are concerned about the kinds of kids our children hang out with. At what age does that not matter any more? We should be as selective when it comes to the kinds of people we choose to hang around as we are with our children. You are who you hang around.
The third letter in our acronym is “F” which stands for “FOCUS” We live in a very noisy world with many distractions around every corner. Our attention is constantly sought after by our friends, family members, advertisers, employers, etc. If you don’t make time for you, you will go CRAZY! Set aside time to work on YOU! If you have to get up an extra hour earlier, DO IT! Tune out the world! Shut the TV OFF!!! Find a quiet place and focus. Meditate. Like in martial arts, find your center. Include God in your planning. I find that Prayer is my greatest resource. I don’t have to have all of the answers. All I need is the feeling inside that what I am doing is right and then I move forward. As my last boss use to say, “With God as our partner, we can do all things.” As one of my favorite books puts it, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Distractions are those little things we see when we take our eyes off our goals. In racing, you are taught that if you ever go into a tailspin, to NOT look at the wall. If you look at the wall, guess what you’re going to hit? THE WALL!!! They teach you to “focus” your eyes in the direction that you want to go and by doing so, the body will naturally pull the car out of the tailspin. Interesting! Where is your focus? As Brian Tracy once said, “You become what you think about most of the time.”
And last but not least, the final letter to our acronym is “F” for “FIGHT” Eye of the tiger, Baby! You have to fight for what you want in life. Like the old saying says, “Even if you’re on the right road, if you just sit there, you’ll get run over.” You’ve got to put your heart into it and push forward every day. There is no standing still in life. You are either moving forward or backwards. Which direction are you moving? My mentor once told me that the reason that most people don’t get ahead in life is not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit . . . and most don’t aim at all.
I hope that this family acronym will be helpful in helping you you to reach your dreams. You are worthy of all that you tell yourself. Remember, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” Be good to yourself this week and remember, Life is T.U.F.F. . . . but so are YOU!!!