Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took time and hard work. 

Nothing of importance is achieved by chance. If I think back over my life so far, every success I have had has indeed been hard earnt. It’s been achieved not by chance or by luck but by hard work. That’s true of my business, sporting and personal life. If anything is down to luck, you dramatically increase your chances of being lucky through working hard, not through excuses or stumbling towards your goal with the ill-prepared nature of a hungover striker. If you want to achieve your vision, you must work for it. 

Rome wasn’t built in a day…

But when Rome was built they almost immediately started feeding slaves to lions and called it a spectator sport, so maybe Rome shouldn’t be seen as the pinnacle of achievement that it so often is.

In this week’s blog, I will be talking about doing the work you need to do to achieve your vision. Doing the work is the first foundation on which you can start to build a successful business and a successful and happy life. It requires you to take action. Words and thoughts are meaningless unless you act on them once you know what you want to achieve and the reason you want to achieve it, in other words, once you have your “what” and once you know your “why”, the next important question you need to answer has to be “how”.

Before we talk about “how”, let’s focus on “how not to”.

If you, like many families, start the new year surrounded by half-empty tins of Quality Street, the remnants of a Christmas pudding that you know you only purchased for the sake of tradition because no one in the house likes it. Your fridge is full of the cling-film-wrapped remains of a beige buffet; this may push you towards a new years resolution.  

January 1st. A day where most of us start the year with a new goal, aim or resolution. We tell ourselves, “this year, I’m going to do it, I’m going to lose weight or stop drinking or climb that actual or metaphorical mountain”. We buy a skipping rope online, load up Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube and put the kettle on to make a decaf-super-food-macha-skinny-tea-juice-fusion which you convince yourself you will love. We have a goal; we have a plan, we finish the tin of Quality Streets because it is a shame to waste them, and then we take the first steps of our 365-day adventure. 

This journey to “New You Town” lasts, on average… 30 days. 80% of us will have fallen off the proverbial wagon by February. We need to set ourselves up for greatness and do the work to achieve it.

This blog is going out to people worldwide, so I want to take a moment to stress that in doing the work to achieve your vision, however personal that vision is, you are not alone. You are more likely to succeed if you are a part of a team, so I want to stress that you are all part of something bigger than yourselves when you tune in and do the work. 

It’s also essential that you know that it takes hard work and energy. I know this because I am on this journey with you, too. 

“Nobody said it was easy” is not only a line in a Coldplay song that cleverly and perfectly captures the struggle one faces when listening to a song by Coldplay but also what you need to remember when you are struggling. Put another way, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”. This journey is about meeting your edge and its work to get there. 

This challenge of achieving your vision takes work that is not just physical. It’s got to be a transformation of your inner and outer self. Although that sounds like double the work, I find that it makes things easier in some ways. 

I’ve spoken before about the ten daily habits, but I’ll give you a little bit of background as a reminder. The ten daily habits are exactly what they sound like. 

A dozen exercises that you do once a month, they are not!

They are a daily routine that I invite you to take part in. The habits are made up of drinking 2 litres of water each day, a morning recharge of 5-10 minutes to warm up your body and mind and get the blood pumping and then setting an intention for the day, among other things. 

All of these activities benefit your body and mind, but only if you do them, and only if you do it right.

I’m going to share my struggle with doing the work with you. I want to clarify that I have tried and failed when working. I have worked hard at working hard, and only by looking over my failures have I found myself in a position where I can talk to you and offer my advice.

I use hockey in the way Homer Simpson uses beer. Initially as a social, relaxing, rewarding escape from work. I look forward to it. I often change other plans or move them to allow me to play. I make hockey a priority, I enjoy the healthy competition. It is, for me, the perfect outlet. 

Like Homer Simpson’s relationship with beer, though, my relationship with hockey can be unhealthy. This is the last time I will compare myself to Homer Simpson because I am sadly not as popular as him despite my best efforts. 

Anyway, I got injured during a hockey match last week. Not one of those injuries you often see in football where a player runs past another, and they dramatically fall and roll on the ground like an extra in Mission Impossible. I was injured. I was in pain, but I didn’t stop, and sometimes I can’t stop. Like The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, I am addicted to the shindig. 

When it comes to doing the work, one of the foundations on which I build my success, and I hope you make your success, it is just as easy to overexert yourself as it is not to show up at all. One of the ten daily habits that I encourage you to make a part of your everyday life for 21 days is to sweat. It raises your heart rate, gets the blood pumping, and gets the mind focused. It is not to run 26.2 miles or enter a triathlon in the first three weeks of this journey. It is to gently introduce your body and mind to doing the needed work to succeed. 

When I was injured, I pushed through in an unhealthy way. I went through, ignoring the messages my body sent to my brain to stop doing what I was doing. I pushed through, and I am, in all honesty, still trying to work out why. 

I love hockey, but it can become an obsession or an addiction when love becomes dangerous. I believe I am addicted, in some ways, to hockey. Addiction is something I have seen ruin many people’s lives, including my Father’s, who I have sure ignored the signs his body was giving him about overexerting himself.

It is, at times, too easy to compare the state of the world at the moment to Orwell’s dystopian Animal Farm. Still, if we look at his literature as a warning, my Father was Boxer, the horse whose answer to everything was “Work Harder” and enjoyed a beer, my Dad’s case way too many, the perceived antidote to a stressful life. That was my Dad’s answer to everything, and, like Boxer, it had a devastating effect on my family. 

Overexerting myself is a bad habit of mine. I sometimes find myself falling into old negative patterns of behaviour, which I’m going to keep coming back to in these episodes. I tell you that you have to do the work, but that work includes resting. You need to schedule in time to rebuild and reset. It is just as important. Rest is where the work is absorbed into your body and your mind. It means you can attack the next day with the energy you need. Make sure there is fuel in the tank. 

The reality of the lessons I aim to share with you on this podcast is that I am learning from. I am here to tell you there will be hurdles, and to carry on the sporting metaphor if you’ll indulge me, sometimes you can injure yourself jumping over them. Take your time. It’s yours to take. 

Inner and outer work takes time and energy, but nothing worth having comes easy. Do the work, do it with care and do it with purpose. And stop comparing your achievements to Rome because of the aforementioned “feeding people to lions” thing. 

This has been the Andrew Sillitoe blog. Thanks for joining me. Now let’s get to work. 

Download the ten daily habits HERE