The next level is not for wimps.

 Creative Commons CC0

Creative Commons CC0

It’s easy to find some online encouragement to take your life to the next level, rah-rah go alongs telling you whatever you want to hear are a dime a dozen, though very few of those useless cheerleaders explain what they mean by “next level.” The personal development and coaching space is littered with wimpy slogans about finding your bliss, but not how to make a living. Bliss is not nearly as much fun when you can't pay the rent. Sadly, most of what passes for a coach these days is a person who has achieved little besides the test to be a coach, a test which you could likely pass in your sleep by the way. The Internet has given voice to hoards of people who cannot clean their own bottoms but love to tell you that you can land on Mars if you like (and if you pay them more to take you to "the next level"). The truth--sad, sad truth--is that the overwhelming majority of coaches have never done what they claim to be able to teach you. Therefore, they prefer vague generalities to meaningful specifics.

I believe, however, that next level carries a very specific meaning. Once you relax and push away from your fears, you can easily tell me what the next level looks like to you. If you’re stuck or want to remain unstuck (and why else would visit my site?), read on.

You know you’re ready for the next level when thinking about your current level stirs up an “is this it?” feeling.

One cannot hum or conjure their way to the next level. In every case, the next level is significantly more difficult to reach than the present level was. Getting there takes different skills than getting here, along with very specific planning and a lot of work in the right direction while overcoming setbacks.

To get to the next level at anything requires two things. Believe you can get there and want to get there. Beyond that, it’s just work, but because you believe it, want it, and plan it out well, the work is doable. For now, let’s define the next level.

Some examples from each area of life:

  • Health is one category with two sections: mental and physical. Next Level Mental Health means spending 20% less time in a miserable state of mind in a couple months than you did this week. Less time sad, angry, fearful, or disgusted. To know your next level means knowing your present level. The goal is to spend more time in a joyful, creative state.

  • Next Level Physical Health is easier to tackle. You’re enjoying 20% more lean muscle in six months than you enjoy today. As a result, you’ll have significantly more energy also, but that’s almost impossible to predict because so many factors affect energy. Lean muscle is easy to measure and to predict.

  • Next Level Wealth means accumulating about 20% more net worth than you have today. It may take a few years or a few months, and you can easily measure progress.

  • Next Level Career means being promoted one level above your current status. Going from entry level to the next level is often much easier than it is to jump from senior management to Vice President or from VP to C-Suite, but each level is attainable. After all, someone got there before you, did they not?

  • Next Level Relationships are more secure, beneficial, and meaningful than what you enjoy now. Relationships are, admittedly, harder to measure than wealth, but if you find 20% more evidence that you and your significant other will stay together, that would add value to your life, wouldn’t it? When 20% of your customers move from occasional buyers to raving fans, they’re at the next level. You observe 20% less drama in your family at the next level. Friends become 20% more supportive of your goals and you of theirs when they’re next level friends.

  • Next Level Spirituality means 20% more confidence that God is for you and 20% more willingness to openly discuss your faith (without becoming obnoxious, please). I’ve found that next level spirituality tends to drive success in every other area.

I’ve also found that most people want a deeply meaningful life without doing a thing to get it. They believe they deserve something, and expect others to hand it to them. They want God, the government, their neighbor, or some anonymous force, to drop health on them while they fill their minds with fearful and angry talk and fill their bellies with salt and fat. They want money by winning the lottery. They want a meaningful career without solving more meaningful problems for their customers. Perhaps the most common are the people who want beautiful relationships without treating others with honesty, respect, and fairness. None of this ever happens because the next level is not open to wimps who won’t do the right thing.

If any of that last paragraph sounds like you, you can stop blaming whatever you’re blaming and start taking responsibility for your crappy life. If any of the first several paragraphs sound like something you want, I have a simple question. What keeps you from having it?