Friday, December 20, 2019
True success is a journey.
And all great journeys require continual effort.
You cannot achieve success in any of the five elements (Head, Heart, Health, Wealth, or World) by just focusing on them once in a while. Success just doesn’t work that way.
It takes focused, sustained and consistent effort to achieve true success. You need to develop daily self-improvement activities.
What are you doing on an everyday basis to improve your knowledge?
What are you doing on an everyday basis to improve your health?
I know it sounds like a broken record but until you make a commitment and an action plan that you can stick with, the success you desire will remain out of reach.
Small steps, taken on a daily basis, over time will move you miles ahead from where you are now.
Success is not a competition with anyone else. It’s only a competition with yourself to be a little better each day than you were the day before.
It’s the everyday activities that will change you and move you closer to your vision.
Life unfolds one day at a time, but have a plan of action for what you are doing to grow yourself each day.
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
I believe everyone is familiar with the concept of compound interest. Money left to compound at a low interest rate can yield a fortune over time; very small changes every day over time results in substantial growth.
This same concept holds true for you as well. Daily efforts toward self- development can, over time, dramatically change the direction of your life and the amount of true success you can achieve.
You cannot make a deposit at the local brain bank and return many years later to find yourself smarter and more skilled. It’s just not that simple (and I really can’t part with a section of my brain). What you can do however is to make a daily investment in self-development. But are you willing to make that daily
Life is always about choices and trade-offs. We each get 24 hours in a day, no more and no less. How you utilize that time is up to you. Do you squander precious minutes and hours on social media, playing video games or in front of the television? Have you ever even tracked just how much time these activities are eating up on a weekly basis? You will likely be shocked at the amount.
I am not suggesting you give up your smartphone, your tablet, your gaming system or your TV. What I am suggesting is that you give some thought to carving out some time each day for self-development. It has been said that how far you go on the job depends upon what you do off the job. I believe that the level of TRUE SUCCESS that you achieve in the world depends almost entirely on the efforts you put into developing your most precious resource – YOU.
Are you spending any time each and every day working on your development?
Notice I said “each and every day”. That’s the real key. You need to work on self-development every single day. Monday through Sunday – no exceptions. The main goal here is actually to develop a learning habit. You have to commit to doing it every single day. At first this might be quite a challenge for you (aren’t weekends just for kicking back and relaxing?) but it is the repetition that builds habits, and habits either help us (learning or exercising for example) or hurt us (smoking or poor diet for example).
You may be saying “I can’t possibly find time every day for self-development”. But my dear reader – YOU CAN. You just need to start thinking small. Very small. What is the minimal amount you can commit to? I say everyone can find
10 minutes a day to read, to listen to a podcast or to watch an instructional video.
10 minutes. Can you honestly tell me that your schedule is so jam packed full of absolutely necessary tasks that you cannot free up 10 whole minutes? Give me a break and stop the silliness. You can find the minutes, even if it means getting up 10 minutes earlier each day (and it doesn’t).
10 minutes a day. That’s all I am asking you to commit to.
You see, I know that a daily commitment, a daily routine, will turn into a habit. A positive habit. And over time you will start to see how that time investment into yourself is paying off. You will have more ideas and information to offer at work and at home. Your professional life and personal life will improve. All five areas of true success (Head, Heart, Health, Wealth, and World) will become better. So much so that you will expand from 10 minutes to 15, to 20, to 30 and it will keep growing.
But it all starts with a simple 10.
Thursday, December 12, 2019
Happiness does not come from what you have but from what you are.
This quote reminds me of another well-known old saying: Money can’t buy happiness.
So very true.
Happiness is not the result of what you own or have to show off to the world. It’s not the material possessions in your life that will bring you sustained happiness.
Sure, a new house, a fancy new car or some other new trinket makes you feel good for the moment but long-term they all become just another “thing” in your life.
What really brings long-term sustainable happiness are the relationships in your life and what you are doing to help others.
There is a reason why wealth is the fourth area of True Success. I list it after Head, Heart, and Health on purpose.
Head has to do with developing yourself; your self-awareness, knowledge and skills. You need to learn more in order to be able to do more. And it is in the doing more, impacting the people and the world around you in positive ways that true happiness is found.
Heart is the second area for True Success. Relationships. Love and lasting friendships bring happiness into our lives. Can it get messy at times? Sure. But in the long-run, time spent developing deep relationships brings stability, warmth and satisfaction into our lives.
Health is the third area. You have to take care of yourself so you have the stamina for life and so you will remain on this planet able to enjoy your loved ones and continue to make positive changes in your area of the world. It is hard to be happy if you are sickly and battling chronic health issues.
If you focus on these first three areas you will find a natural spring of happiness flowing from within you. And that internal spring never runs dry. It is renewed over and over again because you spend your time developing yourself, taking care of the relationships in your life and taking care of your health.
Work on developing and strengthening the first three areas of True Success and you will have more happiness than you ever imagined. The bonus is that people will be naturally drawn towards the energy and glow of your happiness. You will become an ever stronger magnet of positivity.
And that my friend is a goal worth chasing. Happiness is the by-product. True and lasting happiness comes from who and what you are on the inside.
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Do you know what you truly value?
Do you really?
I would ask you to spend some time thinking about your values.
Make a list of as many values as you can think of that are important to you. Some examples would be: family, security, faith, friendships, tolerance, optimism, respect, intelligence, health, openness, love, compassion, etc., etc. Try to come up with at least 25 values and write them out on a sheet of paper.
When you are done look carefully at that list and circle YOUR top 5. There is no right or wrong answer. What are the 5 MOST IMPORTANT values to you?
Now, write the five down on a file card or fresh sheet of paper.
Now, here is the tough part. Consider each value one at a time and think of a couple concrete examples of how you bring that value to life. How are you living that value?
Next, ask your spouse, another family member, a close friend, or even a colleague to look at the list and ask them if they agree. Do they see you living these values?
If you cannot come up with multiple concrete examples of you living a value,
and/or if the person reviewing your list doesn’t see you living a value, chances are you have a value on the list that is more of a wish than a real value.
The what and how that you live every day really does tell you which values are truly important to you on the inside. Again, there is no right or wrong; no good or bad.
Now I am not saying that you cannot have values you aspire to. And yes, you can change your behavior to incorporate other values. But how you act today results partly from what you actually value; the real list and not a wish list.
Knowing what you truly value (what you actually live) will help you on your success journey. Truly successful people are authentic. They know who they are; they know what they value; and they align their actions accordingly.
They have taken the time to learn who they are and they have organized their lives and behaviors around the values that are truly important to them. They naturally bring energy and passion to everything they do because they are living an honest life with themselves.
True success requires you to live in harmony with yourself. Everyone has different top 5 values, and everyone lives those values in different ways. But if you truly live your values, you will more easily find the success in all areas of your life you desire.
You will exude a natural confidence and authenticity that others will pick up on. You will become someone people want to be involved with. Someone people will want to work with and help. Someone people will respect, admire and maybe even emulate.
It all starts with authenticity. And authenticity starts with knowing what you value and bringing those values to life and light each and every day.
Thursday, December 5, 2019
Each reaction you have had, decision you have made, each action you have taken has led you to where you are today.
YOU are in charge of your life and where you find yourself today.
And that means that you can change the direction of your life at any time.
YOU have the power.
Change your thoughts, change your decisions and change your actions and you can shift your life in whatever direction you desire.
Will this happen overnight?
Of course not.
You did not arrive where you are in life today based solely upon yesterday’s thoughts. Where you are now is the result of your thoughts over your life.
It takes time to course correct.
Awareness of your thoughts is the first step to getting where you want to go. Be vigilant about the silent conversations you are having in your head. Don’t let your thoughts get away from you. Change the narrative to a positive one.
No longer accept thinking “I can’t”. Change it to “Why can’t I” or “Who can stop me”.
The more ownership and control you take of your thoughts, the better the chances of arriving at the destination you want 5, 10 or 20 years down the road.
Your tomorrows can be what you want them to be, but the thoughts you are having today and every day make the difference in your destination.
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Let’s talk a minute about your plans for increasing your knowledge and skills.
Do you really need a plan? YOU BET
Let’s first discuss the concept of the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”. This concept was created by Buckminster Fuller in 1982. By 1900 human knowledge doubled every hundred years. By the end of 1945 the rate had sped up to every 25 years. In 2013 the rate was considered to be 13 months. And soon the knowledge doubling rate will be a mere 12 hours.
How long ago did you graduate high school or college? Do you really think that what you were taught then is enough in today’s world?
Unless you graduated 12 hours ago the answer is no. And even if you did, you will already be a little behind tomorrow.
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? But it is true.
And although there is no way for any one person to fully keep up with the pace, each and every one of us needs a plan to grow our knowledge and skill set.
Your plan does not need to be complex or overwhelming, but it does need to be something you can follow on a consistent basis.
Here are a few quick suggestions to start:
1. Read 1 book a month and take at least one class or attend a seminar at least once a year.
2. Viewing one TED talk a week or even daily. They are under 20 minutes in length. I like them because they are short and introduce me to either a new idea or a fresh perspective I had not previously considered.
3. Find a mentor to help challenge you to develop skills.
Any plan is better than no plan. I saw this quote earlier today: “No one plans to be fat, lazy, stupid or broke. It’s the people without a plan that end up this way”. A little harsh maybe but I hope you get the point. Without a plan you may easily end up somewhere that you do not want to be.
I challenge you to sit down at some point today or this evening and really think about a plan for improving your knowledge. What are you willing to commit to? What are you willing to give up? (More reading, less TV for example).
As I have noted in previous blog entries, we all have 24 hours in our days. No more and no less. Truly successful people use those 24 hours to their advantage. Unsuccessful people do not. Unsuccessful people let the day control them, instead of taking control of their day.
You were born with the ability to learn and develop. It’s up to you to devise a plan to use that ability to the fullest. Make it part of your plan to spend at least 30 minutes (preferably an hour) each and every day feeding thoughts, ideas, concepts, knowledge into your mind. Consistency is the name of the game. The more consistent and disciplined you are, the more you benefit and the faster you move towards becoming truly successful.
Make a plan. Make it happen.
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
The concept of managing time is ridiculous.
A second is a second.
A minute is a minute.
An hour is an hour.
And a day is a day (24 hours long, no more and no less).
Time marches forward relentlessly. You cannot stop it and you certainly cannot manage it.
What you can manage however, is yourself.
How you use the seconds, minutes and hours each day is under your control. You can manage your schedule. You can manage your level of focus. You can manage distractions.
Do you start each day sitting and planning your day out on paper? Or do you end each day sitting and planning out tomorrow on paper? Or do you do neither? (I do hope that it’s a not the last one).
Your level of productivity is tied to being organized and having a written plan of action. Think about some of the most successful people you can. Do you really think Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Bill Gates or any other successful entrepreneur, entertainer or politician is just going through each day shooting from the hip? Absolutely not.
They get more done in the same 24 hour period as you because of the disciplines they have established for themselves. They allocate their time according to a plan. A written plan that takes into account what they need and want to accomplish in a host of areas: business, family, personal, community, civic, and/or religious to name a few.
Take some time to sit, think and write down all the areas of your life that are important to you and that you want to make an impact in. That list should become the backbone to your daily and monthly planning. Develop a simple template with each area of importance to you and fill it out for a month at a time. What do you want to accomplish this next month?
Once you have your monthly goals written down you can then use a daily planner. I know, it sounds a bit archaic, but I like having a pocket daily planner with me. I can reference it quicker than my phone and I find the act of writing things in it makes the items more important. Writing verses typing seems to make things more concrete in my mind; it makes me more committed to getting them done. For me, having the planner in front of me (on my desk or table wherever I go) with my goals written down is a continual reminder to stay focused and get things accomplished.
I would also strongly suggest that you keep your phone in your pocket as much as possible. You probably have no idea how much time you waste looking at email, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or stock quotes (to name a few) as well as playing games. Those little screens chew up time faster than you realize. Yes- you can and should check email and respond as necessary BUT if you will just schedule set times each day (perhaps 10:00, noon, 3:00 and 5:00) you will be amazed by the fact that you are suddenly more productive and the world did not stop spinning just because you did not respond to every ping or whistle from your phone (muting email notifications doesn’t hurt either – and yes, I know I am crazy with that suggestion). I always tell my direct reports that email is for non-urgent communication. If they truly have an emergency or urgent need – they
should be dialing the phone and speaking directly to me, not sending an email.
Always remember that you cannot manage time. You manage yourself. You manage your schedule. You mange what is important to you. Simple truth - what is truly important is what gets done.
Thursday, November 21, 2019
"Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can."
We all have conversations running in our head almost all day long (which is why the practice of mindfulness and meditation is so helpful – but that is another blog for another day). And unfortunately for most people, these conversations run with a negative slant.
“I can’t do this.” “That won’t work.” “I am not smart enough to get that promotion.” Etc., Etc.
Whether you realize it or not, those conversations in your head have great influence on your attitudes and your behaviors. You have to become conscious of those conversations and realize that you can change the ongoing dialogue.
Instead of letting the negative conversation run along uninterrupted, realize what is happening and change the thought pattern.
Change that internal conversation to highlight why YOU CAN do something; why YOU ARE worthy of being loved: why YOU ARE qualified for that job or promotion.
You have deep reserves within that you do not even realize you possess. You have let that negative wordplay ramble on in your head for so long you have likely starting to believe it, but that conversation is NOT at all accurate.
I urge you to start paying attention and to change that narrative. Make it a point to come up with as many reasons why YOU CAN. Write them down if you have to and review the list often. Read the list out loud. I know that may sound silly but the act of both saying it and hearing it helps reinforce that it is true. You mind will follow where you lead it. The more reasons you provide and the more times you review/reinforce these positive thoughts, the more you will effect and, overtime, change that inner dialogue.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Are you strong enough to fail?
What? You thought failure was for the weak?
Sorry to say this but you are dead wrong.
Failure requires strength of character, strength of conviction and strength of the mind.
You cannot fail if you are not pushing forward. You cannot fail if you are not stretching yourself to achieve maximum results. It requires no strength to not try; the weak simply go with the flow.
True Success requires you to go against the flow and to demand much more from yourself. True Success requires commitment and planning in all five success areas. True Success is a lifelong endeavor and one that requires your focus, your stamina and your internal strength.
There is a well-known Japanese proverb: “fall seven times, get up eight”. Simply put it means to never give up and to always keep moving forward. Clearly not something the weak will ever understand or accomplish.
But you are not weak. You know inside that you have incredible talents and gifts to offer the world around you. You also have dreams and plans for making those dreams a reality. You are smart enough to know that you will face adversity and at times feel like you have run into a wall. But you also know that you can go over or around those walls. It will not be easy but you are ready for the challenge.
Strength of mind, strength of character, and strength of will; these all exist within you and in greater abundance than you realize. You have everything it takes to be as successful as you desire. But you will be tested along the way. No one obtains any worthwhile level of success without experiencing some failures along the way.
Failure teaches us so much more than success. Failure teaches you what not to do and helps refine your plans and your actions. Failure tests your resolve. And failures along the way make success taste that much sweeter in the end.
So I ask again: Are you strong enough to fail? I say you are but what I say doesn’t matter. It’s how you answer for yourself that will make all the difference in your life.
Commit. Embrace life with wide open arms and enjoy the ride. Go after your dreams. No one else can or will do it for you.
Thursday, November 14, 2019
What comes out of your mouth is determined by what goes into your mind.
I just love quotes that are simple and to the point. This quote nails it.
You cannot expect to sound educated if you are not educated.
The better your vocabulary and the knowledge you have on a wide variety of subjects the better you will come across to others.
The more you read, the better your vocabulary becomes. (Aim for at least a book a month to start)
The more you listen to educated presenters (think YouTube or TedTalks) the better your vocabulary becomes. (Aim for at least one per week – one per day is even better).
You will begin to assimilate the vocabulary you are feeding your minds into your own speech.
Same holds true for knowledge.
The more you read, the more knowledge you acquire.
The more you listen to educated presenters, the more ideas you are exposed to, the more your knowledge increases.
And the wider the range of subjects you read about or listen to, the more you will begin to see connections which, again, increase your overall knowledge (and value to employers).
Feed your mind a healthy diet of substantive information and ideas and you will find yourself able to speak more intelligently on a wider array of subjects.
The mind controls the mouth. Strive to provide your mind with good information to work with.
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Part 1 was about having the Stamina for the sustained effort needed to achieve true success.
Part 2 is about Mental Fortitude.
Do you have the willpower and attitude to achieve true success?
Everyone’s success journey is different, but every journey will encounter trial and tribulations, bumps and setbacks along the way. Nothing worthwhile comes without effort and achieving success is certainly a worthwhile endeavor.
How well do you handle problems?
Do you have the emotional intelligence and emotional maturity to continue on when faced with adversity?
You have to make the choice to respond to adversity and not just react. Reacting is a knee jerk response. Anyone can and most do just react. The more mature and intelligent choice is to think and then respond.
Responding means that you take the time to understand what has happened and then to evaluate a range of options regarding the best course to move forward. It is not always easy – anger, pain, grief, and/or frustration often get in the way and sometimes you will need to let those emotions play out before actually responding and moving forward.
When my wife passed from her battle with cancer I knew I had to work through a grieving process. I knew it was coming, but I still had to go process my grief and my anger. I made a deal with myself that I would not make any life altering decisions until my head was back in the game. My response was to let myself deal with my emotions and then I would put my life back on track.
I certainly hope no one reading this ever has to go through a similar experience, but my point is that, unfortunately, at one time or another we all have curve balls in life to deal with.
The bigger point is to get you thinking about the difference between reacting and responding. Responding is the more mature and positive path. Reacting is often rash and negative.
Your success journey will no doubt have unexpected twists and turns, but the more solid your plan and the more focused you are on your ultimate goal, the more you can push forward during tough times.
Start working on your mental fortitude now, before you need to draw on it. Make a mental note of what you are thinking when issues crop up at work or at home. Are you kneejerk reacting, or taking time to respond? Work on taking a breath, taking a pause and then deciding on an appropriate, emotionally balanced and intelligent response.
Above all, know that you are worthy of the success you seek, and that you have within you all that you need to achieve it. Have faith that you possess the inner strength you need to move through both the peaks and valleys of your journey.
Thursday, November 7, 2019
You cannot control the length of your life, but you can control its breadth, depth, and height.
None of us are born with a countdown timer attached telling us just how many more days we have on this planet. We just do not know if today, tomorrow or next Wednesday will be the last day we will be with our family, friends and co-workers.
My intention with that somewhat sobering comment is not to depress you, but to get you to realize that you need to take control of each and every day as it comes. You can control what you do and how you react to events around you each and every day.
John Wooden used to say that you need to make each day your masterpiece. Not only was he trying to get you to bring your very best on a daily basis, but I think he also knew that we all have a finite number of days left and that we have a responsibility to ourselves and the world at large to make the best of each and every one.
When was the last time you took a moment to smell the air outside, to tell someone how much they mean to you or to try something new and scratch it off your Life List (those who know me know I do not like the term bucket list).
Life is all about experiences and about making a difference. That is the breadth, depth and height this week’s quote is talking about. What can you do each day so that at the end you can say to yourself “I lived a great day today”?
Try to make regular activities a bit more special. Simple things like eating dinner with the family around the table (instead of the TV) and on the good dishes (what good are they doing just sitting in the cabinet) and cloth napkins.
Try to make it a point to provide some words of encouragement or praise to at least one person each and every day. Simple gestures that let people know you care and that will actually lift your spirits at the same time.
None of know what tomorrow has in store, but we can make today a better day for ourselves and for everyone around us.
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Let’s jump right in and talk about stamina.
True Success, in whatever way you define it, takes effort. And effort takes stamina.
Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Contrary to stories that get told, success does not happen overnight. Those people who achieved “overnight success” actually had worked for years in the background. Just like almost everything else in the world, success has a price. And that price is sustained effort over the long term. And sustained effort takes stamina.
How is your overall health?
When was the last time you had a check-up at the doctor? And are you following the advice you were given?
What is your Blood Pressure?
What are your Cholesterol numbers?
Is your weight in-line with your height?
Are you still smoking?
Are you eating properly (lots of fresh vegetables, fruits and lean meats)?
How many beers do you drink a week?
Are you getting at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise 3 to 4 times per week?
Are you happy with the way your body looks in the mirror?
These are all important questions. Your health is nothing to take for granted. You have dreams and aspirations for your life. And you have people who love you and who want to have you around for many years to come.
You owe it to yourself and to those you love to do everything you can to improve and then maintain the best overall health possible.
You CAN achieve incredible levels of success, in all five success areas, but only if you have the stamina to sustain consistent effort over time. If you are not in optimal health, make today the day you truly commit to getting control of your health habits. Take it one day at a time and one healthy choice at a time. You CAN do this. You ARE stronger than you know. You ARE worthy of a long, healthy and truly successful life.
Click here to continue on to Part 2.
Click here to continue on to Part 2.
Thursday, October 31, 2019
“Procrastination is attitude’s natural assassin. There’s nothing so fatiguing as an uncompleted task.” – William James
So true, yet so avoidable.
Procrastination zips you of energy. You use up your energy thinking about the task, thinking about how hard the task will be, thinking about how much you do not want to do the task, thinking about everything else you would rather be doing than the task.
Get it. You are actually wasting more time and energy NOT getting the task accomplished than you would if you just buckled down and got the job done.
This quote reminds me of another that (and I am paraphrasing here) if you have to eat a frog, do it first thing in the morning and nothing worse can happen the rest of the day. Point being, get the bad thing out of the way and your day can only improve from there.
Procrastination is a silent and insidious disease. You put something off and nothing horrible happens. SO, you put something else off and nothing horrible happens. It seems to you that it’s not a big deal. BUT – the more you put things off, the more the problems start to build.
You don’t see the problems at first but they are coming. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But trust me, sooner or later you will have to deal with a much larger problem than you realize.
I had a boss that would bring me a task to do. I would tell him “let me get right on that”. He would almost always reply with “you don’t have to do it now.” The problem was that I already had a full plate for the day, week, etc. My standard response was always “If I don’t jump on it now, it may never get finished.”
I would jump on that task right away and get it done. That way, I was not thinking about, or worrying about, getting something done that my boss directly asked me to do. Win-Win for me. I looked good for making his request a priority, and I did not have the stress of worrying about it throughout the day or days to come.
If you have a list of things to do (and who doesn’t), I encourage you to jump in with both feet and challenge yourself to see how quickly you can start crossing things off the list. I promise you that you will find that each task you have been avoiding will actually take you less time than you think.
And when that list is done, you can truly relax without stressing over having this or that to do.
You can assassinate the assassin, and get some energy back in the process.
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
It is always your choice to make. How are you going to interact with the people in your life? Your friends, your lover or spouse, and your co-workers to name a few. This is an everyday decision and a course of action not to be taken lightly or just left to chance.
Are you happy with the quality of relationships you are having? If not, it’s probably time to take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror and zero in on the attitude and energy level you are bringing to the relationship. The energy and attitudes you put out oftentimes are reflected right back at you. If you are negative, the people around you are going to be negative back. If you are angry or nasty, most likely you will get the same directly back at you.
Conversely, if you are happy and loving you will likely receive the same.
Positive attracts positive.
Make it a daily habit to stop and consciously think about where you are emotionally as well as what type of relationship you want to have with whomever you are about to be with (could be a business meeting or home with the family for the evening). Take a few deep breaths to relax and center your thoughts. Remind yourself that your goal is to nurture and build healthy relationships throughout your life. Put a smile on your face and walk thru the
door. You’ll feel better and your relationships will be better.
When you pull into the garage after a long hard day at work, sit for a moment in your car. Remind yourself that you are home and that your loved ones are the most important people in your life (I trust I am correct on that one). Commit to focusing on nurturing the relationships before you walk through the door. The few seconds or minutes that you take can change your evening and your life.
Always choose healthy relationships. And by doing so, you are making your world and the world of those around you better. Be the change. Make the world a better place. It all happens one interaction at a time.
Monday, October 28, 2019
If you want to arrange it, this world you an change it. - Paul O'Neill
Another favorite of mine. It is part of the lyrics from a song called Old City Bar by Trans Siberian Orchestra. The photo is my left forearm. I have it in plain site to remind me each and every day how I want to live my life.
We all have the power to change the world around us each and every day.
Simple acts of kindness make a difference and a change. Holding open the door for a stranger coming or going from a store or paying the difference for someone who is a bit short on cash at a fast food restaurant counter. Each of these brightens the receiver's day but also brightens yours.
Volunteering at your local school, church or synagogue. Joining a local civic organization. Running for public office. Even mowing the lawn or blowing snow for an elderly neighbor on your street.
Changing the world does not mean some grand gesture or huge financial endeavor. I am not suggesting you have change the world at large (although I am not talking you out of it either). I am talking specifically about your part of the world. The world that is right outside your door and in the city where you live.
Small miracles happen when you do for others; when you are focused and looking for ways to make a difference. Your heart beats a little stronger and those you have touched feel it as well. When you are focused on making a difference your problems just do not seem as big and your energy level improves. Helping others feeds the soul. Your soul and their soul.
Imagine just how wonderful the world could be if everyone would take this thought to heart. We can only control how we act and interact. But if each of us works to make a difference in the world each day, over time others will follow. Imagine what that may lead to....
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Successful people share a common trait; they are positive and forward looking. It is generally not intelligence, passion or focus that holds people back. The number one thing that holds most people back, and the number one habit you need to break, is negativity.
Negative thoughts can be focused in many areas: negativity about yourself, negativity about others and negativity about the world around you.
You can’t be negative about your abilities and be beating yourself up mentally if you desire to become successful in any area of your life. That self-doubt and those negative conversations have to come to an end. You have developed a bad habit that you must, and can, stop.
Additionally, you cannot be negative about people in your life and the world around you (family, friends, co-worker, neighbors, work, the shopping mall, etc.). Whether you realize it or not, those negative thoughts are affecting your actions and the decisions you make. They cloud your judgement and hold you back from stepping boldly forward, trying new things and from asking others for assistance. The game of life, and especially a successful life, is not a solo endeavor. You need the input and help from others in order to reach the heights you are capable (Don’t believe me? – There is that negative self-talk again…. Sneaky bad habit isn’t it?)
You mind needs food as much as your body does. Healthy, nutritious food. To break the negativity habit you have developed over time you need to consciously start feeding positive thoughts, ideas and energy into your mind. TED talks, inspirational books and videos, romantic novels, seeing a therapist- whatever you can do to feed your conscious and subconscious mind a healthier and more positive diet will make a difference.
Want another difference maker (Stay with me on this one). Stop binge watching the news (24/7 news channels) and eliminate Twitter/Facebook, etc., for at least 30 days. I know, I know, I sound like a crazy man. But if you really stop and think about it, these information sources primarily plant seeds of negativity. Yes, there are feel good posts and stories but overall social media and mass media news are designed to get an emotional reaction. Unfortunately the negative gets more attention than the positive. You want to replace your “negative diet” with a more positive and inspirational diet.
You can break the negativity habit. You just have to admit that you can be negative at times (can’t we all), but make it a goal to catch yourself when you start to think or speak negatively and stop/think. If you really try, you can find something positive in almost any situation. And by taking control of your own thoughts and internal dialogue you have already started the process of retraining you mind and breaking the negativity habit.
It will not happen overnight. But it will happen. You have the mental fortitude to become a more positive thinker, a more positive person and to see just how much the world has to offer to you and to your future.
Thursday, October 17, 2019
In other words: preparation, preparation, preparation. Too many people want to “get busy” or “get to work” when they have an idea in their head, or a task to accomplish.
Sometimes we jump in because we are excited. Sometimes we jump in because we just want to get it over with. Sometimes we jump in because we really don’t know what to do and think we will figure it out once we get busy.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Without proper consideration and planning you will often times waste both your time and your energy. You might even waste your hard earned money (buying supplies for instance that you end up not even needing).
Take the time to sit, think and plan. Think the task through as much as you can. When you have put together a plan, stop and ask yourself if there might be a better way. When you review your plan you might just realize that you overlooked a vital part or step, or that there is a more efficient way to accomplish your goal.
This applies as much to physical tasks, such as building a shed in your backyard, as it does to mental tasks, such as planning an investment portfolio to build your nest egg for retirement.
Spend the hours sharpening your axe and then, and only then, go ahead and chop down that try. I promise you the task will be both faster and easier if you do.
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
What you do for or a living, or, if you are a student, what you are studying is not as important as how you go about it and just what you are accomplishing on a daily basis.
At first glance, that may seem like a mouthful of a sentence but it really is quite simple. The quality of your work makes a statement to the world each and every day. The quality of your work, along with your focus and dedication, is your daily legacy.
Your work represents your character and your commitment to excellence. This is a commitment both to yourself and the world around you.
Think of this a different way. If you died tonight and will be remembered for both how you acted and what you accomplished today, would you be proud of your legacy?
None of us know how long we have on this planet. We all hope to live a long life and grow older with our loved ones, but we really do not know if this will happen. We have to live each day to its fullest and put the best of ourselves into each and every day. That is the only way to ensure when we do reach the end of our lives (no matter when that is) we can look back and know we did our best.
I can think of no valid reason to hold back, to not give 100%, to not attempt new challenges and experiences. Fear is not a valid excuse, and fear is what holds you back. Fear of the unknown, fear of embarrassment, fear of failure. But failure is often times the best teacher. It may not feel great in the moment but the best lessons, the most ingrained lessons, come from trying something new and falling on our face.
It is never the falling flat that should embarrass you. It is only if you do not get up and start again that you should be embarrassed. If anything, you should be proud that you had the guts to challenge yourself and try when most people would shy away.
Don’t be most people. Always be the best version of you. See yourself as strong, brave and willing to push out of your comfort zone in order to try something new and to grow. Now that is a life worth living and a life that will leave behind an inspiring legacy for others.
You are stronger than you know and more resilient than you realize. Embrace life and all it has to offer you. Leave behind a legacy that leaves no doubt you put it all out there and pushed yourself to grow and give back to the world more than you even realized you could. What you accomplish each and every day is your personal signature to the world. Make that signature big and bold!
Thursday, October 10, 2019
It’s not what happens around us that determines where we end up, it’s what we do and how we respond that makes that determination.”
This quote is all about personal responsibility. YOU are responsible for how your life turns out. Let me repeat that. YOU are responsible for how your life turns out. Events will happen that you cannot control, but YOU can control your reactions to those events.
I generally don’t talk about myself in this blog but I do believe some of my experiences are relevant to this post.
I have been let go from a job.
Three times in fact.
The first time was very scary. I was newly married and had a one year old son. How was I going to keep a roof over our heads and put food on the table? Would it help to blame the company that decided to make changes? Of course not. The only thing to do was make some phone calls (network) to find a new opportunity. Was it a little embarrassing to call friends and business associates to tell them I was out of work? IT was, but that didn’t matter. I had a family and myself to support.
The second time was a little unnerving, but not nearly as scary (sort of a been there, done that sort of thing). I had been in this position before and it had all worked out. I went through the same drill as before and within 6 weeks I had found a new position with a great company and great people. The next 20 years were some of the most productive years of my life.
Number three was frustrating just because of what was happening in my personal life. My wife was undergoing chemotherapy for appendix cancer that ultimately took her life. Talk about feeling like the universe was screwing with me. Long story short (way too long of a story for a blog post) I find myself again gainfully employed and happily married to a wonderful woman.
Why share all this? To help make my point – life will throw you curve balls but it is how you handle those curves that determine where you end up. I always say that my story is the proverbial when one door closes another opens.
Did I have some bad days? You bet I did. We all do. But you cannot let those bad days take over. You have to find a way to take back control.
You may find that you need some help (a doctor, a therapist, some medication, a support group). You have to find what works best for you at that moment. My wife loves the saying “Suck it up, buttercup”. She uses it more as a joke but it is both blunt and true. It all comes back to ultimately taking responsibility for your life and how you deal with those curve balls.
You have more resources inside you than you even realize. When push comes to shove you are stronger than you know. Yes, there will be tough times and sad days. But you cannot let them overwhelm you or become the narrative of your life. Even if you can’t see it today, this world has so much to offer you, and YOU have so much to give to the world.
Take responsibility and take action when those inevitable curve balls come your way. You will find yourself on the other side of the challenge a stronger, wiser and happier person than you were before the curve ball came your way.
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Achieving success in any area of your life is much like taking a flight. You start from a standstill with a destination in mind and finish moving having built up speed and momentum.
Initially you are at the gate sitting still. You have done your planning and are ready to get moving.
Much like starting to execute a plan for success, your flight starts with a little backward motion as you get pushed back from the gate. It takes the help of many people to get you started on the trip. You are perhaps a little unsure of where you are going, but your ground crew (family, friends, co-workers) help to guide you in the right direction.
After push back it is time to taxi to the runway. This can be a frustrating time. You are anxious to get going but often times you end up following a meandering path. You know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line but that line might run you off track. Although you cannot see it, often times the circuitous path is actually the best.
When your plane arrives at the start of the runway there is often a pause. This allows the pilot one last systems check and to make sure the path ahead is clear. The same applies for your success journey. A pause to make sure your direction and intention are aligned with your goals will help ensure you will arrive on target.
After a pause, the plane starts rolling forward, picks up speed and lifts off the ground and into the air. In your success journey you will also find yourself picking up speed and moving at a faster and faster rate as you learn more, gain experience and become more effective and efficient.
During any flight the combined forces from the wind and turbulence force pilots to make corrections and adjustments. You will find yourself doing the same. There are always a variety of factors that will impact your trajectory. You can encounter forces from all directions that are trying to slow you down or push you off course. Your job is to stay focused and continue to keep moving forward.
Finally the plane lands at its destination, only to immediately start preparing for another flight. You will do the same. You will achieve your goal and then set your sights on the next milepost. The more you achieve the more you will want to achieve. You will realize that you are capable of so much more than you thought and after a little celebration (vacation possibly) you will be ready to again put together a plan and head to the gate for another soon to be successful journey.
I wish you a lifetime of success and enjoyable journeys.
Thursday, October 3, 2019
"It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop." – Confucius
Success in each and every one on the five areas of success (Head, Heart, Health, Wealth, World) happens as you grow and move forward. If you stop moving, you stop growing. It really is as simple as that.
Never worry about your speed, just try to take at least one step forward each day in at least one success area. I am sure you have heard the saying “slow and steady wins the race.” While I do not believe that being successful is a race, I do believe that moving forward is true.
Every person is on their own journey through life. And no one really understands exactly what another person is going through. I do not know you, my reader, but I do know two things:
First - no matter what is going on in your life at this moment, you will get through it. You may not even know how yet, or even believe that you can, but you will. You have more strength internally than you realize and you have so much more to offer the world.
Second – there is no timetable on success. We all have our own definition of what success looks like and we are all moving at our own pace. And that’s the point to make – We are all moving at our own pace. At different times in your life your pace will increase and at other times it will slow down. That is normal. No one maintains a constant pace over a lifetime. We all just need to keep moving. Take it one day at a time or one moment at a time if necessary.
Set small goals. Your first goal of each day may just be to get out of bed. No worries. Give yourself a high five when you get up and then work on the next goal. Small goals over time make habits. Habits become routine. Routines keep you moving. Moving keeps you growing.
Confucius was right on the money. It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop. My wish for each and every one of you is that you always remember his words and that you do not stop. Keep moving, keep growing and one day you’ll look back and be both amazed and proud of how far you traveled and how much you accomplished.
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
As a list maker myself, I know how productive and satisfying it can be to plow through the day finishing tasks and scratching items off the list. The problem is that you can very often finish the day both mentally and physically exhausted, which is not healthy for you or for the relationships with the loved ones in your life.
Most of us are aware of our energy levels early in the day before being distracted by family or work obligations. Some of us can pop out of bed and hit the ground running. Others need time to wake up and get their motor running for the day. After we are moving we seem to forget to check in with ourselves and our mental energy levels.
Out mental energy levels greatly influence our overall productivity throughout the day, as well as how we feel at the end of the day. Very often the reason we finish the day physically exhausted is that we are mentally exhausted as well. We run our mental batteries down and then the brain robs energy from our body. We are not aware of the energy transfer as it happens, but boy do we feel it after we get home and sit down. We suddenly realize just how tired we are.
What if there was a way to help avoid that? What if we could have both more mental and physical energy at the end of the day?
Schedule your time into three parts.
Schedule activity time in maximum 45 minute segments. Set the timer on your phone and focus on working on a specific task. Don’t be trying to multitask – studies have shown that although we believe we get more done when we multitask the reality is that the actual amount and quality of the work performed is lower than if we worked on each item separately. If the task is going to take longer than 45 minutes – break it up. You need to build in mental breaks.
After 45 minutes your brain needs a break. Take 5-10 minutes to shift focus. Get a cup of coffee or a bottle of water from the break room. Chat with a colleague in person or on the phone. Check email or Facebook (just don’t get so absorbed that time ticks by before you realize). Anything to shift your focus and mind from the previous task. Then after 5-10 minutes, resume or start working on a new task. I call this approach “chunking”. I chunk my way through the day so that I can actually get more accomplished, but am not so mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the work day.
As you cycle through activity/recovery you are letting your mind naturally relax and recharge. (And speaking of recharge – try not to lunch at your desk. You are not really mentally disengaging and likely continuing to drain your mental batteries.)
This is quite often the toughest block to schedule for all of us. Try to schedule some time each day to just let yourself think. Having time to think about issues and possible solutions or ideas and ways to implement them may sound like a luxury you don’t have but I can assure you it is time well spent. If you are just go-go-go at work and home all day you will end up in a mental rut, never innovating or coming up with “outside the box” ideas. Free thought is the only way that happens. Try going for a walk. I used to walk around the warehouse a few times just to get both the blood and thoughts flowing.
We all have 24 hours in our day. No more and no less. Successful people schedule and use their time wisely. They work in spurts to maximize productivity and then allow themselves time to recover before tackling the next task.