Friday, September 27, 2019

This week's Quote and Commentary

“You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.” – Charles F. Kettering

So simple and true, yet so many of us spend inordinate amounts of time thinking and/or lamenting about the past. You are wasting precious amounts of time when you let your thoughts dwell on the past. Learn from your past experiences and bring those lessons with you as you move forward.

You only have control over today. You have no control over yesterday. It’s done and over. Focus on the here and now. What are you going to do today to make it a successful day for you and for those around you? What are you going to do today in order to make tomorrow a better day? You need to focus your energies on the activities of today and forward planning for your tomorrows.

A life well lived happens one day at a time. Each day is a new opportunity to learn, to grow, and to help others. Tomorrow gets better when you put your best efforts and attitude into today. Tomorrow ended last night. Today needs to be your focus, so your tomorrows can become everything you want them to be. You have the strength within you to chart any course in life you desire, but you have to be seriously working on that life each and every today.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Success requires your active participation

Success does not happen without your active participation. You must improve in all areas in order to achieve the level of success you desire. Success comes to those who work at it, and although success does have a price it’s not something you can simply go to the store and buy. The price for success is effort, growth and time. It takes all three my friends, all three. It takes your effort, your growth and your time.

YOU have to put forth the effort. YOU have to become focused and dedicated to increasing your knowledge and improving your skills in all areas. YOU have to seek out information from a variety of sources. If you are not absorbing new information and increasing your overall knowledge how can you expect to change and become more and more successful in any area of your life?

YOU have to grow. Growth comes from gaining knowledge, putting it into practice, reflecting on what is and what is not working, and then making adjustments as you move forward. Don’t be afraid of or discouraged by mistakes. Mistakes are often the best teacher as long as you reflect on what happened, why it happened and come away with a plan for doing it differently moving forward. Growth starts slow, but over time you gain momentum. The more you learn, the more connections you make. It is these connections that propel your growth.

YOU have to put in the time. Success does not happen overnight. Success is the result of thousands of little things you learn and do day in and day out. There are no shortcuts and everyone’s success journey is different. It takes time to try things, to make mistakes and to learn from them. It takes time to take classes, read books and talk to other successful people. Never waste the time you have by not taking advantage of each and every opportunity to learn something new.

Never forget that you are in control of your life. Events may occur but it is your choice on how you will react. Will you choose to let events define and dictate who you are and what you can achieve, or will you use the incredible strength you have within to rise up, find your path and achieve all the levels of success you desire. Always choose the latter – you have too much to offer and contribute to the world around you.   

Thursday, September 19, 2019

This week's Quote and Commentary

Each and every one of us holds the amazing power to modify our life at any time we decide to do so. - Michael Bailey

This quote is so true but does require commitment and work. The harsh reality is where you are in life today is the sum total of all the decisions and actions you have taken in the past. And yes, I know circumstance does play apart but your reaction to circumstance plays an even bigger role. If you are not completely thrilled with the level of success you have achieved in any or all of the five success areas it is you that needs to make some changes. When you work on yourself and make changes, changes can and will happen all around you.

Every single person on the planet, including you my friend, has an amazing capacity to change and grow. Our minds can continually learn and adapt. The more information we pour in, the more we have to draw from and apply to any situation we are in.

There is a quote from Bill Gates that ties into this idea well; “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year, but underestimate what they can do in ten years.” In today’s immediate gratification society most people get frustrated or discouraged when their attempts at change do not immediately yield results.  Changing your life’s trajectory starts slow. An aircraft carrier speeding along the ocean’s surface cannot turn on a dime. It takes the ship miles to make a complete turnaround.

Behaviors and habits need to change before you start to see real results. You can’t simply skip a meal today and expect significant weight loss. You cannot read one book and expect to be a subject matter expert. But modifying your diet and adding a consistent exercise routine will, over time, result in a much healthier you. Taking classes and researching a subject over time will make you a subject matter expert.

You have the power to greatly modify any facet of yourself and your life. The questions are how committed are you to the change, and will you stay the course over the long haul. You can be in a completely different place in all areas of success in ten years, but not in one year. The difference between those who succeed and those who do not is that successful people put in the effort, put in the time, and play the long game. Trust me on this – You can do it too.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Is it time for new friends?

I realize that question may sound a bit harsh but hear me out. Every once in a while (say once every year or two) you need to take a hard look at who you are spending the most time with and ask what impact they are having on your life. It is likely they are impacting you more more than you realize and you need to understand whether or not they are a positive or negative influence on you.

Did you know that your overall happiness is roughly the average of the happiness of the 5 people you spend the most time with? Your attitude about life is greatly influenced by the 5 people you spend the most time with. Your trajectory (personally and professionally) is, you guessed it, again influenced primarily by the 5 people you spend the most time with.

Get it yet? The 5 people you spend the most time with greatly determine who you are, how you interact with the world, and where you are heading. You have to ask yourself the following question about each and every one of your top friends: Are they helping to lift me up, are the supporting and encouraging my dreams or are they holding me back?

Your friends do not have nefarious intentions. But very often people subconsciously resist change, and your growth and success is a change they just not might be comfortable with. Again, this is not intentional and more of a subconscious act. They may not encourage you or push you to grow as much as they could simply because it may change the dynamic of your relationship. Remember, it's not intentional but change makes many people uncomfortable.

If you are serious about becoming the best version of yourself and about achieving success in all 5 areas (Head, Heart, Health, Wealth, and World) then you seriously need to take a strong and unbiased look at your friends. You need to determine who is a plus in your life (encouraging you, pushing you, exposing you to new ideas, etc.) and who is a minus in your life (not pushing you to grow, not bringing new ideas to your attention, not encouraging your dreams, keeping you in the same routine, etc.). Spend as much time as you can with the plus people in your life and reduce the time with the minus people in your life.

Again, I know this sounds a bit harsh or uncaring but really it’s not. Life is short and you cannot get time back. We all have 24 hours each day- no one gets more. Choose to use your waking hours to expand your horizons, challenge yourself to grow and become the best you that you can be (and trust me – you can do and achieve a lot more than you give yourself credit for today). Surround yourself as much as possible with people who truly want you to flourish. The people who are a plus will help you on the next leg of your journey.

None of this makes your current friends bad people. It’s just that you need to understand who is truly helping you move develop to your full potential and who is not. The reality is that we change over time. Our wants, needs, hopes, dreams all change. Doesn’t it make sense that our friends wants, needs, hopes and dreams are changing as well and the fact that you have known someone for a period of time should not be the only determining factor whether or not they should continue to have influence over you? I am not at all saying to cut old friends out of your life, I am just asking you to take some time and think about who is helping you grow and who is really not, both in actions and words.

You and only you are responsible for your achieving your definition of success. Make sure you have the best support team you can in order to give yourself the best chance at making that happen.     

Thursday, September 12, 2019

This week's Quote and Commentary

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.
Anyone who knows me or has heard me talk knows this is one of my favorite quotes. I love it’s simple yet powerful reminder that it is never too late to start. Stop with the shoulda, coulda, and woulda excuses or regrets. Every day you delay taking action is another day lost.

Let’s say you are overweight. You already know you should eat better and exercise. You have three choices.

1.      Ignore what you know and just keep doing what you are doing.
2.      Complain that it’s too hard to change or it’s too late to make a difference now.
3.      Make a change starting today.

These three choices apply to every facet of your life.

Health options – weight loss, diet, stop smoking, stop drug use, etc.

Work skills – typing speed, computer skills, specialized skills (Machine operator, computer programmer for example).

Hobbies/Leisure – Learn to play the guitar, learn to paint, become a better reader, etc., etc.

Financial literacy – Budgeting, learning about investment options, making investments, retirement planning.  

Here is the deal – Stop complaining that you are too old, that it’s too late, or that it won’t make a difference now. Those are all just bullshit excuses (pardon my language).  It’s never too late, you are never too old and any change will make a difference.

20 years ago may have been the best time. That doesn’t matter. Today is your second best option. Don’t waste it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Giving the Moment

We all want to be seen. We all want to be heard. It’s a basic psychological need. We all want to matter to others – to our families, to our friends, to our bosses and to our co-workers.

How do you make yourself matter? By giving other’s your time and attention. When you validate others you are validated in the process. That may sound a little odd but think about it for a moment – the more of yourself you give to others, the more they will rely on and trust you. You become more important because you are helping meet other’s needs.

Give others the moment. Let them speak, uninterrupted. Listen, really listen to them. Seek to understand; do not listen just to respond. Ask questions for clarification if needed after they have spoken (do not interrupt). We are all guilty of completing someone’s sentence or thought. We want to help and we want to move the conversation along. This moving along is really more about YOU than it is about them. You are busy, you want to get back to what you were doing, you want to be the hero and quickly provide the answer or advice. That all might make you feel better, but in reality it discounts the other person.

We all need to be aware of the other person’s feelings and needs. Remember, everyone needs to feel like they matter. By cutting them off, finishing their thoughts and rushing to respond you are actually signally to them that you have much more important matters that need your attention. Your intention may be good, but the results are not.

Instead of trying to rush the conversation along, why don’t you just stop what you are doing, put down the pen and paper, put down the book, mute the TV, turn off or turn the screen (computer, laptop, tablet or phone) and make true eye contact with the other person. Nod slightly as you listen, and listen for comprehension. Give them their moment, show them they matter. Your interactions will be better, the outcomes will be better, your communication will be clearer, your relationships will strengthen and you will both come away knowing that you both matter. 

It is only a moment. Let others have them. You will both be glad you did.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

This Week's Quote and Commentary

Your level of success will never exceed your level of personal development.

I really like this quote. Focused and to the point. It is your commitment and follow-thru to your personal development that will help propel you up the ladder of success. If you are not willing to put in the time to develop yourself how can you reasonably expect to succeed in whatever area you are focused on.

This holds true for each of the five elements of success: Head, Heart, Health, Wealth and World. Head obviously takes the lead. Successful people are lifetime learners. They are consistently active and open to new information. They know that the world around them is changing at an ever increasing pace and the only way to keep up is to seek out and find new information and skills on a variety of subjects. The more you know, he more you can connect and use ideas from multiple disciplines. What is working in one area may well be the answer to a problem in another area.

To be successful in the Heart requires learning how to communicate and relate to the people in your life. It requires you to be both vulnerable and giving at the same time. The more you learn about interpersonal practices the more successful you can become with all your relationships.

Health success requires you to keep up with the latest science on nutrition, exercise and mental health. Learning what, when and how much to eat help you achieve weight control success. What you learn and practice in the area of exercise helps your body stay strong, lean and flexible. What you learn about yoga, meditation and other forms of relaxation help maintain your mental health. Staying healthy helps you climb the success ladder in every other area as well.

Success on the Wealth front requires developing money saving and investing strategies. You have to commit to developing your financial acumen in order to move ahead both personally in wealth management but very often to move forward in the workplace as well. The more you know the more valuable you become to the marketplace. The more valuable to the marketplace you become, the more options you have and the more likely that those options include higher salary become.   

World success requires a high level of personal development. How else can you successfully mentor other people or know where you can best give back (time and/or money) to make a lasting impact on the world around you. You may not impact the entire world at large (hard to impact over 7 billion people at once) but you can make an impact in your part of the world (your home, your workplace, your neighborhood, your town).

Your level of personal development truly affects your level of success. You owe it to yourself and those you love and are yet to love, to become the best possible version of you. Develop yourself and let everyone see and benefit from all you can bring to the world. Success is yours for the making. Take up the personal development challenge and see just how high up the ladder you can climb.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Share Your Humanity

I want to challenge you all to make a commitment to changing how you interact with the people in the world around you. The concept I am challenging you all to embrace is “Share Your Humanity”. At the heart is the concept of treating others how you would like to be treated. We all want to be seen (noticed, acknowledged), we all want to be shown compassion, and we all want to valued and respected.

Sharing Your Humanity is just that. Notice the people around you, respect the people around you and show some compassion to the people around you. How hard is that really? We are not talking about any bold action on your part. Start small and hold a door open for complete strangers and wishing them a good day is a simple way to start. Taking a few seconds (yes, literally seconds) to make a connection and show some kindness impacts both your day and the strangers day in a positive way.

Each one of us, through our actions, sends energy into the world around us. The choice you need to make is whether that energy is going to be positive or negative. I urge you to choose positive. In a world that seems so full of negative thoughts and actions, we need more positive to be sent out to help offset the gloom and doom of the news. Sharing Your Humanity puts a spring in your step. Don’t believe it. Get up, get out and make someone’s day. You will feel better and I assure you so will they.

You Share Your Humanity when you do something unexpected for someone else with no thought of any payback to yourself. It is the free giving of goodwill on your part. We can all find a way to make that happen. I saw a short video on LinkedIn this morning about a man who bought a small amount of food (bag of chips and a Gatorade) for homeless people he saw on the street. That was his way of Sharing his Humanity; a simple and compassionate action his part with obviously no expectation of payback. I am not advocating you do the same (although that would be wonderful), but I am advocating you find ways to Share Your Humanity with the world around you.

Make this challenge part of your daily routine. Put it into action and practice every day until it becomes automatic. Think about the chain reaction your one act of kindness could set in motion today, and then stop thinking about it and go do it. Let’s set in motion thousands of ripples of humanity throughout our world and the universe. It just takes a few seconds of awareness and effort from each of us.