How to Lose the Guilt and Feel Great About NOT Compromising

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Conventional wisdom says we all need to compromise. If only the politicians, bosses, clients, customers, spouses would compromise. Then…what?

The implied promise is that everything would be great! Sure, neither side would get everything, but both sides would get something, and at least we would be getting things done.

Yes, that’s necessary sometimes. We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the better.

But many times, compromise is overrated – and wrong.

It starts with the premise that we are on different sides. Why do we have to be? It moves to the idea that we can’t get what we want and need. Who says? It suggests that if you don’t give in a little, you’re wrong. We’re even shamed into thinking it’s selfish not to compromise.

But, what if you’re right? What if compromising hurts you and those you are trying to help?

All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is surrender. For it is all give and no take.

– Gandhi

You shouldn’t compromise on fundamentals. Would you compromise with a serial killer? “How about instead of killing 28 people, you just kill 14. Can’t you meet me half way here?” That just doesn’t work.

For me, I won’t compromise on who I am, what work I do, who I will take on as a client, how I treat others, and how I allow myself to be treated.

When I compromise on these for money, convenience, or lack of a backbone I lose respect for myself and decrease the value of what I have to offer this world. I hate myself when I do it.

Not good.

I feel great when I reject the idea that life is about compromise. Instead I look to create relationships and work where I’m not competing with another “side.” We’re working together for the same outcomes.

When I’m at my best, I blog about what I value with an honest, vulnerable, but strong voice. I choose my clients carefully. I choose the stories and opinions I talk about on my radio show carefully. I am transparent. I am real.

Of course we can all compromise on the little things that aren’t very important to us. But, if we think everything is a compromise we become ungrounded, disillusioned and fake. That leads to work that isn’t our best and strained relationships with people we don’t even want to be around anymore.

Action steps:

  • Define your fundamentals that you will not compromise on
  • Determine who you will – and won’t – work with
  • Give away the clients who are draining you – You will attract ones who will energize you

Questions for comments: What are your fundamentals you won’t compromise on? How do you feel when you agree to compromise on them anyway? How will you prepare yourself to deal with a situation like that in the future?

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. You can also purchase my book, GO!

How To Be Happy

It's just one, or two, or four things

 

If you go deep enough, just about everything we do is in an effort to be happy. Think about it for a second. Why do you want more money? So you can buy things, take care of your family, donate to charities, help people, take trips, go to concerts, and more, right?

And, why do you want the ability to buy things and do stuff? Because, in one form of another, that makes you happy.

It’s the same with your desire for success, loving relationships, better health, deeper faith, or whatever else you want. When you keep asking why do you want it, it’s about being happy.

Even the voluntary sacrifices you make for others help make you happy. That is the outcome you’re looking for – and that doesn’t take away from the good you’re doing.

So, how do you be happy?

I think it depends on your definition of happiness. Are you talking about momentary happiness? Daily happiness? Overall happiness? A life of purpose, significance, and meaning? Are you talking about a combination of all those things?

That’s what I want. But for today, the question is how to be happy…generally.

According to who you talk to, that comes down to one, two, or four things.

One Thing:

Curly, in the movie, City Slickers, said it’s all about one thing. What is the one thing? Well, that’s for you to figure out.

Gee, thanks, Curly, I was hoping for a little more there (but I think we all know what he means).

Two Things:

The latest results from a Harvard study that’s been running since 1938 just came out. Every two years they ask the subjects questions about their happiness and well-being.

The study found two things that correlate the most to happiness.

1) Let go of the junk in your life.

People who are able to determine what’s important and what isn’t are happier. If you can ignore the small stuff, let go of past failures, and focus on what makes you happy and what counts the most to you, you will radically increase your happiness.

2) Good, social relationships.

We were created to be in relationships. Isolation hurts us. Close, loving relationships with spouses, friends, and extended family boost our overall happiness and help us through tough times. It also helps if you are able to avoid the toxic people in your life.

Ok, that makes sense to me. But what I’ve found is that happiness comes down to…

Four Things.

1) A purpose.

If you read my blog and book, this should not surprise you. I think it’s impossible to have a truly happy life if you think your life is pointless. A purpose changes everything. I have multiple purposes in my life – from meaningful work, to raising my children, to helping people and more. Purpose is linked to all kinds of physical, mental and emotional changes that lead to more happiness.

2) Loving Relationships.

I agree big time with the Harvard study on this one. Some alone time in your life is a good thing, but being isolated and lonely is not. A good marriage, good family, and good friends will take you a long way to the happy place. For me, a loving relationship that is essential is the one I’m always working on with Jesus.

3) Good health.

I used to think it was silly when people said, well, at least I still have my health. Then, I tweaked my back. I could barely walk. Every time I moved it hurt. I couldn’t do anything. I was miserable. It’s hard to be happy when you feel like that. Feeling healthy and well rested really helps pump up the happy.

4) Happy moments.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the big, purposeful, meaningful stuff, we forget the small stuff. Yes, this type of small stuff matters! I’m happy when I go to the beach, or eat an ice cream cone with my daughter, or go out to dinner with my wife, or watch my Gators win a football game in the final second, or fall asleep reading a good book. Those moments count.

We need to balance those with the harder, purposeful work we do to build our happiness.

Questions for comments: What do you do to increase your happiness? What do you think is necessary to lead the happiest life you can?

Let’s GO!

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

To Win Big, You Need A Heavy Dose of Vitamin N

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Have you ever been working really hard on an important goal and then noticed that other things in your life are starting to slide? Then you start to feel guilty that you can’t do it all?

Then you start shoulding on yourself.

  • I should be able to reach all my goals without giving up anything.
  • I should be better at this.
  • I shouldn’t have to sleep more than 5 hours a night.
  • I should be able to work a full time job, start a side business, lose weight, take care of the yard, clean the house, volunteer at church, and be the perfect mom/dad/wife/husband.
  • I should be able to play in the NBA, speak Spanish and Mandarin fluently, travel the world, and play the guitar like Eric Clapton (Ok, that last should is really just a wish list for me…Sorry.)

It sounds silly when you read those “shoulds” out loud, but we do this stuff to ourselves all the time? Why?

I think it’s because we have more than one goal and we want to accomplish them all – right now! And, we think if we let anything slip while we’re working on a goal, that we’re a failure.

You would never tell a friend that, but it’s what we tell ourselves.

I have more than one thing I want to do in life. I have more than one goal. I’m sure you do, too.

But we have to remember one of my favorite quotes from David Allen.

This is where the heavy dose of Vitamin N comes in. It’s the vitamin your parents gave you while you were growing up, the one that stopped you from being a spoiled brat.

Vitamin N is NO.

When I was finishing my book, I was spending two to three hours a day on it, while I was still spending about eight hours on my day job. Something had to give in the rest of my life.

I blogged less. I didn’t create any new videos. I wasn’t playing my guitar. I watched virtually no TV. I said no to invitations.

I focused and used heavy doses of Vitamin N.

I know it’s hard to say no. We all want to be the team player. We don’t want to be called selfish, lazy, or rude. We want to say yes to our boss when she asks us to take on another project. We want to say yes to our colleagues who ask us for help.

We want to say yes to our kids, spouse, church, charity, and friends.

This isn’t to suggest that you always say no, or that you never help out a co-worker or a friend. This isn’t carte blanche permission to say no to everyone. You will still say yes to your spouse, kids, boss, church, etc., but you won’t say yes all the time.

The point is that you are strategic as to when you say yes and you make sure that no is not a dirty word. It will end up helping you, and everyone you care about, more than saying yes to all comers.

Success comes by doing ONE thing … and then doing another ONE thing, and then another.

Regardless of what Oprah tells us, we can’t do more than one thing at a time. So focus, do the ONE Thing, and then do the next thing.

I’m reading Jon Acuff’s new book, Finish, and he makes a great point about this. He says you need to pick what to bomb in your life.

At this particular time, with your priorities, what are you going to let slide?

  • Do you need to pay someone to take care of your lawn, or clean the house?
  • Is it time to take a break from one of the committees you serve on?
  • Do your kids need to understand that they need to pitch in more around the house so you have a couple more free hours a week?
  • Do you need to let someone else lead the new project at work this time?

 

Every time we say yes to what someone else wants from us, we are also saying no to time focused on our goals and what we want. If we’re spread too thin trying to help everyone with their work we will end up with poor results for them and for the work we are called to do.

We need to administer a healthy dose of vitamin N. We need to be comfortable saying, No. We can be nice in how we say it, but we don’t need to act like we’re doing something horrible by saying no, either.

Here are some ways to say no:

  • Thanks for asking me, but I’m in the middle of a project right now that I need to finish by my deadline.
  • I’m not the best person to help on this one. That’s really Jim’s specialty.
  • I’ve already committed to X right now. I know you will do a great job.
  • I’m not able to set aside the time needed to do that well.
  • I’m honored you thought of me, but I’m not able to help on this 
one.
  • No, I’m not able to do that.

It will take some practice getting good at saying no, but it will change your life. Try it out. See how it feels.

Say no to someone today. Say no to two people tomorrow. Or, as Jon Acuff says, pick what you’re going to bomb.

It is liberating.

Let’s GO!

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

How To Use That Voice In Your Head To HELP You

We all talk to ourselves all day long. (Let’s use our inside voices, please.) If it’s a constant stream of negative can’ts, shoulds, and nevers It’s hurting your mood, performance, and success. If you can make those voices in your head work for you, that would be pretty sweet wouldn’t it?

Greg, this isn’t going to be one of those deals where you tell me to meditate to spa music, think positive thoughts and then I’ll ride a unicorn over a rainbow and end up at a pot of gold is it? Because I tried that once and ended up living in my mother-in-law’s basement eating Cheetos and playing Xbox all day. (Actually, I was fine with it, but my wife and kids weren’t thrilled.)

Good question. I like where your head’s at (except for that living in the basement part). This is not one of those deals. This isn’t “think positive and success will manifest.” This is one of those “use your self-talk to keep you motivated to do the behaviors you need to do to achieve the success you want” deals…

Your self-talk matters. Hey, there’s a reason cheerleaders don’t chant how much their team stinks. There’s a reason the home team with supportive fans often beats a superior club. Why not use that in our real lives?

Be Nice to Yourself

Do you ever say things to yourself you would never let anyone else say to you?

Things like:

That was a really stupid thing to do.

You will never be good enough to get that job.

You’re not smart enough to start your own company.

Nobody would ever pay YOU to do that.

You’re such a failure.

Let’s work on making your self-talk work for you.

Rational Emotive Therapy

Psychologist Albert Ellis was the founder of something called Rational Emotive Therapy. He did a lot of work on how our thoughts determine our moods and behaviors. His contention was that it’s not what happens to us that determines how we feel and act. It’s how we think about what happens to us that determines how we feel and act. He saw it happening in an A-B-C pattern.

A – An Activating event in your life that triggers negative or positive thoughts. It could be something small like stepping in a mud puddle in your brand-new shoes or something big like the death of a parent.

B – The Beliefs or thoughts you think about the event.

C – The Consequences, feelings, and behaviors that come from your beliefs and thoughts.

It is not the activating event that determines your feelings and behaviors, it is your beliefs and thoughts about the activating event. Two people can experience very similar events but respond with totally different feelings and behaviors. The difference wasn’t the event, it was the way each of them chose to think about the event.

My wife, Anne, was getting dinner for my girls the other night at Chick-Fil-A. She was in a hurry and couldn’t believe the crowd. The line wrapped around the inside of the building. She was in a hurry, frustrated and almost left.

Then someone told her that it was a fundraiser night for a little boy with cancer. Anne saw the boy’s parents taking pictures of the crowd. She saw the boy’s friends and family so happy and appreciative of everyone who came out to give them support.

Suddenly, she wasn’t frustrated anymore. She didn’t mind the wait. She said a prayer for the boy and a prayer of thanks for the health of everyone in our family.

Nothing about the situation changed except how my wife thought about it.

Ellis pointed out that we often have thoughts that lead us to negative feelings and beliefs. If a boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with us we might think, “I’m unlovable. No one will ever want to marry me.” If we get fired we might think, “This is the worst thing that could ever happen to me. I’m going to lose my job and end up on welfare.” The thoughts may be irrational, but the more you tell yourself these things the truer they become for you.

However, if you can catch yourself thinking these irrational thoughts, stop them and change them to more positive thoughts, then those new thoughts become true for you. Replace the thinking in the above scenarios with new thinking.

“It’s good we broke up now. We weren’t a good match. Now I’m free to find my future husband.”

“I wasn’t planning on getting fired. There will be some things I have to work out. But I knew this wasn’t really the job for me. I’m going to focus on getting a job I’m passionate about and can excel at. This could actually be a good thing for me. Maybe I’ll even use this time to start my own business. I have savings that can keep me going until I find my new source of income. I’m going to be fine.”

Let’s go a bit deeper on this: Most of us think irrational thoughts and ask ourselves irrational questions every day. When something goes wrong in your life do you ask negative questions like, “Why does this always happen to me?” or, “Why do I always fail?” or my personal favorite, “How could I be so stupid?”

These questions won’t help you. They’re irrational and based on false premises. Honestly, does “this” always happen to you? Do you always fail? Are you truly stupid, or did you just do something you wish you wouldn’t have? Do only bad things happen to you everyday? Of course not.

Action Steps:

1) When you notice you’re asking those types of negative, false questions, stop it. Yell, “Stop!” out loud. (Or in your head if you don’t want to take a forced van ride to a place where they make you take pills and play ping pong all day.) Scratch those records you keep playing in your head so you can’t hear them anymore.

2) Start asking positive questions like, How can I use this challenge for my good? or What can I learn from this experience and act on right now? How can I improve my outcome next time?

3) Practice changing how you view activating events in your life. Reframe them in the best way possible. Think positively about the best way to handle every situation that comes your way.

4) Put the Cheetos away! (Ok, I think that’s just my problem.)

Try this out in your life and see what happens. This doesn’t mean you will never feel sad, angry, or upset. It just means you will not overreact and put yourself into such a negative place that you can’t make rational decisions to move forward with your goals.

Question: Have you ever experienced a situation where your self-talk hurt you or helped you? 

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

How to Use Pleasure and Pain to Your Advantage

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The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.

–Anthony Robbins

I received some emails last week about my post, I Tried To Change And It Didn’t Work. They said, Greg, I understand that we don’t change because we think we’re getting more pleasure and less pain out of staying the same than we would get out of changing, but how do I use that knowledge to convince myself I need to change?

Great question.

Let’s use pain to our advantage. Let’s amplify the pain of our current situation and what that pain will become if we don’t change.

We need to do this, because we often find ways to avoid the pain we’re living in. We have all kinds of ways to distract ourselves. Here’s a partial list:

  • TV
  • Food
  • Alcohol
  • Movies
  • Social Media
  • The Internet
  • Sports
  • Clubs
  • Hobbies

Not all of these are bad for us, but they can be if we use them to escape and dull the pain of the rest of our life.

We’re going to use the Christmas Carol technique. (If you’ve ever seen Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you should be trying to do.) I learned this one from Anthony Robbins years ago. I still use it to maintain my motivation anytime I start to think things are getting too hard.

To do this right, you should spend a good fifteen minutes going deep into your thoughts and feelings to make it seem as real as possible.

Close your eyes and imagine what your life will be like if you do not change to follow what you were created to do. If you’re lucky, you will bounce from job to job chasing the paycheck to take care of your family. You will go to work every day with a feeling deep inside you that you aren’t doing what you were put on this earth to do. You will spend 40-60 hours a week doing a job you don’t like, or maybe even hate.

Think about doing this job you hate and all the things in your life that bother you. Imagine this is as good as it will ever get. Imagine all the dreams you have dying unfulfilled. You never get that dream job, never pursue that Passionate Purpose burning inside you, never make more money, never get closer to your loved ones, never travel to new places, never improve your relationship with God, never help the people you care about, never move into your dream home.

You never grow. You never change. You’re stuck like this until the day you die.

Imagine that you don’t do anything you’ve been dreaming about. You do nothing different so nothing changes a year from now. What would that feel like? What would it look like? What would it sound, smell, and taste like? Does that create emotional pain for you?

Now imagine nothing has changed and it’s five years from now. You keep doing the same things every day. You’re no closer to your dreams and goals than you were five years ago, but you’re five years older. You’re going through the motions 40 to 60 hours a week.

You live for the weekends and two measly weeks a year of vacation—if you’re lucky.

But it pays the bills and you’re doing “OK.” Years go by and you feel like the life is being sucked out of you. You aren’t the fun-loving, optimistic person you used to be. Your kids and spouse aren’t getting the best of you anymore. You realize sometimes you are taking out your frustrations on them. You feel depressed with where your life is. You keep putting off the things you know you should do and you get angry with yourself for not following through. Your self-esteem keeps sinking lower. How does that feel? Is it painful yet?

Now do it again and project your life out ten years, twenty years. Think about your life with no growth and no changes thirty years from now. Make it as real as you can and feel it right now. Spend five to ten minutes really feeling this. I’ll wait. …

(Man this kettle corn microwave popcorn is really good! Oh, you’re back. Hey!)

OK, how scary are those feelings?

And what if becoming stagnant where you are is the best-case scenario. What happens if your company lays you off? What happens if the job you do becomes obsolete? What happens if you don’t work on your marital relationship and that leads to divorce?

You’re either growing or dying. Which one sounds better to you?

That fear we just created needs to be greater than the fear you might fail at following your Passionate Purpose. If you approach this as if you can’t afford to fail, as if your future depends on it, you will succeed.

Now let’s get a deep emotional feeling of how much pleasure the life of our dreams could be.

Do the Christmas Carol exercise again. But this time think about what your life will be like when you start pursuing your Passionate Purpose every day.

What will you have accomplished and what kind of a person will you be one year from now? Write down every good thing you can about what that would be like.

What will you be earning an income doing?

What will your family life be like?

What will your physical and spiritual fitness be?

How eager will you be to jump out of bed each morning?

How much more freedom to pursue your desires will you have?

How great will it feel to be highly valued for what you are contributing to others?

Visualize what your life will be like. Feel the feelings that come with that life.

Now do the same exercise for imagining your extraordinary life five years from now. What have you achieved already and what are you pursuing now? How big an income are you generating? What kind of home are you living in? How have you improved your most important relationships even more? How has every area of your life improved? What are you most thankful for now? Go deep into your imagination. Feel the emotions well up inside you.

Use the same prompts about your life we have been using and look out ten years. Now 15 years. Now 20 years. How extraordinary is your life now? Visualize achieving every goal you have for the next 20 years of your life. Everything you’ve ever wanted to do, be, learn, earn, and give has come to pass.

Your relationships are better than you thought possible. You walk with your Creator. You are giving abundantly to the people and causes you believe in. You are living in your dream home and taking vacations around the world with your loved ones and making priceless memories. See it, feel it, and experience it as if it has already happened. Get deep into it. Convince yourself it’s real.

How do you feel right now?

You’re welcome.

Let’s GO!

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

I Tried To Change And It Didn’t Work

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Are you ready for some tough love? If you have tried to change before and it hasn’t worked, there is really only one reason. It’s not because you don’t have talent. Talent is overrated. You see unsuccessful people with talent all the time. It’s not because you aren’t smart enough, don’t know the right people, or don’t have enough money to get started. It’s not because you don’t have enough time. We all have the same 24 hours in each day.

The real reason you haven’t followed through on what you say you want is this: You get more out of not changing than you think you would get out of changing.

I know that’s hard to hear. But it’s true, and all of us struggle with it. I have to tell myself this every time I start to back slide.

Tony Robbins puts it this way: You believe you get more pleasure and avoid more pain by staying the way you are than by doing the work necessary to change.

I know this sounds crazy but think about it. Why don’t we all eat healthy and never overeat? Isn’t it because we like the pleasure we get from the taste of the foods we know aren’t good for us? Isn’t it because of the pleasurable feeling we create in ourselves when we eat too much?

Sure it makes us gain weight and maybe even feel sluggish, but doesn’t the short- term pleasure overwhelm the long-term pain? I know it does for me more times than I’d like to admit. Our actions speak louder than all the diets we’ve ever planned to live by.

Why do you think alcoholics and drug addicts continue to use even though it’s destroying their lives? Obviously addiction is a factor, but it’s also because they believe the short-term pleasure they get is greater than the long-term pain. They use substances to temporarily change the way they feel, to avoid pain in their lives, to distract themselves from their problems, and to self-medicate.

Even when they are losing their jobs, their spouses, their children, their friends, their homes, and their health, they keep using for the short-term pleasure and the short-term escape from their pain.

Yet, many do kick their habit. How? They do it when they hit rock bottom. When they convince themselves the pain of their addiction is worse than the short-term pleasure of using and they decide they must change. That’s when they start the difficult recovery process.

How Do Some People Do It?

Let me ask you a question. How do we have people making average salaries starting new businesses every day in this country? How do legal immigrants come here with nothing and open a business the first year they’re here? I’m talking about people who do it without a loan or investors. How do they do it?

They convinced themselves they had to. They decided that to not put out the effort and money necessary to pursue their goal would be more painful than doing it. They stayed focused on the long-term pleasure they would get and how they would avoid the long-term pain of never pursuing their dreams. They found a way.

Some saved money for years that they could have used on other things. Others found a way to start it in their home and slowly build it. Others found a way to do it all online for almost nothing. The bottom line is they found a way. You can, too.

Could You Do It If?

Imagine your child has a fatal illness. The doctors say she only has six months to live. But if you get her the right medicine, she will be completely cured. One problem: The medicine costs $10,000 and you’re broke. No one can loan you the money. Do you think you could earn an extra ten grand in six months to save your child?

Of course you could, and you would, because you would have to. With that kind of effort and commitment nothing could stop you.

That’s the kind of commitment you will need because deciding you must change is just part of it. You also must decide you are willing to do the work required to make the change.

I can give you ideas and techniques to change your life, but I can’t change you. All true change will come from you.

Let’s GO!

How to be Happier at Work

And, no, it's not about office chair races (although that sounds fun) It’s All About Your Focus

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Maybe the reason you aren’t happy at your job isn’t because you’re in the wrong career, or you aren’t paid enough, or you aren’t appreciated, or your benefits stink, or…fill in the blank.

Then again, that could be it. You could have the worst job in the world, or maybe you’re doing something that you just don’t like. If so, go here.

There are a bunch of extrinsic and intrinsic work rewards that can make you happier. Read my earlier post about that here.

But after you’ve looked at all that, maybe the real reason you’re not happier at work is because in our “short attention span you must respond to me instantly” society most of your time is spent doing superficial work:

  • Reacting to emails, text messages, and phone calls
  • Putting out other people’s fires
  • Going to meetings that seem to accomplish nothing
  • Being interrupted every 5 minutes when you finally get to focus on your real work

Gee, I can’t understand why you don’t wake up with a smile on your face every morning and race back to your cubicle for more of that!

“You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid, monotonous work, chances 
are you’ll end up boring, stupid, and monotonous.” 
–B.Black

While I was working on this blog post I allowed myself to be interrupted by emails, a phone call, and an Internet search on when and how Bill Walsh died. (Background: I watched a documentary on him last night and was curious. It turns out he was 75 and died of leukemia in 2007.) I even allowed myself to be distracted by a video on how to introduce yourself.

How do we get anything done anymore?

This type of fractured, distracted, superficial work environment can lead anywhere from mild unhappiness, to frustration, anger and depression.

Think back to the last time you were doing real work and someone kept trying to talk to you or ask you to do little, unimportant things. How did you respond to them? How did you feel?

Now think back to the last time you were in the flow or the zone and you knew you were doing great work. You knew you were at your best and Getting. It. Done.

How did you feel after a couple of hours of that? Even if it wasn’t your favorite part of your job, the fact you did it well and got it done felt good, didn’t it?

If it was something you really care about and you kicked butt, then you were on a high, weren’t you?

So, how do we get more of that?

The answer is focus.

If you can focus on the most important goals in your job and avoid the distractions of lesser tasks, you will be killing it at work and enjoying the great feelings that come from being in the flow.

If you focus on all the superficial, busy work that most people focus on, you’ll be the average, disengaged, unhappy worker bee.

So, where’s your focus?

Action steps:

1) To learn more about how to be in flow or the zone, read Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (say that five times fast).

2) To learn more about the importance and results of focusing on your best work, check out Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport.

3) Get clear on the most important goals in your business and in your role in the business.

4) Set time aside to focus on those goals without distraction.

5) Explain to others how and when you will be in focus mode and unavailable except for emergencies.

6) Set a timer for 50 minutes, turn off all distractions, and GO!

7) Take a break, talk with friends, check messages.

8) Repeat.

9) Celebrate by wasting some time on Twitter.

Let’s GO!

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

Almost Every Success Started as a “Failure”

 

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

The more I learn about the success of others the more I see how much they failed first.I have come to believe that the biggest determinant in failure or success is this:

Perseverance.

It sounds too simple, too cliché, too corny. But, it’s also true.

How else can you explain how people with less talent, experience, education, intelligence, money, and connections succeed where others fail?

I documented numerous examples of this in my post, Be Encouraged by Rejection and Failure.

The problem is, most of us follow this advice:

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”
W.C. Fields

That’s when dreams die and real failure occurs.

But there are so many examples to prove that almost every success started as a failure. Quitting would have cheated the world of so many big and small achievements.

Don’t cheat yourself – and us – of all you can achieve. Keep GOing!

Have you ever heard of Rocket Chemical Company? It started in 1953 with just three employees. They were looking to create a rust-prevention solvent/degreaser for the growing aerospace industry.

Their only product was first used to stop missiles from rusting. Then they found household uses for it.

You know this company by the name of its invention – WD40.

Do you know what WD40 stands for?

Water Displacement – 40th attempt.

The first 39 tries failed.

Imagine if they had given up after the 10th failure, or the 15th, or the 22nd, or the 39th. How many nuts would still be stuck?! Thank you, Norm Larsen – founder of WD40 –  for not giving up.

If you really want something, keep trying. 

Action steps:
1) Do some deep thinking about something you’ve wanted to do, invent, or achieve that you “failed” at.
2) Decide if it’s something you are still passionate about.
3) If the answer is yes, get started on a goal and a plan to get there.
4) GO!
5) Keep GOing.

Questions for comments: What did you fail at before you became successful at it? What do you do to maintain your desire when you temporarily fail?

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. You can also purchase my book, GO!

How to Recession Proof Your Life AND Enjoy It

Following your Passionate Purpose doesn’t mean you only do one thing to earn a living. What happens if that one thing changes so much you can’t or don’t want to do it anymore? What happens to you and your family then?

The days of getting a “good” job and working there until you retire are over. The global economy is so dynamic now, it’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen in the future.

We need to start by figuring out what we want and why. Then, follow our lifelong process of pursuing our Passionate Purpose.

I can earn money while helping people and pursuing my Passionate Purpose by writing books, eBooks, audiobooks, giving speeches, creating seminars and DVD courses. I’m still cultivating other ideas off my Passionate Purpose as well. My plans include writing more books as well.

I’m continually learning how to:

  • Find new ways to follow my Passionate Purpose
  • Fully enjoy my dream occupation
  • Master new skills in my field
  • Develop new income sources with what I love to do
  • Grow spiritually
  • Keep my marriage full of love
  • Connect with my children
  • Become fluent in Spanish
  • Play guitar
  • Improve my physical health
  • Read and understand financial statements
  • Buy and sell houses, apartments, and commercial properties
  • Negotiate deals
  • Trade and invest in the markets

I do all this to be prepared for my future, to take care of my family, and to get where I want to go. Most of this is fun stuff that I actually enjoy doing. Don’t get me wrong, everything isn’t rainbows and unicorns, but I refuse to work my whole life doing what I hate.

This is also the smart way to go in the so-called New Economy. The bottom line is you never know what’s coming. I found this out the hard way.

I thought I had arrived. Everything was going according to plan. I had achieved my dream of becoming a nationally syndicated talk radio host. I was on more than 60 radio stations nationwide. I had a safe, two-year contract with my syndicator. Everyone at the company told me they loved my show. They told me I was the future host for them.

Then the recession hit, the company lost tons of advertising revenue, and I was informed they couldn’t afford to renew my contract. No one had lied to me or treated me poorly. They still loved my show, but the economics didn’t work anymore. Circumstances had changed.

Thankfully, I was already pursuing my Passionate Purpose and had options. My wife and I had put enough money away in our emergency fund to last eight months. I was working on a documentary on wasteful government spending, beginning to write this book, and working on investing more in real estate. Unfortunately, I didn’t have all these sources of income up and running before I lost my job.

Because I was already thinking this way, I was able to find work as a guest radio host for nationally syndicated talkers when they were out on vacation, and for talk shows all around the country. I filled in as the interim music leader at my church, and got my real estate license. All that, and my wife’s job as an elementary school teacher kept us going until I landed my next full-time gig as a radio talk show host in Kansas City.

My situation absolutely confirmed for me the need for all Americans to change their mindset on what the American dream is and how to get it.

Your motivation will rise and fall throughout your days, months, and years. It happens to everyone. The key is to figure out how to stoke your fire and keep yourself motivated.

Focus on your why. Do what you love. Keep learning new things and developing new skills. Stay focused on your most important goals. Revel in the joy that comes from pursuing your Passionate Purpose and living thelife you’ve always dreamed of.

Attend seminars from people you respect in your field. Keep growing and developing yourself every way you can.

Sometimes we get so caught up in achieving our goals that we miss out on what’s happening to us along the way. Don’t let that happen. Enjoy all that the process will bring you. As you pursue your Passionate Purpose you will improve and become more than you used to be. You will develop new skills, gain experience, and gather new information. You will grow into a better person.

It’s impossible to truly achieve your goals without improving yourself. Remember to enjoy achieving your goals and to enjoy the process you went through to achieve them. It’s your life, after all. Shouldn’t you make it awesome?

Let’s GO!

(I’m now offering a 40 day online coaching course to kick start finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose.)

How to Take Control of Your Past and Your Circumstances

calm

The way you respond to being victimized can determine whether you recover and move forward with your life or stay locked in a cycle of blame, resentment, and depression.

You can see this in the way people responded to the devastating tornado that hit Greensburg, Kansas, in 2007.

A powerful F5 tornado destroyed the town of 1,500 people. The storm hit just before 10 o’clock at night. Thankfully, the residents had some warning and only eight people lost their lives. Almost every building and tree was knocked down by the tornado.

Yet, by morning, almost every road had been cleared of debris. Local government agencies helped some. Volunteer fire departments arrived almost as soon as the storm ended.

But most of the clearing of the roads was done by ordinary citizens of Greensburg and nearby towns. They grabbed their chainsaws, jumped in their pickup trucks, and started working to help their neighbors and friends. They didn’t wait for someone else to save them.

They were real victims of a natural disaster, but they didn’t act like it. They couldn’t change the fact that the tornado had destroyed their town, but they knew they were in control of what happened after the storm. They knew they had the power to control what happened next. They knew they could choose to be victims or to become victors.

Dennis Boyles wrote about this type of attitude for National Review Online as he covered the aftermath of the tornado.

“Not long ago, while I was working on my book about the Midwest, I met a woman in her 80s in McCook, Nebraska, who told me about how she and her family had escaped the Republican River flood of 1935. That was the flood that hit in the middle of the Dust Bowl, dropped ten years’ worth of water in a few hours, and turned the nearly dry riverbed into a sea nearly four miles wide.

She and her mother and father had survived by running to a nearby farm situated on the only hill around. When the water reached the farmhouse, they ran for the barn. When it reached the barn, they ran for the machine shed. When it reached the machine shed, the climbed into the rafters. They won by inches.

When they finally climbed down, they were like the people in Greensburg: Alone, with nothing, on a big, flat, hostile plain. I asked her what the government did to help them out. She looked at me like I was nuts. ‘The government? We never even thought of that. We just went back to work.'”

We just went back to work. That’s the attitude we need whenever we feel like a victim. It’s not easy, but it gets amazing results.

You cannot be a victim and live out your Passionate Purpose. You must understand that you – not your parents, society, your government, or anyone else – you have the power to determine what your future will be.

It doesn’t matter if your victimhood is real or phony. Tune out the voices in your head that are blaming, complaining, and whining about your lot in life. Reframe everything in your past in the most positive way you can.

Even the worst circumstances can teach us something. That doesn’t mean that everything that has happened to you was good. It means you are choosing to use it for your good in the future. You are choosing to make everything in your past part of what is making you stronger and better. That’s empowering.

Get it deep in your soul. Until you give up blaming other people or circumstances for your failures and change your mindset from victim to victor, you will never truly succeed.

I readily agree that it’s not “fair” that everyone doesn’t start from the same point in this world. Some people have it harder than others. But all of us have something we must overcome in order to achieve the outcome we desire. And all of us are born with something that makes us unique and something that will help us succeed. The key is deciding not to be a victim and to fully exploit all the opportunity we have in this country.

Those who succeed are the ones who do not let their disadvantages define them. They’re the ones who don’t waste their time complaining about the hand life dealt them. They understand that living life as a victim limits your true potential and comes with strings attached that curtail your freedom.

Circumstances, event, tragedies, and what people have done to you do not have the power to make you a victim unless you give them that power. You get to decide. Your responses, your attitude, and the way you frame things in your mind can help or hurt you. What will you choose?

Action Steps:

1) Reframe everything in your past in the most positive way you can.

2) Choose to make everything in your past part of what is making you stronger and better. That’s empowering.

Let’s GO!

(I’m now offering a 40 day online coaching course to kick start finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose.)