How to Buy Happiness

money

I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor—and believe me, rich is better.
–Attributed to Sophie Tucker, Pearl Bailey, Mae West and everyone who’s ever been both rich and poor.

Uh, Greg, I think you’ve watched the movie, Wall Street, one too many times. Or, maybe you’ve taken one too many hits on the noggin. Everyone knows money can’t buy happiness. People who chase the money end up empty in the end.

I agree with you to a point. If you think earning a ton of money and buying a bunch of things will make you happy, you will eventually end up disappointed.

But, money can do a lot of great things for you and the people you love. It can be a great motivator if it’s for the right reasons and doesn’t become more important than the process you’re using to earn it.

I’ve never been truly poor. I’ve never had to worry about having enough to eat. However, when my wife, Anne, and I were just starting out, we weren’t making a lot of money. We had a couple things go wrong and we weren’t exactly rolling in the dough.

I will never forget the day she called me sobbing. Anne’s not overly emotional or given to crying at the drop of a hat, so I instantly thought something horrible had happened. She explained through tears that she was visiting our friends at the beach, parked where she thought it was ok, and got a ticket. Anne felt horrible because she knew with our financial situation we couldn’t afford to waste money.

It was a $12 parking ticket. That’s it. Our income was so low that a $12 ticket was enough to make her cry.

We laugh at that story now, but it reminds us that there is nothing great about being poor. It makes everything you want to do harder. It puts stress and worry on you that make your daily life tough.

People who say money can’t buy happiness are right and wrong. I agree that trying to buy happiness by acquiring things is a fool’s game. But if you don’t think you’re happier knowing you have enough money to eat and pay all the bills at the end of the month, you’re crazy.

Quite a bit of research now shows that as we earn more income our happiness increases – up to a point. The debate is about the level where increased income no longer has a corresponding impact on our happiness. The latest studies I’ve seen claim the effect holds true until you reach the top 10 percent of income earners.

In the book Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton explain some of the ways money really does buy happiness.

1) Buy Experiences

When we buy experiences instead of things the result is a bigger, longer lasting feeling of happiness.

The memories from a fantastic trip to Europe will stick around much longer than the feeling you get from that new-car smell. You can tell those stories from your European trip for years and each time they will bring a smile to your face, especially if you made those memories with your friends or family.

There is a caveat, though. You need to buy the kind of experience that you actually like. I love going skiing. Spending money on a ski trip will definitely move me up the happiness scale. But I’m not a ballet or opera guy. If I get dragged to one of those events and I’m paying for it, not only will I not be happy, I’ll probably be a bit grumpy.

2) Buy Time

Buying time increases your happiness. When we spend to keep our free time for what we want to do, that pays dividends. Paying for a maid service, for someone else to mow your lawn, or paying extra for your home or apartment in order to shorten your daily commute have all been shown to move you up on the happy scale.

3) Buy Freedom

Imagine having time, location, and financial freedom to live the life you want. That could buy some happiness, couldn’t it?

Imagine having enough money to do what you want, when you want. To live where you want, work only when you want – on what you want, and having time to volunteer where you want. Imagine having enough money so you can help whoever you want, and to have the ability to spend time with whoever you want – doing what you want. Imagine taking whatever vacations and trips you want with your family and friends.

One caveat: If you’re not careful, you could spend your whole life as a slave to money in an attempt to earn enough to someday be free. What if someday never comes? What if you’re too old to enjoy it when it does? What if you’ve given up too much to get your someday?

It’s a balancing act for sure. The key is to earn the money doing what you love while serving others. Tough to go wrong when you do it that way.

4) Give It Away

Some research shows that when you give as little as five dollars to a charity, or to someone who needs it, your happiness level goes up more than when you spend it on yourself. I know that’s true for me.

Giving away your money for happiness doesn’t just work when you give to charities, churches, or people who really need it. Believe it or not, picking up the tab when you go out with your buddies gives you a little jolt of happiness. (And I’m willing to allow you that happiness if we ever go out for drinks together.)

Think back to a time you donated to a good cause or a friend who needed help. Still feels good, doesn’t it? Make it a goal to increase your giving and increase everyone’s happiness.

Money Doesn’t Make You Mean or Nice

There are nice rich people and mean rich people. There are also nice poor people and mean poor people. The money doesn’t make the person. More money tends to make you more of what you already are.

Most people do not become rich by exploiting others or by acting like jerks. Most people make more money the more they serve others. That’s a good thing for everybody.

I like not having to worry about where my next meal is coming from, don’t you? That’s a start, but I like to take inspiring vacations with my family and make lifelong memories. I enjoy living in a beautiful home and eating out at nice restaurants. It’s a wonderful feeling to be in a position where you are able to donate to your church, charities, and people in your neighborhood. Making more money isn’t just OK, it can be what allows you to do all the other things you’ve been dreaming about.

So, go ahead and buy some happiness – and help others buy some too.

Let’s GO!

(If this post resonated with you, share it with a friend and check out my book, GO! How to Find and Pursue Your Passionate Purpose, available in paperback and audiobook.)

How to Avoid Becoming Too Successful

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One of the biggest obstacles to success for some people is what they were taught as children. Quite often society, our parents, and our schools teach us to limit our dreams or, worse yet, that too much success is bad.

OK, right now you’re thinking to yourself, “Self, Greg has gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs again. No one says that too much success is a bad thing.” Au contraire mon frère. You hear it all the time. Look at what’s said about CEOs and corporations. Things like, “That guy makes too much money,” or, “That company makes obscene profits,” or, “No one is worth that salary.” All of those statements are saying that too much success is bad.

We have a weird situation in America where we like to see the little guy go from rags to riches, as long as the riches don’t get too great. Once he hits a certain level, he suddenly becomes someone who’s exploiting the people.

Those ideas can lead you to being double minded about success. On the one hand you want to be successful in your career and earn a great income. On the other hand you’re worried that to achieve your dreams you’ll have to step on people and become a greedy jerk. No one wants to turn into that guy, so you sabotage your success and hold yourself back from all you could do and become.

Quite often, those thoughts remain in your subconscious and you’re not even aware of how and why you’re undermining your own success.

The truth is you can live the extraordinary life of your dreams and help people at the same time. In fact, that’s the only way to true success.

Of course, there are people who step on others, act unethically – or even illegally – to get ahead. Most of the time, they eventually have things collapse around them. Their businesses go under, they get divorced, maybe they even go to jail, and their life becomes miserable. My dad has a saying about people who behave that way: Time wounds all heels.

But most people who succeed do it the right way. They end up getting what they want by providing other people with what they need and want. They run their affairs with the Golden Rule as their guide. They provide great products and services, create jobs, and make the world a better place. Those are all great things.

Money Is Not the Root of All Evil, and the Bible Doesn’t Say It Is

Much of society teaches that money is bad or evil. The people who make a lot of money are uncaring and coldhearted, we are told. Some people use the Bible to justify this. They claim it says money is the root of all evil. But that’s not what it really says.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

–1 Timothy 6:10, NIV (emphasis added)

The Bible is clearly saying that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. When you love money more than you love God, more than you love your family, more than you love what is right, that’s when you’re going down the wrong path. You’re turning money into your idol, your god. But money itself is neutral. The pursuit of money and the use of money can be good or evil.

  • When the leadership of Enron cooked the books to make it look like they had a better financial statement than they did, their love of money was evil.
  • When politicians take bribes or unethical campaign contributions, their love of money is evil.
  • When lending officers gave subprime loans to people they knew could not afford them and borrowers took loans they knew they could not pay back, their love of money was evil.
  • When a mechanic makes unnecessary repairs on a car just to get a little more cash, his love of money is evil.

But money can be used to do wondrous good works. It can lead to starting or growing a business that provides jobs and income for countless families.

Money can equal charity, medicine, food, clothing, shelter, schools, books, and much more. Money can help get you everything you need to physically survive and to help others. It can provide you time to do what you love.

Money makes everything you want to do, have, and be easier.

Profits made by companies big and small can be used to expand the business and create new jobs, to give their current employees raises and stock options, and to donate to worthy charities in the community.

You need to change your mindset on success and money so you don’t sabotage your own dreams.

Action Steps:

1) Meditate on the idea that money can be used for great things and the best way to create it is to help other people. You are going to become a beneficent millionaire.

2) List all the ways you will help other people on your way to your success.

3) List all the great things you will be able to do with the extra money you earn. Who will you help? What will you do? How could it change your family tree?

4) How will you use your success to help others become more successful? Who could you mentor? How could you pass your success on to the next generation?

What could be better than becoming rich by helping other people and becoming an even better human being than you are right now?

Let’s GO!

(If this post resonated with you, share it with a friend and check out my book, GO! How to Find and Pursue Your Passionate Purpose, available in paperback and audiobook.)

Have You Bought the Myth That Real Artists Starve?

My interview with Jeff Goins

starve

If you’re anything like me, once or twice you’ve probably told yourself something like: “Self, I have a dream – a Passionate Purpose – that I want to pursue and share with the world. But, that’s risky. I might fail. I should probably stick with my ‘safe’ job. I don’t want to become a starving artist.”

But what if the starving artist is a myth? What if there’s a way to start working on your Passionate Purpose, build success over time, and then take a strategic risk to make it your full time endeavor? That would be sweet, right?

That’s what Jeff Goin’s new book, Real Artists Don’t Starve, is all about. He walks you through the myth of the starving artist, the lies we’ve been told by (mostly) well meaning people, and gives you strategies to pursue your art without ending up eating government cheese in a van down by the river.

In my interview with Jeff we cover:

  • How to not be a starving artist
  • Why you should steal from your influences
  • How to apprentice under a master for free
  • Why it’s important to build patrons who support you
  • How to take strategic risks, not reckless ones
  • A great story on how John Grisham became a best selling author

If you’re receiving this in an email, click here to listen to my interview with Jeff. Otherwise click the play button.

 

(If this post resonated with you, check out my book, GO! How to Find and Pursue Your Passionate Purpose, available in paperback and audiobook.)

Do You Believe in Luck?

Greg, all your talk about finding your Passionate Purpose, finding a strong why that supports it, creating goals that go with it, then creating action plans to support those goals, and then taking consistent daily action sounds like a lot of hard work. Besides, we all know it really comes down to how lucky you are.

Well, it is a lot of hard work. If it were easy, everyone would do it. But the hard work is worth it. And, when you’re pursuing your Passionate Purpose, even hard work can be enjoyable.

As to the second point that it’s really just luck, for just a second forget about whether that’s true or not. Let me ask you a question. If you really believe that your success is out of your control and is determined by luck, will that belief help you achieve your goals?

If you believe you’re not lucky enough you will be right.

How would you ever expect to succeed with those beliefs holding you back?

Unfortunately, we are bombarded daily by so-called leaders, experts, and friends telling us how we will never be able to fulfill our dreams and accomplish our goals. Some of them are trying to help. Some of them are jealous (consciously or unconsciously). Some of them are trying to excuse themselves for not reaching the level of success they’d once hoped for.

Regardless of their reasons for feeding us that defeatist philosophy, if we believe them, they will be right. But if we reject those negative beliefs and stay focused on our Passionate Purpose we will achieve more than we ever thought we could.

If you believe you can find the husband or wife of your dreams, you’re right.

If you believe you can run a marathon, you’re right.

If you believe you can become a financial success, you’re right.

If the American dream really is dead, then how are people still going from rags to riches every day in this country? How are some people able to go from nothing to super successful in one generation?

Luck?

I believe in preparing yourself to take advantage of opportunities that will appear as you stay focused on your goals.

If you are constantly thinking about where you want to go and improving yourself in every way to be the person you need to be to achieve the success you are working towards, you will see opportunities appear with increasing frequency. Is that luck? No. It’s the result of hard work and taking consistent action.

Some people would rather believe that it all comes down to luck. For them, believing in luck is a way to feel better about themselves when they don’t reach their goals or someone else is achieving the success they want.

Before and after I had my own syndicated radio talk show, I guest hosted for other national programs. I can’t tell you how many people would comment on how lucky I was to fill in for so many big-name radio stars.

The truth is luck had nothing to do with it. I worked hard at becoming a good host. I asked for, and acted on, the constructive criticism that I received and kept getting better. I kept making demos and sending them to program directors all across the country.

Then I started asking the producers and hosts of the national shows if I could fill in for them when they were on vacation or whenever they needed someone on short notice.

Now, when one of these hosts got sick and they needed someone to fill in at the last second, was it luck that I often got the call? Once I filled in and they liked what they heard, was it luck that I was asked to guest host again?

When a smaller syndication company was looking for a new national host, was it luck that I was one of the ones they interviewed for the position?

I like what Don Sutton says: Luck is the by-product of busting your fanny.

Let’s GO!

(If this post resonated with you, check out my book, GO! How to Find and Pursue Your Passionate Purpose, available in paperback and audiobook.)

Your New Mindset

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Extensive research shows that most successful people have a mindset that is positive and optimistic. They believe they have control over their lives, not that events control them. They believe that being successful helps everyone and exploits no one.

Most successful people have a mindset focused on growth and learning what they need to achieve all their goals. They have a mindset that asks, “Why not?” “What can I learn from this?” “What if?” They have confidence in their abilities to do what is necessary to win.

Most successful people don’t believe they are in competition with everyone they meet. They understand they are creating the extraordinary life they want. They don’t have to take from someone else to do that. They don’t believe everyone is out to get them.

I have declared myself a Dionarap.

dionarap
noun [dye-oh-nuh-rap]
* One who believes that everyone is out to help him.
(OK, it’s just paranoid spelled backwards. You got me.)

 

Did you hear about the optimist and the pessimist living next door to each other? They both had to get up at 6:00 a.m. to get to work on time at similar jobs. The optimist jumped up when he heard the opportunity clock go off. He pulled the blinds open and yelled, “Good morning, God!” The pessimist hit the snooze on his alarm clock five times before he finally dragged himself out of bed. He peeked through his blinds and growled, “Good god, it’s morning.”

Who do you think is going to have a better day?

Get ready for an amazing insight coming at you. People with a good, positive, optimistic attitude tend to enjoy their day more and accomplish more than people with a negative, depressing, pessimistic attitude. See, I told you—deep insight. You’re welcome.

Growth and Fixed Mindsets

Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, suggests there are two types of mindsets. A fixed mindset believes that your intelligence, talents, skills, and personality are largely set and there is little you can do to change them. A growth mindset believes that you can learn, grow, and improve anything through effort, experience, and practice. There may be upper limits we can reach based on what we were born with, but nothing is set in stone.

Guess which mindset Professor Dweck’s research showed was seen more in successful people?

Mindset explains that people with a fixed mindset play it safe to protect their positive beliefs about themselves. If you’re smart, things come easy to you. So if something is hard, it’s better not to do it. Otherwise, you will have to conclude you’re not smart.

Dweck found that when these people didn’t do well at something, it threatened their belief in their fixed intelligence so much that some of them would even lie about their performance to protect themselves.

Have you ever had a boss who took all the credit but none of the blame? If he received constructive criticism, he would blame the messenger? When you brought a new idea, he would reject it immediately and even become angry with you for trying to move the company to keep up with the times? Those are some of the traits of a fixed mindset manager.

People with the growth mindset are more willing to try new things and struggle with hard tasks. They get excited about learning and getting better. They’re willing to take more risks because every little failure they might endure isn’t proof that they’re not smart. It’s just a bump in the road as they learn, grow, and become smarter. Growth mindset people actually enjoy that process.

This type of manager welcomes new ideas and sees them as opportunities for everyone on the team, including him, to stretch, learn, and grow. He can take criticism in stride knowing that we all have weak spots and with hard work we can develop new skills and get better where we need to. He can share credit with his employees because he doesn’t have to prove he’s the smartest person in the room.

Which type of manager do you want to be, or work for?

The growth mindset leads you to try new things, take on new challenges, learn from criticism, share credit with your team, and keep pace with changes in your field.

The fixed mindset leads you to play it safe, react angrily to criticism, blame others and circumstances for your failures, and avoid new challenges and new ideas for fear of having your intelligence and abilities questioned or threatened.

Well, that’s just great, Greg. Reading this, I have figured out that I’m a fixed mindset person. So I guess I’m not going to succeed.

Whoa, tap the brakes, Speed Racer. That type of thinking is the fixed mindset thinking. You’re born one way and that’s it. Well, I have good news for you. Almost no one has a totally fixed mindset; we are all somewhere on the continuum between fixed and growth. Here’s some more good news: You can choose your mindset. It’s not set in stone.

When you are about to try something new, get yourself into the growth mindset before you begin. Tell yourself you are about to learn and grow. You might not get it right immediately, but if you put in the effort you will succeed. When you make a mistake, tell yourself you just learned something and you’re now one step closer to reaching your goal.

Then pay attention to your self-talk; you can catch yourself making limiting, fixed mindset statements and stop them in their tracks. Imagine you have an opportunity to lead a new project at work. There are some new concepts involved in it and you’re not sure about it. Your fixed mindset thoughts might say, This is risky. What if I fail? I’ll be a failure. Maybe I’m just not smart enough or talented enough to do this.

When you notice these thoughts yell, Stop! Replace those thoughts with growth mindset thoughts. Say to yourself, This is a great opportunity for me. I may not know everything about this right now, but with hard work I can learn what I need. This will be a great chance to grow and expand my skills.

Let’s GO!

(If this post resonated with you, check out my book, GO! How to Find and Pursue Your Passionate Purpose, available in paperback and audiobook.)

If You’re Stuck, It’s Time to GROW

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If you just feel stuck, how do you get unstuck? What I do with my coaching clients, and what I do to coach myself, is GROW.

GROW stands for:

Goals
Reality
Options
Way Forward (or Will)

When I coach, I see my clients as having the best answers to their questions. My job is to help them become more self-aware, fully develop their goals and options, and help them choose the best ones.

When you take responsibility for creating your life, you become much more invested in the work and the outcomes. You also become more successful.

Begin with the end in mind. What do you want? If you aren’t clear on that, it’s going to be much more difficult to get there.

Goals: Which part of your life do you need to change? Your career, relationships, physical fitness, spiritual development, what?

Some of the great questions I use to figure out my goals come from the book, Coaching For Performance, by John Whitmore. If you’re looking to improve your career you might ask yourself questions like:

  • Imagine 1 year in the future – what would your ideal work situation be?
  • What would a typical day be like? Describe it in detail.
  • What part or parts of that ideal work situation do you desire most?
  • How important, on a scale of 1 to 10, is each one to you?
  • Now, what is your work goal?
  • If that seems to big a goal, what are some smaller, more attainable goals that will get you on your way to your ultimate goal?
  • When would you want this goal achieved?
  • How would you know you achieved it?

There are times that just getting clear on your goal will get you unstuck. Most of the time, however, you’re going to want to go further to ensure success.

The next step is being brutally honest about your reality.

Reality: Objectively look at your current situation. A key here is owning the responsibility for where you are and what it will take to get where you want to be. Self-awareness is crucial to getting unstuck.

Staying with a change in career as the example, start with some questions like these: 

  • What is your current reality at work?
  • What is your reality on what it would take to change that?
  • What and who don’t you like in your current work situation?
  • What and who do you like in your current work situation?
  • How much of this do you see as under your control?
  • How could you make it something you could control?
  • What makes your work meaningful?
  • What do you see as your purpose in your work?

Now that your clear on what you want and where you are, you need to come up with options.

Options – What options do you have for changing things? (Let’s use the example of having a goal for a new job.)

  • What might you gain by changing jobs or starting your own business?
  • What might you lose?
  • How do you make sure the same things you don’t like about your current job don’t crop up again in your new job?
  • How would you find it the new job?
  • How else?
  • Where would you find it?
  • Where else?
  • What would you have to change to get that job?
  • What could you do to change that?
  • What’s been holding you back from these options?
  • What else could you do?
  • If you knew the answer, what would it be?
  • What advice would you give a friend in this situation?
  • Of all the options you’ve come up with, which 3 do you like the most?
  • Which would make the biggest difference in your life?

You’ve come a long way, but if you stop here you really haven’t done anything meaningful. You must take action. It’s time to plan the Way Forward.

Way Forward (or Will): What specific actions will you take to achieve your goal?

  • Which options are you going to take action on?
  • What actions have you taken on this so far?
  • How did those actions work out?
  • When will you start?
  • How will you know when you achieve your goal?
  • What’s your deadline for achieving your goal?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10 how strongly do you feel you can achieve your goal on time?
  • If it’s not at least an 8, what can you do to make it an 8?
  • Do you need to take smaller actions you believe you can achieve in order to ramp up to bigger ones?
  • What can you do to stay motivated when you hit obstacles?
  • Why do you want this goal? How can that keep you motivated?
  • How often should we review your progress to keep you on track?

This is just a small look at how the GROW process can help you get unstuck.

You may need to improve your education, skills, and talents to get where you need to go. But, your goals, options, and solutions for what you want – and why you want it- are inside you. It’s time to start pulling them out.

Let’s GO!

I have personal coaching available now. Click here to learn more.

Life is a Near Death Experience – So, Let’s GO!

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Imagine you’re 24 years old. You’re young, healthy and full of life. The world is out there waiting for you and you can’t wait to create your future.

Then, things start to go sideways. You go in for your annual physical and you get a call from the doctor’s office. They want to know if you can come in for a couple of tests – not in the next couple of weeks – tomorrow.

Uh, oh, this can’t be good.

You get the tests done and the doctor, who usually jokes around with you, comes in with a very somber look on his face. He tells you the tests show that you have Stage IV cancer.

Whoa, what? I’m 24. I’m in great health. Can you fix this?

The doctor says they have a range of treatments, but you need to get your affairs in order just in case.

That’s what happened to a friend of mine. He said the first thing he thought was, what have I done with my life? He didn’t like the answer. He realized he had been selfish, focused on himself his whole life, and really hadn’t made much of a difference.

He’s a Christian, so he started thinking, when I stand before God what will I tell him I did with the gift of my life? It totally changed his direction and intention.

Thankfully, aggressive treatment saved his life. And he’s making every bonus day count.

How many times have you heard stories like that? Near death experiences that change people forever. But, have those stories changed how you live your life?

For most of us, the honest answer is no.

Why does it take a near death experience for us to truly live?
Why can’t we pretend we’ve had one and start living now?
Why not live like everyday is a near death experience? When you think about it, it kind of is.

Here are some questions to think about tonight:

Are you using the limited time you have left to live the life you dreamed of?
Are you making the difference you want to make?
Are you doing the work you want to do, work that moves you and stirs your soul? Are you loving whom you want to love – and letting them know how much you love them?
Are you volunteering where you want?
Spending time with the people you want?
Living where you want?

If not, this is your near death experience calling. You have Stage IV cancer. If you treat it aggressively, by finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose, you can be cured and live an extraordinary life.

It’s time to make the most of this gift you’ve been given.

You can do it.

Let’s GO!

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

The Successful Man is the Average Man – Focused

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Ever feel like you’re working really hard and still not getting everything done? Uh, yeah, Greg, like everyday. Was that a trick question?

A friend has been trying a new focus technique that has helped some, but I think we can do better:

Greg,

I have been using the Pomodoro Technique. Focusing on one thing for 22 minutes, then walking around or resting for 8 minutes, and then repeating…

I try to do that to get 22 min of uninterrupted time. If I try longer than that, something breaks it up.

Also, I can usually get 4 of those reps in a day.

What do you think?

Personally, I need more than 22 minutes to really focus and get into my flow. I’ve seen research that says it takes most people 5-10 minutes to get back in a deep thinking frame of mind each time they are interrupted.

The average American worker is interrupted 50 times a day! No wonder we feel like we never get anything done.

Other research says most of us can focus for 40-50 minutes at a time.

I turn all notifications for phone, email, text, twitter, etc. off and do 45 minutes or so with zero interruptions. Then I’ll take a break for a few minutes, do another hour and then work out. Then I’ll check all messages, turn everything off and get another hour in.

I don’t do that every day, but when I do I get a ton done and feel awesome. If you are worried you will miss something really important you can leave your phone ringer on, but nothing else.

It helps to tell others what you’re doing. I have it in my email signature “In order to be as efficient as possible, I only check my email at 9:30am and 6pm. If there is an emergency, you may call me.” (People who would need my number in an emergency already have it.)

I got the time block out technique from Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s book, The ONE Thing. Their idea is to block out four hours each day to concentrate on your ONE Thing. Let everyone know what you’re doing and why. (Start with one hour and build from there.)

Be protective of that time.

In an interview with Forbes, Keller put it this way:

“Think of it like going to the movies. You’re there for ONE Thing—to see the film. Because you’re really clear about that, you turn off your cell phone, you grab snacks in case you get hungry, and you probably even make a pit stop before you go in. All this so you can have an uninterrupted experience.

“When you time block your most important work and treat it like going to the movies—you make a stand around avoiding distractions—amazing things happen. When you start thinking of your days this way, the burden of always having to be ‘on’ goes away and you end up accomplishing more.”

You will have to get creative on how you block out that time. Make sure everyone who needs to know understands why you are doing this. Your boss and your colleagues will be very happy when they start to see the increased creativity and productivity in your work.

If you are the boss, or you’re self-employed, you are going to be shocked at how much more of the important stuff you get done when you start focusing four hours a day on the ONE Thing.

Action Steps:
1) Explain to others how and when you are focusing without distractions.
2) Get a timer.
3) Set it for 50 minutes.
4) Focus and Go!
5) Take a break, talk with friends, check messages.
6) Repeat.

Questions for comments: Have you tried this? Does it work for you? What do you do to stay focused?

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

How to Keep Going When You Feel Like Quitting

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You have a Passionate Purpose and you’re going for it, but your motivation is failing. You’re just not sure all the effort is worth it.

Or, you have a goal that you’ve started working on several times, but you just can’t seem to achieve it.

I feel ya.

Recently, I put on a “little weight” (and we all know what that means). I know it’s not good for me, I don’t feel very good when I overeat, and I don’t like how I look. I saw a picture of myself on my phone and thought, who’s the chubby dude?

It’s me. Doh!

So I set a goal target weight, figured out how many pounds I could lose per week, and decided when I would meet my goal. Then I planned how many calories a day I would consume.

For the first few days I was doing great! Then, the weekend came and I had a cheat day. That turned into a cheat weekend. Then, I was hit or miss on my diet. This went on for a few months.

I was so frustrated with myself. Why couldn’t I do this? I figured out that I hadn’t tied my goal to a strong enough why. When you want to eat your favorite foods, or you want to overeat, or you want to have a couple of drinks (high in empty calories) what are you going to tell yourself to stay motivated?

I have now created some strong short and long term “whys” for my weight loss goal. My daughter is graduating high school in 8 weeks. So I’m tying my goal and deadline to that.

Short term why:
To look my best for her party and all the family photos.

Long term whys:
To live healthier and longer for my wife and daughters
To have more energy
To feel better after I eat (not stuffed and bloated)
To look better for my wife and myself
To be a good example for my daughters

Now every time I start to think about slipping back to my old ways of eating, I read my “whys.” That helps me focus on the short-term and long-term pleasure I will get instead of the short-term pain I’m feeling.

I still have a cheat day once a week, but I don’t turn it into an all-I-can-eat day like I used to.

You can use this with any goal or purpose you’re struggling with. Tie it to a strong why. Focus on it. Say it out loud to yourself if you need to. Meditate on it until you feel your motivation kick in again.

You can do it.

Let’s GO!

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

How to Make the Right Decision Quickly

Most of our decisions are fairly easy. Many of them are automatic. But how do you make your big decisions? Most of us spend a lot of time agonizing and worrying over these. We make lists, we research on the Internet, and we ask trusted friends. And then we worry some more. Not good.

My oldest daughter has been accepted to the BFA in Acting program at two of her favorite universities. She has a deadline to decide which school she will attend and she’s having difficulty making the decision.

This is a bit of a pattern with her. She wants to make sure she’s making the “right” decision.

Good news: She researches and looks at all the possible outcomes of her decision.
Bad news: This can lead to the dreaded paralysis by analysis, worry, anxiety, and frustration.

Here are some secrets to help you, and my daughter, make the right decision faster.

Most of the time a quick decision is your best decision:
Lots of research and several books have been written about how our quick hunch, gut, or blink decisions are usually best.

Our bodies are great at using our memories, experiences, and beliefs to help us make the right call. Our “intuition” helps us figure out patterns and sift through factors in ways we aren’t even aware of consciously. One study showed participants started betting correctly on a card game before they even consciously understood how the game worked.

Pretty cool.

One caveat – sometimes we need to slow down:
Our quick, almost unconscious, gut decisions are tied heavily to our emotions and sometimes our emotions fool us. My daughter could fall in love with the resort style dorm and pool in Florida. She could mistake that feeling for her gut telling her to choose that school. Whoops.

Quite often there is no “right” decision:
My daughter really likes both of these schools and their programs. They both have great opportunities for her. Regardless of which one she chooses she will learn a lot, become an even better actress, have a head start on her career, and have fun. There is no right or wrong decision to make.

You can support or undermine your decision:
Once you’ve made your decision you can support it by never looking back and focusing on all the good that is coming your way, or you can worry about what you could be missing if you’d chosen differently.

My daughter can throw her self into her classes, put in her best effort, make friends, audition for shows, and make the most of every opportunity at her new college.

Or, she can dismiss all the good in her decision, mope around, think of all the things she’s missing at the school she didn’t choose and be miserable. It’s her choice.

Bottom Line – Use a Mix of Your Gut and Your Logical Brain:
For the big decisions ask yourself, what do think is best? Then immediately right down the answer.

Then, go ahead and do your due diligence – research, write your pro and con list, talk to someone you trust, pray about it, sleep on it, and then decide.

Once you’ve decided, don’t look back. Make the decision work. You’ll be surprised how well it works out and how quickly your worry and anxiety fade away.

Let’s GO!

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