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.)

Motivation Doesn’t Last, So Why Bother?

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Maybe you’ve tried to pursue your Passionate Purpose before, got motivated, had some initial success, and then gave up—what happened?

Did you start to think that all this personal development stuff doesn’t work? Maybe you decided that getting motivated isn’t worth it because it just wears off after a while.

Well, did you eat more than once today? I guess that eating thing wears off.

Did you take more than one shower this week? I guess that whole bathing thing wears off.

Yes, virtually everything wears off if we let it. I used to know how to do calculus problems. It’s been 30 years since I’ve done one and I couldn’t do one right now if my life depended on it. It wore off.

Did you exercise at the gym one day and say now you’re fit for the rest of your life? Ridiculous, right? Then why do we think that we only have to be motivated once and we’re set for life? Why do we think there’s some easy button to success and to pursuing our dreams?

We will get there, but it takes deliberate, persistent effort aimed at our Passionate Purpose. It takes improving ourselves day after day to become the person we want to be.

I would love to be one of the people who tell you that if you have passion and desire and you think positive thoughts your dream will appear at the end of a double rainbow with pots of gold and butterflies and sprinkles on Twinkies that have no calories—but that’s not the truth.

Setting goals works. But you need to get clear on what you want, why you want it, that you have to achieve it, when you will reach it, and how you’ll do it. Then you must take consistent action to get it done.

Oh, that’s all? Sweet! Then I’ll create world peace for breakfast and save the whales after lunch.

I know it can sound intimidating and overwhelming, but when you do this one step at a time it’s really not that hard.

It may sound like word games, but I believe there is a difference between motivation and inspiration. My purpose isn’t just to motivate you for a short time. My purpose is to help inspire you to find your Passionate Purpose. When you find and pursue that you will become self-motivated.

You will still have ups and down on how motivated you are. But when you find your why you have a reservoir of motivation in your soul that you can draw from whenever you need it.

Know this: If you’ve been working on what we’ve been talking about, you are in an elite group of people walking this planet. You have defined your Passionate Purpose, created goals and mini-goals for your success, and developed an action plan to get you there. Most people never do this in their entire lives. You are on your way to a totally new life! If …

Yup, there is a HUGE “if.” If you stop now, this will all be a complete waste of time. In fact, if you stop now, all this might actually hurt you instead of help you. You might start to believe that none of this really works. It’s all nonsense and a waste of time. You are not in control of your own destiny. You will never live the life of your dreams. At best, you are doomed to a life of mediocrity.

Quick! Hide all the sharp objects in your home! Life is no longer worth living!

See how ridiculous that line of “reasoning” can go? Is that really how you want to look at the world and your power over your own life? I can tell you that the most successful people do not allow themselves to think that way. From now on neither will you.

Instead, you are going to keep a positive focus on your goal and take daily action on your plan.

You must take action. Without action, all of this is just a lot of time and effort wasted. Without action you will lose focus, become frustrated, decide goal setting doesn’t work, and quit.

So here’s my advice: Don’t wait one day, start now. If you put this off until you’re “ready,” or your busy project at work ends, or until after your vacation, or until the kids are grown, or the time is right, or (fill in the excuse) you will never start or finish. If you only remember one thing from this book, remember this:

Go!

As soon as you “Go!” and start taking action on your Passionate Purpose, you are a success. The staircase will start appearing faster and faster. This is why you are here. The possibilities are endless for your life now. You aren’t just surviving, you are thriving. You aren’t just earning a living, you’re earning a life.

Let’s Go!

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

A Big Part of Our Purpose is to Cultivate Relationships

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No two people have the exact same purpose. Our DNA, family upbringing, culture, environments, and experiences make us unique. But there are some universals in our purpose.

Part of our purpose is to use our gifts to help others and to allow others to use their gifts to help us.

Often, we become so busy trying to pursue our purpose and succeed at our career that we fail to invest in our relationships.

How much effort are you putting into your relationship with your:

  • God
  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Extended family
  • Friends
  • Coworkers
  • Clients
  • Strangers

I started thinking about this because I took my oldest daughter on a college trip last weekend. It was just the two of us and we had a lot of time to talk and be together on the plane and in the car.

Sometimes we had great conversations.
Sometimes, like when we sat on the beach, we enjoyed the silence.
Sometimes we joked and laughed. Sometimes we talked about deep subjects.

It was awesome. It deepened our relationship.

I hear people say the key to a relationship is quality time. That’s true to a point. But I think people also measure how much you value them in quantity time. You have to be with someone a certain length of time so they know you really care before they will feel safe enough to let you in.

I think the key is to invest in these relationships with the goal of being there, truly listening, and looking for ways to help. If the goal is for what you can get out of it, it’s not going to work and the relationship won’t grow.

You know that person who only calls you when he needs something? When you see his name pop up on your phone your first thought is, “Oh, boy, what does he want now?” Don’t be that guy.

If you can be the guy that other people are happy to hear from and see, imagine how great your relationships will be. Imagine how much you could help others and how much happier you would be.

Let’s GO!

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

What Barriers Are Holding You Back?

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When you get quiet, reflect, and dream, what is it you truly want from your life? What barriers are holding you back from going after it? Are they physical, material, or mental barriers? Are they placed in your way by others or by you? What could happen if you pushed through them?

It can be scary to even think about your barriers. So, we avoid them by pushing them to the back of our minds and focus on just getting through our day. The problem with that is our dreams get pushed back too. Before we know it years, or even decades, go by and we’re no closer to living that extraordinary life.

I was able to have Erik Weihenmayer on my radio show. He has climbed Mt. Everest, kayaked the Grand Canyon, adopted a son from Nepal, and works with wounded veterans. Oh, yeah, and he’s blind.

This dude breaks through barriers like crazy. You can hear my interview with him by clicking here.

You don’t have to climb Mt. Everest, kayak the Grand Canyon, or be blind to do something significant with your life. Erik says it’s about doing the difficult, unexpected thing. That’s where life begins.

What difficult thing have you been putting off that could change your life, and the lives of all the people you touch? What could you do to start working on that today?

You weren’t made just to exist. You were made to live and make a difference.

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 be Your Own Boss

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If you’ve ever wanted to be your own boss, I have great news for you – you are!

Um, Greg, you don’t know me, or my job. I am not even close to being my own boss. I don’t run my own company. I’m stuck at a job where I have to do exactly what my boss tells me. I have no control over anything at work. I feel like a cog in a machine. I have to do what I’m told or I won’t be able to pay my bills.

I’m feeling you. That can be truly depressing and soul sucking. I get that you can feel like you have to go to work and you have to do what you’re told, But, when you really think about it, it’s always a choice.

I’m sticking with my great news.

You are your own boss, because you get to:

  • Decide the purpose of your work
  • Decide if you’re going to go to work
  • Decide if you’re going to do the work
  • Decide what quality of work you will do
  • Decide if your work will become art
  • Decide how invested in the work you will become
  • Decide what your standards for you work are
  • Decide how to increase your value
  • Decide to grow
  • Decide to be happy
  • Decide where you go next

The person the company organizational chart says is your boss can make suggestions to you, but no one can make you do anything if you don’t let them.

You get to decide your life. If it feels like someone else is deciding it, you are the one who gave him that power.

Reclaim it.

Set your standards so that all your work is art, regardless of where you work or what type of work you do right now.

Decide what you want and who you want to become.

Keep choosing to work with purpose and you might find a way to a new job – with a lot more income – faster than you ever thought possible.

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

What Are You Taking For Granted?

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My oldest is a senior in high school and will leave for college in a few short months. She has been on a trip with my wife over the past several days auditioning for theatre departments at different universities. I’ve missed them both and it has made me face the reality that very soon I will lose the daily contact I have with my daughter.

I will no longer get to talk to her in person about the good and bad parts of her day.
I will no longer get to hear her singing and watch her dancing each day.
I will no longer get to eat dinner with her each night.
I will no longer get to hug her and tell her how much I love her before bed each night, and so much more.

Just writing that hurts my heart…

It’s not a surprise that my daughter is going to leave soon. We’ve been planning for it since she was born. We’ve spent a lot of time together and have a great relationship. But, now that the time has almost arrived, I have this horrible feeling that I took most of our time together for granted.

How often do we do that with the important things in our lives?

What are you taking for granted right now? I have an idea to help you find out.

Action Steps:

1) List the most important things in your life.

2) One at a time, imagine how you would feel if each one was taken away.

3) The ones that would really hurt to lose, start spending more time on.

Hey, it’s not a surprise that all you have is going to be taken away one day. All of us will die. What important relationships and goals are you going to spend your time on before that happens?

Let’s GO!

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

What Have You Done That You Believe In?

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Life keeps coming at you and time keeps moving on. Sometimes we get so busy, we get caught up in routines. We feel like we’re on a treadmill and we’re just doing everything we need to do to keep all the plates in the air.

Ever feel like that?

I do.

When that happens I have to center myself and refocus on what’s vital. I do that by asking myself some questions. That’s the easy part. The hard part is really thinking about and writing down the answers. Scratch that. The real hard part is changing the way I’m living because of the answers.

Action Step: Take a few minutes tonight and answer the questions below that resonate with you.

What have you done that you believe in? That you’re proud of?

When’s the last time you did something like that?

What could you do today that you would be proud of / believe in?

What are you going to do tomorrow that’s in line with your Passionate Purpose?

What do you think the meaning of life is? Are you living your life with that belief in mind? What would you have to change to say yes to that?

Do you feel like your life matters? If not, what do you need to do to change that?

How much time do you have left to make a difference before you die? (For some people, that question is very depressing. For me, it’s inspiring. It reminds me how finite this part of my life is and that I need to get busy on what’s vital, and stop just being “busy.”)

I would love to read some of your answers to those questions. Comment below and let’s start a conversation.

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