Daydream Your Way To Success

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Being called lazy is one of the worst things you can call an American. We take great pride in being busy and working hard. I mean, we’re not Austria!

But, what if working really hard looks like you’re being lazy? Isn’t that what happens when you’re thinking and daydreaming? And isn’t that where we make the biggest advances in everything we do?

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”
– Henry Ford

(That’s exactly what I tried to tell my 10th grade trigonometry teacher. “I’m not goofing off and being lazy, Mr. Leaf, I’m thinking big, deep thoughts!” For some reason, he didn’t believe me. If only I’d had the Ford quote back then.)

Henry Ford told his engineers that they should spend time everyday just thinking. He knew that was how they would come up with improvements for the factory line and new models of cars. Busy work wouldn’t do it.

Everything humankind has ever made began with a thought. Everything that ever will be made, innovated, or invented will begin with a thought. There’s no other possible way to begin anything. Think about it. (Even that requires a thought.)

Einstein published his five most famous papers while working as a junior patent clerk in a Swiss patent office. He said he had more time to think at that job, than he did once he became a science professor working at a University.

We need to schedule time to think, brainstorm, let our minds wander, and daydream. It is virtually impossible to be at your creative best in 5 to 10-minute increments. You can’t invent the next best thing when you let your email, text messages, and meetings (oh, the meetings, make them stop!) constantly interrupt your flow.

(Yes, that meetings comment is aimed at you, Mr. Everyone needs to come to my 2-hour bore-a-thon so I can hear myself speak and show how important I am Guy.)

There are two types of thinking I’m referring to here.

  1. Thinking about a problem, obstacle, or goal. You focus on the issue at hand at the expense of everything else. You look at it from every angle, research it, learn about it, and brainstorm new ideas.
  2. Letting your mind wander. You don’t have an agenda here. You have blocked off some time – one to two hours – to just let your mind lead you where it wants to go. This is usually the time that all the things you’ve been thinking about, but putting off, work their way back to the front of your mind. The cool thing is, quite often new ideas start popping into your head. (It used to happen for me when I was jogging. But, I hate jogging, so I stopped that. Now it usually happens when I’m sitting on the beach or taking a shower.)

Remember, thinking doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re doing some of the hardest and best work there is.

Action steps: 

1) Block out one or two hours to think. Don’t allow any interruptions. Most of us can’t do this everyday, so pick one to three days a week to do it. It helps if you let others know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, so they don’t think you’re just goofing off.

Oh, and if you can’t stand just sitting and thinking, you can do any repetitive, physical activity that doesn’t take much of your conscious brain power to do. I’m talking about things like walking, jogging, swimming, cleaning the dishes (your spouse will appreciate it!), gardening, mowing the grass, etc. That type of activity might even spur your thoughts on.

2) Write down every thought that comes to you that could be useful.

3) Take your best ideas and spend some time thinking about how to put them into practice.

4) Take action on the new idea right away. Don’t let the idea fade.

Questions for comment: How do you find time to think? What benefits come from it?

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Albert Einstein

(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 Become an Expert in Your Field

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The best way to become successful is to serve other people. The best way to serve others is to share your expertise with them. So how do you become an expert? You can do it in less time than you think.

1) Determine what you want to be your expertise. It’s easier and faster to become an expert at something you’ve already been working on and that you enjoy doing. If you’re looking to become an expert in something totally new, you can do it; it’s just going to take longer.

This is where I advise finding your Passionate Purpose. Working to become an expert at that will lead you to be more successful, fulfilled, and joyful, than simply looking to become an expert in something you think will make you money.

Don’t get me wrong, making money is great, but it’s super great if you’re making money doing something you’re passionate about. Otherwise, it can turn into a pair of golden handcuffs.

2) Go one step further and determine in what niche you want your expertise.

Whatever field you decide to study, there are countless niches to focus on. Find a niche that matches what you’re passionate about and that you can generate income with. (Remember – everything you love won’t make you money.)

3) Go deeper still and define the market you want to target your expertise to.

Keep this target market in mind as you’re becoming an expert. What do they want to know? What problems can you help them solve? What pain can you take away, and what pleasure can you help provide, with your expertise?

4) Determine the keywords that define your expertise.

Use those keywords to:

  • Set up Google Alerts – this will allow you to receive daily updates on the latest news in your field and niche
  • Search iTunes for related podcasts – listen to the most popular ones
  • Search YouTube for related “how to” videos – watch the most popular ones
  • Search for blogs – read the most popular ones
  • Search for seminars and online courses – use the ones that hit your target the best

5) Read one, best selling book a month on your subject.

It amazes me how many times I hear people brag about not reading books. Why is that now a badge of honor? You can get more out of a great book than you can out of a college course, a seminar, or one video – and for a lot less money.

Read these books to use the knowledge that is in them. I read books in my field as if I’m going to have a final exam.

I read like this:

  • Frist time through I just read the book
  • Second time through I highlight what resonates with me and make notes
  • Third time through I focus on my highlights
  • Fourth time through I start implementing the ideas into my life

If you read one book a month, in just one year you’ll know more about the field than 99% of the people you come in contact with.

Bonus: If you’re a great reader/studier, you can supercharge this be reading one book a week.

6) Start blogging about your quest to become an expert right away.

People love to see how other people do it. They love getting a behind the scenes view to your struggles and your successes. The more honest you are about the obstacles you’ve hit, the better.

Blogging about this will help you improve your writing skills, lock in the new information you’re learning, and build your brand.

Google “how to start a blog.” It’s very easy and cheap to do. For around ten bucks you can buy a domain name, and for another ten a month you can have your site hosted. Use a free theme on WordPress and you’re ready to roll.

7) Use what your learning in the real world.

It’s one thing to know theories, facts, and how to do something. It’s very different to actually do it. Your story of using your expertise in your life will carry more weight with most people than any letters after your name.

Once you’ve completed these seven steps, it’s time to start displaying your expertise. I’ll cover that in my next post.

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

You Can Now Watch My Free Webinar Right Here and Share it With Friends.

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I know you’re busy and it’s hard to schedule your day to attend a webinar. Many of you have asked me if I would post my latest one. Well, here you go. I hope you enjoy it and share it with anyone who will benefit from it.

At the end, I give you all the details on my latest online coaching course and my personal coaching programs.

Here’s a preview of what the Webinar is about:

Most people never find their true calling. Fewer still ever pursue it with success to live the extraordinary life of their dreams.

I don’t say this to dash your hopes. I say it to warn you and to offer some free training so you don’t fail.

I show you:

  • How to overcome the 6 obstacles that stop you from taking action to change your life
  • How to find your calling
  • How to create the mindset you must have to get the life you want
  • How to focus on what’s essential
  • How to stay motivated to make lasting change

Join Premium Personal Coaching with Greg Knapp

Join Value Personal Coaching

Buy the 40 Day Ecoaching Course

Let’s GO!

Three Answers You Should Never Give Yourself

We ask ourselves questions every day and our brain always answers. Sometimes it’s consciously and sometimes it’s unconsciously, but it always answers. Are you asking the right questions and getting the right answers?

“Why does this always happen to me?” “Why am I so stupid?”

Your brain will make up an answer. Do you really want to hear it?

So, start with better questions: “What is my purpose?” “What are my passions?” “How can I start my own business?” “What can I do to serve people that will cause them to line up to give me their money?” “What can I do to make a difference?” “How can I have more freedom in my life?”

What are your questions?

When you ask yourself a question that really matters to you, here are three answers you should never give yourself:

1) “I don’t know.” The correct answer is, “I don’t know…yet, but I know how to find out.” Think about all the things in your business and life you didn’t used to know how to do. Not too long ago I had no idea how to write and publish a book, or how to create a blog, or how to simultaneously post on 3 social media sites, or create an automated email campaign. But, I learned how and you can learn anything you need to know.

It’s never been easier to find out how to do something. Type in “how to _____” into Google or YouTube and we have incredible information at our fingertips. From blogs, books, online courses, videos, podcasts, ebooks, and more, there is a way to find your answers.

2) “I can’t.” The correct answer is “I can figure out how to do it,” or “I can get someone else to do that for me,” or “I can do something similar instead.”

What good has it ever brought you?

3) “I don’t care.” You do care, or you wouldn’t consistently be asking yourself the same question. So why are you using that as your answer when you don’t mean it? Is it fear? Is it a belief that you can’t do it, so acting like you don’t care makes that easier to swallow? You need to figure that out so you can get to the answer you want.

Action Steps:

Start asking yourself questions that will get you what you want. Write them down. Ask yourself these questions every day.

When you get an answer that resonates with you, take action immediately.

Don’t accept the answers: I don’t know. I can’t. I don’t care.

Let’s GO!

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!

 

Be Encouraged by Rejection and Failure

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How can rejection and failure be encouraging? By learning how common it is and how every successful person has dealt with it.

Yes, all of us experience rejection and failure. I’m convinced a great deal of success comes down to simply not giving up on what you really want.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time
–Edison

Look at these stories and Be Encouraged.

 

Modeling agencies told her she should consider becoming a secretary. —Marilyn Monroe.

 

A college drop out started a company called Traf-O-Data. At first the software didn’t work. Then, it barely made money. Oh, yeah, then he started another company and is now the richest man in the world. —Bill Gates

 

He was awkward on the violin. Teachers said he was too stupid to compose. —Beethoven

 

“Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” — From Fred Astaire’s first screen test.

 

“So we went to Atari and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we’ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we’ll come work for you.’ And they said, ‘No.'”

“So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, ‘Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.'” — Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer.

 

Fired as a contributor to the San Francisco Examiner because, he was told, “You just don’t know how to use the English language.”–Rudyard Kipling

 

Failed at starting his own business three times. Tried again and became one of the richest men in the world while making it possible for the average family to own a car. – Henry Ford

 

Put aside her passion for decades but in her seventies became one of the best-known American painters of all time. — Grandma Moses

 

 

Why not you?

Why not now?

Questions for comments: Who told you no, or you weren’t good enough? How did you overcome that?

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!

Getting Started is the Hardest Part

You have big ideas, big plans, big goals! But, first you have to check your email. Hey, your daughter needs help with her homework. The lawn isn’t going to mow itself, you know. My desk is so disorganized, I won’t be able to get anything done until I fix that. Time to update my LinkedIn profile.

Why do we procrastinate from the things we know will make our lives so much better? Why is it so hard to get started on something we really want to do? What can we do about it?

The first thing to do is make sure this really is something you want to do. Are you procrastinating because this idea/plan/project/goal doesn’t line up with your values? Is it really your Passionate Purpose?

If you know this really is what you want, then why haven’t you started?

Research shows our minds tend to focus on all the difficulties and complexities of a project or task before we start to do it. So, we tend to avoid starting big projects.

Yesterday, my youngest daughter was a perfect example of this. She was having a self-pity party over all the homework, projects, and studying for finals she had to do. She went on for several minutes and even began to cry.

We then acknowledged she had a lot of work to do, but that getting started is the hardest part. We then organized her work, decided what to do when, and came up with a manageable plan. Then we decided she would work on her first project for 15 minutes and take a break. The idea was to just get started, then she would see it wasn’t as hard as she thought.

It worked great! She ended up working much longer on it and didn’t even realize she had gone past her 15 minutes. It dawned on her that it wasn’t as hard as she thought and that she was getting a lot done.

Another great tool to get things started is to use the Zeigarnik effect to your advantage. The Zeigarnik effect is the tendency to remember projects/tasks/goals that you haven’t completed. In fact, research shows your mind keeps coming back to uncompleted tasks. So, once you get started on what you really want to do, your mind has a tendency to keep coming back to it until you complete it.

Isn’t that great? It’s almost like someone designed us to get important things done. Hmm….

I’m using this a lot right now. As I’m ramping up my professional and personal development business I often feel overwhelmed. I have big ideas for my speaking and coaching. I’m working on creating online courses for “Business On Purpose” and “Life On Purpose.” I’m writing my second book. I’m starting to play gigs again with my acoustic guitar.

Each of these ideas will take a lot of work. Many of them will require me to do things I’m not quite sure how to do yet. So, I sometimes find myself doing busywork instead of getting started.

Boo!

But, once I start, I get on a roll.

Yay!

I’ve found the 15 minute trick I used with my daughter works with me as well. Just do it for 15 minutes. I can do anything for 15 minutes. Then I tend to keep going.

Another great technique is to break down the task into smaller bites and just do one bite. Your little successes will lead to big ones.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

You don’t need to know how to do it all before you start. Get started and you’ll learn what you need as you go.

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!

Workin’ Hard Getting Nothing Done

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We all work hard and it seems like there’s always more work to be done. My last two posts were on 7 Steps to Having More Time. (Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2)

I’ve noticed something about myself and I’m wondering if it’s the same for you. When I plan out my day to focus on my most important thing and stick to the plan I get a ton done.

“Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?'”
— Marcus Aurelius

When I just have an idea of what I’m going to do, I don’t get as much done. Yet, I still feel like I worked just as hard. How does that happen?

This morning I realized how it happens for me.

I work from home in the mornings and I had great plans on important things to do. But, first I decided I needed to merge my domain email with my Gmail account — 40 minutes gone. Next, I decided I needed to upload the video of my daughter’s performance with the Starlight Stars. My phone didn’t sync with my Mac, so I had to download a program – 30 minutes gone.

Then I noticed a few hundred photos on my phone that were taking up space so I decided I needed to upload select photos from my phone to my Mac – another 20 minutes gone.

And so it went:

Send YouTube video I created to a contact (and watch some of my old ones) – 30 minutes

Check and reply to FB messages and notifications – 10 minutes

Check my LinkedIn account and reply to messages – 10 minutes

Renew my library books online – 5 minutes

I finally shook myself and realized that although I felt like I was working I had spent almost 2 hours doing absolutely no work on my most important thing. Not good.

I hadn’t planned well, and I wasn’t even sticking to my not so great plan. It wasn’t that the things I was doing were bad, it’s just that they were taking me away from the more productive things I really wanted to get done.

Focus, Grasshopper, focus.

At the end of the day we’re usually tired. If we’ve run around all day chasing our tail, putting out fires and just doing “work” we will experience an empty, dissatisfied, frustrated kind of tired.

If we focus on what’s essential and make great progress on that, we will experience a job well done, life is good, now I’ve earned some relaxation time kind of tired.

Questions for comments: How do you stay focused on your plan?

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

Who Else Wants to Overcome Your Obstacles?

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You have big dreams and big plans. You have educated yourself, set your goal and worked towards it. But, you see some obstacles in your way and you want to make sure everything is just right before you act, right?

That’s how we all get sometimes. It is good to plan, but there is never a time when everything is just right. If you wait for that moment, you will never take action.

But, Greg, what if I go for it and fail? What if I’m rejected?

Great questions. This is where we remind ourselves the simple truths that we often forget. If you never take action, aren’t you failing already? If you learn from a failure or a rejection, can’t you just take action again in a better way that has a greater chance of success? Isn’t taking action how you have achieved your success so far?

Aren’t all these objections to taking action really just a way we hide from our fear?

I just met a new friend yesterday who reminded me of how I wasn’t taking action and was giving in to fear. I have so many things I want to launch, but I find myself waiting until everything is just right.

He asked about how I got started in radio and I remembered – I took action.

He asked how my show became nationally syndicated and I remembered – I took action.

Then I started remembering how I wrote my book, started my blog and started speaking – I took action.

Everything wasn’t even close to being just right. But, by taking action, things started to come together. I met people who helped me. I learned things that helped me. I gained momentum and confidence and kept taking action.

My new friend hit me with it hard when we were talking about how I could increase my speaking business. He said, “You should see if you can work with Dave Ramsey. He endorsed your book and you would fit in great with him.” I told him I agreed.

“Then why don’t you call him and ask — today?”

Great question.

So, I did.

I also wanted to set up a speech at a friend’s business, so I called and asked him. I took action.

It was a little scary, but it felt great.

What have you been thinking about doing but you’ve let fear stop you? Take action.

Ask.

Do.

Go!

You will be surprised how fast fear falls and miracles happen.

Questions for comment: What have you been planning but not doing? How did you take action? What happened when you took action?