In 5th grade I decided to join the elementary school band and play the trumpet. (Why the trumpet? They let us try all the instruments, but I couldn’t keep my cheeks from puffing out when I tried the trombone. Yup, that’s the kind of thought I put into my instrument of choice.)
In the first week of practice we had auditions. Out of 36 trumpets, I was 33rd chair. (Take that chair 34, 35, and 36!) Let’s just say I was not awesome at this.
All of that changed when our band director handed out the music. We were going to play the theme from Rocky! (Gonna Fly Now) This was in 1978. The movie had only come out two years earlier and I loved that song. And, the trumpets had an amazing part.
I took the sheet music home and started playing it. But I didn’t have the melody. I was playing boring low notes the whole time. I didn’t understand why. (I’ll explain in a minute.) I really didn’t sound very good. It was painful to listen to me.
My mom saw me struggling and got me private lessons. I had a really cool teacher who said my embouchure – the way my mouth was on the trumpet – was all wrong. He showed me what to do and sent me home.
I worked my butt off and the next week my teacher was stunned. He said my embouchure was now “super good” and we could start really learning how to play.
I practiced hard.
Three months later my band had auditions again. This time I jumped from 33rd chair to 3rd chair. I even beat out all but two of the 6th graders who had been playing a year longer than I had. Wow! All the hard practicing was really paying off.
Then, my director asked me to hand in all my music. I didn’t know what was happening. Had I done something wrong? Was I in trouble? Nope, she just wanted to give me the 1st part for every song. I didn’t understand. What did 1st part mean?
I was so new to music that I didn’t realize there were different parts depending on how good you were. The best players played 1st part melody. I had been playing 3rd part harmony. Now I was getting the 1st part for all our songs – and that included the first part to ROCKY!
I rode my bike home as fast as I could and started playing that song, imagining I was running up the steps in Philly. I was playing the melody. I sounded like the theme song! (Well, kinda. I sounded like the simplified 5th grade version of the song, but I was playing the MELODY!)
From there I fell in love with the trumpet and ramped up my practicing. In junior high I was in two bands, practiced in the marching band after school and spent at least another hour practicing at home each day.
In 8th grade I auditioned for the all county band and made 1st chair. That meant I was the best junior high trumpet player in all of Orange County, Florida (Orlando). I thought that was pretty cool.
In fact, I got a little cocky. I let my practice schedule slip. I didn’t work as hard on new songs. I didn’t ask my private teacher to push me as hard.
The next year, as a 9th grader I auditioned for the all county band again – and only made third chair. An 8th grader was second chair! How did I let this happen?
I realized that I had become complacent with my trumpet. I wasn’t looking for new songs and new challenges. I was resting on my accomplishments. While I was doing that, other people were working hard to get better. And they passed me by.
How many of us have done that in some part of our life or work?
Sometimes it’s because we get bored or tired. Other times it’s because we aren’t paying attention to the changes in our business or life. Still other times we aren’t looking for the ways to innovate and change to reach a new level of success.
If we want to fix that, we have to keep looking for the next Rocky Theme Song that gets us excited. That’s what helps drive us to put in the hard work it takes to become the best version of ourselves we can.
Question for comment:
What’s your next Rocky? What’s gonna make you fly now?
The following is a rough transcript of the podcast (except for my interview):
Today we’re going to hit on the idea of finding and pursuing your passionate purpose, how that makes a difference in the world.
Then we’re going to talk about how much habits impact our lives and how to get rid of the bad ones and create new ones.
And we’ll end with an encouraging message to go for the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Ready? Let’s GO!
We’re all diff, but some things are universal. You want to matter, count, and make a difference. You want to live a life of value and significance.
God made us that way. You want to live intentionally, with purpose and passion.
How do we do that? We have to find our passionate purposes in every part of our lives. We have to take the gifts we were given and increase them and use them to help and serve others.
When we do that, everyone wins. In our relationships, family, work, finances, faith. It all gets better when we’re doing what we were brought here to do.
I love seeing this in people’s lives:
We had family movie night at the Knapp house over the weekend and we watched Eddie the Eagle. It’s a feel good comedy based on the true story of Michael Eddie Edwards.
What I loved about the film was the message on the importance of a Passionate Purpose.
Eddie had knee problems as a child and had to wear a leg brace. The doctors told him he should give up on sports. His father told him he would never be an athlete.
But, when Eddie was little he read a book about great moments in Olympic history. From that point on he was determined to become an Olympian, have his moment, and prove everyone wrong.
He had a passionate purpose and he had a strong why that supported it.
He tried a lot of different sports and none seemed promising. He had spent years trying to get on the British Olympic team in downhill skiing, but couldn’t quite make it. Most people would have given up.
His passionate purpose continued to drive him.
Eddie figured out that no one had been a ski jumper for Britain since 1929 and there were no qualifying distances to make the team. (However, the Brits decided to rewrite the rules and set up a qualifying distance.)
He convinced an old, drunk ski jumper to coach him. Using his own money, and any he could borrow, Eddie trained for a year and made the Olympic team.
Not only had his passionate purpose turned him into a decent ski jumper it also gave his coach a purpose to get sober and do something with his life.
A strong purpose can change more than just your life. What strong purpose is motivating you to great things in your life?
If you don’t have one right now, it’s time to find one.
Greg, Can I Really Get the Life You Want? Yes! If…
You’re excited about the idea of finding and pursuing your passionate purpose. You’ve visited a few websites about it, watched some videos, and maybe even read a book about how to do it. You’ve been dreaming about what your best life would look like.
But…nothing’s changed. You aren’t taking action. Five years ago you were in the same situation and a year from now?
–Amelia Earhart said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”
If you read my blog, social media posts and book, you know I’m a super positive, encouraging, optimistic guy. (And humble!)
But, let’s get real here, ya’ll. Tough love time. IF you really want to live an extraordinary life where you pursue your Passionate Purpose, I can’t sugar coat this.
If you have thought about it – or tried to do it – before and failed, you’ve made excuses.
Here are some that I’ve heard (and used myself from time to time).
Only the lucky few get to do that
I’m not rich enough
I’m afraid I’ll fail
I don’t have the right connections
I’m not a genius
I’m afraid I’ll lose all my money
You have to be really talented to do that
I don’t know how to do it
I’m afraid I’ll get divorced over it
I don’t want to sacrifice my wife/husband/kids/relationships to do that
I’m not educated enough
Now’s not the right time
It’s too hard
I won’t make enough money to live on if I do that
I’m not good enough
I don’t deserve it
People from my family don’t do that
It’s selfish and greedy to want to do that
I don’t have enough time to do everything I would need to do
I’ll do it someday
Those are just some of the excuses I’ve heard to make people feel better about giving up on their dreams. I’m sure you could help me come up with more. Some of these concerns are real. I don’t want to suggest that going after what you really want is easy and requires no sacrifice. That’s just dreaming.
But, if you really want to pursue your Passionate Purpose and go after that extraordinary life, you have got to cowboy up for a serious ride.
Do you really want to look back on your life and list the excuses why you never tried? Do you want to use your children, spouse and friends as human shields to protect you from your fears of going for something great? Do you really believe that ALL successful people are divorced, greedy, horrible human beings who sacrificed all their values to get where they are in life?
Am I going to stop talking in questions? Yes. Right now.
The reason you aren’t taking action and going after this isn’t because you don’t have talent—nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. 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.
Look, all the excuses really boil down to one. Fear.
Change is scary. All those excuses we listed create fear. Your mind is screaming at you to avoid fear and risk. Subconsciously, your brain is telling you that you get more out of not changing than you think you would get out of changing.
“But, I really want to change. What? Your actions are so loud I can’t hear what you’re saying.” — Greg Knapp
IF you really want this, it’s time to convince yourself these aren’t just wants, they are needs.
Time to convince yourself that the fear and pain that always comes with change is worth it for the chance to live the extraordinary life of your dreams.
Time to convince yourself that NOT changing is risky, too. Imagine living your whole life and NEVER going for what you could have had!
If you are tired of just getting by and letting days, months, and years slip past without achieving what you know you were put on this earth by your Creator to do, then now is the time.
Get your mindset right.
Understand fear creeps in but can be handled.
Determine what you want.
Set your course.
How much longer will you wait?
Another thing that can hold us back is our habits. So much of what we do habitual. We try to change and we fall back to old habits.
We can use habits to our advantage if we can create new, good ones that keep us on course to live out our Passionate Purpose intentionally.
Charles Duhigg has written a great book about this, called, The Power of Habit- Why we do what we do in life and business, and he’s joining me now on Your Passionate Purpose. Charles, how are you?
I want to encourage you that you can find and pursue your passionate purposes in every part of your life. God gave you gifts and talents that he wants you to grow and use for His glory, to serve people and to live an abundant life.
Steven Covey said, “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment”
The world needs what you have to offer. I’ll see you tomorrow.
It’s a lot easier to pursue your Passionate Purpose when you have someone on your side, encouragins you, helping you, and holding you accountable.
Greg, is this going to be a post about having an accountability partner? That’s an old, boring idea. Come on, man.
Hang on a second. You’re right that it’s an old idea, but here’s a question for you: Do you have an accountability partner who’s helping you achieve your most important goal right now?
Don’t feel bad, most of us don’t. We all know it’s a good idea, but most of us never follow through with it. Some of us start off with an accountability partner and then over a few weeks or months, we drift until the idea fades.
The times I have stuck with an accountability partner have paid huge dividends for me. I used one to get serious about working out and I used one to write my first book. Anytime I felt like skipping a workout, or not working on my book, I knew I would have to answer to my partner. I also knew I’d be letting him down.
That pushed me and kept me going. Better yet, the encouragement I got from my partner for all my hard work really inspired me.
I even discovered something super cool about having an accountability partner. When you help someone else achieve their goals, that helps you, too. It makes you feel great, and it gives you extra energy and incentive to keep going after what you really want.
Ok, Greg, you’ve sold me. So, how do I get – and keep – a partner? And how do we hold each other accountable in an encouraging way?
First, you need to get 100% clear on exactly what you want and why you want it.
Write that down.
When will you do “x” by?
How will you know you’ve done it?
Write that down.
Who will you choose as your accountability partner? It should be someone who shares your desire for an extraordinary life, someone who will support you in your efforts and kick you in the butt when you need it.
Be careful not to get someone who really doesn’t think you’re going to achieve your goal. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I’ve seen people set themselves up for failure that way.
Search for someone you look up to, who has a reputation for doing what he says, and for following through.
I find the best accountability partners are people who want you to hold them accountable for goals they’re working on in their life as well. When you encourage each other and hold each other accountable, great things happen.
If you can find someone who has a goal very similar to yours, that’s even better. I have found that it’s often better to find someone who isn’t a family member or a super close friend. Sometimes, when we’re that close, we don’t feel comfortable pushing each other.
Is there someone in your circle of friends at church, work, or in the neighborhood you would feel comfortable working with?
Get an accountability partner today or tomorrow. Don’t wait.
Schedule a time once a week for an accountability phone call and half way through the week exchange an accountability email.
The content of the call and the email is simple. Ask each other:
What did you say you would do this week?
What work have you done on that?
What adjustments do you need to make to improve your progress?
What can I do to help you?
Encourage each other
Celebrate mini successes
Remind each other how far you’ve come
Support each other on the “why” behind your goals.
You figured out your Passionate Purpose. You have a powerful “what,” that you really want. You have a compelling “why” that drives you. You have goals and action plans that support all of that.
Now, what can really supercharge your success?
I love what Steve Martin has to say about it. He was on the Charlie Rose show and was asked his advice for aspiring actors and comedians. Martin’s answer was not what Rose expected.
“Nobody ever takes note of (my advice), because it’s not the answer they wanted to hear. What they want to hear is ‘Here’s how you get an agent, here’s how you write a script,’ . . . but I always say, ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’ If somebody’s thinking, ‘How can I be really good?’ people are going to come to you.”
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” –Steve Martin
That’s fantastic advice. Yes, a business plan is important. A marketing plan is important. A million things are important. But the best thing you can do to reach a level of success you’ve only dreamed of is to become so good they can’t ignore you.
What are you doing to become world class at your Passionate Purpose? If that’s not one of your goals, it needs to be.
We should be constantly learning and growing. Now, that doesn’t mean we read a book every night, listen to a podcast everyday and watch a Ted talk every afternoon at lunch. (Remember the problem with information overload we discussed earlier on day 14 Learn Less, More – Know Can Do. )
It means that every day you should be working on your craft, idea, book, business, etc. You should be learning and studying the best ways to be so good they can’t ignore you.
Part of that learning is repetition, repetition, repetition.
Learn the most important things about your Passionate Purpose so well that you don’t even have to think about them anymore. Make them automatic for you.
That allows you to add even more to what you know and do. That allows you to be creative and innovative. It allows you to come up with ideas in your field that no one else has ever done before. Or, it allows you to do them at such a high level that most people can’t keep up with you.
I played basketball in high school. The first year I made the team, I didn’t play my best. I was learning the playbook and there was a lot to learn. I was the point guard, so I needed to know where everyone was supposed to go for each play we ran.
We had a 40 series, a 20 series, plays for zone coverage, plays for man to man coverage, plays for full court press, etc. I was so worried about running the plays correctly, that I couldn’t really “play basketball.”
But, after a year and a summer in the system, I had the plays down cold for my second season. I no longer had to think about the plays. They were automatic. So, I was able to focus on the game. The plays were just the background to the opportunities I saw to pass, set picks, and shoot.
That’s when I became a creative basketball player again. That’s when I became so good coach couldn’t ignore me. That’s when I got some playing time.
How can you do that with your Passionate Purpose?
1) Research through Google, books, podcasts, blogs, videos, and seminars that can help you get the knowledge to improve your skills.
2) Use the Know Can Do method to really master the best techniques, instead of superficially learn a bunch of ideas. Learn Less, More. (See previous post for more.)
3) Use spaced repetition, repetition, repetition to learn it so well it becomes automatic.
4) Use the new techniques in your daily work. Integrate them into your life.
Greg, this “Passionate Purpose” stuff sounds a little new-agey, touchy-feely to me. I’ve read some articles and books that are saying the idea of following your passion doesn’t work. I’ve even read stuff that says setting goals means you just end up failing and feeling bad about yourself. Is that true?
No, and yes, or yes and no. I’m not trying to avoid answering the question, but that’s really the answer. (Those are the answers?) Another great quote from Henry Ford explains it: “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Yes, figuring out why you’re here, discovering your Passionate Purpose, setting goals and not reaching them can be frustrating, and sometimes depressing. But, you know what can be even more depressing? Never figuring out your purpose, never setting any goals, and never achieving any goals.
You know what’s a lot better than not setting goals so you won’t feel bad if you don’t succeed? Setting goals and actually achieving them. You are not going for a passionless existence. You are living an impassioned life!
When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind. –Seneca, Roman philosopher
It’s all about your mindset, how you set your goals, the plan you create to achieve them, and the execution of your plan.
But ask yourself this: What gives you a better chance of living out your dreams, figuring out what they are and pursuing them or just floating through life whichever way the wind blows?
But, Greg, doesn’t success at your job create passion? That works for some people, for a while. But how many people earning a good income do you know who hate their jobs?
Doctors, dentists, and lawyers all make it into the top 20 of highest suicide rates by profession and those are some of our higher-paying jobs. It’s not all about the cheddar, is it? Golden handcuffs still chafe and hurt just as much as the cheap ones do.
You have to decide these answers for yourself. For me, I want to live out the “why” of my existence. I want to pursue what I’m passionate about and use that to make me rich in every sense of the word.
You might be surprised to find that you will eventually make more money following your passion than you do right now trying to slog through the day. Then again, you might not. But at a certain point, money isn’t the number one priority, is it?
My goals definitely include creating a good income for my family and me, but a goal like earning $1 million per year is not my primary motivator. It’s not my top “why” for my Passionate Purpose.
My “whys” include inspiring people, creating more freedom for myself, helping people live their dreams, a flexible schedule, doing what I love, and taking more vacations with my family. If you took all those away and simply paid me more for doing a soul-sucking job 50 hours a week, I’d say no thanks.
What about you?
Motivation is a tricky thing. It waxes and wanes like the moon. Some people claim motivation doesn’t work because it wears off.
Hold on, I eat three (or five) times a day. I guess I should just stop eating. It wears off.
I work out three times a week. I guess I should just stop exercising. It wears off.
I shower every day. I guess I should just stop showering. It wears off.
Sounds kind of ridiculous, doesn’t it? EVERYTHING wears off.
The question is, how do you stay motivated to pursue your Passionate Purpose? A big helper in that is finding an accountability partner. The word “partner,” is important here. This is going to be a mutually beneficial relationship. You are going to motivate each other.
So, find someone you like and trust who is also looking for an accountability partner. It should be someone who shares your desire for an extraordinary life, someone who will support you in your efforts and kick you in the butt when you need it.
I find the best accountability partners are people who want you to hold them accountable for goals they’re working on in their life as well. When you encourage each other AND hold each other accountable, great things happen. Once you find one:
Tell each other exactly what you want and why you want it
Set a date for when will complete “x”
Determine how will you know you’ve done it
Schedule a weekly phone call to review the past week’s activities towards your goals
If necessary, exchange an accountability email half way through the week
Encourage and challenge each other to keep going
To be clear, the content of the call and the email is simple:
1) What did you say you would do this week?
2) What work have you done on that?
3) What went right?
4) What didn’t go so well?
5) What’s holding you back?
6) What adjustments do you need to make to improve your progress?
7) What can you do to help your partner?
As you work on your Passionate Purpose, you will hit plateaus. Expect it and be ready to do the work necessary to break through them.
I was a guest on the Hello Techpros podcast this week. The topic was “How to get and stay motivated.” Please share it with anyone you think it will help. We’ve all had times when we feel motivated, but then get depressed when it doesn’t last. I hope this helps.
Your motivation will go up and down. No one stays super motivated all the time. You’re not happy all the time, or sad all the time.
People who say getting motivated and working on improving yourself are a waste of time because it wears off need to really think that through. Doesn’t everything wear off if you don’t keep up with it?
I play the guitar and I used to play the trumpet. When I play in a band I make sure I tune my instrument before we begin. Guess what? The instruments don’t stay in tune. I re-tune them every other song or so.
I take a shower every day. I eat three times a day. I lift weights three times a week. I practice my guitar every day.
Why do I have to do these things every day? If I do them once, shouldn’t that be enough?
That sounds crazy doesn’t it?
Everything wears off if we don’t work to improve our skills. What we need to do is build in ways to boost our motivation when it starts to lag.
Here are some ideas on how to get re-motivated when you’re starting to feel down:
Call your accountability partner.
Go on YouTube and listen to a motivational message.
Attend a motivational seminar.
Refresh your memory on why you’re working on these goals.
Reward yourself for the progress you’ve made so far.
I always come back to the “why.” Why are you working this hard? Why are you doing what other people aren’t willing to do? Because then you will get to do what other people aren’t able to do.
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
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?”
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.”
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.
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.