Come on, be realistic. What does that mean?

How many times have you been told your dream is not realistic? How many times have you told yourself you can’t do it?

Maybe you’re right, you’re not being realistic…

…But, maybe flying a plane, playing the piano, surfing, driving and earning a black belt in Tae Kwon Do – without arms – is realistic.

What?!

Jessica Cox has done all that and more. She was born without arms and refuses to see herself as disabled or as a victim.

“Naturally people saw me not having arms as a limiting factor – but I was there to prove them wrong.”
— Jessica Cox

Watch her must see video by clicking here.

The next time I start to get down and wonder if I’m being realistic or if I can do something, I’m going to slap myself and remember all that Jessica Cox has accomplished.

Let’s GO!

Is THIS Your Opportunity to Succeed or Give Up? — Yes

joy-movie-poster

My daughter has a stomach bug and she asked me to watch a movie with her. She decided on, Joy, with Jennifer Lawrence. It’s the story of how a divorced mother of two, living with a very dysfunctional family, went from nothing to creating a multimillion dollar business empire.

The film is loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop. I thought the movie was just ok, but even Hollywood messing with the truth, the messages I took from Joy are great.

Joy had family troubles, house troubles, ex-husband troubles, work troubles, financial troubles and legal troubles. Most people would have given up. Her mom did give up – she just laid in bed watching soap operas all day. Joy could have followed that example, but instead she kept making the choice to take action and succeed. (Yes, that is a choice.)

I keep noticing that the biggest difference between success and failure is not giving up. I’m not saying that’s easy. I know I’ve had times when I wanted to give up. In fact, I have given up before, and then gotten back in the game. What’s stopping you from getting back in the game? You haven’t failed until you’ve given up permanently.

What will you choose to do with your next opportunity? Keep going and tweaking it until you succeed, or get discouraged and give up?

Unfortunately, just about everyone in Joy’s family discouraged her. They told her that her business ideas wouldn’t work, that she wasn’t smart enough, and she was “just an unemployed housewife.” She almost allowed them to be right.

How many people – some of them meaning well – are pulling you down and preventing you from pursuing your Passionate Purpose? How long will you let them? What can you do today to change that dynamic in your life?

Joy’s Grandma, daughter, ex-husband, and best friend believed in her. She leaned on them for support. We all need that. Who does that for you?

Action steps:

  1. Actively seek out and spend more time with your supporters. Bounce your ideas off them. Thank them.
  2. Avoid the energy vampires. Remember, they can only hurt you if you let them.
  3. Figure it out: Is THIS your opportunity to succeed or give up? The answer is, yes. Which one will you choose? What can you do right now to pursue your current, best opportunity?

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!

You’re So Close – Don’t Stop Now!

You’ve done all the hard work of thinking and planning. You’ve taken action and you’ve made progress. But some obstacles have come up and you’re not sure it’s going to work. You might fail!

Before you quit, please watch this:

Question for comments: What successes have you had that you almost gave up on? What do you do to keep going when you feel like quitting?

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!

Can YOU Really Get the Life You Want? Yes! If…

unsure

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?

Why?

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.
–Amelia Earhart

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.

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.
Take action.
GO!

How much longer will you wait?

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

marilyn

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!

Trying to be Popular is All Wrong

bullfight

We all want to be popular. We want as many people as possible to like us and to love our work. But what if that desire stops us from getting the most out of our talents and turning our ordinary work into spectacular art?

Planning our work so it pleases the largest number of people possible often has us censor ourselves, and usually stops us from doing something amazing. –Greg Knapp

But, Greg, I need people to buy my work. I need to make money.

Absolutely. And you do need to make sure there’s a market for what you’re producing. But, here’s the irony. When we try to make our work popular with everybody we usually end up earning less than when we follow our passion, and do inspired work.

Sure, we’ll be less popular. But the people who love us, really love us. They keep coming back and buying what we have to offer. They tell all their friends about us.

Because we connected with them.

When you do what moves you, you move others and the money will follow. Plus, it’s a lot more fun than trying to do what you think people want!

Pablo Picasso was an excellent artist from a young age. But, did you know he was classically trained and painted landscapes early in his career? He could have stuck with that and made a good living. But he was inspired to experiment and helped create the Cubism movement.

Not everyone liked his abstract paintings. You could say they were “less popular.” But he was doing the work he really cared about and the people who did like them really liked them. In fact, at the time of his death, Picasso’s net worth was estimated to be $50 million. (He was an artist who didn’t have to wait until he died to make money!)

Not bad for being less popular, eh?

Questions for comment: Where have you been pulling back on the type of work you really want to do because you’re worried you will lose customers? Could it be that’s what’s holding you back from bigger success?

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!

Will Finding My Passionate Purpose Really Help Me?

0_arn_looking-ahead-binoculars_lifehacker-com

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, never achieving any goals, and ending up eating a steady diet of government cheese and living in a van down by the river! (Quick, what TV show?)

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.

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 is it for you?

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

Do You Know Someone Who Needs This?

twain

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. — Mark Twain

Do you know someone who hasn’t figured out their why? Someone who doesn’t even know what they really want? Someone who is struggling to find a purpose in this world?

I want to help. My Passionate Purpose is to help as many people as I can find their Passionate Purpose so they can live out the extraordinary lives of their dreams.

If you know someone who needs this information and encouragement, please pass on the link to my homepage and the link to my recent appearance on KC Live

If they are interested my book, GO! How to Find and Pursue Your Passionate Purpose, please pass on the link to it on Amazon.

I would love to give them my free, companion eBook— 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. They can download it from that link.

If you are receiving this as an email, just forward it to anyone you think might benefit from it.

All the best.

Greg Knapp

Workin’ Hard Getting Nothing Done

office-space-stephen-root-as-milton-1024x576

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 Are You Trying to Please? Why? Is It Worth It?

eggshells

We all know trying to please everyone is impossible, so why do we feel like failures when some people don’t like what we do? Why do we compromise on what we know would be our best work, in order to try to please a few more people?

It’s time to try something different. Let’s figure out who we care the most about, who shares our values and try to please them. Let’s get loyal, evangelical customers for life instead of aiming for the lowest common denominator who will drop us if the wind blows funny.

My radio show is not the highest ranked show in town. In fact, it’s not in the top 10. The top show on at the same time I am on is classic rock. A “lifestyle” talk show and sports talk shows are also ranked above me. (The good news is I’m ranked above the station that is our direct competitor.)

I could get really down about my ratings and change what I do to try to please the people who are listening to the shows ranked above me. I might be able to do that. But how many loyal listeners would I end up losing? Would I even enjoy my work anymore?

My station and I are going for an intensely loyal audience that wants to hear what I have to say about the things they care deeply about. Growing that audience makes my station profitable and a great place for our advertisers to reach a loyal customer base.

Don’t get me wrong. I want higher ratings and will continue to improve my show to get them. But I want to get them by going after a special kind of audience. I’d rather have a smaller group of raving fans that I don’t have to constantly chase for repeat business, wouldn’t you?

Raving fans are special. They:

  • Feel like they’re part of your family
  • Tell everyone about you
  • Stick with you
  • Buy from you even when you’re not having a sale
  • Never go anywhere else

I’ve found that developing raving fans makes it easier to increase your profits than trying to be all things to all people. It also comes with some extra bonuses. You get to love what you do and that leads to doing your best work. The hope is that you become so good at your work that to your raving fans, and to yourself, your work becomes art.

Questions for comments: How do you decide whom to please? How has narrowing your focus helped you?