Do You Have the Perfect Idea?

It means nothing, unless...

lightbulb

Have you ever had the perfect idea? What did you do with it? Did it change the world? Did it make you super successful in every meaning of the word? Or, did something else happen?

Last night I had a dream. I came up with a perfect idea. I have a strategy to save these ideas. I keep my phone right next to my bed. When I have an idea in the middle of the night, I record it into my phone. The problem is that when I listen to it in the morning it often sounds like, “Don’t forget to oxenfrter the blktmite and grnxl prkngrp.”

Awesome.

This time it was even worse. I couldn’t wake myself up enough to make the audio note. Instead, I told myself in my dream/wake state to remember this perfect idea…

And I forgot it.
So I can’t act on it.
So it wasn’t a perfect idea.

What perfect ideas have you gotten that you’ve never acted on? No matter how great they were, they are worth precisely nothing because you didn’t act on them.

It’s not too late. If you had a perfect idea – act on it today. The next time you have a perfect idea, or even just a good one:

  1. Write it down (legibly) so you remember it.
  2. Brainstorm ways to implement it and break your ultimate goal down into achievable mini-goals.
  3. Take some form of action – no matter how small – right away!
  4. Take consistent, daily action every day. Make it a ritual.
  5. Don’t stop until your idea is realized.

That’s the only time ideas actually count.

Now excuse me while I try to translate my midnight brilliance from my smart phone. (This isn’t going to end well.)

“Good ideas are common – what’s uncommon are people who’ll work hard enough to bring them about.” – Ashleigh Brilliant

Questions for comments: What great idea have you not acted on that you could start acting on today?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

 

If You’re About to Give Up, Read THIS First!

A young looking pensive while covering his mouth with a clenched hand

You’ve been working really hard and you’re frustrated. All the big ideas, extra hours, sacrifices, and effort you’ve put in have gotten you…what?

Exactly Jack Squat!

Maybe.

But what if you’re this close to a breakthrough? What if that last little bit of work will put you on a path to something that could really change your life?

My first job in talk radio way back in the 90s was not as a talk show host. I was working for minimum wage doing all the grunt work and overnight shifts. I even had to buy time to get a chance to be on the air. Fairly quickly they were “kind” enough to let me provide a show for the station for free, but I still wasn’t getting paid.

YES! I always wanted to work for free! Ok, maybe not. I wasn’t exactly reaching my radio dreams…yet.

Even though my wife’s job and my part time job as a mental health counselor were earning enough to support us, I felt like I was letting her down. I told her I was about to quit the radio dream and get a full time counseling job.

She convinced me to stay at it at least until the end of the year. (She’s awesome.) She said, “Hey, you’re actually pretty good at this.” (Yeah, she’s funny, too.)

About a month later I was offered a full time job as a talk show host on the number one station in town. That was the start of my 21 year career as a radio talk show host including national syndication and stints in Dallas, Kansas City, and Jacksonville. What if I’d given up one month before my big break?

I was reminded of this while I was watching The Voice with my daughter. One of the contestants is married with children. He’s a teacher and sings on the side. He’s been doing it for over a decade without much success. He told his brother he was about to give up on the idea of a singing career – and then he got a spot on The Voice.

What if you’re that close?

Before you give up, do a double check:

1) Remember why you want this. Is that why still strong for you? Why are you working this hard? Why are you doing what other people aren’t willing to do? Isn’t is because then you will get to do what other people aren’t able to do?

2) Review the progress you’ve made so far. You might be surprised at what you’ve already accomplished.

3) Review your plan. What parts are working? What parts aren’t working? What could you change to get better results?

4) Imagine what your life would be like if this started turning around for you? What would change? How would that impact you, and those around you? How would it make you feel?

5) Give yourself some grace. Maybe you just need to slow down and take a bit more time on this. Maybe you’re burning yourself out and expecting too much too soon. Go for smaller successes and then build to bigger things. You’re human, and that’s ok.

6) Email me before you give up and see if I can help you! greg@gregorybknapp.com

“To conquer frustration, one must remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.”
– T.F. Hodge

Question for comment: How do you keep going when you feel like giving up?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

Let’s GO!

It’s Either Heck Yeah! or No

excited

I was invited to attend an event, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. It would have been fun, the people involved were nice, and it might even have led to some business opportunities.

But, I had a speech I needed to finish writing on the same day and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it done if I said yes to the invitation.

Still, I felt bad about saying no. Do you ever feel like that?

I like what Derek Sivers says, “It’s either HECK YEAH! Or No.”

This event wasn’t a HECK YEAH! so I politely declined. I got my speech done and felt great.

We are all busy and we can’t do everything. We have to make decisions all day long on what we allow to take up our precious time.

This is a way to reclaim some of that time. When an opportunity comes along, give it the “HECK YEAH! Or No” test. If you’re not excited about the idea, don’t do it.

Simple.

Liberating.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
–Steve Jobs

This leaves you more time to do what matters most. And that’s key. I’m not talking about saying no as a reflex, or because you’re feeling lazy, or you just want to binge watch Limitless on Netflix (I’m not doing that. Who told you I was doing that?). I’m talking about being strategic about what you say yes to.

There are countless opportunities for you in the world. If you spend your time on the ones that are just good, you won’t have time for the truly great ones that feed your Passionate Purpose.

I am using this test to plan my calendar, business appointments, and even my leisure time. Why spend your life doing things that aren’t HECK YEAHs?

Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you.

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

Let’s GO!

 

You Can Supercharge Your Life – Without the Energy Drinks

energy-drinks

We all want to be energized and fired up to take on the day. So much so, that we may turn to coffee for a pick me up. For some, that’s not enough. Bring on the energy drinks!

But haven’t you had days when you felt invigorated without having to slam an espresso? What’s happening on those days?

I bet you’re doing something you’re passionate about and that you love.

When I was a kid it was really hard to get out of bed to go to school every day. I hit the snooze bar several times, fell back asleep, moaned and groaned, and finally, begrudgingly got up.

But at the age of ten I joined a bowling league. (Yes, I was one of those kids.) The league was every Saturday at 9am. I had to get up at the same time I got up for school in order to be at the bowling alley on time. And here’s the strange thing. Even though I stayed up later on Friday nights than I did on school nights, I never hit the snooze bar on Saturday mornings. Most of the time I didn’t even need my alarm. I would happily pop out of bed and get ready to go bowling.

I didn’t wake up tired, I woke up inspired.

What made the difference in my wake up attitude? I loved bowling. I looked forward to it. (Maybe my mom should have taken me to a counselor. Hey, what’s wrong with bowling?) My best friend was on my team and I didn’t want to let him down. I was excited to get up early and go bowling.

I didn’t hate school. I liked some of my classes and I enjoyed seeing my friends. But the school structure did not excite me and most of my classes bored the mess out of me. It was tough to get excited about.

As an adult, I’ve noticed the same phenomenon.

While I’m giving a presentation to a few hundred people or hosting a radio show, or playing a gig with my guitar I don’t feel tired. I feel supercharged. I’m hyped. (Even when my radio show was four hours long every week day, it didn’t wear me out. It actually took me a while to calm down once I was off the air.)

I’m passionate about those things and I love doing them.

When’s the last time this has happened to you? Isn’t it amazing that you can work harder and longer doing what you love – and still feel more energized and satisfied – than working shorter hours doing something you hate?

Yes, we all have to do things we don’t want to do. But, how often?

Is there a way you could do more of what you’re passionate about and less of what drains your energy? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Wouldn’t that help you and everyone who comes in contact with you?

Sure, Greg, and then I’ll ride a unicorn over a rainbow into a pot of gold.

happy-unicorn-rainbow

I know it sounds impossible, but what if? How about this for a start?

1) Figure out what you love and what you don’t. Make a list of everything you do each day, for a week. Highlight all the activities you enjoy in green. Highlight all the activities you don’t enjoy in red.

Which type of activities are you spending most of your time on? If they aren’t the green ones, look out.

2) Now start looking for ways to minimize the red and maximize the green. Are there people who like what you dislike? Could you delegate to them? Could you group the things you dislike and do most of them once a week? Could you talk to your boss about where you do your best and see if that could be where you focus your time? Remember, it will help the company bottom line, too.

3) If none of that works, do you need to change jobs or careers to do more of what you’re passionate about?

4) Is there a way you can reframe the work you have to do that doesn’t energize you? Can you see the purpose of your work and how it helps others? For example, if you’re an insurance salesman instead of seeing your job as “selling insurance,” could you see it as helping people find the best way to keep themselves and their families healthy and financially protected?

5) Do this exercise with your personal life as well.

Life is too short to spend most of your week doing things that suck the life force out of you.

The world needs your best work and that work is driven by your passions. Find them…and you can throw out the energy drinks.

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

Let’s GO!

Your Money or Your Life – YES!

Why can't you have both?

set-of-american-dollar-bills-as-background

Did you hear about the depressed man who was mugged? A robber pulled a gun him and said, “Your money or your life!” The man hesitated so the thief said, “Didn’t you hear me? Your money or your life!” To which the depressed man replied, “I’m thinking it over!”

Regardless of the amount of money you make (or how depressed you are), your money is not worth more than your life.

Still, it doesn’t stink to have money, does it? Why can’t we have more money and more life? Why does it have to be one or the other?

It doesn’t.

I’ve been poor enough that my wife called me crying because she got a parking ticket. She wasn’t sure how we were going to pay it.

I’ve been rich enough to give money to a friend who needed a lawyer, provide meals to families going through hard times and to go on life-changing trips with my family.

Big insight coming…Being richer is better! You’re welcome.

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click herethey can get the free eBook.

Some people’s beliefs about money keep them from earning more. They think:

Limiting belief about money #1) Money is the root of all evil.

Sorry, the Bible says “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” and it’s talking about making money your idol.

So don’t do that.

Limiting belief about money #2) Only greedy people who exploit and cheat others make a lot of money.

Did Steve Jobs or Bill Gates do that to get rich? Did Michael Jordan do that to earn his money?  The vast majority of high income earners serve their way to tremendous wealth.

Zig Ziglar had it right when he said, “You can get everything you want in this world if you just help enough other people get what they want.” 

The only way to become truly successful is to serve your way to success. You create quality products or services that people want and they will line up and happily give you their hard earned money. If you try to exploit them, you won’t last long and you won’t become successful.

“It’s not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It’s the customer who pays the wages.”
–Henry Ford

Limiting belief about money #3) If I get rich it will change me.

Money simply makes you more of what you are. If you’re a nice person, money lets you be nicer. Imagine how much you can help people, families and charities with more money.

If you’re a jerk, you might become an even bigger jerk.

So don’t do that.

Limiting belief about money #4) I will have to become a workaholic and ignore my family to make a lot of money.

Some people take that route. It goes to point number one about keeping the love of money in perspective. If you don’t, you’re truly giving up your life for money.

Some people want it so bad it becomes the focus of their lives. They plan out their major in college based on what has the highest earning potential. They go for the job with the best pay. They put in long hours to get the promotion. They put in even more hours to become partner. They are earning a great paycheck and then they realize they’re miserable, divorced and they don’t even know their kids.

So don’t do that.

Is there another way? Yes!

Making money at something you love makes you rich and filled with joy. You don’t have to work at the exclusion of play and family time.

Action steps:

  • Find your Passionate Purpose
  • Create your goals – including monetary goals
  • Develop your plan to get there
  • Take actions on your plan every day
  • Pursue other passions that bring you and your family happiness

You might be surprised how much you end up making and how much you’re helping others while doing it.

“What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.”
–Julia Cameron

 Let’s GO!

How My Trumpet Can Keep You On Top

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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?

(If this post resonated with you, please share it, and my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding and Pursuing Your Purpose, with a friend.)

Daydream Your Way To Success

laziest-man-ever

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.)

Everything You Want to Become and Do Begins With a Thought

What are you thinking about all day long?

Take a look around you right now. What do you see? A couch, a chair, a computer, walls, furniture, lights, windows?

Everything manmade was once nothing more than a thought. Someone had to conceive of the couch you’re sitting on before the plans were made, the materials were gathered, and the work was done to make it and ship it to the store where you purchased it.

Someone had to dream up the house you’re living in before it was built. I had to think of every word in this blog post in order to write it.

Everything that gets done in this world begins as a thought. From the first automobile to manned spaceflight to the Internet to cancer treatments to magnificent symphonies and works of art, everything had its origins in a thought.

I find that incredible.

The same holds true for who you are. Everything you do and everything you are begins as one of your thoughts.

What you think about leads you to who you are, who you will become, what you do, and what you will do.

What have you ever done that didn’t begin with a thought?
When have you ever made changes in your life that didn’t begin with a thought?

We have to change our thoughts before we can change our behavior. If we keep thinking the same things we’ve thought every day, we will keep doing the same things.

So what are you thinking about all day long? Are they your original thoughts, or are they thoughts other people put in your head? Are they positive or negative thoughts? Are they helping or hurting you?

Whatever you focus on, you will tend to get more of it. Your conscious and subconscious minds will get the message that this is important to you. They will work all day and all night to help you with whatever it is you’re thinking about.

Isn’t that amazing?

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.
–Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism

Your subconscious mind doesn’t care if you’re thinking negative or positive thoughts. Since you’re focusing on it you must want more of it, right? That’s the way your brain works.

Earl Nightingale, in his seminal work The Strangest Secret Ever Told, relates it to how a farmer and his field work together. Whether he plants corn or poison ivy in his field, the field doesn’t care. It will grow one just as well as the other. The field doesn’t judge what you’re planting. If the farmer plants corn and cares for it, the field will yield a wonderful crop of corn for him. If the farmer plants poison ivy, the field doesn’t listen to the farmer say, “No, I don’t want poison ivy, I want corn.” All the field knows is the farmer planted poison ivy, so that is what he is going to get.

What are you planting in your mind every day?

If you constantly think negative thoughts, don’t be surprised if you get negative outcomes. I’m sure you’ve seen this in your own life. When you get in a funk and start complaining about things you can quickly get in a downward spiral that is difficult to get out of.

Most of us have also experienced the opposite. We’ve had something good happen, we’ve focused on it, and then we’ve gotten on a roll. We feel like we’re in the zone and everything is working out for us.

Questions for comments:

What are you telling yourself in your head all day as you keep repeating your habits?
What are you thinking about all day long?
That is what you are and what you are becoming.
What thoughts do you need to focus on to create the change you want?

Choose your thoughts carefully. Choose your focus carefully.

Let’s GO!

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

Three Questions For Your Weekend

Determine your Passionate Purpose, become world class at it, use it to serve others, and enjoy the entire ride.
–Greg Knapp

If you’re struggling to find your Passionate Purpose, or you just want more out of life, I have three questions to ask yourself this weekend.

1) What things have you done that you’re passionate about and bring you joy?

2) What things have you done that you feel have created meaning in your life?

3) What are you good, or even great at? (Or what could you become great at?)

To have this work, you need to spend some real time doing deep thinking. Start with your childhood and slowly work your way to today.

Look at every type of thing you’ve done in every category you can think of. Go DEEP.

Don’t censor yourself, or let other people’s expectations color this exercise. This is all about you.

Action steps:

  • Schedule some time by yourself. Ideally, find a quiet spot that you enjoy.
  • Turn off all electronic devices – yes that means your phone!
  • Pray or meditate on the questions
  • Keep writing answers until you have at least 10 answers to each question.
  • Then come up with 10 more
  • Look for overlapping answers
  • Narrow the answers down to your top 3

Let’s GO!

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

What Are You Taking For Granted?

an-open-letter-from-a-father-to-her-daugther--L-8znLGi

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.)