You are not average. Actually, no one is. “Wait a second, Greg. I agree that I’m not average, but lots of people are average. Hello, Greg that’s how they come up with average – it’s most people!”
That’s the funny thing. Todd Rose has done a bunch of research on this and he’s found that not one person is truly average. The averages are made up of statistical models of measurements of all kinds of people, but not one person really fits all the measurements.
Yet, we still try to fit people into the average box. We base our schools on the average child. We base what college we can get into on how far above average our GPA is and how far beyond average we can score on standardized tests. We get hired for our first job in much the same way.
Why? Does real world success correlate closely with those things?
Not really. There is a ton of data showing the correlation is weak.
I like being comfortable, don’t you? Comfy chair, comfy car, comfy job, comfy relationships, comfy routine – who doesn’t like comfy? But what if your comfort level is stopping you from becoming great? What if it’s stopping you from doing great things?
Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – right? Well, if you feel like comfy is “good enough,” then you’re done.
But doesn’t that mean you’ve stopped improving? Isn’t it fun to keep working at making everything better?
I’m reading, How Champions Think, by sports psychologist Bob Rotella. He’s worked with some of the biggest names in sports and business and he found that the people who achieve greatness don’t allow themselves to be comfortable.
“In sports and business, if you’re not aspiring to dominate, to be the very best, you’re coasting. And you can only coast in one direction.” — Bob Rotella
The clients Bob likes to work with are the ones who say they want to be #1 in their field or the best golfer in the world. He doesn’t get too excited when a client says, I just want to get by, or, I just want to make the team.
The great ones start with big dreams and big goals, develop a process to reach them, and they put in the work to get it done.
“Going after big ideas takes sweat. It takes persistence, patience, and a bedrock belief in yourself. Not everyone will do it. That’s why we call it trying to be exceptional.” — Bob Rotella
What might you miss out on because you’re comfy the way things are?
Have you ever gotten too comfortable and then regretted what you might have done? I know I have. I could have put more effort into basketball and gotten more playing time. I could’ve become a starter and even played in college. But I got comfortable, created excuses – I was too short, too slow, the coach didn’t want to play me – and I regret it to this day.
If we get too comfy with the way things are, we will never know what might have been. It’s really your decision, and neither choice is “wrong.”
Are you comfy and done trying to make things better? That can be a fine life.
Or are you comfy but willing to keep improving things for you and those you care about? What kind of extraordinary life could you create?
Which do you choose?
Don’t get too comfortable with who you are at any given time – you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be. –Jon Bon Jovi
Here’s what I believe – because of what I’ve seen other people do, and what I’ve done:
You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. Every decision, moment, and event in your life has brought you here, reading this in order to do something extraordinary.
Isn’t that exciting? It can also be kind of scary. Fear will creep in and tell you that if you take a big leap you might fall flat on your face. You might lose everything, let your family down, and end up divorced and homeless.
Wow. That was a quick downward cycle, but I get it. Fear can be paralyzing.
But, what if you don’t have to take the huge leap? What if you can take some baby steps today that lead to big strides? What if the big strides can turn into jumps and then, one day, you take a big leap into the life you’ve always dreamed of?
People do it every day. Why not you?
Hey, even the tough times and difficult decisions we go through can be used to get us ready for something great.
It’s not too late.
Your chance is now.
I’m almost 50. I’ve spent 21 years of my life as a radio talk show host. I’ve been in big markets and even been nationally syndicated. I’ve interviewed regular folks, authors, entrepreneurs, senators, governors, and presidents. It’s been a lot of fun.
But, my radio career may be ending. The business has changed. My last gig is done and I don’t want to move my family from city to city anymore. It may be time to do something else.
But, am I too old to start a new career? Can I do what I’m passionate about and make enough money to take care of my family?
I know what I want to do. I want to help people find and pursue their passionate purposes so they can live out extraordinary lives and help change the world. (I know that sounds corny, but I like corny. Corny inspires and motivates me.)
I plan on doing this through my blog, my books, my speaking, my online courses and my coaching. I’ve been working on this (off and on) for the last couple of years. But I haven’t gone “all in” on it.
I’ve been afraid. Afraid of:
No one wanting my help
No one wanting my products and services
Not knowing what to do
Not knowing how to do it
Not knowing how to let people know the great stuff I have to offer
Not knowing how to get to the people who book speakers like me
Not getting enough clients
Wasting my money and time trying to build my business
But I don’t want to live my life in fear. I don’t want to get to the end of it and look back in regret on what I could’ve done. I don’t want to meet God and have to explain why I didn’t use the talents he gave me to help other people lead extraordinary lives.
So, I’m going for it. I’m going to figure out everything I need to know to build my business and help other people. I’m still scared, but I’m going to do it anyway. (I’m also going to continue working a “real job” to generate income as I build my business – I’m not crazy.)
In fact, I’m going to start a pilot course in the next couple of months. I’m only going to take a limited number of students. The people who join me are going to co-create this course with me. It will include a very high level of personal, live support from me. If you’re interested, simply email me at email@example.com and I’ll explain it in more detail.
What about you?
“Greg, I have an idea of what I’d really like to do, but I’m too old to do something different. That time has passed.”
Really? Too old? Check this out.
Grandma Moses didn’t start painting in earnest until she was 78.
Ray Croc didn’t start McDonald’s until he was 53.
Duncan Hines didn’t license the rights to use his name to the company that developed his cake mixes until he was 73.
Julia Childs didn’t make her television debut until she was 51.
Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t get Little House in the Big Woods published until she was 65.
Fauja Singh didn’t run his first marathon until he was 89.
Audrey Crabtree went back and graduated high school at the age of 99.
Frank McCourt didn’t publish Angela’s Ashes until he was 66.
Diana Nyad didn’t swim from Florida to Cuba until she was 64.
What about you?
Are you living out your passionate purposes? Have you created the life you were made to live? What are you going to do?
You’re reading this for a reason. You are exactly where you need to be right now to make a decision that will change your life forever.
Because I generally have a positive outlook, I frequently have people ask me, “Greg, you’re not one of those positive thinkers looking at the world through rose-colored glasses are you?” Well, yes and no.
I am a positive thinker, but I’m not someone who ignores problems and pretends everything is perfect. That’s not being positive and optimistic. That’s being stupid.
The optimist throws the curtains open and says, “Good morning, God!” The pessimist rolls over and says, “Good god, it’s morning.”
If you’re having trouble paying your bills and instead of doing anything to fix the problem you simply think positive and hope your bills get paid, they will eventually come take your car, foreclose on your house, and you’ll be eating government cheese, living in a van, down by the river.
But that doesn’t mean the only thing you can do is focus on your poor financial situation. There is always more than one reality.
Reality 2: You have a good job. You have opportunities for advancement. Maybe you can ask for some overtime work. You have skills to earn extra income. You could start a side business via the Internet. You could cut back on some of your expenses that aren’t necessities, etc.
The reality you focus on will greatly affect your mood, actions, and outcome.
“With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” – Dr. Wayne W Dyer
Remember, you aren’t lying to yourself or ignoring reality. You are choosing to focus on the reality that will help you the most.
Research shows that to get the best results you need to focus on the positives three times as much as the negatives. The next time you think of something negative, immediately think of three positive things in your life. Make that a new habit.
It’s something all of us can start doing today. When I do it, I move forward and feel better. Let me know how it works for you…and get rid of the van down by the river. It’s kinda creepy.
You know I’m big on serving your way to success. No matter what business you’re in – no matter if you’re an employee, the boss, or you’re starting up an online venture from your house – overserving your customers and exceeding their expectations is the best way to win.
If your customers are pleasantly surprised at your great product/service and the way you treated them they will go out and tell their friends about it. More people will buy your stuff. Everybody wins. Pretty simple, right?
You’d be surprised how many people don’t understand that.
My family and I went to a beautiful little beach town last weekend. We were hungry and found a cute, small restaurant for lunch. The food was great. The atmosphere was great. But, I will never tell anyone to go there because the service was lousy.
I worked as a waiter in college. Because I know how hard that job can be, and how bad some customers can be, I go out of my way to tip well and be super nice to the wait staff every time I eat out. I flash a big smile. I ask how they are. I’m friendly. I’m respectful. It usually works out great and about 99% of the time I have great service at restaurants.
But our waitress was surly. First, she didn’t want to take our order. (I understand that when it’s busy, but it wasn’t.) Then, she was rude to my wife while she was ordering, and seemed disturbed that my daughter asked some questions about the menu. She was really slow on our drink order. I was thinking, does she realize she’s working for a tip here?
“Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.
Finally, when the check came she had overcharged us by $2.00. When I pointed this out to her she said, “Well, it’s only $2.00.”
Wait, that’s your answer to overcharging a customer?
It’s not about the amount, when you’re wrong you should admit it and fix it for the customer. An apology would have been nice as well. But you could tell she was mad at me for pointing out her mistake. Wow.
I have a hard time understanding why people act that way to the customers who make their business succeed or fail. Did she think her attitude and actions made me want to come back again?
You may not be a waitress, but the way you serve people will determine how successful you become. How do you serve your customers? If you don’t have direct contact with the customers how do you treat your coworkers and your boss? They are your customers. If you overserve them and exceed their expectations the sky is the limit.
Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.
– Louis D Brandeis
You can’t do it. It’s impossible. Can’t be done. There’s just no way. You’re wasting your time.
When you say that – or someone convinces you that’s true – your brain shuts down. It doesn’t even try to come up with options. It just says, “OK, guess I don’t need to think about how to make that happen. I’ll just move on to trying to figure out the next thing they should stuff in our pizza crust.”
(We can buy pizza crusts stuffed with cheese, cream cheese, 3 cheeses, 5 cheeses, bacon – mmm, bacon – cheese and pepperoni, hot dogs…And we can dip it all in Ranch dressing. Gee, I can’t figure out why America has an obesity problem.)
If you believe it can’t be done, you will never do it. You will never even try to do it. Your ideas and dreams will fade and die.
“To believe a thing impossible is to make it so.” – French Proverb
But what if? What if you assume it is possible? What happens then?
Manned flight, space travel, radio, television, cell phones, personal computers, lasers, cancer treatments and whatever else you can think of, were all considered impossible when the first person dreamed them up. Now, we have them all.
So, what if we start saying it’s possible? What if we start to imagine how it could be done?
Then, our brains start a new kind of innovative, inventive, creative, and productive thought process. We’ve asked our brains to find a solution so they’re working on it.
Remember the Apollo 13 space mission? After the fire and oxygen problems, imagine if the astronauts and engineers had said, “There’s just no way we can fix this.”
Instead, they said, “Failure is not an option.”
Is there anything recently that caused you to say it can’t be done?
A potential customer you don’t think you can land?
Discovering your Passionate Purpose to create the extraordinary life of your dreams?
A new business venture you really want to try but you don’t see how you can make it work?
Creating a lasting relationship with someone you might want to spend the rest of your life with?
Buying that new house?
Taking on a new project?
What would happen if you assume it’s possible, say failure is not an option, and start some imaginative thinking on how to do it?
If you start asking the right questions, you might be shocked by the answers your brain comes up with. And then – don’t miss this part – take immediate action on them.
I was listening to Tony Robbins the other day about why we aren’t as happy as we would like to be. What he said really hit home.
Think of a part of your life that you’re unhappy with. It could be your career, your finances, your marriage, your relationships, your children, your health, your spiritual life, whatever.
Now ask yourself, what are your expectations for that part of your life right now? I’m guessing your real life isn’t meeting your expectations. That’s why you’re unhappy.
Greg, you’re crazy. It’s more than that. I’m suffering from some horrible circumstances. You don’t understand the problems I’m facing, the stress I’m under, and the problems with my marriage!
You’re right (except for that crazy part). I don’t know your story. But let me ask you this. If you expected your life to be worse than it is right now, wouldn’t you be happier? If you were exceeding your expectations, wouldn’t you be happier?
If you’re unhappy with your income: Do you think someone from a third world country, surviving on $2 a day would be unhappy with your salary? No! They’ve never even dreamed of making as much money in their lifetime as you make in one year! They would be ecstatic to have your income.
What’s the difference? Expectations. It’s the same in every part of your life.
Our expectations are not facts. They aren’t supposed to happen just because we want them to. Our expectations are really just our wants. We turn our wants into our shoulds. Then, when everything doesn’t meet our expectations we get sad, angry, or both.
Shakespeare put it this way, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”
We all have so much to appreciate in our lives, yet we focus most of our thoughts and efforts on what we don’t have.
But, Greg, I don’t want to lower my standards. I have goals I want to achieve. I want to be motivated and ambitious.
I agree! Me, too! That’s why we need to be grateful for what we have and even more grateful for what we are working on and creating. Here’s what I mean.
First, we need to turn our expectations into appreciations for all we have. Here’s a great exercise to help with that. Every night right before you go to bed, spend five minutes writing down three things that happened that day that you are grateful for. Write down different things each day. It can be something small like, I had a great cup of coffee with a friend, or, my daughter and I went for a walk together. It could be something big as well. Just make sure you write them down. The research shows that if you do that for 30 days, you will be significantly happier. Make it a new habit.
We need to decide that we are going to find the good and beauty wherever we can. That we will learn from whatever comes our way. That we will be grateful for all we have right now – without comparing it to any expectation.
Secondly, we need to get clear on a definition of success that will help us increase our happiness – and reach our goals.
Sometimes we define success in unrealistic ways:
I will achieve all my goals
I will make X amount of money
I will have the perfect family life
I will have a beautiful house on the beach
I will have 8% body fat.
If we don’t reach these goals, we feel like failures. Even if we achieve our goals, our feelings of success are brief. We simply come up with new goals and tell ourselves we still aren’t successful. It becomes a never-ending cycle. (Gee, that sounds like fun!)
But, what if we change the definition of success? I like this one:
“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” –Earl Nightingale
Nightingale went on to say, “A success is anyone who is realizing a worthy predetermined ideal, because that’s what he or she decided to do… deliberately. But only one out of 20 does that!”
We definitely want to be one of the 20. Setting goals and going after them are great things to do. They push us to serve others and to create the extraordinary life of our dreams. But the progress towards the goal is success. The moment we are going after a worthy goal we are successful.
But, if we set up unrealistic expectations we’re setting ourselves up to be unhappy. That won’t help us reach our goals. It will make it harder (and a lot less fun) to get there.
If we change our expectations for the appreciations of what we have, our happiness changes instantly.
So, whenever you are feeling sad, take a look at your expectations. Change your expectations and change how you feel.
Keep moving forward on your goals and keep becoming the person you were created to be. That is a great road of happiness.
You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. –Zig Ziglar
I am a big believer in serving your way to success for three reasons.
1) It’s the right thing to do.
2) It makes you feel great.
3) It comes back to you tenfold.
I’ve found the key to joyfully serving others is to forget about number 3, to forget about getting everything I want, to simply focus on serving others without expecting anything from them in return. When I do that, I am happier, and as a bonus, I get more of number 3. It’s so cool!
But, sometimes I get busy. I get distracted. I become selfish and totally caught up in my own stuff. I start trying to sell my way to success instead of serving. When I do that, things start to go poorly.
Does that ever happen to you?
There’s an old story that reminds me to serve others unconditionally.
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a diner and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.
The boy looked up at her and asked, “How much is an ice cream sundae?”
“Fifty cents,” the waitress replied, a bit irritably.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the few coins he had.
“How much is a dish of plain ice cream?” he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was beginning to lose her patience.
“Thirty-five cents,” she said brusquely.
The little boy again counted his coins. “I think I’ll just have the plain ice cream,” he said.
The waitress rolled her eyes, brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished his treat, paid the cashier and left.
When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, was a dime and a nickel – her tip.
Everyone deserves our best service, regardless of their ability to pay us back. When we remember and act on that belief, we end up making a difference in the world. As a bonus, we end up being more successful, too.
It’s almost like someone created the world to be that way. Hmm…
When you understand you earn more when you serve more, you can feel good about your efforts and your progress. You know you are providing goods and services to people that are enriching their lives. They joyfully line up to give you money for your efforts because you are providing great value. You are one of the good guys!
When you believe there is infinite wealth to be created in this life you don’t need to look at everyone else as competition. You can truly be happy for other people’s achievements because you know it does absolutely nothing to diminish your chance of being successful and might even help you succeed.
There is more than enough for us all.
So, let’s go create some great stuff and serve others with it.
1) Make it a point to help 3 people this weekend by serving them in some way.
2) Don’t expect anything in return.
3) Reflect on how this made a difference, and how it made you feel.
4) Repeat this pattern and don’t be surprised when you start to get bonus returns on your service.
Question for comments:
Can you remember a time where helping someone else really turned your day or your life around?
Shhh! You’re not supposed to tell people it’s hard. It’s supposed to be easy if you just follow my five-step plan and send me $99.99!
But, it’s the truth and we all know it. Changing, learning, and growing is scary and hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it. (Hey you can still send me the $99.99 if you want.)
Why is it so hard and scary to change?
“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.” — James Belasco and Ralph Stayer
Even if what we’re doing isn’t getting us everything we want, it’s getting us something: It’s comfortable. It’s not that bad. We’re getting by. We’re making a living… We’ve created habits.
We start shoulding on ourselves (and that gets messy fast). I shouldn’t be so selfish in wanting more than I have. I should feel lucky I have a job. I should stop dreaming about things that will never happen.
When I was a little boy I wanted to make a big change. I wanted to stop riding with training wheels and ride a big boy bike. I was scared of getting hurt, but I really wanted to learn. My older brother taught me.
We lived on a hilly street. My brother had me get on the bike at the top of the hill. He would run alongside me holding the bike until we stopped in our driveway. Then we’d walk the bike back to the top of the hill and start the whole process again.
I started getting pretty good. The next time down the hill I was feeling great, I was really moving. I turned into my driveway and was hurtling toward the closed garage door. I yelled to my brother, “Dave, stop. Stop! Dave, stop!” Bam! I crashed right into the garage door.
My brother thought I was doing so well he could let go of the bike and quit running beside me. The problem with that was he didn’t tell me and didn’t teach me how to stop.
It hurt. I had a big lump on my head. But I didn’t say, “Well that bike riding stuff hurts. I’m never doing that again.” I wanted to ride a big-boy bike without training wheels. I wanted to keep up with all the other kids. I wanted to be miles from my house with my parents having no idea where I was!
I put my football helmet on and got back on my bike. I learned how to ride my bike and it was glorious. It also taught me how important pushing through the pain to make a change is.
You might not have a brother who rammed you into a closed garage door, (Thanks, Dave!) but I bet you fell a few times learning to ride your bike. I also bet that didn’t stop you from learning to ride. Why would you risk getting hurt again? Why not give up? Because we all know that short term pain is worth the long term gain.
Question for Comment:
What do you want to change, learn or do?
I know it’s scary and hard.
You will fall. You will get hurt (for a short time).
Get ready for an amazing insight coming at you. People with a good, positive, optimistic attitude tend to enjoy their day more and accomplish more than people with a negative, depressing, pessimistic attitude. See, I told you—deep insight. You’re welcome.
We know this from research and from our own experience. But how do we create and maintain the positive mindset we need to live a happier, healthier life and reach all our goals?
I’ve got some great tips for you, but I want to begin with this:
Start every morning by thinking about all the great things in your life. For most of us it’s pretty easy coming up with at least a short list.
I have a routine I go through every day when I wake up that gets me up on the right side of the bed. I’m a Christian, so for me this ties into my religion. But, you can use the same type of technique whether you’re religious or not. Instead of a thankful prayer list, simply make it your gratitude list.
As I slowly wake up, I start to pray. I thank God for for my wife, my children, my extended family, and my friends. I thank Him for the fact that I have more than enough to provide my family with food, clothing, and shelter. I praise Him for the fact that I was born in the United States of America and I have so many opportunities to create a life of abundance for myself and enough to help others as well. I give thanks for the multiple ways I’m able to earn income doing something I love, and I’m grateful for my excellent health.
I give thanks that I’m not stuck in a job I hate with some guy telling me I need to get my TPS forms in and another guy claiming I stole his stapler.
As I’m saying my prayers, I’m creating beautiful images in my head of everything I’m praying about. As I do this, I can feel my body and spirit coming more and more alive. Feelings of peace and happiness and ambition well up within me and I begin to feel excited about getting out of bed and starting the day. I spend about three minutes doing this. (I know this sounds kind of touchy-feely, but if you try it for a few days I think you will be amazed at the results you get.)
After I’m done giving thanks, I spend the next three to five minutes being grateful for my future life with all my major goals achieved. I put everything in the present tense as if I’m already living the life I want. I’m getting my conscious and subconscious minds focused on my goals, and the best way to do that is to put everything we want in the present tense.
I visualize pursuing my Passionate Purpose at the ultimate level. I imagine achieving my goals in every aspect of my life. If you really want to get excited about your future, describe it in great detail and imagine how it will look, feel, sound, smell, and taste. Get your emotions into it. Play the movie of your extraordinary life in your head. It’s better than any blockbuster at the multiplex.
The more real you make this, the more excited you will become to take on the day, and the more your subconscious mind will help you pursue your goals.
My daughter has a great quote on the lock screen of her phone: “I did not wake up today to be mediocre.” I know you didn’t either. So, let’s GO!
On to the tips!
1)Wake up early enough that you don’t have to rush
Most people wake up with just enough time to race through showering, getting dressed, getting the kids off to school, and grabbing a cup of coffee on the way out the door. How’s that working out for you? Is it really a great way to start the day?
Instead, supercharge the morning by getting up 30 minutes before you normally do in order to read, think, pray, meditate, or exercise. It sounds horrible if you’re not a morning person, but if you make it a new habit you will never stop.
Imagine how good it would feel to take your time in getting ready for greatness.
2)Wake up gently
Being jolted awake by a loud, buzzing alarm clock is actually bad for your health. (Plus, it scares the bleep out of you! Or maybe that’s just me.) The research shows it increases your blood pressure, heart rate, adrenaline and stress. Sounds like a super way to wake up to me, right? All we need now is for a small stroke and we’re ready to start the day.
But, Greg, I’ll sleep right through that. You don’t get me.
Hey, I’m feeling you. One time, at summer camp, my brother slept through a cannon and bugle call they blew every morning. But, trust me. The increasing sound and light together will wake you up. And it will be a much more pleasant way to start the day.
3)Stretch in bed before you get up.
Stress and relax each body part. Start with your toes. Flex and hold for about five seconds. Then relax them. Do that with every body part working your way all the way up to your forehead. It’s feels great and gets your physical body ready for action.
4)Have a wonderful breakfast (or at least something)
I know a lot of people say they don’t have time for it (see tip #1) or they don’t like to cook. I understand it’s not for everyone, but try it at least once a week with everyone in your house. I think you’re going to love it. I make eggs, sausage, toast, and some fruit every morning.
If you can’t do that, at least grab some fruit, and some protein (almonds or peanut butter on a spoon works) on your way out the door. It will get your metabolism going and keep you powered up until lunch.
5)Put your phone in your pocket without looking at it.
This is very hard for me to do, but it’s super rewarding. It will quickly become your new habit. It lets you set your priorities for the day instead of giving that power to your emails and social media. Schedule a set time in the morning to check those things – but NOT when you first wake up.
6)Every time you open your email program write a quick thank you to one person.
The thank you can be for something simple or something big. It doesn’t matter, just make sure it’s a real thank you. When you force yourself to think of who you should thank, and why, you will realize how many people help you and are nice to you – and how often we overlook it.
If you’re being efficient, you should only be checking your emails a couple of times a day. So, you need to come up with only a couple of people to thank.
I think this is my favorite tip on my list. When you do this, your relationships will change.
7)Pick someone you can help today.
Have you noticed that when you help someone else your problems seem to get smaller? It never fails. I don’t do this every day. I get busy. I forget. I worry that the person might not want my help. But, I’ve never felt bad after helping someone else.