How to be Smarter, Faster Better

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We all want to be more productive and innovative. We’d like to help our employees do so as well. What if you can do it by changing how you think and helping others change the way they think? Charles Duhigg explains how to do this in his book, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business.

The book is full of real world examples of companies and organizations doing it the right way and how you can as well.

I had the opportunity to interview him on my radio show. You can listen to that here.

Duhigg contends:

  • Motivation and productivity are skills that can be learned and practiced
  • To motivate ourselves we need to feel we are in control
  • To help your employees increase productivity, give them more autonomy
  • Focusing on why you’re doing a task increases your chances of completing it
  • A great way to increase innovation is to combine two existing things or ideas

Let me know what you think.

(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!)

“Everyone Can Make A Difference”

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Do you have the desire to make a difference in the world? To live a life of meaning, value and significance? We all do, don’t we? Well, maybe you think you’re not “enough” to do that – not smart enough, talented enough, old enough, young enough, rich enough, educated enough…ENOUGH!

Everyone can make a difference. But, everyone won’t make a difference. It really is up to you. I can give you an example of every type of person you can imagine who found a way to get around their shortcomings to make a difference in the world.

I had Gracie Schram on my radio show this week. You can listen to my interview with her here. It starts with a sample of one of her songs.

 

Her Passionate Purpose is to make music and make a difference. She’s only 18 and she’s already recorded two albums. She made her first one when she was 10, used it to raise over $30,000, and then built an orphanage in Haiti. Wow.

She’s already done a TEDex talk on how everyone can make a difference. Gracie is also part of the We Stand Summit events to encourage and inspire 9-12th graders to be future leaders.

Gracie told me you don’t have to be a great singer-songwriter or go to Haiti to make a difference. Everyone and anyone can do it.

She’s right. Do what you can, where you can, about what you care passionately about.

You can make a difference.

Let’s GO!

How to avoid information overload

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What you don’t know can hurt you, right? But what if knowing too much can hurt you even more?

This hit me in the face yesterday. I was prepping for my radio show and I had printed out over 150 pages of news stories to read and arrange before I went on the air.

I knew there was no way I could hit all the stories in my show, but I didn’t want to miss anything. I wanted to know everything – just in case.

But then I reminded myself of something I have to keep relearning. My show is better when I focus my time on the best 6-10 stories. That gives me time to read them from several different sources, come up with unique angles, and add humor to the mix.

Can you relate this idea to something in your life?

We live in a world of information overload in our work and personal lives. Much of it is depressing and self defeating.

When do we get time to think about what we’ve learned? When do we get time to be still?

When do we get time to focus on our families, friends, and God?

What can you do to stop the information overload in your life and focus on the information that makes your life better?

“With so much information now online, it is exceptionally easy to simply dive in and drown.” 

–Alfred Glossbrenner

Action Steps:

  1. Prioritize the information that will most benefit you (physically, mentally and emotionally) and determine the best way for you to receive it.
  2. Set limits on how much information you’re going to consume in one day. It could be how many minutes you are going to spend online, watching the news, reading books, listening to podcasts, etc.
  3. Schedule time each day to think about the information you’ve consumed. How can you use it?
  4. Schedule time each day to pray, meditate, or just let your mind drift. You’ll be surprised what happens when you do.

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!)

If You’re a Manager, a Parent, or an Employee – Listen to This

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We’ve all had bad bosses. They don’t communicate well. We don’t know what they expect from us. They yell. They insult. Well, I have the perfect gift for you to give them (maybe anonymously). It covers all these issues and more.

The classic, The One Minute Manager has been redone. It’s now The New One Minute Manager.

It’s written in a story format and it’s a quick, easy read. Three simple, one minute “secrets” on how to manage people.

“The best minute I spend, is the one I invest in people.”

From the New One Minute Manager

The purpose of The New One Minute Manager is to help employees set goals, solve problems and virtually manage themselves. It encourages the employee to be creative and use all the skills and intelligence he/she brings to the table.

It’s a great way to help and lead people to be more productive, enjoy their work more and be happier.

I am already using these secrets in parenting my children.

When you think about it, we all manage someone, and we can all get better at it.

Here’s my interview with co-author Ken Blanchard, PhD.

 

You can click here to find out more about the book.

5 Ways To Do It When You Don’t Feel Like It

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You’re a doer. You know what your Passionate Purpose is and you’re going for it. You’re always looking to improve your business, or your skills in what you do. Or, maybe you have a full time job and your starting your own business on the side. Or, perhaps you’re just now trying to figure out what your Passionate Purpose is.

Great news: When you’re pursuing your Passionate Purpose it can be a lot of fun. It can lead to joy and fulfillment and the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Bad news: Sometimes, it’s really hard. Sometimes, you just don’t feel like doing the work to make it all happen. What do you do then?

Good question.

First, we need to get clear on a few things:

  • Life is not all rainbows and unicorns
  • Working one full time job while trying to start your dream business is tiring and a lot of hard work
  • Running your dream business is tiring and a lot of hard work
  • Sometimes, we need to do things we don’t want to do
  • Sometimes, we just don’t feel like doing it
  • You might have to watch less football and eat fewer Doritos to get it all done (Wait, that might just be me.)
  • It’s a lot more fun to do what you love, but it’s still work

Second we need to bust a myth:

Myth: I need to feel like doing something before I do it.

Fact: You may not feel like doing it, but your feelings can only stop you if you let them.

We all love the days we pop out of bed ready to go. But that’s not everyday. We need strategies to get us going on the tough days.

Here’s how to do it even when you don’t feel like it.

1) Eliminate distractions.

When you don’t feel like it, your mind will tempt you with things that are easy and distracting: TV, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, hanging out with a friend, a great book, etc. Create a space to work where all those distractions are gone.

2) Focus on your purpose.

I get a lot of my speaking engagements from referrals. However, I still cold call businesses, associations, conventions, and colleges to fill out my bookings. Sometimes I don’t feel like it. What always helps me is when I focus on my purpose:

To inspire as many people and organizations as possible to find and pursue their Passionate Purpose with all they have so they can live out extraordinary lives.

With that mindset, I feel great. I’m calling to help people. Some will want my help, and others won’t. My focus is not to get paid speaking engagements, sell my books or online courses – it’s to help people. When I focus on that, those other things just seem to happen.

3) Create routines that get you started.

Have you noticed that great athletes, singers, musicians, and actors all have routines they go through to get warmed up before they perform? Even though they love what they do, they don’t always feel like going on. They do the same routine every time and by the time they’re done, they feel like performing.

We can do the same thing. Create your own warm up routine. Start it with something very easy that doesn’t take any motivation to do, and slowly ramp it up to the activity you are trying to do.

Using my cold call example. I start by reading my Passionate Purpose and listing all the ways my speeches, books, and courses help people. Then, I imagine how people will be changed positively by booking me to speak. Next, I remind myself that I’m not selling anything; I’m just offering my help. Then, I get my phone and computer ready so I’m prepared to talk with the meeting planner.

4) Create routines to keep you going.

If you do the same thing time after time, you will develop a habit. I do five cold calls each weekday to book speaking engagements. That comes out to 100 a month. If only two percent result in bookings, that’s two a month. It’s a great start.

Stephen King has used the same daily routine to write 57 best selling novels and sell more than 350 million copies of his works.

“I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words. That’s 180,000 words over a three-month span, a goodish length for a book — something in which the reader can get happily lost, if the tale is done well and stays fresh.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

That’s a schedule for a full time writer. If you’re doing it on the side, maybe 500 words a day is a good target. The point is, create a routine and make it a habit. That will help you do it even when you don’t feel like it.

5) The 15-minute trick.

Set a timer for 15 minutes and say you will only work until the timer goes off. You can do anything for 15 minutes. Most of the time you will want to keep going. But, even if you quit when the timer goes off, at least you did it for 15 minutes. When you do that every day, it starts to add up.

Let’s GO!

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

Why Do You Go To Work?

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Is this a trick question, Greg? I go to work because I need money. I have a family, a mortgage, bills to pay, mouths to feed and send to college…

Yes, I get that. But there are infinite ways to make money. Why do you go to work doing what you do? Why not work somewhere else? Why not work doing something else? What else, besides money motivates you?

Gallup did a survey in 2013 and found that 63% of employees said they were disengaged at work. Only 13% said they were engaged, and 24% said they actively hate their jobs. So, 87% of workers around the world are disengaged or actively hated their jobs. Wow.

I guess the 87% really do just work for the money. Does that lead to happiness and our best work? I’m guessing not.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
— Steve Jobs

If you want to love (or at least enjoy) what you do, you have two options:

1) Find a new career that is your calling – whether it’s by starting your own business or working for someone else.

2) Find ways to enjoy your current position, and make that a calling – at least while you’re working on your dream job.

Ok, Greg, how do I do that?!

The first choice is what my speaking, coaching, book, audiobook, free eBook, and blog are all about. I’d love to help you on that journey in any way I can. That’s my calling and I love seeing people find and pursue their Passionate Purpose and live out the extraordinary lives of their dreams.

That might take a while. But you don’t have to wait to enjoy your work right now. You still have option #2.

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”
— Jim Rohn

You start by figuring out what really motivates you to work.

Since the industrial revolution, companies have been using the carrot and stick approach. Do what they tell you to and get paid, maybe even promoted. Don’t do what they tell you to and get fired.

Shockingly, that doesn’t always lead to a fulfilled work life. (I know, knock me over with a feather!) That approach is why we have a disengaged work force and lots of miserable employees.

Common sense and research has proven that beyond money, there are things that we want/need to truly enjoy our work.

The biggest driver in fulfillment in our work is the need for a purpose in what we do. We need to believe in the purpose of our job and of the company we work for. We need to see the good it does, the difference it makes. Without this, we feel like what we do doesn’t matter, and who wants to feel like that?

Once you have a clear purpose that you believe in, these are the other things that motivate us to do our best and love what we do:

  • To have our opinions and work valued by our colleagues and bosses
  • To have some autonomy and responsibility in what we do
  • To do our best and see it make a difference
  • To be allowed and encouraged to grow, create, and innovate
  • To feel appreciated by our clients and those we work with
  • To get lost in our work
  • To have real friends in the workplace

You can work right now on finding a purpose in your company, and in your role in the company, that you can get behind.

Are you just working a job and completing a task – or are you following a calling to be part of an important purpose bigger than yourself? What is the higher purpose or calling in your current job?

Every business that is making a profit is serving a customer in some way. What is the best thing your company does for its customers? What does your product or service do for your clients at the physical and emotional level to make their lives better?

That’s where you begin. Then start working on the rest of the list of intrinsic rewards we all crave.

How can you work with your team to shift the dynamic of the carrot and the stick? If you are a business owner or a manager, what can you do to allow your team to do work the way we all would love to do it?

Let’s GO!

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

The Golden Rule Isn’t Good Enough

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Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
Luke 6:31New Living Translation

The Golden Rule is awesome. If everyone lived by it, all our problems would be solved, right?

Well…I love the golden rule and if everyone followed it we would surely be in a better, happier world, but there is a problem with it.

What if I don’t want to be treated the way you want to be treated? If we really want to help people we need to go a step above the Golden Rule to the Platinum Rule.

I was talking to a new friend the other day who’s looking to make some changes in his life. He wants to follow his Passionate Purpose to a job, vocation, calling that he will love, but he’s not exactly sure what that is.

As we talked, he explained that lots of friends have been trying to help him by saying things like this:

  • You want to earn more money right? You don’t earn enough. (I’m sure this person meant well, but you might as well say, Hey I think you’re a loser!)
  • You want regular 8-5 hours, Monday-Friday.
  • You should start a network marketing business out of your home. You’ll love it.

These friends were assuming what they want is what my friend wants.

Wrong.

  • He doesn’t really care if he makes more money – he wants to love what he does and feel called to do it.
  • He has some flexibility on what days and times he’s willing to work.
  • He has no interest at all in network marketing.

His friends could help him more if they followed The Platinum Rule. Tony Alessandra wrote a book about it. It’s focused on the other person’s desires and it states:

Treat others the way they want to be treated.

But, how do you know what someone else wants?

  1. Ask them.
  2. Truly listen to the answer.
  3. Summarize their answer back to them to make sure you understood it.
  4. Treat them in a way that lines up with what they want.
  5. Don’t try to talk them into what you want for them.

Imagine what using the Platinum Rule could do for your relationships with your spouse, children, friends, coworkers, and clients.

But I think we can go even further on this. Let’s really think about the other person and follow the Diamond Rule:

Treat others the way they want to be treated and anticipate how they would want to be treated if they knew what you knew.

But how do you anticipate what someone else would want?

  1. Follow the steps of the Golden Rule (see above)
  2. Gather more information and think about what they might want next
  3. Ask them if your idea is something they would like
  4. If yes, help them get it

A few months ago I was buying a new bicycle for my daughter. As I was checking out the cashier said, You know what, this bicycle is set to go on sale tomorrow, would you like me to check with my manager and see if I can give you the sale price today? (Wait a second. Was that a trick question? Am I being Punk’d? Where’s Ashton?)

The clerk was able to get me the sale price and I was a very happy customer. She served me with the Platinum Rule. Do you think I’m more loyal to that business now? Oh, yeah.

Questions for comments: How can you start using the Platinum and Diamond Rules with your personal and business relationships? When you’ve used them, what responses did you get?

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

Plan Your Escape Route – It Will Improve Your Life Right Now

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Are you frustrated in your current job and life? You know you were made with a purpose, you can feel it deep inside, but you’re not sure exactly what it is, or what to do with it.

Or, maybe you know what you want to do, but you feel stuck. You’ve put in so much time and effort to get where you are. You make good money. You have everything you need. Why throw it all away, right?

Well…

If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, do you really want to keep doing it for years – or even decades – with the hope of retiring from it one day? Wouldn’t it be a lot better to plan your escape route right now and get busy creating your new life?

But, Greg, I’m trapped. I have a family to take care of. I’ve got a mortgage, car payments, piano lessons for the kids…

I hear you. That’s why I don’t recommend immediately quitting your job and trying to instantly replace your income by pursuing your Passionate Purpose. Some people do that and it works out well.

For most of us though, we will have difficulty ramping up quickly enough to not experience financial stress. When you start lying awake at night wondering how you’re going to pay the bills, you get in a scarcity mindset. You begin to think that there isn’t enough and that you will never be able to make enough. That will make it difficult for you to create money-making ideas with your Passionate Purpose.

Instead, why not keep your current job and use it as part of your escape plan to your new life? This keeps all your financial needs met, while allowing you to work on your Passionate Purpose in the evenings and on the weekends.

When you look at your current job as an integral part of your escape plan, it will even help you enjoy that job more until the day you’re able to quit to do your Passionate Purpose full time. Your job is no longer a trap. It is your ally in transitioning to your extraordinary life!

But, Greg, I can’t replace my income with what I love to do.

That may be true. Or, you may not be able to do that…yet. But, do you know for sure you will never be able to make as much money – or even more – than you’re making now by pursuing your Passionate Purpose?

Could you create multiple streams of income to replace what you’re earning now? Maybe instead of just turning one of the things you love to do into an income generator, you could do that with several things you love.

I love helping people find and pursue their passionate purpose. I have used that to create multiple streams of income. I give presentations to organizations, colleges and churches. I author books, blog, coach, and create online courses. I’m about to launch a radio show and podcast. I love doing all these things and they all generate income.

That’s so cool.

Action steps:

  1. Take some time to brainstorm ways to generate income from your Passionate Purpose.
  2. Use keywords to do an Internet search on how other people are already doing what you want to do.
  3. Plan where in your week you will be able to spend 5 to 10 hours working on your Passionate Purpose.
  4. Choose your favorite ideas and start working on them.

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

Once I Become Successful, Then I’ll Worry About Fulfilling My Purpose

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Greg, that idea about finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose sounds great, but haven’t you heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? You have to take care of the basics befor you go after self actualization. Once I’m a success, then I’ll worry about my purpose.

I’m a big believer in Maslow’s theory. If you don’t have anything to eat or a place to live, you’re probably not as concerned about going to a museum to look at a piece of art. I get it.

But, I think finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose helps you get everything else you need to live – not just to live better.

Most people have heard of Viktor Frankl’s classic, Man’s Search for Meaning. (If you’ve never read it, start reading it today.) He gives his account of what it was like to be in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII, and then he turns to the importance of purpose.

Frankl found that if a prisoner had no purpose left in life – if he saw no hope – he was doomed. If, however, a prisoner saw a purpose in life he could cling to, his chances of survival dramatically improved.

Research in some of the poorest places in the world has supported the idea that a strong sense of purpose keeps people going in the direst of conditions. In many cases, it helps people live happy, healthy lives where we would think there would be no hope.

People living in third world countries have said their Passionate Purpose is to:

  • Help my family survive.
  • Educate the children in my village so they will have more opportunities.
  • Spread happiness to everyone I meet.
  • Get my village clean drinking water.
  • Be able to move my family to a better place where we will all be safe.

These purposes keep them motivated and inspired to live a life with meaning -to live a life that makes a difference.

In fact, finding and pursuing a Passionate Purpose may be more important before you become successful. It’s what gets you up when you really want to stay in bed. It’s what gives you optimism when your circumstances can’t justify it. It’s what gives you courage to face the tough situations. And, it’s what let’s you enjoy this life, when others would wallow in depression.

My belief is that finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose is at every level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs scale. Regardless of where we live, or how much money we make, to live our best lives we need it in everything we do.

Let’s GO!

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

You Learn More From Your Failures? I Disagree

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How many times have you been told that you learn more from your mistakes than from your successes? It’s conventional wisdom, and I get it. But I always felt there was something wrong with it.

Mistakes tell you what not to do. That’s good as far as it goes. But knowing what not to do still doesn’t help you with exactly what you should do.

Yes, it’s important to not be afraid of temporary failure. If you’re worried about that, you will never try great or “impossible” things. By all means, fail away!

But, I like to study my successes. What did I do right? How can I repeat that? How can I do it even better next time?

This especially helps me when I’m feeling down, or like I can’t do it. I think back over all the times where I figured it out – where I did what was necessary to succeed. Then, I repeat what I did right. It lifts me out of my funk time and time again.

If you want to do well at something, don’t you try to emulate the people who are the best at it? If you want to learn how to throw a baseball, do you watch someone who is making mistakes or do you watch a major league pitcher?

A study from Vanderbilt University gives us another reason “learning from your mistakes” might not be all that we’ve been told.

The experiment was about self-control. Some of the participants were asked to focus on their self-control successes while others were told to focus on their self-control failures.

Everyone was then given a budget and choices on how to spend their money. Sure enough, the ones who focused on when they did well were able to stick to their budget more than the ones who focused on when they did poorly.

I think this is true for more than self-control. Regardless of what you’re working on, if you reflect on the times when you succeeded you will be primed for more success. The opposite happens when you focus on your failures.

Bonus: Thinking about your successes feels great and motivates you! Thinking about your failures? Not so much.

Why would you want to be a failure because you keep thinking about failing?

Action steps:

1) Remind yourself that you will have to go through some temporary failures as you journey the path to success, and that’s ok. You’re trying new, great, and maybe even “impossible” things, the road will not always be smooth.

2) Learn from your mistakes by getting clear on what went wrong and how you can make sure you don’t make the same mistakes again.

3) But, Focus on your successes. Think about how you learned what you needed to know, how you performed the way you needed to perform, and how you became the person you needed to become. Repeat your success patterns as often as you can.

Let’s GO!