Do You Feel Like a Failure When You Miss a Goal? Read This

frustrated

A friend of mine is reading my book and wrote me: “Greg, the stories in your book about people struggling with their goals are good, but it can still be hard to focus on and attack goals that you didn’t meet even after very diligent efforts. Sometimes you feel your doing everything right, but its still not working. It makes you rethink if your goals are even legitimate or worthwhile to pursue.”

Hey, when we put in great effort and don’t get the results we want, that’s frustrating. If this has ever happened to you, have you looked at what you did achieve with your efforts? Listen to what my friend did achieve.

“My goal is to get to ten percent body fat. I have been working on it for ten years. In that time, I have gone from an extremely overweight guy who was afraid of my car breaking down in the middle of summer (because I might die walking to get help), to having hiked the Grand Canyon with my wife in the middle of summer with a 50lb pack. My body fat percentage was 45% and I was able to get it to around 18%.

I went from a weakling who got tired carrying groceries from the car to the house, to a fairly strong man that can bench press over 300lbs, squat over 400, and deadlift 495.  I went from a lazy undisciplined gamer who sat on the couch, to a guy who earned two black belts in martial arts.”

“I also met my wife during this time. But, the ten percent body fat goal evades me no matter what I try.”

OK, wait. You achieved all that and that’s failing at your goal? I’d like to fail like that!

I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.

– Neal Shusterman

He has already achieved some great goals. He has transformed his body, and his life. To a great deal, he’s transformed his mindset as well.

But, I get how we can all still be frustrated when we don’t meet the exact goal we set for ourselves. We can see this as a block to other goals.

I want to encourage you. Don’t miss the great stuff. My friend should feel amazing at all he accomplished by pursuing his goal. Why do we focus so much on the negative? Why are we so hard on ourselves?

I asked my friend, “If your son or daughter achieved what you have, would you be disappointed in them for not making the body fat percentage goal? Would you tell them that they are failures? Of course not. Then why do this to yourself? Give yourself some Grace.”

Then decide if you still need to reach your original goal. If the answer is yes, start over with finding new ways to reach it. If you’ve been trying something for ten years, then it’s time to try something else.

Maybe check with your doctor to make sure this is a goal you can physically reach. Research the best meal and workout plans to get to your ideal body fat percentage.

Interview personal trainers who have had success getting their clients where you want to be.

Ask yourself, “If you knew what step you needed to take right now to decrease your body fat, what would it be?” (Do that!)

Regardless, you have proven to yourself that you have what it takes to change your life. Don’t let this stop you from changing other areas as well.

Imagine what your life would be like if you had never tried to achieve this goal. You have succeeded in so many ways because you created a goal and took consistent action. Great job. Don’t give what you see as a failure the power to stop you from achieving even greater things in the future.

Questions for comments: Have you ever fallen short of a goal? How did it make you feel? How did you keep moving forward?

How to Start Each Day Grateful and Feeling Great

I-am-grateful-for3

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?

One way is to start every morning by thinking about all the great things in your life. For most of us it’s pretty easy coming up with a list of all the great things in our lives.

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 enter the land of the living, I start to pray. I start thanking God for all my blessings. I thank him 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 God 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 having jobs that I love, and I’m grateful for my excellent health.

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 thee 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. We are getting our conscious and subconscious minds focused on our 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.

Give it a try and let me know how much joy it gives you!

Lose Yourself in the Game

ball

You’ve experienced it before, haven’t you? When you are pursuing your passion and everything else disappears? You’re so focused and in the flow that you lose track of time? All the other problems you worry about fade away. You’re almost not even thinking consciously about anything, you’re just doing. Everything that you’ve worked so hard on is all coming together and now it’s time to play.

It’s a great feeling.

With basketball season starting up I remembered the 2014 championship between Kentucky and Connecticut. Kentucky Coach John Calipari was interviewed during half time and he had some great advice for his team.

He was asked why a couple of his players were struggling. He said they were young and nervous.

“…See, when you get that anxiety it’s hard to be aggressive and so I just told them, ‘We’re going to win this thing – we’re down two buckets – if you play with energy and lose yourself in the game.'”

But, Greg, Kentucky lost the championship game.

Yes, thanks for reminding me and ruining my point.

But, the win isn’t the point. The point is to pursue your passion with everything you have and enjoy the ride. UK wasn’t expected to even be in the championship game. They kept pursuing their passion, losing themselves in the game and good things kept happening.

When’s the last time you lost yourself in the game? When’s the last time you had that joyful feeling of being in the zone? When’s the last time you followed your passion with abandon?

Lose yourself in the game.

Beware of All Types of Poison

poison

Our society does a great job of protecting you from poison. Warning labels say toxic, unsafe, poisonous. We put childproof caps on to keep our kids away. News specials are produced about which plants can kill you or your pets.

But we do nothing to protect ourselves from mental poison, and it can be just as deadly.

What you read, watch, listen to, and tell yourself can be toxic. It can suck the life-force right out of you if you let it.

“You can never be successful.”

“You don’t deserve that.”

“Rich people are greedy and exploit others.”

“The game is rigged against you.”

“Just keep your head down and do what they expect.”

Are you eating mental food that builds you up, or tears you down?

“You were created for a fantastic reason.”

“You are worthy of the extraordinary life of your dreams.”

“You can get everything you want in this life if you help enough other people get what they want.” (Zig Ziglar)

“Your hard work is paying off.”

Beware all types of poison. Avoid it the way you avoid drinking bleach.

Feast on the most positive stuff you can find.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8New International Version (NIV)

 

Are You Important?

important

Do you feel important? How important do you think you are compared to other people? Your responses will determine how successful you will become.

It’s tough to be successful if you don’t feel important. Your beliefs and your mindset might even start to sabotage your success. Hey, why should you be so successful? You’re not important enough.

Most of us overestimate other people and underestimate ourselves. You are better than you think. –Greg Knapp

Decide right now to stop the self-deprecation. You are important. No one is more important than you.

Here’s the other side of that. No one is less important than you are, either. Someone may have a more “important” job, or responsibilities or status, but we are all equally important as human beings.

Remember that the next time you are dealing with someone who intimidates you and remember it the next time you’re meeting with someone you might think you are superior to.

If you treat everyone as an equal – there is no one more important and no one less important – good things will happen. You will have more confidence and more compassion.

It’s a great way to improve relationships, make more friends, and become a better person.

As a bonus, you will be surprised how much more business it will create. You never know what the “unimportant” person might mean to you one day.

As you elevate others, they will elevate you. As you feel more important, the idea of you becoming more important resonates with your subconscious. You will start to think, “You deserve it.” “You’re important.”

Guess what? You are!

The best way to turn your day around is to help someone else. –Greg Knapp

Frustration Will Beat You Twice if You Let It

frustrated

Have you ever had a goal, made some good progress and then taken two steps back? It’s frustrating isn’t it?

Frustration can beat us down. It will beat us twice if we let it.

Frustration is just a test to see if you really want this.

–Greg Knapp

My oldest daughter, Faith, asked me to show her a chord and a new rhythm on the guitar last night. As we started to work on it, I saw her tearing up.

I asked her why and she said, “I was practicing this earlier and I had it. Now I can’t do it. It’s so frustrating!”

The frustration had taken the joy out of playing guitar for her. If we weren’t careful, it was going to push her to give up learning the song she wanted to play. Too many sessions like that and frustration might beat her into giving up on the guitar all together.

So, we took a step back and:

  • Thought about all the progress she has made on the guitar
  • Discussed how if it was easy everyone would do it
  • Remembered that she had learned harder things than this before

Then we started over again, slowly, until she got it. The joy came back in her eyes. With each little success, she became more confident that she could do it.

It ended up being the best part of my day. (Faith said she had fun too.)

Frustration will arise. It will try to derail you. Your goal won’t seem as reachable or as much fun. But, If you can take a breath, regroup, and begin anew, great things will happen.

How do you handle frustration?

Focus, Grasshopper, Focus

focus

Ever feel like you’re working really hard and still not getting everything done?

Uh, yeah, Greg, like everyday. Was that a trick question?

A friend has been trying a new focus technique that has helped some, but I think we can do better:

Greg,

I have been using the Pomodoro Technique. Focusing on one thing for 22 minutes, then walking around or resting for 8 minutes, and then repeating…

I try to do that to get 22 min of uninterrupted time. If I try longer than that, something breaks it up.

Also, I can usually get 4 of those reps in a day.

What do you think?

Personally, I need more than 22 minutes to really focus and get into my flow. I’ve seen research that says it takes most people 5-10 minutes to get back in a deep thinking frame of mind each time they are interrupted.

The average American worker is interrupted 50 times a day! No wonder we feel like we never get anything done.

Other research says most of us can focus for 40-50 minutes at a time.

I turn all notifications for phone, email, text, twitter, etc. off and do 45 minutes or so with zero interruptions. Then I’ll take a break for a few minutes, do another hour and then work out. Then I’ll check all messages, turn everything off and get another hour in.

I don’t do that every day, but when I do I get a ton done and feel awesome. If you are worried you will miss something really important you can leave your phone ringer on, but nothing else.

It helps to tell others what you’re doing. I have it in my email signature “In order to be as efficient as possible, I only check my email at 9:30am and 6pm. If there is an emergency, you may call me.” (People who would need my number in an emergency already have it.)

I got the time block out technique from Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s book, The ONE Thing. Their idea is to block out four hours each day to concentrate on your ONE Thing. Let everyone know what you’re doing and why. (Start with one hour and build from there.)

Be protective of that time.

In an interview with Forbes, Keller put it this way:

“Think of it like going to the movies. You’re there for ONE Thing—to see the film. Because you’re really clear about that, you turn off your cell phone, you grab snacks in case you get hungry, and you probably even make a pit stop before you go in. All this so you can have an uninterrupted experience.

“When you time block your most important work and treat it like going to the movies—you make a stand around avoiding distractions—amazing things happen. When you start thinking of your days this way, the burden of always having to be ‘on’ goes away and you end up accomplishing more.”

You will have to get creative on how you block out that time. Make sure everyone who needs to know understands why you are doing this. Your boss and your colleagues will be very happy when they start to see the increased creativity and productivity in your work. If you are the boss, or you’re self-employed, you are going to be shocked at how much more of the important stuff you get done when you start focusing four hours a day on the ONE Thing.

Action Steps: 1) Explain to others how and when you are focusing without distractions. 2) Get a timer. 3) Set it for 50 minutes. 4) Focus and Go! 5) Take a break, talk with friends, check messages. 6) Repeat.

Questions for comments: Have you tried this? Does it work for you? What do you do to stay focused?

Taking Time to Think is Not Being Lazy

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Being called lazy is one of the worst things you can call an American. We take great pride in being busy and working hard.

But, what if working really hard looks like you’re being lazy? Isn’t that what happens when you’re thinking? But 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

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.

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. 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 and text messages constantly interrupt your flow.

Thinking doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re doing some of the hardest and best work there is.

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.”

― Lorraine Hansberry

Action steps: 1) Block out one or two hours to think. Don’t allow any interruptions. If you can’t do this everyday, pick two or three days a week to do it. Let others know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

2) Write down every thought that comes to you that could be useful.

3) Take your best ideas and think again about how to put them into practice.

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

Easy Way to Wake Up Energized

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I’m not a morning person!

Very few of us are. My oldest daughter, Faith, definitely isn’t. Yet, she is the one who just reminded me of the easy way to wake up energized. Love where you’re going.

Faith is just about to turn 16. She tends to stay up a bit too late most nights by the time homework and getting ready for bed stuff is done. When we wake her up in the morning she is usually in full grump mode. It takes her a while to become her normal, happy self.

But this morning she got up on her own, came downstairs fully dressed, bright eyed and chipper.

What changed? Where she was going. And how she thought about where she was going.

Going somewhere you’re not excited about – school? Wake up in grump mode.

Going somewhere you are excited about – Starlight acting camp? Wake up energized!

Aren’t you motivated in the same way by what you love to do and look forward to?

Are you looking forward to where you’re going today? Tomorrow? If not, what can you do about that?

You can change where you’re going. You can change what happens where you’re going. You can change your mindset about where you’re going. You can control how you act and react when you get there.

You are in control. You get to choose.

Greg, it’s not that easy. I can’t just change everything today. I have responsibilities and bills and…it’s complicated.

I get you. You’re right. It’s not always easy. But, it’s always worth it. It’s never too late.

(Shameless plug alert!) That’s why I wrote a whole book on how to do this. Click here to buy my book, Go How to Find and Pursue Your Passionate Purpose, on Amazon. You can sample the book for free by requesting it on the right hand side of this page.

Action steps: 

1) Honestly assess your excitement level of getting up in the morning on a scale of 1 to 10.

2) List the reasons you are, and are not, excited in the morning.

3) Brainstorm ways to change your mindset and your environment to increase your morning excitement level.

4) GO!

Questions for comment: When was the last time you woke up energized and looking forward to the day? What did you do to create that experience?