You Are Exactly Where You Are Supposed To Be

believe

I missed my chance. I made the wrong decision. It’s too late for me. I can never do it now. Haven’t we all told ourselves that at some point? I know I have – too many times.

But I don’t believe that anymore. Here’s what I believe because of what I’ve done and what I’ve seen other people do:

You are right 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.

Even the tough times and difficult decisions can be used to get us ready for something great. Have you ever looked back on a stressful period of your life and realized you needed to go through that to become the person you are today?

I made the decision to move my family across the country for my job four different times. It wasn’t easy, but we made new friends, were exposed to different cultures and had experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything.

My work experience from being a probation and parole officer, a mental health counselor, a radio talk show host, and someone who has started three small busineses, has lead me to develop the skills and expertise I need to become a professional speaker, author, and coach.

It’s not too late.

Your chance is now.

Take action.

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 eating government cheese, living in a van down by the river.

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 into 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 everyday. Why not you?

You’re reading this for a reason.

Now is your time.

  1. Define your passionate purpose.
  2. Set your big goals.
  3. Break them down to small, attainable, measurable goals.
  4. Take DAILY action on those goals. Make it a DAILY habit. Small, DAILY action is all it takes!
  5. Stay focused on your why and let it motivate you.

Let’s GO!

If you get stuck, email me, check out my book, and/or check out my coaching.

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.

Two of the most POWERFUL words we don’t use enough

In our personal relationships and in business

thanks

How do you feel when you get a real thank you? I’m not talking about a “thanks” for holding the door, passing the ketchup, or a perfunctory thanks for taking my phone call. Those are all fine, but how do you feel when you get a sincere, meaningful thank you? How do you feel when someone looks you in the eye, gives you a firm handshake – or even a hug – and says, “I really want to thank you for ________. It means a lot to me and I’ll never forget it.”? How do you feel when someone hand writes you a heartfelt message and a “Thank You” on personal stationery?

Awesome, right?

“A sincere ‘thank you’ can change the day – even the life – of the receiver and the giver. Who do you need to thank today?” 

A sincere, “thank you” creates an emotional bond between both parties. It encourages the person you’re thanking. It lets them know they count in this world, they’re making a difference, and they touched your life. It also makes you feel better, elevates your relationships, and often leads to more business (bonus!).

So why don’t we do it more? We tell ourselves:

  • We’re busy
  • The other person knows we appreciate them and doesn’t care if we say “thank you” anyway
  • We don’t know how to say it
  • It’s too much trouble.

All wrong.

Here’s how we need to answer those negative thoughts we tell ourselves:

  • We’re busy – Everyone’s busy, but no one’s too busy to give or receive a thank you 
  • The other person knows we appreciate them and doesn’t care if we say “thank you” anyway – The other person doesn’t know how you feel unless you tell them, and they do care
  • We don’t know how to say it –  Just say what you feel
  • It’s too much trouble – It only takes a few minutes and can cause joy and even miracles.

I think there’s one other reason we don’t say thank you enough…It can be scary.

When you admit that you needed someone’s help, or you couldn’t have done it without them, or you care about someone, you are making yourself vulnerable.

Being vulnerable does open you up to being hurt, but it also opens you up to deeper relationships and bigger opportunities.

You can take the risk to be vulnerable, offer a sincere thank you,  and make an impact.  Or you can play it “safe,” stay quiet, and miss your opportunity. Which will you choose?

Questions for comments: Who are you going to sincerely thank today? What happened when you did?

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!

I Tried To Change And It Didn’t Work

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Are you ready for some tough love? If you have tried to change before and it hasn’t worked, there is really only one reason. It’s not because you don’t have talent. Talent is overrated. You see unsuccessful people with talent all the time. It’s not because you aren’t smart enough, don’t know the right people, or don’t have enough money to get started. It’s not because you don’t have enough time. We all have the same 24 hours in each day.

The real reason you haven’t followed through on what you say you want is this: You get more out of not changing than you think you would get out of changing.

I know that’s hard to hear. But it’s true, and all of us struggle with it. I have to tell myself this every time I start to back slide.

Tony Robbins puts it this way: You believe you get more pleasure and avoid more pain by staying the way you are than by doing the work necessary to change.

I know this sounds crazy but think about it. Why don’t we all eat healthy and never overeat? Isn’t it because we like the pleasure we get from the taste of the foods we know aren’t good for us? Isn’t it because of the pleasurable feeling we create in ourselves when we eat too much?

Sure it makes us gain weight and maybe even feel sluggish, but doesn’t the short- term pleasure overwhelm the long-term pain? I know it does for me more times than I’d like to admit. Our actions speak louder than all the diets we’ve ever planned to live by.

Why do you think alcoholics and drug addicts continue to use even though it’s destroying their lives? Obviously addiction is a factor, but it’s also because they believe the short-term pleasure they get is greater than the long-term pain. They use substances to temporarily change the way they feel, to avoid pain in their lives, to distract themselves from their problems, and to self-medicate.

Even when they are losing their jobs, their spouses, their children, their friends, their homes, and their health, they keep using for the short-term pleasure and the short-term escape from their pain.

Yet, many do kick their habit. How? They do it when they hit rock bottom. When they convince themselves the pain of their addiction is worse than the short-term pleasure of using and they decide they must change. That’s when they start the difficult recovery process.

How Do Some People Do It?

Let me ask you a question. How do we have people making average salaries starting new businesses every day in this country? How do legal immigrants come here with nothing and open a business the first year they’re here? I’m talking about people who do it without a loan or investors. How do they do it?

They convinced themselves they had to. They decided that to not put out the effort and money necessary to pursue their goal would be more painful than doing it. They stayed focused on the long-term pleasure they would get and how they would avoid the long-term pain of never pursuing their dreams. They found a way.

Some saved money for years that they could have used on other things. Others found a way to start it in their home and slowly build it. Others found a way to do it all online for almost nothing. The bottom line is they found a way. You can, too.

Could You Do It If?

Imagine your child has a fatal illness. The doctors say she only has six months to live. But if you get her the right medicine, she will be completely cured. One problem: The medicine costs $10,000 and you’re broke. No one can loan you the money. Do you think you could earn an extra ten grand in six months to save your child?

Of course you could, and you would, because you would have to. With that kind of effort and commitment nothing could stop you.

That’s the kind of commitment you will need because deciding you must change is just part of it. You also must decide you are willing to do the work required to make the change.

I can give you ideas and techniques to change your life, but I can’t change you. All true change will come from you.

Let’s GO!

How to Help Each Other Succeed

partners

Motivation is a tricky thing. It waxes and wanes like the moon. Some people claim motivation doesn’t work because it wears off.

Hold on, I eat three (or five) times a day. I guess I should just stop eating. It wears off.
I work out three times a week. I guess I should just stop exercising. It wears off.
I shower every day. I guess I should just stop showering. It wears off.

Sounds kind of ridiculous, doesn’t it? EVERYTHING wears off.

The question is, how do you stay motivated to pursue your Passionate Purpose? A big helper in that is finding an accountability partner. The word “partner,” is important here. This is going to be a mutually beneficial relationship. You are going to motivate each other.

So, find someone you like and trust who is also looking for an accountability partner. It should be someone who shares your desire for an extraordinary life, someone who will support you in your efforts and kick you in the butt when you need it.

I find the best accountability partners are people who want you to hold them accountable for goals they’re working on in their life as well. When you encourage each other AND hold each other accountable, great things happen. Once you find one:

  • Tell each other exactly what you want and why you want it
  • Set a date for when will complete “x”
  • Determine how will you know you’ve done it
  • Schedule a weekly phone call to review the past week’s activities towards your goals
  • If necessary, exchange an accountability email half way through the week
  • Encourage and challenge each other to keep going

To be clear, the content of the call and the email is simple:

1) What did you say you would do this week?

2) What work have you done on that?

3) What went right?

4) What didn’t go so well?

5) What’s holding you back?

6) What adjustments do you need to make to improve your progress?

7) What can you do to help your partner?

Warning:

As you work on your Passionate Purpose, you will hit plateaus. Expect it and be ready to do the work necessary to break through them.

Fear and doubt will creep in from time to time.

Some of your friends and family may feed your fear and doubt by telling you your wasting your time, or that living an extraordinary life is for the lucky few, not you.

Some will do this because they think they’re protecting you from disappointment. Sadly, some will do this because they’re jealous of your aspirations and achievements.

You will overcome that by leaning on why you want this new life, on your passionate purpose, on your skills, abilities and experience.

You can do it. And there are plenty of people who WANT you to succeed. Lean on them, too.

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!

The Danger of Overreacting

elite-daily-titanic

Those who fail to respond to a changing marketplace – fail. In fact, things happen so fast now, that you need to predict the changes in the market place and act before the changes actually occur or it might be too late.

I think that’s true, to a point. We can also overreact with unintended consequences. We can change so quickly and so often that we lose our core audience, customers, clients, or purpose.

You’ve heard of the Titanic, but have you heard of the Eastland? Their connection is a tragic story of overreaction and unintended consequences.

After the Titanic sank, taking 829 passengers and 694 crew members with her, our government sprang into action. Congress passed new laws to make sure the Titanic disaster would never happen again.

The Eastland was mandated to add more lifeboats, rafts (and cranes to lower them into the water) then the boatmakers had planned.

The additional weight made the boat top heavy. As the passengers began embarking for the journey across Lake Michigan, the boat began listing to one side. The sailors compensated by adding water to the ballast tanks on the other side. Once the boat was packed with passengers it began to list to the other side. The sailors couldn’t fix the problem fast enough. The Eastland capsized while still tied up to the dock in the Chicago river.

Overreaction helped cause the death of 841 passengers and 3 crew members. Wow. More passengers died from the overreaction to the Titanic than actually died on the Titanic.

Yes, it was a good reaction to make sure every ship had enough lifeboats for everyone. But, it was an overreaction to force lifeboats that were too heavy on to the Eastland.

Keeping your eyes on trends and changes in your field is very important. But, be careful of the danger of overreaction as well. That can be just as, or more, dangerous than not changing at all.

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!

Who Wants to Work for Fear and Money?

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Have I got a job for you! You will do what the boss tells you to, check with her before you do something on your own, and meet the numbers she tells you to meet or your fired. If you do all that, you will get to keep your job and get paid every two weeks.

Are you in?

Using the fear of losing your job and the reward of getting paid is how most businesses have been managing (controlling?) their employees for the last hundred years or so.

It works…kinda.

Depending on how badly you need the job, you put up with it. But for how long?

And what kind of work and life does that lead to?

A friend of mine had a “great” job at a big company. He was a team leader. He was earning good money. Even in this still struggling economy his job was “safe.”

And he couldn’t wait to leave.

The culture he was working in was destroying him. He felt like the company didn’t really care about him, his coworkers, his family, or even the idea of a life outside the office. It’s hard to put in your best effort for a company like that.

He was offered a job with the type of culture he was looking for and he took it. When he put in his two-week notice the company was upset. They didn’t want to lose him. They offered him a promotion and more money. They thought the old model of motivation still worked, they just had to push harder.

Wrong.

My friend took the other job. He’s super excited about the culture and is already happier, more engaged with his company, and ready to do his best work.

Gallup has done a lot of research on “employee engagement.” An engaged employee is someone who is emotionally and enthusiastically involved in the purpose of the company. He enjoys his work and looks for ways to create, innovate, and do more than is asked of him. It’s the kind of employee every business wants.

Bad news. Gallup’s numbers from 2015 show that only 35% of managers are engaged and only 30% of all employees are.

This old method of motivating employees leads to a bunch of disengaged, unhappy, ready to jump ship at a moments notice people.

Who wants to work in that type of environment? Nobody. It’s one of the reasons there is so much turnover in the workplace.

It also costs a company’s bottom line. Gallup estimates that employee disengagement costs American companies about $300 billion every year.

Ouch.

There is a better way.

The best organizations engage us by asking us to share in their purpose and share in the pleasure of:

  • Creating individual and team goals
  • Contributing something signifcant
  • Innovating
  • Making a difference
  • Working with people who support and encourage us
  • Working towards and achieving goals
  • Celebrating achievements and being rewarded for them
  • Helping us become an expert at what we do

Add in an understanding that your entire life is not the job and now you’ve got someone working with their heart and soul. Now you’ve got someone who will stick with you.

Questions for comments: How does your company engage its people? How could you improve that?

One Habit That’s Hurting Your Relationships and Career

Most of us focus on what we need to do. That’s good. But, what if some of the things we do are holding us back? Shouldn’t we work on those?

I realized this week how much I avoid people who complain. Then I realized that Icomplain too much. So I started thinking. Am I losing friends and influence every time I complain? How about you? And, what can we do to complain less?

I have a friend who likes to complain to me. I have been an empathetic sounding board. I have tried to help him generate solutions to his problems. I have simply nodded, said mmm a lot, and reflected back to him what he says. I’ve tried it all.

None of it seems to help. It’s the same thing every day. I now find myself looking for ways to avoid him. I think his boss is starting to feel the same way.

Doesn’t he see how this is hurting him? Doesn’t it make him miserable? What could he possibly get out of it that keeps him doing it?

As I was enjoying the view from my high horse it slowly dawned on me that I sometimes do this too. (And I’m a guy who blogs about personal development all the time!)

We all complain at times. It can really hurt our relationships in and out of the workplace. So why do we keep doing it? Complaining does have some positive outcomes.

  • It may make us feel better by “venting”
  • Someone may validate our feelings
  • It occasionally leads to someone else fixing the problem
  • You fit in with the other complainers

But the short and long-term consequences of complaining are way worse.

  • You lose friends and people avoid you
  • It leads to difficulty in your home life
  • You’re passed over for promotions or fired
  • You get fewer clients and sales
  • It contributes to a bad attitude and miserable life

I’m sure you can add to these lists.

Hold on, Greg, sometimes I need to complain. You don’t know what happened to me today!

Hey, I’m not the complaining Nazi. I get it. But how about greatly reducing your complaints and only doing complaining in a way that will help you?

Action Steps:

1) Keep track of every time you complain for one week. You need to know if this is a real problem for you. You might be shocked.

2) Start the day with the right mindset. Focus on all the good in your life. Who loves you? Who do you love? What makes you smile? You can find time to do this right when you wake up or on your commute to work. List what your grateful for. Pray. Before you poopoo this, try it. (I will not be poopooed!)

3) When you are about to complain, stop yourself. Use the A-B-C techniques in Rational Emotive Therapy to make sure you are thinking logically about the problem and responding rationally to it.

4) Turn your complaint into an idea for a solution. What can you do to fix the problem? Are you talking to the right person to fix it? Friends, family and bosses love people who have solutions. You’ll be surprised how often your solution, or something close to it, is implemented. Even if it isn’t, people will see you as a positive, solution oriented person instead of someone who complains all the time.

5) Find a complaint friend if you really have to vent. My wife and I do this for each other. We use each other to vent the big things that really tick us off. That way we don’t complain to everyone else. (Be careful here, we still limit how much we complain to each other or we will drive each other crazy.)

Question: What techniques do you use to minimize complaining?

Would You Rather Be Redirected or Reprimanded?

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Is this a trick question, like does a one-legged duck swim in circles? Or is this just semantics and being redirected is simply a nicer way of saying reprimanded?

Neither. This is a real question and there’s a big difference between the two things.

Most bosses, managers, and even some parents tend to reprimand you when you’re not doing what they want you to do. Very few redirect you.

I’ve been reading The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, and this is how they explain the difference:

Reprimand:

The boss/manager/parent tells you that what you did was wrong. There is a punitive feel to it. It tends to make you feel bad about yourself or get angry with the person reprimanding you.

You usually don’t receive the feedback until your yearly review (unless you did something really wrong). This gets you frustrated because you could have fixed the problem if you were told about it.

It creates an “Us v. Them” mentality.

I had a basketball coach who reprimanded us all the time. The slightest error and he would yank you out of the game and yell at you. The team played tight because we were afraid of making a mistake instead of reaching to play our best.

Redirect:

The boss/manager/parent re-clarifies your mutual goals to make sure you’re on the same page.

He explains to you what you did wrong and gives the feedback as soon as he can.

He lets you know he is truly concerned and pauses to let you reflect on why this should concern you as well.

He then explains how he values you, knows you’re better than the mistake, and still expects great things from you from now on.

When the redirect is over – it’s over.

I also had a basketball coach who worked in a style very similar to this. He would tell you when you blew it – even yell at you at times.

Then he would give a quick instruction on how to do it the right way and encourage you.

Then he would let it go.

I played way harder for him than I did the other coach.

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success”

– Unknown

Does any of this resonate with you? What can you do to use redirection instead of reprimands in your daily life?

Who Doesn’t Like Praise?

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Confession time. I like hearing praise. Crazy, huh? I’m betting you like it too.

I’m not talking about the “everyone gets a trophy because we all have value,” empty praise. That has been proven to actually hurt future performance. I’m talking about earned praise for a job well done.

A friend of mine this week said, “A raise is great, but sometimes a pat on the back letting me know my hard work is valued and that I’m making a difference is just as important.”

Do you agree?

There are two things people want more than sex and money… recognition and praise.

–Mary Kay Ash

That got me to thinking: When’s the last time I gave someone earned praise for a job well done? Too long.

When was the last time you did?

The New One Minute Manager has a great tip on one minute praises. Yes, you can do it in one minute, make someone’s day and really make a difference. You can use this at work, with your family or with friends. Here’s how it works.

  • Praise the behavior as soon as possible when you see it.
  • Make the praise specific.
  • Say how good it makes you feel to see their success.
  • Pause to let them enjoy your comments.
  • Encourage them to keep up the excellent work.

Is there someone you can use this with today? Why wait?

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?