Your Best Life for 2016

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No one keeps New Year’s Resolutions, so what’s the point, right?

Actually, some people DO keep their resolutions. Research shows a HUGE rate of success!

Ok, not huge…

Ok, tiny…

8%

What?! Why bother?

Hey, why can’t you be part of the 8%?

What if there are ways to greatly increase the chance that you are in the 8%? What if it could put you on a path to Your Best Life?

Another year is going to go by whether you change your life or not. One year from now will you look back at how much better it is, or will you be exactly where you are right now?

Here’s what works:

  1. Believe you can: Common sense and research shows if you don’t believe you can be one of the 8% you won’t be. Hey, someone has to be – why not you?
  2. Start small then go big: Pick the top 2 or 3 things that are most important to you. Long lists will sabotage your success for any of them. We can only change so much, so fast.
  3. Make it real easy to measure your success: Definite and measurable goals are what work.
  4. Get Accountable: Find a trustworthy, supportive friend and agree to be each other’s accountability partners. Check in at least once a week with each other to make sure you’re staying on track.
  5. Celebrate: Set up mini-goals and celebrate every time you hit one. Refocus on why you’re doing this and keep going. That’s how you start small and then go big.

Before you start, you need to know exactly what you want. What’s most important to you and why? Here’s one way to start figuring it out.

Your mission tonight… if you choose to accept it. 

Spend one half hour of your limited time writing down what your best life would look like. Done correctly, this is an extremely uplifting exercise. Just organizing and prioritizing your best life can increase your happiness, optimism, and belief that you can accomplish your goals.

When you answer these questions, remember, you’re in Fantasyland. No limits. That’s when our best ideas come.

If you had all the money in the world, how would you spend your time?

What would your perfect day look, feel, sound, smell, taste, and be like? Describe it in as vivid detail as you can.

What activities set your soul on fire?

What would you do if it were impossible to fail?

What would your career be?

What would your marriage be like?

What would your income be?

How much free time would you have?

Where would you live?

How many people could you help?

What would you do even if you didn’t get paid to do it?

What type of relationships would you have with your children?

What would your relationship be with God?

Where would you travel for vacations?

How many vacations would you take each year?

What would you have crossed off your bucket list?

How much would you give away to charity each year?

What would your spiritual life be like?

Where would you volunteer?

How much would you weigh?

What would your physical health be?

Would you play an instrument, speak a foreign language, or know how to dance?

What groups would you belong to?

How would you treat people?

How would people treat you?

These are just some questions to get you started. Come up with some of your own and design your best life.

Question for comments: What questions do you need to ask yourself to get to your best life?

Sometimes It’s OK to Quit

Quitter

Greg, you’re freaking me out again. Didn’t you just tell me to never give up? Now you’re telling me it’s OK to quit? Are you off your meds?

Slow down, speed racer, let me explain.

I understand the conventional wisdom is that you should never give up once you’ve set your mind to something. I agree with that – to a point.

There’s a big difference between giving up and deciding to quit something. If you stop working towards what you know is your Passionate Purpose because it’s too hard, or someone talked you out of it, or you got sidetracked on unimportant things, or you had to watch the Simpsons marathon on FX, that’s giving up. That’s what I hope you won’t do.

If, however, you are trying out new things to see what fits on you, it’s perfectly OK to stop doing something you find out you truly don’t enjoy. How will you know what you really like if you don’t try it? I don’t want you to feel like once you try something new you can never quit or you’re a failure. That might stop you from trying awesome things.

And how can you keep being awesome if you stop trying awesome things?

(Who’s awesome? YOU’RE AWES…ok, sorry, got carried away.)

What if you discover what you’re struggling with wasn’t really your Passionate Purpose after all? What if you realize you’re trying to live out the dream your parents have for your life, or you’re trying to please someone else? Wouldn’t it be crazy to keep pursuing someone else’s goals?

How do you know the difference between giving up and quitting? Here’s what I do and what I make my children do. If you want to try something new, like a new job/career, a sport, an instrument, dance lessons, etc. determine a set amount of time that you are going to continue trying it no matter what. (A rule of thumb is six months to a year.) If you decide you don’t like it at the end of your trial period, you can quit without being a “quitter.”

You aren’t quitting because you can’t stick with something. You did stick with it. You did what you set out to do. You learned it wasn’t a good fit for you and now you’re moving on to something else.

If it is a good fit for you, keep doing it! You’re on your way.

Remember, you can try a new job or business without quitting your old one. You can ease into it. You don’t have to GO BIG right away. You don’t have to take a big leap and risk everything. You can take baby steps to get started.

Question for comments: When’s the last time you tried something new to see if it was a good fit? How did you know?

You should Feel MORE Entitled

Entitlement

“These kids today all feel so entitled!”

We’ve all thought that once or twice, and for good reason. There are a lot of people who seem to think that just because they were born they deserve to have everything they want handed to them.

That feeling of entitlement is harmful. It can lead to anger, laziness, depression and more. It hurts individuals, families, companies and our country.

But I’m here to praise a certain type of entitlement mentality.

I want you to feel…

Entitled to living an extraordinary life.

Entitled to finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose.

Entitled to going after what you truly want.

Entitled to earning a fantastic income that you can use for yourself, your family and others.

Entitled to wonderful personal relationships.

Entitled to – you fill in the rest.

As long as you are willing to work for it, why not you?

(Um, Greg, the definition of entitled implies you don’t have to work for it.

I know, I’m changing the definition. Work with me here.)

“I believe that every individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other men’s rights” —Abraham Lincoln

Living an extraordinary life is not just for the select few or the elite. It’s for all of us. Get that through your head. Write it down. Read it every morning. It’s for all of us.

You can do it.

Feel more entitled.

Let’s GO!

Your Best Life

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Here’s your mission tonight, if you choose to accept it. Spend one half hour of your limited time on this big, blue marble hurtling through space writing down what your best life would look like. The questions below are to help guide you through this.

Done correctly, this is an extremely uplifting exercise. Just organizing and prioritizing your best life can increase your happiness, optimism, and belief that you can accomplish your goals.

I want my life to be so awesome that only Morgan Freeman could narrate it.

When you answer these questions, don’t edit yourself – or tell yourself “no” – or “you’re being unrealistic.” This is Fantasyland time. No limits. Reality will come later. We’re looking for your best life.

We want the answers to come from your gut. Write as quickly as you can the first answers that pop in your head. Listen to that quiet voice inside you. Let it get loud!

What would you do if it were impossible to fail?

What would your career be?

What would your marriage be like?

What would your income be?

How much free time would you have?

Where would you live?

How many people could you help?

What type of relationships would you have with your children?

What would your relationship be with God?

Where would you travel for vacations?

How many vacations would you take each year?

What would you have crossed off your bucket list?

How much would you give away to charity each year?

What would your spiritual life be like?

Where would you volunteer?

How much would you weigh?

What would your physical health be?

Would you play an instrument, speak a foreign language, or know how to dance?

What groups would you belong to?

These are just some questions to get you started. What questions do you need to ask yourself to get to your best life?

When’s The Last Time You Defined Your Purpose?

purpose

What do you mean when you use the word “purpose”? Is it your reason for being? Is it why you do that thing you do? Is it one thing that guides everything else? Is it one thing or many? Is it permanent or does it change over time?

Purpose – pur·pose: noun /ˈpərpəs/

  1. The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

Your definition of purpose for your life will have an enormous impact on the choices you make, the actions you take, and the goals you accomplish.

Just taking the time to define and determine your purpose will irrevocably change your life. Similarly, the default position of never figuring any of this out will also change your course.

Cat: Where are you going?

Alice: Which way should I go?

Cat: That depends on where you are going.

Alice: I don’t know.

Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.

–Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

For me, purpose means many things. At the macro level it is the reason I was created. It is the prism I use to view everything else I do. If my actions aren’t in line with my ultimate purpose, then why am I doing it?

Should I be doing it?

I believe I have more than one purpose and that those purposes can change over time. At the micro level, I have a purpose in my personal relationships, in my professional life, and in my physical and spiritual lives.

Each one of those purposes changes over time. My purpose in personal relationships is simple. It sounds corny, but I like corny. It is:

  • To treat every individual I come in contact with the way I would like to be treated
  • To look for the best in each person
  • To truly listen
  • To grow deep connections

Those purposes are slightly different if I’m working on a relationship with my wife, or my father, or my daughters, or a complete stranger. My relationship purpose has changed slightly from when I was a child, to a single adult, to a married man, to a father. It will change again one day when I become a grandfather.

Yes, I have an overarching purpose on relating to people that sustains me through all the changes, but the nuances are important. They help direct me in my daily decisions.

What is your purpose?

Choose Yourself – Don’t Wait to be Chosen

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Are “the gatekeepers” stopping you from pursuing your dreams?

Told no on your loan application?

Passed over for the promotion?

Waiting for someone to ask you to marry him?

Never given the lead role?

Why do we think we have to wait to be chosen? Why must we play by someone else’s rules and live up to someone else’s standards to be good enough?

Why not choose ourselves?

That’s what the painters Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Degas, Pissarro, and Sisley finally did. They chose themselves.

Malcolm Gladwell tells the story in his book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. 

In the 1860s, Paris ruled the world of art. If you wanted to gain respect, and make money, you needed to have your works accepted to the Salon de Paris.

The judges had strict standards. Art was supposed to represent real life with very defined details. No paintbrush strokes should be visible. Abstract art was always rejected.

Obviously, the Impressionists art did not fit the Salon’s parameters.

After years of trying to get chosen by the Salon, struggling with being true to their art and trying to make a living, the painters decided to choose themselves.

They staged their own art show, in ways vastly different than the Salon They slowly started to build an audience. Some critics even started seeing the beauty in their art.

They changed the world.

Yes, it’s scary to go outside of the so called experts, gate keepers, directors and judges, but why do we keep giving them the power to decide if we’re good enough?

Be like Monet and Renoir.

Choose yourself.

Find a new way to show what you can do.

  • Self publish your book.
  • Start your own YouTube channel.
  • Open your own business.
  • Create a new product or service that you can start selling on your own website.

Maybe one day what you create will be priceless too.

Questions for comment: What have you tried to do but been told no by the gate keepers? Have you ever gone around them? How?

Whose voices are you hearing in your head?

A woman try to whisper or screaming

What we say to ourselves in our heads determines our future. Those little voices determine our thoughts, feelings, dreams, moods, and how we feel about ourselves. Those voices can help us accomplish our goals or lead us to dismiss them as silly wishes that we will never achieve.

We all constantly talk to ourselves and narrate everything that’s happening to us. (Let’s remember to use our inside voices so the men in white coats don’t come to get us.) This internal monologue can help or hurt us depending on:

Whose voices are you hearing?

What are you telling yourself?

Are you controlling the voices or are the voices controlling you?

We need to be aware of our internal monologue. Then we need to take control of it.

If you notice that the voice you just heard in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough is from your mom/dad/boss/teacher who always put you down, now is the time to create a strategy to erase that voice and replace it with a positive one…

You Are Talented Enough

Everything you need to pursue your Passionate Purpose you already have or can be learned.

Come on, Greg, you’re positive outlook sounds nice, but we all know that your success really comes down to how much talent you were born with.

For just a second forget about whether that’s true or not. Let me ask you a question. If you really believe that your success is out of your control and is determined by innate talent, will that belief help you achieve your goals?

The good news is the latest research shows this idea of “talent” just isn’t true. I recommend two books on this for more information: Talent Is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin and The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle.

Both books found the data show no proof of what most of us call talent. Even people who seem to show an uncanny ability at a young age at playing an instrument or a sport really aren’t more “talented” than other children. The researchers found they have simply practiced more, practiced better, and often been instructed better, than the other children. In fact, the biggest indicator of “precocious ability” in children was how long they practiced every week.