I just launched Season 2 of “Find Your Purpose – Live Your Passion – Don’t make a New Year’s resolution until you hear this!”
Hope you enjoy! Comments and questions are welcome.
I just launched Season 2 of “Find Your Purpose – Live Your Passion – Don’t make a New Year’s resolution until you hear this!”
Hope you enjoy! Comments and questions are welcome.
You have big dreams and big plans. You have educated yourself, set your goal and worked towards it. But, you see some obstacles in your way and you want to make sure everything is just right before you act, right?
That’s how we all get sometimes. It is good to plan, but there is never a time when everything is just right. If you wait for that moment, you will never take action.
But, Greg, what if I go for it and fail? What if I’m not good enough, or smart enought? What if I’m rejected? What if I lose my job, my money, my house and then my spouse leaves me?!
Well, that spiraled out of control quickly. Easy, Tiger. Take a couple of deep breaths. We all feel like that at times. But this is where we remind ourselves the simple truths that we often forget. If you never take action, aren’t you failing already? If you learn from a failure or a rejection, can’t you just take action again in a better way that has a greater chance of success? Isn’t taking action how you have achieved your success so far?
Has there ever been a time where all the worst things you can think of actually happened to you? No? Then, what are the odds that’s going to happen this time?
Aren’t all these objections to taking action really just a way we hide from our fear?
I just met a new friend yesterday who reminded me of how I wasn’t taking action and was giving in to fear. I have so many things I want to launch, but I find myself waiting until everything is just right.
He asked about how I got started in radio and I remembered – I took action.
He asked how my show became nationally syndicated and I remembered – I took action.
Then I started remembering how I wrote my book, started my blog and started speaking – I took action.
Everything wasn’t even close to being just right. There were obstacles in my path that I wasn’t sure how to get over. But, by taking action, things started to come together. I met people who helped me. I learned things that helped me. I gained momentum and confidence and kept taking action.
My new friend hit me with it hard when we were talking about how I could increase my speaking business. He said, “You should see if you can work with Dave Ramsey. He endorsed your book and you would fit in great with him.” I told him I agreed.
“Then why don’t you call him and ask — today?”
So, I did.
I also wanted to set up a speech at a friend’s business, so I called and asked him. I took action.
It was a little scary, but it felt great.
What have you been thinking about doing but you’ve let fear stop you? Take action.
You will be surprised how fast fear falls and miracles happen.
When you face an obstacle:
“When obstacles arise, change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” – Zig Ziglar
Questions for comment: What have you been planning but not doing? How did you take action? What happened when you took action?
Why am I here? What are my passions? What is my purpose? How can I make a difference? What gives my life meaning? What am I really good at? When am I going to stop talking in questions?
We all want answers. If you’re like me, you tend to do a lot of looking for them “out there.”
You tell yourself, maybe the answers are in a book, or a personality or aptitude test. Maybe there’s a guru out there who can guide me. If I find the right seminar to attend or course to take, I’m sure I can find the answers.
Hey, It’s great to research and learn from other people. I’ve gained a ton of knowledge from books, seminars, courses, videos, and more. But if you’re not careful, you’ll never stop looking for the answers in the next book or the next seminar or the next course.
You might also find a lot of those books and tests are wrong…for you.
Eventually you realize the answers aren’t “out there.”
The unique answers for you are inside you. You have to get quiet, turn inward, and truly listen.
Have you ever experienced a time when you just knew you should do something? A time when a small, quiet voice in your head told you, “Don’t take that job,” “Buy that house,” “Ask him if he needs help,” “Volunteer there,” “Pursue being a teacher,” “Marry her.” That’s the voice we’re looking for here. (We’re not looking for the voice that told you to put it all on red at the roulette wheel in Vegas. That’s a different voice that you might need to seek professional help for.)
This voice goes by many names. For me, it’s the Holy Spirit. For others, it’s their conscience, or their inner voice, or the universe, or a higher power. But we’ve all heard from it at some point in our lives. It’s really always there, waiting for us. We have to get quiet enough to hear it. The more you listen for it, the louder and stronger it becomes. The more we ignore it, the harder it is to hear. For most of us, it isn’t an audible voice at all. It’s a feeling or a thought that pops in our heads. But we tend to know it when we “hear” it.
There were times in my life I pushed it away so hard that I lost it. I thought I knew everything. I was in charge. I didn’t need any guidance. I couldn’t hear the voice if it was shouting at me because I didn’t want to hear it. Those are the times I made some of the dumbest decisions of my life. Have you ever been there? Have you ever heard it?
It’s not easy to get quiet enough to hear this voice. In the history of the world we’ve never had so many distractions. How many minutes a day do you sit quietly and think? For most of us, we rarely, if ever, do this. After working hard all day, we get busy doing “stuff.” We are bombarded by the TV, Internet, email, video games, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, DVDs, movies, sporting events, texting, smart phones with data plans, Angry Birds, Candy Crush …
My friend, Tim, limits his son’s video game time. When his son goes down to the basement to play his games, he sets a timer. When the alarm goes off on the timer, it’s time to turn off the game system. One day his son was playing his games while the rest of the family was upstairs. After a while the timer went off. The alarm was so loud that everyone in the house could hear it—everyone except the boy playing the video games. The alarm kept going, and going, and going. Tim said to his wife, “Let’s see how long it takes for him to turn it off.”
After five minutes Tim finally went downstairs and said, “Hey, Son, don’t you hear the alarm going off?” His truthful response was shocking.
“No, Dad, sorry, I didn’t hear it.” He was so zoned out with his video game he couldn’t hear the blaring alarm five feet away from him. (Of course, if they had called him up for dinner, he would have heard that.)
How many times have we ignored our inner voice when it’s trying to help us make the most important choices in our lives? How can we hear it if there is so much noise and junk around us covering it up?
Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together.–Thomas Carlyle, Scottish philosopher, writer
If you can find a book, course, seminar, or method that helps you on this quest to hear what’s inside you, so much the better.
When’s the last time you did a life check by taking the time and silence to turn inward?
Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.–Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, psychiatrist, author of On Death and Dying
If you need some help getting started try my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.
I would love to know what you found out. Let me know.
No one keeps New Year’s Resolutions, so what’s the point, right? Well, actually, some people DO keep their resolutions. Research shows a HUGE rate of success!
Ok, not huge…
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?
Resolutions – good resolutions, anyway – are just another way of saying goals. So why not set some goals – the right way – that could change your life?
Here’s what works:
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?
Uh, Greg, not sure if you missed this, but being selfish is bad. And, Christmas is right around the corner. You’re supposed to be generous. What’s wrong with you?
Normally, I’d agree with you. But, what if being selfish is the best way to help other people? Can you be selfish and serve others at the same time?
It goes right to what a friend said to me, “Greg, I get what your saying on how great your life can be when you find and pursue your Passionate Purpose, but isn’t it kind of selfish to focus so much on ourselves?”
It all depends on what you mean by, “selfish.”
When I was nine years old I flew on a plane for the first time. Everything was brand new and thrilling. But, one thing puzzled me. The flight attendant told the adults that if the plane depressurized they should put the oxygen mask on themselves before they put it on their child. Wait…what? Don’t they care about us kids?!
My mom explained to me that the adults might pass out if they tried to take care of the children first. Then, no one would be able to help the kids. Being “selfish” would allow the adults to help the little ones who couldn’t take care of themselves.
It’s the same with finding your Passionate Purpose. If you don’t figure out what you’re here to do, how can you do your best to help others?
Once you find it and start pursuing it, you begin to do the best work of your life. Yes, it will be good for you, but it will also be the best thing you can do to help everyone else.
It’s the same thing with your family. You need to be selfish in your marriage. Take all the time and energy you need to keep it strong and grow it. Then, you can serve your children through that strength.
How about for your career? If you’re not selfish with your sleep and taking breaks from a busy schedule, you will wear down, burn out, and do less than your best work. No one wins in that scenario.
Question for comments: Where do you need to be more “selfish” in your life so you can serve others more?
Wait…What?! In a world of hyperfocus and constant busyness, how can goofing off be good for you? That’s just being lazy. I eat people who goof off for breakfast!
Hang on. This isn’t about goofing off all the time and just expecting great things to happen. It’s about giving your brain a break and allowing your subconscious mind and creativity to flourish.
We’ve all had it happen to us. Emma Seppala of Stanford wrote a great article on how scientific research is proving it.
I’m lucky enough to know Dr. Harold Finch. He played a key role as a project director for the Apollo spacecraft program.
He was trying to figure out how to keep the astronauts safe from the dangers of the heat and cold extremes in space. Harold concentrated and focused on the problem. He came up with all kinds of ideas… and none of them worked.
One day while he was taking a break and going to eat some great Kansas City barbecue – goofing off – he came up with the solution. The idea just popped into his head. It was brilliant in it’s simplicity and it’s still used in space today.
As Harold was waiting on his lunch he was watching a chicken being cooked on a rotisserie. Hey, didn’t that keep the chicken from being burned on one side and uncooked on the other? Couldn’t we rotate the spacecraft so it would create an even temperature on all sides? Wouldn’t that protect the ship and the astronauts? The Barbecue Roll was born.
Goofing off works!
Here are some ideas on how to goof off with great results.
You never know when goofing off might give you a Barbecue Roll moment.
There is precious little hope to be got out of whatever keeps us industrious, but there is a chance for us whenever we cease work and become stargazers – H.M. Tomlinson
Do you know what the purpose of the business you own or work for is?
Well, of course, Greg, the purpose is to make a profit. If we don’t, we go out of business.
I get that. Profits are great. But I call that the outcome of the business. Every business wants the outcome to be profit. But, there are a million ways to make a profit. What is the purpose you are fulfilling in order to get the outcome of a profit?
This isn’t just a pointless word game. Deloitte has been studying this and I have some of the data on how important it is for your employees, customers and bottom line for you later in this post.
But what made me write about this today is a story a friend told me. He said the purpose of what he used to do was to keep people healthy and free of deadly diseases.
My friend isn’t a doctor. He’s a retired engineer. He designed wastewater management systems for third world countries. Making the water clean to drink literally saves lives. Look at the purpose he saw in his work. Do you think that made him a more engaged, enthusiastic, and joyful employee and person? You bet!
The purpose of your business, career, or job should be the difference you are making in the world. That’s important, engaging stuff – and every job can make a difference.
A school bus driver can see her purpose as driving a bus, or she could see it as helping the future of America get safely to and from school, prepared to learn amazing things.
Most companies haven’t figured out how to be purpose driven organizations. Here are a few mission statements I found from fortune 500 companies:
1) Profitable growth through superior customer service, innovation, quality and commitment.
2) Guided by relentless focus on our five imperatives, we will constantly strive to implement the critical initiatives required to achieve our vision. In doing this, we will deliver operational excellence in every corner of the Company and meet or exceed our commitments to the many constituencies we serve. All of our long-term strategies and short-term actions will be molded by a set of core values that are shared by each and every associate.
3) To grow profitably in the world’s vehicular markets and provide industry leading shareholder value
Do those mission statements resonate with you? Do you know what the purpose of those companies is? Are you overcome with a desire to join their team and help them with their mission?
The first mission statement is from an agricultural equipment company. Maybe the purpose should be: “To help American farmers feed the world.”
Companies could learn a lot by looking at Steve Jobs’ mission statement for Apple in 1980: “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”
That sounds like something I could get excited about. How about you?
The bottom line is that having a purpose for your business that resonates with your customers, employees, and investors helps get the outcomes you want – including increased profit.
Here is the data I promised you. Deloitte found that at organizations with a strong sense of purpose, 73% of employees were engaged. At companies without a strong sense of purpose only 23% of employees were engaged. That’s a 50 point difference. Whoa! (Click the link above for more data from the study and to dig deeper.)
If you’re not sure what your organization’s purpose is, its time to find it.
It’s not what you do. It’s why you do it.
It’s not your title. It’s your values.
It’s not what you think other people want it to be. It’s what connects with you at your core.
Take some time to think about it. Take out a piece of paper and write:
The purpose of my company is ____________________.
The purpose of my role in ________ is ________________.
How does that call you to action? How can you taking that action in your life today?
It can be a baby step, don’t try to do it all at once. But, what can you do today to take action on your purpose?
In 5th grade I decided to join the elementary school band and play the trumpet. (Why the trumpet? They let us try all the instruments, but I couldn’t keep my cheeks from puffing out when I tried the trombone. Yup, that’s the kind of thought I put into my instrument of choice.)
In the first week of practice we had auditions. Out of 36 trumpets, I was 33rd chair. (Take that chair 34, 35, and 36!) Let’s just say I was not awesome at this.
All of that changed when our band director handed out the music. We were going to play the theme from Rocky! (Gonna Fly Now) This was in 1978. The movie had only come out two years earlier and I loved that song. And, the trumpets had an amazing part.
I took the sheet music home and started playing it. But I didn’t have the melody. I was playing boring low notes the whole time. I didn’t understand why. (I’ll explain in a minute.) I really didn’t sound very good. It was painful to listen to me.
My mom saw me struggling and got me private lessons. I had a really cool teacher who said my embouchure – the way my mouth was on the trumpet – was all wrong. He showed me what to do and sent me home.
I worked my butt off and the next week my teacher was stunned. He said my embouchure was now “super good” and we could start really learning how to play.
I practiced hard.
Three months later my band had auditions again. This time I jumped from 33rd chair to 3rd chair. I even beat out all but two of the 6th graders who had been playing a year longer than I had. Wow! All the hard practicing was really paying off.
Then, my director asked me to hand in all my music. I didn’t know what was happening. Had I done something wrong? Was I in trouble? Nope, she just wanted to give me the 1st part for every song. I didn’t understand. What did 1st part mean?
I was so new to music that I didn’t realize there were different parts depending on how good you were. The best players played 1st part melody. I had been playing 3rd part harmony. Now I was getting the 1st part for all our songs – and that included the first part to ROCKY!
I rode my bike home as fast as I could and started playing that song, imagining I was running up the steps in Philly. I was playing the melody. I sounded like the theme song! (Well, kinda. I sounded like the simplified 5th grade version of the song, but I was playing the MELODY!)
From there I fell in love with the trumpet and ramped up my practicing. In junior high I was in two bands, practiced in the marching band after school and spent at least another hour practicing at home each day.
In 8th grade I auditioned for the all county band and made 1st chair. That meant I was the best junior high trumpet player in all of Orange County, Florida (Orlando). I thought that was pretty cool.
In fact, I got a little cocky. I let my practice schedule slip. I didn’t work as hard on new songs. I didn’t ask my private teacher to push me as hard.
The next year, as a 9th grader I auditioned for the all county band again – and only made third chair. An 8th grader was second chair! How did I let this happen?
I realized that I had become complacent with my trumpet. I wasn’t looking for new songs and new challenges. I was resting on my accomplishments. While I was doing that, other people were working hard to get better. And they passed me by.
How many of us have done that in some part of our life or work?
Sometimes it’s because we get bored or tired. Other times it’s because we aren’t paying attention to the changes in our business or life. Still other times we aren’t looking for the ways to innovate and change to reach a new level of success.
If we want to fix that, we have to keep looking for the next Rocky Theme Song that gets us excited. That’s what helps drive us to put in the hard work it takes to become the best version of ourselves we can.
What’s your next Rocky? What’s gonna make you fly now?
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?
Doesn’t being comfy mean you won’t try, learn, and do new things? Could it even stop you from doing what you were born to do?
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?
What could your career be like?
What could your marriage become?
What kind of life could you create?
What could you do for God?
How could you impact your family?
How many people could you help?
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. (But it could also lead you to look back and wonder what might have been.)
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?
When did you get comfortable and it hurt you?
When did you step outside your comfort and it helped you?
We’ve all had great ideas that we never acted upon. We get caught up. Life happens. What might have been? What could still be?
What if you decide you have to do this (not that you just want to) and you take action right away?
What if you set a must complete by date for it? (I don’t like deadlines. Who wants to die?) Then, work out what you have to do each day in order to get it done by that date?
Instead of letting another week, month, or year go by dreaming about it, what if you created positive pressure on yourself to get it done?
Maybe you could create a situation that brings out the best in you. Kind of like what happened to my friend, Mike Montague.
Mike had an outline for a book about how to really make LinkedIn work for you – not just how to set up your profile and endorse people. He pitched the idea to his boss.
His boss was concerned LinkedIn might not want Mike to use its name in the title and on the cover of the book.
Good News: LinkedIn said it was looking for someone to write exactly what Mike was working on. The company gave permission for its name and logo to be used. The book was a go.
Bad News: Mike’s company and LinkedIn wanted the book done in six weeks. Mike hadn’t actually started writing the book. He had only written the outline.
More Bad News: If Mike didn’t get it done in six weeks, he would not look good. It would hurt his credibility and his career.
Good News: The must complete date was now set for him – six weeks. The fear of not getting it done was a huge motivation for Mike to get crack-a-lackin!
Of course, Mike got it written in time. It’s amazing what you can do when you are seriously motivated and you have a must complete date. (You can download LinkedIn The Sandler Way for free by clicking here.)
Why wait for life to create a must complete date for your next great idea?
Why not set up positive pressure on yourself by setting your own date? Why not focus on all the positives that will come with it and all the positive feelings and enjoyment you will get from the moment you start the process of achieving your goal? Why not announce it publicly and get friends to hold you accountable? Why not start now?
Action steps – The next time you get an idea:
1) Take action immediately to get it started.
2) Set a must complete by date.
3) Set up what you must do each day in order to meet that date.
4) Announce it publicly and get an accountability partner to check your progress each week.
5) When you win, pop open a Doritos bag, a cold one of your choice and celebrate! (Um, maybe the Doritos thing is just for me. Sorry.)
Questions for comments: What great idea have you failed to act upon? Why not do it now? When did you use positive pressure on yourself to meet a goal? How did it work?