Nov 042013
 
Why aren't you doing (or have quit doing) something worthy? ...

… There’s a strong likelihood that the reasons are deeply seated, below the surface of your life, and in need of being brought out so you can dedicate your days to something that will leave a mark in our dark world. Being a candle in such a world isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever embark on doing, however, it will have the most worth — by far.  ( I am living testament to this truth. )

From a fantastic audio recorded from a talk that I had the utmost pleasure to hear and experience in person,  below I’ve recapped the Top 10 reasons ##.  The reasons are fully from the speaker’s vast experiences in working with people for years upon years; the commentary below them is mostly my own, tying to my own ongoing journey taking the road less traveled.

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10 > Pride

Prideful-ness is a major contributor to many negative traits and decisions. Often, it is connected to crowd-satisfying peer pressure, or negativity of some type. Study ways in which you can learn how to remove pride from your life to the greatest extent.

9 > Besetting sin(s)

In most anyone’s closet, there are skeletons from the past. After all, man is not by nature “good”, he (she) is a fallen sinner. We all have done, or perhaps are still doing, things which are sinful. Many quit something of value to avoid conflict, or to avoid having to confront thing(s) which are unpleasant.

8 > Lack of character

Resolution 2 from the highly regarded book, ‘Resolved’ includes an equation:  Integrity x courage = character. Do you know someone who quit before the finish line?  Perhaps he/she simply lacked the former, integrity itself. Or, on the other hand, maybe there was a shortage of courage at the root. Either way, character counts, as Os Guinness taught us in his short, and profound book of that name.

7 > Distractions

Broken focus. Ah, what was that you said again?!.  Yes, your focus was just broken. Maybe it was the lure of “lesser things” ( good > great , reversing the order ); or, was it a lack of sorting out your priorities from your urgencies and obligations?  Regardless: Distractions hurt the pursuit of the worth (-y).

6 > Comfort.

Odysseus fell prey to a siren song, did he not?  Have far too many modern day Americans, let alone most of the ‘First World’ citizens done the same as this well known Greek legend? Yes, I say — the verdict is in. Entitlements?  You’re entitled to very very little, except which is transmuted to you via natural laws. Comfort comes in many forms – if you want to join the 2-20% of society that is far ahead of the rest, avoid it! Have lots of fun, and restore yourself — self-care, so to speak, but don’t get comfortable!

5 > Dream is too small

The cure for this at the very root?  Three fantastic books:  ‘The Magic of Thinking Big”, “The Dream Giver”, & “Visioneering”.

You have to dream. And dream often & consistently. Please, though, do not confuse this with fantasy, or wishes, or the ‘SFN’ (Something for Nothing) club. Dreaming is a discipline, a requirement to be successful, and very invigorating to the soul, spirit, and mind. Be sure yours are B-I-G. !

4 > Relational challenges

We all have them, or had them, including me. It’s part of life in many ways – people are … people! And, since the 80-98% don’t study, learn, and practice human relations/people skills as a matter of due course, chances are, they have these challenges more often. To fix this instead of quitting something valuable to your legacy, study conflict resolution first. Best books in this area?  “Courage” & “The Anatomy of Peace”

3 > Personal responsibility

You’re the project. Simple as that. You cannot change others, and never, ever should you blame another person, let alone something inanimate, such as a golf club, for what you alone control. Personal responsibility is a brother to personal growth/change; it is the antithesis to dependence. Jump over independence, and move into the interdependent level of action & thinking to really learn how to get better on this point.

2 > Selfdoubt / low belief

Belief, and its companion faith, are imperative in everyone’s life. Quitting, being the opposite of success, easily can tie into missing the ‘belief’ coin. Let alone letting self-doubt, or being in a valley reflect your day to day living. Doubt is cured by plugging into better information — stopping listening to yourself — and, finding better association. One’s ‘tribe’, community, or platoon/foxhole should be shared with only those who are going to edify, uplift, encourage, and coach/mentor you to greater things. Get your hands on the new in 2013 book, “Confidence of a Champion” as a key add-on. It is stellar!

1 > Lack of mental toughness

A leader armours him/herself – tough skin required. Toughness is an ingredient in large quantities. The best read to counter-act this reason for joining the ‘quitter’s contingent’?  “Toughen Up!” — Mr. Hamilton pushes all the right buttons in this 2013 tome. In a world of correctors, cynics, discouragers, and unhealthy skeptics – many of whom do not read, or grow themselves in any other discerning way, adding layers of toughness, while keeping a soft heart, is the right way to prevent quitting due to this reason.

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My hope is that this list & the books/tidbits tied to them, added a large measure of value. As always, comments & shares are deeply appreciated & welcomed. Gratitude in abundance is how I live.

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## – that talk was from Mr. Chris Brady. You’ll find his blog in my blogroll, and numerous books that he authored, or co-authored, reviewed and recommended on my second (Tumblr) blog, also linked in the corner of the main splash page.  All the best to him & his family at all times, as his example is one that I wish to emulate as a lifelong self-directed student.

Oct 282013
 
Habits, Traits, & Principles of the Successful

Successful people are not lucky.

They simply follow a different ‘guidebook’ of habits, traits, and principles which Mr. & Mrs. Average do not either choose to or know about. Chances are, they are living far too much of their lives awash in the conventional wisdom, advertising/PR, and/or mass media entertainment sources to have dug far enough below the surface to hit the gold veins that would transform their lives from the inside-out.

However, let it be said that its never too late to grow into these!  I’m living proof, as it took me several decades post graduation from traditional schooling to have struck the gold. And, now that I have, the veins continue to appear: all over the place!  There is no shortage of world class information to make these veins produce additional gold; in fact, there’s so much that quite some time ago, I made it a large part of my life’s purpose to spread & share what I’ve learned with as many humble, honeable, & hungry people that I am able to build relationships with.

And, with the above mission in mind, here are ten to study, learn from, and live each & every day:

[1]  Have a Focus & a Purpose in Life.

+ Focus like a laser, and not like a flashlight.

+ Know your “Why” – this is imperative!

+ Define your purpose. Mr. Orrin Woodward thought so much of this, he used it as foundational Resolution 1 in his landmark book, ‘Resolved’  (!)

+ Keep in mind that purpose, legacy, and destiny are Level 3/highest of the high/ motivators. Once you find yours, your life will feel far more complete and fulfilling.

[2]  Always strive for Excellence

+ Self explanatory, yes?   However, one would be surprised, mildly, or perhaps more so, to find how many aren’t. Mediocrity and same-ness are prevalent in mainstream culture. “Home to work”, “home to work” …  is the mentality. And, when not working, you may find these same folks who are not living up to their potential holding their favorite sports teams to a super high standard.

+ Be the example. You’re the project. Not someone else – unless you are living intentionally for excellence in all areas of your life, you cannot in good stead point out others’ perceived imperfections or attempt to correct them.

+ Rise above the crowd. The crowd has fallen prey to a little known (yet becoming more clear) factor called ‘Sturgeon’s Law’ –  One has to read NYT Best Seller, ‘LeaderShift’ to be educated in depth on this law, however, in short form, it means that the crowd, defined as the 90%, will be average at best.

[3]  Always leave people better off than before you met them.

+ Every interaction you have with someone else can be scoreboard’ed on a scale of 1-5. Keep yours at 4 or 5 always.

+ Study books like ‘The Great Connection’, ‘Personality Plus’, ‘The Five Love Languages’, & ‘Positive Personality Profiles’

+ Be an encourager & a cheerleader. The world has too many discouragers, cynics, unhealthy skeptics, & correctors.

[4]  Take Responsibility

+ Look in the mirror. You are always the final responsible party. If you have/own a ‘victim card’, toss it in the trash, never to be played again.

+ Sometimes, taking responsibility means you accept fault when something is out of your control. However, leadership entails such high levels of ownership of situations, people/followers, and the resulting circumstances.

[5]  Always take on new challenges.

+ Living in one’s familiar zone won’t result in the success that is earned by those who are in the pool and moving against the current. The current will be given new life by those who stretch and grow in all areas. A challenge is an open opportunity; don’t pull down a shade over it.

+ The mindset of a winner and a climber is that of someone who takes things on with ambition and determination. Create the new reality by tapping into your vision. Overcome the goliaths and achieve the private/personal, public, and leadership victories that are yours for the taking.

[6]  Produce, regardless of the situation you’re in

+ Excuses are useless. Don’t ever make them. Find reasons to produce something remarkable.

+ Never whine. Never complain. Never make excuses.  Wooden’s set of three’s is just as applicable today, a few years after his passing at age 99, as it was when he was growing up.

[7]  Have a strong work ethic

+ You’re entitled to nothing except life, liberty (freedom), and the pursuit of happiness. Natural laws, as so brilliantly espoused by Patrick Henry in his 7 Resolves { 1765 } , are the governing ‘rules of the road’ for true leaders.

+ Laws that encourage anything remotely resembling entitlement are those which successful people repel. Earn your stripes by what you do to make yourself better, and then, thereafter, to go out and serve others.

[8]  Invest in yourself.

+ The monies one earns should be paid to ‘You, Inc.” first ahead of anything else. No one can take away wisdom, knowledge, and learned truth(s) from you unlike they can a house, a car, electronics, or sports gear.

+ The poor have big TV’s; the wealthy have big libraries. A generalization? Sure. Are there exceptions? Sure. However, for the clear majority of cases, this holds true. Study spending & investment trends to find out.

[9]  Persevere.

+ Jack Canfield & Colonel Sanders come to mind – both were extremely successful. Yet, each man found rejection after rejection until someone said ‘yes’

+ Adversity quotient is incredibly valuable; in the aforementioned book, ‘Resolved’, it ranks as number 12. What is your IQ x EQ x WQ = AQ ?

+ Failure is simply an event, and not an individual. Failure is a huge part of success. Be sure you know how to reframe & how to learn from each setback.

[10]  Ability to prioritize.

+ Stephen R. Covey taught this crucial success principle the best in his Habit 3.

+ Have you drawn out your entire life and segmented into ‘priorities’, ‘obligations’, and ‘urgencies’?   Or, at least, done this by the day, week, month, quarter, or year?

+ Priorities should align with your mission(s), purpose, and your dreams. They will get you from “A” to “B” fastest of all, while your obligations and the urgencies will act as anchors.

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Hope this post, like all others, has added value to you. Comment if you’ve been especially impacted – always welcome feedback at all times.

And … a huge & heartfelt …

… Thank you to Mr. Alex Nickerson for inspiring this content!  Having met him once in person & seen him another time, his credibility in putting forth this kind of content is clearly reflected in the successes he has realized thus far in his life.

Oct 122013
 
Infographic - Productivity

Studying this infographic on productivity was very valuable to me & I trust that it’ll add value to your day. One place to start, at the first ‘gate’ to managing your time:  Never say “I don’t have time”, and also cut back (or refrain entirely) from saying “I’m busy”.

Both of these tend to become rationalizations, complaints, whining, excuses, or even ‘rational lies’.

When you understand, at the root, that you have the exact same twenty-four hour day as the men & women of the past who did the greatest things – such as Washington, Jefferson, Montesquieu, Jesus Christ, Roger Bannister, Sam Walton, or any other of the innumerable folks whose names are burned into monuments, commendations, and other memorable means — you will then be able to reframe your day into one that is all about your priorities, and not urgencies nor obligations.

May your day be the best it can be. Thank you for stopping by & as always, comments and shares are deeply appreciated & welcome.

Aug 292013
 
By the hour, by the task, by the relationship, or by ROI

I’ve had the privilege to expand my formerly fixed pie mindset into that of a lifelong student with an ever growing pie mindset due to being on the ‘path less traveled’ which I’ve been walking down these past 3+ years.

In this time, I’ve read north of 100 books, listened to somewhere between 500 and 1,000 audio recordings, watched over 50 DVDs, read hundreds of blog posts, and been to between 100 and 200 different events where I am surrounded by creators/builders/eagles/climbers. All of these, summed up, has completely been transformational. Not an overstatement in the least!

As part of the above, one particular book, amongst many, serves as the inspiration/foundation stone for this post – that being ‘Cashflow Quadrant’. It was one of the first dozen books I read when I discovered what true education really was ( = liber/liberty/how to think ), and I constantly recommend it in the present, and will do so into the indefinite future:  It is THAT crucial — a must read.  In fact, I believe it should be required reading in all high schools, regardless of if public, charter, private, Christian, or one of the many home school curriculums.

Taking a high level view of the acres of material in this book leads back to the title of this post. There are four/4 quadrants —  each of them will appeal to people based on their core values, their personality traits/temperaments, and their willingness to be a student (read: humble, honeable, hungry).  Each of these can also be attached to one of the short descriptors;  let’s unpack them one by one, then will close off this post with a summation.

By the Hour

E > Someone who ‘lands’, chooses, or is shuttled here through the ‘system’ and/or programming most usually thinks in chunks — hour(s). Extended further out: days, weeks, with a mindset of “hump day”, or Friday is more important than any other day of the week. This is due to an ingrained mindset where he/she measures things in such time increments which are short term in focus and perhaps also in vision.  Often, someone in this quadrant will say he/she “has no time”, or is “very busy”. Chalk this up to a priorities/urgencies root issue, and the age old difficulty in being unable to do anything about the time v. money 1:1 exchange.

By the Task

S > Here is a quadrant where one also tends to be shuttled or programmed to put up stakes, although there is a definitive difference b/w it & its cousin, ‘E’. A person(s) here now thinks more along the lines of – how much can I earn (income) for task “X”, “Y” ?  Example is the trading of time for an appointment which requires the other party to pay ( e.g., Doctors, dentists, accountants, certain types of coaches/counselors, stylists, consultants, lawyers ). So, to extend, it is in the best interests of the person to squeeze as many clients-customers into a given time period as possible. The outlook here can usually be longer than a day or a week, although a person here can oft-times employ others, so he/she may also be marking off in his/her head the time between ‘now’ & when payroll is due.

 

We’ve now traversed the metaphorical wall/chasm between sides of the squared quad. What is the difference between them, one who has yet to read this landmark book may inquire?  Quite straightforward:  One’s incoming information, and subsequent thinking (and actions/application of the former two). Another way to say it:  You are no longer depend”E”nt nor are you a member of independent”S” Inc. (so to say)

 

By the Relationship

B >  The least understood corner real estate, yet within lies the most profound answers to many of life’s perplexing issues/questions. Such as?  :  Why can’t I ever seem to get ahead? — Why don’t I think I have enough time in the day to do everything I must get done? ( yet, the day is just as long as it was millennia ago ) — Why is there more week/month than what is in my paycheck ( net income ) ?  Just who are the folks who own (not manage!) those ‘chains’ = franchises that I spend all of my waking time or currency in?

When you quite likely have made your way into this quadrant, since a very small number will be born here, you will find that your thinking requires a reboot. And, furthermore, that much of what you learned before quite likely will need to be unlearned over time. To “B”, you are no longer the magic elixir. You’ve instead discovered interdependent life — its all about Resolution 11: Systems (Holism) & working in concert with a proven, duplicatable system. This system often takes the form of a recurring inflow of life changing information or, in some cases, it is a reference manual/guide/book that you can use over + over + over again to get the same result.

How does relationship(s) tie in?  This way:  Since you are interdependent, you are interlinked in many cases with others in common purpose. The others will either ensure your financial security through their prosperity; and/or they will be your extended term clients/customers as you have earned their unshakeable trust and loyalty; and/or, lastly, you are seeking to grow your tribe and expand your network, so you must know people skills and sharpen the human relations art & science abilities that are not nearly as well taught as an “E” or an “S”‘er. Folks here also have a strong understanding of financial fitness & are coming to the realization that you don’t retire — unless the word is re-defined to mean that you are retiring from your obligations.

This leads to the final corner >

By ROI

I > This is rarified “air”, as the % of those occupying the ground in this bottom right real estate are most always those who spent a good deal of time as a “B”, and they’ve earned their stripes and have become truly free:  In both time and in money. So, they can now put their money on the line in great big chunks, and become real investors. No, if you are “investing” in a corporate-industrial age retirement vehicle such as a 401(k) nor an industrial age one like a defined benefit pension plan.

In those two latter examples, you are not spending money, however, you have not leveraged money to get an ROI on money. The leverage here is purely monetary as opposed to a system from its cousin to the north, the ‘B’. Instead, this is building or creating of an asset(s) that kicks off cash flow. The book describes the levels of investors far better than I could attempt to dissect, so dear readers, please be sure to read, or re-read, this seminal book, then pay it forward to your friends, family, and especially, the younger generations.

In this quadrant, to cap it off – you are receiving so much inflow of currency from your dependent ‘E’ & independent ‘S’ neighbors across the wall, that your well being is set. You are a living breathing example of the maxim of financial fitness that its NOT where the $ starts, but rather, where it ends up that COUNTS.

 

In wrapping up, please be willing to always change. It is hard, however, beating one’s head against cement and expecting cement to crumble!  If you have those questions above, or simply are a student and wish to gain wisdom and knowledge to then turn around to apply & then pay forward to another, you have found (A) one of the best books ever written, and (B) a post here in the blogosphere which has attempted to explain it all from a slightly different perspective than others likely have already. ( since this book has sold so many copies, I know there are tons of links online talking about it! )

Be the best you can be. Live. Learn. Grow, And may you find & earn your dreams.

Aug 112013
 
What you do MATTERS -- Serve. Pay forward. Give. Bless Others.

Ripples in the still water…

They are caused by something which breaks the stillness; something which serves as the cause, while the effect is palpable to the naked eye …

Who among us, likely while with your parents on a hike, a camping trip, or at a retreat, hasn’t tossed a rock into a pond, a lake, and watched with glee as your act caused something so obvious?  Raising my hand, I am one of them 😀

So, why would we, as adults, not apply this same principle to your life?

What you do MATTERS.

Here’s the principle I speak of. This is not a new idea, yet I wished to cover it today, as earlier this summer, I was privilved to hear a moving talk from an accomplished business owner ** ( w/ her husband ) who re-told the story that I’ve linked back to at the bottom of this post. The story is a core of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ , and is synonomous with ripples from a smooth stone tossed as a young child. Rather than re-tell that story, let’s use it as inspiration – print it off, and refer to it often …

Let’s apply this to our lives today. Stop spending so much time on obligations that only benefit ourselves and which have limited value to our families, trusted friends, and our society. Our families are the cornerstone of our culture – thus, the butterfly effect, the ripples, matter – and our culture is in dire need of an infusion of leadership that rises from organic growth of our own thinking. Our friends are valuable, so why would we not spend time and effort cultivating those relationships?  That will ripple.

And, social capital can only be rebuilt by conscious focus on restoring values which will bring satisfaction in our business ownership (or our careers/jobs), our faith/spiritual development, our marriages/parenting, and in our time spent community building (anything from the YMCA, PTA, church youth groups/VBS, et al.)

Yes, what you do MATTERS. Focus on priorities! Match your calendar to them at all times. No excuses, please. If you rank something as #1 in your life, it should be #1 on your calendar in terms of the time you spent on it, as often as possible. Sure, urgencies will arise; so long as you remember Covey’s ‘Big Rocks’ vid clip, the visual should stick with you  to guide you back onto the path in case you are knocked off of it.

It is a privilege of mine to serve others, paying forward world class/gold medal information which has the highest potential to lead to the butterfly effect in others’ lives. Help one person/family/entrepreneur fix an issue and grow their servant leadership?  Define their purpose? Sharpen their vision?  Up their adversity quotient?  Fix their finances at the deepest roots?  Those are ripples. They are priorities for those folks, right?  So, the stone and rock tossed is the information, that which, once learned & applied, will effect the change.

How amazing a feeling to shake hands, hugs, fist bumps, and pats on the back with the people whose lives you bless!  Up your count. Give of yourself & pay forward transformational info that has benefited you/your family/your business. And, you will have  your own opportunity to be the Moses, the George W. Carver, the Henry Wallace, and the Norman Borlaug in your own ways.

+ + +

** Thank you so very much, Laurie Woodward, for your ability to inspire through stories! The story that she cited can be found elsewhere; however, here’s a great source that is found easily online > http://lifetoday.org/connect/words-of-life/the-butterfly-effect/  <