Posts Tagged ‘success’
A while back, I started posting on my blog about my parents… what I have learned from them, and made the argument that I don’t have to WAIT until I have the name recognition of Ivanka Trump to do this. =) So, here’s another installment of that series!!
I just got back from vacation with my parents and my brother and our families. On the way home from the mountains, my husband said something that I wish my Dad could have heard him say. He said, “You really do feel SAFE with your Dad around… You just know that he’ll make everything work out, and if it DOESN’T work out for whatever reason, it’s only going to end badly for him.”
Truth be told, I am the envy of so many women, because I have had that assurance my entire life… and still enjoy it today. He goes by one of two nicknames: The Make it Happen Man or SuperMan. You can take your pick… I don’t think he’d argue with either one. =) But, one thing that strikes me is how willing my Dad is to pay attention to the details… whether it’s in his marriage to my Mom… or on the job site… or with his kids… or even in the grocery store, he’s knows that every little thing “counts”.
I’ll give you a perfect example. On the way to the mountains, we stopped for groceries. Here we were…rushing through WalMart with five kids and six adults – trying to buy enough for all three families. We were rushing to get on the road in hopes of avoiding driving on the icy roads at night and while we were checking out, the bagging of the groceries was taking longer than we would hope.
I saw my Dad’s wheels turning. He watched and saw that the lady checking us out fumbled to open the grocery bags before filling them. Now, this MAYBE held us up about 1/2 of a second per bag… but it was something he could do to help out. And so he did. He began opening each bag before she started to fill it. In this way, we probably shaved off about 30 seconds of bagging time. But that’s not the point.
The point is that he noticed…and took action. This is exactly why homeowners want HIS company building their new home, beach house, or outdoor entertainment area. Because he pays attention to the details – all of them. He leaves no stone unturned, and is always looking for a BETTER way to get the results he wants.
In fact, all truly high achievers are consistently looking for small tweaks they can make to improve the outcome of a situation. Olympic athletes are always aiming to shave off even a nano-second off of their best time. Everyday heroes know that seconds matter, and in business – it would behoove us to begin sweating the small stuff again. So, watch… and take action… no matter how small.
This morning, again, I woke up at 4:30 Am to work. My kids and husband are home for the summer, so my work hours are slightly irregular… bringing me back to my entrepreneurial roots of working while everyone else slept! :-) At 5:50, I got in my car and met my friend for a 6 AM jog. I was TIRED, and felt “crappy”. But jog I went. As I drove home just moments ago, I felt great… refreshed…. accomplished… and I was reminded of one of the top issues entrepreneurs deal with – which is the question of “HOW CAN I GET MOTIVATED TO DO X, Y, OR Z?”
When an audience or an interviewer is asking me questions, I always hope this one comes up. Because there is so much JUNK information out there about motivation. As a speaker, I realize I am committing NSA heresy right now, but here is the absolute, rooted-in-reality, proven beyond a shadow of a doubt truth:
You don’t need to be motivated to do ANYTHING!!
I am often not motivated to jog while the rest of the civilized world is sleeping. I am often not motivated to get up and write copy or write my book. I am often not motivated to lead a high-energy workshop….or apologize to my husband… or pay my bills… or visit a family member in the hospital… or cook dinner… or even interview with the press. But, I do it anyway – and so can you.
Two quick thoughts before my “rant” is over: First, what if we spent LESS time “trying to find motivation” and just DID THE THING we were trying to get motivated to do?? (WOW! Factor entrepreneurs KNOW to simply DO THE THING!) Last, jogging never feels like a good idea while sitting on the couch. Apologizing never feels good before you do it. But these things – like MANY things in our business – feel GREAT afterwards… Because the TRUTH about motivation is that it often comes AFTER you have initiated ACTION.
I coach so many people who complain about being “pulled in a thousand different directions”, people whose own goals have consistently been put on the back burner as they run around serving everyone else, saying yes to everything EXCEPT what they really wanted to say yes to. Men and women whose careers and businesses are not where they should be, even though they are “doing all they can do”. People whose children, marriages, health, and friendships suffer because they are spread so thin. I coach them well because I am not only their coach, I am also a member of their club.
You see, my own life was once without direction, focus, and true impact. I was pulled in a million directions, spread so thin I was nearly transparent. Even if I did take the time to carefully plan my day, “things” would happen that would consume my time, leaving my own plans unfulfilled. Pretty soon, I stopped planning all together. I felt that it was a “futile” activity. “Why plan at all?” I would think. I mean, I “knew” that one of the kids would need to go to the doctor, or my husband would forget his keys, or my Grandad would call with a problem with his prescriptions, or another family member or friend would need “a shoulder” for whatever was going on with them. I was a victim of my own days… my own circumstances. Things that simply would not change… Or so I thought.
When my life was in this chaos, I was living my life not as a person, but as a garden hose. Rather than living as if I had been created with a biological computer capable of creating the results I desired (which I was), I was living as a garden hose with the nozzle turned to mist. I literally “sprayed” my thoughts, my actions, and my effort everywhere, but with little or no power or direction behind any of them. Life flowed out of me, but in an aimless, pitiful “drizzle”. I gave a little of myself to everything and all of myself to nothing, doing so much that I did nothing well.
My essential problem is that I was living as a “victim” of circumstance. I took no true ownership of my days, my plans or my life. Sure, I said that I was committed to this, that and the other. But when it came down to it, I wasn’t. If I had truly been committed, I would have insured that my day was structured and protected in a way that guaranteed the success of my commitment. We say that we want to spend more time with our kids, but instead, we take on another project at work or agree to one more business trip a month or take a promotion that requires even more time away from home. We may say that we are committed to our business success, but we keep “forgetting” to follow up with our clients or can’t find the time to make sales calls. We say that we are committed to our health, but never seem to make it to the gym. We “commit” to going to church, but oversleep every Sunday.
The truth is this: true commitment to succeed in any area of your life is evidenced by a structure to guarantee your success. If you are committed to losing weight, you create a structure that supports and ensures the success of your commitment. You don’t buy junk food, sugared drinks, and other “diet killers”. If you are not doing these things, you are not truly committed to losing weight. The truth is, your not lacking “will power”… you are lacking commitment.
Let’s think about our time for a moment. How many times have you blamed your “rushed” lifestyle on your inability to say NO? Yet, don’t you, like me, find yourself saying NO all the time? No, sweetie I can’t take off of work to go on your fieldtrip. No, honey I can’t meet you for lunch. No, I can’t meet you at the gym to work out. No, no, no. Ironically, the things we say NO to most often are the things we SAY are the most important to us.
So, let’s be real for just a moment, because that is the only way we can turn our “misting” garden hose pattern into a forceful “stream”. The fact is, our ACTIONS (our schedules) will tell us what we are truly committed to, if we will take an honest look. If you are living as a victim of your circumstances, you are still commiting, you just choose to commit by default. You have committed to allow the rest of the world to dictate your schedule. Your day is open to other people’s needs, wants, and pressures. Your schedule is guided by your emotions and your circumstances. As long as you view yourself as a “victim” of your circumstances, you will not experience victory over them. Fortunately, there is another way. I call my little “system” KAD.
KNOW YOUR GOALS AND PRIORITIES. What are you truly committed to? What are you sacrificially committed to? What are your top five priorities in life? Write them down and look at them. If you say YES to these things, people, or goals, it will require you to say NO to other “stuff”. Are you willing to do that? If not, scratch that item off of your list of top priorities. You only want to write down the commitments that you are truly willing to pursue.
ACTION PLAN. Create an action plan to meet your goals and keep your commitments. This simple (and FUN) step takes you out of “wishing” mode (I wish I could…) which is a futile indulgence and puts you into planning mode, which is the skeleton for CHANGE. A goal without a plan is just a wish!
So, what do you need to DO? What action steps do you need to take to make that goal a reality? If you were fully committed to the goal, what would that look like for you? What will you DO? What will you say NO to? This step involves creating a framework for your success. If you need accountability, get some. If you need more time to work, create it. If you need to get to the gym, schedule it (and have someone meet you there.) If you need more time at home, do what it takes to create that “free” time. When you are “planning” your days, look at your current time and energy commitments.
Ask if each activity will get you closer to one of your core goals. If it will, schedule it in. Commit to it. If it will not, it is a “time vampire” and must be slain. So, scratch it off your list of “to dos”, apologize if necessary and move on. This is your path to success.
DO THE THING. Once you create your list of goals and an action plan to meet those goals, all that is left is to “Do the Thing.” That’s it. See, true commitment will always result in ACTION. The best laid plans are useless without action. So, keep that list of goals and priorities. Look at it often. Recommit to it daily. Walk it out in ACTION every day. DO the thing.
This may seem “oversimplified”, but the best things in life usually are. If your life is NOT being lived according to your own goals, values and priorities, don’t stay stuck in guilt, frustration and disappointment. Make a change instead.
You see, if you want to use your garden hose to move a pile of dirt off of your sidewalk, you can put it on “STREAM” and push that obstacle right out of your way. But, if you put the nozzle on “MIST”, you will just weigh down the dirt making it harder to move later. Follow my KAD system and life the life you were meant to live!!
Yesterday, I stumbled upon a website that blasted pretty much EVERY well-known business guru out there… This site basically tears apart the most well-respected marketers of our time. Almost ALL of their products – he claims – are over priced and under-effective (compared to his own “business opportunity”, of course.)
He even had the audacity to pick on one of the truly “greats” of our time… the man responsible for coaching MORE first generation entrepreneur millionaires than anyone else… the Millionaire Maker himself, Dan Kennedy. (He did throw in a half-hearted suggestion that you buy at least ONE Dan Kennedy book…) More business gurus on his hit list: Frank Kern, Robert Allen, Carlton Sheets,etc.
Anyway, it got me thinking about my OWN entrepreneurial journey and the coaches / mentors I have had along the way. Of course, I have my favorite…. my MOST effective coach and mentor. (You can have access to him at www.clubfearless.net for just $19 per month!!) BUT, who is my LEAST favorite? This is an easy question to answer.
I have a business (and life) coach who is relentless… who “shows up” at the worst possible moment and who is always trying to “teach me a lesson”. Truthfully, I have tried to fire this coach and walk away forever. Still, he persists…. faithfully, patiently, skillfully… and I hate him, sometimes. He is my LEAST favorite coach and his name is FAILURE.
Ben Stein wrote that “Failure is a patient teacher.” How true. FAILURE shows up – as a coach – to show me what won’t work… what I need to do differently… to teach me the value of persistance and creativity. And I hate him. But, I need not fear failure… or retreat to the perceived safety of my comfort zone to avoid him… or limit my action to not rub shoulders with him…
Instead, what if we all simply viewed failure as a success coach… as the toughest, most relentless and results-oriented coach we have ever known… and determined to profit from it -every time??
I remember a cross-stitch picture that used to hang in my brother’s room. It was of a deer and underneath it were the words, “My First Deer”, commemorating his first “hunting trophy”.
As children, our world is defined by our firsts…. which kept life a constant adventure… there was NO comfort zone that stood a chance of lasting the month.
What happened to us? When did we start actually “craving” the comfort zone? (Quick note: The “comfort zone” is about as safe today as the slowly warming water that eventually turns to a boil and kills the frog!!)
As adults, when was the last time YOU had a “first” of ANY kind?
In addition to being led by the great Steve Chandler, I think that “Club Fearless” resonates with me so much because I went through a season in which I was truly afraid of everything. “Listen in” on a letter I wrote to him recently after studying the book of Esther in the Bible:
….My family went through a period of time in which we were hit month after month by one life-altering tragedy after another. Literally, when the phone rang, we all jumped.
I was in college at the time, and literally on my own for the first time ever. Financially, emotionally, relationally. Every morning I got in my car to go to school or work and thought, “Today could be the day for me.” While that sounds incredibly pitiful, it eventually gave me such power and confidence… Because there was a moment when that became “okay” with me.
I fully accepted death – even MY death – as a part of me living. There was no way I could control it, or reel it in, or make it cower to my wants or wishes or fears. I simply sat in my car one day, and the very common thought came back to me, “This could be the day for me.” One day, I remember turning the ignition on defiantly and thought, “Yep.” But this time, it was with a smile… with a feeling of victory and acceptance. Simply, “Yep… it sure could be”.
Suddenly, it meant nothing any more. The fear of death had lost all of its power over me. There was no counseling, or coaching, or debating or Bible study. It was a simple acceptance. …..
Truly, when you are no longer afraid of dying, you can achieve ANYTHING. To living fearlessly, courageously, boldly and authentically! To EACH of US!!
A while back I blogged about Michael Phelps, and how his “extra stroke” won him the gold. I saw the “disgraced” olympian on TV the other night, along with the rest of the nation. While his publicist-written letter of “regret” was clearly “well-penned”, I hesitate to believe he TRULY regrets his “mistake”. In fact, I am not sure it was a mistake at all… I mean, you can look at the picture itself and tell that he was pretty comfortable with his fancy monogrammed glass bong and favorite herb. ** grin ** Clearly, the “masses” publicly condemn the use of marijuana – many I am sure while using it privately themselves. Just like our good friend, Michael Phelps. But, SHOULD he really be “regretful”? What do the experts say?
Well, the “experts” over at www.abovetheinfluence.com say that marjuana causes “poor motor coordination”, “decreased energy and ambition”, “higher incidence of depression”, and an “impaired ability to communicate and relate to others”… Yet, Michael Phelps won our hearts with his authentic communication style and loving relationship with his family… He broke olympic records (negates the decreased energy and ambition hype) and hardly seems depressed. Hmmm…
Now, I’m not asking everyone to run out and join your local NORML group, but I do have ask, “What else have the experts been wrong about?” and HOW does all of this relate to YOUR success in our new economy?
- In 1912, Professor Michael Foch concluded that “Airplanes have no military value.
- In 1977, the CEO of DEC Computers assured us that “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.”
- Walt Disney’s brother, along with other media experts told him that “An amusement park with pirates and Indians is the stupidest idea you have ever had.” He was also told that Mickey Mouse was a lousy idea.
- JP Morgan told Alexander Graham Bell that his invention “was without merit”.
- When Ted Turner invested $100 Million of his own money to put 24-hour news on the air (welcome: cable tv), the Washington Post wrote, “The industry doubts Ted Turner knows his ass from a hole in the ground. It can’t be done.” Of course, he was worth $10 Billion in less than 10 years.
Unfortunately, it takes almost an entire generation gap before people are willing to dispell the previous generation’s truth as MYTH and create a new “truth”. In fact, most experts (and those who are funding them) have such a psychological (and $$) investment in their “findings”, they RARELY – if ever- admit they are wrong. So, what does this have to do with success????
Everything. The “success system” I use with the most consistency can be summed up very quickly and can be used whether you are working in a large corporation, a solopreneur working from home… or whether you represent one of the growing options in between.
“Look at what everyone else is doing and saying. Take note of how they are acting and what the gurus are saying you should do. Listen to ALL of the “experts” of your time and then DO THE OPPOSITE. Because in the words of the great Millionaire-Maker himself… The majority is ALWAYS wrong.
I read this quote from the former President of the Ms. Foundation for Women in a recent edition of O Magazine and it instantly got my attention. In my own life, my own journey to success, my own relationships, in EVERYTHING… I have learned that the word “waiting” (when it stands alone) is many things:
- It is wimpy…
- It is powerless…
- It is devoid of action…
- It is not results-oriented…
- It is “safe” and (seemingly) without risk…
For me… it has been a poisonous word… as I “waited” to market myself until I was ready… as I “waited” for someone to acknowledge my “gifts”… as I “waited” for the “right time”… In December I am hosting a very intimate retreat for 6 women entrepreneurs and I will be openly sharing my own vulnerable and almost debilitating relationship with the “strategy” of “waiting”. For now, however, I simply want to say that WAITING (if it stands alone) is not a strategy. WAITING robs us of our most valuable resource: our time, and often times our confidence.
When I was eighteen, my family and I endured a series of tragedies. During this time, I learned that time was finite. We are not guaranteed tomorrow.. and if we are, in fact, blessed with tomorrow… it could look very different than today. So, don’t wait! Get out there and dance the dance that is uniquely YOU! Dance like no one is looking! Don’t wait to be called off the bench. Boldly walk out of the dugout onto your own Field of Dreams.
Before I close this one… let me go ahead and “head off” the comments from my sister entrepreneurs and executives in Christ. Waiting on the Lord IS a strategy… it is different from just “stand alone” waiting… but only if it is accompanied by prayer, and preparation!!
I have to admit that I am not a big “OLYMPICS” fan.. but I was so glad my husband is a sports fanatic a couple of nights ago, because I was able to catch the most exciting swimming competition, with of course Michael Phelps winning the Gold. If you were watching, I am sure you will remember it… It was when he won the Gold Medal by only 1/100 of a second.
When you watch the last second of this race replayed over and over, it is obvious how he “stole” the lead at the last second – literally. You see the man who won the Silver Medal finished his last stroke, and being so close to the wall, coasted towards the touchpad with his arms outstretched. In that last second, however, Michael took one more bold stroke and almost “landed” on the touchpad… and WON.
How exciting!!! Of course, Michael Phelps is a miraculous athlete. Humble. Dedicated. Laser-Focused. But this victory (of course) got me thinking about business… and life in general. I mean, it shows us so many things:
** “Coasting” will sometimes cost us the Gold. To dominate any field, we must stay in action.
** ACTION always wins.
** The difference between first and second place is sometimes almost negligible.
I also love the way Michael talks about his coach. Of course, the most successful in ANY field have coaches… the top swimmers, the top in golf, the top in business, the top executives. BUT, the way Michael talks about his coach answers a lot of questions about this “miracle athlete”. You see, Michael’s coach doesn’t “coddle” him… hoping he won’t be “fired”. He pushes him. He challenges him. He pushes him past his own limits… I would love to meet this man.
When I saw that ONE one-hundredth of a second was all that seperated the Gold and Silver medalists, it reminded me of a short inspirational movie I saw once about the difference one degree makes At 211 degrees, you simply have hot water. At 212 degrees, water will boil… producing steam. STEAM can power a train. The difference of just one degree….
Check out that movie HERE.