5 Pivotal Life Lessons on Your RISE to Greatness

Something is amiss. You can’t quite put your finger on it – but you know that you’re not at your optimal level – and more importantly, you don’t know how to change it. Sometimes it can be your professional life, other times it can be your personal life. And if you’re really unfortunate – it can be both your professional and personal life at the same time. I’m convinced we all need a break here and there. By a break – I mean when your talent meets timing. This is not an easy intersection to find – let alone navigate.

For me – I was a persistent man, but also a bit reckless in the process. I had no parachute. I was in a free-fall, spinning out-of-control, whipping from side-to-side, miserable YET somehow elated I had made the jump and totally focused on the dreams of my future. Completely centered on what I thought life should be – but no backup plan to rely on. Before you make the leap to the next chapter in your life – look before you jump and study my 5 lessons from a man who has lived it.

1 Remember to RECHARGE your soul along the way

Our souls become battered over time, abused and often confused. Are you just existing or are you reaching for a higher purpose in your life? You can’t turn off the world of reality while you imitate a deer in the headlights. Important to breathe and check in with your soul with an honest reality check about who you really are, and what do you want from this lifetime you’ve been gifted. All too often our minds become entrenched with the negative energy around us – you can change this.

Take a closeup look at your surroundings and begin the small steps to changing the things that you know deep inside must be changed. Remove the negative forces around you that are stifling you. You must cleanse your mind of all the negativity that occupies your soul. Start anew. Wake up to a different morning routine. Turn the technology off. Step outside and breathe. Attach yourself to the idea that you are starting anew on your terms. This is your life and your opportunity to rise. Be honest. Be authentic. Be at peace. Be thankful for your life. Let your gratitude and praise soak in your thoughts and radiate in your soul.

2 REFOCUS your Priorities from time to time

Does your daily regimen support your yearly plan and does your yearly plan feed into your life plan? We get lost with all the distractions and urgent matters in our lives. All too often our ‘true’ priorities are at the bottom of the list. The key is to get those priorities back to the top of your list. Step back from all the clutter and think it through, write it down and create your yearly plan and the daily action steps – the milestones that will take you there.

Take a lesson or two from the great basketball superstar Michael Jordan: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

If the RISK outweighs the reward, then reconsider the journey – find another way or abandon the idea. If the REWARD exceeds the risk involved, then don’t let anything stop you from exploring the unknown. You can do it.

3 It may be time to REEVALUATE your relationships

Negative thoughts create inferior results. It’s like everything else in your life – your mind takes the shape of whatever you feed it. Those relationships that are constantly in your ears with gossip and bad news… you need to drop them like a hot rock. Positive people hang with positive people and get superior results. It’s said that we are a makeup of the five people we hang with. It is time to take inventory of who those five people are.

Keep it positive, don’t allow the negative energy to consume you. Read a motivational book, subscribe to some positive blogs, listen to some uplifting music. Positive intentions translate into positive results. Seek out positive reinforcements for your lifestyle. They can be people you don’t necessarily always agree with – but who you can have an honest disagreement with – with no repercussions. If you can capitalize on strengths and weaknesses that complement the ones you possess – the relationship will have more potential.

“We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics,” says Joyce Meyer.

It’s easy to be critical of others in the decisions they make – but we rarely ever know all the circumstances surrounding a decision. Be sure that you have all the facts and then offer alternatives while being respectful of the decision. Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.

4 Stuck in neutral? It happens. REENERGIZE your mission

The same daily regimen will produce the same daily results. We are mostly creatures of habit. Face it, you probably order the same food, drive the same roads and call the same people day in and day out. Your routine may be holding you back. When your days become too predictable – your creativity and desire to improve will almost certainly become stagnant.

Turn your schedule upside down if you’re seriously looking for a different outcome. Refresh your mindset by breaking out of your routine. Start with the simple things – food choices, travel choices, people choices – before you consider career and life changes. A different structure to your daily routine will result in a new and improved structure to your overall life. The question to ask yourself is ‘how can I advance my dreams forward?’ A good idea will remain only a good idea unless you can advance it to a great idea! Moving your agenda of dreams forward is a sign of greatness. Question everything around you, both good and bad. Look at the alternatives, this is not the time to play follow the leader, it’s the time when leaders step up to the challenge at-hand.

5 Never compromise who you are. It is YOUR RISE to Greatness

Do what you love in life and life will love you back! Greatness is habit forming and if you work at it day in and day out… your moments of greatness will multiply. Never be afraid to reinvent yourself. Where do you want to be five years from now? Give this some serious thought [and write it down]. What steps will it take to get you there? Break those steps down into micro-steps that are manageable. Find the passion in your life by engaging in the areas that excite you. Most importantly don’t change for change sake – do it because you truly desire a new and improved life.

It’s impossible to get excited about your life and your work without passion. Passion can only come from within, it’s an intense emotion consisting of feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something better. Without passion, details suffer, the quality is hindered and the overall outcome diminished. Passion is that feeling of unusual excitement or just having a positive affinity towards life. When we are passionate about our life`, it almost always results in a greater satisfaction. Doing what you truly love in life is a gift.

5 Truths Of Maturity

The most extraordinary sacrifice you can make, is the sacrifice you make with your own conscience! If you settle or compromise just to get along, you’ll become a victim of average and you’ll never experience the greatness in you. Here is the best advice from this column right upfront – ‘stubbornness should always win over compromise – when it comes to your core principles’.

“I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the half-way, the almost, the just-about, the in-between.” Ayn Rand had it right; the easy way out requires no extra effort at all. You simply go along to get along. Think back to the time you were in school. You were taught to blend in as much as you could while still maintaining your own identity. The kids who were questioning their surroundings were considered troublemakers. Difficult kids were pointed out and often ridiculed, forcing everyone else back into their boxes. Strong minded and opinionated kids were considered instigators, they were taught to play it safe. Never question authority, be like everyone else – blend in and don’t stand out, and just go-along to get-along.

It’s the same approach you’ll take into your career throughout your life – DON’T. You’ll surround yourself with like-minded people with similar thoughts and boundaries – DON’T. None of this means that you won’t try hard. Sure you will – you’ll want to exceed expectations, it’s just… your expectations will be representative of those around you – DON’T. You won’t know it at first, it’s just a way of life. You’ll want the same for your own children, your own family. Raising a family of like-minded people is expected and admired by many. If your goal is to achieve your maximum potential in life, then these 5 TRUTHS OF MATURITY are just what you’ll need on your journey forward.

5 TRUTHS OF MATURITY

  1. Accept people for who they are. Man or woman, asian or black, gay or straight, liberal or conservative, tall or short. The world would be a boring place if we all looked and acted like each other. Embrace the uniqueness in those that seem odd. Let children be children. INQUISITIVENESS is a gift, not a distraction.
  2. Develop your belief system early on. If you don’t know what you stand for, then how can you expect others to know? Core values are not just for companies, they are for every being on the planet. Each of us must have our own set of principle-driven values that define who we are – and the areas that are NON-NEGOTIABLE should be defined early on.
  3. Your mindset will determine your outcomes. PREDICTABILITY in your thinking will guarantee you average results, never extraordinary results. The only sure fire way to break out-of-the-box, is to carry no boxes in your life. Question everything around you. There is always a better way to do things, a faster method, or a desired result you haven’t yet thought of.
  4. Continually embrace KNOWLEDGE and learn from the mistakes of others. A commitment to excellence is required for true leadership. Leaders shine a light on the path forward, knowing full well that they will stumble along the way – and that the path they’ve creating will be crossed by many. Leaders are not born and leadership skills are not inherent – they are developed over time.
  5. Know the difference between CONVICTION and flexibility. Some people are just plain stubborn, they’re unwilling to bend or compromise on anything. Then there are those that come across as wishy-washy, unable to take a stand and stick with it. When you learn to navigate the two positions with ease, you’ll close more deals in life and you’ll be taken seriously as a person with conviction.

Remember – ‘stubbornness should always win over compromise – when it comes to your core principles’.

51 Out Loud Truth Lessons

There is a definite correlation between being over 50 and success – it’s called experience. That’s not to say that you can’t hit your stride in your 30’s – you can. It comes down to talent, luck, timing and many lessons along the journey. Much of it is commonsense – but honestly we get lost in the day to day and sometimes we just need a gentle reminder. Here are 51 gentle reminders, or as I often call them – the Out Loud Truth Lessons. (when you share them please remember to use the hashtag #OutLoudTruth)

  1. Start by counting the blessings in your own life
  2. Know that you can only account for your own actions and behaviors
  3. Take pride in your accomplishments no matter how small
  4. Be thankful for your past mistakes – without them you’d have no foundation to build your future on
  5. Spend your energy focused on today and tomorrow, the future is where you’re headed
  6. Negative entertainment will produce a negative mindset, be selective on what you put into your mind
  7. Focus on problem solving, I call it making molehills out of mountains
  8. Embrace our cultural differences – the world is a place of human-richness
  9. If it’s your dream, your desire, your mission, then you must pursue it
  10. When a reporter asked that ridiculous question to Michael Phelps: was he to be the next Mark Spitz, having just broken Spitz’s record? Phelps response was perfect: “I’m working on being the first Michael Phelps.”
  11. The quality of friendship is far more valuable than the quantity of friends
  12. Persistency and Stupidity are closely related – the difference is timing
  13. A ringing endorsement that you’re living life your way – ‘You’ve Changed’
  14. You don’t need to travel to Uganda to right the wrongs in the world – you can do that right from your own town
  15. Everything you feed into your mind is going to have an impact of what comes out of your mind
  16. If you find yourself idling and feel the need to take a different road, make the move
  17. Know that you have NO control over what other people think of you. Their perception is not your reality
  18. Stay the course and don’t bend to appease the thoughts of others
  19. When people talk trash – leave that space. Don’t hang with negative minded people. All those negative toxins can only do bad – they’ll corrupt your mind
  20. So you wake up, go to work, come home, have dinner, retire to bed, wake up and start the process all over again. There may never be ‘the perfect time’… and then what?
  21. Your likes and your dislikes, your style and talk, your habits and choices are all a reflection of the TRUE YOU
  22. When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself
  23. I’ve never understood why anyone would want to be anyone – but themselves. Some people live their entire life trying to be like someone else – Don’t
  24. You are capable of anything and everything when you let your mind go. Allow yourself to move beyond your self-imposed restrictions
  25. Some people may be jealous, after all you’re being someone they can’t be
  26. Rats are followers, they follow each other looking for the next crumb in life
  27. Spending a lifetime in the wrong career is equivalent to a ‘life sentence’
  28. We get lost with all the distractions and urgent matters in our lives. All too often our priorities are at the bottom of the list
  29. Turn your schedule upside down if you’re seriously looking for a different outcome
  30. Never be afraid to reinvent yourself. Where do you want to be five years from now?
  31. If you want it you can achieve it. If you put forth the hard work – anything is possible
  32. You are greater than you can ever imagine. Whether you accept or deny this truth will still determine the roads you’ll end up in life
  33. Learn to be flexible and learn what to do when. There is a time and place for everything
  34. What shapes a person is not so much the type of crisis but rather how it is handled
  35. Comfort zones are way too comfortable. Keep your life goals in sight. Everything else should change frequently
  36. Do not beat those around you down. Lift people up and in the process you will be lifted
  37. Leaders who lead with their heart have more passion, more energy, and more intellect
  38. Don’t let others influence the outcome, only you can make the final decision
  39. Always keep your word. Do what you say you’re going to do
  40. Of all the relationships you can have, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself
  41. Be willing to deconstruct aspects of your life that don’t necessarily appear to be broken
  42. A good idea will remain only a good idea unless you can advance it to a great idea
  43. An attention to detail is what will separate you from all the others. Detail execution will insure that your name rises to the top of any list
  44. Your attitude will speak louder than your physical actions. The right attitude will give you a jump up on everyone else around you
  45. Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams
  46. Perception is not always reality, phonies come in all makes and models
  47. Concentrate on giving more than you take in life and you’ll surpass most in securing the greatest of relationships
  48. Your life book is meant to have many chapters, just how many – none of us know. The key is to make each chapter count
  49. You have one life to live. You can waste it, you can squander it, you can mess up, you can succeed… but you should not live your life by the standards of someone other than yourself
  50. Experience is always accompanied with battle-scars
  51. Predictability in your thinking will guarantee you average results, never extraordinary results. The only sure fire way to break out of the box, is to carry no boxes in your life

There you have it – Fifty-One Out Loud Truth Lessons!

Without Balance, Your Seesaw Won’t Move!

Much of the technical hardware and software you use today was developed to accomplish something specific, a means to an end. You had a problem, someone found a solution to that problem. You need something done more efficiently, a tool was put in place to accomplish that.

There is a transitional shift that is taking place in the current generation. Fact is they’ve grown up with computers, they’ve never known a world without a computer. The computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone have all become devices that we go to in an instant, throughout our day, for just about anything, or nothing at all. These devices occupy our time and can take over our lives – if we let them. Are these devices making us smarter or dumbing us down? 

DUMBING you down if:

  • The only real conversation you’re having is now with your smartphone or computer
  • You blame everything that goes wrong with your day on your tech device
  • You take no responsibility for late or missed appointments, or timely followup
  • You can’t find a piece of paper and you forgot how to write in cursive anyway
  • You can’t remember your friends name without looking it up in your contacts
  • You are one of those cats who have their phone screen bright during the movie
  • Your computer goes in for an annual checkup before you do

Most of us can relate to just how dependent we’ve all become with technology. The following list is by no means exhaustive – consider these life lessons just a primer to get you started in finding that balance that is so necessary for a quality life!

Making you SMARTER if:

  • You still have eye-to-eye meetings and enjoy genuine conversation
  • You can successful balance your time on and off the computer throughout the day
  • You know what you’re looking for before you go look for it (most of the time)
  • You can still develop an idea without looking at a digital screen
  • You don’t believe because it was on the web, it must be true
  • You don’t go into cardiac arrest when your phone is in the next room

Adapting technology to fit your life makes much more sense than allowing technology to consume your life. In one word – BALANCE. Without balance, your seesaw won’t move!

5 Sticky Factors on Relationships

Relationships may come and go – but great relationships will stick around for a lifetime! Any good successful human being knows full well ‘you can’t do it on your own’, the ride to the edge of your dreams is conditioned by the relationships you keep. Will the next person you meet be a life-long relationship or just someone passing through your life?

It’s important to review your greatest long-term relationships and analyze the unique factors. Great relationships are not perfect and they certainly are not routine – which is one of the reasons they stand out amongst the many relationships you’ll have throughout your lifetime. The following 5 sticky factors are key elements to creating exceptional personal connections. If you want your relationships to stick around for a lifetime then you’ll want to incorporate the “5 Sticky Factors” into your daily habits.

  1. Embrace Differences – For many it’s the commonalities we see in each other. Often people find security and happiness in the areas of life that connect us. It’s notably easier to get along with people when interests are similar and non-controversial. Sticky Factor: Embrace the people that are different than you. People who have different skill sets and/or have an outlook that is different than yours. If you can capitalize on strengths and weaknesses that compliment the ones you possess – the relationship will have more potential.
  2. Turn the Talk – It’s natural to talk about yourself. In fact, when you first meet someone it’s seems like the logical approach to develop a relationship with that person. First encounters can be tricky as one-sided conversations can get boring fairly quickly. Sticky Factor: Turn the conversation around and make it about the other person. Don’t probe like you’re selling something. If you’re to be successful with developing great relationships – it must be genuine dialogue – or folks will sense your phoniness.
  3. No Strings Attached – We’re all incredibly busy with our own needs that we seldom get the chance or take the opportunity to see how we can help others. Most times, when people do something wonderful, they expect something back in return. There are takers and givers in life – too much taking and you’ll guarantee yourself a short lived relationship. Sticky Factor: Ask folks what they’re interested in and what factors are preventing them from accomplishing their goals. Determine how you can help them with their needs, even in a small way. Here is the catch – there are none! No strings attached. Concentrate on giving more than you take in life and you’ll surpass most in securing the greatest of relationships.
  4. Walk a Mile – You can’t believe the choices made by some of your smartest friends and find yourself wondering – what where they thinking? It’s easy to be critical of others with the decisions they make – but we rarely ever know all the circumstances surrounding that decision. Sticky Factor:  Be sure that you have all the facts and then offer alternatives while being respectful of the decision. In fact, Judgmentanoma is one of my 5 Human Ailments that hold too many people back. Choose your battles wisely. Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
  5. Bigger, Better, Faster – One of the biggest detriments to relationships, if not the biggest, is jealousy. This behavior for many people begins in childhood and stays with them throughout their adult life. We tend to be jealous of others and their accomplishments. Society dictates that it should be bigger, better, faster – which causes us to look around ourselves and dislike  those people that appear to be better at something than yourself. Sticky Factor: Achieve your own level of greatness, don’t be jealous of the next guy because they’ve achieved something you have not. Focus on your own agenda and success and celebrate the success of those around you – it all comes around full circle.

Simple advice that when applied properly and enthusiastically – will deliver unparalleled results and the greatest of relationships!