Are you a Shark or a Goldfish?

  sharkgoldfish

If you are facing a challenge and anxious about your situation, I know how you feel. I lost my job in 2001 during the dotcom bust. The company was losing money faster than we could raise it and eventually the company sank faster than the Titanic.

I thought it was the worst event of my life. I was two months away from being bankrupt. I had a wife, two young children, a mortgage, no health insurance, and very little savings. I was a paycheck away from losing it all.

It sounds bad. It felt bad. At the time it was bad. But one day I decided that I wasn’t going to let this challenge take me down. And that’s when I knew I had to change what I was thinking and doing.

I read a few books including Who Moved My Cheese and Rich Dad, Poor Dad which helped me make some important decisions through the change. Eventually these decisions would lead to the work I do now as a writer, consultant, and speaker.

My layoff led to my life’s mission and purpose. What I thought was the worst event in my life actually lead to the best. I’m not alone. Gallup did a study and asked people to identify the worst and best event of their life. They found that there was an 80% correlation between the two events.

There was also a British study of 500 “charmed” people. They seemed to have it all; wealth, success, great relationships, etc. The researchers were surprised to discover that every one of these “charmed” people had bad things happen to them. They all experienced challenges and adversity, however, each one of them turned the bad into good and their misfortune into fortune.

The truth is that challenges and change are a part of life. The waves of change are always coming our way. But when the wave hits we have a choice. We can embrace it and ride it to a successful future or resist it and get crushed by the wave.

Embracing our waves of challenge and change is all about how we perceive and respond to the events we face.

We can’t always control the (E) vents in our life but we can control our (P)ositive response to these events and this often determines the (O)utcome.

When the change hits instead of focusing on the challenge we can choose to look for the opportunity. We can ask what this event is teaching us and identify how we can grow stronger and wiser from it. We can live in fear or move forward with faith and take positive action.

We can decide to be a Shark instead of a Goldfish? Goldfish become paralyzed by fear. They stay in their comfort zone and wait for someone to feed them. On the other hand Sharks (nice sharks) move forward with faith and take action. They trust that their best days are ahead of them, not behind them. Instead of waiting to be fed they venture out in the ocean of possibility in search of food. Their beliefs and actions create a self filling prophecy; because they expect to find food and take action to find it, they do.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jon Gordon

The Power of Daily Practices

best practiceSuccess, world-class health, internal fulfilment and sustained happiness don’t just happen. These elements of your best life are created. All too often we look at a human being playing their best game on the playing field of life and assume they got lucky or were born into their lofty condition. What we don’t see is all the devotion and discipline that went into crafting the extraordinary results we see.

What I’m suggesting is that personal and professional greatness takes work. I’m not someone who would ever tell you that you could get to your dreams without having to make some sacrifices and pay the price in terms of dedication and self-control. The best amongst us make it all look so easy. I call it The Swan Effect- elite performers make personal excellence look effortless and seem to make things happen as gracefully as a swan moves along the water. But like the swan, what you don’t get to see is all the hard-work taking place below the surface.

The best way to create spectacular results in the most important areas of your life is through daily practice. In my life, I have a series of practices that set me up for a great day. Yes, sometimes life sends you unexpected challenges that knock you off track-that’s just life happening. But with a series of practices to keep you at your best, you’ll stay in a positive state much more often.

Practices that will lock you into your best state include a morning journalling session where you record your feelings, thoughts, and the blessings you are grateful for. Or you may start your day with a strong workout and an elite performer’s meal. I often listen to music for 15 minutes, as it not only energizes me, it just makes life better. I also use success statements or affirmations to get my mind focused.

Success and joy and inner peace don’t just show up. You need to create them. Find your series of practices, perform them with consistency. And then go out into this beautiful world of ours and shine.

Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma

Accountability

The whole notion of being accountable to somebody isn’t new.  

As humans we’re forever condemned to our comfort zones.  

It’s that warm cosy place where mediocrity lives.

But venturing out into the cold tundra that is the risk-taking-unknown without our Canada Goose Jackets is where we’ll see the most progress in life.

And having someone to handshelp guide us – having someone who we’re accountable to – gives us that daily push to give more and to really help us towards our goals.

Because as humans – even though we’re supposed to be self-motivated – we’re a natural co-operative being that doesn’t like letting other people down.

That’s what’s hard-wired into our system as people – lone wolf or not.

In the 90s, Michael Jordan used accountability to prepare himself physically to carry the Chicago Bulls to double 3-peat NBA Championships.

Each morning around 6am he would get up and meet Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant (or Ron Harper the 2nd time around) and they would head to the gym and lift weights for 2 hours.  

After that they would go eat breakfast together.  This was done BEFORE their regular practices.

They called themselves “The Breakfast Club

They did this every day of the regular season for 3 years without fail.  

Routine.  

Dedication.  

Accountability to each other.  

6 Championships.  

Would MJ have been able to get up and lift weights every morning by himself?  

But getting his 2 best team mates and friends involved solidified the chemistry needed to achieve their ultimate goal – his ultimate goal – winning an NBA Championship.

Having the accountability to each other is arguably what made that happen.

So who are you accountable to in your life?

Who’s there holding you responsible for your actions (or lack of actions) towards your goals?

Find that person or people and set something up – goals, action steps and consequences – and I guarantee that you’ll accelerate your path to success.

Reproduced with Kind permission from Robin Sharma

How to Grow Self Discipline

self discipline

Learning the latest science + methods to improve your willpower is one of the best ways to create immense success.

At the base of all legendary performance in business, sports, music, relationships and life lies a strong character—born from well practiced self-control.

Study Kobe Bryant and Roger Federer. Gandhi and Zuckerberg. Darwin to Gaga. They all rose to where they are via the vehicle of inner strength.

You see it takes self-discipline to:

–put in the 10 years of practice research like Anders Ericsson’s has taught us is the minimal amount of training time needed before genius-level performances begin to present themselves.

–make the sacrifices needed to be made to get epic results. You can play video games for hours each day or become the undisputed master of your craft. But you can’t do both.

–to be relentless and display the grit needed to stay in the game and remain loyal to your vision long after the initial inspiration has vanished.

–keep learning each day, iterating your moves and optimizing your performance.

–remain focused, centred and devoted in the face of the inevitable ridicule and laughter that your aim for iconic will generate. People residing within The Cult of Average don’t like to see others rise. It threatens their security. And spotlights their low self-worth.

As well, it’s my humble observation that we live in a world that doesn’t value the development of willpower so much. We revere the over-selfied TV stars and pedestal the viral video “fails”. But…

…the crafts person quietly making art in her studio gets no due.

…the startup entrepreneur who gave up his luxuries to launch the dream is considered crazy.

…the mother or father who resists many social obligations to spend peak-quality time with their children is called an outlier.

…the manager who awakes at 5 am to run their morning ritual so they fly at work is labelled an eccentric.

Society invites us to pursue instant pleasure + fast bursts of joy + quick hits of feeling good.

To have the results only 5% have, you have to do what only 5% are willing to do.

And high on the list is the pursuit of self-discipline. So here are some of the keys (many confirmed by recent research and good science) to help you to install world-class willpower:

#1. Please know that self-control (scientists refer to it as “self-regulation”) has been found to be a lot like a muscle: the more you exercise it the stronger it grows. It’s pure myth that elite achievers are born with gifts you don’t have. And buying into that idea is a great way to avoid the discomfort of doing the work you need to do to enjoy the success you deserve to have.

#2. Research is also revealing that, every day, we draw willpower from the same reservoir. This means that checking your social notifications, watching the news, surfing the web and shopping online steals the self-discipline that could be used for developing a core skill, scaling your business, getting ultra-fit, nourishing a gorgeous family life or strengthening your internal world.

#3. As you exercise the muscle of your will by making decisions, taking actions and pursuing activities, your self-control “muscle” depletes. One of the world’s foremost researchers in this field, Roy Baumeister (definitely read his superb book Willpower) calls this phenomenon “ego depletion”. This explains the behavior of celebrities that have destroyed their careers by one foolish move: they used up so much of their self-discipline energy on their crafts/practicing/performing that they had none left to wisely handle a temptation.

#4. By installing a daily routine to ensure “willpower renewal”, you’ll avoid ego depletion–and perform at your highest level. I suggest you schedule practices like visualization, conversation, smart entertainment and even napping into your day to make that happen.

#5. By pushing yourself to do what’s important but not easy, your self-control reservoir will expand. The places where your discomfort lives are the places where your power lies.

#6. Science also confirms that when we are tired, under stress and depleted, we have low glucose in our systems. And low levels of glucose diminish our self-discipline. By eating low glycemic index foods like meat, vegetables and nuts, you’ll avoid that crash. And getting enough sleep also keeps your glucose levels where they should be. Sleep-deprived people don’t do beautiful work.

 Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma #1 best selling author of “The Leader Who Had No Title”

How to Turn Ideas into Action

Being genuinely disciplined requires that you develop the ability to take action. You don’t need to be too hasty, but you also don’t want to lose much time. The time to act is when the idea strikes us—when it is hot and the emotion is strong, before the feeling passes and the idea dims. If you don’t, you’ll fall prey to the law of diminishing intent. A month from now, the passion will be cold—a year from now, it won’t be found.                      take action

action

So take action. Set up discipline when the excitement is high and your idea is clear and powerful. You’ve got to take action—otherwise the wisdom is wasted. The enthusiasm will soon pass, unless you apply it to a disciplined activity. Discipline enables you to capture the emotion and wisdom and translate them into action. The key is to increase your motivation.  

The greatest value of discipline is self-worth, also known as self-esteem. Many people who are teaching self-esteem these days don’t connect it to discipline. But once we sense the lack of discipline within ourselves, it starts to erode our psyche. One of the greatest temptations is to just ease up a little bit. Instead of doing your best, you allow yourself to do just a little less than your best. Sure enough, you’ve started in the slightest way to decrease your sense of self-worth.

There is a problem with even a little bit of neglect—neglect starts as an infection. If you don’t take care of it, it becomes a disease—and one neglect leads to another. Once this has happened, how can you regain your self-respect? All you have to do is act now. Start with the smallest discipline that corresponds to your own philosophy. Make the commitment: I will discipline myself to achieve my goals so that in the years ahead I can celebrate my successes.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn

Climb that Mountain

climb that mountain

I rode my mountain bike the other day with my three year old son in the child’s seat. As we rode along the edge of the TPC golf course we noticed a boy running up and down these three little hills on the edge of the golf course. I knew what was coming next. My son said “Daddy, I want to run up the hill.” So, I stopped the bike, helped him get out of the seat and said, “Go ahead and climb that hill.”

He stood at the bottom looking at the hill. To him I could tell it seemed like a mountain. He started up the hill but then stopped. His momentum could not carry him up the hill. It was pretty steep and he looked nervous and scared.

I wasn’t sure if he would be able to climb it and neither was he. Then I said, “step back and then run up it,” so he did fearlessly.

When he reached the top his face beamed with pride. He just stood there looking at the view from the top; his view and perspective changed by a few seconds and a climb up a little mountain.

From the look on his face, which I will never forget, I could tell his confidence was at an all time high. He proceeded to run up and down the three little hills like a human roller-coaster. When he reached the bottom of the third hill we walked back to the bike and went on our way.

I realized at that moment why we all need to climb a mountain every now and then. When we climb mountains, face challenges, hurdle obstacles and learn from difficult situations we are reminded that we have the strength and power to overcome life’s challenges.

At first even a little mountain may seem like a big insurmountable mountain. But when you step back and climb it you realize, “I can do this.”

The mountain, no matter how big it is, is no match for your faith and desire to climb it. Mountains are meant to be climbed. Wounds are meant to be healed and problems are meant to become learning experiences. They all serve a purpose. They make us stronger mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

While we often can’t control what happens to us we can control how we see and climb the mountains in our life. We can look at mountains as being in the way or as “the way” to growth.

We have a choice. We can stand at the bottom and say, “it’s too hard, it’s too high and I can’t do it” or we can dig down deep and find the very best in ourselves and fearlessly run up it.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jon Gordon

The Real Reason We Fail

sussecc failure

#1. There’s a paradox of success: mostly, what we want isn’t really what we want.

Just one example: many make cash their God. But it’s not really the money they want. It’s the feelings of prosperity, abundance and freedom from fear they’re after. If they could only see that, and fill the hole within, they would play a different game. But too many don’t, and so they fail. Why? Because they live a life that just isn’t theirs.

My humble suggestion: dig deep and ask yourself, is what you think you want truly the thing you want or is it a deeper feeling you’re really after?

#2. Disappointment is better than regret.

I believe that the heartbreak of regret is always 100x bigger than the pain of trying and failing. So much smarter–as you lead and grow–to have the guts to go for epic…who cares if you fail? That just makes your life richer, more colorful and much cooler.

I get society doesn’t think like this. But you wouldn’t be following my work and be with me on this ride if you were building your life around what society thinks.

…Personally, I’d rather live FULL-ON–and play full out–versus joining the timid souls who never risk and arrive at their ends with hearts full of regret.

#3. Fear offers a shot at fearlessness.

The vast majority of human beings run from fear. An opportunity to dare is resisted. A chance to stand in the fire is denied. But here’s the powerful idea: each of the situations that frighten you are–in truth–special gifts for bravery training. The more you get knocked down by fear and then rise above it, the more fearless you become.

#4. Success is less about luck and more about character.

Look, there may be some luck in it all. I just happened to be in the right bookstore at the right time when the then-president of HarperCollins, Ed Carson, saw my self-published version of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and gave me the break that changed my life. Maybe it was pure luck. Not sure. Forever grateful though.

But here’s what life has taught me so far: a strong character always beats waiting for luck to visit…

–hard work profoundly makes a difference

–gritty persistence vastly raises your chances

–optimism amid adversity grows your results

–treating people with respect yields blessings

#5. Your daily habits matter more than your natural talents.

What made Musk and Edison and Beckham and Mandela were more their habits than their talent. The world is full of misused genius…

Take care of your days and a legendary life will take care of itself. What makes the best performers the best, are really their routines. And if you’ve followed my work for a while, you know some of the ones I teach. Like The 20/20/20 Formula, The 90 Minute Rule, The Daily 5 and, of course, The 5 am Club.

Practice them until they become your default. Then mastery will become your normal.

#6. Be More Loving.

Yes, my work is with leaders. The FORTUNE 500. And elite entrepreneurs. And top producers. And game-changers. And titans…

But I have zero issue reminding you to be more loving to every person you’ll meet today. Love is the glue that keeps us together. It inspires, uplifts and affirms the value of each human being walking the planet today.

We live in a world where so many of us are putting up walls around ourselves. I was in a coffee shop yesterday. People had headphones on their ears and eyes riveted on computer screens. Not much conversation. Very little connection. What has happened?

When you show love to others, you not only remind them of their truest nature. You access that greater part of yourself. It’s there for you this moment. Longing for you to honour it.

Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma

It Couldn’t be Done

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done

But he with a chuckle replied

That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one

Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin

On his face. If he worried he hid it.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;

At least no one ever has done it;”

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat

And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,

Without any doubting or quiddit,

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,

There are thousands to prophesy failure,

There are thousands to point out to you one by one,

The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,

Just take off your coat and go to it;

Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing

That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

An inspiring poem by Edgar Albert Guest.

Love Your Irritations

The things that drive you crazy are actually giant opportunities. The people who press your buttons are actually your greatest teachers. The things that make you angry are actually your greatest gifts. Bless them. 

irritiation

The people or circumstances that take you out of your power have extraordinary value: They reveal your limiting beliefs, fears and false assumptions. How much would you pay someone who promised they could pinpoint exactly what is holding you back from your greatest life? How much would it be worth to get intimate information on why you are not exactly at the place where you’ve always dreamed of being?

 

Here’s the powerful idea:  The things that irritate and annoy and anger you are entry points into your evolution and elevation as a human being. They are signposts for what you need to work on and the fears you need to face. They are gifts of growth. You can blame the people who trigger you and make it all about them. Or you can do the courageous thing and look deeply into yourself to discover the reason for your negative reaction. The fears you don’t own become your prison bars.

 

And as you begin to shed light on your personal weaknesses and take responsibility for them, you actually begin the process of shedding them. You become stronger. More powerful. More of who you were meant to be.

 

So the next time a co-worker sets you off or the next time your teenager gets you going, walk over to them, give them a hug and thank them for the gift they just gave you. Because they did. 

Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma 

Character is Your Masterpiece to Build

character buildingCould creating your character be likened to an artist creating a sculpture? I believe that character is not something that just happens by itself, any more than a chisel can create a work of art without the hand of an artist guiding it. In both instances, a conscious decision for a specific outcome has been made. A conscious process is at work. Character is the result of hundreds and hundreds of choices you make that gradually turn who you are, at any given moment, into who you want to be. If that decision-making process is not present, you will still be somebody. You will still be alive but may have a personality rather than a character.

Character is not something you were born with and can’t change. In fact, because you weren’t born with it, it is something that you must take responsibility for creating. I don’t believe that adversity by itself builds character, and I certainly don’t think that success erodes it. Character is built by how you respond to what happens in your life—whether it’s winning every game, losing every game, getting rich or dealing with hard times. You build character out of certain qualities that you must create and diligently nurture within yourself—just like you would plant and water a seed, or gather wood and build a campfire. You’ve got to look for those things in your heart and in your gut. You’ve got to chisel away in order to find them, just like chiseling away the rock to create the sculpture that previously only existed in your imagination.

But do you want to know the really amazing thing about character? If you are sincerely committed to making yourself into the person you want to be, you’ll not only create those qualities, but you’ll continually strengthen them. And you will recreate them in abundance even as you are drawing on them every day of your life. Character sustains itself and nurtures itself as it is being put to work, tested and challenged. Once it is formed, character will serve as a solid, lasting foundation upon which to build the life you desire.

 Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn