Willpower Is Not Enough

Apr 3, 2013

Show me a plan purely based on willpower, and I’ll show you a plan that is likely to fail.

Wanting something to happen is critical, but a plan based on it alone is bound to break.

Just look at the success rate of the average diet. Despite diet-related illnesses being the leading causes of death and diet having a huge impact on how we look, most diets fail.

Willpower is a great book that shares cutting-edge research on self-control.

One of the biggest findings is that willpower is like a muscle. It is finite, but improvable through practice.

What does this mean?

  1. Use your willpower wisely on what’s most important to you.
  2. Create action plans that use as little willpower as possible.
  3. Replenish your willpower throughout the day or you will be irritable with your loved ones and have little energy to do anything.
  4. Be careful of being overambitious on what you can actually do. It’s not just about the number of hours in the day. It’s about your energy during those hours.

How do you manage your willpower?

Beyond Strengths And Weaknesses

Apr 2, 2013

One person’s strength is another’s weakness.

Therefore, strengths and weaknesses are relative, not absolute.

Being a quiet, introspective, listener is just as much a strength as someone who can’t keep their mouth shut. Someone being creative is just as much a strength as someone being analytical.

A trait only becomes a strength or weakness once it is placed into an environment.

Therefore, we must do much more than simply discover our strengths. We must find the environments where they can be fully expressed and appreciated.

Our Greatest Strength is Our Greatest Weakness

Apr 1, 2013

There are two types of weaknesses:

TYPE I: Not being good at something

TYPE II; Being really good at something that others label as a weakness

Most people aren’t aware of their strengths because they’re disguised as Type II Weaknesses.

Some are lucky enough to be in an environment growing up that appreciates and reinforces their strength. Most people are in an environment that ignores or puts it down.

The trick to finding our strengths is following its bread crumbs:

  • Areas where we’re different than others
  • Something we do so naturally that it has become invisible
  • Something that gives us energy

We own our strengths when we own who are instead of resisting.

We realize our strengths when we project them to the world and attract a market of people who are served by them.

Our Huge Inability To See Underlying Causes Stops Us From Seeing The Best Solutions

Mar 30, 2013

When Halle (4) breaks down crying, it is impossible to explain to her that she might be tired even though it is obvious to us she is.

She always attributes the cause as not getting what she wanted immediately before crying.

It appears that adults are similarly poor at noticing underlying causes. We don’t see the connection between, sleep, health, or personal growth and our behaviors during the day.

The challenge is that our bodies quickly assign causes that we feel are right in our bones. Even knowing this, the only way that I can often short-circuit this tendency is by following a checklist in my head.

Did I sleep last night? Do I need a nap? Have I eaten recently? Did something happen earlier in the day that I haven’t processed yet? Is there an underlying principle that I need to understand?

Even when we do fix the problem by fixing the underlying cause, it is still hard to attribute fixing the underlying issue because it isn’t direct.

If we don’t see these connections on a daily basis with simple things, think about the links we’re missing at a larger level.

Personal Growth Is The Biggest Long-term Predictor of Success in Business

Mar 30, 2013

There is an interesting irony in life that I learned as a result of speaking at hundreds of entrepreneurship events…

The people who need to hear a message the most are exactly the people who are NOT proactively seeking it out or able to comprehend it. The people who need it the least always arrive first, sit front and center, nod at every word, stay after for questions, and stay in touch.

Isn’t that ironic?

How is that two people hear the exact same message or experience the same event and react completely differently. One person could be crushed. Another could be deeply inspired.

For example, one aspiring entrepreneur might hear NO and think they’re personally a failure. Another might see NO as a lesson learned; merely a pivot on the path to success.

What is the difference between the two?

The Knowledge/Money Fallacy

I would argue that the fundamental difference is that people are at different levels of personal growth. In other words, their underlying beliefs and frameworks are completely different.

We, as a society, dramatically undervalue personal growth, especially in the general education system.

The assumption is that the value of the knowledge is in the KNOWING of knowledge rather than its APPLICATION. The reality is that the application is the hardest and most important part.

In our own lives, we often strive to acquire knowledge without the underlying personal growth that would allow us to most effectively utilize that knowledge. When we constantly hit a wall, we don’t understand why.

When the jobs numbers are low, we focus on new skills for employees and more money (in the form of debt) for entrepreneurs rather than examining people’s frameworks and beliefs.

Due to the tools that are available, it is cheaper to start a business today than it has ever been in human history. The largest bottleneck to starting a business is no longer financial. It is personal growth.

However, the reality is that the overwhelming percentage of the population needs to change how they think about the world at a fundamental level in order to actually follow through on starting a business and getting customers. Of the people who do start, an overwhelming percentage of people need to dramatically alter their beliefs and frameworks in order to have any growth and not become a slave to their business.

Personal growth is hard to measure. It is hard to teach. It can take a long time. It is extremely emotionally challenging to go through no matter how much experience one has.

However, if we keep on ignoring it, many of the problems that we experience personally and as a society will never get solved.

Hitting Rock Bottom is Where Transformation Happens

Mar 27, 2013

Hitting bottom begins when we raise the standards in our life.

It is the point at which the awareness of our limiting behaviors becomes too painful to endure and a part of us quietly but defiantly proclaims, “Enough!!!”

Suddenly, many limiting behaviors that we previously accepted into our life, become not ok.

Instead of denying reality, we willingly search for and try to comprehend the fullness of it, no matter how painful.

We take responsibility and begin paying off the physical, emotional, financial, or relationship debts.

The sooner we hit rock bottom, the less we lose.

The Failure Conversation is Broken

Mar 24, 2013

I’ve delivered hundreds of entrepreneurship keynotes in 5+ countries. I have seen hundreds of talks and read hundreds of books on entrepreneurship.

I think the way we talk about failure & challenges is broken.

Of the entrepreneurs that do talk about these, 99% only talk about long-past challenges, which no longer exist. They ignore any current challenges.

At its core, this is a lack of vulnerability that creates a distance between the audience and the speaker that is often perceived as unsurmountable.

Inspiration occurs when audience members are able to truly see themselves in the speaker. If this occurs, then the audience member believes that he or she can also accomplish what the speaker has.

Seeing an unrelatable speaker that has accomplished amazing things is entertaining, but it is not life-changing.

A core lesson that we can teach is that we have had and still have constant challenges, both within ourselves and within our professional life, no matter how good it looks from the outside. More than anything else, it is our courage to constantly take action despite the challenges, which has set us apart.

This lesson cannot simply be shared by going through the bullet points of past failures. It is shown through sharing our humanity via vulnerability in the moment.

I’ve spoken in inner-city schools in New York City and rural areas in Washington State that are 6 hours away from the closest Wal-Mart. I do not pretend that I have had the same events happen to me as anyone else in the world. Frankly, many times the audience has had a much more challenging life than I have. But, I know exactly what it’s like to feel fear, self-doubt, depressed, alone, and feel lack of hope. I’ve experienced all of these, in some fashion, at some point in my life including some of them such as fear and insecurity every single day.

When I write about challenges that I’m experiencing in my personal and professional life, I’m not doing it out of the need for sympathy or help. I am working on changing the dialogue through my own example.

What I surrender through this style of writing is the desire to look like I have everything together all the time.

I don’t, and I don’t think it’s possible to be alive with any amount of self-awareness and for this to be true all the time.

By admitting this to others, we feel courageous. In so doing, we lead by example and liberate ourselves from holding up an illusion.

The Hidden Power of Proactive Personal Growth

Mar 22, 2013

Proactive personal growth is extremely undervalued. If anything, it is stigmatized, as shown by its almost full exclusion from the education system (including entrepreneurship education) and its absence from people’s lives.

I believe that aligning our lives around personal growth has the most dramatic impact on our lives and the world. What we heal in ourselves, we heal in the world.

While the benefits of most activities and achievements taper off, the benefits of personal growth compound.

Personal growth is leverage. When we change something at the core of our being, everything in every part of our life transforms. When we change the context, the meaning of the content changes.

We often focus on creating results by focusing on symptoms rather than causes. We take the time to pick out the characteristics our ideal life partner, but we don’t do the work necessary to be a person who that individual would be attracted to. We endeavor to end violence, but don’t see the violence is inside of us.

We are magnets. The strongest attractor is not what we’ve accomplished, but who we are. What we accomplish is a result of who we are.

Sometimes we spend our whole life trying to accomplish goals, which, if we had spent more time on personal growth, we would not have even pursued. Sometimes we build up a reputation and a network in a profession, which, with more introspection, we would not have begun.

Many times we get caught in the short-term, urgent demands of daily living. But, the best time to start investing in ourselves is always now.

Like other spheres of life, when it comes to our character, reaching our potential doesn’t just happen. It requires time, effort, support, faith, courage and intention.

Feeling Uncomfortable Is The First Stage Of Breakthrough

Mar 21, 2013

9 years ago, I started a blog similar to my writing now, and I wrote over 300 posts.

I remember that the monthly traffic was at 25,000 page views per month. One month it jumped to 100,00.

That was the month that I stopped writing.

I didn’t make a conscious decision to kill it, but it died quietly like most things.

Writing the blog made me feel uncomfortable. I worried way too much about what people thought. I felt like I needed to accomplish more before I would have credibility.

So, I stopped.

Making the commitment to write every business day and following through has changed my life on many different levels.

It has helped me rediscover my voice. The more I write, the more I know what I think and how I feel. Disparate and unconscious thoughts merge into new frameworks and new contextualization of life.

I was afraid that I would run out of things to write. The reality is that the more I write, the more I’m inspired to keep going.

I’ve come across the same barrier again of feeling uncomfortable.

I am grateful that all these years later, I interpret feeling uncomfortable as what it feels like just before a breakthrough.

I now see being uncomfortable as something that say I’m going in the right direction.


The Art & Business Conflict

Mar 18, 2013

I’ve realized that I’m a professional artist.

I can’t sing. I can’t dance. I can’t play any musical instruments.

However, what I do have is a very strong desire to express myself through my work.

As a human being, I’m constantly learning about myself; what I’m good at, where I’m weak, what I’m passionate about, and what I want my life to mean. I have a desire to have my work align around all of these at all times.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned that this ‘art’ instinct can be detrimental to a growing company. If I’m honest with myself, the work that’s most necessary for the company to grow doesn’t always align with what I’d like to personally focus on.

This is a painful admission because I’ve spent a lot of the past 15 years focusing on pursuing my passion and encouraging others to do the same while subconsciously looking down at people who were working just for the pay check.

Passion is important. Money is important. Growing positive companies is important. Finding the intersection is critical, but it’s also messy and sometimes impossible.

How do you find the bullseye and keep it on a day-to-day basis in your life?