KEEP CRUSHING IT! 💪

The weekend is coming! Certainly, there will be time for some well deserved relaxing. Don’t forget, however, this is a great time to pursue your goals and chase your dreams! While many of us think extra sleep and drinks with friends are the best ways to recharge our batteries, I disagree.

There is nothing like getting one step closer to realizing your dreams to put a fire in your heart and passion in your veins. Whether that is a great workout to get you one step closer to that body you want, or 1000 words to get you closer to writing that book you have been talking about. Getting closer to your end goal builds excitement and certainly recharges the batteries. This weekend take some time to relax, but also use some of this 48 hours to work on your goals and your dreams. They deserve it and so do you!

THE IMPORTANCE OF A DREAM

One of the many things in my life that I am grateful for is the amazing people I share it with. There are so many that I am proud to count among my friends. Today I would love to share a tale of just such a man. In doing so, however, I would also like to share a lesson with you. That lesson in the importance of having a dream and having a strong enough ‘why’ to back it up. You may be wondering what having a dream would get you out of life. It is not what you get from having a dream that is important, but what it gives you. Before we get to in deep with this theory, allow me to share the story of my friend and we will circle back around for the lesson.

The story I am going to tell you is about my friend Travis, who goes by the name Treezy. We met over a decade ago when I was bartending at a small corner bar. He came in shaking his head and sat down at the bar. He ordered a Budweiser and proceeded to regale me with the story of his previous evening. It would appear this gentleman, who was to become a life-long friend, had a terrible misadventure with a young lady at a hotel. The story was a comical one that ended with Treezy sitting in front of me wondering just how he got there.

This man’s way of delivering a story was both funny and captivating. He came across as both humble, yet charismatic. It reminding me a bit of…well…me. The bar had just opened up and the owners were friends of a friend. I had come out of my retirement as a bartender to help them out and was working for tips. I had built up quite a following on the weekends and was looking to grow the crowd even more. I knew just the thing that could do it. “Want to make a few extra bucks?” I asked the young man. He eagerly informed me that he did and a partnership was born. While I serveved drinks behind the pine, my new friend energized the crowd and sold trays of shots. We both were working for tips, but still did quite well for both ourselves and the bar. Unfortunately, the owners turned out to be very unethical and I left a short time later.

I had lost touch with my new found friend and figured that would be the last time I would see him. Years went by and I found myself working at a new place called “The Hideout”. One fine afternoon, as I was cleaning and getting the place ready for the busy evening ahead. Crouched down below the bar I heard a voice say “Yes I’ll have a bottle of Bud.” Which was strange because I didn’t recall asking anyone if they wanted one. I popped up to see a man in a St. Louis Cardinals hat. It took a second but slowly it dawned on me. We both were shocked to realize who the other was.

To keep this blog post from becoming my third book, I will fast forward a bit. In the time we had been apart, young Travis had discovered karaoke and his ability to entertain and lift people’s spirits. “We don’t have that here!” I explained most assuredly. Months later we would have karaoke at that bar. It happened to be the very DJ that introduced him to it and he returned. Now we had a new way to team up. Myself behind the bar and him on the microphone. It also came to be that the karaoke DJ would gain another follower. This time it wasn’t for karaoke though. That person was Margie, who became the love of my life.

Through our years together, the three of us have went on to be an incredible team. We worked together to bring as much positivity to whatever setting we are in. Margie being the incredible DJ she is, Treezy being epic performer and myself fitting in. First, I was behind the bar, now I am behind the microphone as an MC of sorts. Deep in his heart Travis knew what his passion was and that was to entertain people and to lift their spirits. Often, this was an all consuming endeavor. By that, I mean both in terms of time and money. Unfortunately, for Mr. Treezy, being the self-proclaimed ‘Greatest karaoke rapper alive’ does little to pay the bills. If you have ever had the pleasure to see him perform, it is a title he arguably holds. Through a set of trying circumstances which including losing both his job and his mother, Travis found himself back in his hometown of St. Louis struggling to survive. This even included being homeless for a while.

Still, his passion to entertain others and bring a smile to their face burned deep inside him. How to be able to live this dream? He returned to Milwaukee and this year made the decision to become a DJ himself. He continues to work hard and is adding shows to his list of entertaining venues. He kept faithful to his dream. He refined it. He held true to it when it had seemed if the world gave up on him. He is now not only able to entertain and bring that joy to others, he is getting paid to live that dream as well. As his friends, Margie and I could not be happier for him. We are both extremely proud to not only be a part of his journey, but we are proud of him as well. Dare I say, I think his mom would be too.

If you have a dream and the world seems to be against you, do not give up. Stick true to that dream. Remember why it is important to you. If you keep doing what feeds your soul, opportunities will present themselves. It may take longer than you desire and you may have to go through some pretty lean times, like our friend in this story, but if you persevere and keep the faith, life will let you Live your dream.

YOU CAN CHANGE, JUST STAY FOCUSED

There is a thing that Les Brown, one of my favorite speakers, says. When referring to his health journey and his battle with the temptation of sweet potato pie he says this, “I have lost 22 pounds, hundreds of times.” I think a lot of us can relate to that statement. What it means is that he lost the weight and then gained it back. Then he had to refocus and get back at it. Life is like that in many ways. Take getting in shape for example. Another speaker and author I admire a great deal is David Goggins. In his quest to go from 297 pounds to 185 and become a Navy seal he had a lot of training to do. On the first day he decided to run four miles. Being someone who weighs almost 300 pounds and didn’t do much cardio, you can imagine how this went. He ran a quarter of a mile, stopped turned around and walked back home. When he got there he sat on the couch and cried. It is ok to feel sorry for ourselves…for a little while. The next day he tried again with similar results. At this point many people would give up. That would be understandable. He did something different. He changed the plan and not the goal. He said to himself, “Ok, I cannot run. What can I do?” He began to ride a bike. Then he added swimming. Soon he lost some wait and was able to run a mile, then three, then six. Now he is one of the best ultra marathon runners there is.

Whether it is someone like Les Brown, David Goggins or Thomas Edison who went through countless experiments to invent the lightbulb, they all have one thing in common. What is that trait that allowed all of these men to end up a success when life would have had them believe they were destined to fail? The didn’t give up. The stayed focused on the goal. Failure is only permanent if we give up. If we don’t, failure serves as a teacher. It can tell us the way we are going about something isn’t working. That doesn’t mean the goal can’t be reached. All that it means is we have to adjust our plan. Often, even mistakes can be valuable. There is the rather well known story about how post-it notes were developed. The inventor was working on creating an adhesive that would last forever. He obviously failed in that endeavor, but look what it created!

Next time it feels as if you are failing at something in life, remember it might just be the plan that needs changing and not the goal. Look for the lessons in the failure and start again only more well-informed.

YOU CAN DO IT!😀

We have reached the mid-week point once again! It is about this time that we all need a little pick-me-up. Energy seems to be draining and everything we thought we would have got done seems like a far away dream. It is that last thought I want to address here today. If there is one fault I would really like to work on with myself it is allowing thinking ahead stopping me from starting. What do I mean? Let give you an example. When two of my wonderful friends told me I should write a book, I shot them down almost as soon as they suggested it. Why? Did I think it was a bad idea? Of course not. Did I know that the information I had to share would be helpful and valuable to others? Yes I did.

If I knew all of this, why did I not want to write a book? I was thinking, and by that I mean worrying, too far ahead. How do you publish a book? How do they figure out what to write on the back? Do you have to know the font? What about cover design? All of this before I even had word one. three books written and two books published later, I can tell you these things still amaze me and it feels like more of an adventure, but not impossible. I love the separation of the word shown in the picture shown above. Next time you are thinking something is impossible, just remember to focus on yourself, not the challenge. Whatever you are facing may seem impossible, but guess what? I m possible! That’s right you are possible! You are the maker of miracles and the one who can make dreams come true!

I shutter to think how different my life would be if I had never published a book or another book after that. I am so excited to be bringing my third one to the readers this summer. If I had just tried to solve all of the challenges before getting started, I would have never gotten started. Life is about learning as you go. Whatever your dream is, get started today! You don’t need to know all of the answers before you begin. It is an old question, but one Margie reminds me of all of the time. Eating an entire elephant may seem impossible, but not if you do it one bite at a time! (Important note: I am not advocating the eating of actual elephants and I do not do so myself) Don’t look at the often overwhelming act of accomplishing an entire goal, just focus on working on the first step. If you are interested in either of my books, click the link below and you will be able to order one or both! They make great gifts for anyone who is looking to live a more positive and fulfilling life!

CLICK HERE TO GET MY BOOKS!

A QUICK REMINDER ON YOUR SECRET POWER

THIS IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF THE POWER OF FOCUS. “WHATEVER THE MIND OF MAN CAN CONCEIVE AND BELIEVE, IT CAN ACHIEVE” WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSED ON? DO YOU BELIEVE IT WILL COME TRUE FOR YOU IN TIME?

I SUGGEST THAT WHILE WE WORK ON ACHIEVING ANY WORTHWHILE GOAL, WE ALSO WORK ON INCREASING OUR FOCUS AND BELIEF. BY DOING SO, THE ACHIEVEMENT WILL COME QUICKER AND WITH LESS EFFORT. WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND DOING TO INCREASE FOCUS AND BELIEF? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

USE THIS WEEK!

THE WEEK BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS IS ONE GENERALY FILLED WITH LOTS OF EXHALING AND RELAXATION. DESERVEDLY SO. THE SHOPPING IS DONE. THE CRAZINESS OF THE HOLIDAYS IS WINDING DOWN. TOWARDS THE END OF THE WEEK, SOME PEOPLE BEGIN TO CONTEMPLATE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS. YOU KNOW, THOSE LOFTY GOALS WE ASPIRE TO IN THE COMING YEAR.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS ARE VERY GOOD IN AND OF THEMSELVES. IT IS ALWAYS ADMIRABLE TO THINK OF WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN IMPROVE OURSELVES AND OUR LIVES. THE PROBLEM IS MOST OF US JUST WAIT UNTIL A FEW DAYS BEFORE AND CHOOSE SOME RANDOM OR MAYBE EVEN INTENSE GOAL. WE DON’T SPEND MUCH TIME AND THE PLANNING AND THEN ARE SURPRISED WHEN WE HAVE FAILED ALL OF OUR RESOLUTIONS BY FEBRUARY 1ST, IF NOT BEFORE.

THIS YEAR, LET’S DO IT DIFFERENT. SPEND THIS WEEK THINKING OF THE AREAS WE WISH TO IMPROVE IN THE COMING YEAR. DEVELOP NOT ONLY A PLAN FOR HOW TO DO IT, BUT WHAT TO DO IF WE FEEL OURSELVES AND OUR MOTIVATION SLIPPING. ONE OF THE BEST WAYS IS TO COME UP WITH A STRONG ‘WHY’. THE REASON BEHIND WHAT WE WISH TO ACCOMPLISH. LET US WRITE DOWN BOTH WHAT WE STAND TO GAIN BY ACCOMPLISHING IT AS WELL AS WHAT WE STAND TO LOSE IF WE DON’T.

THE ONE THING YOU SHOULD DO TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE

The most common question I am asked anywhere I go from my day job, to book signings, to live events is this, “What is one thing that I can do to improve my life?” In a society where people are used to quick universal solutions, it can be hard to understand that the solutions can be as varied as the individual. That being said, there is one thing that I would recommend to everyone looking to improve their life. It is at once both universal and customizable. This may sound crazy, but let me assure you that it is 100% true. How can the same solution work for both neighbor Bob and me if I am trying to get in shape and he is trying to fix his relationship?

Let us take the example of getting in shape. Although this can work no matter what area of life you are working on, from parenting to going to a job that seems to suck your soul out of you. If you were to ask someone what the best thing to do to get in shape is, you would, no doubt, receive a million different answers. Some people, like my mother, say walking is the best exercise. I have read that a rowing machine uses roughly 87% of your muscles. Throw swimming, bicycling and other such things in the mix and before long your head starts to spin. If I seek the advice of my friends at peak physique, Jodi and Ricky, I may hear weight lifting, cardio or yoga. So who is right in all of this? They all are. What determines success in fitness, as well as self-improvement, is consistency. While it is true that certain activities use more muscles that others, they do not use any unless you do them. Therefore, the great secret to improving your life? Find something you enjoy. Why? Because you are more likely to keep doing it. Maybe you like battle ropes like the people in the picture above? Let me say, for the record, I have never seen anyone smiling while doing battle ropes, especially while being ‘encouraged’ by a trainer as seems to be the case here. While rowing or walking may use more muscle groups, if you do not like those activities, you are less likely to maintain doing them.

What does all of this have to do with the broad topic of self-improvement? Everything! What events are more likely to change your life? I think fostering an attitude of gratitude is number one on the list. How can you do that? The way that works for you. Do you like keeping a gratitude journal? Then do that because you are likely to stick with it long enough to make a difference. How about carrying a little talisman in your pocket to remind you of something you are grateful for? Then do that. The secret is maintaining a behavior long enough to see results. Relying on will power sets you up for limited success at best. The best chance at success in whatever area of life you are trying to improve is to find something you like and start with that. As things improve, which they will, you will find it easier to add things that may be more beneficial, but would have been harder to stick with in the beginning. You gain momentum by doing an activity that you enjoy. You can use that momentum to make sticking to the more difficult activities that might be needed to accomplish your goals. I would love to hear some of your favorite activities that you use to improve different areas of your life.

START THE WEEK OF RIGHT!

It is nearing the end of the year. No need to wait until January to start working on achieving your goals. This week we are going to look at little things you can do that will have a huge impact in your life. For today, realize we can start when we choose and that can be today. To begin the week, get clear as to what you want to achieve. Write it down so it is there and black and white! We will see you tomorrow for more insights.

HAVE A GREAT MONDAY!!!!

ARE YOU A LION OR A GAZELLE?

This is one of my favorite quotes. There are many levels in which to explore it. I have looked at a few on this website already. Such as the location of the motivation. In the Gazelle’s case, the motivation comes from the lion. If the lion were not present, the gazelle would probably be watching Netflix, eating grass and chilling. Lion appears and we are off running. In the lion’s case, the motivation comes from within, specifically, his stomach. He does not need the gazelle to be present. His running comes from an internal hunger. If the gazelle was not present, he may be running after a water buffalo or some other African neighbor of his.

Today we are going to look at this in a slightly different way and see how we can put it to use in our own life. Let us first turn our attention to the gazelle. What is its motivation? Fear. It is afraid the lion will kill it and eat it. If it does not run fast enough this fear will catch up to it and destroy it. In this case fear is the motivation to keeping this gazelle alive. Proof that fear can be a good motivator. Now let us look at the lion. Where does its motivation come from? Hunger, the desire of a goal. In this case that goal is the gazelle in front of it. It knows unless it runs fast enough, it will not achieve it’s goal and very well may go hungry. If it does not eventually catch a gazelle it will starve to death and be destroyed. Showing that passion and desire for a goal is a very good motivator. Which one of these is better in our lives?

Do we let our fears follow us around and keep us running? Do we keep our goals in front of us and keep running after them? The answer is a simple one – YES! When it comes to seeking an amazing life, we should use every tool at our disposal! We should take our ‘gazelle motivation’ and think of what may happen if we do not keep running. What will happen, for example, if we don’t keep on top of our health? We may develop a very serious condition. We may subject ourselves to a great deal of pain or discomfort. We may even pass away prematurely and lose valuable time with loved ones. I say find a symbol of that and keep it in front of us. It is like that lion lurking to catch us to busy grazing on a pizza and too out of shape to run away from it. (Come to think about it, this could work for my own fitness) It may even help to print out a vicious picture of a lion and keep it somewhere that would motivate you. Maybe by your gym bag. Think of what might happen if you don’t maintain your discipline. Would it result in pain? Lose of health? Lose of time with your loved ones? Maybe even lose of your life?

Next, let us look at our lion motivation. What does achieving our goals represent? Will failing to achieve our goals have serious repercussions for us? What might they be? How many times can we miss our gazelle and go hungry before we starve to death? Take our relationship for example. If we fail to show our spouse, or more to the point have them feel, that we love them? How many times can this happen before the relationship starves of love? We need to keep chasing our goals and feed them with a successful ‘feeding’. As in the case of a lion, this could be a process that never ends. We may need to keep chasing happiness in a relationship for the rest of the relationship. If we miss to many ‘meals’ that relationship will begin to starve. Print out a picture of your goals and keep them somewhere you will see them. I like next to the bed so we can see them first thing in the morning to motivate us and last thing at night to remind us what we are working towards. If you worry about people knowing your goals, although if they are in your bedroom they should know your goals, then you can even print out a picture of a gazelle. As long as you know the meaning and it has an emotional connection, it will work.

When it comes to our goals and to living an amazing life, just like the lion and gazelle, we must wake up running. It would help to use both our fear of failure (gazelle motivation) as well as our passion and desire (lion motivation) to motivate us to run. Whatever we can do to accomplish this goal, we should take advantage of. What do you do to stay motivated and focused on your goals? Do you use both fear of failure and passion towards achievement?

STICK WITH IT

Who likes to wait for their goals? If I were back to giving seminars, I would not expect very many hands to be raised in regards to this question. Many of us are like this small child in the picture above. We get on that new diet, head to the gym, maybe even go inside and then come home and look in the mirror to see if magically we lost a few pounds on the drive to and from the gym. We have all done something like this, haven’t we? Expected results that were disproportionate to the time we had spent working on them.

I once read a description on the relativity of time that stated “How long 3 minutes is, depends on what side of the bathroom door you are on. The same is true when you are working on your goals. I know the journey of getting in shape is certainly an example of this. When you begin to eat healthier, it may feel like you haven’t had pizza in the last decade, when really it was just last Thursday. Same thing for working out. You may hear yourself telling your friend that you can’t remember the last time your muscles didn’t hurt. It is then when they help you with a comment like, “What do you expect? It has only been a week since you have been working out .”

It is the middle of the week as we post this. So much can seem overwhelming or that we are even running short on time to accomplish our goals for the week. We must remember to be patient with ourselves. Remain focused on the long-term solution that we are striving for. The principle of compound interest works not only in the world of finances, but in our professional and personal goals as well. Beginning with small steps towards our goals and maintaining and building on them is the formula for success. After 20 years of poor dietary choices, swapping fast food for a healthy lunch may not seem to make the pounds melt off, but doing so for 6 months will make a huge difference. Building on that lunch time improvement to discover additional healthy meals, some you may want to try for dinner, can lead to a healthier lifestyle long-term. Attempting to give up all your burgers and fries and only eat salad and water for every meal, would certainly lead to you giving up and going back to the burgers and fries. Not to mention, it is not very healthy to begin with.

Remember to be patient with yourself as you work towards your goals this week. Consider what small steps you could take, that will be sustainable. This is the secret to success. In a world where we are all looking for the ‘six-minute abs’ solution to all of our problems, remember lasting change is the secret to success. Look for small action steps you can take and maintain over time. Remember that there is a good deal of time between planting and harvesting. A quick note on that. Different plants take different amounts of time until they are ready for harvest. Your beans do not ripen at the same time as your tomatoes. In fact, one tomato plant may bloom before the one right next to it. Although this seems obvious, we may forget this same rule applies to people as well. Just because neighbor Bob got his degree and new Bugatti by the time he was 40, does not mean we are falling behind. It may be that our plans may bloom later. Sure, it may be a little deflating waving to neighbor Bob in his fancy ride from our Ford Escape, but we must be patient with ourselves and keep tending our own garden. Like compound interest in investing, our small actions over time will lead us to look up one day to amazing results!