This title is a little tongue in cheek. Success does require a great deal of work, focus and discipline. Still, there are things we can do that allow success to have a smoother, and thus, a quicker road in our lives. Who would not want that?
Aside from developing and maintaining an attitude of gratitude, surrounding yourself with positive driven people who want to see you succeed is one of the most important choices you can make. Notice i ‘choice’. For the most part we can decide who we would like to have in our lives.
What is the benefit of this? There are many. Just some of them include the following; increased accountability. Now this can not always seem fun at first. Who wants to hear “did you go to the gym today?”. Quite often though knowing we will be held accountable for our actions keeps us focused on taking positive ones. Encouragement. The opposite side of the coin, when you feel like giving up having someone to pick you up and let you know they believe in you can give you the strength to keep going. I heard Les Brown say once “sometimes you have to believe in others belief in you until you can believe in yourself”. I can say from personal experience that is true. Lastly there is an increased network. There are always people who know people, and knowing more of them only serves you well. I cannot count the times i have had people tell me “I know this person that would like to buy your book“. Through them i am able to reach and help more people.
These are just some examples and there are a great deal more. Regardless of what you stand to gain, surrounding yourself with good people who want you to succeed will help.
Feel free to share tips on surrounding yourself with good people or what you can gain out of it in the comments below.
Last post we talked about encouraging others. We hopefully came to an understanding of how important that is. I think by doing so others are also more inclined to do the same for us. Still it is very important to make the conscious effort to include encouraging people in our inner circle. Sometimes the critics will often get the best of us. It could be a demanding boss with unreal expectations. It could be a condescending parent or spouse. It could be a jealous coworker. It could even be the worst critic we all have – the inner critic -. Let me give you two examples of how important having someone who believes in you can be.
First, I want to talk about Les Brown. For those of you who do not know Les Brown he is one of my favorite motivational speakers. He has spoke to over 100,000 people in Atlanta. He has spoke to several corporations and celebrities. What does any of this have to do with us and having people believe in us? A lot. Les Brown said the hardest thing he has had to do in his life is believe he could do what he is now doing. He was born in a poor part of Miami on a floor and given up for adoption at 6 weeks old. He was adopted by a single mother who could barely support herself much less her children. In school he was labeled mentally challenged and failed 2 grades. So how did he succeed? Two very important people came into his life. A high school teacher who told him something I love – “Never let someone’s opinion of you become your reality” – think about that for a moment. Also he had a friend named Mike Williams who kept encouraging him to become a speaker. Les kept arguing the reasons he could not. He had no college education. He had never worked for a major corporation, and so on. One day Mr. Williams hung up on his friend Les. When Les called him back to inquire if they had accidentally become disconnected, Mike Williams told him indeed he had hung up on him and explained as long as he argued for his limitations he might as well keep them. After that Les thought about it and tried his hand at speaking. Today he gets paid more for one speech than most of us get paid in a year thanks to a principle he describes this way, “Sometimes you have to believe in someone’s belief in you until you can believe in yourself”.
The second example is a little closer to home. I knew a man who worked 2 jobs both in the retail and bar business. He had a genuine desire to make people happy and did just that with the jobs he had. It was then suggested to this young man that if he could perhaps write down and share his ideas on either say a blog site or in a book he could touch a lot more lives. Although the idea of helping people beyond the scope of his immediate influence really appealed to him he told himself that a simple postal worker and bartender could never write a book that would influence people in a positive fashion or that any of the online content he could come up with would interest anyone around the corner much less around the globe. Still with the belief and pushing from a few close friends that man has a book published and available on amazon called A Happy Life for Busy People and his blog is followed in over 60 countries at last count. In addition that young man met a supportive and encouraging young lady who was creative in her own right and recognized this man’s talent and continued to push and encourage him to start his own YouTube Channel and begin teaching seminars and public speaking? What happened to those two? As you read this I am attending the best of Milwaukee awards to hopefully collect the award for best Milwaukee Author for which I am nominated. I am doing so with my lovely lady who next year will assuredly take home the award for best wedding cake designer.
There is no doubt in my mind neither Les Brown or myself would not have shared any of what we had inside of us if it were not for the wonderful souls who pushed and encouraged us along the way. So make sure you include several folks who believe in the best in you and will push and encourage you to bring it out.
Let us take a quick break from the ‘P’ words today to touch on a subject that has been showing up a lot in messages and a comments on here and my Facebook and YouTube channel. The subject is this, what do you do when you are pushing to just get by, or maybe even doing something truly great and wonderful for society and the bottom falls out? You are on the edge of success and then you fall back to rock bottom.
This feeling sucks. There is no other way to put it. So what can we take away from this situation? Remember two very important things. One, you are further along than you were yesterday. Oh sure the outside evidence may seem contrary. You may have less money, be further away from your goal, your relationships may seem more distant. The truth is you now have gained experience. You now have went through the failure. That gives you new information and motivation you did not have before. Even if it is only how bad it feels and how much you want to get out of it.
The second thing to remember is sometimes we cannot get out of our own way so someone must push us. What do I mean by this? We may be trying really hard to succeed at what we are currently working at, but there are bigger plans for us. Let me give you two examples from famous authors and speakers I admire. Les Brown, who has inspired millions with his words was once a radio DJ. Imagine if he would have just focused on succeeding there? Eric Thomas who reaches millions on YouTube channel and through his books and CDs was once a bus boy at Olive Garden.
The point is this. When you’re at the bottom remember the only way from there is up. You might just being pushed in a new direction. Feel free to share this message with those who are struggling.
Yesterday we talked about my recent “dropping the ball”. Today I want to share with you another way of looking at it. This comes from one of my favorite speakers Les Brown. He compared the mind to the garden. In the garden weeds represent problems. So, in the garden of life we will consider weeds to represent the problems. As we can see above weeds, and problems, do not need any help to grow. They can even grow in the cracks in asphalt. If we left our garden to it’s own devices weeds would surely take over. That may sound crazy to a lot of us. Why, after all, would you go through the problem of setting up a garden, planting a garden and then let nature take it’s course. Oddly enough, that is what most of us do in our lives. We wake up like an accident. No purpose, no focus. Oh sure we plan to go to work, plan to make dinner and a few other things, but those are not part of planting our garden.
Think of a garden, you have to choose what you want it to grow by planting the right seeds. What ideas or projects have you planted in your own life? Then, in our imaginary garden let us say we planted roses. To raise a beautiful rose there are certain things you have to do. Water it so often, make sure it receives enough sun. Perhaps add some sort of fertilizer. Life is no different. If you have a great idea or project you have planted you must cultivate the proper environment for that idea to grow.
One more thing we have to do in our garden. Weed. If we just left weeds in our garden alone and worried about taking care of our plants they would eventually crowd out and kill our plants. Same in life. You must deal with your problems, or pull the weeds, before they grow and kill your dreams and ideas. So what we have here is a balance. You must tend to your plants in your garden, or your dreams, ideas and projects in your life. You must also spend time removing the weeds in your garden, or addressing and eliminating the problems in your life.
So take a look at your life. Do you have a garden with nothing planted in it? Do you just wake up and go through the motions letting nature take it’s course? Perhaps you have some dreams and goals you planted years ago and never tended to. Perhaps you were so busy trying to pull the weeds out of the garden of your life you forgot to tend to .and fertilize what you were trying to grow. Life is a balance my friends. Let us all work to have a more beautiful garden in 2016
Let’s talk about what I consider one of the greatest skills one can master and that is focus. I used to give a passing fancy to the subject of focus but recent events and conversations with friends has changed the importance of focus. When I started thinking of it and reflecting on my past it became clear how much of a role focus played.
Have you ever felt like you could have 48 hours in a day and still not get everything you need done? I am sure we all have. One major reason we seem to resemble the hamster in a wheel just running in place and not going anywhere is our focus, or should I say lack of focus. You are starting to clean the house, but then you think of something you wanted to check on Facebook. An hour and several videos about your friend’s pets you realize pretty soon you have to start dinner. You start making dinner and a friend sends you a text about going to lunch. You tell her about how you spent all day trying to clean the house and didn’t get anywhere. 12 messages back and forth and dinner is on pace to be served at midnight.
We all have days like this. Myself included. We have all had the opposite days though, haven’t we? You know when we get lost planting the garden and are suddenly interrupted and look up and have all the rows planted. How does this happen? Focus. When we are focused on the end goal and keep that in front of us our actions become more focused. So how do we stay focused on committed to our goal? I have found something that works for me. Two things really. First, whether it is cleaning the house or getting in shape, create a strong ‘Why’ this will be discussed in greater detail in my next book, but here is the nuts and bolts. WRITE DOWN both what you will gain by doing what you are striving for, and what you will lose by not doing it. I know what you are thinking “So you are giving me even more to do, that is not going to help” Well taking five minutes to do this step will save you stress and grief going forward. I capitalized the first part of that statement because writing it down, especially when it comes to a goal that needs to maintain focus on for long periods of time it is essential to not only keep your goal in front of you but the reasons you need to get it done. Then when your cell phone starts talking to you send it right to voicemail. As Eric Thomas one of my favorite motivational speakers says “most of us would be more successful if we gave up our phone” So keep your goals and reasons in front of you. do this for a week and see what happens. There is one more thing you can do that I learned from major league athletes.
If I were to ask you, “who is the greatest of all time?” A lot of us, especially those of us who follow sports think of Muhammad Ali. Why would we think that? Because he told everybody. More importantly he told himself. That is what he focused on, being the greatest of all time. That is what we all need to do. We need to tell each other and ourselves that we are going to accomplish our goals. Les Brown, another one of my favorite speakers tells us to let ourselves “you got the right stuff” Put that on the mirror. There will be more about becoming the legends we were born to be. For now, focus on what you have to accomplish and why and enjoy the ease in which it seems to happen.
Here is a picture I have up in my locker. In the past I have written and spoken about modeling people who have succeeded in your chosen field. I personally read and follow people like Tony Robbins, Les Brown and others that inspire me.
I stand by that idea and encourage you to do so, but there is another person you want to model, the best version of yourself. To me, “be your own hero” means to act in such a fashion that the things you do both inspire you and give you a sense of pride. When I help someone to see the beauty in themselves and the world around them, i am my own hero. When I work with someone to improve the quality of their products I am my own hero. Even if I make a coworker or server smile, i consider myself a hero. The idea is to think of times when you were the best version of yourself and that is the goal you should aspire to. Look up to your heroes, Be someone else’s hero for sure, but remember to be your own Jeri at the end of the day.
“If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams”
This may be one quick way to motivate yourself into action. If we admit our current situation is of our doing we often leave ourselves with two questions. If we are dissatisfied the question is “what are we going to do about it”. If we are satisfied the question becomes “Now what?”. Either way you can see accountability is a great beginning to a better life.