GOAL VERSES MISSION STATEMENT

One of the questions I get most at my seminars or when I am speaking is “What is the difference between a goal and a mission statement?” This is a very good question. In my upcoming book we address both. Goals and a mission statement are tools that can help you live an amazing life in a lot shorter time than you may expect. Which one is more important and how do they differ? Those are the two questions that we will address here today. I encourage you to pick up a copy of my book, Living the Dream, for deeper reading.

To begin, let us look at how goals and mission statements are different. In the simplest of terms, goals define what we are going to accomplish and a mission statement defines who we are. By this definition you may be tempted to think that a mission statement is more important. The truth is goals and mission statements work synergistically. In my book I suggest developing a well thought out mission statement. You could do so using the tool above or many of the great tools online. When you have a great idea of who you wish to become, what you need to become can be broken down into smaller goals. Thus, the mission statement can generate some great goals. Once again, if you would like more information about mission statements or how they will help you pick up my soon-to-be-released book, Living the Dream.

If you were to approach this from the other directions and start crafting goals, you can certainly use those goals to discover who you are trying to become and what direction you are heading. By doing so you can craft a mission statement. Personally I find this way a bit more complicated, but you may enjoy it.

Having a mission statement and goals will really propel you to the life you deserve to have and both should be a part of everyone’s plan of success. One important thing to note is that both goals and mission statements can, and will change and evolve as you do. Knowing this, the most important thing to do is get started. I would love to hear examples of your mission statements and goals you are currently working on. I will leave you the example of my mission statement below. I look forward to reading yours.

“To become someone who helps all individuals reduce stress, increase joy and become the best versions of themselves.”

A PART OF SUCCESS

After my heart diagnosis, I have spent a good deal working on finding a workable stimulant-free preworkout. Something that will give me a little extra ambition to go to the gym without making my heart explode. I have already tried quite a few. None have really worked extremely well. When I try one and I really don’t feel anything I think to myself, “Ok, this one didn’t work. I will have to try a different one.”

Over the course of the last year since I was advised to limit my caffeine consumption I would guess I have purchased and tried somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 or so of these supplements. When they fail to achieve the desired result I just consider it a learning experience and move along to the next one. I do not dwell, at least very long, on the money invested. I do not have some fatalistic thoughts about how I will never find something that works.

This is a personal example but another is one we have all went through. Ask a parent how long they would give their child to learn to walk before giving up and deciding they will crawl for the rest of their lives. The average parent will tell you that their child will keep trying until they learn to walk. If you could get into the complex thoughts of this toddler, I highly doubt you would find depressing thoughts of giving up. They just keep getting up, falling, getting up again and repeating the cycle. First they take one or two steps, then five or six. Pretty soon they are running around like a college student after four espressos. Their parents wishing, if only for the moment, they hadn’t learned to walk quite yet.

 Why is it as adults we cannot maintain this persevering attitude? We start a new business and it goes belly up. We decide perhaps being our own boss is just not for us and look for a new 9 to 5. We fall in love and end up getting our heart broken. Do we learn from that experience and searching for someone who is more in tune with our values and values us more? A lot of us decide love is not for us and we should spend our lives in a one bedroom apartment surrounded by small furry animals.

I do believe part of the issue is mistaking life for a series of destinations instead of a journey. I can’t recall any person who accomplished anything of great value who did so without overcoming a few, or more likely quite a few, challenges along the way. Success is rarely if ever a one-step process. You do not wake up with a goal, go out and nail it the first time and be done with it. On occasion that would be nice, but let us face it that would also make life pretty boring.

I think the world ‘failure’ is too often used and has a terrible connotation. As the picture says, failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success. This brings to mind one of the best definitions of success I have ever heard. Coming from Earl Nightingale, one of the most profound teachers of success principles. He defined success as follows, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Meaning, as long as we are working towards our well-defined goals we are a success. It also means success is progressive. It is not all ‘all or nothing’ proposition. Mistakes, lessons and what we often refer to as ‘failure’, are merely steps getting us every closer to our final goal.

WANT A GREAT LIFE? USE A FOUR- LETTER WORD!

This is a post you can read at work. Although the usual warnings do not apply, this is a post about a four-letter word that used to offend me far more than all the others. It is also about how not only making peace with this word and the concept it represents, but putting it to work for me as well, changed my life in ways that I can’t possibly begin to explain.  Although now that I think about that is what I am about to attempt to do.

Would you like to improve every single aspect of your life with the use of just one word? What if there was no required writing or hard work on your part? What if all you had to do was ponder this one four-letter word and your friendships would improve, you would become more productive and the stress in your life would go down? What if using this four-letter word could make you money and help satisfy your partner? I realize this sounds a bit over-the-top but it really is true. The ironic thing is that most of us groan or run the other way when we hear this word. I get it. I’ve been there. When I heard this word growing up and all through school my stomach would twist in knots and I would start to feel sick. Now, when I think of this word I am filled with excitement because I know it will bring everything I desire to me quicker and with less stress.

What is this amazing word already? Before I tell you what this word is I must ask you to do your best to keep your preconceived notions to the side for a few moments. Remember I told you I used to run from this word. Another word of caution is that this may sound too simplistic to be powerful. All the great ideas usually do. If applied correctly, this one small word can have a great impact on every area of your life you apply it to.

The word to which we are referring is goal. When I used to hear the world goal my mind would focus on expectations and the prospect of failure. It brought to the mind the dreaded days of bringing home a report card. In the present day it can bring to mind sales goals at work or perhaps the fitness routine that didn’t last as long after the first of the year as you hoped. Thinking of all of these examples it is no surprise that people have a negative connotation to the word goal.

How exactly can we use this maligned word to transform our lives? By setting and applying our own goals. If that word is still a little to tainted for you we can try substituting the words ‘vision’ or ‘purpose’ in it’s place. For the sake of this post we are going to continue to use the word ‘goal’. By the time we are done here I think you may very well have a different view of the word all together such as I have.

Here is the basic formula for using goals to revolutionize your life. Decide in advance what your goal for any activity can be. This can be helpful for trying circumstances. Let us say you are about to leave for work. Decide what your goal for the drive in is. Maybe it could be to not become overwhelmed with dread. Maybe to enjoy some great music or an audio book on the way? When you get to work what is your goal? Is it to work as hard as you can on a certain project? Is it to demonstrate how valuable you are to your boss? Maybe it is to collect your paycheck without harming your coworkers?

Start small and work up I suppose. This not only helps us with challenging situations, but can help us with enjoyable situations as well. Having lunch with a friend? What is your goal? Is it to just enjoy their company? Maybe to tell them how much they mean to you? Maybe to show them how much they mean to you? Maybe it is just to fully enjoy your pizza? Attending the State Fair? What is your goal? Is it to learn about agriculture? Is it to pet animals you normally do not see? Perhaps take in a great local blues band? Maybe try new craft beers? Enjoy a great evening with friends?

You may be tempted to think, “Neil, do I really have to think of a goal for each and every thing I do?”. The answer in short is ‘no’. By incorporating goals and deciding in advance what your purpose in any action and situation is will help you make the most out of the situation and out of life. Arguing with your spouse? The goal is not to be angry or to get them the same, but to convey and solve and upset. Can you see how having a clear goal in that situation may cause you to take a more helpful set of actions? In the going out to lunch with your friend example. If your goal is to help them feel how much they mean to you, imagine what things you might throw into the conversation and how amazing they will feel when they leave? I would love to hear some of your goals, how you may have used them in the past or how you plan to use them in the future!

IS IT A WARNING OR AN EXAMPLE?

A great quote from our friend Darren Hardy. I think everything in our life falls in one of these two categories. The great thing about approaching life this way is that you always learn. When you seem to make mistakes it may just be a warning that you are heading in the wrong direction. When we see someone who seems to have it all we can often feel tempted to be jealous. If we use that person’s success as an example of what is possible we can win that way too.

Begin to think of the people in your life. Which category do they fall in? Here is the important part, both roles are necessary. Those who are an example can teach us quite a bit. When I speak with people such as my friend Kyle I always walk away feeling upbeat and inspired. Then I remember to try harder to do that for others. Kyle serves as a great example of a positive conversationalist. I can learn from him and my conversations with others will be more positive and inspiring going forward.

What about those who are not so positive? How can they serve us? We often need a reminder of what could happen if we continue to be in a negative state of mind by being forced to spend what may seem like an eternity with someone who suffers from being ‘sunshine challenged’. I know this holds true for me. Have you ever been in conversation with someone who is so negative you want to go home and take a shower just to get the negative vibes off of you? I know I have. Having that feeling motivates me to watch my own conversation when talking to others. I do not want them to feel that way when they leave my company. Thinking this way I end up with thoughts of gratitude for our friend who resembles Eeyore from the Winne-the-Pooh stories. Not only have I traded feeling negative and frustrated for feeling grateful, which is a win. I have also had a great reminder and therefore my conversations with others will be better and more positive going forward.

As you can see, everyone in your life can be a positive motivating factor, even those who are not so positive. By learning from both you can help yourself become more of an example than a warning. What happens when we make a mistake or become a warning to others? There is an opportunity there as well. How we face a challenge or even a seeming failure can serve as an example to others facing challenges. When we view life as an opportunity to grow there are only chances to learn and grow and life becomes much more positive and…amazing!

ALL IN HOW WE LOOK AT IT

Challenges. We all go through them. Some are small, like leaving your cup of coffee on top of your car as you drive away. Some are big, such as a breakup or losing someone. We have little or no control over most of these. Who would voluntarily give up their dose of caffeine just to decorate the outside of their car?

What we all have in common is the fact that our lives include challenges. Some may appear to have more than others, but if we look closely we discover we all have them. What separates us is how we respond to challenges. How come some of us walk away bitter and some walk away better? This can even happen differently with the same person depending on the situation. I can say that I do not always respond best from challenges and often it takes the help of others to put me on the right track.

What makes the difference? The key here is perspective. As the picture above notes, some people have muscles and some have wounds. It is not a matter of minimalizing your pain or struggle, but putting it to work for you. As Eric Thomas, one of my favorite coaches reminds us, don’t waste your pain. It is bad enough that terrible things happen in life. Let us do our best to make use of them by gaining strength from the struggle we have survived or in some cases are currently going through. Print out this picture or maybe even just write it down for some good motivation!

THE MAGIC FORMULA

Half of my time engaged in my writing career includes observing the ideas of others. After all, finding ways to live a positive rewarding life should include as many successful resources as possible. Today’s post was learned watching a talk given by Jack Canfield, one of the authors of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Jack was speaking about his great book The Success Principles. One of the things he mentioned that really grabbed my attention was a formula you can use to determine and control the success and joy experienced in your life.

A formula for figuring out life? If you are picturing a chalkboard full of equations do not worry. This formula only has three parts and can be used by everyone. The beautiful thing about researching is that a great deal of the information you come across is very similar. The unique thing is how it is presented. This formula is such an example. It can be difficult or at the very least not very motivating to try and remember some esoteric phrase or cliché quote. A formula is simple and easy to adjust. Let us take a quick look at the formula and discuss how we can use it to change our life and the level of joy we experience in it.

E (Event) + R (Response) = O (Outcome)

Using a math comparison let us say this equation is 2 + 2 = 4. Sounds pretty simple, does it not? The first part of the equation – Event – we often to not have control over. It is like the first number ‘2’ in our example. Let us say we are not thrilled with the outcomes in areas of our lives. That would be the ‘4’ in our example. If we have no control over the first ‘2’ and we are not happy with ‘4’ as the outcome, we must change the second ‘2’. This is also known as our response. This we have complete control over. It may not be easy, but when we learn to control our response to any event it will change our outcomes. This will change our life and the amount of joy in it. I suggest printing or writing this formula somewhere you see it every day.

Let us take this one step further. In our equation let us use negative numbers to represent negative aspects. If the first number or the first ‘2’ is negative, that is a negative event. These often happen to us and again are beyond our control. We get fired, the love of our life finds they love someone else or a million other situations can happen. We have the choice of not responding, or making the second ‘2’ a ‘0’, that leaves the situation equally as negative as when we began. We can also respond with negativity. This could range from anger, sadness, revenge and depending on the severity could be anything from a ‘-1’ to a ‘-100’. The great the number behind the negative sign, in other words the more negative our response, the more negative the outcome will be.

On the other hand, we could also respond positively. Perhaps the situation was mildly negative, like a long wait in line at the store. We will say this is a ‘-1’. We could use this time to send our spouse a text message letting them know how much we love them and how proud we are to be with them. That would be a positive response to the situation. We could say this response was a ‘+3’. -1 +3 = 2. The situation could still turn out positive by the time we get home. Our spouse could be filled with love and gratitude for our gesture. If, on the other hand, we spend our time thinking about how much this is an inconvenience on our day and get ourselves all worked up we would be having a negative response. We will say this is a ‘-3’. Again, that would depend on the level of anger. Now our formula looks like this -1 + -3 = -4. We have taken a bad situation and made the outcome even more negative. What could this mean? Perhaps we treat the cashier harshly, or come home to our spouse in a bad mood and jeopardize the chance for a romantic evening.

If we are dealt a terribly negative situation, say a ‘-10’. Let use our lover leaving us for this example. It was beyond our control. We have already seen by responding negatively, such as spreading bad gossip about them or trying to do something vengeful, will only lead to a greater negative outcome. What if we can use this to our advantage? Perhaps we can learn lessons about modifying our own behavior for future spouses? Maybe we can take notes as to what type of people to avoid dating in the future? These positives could only amount to say a ‘+5’. Plugging that into our equation -10 + 5 = -5. You could see the situation may still suck, but not quite as bad. The ability to create the most positive responses can increase our ability to overcome, or at the very least lessen the effect, of the most negative situations.

Lastly, there is what to me is the most puzzling of all equations, but one I witness far too often. That is where we have a positive event. Let us say we get a raise which could be a ‘+4’. Again, the number could depend on the amount of the raise, how  bad we needed the raise or even how expected the raise was. A normal response would be joy or gratitude, let us say a +3. That equation would be 4 + 3 = 7. The outcome would be made even more positive by our response. There are those who do what I consider baffling. They receive their raise a +4 and instead of adding positivity to that event, do the very opposite. Perhaps they complain it wasn’t enough or how long it was overdue. They might even end up feeling dissatisfied or even angry with getting more money. This response could be anything from a ‘-4’ to perhaps a ‘-6’. Our equation now looks like this 4 + (-6) = -2. You can take a positive event and turn it into a negative outcome!

So, print out this equation and work on controlling your response. The more positive your responses, the more positive your outcomes will be. Lots of positive outcomes lead to a positive life. It will help us cope better with the negative and only intensify the positive!

HOW TO MAKE 2019 YOUR YEAR

Let us clear something up going into the new year, we need to act. I am a big fan of the Law of Attraction. I know it works and personally use it. What some people who see the movie The Secret, or read books on attraction misconstrue is the fact you have to act. You can use vision boards, recite affirmations, journal and meditate, but if you do not follow that with inspired action nothing good will happen. Kind of a bummer I know.

The good news in all of this is once you do the things mentioned above, it will be come more clear and easier to know what actions to take. Those listed in the pictures above would be a great place to start. I particularly like the ‘smile more, be excited’ line. A smile can not only improve the lives of those around you, but will elevate your mood as well. Even when you don’t feel like smiling, give it a try anyway. Often by changing our physical state we can influence our mental and emotional state as well.

Action does another great thing for us, it gives us joy. Tony Robbins said progress equals happiness. I have found that to be very true. If you are working towards a goal and taking steps you are being successful. Another favorite author and speaker of mine, Earl Nightingale, defined success as the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. The word to notice in that definition is progressive. You are not just a success when you achieve your goal, but even as you are working towards it. In other words, if you know where you want to go and are working on getting there you are a success. Even if the steps you are taking do not work out this time, you have just eliminated something that would not work.

This year let us put our minds to work, but we cannot forget to get off the couch and make it happen as the picture above reminds us. Try a few of the items listed above and see how they change your life. I would love to know what action steps all of you are going to take in the new year!

RETURN SOME GIFTS THIS YEAR

I love receiving gifts. It is not that I am materialistic, but the fact someone thought of me, and then acted upon that thought means the world to me. It can be something they made, a poem they wrote anything really. This is not the gifts we are talking about today. If you have not read the little comment above, I may suggest you do so now as it will make everything you read from here forward a lot more sensible.

As kind and compassionate as I try to be, there are still some who chose to offer me the ‘gifts’ mentioned in the picture above. Working 3 nights a week in the bar setting I witness a good deal of insults, he said/she said and gossip. It would seem a lot of people get terribly upset if others do not speak of them or see them in just the right light. This reminds me of a saying I came across a while back. You might work as hard as you can to grow the perfect peaches, but some people just don’t like peaches. I come across this when people report this website as offensive. I think to myself, how can anyone find reducing stress, increasing joy and improving yourself offensive? Then I remember, some people just don’t like peaches.

This is a good thought to keep in mind. Others will not like you because of many different reasons. Your skin color, your beliefs, who you are friends with and a million other reasons they will come up with. Remember that speaks more about them, than about you. They will insult you, gossip about you and even make up terrible lies about you. Just like the picture above says, “If you do not accept something given to you, it belongs to the sender.” If you are honestly working to be the best person you can be, your actions will speak a lot louder than their words. In fact, the only way to counter insults truly is to act at such a high level, that the one insulting you looks foolish.

I encourage all of you to leave your tips for dealing with insults and negative gossp. The more ideas we have, the better chance of success we have. I am going to leave you with this quote from Frank Sinatra.

“The best revenge is massive success.”

TRANSFORM TOGETHER

There are many good places to meet friends for social reasons.Here is one that not only accomplishes that, but has an added bonus of science. The science behind making good friends? Before we get ahead of ourselves, let me back up and talk a little more about the social pluses of today’s place to make friends. Today’s place to make friends and generally improving your life is the gym. Before you start rolling your eyes and clicking off this website, let me assure you I can relate to your doubts.

At the gym I am usually in a state close to hyperventilating, dripping with sweat, smelling less than ideal and in short, not my ideal self. Why on earth would this be a good place to meet someone? First of all, chances are most people there are in a similar state. Second, all of you already have one thing in common, you are chasing the goal of being healthier. Sure, your goals may be different. It may be you are facing a serious health condition, maybe you are trying to get in shape for your Jamaican vacation or you just want to fit into the clothes in your closet better. That gives enough variety to start some interesting discussions.

Here comes the science. The first one has to do more with working out than making friends, but it good to know just the same. It would fit under the category of psychological science. When working to obtain our fitness goals having a workout partner dramatically increases our chances of success. We find it easy to make excuses to ourselves, but most of us tend to feel a lot worse if we let someone else down. Having a partner that can not only talk us into the gym when we don’t feel like going, but hold us accountable when we don’t make it, will have our butts cursing on the treadmill far more often than when we try to go it alone. Adding to the fact two heads are always better than one when it comes to figuring out how to use that complex machine you never see anyone on but looks like it could really help your fitness.

The second half of the science as to why the gym is such a good place to make friends is even more impressive. When we exercise the brain releases ‘feel good chemicals’. These chemicals are called endorphins. No, they are not the cute animals that swim around the ocean. Those are dolphins. They do, however, cause very similar reactions in our bodies and brains. Endorphins, again the chemical not the aquatic animal, interact with receptors in your to reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body. They have been compared to a natural form of morphine.

Imagine everyone you meet being on morphine. There would be a lot less conflict and a lot more mellow happy people. That is exactly what happens after we work out. It is also something I recommend couples try working into their routine. Spending time around someone who has just experienced the rush of chemicals compared to natural morphine should be pretty easy. If both parties are experiencing that feeling such as a workout partner or your loving spouse, great feeling are bound to occur. As the new year approaches lots of your friends will join gyms and those gyms usually run specials to get people to join. Why not find a friend to make that commitment with you? Can’t find a friend who is looking to get healthy? Join yourself and begin to talk to people there. Trust me when I tell you most people would be more than happy to talk about their workouts, diet and fitness routine. I don’t know if this is due to endorphins or just the fact they love to have people working with them.

Try taking and making friends at the gym. You won’t be disappointed. As an added bonus, you will become healthier and happier yourself.

THE LATEST SUPERHERO I MET

This is one of my favorite quotes. Someone who is physically capable has no reason to at the very least return their shopping cart to the cart corral. I stand corrected. There is only one reason – laziness. If you are so inconsiderate to other shoppers and parkers, not to mention the store employees who have the job of collecting these carts, then perhaps you should try doing their job for a week. It also shows a pattern. If you are too lazy to return your shopping cart, what other corners are you cutting in your life? That is the thought behind the above quote.

A successful person is one who will do what is right and what should be done even when it may not be the easiest thing to do. They will not only think of just themselves, but of the others who could be impacted by there actions. Can you imagine how you would feel if your brand new car was dented and scratched by a shopping cart someone carelessly left in the parking lot? What if you had a sore back and had to park further away because all of the close spots were taken by random carts left by strangers. Maybe you might not even have a cart to use because they were spread throughout the parking lot? Careless actions like this also cause prices to rise. Stores must replace or repair carts that have been damaged or stolen. That price is often passed on to all consumers. Something I am guessing our lazy friend had not thought about.

This leads me to share an amazing story I witnessed the other day. I was picking Margie up from the local craft store as she was picking up supplies for her business while I was writing. As I got out of my car I saw a lady who was easily in her 80’s walking with a walker. Do you know what she was doing? Pushing both her walker and her cart up to the store to return it. My only regret is I did not arrive sooner to help her. She laboriously made her way back to her car with her walker. She had every excuse to leave her cart in the middle of the parking lot, but she didn’t. To me, that woman is a superhero.

Ask yourself next time you are tempted to do a job half way, “What does this say about my character?” Chances are if you are skipping things you deem unimportant, you are also cutting some corners in your life where it really matters. Remember character is built by the actions we take when nobody is watching.