THE KEY TO SUCCESS


Before I began writing this post I put the word ‘success’ into Google and this is what came up. I am calling B.S. on this definition! While it is true a part of success is the obtaining of goals, it is by far not the whole picture. In both of my books and on this post we have pointed out that the gain of material things does not bring happiness. Can your life truly be considered a success if you are unhappy? I think we can all agree the answer to this is ‘no’. We have witnessed countless celebrities end their lives in what seems like the world of their dreams. They have “achieved their desired aims and attained prosperity” as our definition above leads us to believe is what success is all about.
What is the problem? What part of success is missing? What is left out of this definition that makes all of the difference? Much like fitness, nutrition, love and relationships, spirituality and every other area of life, success and its definition should not be about obtaining an end. If you got in the best shape of your life and then stopped taking care of your body would you stay that way? If you wow your partner with the most beautiful romantic moment ever but cease to put anymore effort into that relationship, how long before it fell apart? I think the point has been made.
What is the solution? How can we achieve a success that leaves us fulfilled and full of joy? Once again, I want to refer to the definition given by one of my mentors, Mr. Earl Nightingale.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”

Earl Nightingale
There are two very important words to note in that profound statement. First is the word progressive. Success, much like fitness and love in the examples above, should be a life-long pursuit. Your goal should include certain ends but not be defined by such. This will accomplish several great things for you. First, it will allow you to experience several wins. Let us say your goal is to get into great physical shape. As you are progressing towards that and every time you take an action that gets you closer to that you are a success and should celebrate. Once you get in great shape, the same will hold true. Every day at the gym, every healthy meal you chose…success! In your relationship the same is true. Every romantic gesture you show is a success. Every action you do that makes your partner feel loved and appreciated…success! The more you do to get better, the more reasons you have to celebrate. The more you make them feel loved, the more you can celebrate.
The second word of note is worthy. It mentions pursuing a worthy ideal. Is the accumulation of material goods and wealth the exclusive ideal to pursue? On a personal level, I would love to be a famous best-selling author. That type of goal only serves to get you out of bed so well. It is the deeper ‘why’ that accomplishes that goal. I really want to be someone who can positively affect others and make positive changes in the world we all share. By accomplishing my goal of becoming a best-selling author I would be more likely do that. It is not the wealth or notoriety that drives me, but the desire to make a difference. That is a goal that is larger than myself. That is what we all need, a goal larger than ourselves.


One other key that speaker Steve Rizzo does a wonderful job in describing is ‘Falling in Love with the Process’. This is vital. We spend the majority of our lives in the process and very little time reaching goals. Which would you rather attach your happiness to? Yes, being able to fit in that pair of pants that used to be too tight is a great feeling, but so should be working out in the gym knowing you are getting closer. Seeing the smile on your love’s face is amazing, but so should be putting together the very thing that will bring it out. Recalling our definition of success, remember if we are progressing towards a worthy ideal we are successful. We should celebrate every step closer we get.
As a bonus, I will tell you how I have come to learn how to celebrate even the failures. When I eat a huge meal that I know was no good for me, I either use the feelings of guilt and disappointment I have in myself for motivation to eat healthier in the future. ( a “remember how bad you felt?” sort of thing) or if the meal is not that bad, I celebrate that fact that eating healthier and working out at other times gives me the freedom to eat a little crazy every now and again. Same for my relationship with Margie. Try as I may, I am not always the perfect boyfriend. (I know I found this hard to believe at first too) Seeing the upset or disappointment on her face is a terrible feeling that drives me to never take such actions again. Not to mention, I relish in the fact that I learned a way in which NOT to behave/talk/cook/clean etc. when it comes to our relationship. Yes, of course I would rather have everything be sunshine and unicorns (that in itself would be a great compromise) but then I could never celebrate growing and learning to become an even better version of me. Fall in love with the process. It will add immeasurably to your experience of success and the amount of joy you have in your life.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH MORE IDEAS FOR MAKING YOUR LIFE AMAZING!!!

GROW LIKE A SHARK!


If you haven’t already, take a moment to read the quote in the picture above. In my both of my books I advocate a very important principle called “Pick Your Posse”. In which I give you some simple steps to surround yourself with positive and driven people to make your life even more amazing than it is today.
It is said that you are the sum of the 5 people you surround yourself with the most. I have met a lot of people who doubt that this is true. I am not 100% sure the exact number is 5, but let me assure you that you are indeed affected more than you might realize by the people around you. To help you realize how this happens let you provide you with an example. While working as DJs Margie and I are surrounded by both a lot of people and a lot of couples. Often, these couples are not their best after having consumed some cocktails. We have seen couples both verbally, emotionally and more often than I care to see, physically abuse each other. This could leave us with 2 conclusions. First, you see this often enough and it can’t help but dampen your enthusiasm about love and relationships. Second, you do leave with a feeling of gratitude (always a great and powerful emotion) saying to ourselves, “I am glad you are not like that man/woman.” or more to the point, “I am glad we are not like that couple.” This is good and does serve as a great warning of what could happen if we don’t work hard. there is a downside to that.
In our grateful attitude about being more emotionally mature, respectful or whatever difference may set us apart from those couples, it can leave us blind to, or lessen the concern for, issues we could be improving on. Instead of being concerned that our communication may be slipping from the great standard we like to keep it at, we may feel content that we are not screaming at each other like the couple we saw last night. Perhaps we have let our work commitments take us away from being as affectionate as our partner may like. We may not be as concerned because we are not grinding against someone else like that couple last weekend. I equate it to running a race against people you know you will always beat. Sure, you may win every time but will you get faster?
Do not get me wrong, there are lots of amazing couples we are blessed to have join us every weekend. In fact, we encourage them to come back every weekend. Watching them love and respect each other can inspire us and give us new ideas on ways that we can do the same for each other. We make it a point to search out and spend as much time as we can with couples that are even more loving and connected than we are. It not only reaffirms our faith in love, but pushes us to up our game when it comes to love.
This is just one example. The same holds true for keeping your faith, gossiping about others, staying positive, staying driven in your business or any other area of your life. Here is a great piece of wisdom. Whatever area of your life is lacking, begin by surrounding yourself with people who are exceling in that field at a high level. By associating with them you will both learn and be motivated to excel yourself. Pick your posse carefully. If you need help doing this feel free to pick up a copy of my book for additional tips.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING!!

IS IT A SEASON… OR IS IT JUST A GAME?

Here in the United States, it is the season for the National Football League or NFL. Where I live, in West Allis Wisconsin, most of the people cheer for the home team of the Green Bay Packers. The  season is 16 games and by the time you read this the third week will have just completed. This amounts to a little less than 1/5th of the season. Mathematically, certain teams will have severely limited their chances to play for the championship, while others are well on their way to competing for a title.

This past week I was reading news of the odds teams had after 2 weeks. Currently, the home team is 2-0 which is a good start. 61% of teams with that record go on to the playoffs. There are certain teams, such as the one out of Miami Florida, that are 0-2 at this point. Only 12% of these teams will compete for a championship.

What does all of this have to do with living an amazing life? As in many cases, I think sports can be a great analogy for life. Granted our season is generally longer. (Although how long our season is varies from person to person) Each day can be looked at as a game. You win some and you lose some. The more games (days) you win, the more likely you are to win a championship. (an amazing life) As with our sports analogy, the more wins you stack up the more the odds favor your success.

What if you haven’t had many wins up to this point? What if, like our analogy, you find yourself at a metaphoric 0-2? Yes, the odds are a little steeper and you must work harder to win the rest of your games. To speak directly, if your life is less than you desire. Maybe you find yourself not prepared for retirement? Maybe you are behind on your dreams and your bills as Les Brown likes to say. Then you must work harder and with a greater sense of urgency to turn things around. If you are in your 20’s, you may think you have plenty of season left, but the truth is we never know.

As a life coach, just like other coaches, my job is to help you improve your game, not to play it for you. Except life coaches help you with the most important game of all, the game of life. My advice is to play hard every game. If you find yourself staring down a losing record, don’t give up hope. A good football coach would tell you to focus on doing your best each game and then you will have a successful season. As a life coach I would recommend focusing on each day and before you know it you will have a successful life.

FROM SURVIVE TO THRIVE

I stole this wonderful picture off the Facebook page of my coworker Rachel. It grabbed my attention because I think it is something we all fall victim to once in a while. We can become so busy worrying about working and paying bills that we forget to worry about the big picture.

What do I mean by the big picture? It is changing our mind from simply surviving to thriving. The easiest example of this and the one that comes to the mind of most people is financial. When we focus on having enough to pay the bills, that will be all we ever seem to have. Why not find a bigger goal? Focus on having enough to go on that vacation or look for that new car. When you are trying to find ways to discover additional income your mind will be working on the problem even when you are asleep! Suddenly, ideas will pop into your head when you least expect them to. Opportunities you may have missed will suddenly come into focus.

Here is the even greater thing about this change in mentality, it work s for everything. Why is this important? Think of what it can do for your relationship. Is your relationship in survival mode? Are you just happily coexisting with your spouse? Why not be thriving? Find new ways to change the world. Find new ways to take the love you have for each other to exciting new heights! How about your health? Go from simply surviving and feeling dead at the end of the week or even the end of the day, to living a life of energy and vitality abundance!

One of the greatest areas to explore this change of mentality is in your emotional or spiritual well-being. Imagine living a life driven by purpose and gratitude rather than waking up uninspired every morning. Learn to apply the thrive mentality to every aspect of your life.

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!