It’s not forever, It’s a season

In my book 7 Ways To More, I outline 7 guiding principles that I have made part of my daily life to ensure I am maximizing this one life that I have. In one of my chapters I discuss the seasons of life and how the seasons of life are a lot like the seasons of weather.

Purchase the book here:     http://www.amazon.com/Ways-More-Maximize-enjoy-reaching/dp/150257800X/
What season are you in? The seasons are defined as: spring (March, April, May); summer (June, July, August); autumn (September, October, November); and winter (December, January, February). Life can truly be compared to the seasons. There are four different seasons in a year. They’re about three months—or twelve weeks—each. Life is like this as well.

From one to eighteen years, most children in America are in their spring seasons. They are in school, just planting seeds. We plant in the spring because that is when the soil is most fertile. The earth is coming out of the winter months, and the right conditions (rain, sunlight, and warmer temperatures) are present for the roots to establish themselves. These well-established roots will foster the growth needed to prosper through the summer. The same thing happens to kids as they grow. They are planting and developing strong roots to prepare them for their lives—or at least that should be the goal.

Then when we get to age eighteen, we typically have an opportunity to continue planting (college or further training of some sort), or some people go out and start work. Without some kind of education beyond high school, the work is likely to be manual labor—hard, physical work. This is the summer period. If you have a job, you are trying to find your place within a company or in some kind of career. You are putting in the hours to show that you are a committed employee. Or you are working a lot of long hours to save up money to move out on your own.

Up until you turn forty, you are still in the summer season. If you went to college, you start your summer a little later. Either way, you are putting in the hours and the effort to get on a career track and to make money and/or to pay back your student loans. Here is some advice—pay off those loans as quickly as possible. Don’t keep them hanging over your head.

The years from forty to sixty are the fall season, the harvest time of your life. Ideally, your hard work and education have paid off for you, and you have earned higher pay and better positions. You have taken your experience of the last fifteen to twenty years and applied it to get yourself to a place of stability. You are in control of your destiny. This should be the goal, and I hope you can or will achieve it.

Now we come to winter. For most people it may start around age sixty to sixty-five (although people are retiring later and later) and last until you fully retire or until you die. Yes, I know, I hate to type those words, but it is a reality. In this final season of your life, if you have planned well, you can hibernate and live off the harvest that you created during your forty-plus years of work and effort. You get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

During the four seasons of your life, you will have lots of miniseasons as well. Life as a whole can be compared to the seasons, but in each year there are four seasons as well. You will live your life one season at a time, within the bigger context of the four seasons of your whole life.

As you are reading this book, maybe you are in the spring of your life. What do we do in the spring? We plant. We plant the seeds that we hope to harvest in the fall. I hope this book will get you planting. If you want to invest in a new business venture, you may require money, so you have to figure out how to get that money. This is planting. Maybe you have decided to go back to college, or to finish a degree that you started but never finished. What if you invested in a seminar on a subject that you have a passion for? All of these things are considered planting. Opening a Roth IRA or contributing to a 401(k) plan are both things you could consider.

You can’t harvest unless you plant. What comes after spring? Any guesses? Yes. It’s summer. This never changes. Maybe you are in your summer season. The summer is hot and can feel really long. I work with many people who are in their summer season. I like to compare the summer to a sales cycle that has only a little bit of time left before the cycle ends. If you are a good sales person, you have planted lots of seeds in the spring. As you are coming up to the end of the quarter and the sales cycle, you have to put in long days and long hours to really nurture the seeds you planted in the spring. This period of time is hot and grueling. You are trying to make sure the crop stays alive so you can harvest and reap the benefits of the sales in the fall.

In the summer, our focus should be different. It’s hard to plant in the summer. If you have ever tried planting a garden and you planted late, you know that it’s hard to get the plants going—it’s too hot, or it’s too dry. In summer, we should be focusing on the crop we planted in the spring. Are you currently in your summer? Are you putting in the hours necessary so you can harvest a crop later? If you started a new business, are you putting in the time and effort to get it on stable ground to be able to harvest later?

For those reading this book who are twenty-five to thirty-five years old or who have taken a new job with a new company, this summer season requires a lot of effort. This is where you show how you are different. When things are hot and dry, when the workload is large and the problems are big, the company needs people who are willing to stay in the field long days nurturing the crop. Keep in mind that the summer is just a season; it is not forever. You just have to get through to the next season. That promotion can be eighteen months away or five years, but you have to stick with it. That is what the goal is during the summer—nurturing our crop and managing our crop. Our goal in the summer is to get to the fall where we can reap the benefits of what we have planted and nurtured.

Whew! What season is after summer? Fall. Yes, fall follows summer, every year. We have now finally made it to the fall. What you have done early in your life sets you up to reap the benefits of your harvest when you are forty to sixty years old, but each year you will have a fall season as well. What do we do in the fall? We harvest our crop, and we reap the benefits of the crop. Going back to the sales cycle, if you did your planting well in the spring, nurtured the crop in summer with water and follow-up, you now get to the fall, and those commission checks will start coming in. Maybe you attended that seminar in the spring. You took the material you learned in that seminar and diligently applied it to your life or your work (your summer). You now start seeing the benefits of this seminar. Maybe what you learned at that seminar allowed you to generate extra income, or maybe it allowed you to get a raise at work. You eventually get to a point in the seasons where your work and effort from the planting you did is realized in some kind of gain. This is the goal—to be able to harvest the crop.

What comes after the fall? Yep, it’s winter. What do bears do in the winter? They hibernate. Mother Nature allows them to hibernate because they planted well, worked hard, reaped a harvest, and can now live off that harvest for a while. The winters can be cold and long for some. As humans we can’t completely hibernate, but if we’ve done the work, there should be enough to live on comfortably at the end of our lives.

I work with a lot of people who are in the winter season. They reaped the harvest of their planting after they graduated college and got their first job, but they have been living off that harvest too long and have not planted anything in a long time. We must continue to plant—if we don’t, after a while we won’t have anything left to harvest or live off. A harvest can last only so long, and then we have to plant again. No matter what season of life you are in, you have to continue to go through all four seasons to be more, become more, have more, and ultimately give more. Remember the person I mentioned earlier who hasn’t invested in his personal and self-development in years? He has been in the winter season that whole time; he can’t harvest the executive job, because he hasn’t planted anything.

There are four seasons for a reason. It takes all four for this world to operate. If we plant in the summer, typically our crops can’t get enough water and nutrients to take off and be successful, or they don’t have enough time to reach full maturity. That is why we plant in the spring. The ground is moist and cooler. This allows our seeds to take off.

So, what season are you in? When is the last time you set some goals for yourself? Are you still living off of your harvest from years ago? Is it time for you to plant some more? That is what goals are. They are the seeds that allow you to start moving toward a new harvest, and your next harvest could be a big one.

To your success and your future.

thebrianwillett.com

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450 sheep leap to their own death

You can read the story about 450 sheep leaping to their own death in Turkey back in 2005.  This is one story of thousands similar to this about sheep.  This link will take you to that story.  https://en.wikinews.org/wiki/450_sheep_leap_to_their_deaths_in_Turkey

Why would it be that a sheep would follow another sheep to its death?  Answer:  It is built-in to their genetic code.  Researchers say that sheep have a natural tendency to herd up and follow, especially when there is a threat.  They seek to get to the middle of the herd, because they feel safer.  Obviously not all the sheep can be in the middle, but they still feel safer when they are altogether.  They follow each other.

Are there times we should follow?  Absolutely there are.  However, in our culture there are too many followers.  Some people follow just because it seems like the cool thing to do.  Some people follow because they don’t think on their own.

We all have to become better thinkers.  We have to think about what we are doing and why we are doing it.  We have to think about where we want to go and what we want to do.  We have to think about what we eat and don’t eat.  The key word is think, the second key point is, thinking long-term.  Sheep don’t have the ability to think long-term.  They can only think about right now.  The sheep says “I am hungry, I need to eat”.  The sheep says “I am scared, I need to herd.”  They can’t think about the future the way humans can.

So ask yourself.  Who am I following?  Why am I following?  Is this person the best person to follow?  Are there better people to follow?  Why am I doing what I do.  Why am I saying what I say. Am I doing what others are doing so I can be like them. What do I need to do to get me to the place I seek to be.

Sure we need to be good followers at times, but we also need to walk away from the people who will lead us over a cliff.  They may not be doing it intentionally either, it may be just all they know as well.  Be a thinker, don’t be average.  Don’t listen to the person next to you who has been doing something for five minutes and now wants to educate you on how you should do it.

Don’t be a sheep today, be the person you want to be.

To your success and your future.

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How to have massive SUCCESS in anything

The Little Book of Talent.  52 Tips for improving your skills. Author Daniel Coyle. book summary.

Buy the book here:     http://www.amazon.com/Little-Book-Talent-Improving-Skills/dp/034553025X/

If you want to have massive success in anything in life it requires you to develop your talents and skills.  This book gives you the process to do it.

A few years back the author started attending talent hot beds.  These hot beds were tiny places that produced world-class performers in areas such as sports, arts, business, music, and math.  Places such as a Tennis Club in Moscow (Spartak) that produced more than 20 top 20 women’s tennis players.  A music camp in the Adirondacks where the attendees produce one year of progress in seven weeks.  A San Mateo, California Charter school that took math scores from the bottom to being in top 96th percentile in four years. A Dallas vocal studio that in the last 10 years produced millions of dollars in top music talent. A Ski Academy in Vermont with an enrollment of 100 that produced 50 Olympic Skiers in the sat 40 years.

Also, the research for this book took the author to research centers across the world.  Scientists have developed a fairly new view that talent is developed not by our genes but through practice and motivation.  Thanks to scientists such as K. Anders Ericsson, Dr. Douglass Fields, and Robert Bjork the old beliefs that talent was innate, is being overturned. Intensive motivation and intensive practice create brain growth.  Muscle memory is created in the brain and through practice which can lead to better performance over time and repetition.

This book is a simple combination of the authors notes he took by attending all of these talent hotbeds.

How do we recognize talent and develop talent? This book is the best book to outline the way to answer these questions.

The book has three parts.  The first set of rules.  “Getting Started” Ideas for igniting motivation and creating a blueprint for the skills you want to build. “Improving Skills” Methods and techniques for making the most progress in the least time.  “Sustaining Progress” Strategies for overcoming plateaus and building habits for sustained success.

Small actions repeated overtime creates progress.

Getting Started: Stare, Steal, and be willing to look stupid. 

#1.  Stare. Stare at success and steal their moves and how they do it.  Be willing to look stupid while you are developing a new skill.  Takes risks. Look at vivid images of what you hope to become.

#2. Spend 15 minutes a day on a skill. Engrave by watching the skill over and over until you create a mental blueprint of what it looks like done well.  Let the image engrave into your brain.

#3. Steal without apology. Take the best from the best.

#4. Buy a notebook.  Take notes from what others are doing and then you reflect on it.

#5. Be willing to be stupid. Wayne Gretzky when he practiced would actually push himself to fall on the ice.  This type of practice forced him to get better and limit the actions he was doing so he wouldn’t fall.

#6. Choose spartan over luxurious.  The talent hotbeds that the author visited were not luxurious.  No instead they were very opposite of that.  The North Baltimore Aquatic club where Michael Phelps practiced looked like an under funded YMCA.

#7. Before you start ask yourself is this a “hard” skill or “soft” skill.  Hard skills have one path to success and must be done the same way every time.  A golfer swinging a club.  A basketball player shooting a free throw.  Hard skills should become automatic.  ABC: Always be Consistent. Soft skills have many paths to a successful close.  They are more subjective and not as precise.

#8.  To build hard skills work like a carpenter.  Be sure you connect the right wires in your brain.  Practice the fundamentals over and over.  All skills have fundamentals practice these until you can’t get them wrong.

#9.  To build soft skills work like a skateboarder.  Envision Jimi Hendrix playing a phenomenal guitar solo.  Soft skills are built through challenging and ever-changing obstacles within the environment you are playing in.  Be prepared to be aggressive and experimental.

#10.  Honor the hard skills.  Most skills are not hard or soft.  They are usually the combination of both.  Be willing to be open and navigate through them.  Practice the hard skills.  In Moscow there is a rule that gymnasts can’t compete until they get the fundamentals down.  Peyton Manning does basic footwork before every game, this footwork is the same as they teach twelve-year olds.  You must have the fundamentals first.  Pretend your skills are like a big oak tree.  The fundamentals are the roots that hold the tree in place and stabilize it, while the branches above are the soft skills that can sway back and forth in the wind.

#11.  Don’t fall for the prodigy myth.  Most people think that talent is inherited.  This assumption is false.  Early success turns out to be a weak predictor of later success.  Charles Darwin was considered slow by his teachers.  Walt Disney was fired from a job for not being creative enough.  When people are given a prodigy status too early, they learn to protect that status and not take as many risks.

#12.  Five ways to pick a high quality coach or mentor.

1.  Avoid someone who reminds you have a courteous waiter.  These kinds of people are everywhere.  They keep things happy and say things like don’t worry we can take care of that.

2.  Seek someone who scares you a little.  Pick someone who watches you closely.  They are action oriented.  They wont want to spend much time chatting.  They will be honest and be truthful in true and honest language.  It’s not personal.  They will show you how to get better.

3.  Seek someone who gives quick and short directions.  They don’t give lectures or sermons.  They give it to you quick and short so you can understand it.  John Wooden was best known for this.

4.  Seek someone who loves to teach fundamentals.  Great teachers focus on the small things.  They realize that this is the core of your skills.  See tip #10.

5.  If all things being equal, pick the older person.  Great teachers are first and foremost learners.  It takes time to develop a skill.

Taking Action

#13.  Find the sweet spot.  There is a place just beyond your comfort zone that stretches you a little, but not too much.  This is your sweet spot.  You are engaged because you have to work harder.  In your sweet spot you are aware of what you are doing, but you can also change mistakes while in the middle of working on your skill.  Some golfers swing under water.  This allows them to slow down and focus on their swing.

#14.  Take off your watch.  Deep practice is not measured in the number of hours.  It is counted in the number of attempts.  Instead of trying to hit 500 golf balls.  You decide to hit 25 great shots.  Reaches and Reps matter here, not time.

#15.  Break everything down into chunks. From the time we are little we hear “take your time and go slower”.  This is called chunks.  When we bite things off a chunk at a time we can get better as we go along.  What is the smallest single chunk of this skill do I need to master.  Once you focus on all of these chunks and get really good at them, you can then combine them all.

#16.  Each day try to build one perfect chunk. The real goal isn’t practice, it is progress, work to try to perfect one thing each day.

#17.  Embrace struggle.  In all of the talent hot beds across the world, you can see the emotions of all the people being challenged.  They are all worn out from struggling. Embrace the struggle.  The struggle and frustration are what we call desirable difficulty.  Your brain works just like your muscles “no pain, no gain”.  You have to embrace the struggles to build the skills.

#18.  Choose 5 minutes a day over an hour a week. Small snippets are better than long practice.  Practice on the days you eat.  Practicing just two minutes a day is better than doing it for a long period of time sometime during the week.

#19.  Don’t do drills, play small addictive games.  Drills suck.  Games don’t.  Michael Jordan  didn’t just do free throw drills.  He instead challenged his team members to see how many free throws they could hit in a row and, yes they gambled on it.  How can you turn your practice into some kind of game that you can track.  This tricks your mind.

#20.  Practice alone. Practicing alone allows you to develop disciplines.

#21.  Think in images. 

#22.  Pay attention immediately after you make a mistake.

#23.  Visualize the wires in your brain forming new connections. Mistakes aren’t mistakes.  They instead are your brain creating new connections to build a new skill.

#24.  Visualize the wires of your brain getting faster. When your connections get faster you get better at the skill you are trying to develop.

#25.  Shrink the space.  Smaller practice spaces allow you to increase your intensity.

#26. Slow it down, even slower than you think.

#27.  Close your eyes. When you practice with your eyes closed, it allows you to have deeper understanding of what it takes for you to make the right moves.  Michael Jordan would practice free throws with his eyes closed.

#28.  Mine it.  At talent hot beds, you will see golfers swinging the club without a club and musicians playing on a table with no musical instrument. When you play it like this it forces you to focus on the moves not the outcomes.

#29. When you get it right mark the spot. When you finally get it right whatever the skill is you are developing, you must stop and say this is what it felt like and make a notes so you can know what it is like when you are doing it well.

#30.  Take a nap. When you get tired take a nap so you can reenergize.

#31.  To learn a new move, exaggerate it. Think about the way parents teach kids new words.  They sound them out with exaggeration.  This allows you to see how far you can go and then you can always dial it back in.

#32.  Make positive reaches.  There is a moment between every rep where you can focus on the target or you can focus on the negative move.  A golfer should say “center the stroke” instead of “I hope I don’t pull it to the left.”  It is called positive framing.  You always want to focus on what you want out of the thing you are doing, not what you don’t want.

#33.  To learn from a book, close the book.  If I was giving you a test on this book one week from today which would be the better way to learn the book?  A. Reading 10 pages a day everyday. B. Or reading the 10 pages and then writing a summary on the books?   The right answer is B.  Research shows that it is better to write it down in this case, because it is makes you reach.  You must remember the fine points, and be able to make sense of it.  You focus on retention of it and you are more engaged with the material.

#34. Use the sandwich technique. What is the best way to not repeat mistakes?  Reenforce the correct moves.

#35.  Use the 3 times 10 technique.  This comes from Dr. Douglass Fields. a neurologist.  He researches memory and learning.  His research showed that our brains remember things better when we practice them 3 times with a 10 minute resting period in between each time.

#36.  Invent daily tests. Create targeted workouts.  Tiger Woods test himself by saying he must hit an 8 iron within a certain range 80% of the time. Its is motivational juice for you to push yourself. Make it fun.

#37.  To choose the best practice method, choose the REPS process.

1. Reaching and repeating.  Does the activity have you reaching and stretching some.

2. Engagement.

3. Purposefulness.

4. Strong speedy feedback.

#38.  Stop before you are exhausted.

#39.  Practice immediately after a performance.  Even though tip #38 is opposite of this, sometimes practicing right after a performance it allows you to remember what you were doing wrong and get it right.  Tiger Woods will sometimes go immediately to the driving range right after he finished a round of golf.

#40.  Just before sleep watch a mental movie. Watching a movie geared toward something you would like to accomplish right before bed, allows your brain to think about that performance while you are sleeping.  This wires the brain to start thinking about what it will take to have the same performance.

#41. End on a positive note. Don’t quit on a bad shot.  Instead quit on a great shot.  This keeps you excited about coming back.

#42.  Six ways to be a better teacher or coach.

1.  Use the first few seconds to connect on an emotional level.  It creates trust.

2. Avoid giving long speeches.  Give small doses of value that help performance. Coaches stand beside the person. Give targeted information.  People will catch on quicker.

3. Be allergic to mushy language.  Don’t use unprecise language.  Give concrete directions like, do this, don’t do that.  All teaching should consist of telling a person precisely what to do.

4.  Make a scorecard for learning. Pick a metric of a skill that you want to learn and then measure it.

5. Maximize reachfulness.  Reachfulness is the essence of learning.  This happens when the learner is reaching and stretching.

Sustaining progress. Embrace repetition, cultivate grit and keep big goals secret.

#43.  Embrace Repetition   Repetition has a bad reputation.  People think about it being boring and not fun.  However, it is the quickest way to rewire your brain for success.  In 2011, when the Navy Seals raided Osama Bin Laden’s compound, they practiced for three weeks in Nevada.  They had a full size replica built of the compound and practiced dozen and dozens of times before the actual raid.  The repetition is what made them successful.  Change your mindset, instead of looking at it as a chore, look at it as the most useful way to your growth.

#44. Have a blue-collar mindset.  The top people in all fields get up and go to work everyday.  They don’t live the charmed life as some people might think.  They put in the work to get the results they have earned.

#45. For every one hour of competition you must practice for at least five hours.  You can use this ratio in every thing in life.

#46. Don’t waste time trying to break bad habits, instead try to build new ones. Habits are tough to break.  You brain is really good at developing habits, but really bad at breaking them.  Develop new habits.

#47. To learn it more deeply teach it.  The best way to understand something yourself is to teach it.  This is huge because it holds you accountable to using what you teach and you become better skilled at using it as well.

#48.  Give a new skill a minimum of 8 weeks.  Lasting brain changes takes about eight weeks to develop.  Give your brain the time it needs to grow.

#49.  When you get stuck, make a shift.  Everyone starts out really great making a lot of gains, then you hit a plateau.  Plateaus means you can now do the exercise without thinking about it, your brain has made it automatic.  Once this happens, you need to make a shift and start practicing faster, or mix up your practice sessions to get you out of the comfort zone you have created.

#50.  Cultivate your grit. Grit is a mix of passions and self-discipline that keeps us moving forward.  Grit makes the difference in the long run.

#51. Keep your big goals secret.  In 2009, at New York University.  A group of 163 subjects were given a goal of working on a difficult work project and they had 45 minutes to accomplish the project. Half the subjects were told to announce their goals, while the other half were told not to. The subjects who announced their goals quit after an average of 33 minutes and reported feeling satisfied with their work. Those who kept their mouths shut worked the entire 45 minutes and remained strongly motivated.  Matter of fact this group wanted to keep working even after the time was up. Telling others about your goals creates unconscious payoff, tricking our brain to thinking we have already accomplished the goal.

#52.  Think like a gardener and work like a carpenter. Talent grows slowly.  Think patiently without judgement and work consistently knowing that each piece connects to the larger whole.

I hope you enjoyed this book summary and I encourage you to share it with someone else.  There is only one way to success in anything and that is through handwork and dedication.

To your success and your future.

 

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How hungry are you?

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling, Keep rolling, come on keep going, oh my gosh, what just happened.  I can still remember the first time I got a birdie on the golf course.  It was hole number 8, a par 3 at Seneca Golf Course two summers ago.  I was fairly new at playing golf, so this was a major milestone for me. For those who don’t play golf may not understand the excitement that would come from this experience.

I hit the ball off the tee to a small hill behind the flag (hole), it was not on the green. From where my ball laid,  I knew if I hit the ball up on the green (in a certain spot) that it would roll down the hill and funnel into the hole for the birdie.  These kinds of shots play out perfectly in my head every single time, however actually doing it is much harder. This time it actually played out perfectly in my head and on the golf course.  The ball did exactly what I wanted it to do.

I can still remember doing this and the excitement that I had afterwards.  I don’t think I have had too many brides since then, sadly enough.  However, I keep coming back to the game because when you do hit a good shot or have an experience like the one I describe it keeps you hungry for more.

This year I have had many opportunities present themselves.  I have planned and prepared for each of these opportunities for many years, so it wasn’t luck.  In each of these opportunities I had a chance to win and it push me closer to my some of my personal and professional goals.  I won some of these and lost one of these.

Which one of these opportunities am I thinking about right now?  I am thinking about the one I didn’t win.  It is the one that is on my mind.  Why didn’t I win it?  Why wasn’t I better prepared?  Why wasn’t it a no brainer?  Why? Why? Why?  I don’t think I will ever know exactly why I didn’t win, but I have an opinion.

This opinion is what is keeping me hungry.  It is pushing me to go and get the knowledge.  The experience. The people. The opportunities.  I am doing this, not because I want that same opportunity to come up again. I don’t care about it anymore.  However, I do care about the fact that it was an opportunity I wasn’t ready for.  This missed opportunity is the one that I know in my mind I wasn’t ready for

So what is keeping you hungry right now and are you hungry?  Have you ever been so hungry that you thought you were going to die if you didn’t eat?  Come on! We have all felt this at some point in our life.  We will do whatever it takes when we feel this way and go find the food so we can feel better.

That is my challenge to you this weekend? Have you found the thing that makes you hungry?  Maybe it is a new job that provides you better working hours, so you can spend more time with family. Maybe it is more money so you can provide to your family a better life.  Maybe it is a more balanced life in relationships.  Whatever it is, ask yourself “Are you hungry enough?”

Hitting another birdie one day on the golf course keeps me coming back to the golf course.  Not being prepared when an opportunity presented itself, keeps me hungry to go find the necessary skills so next time I will be prepared.

Stay hungry my friends.

To your success and your future.

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Putting in REPS…

In my search for the recipe for success I have studied it deliberately and consistency for several years now.  Through my studies have read many articles, books, cases studies, and whatever I can get my hands on or listen to around what it takes to be successful, and how long it takes for someone to become an elite performer in a given skill, sport, profession, or activity.

What I have found and many of you already know, is it takes a lot of REPS in one of these activities to become elite, which can lead to success.

Success can take on many meanings, such as a world champion in a sport, a sought after or recognized person in a specific profession, a great parent who raises great kids, a mentor, etc.  You can come up with your own definition of success, in this context I will use the above to make the point of how you get there.

The first time you do something you aren’t very good.  You can’t be very good, because it is the first time you are doing it.  But over time through deliberate practice and with coaching.  Yes.  Don’t forget the coaching.  Because if you put in REPS without coaching then you could be putting in the REPS wrong.  So coaching is a very important piece.

So what are REPS:

R epeating:  Yes you must repeat the exercise you want to be good at over and over and over again.

E xercises: You have to do the activities.  The activities could be hitting a golf ball five hundred times a day.  It could be shooting free throws until you hit 50 in a row.  As a parent, it could be performing the exercise of showing your child how volunteering helps others, which in turn teaches the importance of being a kind person and have gratitude for what you have already.  Regardless of what it is you seek to have success in you must set up the exercises that lead to success.

P urposefully: Everything in life that is done with purpose means you know where you are going.  If you want to win a championship or have your kids grow up and be great adults, you live your life and create processes and habits to ensure those things happen.  They don’t happen by accident.  Success is never accidental, it is done with intent by focusing on a purpose.

until

S econd Nature: You practice the skill or the craft you seek to be great at until it becomes second nature.  Good parenting or elite performance comes from practicing the skills over and over with consistency, primarily on the fundamentals until it becomes second nature.

Next time you are thinking about not doing the REPS, remember why you must do them.  If you aren’t getting where you want to be in a certain activity, skill, sport, or profession then I would challenge you to think about the amount of REPS you are putting in.  Is it enough? If you aren’t getting any better, then you most likely are not putting in the REPS necessary to get better. Or you need to hire a coach who can assist you.

One of my favorite quotes that I heard recently that I am really stuck on, illustrates the value of the above acronym:

“Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.” 

What exercise or activity do you need to put some more REPS in so you can’t get it wrong?

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3 lessons I know, but have to keep learning

I don’t know about you, but there are just some lessons that I have learned and should be ingrained in my mind by now, but they are not.  For this reason alone I invest in my own personal and self-development.  Sure, most of the books I read, or seminars I listen to, or blogs I read basically have similar information in them, but these constant reminders of this information is what makes them stay on the top of my mind.  These content reminders are what keep me focused and productive and in pursuit of my goals, dreams, and ambitions.

So what are the lessons I have learned and must keep learning?

1.  Don’t follow people who have not been where I want to go.  Sorry.  If your desire is to make six figures or seven figures.  The person that makes five figures can’t get you where you want to go.  They don’t have the knowledge to get you there.  They don’t know the path, because they haven’t found it themselves. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur  don’t listen to your neighbor who hasn’t done anything entrepreneurial, ever, unless you count peddling the Girl Scout cookies for his daughter every year.  I must follow people who know and have been on the journey of the places I seek to go.

2.  Dont compare my start with someone else’s middle or ending.  When you start out you are not very good.  You can’t be. You’re starting.  You haven’t done it yet.  However, I tend to want to compare myself to some of the best writers out there (yeah right), and some of the best trainers I have been exposed to.  I want to compare myself to runners that have been banging out miles for years.  It is a lesson that I have to remind myself of frequently.  In some of my endeavors, I am just starting or I am not as far down the road, so I can’t compare my journey and where I am on this journey with other people who have been on the journey much longer than I have.

3. Evolution and transitions don’t happen on my time ever. Google definition of evolution: the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.  Google definition of transition: passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another.  Both of the above take time, effort, and discipline. Bad example but here it is: How long does it take to get 25 pounds overweight?  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It can take a while.  So how long should it take to lost the weight?  Hopefully shorter than it took to put it on, but it can’t happen overnight.  Wouldn’t it be cool if could though :)!

How long does it take for a career to develop? How long does it take to make a transition from one point in your life to another?  All of these areas, never happen on my time.  I am in the process of going through some major transitions and evolution in my career and in my personal life as we speak.  Some of them I wish were over already, but that isn’t realistic. They take time.

The above three lessons I must continue to learn again and again and that is what makes me determined in all of my endeavors. The first step in success is awareness of where you are. Once you know where you are, you can then start mapping out the strategy to get where you want to go.

What are some lessons you have to keep learning? Please share.  I would love to hear your experiences.

To your success and your future.

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What motivates you?

What motivates us as humans and as individuals varies as much as what we like to eat from person to person.  Why wouldn’t it, we are all so different and have different priorities and preferences.  However there are certain values that all human beings have ingrained and built into us and hasn’t changed since the beginning of time.  They are innate motivators that only we as human beings experience and therefore we strive to develop throughout our lives and our careers.

Wisdom:  We all seek to have wisdom.  How much wisdom we want on a particular subject or event varies from person to person.  You can see this in life everyday.

  • Some people just want to know how to do it!
  • Some people want to know how to do it and why it needs to be done that way.
  • Some people want to know how to do it, why it needs to be done that way, and they want to understand it enough to instruct others to do it.
  • Then lastly, there are some people who could care less about how to do it, they know that it must be a done a certain way and they only care that it is being done, but know its importance in ensuring it is done and how it fits in the bigger picture.

As you can see with the above illustration everyone has varying levels of desire to know certain things.  It is in humans DNA to understand and know what is going on with current events and staying abreast of developments that they think can benefit them.

Power (Control): We all want to grow and have wisdom, but the second human motivation is having power or control in their life.  I use power and control interchangeably.  To the extent you have the ability to control your environment, that is the extent to which you possess power.  Power is a measure of your ability to extend your influence and control in the world around you.  We all seek to have this control.  The more you feel like you are in control the more satisfied you are.

Wealth: The great Zig Ziglar said that money isn’t everything, but it is pretty close to the top, right up there with oxygen.  A definition of wealth can mean your ability to take care of yourself and survive on this earth.  The question is then:  At what level do you want to take care of yourself and survive?   Some people can survive off the bare minimum and be perfectly happy.  While others need and want a lot more.  And guess what, that is ok!  Wealth and survival can be as small as food and clothing up to owning a yacht. To some wealth is very simple, I can eat, I have a place to live, and I am paying my bills.  While others that just isn’t enough.  Control and power is a more dominant motivator than money, although money definitely increases your ability to have that control that you seek in your life.

Esteem of others: We all seek to have the approval of others, which isn’t a bad thing, it is ingrained in all of us.  We want to belong to something.  How many Facebook groups are you in, do you belong to any clubs or organizations, are you an active person with any of your alumni organizations, do you have a favorite sports team that you wear apparel to show that support for?  All of these are ways we seek approval from others.  It is human nature. We all seek to achieve something in life and out of life, which in turn we believe it will earn the respect or the attention from others.   You must realize that it is a basic human motivation.

I have outlined four basic human motivations. The choices we make and the decisions we come to all revolve around these four areas and drive us to accomplish the things we seek to accomplish in our lives.

To your success and your future.

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Why you lack self-control

When Psychologists isolate the personal qualities that predict “positive outcomes” in life, they consistently find two traits: intelligence and self-control. So far researchers still haven’t learned how to permanently increase intelligence.  But they have discovered, or at least rediscovered, how to improve self-control.

Most major problems, personal and social, center on failure of self-control:

  • compulsive spending and borrowing,
  • impulsive violence,
  • under achievement in school,
  • procrastination at work,
  • alcohol and drug abuse,
  • unhealthy diet,
  • lack of exercise,
  • chronic anxiety,
  • explosive anger

Poor self-control correlates with just about every kind of individual trauma: losing friends, being fired, getting divorced, winding up in prison.

Of the two dozen character strengths listed in researchers questionnaire to people, self-control was the one that people were least likely to recognize in themselves. Conversely, when people were asked about their failings, a lack of self-control was at the top of the list.

One of the most prolific studies ever conducted on managing desires was done in Germany.  The study included over 200 men and women wearing beepers. The Germans wore beepers that went off at random intervals seven times a day, promoting them to report whether they were currently experiencing some sort of desire or had recently felt such a desire. The painstaking study, led by Wilhelm Hofmann, collected more than ten thousand momentary reports from morning until midnight.

Desire turned out to be the norm, not the exception. About half the time, people were feeling some desire at the moment their beepers went off, and another quarter said a desire had just been felt in the past few minutes. Many of these desires were ones they were trying to resist. The researchers concluded that people spend at least a fifth of their waking hours resisting desires, between three and four hours per day.

The most commonly resisted desire in the beeper study was the urge to eat, followed by the urge to sleep, and then by the urge of leisure, like taking a break from work to do a puzzle or game instead of writing a memo. Sexual urges were next on the list of most resisted desires.  The people studied were relatively good at avoiding naps, sex, and the urge to spend money, but only mediocre at passing up food and soft drinks. When they tried resisting the lure of television, the Web, and other media sirens, they failed nearly half the time.

As you can see self-control determines a lot of what happens in our life good or bad.

So how do you increase your self-control.  It comes from willpower.  In my studies of willpower, I have determined really just a few facts you need to know so you can increase your self-control and willpower.

Willpower is finite.  Meaning you have a limited amount of it.  That is why it is important to take care of the tasks that are important when your willpower is the strongest.  This is why many people work out in the morning or read in the morning.  You are rested and your ability to focus on the tasks are at its highest.  Why do you think most people who try to work out at night end up skipping more often?  Because their willpower is depleted.

Food drives your willpower.  When you are hungry or you lack the proper nutrients in your body, your willpower gets depleted.  Why do you think diets fail so much.  People are trying to eat less food, and instead they end up starving themselves depleting their willpower, thus losing self-control and then end up overeating.  You must eat to lose weight, but it must be the right things.

Decision fatigue.  Have you ever heard of the CEO, Executive, or politician that had an affair with the intern or assistant?  Why does this happen?  I am sure there are many reasons, but one of them is they lack the willpower at the end of the day. ( I am not giving them an excuse for the behavior here)  However, many of these poor decisions are done after a long work day or travel trip.  These high level positions require lots of decisions to be made all day long, which is very draining on a persons willpower and they ultimately lose control.  The next time you find yourself in a situation where a decision you are making has a high value to it, be sure you are well rested.  How many times have you heard someone say, “sleep on it before making that decision.”  It isn’t that you get to think about the decision longer.  It is because when you wake up you will have more energy and willpower and think clearer.

Have you ever noticed a particular time of the day when you lose self-control or lack self-control?  Are you putting the most important tasks at the beginning f your day when you are the most rested?

Try to implement a few of things I suggest and let me know what happens. I look forward to hearing from you.

To your success and your future.    

 

 

 

 

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Do you have GRIT? book summary

Paul G Stoltz, Ph.D. wrote a book titled GRIT, The New Science of What it Takes to Succeed.  In his book Paul outlines what it takes and what it means to be gritty and make things happen for yourself.  Paul and his team developed an assessment that measures your GRIT tolerance and ability.  In my typical quasi book summary slash notes approach, I attempt to give you my main takeaways of the book.  My hope is that in this brief summary of this book it inspires YOU to take action.

So what is GRIT:

G rowth: Your propensity to seek and consider new ideas, additional alternatives, different approaches, and fresh perspectives.

Growth is a mindset.  Mindset and attitude are often used interchangeably, when in fact mindset is much more.  Mindset goes deeper than attitude.  The definition of mindset the author uses is: The Lens which you see and navigate life.

R esilience: Your capacity to respond constructively and ideally make good use of all kinds of adversity.

Your ability to be “Response Able”: able to respond more effectively, to more things, more quickly.  The author and his team created an AQ (Adversity Quotient) Test.  This quotient is a measure of your ability and responsiveness to adversity.  Adversity is part of life.  How you respond to that adversity determines your success.

I nstinct: Your gut level capacity to pursue the right goals in the best and smartest ways.

What proportion of your energy, effort, hope, resources, and time has been and is being spent pursuing less than optimal goals, and in less than optimal ways.  How many of your goals would you say are absolutely optimal, meaning they could not be more right and more on target.  Your ability to use your gut and instinct to determine where you spend your time and energy is where you will show the best return and success.

T enacity: The degree to which you persist, commit to, stick with, and relentlessly go after whatever you choose to achieve.

Resilience without tenacity helps keep you whole, but it only goes so far. Tenacity propels you across the finish line. How many attempts, how many start and stops, how many heartfelt efforts over how much time does it take to break through and succeed?  The author through all of his research and study, gives but one answer, “One more.”

  • Either adversity consumes you or you consume it.
  • Theres a reason the word INTEGRITY contains the word GRIT.  People with Good GRIT strive for goals and objectives that prove to ultimately enrich or better others, and ideally themselves.
  • DUMB GRIT: pursuing less than ideal goals with less than ideal strategies.

Are you a:

Quitter: Throw in the towel, give up on the tougher and potentially most gratifying pursuits in life.

Camper: (80 percent of people in our population): Reach a point in life where they say essentially “enough” or “good enough” and they settle in. They set up camp. Their energy goes largely into campground preservation, which can make them change and risk averse.

Climber: Only the climbers continue to learn, grow, strive, and evolve. Only the climbers stay fully alive until their final breath. Only the climbers sustain the GRIT to create and enjoy an optimal life.

Weak Grit: Doesnt mean you don’t set meaningful goals Weak GRIT simply means you lack the capacity to make the goals happen, especially in the face of frustrations, difficulties, setbacks, and delays, and especially as the path to making it happen requires greater effort and more time.

  • Whats within you in stronger than whats in your way.
  • If you decide that you’re only going to do the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table. — Jeff Bezos. 
  • Intensity trumps time.  The more intensely you engage in this process of self-reflection, the more it will stick.  The science says that intensity of your focus and effort radically influences how much and how quickly you hardwire both lessons and habits. 

According to Dr. Jennifer Green at University of Technology, in Sydney, GRIT is the overriding personal characteristic of high achievers with a disability.  More generally, GRIT predicts ones ability to be gainfully employed and at what level.  It’s what propels organizations, teams, and individuals to outlast, outperform, and triumph over the competition.

  • GRIT Matters
  • GRIT Evolves
  • GRIT Trumps
  • GRIT Wins 
  • GRIT Ignites
  • GRIT Rules
  • GRIT Transcends
  • GRIT Sticks
  • GRIT Grows

Please share with someone who could use some more GRIT, and I encourage you to be more gritty today.

To your success and your future.

 

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It’s right in front of you!

I have told you, my readers, many times that one of the main reasons I write is because it holds me accountable.  Writing provides me an outlet to flesh out my own thoughts and ideas, which in turn makes me think through the subject that I am faced with at that time.  And, it is just away to hold myself accountable to the words and actions I am suggesting to you.

Today is one of those days for me.  The last two weeks I have had some amazing opportunities present themselves.  These opportunities weren’t by chance or by luck, they were presented to me because of hard work and dedication.  Yep, you have to put in the work now to reap the benefits later.  I don’t know any farmers personally, but I do know if they don’t plant corn in the spring, they wont have any corn to harvest in the fall.  There are very few benefits or things in life that you can get on the front end and pay for them on the back-end.  Corn would definitely fall into this category.  You must plant to harvest. Corn doesn’t just pop up out of the ground automatically.  We all must pay the price of planting to reap the benefits of a harvest.  These opportunities exist because of a lot of planting I have done for many years.

What is weird about the opportunities that have been presented is that they have existed the whole time.  I am not sure if I didn’t see them or if I didn’t want to see them.  But now I see them very clearly.  I have always been a seeker of opportunities, it is an innate thing inside of me.  However, the most recent opportunities are not new, but they are just more clear than ever before.

Question: Why are the opportunities clear today, but weren’t as clear yesterday or before?

Answer:  I don’t really have a clear answer, but I have some thoughts.

I would say first that my mindset has changed.  Mindset can change due to many reasons, but they are usually situational and at the moment due to what is happening around us.  I have a friend who had a heart attack. They knew their bad habits were bad habits, but I guess they didn’t think it would kill them.  Now they are the poster child for health.  Their mindset has changed.

Secondly, I have become more educated. Many of these opportunities have existed for several years, but I wasn’t educated or thought I was educated enough to pursue the opportunities.

The last one is a big one unfortunately. FEAR.  Yep, I said it, FEAR.  Fear of the unknown, fear of the what if. Yep, fear could be preventing you and me from wanting to see the opportunity that is right in front of us.

One of the things I have learned through my growth and development is this.  “You can’t steal second base with one foot on first base.”  When a baseball player wants to steal a base they must commit to it.  Sure the timing has to be right as well, but they must commit.  If they don’t commit they will stay on first base.  If you want to be in a better scoring position, second base is where you want to be. That is where the possibility of scoring runs becomes higher.

Look around you, beside you, and behind you, what opportunities are there that you aren’t taking advantage of? The opportunity could be your future husband or wife.  It could be your future business partner.  It could be the next big idea that will allow you to create a business that changes your life.  It could be something at your church or volunteer organization that could lay the foundation for your next career move.  There are all kinds of opportunities and many of them are within our reach and mostly likely right in front of you jumping up and down.

To your success and your future.

 

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