I am sure there will be many times throughout my life that I will think and ponder the lessons I have learned that I don’t want to forget. At 35 years of age, I have been thinking about it and like most things in life, in work, and in just about everything, there is not a dozen things I need to know or do to be successful. There is typically just a few things we must do well, a half a dozen or so that lead to success. The great Vince Lombardi said football is just “blocking and tackling.” When you break things down to their simplest form and focus on the simplest things it brings clarity to the situation.
So as I think about life and success I really wanted to pair down some philosophical views that I think have led me to success and more importantly views that I think have shaped and continue to shape my daily pursuit of doing and accomplishing great things. My definition of success is “steady progress towards ones personal goals.”
Seeking excellence in everything I do is the goal.
Why wouldn’t I, I gotta stay here until I go, why not do whatever I do the to the best of my ability. There have been times in my life as I look back and say, I could have done better there, I should have done this, I could have done that. I hate thinking that way. I don’t want to live in the past, but it is ok to think about the past as an education and an investment in your future. If you don’t learn from your past and you just dwell on it, then we call you a complainer. But if you learn from it, we call you smart.
I am now at a point in my life, where I am challenging myself daily to be excellent in everything I do. If I am in a relationship I need to be an excellent partner in that relationship. If I am not, I should not be in the relationship. If I am a leader, I need to be excellent in leading, which means I start with leading myself first. In whatever I decide to invest my time or my money in, I will do it to the best of my ability and pursue excellence in it.
There is a direct correlation between formal education combined with personal education and self-development and your income.
My mentor Jim Rohn says this: “Formal education will make you a living and self-education and personal education will make you a fortune.” The first time I heard that it changed my life. I was already dabbling in the area of self-development and taking additional training, reading a few books, etc. But when I heard that statement my life hasn’t been the same since. I can an honestly say that my income has increased about 40% and my assets have doubled since then. John Maxwell who is another mentor of mine, asked the question one day “What is your growth plan?” “And are you intentional about your growth.” I answered both of those questions with “I don’t have a growth plan that is intentional.” Since that day, I have had an intentional growth plan, and I invest a percentage of my income towards personal growth and self-development.
There are two areas of personal growth and self development that I work on. Personal growth is reading the right kinds of books with a goal. Three years ago, I set a goal to read a book a month. I have accomplished that goal each of the last three years, actually reading more than a book a month. I am sure everyone who is reading this blog probably reads a lot as well, and you are saying I read all day long. Emails, certain websites, blogs, etc. However, you have to be more intentional than that. Pick a subject and become engrossed in it. My goal this year is to read four books a month. That is the funny thing about goal setting, is that when you accomplish the goal, you will set new goals and you accomplish even more, I get so excited about goal setting.
Self development is a little broader. Reading the books, watching the seminars, listening to the recordings, etc. is a piece. But your health is a piece of this as well. A person who can have the discipline to be healthy can also have disciplines in other areas of their life as well. So health and fitness is just as important to me as mind fitness and education fitness, you have to do them all everyday. Being disciplined in health to me includes exercising and eating correctly. Eating correctly is being conscientious of my eating habits, and be disciplined in what I eat and drink. I have found that discipline in this area of my life leads to other disciplines in my life that are all positive.
Without the journey the destination doesn’t mean anything:
I have heard for many years from much wiser people than I am, to enjoy the journey, that it is not about the destination. I am sure we have all heard this and it makes sense, but without an example of the application in our own lives I don’t think it makes much sense or you can’t really understand the true meaning of this message. I think a better way to say this is. The destination doesn’t mean a damn thing without the journey. The journey is where the growth happens. The journey is where the learning takes place. I personally feel that we never truly arrive at the destination and I am constantly moving the goal line. My mentor Jim Rohn says we all must make “measurable progress in reasonable time.” I think that is a good goal to achieve in most things. Some things can’t be hurried. For example, it has taken me about 35 years to become this philosophical where I can actually think long enough to type a blog of this nature.
Destination disease. I am trying to remember who I heard that from. I think it was John Maxwell. He says that many leaders have destination disease we all want to get somewhere, because leaders are goal oriented and we want to achieve something. I think that is where we must have a vision for ourselves and everything we do in our daily lives, activities, work, etc. should be in pursuit of that vision.
Enjoy the journey and take notes, so when you do arrive to destination you will know how you got there.
The hardest and best lessons learned were probably the hardest to take at that time
Growing up I spent a lot of time at my grandparents house, especially during the summer. What a blessing this was for my brother and I as well as my parents that we were able to spend that time with our grandparents while my parents worked. We have all heard a story of the lesson you can learn from touching a hot stove. Well, I actually touched a hot stove when I was kid and learned that lesson. It hurt. That is a lesson that I have never had to learn again.
Many of the lessons I have learned throughout my life so far have hurt in one way or the other. Hurt can be physical pain, financial pain, opportunity lost pain, relationship pain, etc. I remember buying a vehicle I couldn’t afford and I didn’t want to afford any longer. So I made the decision to sell the vehicle. The offer I received wasn’t enough to pay the vehicle off. So I had to get a loan to cover the rest of the money to be able to sell the vehicle. What a lesson I learned. When you are making payments on absolutely nothing, you tell yourself, “I won’t do that again.” Another example of something that hurt. Here am I doing what I can to make a difference and drive business in a position that I am in. I think I am doing things well, and really making the team and everyone around me better. My boss, pulls me to the side one day and says, my colleagues are not happy with me, because I am too aggressive. It was a good lesson in being more aware of people around me. I had no idea that I was being divisive. Lesson learned, but I was kind of upset at that time. I thought I was doing the right thing.
Many times we learn what to do, from doing what not to do. The way we learn what not to do, is to try new things more often. I have not failed fast enough to learn more lessons, I am just now at a point in my life where I am taking more risks and learning from my failures more often. The only way to learn is to try new things. This is my goal, fail more often.
My retirement, My health, and My wealth is up to me.
Being a single hard-working guy this is not meant to say I don’t care about the people in my life and that the people in my life don’t care about me. I am just being very specific in saying, what happens to you in your life is up to you. Nobody but you can control the above mentioned. Why does this one make my list? Well, it is a reminder to me that I must control those things and that ultimate responsibility of my health, my wealth, and my retirement is up to me.
No brainer right? Sure it is. But do you really know this. I have great friends and a great family. I am truly blessed in this area beyond my wildest dreams and have been my entire life. However, at the end of the day, or the beginning of the month it is just me and my responsibilities. Recently, I had a surgery (minor at best) but its surgery and it isn’t just a cut on your hand. I had family that helped me to the hospital and back, I had friends and colleagues that asked me how I was doing, I was so blessed to have this in my life. However, at the end of the day, when it came down to healing and getting better, it was up to me.
Many people talk about milestones in their life. Maybe it was when they turned 16 and could drive, maybe it was when they turned 50 (not there yet), maybe it was 30. It seems that we all have a number in our head that we joke about and when we get there we can’t believe we are that age. For me, age 16 was significant, because I could start driving, but I wasn’t sophisticated at that time to think about anything else, so now at age 35 (seems like it was just yesterday I was learning how to drive), I look up and I say time flies. How did I get to 35! When I say 15 years ago I was 20, and in 15 more years, I will be 50. I know how fast the last 15 years have gone by, and if the next 15 flies as quickly as the last 15, I will look up and be 50 before I know it. Knowing how quickly time flies, I am committed to getting things done quicker and more efficiently.
I am going to do the things I have to do quickly, so I can focus on doing the things I want to do–Jim Rohn.
Since I have started blogging, I have become more organized in my thoughts, more disciplined in daily activities, more clear in my goals, and all of these things have made me a better trainer, leader, friend, and mentor.
Thanks for reading the blog. I always welcome feedback.