5 reasons I have to get back to writing again

Wow!  It has been almost two years since I posted a blog on this site.  I did write a lot on another site I own for about a year, but I haven’t technically done any writing for the last nine months or so.

So what compelled me to pick it back up?

I felt like that I had lost some of the really good habits and emotions that created opportunities for me in my life when I was writing before. So here I am making a commitment to myself to start doing it again.  Writing provided a lot of different things in my life, but here are a few of those things along with my opinion on why I want to get back to writing.

  1. Consistency: If you know me, you would probably say that I am very consistent in most of the things I do.  Whether it be exercising, working, or emotionally.  I am a consistent person.  But to me working and exercising are those things that I really do enjoy, but at the end of the day, I have to do them.  Yes.  I have to do them.Writing on the other hand is not a “have to do”.  My livelihood will not be in jeopardy if I don’t do it, like it would be if I didn’t work.  Or my health is not at risk, if I don’t write. Writing is truly extra.  Nothing bad will happen to me if I don’t do it.  However, that is the reason I choose to do it. It forces me do something that I don’t have to do. Forcing yourself to do things you don’t have to do is a muscle that needs to be worked.  And frankly I am not very good at writing, but I love the benefits of it.
  2. Thinking:  Writing forces me to think.  Thinking isn’t something most people spend enough time doing.  Most of us are too busy doing things to think.  Whether it is working, spending time with friends and family, or watching sports or Netflix.  I have found myself the last nine months just doing and not thinking as much as I should.  I want to force myself back in to thinking more and that is what happens when I write.
  3. Clarity: My mentor told me that putting things on paper, written or typed.  Is the best way to crystallize our thoughts and to make things more clear.  Over the last nine months and really the last couple of years, I have continued to journal daily, but it has gotten shorter and shorter.  I am not spending enough time doing it.  I feel like I need clarity more in my life than ever before and writing helps me have that.
  4. Audio/Video: The world is now audio and video dominant.  Everything is consumed in these two formats.  And I have bought right in to it as well.  I have gotten in the habit of watching videos to get my news, to get additional training on a subject, to be entertained, you name it.  Video is everywhere and I consume it as much as the next person.Audio is the same way.  I am always listening to a podcast, a book, an interview, etc.  These are great mediums to get the full context of someones words and they are great when you are trying to do two things at once.  Like working out, driving, and working.  Personally, I have started to rely on these too much for my information, education, and entertainment.
  5. Focus (attention span): My attention span sucks right now.  Seriously.  It is a weakness.  I can’t even read an entire article on something I would be interested in reading.  I skim through it and sometimes I will scroll down to see how long the article is, and if it is too long, I will bail out on it altogether.  Even though I am interested in it.Writing forces me to focus.  It requires focus.  Look, I am not a great writer.  If you have read this far, you probably have cringed at my grammar, sentence structure, my misspellings that spell check didn’t pick up, etc.  But for me to get this far, (679 words) I had to really focus. Because it is really hard for me to put together what I have put together.I believe focus (attention span) is a muscle.  Like all muscles if it isn’t worked and exercised over time it becomes weaker and weaker.  This is what has happened to me.  I haven’t worked the muscle enough and I have lost, frankly, a lot of my ability to focus on the things I need to focus on.

Focus, clarity, thinking, and consistency are all great habits to have.  When you are at your best you are implementing them all to have success.

Today’s society, and life in general has taken some of the gains I made in these areas that provided me a lot of success in my past, away from me.  I have to get what I lost back and build even more on them so I can get to the next level of success.   Writing allows me to work the muscles in each of the areas I mentioned in the post.

To your success and your future.

How many Thursdays do you have left in your life?

I don’t know about you, but no matter what I do, it seems like I always use more time to do something than I should use.  This is not a new phenomenon.  Actually if you look it up there is actual supposed law for this belief.  Called Parkinson’s Law.

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, actually wrote about this law in a humorist essay he published in the British publication, “The Economist” in 1955.  Parkinson was actually referencing the fact, and the math to support his belief on how bureaucracies expand over time.  Long story short, he was talking primarily about how officials in government seeks to grow subordinates over time, and as they grow the staff, the work increases, but the results do not increase.  Because the bureaucracy creates more work for itself.  But I digress. Go here and read about it yourself.

In my world, Parkinson’s Law manifests in certain projects that I want to complete.  The best example of this I can give is the one I am working on this week. I have to give a keynote presentation next Friday.  I have delivered several presentations that are similar to the one I am giving, but I have to change this one up for the audience more than normal. This week has been a light week for me, which has provided me a lot of time to work on this presentation.

I started on Monday, and I am 75% complete.  But I should be 100% complete and not have to look at it again until next week.  But I know I have until next week to do it.  Well, really Monday or so.  And because I know this, I haven’t completed it yet.

I have always tried to do whatever I can to get the most out of my time, but I still find myself, like in the above example, using more time than I should.

I recently was listening to a book where the author asked me “How many Wednesdays do you have left in your life?”  Well, I had never thought about the question like that before. I never thought about how many Wednesdays an average person lives, or any other day for that matter.

After hearing this question I thought about it, and like most of us would do, and maybe you are doing it now.  I started doing some math.  The math I will do today is on how many Thursdays I have left, obviously I hope I have more, but lets just play the averages.

I am 39 years old. My dad died when he was 60 (ugh), not sure how that plays in.  One of my grandfathers lived until 86 and the other lived until 83.  However, this plays in, I don’t know, but it gives me some benchmarks.

So how many Thursdays do I have left?

  • If I make it to 60 = Currently week 15 of my 39th year, 1,077 Thursdays left.
  • If I make it to the average for males in the United States: 78: 2,013 Thursdays left.
  • Average of my two grandfathers 83+86=169/2=84.5, 2,325 Thursdays left.

If you think about life experiences how many times do you really do certain things.  For example:  How many Super Bowl parties do you really attend.  Lets just say you started going to Super Bowl Parties when you were 18.  Then you if you just use an average life span, (78), you could have only attended 60 Super Bowl parties throughout your life.  It seems like a lot, but when you look at it like this it makes it seem really small in my mind. Not sure how you think about it.

Now that I got you thinking.  Well me too.  I am trying to create a stronger sense of urgency in everything I do.  Look, I consider myself, to be very disciplined, very focused, and very consistent in just about everything I do.  But even I have a room for improvement.

This little exercise challenged me to think about how many days I really have to do what I want to do, and need to do.  When you are a kid, you think you will live forever.  And then as an adult you are too busy to think about living forever. Then you wake up one day and realize you have been out of high school for 20 years.

I have accomplished a lot.  I don’t know if it is more or less than I thought I would accomplish, because I never really thought that much about it.  However, as I am sitting here today in Naples, Florida where I have lived for the last two years, typing this blog, and now that I think about what it is I am achieving and accomplishing, I can honestly say I have accomplished a lot.

However, I know I am capable of so much more, and you are as well. We just have to quit falling victim to Parkinson’s Law and create the urgency to do whatever it takes to start and  finish things quicker.

To your success and your future.

 

Spaghetti and Marshmallows and why kindergartners beat CEO’s in this task.

If you had to make a bet on which team could perform a certain task better between a group of kindergartners, or a group of business students amongst some of the top elite schools in the United States and abroad.  Who would you bet on?

Peter Skillman, an engineer, put together a competition to answer this question.  The task was simple.  He assembled groups of four people at several colleges and universities.  Their task was to see who which group could build the tallest possible structure using the following items:

  • twenty pieces of uncooked spaghetti
  • one yard of transparent tape
  • on yard of string
  • one standard size marshmallow

The contest had one rule.  The marshmallow had to be the final thing on top of the tower.

Who did you bet on?

The students took the approach of first tossing ideas back and forth.  They asked questions to each other.  They looked at several different options.  It was very strategic and professional.  They then decided on an approach.  Divided up the tasks and started building.

The kindergartners did something different.  They didnt strategize. They did not analyze anything or generate any ideas, or banter back and forth. Nope they stood amongst each other.  Grabbed the materials and started building.  No plan.  No strategy.  They started putting things together, and as they got in to it.  They would say to each other.  “Lets try this”.  “No, here”.  “Lets put that here.”

So who did you bet that would build the taller structure?

If you bet on the business school students, you are wrong. In dozens of trials, kindergartners built structures that average twenty-six inches tall, while the students from these universities average structure was about ten inches tall.

Teams of kindergartners not only consistently outperformed business school students, but they also conducted these same trials with lawyers and CEO’s.  The lawyers averaged fifteen inch structures and the CEO’s averaged twenty-two inches structures.

So how is it? and Why is it?  That kindergartners could outperform all of these highly educated and skilled groups of people?

The simple answer is that kindergartners:

  • Don’t have any egos.
  • They are not trying to prove their intelligence
  • They are not trying to be in charge.
  • They aren’t scared to speak up because they may be wrong.
  • They are not afraid to say no to each other.
  • They are not trying to adapt to any social norms.

Nope.  The kindergarteners are just looking at a task that they have been asked to do and just doing it.  Although the research doesn’t mention this, but maybe the kindgartners also have a better imagination.  They are not trying to put limits on themselves and say what can’t be done. Instead, they just try to do things.  This by itself leads to better outcomes, because if you aren’t willing to fail, which it doesn’t even cross the minds of these kindergartners, than you will never know what truly could be done.

In today’s world, probably as you are reading this.  You are on your way to work where either you, or someone you will work with today, will be trying to solve a problem.  Instead of trying to decide who is boss.  Or who should be doing this or that.  I would encourage you to instead take the same approach as the kindergartners did in this research and determine what is the best way to do this and forget everything else.

I know this is a hard ask.  But if we would all approach issues at work, or in our own personal lives this way, we would accomplish a lot more.  There would be less tension and conflict amongst our peers and in our own personal relationships.  And we would just be happier altogether.

See if you can approach life-like a kindergartner today and see how it works out for you.

To your success and your future.

You can watch the TED talk on this research here as well.

This one thing is preventing you from success, and it is not what you think.

I was on the phone the other day with my good friend.  Who also is a coach and trainer.  We both have coached and trained hundred of individuals over the years.  We were talking about some of the challenges that hold people back from pursuing their dreams or realizing their full potential.  We asked each other this question?

What do you think the one thing that holds people back from being as successful as they could be?

We both thought for a minute.  I think we both said the word fear, and deep down, fear is part of it.  However, we both agreed that the one thing is Money. Yep money is holding people back from pursuing their dreams.  Or realizing their potential.  Or just getting them out of job or situation they hate.

I am not going to pretend that I am a money expert.  However, at the age of thirty-two, I started to figure some things out.

I had an income of six figures or so and I was single.  But I didn’t have any money. By the way.  I loved my job.  I wasn’t necessarily looking to leave my job.  Thankfully, I came to me senses then, while I loved my job.  Because the decisions I made then, eventually helped me to make the decisions I would make in my later thirties when I didn’t love my job.

So I didn’t have any money saved.  I had a nice car, two houses, some money in a Roth IRA.  One of my houses I lived in and the other I rented.  I bought anything I wanted.   I pretty much would eat out every single day. I was living the dream.

Keep in mind, everybody I grew up around and my family and my friends all considered me to be rich.  My parents combined had never made the kind of money that I was making by myself with no children.  And because of my lifestyle, it looked as if I was pretty well off. However, I had a car payment, a house payment, student loan payments, and lifestyle payments.

At thirty-two I started thinking about the future and how I wanted options, and I never wanted to be stuck or trapped.  Being stuck is something that has always scared me.  Whether being trapped in a closet as a kid because of my friends older brother. Or feeling like I was trapped in a situation that I didn’t like, because I had already committed to it.

I just don’t like the feeling of being trapped. So as I am having this awakening about my life. I knew I had to change.

I am not an expert on getting people out of debt or helping people save money.  However, I  have listened to hundreds of hours of people who are.  I read close to one hundred books on finances.  Here is the best advice I can give on money and finances.

  • Stay out of consumer debt (things that don’t appreciate)
  • Keep your income high
  • Keep your expenses low on the things you need
  • Invest into things that make you money.
  • Look at things and ask yourself “How long do I have to work to pay for this?” Then decide if it is worth it.
  • Pay cash for most things.

By age thirty-five I was out of all debt, and actually owned an additional two pieces of property that generated income.

I tell you my story to tell you this.  I made the decision at age thirty-two that I no longer wanted to be trapped in a job because I needed the money. And I loved my job.  That is the hard part, most people don’t make the hard decisions at the times when things are good, to prepare themselves for the future or for when times are bad.  This is why people never get where they want to go and achieve what they want to achieve.

After coaching hundreds of people myself, and my friend doing the same.  We both have come to the same conclusion, that money is the thing that holds people back.

However, you have a choice today.  You can decide to make better decisions and start to change your present and your future, by deciding today that you will no longer be trapped by money.  You just have to decide. It doesn’t matter how good things are today, one day, you will want something different. One day an opportunity will present itself, and you want to be ready to take advantage of the opportunity.  But you have to decide today.

If you are looking for coaching on your career, money, finances, success, etc. I am sure I can help you.  Someone like me who has done all of the research and lived it myself.  I have all of the best resources available to help you achieve your goals.  You just have to decide today.

Are you ready to make a decision today that your future will not only appreciate, but will need?  If so, reach out to me at bwillett555@gmail.com

To your success and your future.

 

 

Personal responsibility. What happened to it?

Most of the time, I am writing about things that are on my mind at the moment. And after this weekend, the one thing that is on my mind, are the words Personal Responsibility.  I think the reason those words and what it means, is on my mind, because I just feel like there is a lack of it at every turn right now.

So what does Personal Responsibility mean?  If you google search the words, which I did. Four hundred and ninety-one million results will be returned.  But the first one provided by wikiquote, which I like.  Says this: It is the idea that human beings choose, instigate, or otherwise cause their own actions. A corollary idea is that because we cause our actions, we can be held morally accountable or legally liable.

If you are a believer in Personal Responsibility than you would agree that we as individuals choose what happens to us and not are circumstances, and we are not bystanders in our own lives. You either believe this or you don’t.

I think the word instigate is probably the one word that sticks out to me the most in the definition of personal responsibility.  I looked up that word as well.  By the way.  Most people don’t look up words anymore.  I know I didn’t until I became a writer and because of that I didn’t want to rely on my memory or what I thought a word meant until I looked it up. I would encourage you to look up words more, because you may not truly understand what the word means, but I digress.

Instigate means; to urge or provoke a certain action to occur. Meaning you personally did something that caused this action.  You may not have intended to do it, but because you took an action a result occurred.

Back to the word or idea of Personal Responsibility.  If you honestly believe this, you ether believe it or you don’t.  You can’t be half way into Personal Responsibility.  You either believe that individuals control their own destiny or they don’t.  You either believe that we all have the same opportunity because of our abilities, skills, and talents or you don’t.  You can’t believe that we have the ability to control this thing, but not this thing. You have to be all in or not.

Years ago, I was in a work situation that wasn’t ideal.  I wasn’t getting along with a few key people who I needed to get a long with.  I felt like they were assholes, didn’t listen, and only cared about what it was they were looking to do.  And they felt the same way about me. I whined about it constantly and ultimately interviewed and received job offers to leave that company and that situation.

I didn’t leave the company.  I ended up staying.  But I chose to take a different approach.  I changed my attitude, I changed the way I conducted business, and ultimately those relationships changed and I ended up becoming most of their bosses. In all of this, the one thing that I could control was me.  And that is what I did.

You could make the argument that I was at a disadvantage because of the people I was working with.  Most of them had more years of experience within that company and more experience in that industry. I could say that everyone was taking their side because of these conditions.  And I did make that argument at first, until I made the decision to change.

One of my favorite stories my mentor has shared with me over and over makes this point as well.  He tells the story that he was at a point in his life, where he needed to make more money and was complaining to his mentor about how much his company was paying him.

My mentor said that he told his mentor that he would be doing better financially and otherwise, if his company paid more.  His mentor replied and said.  “Are there other people in your company that get paid more than you do?”

My mentor replied to his with a “yes.” His mentor then told him that it wasn’t the company then, it must be him. He also said “What was it that he was not doing or doing that was preventing him from making more?”

My mentor took personal responsibility and changed his life for the better and now has impacted millions of others because of this one step in taking personal responsibility.

In today’s society everyone is looking to blame other people, companies, social media, parents, schools, etc. for the reasons they are where they are, or do what they do. If you believe in Personal Responsibility than you would also believe that we all have equal opportunity to have the life we want.

Culturally nowadays, people are given a pass on personal responsibility before they even had a chance to have it.  A few examples of this is in our school systems.  They say, because a person comes from a certain socioeconomic background that they are not able to perform at the same standards as others. It is a really sad state of affairs that we give a pass, and this by itself creates a lower ceiling and keeps these individuals from every reaching their full potential because they have never had to.

As I look back over my life. I went to the worst schools in the city and county I grew up in. My parents combined probably never made more than thirty or forty thousand dollars to support a family of five people.  I allowed these conditions to define who I was, early on into my adult life.

I said this is who I am, this is what I do.  I believed that I didn’t have the same opportunities because of who and where I came from.  When I made the change in my mind, to go out a do better for myself, I had a lot of opportunities present themselves to me. But I had to take Personal Responsibility.

Where in your life have you lacked Personal Responsibility? What areas in your life should you take more accountability for?  Are you enabling others to not realize their full potential, because you are not allowing them to take Personal Responsibility?

I would be curious to hear your thoughts on these questions.  Please share your thoughts in comments.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

 

My broken down car on the side of the road reminded me of how good “people” really are

Imagine this, you have been driving on the road for eleven hours.  You are traveling south back home from your hometown where you visited your family for the holidays.  The trip should take about fourteen hours, but because of traffic, and a two-hour delay, you are still five hours from your house. When things start to go a little crazy.

In addition to bringing a few christmas presents back with you from Louisville, you and your wife are also bringing back a cold, the flu, or something in between.  You also have your dog with you, who is just there for the ride.

How do things go crazy?

Well, at this point your battery alert light comes on the dash of your car.  You say lets not stop the car, (stupid me) and lets push it and see how far we can get.  It is now dark, it is starting to rain, and your lights on the speedometer and GPS all go out, and your car starts to sputter a long.  You pull over to the side of the road driving and hoping to push it to the next exit off the highway.  And you don’t make it.

It is now completely dark, the rain is coming down even more, your car doesn’t have any power, and you are sitting on the side of the road about five or so hours from home.

This is the situation my wife and I were in last night. Not a very fun situation. Luckily we had roadside assistance with our insurance provider, who we immediately called and was able to get a car towing service scheduled to pick us up.

Then as luck would have it, my wife called about six or seven hotels in the area to see what their availability was at this late hour.  It is around 8:30 pm at this time.  A few had rooms available, but would not allow pets.  Ugh.  She eventually found one that would accept pets.

We now have the towing service on its way, a hotel room secured, and I knew where I was going to have the car towed to.

Now we just sit for the next hour.  The car is cold, the cars are flying by at 80 and 90 miles per hour less than 10 feet or so away from our car.  The rain is coming down harder, and our dog is going a little wacky in the backseat at this point.

The towing service guy gets there, his name is Kenny.  Kenny was coming from a wreck that required his services before he could get to us.  He gets there, and says to me, “This is a dangerous place to be.”  I said “You think”.  No, I didn’t say that, I am not an ass.  But I wanted to.

He immediately started hooking my car up, and asked for my wife and the dog to get out of the car and get in to his truck.  His truck was so warm.

We get the car on the back of the tow truck and we are now on our way.

Kenny asked us what we were going to do that night.  And were we able to find a hotel room.  We told him yes and he said that he would drop our car off and then take us there.

He didn’t have to do that, but he insisted.  When we got to the dealership to drop the car off, my wife knew exactly what we needed to do, because she had talked to DJ already, and he was expecting us. We dropped the car off and headed to the hotel with Kenny.

Kenny dropped us off at the hotel, and my wife and I both slept like babies last night.

This morning I got up and in this small town, Uber is a new thing.  I was a little blown away by that, but nonetheless, because of that, there aren’t very many cars in the area and the hotel doesn’t have a shuttle service.

As I am talking to the service person at the hotel front desk, the assistant manager, was eavesdropping on our conversation where I was asking her to call me a cab. Yuck a cab.  But that is all I had.

He said “Where do you need to go?”.  I told him, and he said “I am about to get off of work and I can take you over there.”  I said that would be awesome.

Zack and I get into his Jeep and made our way over to the dealership where we dropped the car last night.  I meet with DJ, who my wife had talked with the night before.

DJ and I talk and as of right now we are waiting to determine what is the problem with the car.

So often we hear that people are not as nice as they used to be. Or in my case, I was complaining about customer service at a fast food restaurant just yesterday.

Between last night and this morning, my wife and I ran in to three very friendly people who were willing to help us out in a time of need.

The cynics out there are saying, “That is what they are supposed to do aren’t they?”,  I agree.  However, how you do it and the way you help people matter.  They put themselves out a little, to help us even though they didn’t have to.

Most people aren’t willing to inconvenience themselves for themselves, or the their own family most of the time.  And they definitely wont inconvenience themselves for someone else.

Kenny, DJ, and Zack did exactly that.  They were willing to inconvenience themselves to help out complete strangers a little more than they had to.

I am not sure how this little unwanted adventure will end.  They way it sounds, is that our car needs a new alternator and one has been ordered and will be here sometime this afternoon.  So our fourteen hour drive will turn into a 48 hour drive, that included a few twists and turns, but those twists and turns reminded me that I need to be willing to inconvenience myself at times for others, just like Kenny, Zack, and DJ did.

To your success and your future.

 

 

They are watching…what do you want them to see?

“I quit!”…”It has been six weeks since I quit chewing tobacco.”  This is what one of my participants recently told me in one of my leadership training sessions.   We were in week seven of a twelve-week leadership course.

As a trainer one of the most important things I do is create an environment where people are excited about learning the material I am teaching.  I can do this a variety of different ways.   It is done through how I open sessions, the relevance of the material, the examples I use, the facilitation of them applying the concepts taught, how I close sessions, transition sessions from one to another, and most importantly, creating a connection between the material and how they can use it to get better results than they have been getting.

When training is done well, the participants learn something new because they see how it can help them do their job better. More importantly than that to me is, when they see how they can apply what they have learned to make a better life for themselves.

In a twelve week training course, where we spend 3.5 hours together once a week for twelves weeks, we cover a lot of concepts and techniques that can make the participants a better communicator, a better leader, how they can reduce conflict in their life, and a lot of other things as well.  In addition, we will cover how to become a more disciplined person in all areas of our life.

The value of a training environment is it provides a place where you can go and focus, even if it is only for a few hours.  This focused time is more time than most people find to focus on doing just about everything in their life.  It allows time to reflect on the concepts we are teaching, but it also allows time to reflect on other areas of life and how to make changes in those areas.

When this participant shared with me that they made a decision to quit chewing tobacco, something they have done their entire lives, I was really proud of him.   He said, that when we were setting goals for the course, he decided that this was a goal that he should pursue as well.

Keep in mind, I am not teaching people how to set goals on how to quit bad habits.  However, when training is done well, people will see a connection between what is being taught and how they can apply it to other areas of their life. And that is what he did.

Maybe he was already thinking about quitting anyway.  Maybe he was fed up with the costs financially and health wise, from this bad habit.  Regardless of what it was that compelled him to quit doing it.  He made it happen.

What is even more profound is that after a few weeks of him quitting.  He noticed that several people on his team quit doing it as well. And he has a very large team of a hundred people or so, on an off shift.

Think about this for a minute.  If you are around hundreds of people, for fifty and sixty hours a week in a high stress environment.  Do you think after years of doing this, that the team, and the people part of the team, will have similar habits?  Absolutely. We are all products of our environment.  My mentor told me that I will become the average of the five people I spend the most time with. 

When this leader made the decision to quit chewing tobacco, his team noticed it. A leader is being watched at all times.  You set the stage.  If you are a mess, your team will be a mess.  If you are an ass, the chances are your team will have those tendencies as well. When he decided to quit chewing tobacco, those on his team that chewed, said that they can quit as well.

This is a great example of why leadership is not for everyone.  As a leader you have a big responsibility.  I make the connection with parenting.  More is caught, than taught.  Subordinates are watching what you do and how you do it.  Kids are watching their parents and what they do.  What do you want them to see?

To your success and your future.

Four hundred times later, this is what I’ve learned

On January 13, 2014, I was sitting and staring at my computer just like I am now.  I had just purchased the domain name selfdevelopmentaddict.com My goal was to write/type a blog at least once a week for a year, and at the end of that year turn those blog posts into a book.  I now write everything on that domain and share it to my website brianwillettgroup.com

I quickly turned that original goal in to something else soon after.  My goal was then to write as often as possible and see at the end of the year what I tended to write about the most.  I was looking to see what it was that I was really passionate about.  By looking back at what topics and things I wrote about most, I would be able to clarify a path for future writings or even a different career path.

I did switch careers, and with that, I changed the path for my writings to what they are today.  My job is to increase the skills and the performance of leadership professionals and sales professionals in all facets of business. To ensure I continue to make the biggest impact with my clients, I use my writing to flesh out thoughts I may have.  I use my writings as a follow-up with my clients to reenforce a concept that we may have discussed. I use some of what I write to generate leads or provoke a thought in someone’s mind.  And lastly, I even use my writings to rant at times.

The reason for my reflection this evening, is because this post is my 400th blog post since I started writing. Although 400 hundred doesn’t seem like a lot, and I know I am capable of more, and I could do more writing.  I am still happy to say that 1,075 days have passed since I started writing.  Which means:

  • Over the last 153 weeks of my life I blogged at least twice a week.
  • I have roughly compiled about 240,000 words.
  • I wrote a self published book titled “Seven Ways to More”
  • I wrote two e-books.
  • I switched careers
  • I wrote my fathers eulogy.  The reason this is so important, is writing provided me the confidence to write the thoughts I shared that day.

I haven’t made any money from any thing I have written so far.  I don’t think I have written anything that has gone viral. Most of my closest friends, family, etc. rarely ever comment, share, mention, etc. anything I have written.  I don’t know if I am a better writer today than I was on January 13, 2014.

In church last week, my pastor asked the congregation a question that was posed to him at an event he attended several years ago.  The question that was asked of him was this: “If your church were to disappear tomorrow, would your community even know it.”

He took that question and modified it and challenged us with this question: “If our church were to disappear tomorrow, would our community even know it.”  He just changed the “your” to “our”.  He challenged us with continuing to commit time and resources, and help the church and the community in any way we can.

The reason I share this story is because I am asking myself this same question about my writing.  If my blog posts didn’t exist anymore, would anyone even know it.

And here is how I answer this question.  It may sound a little selfish, but my heart is in the right place.  Based on my experiences so far, the answer is, nobody would miss it.  Lets be honest.  If you are reading this, you are most likely finding out that I have written four hundred times.

None of that matters though.  I am going to make it my mission to matter though.  I am going to go back to the drawing board and see what I need to do to produce a better and more compelling product.  I am going to continue to challenge myself to become a better writer and storyteller.  And if I still haven’t gone viral or received many comments or shares, it wont matter.  Because, here is the selfish part.  I started writing for me.

The benefits I have gained from 4oo blog posts.

  • I am more confident
  • I have added value to the people and clients that have read anything I have written.
  • That ongoing writing propelled me and gave me the confidence to find another career.
  • I expanded my skills sets. For every skill you develop you increase your potential income.
  • I have become a better communicator verbally, because I have expressed my words in written format first.
  • I have become a better goal accomplisher.
  • I have monetized writing by being a better trainer.  I don’t get paid for writing, but I do get paid for training. The writing has made me a better trainer.
  • I have met people who I would have never met, because of something I have written that they liked.
  • I showed myself that I can commit to something that is very hard to do and do it, over and over.
  • I have 135 drafts of blogs that I have never published. Because they are undone thoughts I had. Not worthy of pushing out just yet.
  • I have about ten writings that are not for public consumption. That are near and dear to me.

I am sure there are other benefits to my writing then the ones I mentioned above, but that is all I can think of this evening.  If you happen to read this, or have read anything I have written. I want to thank you.  My next goal for my writing is to make sure it doesn’t take another 1,075 days to get to 800 blog posts.

To your success and your future.

My first business purchase and why you shouldn’t listen to most people

“Was that a roach?” My buddy said to me as we were walking through the property.  This had to be one of the nastiest homes I have personally ever walked in and he said the same.

As I walked through the apartment of this three bedroom and one and a half bath bottom unit of this duplex, it was hard to see the carpet because of all the boxes and trash bags piled on top of more garbage.   It’s as hard to tell what color the walls were because of  the layer of film on all of the  walls from years of smoking.  The smell that permeated throughout the twelve-hundred square foot of living space was a combination of old boxes, body odor, and food that had been sitting in the garbage can for days.

As we walked through each of the bedrooms, I couldn’t believe that children actually were allowed to occupy the space.  I also never understood how every single light fixture or wall socket, was missing the little plate that hides the electrical wires in the wall.

As we walked into one the bedrooms, a 1980’s television set was on, and had the old bunny ears were attempting to put a picture on the screen that was even watchable.  Keep in mind it is now 2006 when I was in walking through.

We walked out of that apartment to the upstairs apartment. This apartment was exactly the opposite of what we were just walking through.  It was the same size and dimensions. However,  this apartment was clean, uncluttered, and the white paint on the walls were white. We didn’t spend as much time in that apartment.  My decision was made.

As we exited both apartments:
My buddy said “What do you think?”
I said “Lets put an offer in on it.”
He said “What?”
I said, “Yes, I want to buy it.”

And about a month or so later, I now owned my first official business.   I bought that duplex and it was my first of many rental properties.  I didn’t know it at the time, because I was twenty-seven years old and didn’t know really what I was doing.   Nobody in my family that I was close with, at least not my immediate family, had ever owned rental real estate before.

As I was in the process of buying this property, I had many people in my family and my friends asking me the questions, of which you have either asked yourself most likely.  Or if you own rental real estate someone has asked you.

Questions like.  “What are you going to do if you don’t have a renter?”  “Renters will mess your place up?”  “Who is going to do all of your repairs?”  “How will you find renters?”  “What do you know about owning real estate?”  “You know that this will impact your taxes?” “You will get calls in the middle of the night.”

All of these statements, that are posed in a way of a question were asked of me.  Many of the people who made these statements had never owned rental real estate in their life.  Many of the people didn’t have a clue of what it was like to find a renter.  Paying taxes on rental properties. Doing repairs on rental properties.

This first rental property investment I made was such a learning experience for me.

First, I had to see through all of the muck and junk and realize that there was an opportunity to make some money.  The bad smells, the dirty walls, the ripped carpet that was so filthy that I was scared to even walk on it with shoes.  But I saw through it all.

And in life, most of the good opportunities and possibilities are usually covered up with a little muck and junk.  It is up to us to not listen to the conventional wisdom and to go against the grain and decide to pursue the opportunity anyway. Also, you have to work to clear out the muck and junk to expose the opportunity.

The second thing I learned was.  That most of the people telling you not to do something.  Or questioning why you would want to do something.  These same people are usually the ones that have no experience with whatever it is they are questioning you about.

I am a big believer in learning from other people.  However, many times I have listened to people who don’t have the experience with that of which I am trying to learn about or attempt to do.  Most of the naysayers in my life, and your life, are trying to tell you something they don’t have any experiences with.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I know now.  That for any of us to accomplish something that we have never been able to accomplish, we will have to do something that most people we know haven’t done or haven’t done well. Because we are all a product of our own environments at some level.

Quit listening to the people who don’t have the ability to help you to begin with.

To your success and your future.