Ever Feel Stuck in the Rat Race?

Ever feel like your business is running you instead of you running your business?  Most of us got into business for ourselves so we could be our own boss, make our own rules, live life on our own terms.  Then we found out that owning a business could be just as much, or more, of a rat race than working a nine to five.


Until we get the right people on the bus and workable systems and processes in place, there is a lot to do.  In addition to there being a lot to do, all the responsibility rests with the owner which can cause a lot of stress.


We’re pulled in many directions and wear many hats at the same time.  Said hats include, but are not limited to, scheduling appointments, sales and marketing, customer service, product/service research and development, strategic planning, etc.  Oh and we have to eat and sleep too.  Most days.


Then as we grow and take on an employee or a few which adds training and management to the list too.  Obviously this brings up a whole new set of challenges to work through heaping more things to do and responsibility on the business owner.


Most people have heard of the 80/20 rule.  If you haven’t, here’s a refresher: basically it means that 20% of our actions produce 80% of our results.  This can be framed in several different ways.  We’re going to take a look at one of them here in this article.


There is a habit that plagues most small business owners today. They tend to spend significantly more time working in their business versus on their business. That means they spend way more time doing the day-to-day tasks associated with running their business than thinking strategically and planning for the future.


There are many reasons for this such as the need for control, perfectionism, and lack of leadership. None of these are permanent problems, but it is up to the business owner to do something about it. Following are three simple things you can start practicing immediately without spending a dime.


  1. Spend 20% of Your Time Working ON the Business


Yup. Just do the math. If you work forty hours a week, spend eight of those hours thinking and planning strategically about the future of your business. This one simple practice will break the pattern of being stuck in the weeds with your hands busy.


Trust me when I tell you that I realize this is simple in word and not so easy in deed. And if you don't do it, nothing is going to change. You can expect the same results that you've gotten on average or an incremental change in results over a long period of time.


Let that sink in. Let yourself feel what it feels like to realize that to expect  different results from doing the same thing over and over is insane. Think about the pain you feel sometimes when you realize you're in the rat race with everyone else. And then think about it being that way forever. For the rest of your life.


If you choose to do this one thing, spend 20% of your working hours developing ideas and plans for the future, about making your business better, you will literally change your life forever


2. Pick One Task to Delegate to Someone Else


When you do, you will begin honing the habit of becoming a leader. You can only take it so far all by yourself. Even if you haven't please and they are doing parts of your business for you, I guarantee there is at least one thing that you're holding onto that you don't need to.


By doing this you're holding yourself and your whole company back. You are literally stifling your dream.


Give the responsibility to someone else. Practice training and developing that person into being even better than you when you did it. That's leadership and I promise you'll be happier for it. This is when true freedom is made possible through your business.


3. Take a 3 Minute Vacation


I definitely stole this one, but there's nothing new under the sun, right? I believe it was Tim Ferris who said this, but please don't quote me on that because I don't recall for sure. And with that being said I'm sure he wasn't the first one who said it either. Maybe a Buddhist monk from back in the day or something.


Whenever you're feeling stressed out, or whatever you call it, take three minutes and remember a really fun experience or think about the next vacation you're going on or what it would be like to do the thing you think would be the most fun in the world.


Sounds silly I know. Try it. What do you have to lose? After all it's three minutes. And you can count this as part of the 20% of your time working on the business instead of in the business. We all need time to recharge our batteries, and if we don't, we’ll wind up grinding ourselves to nub.


These are just three ideas of many that can break up your pattern of being stuck in the rat race. Have fun implementing them. Consider asking some other business owners you know about how they spend time working on their business. And please feel free to drop me a line and ask me any question anytime.


Is Inspiration A Circumstance or a Choice?

Most of the people I associate with are creating something out of nothing.  Entrepreneurs, small business owners, commission based professionals and people who are self employed.  They have intentions and goals and they go out and make it happen.  They’re visionaries.  They’re artists.


Doing this kind of work takes inspiration and commitment.  The purpose of this article is to give my two cents on whether inspiration is something we generate ourselves, or if it’s something that happens to us.  


The direct answer to this question is that it’s actually both.  Sometimes something happens, we see something, we hear something, we have a thought, and we get inspired to take some kind of action.  My assertion is that most of the time this is not the case.  That most of the time, if we wait for inspiration to strike, we’re going to be waiting for a long time.


People who are extraordinarily successful aren’t waiting around for anyone or anything to happen to them.  These folks are make it happen type of people.  When someone says no, they go find someone who will say yes.  When this pond dries up, they go find another pond to fish in.  If there’s an obstacle in the way, they find a way over it, around it, under it, or straight through it.  


I’ve been staring at the cursor here for literally an hour trying to figure out what to write about today.  I know, I know.  I should have a content schedule so I don’t have to create something on the spot.  Whatever.  I don’t have that right now.  


I was very close to giving up on this for the day.  I’m exhausted and hungry.  It’s 6pm on Friday afternoon and I’ve been up since 5am.  I busted my ass at the gym this morning, I”ve had 4 client meetings, a couple other phone conversations, sent some emails, and did some other admin work.  So many good reasons to not do this right now.  


This is when inspiration needs to be generated by none other than me.  And why?  Because I want to.  Because I choose to.  That’s it.  No other reason.


At the beginning of the year I made a commitment to myself that I’d write an article every week this year.  And just to make extra sure that I’d actually do it, I told several of my accountability buddies.  Yes, I have several.  


So I’m sitting here and I was actually about to give in and give up.  For the third time.  Right.  In service of full disclosure, I’ve let circumstances get the best of me twice so far.  I really didn’t want to have this be the third notch of failure in my belt.  So I self-generated me some inspiration.  

How did I do it?  Here’s how simple it is.  Again, simple, not easy.  For those who have never read any of my stuff: I say again because I write about a lot of simple concepts that are some of the hardest things you’ll ever do :)  So….do them if you want to set yourself apart from the crowd.  I digress.


It’s as simple as choosing to reach within and generate you some inspiration.  Why would I sit here and write this article?  Because I said I would.  Maybe that’s not enough for some people.  It’s enough for me.  My integrity is everything to me.  My word is my bond.  And when that gets mucked up, I’m not a happy camper.


My definition of integrity is when my intention, my words and my actions are all in alignment.  I intend to become a master at writing content that makes a difference for my audience.  That takes practice.  I said I’d practice every week by writing an article and posting it on LinkedIn and my blog.  I said I’d do it on Friday afternoons.  Here we are.  It’s Friday afternoon so I want to do the thing.


But I don’t feel like it!  Doesn’t matter.  Yup.  You’re feelings don’t matter when it comes down to brass tacks.  Tired, hungry, angry, sad, anxiety, frustration, resignation....FEAR.  Doesn’t matter.  


You’re definitely allowed to feel your feelings.  We need to in order to be healthy, well rounded, functional human beings.  But if/when we allow our feelings to get in the way of what we said we want and that we’re committed to, we need to take a serious look at working that out.  


This is why I personally surround myself with a team of mentors, coaches, friends, family, and peers so I have unreasonable support when it comes to working myself out in order to be and do what I said I would.  


This time I chose my wife, Tara the great.  I asked her to come upstairs because I needed some help.  I proceeded to complain to her about how I didn’t feel like doing this right now.  She tried to give me some ideas and I complained about them too.  I knew I wouldn’t want to cop out in front of my lady….and it worked.  


I chose to write about what was going on for me in this moment.  And what a relevant concept it is.  All my peeps are trying to create something out of nothing.  We all play in the unknown every day.  I chose to feel happy and inspired about using this little piece of my life experience as a life lesson for us all.  


Our job is to feel the feelings and then take action in spite of them.  Scared?  Do it anyway.  Don’t feel like it for whatever reason?  Do it anyway.  Or else you’re doomed to a state of mediocrity.  I don’t know about you, but to me that’s worse than death itself.  


So I’m not concerned about correct grammar, correct punctuation, political correctness or whether or not anyone even cares about this article.  I’m writing it anyway.  Because that’s what I said and that’s what I choose.  Because that’s what leaders do.


If you are interested in the concept of self-generating inspiration and doing what you said regardless of whatever gets in the way, I highly recommend a book by Steven Pressfield called - The War of Art.  It contains the most eloquent words I’ve ever read about the enemy of all creation: Resistance.  


I’d love to hear your story of conquering resistance and generating your own inspiration.  I think these anecdotes make the world a better place.  This isn’t something only superheros and special people can do.  This is a superpower we all possess.  Your story could make a difference and change someone’s world for the better.  Thanks.

Which Pain Do You Choose?

The bottom line job of a leader is to make decisions.  Depending on the circumstances around which a person is leading, these decisions can be a matter of life and death.  Think military or other high stakes jobs like logging (rated number one of the top ten deadliest jobs in a Forbes article in 2013).


I’d argue that making decisions quickly and absolutely is the most important skill of a leader.  Notice I did not say making “right” decisions.  I said making decisions.  Leaders make questionable decisions all the time.  What sets great leaders apart is they own and empower their decisions….and the consequences thereof.


A Brief Tale of Two Brothers


Two brothers were on a sailboat on the ocean.  Both were competent seaman.  During the night, they took four hour shifts at the helm so each had a chance to sleep.  


One night while out at sea the brother who was asleep awakened at the sound of a loud foghorn.  He knew they weren’t close to land.  So the only other option of where this sound could have come from was another vessel.  And it had to be very close judging by the volume of the scream of the horn.


He rushed to the deck and saw that he and his brother’s boat was on course to crash into a container ship head on.  Yelling to his brother, he said, “Hard left!  Hard left!”


The brother seemed to be frozen and staring at the container ship like a deer in the headlights.  He yelled again, “Hard left!  Hard left!”  No movement whatsoever.


At this point there was only one thing to do.  He rushed over to his brother, pushed him out of the way, grabbed the helm and made a hard left.  This leader saved the day.  And in this case that meant saving he and his brother’s lives.  


This leader is my good friend Bill so I know it’s a true story, not an anecdote to make my point.  Bill is in his seventies and has owned/operated, bought, sold or grown eight different companies in his career.  The biggest one did over $300 Million in revenue per year.  


Bill knows what it takes to lead in business and in life.  He’s a practiced risk taker and decision maker.  That’s what got him to hundreds of millions of dollars a year in revenue.  Nothing else.  Bill has no college degree and was called stupid while growing up as he failed the fourth and ninth grades.  


Obviously Bill is not stupid.  He grew up with a learning disability during a time when they had no idea what that even meant.  The point is Bill learned the skills he needed to thrive.  The ability to take risks, make decisions, and be responsible for the consequences.  If he can do it, so can you.


What Gets in the Way of Making Decisions?


Leaders are action takers.  They don’t wait around for the right decision because they know they’ll be waiting a long time.  They don’t wait to feel comfortable because they know they’ll be waiting a long time.  They don’t wait for the fear to go away because…..


There’s no such thing as the right decision.  There’s only what works and what doesn’t work.  Leaders know this even if solely on a subconscious level.  


What gets in the way of making decisions is the need to be right, comfortable and sure.  Bill’s brother wasn’t sure what to do so he did nothing.  


What if he turned the helm too hard and capsized the boat?  What if he chose to turn and couldn’t do it fast enough and they hit the container ship?  What if he made the wrong decision and Bill got mad at him because he screwed up the boat?


Yup.  Any of these scenarios could’ve occurred and they all could’ve been painful.  What do you do if you’re faced with a decision that will result in something painful either way?  Well, you still have to choose.


Which Pain Will You Choose?


I got off the phone with Nick, a client of mine, shortly before writing this article.  The conversation we had inspired me to write this.  Nick’s a leader.  Always has been, always will be.  He and his wife own and operate a financial services practice near Dallas, TX.


Nick’s been crushing it lately due largely to his very successful marketing.  In the recent months he’s grown the business to where it earns a comfortable living for his family.  He wants to grow and knows it will likely take his investing diversifying his marketing efforts.


This week NIck has been presented with an opportunity to host a radio show as another tactic to add to his strategic marketing plan.  It’s something he’s had a goal of doing in the near future.


You guessed it.  Nick needs to make a decision, and fast, or else he’ll lose the opportunity to a competitor.  Not a life and death decision, but it’s certainly high stakes.  


Here’s the deal.  This is going to cost him $78,000 and a year of his life.  He’s run the numbers and adding the radio show to his marketing plan will grow his business to a whole new level.  IF….it actually works.  


There’s pain on either side of the fence.  If Nick chooses to go with the radio show, it’s going to cost a significant amount of money, he’ll likely have to hire several new people, and learn how to operate inside of a new set of circumstances.  A more stressful cash flow scenario, the headaches of hiring, training and working with new employees, and the risk of not acquiring enough clients to make it worth the investment.  


Conversely if Nick opts to not go with the radio show, he’s going to have to deal with the consequences of waiting until later to do it.  He’ll be wondering how it would’ve went had he chose to do it.  What if it worked?  What if he can’t get the same opportunity next year?  


Nick needs to make this decision by Tuesday, and no matter what he chooses, it’s going to be painful.  The clock is ticking and he’s taking action by calling his team of advisors and supporters to help him through the process.  Ultimately he knows he’s the only one qualified to actually choose.


It was so much fun talking to him about it.  It was like watching a good thriller.  I could feel the adrenaline rush as if it were me in his shoes.  I’ve been there many times.  And I’ve made decisions that worked and those that didn’t.  


Now you get to choose.  Who will you be and what will you do when faced with tough decisions?  Will you be and do whatever it takes?  Will you wait for someone else to choose for you?  You’ll see.  And so will those around you.

Have You Ever Should All Over Yourself?

Most people can think of at least one thing they want, but don’t currently have.  To be their ideal weight or at their ideal level of fitness, to earn a certain amount of money, to create their ideal career.  


Obviously there are many different things that can get in the way of accomplishing a goal.  This article is about one of the biggies.  The concept of ‘I should do’ vs ‘I get to’.  


When we think I have to or I should it comes from the perspective of Obligation.  Consider this for a moment.  Whenever you’ve been obligated to do something, how did you feel about it?  


Likely you felt frustration, resignation, resentment or even a stronger negative emotion like anger or even hatred.  How’s it likely to go from there?  Right.  Not so good.  


Coming from the perspective of obligation - should do, have to, etc - the mind tends to categorize the goal as a fix for a problem.  When this is the case, the mind then focuses it’s attention mostly on the problem, not who to be or what to do about it.


The goal becomes big and significant.  It feels heavy like a ball and chain we’re dragging around.  This causes unnecessary pressure and takes a lot of energy.  Sounds exhausting, right?  It is.


Conversely, when we’re doing something because we want to, it feels fun.  Like we’re playing a game.  Think about a time when you were having fun.  Time flew by and the experience was likely playful and joyful.  What if everything you were up to occurred to you as fun?


Something New to Practice


The Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda mentality is literally self inflicted punishment.  Why would we do that to ourselves?  Because this is learned behavior for most people.  


Think back to when you were young and small being ruled over by a world full of giants AKA parents, teachers and preachers.  Think role models like athletes, television characters and other media personalities.


These folks either shoved the should haves  down our throats or we created that feeling on our own.  I should look like that or feel like that or be able to do that.  


When we didn’t or we couldn’t yet we were likely punished somehow whether it was someone inflicting it on us, or it came from our own thought or feeling.  By now, as adults, this has simply become habit.  And all habits can be replaced with new habits by repetitive deliberate practice.


I invite you to practice choosing.  This is your life.  Ultimately, who you are and what you do is because you chose to.  So no fair acting like it’s something you have to do.  


Want something different?  Great.  That’s also a choice.  I invite you to practice relating to it as such and notice how the chains of obligation start to loosen their grip.  


From the perspective of choice we can actually make a game out of anything really.  Even if it’s new, scary and uncomfortable.  Our attention shifts how we’re relating to our circumstances instead of being on the circumstance itself.  You’ll find so much freedom in this.  Guaranteed.


Quick Story


In June 2015 I decided I wanted to get in shape.  I was going on 35 years old and I hadn’t exercised regularly since high school.  My eating habits were less than desirable and I wasn’t happy about it.  


Leading up to the moment when I chose to actually do something about it, I spent a lot of time in the shoulda, woulda, couldas.  I should’ve done something by now.  I would’ve already been through the hard part.  I could’ve had a more favorable lifestyle by now.


I’d have all the familiar thoughts and feelings about it, and guess what?  Nothing changed.  I did nothing.  All I accomplished was making myself feel terrible for not taking action.  


Every time I looked in the mirror I was reminded of what I should be doing.  Every time my energy felt low because of the so called food I was eating I was reminded of what I should be eating.  It felt like I had to do something different.  And for that reason, I did nothing because who likes doing something they feel obligated to do?  No one.


I took a serious look at this in June 2015 and I realized nothing was changing because I hadn’t connected a set of different actions to my own choice.  I began to imagine who I wanted to become.  


I wanted to be the guy who exercised regularly, was fit, strong and ate healthy food.  Just because I said so.  That was inspiring.  It wasn’t because anyone else told me to.  It wasn’t because I wanted to look like someone else.  It was because I chose to.


I completely changed the way I ate, started exercising several days per week, and lost about 30 pounds in less than 3 months.  And I’ve been going strong for almost 2 years.  


I don’t share this to toot my own horn.  It’s simply an example of what’s possible from choice.  Try it out.  Practice shifting your perspective from have to  over to get to and see what happens.  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.   

The Perfection Of Imperfection

Most people have their eyes on some sort of prize.  To look like the guy on the cover of Men’s Health magazine, to be able to bench press 225 ten times, to climb Mt Everest, to sell the company for $10 Million in the next five years.


Every one of these goals obviously comes along with a ton of time, work and dedication.  And if you’re anything like me, you wanted it to happen yesterday.  Intellectually you know it takes learning how and a lot of practice, but in your heart you just want it already.


Another thing that happens if you’re anything like me, is that in practicing, it doesn’t always turn out perfectly.  We make mistakes.  We fail.  We had a perfect plan for how we wanted it to be and it didn’t turn out that way.


WTF!?  We took the time to do the research, make a plan, take action against the plan, and it still didn’t work!?  Is there something wrong with me?  Am I not good enough?  Is it not meant to be?  


This line of thinking is totally normal.  When we don’t get what we want, it stings.  That sting is the feeling of our survival emotions being triggered.  Our fears, concerns, and feelings of frustration, anger, shame, anxiety, guilt, etc. are driven up and it hurts.


What’s The Meaning Of This!?


I believe we’re all here for a reason.  To learn something, to be something, to give something.  From experience I’ve learned that fulfillment is to be found in the journey, not the destination.  


If we wait for arriving at the destination to be happy, we’re going to be waiting a long time.  And, again, if you’re anything like me, you’re just going to choose another destination once you’ve arrived anyway.  Life is a constant game of setting the bar higher for people like us.


So, what do we say from here?  We could continue the vicious cycle of setting a goal, working towards accomplishing it, making mistakes, beating ourselves up for those mistakes and whether or not we crushed the goal good enough, fast enough, etc., then raise the bar higher and start all over again.  Or….


We could surrender to the natural process of falling in love with the perfection of imperfection.  Natural process?  Yes.  It’s completely 100% natural and you already know it.


How so?  Glad you asked.  Have you ever loved another person?  A friend, child, family member or significant other?  


Then you know exactly what I’m talking about.  There’s always something in that person we don’t like.  Some kind of imperfection.  Yet we love them anyway.  


We learned to see them as perfect even though they’re imperfect.  Oh, and they love you too, and you know very well that you’re not perfect.


So why do we set a new goal and expect it to go exactly as planned?  That’s crazy talk.  It’s actually not weird that we do this though.  We’ve been conditioned to go for perfection (think fairytale heroes) and made wrong for being imperfect countless times as we were growing up (think parents, teachers, religion).


OK, What Now?


Consider that we’re all writing our stories in every moment of every day.  The fairytale heroes weren’t heroes because they were born with a silver spoon in their mouths.  They were heroes because they went through a ton of hardship on their journey and either won in the end, or failed masterfully.


Consider you’re on your own hero’s journey and you get to write the script.  Remember that each of your favorite heroes went through some kind of unreasonable hardship before they were called a hero.  Luke Skywalker, Batman, Wesley from the Princess Bride.  All of them.


If you take a close look at what the hero went through you’ll see they all learned from each mistake, each hardship.  What did they learn?  They learned how to win.  It may not have looked good.  In fact, it may have looked like they were going to lose at times.  


With each stumbling block they learned how to rework the plan.  With each setback they learned how to get further on the next push.  With each loss they learned how to fight harder next time.  With each failure they learned how to win.


I just used a whole lot of words to say, “get over it”.  You’re going to fail.  It’s not going to look exactly how you think.  You’re beating yourself up for no reason.  Stop it.  


Stop it because you’re missing out on the lessons your journey has to offer.  Stop it because you’re missing out on an amazing experience of life while you’re waiting to arrive at the destination.  Stop it because other people are watching you and they deserve to have an amazing journey too.


I’ll leave you with my all time favorite quote.  It’s by Teddy Roosvelt:


It is not the critic who counts

Not the man who points out

How the strong man stumbles

Or where the doer of deeds could have done them better

The credit belongs to the man

Who is actually in the arena

Whose face is marred

By dust and sweat and blood

Who strives valiantly

Who errs, who comes short again and again

Because there is no effort

Without error and shortcoming

But who does actually strive to do the deeds

Who knows great enthusiasms

The great devotions

Who spends himself in a worthy cause

Who at the best knows in the end

The triumph of high achievement

And who at the worst, if he fails

At least fails while daring greatly

So that his place shall never be

With those cold and timid souls

Who neither know victory nor defeat

You’re Addicted. Yes, you.

Before you head straight for the comments to give me a piece of your mind, let me explain.  We’re all addicted at some level.  It’s part of the human experience.  Our cells get a certain feeling from experiences we have and that’s why certain experiences tend to repeat multiple times.


Have you ever had a moment when you could predict how you’re going to feel in the future?  For instance, when you need to have a conversation with a particular person and that person always makes you feel a certain way?  Or the conversation always goes a certain way?


Or do you remember ever saying, “this always happens to me”?  You know, kind of like the movie Groundhog Day.  Well, maybe not that bad, but I think you probably get what I mean.


To illustrate my point I’m going to use a real story about my own life.  I’m not just accusing you of being addicted to the familiar, I’m admitting to the same process existing in me.  I’m just as guilty as we all are.  


I also intend to make clear that this isn’t a bad thing.  Being addicted has tremendous advantages as well as negative consequences.  In this article I’m going to show you how to harness this force of nature for good in your life.


As you’re reading this all the way through, I have a request of you.  I want you to consider for a moment, that if this is true, how might it be showing up in your life?  Instead of you looking for ways to argue against this point, I invite you to look for the truth in it.


The Trap of the Familiar


Our bodies have been conditioned to go for the familiar.  We all have thoughts, fears, and feelings both good and bad that are automatic and predictable.  All of these things put together are how we create our identity.  They’ve become how we relate to ourselves.  


Our thoughts send signals to the rest of our body that inform our cells how to feel.  Those feelings become emotions - or energy in motion - which transmute into actions and then results.  This is why we often have the experience of familiarity with our environment.


The following is an example of how this concept showed up for me in the recent past and what I chose to do about it to create an unfamiliar result.  It’s an example of how I chose to change who I am in service of a new and more favorable circumstance in my life.


I have a friend named Steve whom I’ve known since I was four years old.  We’ve known each other for 32 years.  He’s one of my best friends in the world.  He and his wife are planning his 40th birthday party for next month.


Obviously a 40th birthday is a big deal and my friends and I love to have a good excuse to get together and have a party.  It just so happens that I have a work commitment scheduled on that day.  This caused a feeling of anger, sadness and disappointment in me.


Didn’t they know I wouldn’t be available on that day?  Of course they did.  I’ve been busy on the first weekend of every month for over four years.  


Didn’t they know I’d really want to come out and celebrate with them?  Of course they did.  They know me and how much I love to be with my friends having a good time.  


Aren’t they allowed to schedule a birthday party whenever they want?  Of course they are.  It’s their party and they can have it whenever they want to.


As all of these thoughts and feelings were running through my mind and body I noticed this was a familiar pattern from the past.  I remembered a time when we were kids.  


My neighborhood friends, of which this person was one, had plans to do something together.  I had also been invited to hang out with another group of my friends during that same time.  I chose to hang out with this other group over my neighborhood friends.  Steve was pissed at me!


It was a big deal at the time.  I was called a sell out, a bad friend, and all kinds of other names I won’t put in writing here.  It made me feel like a bad person.  I still chose to do what I wanted to do because I knew I could do so and still maintain my friendship with Steve.  It just wouldn’t feel good for a while.


We, of course, got over this tough time in our relationship as kids and have had a ton of awesome experiences together since then.  The interesting thing is how much that time in my life was still impacting me in the present and the future.  I’ll explain.


I was trapped in the familiar pattern of allowing my feelings to manifest into my reality.  When I heard about the 40th birthday party conflicting with my work commitment, as I said, I was angry, sad, and disappointed.


I immediately imagined the worse case scenario.  Steve would call me a bad friend and be mad at me for missing this milestone celebration, I’d be mad at him for not being willing to see my perspective, and I’d have to do a lot of work to fix our relationship.  


What I Did To Create Something Different


First I got present to why I was taking the position of prioritizing my work commitment.  In the past I would have related to this as something that was happening to me.  I have to do this other thing.  I have no choice.


This time I empowered it as my choice.  I won’t bore you with all the details as to why this was my choice, but I had to be able to see that it was, in fact, a choice.  


Then I got present to the fact that this doesn’t mean I’m a bad person and it also doesn’t mean I don’t love Steve.  It simply means I’m not going to be present at his birthday party.  


Next I chose how I wanted to feel about it all.  I chose to feel happy.  I felt happy about the amazing accomplishment it is to have had a friend for 32 years.  I felt grateful that we have a relationship such that we can feel disappointment and not hate each other for it.  I chose to feel relieved that he was ok with me missing the party before I actually had evidence that he was.


The important thing to note here is that all of these feelings were there as a result of my choice.  Not a result of anything that actually happened.  I changed who I was being before I did anything at all.  Most people are accustomed to waiting for their circumstances to change prior to their feelings and actions changing.  This is the trap I alluded to above.


Now that I had created a foundation of who I wanted to be in this situation I could take some action around it.  I contacted Steve and invited him over to hang out.  We sat around and talked for a few hours.  Just had some bonding time.  


During this conversation we talked about his party.  I told him that I really wanted to be there and I really wanted to be my word around my work commitment at the same time.  He totally understood.  We had a nice time together and we decided we’d plan another time to celebrate his birthday when I would be there.  


Why You Should Care


Our existence can be broken down into patterns because that’s how nature works.  In the human body these patterns can be broken down into thoughts, feelings and actions that are completely automatic and predictable.


If you choose to become aware of these patterns you can learn how to, and master the ability to, literally create whatever future you want.  There is nothing magical about it.  It’s science and nature.  


This is happening in your life right now whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not.  So you might as well learn how to intentionally use this power to your advantage.  


Over the next couple weeks in my articles I’m going to dive deeper into this concept and share some of the many sources I’ve learned it from.  This information, and putting it into application, has changed my life for the better in many ways.  My mission is to show the world that every human being has this power.  The power to live life by design.

The Art & Science of Living a Great Life

As a coach, talking to people is my job.  I talk to a lot of people in any given week between working with my clients, speaking engagements, training events, and prospecting for new business.  


I also have a life outside of work where, again, I talk to a lot of people.  Friends, family, and all the people in between that I interact with on a daily basis.  


During these interactions I’m always listening to how people relate to themselves and the world around them.  This is a practice I’ve learned to help me best serve my clients, and it’s also quite interesting to notice in social settings as well.  


The bottom line is that people just want to be happy.  We want to be happy with the way we spend our time and with whom we spend it.  We want to be happy with who we are and what we have.  We want a happy experience of life.  


Now, this is a very simple way to explain life which is a pretty complicated thing, but bare with me here.  Certainly we can agree that life is better when we feel happy and worse when we feel sad, angry or resigned.


Ask yourself this question: Will I be happy tomorrow?


Out of 100 people who are asked this question, I’d be willing to bet, 97+ of them would answer: It depends.  Depends on what?  Well, it depends on a million things.


Life By Design vs Dependant On Circumstances


What if I told you that it didn’t have to depend?  What if you could be happy because you say so?  Would that be something you might be interested in?  What would that make possible for you?


We’re bombarded every day with thousands of things that could potentially influence our mood.  Conversations with other people, media - marketing messages, news, television, stuff happening - sickness, hardship, and even death.  Let’s call all of these things circumstances.


Look, there are always things that happen that will cause us to feel some type of way other than happy.  And, what if you could be happy because you say so 90%+ of the time?  What if you could do so regardless of the circumstances around you?  Would that make a difference for you?


This may be a brand new thought for you and it may be the hardest work you ever do.  Just like anything else you’ve ever done that was new, you can become great at it with consistent, deliberate practice.  


You’re being given your first opportunity to do so right now.  Or you could choose to be a victim of circumstance like 97% of the people around you.  What do you say?


Choose To Generate


I can almost hear you asking, how in the world does one do this?  It’s a super simple answer, and again, one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.  You practice choosing to generate the experience of life you want in every moment.


The predictable thing about life is that stuff happens.  “Good” things happen and we feel good.  “Bad” things happen and we feel bad.  Totally normal.


Let’s take a sales goal for example.  When sales are coming in and it looks predictable that we’ll hit the goal, we probably feel good.  When there’s no momentum and it looks difficult or impossible to hit the goal, we probably feel bad.  Totally normal.


The problem with this scenario is that it’s a completely externally driven life.  In this model people are victims of the circumstances around them.  The best life ever gets is when lots of “good” things are happening.  And we all know those moments come and go.


The game to play is choosing to generate the feeling and experience you want to have in any given moment.  Then choose it again.  Then choose it again, and again, and again.  If you focus your attention on doing that one thing it’ll change your life forever.  Guaranteed.


This is art.  It’s creation.  It’s literally designing your life moment by moment, experience by experience.  If you want a symphony, you can have it.  If you want a hip hop show, you can have it.  Anything you can imagine you can create.  And if you can’t imagine it, you can’t create it.


Don’t take my word for it either.  If you seek, you shall find.  There are tons of books, seminars, and programs you can invest in to find out how to implement this new way of being into your life.  


I’ve personally chosen to be a lifelong student and practitioner of this philosophy.  I look for people who teach these principles and I consume their content voraciously.  


I’m not saying this to toot my own horn or to pat myself on the back.  I’m saying it with the intention of encouraging you to join me on this journey.  The journey of living a great life because we say so.  You can do this too.  Regardless of all the reasons why you think you can’t.  I promise you.


The Science


Science tells us that more than 99% of every atom is made up of energy.  The small percentage left over is consists of matter.  This obviously means we’re mostly energy surrounded by a little bit of matter.


Thought is what controls this energy.  There are two kinds of thought - conscious and subconscious.  


Conscious thought is the rational part of our minds we use to plan and make decisions.  Subconscious thought is the habitual part of our minds that control our feelings, reactions, and everything that happens unconsciously like walking and our heartbeat.


This conversation gets deep and I’m just scratching the surface here.  So try to think about this in the context of this article - How does one choose their own experience of life consistently?  


The conscious mind is the part that may be telling you right now that what I’m talking about here in this article is impossible.  The reason why it’s telling you that is because you have little to no evidence from your experience that it’s true.  This part of the mind deals with facts and figures.


The subconscious mind just does what it’s told.  It has no decision making capability whatsoever.  It doesn’t think about how to walk, it happens automatically.  Imagine how much energy you would need to use if you had to think about how to make your heart beat all day.  Right.  That’s why we don’t have to think about it.


All the familiar ways you already know you’ll react to certain situations are familiar precisely because you don’t have to think about it.  You already know you’ll react the way you normally do.  It’s habit.  


When “bad” things happen, you already know how you’ll feel.  What there is to do is practice consciously choosing how to respond instead of automatically reacting.  When you do this enough times, you’ll notice a new habit is formed.  


Then guess what?  After a while the conscious mind passes it over to the subconscious mind so you don’t have to think about it anymore.  It’s no longer necessary to use as much energy.  Instead of thinking about it, you simply start doing it.  Then you begin reliably and consistently being it.


Try noticing when you’re reacting to life from habit vs responding by choice.  If you don’t like how you feel and the experience you’re having of your reaction, practice choosing something more favorable instead.  


Once you get some facility around that then you can start choosing the experience you want in any given moment.  It’s like predicting the future except it’s completely by design.  It’s art and science combined.

Wanna Get Lucky More Often?

I’ve worked with a lot of business owners, professionals, and teams.  I’ve seen an epidemic culture time and time again.  I call it the Unicorn Syndrome.  


A Unicorn is a magical creature that appears out of nowhere to issue miracles and goodwill to all who are lucky enough to be in it’s presence.  Unicorn Syndrome is when results are related to as luck.  Magical instances of awesomeness that appear out of nowhere.  


Unicorn results can’t be counted on.  They just show up.  They happen to an organization.  Nobody in particular is the cause of them.  


You may be wondering why this is an epidemic.  It’s because they can’t be counted on.  Business is about systems and processes that cause results such as production and sales.  If anyone is waiting for results to just show up, the business is doomed.


Now, imagine a situation where people relate to themselves as the one who either makes or breaks the end result.  This causes people to take ownership of their roles and the results they produce.  It’s empowering and adds velocity to any project.


It also provides for a more enjoyable experience of work and life in general.  Think about it for a moment.  Would you feel better about yourself if you got lucky or if you knew without a shadow of a doubt that you were the one who created the awesome result you have?


If you’re anything like me, the latter would make you feel better and would be more empowering every time.  “Hey!  Nice job getting lucky on that big deal you landed!” ....would make me feel proud of myself ….said nobody.  Ever.  


Whether you’re a leader and want to shift the Unicorn Syndrome culture on your team, or you simply want to see yourself as a producer, you’re going to need to do some things differently.  These things are simple, but not always easy.  Be prepared to practice.  And that means being prepared to fail.


Change What You Think, Say & Do


You want to say goodbye to the Unicorn and hello to the power of big results on purpose.  You’re going to have to change what you think, say and do.


Many people have good things happen and they quickly become fearful that those good things will never happen again.  They think they better enjoy it while it lasts because this is temporary.  They lack trust in themselves and the people around them.  


These people need to change the way they think about themselves and their results.  Instead of thinking I’m lucky I encourage them to think I’m the source.  This practice has them change the message their brain sends to all the cells in their body.  


When we talk to ourselves, our bodies respond to it.  That’s what thoughts are.  Talking to ourselves.  If we think we’re lucky, our bodies tend to actively wait.  That may sound weird.  I’m asserting that taking no action is actually taking an action.  


The results we get from that place are few and far between.  As such they occur as miracles or magic.  They occur as Unicorns.


If people are having a hard time realizing they’re actually the source of their results, I recommend they go back and track them.  If they pay attention they’ll see that every result they’ve ever experienced was because of something they thought, said or did.  Guaranteed.


Next people need to begin speaking in a way that aligns with them being the source of their results.  It’s a practice of taking ownership of their ability to do what they said they would.  Practice saying I did that or that happened because I said or did X.  


When praised or acknowledged for a particular result practice saying thank you.  Practice talking about yourself and your results as if you were the one who created them.  Because you did.


Lastly practice noticing that every move you make is contributing to the results you have.  Consider the process of producing results.  Every call, every meeting, every no is part of the process of generating the end result.  


A successful farmer doesn’t relate to his crop as a magical thing that happened.  He knows he has to sow a bunch of seeds and then some of those seeds are going to end up being his crop.  This is no Unicorn, it’s the process of producing a bountiful harvest.


Another thing for people to practice is celebrating wins.  All of them.  As if you created them.  Because you did.  In my work I have people reward themselves for reaching milestones and for crossing the finish line.  This is a brand new action to take for most of my clients.


All of these new practices of thinking, speaking and doing, will support people in their pursuit of shifting from Unicorn Syndrome to being the source of all of their results.  It’s exciting to see when this occurs in people’s lives and businesses.  These people change in a once-and-for-all kind of way.


Reported Evidence


Don’t take my word for it.  There’s plenty of evidence on this out there, and let one of my clients tell you in his own words what he experienced when he took this on for himself.


This guy’s a professional musician who was very scared for a long time about becoming one of those starving artists.  He was making decent money when we started working together, but he related to his results as Unicorns.  


He thought he was getting lucky and wanted help making sure he could hold onto what he had let alone produce results that were even better.  He’s got a great work ethic so it wasn’t for lack of trying.  He just believed he was doing anything, that results were just falling into his lap.


Here’s what he said after working together for a few months:


“In my business, I have set, approached, and reached, unimagined goals. I have started a new business, owned myself as a business and a business owner, and just about doubled my average monthly income. Most important, I know myself to be the source of these results, and so my relationship to them is not that I was lucky and must hope they happen again, but that I caused them and can cause them again. When fears and thoughts get in the way of this, I am more and more practiced at recognizing these for what they are, and that they are not the truth, and acting in ways that serve my commitments and goals, not my fears or limiting beliefs.”


When he sent this to me it was music to my ears.  I knew I had done my job.  And yes, I celebrated this as a win he and I co-created.  I listened for what he needed, and he did the work.


This can happen for anyone.  Even you and the members of your team.  It just takes starting and some practice to become the source of unprecedented results.  


Results = Normal.  This is the equation that causes the death of Unicorn Syndrome once and for all.  I’d love to hear about how it works for you.

Acquired Greatness - A Lesson From Michael Jordan

There are two types of people in the world.  Those who are satisfied with the status quo, and those who consistently aspire to improve.  Neither is right or wrong.  It just is.  


Some might say the latter should be grateful for who they are and what they have.  The reality is that most of them are.  They simply want to reach higher levels of accomplishment for the fun of it.  For the love of the game.  


Most of the people aspiring to improve do so in one, or a couple areas of their lives.  Then there‘s a smaller pool of people seeking excellence in all aspects of life.  


I’m saying all of these things to distinguish a particular way of being in people that leads to high levels of accomplishment.  Not to alienate or look down on people who are satisfied with average levels of accomplishment.  


Like I said, neither is right or wrong.  It’s important to know who you are and own it 100%.


These people who play the game of excellence in one or multiple areas of life have learned how to tap into their greatness.  If you know me at all you know I believe every person has greatness within.  Every single person.


We all have it.  Only some of us ever access it.  A smaller percentage of us learn how to access it at will.  An even smaller percentage learn how to maximize it.


With that being said, I invite you to ask yourself right now if you have any desire to access your greatness.  Listen closely to your own desires.  The answer is in there.


Does your gut tell you there’s something more out there for you?  Something bigger?  Something that seems impossible, but for some reason it’s calling you?  Or are you good where you are?  Either is fine.


If there’s any inkling of your being calling you toward excellence in any area of your life, I implore you to read on and go for it with all you’ve got.  You have what it takes already.  


You have greatness within you.  What’s next for you is all about learning how to access and maximize it.  That’s how greatness is acquired.  


NOTE: better buckle up because it’s a bumpy ride.


Greatness is Not for the Faint of Heart


Everyone loves an overnight success.  It’s too bad they actually don’t exist.  That’s right.  There’s no such thing as an overnight success.  


Every noteworthy successful person went through the gauntlet in order to get there.  And I assert they’re still going through it right now.  They’re willingly and purposely putting themselves against the odds on a daily basis.


They set goals and they accomplish them.  Then they immediately set a new goal.  That’s who they are.  It’s not about the destination.  It’s about being a person who’s committed to excellence.  


It’s not about winning a game.  It’s about winning the game.  The ultimate game.  The game of life.  And it’s not just about winning the game.  It’s about crushing it...and then coming back for more.


If you ever watched Michael Jordan win a championship game, you may have noticed him throw his hand up with the number of championship wins he’d accumulated plus one.  The plus one was for next year’s championship game.  


I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. -Michael Jordan


Jordan learned how to access his greatness at will and maximize it.  This is it.  This is what greatness personified looks like.  


You may be thinking you’re not Michael Jordan so this is impossible for you.  Only if you say so.  Consider the following.


You have to be willing to miss more shots than anyone else.  You have to be willing to lose more games than anyone else.  You have to be willing to miss the game winning shot more than anyone else.


You need to be willing to lose in order to win.  You need to be willing to be heartbroken in order to have what you love.  You need to be willing to be weak in order to be strong.


All of this sounds like you need to be willing to die in order to live.  Maybe.  Would you still choose greatness?  I know some people who would.  You do too.  


This is what it looks like to acquire greatness.  Not some phenomenon out North Carolina.  Jordan may have been very talented, but his greatness was maximized by his willingness to be and do whatever it takes.  I assure you.


Michael Jordan’s Secret Sauce


Ready?  Here’s the secret to acquiring greatness.  Practice.  Anticlimactic, I know.


Anyone who wants to become great at anything just needs to practice.  But it’s a certain kind of practice.  


It’s rigorous, hard, consistent, and it’s expensive in more ways than one.  You’ll certainly have to spend a considerable amount of time, energy, and money.


This kind of practice takes a strong mind, body, and desire to win.  And rest assured greatness in each of these areas can be acquired too.  


If you think you’re not good at something, you can get better with practice.  Or you can get better at finding and inspiring someone else to do things you’re not good at for you.  Whatever it takes to acquire greatness.


This kind of practice can be scary.  A lot of people start and then quit.  But some people have found a way to keep going regardless of how much it hurts or what they stand to lose.


You can find a way too, guaranteed.  Because everyone has greatness within.  Everyone.  Go be great.  The world needs more greatness.


Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen. Are You One of the Few?

The title of this post sounds kind of esoteric, I know.  It’s not meant to be.  It’s quite literally true in my opinion.  This isn’t necessarily about a divine calling, although it could be.  It’s also about a very natural, tangible process.


How so?  All we need to do is look at a few examples given to us by one of, if not our best teachers; Nature.  And there are plenty to choose from.


You don’t have to be a farmer to know that many seeds need to be sown in order to reap a few sprouts.  All we need to do is look around us.  


We see tons of seeds laying around us in nature.  Some of them will transform into beautiful foliage, some will be food for people or other animals, and some will become compost.


How about the sales process?  You know, the process of providing the lifeblood of any business.  Obviously we have to talk to many people to book a few presentations, and then out of those appointments we acquire a few customers.


I assert it’s the same process that occurs with people and our work.  I believe all of us are born with all the stuff we need to create exactly the life, inside and outside of work, we want.  


I believe all of us are called, but few are chosen to actually live that life.  I get that this is where it gets tricky and that you don’t necessarily believe the same thing.  That’s okay.  Perhaps this is just food for thought.


We’re all born with a unique flavor of power that is always accessible.  We all have greatness within.  All you have to do is remember back when you were a kid when you believed it was okay to daydream.  Or maybe you had no thought of whether or not it was okay, you just did it.


You wanted to be a fireman, play sports professionally, be a doctor, an entrepreneur, or end world hunger.  You thought little of how you would do it.  There was simply something in you tugging at you to follow this path.


This ability to dream is our power.  We have this ability to see a vision and create all the moving parts associated with it in our mind.  We also have the power to act on any vision we can see with our mind’s eye.


While growing up something happened to all of us.  We learned from our environment how to protect ourselves.  We were confronted by parents, teachers, friends, other authoritative figures, and the media.  


During this process most people learned to follow something other than their dreams.  They either learned to go the practical route, or they gave up all together and learned to do whatever they needed to do to survive.


Notice I said most people.  At one point we were all called to follow our heart’s desires.  Sad, but true.  I think the important thing to consider is that this can change for anyone at any time.  More on that further along in this post.


What It Means To Be Chosen


This begs the question, “How do I know if I’ve been chosen?”.  Good question.   It’s more of a feeling than anything else.  


Look, just because you wanted to be a pro athlete when you were a kid and now you do something else doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t been chosen.  You may be doing something completely different now, but your gut tells you this is it.  This is right.


You feel happy and excited when it’s time to get out of bed and get ready for work.  You figuratively jump for joy when thinking about your work or what you, and others, get out of it.  


You have a calling, not a job.  You’re led by passion, commitment and perseverance.  Meaning even if there are aspects of your work that you’d rather not do sometimes, you still do it because there’s something bigger and better you get out of completing the task.


Anything else just doesn’t feel right.  You might make more money somewhere else.  You might work less hours somewhere else.  You might have better benefits somewhere else.  Doesn’t matter.  You do what you do because it’s your calling.  


What if you’re at a job you don’t like and you feel like you’re destined to be doing something else?  That means you’re being called, but right now, you haven’t been chosen.


You have a huge opportunity right now to choose something different.  Herein lies the answer to another great question.  Who does the choosing anyway?  You do.  I do.  We all do.  


Most of the time, if anyone else chose for us, we haven’t been chosen, oddly enough.  Being chosen is an inside job.  It’s not like being picked for the team.  We’ve been chosen because we said so.  Because we did the choosing.


This is a blessing and a curse.  It means we’re responsible for where we are now and also for making a change.  We get to choose at any time.


I invite you to choose now.  I know it’s scary.  I know it’s hard.  I know other people will probably call you crazy.  I invite you to do it anyway because power comes from choosing, not from waiting to see what happens.


What To Do Once You Know You’re One Of The Few


You’ve realized you’re one of the few.  Now what?  That depends on several factors personal to you that I wouldn’t pretend to know.  


There are a few things to do, however, that reign true across the board.  They are as follows.


If you’ve taken a look at how you feel about your life and work and have deemed yourself one of the few, take a moment and pat yourself on the back.  And now, keep going.  Regardless of the pain and struggle you feel at times, keep going.


If you’re one who’s identified you’re in a job, not a calling, and you want to create something different for yourself, great.  Begin now.  And begin at all costs.


Yes.  I’m asking you to be scared, and do it anyway.  I’m asking you to not know how, and do it anyway.  I’m asking you to have the odds stacked against you, and do it anyway.  Because I believe you deserve to know what it feels like to be one of the few who lives a purpose filled life.


Whether you’re one of the few and you know it, or you’re in the process of choosing this new path for yourself, you need to keep going at all costs.  You need to never stop.  


Life throws an incalculable number of curve balls regardless of whether or not you’ve been chosen.  I’m pretty sure most people would agree.  


So, why not build up your perseverance muscles and forge the path of the few?  It’s just like exercising any other muscle.  Keep going and the muscle will get stronger.  Slow down or stop completely and the muscle will get weaker.


This path is obviously not for everyone.  Hence the word few.  I’d love to know your thoughts.  Leave a comment or reach out anytime.  


The Buck Stops Here

Leadership is both an amazing gift and an unreasonable responsibility at the same time.  The reason is because the buck stops with the leader.  They’re the highest level person to turn to when there’s a problem, complaint, loss or victory.


I’m talking about a certain kind of leadership.  It’s rare.  It’s ridiculous.  It’s totally unfair.  It’s completely unreasonable.  


This kind of leadership is only found in people who make a bold choice to be a certain way.  Sometimes this choice is made consciously, sometimes it’s a subconscious choice.  Either way it takes a thick skin, a lot of patience, forgiveness and compassion.


These leaders relate to themselves as The One.  That means they’re the example to follow.  They’re the model of who their followers want to become.  And they do their absolute best to be the one they’d like to follow themselves.


This means the leader is expected to show up this way every day.  Again, completely unreasonable and totally unfair.


But what if I feel sick?  Sorry, my job is to show up anyway.  But what if I have a deadline and my team and I are way behind?  Sorry, my job is to show up anyway.  But what if everything around me in my life seems like it’s falling to pieces?  Sorry, my job is to show up anyway.


This doesn’t mean leaders aren’t allowed to be human.  It just means leaders aren’t allowed to let their humanity be an excuse to not perform.  It means leaders must show up for their teams as an example of excellence regardless of the circumstances that surround them.


If you’re a leader, and you’ve done what it takes to be self-aware, you’ll notice that what you do, your team will do times a thousand.  Consider for a moment what that means.


If you show up with a negative attitude, they will too.  Times a thousand.  If you show up being self-righteous, they will too.  Times a thousand.  If you show up blaming circumstances and other people for your results, they will too.  Times a thousand.


Think about what you want to see in your teammates and commit to being that way 100% of the time.  100% of the time?  Will you ever reach that level?  


Probably not.  This is a completely unreasonable challenge.  And, if you lower the bar, so will your team.  Times a thousand.  I’ve seen it time and time again.  If leaders think this doesn’t apply to them, they’re sadly mistaken and it shows.


If you want to create a culture of winning on your team, I encourage you to consider taking on the challenge.  I promise your team will be happier and more engaged, you’ll see more favorable results, and life in general will be all around better for you.

Extreme Ownership

There are many traits these rare leaders have.  I want to highlight this one because it goes along with my theme of unreasonableness.


One of the best sources whereby I learned about this concept is the book by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin called: Extreme Ownership.  I recommend this book to most of my clients.  It gave me a serious smack in the face and inspired me around the importance of leaders taking ownership.


Willink and Babin are retired Navy Seals turned leadership coaches and consultants to med-large size corporations.  They served together in the Middle East after 9/11.  This is where they learned about the importance of Extreme Ownership.  


If you guys ever read this, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service.  And thank you even more for helping me learn this invaluable lesson about leadership.  My life, my family, my clients, and my teams are all the beneficiaries of your work.


Imagine the turmoil these men were surrounded by.  Their daily circumstances were actually trying to kill them.  Ruthless enemy soldiers with bombs, machine guns, and a death wish.  They had to trust their teammates with their lives.  


When it came down to it, these men related to themselves as the owner of it all.  Whatever happened, there was never anyone else to blame.  It was always on them.  No matter what.


Yup, even when it was clearly someone else’s fault.  It didn’t matter if another soldier didn’t do their job.  It didn’t matter if there was a miscommunication.  It didn’t matter if the higher-ups made an unreasonable request.  


These guys learned to take responsibility for everything, all the time, no matter what.  Like they owned the joint.  Because that’s what elite leaders do.  


What they found was that their teammates began to follow suit.  Because, you know, teammates will do what their leaders do times a thousand.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  So we might as well give them habits to follow that work vs the other way around.


What would your team look like if everyone took 100% ownership regardless of circumstances?  What would your team’s results look like?  What would the energy of the team be like?


Do you think you’ll get more accomplished?  Do you think people will be happier and more engaged?  Do you think this concept would make life, outside of the work you do, different in a positive way?


Don’t take my word for it.  Go do some research.  Better yet, go practice this and see what happens for yourself.  I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Startup of 1

But what if I don’t have a team?  What if I’m all by myself?  Does any of this apply to me?


If you’re still reading at this point, it definitely does.  You’re here for one of two reasons.  Either because you aspire to build and lead a team in the near future or because you’re an army-of-one by choice and recognize the need for leadership development for what you’re up to in work and in life.  


There’s an old saying I’ve heard many times that’s contributed to who I am today.  I have no idea where I heard it so I apologize for my lack of citation to whoever made it up.  “Leader of one, leader of many.  If you can’t lead one, you can’t lead any.”


Who’s the one?  You are.  I am.  We all are.  Leadership has nothing to do with how big your team is or even if you have a team at all.  It’s a way of being.  A way of life.  You either choose to practice it or you don’t.


Another one of my favorite books is called The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday.  He likens this concept to a Startup Of One.  I think that paints a pretty clear picture of what this means.   


We who choose this way of being to practice are choosing to be responsible for everything.  Every moving part of a project, business, cause, family, friendship, or conversation.  All of it.  Like we own it.  Because we do.


A person drawn to this kind of lifestyle wouldn’t want anyone else to own their life.  And that’s exactly what we’re doing when we blame anyone or anything else for our experience.  We’re giving them the power over us.  We’ve become their slave.


The beautiful thing about all of this is that you get to choose.  If you’re ready to free yourself from the bonds of slavery.  If you’re ready to relate to yourself as the owner of your experience.  All you have to do is take 100% responsibility.


Simple, but I would never try to convince you that it’s easy.  You’ll make mistakes and you’ll probably feel bad about it.  Are you going to let that stop you?  You’ll see.


I recommend you treat it the same way you would a marathon.  One step at a time.  Get curious about what this all means for you, your team, your projects and your life.  Ask yourself where you would go to find some answers.  Then go there and keep going back.  You’ll get the hang of it.  


For me this is a lifelong journey.  I’d never ask you to do something I’m unwilling to do.  And, as you can probably tell, I love talking about this stuff.  So any time from now until forever please feel free to reach out.


Congratulations on your choice.  Whichever choice you made.  For choosing is what leaders do.  Blaming is what victims do.  


The 1 Thing Your Sales Team Needs To Win Bigger, More Often

I have an immense amount of respect for sales teams that are dedicated to honing their craft and becoming the best they can be.  After all, customers are the lifeblood of any and every business.  Without customers, we have no reason to be here.


Sales managers and their teams have a crucial responsibility to their company, their organization, their CAUSE.  This responsibility creates pressure.  


The pressure can be utilized as a tool, or it can be debilitating and condemn those with the best intentions straight to the DL list.  The best sales leaders learn to use pressure as a tool to inspire action in themselves and their teams.  


Want to be the best?  This is your opportunity to get started now.  And this is the answer to your question - “what’s the one thing my team and I need to know!?”: it’s NOW.


The Answer Is Urgency


Urgency leads sales teams to victory.  But it’s a certain kind of urgency I’m pointing to.  A self-generated urgency.  Not urgency imposed by external circumstance.


Look, I’m not blind to the fact that there is a ton of external circumstance applying pressure to you and your team.  There are quotas to hit and there are much needed commissions to earn.  We all need to make money.


We who have been in sales for any notable length of time know that both the company and the salesperson need to make money.  And we also know that prospects can smell that need a mile away.  


How does it typically go for your team when prospects detect that need?  No answer needed.  You already know.  


This is why it’s so important for you to learn a new way to relate to urgency, and for you to train your team to do the same.  Because the external circumstance of selling so as to hit the numbers causes a certain type of negative energy.  


I call it the ‘I Have To Syndrome’.  It’s actually an epidemic plaguing sales teams far and wide.  From this relationship to urgency salespeople are taking action from a place of obligation vs inspiration.  And that rarely, if ever, ends well.


If you’ve made it this far into the article, you’re probably asking yourself, “how does one generate a new relationship to urgency?”  The answer is simple, but not always easily accomplished.  The good thing is that anything can be mastered with practice.


The simple answer is that it’s a choice.  All you and your team need to do is choose a new relationship to, or perspective on, urgency and own it.  


With practice you will start to see different results.  Bigger, more frequent wins.  And, with time, it will become easier to choose this new relationship over and over.


What New Perspective On Urgency Should I Choose?


I recommend one that creates a fun and exciting experience vs a feeling of obligation.  My team relates to our sales quota as a game.  We play the game of Urgency On Purpose vs waiting for an emergency situation where we Have To produce results OR ELSE.  


Or else we won’t have have enough customers.  Or else we have to cancel a program due to lack of participants.  Or else we lose our jobs.  Or else we lose some teammates.


What we’ve found is that when we play this game urgency on purpose every day then we rarely reach the point of emergency.  And if we do reach that point, we know why, and we know how to change it.  We simply refocus our intention and recreate our game from choice vs obligation.


When we’re playing the game in this way on purpose it’s fun.  When we’re playing the game from a sense of obligation it’s a drag.  And our results reflect our experience of it.  


This is how we play the game every day.  Like it’s our job to find the sale we need today because we want to, not because we have to.  


We play to win vs playing from fear of loss or not having enough.  We play for the love of the game.

There’s No I In TEAM

Seriously.  Get past the annoying motivational cliche and hear my point.  The other disease possibly plaguing your sales team is a culture of individuals trying to manage perception.  


This is when individuals on your team are playing for looking good.  Recognition is powerful and it’s a legitimate need for some.  Nothing wrong with that.  


I want you to consider that when needing to be the one to be recognized for the victory trumps the desire to see the team win the game, a culture of waiting is created and some team members take their foot off the gas pedal.  Some even pump the brakes.


There’s an old saying: ‘Many hands make light work’.  When that’s the culture on your team, wins are normal and expected by all.  Big wins are no longer related to as unicorns that only special people are able to produce.


If everyone on the team is trained to relate to themselves as the source of the results of the whole, it creates a culture of winners.  What you’ll notice is that when people aren’t running point on a deal, they’ll actively go seek out someone who needs support.  People will shift roles interchangeably and seamlessly.


This levels the playing field and everyone gets to see that they play an integral role on the team.  Everyone feels needed and gets to celebrate all wins instead of only the ones they feel they produced on their own.


They’ll notice the impact you had on creating this culture and they’ll relate to you as a true leader instead of a drill sergeant barking out orders.  And they’ll relate to their teammates as partners instead of competition.


What you’re on the way to creating at this point is a High Performance Team.  A team that generates more wins, more of the time.  Abundant wins.  Bigger and better wins.  


Your team will begin to love what they do because who doesn’t like playing games?  Especially when they win  the game more often than not.  


Does Crushing It In Business Mean Your Life Has To Suck?

I sure hope not.  In my opinion, work should be in service of living a great life.  Work is a means to an end.  It shouldn’t be at the expense of our preferred experience of life.  


I wonder how many small business owners and their teams have it differently.  Not that there’s one “right way” to look at this, but from my perspective it seems like many people work out of obligation vs inspiration.  This is probably why many people hate their jobs.


What would life be like if you were absolutely in love with your business?  What would it be like if most of your employees felt the same way about their jobs?  This may require a completely new perspective on your entire life in general.  


Don’t think there’s a common theme in your life inside and outside of work?  I beg to differ.  


In my work as a Business Leadership Coach, I always say it’s my job to coach the whole person.  What that means to me is there are habitual ways of being, thinking and doing that we carry around with us everywhere.  It’s part of the human experience.


Some of these habits create positive consequences, some of them are negative.  If we want to live great lives, we need to be able to distinguish between what’s working and not working in service of that end.  


I have a client who loves what she does, but when we began working together, she didn’t love where she was doing it.  She was a full time employee and had been taking freelance projects on the side while dreaming of growing her business without allowing work to consume her life.  She just didn’t know how.


It was a classic E-Myth (book by Michael Gerber) scenario.  She’s a talented technician who believed she could do better with her own shop.  And she was right.  


What she found was that growing her business was not proving as difficult as keeping the rest of her life in balance.  


She told me, “Before I always prided myself on having a rich life outside of work but the more I invested in building my business, the less I actually took time for those things. I felt overwhelmed by all the demands on me and my apparent inability to balance clients, projects, friendships, and hobbies.”


Remember this isn’t a one-size-fits-all conversation.  Everyone is different.  This is about distinguishing your preferred experience of life and creating THAT for yourself.  So, if you’re the type of person who loves the hustle, so be it.  Do you.  


All of this applies to all of us because it’s about becoming more self-aware.  It’s about knowing what inspires you and what makes you happy.  Yeah.  I’m asking you to consider that work and happiness can and should be able to exist in the same space at the same time.


Prioritize Your Self


During one of the first few conversations this client and I had about moving her business forward, it became clear that she was holding on to something.  She was upset about something that she thought was inappropriate to talk about in a conversation about business.


I encouraged her to share with me what was going on for her.  When she did, I found out that she had some family members in South America she hadn’t seen in many years.  She missed them and felt it was impossible to be able to go visit them while her business was in start-up mode.


My client lives in Maryland, USA.  South America is far and expensive to travel to.  That plus the fact these family members mean a great deal to her, had her want to stay at least 3-4 weeks.  How could she possibly leave her new business for that long?  She was torn.


After asking some questions to clarify the situation, it was clear she was putting other people’s needs before her own.  That wasn’t working.  


She realized this unmet need was draining her energy.  Energy that was needed to crush her business goals.  


This is the classic conundrum of what comes first, the chicken or the egg?  Do we put our head down and hustle until we can afford some much needed time off?  Or do we create a way to take that much needed time off so we have the energy to get results at work?


From a business perspective, our job is to be and do whatever it takes to get results.  From a personal perspective, our job is to be and do whatever it takes to enjoy life.  Part of my mission is to have you consider the possibility of having both of these scenarios play out in your life at the same time.


This story has a happy ending.  My client and I worked together to plan her trip at the same time as working on her business.  She transitioned to working her business full time, visited family in South America for an entire month, and when she ran her numbers upon her return she realized her revenue had increased 300% from the prior year.


The moral of the story is that living a great life and crushing it in your business can happen at the same time.  The consequence of having it any other way is unfortunately commonplace in the world.  In my opinion it’s an epidemic.  


If it seems impossible for you, you’re not alone.  It seemed impossible for my client when we started.  It seemed impossible for me too when I started trying to answer the question of how to have it all for myself.


The steps to take are simple, but not always easy.

  1. Decide it’s possible.  This shift in perspective will lead to options instead of reasons why not.

  2. Make a plan

  3. Tap into your resources.  That’s why they’re here.

  4. Take action against your plan

  5. NEVER give up.

You got this.  Now go forth and crush it.  


For Solopreneurs: Drastically Increase Your Productivity In 3 Easy Steps

Many of my clients are solopreneurs.  In fact, so am I.  They’re my peeps for sure.  This one goes out to you.  To us.  The few.  The Proud.  The Machines.  


How do you know if you’re a solopreneur?  Well, according to Google here is our definition:


The solopreneur is somebody developing their own personal brand. They're creators and inventors. They're not creating a company to hire employees; they don't have access to piles of money; they're just creating a niche for themselves in their own marketplace.


If this definition sounds like you, and you want to learn how to develop self-motivation to be more productive, then you probably want to read this entire article.  On the other hand, if you’re looking for someone or something else to motivate you, then you are going to be looking for a long time.


If you identify with this definition of a solopreneur you already have self-motivation to a degree.  It comes with the territory.  It takes an immense amount of confidence and tolerance for risk to step out there into business for yourself, by yourself.  


At the same time, being a solo business owner necessarily means there is nothing outside of you to be motivated by.  Until you choose something to motivate you.  There’s no boss to be fired by.  You’re the boss.  There are no employees to keep the company afloat for.  You’re the employee.  There are no investors to answer to.  You’re the investor.  


Now, this isn’t a conversation about tools.  There are tons of useful productivity apps out there that can help organize your thoughts and action plans.  Use them.  They work.


The conversation I want you to consider is one about who you are as a person.  A conversation about who you are as a small business owner and how that’s impacting the results you produce.  


Most people think the productivity equation is simple.  More Action = More Results.  Sometimes that’s true.  Most of the time it isn’t.  Consider that it’s probably not true for you as a person whose declared themselves a solopreneur.


You’re already the type of person that’s oriented toward taking action.  You’re already an inventor; you have an idea and then you go make it a reality.  So, why am I not producing the results I want?  I’m glad you asked.


It’s because you probably default to a habit of believing that More Action = More Results and that’s simply not true for you.  You move forward with that mentality and grind yourself to a nub.


You get a bunch of stuff done.  Then you look at the proverbial mountain of other things you want to get done, but haven’t yet.  You feel overwhelmed and burnt out.  You coast for awhile so you can regain some energy.  Then you get inspired by another one of your amazing ideas and the cycle starts all over again.  


Want to interrupt the vicious cycle?  Want to free yourself from this self-imposed trap?  You’re in the right place.  I’m going to share with you 3 easy steps to drastically improve your productivity without having to add much of anything else to your list of things to do.  


Choose What For


Why are you doing this business?  If it’s just for the money, that might not be powerful enough to pull you forward when you want to take your foot off the gas.  


Now look, I’m not one of those guys who’s going to preach at you about why making a lot of money shouldn’t be your ultimate goal.  Go make a lot of money.  I certainly want to make a lot of money.  


The thing I want you to consider is what do you want the money for?  Is it to leave a legacy for your kids?  Is it so you can fulfill on your philanthropic goals?  Is it so you can travel the world and knock everything off your bucket list?  These are things that I assert will pull you forward when you want to stop.


Maybe it has nothing to do with money.  Perhaps you want to crush it in your business just because you said you would.  You might be doing it to make an impact on the world that’ll live on after you’re gone.  


The reason why doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you have a reason why.  Not to motivate yourself to do so much you grind yourself to a nub.  To motivate you to do some of the things that you don’t feel like doing.


This happens to all of us.  It’s a normal part of the human experience.  We, as small business owners, tend to love what we do for a living.  And, there are some tasks associated with our work that we don’t love so much and we put them off.  


This habit drains energy because this thing we’re putting off gets heaped on top of the list of undone things to do.  And when that mountain gets high enough, we feel overwhelmed and crash.    


Imagine a solopreneur, let’s call him George, who sells a B2B service and one of the key activities he’s chosen to get clients is cold calling.  George chose cold calling because it works, not because he loves doing it.  


Every time George went to pick up the phone, he dreaded it.  When he was feeling inspired and energetic he did well and set sales presentations.  When he was feeling tired or pressured, he skipped his call session and did something else.  This is obviously a problem.


George turned everything around when, before making cold calls, he envisioned the smile on his son’s face holding his college diploma.  George’s why is to send his son to whatever college he chooses with the profits from his business.  


Choose Where You Take Action From


If you’re anything like me, your fellow solopreneur, you’re capable of taking massive action against your goals and dreams.  That’s part of what makes us awesome :)


At the same time, this can get us into a lot of trouble.  We can waste a ridiculous amount of resources by being this way sometimes.  Resources such as our precious time, money, energy, and other people.


We can occur like a bull in a china shop if we get into massive action without first choosing where we’re taking that action from.  Let me illustrate what I mean.


Before George created his what for, sometimes he’d muster up enough will-power to muscle through the cold calls even though he related to the task as a drag.  He knew this was how he generated business, but he absolutely hated it.  He felt obligated to just get it done because he had to in order to get clients.


The people on the other end of the phone could smell the fear and disgust emanating from George’s every word.  It’s no wonder those call sessions didn’t produce optimal results.  He knew something had to change.


George decided to relate to his call sessions as a game.  He began to choose to make it fun.  He chose to fall in love with cold calling.  And the moment he started to practice choosing to take the action from this new place, he saw a drastic increase in results while actually enjoying the process.


Sound impossible?  Think you don’t know how to do this?  Think of someone you love.  Maybe it’s a spouse, child, friend, or maybe a pet.  Haven’t they been unlovable at times?  Haven’t you ever been like, “I really don’t like you right now.”  And then you’re like, “But I love you anyway!”  


Choosing to take action from love, fun, joy, adventure vs from hate, a drag, obligation is the same phenomenon.  You simply choose that you “get to” vs that you “have to”.  This frees up useful energy and produces more favorable results every single time.




Do you see that word and roll your eyes?  Ok good.  Then I’m not the only one.  Most of us solopreneurs think we don’t need structure and accountability.  And we don’t like it.  In fact, not having to answer to anyone is the reason a lot of us chose to be in business for ourselves.


I assure you that those of us who skip over the use of a good accountability structure are missing out on one of the most impactful productivity tools in existence.  So, if you want to throw gasoline on the fire I suggest you take this on.


All you need to do is choose someone that cares about your success and share your goals with them.  My recommendation is that you do this on a weekly basis.  


You’ll need to make sure they’re on board first.  Then simply set it up in a way you think would work for you.  


Some possible ways it could work may be a weekly phone call, text or email stating what you set out to do and what you actually accomplished.  Or maybe you go big and let everyone on your social media know what you’re up to.  


The key is that you set it up however it would work for you.  Do you need to establish consequences for yourself?  Do you need the person to simply hear you out and say “ok”?  Or do you want to request their feedback?


Any way you set it up is fine.  The important thing is that you make a habit out of it.  This is putting human nature to work for you.  Oddly enough, we will do what we say more often when someone who cares about us has heard our declarations.  


Choose one or two of these productivity hacks or implement all three to drastically increase your results.  Drop me a line to let me know how it’s going.  I’d love to hear from you!


Are You Being Selfish? 3 Places to Look.

My theory is that Selfishness has been given a Bad Rap by society.

And yes, it is Bad Rap, not Bad Wrap.  I just found that out here as I was wondering which version of the word it was :)  I posted the link here because it looks like these folks are doing some smart stuff on their site.  You may want to check it out.  I'll be going back there for sure.  

We heard it all the time from our parents, teachers, and the influencers in our lives as we were growing up, "You're being selfish.  Stop it!".  Many of us took on the belief that Selfish = Bad/Wrong.  But is that really the truth or just interpretation?

Look, there are many times selfishness may not serve us.  For instance, in sales, as friends, as lovers.  With that being said, there are many more times when putting ourselves first just makes sense.  The key is being self-aware and honest about what actually serves the greater good.  I thought I'd share 3 examples from my perspective.

3 Examples of how Selfishness Serves the Greater Good

1. Donating Money to Charity: 

Think about it.  How can we donate to our favorite charitable cause if we don't have enough for ourselves and our families?  Many people say they want to give back and make a difference.  A lot of the people who say so actually do so.  In conversation with people I've found that many people do so to their own detriment just to be seen as a good-hearted person.  

While it's great to have a big, giving heart, sometimes it just doesn't make sense.  I want to encourage people to put themselves first in this area.  Consider how much more you could give once your own finances are handled.  What a gift it is to give to yourself first so as to have more to give to others afterwards.  Fill your cup so it's overflowing and allow the abundance to be your gift to the world.

2. Spending More Time with Family, Friends and On Your Business

Every day we're being pulled in many directions by other people and our own ideas for our attention and focus.  A lot of the time we may relate to ourselves as bad or wrong for not paying enough attention to those people and our own thoughts and ideas.  We then figure we better go the "extra mile" and push through feeling tired and/or sick to give a little more of ourselves.  

What if we chose to put ourselves first?  What if we flipped the script and committed to take care of our physical well-being first and foremost?  What if this were the healthy priority?

Imagine 90% of your days were filled with energy and stamina.  It could be as simple as committing to enough sleep....whatever that means for you and your body.  Then perhaps if you added on a little exercise every day and focused on a healthier diet you'd have the trifecta.  

You may be thinking, "I already don't have time to play ball with my kid, how am I going to add more stuff to do and think about?  How does that help me have time for my kid?"  I assert you'd have more energy and stamina if you chose to make your physical well-being a priority.  Again, your cup would be full.  Full of energy and enthusiasm.  You may find you can do more and for longer periods of time.

3. Loving the People in Your Life

You may have noticed there's a common theme here.  Making sure we have enough has us able to give more to others.  When we have money, we can give more away and not be victimized by it.  When we have energy, we can give more away and love doing it.  

It's the same with love, the most powerful and meaningful gift of all.  Have you ever noticed when you feel down on yourself for whatever reason that it's more difficult to love the people most important to you?  For this reason we must focus on being in love with ourselves in order to give our love away to others.  

This comes naturally to some, but not all.  Some of us need to practice loving ourselves.  This practice can have many forms.  One simple way is to say, "I love myself" 10 times a day.  Preferably while looking at yourself in the mirror.  I know it may sound weird, but it really works.  It may be super uncomfortable at first, but that's where real magic happens....when we do the uncomfortable things.  When we're scared, and choose to do it anyway.  

I've included a video below that reiterates all of these points if you care to watch.  The bottom line is, if we don't have, we can't give without feeling victimized.  And when we feel victimized, we avoid.  And when we avoid, things tend to not work out.



Most People's Misconception About Coaching

I wanted to share with people why I coach.  Most people have bought into a commonly believed myth about coaching.  It's not their fault.  There are tons of coaches out there that get hired based on attraction to their personality.

People think they need to follow someone who's done EXACTLY what they want to do.  This person's made millions and millions of dollars and spends  3 months out of the year on a yacht....so....they must be able to help me.  

Listen, I've had a ton of success.  But my claim to fame is that I've failed way more times than I've succeeded.  As a matter of fact all the champions out there that you can think of right now are the same way.  Ask Michael Jordan.  He'll tell you he's missed a thousand shots for every game-winning shot he's taken.  That's why his team always trusted him with the game-winning shot.

Watch the video below and learn a bit about my story.  There's even more here on other pages of my site.  It's ugly.  That's why it's here.  Because I'm about telling people the truth about who I am and where I come from.  I'm about being an example of a truly successful person.  One who's willing to tell people everything.  Not just talk about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Pun intended.  You'll see what I mean if you watch the video.

We're live!

Hey y'all!

This is literally one of the most exciting days of my life.  I've had many of them....marriage, kids, etc.  And, this is up there with the best of the best!  

It's like a dream come true to have a place online where I can share my thoughts, ideas and the tools I've learned to use to be able to achieve my goals and help my clients to win.  What a gift.

So now it's official.  Carbo Coaching is now live on the interwebs.  Here to serve.  Just ask.

Another first:  Just recorded my first Livestream video on Facebook.  So, in case you missed it, here it is for you to check out:  


Nothing fancy, just me sharing how genuinely excited I am about life right now and the face that CarboCoaching.com is officially live baby!!