Success in Three Minutes a Day… How To Stay Focused

Some of the most popular and famous self-help books are the ones that are short, simple and concise. Take James Allens’ classic book, “As a Man Thinketh.”  is powerful and insightful. Benjamin Franklin is remembered for his exercise around living 13 Core Values; the first ever self-help exercise.

Another short classic is a wonderful little book called, “It Works,” by RHJ. The Success Solution presented in the book is also simple, powerful and effective.

One of the greatest challenges any Executive or Entrepreneur faces when it comes to achieving goals is being focused. This process is designed to help you stay focused on achieving what you want in life and business.

 

Here are the simple steps. So, if you are ready, grab a clean journal and proceed.

1-  Write down everything you sincerely, earnestly and truthfully desire in your business and life. It is OK to have it shift from day to day or week to week as you work on figuring out what those items are. Have them be as specific as possible; use the SMART format when writing them.

2-  Go through the list at least three times a day: morning, noon and night

3-  Feel free to rewrite you list from time to time, rearrange and reprioritize it. Add and delete items as necessary. When your fears and doubts pop up in your mind, just pull out your list and reread it.

4-  Take action and don’t tell anyone what’s on your list.

5-  When items on your list start to appear, be sure and give a HUGE “THANK YOU” for them coming to fruition. Gratitude is important because it leads to true happiness in life.

6-  Repeat!

One final note, be sure that what you want will only bring on positive consequences. Remember that everything you put on the list will have both an upside and a downside that comes with it. It has to be good for you to have and also good for all of those around you.  Start with small items on your list and work your way up to the larger ones.

This simple exercise will test you to your limit because it is really an exercise in consistent, long term focus. I have to keep remembering to review, rewrite and update my list. It is fun and challenging, which means like most things that are worthwhile in life, the results will be amazing.

I would love to hear of your successes below and welcome your comments below!

If you would like more information on other classic short books that create profound results, visit: www.executivebooks.com

 

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Self-Confidence, The Side Benefit of Keeping Your Promises

One of my clients, an extremely successful entrepreneur and businessman for whom I feel tremendous respect, closes every coaching session with, “I will strive to complete my campaign in its entirety, you have my word, and I have my word.” To which I respond, “And, I love your word.”

What is so powerful about that sentence is “the word.”  The secret power of the “Word” is the underlying commitment to achieve what is on his list no matter what the cost before our next coaching session. Remarkably, he has completed his campaign for the last straight 108 weeks of coaching. How powerful is that? What’s the secret?

Over the last two years, things have come and gone on his weekly commitment sheet. Some have stayed the same but many others have come and gone as he completed them. What has been consistent is that he has kept his commitment and word to himself.

At the core of all self-confidence, power and success is the ability to follow through and do what you say you are going to do long after the excitement and passion of the moment passes.

And, why is that so powerful? Because when you set a commitment or goal, you have to automatically put your obstacles in place.

Specifically, you will always have to overcome some combination of the following challenging emotional states to keep your word: fatigue, discouragement, feeling inadequate, loneliness, overwhelm, doubt, nervousness, humiliation, incompetence, frustration, resentment, powerlessness, anger, and even jealousy of others.

The power of self-confidence and keeping your word is learning to embrace these emotional states as they come up, and accept them as appropriate and warranted given the goal that you are pursuing. If you stop trying to run away from these negative emotions,  you are already half way towards the successful completion of your goal. The power comes through pushing through those disempowering states. Even better, get excited about them! Anticipate these emotions and welcome them as part of a natural component on your path to victory.

I recently supported another high level business executive who had an interesting belief about what needed to happen in order for him to be successful in his job. He needed to be put into a position where he was expected to do the impossible, solve that challenge when no one else could, and in his words, “face that ugly beast that no one else could kill.” He gets paid handsomely to do such valiant deeds!

Successful people know how to embrace and use fatigue or moments of indecision and take responsibility. They create a link that takes them from the disempowering state to a more resourceful one.

My client has powerful days because he conditions himself to push through obstacles and push through what most people would consider disempowering states to create an incredible business and life.

In many ways, your success –not only in your business, but in your personal life too, is directly proportional to amount of challenging emotional states you can overcome on a daily basis in the pursuit of your goals. Not surprisingly, that’s also directly proportional to the amount of self-confidence you will have. That’s the power of keeping “your word.”

 

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7 Proven Techniques to Be Your Own Executive Coach

I often tell people that, “I am my own best client.” Being an Executive Life Coach gives me the privilege to meet an amazing array of successful leaders, from business owners to executives.  Together, we establish new patterns of success, explore more effective ways to approach challenges, and set up strategies to stay on track.

And although a lot happens during a call, a large portion of the work happens outside of a coaching session –namely the client has to engage the motivation to take action and implement the strategies from the call.  Here are 7 simple strategies you can use to coach *yourself* whether or not you are in fact working with an executive coach.

1-  Stop for a few moments every morning and reconnect with your life’s purpose, truths and desires. Take a look at the big picture of what you want to create, your mission, purpose, and desires for the future. Really focus on getting to your place of truth of what you most desire. Go deeper than, “win the lottery, get a date, take my kids to school and relax tonight watching tv.” Find a moment to reflect on the inner truths of your life. It will serve and guide your decisions and actions the rest of the day.

2-  Make a list of the top 3-5 very specific things you are fearing, procrastinating or just plain old scared to death to do. They should be things that are moving you towards your purpose, truth, mission, and desires from step #1. I often ask myself, “If I were to die tonight, what would I do today to die a whole and complete man, knowing that I lived my purpose? What small challenges would I overcome for my own personal triumphs?” Remember the 80-20 rule? That top 20% is the sum of the small action items where you are currently out of integrity because you may be fearful and procrastinating.

3-  Move your body to motivate yourself to kick some ass: personally and with others. Pick up that old song, move your body and sing at the top of your lungs. You have to move if you want to create energy. Remember, force = mass X acceleration. If you never move your mass, you will never start to accelerate your life and it will never have any energy. You have to move! We are made to move. Drop the expectations of hours at the gym, do something simple, stretch, walk, and find a way to move! Listen to that song, put your chin up and shoulders back, take a deep breath from down in your diaphragm. Enjoy the feeling!

4-  Break the rules. Even yours sometimes! I’m not talking about doing something to get youself in jail but if you would never roll down the windows and sing at the top of your lungs…do it. Break some small rules to experience that little emotional “Yeah” (I repeat, nothing against the law! :D)  People stuck in their lives of hum-drum will just tell you to be quiet and keep things even keeled, but emotional moment sticks with you!!! So bring in the passion!  Dare to go against expectations, take a risk or buck conventions a bit!

5-  Find a peer group to create leverage to complete items #1-4. We all need some outside support to achieve our dreams. I have three very close people (besides my wife) who help to keep me focused, energized and accountable to what I say I am going to do. It is great to have a full life and share it with others. You guys know who you are and “YOU ROCK!”  They are my greatest cheer team and they also hold nothing back in terms of direct feedback! Remember, no one stands up and the Oscars to accept the award and says, “Yeah man, I deserve this. I worked my butt off and no one helped me at all. I am the man.” Instead, they always have people to thank for their success. Who would you thank?

6-  Learn something new that is of interest to you and apply it. Read all you can and immerse yourself in developing your personal interests. It will build into your life creativity, mastery of skill, and it will become not what you know, but who you are. And, remember to apply one thing you learn everyday until it is mastered in your life.

7-  Last and best… Remember to work from you places of strength, not weakness. Remember the basic principles that define who you are and how you want to live your life.  Remember that while you may be driving to fix and change something in your life, you are also perfect the way you are now. Remember to stay focused on your basic strengths and use them. If you are a person whose strength is mastering a single task, then become the first chair soloist. And if you are a big picture strategist, become the conductor of the orchestra. Both need each other! Stay focused on who you are and what you can become. Stay away from focusing on what you are not and what you “should” become.

There might be a time when you decide that you need the support and expert guidance of an executive life coach, but there are many times when you can take the task on yourself.  These 7 steps can help you to coach yourself.

To your continued success,

James

 

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Avoid This Networking Blunder: Don’t Ask This Question!

Have you ever been out networking, meeting and greeting, and towards the end of your conversation with someone, they ask you, “So, how can I help you?”  What’s worse, have you been asking that question to people that you meet?

That is a dangerous question to ask for a couple of reasons.

One, it might be a clue that you may have been making the conversation all about you. The general rule of thumb is that a good networking meeting will consist of discussing yourself thirty percent of the time and engaging the other person to talk seventy percent of the time. If a conversation has been going great and that question pops out, perhaps you have been talking more than listening.

Two, if that’s not the case and they have shared a good bit of information about themselves or their business, it indicates that you either don’t truly understand what problems they face, or you don’t have a clue as to how you can help them.  Either way, it’s not good.

In the first instance, not only can it totally breaks rapport, but it puts the person on the spot and places them in a situation where they’re supposed to figure if and how they fit in your business model, instead of you focusing on the problems they encounter, understanding their needs, and showing them how you might be able to help.

Alternatively, if you do understand the problems they face, but still ask them how you can help them, you run the risk of appearing like you don’t know how to tackle their issues which is not likely to foster trust and ruin your credibility as an expert in your field.

The reality is, if you have been asking questions, getting the other person to speak to you and been engaged, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of their problems and challenges. People more often than not, will tell you at least a couple of areas where they can improve something in their business.  From there, you can pretty easily determine whether or not you can help that person.

If it’s a good fit, fantastic, forge ahead, but if you see that you cannot or do not know how to solve their problems, add value by connecting them with someone who can.  After all, that’s what networking is all about!

Do you have some networking tips?  Share the wealth!  Comment below!

Are You Making This Sales and Marketing Mistake?

Ask any small business owner what they would most like to have in their business and they more than likely will respond with, “more business!”

We all want clients calling and walking in the door with orders in hand. That’s why we engage in the game of sales and marketing.

So, the question is:  Are your sales and marketing efforts working? Have you dumped thousands into a website, social media, and print advertising over the years with little return on investment? If so, what caused the sales and marketing failure?

You might be focusing too much effort on sales and marketing and too little on prospecting. Prospecting has to come before sales and marketing. It is a small distinction that will make your company money.

Here are some examples of marketing versus prospecting.

Using Neuro Linguistic Programing NLP in your sales communication makes a difference!Some activities that define marketing in your business might be sending out email offers, writing e-books, posting on social media sites, writing a newsletter, creating video or audio podcasts, attending networking events, reviewing and updating your website, distributing fliers, handing out business cards or other print advertising and doing some public speaking.

Prospecting by comparison is about making a personal contact with someone. Cold calling, email solicitating with a follow up phone call the next day, following warm leads from client referrals, calling previous clients asking for referrals, and stopping by businesses in person to solicit  business.

Prospecting is being face to face (or phone to phone) with someone to see if they are a good prospect to start and market/sell.

Prospecting needs to come first because having qualified prospects will allow you to get the most out of your sales and marketing budget. 

You can work all day on creating a kick ass website, writing phenomenal content, and having an online presence, but at the end of the day if the phone doesn’t ring with a sale, there is no new business.

That small distinction between marketing and prospecting may seem trivial but it’s not.  Often success comes from a small distinction that creates a massive shift in results.

Making sure that prospecting is part of your daily routine will shift your sales and marketing’s effectiveness. It is the critical step to getting every small business where it wants to be:  having clients and customers walking in the door with orders in hand.

Is Life Coaching and Executive Coaching Effective? Experts Speak Out

Whether you’re interested in Executive Coaching or Life Coaching, personal coaching can help you get unstuck or perform better.

Here is what others have to say:

 

“Who exactly seeks out a coach? Winners who want even more out of life.”  – Chicago Tribune

 

“People who use a career coach find jobs 15% to 46% faster than those who don’t, according to a study by talent management firm Lee Hecht Harrison.”
– Wall Street Journal Jan. 2009

 

“Business Coaching is attracting America’s top CEO’s because, put simply, business coaching works. Asked for a conservative estimate of the the monetary payoff from the coaching they got, these managers described an average return of more than $100,000, or about six times what the coaching had cost their companies.”
– FORTUNE Magazine Feb 2001

 

“A coach may be the guardian angel you need to rev up your career.”
– MONEY Magazine

 

“If ever stressed out corporate America could use a little couch-time, it’s now. Trust in big companies is at an all-time low. Baby-boomers have been burned; Gen Xers aren’t expecting the Corporation to take care of them. Under the circumstances, employees are much likelier to go outside and get independent advice to help them be better managers.”
– Karen Cates, Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management

 

“Between 25 percent and 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies use executive coaches.”
– Suvey, The Hay Group, International

 

“Across corporate America, coaching sessions at many companies have become as routine for executives as budget forecasts and quota meetings.”
– Investors Business Daily

 

“Coaches are not for the meek. They’re for people who value unambiguous feedback. All coaches have one thing in common, it’s that they are ruthlessly results-oriented.”
– Fast Company Magazine

 

“Coaching is the universal language of change and learning.”
– CNN

 

“Executives and HR managers know coaching is the most potent tool for inducing lasting personal change.”
– Ivy Business Journal

 

“Part therapist, part consultant, part motivational expert, part professional organizer, part friend, part nag — the personal coach seeks to do for your life what a personal trainer does for your body.”
– Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune

“Once used to bolster troubled staffers, coaching now is part of the standard leadership development training for elite executives and talented up-and-comers at IBM, Motorola, J.P. Morgan, Chase, and Hewlett Packard. These companies are discreetly giving their best prospects what star athletes have long had: a trusted adviser to help reach their goals.”
– CNN.com

 

“Got a nagging feeling that your life could be more fulfilling? Want to change direction but aren’t sure how to do it? Here’s how to jump start your new life today … Hire a personal coach.”
– Modern Maturity

 

“Increasingly, nonprofit executives and managers are finding coaches a terrific sounding board and source of help in a demanding and complex job.”
– Nonprofit World

 

“The goal of coaching is the goal of good management: to make the most of an organization’s valuable resources.”
– Harvard Business Review

 

“An Ethics Resource Center study found that 90% of employees value leaders with integrity as highly as they value income. The Manchester survey of 140 companies shows nine in 10 executives believe coaching to be worth their time and dollars. The average return was more than $5 for each $1 spent.”
– The Denver Post

 

“What’s really driving the boom in coaching, is this: as we move from 30 miles an hour to 70 to 120 to 180……as we go from driving straight down the road to making right turns and left turns to abandoning cars and getting motorcycles…the whole game changes, and a lot of people are trying to keep up, learn how not to fall.”– John Kotter, Harvard Business School

“If you are inspired, you don’t need motivation.”  – Thomas Leonard, Father of Coaching 1955-2003

50 Ways to Get Motivated to Go to Work

Do you remember the story of the Ugly Duckling? The swan egg gets mixed up in a nest of duck eggs. After the swan and ducks hatch, the gosling keeps comparing itself to the ducklings and all it sees is how it is different and believes it is ugly. Then, finally one day, the gosling becomes a swan, sees its reflection in the water and realized it is special and beautiful.

What does this have to do with being motivated to go to work? What you choose to focus on in life, and the meaning you attach to it, determines your experience.  Are you are happy , excited, and motivated to get to work each day? Perhaps you are focusing on something thinking it is ugly, when in reality, it is special and beautiful.

Did you open this email with the intention of seeing my 50 ways to be “Motivated to go to Work”?

It would not really be right to look at mine; after all, you are a swan, not a duck!

Here is how to develop your own 50 Ways to Get Motivated!

  1. Focus on 5 things you love about your drive to work.
  2. Sit in the parking lot at work and find 5 things that are wonderful from that vantage point.
  3. List 5 things you are going to be able to do this weekend as a direct result of earning money today.
  4. Sit at your desk and before you start work, think of 5 things you love about your workspace.
  5. Think of 5 benefits you are getting from your company today. (insurance, office supplies, computer?)
  6. Who are the 5 co-workers you are going to connect to today.
  7. Focus on 5 people who you will help solve problems for today. (clients or coworkers)
  8. Focus on 5 things you are going to learn today to grow.
  9. Focus on 5 Friendly Smiles you will give to someone you meet today because of work.
  10. Focus on 5 things you are looking forward to at work tomorrow.

There are your 50 Ways to Get Motivated to Go to Work! If you were not able to list 5 of each, keep building that muscle! Nothing changed for the goose except it switched its perspective from what it didn’t have to what it did have.

Too often we take the best things in life for granted. Remember how excited you were the first day you got the job offer? Changing your perspective might help you remember what you love about your job.

***

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Lessons from John D. Rockefeller Jr.

Having a vision and showing Perseverance paid off for RockefellerWe just returned from a great 5-day trip to the “Big Apple” and found that it is truly, the city that never sleeps!

New York is such a wonderful city; full of history, lore, and energy. On our itinerary was Rockefeller Center.

This famous landmark was developed by John D Rockefeller Jr and was originally supposed to house the Metropolitan opera. But, when the Stock Market crashed in 1929, the deal fell through and the building was almost never built.

Rockefeller had a tough decision to make. In the end, he chose to move forward and personally funded the entire project without any planned tenants. A bold move!

As the construction of the tower progressed, it created over 7,500 jobs for almost 10 years smack in the middle of the Great Depression. It became a landmark and a symbol of hope in a time of great adversity and hardship. Eventually, Rockefeller found his first tenant, and Radio City Music Hall was born.

I found it ironic that when we went in for the tour and climb to the Top of the Rock, as it is called, it was bright and sunny. But by the time we reached the observation deck, a very powerful downpour had ensued and the visibility dropped to a few hundred feet.

As we worked through our disappointment of not getting any pictures of Central Park, the Empire State Building or a dramatic sunset, something amazing happened. After about fifteen minutes, the storm dissipated. The suns rays broke through the clouds, and it seemed as if the light of heaven shone through on the New York City skyline. We were rewarded with a full double rainbow over Manhattan! Spectacular!

Of course many factors played a part in John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s success in this project. But above all, he had a vision and a dream that extended beyond himself.

Before riding the elevator to the top, there is an interpretation of a Bible verse Rockefeller lived by:

“Unto he who much is given, much shall be required.”

Rockefeller exemplified and lived this philosophy. He was resolute and forged ahead in the middle of the Depression, with no guarantee of a tenant for the building. And in the end, he made his vision come to life.

We have all been given much, in terms of our own special gifts and talents. And in fact, much shall be required of us to create a life of purpose and meaning –even when things are hard or uncertain; especially then.

It is true life stories like Rockefeller Center’s history that make New York such a special place. They exemplify living a life on your own terms, having dreams, and making them come true.

Build your own skyscraper today!!! and enjoy the view; others will too!

 

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You DO NOT have to let fear limit the way you live your life!

No matter what your phobia is, and regardless of how long you have been inconvenienced by it, 
your phobia can be cured!
You do not have to let fear limit the way you live your life.  
NLP has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to remove a phobia.  In fact, clearing phobias is what NLP was made famous for!
Whether you are dealing with a fear of flying, a fear of spiders or snakes, or claustrophobia, you know better than anyone how much these fears not only negatively impact your life but often also impact the lives of the ones you love.  
It doesn’t have to be that way!  You can be free of those limitations.  In 2 (pain free) sessions you can live life fully and on your own terms!
What is a phobia?
A phobia is an intense irrational fear. The root cause of the phobia can usually be traced back to an emotionally charged event when a biological response became associated at an unconscious level with a particular trigger or stimulus.  When re-presented with the trigger, such as being in a closed in space for instance, the associated response is triggered, most commonly resulting in extreme feelings of anxiety, fear and panic.
How can we remove a phobia?
Using Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), any phobia can be eliminated quickly and easily without medication and without the painful process deconditioning. There is no side effect and the results are immediate since NLP addresses the source of the phobia and not the symptoms.
The process consists of 2 sessions.  Sessions can be conducted in person if you live in the Raleigh area or over the phone, and last 45 minutes.  
From now until the 4th of July–just in time for the fireworks–, I would like to offer you, your family and your friends a special pricing of $225 for both sessions!  
Call today to get started and
Experience the freedom of life without fears or phobias!
919-745-7569

To Reach Your Goals, Sometimes the Trick is to Underachieve!

Easter weekend is almost always filled with sunshine here in Raleigh, NC. The warm Spring weather usually leads to planting a myriad of trees, bushes, and annuals. Keeping true to form, I spent most of Saturday creating a rose garden in the back of our home.
As I was working, I found myself enjoying the thoughts of running again. The gorgeous weather urged me to put on my running shoes again and hit the trail. After the last six months of training, it was nice to think of going for a nice leisurely jog for three or four miles with no specific outcome, just running for the sheer joy of running — no expectations.
I so often talk about dreaming big, setting a huge goal, and taking massive action but sometimes, big goals lead to huge expectations, which can get the best of us. Huge expectations can often lead to being more overwhelmed or drained of energy than motivated and energized. 
When that happens, switch gears entirely and seek to underachieve! You read right: lower your aim. If you decided back in January to get in shape and lose twenty pounds but now you’re spending more time telling yourself you have to get to the gym than you actually are, change your approach.
Decide to go walk or run 20 minutes each day. One of 2 things will happen: either after the successful small workout, you’ll feel terrific and conclude this was doable. In which case, grabbing your running shoes tomorrow won’t seem so daunting. Result: total success; you have stopped thinking about what you have to do and you’re moving! Or, after 20 minutes, you will be so into it that you will continue running for another 5, 10, or even 20 more minutes. Imagine how pumped you’ll feel then! All the extra time spent exercising is a total bonus because you have only committed to 20. No one is expecting you to do more. Everything you have done above that is for the pure joy of the experience and creates feelings of massive success.
Success has a momentum all its own and will build on itself, just like the expectations. Sometimes what you need to get you started (and get you out of procrastination mode) is setting a goal that’s achievable right now. The initial outcome is not your ultimate goal, but sometimes to jump higher you need to lower the bar a bit. High jumpers don’t go for their personal best without warming up first! Once you’re in action and the adrenaline takes effect, you’ll gain momentum and naturally move toward succeeding at your bigger goals. 
So maybe if I hit the trail, I’ll only run 3 miles, for the sheer joy of feeling alive and vibrant. But in all likelihood, I’ll keep going a bit longer. And if I don’t, that’s all right, I’ll be out running again the next day because I can fit those miles in without pressure, and experience true feelings of success.
To your continued success,
James

Are you taking steps toward what you want?

When would you like to make your first million? When would you like to find and marry your soul mate? When would you like to drop those extra pounds so you look good this summer? When would you like to find a better sense of peace in your life? When would you like to get to that next promotion and pay raise at work?
If you are like most people, the answer to all of these questions is easy. I am sure you would like to have had it all yesterday! Maybe a person could settle for right now, but yesterday would probably have been better!
It is true that whatever you want, you can’t have it yesterday. However, you can choose to take action towards those results right now. If you want that million dollars and pass on making that extra payment to pay off your debt, you are missing out on having that million dollars for now. If you fail to smile and just say hello to that attractive guy or gal at the grocery store, you might be missing out on your soul mate. If you don’t leave just one more bite of food on your plate than you did yesterday, you are missing out on that great beach body. 
A person may say, “But James, that one extra payment, smile, and bite of food are not enough!” Says who? If you are not willing to manage your money and will waste an opportunity to take a step toward being debt free, how can you manage a million? If you are not willing to give more than you expect back in a relationship and pass on a smile that may make someone’s day go from bad to great, how can you emotionally support your soul mate? If you can’t pass on that one bite of food and eat 40 less calories at every meal (840 calories a week is almost 1/3 lb), then how will you be able to manage passing on all of the deserts when you are out with friends so you can feel fantastic on the beach?
Managing your life comes down to managing moments. If the small results are not enough for you to acknowledge and appreciate, you may never have the appreciation for attaining the end goal. We are the ones who make things bigger, harder, and more difficult than they need to be. Why not make feeling good about yourself and your actions be easy? How many more happy people would there be in the world. Life is only as difficult as you make it! 
The key to getting results NOW is to manage and appreciate the moments and the immediate actions you take right now in order to make a difference in your life.  
To  your continued success, 
James

Do You Have a Success Plan?

The gun went off at 6:00 am, Saturday morning, April 2, 2011. Twenty seven hours, 44 minutes and 34 seconds later, I crossed the finish line completing my first 100-mile Ultramarathon. What allowed me to succeed? Two things: a plan and my word!

It seems surreal even now. As I have gone over the event in my mind for the last few days, I think about the key factors that enabled me to reach my goal. It certainly was not all due to my training because in all reality, I trained harder and more consistently for the fifty mile race that I completed last year. It was not due to my superior health because I weigh a little more than I did last year at this time. So what was it? 

First, I got clear on what my outcome was.  I decided I wanted to complete the race in under 30 hours.  I did some research and I found a plan I could follow to do just that. Provided I ran the first 50 miles in less than 13 hrs, I could complete the race in twenty eight hours with two to spare for unexpected emergencies. I printed out the plan and put it in my race belt. It became my bible during the race. It broke down the lap times so that I had smaller goals to accomplish on the way to the bigger picture. I set small steps and overachieved each lap by about fifteen to twenty minutes. I used these minutes to take care of my body: changing shoes, shirts, and socks, using a full jar of Vaseline, and getting medical support. When I lost the map after the 6th lap, I felt like I had lost my best friend (I later found it). The plan saved me from destruction. It allowed me to focus on the small consistent actions that made the difference between success and failure: filling the water bottle each station, eating at each aid station, taking my electrolyte caps each hour, and consistently checking my watch to measure my progress versus the plan. 

The second thing that kept me going was my word. I created a tremendous amount of leverage for myself to accomplish this goal. I told my friends, my family, my clients, and everyone on every social media network I am involved with, that I was going to do this! Most importantly, I told myself that I was going to give this everything that I had! I did not give myself an escape route anywhere. 

There were times I could have quit. Before starting lap seven (after 75 miles) the Red Cross Medic looked at my feet and told me there was nothing they could do for my feet since the pain did not come from an external blister but an internal separation of skin. If I wanted to continue, all I could do was to slap on some Vaseline and suck it up. There were also several times in lap eight when I actually stopped and told my pacer that I wanted to quit, period. I was done. And, even as I said the words out loud, doubled over in pain, I knew that I could not look at myself in the mirror when I got home if I didn’t give it everything I had. And, unless I blacked out and they took me away in an ambulance, I could not stop. In those moments, I looked down deeper into myself than ever before, checked my handwritten plan, pulled myself together, and kept on going. 

It is ironic as I look back on my life, that 21 years ago, I could not run a mile.  It’s clear that if a person wants to have a full life they are proud of, success takes work and effort. It took just as much work and effort emotionally 21 years ago for me to push myself to run 8 laps, walk 4, run 4 more; to tell myself that I could run three miles and then keep on doing it every other day for the next 6 months. The only difference between then and now is that I have conditioned myself to take on bigger goals. My first 10K seemed like an eternity.  The first marathon I signed up for I never ran, but I signed up again and the next year I ran my first ˝ marathon followed by my first full marathon.  The first 100-miler I signed up for I cancelled but the following year I ran 50 miles. This year, I learned everything I needed to learn to complete a 100-mile race and accomplished something that had enormous meaning for me.  The road to succ ess has not come in a straight line.  I’ve tried and “failed” at times, I have fallen on my face and come short on some of my goals.  Yet, I have gotten back up and tried again, and again set in the conviction that our past does not equal our future.  By having a plan for success, a system to follow, and by putting enough leverage on myself to accomplish my goal, I put all the chances for success on my side.

Whether you are reaching for a small goal or a big goal, whether it has to do with your personal life or your business, success will always take work. To achieve all that you want in life remember that having a good plan that you can rely upon and keeping your word –to yourself and others– will always serve you well, even when all you want to do is quit!

To your continued success,

James 

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“5 Steps to Break Through Overwhelm”




Fear, Anxiety or Excitement –which is it?

You will have to forgive me again for talking about running this week! This weekend is my big 100-mile race that you have all been reading about for the last six months, so bear with me one more time.  Well, perhaps I will give a recap on what I get from the race next week and then I am done talking about it, I promise!

Anyway, I as I was packing enough clothes and food for the entire crew of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier tonight, I am feeling a mixture of excitement, fear and anxiety. I always tell my clients, “If you are looking for financial planner, get one who is debt free and works because they choose to”. Same for a coach, “Get one who says I am my own best client.” 

I have been coaching myself hard tonight. On the eve of big life events, it is just like a ride on a roller coaster. There are only two main emotions on a roller coaster…fear and excitement. Picture the people on the ride…clenching onto the shoulder harness in fear and putting their hands up and screaming, “Bring it on!!!” at the top of their lungs.

What allows a person to let go of the shoulder harness of fear and scream with excitement is letting go of expectation and the “What if’s…”, along with having a little bit of faith and trust. Trust that the ride will end safely, faith that it will stay on the track, so you can enjoy the rush of adrenaline that each new exciting experience in life brings. 

Some fear and anxiety is healthy. It is what motivates me to remember to run upstairs and pack my rain jacket just in case. Being able to manage those emotions and put them to good use is critical. It allows you to feel prepared for the ride so you can let go, enjoy it free of expectation and trust that it will be a great ride. 
  
In the end, you will be living a life of events and rides that are thrilling. AND, you may find that you are addicted to the ride. So, I may have to go back on my word that this is the end of my writing about running for a while. After all, there is the Marine Corps Marathon in October with one of my Marine clients who will have just came back from a tour in Afghanistan (Stay safe brother!). And, I just planned for another possible marathon in France in 2013 with another fantastic friend. They serve wine at every water station and everyone dresses up! Life is full of such wonderful rides! 

Enjoy your life since you only have one. Live it fully doing what you love. Have a life full of wonderful tales to tell your grandkids as they sit on your knees! I hope you continue to ride the ride and remember that it is only a slight adjustment to go from fear and anxiety to excitement and fun. Enjoy the ride!

Take Control of Your Life

My daughter was telling me that other day that it seemed an eternity going from 6 to 7 years old. For me on the other hand, the older I get the faster time flies by. As things move faster and faster in life, finding a balance between work, health, finances and career becomes harder and harder. It is easy to start feeling powerless and out of control.
It is easy to blame feeling out of control on the events and circumstances of life; the boss is too demanding and does not care, the kids’ activities after school are just too much, or stress from your relationship causes you to overeat and drink.  
There are always two ways to take back control of your life. 
The first is to shift your procedures and take control by changing the events and circumstances of life. A person can change jobs to get a new boss, sign the kids up for one less extracurricular activity next season, or join Weight Watchers and start counting points. These procedural changes we all know how to do, but still have a hard time implementing. Most people know what to do, they just don’t do it. 
Your second option?  Change your perception. “Changing perception” involves changing the way a person thinks.  All learning, change, and behavioral shifts happen at the unconscious level. 
Asking yourself better questions and adopting a different identity will help change your own perceptions of who you are and what you believe. The above examples of being stressed presuppose an identity that a person who can’t handle the stressors of life.  If they wanted to, one could choose to adopt different beliefs, such as, “The more energy I put out, the stronger I become”, “The busier I am, the more organized and the more efficient I become”,  “I thrive on life’s challenges: the faster life goes, the more momentum I have”, or “It is good to have a full life of opportunity.”
Implementing new procedures can change your life, and many times, that is precisely what is needed.  But sometimes, the solution lies in changing your perceptions of your identity and adopting a different internal beliefs system.  Those new beliefs are what will allow you to take control of your life!  
What is a more empowering identity and belief that you can adopt? Are there some areas of your life where you need to change your procedures?  Are there some areas of your life where you need to shift your perceptions? 
I look forward to hearing your response and comments! 
To your continued success,