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Step into Your Greatness

All of us have challenges and fears in our life that we are faced with from time to time. Sometimes these fears are minor and sometimes they can become extremely debilitating. Either way, we only truly grow and succeed when we face our fears.  Most of us have heard the phrase:

True Success and Growth is created outside your comfort zone.  

I love this statement because it reminds me to focus on the opportunities that are presented to me whenever a challenge or fear is put in my path.  I have experienced time and time again the success and fulfillment that has come into my life by facing my fears and “leaning into what I fear most”.

There has never been a better time to learn and act on this principle than now. Our business, social, and economic environment is placing many fears in our path and I believe we can use this as an opportunity to Learn more about Ourselves, Grow our Success, and Create an Amazing Life of Fulfillment and Prosperity. But it will require some Bold, Courageous, and Intentional Actions on our part. I hope this message might inspire you to do just that…

The Time I Walked Away from $250k

There have been many times that I have had to face my fears in difficult situations and life events. However, I can think of one in particular that really pushed me to a new level.

I was twenty-nine years old and had built a successful sales team for a leading online stock education company.  I was doing very well financially and had built a team consistently generating me over $250k per year.  More importantly, I was married and had 5 kids at the time.

I had built a relationship with an individual that owned a small events company doing about $20M per year in revenue with about 20 employees. This individual had presented me with the opportunity to walk away from my “cush” “job” and become the CEO of his company.  I’m not sure what he saw in me, and I certainly did not feel qualified for the position.  But, I was faced with the challenge or opportunity to walk away from an already built $250k per year to earn a commission (only on profit) of helping him to grow his company.

I saw the potential, but it was a thought that literally terrified me.  I had worked very hard to create the level of success I had created (from the ground up) and knew that it would require some serious “heavy lifting” to jump ship and move to the next level with this offer.  I spent many long, stressful, and thoughtful days considering the offer.

I knew that I wanted to go to the next level.  The opportunity appeared to be sound but I would give up a solid (bird in the hand) income for an upside that was not guaranteed in any way.  To say I was scared to make the move would be an understatement.  But ultimately, I chose to make the move and I have never looked back.  In hindsight, that move is what gave me an incredible amount of experience, success, relationships, and life skills.  It was a bumpy ride (which we can cover at another time), but we were able to grow the company to over $200M in net collected revenue with over 300 employees in 5 short years.  This was a perfect example of leaning into my Fear in order to Grow and Create Success.

And Most Importantly…This is Where I met my Long-Time Mentor, Friend and Partner Robert Stuberg…

So, I let me ask you a question…What do you Fear Most?

Is there an opportunity that you have been considering or presented with?  Is there a skill that you have put off learning or developing? Is there a personal passion that you have wanted to start building a business around?  Are there investing opportunities that you don’t feel qualified to start learning and doing?  Maybe you have some current challenges or problems in your life or business that you simply don’t feel qualified to deal with. Maybe you have a relationship or a family matter that you can’t seem to get up the courage to start working on. Regardless of what the fear is that is present in your life, I can promise you that your “Greatest Accomplishments”…Your Best Life…is waiting just beyond that challenge or fear.

See, I believe that your Fear is there for a reason that will benefit you.  Maybe it’s your gut telling you that you need to address it. Maybe it’s your subconscious mind identifying to you an area that you can learn and grow from. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that fears can be real (in life and especially in our minds), but I also believe most FEAR is something we create to avoid problems in our lives…simply put it is “false events appearing real.”  Maybe another way to look at FEAR is to see it as an opportunity, or a Highlighted area for Growth rather than a red flag to run away from.

Either way, you were meant to do great things and can only accomplish your best life by addressing the road blocks holding you back from Greatness.

Why Should you START with Fear?

What can we hope to gain from facing our fears and How do we actually start Crushing those fears?…

Here are just a few (of many) reasons to Face Your Fears:

  • Gateway to Results- facing your fears can give you valuable experience that you can use to grow, build, and learn strategies to execute at a higher level in the future. Remember that even failure carries with it knowledge that will improve your skills moving forward.
  • Personal Growth- the fastest way to grow is to stretch yourself.  This will most certainly happen when you face your fears.  You learn new ways to accomplish your goals, and you are forced to adapt to a new environment.
  • Increased Fulfillment- personal growth is one of the most important ways to feel a greater amount of fulfillment and passion in your life.  Truly living only happens when we are growing personally and professionally.  Facing your fears is an amazing way to do this.
  • Build Confidence & Belief- As we face our fears, we build confidence and belief in our own abilities to handle life and the amount of uncertainty we have in life.  The experience that comes from dealing with fear creates new beliefs that we can handle any situation in life, and this will create more confidence in our ability to stop dealing with even greater challenges in the future.

I can go on and on about the positive benefits that come with facing your fears.  I also know that there can be difficult, emotional, and negative experiences that come with facing our fears.  Rejection, Failure, and Setbacks can also come with facing your fears, but remember this…

Anything that you can Learn from a Situation can be turned into a Positive if you will just Make the Decision that it will help you Grow and do better in the Future.

How to Start Crushing Your Fear?

Let’s talk about how you can start Crushing Your Fears and some ideas I have for helping you Take Action…

I’ve learned all kinds of ways to deal with fear, challenges and struggles in my life.  I wrote down a few of the Empowering Thoughts, Techniques, and Disciplines that I have learned and used over the years, and here are a few of the best ideas I can give you:

  • Say Yes, then Figure it Out- Most every 7-Figure mentor that I know has adopted the idea that they will act on opportunity and figure it out along the way.  You don’t need to know everything to take action.
  • Good is Good Enough- Taking action on your dreams, desires and opportunities is good enough.  Don’t wait for confidence to tackle your fears.  Confidence comes after you push through your fears.
  • Focus Your Energy- When you are leaning into fear, you must create space to focus your time, energy, and talent so you can develop the skills needed to handle the challenge.  Don’t multitask when facing your fears.
  • Surrounding yourself with Positive- Facing fears can be scary, but you can build up your confidence, belief, and abilities by surrounding yourself with others that have already faced similar fears.  They can help you benefit from belief transference, positive influence, and support along the way.
  • Eliminate Distractions- The best way to deal with your fears is to block out some time and hit them head on. Don’t allow distractions, easy ways out, and others to distract you from your objective and focus on conquering your fears.
  • Do Less Not More- The key to handling your fears is not to take everything on all at once.  Don’t feel you need to do it all.  Just simply take the first step.  Most times, the answers, details, and solutions come along the way.  The path to dealing with your fears will most of the time reveal the solutions you are looking for along the way.

Ultimately, there is no magic pill or easy way to get through facing your fears. You are the only one equipped to handle your fears.  You are the only that can face them.  But, if you will remember and adopt the idea that “Everything happens for a reason and that reason is there to Benefit me”, then your perspective will drive your experience.  True or not, that will empower you to create an experience of growth and learning rather than failure, disappointment, and struggle.

WARNING:  Don’t Let This Happen!

I have a thought that came to me, and it is a simple (but serious) word of caution or warning. Sometimes we fail to recognize that the opportunity or situation “already present in our life” is what we fear dealing with the most.  As a result, we (as entrepreneurs, investors, or just humans) use new opportunities as excuses to “Not deal with Fear we currently have”.  Let me give you an example.  So many times I have seen entrepreneurs or individuals chase shiny objects (new opportunities) in order to find a “way out” of working hard and dealing with the struggles they may be currently facing. You cannot move from opportunity to opportunity thinking you are “operating outside your comfort zone”, if you are in fact just avoiding your current situation.  Learn to face your fears, regardless of where they are present in your life.

You Can Do It!!

I know we all have greatness inside of us.  I know that we are given challenges for a reason and that reason is to grow and develop the best versions of ourselves.  This is not a destination driven objective.  It is a path based journey. We learn, grow, and develop along the way for our entire lives. When you fall in love with the process…the path…then you release your need for the end result.  When you stop fixating on the end result, you can start to really enjoy the process more.

You are on a path that rewards the person willing to Lean into their Fears with the Benefit of Prosperity, Personal Growth, and Happiness.  By avoiding your fears you are left with disappointment, regret, and failure.  After all, you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. You will Benefit from 100% of the shots you take (regardless of scoring points) if you Learn something from every shot.

Wayne Dyer said that as we all look back on the Tapestry of our Lives we will gain a better perspective and the Meaning and Purpose of our Challenges will become more clear. It is my hope that when you look back on your life, you are Happy and Confident that you Leaned into your Fear…that you took the risks…that you embraced change…that you learned to love the process of Growth.  I am working on that every day, and I believe you can too.  You can do it.  You have the abilities to handle anything if you will simply put your mind, effort, and resolve to doing it. What the mind can conceive and believe it CAN achieve.  So, Start Creating Your Best Life Today.

George Wright III

 

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When Failure is Better Than Success

Welcome back to Stuberg.com.  My name is George Wright III, and Robert Stuberg has asked me to step in as the President & CEO of Success Systems International, LLC and Stuberg.com.  I am very excited to be able to roll out some incredible new programs, strategies and courses that will help you to Create Your Best Life.  Robert and I have some amazing announcements happening over the next few weeks, so don’t miss out…keep checking Stuberg.com for details.

“George Wright has been a private client of mine for over 2 decades, and he is one of the best Personal Develop Experts working in the field today. He has agreed to become the new President and CEO of Success Systems International, LLC which manages all of my business activities, including Stuberg.com”- Robert Stuberg

I’d like to share a message with you this week that I hope will inspire you to challenge your own definition of success…PLUS…a FREE Offer below.

I’ve spent the better part of my life working and learning around successful people in the area of personal development and financial education. A few years ago, major events in my life happened that made me begin to question my level of happiness and fulfillment. I realized that I was not where I wanted to be in life, and I felt extremely unhappy and unfulfilled. Even though I had accomplished most of my goals in life, I had not accomplished what is most important in life – i.e., happiness and fulfillment.

The things that most people equate to having success including a great education, massive income, and many status symbols such as expensive cars, homes, and travel weren’t giving me what I thought they would. Even with the most wonderful wife and kids, I still had a feeling of wanting more, and yet nothing was making me happy with what I had. It really bothered me and perplexed me at the same time. I began to feel depressed and unfocused in my life.

Luckily, I decided to discuss my challenges with a person who was a close friend and long-time Mentor, Robert Stuberg.

Robert suggested that I read an article he had written titled “When Failure is Better than Success.” The title really shocked me. How could failure ever be better than success? It didn’t make any sense to me but I respected him enough to read the article. I’m so glad I did because it complete revolutionized my life. (I will tell you how you can get a FREE copy of Robert’s article in a moment, and I urge you to read it today.)

I read Robert’s article the same day he told me about it, and then I reread it a number of times because it was hitting me right between the eyes. It was like Robert had written the article just for me. (I later learned that he wrote it for himself to remind him of a truth he had lost sight of in his own quest for success.) After reading and rereading the article, I called Robert to discuss it with him. My life has never been the same. Reading this article and talking with Robert was a major breakthrough in my life. I didn’t realize that I had inadvertently adopted a philosophy about success that was in complete alignment with most of the world yet entirely out of alignment with the facts.

Robert helped me realize that my definition of success and happiness were entirely wrong. I had it backwards. I was reaching for and achieving many “worthwhile goals” yet they would never create the peace and happiness I was looking for with the strategy I was using. I needed to completely redefine what I really wanted my life to be like. After I saw the truth, Robert suggested that I listen to “Creating Your Ultimate Destiny” which was a program he had written and recorded while he was an author, speaker, and key executive at Nightingale-Conant Corporation.

Robert left Nightingale-Conant Corporation many years ago and has had an amazing track record of success with happiness, which is the ultimate bulls-eye in life. What’s most important is that after my breakthrough, The Stuberg Mentoring Academy was born as an idea that Robert and I developed to help more people combine happiness and fulfillment with success.

That’s also when I decided to accept the role as President of Success Systems International and help others find more Success, Happiness and Prosperity in their lives.  I have learned, practiced and benefited from the teaching and principles that Robert Stuberg has developed over decades of working with thousands of individuals just like you and me.

Our Mission is to provide you with the information, knowledge, resources and tools you need to Create the Life You Were Meant to Live. It’s now your turn to not just create, but to live your ultimate destiny. As a result, you CAN and WILL create success and happiness in your life. Remember that success without fulfillment is best defined as failure! Don’t let that be you. Choose success with happiness!!

If you haven’t done so already, sign up on Stuberg.com and I’ll send you a FREE ebook version of Robert’s article. Join me on the journey of self-awareness and success. Connect with and begin networking with people who can help you get everything you want in life. Allow The Stuberg Mentoring Academy to partner with you for success and happiness starting today!

Click here to get your FREE copy of “When Failure is Better than Success.”

Best of Success,

George Wright III

President, Success Systems International

 

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This Masquerade

I find myself fascinated with what’s happened since I wrote my last blog post entitled “Sabbatical” on February 1, 2020. My personal intention was to take some time off from work so I could re-evaluate my life and what I’ve been able to accomplish in my first 6 decades on the planet. The plan was to step back from the day-to-day momentum of my personal and professional life and examine who and what I have become during my short ride on this spinning blue island in space.

Who would have guessed what would happen next? Just days after my decision to take an extended sabbatical, the whole world (in one way, shape, or form) would also go on a sabbatical of sorts.

I’m sure it’s fair to say that Covid-19 surprised you as much as it did me and the rest of the world. It’s become a once in a generation event that has literally reshaped life on earth as we know it.

I’ve been stunned by what’s happened with the Covid-19 situation, not to mention everything else that’s taken place. For example, I find myself thinking about the many plagues of the past and what our ancestors must have gone through to survive. Surely we have many additional resources these days, but this pandemic has been challenging for each and every one of us. It’s certainly not anything I ever wanted to experience but, like with all challenges, there are definitely things that can be learned from it.

During this time of lockdown and isolation, I’ve probably learned more about myself, my family, my neighbors, and the world around me than I ever thought possible, both good things and bad. However, my primary focus on sabbatical has been learning more about the best ways to gather up what I’ve learned in life so I can invest it into my future. I’ve been placing a special emphasis on music which was once a primary focus of my life.

As a teenager I dreamed of being a jazz musician and a College Music Professor. For a number of reasons, my life didn’t go in that direction. But this sabbatical taught me that I have some unfinished business with music. What’s interesting is that my sabbatical has allowed me the freedom to reawaken passions that I left behind to make a living. For me, a sabbatical is not about making a living, it’s about designing a life or focusing on a project, like doing research or writing a new program or book. So the first thing I did was find some new mentors, including some new music mentors, since one of my goals involved getting back into playing music again.

Over the years, I studied with many wonderful mentors in music as well as many other disciplines. During the pandemic, I started studying again with some music mentors. And it was during a mentoring session that I thought how interesting it would be to include a song to go along with one of my future Blog Posts. And as I thought about it a bit more, I decided that the perfect song to start with was “This Masquerade.” (I’ve attached a recording of me playing the song on tenor saxophone. It’s a work in progress!)

One reason I chose the song “This Masquerade” was because of the obvious connection with the masks we are having to wear during the pandemic to stay safe. Another reason I chose it is because of the song’s lyrics that speak to the topic of hiding who we are by wearing masks and pretending to be different than we are.

While I was recording the tracks for this song in my home studio, I thought a lot about the kinds of masks I wear as well as the ones I need to get rid of. Perhaps you’ll get some insight into your masks by listening to my recording. (If you’d like to hear the lyrics, I’d suggest listening to George Benson’s original version of the song. It’s outstanding!)

Here’s my version: THIS MASQUERADE!

 

If you listen to my recording, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind while listening:

  1. Notice how the song starts very softly and quietly, almost whispering. It makes me think about how everything seemed completely fine in early 2020 but then, in a matter of a day or two, everything changed. In music we say “the tone changed!”
  2. Notice the many areas of struggle represented in the song. Notes are bending, high notes are sometimes almost screaming for attention, and yet the song keeps moving forward much like life.
  3. Listen for the place in the song near the end where I start reaching for higher and higher notes as if trying to escape. I finally go way above the normal register of the instrument in an effort to rise above what’s happening.
  4. Lastly, pay attention to the very end of the song. What’s the last thing you hear? Do you hear a piano, a guitar, a saxophone, or just a breath of air? And if you hear a whisper of air, what does that mean to you? What reason might I have had to end that way? Is a single breath the essence of life and music?

Finally, ask yourself these questions: What masks am I wearing that it’s time to throw off? More importantly, when would NOW be the best time to show the world who I really am? Also, ask yourself what passions do you have that may have been neglected and need more time and attention to grow and evolve?

Perhaps the bottomline is this: Depending on when you read this, you may not be able to take off your physical mask just yet, but you can always remove mental masks or blocks that are holding you back from being the best version of yourself.

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Do Less and Accomplish More!

I have a firm belief that the old dictum “less is more” contains an enormous amount of wisdom. I also believe that not recognizing the power contained in the three words — “less is more” — complicates our life and limits our progress.

Is it possible that you could make the decision to do less and actually accomplish more? I believe the answer is YES!

After coaching high achievers for decades, the most powerful thing I’ve learned and relearned over and over again can be summed up in one word: FOCUS!

In my first book and audio program “The 12 Life Secrets,” I said it this way:

“The trouble with so many of us is that we underestimate the power of simplicity. We have a tendency it seems to overcomplicate our lives and forget what’s important and what’s not. We tend to mistake movement for achievement. We tend to focus on activities instead of results. And as the pace of life continues to race along in the outside world, we forget that we have the power to control our lives regardless of what’s going on outside.” 

I recently did an Internet search to find out what quotes from my books and audio programs are referenced online and this particular quote was at the top of the list. I find it interesting that out of all of the words I’ve written and recorded, this quote is the most popular. Perhaps that’s because it’s the most powerful. This quote hit the mark for enough people that it’s stood the test of time which is usually the best test to use when selecting ideas to implement in your life. The one thing I know for sure is that this is the idea I need to remind myself of on a daily basis so I do a better job of practicing what I preach.

Why not decide what’s most important to you and focus on that? I’d be willing to bet that you’ll look back some day and say that it was one of the best decisions of your life.

My guess is that you’ve let your life become too complicated. Perhaps you’ve hit a ceiling of complexity with too many moving parts in your life. Perhaps you’ve let your life become so complicated with so many endless details that you are holding yourself back by doing things that you need to eliminate or delegate. In fact, here’s a great question to ask at the beginning of every day: “WHAT SHOULD I ELIMATE OR DELEGATE?”

My suggestion would be to review your life’s purpose and then choose the top 3 things that are taking up your time that don’t align with your purpose and mission, and then get rid of them. I do this simple exercise with my clients at least once a year which reminds me to do it for myself. If you haven’t decided on a life’s purpose, download a FREE audio message and planning worksheet entitled “Discovering Your Life’s Purpose.” Knowing your life’s purpose is the starting point, and you need to review it often.

The opportunities you need to improve your life are within reach, but you have to make sure you aren’t so busy that you miss them. I can promise you that what you need the most is within your reach, but you have to have the time and the focus to recognize what you need so you can take action.

Remind yourself everyday that being busy is not the same thing as being productive. Being productive requires that you focus on the right things.

What’s the top priority to focus on? That’s easy. It’s to focus on your life’s purpose. Focus on building the best version of you! How do you focus on that? Start by deciding what you need to eliminate or delegate.

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The Miracle Formula

If a miracle is a surprising, welcome, improbable or extraordinary event, and we don’t fully grasp how it works, then call me a believer. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say there’s a formula you can use to create miracles if you’re interested in such things.

Try this simple equation to construct a miracle in your life:

Imagination + Faith + Labor = Miracle

It probably looks overly simplistic but I’m willing to argue that it works.

Let’s look at each step of the equation. The first step is IMAGINATION or being able to visualize something that you want to bring about in your life. This would be a goal or desire you have or a certain condition or event that you want to bring about in the world. It’s possible that what you are imagining has never been accomplished by anyone and has never existed before on planet earth. Do you have something in your imagination that you’d like to make real?

Once you have something in mind, ask yourself this question: Do I believe this is possible? In other words, do I have FAITH that what I desire can become real in the world? That’s step two. I would say that if you don’t have faith, the chance of creating a miracle is slim to none.

However, if you have both imagination and faith, is that enough to create a miracle? I say no. There is something else that is required. That’s step three. It’s the very thing that most people don’t want to acknowledge. The simple word to describe what’s needed next is LABOR. Lots of hard work or labor. Sweat, long hours, dedication, perseverance, resolve, commitment, etc. You get the idea. This is the hardest part. But it’s also the part that most people leave out of the equation. Having imagination and faith without labor doesn’t produce great results, let alone miracles.

Even if you’re a genius, I don’t think you will get around the ‘work’ part of the formula. Let me give you an example by sharing this story. I’ll never forget traveling to Italy and encountering, for the first time, one of the world’s most famous sculptures. As I walked to the end of a hallway of statues, I was stunned by the sheer size when I saw the 17-foot statue of Michelangelo’s David towering above me. As I walked around it, it was amazing to see the craftsmanship and attention-to-detail, right down to the chiseled veins in David’s hands and the almost perfectly depicted anatomy from top to bottom.

It doesn’t seem possible that a person working by himself could create something so magnificent. But, of course, Michelangelo was a genius, and that’s what a genius can do. Except that Michelangelo’s genius alone did not create the David. It was his hard work and labor that were necessary to bring into existence this ‘work’ of art. Long days and nights of painstaking labor brought Michelangelo’s imagination and faith into reality as the miracle that is the David. That’s the fourth and final step of the equation. Michelangelo created what he thought about and made it real in the world so anyone could experience it. He used his imagination, faith and labor to create a miracle.

Let’s not forget that the tools used to create the David were rudimentary at best. Michelangelo primarily used a hammer and a chisel. He had no power tools or finishing sanders. He used the tools of the time combined with years of hard work.

If you haven’t yet studied the life of Michelangelo, and the enormous efforts he put into his works of art, I would highly recommend it. Then consider making the trip to Florence to see the David for yourself. And if you have the time, travel to the Louvre Museum in Paris to gaze directly at the Mona Lisa and some of Michelangelo’s other miraculous works of art. Just don’t miss the chance to see the David. It is an extraordinary achievement that shows how the formula “Imagination + Faith + Labor = Miracle.” It will remind you never to forget the all-important ‘labor’ part of the equation.

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Be Useful

Would you say that you are useful? I can assure you the answer is yes but what you do think? This is an important question to consider, especially if you don’t feel like your life is on the right track. To help you think about your answer, I want to share something from Robert Fulghum, the author of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Here’s what Mr. Fulghum wrote on his website about being useful:

* * * * *

“Often, without realizing it, we fill important places in each other’s lives. It’s that way with the guy at the corner grocery, the mechanic at the local garage, the family doctor, teachers, coworkers, and neighbors. Good people who are always “there,” who can be relied upon in small, ordinary ways. People who, by example, teach us, bless us, encourage us, support us, uplift us in the daily-ness of life.

“I want to be one of those.

“You may be one of those, yourself. There are those who depend on you, watch you, learn from you, are inspired by you, and count on you being in their world. You may never have proof of your importance to them, but you are more important than you may think. There are those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who. We seldom make this mutual influence clear to each other. But being aware of the possibility that you are useful in this world is the doorway into assuring that will come to be true.

“My way is to keep writing and sharing that. What’s yours?”

* * * * *

I think it’s hard to improve on that. If fact, I think it’s not only a good idea to review Mr. Fulghum’s ideas about being useful from time-to-time, but also to review what he learned in kindergarten that became the guiding principles of his life, and the basis for many best-selling books.

Here they are in summary form:

* * * * *

ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN
by Robert Fulghum

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten. ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Flush.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup:
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die.
So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had a basic policy to always put thing back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

© Robert Fulghum, 1990.
Found in Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten Villard Books: New York, 1990, page 6-7.

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Don’t Compete, Create!

Do you believe that life is one big game of competing to get ahead? Do you take the game so seriously that it becomes winning at any cost? Sometimes life looks like the world is filled with an endless path of competition and struggle. From the beginning there’s a challenge to do well in school, then a challenge to find the right career, then a challenge to move up the ladder in your career, then a challenge to keep up with your neighbors, then a challenge to stay healthy, and on and on. Competition appears to be a dominant force. But what if you’ve taken the concept too far? What if there’s a better way to play the game of life that’s much more rewarding?

Consider for a moment the possibility of starting to play the game of life from a standpoint of creating instead of competing. Competing is striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same. Conversely, creating is bringing something into existence or causing something to happen as a result of your actions. You could go so far as to say that “to compete” can mean “to destroy” your competitors whereas “to create” can mean “to collaborate” with your so-called competitors.

Focusing on creating brings to mind such action words as building, constructing, promoting, fabricating, fostering, generating, and producing. These words all sound much better than competing in a win-lose game. Creating instead of competing could turn “competitors” into “collaborators.” And if it’s not possible to work with “competitors” perhaps it’s time to avoid them altogether. Instead try working on your own independent ideas that no one else may have considered.

In thinking about this topic over the years, I’ve come to the realization that competing for the sole purpose of winning can be waste of valuable time, and it can leave you with feelings of inferiority through comparison. A person who is competing is often stuck in the trap of comparison. Perhaps Teddy Roosevelt said it best with this idea: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Focus on creating instead of competing. Remember that your ultimate competitive advantages are those things that make you unique. No one else can compete with what I call your “Unique Talent™.” Your Unique Talent™ is like a mote around your castle. If you haven’t found your Unique Talent™, keep looking because finding it and using it in the service of others is your gift to give to the world.

Don’t compete, create!

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The Limits of Self-Help

Are you interested in self-help? Have you ever read a self-help book, listened to a self-help program, or attended a self-help seminar? I can’t imagine that you are reading this blog if self-help is not a huge priority in your life. In other words, I’ll bet you’re a person who is interested in self-guided improvement be it intellectually, economically, physically, or emotionally. You want to improve and you want to be in the driver’s seat of making that improvement. Am I right?

You want to control your life. You want to make your life better. You want to direct your next breakthrough and be responsible for the next personal and professional transformations that you need in order to reach the next level of success. You want to summon the iron will and steadfast courage to overcome the obstacles that stand in your way.

I can promise you that this is exactly who I am. I’ve been hooked on self-help ever since I learned I could make a difference in how my life turns out. From the moment I learned that I could make choices, the game of self-help was on. I wanted to make the best choices, and I wanted to win the game. I was ready to play. I was all in.

I instinctively knew how the game was to be played. It is based on a very simple idea. The fundamental belief of self-help is the belief that you can make yourself better. That’s it, and I agree.

Now here’s the question: Can this idea be taken too far? I’ve learned in my own life that it can. In fact, I’m embarrassed to tell you that while I have worked extremely hard to make everything about my life the best it could possibly be, the major advances that I’ve made have come from others helping me. It’s true. My major successes have come from Other-Help, not Self-Help.

Now I don’t want to say that I haven’t played a major role in this game I’m playing called MY LIFE, but I’m saying that self-help is not enough, not nearly enough. My guess is that self-help has not helped you through the most difficult times in your life such as those times when everything just fell apart and you were so disillusioned that you didn’t know what to do or where to turn. Haven’t you had times when you’ve been so lost and alone that you couldn’t decide what to do next? If not, then you may be an alien or you may have some special super powers I’ve never witnessed in anyone that I’ve ever met or read about, and that’s a lot of people.

I’m willing to bet that you understand what I’m talking about in terms of the fact that self-help can only take you so far in life. Self-help does indeed have its limits. It’s not enough to get you where you want to go and it most certainly will not provide you with the lasting achievement and fulfillment that you desire.

Self-help is definitely part of the formula involved in getting what you want but without the help of others, the game is over. The victory is both lost and hollow no matter what the achievement.

My suggestion is to make a list of the people who have helped you the most in your life. After each of their names, write down what they’ve done for you. Just this simple exercise will lead you to the underlying truth behind the game of life, which is this: Life is a team sport, and you can’t win a team sport by yourself!

So let’s add more people to your list who you may have never considered. For example, what about all of those opponents you’ve faced in your life? Did any of them make it on the list of people who have helped you in life? Why or why not?

Haven’t the people who challenged you the most also caused you to grow the most? How about writing down the names of your so-called “adversaries” along with a list of what they “helped” you learn and achieve. It’s been said that we learn more from failure than we do from success. Why? Because while we celebrate in some way when we achieve something, it’s when we fail that we are forced to ponder. What happened? Why did I miss my target? How can I get back on the right track? What can I learn from what happened? I know that I can succeed, so what’s the answer that I need? What else can I read or who can I ask for help? Asking questions leads to answers, and it often takes failure to get us to ask the questions we need to succeed.

As is so often the case in life, a change in perspective is needed when we miss one of our goals, and maybe it’s time to rethink self-help alone. It’s refreshing to turn things around now and then and look at life from a different perspective. There’s no need to stop studying self-help principles, just don’t limit yourself because there are a lot of people who can help you if you’ll only ask. You can also expand your reading to include books with the topic “Other-Help” to your library. That may not be a category in the bookstore but you can start with biographies and autobiographies of what people did who achieved what you want to achieve, and maybe you can even meet those people. The answers are always within reach and others will help. People are standing by to help you if you’ll only ask.

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Three Steps to Solve ANY Problem

Do you have a problem that you’d like to solve?

Here’s a simple three-step formula that never fails:

  1. Define the problem as precisely as possible.
  2. Visualize what the problem will look like when solved.
  3. Take daily steps toward your vision.

Perhaps that seems overly simplistic; however, I’ve never had anyone give me a better formula. The truth is that we are always either in a problem, we just got out of a problem, or we are heading straight toward a problem. Those are the only three options we are ever handed while traveling on this beautiful blue, island in space. This means that we’d better have a system or formula for dealing with problems or we are going to spend a great deal of our life in constant frustration.

When a problem confronts us, we are often caught off guard and begin to think that something totally unique has crossed our path. But that’s not the case. Our ancestors have been solving problems for thousands of years or we wouldn’t even be here. So our job is to solve the problems that face us so the next generation can stand firmly on our shoulders and keep the process moving forward.

So what is the biggest problem you are currently facing? Do you wonder if it can be solved? It can, but it might just take some laser beam focus and determination to get the job done. We know that problems are a constant in life and we also know how to solve problems by using this simple formula, so let’s dig in a bit deeper to see what kind of problem might be standing in our way.

The first thing I like to do when presented with a problem is see it as clearly as possible and also decide if it is a convergent problem or a divergent problem. In other words, is the problem one where a single, correct answer can be found or is it one where many possible solutions are available?

Convergent problems are solved when you converge on the correct answer. It’s like the solution to a math problem. Two plus two always equals four. That was the solution yesterday and today and it will certainly be the solution tomorrow. Convergent problems have systematic and logical answers that solve the problem every time.

Divergent problems, on the other hand, diverge or can go off in many directions. These kinds of problems have multiple solutions and require new, original, unique, or free-flowing solutions. Marriage is a great example of a divergent problem. What works today to keep a marriage vibrant and happy might not work tomorrow. And, more importantly, there are no singular answers that will work every time. Anyone who is in a successful marriage knows that it requires constant work.

So what about the problem you are currently facing, is there a single answer that will work if you discover it? Or do you need a range of options to choose from in order to whip the problem? Most problems facing us are divergent problems that require spontaneity and creativity.

I’ve spent my life working with entrepreneurs which is something that I thoroughly enjoy. I often point out to my clients that they are unique in the way they make a living and spend their days. While most people have a set schedule, prearranged relationships, and constraints on the amount of money they can make depending on their exact position or job, entrepreneurs have much more control. They get to choose their schedule and how they use their time. They get to choose the people they will do business with, and they also get to choose how much money they will make by virtue of the way they choose to run their business.

When you control your time, relationships, and money, your options in life are greatly expanded; however, you still have plenty of problems to solve and that includes a seemingly endless supply of divergent problems that require creative thinking.

Luckily, human beings are built for creative thinking. It’s literally in our DNA. We are designed to solve problems and solve them we do. Write down your currently problem and define it with as much clarity as possible. Look at it from every possible angle until you can see it in its entirely. Once you’ve done that, sit back and daydream about ways in which your problem could be solved. What would your problem look like if solved? See your life without your problem. What does that look like? What does it feel like?

It’s been said that whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. If that’s true, then it’s true for you and your problem. So see the solution in your mind like an already accomplished fact. See yourself celebrating the fact that you’ve solved your problem. Now you’ve taken charge of the situation.

All you have to do now is begin moving every day toward that vision in your mind. All you have to do is one thing at a time in the order of its importance to you and the solution of your problem. If you keep at it for a sufficient amount of time, you’ll wake up one fine morning to the realization that your problem is solved. But don’t stop there. Now it’s time for another problem because you are a problem solver. That means you need a problem to solve because that’s what successful human beings do. So decide what your next breakthrough is going to be. It may involve some problems but you already know how to solve them, right? The secret is that simple three-step formula: (1) define your problem, (2) visualize a solution, and (3) take daily steps toward the solution. For good measure, add a bit of persistence and determination and you’ll defeat whatever problem stands in your way.

Life becomes infinitely more rewarding and exciting when you know how to play the game. So carefully choose your next move and remember to enjoy the journey!

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New Year’s “NOT TO DO” Resolutions

Have you ever thought about having a “NOT TO DO” list as a part of your New Year’s Resolutions?

One of my yearend rituals that I share with clients involves writing a “NOT TO DO” list. It’s quite simple really. Make a list of 3 things you want to stop doing this year. That’s it. Not complicated. I find this idea surprises most people. It seems we have a tendency to think mostly in terms of what we need to start doing. But as with all things in life, turning around to look in the other direction can be very enlightening.

Consider this. The things that we are doing that we shouldn’t be doing are taking up valuable time, and our time on planet earth is limited. So another way of thinking about this idea is to ask yourself what things am I doing that are wasting my time and my life, precious time that could be spent doing what’s most important to me?

I believe the best use of our time is doing those activities that are directly related to our Unique Talent™. However, it’s easy to start taking on projects and activities that have nothing to do with our Unique Talent™ if we’re not careful. Think of it this way: Your Unique Talent™ is your gift to the world. It is the most valuable service you can provide to others. Other than time spent with your family and friends, your Unique Talent™ is the best thing to focus on.

So with that in mind, what should you stop doing?

Because I believe one should eat his or her own cooking, these are 3 things that I added to my current New Years “NOT TO DO” Resolutions:

  1. Stop all manner of housework including any and all cleaning, straightening up, handyman stuff, yard work, remodeling, or property management. You get the idea. I admit that I’m already pretty good at this as my wife will attest, but I want to shut it down completely. I want to live my life as if I lived in a fine hotel with everything provided. Because my wife will read this, I better be clear that I don’t want her doing anything that she doesn’t want to do. My goal is to hirer people who love doing what needs to be done. Yes, some people have a Unique Talent™ for cleaning, home repair, yard word, remodeling … you name it. I don’t want to take this work away from them because we both know I’m not going to do a good job at these things anyway because my heart isn’t in it. So the key is to spend more time on my areas of Unique Talent™. That’s the best way I can serve others.
  1. Stop vacationing at home. I’m embarrassed to admit this to you. I spent some of my vacation time last year at home. To be clear, I was indeed vacationing and not working, but staying home doesn’t cut the mustard. We all need stimulation and change, which includes giving ourselves the chance to see and experience other places. It’s good for us and helps us grow. Luckily, I do get to travel a lot for work but work doesn’t count. While I have been fortunate to travel all over the world, I need to do more traveling where there is no work of any kind involved. Just wandering around this beautiful, blue island in space is one of the most life enriching and mind expanding things you can do. So for me it’s time to take out the old list of places I’d like to visit and start crossing travel destinations off the list. Come join me, won’t you?

(You may think I’m joking about this last one but I’m dead serious. Seriously!)

  1. Stop spending the Christmas and New Years holidays in Michigan. Allow me to confess that I don’t always spend the holidays in Michigan. I’ve been to many destinations for the holidays including Caribbean cruises and trips to numerous warm-weather locations, but this year I ended up in Michigan. Our house was filled to overflowing with relatives from all parts of the world, and it was a merry time for all. But it reminded me again that I don’t like the winter. In fact, I’ve never really liked the winter. Sorry it’s just me. I grew up in Nebraska, spent many years in Illinois, and then settled in Michigan to open up my own business, all places with full-blown, arctic winter seasons. (What was I thinking?) It wasn’t until I bought a second home in Florida that I realized that winter is not a time of punishment inflicted upon me as a penance. But alas, I reluctantly agreed to spending the holidays in Michigan this year without remembering the extent of my aversion to the cold and grey days. Now, don’t get me wrong, Michigan is a wonderful place, most of the year. It’s just that in my book Florida beats Michigan in the winter hands down. It’s not even a close race. Therefore, it’s time to resolve to spend no more winters in Michigan. It’s an official NOT TO DO now. I was so cold during the holidays this year that I couldn’t even think about my Unique Talent™. When a relative mentioned that the driveway needed a bit of snow shoveling upon returning from an errand, I quickly began giving a Unique Talent™ Seminar in my garage to change the subject but it was too cold to finish it. I love Michigan, just not in the winter, please. (I’m now catching the first flight to Florida!)

There you have it. Three things that I need to stop doing. How about creating your own list? I promise you that you are doing things that can be ignored, delegated, or transformed into something better. If you come across something that you don’t want to do anymore but you think it can’t be avoided, don’t lose heart. Maybe it will take you longer than a year to make the change but once you begin, the momentum will build.

Happy New Year!