Posted on

Life’s Biggest Question

I love to encourage people. In fact, I believe that when I do it well, it’s the most powerful thing I can do to serve others.  For me, there’s simply nothing like the feeling of offering an idea that has the potential to improve someone’s life and then watching to see the reaction. Here’s the reaction that I’m always working to achieve when I talk with a client. I want the client to ask: “I wonder if what Robert just said would really work? It sounds like the idea worked for him but would it work for me? I wonder if I should try to implement this idea in my own life and see what happens?” That’s the bulls-eye for me which leads me to LIFE’S BIGGEST QUESTION!

When I give seminars or workshops, I love to end a presentation with something that I learned from one of my most important mentors. His name is Jim Rohn, and he inspired a whole generation of personal development authors and speakers. His most famous student is probably Tony Robbins. If you take a minute to Google “Jim Rohn” and learn about his life’s work, you’ll find a long list of people who give him credit for changing their lives. Although I’ve had more mentors than I can count, Jim Rohn, along with the legendary Earl Nightingale, are always at the top of my list.

The reason I’m mentioning Jim Rohn is that I want to share an idea with you that was a part of many of Jim Rohn’s speeches. He would often end his speeches with this idea. In fact, I can still remember the first time I heard him share this idea, and I remember my reaction of excitement, wonder, and endless possibilities.

After humbly sharing his remarkable life story and the many lessons that he learned and practiced during his life, Jim Rohn would ask a series of 4 questions. He would begin with the simple question of “Why?” (I now call this LIFE’S BIGGEST QUESTION!) Jim would basically challenge the audience by saying: Why do all of the things I’ve talked about to improve your life? Why set goals and work to achieve them? Why develop the skills you need to succeed in the world? Why work as hard as possible to become as successful as possible? Why keep pushing forward despite the many obstacles? Why bother to go through all of the work required when you can instead just choose to drift along in life? Clearly the question of “why” is the major question indeed.

The answer to his question of “Why?” was always the same. He would say: The best answer to the question of “Why” is the question “Why not?” Why not work to become all that you are capable of becoming? Why not stretch yourself to see what you can become? Why not set some big goals and see if it’s possible for you to achieve them? After a series of these kinds of “Why not?” questions, he would then say: What else are you going to do with your life? You have to stay here until you go so why not become all that you are capable of becoming?

Just the questions “Why?” and “Why not?” would have been enough. Even the first question of “Why?” had my complete attention. I was ready to take action after I heard the way in which he delivered that question followed by the life challenge posed in the question “Why Not?” But wait, there was more, much more. He would then say: “Why not you?” Other people have done incredible things with their lives, why not you? He would challenge you to think about all of the people you admire who have achieved the goals that you want to achieve and by doing so challenge the false belief that others are capable of great things but not you. Instead, he would say that if they found a way to achieve their goals, then why not you?

The final piece de resistance was the question: “Why not now?” He would expand this simple question by saying in essence: Why postpone your better future any longer? Why not get started today on the things that can change your life for the better?

I can still remember my reaction. I realized in that moment that while indeed there were real obstacles on my list of the things holding me back from achieving what I wanted in life, there was hope. I just had to admit to myself that I was front and center in holding myself back in life. I needed to change myself if I wanted to change my results. I still remember writing this quote from Jim Rohn in my journal the day I heard this special seminar:

“For things to change for you, you’ve got to change. Otherwise, it isn’t going to change.”

I offer you that same advice. Have I been able to achieve everything that I’ve wanted to achieve in my life? No. Of course not. However, the game isn’t over. I’m still working on the goals that are important to me. How about you? Are you drifting along or are you purposely working to make daily progress? And are you enjoying the journey?

I can tell you that I’ve achieved things that I never thought were possible for me because of incredible mentors like Jim Rohn, and the many ideas that they shared. They inspired and encouraged me. My goal is to try to be useful in life by working to inspire and encourage you.

Take a minute to write down these 4 questions based on “WHY” and then review them at least once a day. After say, thirty days, see if you don’t notice a difference. Keep doing this for a year, and then check your progress. I’m willing to bet that these simple questions will help you accomplish your goals while at the same time helping you to become the person you most want to be.

Why? Why not? Why not you? Why not now? Ask those questions to yourself every day and notice how your life changes

Posted on

Lean into What You Fear Most

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.  But I have learned that 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 level of success, and create an amazing Life of Fulfillment and Prosperity.  But it will require some Bold, Courageous and Intentional Actions on our part.  I’d like to share an experience of my own in hopes it might inspire you to face your fears.

By the time I was twenty-nine years, I had created a pretty profitable income working for a financial education company.  I was married with 5 kids and was started to enjoy a great lifestyle.  Overall, my hard work was really starting to pay off.

I had also created some great relationships, which brought many opportunities for advancing my career.  One of these relationships was an individual that owned a small financial education business doing about $20 million per year.  This individual was impressed with my talent and offered me the opportunity to walk away from my established job and become the CEO of his small, but growing, company.  I didn’t feel completely qualified for the job, but it was a very exciting offer.  It would give me a great deal of experience and potentially make twice what I was currently making.

I saw the potential, but there was a lot of risk and fear of the unknown.  I had worked very hard to create the level of success I was enjoying, and I knew that it would require some serious risks and hard work if I accepted this new offer. I spent many long, stressful and thoughtful days considering the offer.

I knew that I wanted to create more success in my life.  The opportunity appeared to be sound, but I would need to give up a secure income for a position that was not guaranteed in any way.  I was afraid that I would make the wrong decision and lose everything I had worked hard to achieve. Nevertheless, I made the decision to accept the offer and have never looked back.

In hindsight, that opportunity 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 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 a greater level of success.

What do you Fear Most?

So, the question I have for you is, “What is it that you fear right now in your professional life?”  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 fear you may face in your life; I can promise you that your greatest accomplishments (your best life) are waiting just beyond that challenge or fear.

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.  Even though I believe that our fears can be real (in life and especially in our minds), I also believe most FEAR is something we create to avoid problems in our lives.  Simply put, FEAR is “false events appearing real.”  Maybe another way to look at FEAR is to see it as an opportunity 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 roadblocks holding you back from Greatness.

Why should you Start with Fear?

So, 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.  This will create more confidence in our ability to deal 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 Make the Decision that it will help you Grow and do better in the Future.

How to Start Crushing Your Fear.

Now let’s talk about how you can start Crushing Your Fears and some ideas I have for Taking 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.  Here are a few of the best ideas I can give you:

  • Say Yes, then Figure it Out- most 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.
  • Surround 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 to keep you from your objective of focusing and 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.  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 often reveal the solutions you are looking for along the way.

Ultimately, there is not a magic pill or easy way to get through facing yours 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 you”, 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 to You!

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 an excuse to “Avoid Fears or Situations we currently have”.  Let me give you an example.  So many times, I have seen entrepreneurs or individuals chase shinny 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” or facing new challenges, when you are truthful just avoiding your current circumstances.  Learn to face your fears regardless of where they are present in your life.

You Can Do It!!

I know each of us has greatness inside us.  I know that we are given challenges for a reason and that reason is to grow and develop the best version of ourselves.  This is not a destination driven objective.  It is a path-based journey.   We learn, grow, 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 do take (regardless of scoring points) if you Learn something from every experience.

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 become clearer. It is my hope that when you look back on your life, you will be 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

 

Posted on

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

 

Posted on

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.

Posted on

Sabbatical

I just reread last month’s blog titled “Do Less And Accomplish More!” While I don’t necessarily recommend you do what I’m about to do, it will hopefully show you that I really do work hard to practice what I preach.

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of a sabbatical. While the common definition is to take a break from work, the original definition goes back to an Old Testament law about farming. The requirement was to sow the seeds and harvest the crops for 6 years and then take the 7th year off to rest. Some might say it was about resting both the land as well as the farmer. While the idea of over-farming a field is well known as it relates to land, what about over-farming yourself?

Last month’s blog was about simplifying your life. It was about asking the question: What should I eliminate or delegate in order to simplify and streamline my life? I’ve done this throughout my life, and I’ve found it to be invaluable. My life is much simpler today than it ever has been but I’m always looking for the next level of growth and advancement.

That’s where a sabbatical comes in. One of my early goals was to take sabbaticals in my work life. In my early life I thought I’d become a college music professor where I would have the summers off and could also take paid sabbaticals for research every so many years. My life didn’t go that way so today as I look over my many goals, I see “take a sabbatical” and it remains uncompleted. We can’t have that. In my mind, working to achieve our goals is what living is all about.

So starting on February 1, 2020, I’m officially on sabbatical. I might take a few months off, but something tells me that I’m going to take the rest of the year off to make up for my many missed sabbaticals.

I’ve made arrangements to keep things working in my businesses without my having to be present. The hardest thing for me is to temporarily discontinue my coaching which I enjoy so much. I have clients that have literally been with me for decades and I’ve had the incredible privilege to be a part of creating some amazing success stories. I promise that I will be back to contribute more but I need to do what old Stephen Covey recommended in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Do you remember Habit #7? Here it is:

SHARPEN THE SAW!

Most people are like the lumberjack who was working like crazy to chop down a tree with a dull saw. I don’t remember all of the details of what Mr. Covey wrote so let’s just say that an ancestor of Stephen Covey saw what was happening while walking past the lumberjack and hailed him. He said: “Sir, why don’t you take a break and sharpen your saw? I think you’ll find that the tree will fall much quicker with a lot less work.”

Now I’m sure that’s not the exact story because it has been many years since I read that book; however, I think that’s the essence of the idea. The question really becomes this: What are you working like crazy to do that would be improved if only you stepped back to learn a better way … to sharpen your saw?

That’s what I’m doing for the next few months or perhaps even the rest of this year. We’ll see. I see a number of dull spots I have to sharpen.

While I’m gone, try this idea yourself for a day or a week or a month or longer and then send me a note about how it worked for you. I love hearing how the ideas that have become so important to me are working in other peoples’ lives.

If this idea as I’ve described it doesn’t work, just skip sending me a note and instead read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” which I know has been life-changing for millions of people.

At any rate, make 2020 a great year … in fact, I dare you to make it the best year of your life so far!

Let’s compare notes in 2021.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

Success Lies

My guess is you might be surprised with my title choice for this blog post. The title “Success Lies” seems like a bit of an oxymoron, however, I think I can make a case that much of what we think we know, we don’t, and many beliefs about success that are assumed to be accurate, are not. That’s a strong statement, but let me see if I can support my point.

Let me begin with what I call my Prime Directive, a rule I follow where I never tell anyone what to believe. I may question beliefs but I don’t tell anyone what to believe. I adopted this rule a number years ago when I discovered that I was being told things about how life works and how to achieve success in life that turned out to be false. While I’m sure I’ve broken my rule on occasion, I encourage people to decide for themselves what to believe based on the best information that is available. The bottom line is this: We don’t actually know how the world works! (The good news is we are learning more every day.)

Much of what we assume to be true is based on old ideas passed down from previous generations. We don’t always revisit our long-held beliefs and ideas with the light of today’s current knowledge. We need to make sure our beliefs are based on the best information available about how the world really does work.

While all of us have our subjective viewpoints, observations, and opinions, there is an abundance of disagreement on the facts, and for good reason. It’s safe to say that if you compare what we thought we knew about our world 100 years ago to what we think we know today we’d see huge disparities.

Let’s start with the most troubling of the lies which is that we are in complete control of our lives. That we control our reality and our destiny. How many times have you heard someone say: You are in control of your destiny. Wrong. We can certainly influence and shape our destiny in many ways but there are tons of other factors involved besides our choices and actions.

While there are an infinite number of factors affecting your life, I think these three are the most important:

1. Our Genes.
2. Our Environment.
3. Our Thoughts.

So do you control all of those? Did you choose your genes, your parents, and your early environment? Some people believe that they did. Seriously, they believe that before entering life they made a sacred pack with the Universe or God and planned everything in advance so their karma would provide them with the exact life experiences needed for another chance at reaching nirvana.

Now keep in mind that I’m not criticizing this belief. I have no idea if it’s accurate or not. You could even make an argument that having this belief is good for you if it helps you function better in the world and it doesn’t harm others. There is certainly more than ample evidence to support what’s known as “The Placebo Effect” illustrating that beliefs do have an impact. I’m especially fascinated with the study of “Epigenetics” – i.e., with the idea that our thoughts and behaviors can influence the expression of our genes. Just imagine what that means. There is research that suggests we may have the power to influence how our genes are expressed in our lives. So while we may not have chosen our genes, perhaps how they are expressed in our lives can be changed. This means we need to continue to let science and experimentation lead the way rather than clinging to ideas that have been shown to be invalid.

Perhaps the bottom line is this: If you have a belief that is good for you, good for others, and serves the greater good, fantastic. I’d call that belief a winner. However, if you believe that your destiny is to rule the world no matter what, what then? Should you be in charge and get exactly what you want no matter how it affects others? I think not. While you might think this is an extreme example, it proves my point.

Beliefs are ideas that represent an acceptance that a particular statement is true or that something exists. The essence of every religion is a set of beliefs. But are all of the religious beliefs in the world true? Are some of them true? Which ones are true and which are false? Would you say that all of the world’s religious beliefs have been good for humanity and our beautiful blue island in space?

While this may seem like an idea too deep or too involved to address in a short blog post, I would just end by suggesting that you examine your beliefs very carefully. Start by listening more critically to so-called Success Principles. As an old mentor of mine once said, “Stand guard at the door of your mind.” Don’t just adopt beliefs without careful analysis because it is entirely possible to adopt a belief with good intentions but turn out to be sincerely wrong.

Posted on

The Entrepreneur’s Biggest Problem

Even if you may not consider yourself an entrepreneur, I’m willing to bet you will relate to what I’m writing about here. After decades of coaching entrepreneurs in a wide variety of industries, I think I’ve learned the single biggest problem that entrepreneurs face. I call it “Gas Pedal Mentality.” Let me explain.

If you wanted to win the Indianapolis 500, here’s what you would NOT want to do: Get in the car, wait for the flag to drop, and then just floor it. You would NOT place both feet firmly on the gas pedal and hope for the best. While this scenario may sound ridiculous, I can assure you that entrepreneurs, along with many others, use this strategy more often than you might think. Obviously, if you use a “Gas Pedal Mentality,” you’ll most certainly end up in a wreck or with a burned out engine, but that’s exactly what many entrepreneurs do. Since most entrepreneurs typically start out with an abundance of enthusiasm, drive, and energy, they just pour it on. Unfortunately, that’s not the best strategy for the long term.

Have you ever met an entrepreneur that did damage to their personal or professional life and relationships with this pedal-to-the-medal approach? Have you ever met an entrepreneur who was once successful and making progress only to completely burn out a short time later? If you’re an entrepreneur, has this happened to you?

Winning a race requires not just knowing when to hit the gas, it’s also critical to learn when to utilize the clutch as well as the brakes. In fact, it’s learning to balance accelerating with shifting and braking throughout the race to avoid both crashes and burnout that wins the race. The same holds true in life and business.

I’ve been surprised to learn that most entrepreneurs actually work too many hours. They often sacrifice other important areas of life outside of work in an effort to get ahead. Not only does this result in burnout, it can also wreck relationships with family and friends not to mention create serious health issues.

If you’re an entrepreneur and you don’t have a fun, stimulating, interesting life outside of work, you’re probably pushing on the gas pedal too hard. What you may need to do is slow down to develop some focus and balance. Undoubtedly, there are things in your business that must be done but are you doing too much? Have you learned to delegate things that you should not be doing, such as activities that are not a part of what I call your Unique Talent™? Do you know what your Unique Talent™ is and how to make the most if it?

My challenge to you is to find a professional coach who works with and understands entrepreneurs. Then focus on finding your Unique Talent™ as the first priority. Next, learn how to delegate all those things that are outside of your Unique Talent™ zone. If you think this isn’t possible, examine the world’s greatest entrepreneurs who also have happy family lives with lots of interesting and engaging friends.

Trust me, the secret is focus and balance. It’s not about going faster. It’s not about working harder. It’s about working smarter. It’s about being more strategic with each action that you take which includes knowing not only what to focus on but also what to delegate and what to stop doing completely.

Remember that success is never enough. What you want is success with fulfillment, and that requires a different strategy.

Get in touch with a coach today if you don’t have one. Here’s a tip: A great coach should ultimately not cost you a dime. A great coach should be helping you to earn more money and gain more free time. Remember, focus and balance are what lead to success with fulfillment. Replace the urge to go faster with the strategy of balancing your life and your work. This is the secret to a life’s journey that’s both more profitable and more fulfilling.

Posted on

Aikido

I often talk with clients about Aikido, especially if they are having a bad day. Are you familiar with Aikido? It’s a martial art developed by a man named Morihei Ueshiba in the 1920s. It’s by far my most favorite martial art but it’s really much more than a martial art, it’s a philosophy of life. The essence of the martial art Aikido is to defend yourself while also protecting anyone who may be attacking you. Seriously, the goal is to defend yourself while also protecting anyone who may be attacking you. That’s not the traditional approach, right?

What’s fascinating about Aikido is that it seeks to diffuse a problem or bad situation without hurting anyone, which should always be the primary objective. In this regard, I sometimes think of a child who is having a temper tantrum while a calm parent just hugs the child or does whatever is best to protect the child all the while knowing that everything will be okay when the child stops thrashing about and regains a bit of sanity.

We often run into people in life who are like children thrashing about and throwing their weight around. They aren’t having a good day so they want you to join them in their misery. But alas, this is a game you don’t have to play. As a mentor of mine once said to me: “Robert, never let someone else’s lack of balance affect your balance.” Doesn’t that bring to mind the old “Karate Kid” movie with Mr. Miyagi dishing out wise albeit often perplexing advice?

The truth is that it’s great advice. “Never let someone else’s lack of balance affect your balance.” That’s the kind of advice we need in difficult interactions of any kind. The natural thing to do when problems present themselves is to allow the problem to overtake you, sometimes letting the situation take control of your consciousness and stir you into one negative emotion or action after another. However, how much better would it be if you could remain calm and focused with the belief that you can handle anything that comes your way? What if you could smile, relax, and stay calm through the next storm?

Remember, it’s not if there will be a next storm, it’s simply a matter of when. Doesn’t that mean that now is an excellent time to get ready?

The common reaction of most people is to push back if pushed. But what if you were so wise that you knew when to just step out of the way?

Look up “Aikido” on Wikipedia and see if you find it as interesting and useful as I do. It’s both a martial art and a philosophy of life that allows you to protect yourself while helping others from hurting you or themselves. Trust me, it’s not easy. But with practice, you might just transform your life and the life of someone else in the process.