Out of all the things you can do for your personal and professional success, choosing your mindset is by far the most important. Noticed I said "choosing" - that is right, you get to choose. Every day, you choose how you will approach the world and the mindset you get to have.
But, how do you know you are on the right track? How do you know if you are choosing the right mindset? A winning mindset?
Well, that's the real trick.
Over the years, I have worked with and been coached by top experts in mindset training as well as discover many things through my own endeavors and experiences. I recently wrote about the mental experience I went through in my last Ironman race, which a great example of how cultivating a winning mindset can power you through.
I've compiled what I think are the 5 most important elements to having a winning mindset and I trust they will help you in creating yours.
1.) You Must Have an Unwavering Faith in Yourself
Faith is different than belief. Faith is believing without seeing. It is knowing in the deepest recesses of your soul. In order to develop a winning mindset, you must have an unshakable, unwavering faith in yourself to be able to win and succeed. This doesn't mean you are blindly arrogant and ignore your weaknesses. It does mean that when everything is stripped away you have the faith, the belief without seeing, that you will make it in whatever you are setting out to do.
2.) You Must Be Relentless
Winners can go through defeat after defeat after defeat without giving up. They have an endless reservoir of will to keep going. They are relentless in this fact. The don't give in, give up, or ever stop. They push farther and harder. They learn, adapt, and go forward. They are absolutely relentless.
3.) You Must Be Committed
Commitment is needed to succeed in anything. It goes along with being relentless in that it is the commitment that has to be made for you to relentlessly pursue it. But commitment is really about your "why." What is your deep reason for what you are doing. That is your commitment. It is the thing that you will not go back on no matter what.
4.) You Must be Willing to Sacrifice
In order to have a winning mindset and to reach your highest potential, you will have to sacrifice things. If you are a top-tier athlete, that may mean no more nights out partying with your friends, or even as an entrepreneur building your business, same thing. It may even mean you need to change your friends. No matter what it is, if you choose to have a winning mindset, there are things that you will sacrifice to reach it and maintain it. Get comfortable with this now on your journey. Be prepared for it and realize that when you do make good sacrifices in pursuit of your goals, they will pay off in the future.
5.) You Must Be Willing to Take Risks
You will have to take risks to win at whatever your are going after. There is no way around it. Some risks are small. Some are big. Some have major consequences if they don't work out, others not so much - but the fact remains that risk is part of the deal. I look at risk like problems that need to be solved. The bigger the problems you can handle and solve, the more you can grow. It is the same with risk. Managing risk is a skill set like anything else. And you have to build up your abilities before taking on the major risks. What do I mean by abilities? Maybe they are more like capabilities. In order to take on a large risk, you need a few things. You need to have several back up plans in case things don't go as planned. You need to have the right resources and/or partners in place to help you. You need to have studied the risk and looked for all the areas you can mitigate it. And you need to understand the consequences and be prepared for them if it doesn't work out. Of course, there is the other side, which is succeed and you need to prepare for that as well. Develop your skills of handling risk if you want to grow your winning mindset.
There are a number of other elements, I could list. Many are probably ones you guessed might be in the 5 highlighted above. Things like discipline and consistency, etc. Those are needed, but without the 5 above, it will be tough to cultivate a daily winning mindset.
I was given a great gift last week.
As I stood in the starting corral for Ironman Maryland, I knew I was ready. Even with the impending hoard of stinging jellyfish that I was about to encounter for my 2.4 mile swim, I felt relaxed, focused, and ready. I guess it is pretty rare, but for some reason, this year had a huge jellyfish influx.
I jumped in the water and started my swim. It didn't take long for the first sting to hit my face, but it wasn't bad and I felt like I got stronger as I went on. I came out of the water with a personal best swim time. In fact, I beat it by almost 10 mins and had myself in contention with the top swimmers.
Now, it was time for the bike. 112 miles along the Chesapeake Bay region - a beautiful ride. I felt good. My legs were ready and I got into a smooth cycle stride averaging a little over 20 miles an hour. As we got into the course, the headwind picked up which made me have to work a little harder, but I kept the pace and I came off the bike with another personal record. I was pacing to beat my best Ironman time by over 1.5 hours!
I was really excited and envisioning a great finish after the marathon I had left in front of me. But something happened. In the last 20 mins of the ride, I noticed that I started to get dry mouth. The sun had come out and the temps had gone up about 10 degrees, but I was following my nutrition regiment and getting plenty of fluids, so I didn't think much of it.
About 5 miles into the run, it began. I started to feel lightheaded, almost dizzy. I was feeling "very hot," and no matter how much water I drank, I could not seem to shake it. I slowed down, started walking and as I got to about mile 12, I almost tumbled over. I stopped and sat down on the ground. My head was spinning. I could not stand up. I was cursing myself as I had set myself up for such an amazing race and victory over my personal times as well as for my rank worldwide as an Ironman racer.
I was on the ground for about 20 mins until I brought back up just about every fluid and energy gel I had had for the last two hours. I felt a little better and decided to continue on.
Do you know what is worse than running a shitty marathon? Walking a shitty marathon. I walked the 20 or so miles I had to go to cross that finish line. I doubted myself. I wondered if I should drop out. I worried about my health and if I was doing any lasting damage to my body. But, I have never not dropped out of a race in my life and I wasn't about to make this one the first - especially after the record times I had in the other areas.
I was angry, tired, and pissed off at the fact that I had a top finish in both time and rank in my grasp, and was losing it with every walking step I took. In fact, at the pace I was going, I wasn't going to come close to the time of my last Ironman - which I had been on pace to blow out of the water.
It was a gift. If I had not gone through this experience and had run a good marathon finishing where I had expected, I would never have known what it was like to feel defeated by this great race and find the mental and physical fortitude to keep going and get across the finish line. The psychological warfare I had to get through in my head to finish was the toughest I have ever encountered - and I speak on this stuff!
For the first time in one of these races, I truly understood why people give up and tap out. I truly understood how it can beat you. And it took every ounce of my being to not let it defeat me.
It took me 6.5 hours to finish that marathon. I got across the finish line several hours past the time I had been pacing for when I got off the bike. But, I made it. I finished it. I was defeated in that I did not reach my potential - but I was renewed in that I now know that I have a deeper reservoir to overcome and persevere through serious challenge. What a gift.
And now it's time to get back on the horse. I know where I need to train harder and I know how much further I can push my limits. I am now more energized and driven than I have ever been to reach my potential in this sport. And I owe it all to a bittersweet defeat.
Yes, I'm going to go on a rant.
Stop sabotaging yourself. Stop sabotaging your success. Stop wrecking your life.
The power to change anything and everything lies in your head. And your head gets in your way.
We constantly doubt ourselves and look for reasons why we shouldn't do things and why what we are doing won't work. And when we are not doing that, we are questioning ourselves and our worth. Am I good enough? Why am I so lucky? Do I do deserve my success? And on and on.
Why? Why the hell do we do this to ourselves. And more importantly, why do we let it continue on in our lives.
Our own minds are responsible for our sabotage. And sadly, we have control our over our minds and our thoughts - but let them run off on their own and create these ridiculous narratives that wreck things in our lives.
It's time to stop. Stop letting our mind's wandering negativity bring us down. It's time to take back control and to stop sabotaging ourselves.
How? Simple. Reject the thought patterns and impulses from our mind and choose the ones we want to have. People make things so much more complicated than they have to be and tie themselves in knots. You are worthy of it. You are worthy of your success, a great life - all of it. Stop telling yourself or letting yourself be told you aren't.
Take your power back by recognizing when you are mentally sabotaging yourself and stop it in its tracks. Then choose the thoughts you want to have and more forward. Yes, this is work. But, it gets easier with practice. It is worth it? You bet.
It's time to step into who we really are and have confidence in it. That doesn't mean we are arrogant or narcissistic, but it does mean we are sure of ourselves and believe in ourselves and our worth. The chances of you being on this earth right now living are so small that you would not even understand the number if I gave it to you. You are here at this time for a reason, a purpose. So, don't let it be squandered by your mind's wandering negativity. Own your life and own every moment. Live free and to the fullest. Work your ass off. Take care of those around you. And for Pete's sake don't dwell on things. Make a decision and keep moving forward - learning from it no matter how it ends up. Be confident, yet humble and be the best version of yourself you can. The world and those around you need you to be.
Stop sabotaging yourself and become who you were meant to be....
There is a secret that has been passed on by the most successful throughout history. It was articulated by everyone from Lao Tzu to Aristotle. The secret was even referenced multiple times in the Bible.
The secret I am talking about? The power of focus. Where your focus goes, your results will follow. On the surface, this seems pretty obvious and common sense. But, it goes deeper. Your subconscious mind perceives your focus and acts on it for you 24 hours a day. It works while you sleep, while you are doing your daily work, and even when you are exercising or watching TV.
So, if what you focus on expands in your life, then it is very important to have a good grasp and plan for what you are focusing on in your life. When is the last time you stop and asked yourself, "What I am focused on in my life?" or maybe, "What am I focused on this week? or "What I am focused on today?"
One thing I have found over time is the power of weekly and daily "to do" lists to help with focus. You should always have your bigger long-term goals for 6-12 months as a backdrop and review them, but your weekly and daily "to do" lists are the focuses that help get you there.
If you are someone that doesn't practice starting your day with a plan and mission to accomplish a "to do" list, give it a shot and watch how amazingly more productive you are. The focus that you give yourself and your subconscious will manifest in your work and your results. This is another simple secret that many of the most successful practice.
Remember, where you focus goes, your results will follow. Find a way to make sure you are focused on the right things every day!
If you ask most people if they want to be successful, they will say "Yes." But, when you ask them if they are willing do everything it takes to reach that success and if they know what they need to do, people are a lot less confident.
Success is earned. Just like freedom is earned. Last week, we remembered 9/11 in the United States and the horrific events of that day. On that day, the U.S. was attacked because of our way of life and the freedoms that our citizens enjoy. That freedom didn't just happen. It was earned. It was earned through our revolutionary war and by upholding the principles and ideals of our founding and protecting them for centuries. It can never be taken for granted or we will lose it.
Success is the same way. It is a disciplined commitment to a set of principles, ideals, and actions that you follow and never give up on. You have to keep going at it day in and day out, sometimes for many years to reach the success you desire. And even then, the success you get may not be what you envisioned when you started.
Success is earned over time by diligence, dedication, and experience. Every day you get better and closer to your goal. You are responsible for your effort and your commitment.
Interesting enough, the success you seek doesn't need to be done in a huge glorious way. It can be done in little increments of getting better. In fact, most success comes from getting better at the little things. And it doesn't take much. Think about the winner in an Olympic race. Many times, it comes down to 1/10 of a second or less. That can be a hand placement or foot position at the starting line. The littlest of things can make the biggest difference. The difference in getting a sale in a business could just how much faster you respond to a lead than your competition. It could be that last follow up on a potential partnership after you have exhausted yourself in the effort.
Ask yourself, "What can I do today to further my success?" Start each day this way and never stop! Earn your success.
How do you know how to sell?
It's a peculiar question. And the first time I was asked it as young executive, I have to admit, I was fumbling for an answer.
The truth is most people have never been taught how to sell. For many years, there was no "school" for it although that has changed over the last decade.
Most people that are in sales, end up there. They don't go looking for a sales position. They are accidental sales people. And because of this, many people in sales never reach their true potential.
So, back to the question. How do you know how to sell? Well, the truth is, all of us already have all the tools we need. It is wired in us as humans. One of the most innate abilities we have is to sell. We don't see it that way, but think about what you are doing when explain an idea you are excited about or if you like a guy or gal and convince them to go out with you - you are selling. You are selling yourself, an idea, a way of thinking, etc. In fact, we are always selling. Every day, we are selling something to somebody. We just see it as selling.
So, the truth is, you already know how to sell. You were born with the ability. You have just never been aware of it. And awareness is the catalyst to change.
Now, that you understand selling is in your blood, you can hone the skill and use it to help you in life. The best advice I can give you on how to better your sales skills is to be authentic, be honest, and know your worth. And most importantly, people buy you, before they buy your product or service.
That may sound like common sense, but so many people try to be someone else when they sell something and it is easy to spot. People know "when they are being sold." When you have "try and sell someone," that's not selling. It's more like desperation - and it's not authentic. Be true to who you are.
Next, be honest. Tell things like they are and be up front. There is always an element of tact needed. But, people will respect you when you are authentic and give them a true picture of things. Remember, people buy you first.
One of the places where salespeople hurt themselves the most is not knowing their worth. They give way to much when they don't have to- both to the detriment of their business and their own wallet. Salespeople have families and kids to feed to. Show your worth. Believe in it. Explain it honestly and true and be willing to stand by it. Not everyone will buy from you, but they will respect you, and you will be a lot more successful over the long run.
In the end, you should never have to "try to sell." Go back to how you are when you are sharing an idea or concept you are excited about with your friends or family. You don't see it as selling. It's the same way in business; you are dealing people just the same there. Always remember that.
Well, "Greenie" finally bit it this last week. But, it wasn't without one of the most amazing fights I had ever seen .
You see, Greenie was a one of my daughters fish in the fish tank in her room. Anyone that has had a fish tank with goldfish, glofish, or others knows that there lifespan isn't that long, but as long as you take care of them and clean the tank regularly, etc, they can last a little while.
Greenie was different. We got him a long time ago, well over a year with some other fish and while some of the others had gone to the deep sea heave, Greenie continued to cruise on. A few months, he started showing signs of his age and started having trouble swimming. We thought it would be a matter of days before nature took it's course. Wrong.
That fish lasted for months - even when it basically laid flat on its side floating at the top of the water in the tank, it would miraculously come to life and start swimming when we walked by, I can count how many times we thought he was gone, only to see him come to life. It started to become a joke in the house that if a nuclear bomb went off, all that would be left is Greenie and a couple of cockroaches!
Eventually, it came to an end, but Greenie surprised all of us with his longevity and ability to live.
I took 3 lessons from this experience that I want to share with you.
1.) You have more capacity to withstand things than you think
The Navy Seals have the 40% rule that says when you mind says you are done, you are only 40% done. You have more capacity to endure and keep going than you think. We all thought Greenie had days to live and he lasted for months. It's never over until you decide it is.
2.) No matter what happens, keep pushing any way you can
Even though Greenie lost his ability to even swim normally and had to float on his side most of the time, he kept at it. Every time the fish got fed, he came alive and found a way to get some food and swim. He did it anyway he could. In your life, you are going to have challenges and obstacles come at you from all directions - keep pushing through them and overcome them anyway you can. It may not be pretty, but you can do it.
3.) Celebrate the good in the bad
Even though Greenie finally moved on, the lesson in perseverance he showed to our daughter was priceless - to the point where we can now say thinks like "Be like Greenie, keep pushing. Try harder, etc." Going through the experience was a good one, even thought the end result was bad. To see Greenie fight every day and keep going was something we celebrated and will remember for a long time. It's amazing the lessons you can learn from a little fish!
I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
Read that quote carefully. Ponder it. In less than 50 words, Thomas Paine gives some of the best life advice and principles for success ever put forth.
If model what Paine admires, you too will find success and, more importantly be able to hold your head high in doing.
As yourself, Are you willing to "smile when trouble comes and gain strength from the distress it brings?" If so, you will be able to overcome almost anything.
Are you able to "grow brave by reflection?" Meaning, are you able to look inward at yourself, the good and bad, learn from it and use what you learn to make yourself better and be brave in your life?
Or will you be a "little mind that shrinks" when challenges come your way or when you are forced to confront the things about yourself that truly need changed?
But, "if you heart is firm, and your conscience is clear" then you will find a way to make it through the things that stand in your way and "pursue your principles unto death." What are your principles? What are your convictions? What are the core beliefs that you will not change or sacrificial for anything?
Have you ever stopped and thought about these things and defined them for yourself? Maybe it's time.
After all, by doing so, you will know yourself better and become a better version of yourself - as well as know the things that will guide you in life. To me, that is what Paine is telling us. Find your principles, do not shrink when they are challenged, be brave in your pursuit and keep your heart firm, and because you do this, your conscious will be clear and you will reach your true potential.
Heed this advice and use it in your life every way you can!
We have all been there. We reach a point in our lives and work where there is just so much going on across so many areas that we can't seem to keep up with it all.
And in today's fast paced world and seemingly 24/7 instant environment, things can compound quickly and get away from us making us truly overwhelmed.
The worst part is that if we don't do anything about it, things continue to pile up to a point where we start to miss things, critical important things - and more importantly potentially miss out on potential opportunities.
So what do you do when this happens? How do you get out of being overwhelmed and get back on track?
I've one simple exercise that makes the biggest difference and alleviates this problem. It will take you about 10 mins to do.
When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed with tons of stuff to do and not knowing which things to work on or do first to remove the piling up of tasks, needs, and/or responsibilities - stop and write everything down.
I'm serious. Take 10 minutes, get away from your office or area of work and just do a brain dump of everything you have on your plate. Write everything down - work stuff, family stuff, personal stuff - get everything you think you have to do across your life out of your head.
Once you've done that, take a look at the items and decide if any don't belong or are really not things you need do, or more importantly, can delegate. Then prioritize the rest of the list from most important to least important and get working on them.
I know this seems so rudimentary and foundational, but it isn't funny how many of us forget to do these simple things and carry on in a state of flux and craziness from day to day.
This one simple exercise will save you so much time, help you to be more productive, and most importantly save your sanity!
Have you ever gotten to a point or felt "cloudy" on things. Almost like you had so many things to do or could do, and you weren't sure which way to go. This happens to a lot of us entrepreneurs because we see opportunity everywhere and "there is always something we can be doing."
When you find yourself in these instances - it's best to take some time to clear your mind and give it a break. Things will clear up if you do.
There are a lot of methods for clearing your mind, reducing stress, and removing the cloudiness, but here are 3 simple ones that I have found to work well and easy to implement.
1. Get a Change of Environment
This one is pretty easy. If you spend a lot of time at the office or in the same place where are working, it is hard break the cycle and clear your mind. If you simply get a change of environment and allow your mind to think in a new place, it can make a huge difference. It may be as simple as taking a walk in nature or working from a Starbucks for a day. One thing I love to do is go to our family cabin and work a day or two from there. There are a lot of options. The key is to just recognize when you need to get in a different environment and then act on it.
2.) Learn Box Breathing
A lot has been studied on taking time to breath each day. So much in fact that our wearables and other devices remind us to take time to do so. One of my favorite breathing exercises is Box Breathing. This technique is used by everyone from special forces to pro-athletes. I love this method because, a.) It works and b.) it is easy to do. Breathing is very important to calm and center yourself and you can do Box in less than 10 mins a day. Here is a good article on how to practice it.
Ok...this may be a "duh" kind of statement, but exercise really is the best way I've found to clear your mind. Whenever I am feeling very bogged down and in need of direction, I go for a long run - 10+ miles. It usually takes about 5 miles before mind clears and its just the sound of my stride and the outdoors around me. It's at this point that I usually get my best answers to problems or best ideas. We all know the tremendous benefits to exercise for many areas of our lives. My advice is to get into a solid exercise routine daily because it will help you to not get as "cloudy" in the first place. Plan to have time each day devoted to your physical health and it will make a huge difference. You will be in better shape, sleep better, have less stress, more energy, and have a sharper mind.
Practice these 3 things in your life and you always be able to move on quickly, have less stress and clearer head.
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