The little things matter. In fact, many times, it is the littlest of things that can make the biggest difference in our success. This is one thing I've learned in hosting the Misfit Entrepreneur. It's amazing how the little details can make such a big difference. But, the trick is that the little details are only important in the context of going after something truth big and worthwhile.
Most people think small. In fact, most don't think beyond the next 10 minutes in their lives - especially in the instant gratification world we live in. And for most this is just fine. But, for some of us, it's not. We want to do big things, make tremendous impacts, and have our chance at potentially changing the world around us.
To do that, we have to think BIG and thinking BIG is an art unto itself. Here are 3 things I've learned in my life on how to truly think big.
The first step to thinking big or bigger than you do now is to stop thinking. Wait, what? In order to think big, you need to get your mind out of the way and out of the day to day and let it wander. We get so bogged down, by the minute by minute things in our lives that they consume our thoughts throughout the day. In order to get to a place where you can think big, you have to get out of that day to day and let your mind have the ability to go big and look at life, the world, business, etc. without the distractions. In order to do this right, you need to schedule the time for it. I suggest at least 4 hours a week and in one block where you don't let yourself be interrupted. For example, every Friday from 1pm-5pm or whatever works in your schedule.
The second step in thinking big or bigger is to change your state and location. If you schedule your 4 hours and do it at the desk you do your work from all week long, your brain will not focus on the bigger things. It will instead do what it's been trained to do at your desk - work on the day to day and those things that you do at your desk. If you truly want to give your mind the opportunity to think bigger. You have to change your state and location. By changing your state, I mean getting out of anything that resembles your normal day to day. And by location, I mean doing this in a place that you don't normally work. It could be going to a park and splitting time between walking trails and writing in a journal. Or going to the library and grabbing a room with a white board. Whatever you do, do not do your "thinking big time" in the same place and state where you work daily.
The third step is to keep track and share it with others that think big as well. Keep a journal of your ideas and what happens in your weekly sessions. Take some time to review it each week before you begin your thinking time. Be open to sharing it with those that think big like you as well. Better yet, schedule separate time with them to have a thinking session together and share your ideas and discuss them.
Remember, everything begins with an idea. Every business begins with an idea. The United States began with an idea. Ideas are what change the world. And those ideas come from brains like yours thinking big, so take the time to let your brain do what it was designed to do - Think BIG!
I have always thought that kids are a wonderful source of wisdom and lessons for life. It is their innocence and truthfulness that shines through without a filter that, whether they realize it or not, teaches some of the greatest lessons.
Recently, my 7-year old daughter reminded me of this. Each day in her class at school, they write in their "Gratitude Journals." And as you can expect, normally you see things like "I'm grateful for recess" or "I'm grateful for candy" and things like that. But, every once in a while, it's like Aristotle takes over and some amazing wisdom comes out. Or in my daughter's case, maybe God was speaking through her to all of us.
Here is what she wrote:
I am happy for who I am because it is not right to pretend who you are really not. If I was not me, I would not like singing and I would change. If you pretend who you are really not; then at some point, somebody will find out who you really are. It is important to be yourself. It is really important to be your self.
I love being myself. Yourself, you are great. You are strong. You are brave. You are perfect the way you are. You know, you should be proud of who you are.
My dad says all the time, “I love who you are.” He says that all the time. Just be you. And when you find out, you will feel proud. I am happy to be who I am and I will never change.
You know, you are amazing. You are cool. You are lovely. You will never change. You should love who you are. I love who I am. Do you love who you are? Because you should love who you are. I am grateful for who I am.
Seriously, my kid just mic-dropped on me. Aside from the absolute "proud dad" moment I had when I read this, I was choked up. I could not deliver this message as simple and elegant as that. As parents we all know that our kids are "always listening," but we often wonder if they truly hear what we say. To know my daughter has heard this message and believes it for herself is an amazing milestone in our lives.
Please share this life-changing wisdom from a 7-year old with those in your life!
Entrepreneurship is full of peaks and valleys, Most of the time, the valleys are larger, longer and take longer to go through than it does to get to a peak.
But, it's worth it. For all the grueling work, challenges, setbacks, emotional toil, and everything that comes along with going through a valley, when you make it through and get to your next peak, it makes it all the more worth it. I see it like a game. A game of fortitude and perseverance that tests us at every level. And each time we power through, we hit a new peak...enjoy it for a short time, and then get ready to fight through the next valley. After all, this cycle of peaks and valleys is one of the biggest things we sign up for in our lives when we make the decision to become entrepreneurs.
But, how do you power through? How do continue to keep going through each valley that is seemingly bigger than the next? I'll admit that there is no step by step formula and each of us will have to find the things that work best for us. But, I have found a few things I think are key for any entrepreneur to be able to power through their valleys.
First, you must have a long-term perspective or learn to take a long-term perspective. Because we never know how long a valley can and will last and we need to have the right perspective, long-term thinking is critical. The best entrepreneurs focus on the long game because they know, at minimum, they can outlast their competition with that view. Every valley you go through in your entrepreneurial journey will be different than the last and will require you to figure out how to overcome it. If you don't take a long-term view, you will become frustrated to quickly and have a bigger chance of giving up. Just know that each day you focus on getting one step closer to overcoming the challenges of the current valley, you are getting one step closer to your next peak. Trust in yourself and have a long-term view.
Second, get and keep yourself in great mental and physical shape. You will need it to power through. Each valley's challenges will test you. They will test your emotions, your mental fortitude and your physical ability to keep going with the burden on your shoulders. By keeping yourself in great mental and physical shape you will be ready for things that come your way and you will have the energy and ability to keep going when you have to. Have a great routine for your mental and physical fitness is also a great outlet for stress and to give you a break from each valley's daily challenges.
Third, resolve to endure. One of my favorite scenes from The Dark Knight (Batman) is when Bruce Wayne decides to turn himself in to meet the Joker's demands and Alfred tells him to "endure and take it" (clip below)
This is great example of a valley that Bruce Wayne was going through as Batman and the best advice from someone who knew him his whole life was to "endure and take it." He ultimately does and you know how it goes from there. He goes through a lot of pain, but he defeats the Joker coming out on top.
It's the same in our valleys. We must resolve to endure. To take it. We must continue to take it until we no longer have to because we've conquered it. This may be the biggest secret. It's more than never giving up. It's more than never giving in. It's that place that no one else dares to venture because it is too hard. It is too much. It's when we steady ourselves and commit to going through these times when we reach our biggest breakthroughs, our biggest peaks.
Put all three together with whatever else you know you need to do when you hit an entrepreneurial valley and you'll power through.
Last week, in Part 1 of this article series, I detailed out the story of a conversation I had with an Olympic hopeful about performance and how we isolated one major thing that was holding him back. Click Here to Read Part 1.
To continue the story. Once he asked the magic question, "How do I overcome this?" I gave him some simple, yet powerful things he can do (and has already said they are making a difference). First, I asked him to tell me what he really believed about his ability to succeed. I asked him deep down if he really thought he could be an Olympian. He told me that up until recently, he wasn't sure, but he had done some serious soul searching and truly believed he could do it. This is step one to overcoming issues with the subconscious. What you believe becomes your reality, so if you don't believe you are destined for success, you simply won't succeed. And it needs to be a deep unshakable belief. So, first, get clear on what you believe.
Because, he had already done the deep work, the next part was easy. I asked if him if he was able to determine what he believed, if he realized that that means he can control what he believes and thinks. I told him he has all the power. He stopped for a second and said, "You are right, but how do I make it a habit." "Easy," I said, just practice Stop, Ask, Choose. He looked at me a little confused. I asked him, "When you start to feel anxiety, you know it right? It doesn't just happen and you don't know it is going on. You are conscious to it." He said, "Of course I know." To which I said, "Great! When you feel it happening, Stop yourself in the moment, Ask yourself if this is the feeling or belief you want to have in that moment, and then Choose to keep it or change it to the feeling you want to have." That is how you begin to re-train the subconscious to replace the negative response with the response you want it to have.
He thought about it for a minute and then said, "I get it and it totally makes sense. It is so simple. But, how do I make sure it sticks and creates a new response from the subconscious all the time." My answer was that he would need to continue practicing Stop, Ask, and Choose and eventually over time, it would change the response. But, in the meantime, he will still feel some anxiety, even though he can now recognize it and change it. I told him the other thing he could do is create a trigger that associates the feeling of calm that he has before his best races. It could a phrase, a simple thought, or even a physical gesture (except the one you are thinking about right now!). Every time he is in that place of calm, he needs to recite the phrase, thought, or gesture to associate it with the positive feelings and success he has in that state. So, for example, if when he is his calm state, he decides that he wants to fold his hands, that will be his trigger. And he will fold his hands every time he is in that state to associate folding his hands with it.
Then, when or if the anxiety feeling shows up, all he has to do is fold his hands in that specific way to trigger the feeling of calm. Triggers are a secret of many top performing athletes, but they can be used just the same for you in all areas of your life and business.
At that point, things really clicked for him. He realized the following:
At the end of the day, all that was needed was for him to get out of his own way and put his mind in check. Together, we figured that out in about 15-20 mins. And you can do the same for yourself. Follow the same process: Determine what you believe, Choose the thoughts you want to have, and Associate the positive to something you can use to trigger it in your life. Once you learn this process, you can continuously coach yourself to higher levels of success and achievement.
Sometimes the best conversations come in the most unlikely places.
I was recently at my fitness center, which is a world class center with an Olympic pool, etc. A lot of the top athletes from the area train there - Pro-Athletes, Top College Athletes, other Ironman competitors that I train with, and even a few Olympic hopefuls.
After finishing a training session the other day, I was happy to find myself with time to spend 10-15 minutes in the sauna (a great benefit to your body after a training session). One of the Olympic hopefuls for swimming, who I've spoken with from time to time, happened to be in there and we got to chatting.
I asked him how things were looking as he is getting into race season and readying for the Olympic trials in early summer. He explained how physically he was in a good place and was starting to focus more on studying the times when he races his best to get more of an edge. I asked him to tell me more and he detailed how the best races he has are when he feels calmest before the race - almost at peace. I listened and asked, "Isn't that how you feel for most races at this point?" Ironically, he said "No." He went on to talk about how he has always had an issue where gets anxiety before races and at times it has derailed him from performing at his best.
Now, I swim a lot in training for Ironman racing and I've seen this guy workout in the pool - he's the prototype, Michael Phelps like swimmer with perfect technique, everything. Physically, he's as good as anyone trying out for or going to the Olympics. Right away, I could tell that this challenge of anxiety weighs on him and something he knows he needs to overcome to be his best...so I dug in a little and asked him to tell me more.
After several rounds of questions, we finally got to the cause. When he was in his early teens and an up and coming swimming phenom in the area, he wrote down some pretty lofty goals of what he wanted to do and the times that he wanted to reach as a swimmer - even at a young age. When he showed them to others that he respected and were close to him, instead of building him up and giving him encouragement, they shot him down. They told him that those goals were too big and that he should be more realistic. And, of course, after getting that feedback, when he didn't reach the goals he had put down that year, he developed a set of beliefs around what was possible for him that got cemented into his subconscious.
So, ever since, when he gets to the moment of the major race, the one in which he knows he can have a breakout performance, he feels the anxiety. I told him that I expect it is his subconscious drawing on that conditioning from years ago from that specific incident that still haunts him. His subconscious is giving him anxiety because if he really goes for it and fails like he did when he was in his early teens it will be another, "I told you so" moment for him. Another failure for those he respected to see and cement that he can't reach his lofty goals. Essentially, his subconscious is sabotaging his ability to break out - even though he is basically an Olympic-level swimmer!
When I said this, he paused and then asked me the magic question, "Then, how do I overcome this?"
I'll cover that in Part 2, but the BIG lesson you should learn to this point is that your subconscious, your mind, most often is the biggest obstacle to your success. And many times, it sabotages us without us even realizing it. This Olympic hopeful had this specific incident rattling around in his mind haunting him for over a decade and has still yet to release himself from it's impact on him. That is how powerful the mind is.
In Part 2, I'll cover how, in about 15 minutes, we worked through this and he now has the tools to help him overcome this debilitating influence in his life.
I love history. Aside from the fact that it is enjoyable to learn about the incredible things that have happened in the short span of human history; there are incredible lessons and amazing wisdom that you can apply to your life and business. History holds a lot of the answers that you seek in life.
With that said, I've pulled some of my favorite quotes the WWII battlefield that apply to entrepreneurship and want to share them with you.
1.) "…we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…" - Winston Churchill
2.) "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - FDR
3.) "If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking." - Gen George Patton
4.) “Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.” - Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower
5.) "Which would your men rather be, tired, or dead? - German Gen Erwin Rommel
6.) "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. - Pastor Martin Niemoller
7.) “Nuts!” - Army Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe
He led the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge. The Americans were outnumbered, surrounded, and running short on supplies when a German delegation requested their surrender. McAuliffe was awoken with the news and sleepily responded “Nuts!” before heading to meet his staff who had to draft the formal response to the German commander. The staff decided that the general’s initial response was better than anything they could write. While under siege and near constant attack, the paratroopers typed the following centered on a sheet of paper:
December 22, 1944 To the German Commander, N U T S ! The American Commander
8.) "It is fatal to enter a war without the will to win it." - Gen Douglas MacArthur
9.) "Live for something rather than die for nothing." - Gen George Patton
10.) “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” - Winston Churchill
Each of these quotes holds a great lesson and wisdom for entrepreneurs and business leaders in general. Think on them and decide what they mean to you!
As we begin a new year and a new decade, we all have aspirations and things that we want to be, do, and have in our lives.
Most will never get these things because of one major challenge that haunts us as human beings. That challenge is "choice." It haunts us not in the way you may think. We make choices every day, Making a choice is easy for us. Making the right choices...the deep life-changing ones...the ones that truly allow us to get to completely new levels in our lives are extremely hard. And because of this, we make the opposite choice. The choice to keep things the way they are or settle for much less (But, hey, we feel better).
At the core of things in our lives, it comes down to the choices we make. The choices we make are driven by the principles and beliefs we have as they drive our results. To truly make a life-changing choice requires great commitment, resolve, sacrifice, and tenacity over a long period of time - as well as the ability to deal with fear. And that goes against what we have been conditioned to in our instant society. If people don't see results fast, they move on. And nowadays, not even a little result is good enough. It needs to be significant right now or it's a failure.
Sadly, most people fall prey to this way of thinking and running their life, time and time again, when the true path, the real breakthrough, comes over the long-term.
Case in point. As I write this, it is the beginning of the year. Fitness centers are going to be filled for the next month with all those people that "are finally going to lose the weight and get into shape." But, what happens after January? Most people have started working out, but haven't seen any real results. They may not have lost a pound. They didn't get that immediate gratification they thought they'd see, even after putting in soooo much more time than they thought they should to get a result. Right. Because just 3-4 weeks of fitness is going to drastically reverse what took years to create.
If people would look at things from the perspective of what can be accomplished over the course of the year if they keep at it, they'd see a massive difference. Sure, they'd probably lose some weight, but even more importantly is the fact that they would be healthier, be in better shape both internally and externally, and would have discipline that can last for years for them - effectively changing their life and probably helping them live longer.
It all comes down to that BIG choice. Not the half-hearted, "OK, I'll try it" choices that last for a short time. No, it is that deep, life-changing choice, that you sit down before making, and think deeply on it as a total change to your life and your future. That is the ability you have right now for anything in your life. Make the RIGHT choice(s) and see it or them through this year and into the rest of the decade. You have the ability to change your life. Choose wisely.
I recently watched a scene from the movie Alice in Wonderland where Alice is talking to the White Queen (the good one) and the conversation goes like this...
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
As I ran the quote through my mind a few times, it got me thinking. With 2020 right around the corner, what "impossible things" could I accomplish in the New Year? I thought further and wondered, what if I was able to inspire a large amount of people to accomplish just 5 of what they think are impossible things in the next year? What impact could we have on the world?
It dawned on me that I had found impossible thing #1. What if? What if we could resolve to accomplish 5 impossible things in our lives over the next year?
First, it would be pretty fun to do so.
Second, it may just change someone's life.
Third, it may just change the world.
I got to brainstorming and before I knew it, I had a number of "impossible things" ranging across business to personal and in-between. For example, one of my impossible things is to make enough in 2020 so that I can give more than made the entire year of 2019. Wouldn't that be amazing? Some would say it's impossible - but I know it's not. The limits to possibility exist in our mind and our willingness to act. We are limited to what we believe is possible and by if we will act on it or not to make it become reality.
2020 begins not only a New Year, but a new decade. How many impossible things are you going to accomplish? Join me in committing to 5 Impossible Things for 2020! Believe and Act!
In every episode of the Misfit Entrepreneur, we get amazing wisdom, success tips, lifehacks, and strategies for how to perform at our highest levels. But, my favorite part of the episode is when each Misfit Entrepreneur gives us their Misfit 3.
The Misfit 3 are their 3 most important pieces of advice that each guest wants you to take away above all else. If you have not gone through the episode archives and checked them out, you should make it part of your weekly personal growth routine in 2020.
To help you, I have gone through all of 2019's Misfit 3 from each guest and come up with my Top 25 for you. There is so much wisdom in the following thoughts. Feel free to print the list to refer back to help you succeed in 2020!
The Misfit Entrepreneur "Misfit 3" Top 25
I recently found this poem that really resonated with me. I do not know who originally came up with it, but it has a very deep and important message that I want to share with you.
Read it and give some thought as to what it means to you in your life...
He was going to be all that mortal should be—Tomorrow;
No one should be kinder nor braver than he—Tomorrow.
A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,
Who’d be glad of a life and who needed it, too,
On him he would call and see what he could do—Tomorrow.
Each morning he stacked up the letters he’d write—Tomorrow;
More time he’d have to give others, he’d say—Tomorrow.
The greatest of workers this man would have been—Tomorrow.
The world would have known him had he ever seen—Tomorrow,
But the fact is he died and he faded from view, And all that he left here when living was through,
Was a mountain of things he intended to do—Tomorrow.
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