Every Saturday, I do my "long run." It's typically 8-10 miles or more. I get up early before the sun rises, throw on the headphones and set out. For me, this is one of the biggest parts of my weekly routine that helps me to keep performing at a high level. It's not just the exercise, but it is also the peace and serenity of the run, watching the sun rise, clearing my head, feeling the stress dissipate, and also some great thinking time. Some of my greatest breakthroughs come to me in these times of solitude and focus. It also feels great to complete a long run!
Each week, as I run, after about the 4 mile mark, when my mind has finally stopped going a million miles an hour and clears everything out, I ask myself questions. I ask things like "Can I be doing things differently to succeed across my businesses? Are there lessons I need to take from the success, failures, or experiences over the last week? Am I being the best man I can be? And so on.
Recently, I was taught a pretty powerful lesson- by a dead raccoon. Stick with me. I know it sounds weird, but I promise it will all make sense.
In my 10 mile routine, I have a section of about 2 miles in which I run twice. It's a beautiful area and it has just the right amount of hills to give me the work on my legs, so I run it twice. As I was running the first leg of it recently, I came over one of the little hills and saw a raccoon that had been hit in the middle of the road. Now, it was no different than any other roadkill everyone sees all the time, but for some reason a voice inside my head said, "you should move that thing to the side of the road."
It's funny because I actually argued with myself in my head saying back "Why? Roadkill happens all the time." "But, someone is going to come over that hill and not see it, hit it, maybe mess up their car, etc." my mind said back. As I kept jogging, this funny back and forth played out in my head until I got to my turnaround where I finally gave in and said, "OK. When I get back to it, I'll find a large stick or something and push it off the road."
Now, keep in my mind this is early AM. The sun is just coming up. No one is out. I barely see a car or two during these runs and that is one of the reasons I love them - for a brief moment it seems I have the whole world to myself.
But, as I was getting close to the now infamous dead raccoon. I could hear a car coming from behind me and just as I heard that, I saw car coming toward me. Really? I knew what was about to happen. Just as I got parallel with the raccoon in the road, the one car went to pass me and forced the other car to pass in a way that it made it score a direct hit on the raccoon...it obliterated that thing. I watched in a sense of horror and sorry, humor, as I knew the look of utter shock, grossness, and disbelief that hit my face had to be funny to see as I jumped into the woods next to the road to avoid the splatter.
Let's just say that there really was nothing left to move after that. And thankfully, I avoided getting splattered on by jumping in the woods. I started jogging again and the lesson began to sink in. Here it is.
When you see a way to help someone or something in need or see the chance to do the right thing, don't hesitate. Don't procrastinate - even for a few minutes. Because you never know what type of mess can happen if do! On the flipside, you may just be able to prevent a mess or unfortunate incident.
I think a lot of people have metaphorical "dead raccoons" or instances in their life like this where they know they need to do something and act in the moment, but they hesitate, like I did, and miss their window of opportunity. I could have stopped for 30 seconds and moved the raccoon. As I thought about it, I was sort of lucky. Thankfully, when the two cars passed, something more dangerous didn't happen like one swerving at the last minute and causing an accident, maybe even hitting me as I was right there. They were both doing about 40-45 miles an hour.
As I mentioned, I hardly ever see cars on the road at this time of the morning, let alone two passing me at the same time. You never know where you will learn a lesson or how it will be taught to you. But I learned this one and I will make sure to "move my dead raccoons" as I soon as they come up in life in the future!
I heard a story the other day of how Trump Tower in New York came to be and it struck as a fantastic lesson in negotiation.
First, no politics here, so please put anything like that aside for 5 minutes as you read this because this story is worth hearing.
Did you know that when you build a building in New York, you don't just own the building, but you also own the airspace around the building. Yes, the building physically own the swaths of air. This is why you see some building set back off the road or only at certain heights because the owners may choose to let so much sunlight hit the road around it or not built so high to allow for better views, etc.
When Trump was looking to build Trump tower, the property he found and wanted was right next to Tiffany's and it was only in the 4-5 story height range. The reason? Tiffany's owned the airspace and had actually bought extra airspace around their building so tall building could not be built around it overshadowing it and blocking it's light.
But the property was the perfect location and deal for Trump. So what did he do?
He set a meeting with Tiffany's. Prior to the meeting, he went to his architects and had them design the plans for two hotels, the Trump Tower as you know today and another. The Trump Tower was many stories through the Tiffany airspace, but the other building was only 4-5 stories. Trump instructions on the other hotel? Design the most ugly and outrageous thing you can for 4-5 stories.
His architects thought he was crazy, but they created the plans.
Next came the fateful day with the meeting at Tiffany's. Trump walks into the room, widely outnumbered by the Tiffany execs who knew they owned the airspace and knew they were in control. Trump laid out the plans for Trump Tower and almost immediately, the execs balked at it and said "there is no way you are building that - we won't allow it in our airspace."
Trump said, "I thought you might say that." He then got out the second set of plans and said, "That's fine. If you won't let me build that, I am going to build this."
The Tiffany's execs looked at the plans and "You can't build that. There is no way you would build something like that."
Trump's response? "Yes I am. Watch me."
He then turned and walked out the door.
Before he was even back to his office, the Tiffany's execs were on the phone stating they might be able to work things out.
Here are the lessons from this story:
1.) Understand your potential objections and what drives the other side of the table in the negotiation.
Trump knew what the objections would be and what Tiffany's cared about going in. They didn't want a huge building next door overshadowing them, but more importantly, the did not want their pride and joy located next to the ugliest and most gaudy building in NYC. Trump removed their objection to the building he wanted.
2.) Always control the baseline from which negotiations are done.
When Trump walked in the room, the Tiffany execs thought they were in control, but very quickly Trump took control and reset the baseline for negotiating with them by bringing his "2nd set of plans."
3.) Get them emotionally involved. (But don't become emotionally involved yourself)
Trump didn't care or at least it came across that way. The Tiffany execs did. They had a reputation to keep and they were driven by emotion to come back to the table.
There are more lessons from this story, but these 3 are most important that you can use in any negotiation you have. Remove objections prior or with your strategy for the meeting, always control the baseline, and don't become emotionally involved.
Everyone has a person (or persons) in their life that are just never happy. They look for the bad in everything. Their first reaction is always to focus on any negative aspect.
I call these people "Life's Eeyores."
If you are not familiar with Eeyore, he is a character in the long running cartoon series, Winnie the Pooh. He is always down and sad and always puts a damper on things. We have people in our lives like this as well. They are not fun to be around and drive us crazy with their negative attitudes. As they say "misery loves company." But I think we all can agree that most company hates to hang around in misery.
The easiest way to deal with this is not to spend time with these people in our lives. Why give them the power to bring you down or cause anxiety in your life? There is no reason. I know this sounds harsh, but if you have people like this in your life, you need to remove them or find new friends to spend time with
-ones that lift you up and are excited about life and the possibilities it contains.
But what do you do if the Eeyore in your life is a close loved one or someone you cannot remove? This is tough. First, you must be strong and not succumb to their negativity. Remember, you control your attitude and the way you think about things, so it is your choice to be happy or not. It is harder when you have someone constantly bringing you down by just being around them, but you can remain positive nonetheless. Resolve to do so. Second, understand you cannot change them - at least not entirely. You can, however, continue to show them the good side of things and be the positive light in their lives (they need one, they just won't admit it). If you remain strong and true to your core, you will eventually have an impact on them and things will get better. Lastly, be sure to give yourself breaks. Even though it might be a loved one, you need to give yourself breaks from their negativity from time to time to recharge yourself. It is OK to be selfish and take time for yourself.
What do you do if YOU are the Eeyore?
Some of you reading this may be saying to yourself internally that the person I am describing is you. Nothing ever works as planned or goes your way. It seems like bad things always happen to you. People just don't understand. "Dave, you don't understand."
Well, actually I do. Unless your negativity is being driven by some kind of traumatic event or diagnosed mental challenge. If that is the case, feel free to read what I am about to say, but please, please make sure you are getting the help you need to overcome your challenge.
For those that are just going about life in a perpetual state of "woe is me" or "nothing ever goes my way,"
I want to ask you some questions. Do you feel like you are in control of your life? Do you feel like you have power over yourself or anything? Do feel as though you are a victim of circumstance? Notice the same word appears in all those questions and that word is "feel." The thoughts you have, the decisions you make, and the attitude you have is derived from the way you feel and what you believe about yourself and life.
Here is one of the most important things to understand for changing anything and for succeeding in life.
Your beliefs lead to your thoughts. You thoughts lead to your feelings. Your feelings lead to you acting. And your actions determine your results.
You are what you believe. If you believe you are a victim, you will be one - even when you are not. If you belief that nothing ever goes right for you, the guess what, it won't. And it sucks to be caught in that trap because you don't seem to have any control. You have ceded it away because you are not controlling your beliefs.
Once you learn that you can control your beliefs and thoughts, then you can control every aspect of your life. You can control the way you feel. Your attitude. How you respond to things. And you can choose to not live in negativity. You can choose to be the Tigger instead of the Eeyore. (Tigger is the upbeat, positive, and fun Tiger in Winnie the Pooh).
For just one day, do this. Choose the thoughts you have. When you start to say "nothing is going right." Stop yourself and say, "Everything is good. Life is good. I'm lucky to be where I am and enjoying this day." You will be amazed at what happens and how you "feel." You will change your state and can change the whole way you approach your world.
Remember the self-fulfilling prophecy that states what you believe and focus on in your life will become your reality. Make the choice to change you reality. Start with just one day and go from there. Take back your personal power and reach the potential you were created for!
It is rare that I take a video I've seen and make it into a blog post, but when I saw this one on INC with Tony Robbins, I had to share it with Misfit Nation as it gets to the heart of the matter and how to succeed in life.
I think Tony sums it up perfectly in this video and I hope it spurs you to think and challenge yourself in your life and work. Enjoy!