Have you ever heard of the 40% rule?
The rule was made famous by the Navy SEALS ans states that "When your mind is telling you you're done, you're really only 40 percent done." When you think you are absolutely exhausted - you still have 40% left.
I have used the rule numerous times throughout my life to push myself when my mind was telling me to stop. It works. And when you do use it to bust through a mental limit, you increase your capabilities and the level at which you can perform.
But, over the years, I built upon the rule to make it even more powerful. I call it the 40 + 1 Rule.
The 40 you get. It is the knowledge that you always have the 40% reserve, but the "1" is how I supercharge it to push myself even further and harder.
So, what is the "1?" It is the addition of your deepest, strongest "Why" for why you are doing what you are doing. You can apply the 40 + 1 Rule to anything. Life, relationships, fitness, business, whatever. The key is to understand the fact that you always have 40% and anchor unleashing that 40% to the deepest, strongest "why" for that area of you life.
For example, in training for the Iron Man Triathlon, my deepest, strongest "why" is the show my daughter that you can accomplish great things - things that many would never attempt or say are too hard (or in some cases impossible). For those of you that don't know what an Iron Man is, it is the ultimate Triathlon where you swim 2.5 miles in open water (Ocean), bike 112 miles, and then run a marathon (26.2 miles) back to back concurrently. A bonus for this is that I also have an equally strong why to break through my own mental limitations and increase my mental reserve for doing great things.
When you combine the 40% rule and your why, you create a mission for yourself that drives you more than you have ever driven yourself before. And this leads you to new levels of success, fulfillment, and accomplishment.
Take time to understand the 40% reserve that you and to find your deepest, strongest why(s) for each area of your life. Then go out and make it happen!
The other day, I picked a book from my library that I hadn't read in a while and leafed through it. It was the Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. I had forgotten how good this book was and how it's practical insight and useful is so powerful.
If you haven't read, you can probably guess what it is about. It is about the power of using checklists. Gawande goes through all sort of great examples from how checklists are essential flying planes and managing though crisis to how they have and still continue to revolutionize medicine and other industries.
It is amazing how something as simple a checklist can have such a huge impact. But, if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense - especially in today's incredible fast paced world.
We forget things. Or miss them. It is as simple as that and having a checklist that you can use to make sure you are doing everything you need to do serves as a great tool to succeed.
I have talked about having a daily "To do" list" before and its power to help you become exponentially more productive. All a "To do" list is, is a checklist. But moving on from that and thinking bigger, checklists can be used in so many ways to help you as an entrepreneur. They are starting point to systematizing your business so that it can grow. If you take the time to document the processes it takes to make your business run, putting them into a checklist format, you can then hand that off to an assistant or employee to follow. You can do this in all areas of your business and make your business much more scalable.
You can also do this for your life. You can create checklists for things you need to do throughout the week...or maybe that you keep forgetting to do in your relationship with your significant other. You can create checklists for getting things done around the house or "house rules" for the kids.
The simple checklist can be such an incredibly powerful tool to help you in all areas of your life. Pick one area and create a checklist today and watch the magic begin to happen. And if you get a chance, pick up the Checklist Manifesto and give it a read. It won't take long, but it sure can make a huge difference in your success!
Think about resilience. What does it mean to you? What do you think of when you think of a resilient person?
Resilience is the ability to bounce back, to overcome adversity, and it's a choice. You must choose to be resilient in the face of adversity - whatever it may be in your life. When it comes to a lot of things, it is not easy. But, then again, most things worth doing aren't easy anyway.
How can you develop your resiliency muscle so you are ready when you run into adversity or big challenges?
Here are 7 Surprising Traits of Resilient People:
You can develop these sames traits and make yourself a more resilient person. Pick one and start working on it this week. Once you've mastered it, pick another. Very quickly you will find them start to take hold in your life.
You've probably heard the following phrase:
"Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan."
When you think about that - isn't it sad?
The fact that so many people's natural tendency is to run from failure and to distance themselves from it is one of the reasons so many people don't reach their true potential.
You hear all the time that you need to embrace failure and that it is a good thing - and that you should learn from it and use it to fuel your success into the future.
Let's get real for a second. Failure sucks. It's hard. It's painful. It doesn't feel good when you are going through it. And it especially can take a toll on people emotionally. It is true that you will learn the most from failure, but that doesn't mean you will automatically turn into a success.
You will have to learn from it and learn well. But, then you will have to go to work. Serious work. You will have push yourself more than before the point of failure. You have to go at it day in and day out. You will have to sacrifice. You will have to overcome your mental limitations and negative self talk. You will have to separate yourself and not let the failure define you. And you will have to get smarter, more innovative, and never give in to that which you can control. Oh yeah, and you have to take responsibility for things as well.
These are the reasons why "failure is an orphan." Most people are not strong enough or willing to go through everything listed above - or step up and take responsibility. What they don't realize is that responsibility goes both ways. You are responsible when you fail, but you are equally responsible when you succeed. This is why I will take failure every day of the week, because if you have the will, the work ethic, and the humility to learn and innovate, you can rise like a phoenix from the ashes and rise to entirely new heights.
The lesson? Failure sucks. It's worth it to take responsibility, learn, and overcome it. You'll work you ass off, maybe more than you ever have, in doing so, and you have the opportunity to reach all new levels that you may never even thought were possible. And I'll take that any day of the week.
"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." -Andrew Carnegie
No matter where you are in business, you will only be as good as the team you surround yourself with. Even if you are a solopreneur, you have a team. It comes in the form of your vendors, partnerships, etc. And that means that whatever stage you are in your business or in building a team, you need to make sure first and foremost that you have the RIGHT people. This is most critical. It is not enough to have people on your team...To really make things go, you have to have the RIGHT people doing the Right things Right!
With that said, once you have your team in place, it is your job to inspire and motivate them to greatness.
First, you must be able to create a vivid picture and vision of where you are all going for everyone. Then, you must make sure that everyone sees it and understands it.
Next, you must believe in it with more conviction than anyone and show that to your team. You must show that by believing in them and helping them realize where they fit into making the vision a reality. Help them realize what you believe they are truly capable of and how it contributes in a large way to manifesting the vision.
Third, in order the belief in the vision and your belief in your team's ability to make it happen, you have to get in the trenches with them. You have to get down in the dirt and work with them and help them overcome challenges and obstacles - especially in the beginning. This does not mean that you do the work for them, but it does mean when they don't think something can done, you help show them the way, or work with them to help them figure it out. When they see you working with them side by side and see progress happening, it will ignite their passion even further and accelerate your pace toward your goal.
Fourth, listen to your team. They are the ones in the trenches all day. They are in the field and at ground zero with clients. Some of the best insight comes from their day to day interactions. Listen to what they have to say, analyze it's impact, and take action if appropriate. Your ability to listen and synthesize the acres of diamonds they unearth will help you even further in getting to your goal and reaching greatness as a team.
Lastly, ask for help and tell them to do the same of each other. People support what they help to create and you must foster an environment that collaborates and makes things happen. The only way you can do this well is by encouraging people to ask for help where they need it and help others when they need it. It should be a badge of honor to ask for you help because that means you are striving and getting closer to your goal.
If you take these principles and use the with your "teams," you will be amazed at what they (and you and your business) can accomplish. Here's to your success!
Some books are timeless and offer wisdom and insight that everyone can and should use in their lives. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl is one of those books. The book is about Frankl chronicling his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and describing his psycho-therapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then immersively imagining that outcome. It was this understanding that kept him alive and kept him going in the darkest of times. Here are my 8 favorite quotes from the book to inspire and motivate you to something better and greater.
There are a number of other very thought-provoking realizations and quotes from Viktor and if you are interested to read more of them, you can view them here.
You win in your mind first before anywhere else. Your mindset, attitude, and way of approaching everything has the biggest impact on your success. But, even if you understand this, sometimes it is easy to get stuck in a rut or pattern where you are comfortable and don't challenge yourself to up your game and reach higher levels of thinking.
Here are 22 ways to up your mental game and breakthrough to new levels of success in your life.
I recently read the article linked to below from the CEO of Foundr magazine, Nathan Chan, about the many lessons he learned in creating Foundr over the last 5 years.
From Novice to CEO of a Multi-Million Dollar Media Company: 37 Lessons from 5 Year of Building Foundr
I urge you to read the article as all of the lessons are good, but here are the Top 5 that I think are most important and why you should embrace them in your life and entrepreneurial journey.
#7: Your best ideas are the ones that keep coming back to you.
You’re not going to come up with a genius idea on the spot. It has to keep coming back to you, and you have to mull over it like a good glass of red wine and let it sit with you before you execute on it.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. It is the ideas that keep burning a hole in your mind and that you can't get rid of that end up being the best, no matter how crazy they sometimes sound.
#12: It takes 7-10 years to build anything of true worth and significance.
Any company that you truly admire took over a decade to build. I’m prepared to play the long game with Foundr.
As I've written about and spoken about many times, it comes down to the DCP formula. Discipline. Consistency. Persistence. If you have those day in and out for years, you will win. You will outlast. And you will flourish.
#14: Never rely on one single customer acquisition channel.
At Foundr, I’m always extremely cautious of dominating one channel, and always work to layer in more over time. For us, first it was Instagram, then it was email, then it was podcasts, then it was organic SEO and blog, now it’s PPC (pay-per-click advertising) and soon YouTube. The more channels we can use to generate a significant amount of traffic, the less risk we face.
The more comfortable you get and more reliant you get on one thing that works is great, until it doesn't work anymore. In today's world, that can change in an instant. Whole businesses can be decimated seemingly overnight (Remember, Kodak?). You must always be on the hunt for and willing trying to new channels to grow your reach and customer base.
#18: Your business lives and dies by cash flow.
It’s the oxygen of your startup, especially if you’re bootstrapping and not using someone else’s money to survive. You always need to make this a focus in order to build a sustainable business.
I confess that I have had trouble getting along with the CFOs/Accountants we have had in our businesses over the years because of exactly this. Cash is king and is what matters. No matter how good your business looks on paper or from an "accrual" accounting standpoint, you cannot stay in business without cash paying the bills. Therefore, much to the dismay and frustration of my CFOs and Accountants over the years, I have always focused on cash and challenged the health of our businesses (and thus by default challenged the analysis of the CFO and/or Accountant) when things look good on paper, but I can see cashflow challenges not being focused on. It has served me and the business well and kept us alive in the hard times. Cash is king.
#26: The smartest entrepreneurs reduce risk and maximize upside however they can.
One thing my mentor Mitch Harper taught me is to always reduce risk however you can. This is something I obsess over now when it comes to making critical business decisions. How can I stack the deck in our favor on both sides of the table?
Contrary to belief, the best entrepreneurs are not huge risk takers. They take calculated, asymmetrical risks. That means that for the little bit of risk they do take, the reward is exponentially higher. They also look at all the angles and look for how they can still succeed, even if the risk doesn't pan out or fails. You should always be looking at the whole picture and for how you can get massive upside for a small amount of risk.
BONUS! #37: To build a successful business, it has to be an obsession.
You have to want it so badly and you have to be prepared to do the work.
Kids are some of the best teachers. Seemingly out of nowhere, they will do or say something that is such a great lesson for life, without even realizing it. The innocence of it all makes it that much better.
Take my 5-year old daughter, Hannah, for instance. The other day, we were driving down the road and we got onto a topic of one of the kids in her Tae Kwon Do class that dropped out of the class. She was peppering me with questions as to why this kid had left and wasn't coming back.
We went back and forth for a while (if you are a parent, you know this routine), to where I finally said, "Sometimes people just give up."
Hannah sat in silence for a while as I continued driving. I could see her in the rear view mirror and could tell she was thinking and pondering on the subject. It was total silence for 3-5 mins.
Then, she spoke up. She said, "Daddy, people need to give up on giving up!"
Immediately I smiled in only the way a proud dad can and said, "Honey, you are right. Yes, they do."
It is amazing how one little innocent sentence from a 5-year old can carry so much weight, wisdom, and importance. That one sentence is one that everyone in the world should hear. You need to hear it. You need to give up on giving up.
Is there something that you have given up on or considering giving up on? Why? Can you change your way of thinking and actions so that you can succeed with it? If you are committed to something, then be committed. Go after it with tenacity and tell yourself that giving up is not an option. Make "Give up on Giving Up" you daily mantra and go make it happen!
OK, first off, let me say that this show is disturbing on many, many levels. It is essentially about how far peer pressure, social compliance, and coercion can take an individual. And in the case of this show, which is basically a social experiment and reality show all in one, it is "pushing" someone off the roof of a building and murdering them.
As many of you know, I am a voracious student of the mind, the subconscious, and our conditioning; and as I watched this show to dissect it to truly understand how a normal human being can reach the level of actually considering killing someone - in 1 hour, a number of things dawned on me - some great lessons for both life and business.
First, is how easily we can be manipulated through social pressure to do things. In fact, the opening scene of the show is a tiny experiment to show how easy it is to manipulate someone just by impersonating an authority figure. A total stranger is persuaded to essentially kidnap a child in minutes because they think a well-rehearsed actor, playing a police officer, is real, so they follow the instructions of the "officer."
It was amazing to see how easily it was for someone to impersonate an authority figure under the guise of an emergency and get someone to comply. The lesson I took from this is how readily we can turn over control of our lives - especially in an instant age where things move so fast. We almost forget to stop and think because our minds are moving non-stop. For me, it highlighted the fact of how important it is to practice and work on our emotional intelligence and control over our emotions - being careful not to let them "just run us," but instead choosing whether we let them dictate our reactions and actions.
The next lesson I took from this tiny little experiment is that we must be healthy skeptics. We must, as Thomas Jefferson said even in his time, "Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." Now, my point is not so much about religion, but about the fact that we must not do things blindly or out of fear, and get back to using reason in our lives and business pursuits.
Now, granted the show is a total setup for the target person, with every psychological trigger choreographed ahead of time, it does highlight some very important issues with societal pressures. First, the size of social presence has a huge affect. The bigger the crowd doing something, the more likely most people will go along. For a great example on this (besides watching The Push), check out this video of the "Dancing Guy."
The second thing I took away is how much the need to "fit in" for people can blind us to doing the right thing. The thing we know we should do. There are so many times in the episode where you can see the target of the show agonizing over doing what he knows is right and sometimes even vocalizing it...only to cave and go along with crowd.
Lastly, is something we already all know, but maybe don't necessarily think about - when you proceed in a lie, the deeper you go into it leads to a terribly tangled web that is almost impossible to get out of, eats at you, and impairs your judgement. (Well, only if you have a conscience of any kind).
I urge you, if you watch the show, ask yourself at what point you would stop and not continue to follow the crowd.
My biggest takeaways and lessons for life and business were the following:
The biggest lesson? Stand up for yourself and make a stand to do what you know is right no matter which way the herd or lemmings are going.