Decisions. Decisions. Our life is full them. Everyday we make decisions in all areas of our lives, but every so often we have BIG decisions come to the table that we have to make.
This can be a challenge. Many times the big decisions can affect our lives, the lives or others, our family, our future, our career, and much more. We go back and forth agonizing about what to do and the ramifications of our ultimate decision. Doing this makes it even harder.
So, how do we go about making a big decision with logic and reason and ultimately confidence that we are making the right move? Years ago, I read about a strategy that none other than Ben Franklin had developed for just such a situation.
Ben wrote about it and said the following:
My way is to divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns; writing over the one Pro and over the other Con. Then during three or four days’ consideration, I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives, that at different time occur to me, for or against the measure. When I have thus got them altogether in one view, I endeavor to estimate their respective weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out. If I judge some two reasons con equal to some three reasons pro, I strike out five; and thus proceeding, I find where the balance lies; and if after a day or two of further consideration, nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly.
The beauty of what Franklin came up with is it's simplicity. You simply write down your pros and cons of the decision and give them a weight of importance. The key is to give yourself a few days of doing it. Sleep on it as they say. Over the course of a few days, you'll have developed and settled on a pretty solid list.
At that point, you can see your pros and cons clearly and the decision will be become evident. I have used this method for many years and it has proved to be very effective and allowed me to come to great decisions in the end. Put it to work for you and see the difference it can make in your life!
For those of us with sight, we take "seeing" for granted. But in reality, what most people don't know is that you don't see with your eyes. Huh? The first time someone explained how eyesight works to me, I was fascinated.
We don't see with our eyes. We see with our minds. Our eyes are just the receptors that filter the information that our brain then takes and formulates into the world we see around us. In fact, there a multitude of spectrum's of "sight." We are actually wired to filter a tiny minute fraction.
The reason why makes sense. We would have sensory overload. We simply could not process everything our eyes could take in and feed our brain. Therefore, our brain quickly filters out most everything to get the few things that matter for us to do what we need to do. It focuses only on the most important things we need to see.
A great example is the famous Invisible Gorilla Experiment where people were asked to count how many times the people in white shirts passed a ball. While all this is going on, a person in a gorilla suit comes out and stands in the middle of them, beats his chest and walks out. When this was originally done, 50% of the people never saw the gorilla because their brains were focused on counting the times the basketball was passed. We "see" with our minds.
Once you understand this, it can open up a lot for you. It can cause you to look at things in entirely new ways. It can cause you to question the way you see something and maybe see an opportunity that was never there. Maybe, you can even see the future because you are not limited by being unaware that you see with your mind and your eyes are really just receptors for the information.
Armed with the knowledge, you can look at the world, you can look at business, you can look at people and have a better understanding of where things may go in the future and position yourself to take advantage.
For example, I was recently in an Uber where I saw a fantastic new idea - a future for a lot of things. A lot of Uber drivers will offer snacks or bottles of water on their own, but this Uber was different. In the middle section between the two front seats, this Uber driver had a snack bar. And the snack bar was connected to an app that you could download and have an account where you can purchase any item. So, I checked it out and it's a cool new company that has basically turned Uber drivers into vending machines on the go. But, why stop there? What else could be offered through an Uber ride? Maybe a company could offer pet treats or something else.
The point is, most would just see this snack bar and think, cool idea. Maybe even sign up for the app. But, it is a window into the future of delivering goods and services if you know how to look for it. You can see things differently, because you have started to open your mind up to what it can see and look for.
So, challenge what you see and look beyond it to see what else is there. Who knows, maybe you will not only see, but be able to create the future.
Wait, what? I should build a POSITIVE relationship with suffering?? Yes!
I know for a lot of people that doesn't make a lot of sense. Who wants to embrace suffering in their life? But, if you think about it. Life is suffering. It really depends on how you view the word "suffering" and the perception you have of what it means. Suffering is part of everything you do. When you work hard at the gym and break down your muscles to exhaustion, you are suffering. When you push yourself to your limits of ability or mental capacity, you are engaging in a form of suffering.
And, of course, there is the type of suffering that brings real and true pain, such as an illness or death of a loved one that cannot be diminished.
We go through life with periods of suffering interrupted by great joy and success. Usually, the joy and success is a lot shorter than the suffering and struggle we go through - but ask yourself - Is it worth it to go through the struggles, trials, suffering, and tribulation to reach those periods of joy and success? I believe it is. I believe that our ability to grow and persevere comes from the suffering we have to go through and like anything, the more experience you have with it, the more prepared you are to handle the inevitable bouts of suffering that come into your life.
A great example of this in my life was the news years ago that my wife and I could not have children naturally. We are 10% of what doctors call unexplained. Everything is healthy for us, but it just doesn't happen. We suffered through this news only to grow as a couple and to find our daughter. We may never have been the family we are without going through this multi-year struggle - and I could not imagine life any other way. It was the suffering that lead us to a much more amazing life with an amazing kiddo that we love more than life itself.
So embrace suffering, because every time you overcome, you get stronger and it gets easier to overcome the next round and so on. And in-between, you get to enjoy the fruits of your suffering - the amazing joy and success that life unfolds.
In 1519, Hernán Cortés led a large expedition consisting of 600 Spaniards and 11 boats to Mexico. The goal was to capture a magnificent treasure said to be held there. Once he arrived, Cortés destroyed his ships. The message was clear to his men - There is no turning back from this point. They accomplish their mission or they perish. What do you think happened? With no exit strategy in place to save their lives, they rallied behind their leader as never before. And inside of two years, he succeeded in his conquest of the Aztec empire.
Essentially, Hernán Cortés forced his men to go "All in." Thankfully, these days, we don't have to make a decision between life and death, but every day we are faced with a decision as to whether we will live into our greatness or shy away from it.
Most people, never get into the boat leaving toward their success, let alone think of burning it once they reach the shore.
Most people never even feel what it feels like to go "All in" - to commit to something so strongly that there is no option other than to win and succeed. What if.? What if you decided just once that you would live your life that way? That you would commit yourself in a way you have never done before and never quit, stop, or allow yourself to be deterred in your mission to your goal (whatever it is). What would happen? Where would you or could you be?
I bet you would take yourself to a completely new level in some area of your life. The question is not "Can I do something?" It's "Why the hell shouldn't I do it?" If you want to truly succeed, and deep down you know what this is for you, you will have to "burn your boats" and go ALL IN. If you give yourself any way out on your mission, you will tempted to take it when things get rough. You cannot let this happen.
It's time to commit. It's time to go ALL IN on your success and reach your potential. Burn your metaphorical boats. Never give up and never quit.
Getting more done with less. Less time. Less effort. Less distraction. It seems in today's world, there is no shortage of content on how to be more productive in your life and in your work.
The problem with all this great advice, systems, and hacks is knowing which ones to implement and how to implement them. A lot of the advice given is either too complicated or things most people already know and do (or at least attempt to).
We make things more complicated than they have to be. Maybe that is the reason, there are endless articles on the subject. For me, it has always been about keeping it simple. The good old 80/20 rule or more often the 90/10 or 95/5 rule. Out of all the things you do and can do to be more productive, there are only a few that truly work for YOU. The last part is important because what works for someone else may not work for you and your style of doing things.
So, in order to get more productive, first, you need to decide on what types of things that work for you and, second, narrow them down to the 2-3 most important ones.
Here are hacks that I have found work especially well for me and help me to run multiple businesses across the world while still training for Ironman Triathlons daily, and that give me time with my family every day.
1.) Know Your Peak Times
Peak times are the times at which you are most productive and at your best. For me, my first peak time is from 5:30am to about 8am. I eat a good , solid breakfast and rock things to the quiet of the morning. By 8am, I need a break, so I go train for 2 hours or so. My next peak time is 11am -noon. I am refreshed from training and alert. I usually schedule sales or negotiation type meetings at this time, or any type of meeting that requires me to have high emotional intelligence and think well on my feet. I then go to lunch and work on any more mundane items until 2pm, From 2pm-5pm, I schedule any other meetings, do planning, and focus on setting up myself for a great next day.
The point I want you to take from this is to understand when you are at your best and be deliberate in how you manage yourself around these times to get more done.
2.) Focus and Remove Distraction
When you are going to do work in your peak times, do it with intention. In order to be your best, you must focus. Do not multi-task or put distractions in your way. Remove everything that you know will keep you from getting to your task at hand - which should be your most important task that you can do at that time.
3.) Set time Limits
Oh, the magic of the deadline. It keeps you in check. For example, I set 30 mins to write and create this blog post. I set the timer on my desk, threw on my headphones, turned off email and other distractions, and got going. I was done in 26 minutes. 4 to spare. Setting deadlines holds you accountable and keeps you on track. Make sure to put them in place during your peak times for your tasks.
I have found that these 3 productivity hacks are pretty universal and can be used by anyone. Even more important, they are ones that you can implement and start doing today. So, get going. You'll be amazed at how much more you get done.
It's been said that the "Truth will set you free." And if you look throughout history, you will find this to be true. From Lincoln's fight to end slavery in the U.S. to Churchill sounding the alarm about Hitler and the Nazi's, the truth was the key to succeed. And many times times the truth comes at a cost - for some a great cost. But, if you look throughout history, it is worth it time and time again.
But, that the problem for a lot of people. Everyone knows they should tell the truth. The truth about themselves. The truth about reality. And most importantly, the truth in relationships and working with others. But, everyone also knows that the truth can be painful - not just to them, but to those that hear it.
So, what do people do? They do everything to avoid facing and speaking truth. They create reasons why and convince themselves that it is the right thing to do. The best thing for everybody. In reality, they are just delaying the inevitable. The truth will come out at some point and you will have to face it. The more you delay, the worse facing it can be.
And that is just in working with others. One of the hardest people to be truthful with is yourself. The hardest thing to do is look inward and come to grips with the truth you need to tell yourself. In fact, it is something the majority of people never do in their lives. And they wonder what holds them back or why they can't get what they want.
In order to succeed at your highest levels and true potential, you must be truthful with yourself and those around you. You must face you demons and stare them down and remove the giant burdens that plague you. In order to truly become who you are destined to be, you must have a clear conscience and be intently focused. You can't do this with a lie, big or small, nagging at you day and night.
No, you must get rid of it and the only way is to be truthful. Look inward and tell yourself the truth, tell those around you the truth you know you need to tell them, and don't be afraid to ask for help in doing so. Asking for help in areas where they need it is how the highly successful get there. Embrace it.
If you want to succeed at a higher level in your life, resolve to tell the truth. Start today and watch what happens!
As we begin a new year, it is a great time to take a deep look at how we live our lives and make changes if necessary to make ourselves better.
I do this exercise at the end of every year and look for the best ways that I can live my life, according to my values, and to make the most out of my relationships going into the next year.
As I did my review this year, there were 5 things that seem to keep holding true every year for living a great life, so I thought I'd share them as they might help you live your best life over the next year.
Develop a Love for Yourself
I'm not talking about narcissism or being self-obsessed in this area. What I am talking about is understanding the miracle of you. The miracle that you are even alive. And the incredible capabilities and potential that you have to give this world. You should be somewhat in awe of it. And you should maximize every bit of your being and your potential. Love and take care of yourself. You are a miracle.
Write Down Your Principles and Values
What is it that you stand for and believe in? What are the principles that you hold dear and will not sacrifice for anything? When is the last time you thought about this topic in your life? If you know what you stand for and believe in, you can remain resolute in times of stress or turmoil and live by your principles. For example, one of my principles is that I believe in everyone's right to their thought, opinion, and speech - even if I vehemently disagree with it. I believe that our principles and values should guide us. So, when I hear someone say something vile or ridiculous, I will express my right to disagree - but I will defend both our rights to say what we want to say. That is the essence of true freedom and must be preserved.
Take Time Each Day to Enjoy the World Around You and Express Gratitude
Each day is an adventure in this world. We encounter new things. See beauty in different ways. Meet new people. Learn new concepts. Savor it and enjoy it as we never know when it can be our last day. I was reminded of this this past fall when a good friend of mine in his 30's passed away. He was swimming in the pool doing his weekly exercise routine when he was hit with a massive cardiac event. And just like that, he was gone leaving behind a wife and 4 kids all under 8 years old. I did a tribute to him as a Lesson for Hannah.
So, because we never know w hen it will be our last day - take some time to enjoy the world, enjoy your life, and express gratitude for it and to those around you each day.
Act on Opportunity
We've all had that opportunity in our lives that we "kick ourselves for missing out on." And we always have these great stories of how if we "just would have done this or that," life would be completely different. The funny thing is when we look at those times of missed opportunity, I bet your gut was telling you to do it. To go for it. It is amazing how often our instincts are right, but we look for all the reasons not to follow them, and the majority of time don't.
Don't make this mistake anymore. Act on the opportunity when it comes up. Give a shot. If you fail or it doesn't workout, so what. As Teddy Roosevelt once said "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." Act on your opportunities.
Learn, But Don't Regret
As you go through life, you are going to screw up. Sometimes massively. I have met too many people that carry the regret of their mistakes like an albatross around their neck. It holds them back from who they can really become. You must realize that what is in the past is in the past. It cannot be changed. You can change what is happening and what you decide to do in the future. You should not have regret in your life. Don't get me wrong on this. That doesn't mean that you don't learn from your mistakes and do everything possible to make things right and do better in the future. But, letting regret run your life into the future is debilitating to your success and your ability to be the best to those around you.
Think about it. Everything that has happened in your life to get you to where you are right now - had to happen exactly as it did. One deviation and things would completely different. One deviation and maybe you don't have the family you have. One deviation and maybe you don't have your health, and so on. So, letting yourself be saddled with regret is a fool's errand. Instead, learn and do better, but don't regret.
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 2019,
To help you, I have gone through all of 2018's Misfit 3 from each guest and come up with my Top 25 for you. Feel free to print the list to refer back to help you succeed in 2019!
The Misfit Entrepreneur "Misfit 3" Top 25
What does giving mean to you? It's an interesting question.
I was recently at a private event of highly successful entrepreneurs and CEOs. We were together to network, collaborate, and learn from each other. Through the course of the day, we would do different breakout sessions.
During one of these breakouts, we got into a pretty deep discussion about poverty, helping others, and giving. For the first part of it, I sat back and listened. I was sitting with CEO's of billion dollar companies and wanted to hear what they said. I was surprised.
Almost the whole conversation around how to help people out of poverty and in other ways centered around giving money. It was all about how much money we should give and how it should be allocated, etc. Everything came back to money.
This was frustrating for me as if you have done any research around poverty since the welfare system was implemented in the United States, you will find that poverty has increased. And more money has been thrown at it through increased welfare benefits from the government and from private enterprise "to eradicate poverty" than any other cause. It's the definition of insanity, because, in my view, one of the biggest ways to start to change the poverty situation is the change the way people think about themselves. To change the conditioning people have gotten in these poverty areas. A conditioning that has told them from the time they are born that they can never make it and they will always be poor, the world is stacked against them, etc. When you are told these things your whole life by the influences around you from parents to peers to politicians, what do you expect to happen?
Don't get me wrong - it does take money to take on a challenge such as poverty, but it is not all about money.
After a little while, I couldn't take it anymore and piped up. I said, "So far in this discussion, all of the solutions put forward and discussed are surrounding throwing money at the problem. Have you thought about other things than money as the solution? From volunteering your time and teaching what you have learned in building your businesses, to mentoring non-profits to become more effective and efficient in their service? There is a lot you can do besides just give money."
The group got quiet for a few seconds and then the CEO of one of the largest companies spoke and said "You're right. We have to think of giving as more than just money."
The whole exercise made me examine for myself what giving really means to me. For me, giving is a combination of giving to causes I passionately believe in that I know will put that money to work and get real results and also the ability to volunteer my experience and talents to help people. Even if that is just helping one person understand their true potential. To me, it is still giving back to this world.
How about you? When was the last time you took a step back and defined what giving really meant to you and examined how you can have the biggest impact in your efforts to give? There is no better time than now to do so...
With the holidays upon us, for many, it is a time to reflect, spend time with loved ones and friends, and celebrate a New Year. But, for the highly successful, it is also a time to set yourself for a fast start and success in the New Year.
While everyone else is spending time focused elsewhere, if you spend just a small fraction of your time on a few key things, you can drive more business and set up a great start to your year.
Here's a few ideas for you.
1.) There's Gold in Your Past Customers
The end of the year is a great time to contact customers who have done business with your before and re-engage them going into the next year. Even if they left your product or service - remember, they bought it once before. Connect with them and give them an incentive to come back. It could in the form of a discount or added services, or even a free month. Do what makes sense for your business. If you get just a few clients to purchase that will make a difference for you in the following year.
2.) Review the Tax Laws
Tax laws are always changing and many entrepreneurs miss out on tax benefits simply because they don't know they exist. Things like R&D credits, entity structure, and end of year planning with pre-tax retirement vehicles can make a big difference in how much money you keep. For example, if your business is doing over $200k in profit per year and you have not looked at the benefits of an S-Corporation, you may want to, especially in the US, as the new tax laws allows for some substantial credits to your business. As always, you should review these things with a competent tax professional, but don't miss out on what the laws allow you to do.
3.) Setup New Joint Ventures (JVs)
As mentioned above, for many businesses, they use this time of year as downtime and things are slower. It is the perfect time for you to reach out to potential partners and discuss how your businesses could work together in the new year. One great partnership can grow a business substantially, so if you have been thinking about a potential partnership with someone or another business, there is no better time that now to get it setup and have it ready to hit the ground running in the new year.
As entrepreneur or even solopreneur, you can use these 3 ideas to really make a difference for yourself. So, while everyone else is focused on their next ugly sweater party, take a few extra minutes to work a few of these and get ahead in the new year!
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