Change is inevitable. Now matter what business you are in or what you do, things are going to and will have to change. If anything is for certain in today's fast-paced world, it is change.
And sometimes change happens when it is not needed, or at least when YOU don't think it is needed.
So how do you embrace change, even when you don't want to? Over the years, I've come up with a set or principles to help me do this.
1.) It's Not About You
The first challenge in embracing change is to separate yourself from it and realize that you are not the only one affected. You have to take a holistic view and look at how it affects all involved, especially in business. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it isn't in the best interest of the business as a whole. Only once you have looked at things objectively from this level, can you logically move forward.
2.) Accept Reality
I teach investors how to trade in the markets and one of the things that I start with is the 4 Phases of the market. Disgust, Disbelief, Acceptance, Euphoria. In the markets, when there is a downturn, you get "disgust." Then usually the market rallies in "disbelief." This is the stage where the market finds some footing and people can't believe that pain they are going through in losing money is over, so they are skeptical. But, after a little while seeing the market stay at or above a certain level, they begin to "accept" it and that when things start to get back to normal again. Then, of course, the emotions of fear and greed take over and your get into the last stage of "euphoria" where you get irrational exuberance and people taking more risk fueling the market higher until it doesn't any more - then the cycle starts over.
It's the same with change. Initially when big changes happen, there is disgust. It is then followed by disbelief - "Can this really be happening?" "Are we really doing this?" But, eventually, people accept it and move forward. Now, you can either choose to thrive in the new reality that you have to live in or you can sit on the sidelines. Reality will always win - so the sooner you can get to acceptance of reality and find a way to thrive in the new change, the more successful you (and your business) will be. Beware of euphoria though, which is when people get so swept up in the new changes that they become emotionally charged and make all decisions from emotion instead of using logic. You must balance the two.
3.) Don't Go It Alone
Change can be tough, don't stick yourself on an island. You need to voice your thoughts and opinions around it and have an outlet to discuss all sides as well as get independent feedback. This is where having mentors, personal advisers, or people that you can go to outside of the group involved in your business and talk things through with them. An objective, independent voice is important when going through change. It will give you different perspective and open your eyes to things you may have not thought about before. Most importantly, it will give you an outlet to let your emotional side out and work through.
Change, especially big change, always has it challenges, but using the principles above, I have been able to navigate major changes and complete business overhauls while coming out successful on the other side. Put them to work for you and see the difference they make the next time you have a big change in your life.
After many years of studying the mind, how it works, our conditioning, and how we become who we are, I can say one thing for certain - I cannot make you a happy person.
It's simply not possible for someone else to make you a happy person. Oh, someone might be able to make you happy for a short time or in a moment, but true happiness, lasting happiness must be found within.
It is up to you to decide whether you are happy or not.
There are a number of things that affect our ability to be and remain happy. And they are all within our control. Everything from our mindset, to how we react to the things that happen to us, to what we tell ourselves is all in our control.
Let's start with what we tell ourselves. What we say to ourselves and about ourselves both internally and externally has a profound impact on us. Literally, what we think about ourselves becomes our reality.
If you believe you are not worthy of things in life like success or not worthy of being happy or say things like "I'm not good enough..." or "I suck" or "Nothing ever goes right for me..." guess what is going to happen in your life. Exactly that. This happens because our beliefs are what manifest in our lives. If you believe in your mind that "Nothing ever goes right for me," then your mind will make sure things do not go right and look for everything that happens or can happen to back that up. Always remember that what you tell yourself becomes reality. And you have control of what you believe and tell yourself. It is your choice. So, if you want to be happier or find lasting happiness, start by believing and speaking truth to power in your life.
The next thing we have control over is the way we react to the events that happen in our lives. No matter what happens, we have the ability to control how we react to it and choose to perceive it the way we want. The trick is actually stopping ourselves from just reacting and making the choice. When something does not go your way or goes against you, you can choose to allow it to make you unhappy and ruin aspects of your life, or you can choose not to let it do so. You can even choose to perceive it as a great opportunity to better yourself, learn, and grow. It is up to you, but how you deal with the challenges that come your way affects your happiness, and you have the power to choose how you respond to them.
Lastly, my personal belief is that the things that happen to us actually happen FOR us. Everything we go through gives us an opportunity to grow as an individual and become a better version of ourselves. Even the things that seem and feel absolutely terrible when we go through them help us to become stronger, give us an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and our capacity to endure, and bring about meaningful changes, if we look for them. Tragedies give us this opportunity as well. It is how we respond to tragedy that defines how we move on from it. Make no mistake, the hardest thing to do is find happiness and gratitude in the darkest of times, but it is there if you want to find it.
Regret is a terrible thing and waste of your mind and emotions. Everything that has had to happen to get you where you are right now had to happen exactly as it did. In fact, the chances of you even being alive at this moment in time are so infinitely small; it is almost impossible to even fathom the number. And for you to have life at this moment in time, means that trillions of people that could have been, are not. Instead, you are here in their place. Cherish it. Make the most of it. Let go of regret and embrace the incredible opportunity you have to choose to be happy - and then make it so. The world will be brighter for you having done so.
A lot of people hear the term "unfair advantage" and immediately think that someone is cheating or not playing by the rules. That would be the furthest from the truth. In fact, a common definition used for the term is Your "unfair advantage" is the skill you have that is your unique talent.
Once you understand what a true unfair advantage is, it makes it easier to create one. And there are specific elements you need to do so.
First, as the definition says, you do have to take the time to really understand yourself and the skills or knowledge that you have that is your unique talent. Once you know these things, you can use them to your advantage. Unfortunately, most go through their lives without discovering their unique talents or gifts and putting them to use. Whether it is because of fear of stepping out and taking the risk or confusion of what these things are, they end up going to waste. Your job is not to let this happen to you. The best way to find these things out is to go deep on yourself and ask who you are and what you are best at. This exercise will take some time and you need to go much deeper than your 1st level answer. But, if you are willing to go the distance, you will arrive at the right answers and have true understand of yourself and your gifts. Once you have them, ask others what they think your unique gifts and talents are and see if they confirm what you have found.
Second, once you know what sets you apart and what you are really good at, then start putting it to use. Find ways to use these gifts and talents in your life and your business. See ways to maximize them and innovate! Yes, you have permission to innovate and use them in different ways or to provide solutions differently to set yourself apart. A great example of this is my friend Daniel. Daniel has a natural, unbelievable talent for connecting people. He's better than anyone for finding ways for people to find opportunity together. So, years ago, Daniel decided to focus on and maximize this talent as a business. He started connecting people and taking 10% of any deals that were done between them. Nowadays, Daniel has a worldwide network of thousands and he travels the country setting up shop in a restaurant or venue for 1 day at a time and people come in every hour to be networked and introduced to potential partnerships by Daniel. The business is a multi-million dollar business - all because Daniel recognized his unique gift, focused on it, and innovated to create a new type of business with it. Daniel definitely has an unfair advantage because of his unique talent.
Third, never stop working on your unique gift, refining, honing it, and finding opportunities for it. It's one thing to have an unfair advantage in a situation or two, it's another to have it all the time. The key to having a consistent unfair advantage is to continue working on it and getting better. Never stop. How does Tom Brady still win at the highest level at over 40 years' old? Have you seen his health and fitness routine, his approach to understanding the game, and how he lives? Tom recognized a long time ago that his unique talent was his knowledge of the game and longevity to play at the highest level, so he has done everything possible to maximize it and squeeze every ounce from it.
When you put all 3 together - Understanding your unique gifts and talents to the core, putting them to use at the highest levels while innovating to find unique ways to maximize them, and never resting in your pursuit to refine and make them better - you can see why you can have an unfair advantage.
The question is, "Will you take action and put yours to use?"
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.
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