The world has been focused on the Russia/Ukraine war for a few weeks and almost everyone would have to agree that the leadership of Ukraine's President Zelensky has been heroic.
He has shown his commitment to his country and done everything he can to inspire his people and rally the world to the cause of Ukraine. I've heard a number of people state that the US could use this kind of leadership right now.
That being set aside, there are some great lessons we can learn from Zelensky's leadership.
First, let me say that there is a lot happening in this conflict and neither side are angels. But, Russia is the aggressor invading a sovereign nation and no matter how many issues it has, that is wrong.
President Zelensky did not pack up bags of money and run giving up the country, like a lot of leaders have done in the past in situations like this. Instead, he stood firm, showed his commitment to his country and people and had inspired the world in many ways.
Here are 3 universal lessons you can take from Zelensky's leadership.
1.) Choose Your Principles and Stand for Them
Zelensky has stood on his principles and has not wavored. I think that is why the world is so infatuated with him. In today's world, to see a leader clearly state their principles, stand for them, and back them up no matter what on the world stage is refershing and courageous. Keep in mind that just a few years ago, Zelensky was a comedian and actor playing a president on TV. He is an unlikely hero, but has shown remarkable strength by sticking to his principles and it is resonating with the world. As a business owner, what are you principles? How do you stand for them no matter what is happening?
2.) Never Underestimate People Who Have Nothing to Lose
Zelensky could have ran away when the Russians initial invaded, but not only did he stay, but he has shown his unfallpable commitment to fighting for his country. For him, there is no turning back. He has "burned the boats." And he is the #1 target of the Russians. If they capture him, he is a dead man. He knows this, but has accepted it and will fight until he either wins or takes his last breath. Telling President Biden that he "needs amunition, not a ride," when given a chance to evacuate, shows that he is all in. You may not be in a war, but do you look at your business in this way? Are you all in? To succeed, you must be.
3.) A Small Group Deeply Devoted to a Cause Can Do Remarkable Things
No one expected Ukraine to stand as long as it has against the Russians. Conventional wisdom says they cannot win, but when I see thousands of people picking up arms and going into Ukraine to fight against the invading army, it tells me that Russia is in for a long fight. Already, we've seen examples of great bravery and incredible things that the outmatched Ukrainians have accomplished. It's possible, because they are deeply devoted. They have a very strong "why," which is keeping their country and not be ruled by Russia. This smaller group which will become more of an ongoing insurgency if Russia completes its takeover has done and will do remarkable things in their fight. They are devoted to their cause and that won't change. For entrepreneurs, this goes to discussion on culture. Is your team a small group deeply devoted to your business's cause? If not, how can you foster this devotion?
What is happening in Ukraine is sad and it will get worse before it ends. I don't know if Zelensky will make it or not, but I do know his example will live on for years to come.
Having interviewed hundreds of the most succesful entrepreneurs in the world, you start to notice patterns over time - consistencies across these highly successful people. There are more than you think. Things like be highly organized and structured, taking care of their health, focusing on the most important things that they are best at, committing to continued personal growth, etc. are just a few of these consistencies.
But, there is one thing the highly successful do that is often overlooked. They schedule time to "think" each week.
That's right, they make sure to set time aside to "exercise" their mind outside of the day to day where they think and let that thinking show them opportunities and answers in their lives and businesses. There are a lot of different processes that these people use and in many ways, it is personal to them, and should be personal to you, but at the very least, you should set aside 30-45 minutes once per week to think.
You should find a comfortable place, outside of your normal work environment. During these times, you should let your mind wander and use a journal to take down unique insights or thoughts that come through. You should ask yourself key questions and think through current challenges and write down potential answers to them. You should also create some action items from each session.
As stated earlier, the process for each person is different, but if you can get into the habit of thinking at least once per week and design a structure that works for you - it will go a long way in helping your success. Make time to think!
No matter what you do in life and business, you will not succeed without the help of great mentors along the way. Many times we have mentors in our lives without even realizing it. They can come in the form of a teacher who spends extra time making sure you understand the material so you can get a better grade, or maybe in the form of a great coach in sports. Mentors come in all different ways.
And at times during our lives, we must seek out mentors to guide us and help us to level up.
But, what makes a great mentor? I have been blessed with many great mentors over the years and as I have looked back on them, I have noticed 5 traits consistent across all of them.
They are Wise
Good mentors are wise. Now, this may seem like a given as you seek out a mentor for guidance. But, what is wisdom? Wisdom is not just being smart. Wisdom is true experience. It can only be found by being in the trenches and having gone through the ups and downs and everything in-between in the area of life you are looking for their help. Great mentors are not just smart, but experienced and wise in practical ways because they have been there and been through it. When looking for a mentor in an area of your life, make sure to look for someone who has "been there and done that" and gained true wisdom in doing so.
They Hold You Accountable
Mentors hold you accountable and discipline you when needed. They are not afraid call you out or disagree with you. They keep you disciplined and focused when needed. In fact, you will know that you have a mentor that truly cares if they are willing to hold you accountable and impart discipline into your life. In this area, in some ways, they are like a parent who is raising a child. A parent who cares will hold their child accountable and discipline them as needed to help them learn and grow in the right way. I've often told those that I coach, it is when I stop challenging you or holding you accountable is when you need to worry, because that means I don't care anymore. Find a mentor that cares and embrace them holding you accountable.
They Challenge You In Ways You Don't Expect
Another thing that good mentors do is challenge you in different ways - unexpected ones. They do this because they see the things you don't see, blind spots, and they help bring them to light. A good mentor will help you work on the areas that you are not good at as well as fostering the ones you have talent. They have an ability to see the whole picture and help put it together in the best way. They are not afraid to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear, and then help you in your development.
They Help You Live Into Your Potential
As discussed above. good mentors can see the bigger picture and potential blind spots. In doing this, they can help you live into your potential. In fact, they can help you realize your true potential and that you are capable of much more than you realize. They not only help you understand this, but more importantly, they help you to take the actions to make it a reality. This is one of the most exciting parts of working with a great mentor, finding out what you are truly capable of.
They Make Time For You
Mentors are usually successful people in demand or have pursuits that keep them pretty busy. Another sign of a great mentor is that no matter how busy they are, they seem to find time for you, especially when you need them most. This trait is rare in today's world. To find someone that will set aside everything they have in their life and on their plate to help another person is a blessing. And great mentors do this consistently. When you find a great mentor, you will see this from them and be truly grateful for it.
One last note is that some mentors will ask to be compensated for their time. There is NO problem with this. Their time is precious and comes at an opportunity cost to other things in their life. And they do have to pay their bills as well. If you have a found mentor that checks all the boxes above and wants compensated, don't rule them out. Work out a plan where they get compensated and as you find more success, they can share in that success by higher compensation. This may come in the form of sharing in the future success of your business in some way or a graduated system of compensation. You'll have to figure it out, but just know that it is worth it and will pay off multiple times over for you.
We've all be there. The times when we are unsure or don't know what to do for a given challenge or direction in life. This happens to everyone from time to time. The secret is to know what to do to get yourself on the right track.
Over the years, I've developed a simple process to help me during these times. It has 3 easy steps.
First, take inventory. Get the thoughts on the situation out of your head by writing down everything that is swirling around in there. Make a solid list. You should write down the pros and cons and any other things that factor into the decision.
Second, once you've written everything down, take a break. At least 30 mins, if not a day, and then come back to it with a fresh set of eyes and perspective. Things will stand out and become apparent. From there you can begin to figure out what it is you will do. It is very important at this point to consider all sides and think through any other items that are important. Sometimes, you may find you totally forgot important aspects when you wrote everything down and can now add them. Take some time to think logically and not emotionally about everything. You will also want to solicit advice or feedback from those you trust during this time.
Third, once you have figured out the best course to take from reviewing what you wrote down and thinking through it, you must action on the next steps. It is best to write a small step by step plan to get going. Once you do, you will find momentum and you will start getting excited about moving forward.
This simply process has served me well for many years. The biggest part is just getting everything out of your head and on paper. This makes easier to find clarity and make decisions.
The next time you are faced with a situation where are you are unsure of what to do, use this method to help you find your way through and get on track.
One of the most important, if not most important things you can do for your success in all areas of life is to master your "inner game." Your inner game directly controls your outer game.
But, what is the inner game? Your inner game is simply is the way you think. The way you think about yourself, life, success, business, relationships - everything.
And everything begins with what you believe. I have developed an acronym for how the process of the inner game works in our lives. It is as follows:
Your Beliefs lead to your Emotions, you Emotions lead to your Thoughts, your Thoughts lead to your Actions, and your Actions lead to your Results. If you take out everything in the middle and look at the first and last work, you get Beliefs = Results.
Most people don't know that much of what we believe was not chosen by us. It was put there through many years of conditioning. Think about it. You come out of the womb with a clean slate. It is the influences and experiences of your life that help to shape what you believe and ultimately how you think. These influences are things like parents, school, friends, media, culture, religion, etc.
And much of what we pick up is good and helpful for our lives, but many of us pick up some adverse beliefs and thought patterns along the way as well. And these can hold us back from reaching out true potential - many times without us evening knowing it!
Why? Because of the subconscious mind. It is the part of brain that operates without us even having to think about it. It is the most powerful part of our brain and runs us almost on autopilot. It has created responses, thought patterns, and reactions to just about every situation we encounter in life and every time one of these situations presents itself, it reacts - we react without even thinking consciously. This happens over and over again throughout each day. How much do you actually "think" to drive a car or answer a question? You don't, you just do it. This is the subconscious conditioning, your inner game at work.
Once you realize this, your next question is probably, "What can I do to create the automatic responses I want to have? "
That is THE question. And the answer is simpler than you would think. You can change your conditioning by changing your thoughts - your beliefs. Now, I did not say it was easy and did not involve a lot or work - in reality it is work you will do the rest of the your life.
But, the secret is to start recognizing your automatic reactions and start choosing if you want to keep them or change them. For example, if you are someone who has a short temper, you can recognize when your emotions are welling up. You know when that feeling of anger or frustration is bubbling up inside you. The next time it happens, just stop, ask, and choose. Stop before you react. Ask yourself if the reaction you are having is the one you want to have. Then choose how you will move forward and change the internal belief you have about being angry in that situation. Admittedly, this is very awkward at first, but once you've done it a number of times, it get easier and more automatic. Learning to live from true choice of the beliefs that you want to have will free you and give you better control over you emotions ultimately leading to better results in your life - the results you choose to have.
There a couple more important things to understand about this process. The first is that it doesn't work if you see yourself as perpetual victim. You must be willing to take responsibility for your life and choices. Doing this also gives you control over your life.
Second, and this wisdom has been passed down through generations, it's even in the Bible. What your believe becomes your reality. In the Bible, it is stated, "That which you gaze upon, you become." You can understand this. What you focus on, expands in your life and in your subconscious automatic responses. If you are are always focused on the negative, guess what, you will attract and subconsciously bring more negativity into your life and train your subconscious to look for it. Conversely, if you are focused on growing yourself and working toward your goals, your subconscious will drive you there.
Lastly, back to choice and choosing things. You get to choose your attitude every day. Your attitude is how you approach the world. If you don't choose it, your subconscious will revert to whatever default programming it has created your entire life. Each day, wake up and spend 2 minutes deciding your attitude and who you will be in the world that day. Set your intentions. Train your subconscious that you are in control and set the tone of your inner game.
If you can learn to change your beliefs, focus on the right things in your life and choose your attitude and how you react to the situations of life, you will find that you can change your whole world and maybe THE world. So, get going and choose your way forward!
A lot of people ask me how I am able to run multiple businesses, train for Ironman, and have the freedom I am very fortunate to have in life. The answer may surprise you.
The reason I am able to do all that I do and still have capacity to add other things in if I wanted is because of structure.
Structure equals freedom.
What does that mean? It means that I have created a structure in my life and businesses that allows me to be very productive and accomplish more in most days than people do in several. I don't say this to brag because I am no different than anyone else. If I didn't have the structure I have, I would be much less productive. And one of the best ways to fuel your success is through becoming more productive.
Here is what I've figured out over the years and I hope it helps you as well.
First, I figured out that I need to own my time and take control over it. This means that I put the time I need week in and out dedicated to me first. For example, I block out my training time, set my hours for coaching my clients, set times for focus on my Mastermind group, set my specific times for Misfit Entrepreneur interviews and show notes, as well as my personal growth time and any others that I need to focus on consistently each week. In fact, I am writing this blog during my blog writing time. I also put buffers on my day such as no meetings at 6pm are allowed to be scheduled unless I override it. I plug all of this into my Calendly scheduler and block these times in my calendar, so that the only times left for others to get time with me are the ones I allow them to. This is avoids people stealing time from you.
Second, I sit down every Sunday and plan my week out by day with the most important items I need to accomplish for each day in each business and area of my life. The allows me to hit the ground running daily knowing exactly what I need to do.
Third, at the end of each day, I review my daily To Do List to make sure everything has been accomplished and then look at the next day and plan for anything that needs it. I also may add tasks/important items to the day from things that come up during the week that need actioned.
Fourth, at the end of my week, I make a list of my 80/20 for the next week. 20% of what you focus on gives you 80% of your results. I want to make sure I know what those are before the next week begins, so I can have them ready for my Sunday planning.
Lastly, I action the plan like a maniac. This is the most important piece of the structure. If you don't action the plan, it does you no good. From the moment I get up, I am focused and actioning the tasks on my list. I use the fact that I have a plan to redirect me if I get sidetracked because I have my To Do List. So, if I am focusing on something that isn't on the list, I will notice and redirect myself.
Structure equals freedom, but you must action the structure with discipline and consistency for it to work for you. If you put a structure in place that is driving you toward your goals and action it every day - you will be amazed at all you can do and the freedom you can create for yourself.
Each year is a new beginning and represents a golden opportunity to start in new ways. Better ways. But, we need inspiration, not only to start the year, but to keep us going as the year goes on.
Here are 10 inspirational quotes to help you start you year off right and keep you going! Take some time to think on them and what they mean to you and your life.
You've got to let go of who you were, to become who you will be." Janet Fitch
"It's never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again." Eric Roth
"Be messy and complicated and afraid and show up anyway." Glennon Doyle Melton
"If you can't do anything about it then let it go. Don't be a prisoner to the things you can't change." Tony Gaskins
"Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming anything. Maybe it's about unbecoming everything that isn't really you." Paulo Coelho
"Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you." David McCullough Jr.
"Some days you just have to create your own sunshine."
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..." Theodore Roosevelt
"All glory comes from daring to begin." Eugene Fitch Ware
"Gratitude changes everything."
I knew the day was coming and I prepared as best as I could for it, but I still had work through it. I'm talking about my final days in one of my longest held businesses. Last year, my business partner and I sold the business. For many years, we kind of operated like co-CEO's, a yin and yang of sorts. But, once the business was bought, I knew that the new owners would only need one of us and my business partner was the founder. We had planned for me to exit at some point over the year following the sale or move to another role and after a lot of discussion and a some soul searching, it was the right move for me to focus on my other ventures, like the Misfit Entrepreneur Podcast and my investing education business,
12 Minute Trading.
Of course, I did well on the sale of the business and the new owners took great care of us, but leaving after 15+ years is still hard. Change always is. I love the people there and will continue to keep the great relationships I've had for many years - but it's time to move on.
I've gone through a lot of changes over the years and while this one was more of a planned change, I still have to navigate it and get used to not "being so busy." It's weird for me not to have all the meetings and appointments I'd typically have on my calendar each week. Here is what I've learned about change over the years.
Change = Opportunity
Every big change I've had in my life has resulted in tremendous opportunity - whether it was leaving a well-paid job years ago to take a chance on a little tech company with barely a salary or to start and commit to a weekly podcast, or selling a business. Every time, I found great opportunity in those changes. But, here is the thing - you have to make it happen. Opportunities are all around us and when you open your eyes for them, you will see them. But, most importantly, you have to action them and see them through. It took a lot of hard work, long nights and weekends - and finding the right people along the way, to build our company and get it into a position where it was high value for sale. Find the opportunity and then go at it with everything you've got.
Don't Dwell on It
Change it inevitable. Many times it comes for good reasons, but sometimes if happens for bad. Don't dwell on it. Like one of our Misfit Entrepreneurs, Harma Hartouni says, "5 Minute Funeral." Give it your 5 mins of emotion and then move on. In the end, you can only focus on what you can control and to let a change - especially a negative one - affect you, does no good. Instead pour all that energy and focus into the next chapter for yourself or your business.
Things Happen for a Reason
I truly believe things happen for a reason. This has been proven to me over many years. Each time change happens, it leads to something bigger and better. You may not know what it is immediately, but you will find it. For example, I now have more time to focus on the Misfit Entrepreneur and my investing, which are absolute passions for me. That time will help me to be more available to my students at 12 Minute Trading, give me more time in my own investing, and allow me to better grow the Misfit Entrepreneur so more people around the world can benefit from our message. I'm pretty excited about it.
Planning is Critical
As you navigate change, you will need to plan for what comes next. Whatever it is, sit down and go through everything in your mind. Get it out of your head and on paper. Then organize it and determine what you need to do and plan for it. You have heard before that if your fail to plan, you plan to fail. Planning will help you take inventory, find clarity and determine your direction. It won't be perfect. No plan ever is, but it will help you tremendously.
Your Attitude Makes All the Difference
Lastly, as you navigate change, your attitude is very important. If it is poor, it will shut your mind down and you will miss the new opportunities in front of you. If you keep a healthy attitude and perspective, it will help you succeed. And by healthy, I mean not just a positive one, but a logical, realistic one. No matter what, you will have to do the work needed to maximize the opportunity in change, so you must have a positive, but sober attitude of what you need to do. And the best part is that, every day, you get to choose your attitude. So, choose a great one and then go out and make things happen for yourself!
Every year brings new opportunities to entrepreneurs and individuals. And each year, people start out full of hope with goals or aspirations in their minds - but usually by the end of the first couple months of the year, most have given up on things. There is an important reason for this and one that is most important to understand as you approach 2022 so as not to fall into the trap.
The reason most abandon their goals or aspirations is because they have been conditioned to instant gratification. When something doesn't materialize after a little effort, it gets abandoned and people move on. They give up way to easily and way to early. But, that is the lesson.
Remember this, "People overestimate what they can do in a week, but underestimate what they can do in a year."
So, as you go into 2022, the best advice I can give you is to play the long game and realize that all truly great things you accomplish take vigorous, hard work and sacrifice. Set your goals and aspirations high and then do what has to be done, for as long as it has to be done, to get them. Don't stop. Don't quit when you have setbacks. Don't give in to instant gratification. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in a year. You can change your whole life, you may even be able to change the world or some aspect of it.
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