Your Best Coach

I write from time to time on the importance of having a coach or a mentor. The best mentors show you what to do and how to do it. They don’t do it for you.

At some point all successful people did something to make themselves a success. They likely had a coach or mentor but they had to make the effort to act on the advice they received. THEY HAD TO ACT THEMSELVES!

Taking action to accomplish something requires a whole different kind of coach. It requires a “self-coach.” That would be you!

At some point you must push yourself. You must accept responsibility for your actions and decisions. What you’re taught can’t help you if you don’t apply it. The best advice in the world falls flat if you don’t use it.

If you do nothing then nothing is exactly what you should expect in return.

If you’re a good self-coach then you’re setting goals for yourself. Long-term, medium-term goals and short-term goals. Those short-term goals can be daily or even hourly. As an excellent self-coach you turn large, seemingly insurmountable tasks into a series of smaller tasks that you can accomplish on a daily or weekly basis.

That old city in Italy wasn’t built in a day and neither is long-term success. Doing a little each day will most definitely help you achieve a lot over time.

That’s the best thing about being/having a great self-coach…they are with you every day, all day.

The challenge with your self-coach, or your inner-coach, or whatever you want to call it, is the same as it is with a mentor or outside coach. You MUST listen to their advice and then act on it.

A single pound of action is worth more than a ton of good intentions. One thing highly successful people have in common with less successful people is that they both have good intentions. What most often separates the highly successful people from the less successful is that the most successful people act on those intentions.

So follow this coaches advice and ACT!

What Defines You?

Of all the New Years Resolutions ever made “losing weight” is by far the number one resolution that people make. I guess we could hope that they make that resolution for health reasons but I’m betting most of the people who resolve to lose weight really want to look better.

Most of us are at least a little vain and our appearance matters.

What they often forget is that they are more likely to be defined by what comes out of their mouth then they are by what goes in it. I’m talking about the things you say and how you say them.

Are your words life affirming? Do your utterances create or destroy? Do you even consider that before you blurt out what’s on your mind?

No human interaction is neutral. You, yes YOU, leave people feeling better or worse about themselves and their circumstances after EVERY interaction. The difference might be infinitesimal but you’ve moved them in one direction or the other. If enough of your interactions go in the same direction then your words, and how you say them, are making a difference in that person’s life. Your words are making a difference in how that person sees themselves and their chances for success.

Your words have that kind of power.

Your words are making a difference in how people see you as well. Your words and how you say them are defining you to a much greater extent than your appearance ever will.

I fully support (other people) being careful with what goes in their mouth for health reasons. But everyone might also want to consider what comes out of their mouth too. Your diet can change your life. Your words can change not only your life but the lives of everyone you come into contact with.

It only takes a second to say something you may regret for a lifetime. It also only takes a second to stop yourself from saying it. Think about that for a second or two before you allow something out of your mouth that isn’t good for you or anyone else.

Playing it Safe

If turbulent times teach us anything it’s that there is no such thing as “playing it safe.” Some of the “safest” people I know found themselves out of work. They were the “steady as she goes” types, making sure to never rock the boat. They had themselves a nice looking 401k until the stock market tanked and then just to be “safe” they sold much of it at rock bottom prices.

This has always been true but it’s even more so in challenging times… if you want to be safe then take a risk or two. Not crazy, ill considered risk but well thought out and planned risk.

Taking risks minimizes the possibility of looking back and asking, “what if?” Even if you fail, you walk away with more experience and knowledge. Lots of people would say that taking risks in one area of your life will lead to success in other areas of your life as well. I agree with those people.

Research says that people who take risks are far more likely to achieve their goals and live a more satisfying life.

Taking a well considered risk helps you stand out from the crowd of “safers” that settle for the status quo. Leaders accept risk as the price of success, they know that “good enough” is a direct path to mediocrity.

No matter what you hope to achieve in life taking a risk is a necessary step in actively pursuing success. Very seldom does anything of value fall into your lap. You must pursue it and with that pursuit comes risk.

Accept the fact that the appearance of failure also comes from taking a risk but also understand that appearance of failure is only a mirage. It doesn’t become real until you stop taking risks that can lead to your ultimate success.

If you have the courage, and yes it takes courage, to accept the risk that comes with pushing yourself to achieve your full potential then success will likely be yours. If you can’t muster the mindset that playing it safe leads to less then you’ll just have to settle for less than you know you deserve.

Take a well considered risk today and your chances for well earned success tomorrow go way way up!

The Power of Forgiveness

I’ve done plenty of things in my life for which I needed forgiveness. Sometimes I got it, sometimes I didn’t. Obviously I feel worse about the things for which I wasn’t forgiven. But I don’t feel worse only for me, I got over it a long time ago. I made peace with my screw-up, I vowed to not make the same mistake again and I moved on.

I feel worse for the person who didn’t forgive me. They may still be holding a grudge and that’s a terrible burden to carry around. I feel terrible that the original cause of that grudge was me, something I did or something I said. But when someone offends us we have two choices, we can forgive and get on with our lives or we can carry that offense around with us like an anchor.

Anchors are heavy, they slow down and often completely stop our journey towards success.

It is important that we understand that while forgiveness may be good for the forgiven it is vital to the forgiver. Forgiveness frees us to live in the present. Forgiveness allows us to move forward in life without that anchor of anger or energy sapping contempt slowing us down.

Forgiving does not mean condoning whatever wrongdoing was directed our way. It doesn’t even mean forgetting what was done to us. It just means we are not going to allow that offense to steal one additional minute of our happiness.

Forgiving someone flushes the anger, hatred, hurt and resentment out of our system and gives us back the power to control our emotions and our lives.

When someone hurts you in some way tell them. Tell them why you feel the way you do and explain why it’s not acceptable. That’s an important step in forgiveness because in that moment you’re teaching that person what you will accept and what you won’t. Tell them as well that you forgive them, whether they think they need forgiveness or not. Remember, this is more for you than it is for them.

There is tremendous power in forgiveness but you must forgive in order to experience it. When you experience the pain of wrongdoing YOU have to make the choice of carrying that pain with you or letting it go.

Holding on holds you back, let it go and set yourself free!

Your Best Day

What exactly would it take for this day to be “your best day ever?” Maybe winning the lottery? Being proposed to? Getting that huge promotion you’ve been working for? Maybe the birth of your first child? Or better yet, the birth of your first grandchild?

There are so many things that can make a day great that we can’t even think of them all. But here’s one that we don’t think of often enough… that we should.

To make today great decide that today will be great!

I know that sounds a bit simplistic however it’s anything but easy. There is no more important a choice you can make to begin each day than the choice of a positive attitude. That’s not always an easy choice.

For starters it must be a conscious choice. If we don’t intentionally make a decision to choose a positive attitude then other people and other things WILL make the choice for us. They seldom make a positive choice.

When trying to make that choice focus on what’s going well. Think about what you have and not on what you don’t. If trying to focus on the “good stuff” doesn’t work then remember the immortal words of Yoda, “No! Try not! Do or do not, there is no try.”

Then DO make the choice of a positive attitude!

If you can start your day on a positive footing it makes every thing else you’re going to do that day easier. If fact, a positive attitude makes everything better. It makes everything easier. It energizes your thoughts and your actions. It supercharges your relationships and helps you positively influence others.

When you choose a positive attitude you can turn what looks like a rough day into a positively great day. You see, all it takes to make any day your best day is a decision.

What will you decide?

Are You Necessary?

I’ve never really thought about job security. I’ve never considered that “job security” could or should come from a person’s place of employment. I don’t even think I like the term “job security.” I much prefer the term “income security.”

The most successful people I know do not count on a job to help them feel secure. They count on their ability. If you can do something others cannot do then you will always have security. If you can do something better than most others can do it you will always have security.

No job can make you necessary. You must make yourself necessary. When you make yourself necessary you will always be needed.

If you truly want to be secure then learn to create, innovate or be someone other people can use and need.

It’s a stressful time for people out of work. But only for people who count on a company or someone else for their income security.

There are people who have made themselves necessary and those people are getting multiple job offers in the middle of a pandemic. So I ask you…are you necessary?

It’s entirely possible you’re more needed than you know. It’s all in how you look at it. If I ask most salespeople what they do for a living they would tell me “I’m in sales.” While they may be very good salespeople that statement puts them in the very same pool as a gazillion other people who try to make their living peddling who knows what to anyone who will buy it.

But if the same salesperson has a mindset of success, the mindset of sales professionals who have made themselves necessary, they will answer my question by saying something like. “I help people overcome challenges and succeed. I do that through selling and by representing only the finest products and services. The kind of products and services that make a difference in the world and in the lives of real people.”

If I ask a person in a leadership position what they do for a living most will answer “I manage the….. and then tell me what department of what company they work in. There’s lots and lots of people like that…they aren’t all that necessary.

But if I ask an actual leader what they do for a living I’ll almost always get some variation of, “I help people grow in their careers so they can help their companies grow as well.” They very often DO NOT mention where they happen to be working until I ask a follow up question. Their income security does not come from where they work, it comes from what they do.

Making yourself necessary requires you to constantly be improving. Necessary people do not wait for an employer or company to help them get better. They make themselves better. They study. They learn. They have a coach or a mentor.

No one can make you necessary but yourself. It begins with a change of attitude. Develop an attitude that you’ll be better today than you were yesterday and you’re on your way to becoming a necessity. Even if it turns out you are not a necessity where you’re at today, you will be a necessity wherever you are tomorrow.

The Envy Monster

Envy is an emotion. It’s a very dangerous emotion at that! If you allow that particular emotion into your life you run the risk of being overtaken by it. Envy will consume you. It will diminish every other part of your life. Envy is a destroyer of all that is good.

Stated another way…envy sucks!

I may not have everything I want in life but I can say with great confidence that I have everything I wanted badly enough to work for.

You see here’s the thing, successful people simply outwork less successful people. They work smarter, harder, and longer than less successful people. Yes, luck also plays a part but the most successful people put themselves in a position to be “lucky” through hard work and determination.

If you’re going to be envious of other people don’t be envious of their “stuff.” If you insist on risking your own happiness by being envious then be envious that they have the discipline to do what you are unwilling to do.

I know that sounds pretty harsh but until you accept that as fact you will continue to limit your own potential for tremendous success. You will also struggle with envy until you define what success looks and feels like in YOUR life.

The life we live comes to us as a result of our choices. Some people choose to sacrifice relationships, family, life balance, and pretty much everything in the pursuit of success. Now I can’t know this for a fact but I’d bet most of that type of person measures success in terms of titles and sizes of bank accounts. If that is how they define success then good for them.

But why in the world would I be envious of them?

One of my life choices was to sacrifice a fancy title and bigger bank account for other things. Faith, family, friends, fun, and health among them. I am 100% certain I’ve made the right choices for me. If given the chance to do my life over I’d make the same choice 100 out of 100 times.

Understanding that what you have, or don’t have, is the logical outcome of your choices in life should help keep The Envy Monster away.

You see, I have no reason to be envious of anyone’s success. I’m as successful as anyone I know, I just define success differently than some others do. I could have easily had the other kind of success, so can you. You can have anything in life you’re willing to work for.

So that means envy is also one of the silliest emotions to carry around with you.

So here’s a huge question for you…How do you define success? I would submit to you that you cannot be successful until you can answer that question. When you can answer that question you may discover that you’ve already achieved all the success in life you’ll ever want.