Tyler Farr has a great song called, "A Guy Walks Into a Bar". I love the song. After listening to it over a dozen times in the first two weeks of it's release, my 10 year old daughter realized she had been singing the wrong lyrics. She explains, "Hahaha, this whole time, I thought it was, 'A Guy Walks Into a Barn". So, of course we had to do a little rewrite just for fun. The actual hook goes,
"A guy walks into a bar, orders a drink
Sees a girl that catches his eye
Asks her if she wants another
They fall for each other and end up lovers
They laugh, cry, hold on tight, make it work for a little while
Then one night her taillights fade out into the dark
And a guy walks into a bar"
In order to accommodate the barn version, my little girl came up with,
A guy walks into a barn, he's already drunk
Sees a goat that catches his eye
Asks her if she wants another
They fall for each other and end up lovers
They laugh, cry, hold on tight, make it work for a little while
Then one night her tail fades out into the dark
And a guy walks into a barn
Now, if that's not funny enough, while riding in my Jeep with my 13 year old son, the song came on the radio. So I told him about my daughter's new lyrics. To which he replies, "What if the guy actually walked into a bar? Because he was texting or something." He then came up with:
A guy walks into a bar, falls flat on his face
Sees stars floating over his head
Wishes he wasn't textin'
The fall to the ground smashes his head in
He laughs, cries, holds on tight, makes it work for a little while
Then that night the stars fade out into the dark
And a guy walks into a bar
Crazy kids. Where do they come up with this stuff?
For most of us, that first real job or even a new job is both exhilarating and terrifying. It’s exhilarating to finally hear someone tell you, “You’re hired.” And, if you’re like most people, before you even start the job you’ll be plotting to buy a few things you think you’ll need or you’ve always wanted. If you’re ambitious, your head may fill with ideas about how to change things. However, when the honeymoon is over, staying motivated at work will be the key to your success.
If you ever find yourself lacking the inspiration and desire to thrive, here are a few things you can and should do. Try taking a few minutes to connect your future to your present. What do you want in the future, why do you want it, and how do today's activities connect you to that future goal? Many of the millennials I spoke with said, taking a few minutes to do some goal setting or planning really helped them regain clarity in their vision. Dreaming about what their ideal life would look like inspired them to work hard on the tasks of today.
Build a network of coworkers that will give you positive energy. Avoid anyone that drains your energy. Reach out to someone that is excited about what they are doing and ask for help. Most will, but don't take their energy away either. Be ready to give back. Get excited about their advice and tell them how great they are. It's amazing how far gratitude and appreciation can take us!
Remember that you were hired because of certain positive qualities you showed during the interview process. You may have come across as smarter, more articulate, enthusiastic, self-directed, and so on. What were those qualities? If you aren’t sure, ask other people what they think and then build on what you learn.
Find out what the team's goals are and be supportive. Have fun. Treat everyone with respect. Remember, no job is beneath you, lend a hand whenever you can. Take charge of your own growth as a leader. The more you work on you, the more you will have to offer others. This is the key to advancement.
Final tip: if you want to advance quickly in today’s workforce you must add value to your company. Look for cost effective ways to improve efficiency and / or productivity. Bring in a new client or volunteer for that new project. Do your homework and be proactive vs. waiting for someone to tell you what to do next. In other words, act as if the business you work for was yours. People will notice.
If advancement doesn't play a factor in your motivation, remember these same tips will not only get you attention where you are, but are the very things your future employer will be asking about during the interviewing process. And who knows, this may be the reason someone steals you away to lead something bigger.
- John Wasserman, Author of No Shorts, Flip-Flops, or Sunglasses: How to Get and Make the Most of Your First Real Job, has worked with thousands of 18- to 25-year-olds teaching them the basics of business.
Taking a mental break? Check out 3 Quick Job Tips for Millennials in Today's Economy.
I love being an entrepreneur. And like most entrepreneurs, I started out with nothing. I also had to figure out the money game with little help. I lived paycheck to paycheck throughout my early and mid twenties. I bought myself a two-seater sports car (MR2) with T-tops for my 23rd birthday, with nothing down of course. It was so bad in the snow that I tacked on a lease for a Pathfinder SUV. My combined payments were over $800 per month (slightly higher than my apartment rent at the time). Then one day I upgraded to a Hummer H2. I’d catch a wave from other H2 drivers, while total strangers would wave their middle finger. I did love that truck though. I justified the $65,000 expense because it weighed over 6000 pounds and I was able to write it off as a business expense.
Finally I got smart, set some financial goals, started reading books and magazines about money, listened to audios, and solicited the advice of an advisor. The biggest lesson I learned... You have the power of choice. Financially, with every dollar you make, you hold the power to choose your future. You can choose to live a few paychecks away from financial ruin or travel the path to be financially fit. I also learned that you are not the car that you drive. Rather your spending habits reflect who you are. Poor people simply have poor spending habits.
Below are 7 steps to help you on your journey to financial freedom, an Action Plan, and a snapshot of how I set up my bank accounts as an entrepreneur.
1) Create a Written Game Plan
Ok, so you know the drill. Every month you put it all into excel or Quicken or Mint.com or scribble it on paper. List all of your expenses for the month and don't forget to include a category for savings. The problem I’ve found is that most people think it really is a once a month project. However, most wealthy people look at their budget weekly, or even twice per week.
Log in your expenditures twice per week and re-evaluate where you are. This way you can right the ship before you end up at the wrong port. If you don't make this simple exercise a habit, you may find yourself cruising towards Someday Isle. You know, Someday I’ll get a grip on my finances, Someday I’ll save for retirement, Someday I’ll work on my budget.
Your budget will allow you to project where you are going, otherwise you will never get there. Keeping track of your expenses each week will help you avoid any surprises. After teaching thousands of students about how to win with money over the past two decades, I’ve found that most people live their financial lives by looking over the stern instead of charting a course to move ahead.
I’ve messed this up more than once. Luckily I didn’t run into an iceberg and sink my ship. I can’t tell you how many times I would get to the end of the month and ask, where am I? How did I get here? What happened? You have to look forward. Where there is no vision…
By the way, a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun anymore. Just add a line for Fun in your monthly budget. It’s a written plan that charts the course to where we all ultimately want to be…Paradise Isle. And look at it weekly, not monthly. It’s ok to make changes to the budget when you find yourself off course.
2) "Act Your Wage... you have to live on less than you make, you are not in Congress.” – Dave Ramsey
You will not prosper spending more than you make. While I did have a blast at times doing so, my wife reminds me that we didn’t really enjoy living that way. Choosing to live paycheck to paycheck to drive fancy cars; buying expensive things that we have since had to replace; and keeping up with the pseudo rich as if we had an unlimited supply, added way more stress to our already hectic lives.
Acting rich, living on borrowed money…it’s a terrible plan. That’s what most people do, but you don’t want to be most people, most people do not retire the way they had hoped. We found a better way. It’s so much easier to save money when you aren’t paying Visa for your lifestyle. I know, I know… it’s “everywhere you want to be”. But, it’s the expressway to Someday Isle. That’s not where I want to be, how about you?
3) Get and Stay Out of Debt
When you don’t have any payments you don’t have any distraction. At one point, in my twenties, I had six different credit cards. It’s not much fun working to pay off debt. I thought I was destined to work for Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express forever.
According to Dave Ramsey's book, The Total Money Makeover, when interviewed, the Forbes 400 (the 400 wealthiest people in North America), 75% said that the #1 way to become wealthy is to get and stay out of debt. No car payments, no student loans, no credit card payments. To be debt free. What would it feel like to have no payments? Think about how that resonates. When you don’t have any payments, it’s a lot easier to become wealthy.
If you have debt, it’s time to make a plan. Put it all on a spreadsheet and get to work. There are several versions of the debt repayment plan called the Debt Snowball. You can either start with the highest % rate or, and I find this much more exciting, start with the smallest debt first. Ramsey suggests paying the minimum payment on everything but the smallest debt. Then attack that debt with any extra money you have. Once your smallest debt is gone, add that payment to your next smallest debt and attack. I love Ramsey’s explanation. “But, doesn’t it make more sense mathematically to start with the highest interest rate first? If you were good at math, you wouldn’t be in this situation, now would you?” By paying off the smallest debt first, when it’s gone, you get that win. It feels great! It gives you momentum! Set a goal to pay off your smallest debt by a certain date and GO!! You will have to make sacrifices. Don’t eat out. Work extra hours. Do whatever it takes. It WILL be worth it!
Set a goal to pay off everything except the mortgage in 18 months or less. You would be surprised at what you can accomplish if you have a plan (aka. a budget) and do the Debt Snowball. You can ride the mortgage out; since you’ll need to start saving once your other debt is gone. Another great resource for a debt repayment plan is Credit Karma.
4) Save Money
Once you’re out of debt (except the mortgage), Step one is an emergency fund. According to most experts, you’ll need at least three months of your household expenses in a savings or money market account. Six months is ideal, but three will get you started. Look at your necessary household expenses. The ones you would still keep if you lost your job. Think about it, if you lose your job, and you have no debt, and no car payments, and you have $18,000 in the bank, it’s a different kind of place to be.
Step two, save up for the things you want or will eventually need to purchase. Now that you have no car payments, you can save that amount each month for your next car. How about the 20 year roof on your 14 year old house? You should be saving for it so you don’t have to go into debt to replace it in six years. In business that’s called a sinking fund. Your grandparents however, called it a rainy day fund.
Step three, save for wealth building. Did you know that $100 per month invested in a decent growth mutual fund in a Roth IRA (which grows tax free) from age 30-70 would be worth about $1,000,000! I bet you blew more than $100 on "stuff" in the past 30 days. Do you even know where it went? If you looked at your budget weekly you would.
What to do after maxing out your Roth and SEP:
Many people are afraid to invest in real estate, but that fear comes from the unknown. Here it is as simple as I can make it.
a. “The ABCs of Real Estate Investing” - by Ken McElroy
b. This book will teach you how to:
• Achieve wealth and cash flow through real estate
• Find property with real potential
• Show you how to unlock the myths that are holding you back
• Negotiating the deal based on the numbers
• Evaluate property and purchase price
• Increase your income through proven property management tools
II. Identify an Opportunity
III. TAKE ACTION!
Incorporate or not?
If you are an entrepreneur or self-employed, here are three reasons to be an LLC or S-Corp. (if you choose to be an S-Corp, one main difference is that you will have to file quarterly and annual meetings. You will need to record and report them). There is a tax advantage to incorporating if you are making at least $60k in profit or higher.
6) Get the Right Insurance
Make sure you have the right insurance so you and your family are protected. This will actually be step one in the Action Steps you should take to get your financial life in order. Here are the 7 types of insurance that Dave Ramsey says you absolutely need.
Disability Insurance: Go to http://www.zanderins.com/disability/disabilityeducation.aspx and click on Instant Quote. This is where I got my Disability Insurance from. It's not expensive and very necessary.
The need for disability income protection is crucial and is an essential part of your financial plan. It provides an income for you and your family if you have an accident or health condition that prevents you from working and earning a paycheck.
ACCORDING TO THE COUNCIL FOR DISABILITY AWARENESS:
7) Leave it Better
I have a goal to donate $1,000,000 to charity. If you develop the right core behaviors, you will have a lot left over to give. We all know how amazing we feel when we do something good for others. I was walking to an appointment in the Rittenhouse Square section of Philadelphia, not far from the Liberty Bell. I walked past several "down on their luck" people looking for a handout, but I was too caught up in my own schedule to stop. Then I made eye contact with an elderly gentleman with leather like skin. In his eyes I could see he was broken. I stopped in my tracks and handed him $40. He got a little teary eyed on me. I think it made his day. Giving is the most fun you can have with money. You can’t do that when you’re broke. If you need the $40 to pay for a tank of gas because you’re broke, then you can’t give…and that’s why this is the last step. You have to get your house in order first. For now, give something you may have more of. You can give time; there are plenty of charities that need your time. You can give blood; there are plenty of people in need of blood. You can even give encouragement; most of the world goes to sleep every single night without an ounce of encouragement. Leave people better.
b. Fully funded Roth IRA (consult your accountant / fiduciary / advisor / or even your bank)
c. Fully funded 401k, Single K, or SEP (or something similar – consult your accountant / fiduciary / advisor / or even your bank)
6. Save / Invest All Bonuses.
a. See step 5. 'b' and 'c' first.
b. This is a great way to save for a home or, if you have a home, for your rainy day fund (i.e. roof replacement)
c. If steps 1-5 are maxed, think about using bonuses for other investment vehicles as discussed earlier.
7. Pay off your home early (and/or save for your kids college fund in a 529 Plan or a Coverdell)
8. Leave it Better.
I created this for the many small business owners I've coached over the past two decades. The ACH is the Direct Deposit to your company or business (or however your small business gets paid). If you are self-employed, it's important to separate your business account from your personal account. Then pay yourself from your business account (via written check) to your personal account.
From Business Checking, you will also pay all of your business expenses. I do have an American Express card for my business, but you will notice that I don't have any credit cards personally. I like American Express because you have to pay it off monthly to continue to use it. And of course a Business Savings with 3 months worth of business expenses stashed away for a bad month or a slow quarter.
From Personal Checking you will take care of your Personal Expenses. You will also transfer money into your Personal Savings each month.
From Personal Savings you will fund your 3-6 month Emergency Fund, Investments, and save for a "Rainy Day" (i.e. new roof, car repairs, first home, etc.).
- John Wasserman, Author, No Shorts, Flip Flops, or Sunglasses: How to Get and Make the Most of Your First Real Job
For more on becoming financially fit, check out these blogs by Wasserman:
Financial Fitness Starts Here
Create a New Financial Paradigm
Strengthening Your Financial Core
Disclaimer: This was written with love from my personal experience. I am not a financial advisor or fiduciary. Please consult the advice of a professional. And please consult your Doctor about exercise. I know this wasn't a blog on exercise, I'm just trying to cover all the bases. :)
I love New Year's Day / weekend. It's one of the only times of year that absolutely everyone sets goals. What a great time to reflect on last year and reset goals for this year. My wife and I will pick a day in the next week or so to do our annual goal setting date night. Trust me, it's more romantic than it sounds. And we do have more than one date night per year. However, this is where we take last year's goals and see how we did, then create new goals. We set goals for our businesses all the time, but setting goals for ourselves and for our family is really important. We get to spend some quality time talking about each other's goals for health and fitness, financial goals (pay off debt, save ___ amount of money for retirement), family goals, personal goals for our hobbies and interests (learn a new recipe, write a book, take up crocheting, etc), and of course career goals. I love seeing our children follow our lead and write down their own goals for the year (note: do not bring them on date night).
I understand New Year's Resolutions can end almost as quickly as they begin. Some break their's the first morning. It's difficult to stop a bad habit cold turkey. When we find ourselves off track, we simply readjust. Perhaps instead of 'I'll only eat healthy' the goal could be to make one healthy choice with every meal. It's also easier to replace a bad habit with a good habit. The idea is to change your routine. For example, replace that evening pre-bedtime ice cream sandwich (my personal favorite) with either a healthy snack or, even better yet with some other activity. For example, taking a walk, playing / learning an instrument, or reading a book. You can read more about habits in 3 Ways to Cure Your Snooze Alarm Blues.
Some of my favorite goals for this year are to drink more water, work out twice per week, take more walks, create and stick to a monthly budget, look at my finances weekly, visit a friend I haven't seen in a while, get lunch with my grand-pop once per week, have more date nights, and take the kids skiing. Ok, that last one is my wife's goal. I don't even ski, but I can take a lesson...I suppose. Now, you may notice some of these goals, like 'take more walks', are not very specific. And I do think that setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals is a smart idea. However, it's a date night and I'm trying to have a good time, not obsess over specifics. Of course some of the specifics will materialize during our evening together, as I'm sure she'll want to hear more about the 'have more date nights' goal.
My Favorite Goal Setting Topics Include (in no specific order):
1) Family and Friends
2) Personal Growth
3) Health and Fitness
4) House Projects to Complete
7) Hobbies and Interests
8) Travel and Vacation Time
9) Business / Career
10) Team Development
12) Philanthropy / Charitable Giving
Ok, this is where I ask for your help. The great goal setting date night is coming soon and I really want to be on my game. You know, impress her with some new material. So please share your favorite goal setting topics; or simply share what you are excited to accomplish this year?
Taking a break and want to read more? Check out BECOMING AN EXPERT AT REMEMBERING NAMES OR CREATE A NEW FINANCIAL PARADIGM.
Also, check out John's book, No Shorts, Flip Flops, or Sunglasses. Proceeds benefit Children's Dyslexia Centers.
Are you a snooze alarmer? Do you have that uncontrollable desire for an extra nine minutes of slumber every morning? I used to set my alarm 18 minutes before I had to get up so I could pull off a couple of guilt free snoozes before I really had to get up. Of course, sometimes "really had to get up" can be quite subjective. What's your record for consecutive snoozes? Ever snooze for an hour? Two? Three? That's 20 snoozes!!! That's snooze bingeing!!!
Who thinks they can break that record tomorrow?
Hey, it’s good to have goals right?
Let's face it, we have all been guilty of hammering that snooze alarm for an extra nine (or 18 or 27...) minutes of sleep. I've tried every trick in the book. Put my alarm across the room so I had to get up to turn it off. I've found that if I put a pillow over my head I can drown out the alarm just enough to make it bearable. I've tried multiple alarms going off every few minutes...nope...didn't matter. All that made me do was move my arm every three or four minutes instead of every nine or ten. I've tried alarms with wake up calls and accountabilibuddies and phone chains and you name it.
So how did I kick the habit? I haven't hit the snooze button in years. Here are three things I did to defeat the snooze and start my day off right.
Rise and Grind or Snooze and Lose
It starts with a single decision. Ok, so that sounds obvious, but you have to start by telling yourself you're just not going to do it any more. As a matter of fact, I've found by taking that a step further and really thinking about how I want to wake up in the morning, it has made all the difference. I tell myself I'm going to hit the ground running in the morning, I'm going to feel refreshed, alive, and ready to go. I'm going to get my feet on the floor as soon as the alarm goes off. By thinking about how you are going to wake up and what you will feel when the alarm goes off, you are setting your intentions therefore increasing the likelihood that you will actually feel and act that way. This has worked for me even after a really late night where I knew I'd have to get up in a few hours. Now I'm not saying I feel amazing for the rest of the day when that happens, but I do for the moment of decision when that alarm sounds and it's either rise and grind or snooze and lose.
Kickstart My Heart
I can't stand waking up to buzzing or clanging or ringing. I want to wake up to something that fires me up. So I set my alarm to a song that rocks! Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue. Released 25 years ago this year, the introduction is a classic in which guitarist Mick Mars drops three consecutive strings resulting in a sound similar to a motorcycle shifting gears. The riff that follows lives up to the song's title and will get your blood pumping. I can't help but get up and go when it kicks on. You have to try it. Download it on iTunes at Kickstart My Heart on iTunes or on Amazon at Kickstart My Heart on Amazon. Set it as your alarm for tomorrow morning. Do it now...trust me.
When All Else Fails
I have a confession to make…one more trick that works for me. With my jam rockin' and my feet on the floor, butt not quite out of bed yet, I grab my phone and start deleting my junk email. I find the act has two benefits. One, by the time I'm done I'm awake. My brain is on. I'm ready to get up. Two, it saves time later. I do this first thing every morning whether I'm tired or not. I've essentially replaced the habit of snoozing with the habit of deleting junk email. Now some would say that going to email first thing in the morning is a terrible thing to do. They would be wrong. I'm not saying you should start emailing work or responding to requests, but deleting junk email, easy. Studies show that replacing a bad habit with a good habit is the fastest way to make a change. So, for example, I lost 25 pounds last year by replacing the habit of snacking on cheese and crackers at night with habit of snacking on edamame or carrots (no dressing) or not snacking at all. You can replace the habit of being a couch potato with the habit of something more productive by placing your remote in another room and leaving a book on your coffee table. Or perhaps that guitar you've been meaning to practice. Some may have to go so far as remove the batteries and put them in a different room than the remote. And if you've been neglecting to exercise in the morning because you've been snooze bingeing, try sleeping in your gym clothes, now that you know how to fend off the snoozes. Exercising 2-3 times per week was another habit that helped me shed some of that weight. For more on changing habits check out The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
Now when I'm really tired and I've managed to turn that awesome song off, tempted to lay down for just nine more minutes (which can easily lead to 18, 27, and so on), I'll jump on Facebook or Twitter. That's sure to make some "experts" cringe, but this works for me. And since I have an extra nine minutes anyway... ;)
John Wasserman is an author, coach, and motivational speaker working with students nationwide to help them on their own personal journey. To hear more, check out John's Keynote trailer Think Like a Champion.
There have been so many challenges flying around social media. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised millions of dollars. My kids got to sneak up behind me and dump ice cold water over my head while I was writing my donation check. Then their is the 7 Day Gratitude Challenge, where people post the things they are grateful for each day. Studies show this has long lasting effects on ones happiness, even after the challenge is over and the postings stop. There are 30 day dieting challenges, 90 day workout challenges, 10 day cleanses, and many other worthy endeavors. All of which are great and the people that accept these challenges are impacted in a very positive way. Sometimes physically and sometimes emotionally.
However, there have been no challenges that drive our businesses. Until now. Introducing the 10 Day New Business Challenge. For the next 10 days, I challenge you to go all out with your business or project, advertising or recruiting, new customer generation or an intense focus on creating value for your organization. Whatever you think would have the greatest impact on your business. Perhaps it means getting up earlier or simply putting more into the hours you are already working. Maybe it's adding in 5-10 extra phone calls after each event in your day. I'm not saying you should neglect everything else that's important in your life. I'm saying sit down, right now, with a pencil and paper and put together a plan that will create some serious new business over the next 10 days. What would that look like? How would you feel about the accomplishment? When was the last time you were all in and went all out? What if you really let yourself get into it for 10 days straight?
No short cuts.
No snooze alarm.
10 Days of giving your best YOU to your business. What momentum would you create for the months that follow? How would your capacity increase? How would that impact you financially?
Talk to the ones you love and ask for their support in this adventure. Plan time for them too, but ask for their okay to let you crush your new business plan for the next 10 days.
I proposed this idea to several of our managers and they loved the challenge. The idea of giving their very best to grow their business. Each one of them came up with different ideas on how to do it, but the beauty of it is that the ideas are their's and their's alone. We are always more excited about executing our own ideas than someone else's. Not to mention, we can do anything for 10 days. So, it's go time. Time to crush it! Let your heart lead the way, fire up your soul, and watch the impossibilities vanish. You'e got this.
Need more? Check out Crushing a Really Big Goal.
John Wasserman is author of the book No Shorts, Flip Flops, or Sunglasses: How to get and Make the Most of Your first Real Job
After a week away and being completely disconnected from email, text, and facebook, I returned to find that three of my friends had challenged me to the ice bucket challenge in support of ALS. The rule is that if you do not accept the challenge within 24 hours, you donate $100 to ALS. It's an amazing cause and I didn't hesitate to make my donation. However, my children (ages 9 and 12) saw things a bit differently than I did. Check out this short video to find out how.
From the ALS website: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
Most commonly, ALS strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. ALS has cut short the lives of other such notable and courageous individuals as Hall of Fame pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Senator Jacob Javits, actors Michael Zaslow and David Niven, creator of Sesame Street Jon Stone, television producer Scott Brazil, boxing champion Ezzard Charles, NBA Hall of Fame basketball player George Yardley, pro football player Glenn Montgomery, golfer Jeff Julian, golf caddie Bruce Edwards, British soccer player Jimmy Johnstone, musician Lead Belly (Huddie Ledbetter), photographer Eddie Adams, entertainer Dennis Day, jazz musician Charles Mingus, former vice president of the United States Henry A. Wallace and U.S. Army General Maxwell Taylor.
You can donate at http://www.alsa.org/
by John Wasserman
Every year about this time our sales representatives go all out. They have just over two weeks to achieve a monster goal. This is a goal that they have never accomplished before. It really stretches them and because it does, it really causes them to grow. In most cases they find out more about themselves over this period of two plus weeks than any previous month (perhaps even year) of their lives. This type of goal setting is healthy, if you're in it for the journey more so than the end result. If you can commit to your plan and the activity required to make your mark. We do extensive training to help our students operate at peak performance. Here are some of the things we get them focused on to take on a really BIG goal.
Nietzsche said, “A person who has a Why can deal with any How.”
I love what Dr. Doug Hirschhorn, who coaches portfolio managers at elite hedge funds, says: "If you don’t understand your core motivation, you won’t know what’s driving your engine, which means that you won’t know what buttons to push to rev up the power you need to take yourself to the next level." That's the level we need to be on to crush a really BIG goal, right?
The #1 key to taking yourself to the next level is to stop asking yourself How? The reason most people go through life with big dreams but fail to achieve them is because they ask themselves "How" before they know their Why.
How am I going to grow my business?
How am I going to get that promotion?
How am I going to sell $________?
How can I get more work done in less time?
How can I double my income?
Those questions are no different from asking yourself:
How am I going to lose 25 pounds? (I lost 25 lbs last year and kept it off, and while I will save that story for another blog, it started with my the very same principles I am writing about here)
How am I going to get everything done?
How am I going to gain the support of my family, spouse, team, etc?
What happens when you ask yourself those How questions? Do you feel more energized and determined, or do you begin to worry and fear that you can't or won't be successful? How is a question that's bound to bring up negative feelings. Instead of getting you excited, it leaves you deflated. For most people, when they get deflated, they simply stop trying. But the best performers have broken the code. They learn how to control their fears and emotions so that they can put their Why to work and improve their performance. You can do it too. But first you need to figure out what your Why really is.
What's your Why?
Make a list of reasons Why accomplishing this goal matters to you. Why are you doing it? Why do you want to be great? The longer your list the better, but you need one or two core reasons Why. I've seen lists of over 100 reasons Why someone felt achieving their goal or dream was important to them. Feel free to include all the positive short term and long term changes that will happen when you achieve your goal.
Why's can be things like: income, future promotions, the impact on your confidence, proving you are capable of anything you put your mind to, or increasing your capacity now to make future goals and actions seem more attainable. Or they can have an even deeper meaning. I've had people tell me, "I'm donating 20% of my earnings to ___ charity." or "It will change the trajectory of my financial future which will allow me to provide my children with the things I was never able to have." or "I'm doing this for my Grandmother who just passed away. She would have been so proud."
Some people like to print each Why on an 8.5 X 11 piece of paper and post them all over their home and car as a constant reminder of why they are working so hard. That's powerful indeed. And a great way to get others involved in your mission. Regardless of how you do it, you need to keep that list where you can see it everyday. Especially, right after a tough day or right before an important activity.
The bottom line is, Why will motivate you to succeed. Why will keep you going when you get frustrated. Why will keep you energized instead of succumbing to fear or fatigue. Why will push you to continue when others are telling you to give up. “Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, now that is true strength.” ― Chris Bradford, The Way of the Sword.
Why it Works
There is no secret that those top producing "crushing life" types are attempting to keep from you. It's a matter of perspective. Knowing Why you want to do something shifts your perspective from negative to positive. Instead of getting that sinking feeling in your gut because you're asking, "How am I ever going to do all the work needed to achieve my goal?", you'll be energized by knowing, "I need to do this because..."
Once you totally engage with your Why, your mind and body will work in tandem to figure out how. "Knowing Why takes you from wanting or wishing to willing; from desire to execution." says Hirschhorn. "To get to the next level you need to put yourself on the line, commit wholeheartedly to the process, and do whatever it takes to make it happen. It takes discipline, commitment, determination, a willingness to take risks – and most important of all, a structure and a plan."
While Others Hesitate, Winners Activate
For our sales people, when they go after a really BIG goal, it's morning phone time and all day "phone jams" (it's much more fun to call it a phone jam, trust me). They do this with their team leader and their top peers. Champions are constantly looking for ways to improve, so they surround themselves with like minded people. When they hear things like "status quo" it feels like a hammer to the head. Champions know to feed their minds good stuff. They are constantly reading, watching videos and listening to audios that stimulate growth. They will do just about anything, make whatever sacrifices they have to make, because anything less than giving their very best is unacceptable. Imagine maintaining that level of intensity every day of your life. That’s what makes those at the top in any field so extraordinary. It's that something extra they give to everything they do. As David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, said, “The great secret about goals and visions is not the future they describe but the change in the present they engender.”
The most amazing part of that is that it’s a conscious choice. Peak performers choose growth over remaining average every time. But that same choice is also yours to make. The key is to find whatever motivates you and keeps you on track. i.e. Your WHY
If you really want to achieve greatness, hit that BIG goal, be a top performer, you absolutely without question have to leave it on the field. I love how Paid to Exist blogger Jonathan Mead defines leaving it on the field: "Don’t end the game feeling like you could have given more. Don’t leave feeling like you played it safe when you had the opportunity for something greater. If you give everything, there will be no question about what you could or might have done."
Got a BIG goal? Make your Why list today. You'll figure out How. Now is the time to crush it! So, now that you know where to start, what are you going to do?
Taking a break and want to read more? Check out BECOMING AN EXPERT AT REMEMBERING NAMES OR DO YOU HAVE AN ENTREPRENEUR'S MINDSET?
Also, check out the book. This is way more than your average, cookie-cutter book on how to write a résumé and find a job.
It’s a personal journey of discovery that I hope will inform, inspire, and empower. I’ve been sharing my journey for more than twenty years with small groups of college-aged men and women, showing them how to get a head start on their professional and business lives and have fun doing it.
From to how to deal with rejection, it's all here in this breezy, fun tutorial on the essentials that will give you an edge when you head out to start your full-time career. Proceeds go to a great charity, Children's Dyslexia Centers.
by John Wasserman
Proceeds benefit Children's Dyslexia Centers