I'm often asked for book recommendations. Ever since I took on the task of reading 50 books in a year in an effort to break out of a slump. It worked. Sales skyrocketed. Now, I don't think you need to read 50 in a year, but 10-12 will keep your business moving in the right direction. Fifteen minutes per day and an hour or two on the weekends should be enough for you read 10 books per year, even if you are a slow reader like me. In fifteen minutes you can read at least 5 pages. In an hour, 20 pages. So with 15 minutes per day and an extra hour or two on the weekends, that's 60-80 pages per week. Most self-help, leadership, coaching, or business books are 200-300 pages. So there is no reason you couldn't read 10 books per year.
The real key to growth is sharing what you're reading. If you read them, you will have a lot to share. This will impact everyone in your organization. Readers are leaders, and vice-versa.
So, here are my 12 favorite (in no specific order). I'd love to hear about yours.
Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements by Robbin Phillips
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh
The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms by Danielle LaPorte
Bury My Heart at Conference Room B: The Unbeatable Impact of Truly Committed Managers by Stan Slap
You Already Know How to Be Great: A Simple Way to Remove Interference and Unlock Your Greatest Potential by Alan Fine
Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Go-Givers Sell More: by Bob Burg and John David Mann
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
Taking a mental break and in the mood for another great blog from author John Wasserman? Check out 6 Awesome Reasons to Choose a Career in Sales or Leading the Habitually Unpunctual. A new blog is posted every month. Scroll through JohnsShorts.com or check out the Archives.
Oh...and check out my book No Shorts, Flip Flops, or Sunglasses: How to Get and Make the Most of Your First Real Job - proceeds go to a great charity, Children's Dyslexia Centers, Inc. Thanks! You Rock!!
Are you growing in perseverance? A question that not only had I never been asked, but perhaps one of the best questions I've ever been asked. If you follow any of the thousands of success experts/life coaches/career gurus/etc, I'm sure you already know and agree with the idea that your growth as a person and as a professional must be intentional. If you stop growing, you start dying. Um...sounds dramatic...I'll choose growth please.
However, it is true. There have been times in my life where I really felt stuck. Career not going well. Not getting along with my boss or a co-worker. Gaining weight. Finances in a downward spiral. Testing my ability to persevere. You know, really sucking at life instead of crushing life. Those times were typically brought on by my own lack of growth. I simply got to a point where I thought I knew how to do everything that I needed to do to be good at everything I wanted to be good at. So I stopped doing the things that got me there in the first place. I stopped reading. Stopped reaching out to people for help at work. Stopped pouring into myself. This erosion caused me to have very little to pour into others. Once I snapped out if it, and put together a plan for growth, that's when things turned around. I started to do the things that would lead to growth. Read, reach out, attend seminars, listen to audios, and so on. I became a growth junkie for a whole year.
I've since slowed to a sustainable pace of reading once per day and reaching out to peers and mentors two to three times per month, but I gained so much momentum after that first year that the growth has been exponential. And because of that, I have so much more to offer others.
So, when I heard the question, "Are you growing in perseverance?", I lit up. Do the things that would have stopped you in your tracks last year, only slow you down this year? Are you being intentional about becoming stronger in this area of your life? I have a motto that I love to live by: You're Going to Get Over it Eventually... Why Not Now? This has helped me quickly focus on the things I can control.
I have learned that one of the most important things that separates the successful from the average is the amount of time they are willing to let themselves be bothered by setbacks. They tend to almost seamlessly suck it up, persevere and move forward, to embrace the challenge and work tirelessly on a solution. Successful people take more risks. Calculated risks. They know that setbacks are inevitable. You might be thinking, "I thought successful people were always positive." They are. They are positive that setbacks are inevitable.
Adversity is on every path to success. Because of this, successful people are mentally prepared for it, even though they have no idea what difficulties lie ahead.
Successful people 'get over it' quickly, with full confidence that the answers are out there, even though the path is unclear. This isn't magic. This is conditioning. Growing in perseverance improves overall effectiveness. Growth takes effort. Practice getting past misfortune/bad luck/disappointment quickly.
We have a mission on our team to help others "Think Like a Champion". We live by this ourselves. Many of my teammates wear this declaration on their wrist or have it hanging on their wall. It serves as a reminder that pain is temporary. It is a motivator to move forward swiftly, to make the tougher decision... in the moment... when it matters. To persevere is to stay on purpose (and off self) in spite of obstacles or adversity. Make this year your year to grow in perseverance. Think about the impact this will have on your life, as well as the lives of those you serve.
- 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 Do You Have an Entrepreneur's Mindset?
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
Proceeds benefit Children's Dyslexia Centers