mental wellness

Mental Wellness & the Creative Entrepreneur

Over the weekend, there was yet another mass shooting. 11 people were injured, 3 people – including the gunman – were killed.

At this point, we’re not sure what caused the guy to do what he did. But many would guess that it was the fact that he was upset that he didn’t do as well as he wanted. He took it out on those who, in his mind, he could blame for his failure.

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen all kinds of people acting out in similar fashions. Whether it’s the series of mass shootings we’ve seen or it’s those cases where the person opted to take  take their own life, creatives seem to be pretty prone to being involved in either situation.

 

Nature of Success

One might think that those of us who have had success in our lives, that we might be able to rise above these thoughts. Unfortunately, that just simply isn’t the case. As The Notorious B.I.G. said, “Mo Money, Mo Problems!”

I’ve mentioned this before, but those who are often the most depressed are the ones who usually have the fire to become successful. They think that money, fame, and freedom will solve their woes. But in the end, they don’t. They’re as unhappy as they were when they first started.

If these things made us happier with life, then there’s a good chance that people like Robin Williams, Chester Bennington, Kate Spade, and Anthony Bourdain would still be around.

 

We’re Aliens

Recently I came across a new video by the infamous group Die Antwoord. If you’ve never heard their music, then the best way to describe their work is if you mixed a hip-hop artist with an EDM DJ.

It’s not for everyone. However, the message they produce with their songs is one of the most creative I’ve seen in the last decade.

In the case of this video and song, they’re talking about not fitting in.

Here’s a few of the lyrics

I close my eyes and float into the night I like to let my mind drift

Make a jump into a new dimension

Thank God I got that gift

Sometimes it feels like coming from this planet people are so sick and twisted

I don’t wanna fit in anyway, I’d rather be a misfit

They laugh at me because I’m different, I laugh at them because they’re all the same

I am a alien

No matter how hard I try I don’t fit in

Always all on my own, sad and lonely

All I want is for someone to play with me

mental wellness

Do you feel like an alien? If so, know you’re not alone.

 

If I’m understanding this song correctly, I appreciate its message. When I was growing up, I was bullied constantly. Sure, I was the biggest kid in my grade, but I was also a pretty big geek compared to my classmates. And in my small town, that was two strikes right there!

However, looking back, I can now say that I was definitely a proto-millennial. I always had a better time interacting with kids who were younger than me. It’s one of the main reasons why I’m proud to be called a Xennial.

But man, when I was in the thick of it – where it got especially bad was my first few of years at Purdue. In high school, the one thing that saved me was that I was a good student. However, when I started at Purdue I struggled to get C’s in my classes. During that time, I’d try anything to make my grades better. So I can definitely understand why people can just do crazy things when they’re depressed. Depression and an overall feeling of not living up to your own or others standards can really make you into someone you’re not.

 

Coping with Depression

So how did I get out of my funk?

Well, first, I think the biggest thing I did was start hanging out with people who had similar goals in life. Luckily for me, just when I was starting to hit the bottom, I gained several good friends. Two of which were my groomsmen. They weren’t judgemental and really helped me take my mind off of worrying about tests all the time.

It was also about that time where I started actually thinking about working out on my own. I had always heard people talk about exercise as a stress reliever – so I started going to the Co-Rec pretty regularly. (In fact, that was one of the places where I’d see alumni cohost Laila from time to time!)

Another thing that I did was take advantage of free services provided by the Department of Psychology at Purdue. I think I probably had 3 different issues that I saw them for. I still remember some of the issues that people in my support groups had… and I don’t even remember why I went!!

That said, that last one there might be the only way that some people might be able to get help. Seriously, seek professional help. If it’s good enough for Lucifer, then us mortals can probably benefit as well!

If you’re having suicidal thoughts, get help right away. Call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

 

Keep Up with the Weeds

Now just because I got out of my funk, doesn’t mean that I stopped utilizing those habits that I developed back then.

Today, I try to be as social as I can. I still walk Max (RIP Sadie and Sable), and I try to be mindful of what I’m eating. And I also make sure I get a great amount of sleep.

That said, I’ve learned that there’s a couple of other things that I do these days that I didn’t back then. One thing I try to do is be as optimistic as possible by using the 5 Minute Journal – which can be found on the App and Play Store. Since using it, I’ve come to realize that affirmations really help drain your brain of negative thoughts.

Another thing that I’ve found that helps me is not “subscribing” to all the things that I could. Meaning, I don’t put myself into situations where I feel that I could become addicted to something. For example, even though I still call myself a gamer, I limit myself to playing a handful of games only a handful of hours per week. Even more, I could never see myself as someone who plays to get paid. It would take the enjoyment out for me by adding stress to it.

Another example is with it being the football season, it’s time once again for fantasy football. To make sure I don’t get too involved with it, I only play free leagues. The stress from watching the games is enough for me!

 

Action Steps

So, I hope that helps someone. The shooting this past weekend really hit me. Again, it could have been something avoidable. I can see why some people think that removing the gun from the equation might help, but the real problem isn’t the firearms. Guns are simply a tool. It’s the people behind the tool that we have to worry about.

That dude was going to kill one way or another. And it didn’t have to be that way.

If you or someone you know is having issues make sure to get help. Heck, even you reaching out and saying hi to someone you know that’s having some issues might be all it takes to prevent them from doing something drastic.

 

failure to success

From Failure to Success: How Sharing Your Missteps Can Help Build Rapport

During the beginning of my entrepreneurial career, I heard a lot of failure to success stories. Whether they were in an LTD speech or on a podcast, these talks always had a way to motivate me to want more. However, when sharing these stories with others, I would have trouble conveying the messages in a way that motivated them as they motivated me.

 

Later, I heard John Maxwell talk about what might be the reason for this. And as I dug into it more, I realized that what he said made a lot of sense.

He said that many times, when we’re trying to encourage people with these awesome stories, we’re actually discouraging them.

Why?

Because they’re simply hearing too much about success. They’re comparing their own lives to these amazing people and “emotionally disqualifying” themselves.

But here’s the thing. All real success in life has a huge component of failure. When I was in academia I didn’t understand this. I couldn’t afford to fail my classes. So I did things I look back at now and realize it wasn’t part of my character.

Likewise, when people are in the corporate world, they’re afraid to lose their jobs. So they’ll avoid confrontation with their higher ups. The problem is that being a “yes man” might actually hurt the company in the long run.

 

Building Hope in Others

When we’re telling our stories to attract others to what we’re doing, we naturally might feel that it’s necessary to illustrate ourselves in a way that we’d perceive an “expert” would.

The problem I’ve seen several entrepreneurs make in their media, posts, or other messages, is that they rarely embrace the hard times. In fact, you might know some folks where all they ever show is their awesome toys – the results of their success.

Those of us who have seen success though, know what it took to get to where we’re at. In fact, I always think of a certain illustration when asked about “what success looks like”:

failure to success

 

 

When we embrace our failures, it makes us seem more reachable and it makes those who we’re influencing more teachable.

Or, in short,

People are impressed with success but impacted by our failures. – John Maxwell

 

Investing in and Learning from Failures

When I was going to high school, I remember someone (probably a guidance counselor) asking me a random question. I’m sure you’ve been asked this question too:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

I remember answering this question would motivate me to think about the future and what I wanted to do.

But there’s a problem inherently wrong with this question. In the long run, it’s not possible to be successful without having that element of failure.

So a better way of asking this question might be something like:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you WOULD fail, but you knew you would learn, grown, and get better?

 

Adjusting on the Fly

One of the most successful coaches in NFL history has been Bill Belichick. Love or hate the Patriots, you have to admire how they’ve been able to win as much as they have in the last two decades.

Many people attribute their success to Bill’s ability to make appropriate adjustments at halftime.

In contrast, as I’ve previously mentioned in this post, the 2017 Colts were notorious about losing games in the second half. While many times they seemed to come out with a lot of energy, inevitably halftime would come.

While most teams would change things a bit, they didn’t seem to change their game. In fact, if they were leading at half time, they’d play far more conservatively.

They were playing not to lose.

The difference between these two coaching approaches is jarring. The Colts coaching staff knew they were playing for their jobs. And subsequently, they feared failure.

On the other hand, the Patriots are willing to change things up during the game. Sure, they don’t want to lose, but they’re in a much better place to succeed with all the adjustments they make. Plus, if they do lose, they put even more time in the film room to figure out how to improve.

 

Seeing Failures as Learning Experiences

So how do we go from “playing not to lose” to “playing to win”? Again, it’s all about seeing failure as a means to success.

That said, there’s a handful of small tweaks we can make in our perspectives if we really want to make a change:

 

Get More Optimistic

There’s always ways to get better. Whether it’s through honing your own skills or helping others get better at their strengths, there’s always a chance to improve.

 

Take More Responsibility

When I think of the poise that Peyton Manning had and now Andrew Luck as leaders of the Colts, I can’t help but notice how much responsibility they’ve taken. Instead of blaming others for their loses at the post game podium, they’d always respond with “That’s my fault. I could have played better.” or “There’s things we all need to work on. I didn’t help the situation today.”

Even in a win, their response was/is always predictable “Yeah, we’ve come pretty far and did really well today. But there’s some things that we can definitely clean up a bit more.”

Though they might not have been the sole reason for a loss, they took responsibility of the failure. And it’s through this simple perspective tweak that they felt the need more to learn and improve on their own performance while inspiring those around them to get better.

 

Be a Bit More Humble

Another thing that Peyton and Andrew noticeably do is praise the members on their team. Peyton was always praising his linemen, and Andrew always talks about how it was a team effort. This rubbed off on their teammates quite noticeably. In fact, there’s some Colts who were players during Peyton’s time that today put in personal time to mentor and coach the new players.

So if you’re praised for something a team did turn it around and appreciate the team. If you’re in a position where you can help others be more successful in their work, help them. They might pay it forward.

 

Build Your Resilience:

Another thing I’ve noticed about successful sports teams is that they tend to have a short term memory for wins or losses. Regardless of the outcome, they always seem to look in the rear view mirror for a day and move on.

That said, a losing mentality can be contagious. So as previously mentioned it’s important that when players fail, they actually look at why they failed and learn how to improve. They simply can’t brush it off. In fact, on successful teams the better players will be wanting to get to the film as quickly as possible. Not so great players will shy away from seeing the film of their performance.

 

Embrace Challenges

Let’s face it, challenges will come up in our lives. It’s how you choose to respond to those challenges that make us who we are.

In sports, successful teams always “look forward” to playing the next team on their schedule. Sure, it’s easy to say this when you’re going against a team that barely knows how to win, but it raises your character a bit more when you’re saying the same thing about a team that has repeatedly beat your team in recent years.

Here’s another example.  In college, I learned that this approach really helped me study because I’d take the homework just as serious as the tests and exams themselves. Without the time trying to actually understand the homework, I would have been doomed for the tests. (This is completely different than how most people approach studying in high school.)

 

Action Steps

So if you find yourself in a situation where you’re wondering “why am I having problems connecting with my audience (or coworkers)?” ask yourself if you’ve been attempting to connect with them by sharing your own flops.

If not, see if some of these tactics can help you make more of an impact.

The better you become at embracing your failures, the deeper connections you’ll find yourself building with those around you.ii                                           

important life lessons

5 Important Life Lessons I Learned from My Dogs

Back in February I wrote about the loss of my dog, Sadie. She was so cool and VERY laid back about things in general. Other than me needing to feed her, she was a pretty independent (and stubborn!) girl.

That was in stark contrast to my other girl, Sable.

Sable has always been high maintenance. Maria would said say she was spoiled as a puppy.

There was good reason for this… and it all started the first night I had her back at Purdue.

That night, she wouldn’t stop whining when everyone went to bed. Of course, it might have had something to do with the fact that we put her in the back room away from everyone.

I tried so hard to keep her out there. But she was so persistent! Eventually I caved in and brought her into my room. It wasn’t long after that she learned she could get practically anything she wanted by asking for it. Including sleeping on my bed!!

From that point, she became one of the most vocal dogs I’ve ever known.

 

Almost two weeks ago, on Thursday June 21st, I had to let her cross the Rainbow Bridge.

Like her sister, she had been fighting cancer for a long time. While it wasn’t until recently we found out that it was lung cancer, we did know she had developed it because she started having seizures in late 2017.

She was having a heck of a time that last week and it was so hard to make that decision as it hadn’t been that long since I lost Sadie. However, anything that the veterinarians could do was a Hail Mary at that point.

I knew I had to make the call. I never had it in me to see her suffer – even as a pup.

So she’s now with her sister at Mom’s dog park in the sky.

Love you and miss you both, Girly Girls.

important life lessons

Princess Sadie and Duchess Sable – My Girly Girls

Traveling – A Great Time to Reflect

The next day, I had to hop on a flight to San Diego to meet up with Maria in the El Centro / Mexicali area. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of weeks – so it was certainly something to look forward to.

As I was traveling down there and back, I had time to think about how I was going to memorialize Sable’s passing.

With Sadie, I wrote about the grieving process. In there, you’ll see that my grieving process includes being creative in some way as a tribute.

For this tribute, I’m going to share some things I picked up from the two of them over the years.

 

Persistence Pays Off

As I’ve mentioned, Sable had a way of getting what she wanted. Not only did she start barking at someone if she wanted something bad enough, but she’d always outsmart her sister when Sadie was chewing or playing with something.

The biggest power move she had in this situation was when she acted as if she didn’t want Sadie’s toy. She’d walk over to someone for a butt scratch. When she got it, Sadie noticed and came over too (she was a butt scratch addict!!). Right away, Sable would run over to whatever Sadie had been working on and wouldn’t give it back!

They taught me that if you want something, just become the squeaky wheel!

Forgiveness and Living in the Moment

For the longest time, I had problems forgiving people. I took a lot of hurt around with me wherever I went.

When I went to Purdue, I wanted to become a new version of myself. However, my old habits kept me in a mental jail cell which prevented me from fully experiencing life at another level. It wasn’t really until my mom passed in 2010, that I started becoming my current self. It was then that I realized you have to live your own life – despite what you might perceive others expect of you. That was something she hadn’t done. She lived in her own mental prison herself, and most of it was self inflicted.

When I was suddenly in charge of both girls, I noticed that despite all the change that was going on, they were content and happy. They lived in the moment. They weren’t concerned with what people thought of them. And they didn’t hold aggressions with neighbors who yelled at them for being on their property.

My girls were just themselves. They taught me to just be me.

 

It’s Going to Be Okay

When I was going through that transition period between losing Mom in 2010 and marrying Maria in 2013, I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I grew up. On one hand, I felt that I had to live the life I went to school for. On the other hand, I realized that most of the time I was in school, I was simply doing what was expected of me.

I was expected to have a successful career.

And to be frank, I had no feeling of what success meant. The only things I had success in I had help achieving – I had guidance. I was now in the real world… and struggling!

But whenever I was with them after getting home from a long day of work – I was at piece. As long as I lived day to day and not sweat the details, things were going to work out.

It’s truly amazing what happens when you have this perspective.

Things will work out. Maybe not the way you plan for in the beginning – but they work out.

 

Take Time for Daily Exercise

One of the things that the girls wouldn’t let me forget about, especially between 2010 and 2016 was that they needed their daily walks. During those years in particular, we’d walk in the heat and cold. They didn’t care. Between 3 to 5 pm, they’d expect their walk.

Especially Sable. She was always on a mission to get to where we were going. She barely stopped to smell scents!

While I might not have been ready to take a break yet, it was during these walks that I was able to just think about things. I’d come back even more focused to wrap up the day on a good note.

I need to start getting Max on that same schedule. Unfortunately, we’ve had a pretty hot summer and he has had very little interest in being outside for long!

 

Pay Attention to Those You Love

My last Labrador, Shadow, passed when she was 10 years old. Like Sable and Sadie, she had developed cancer. Her mass was on her shoulder and it was super unbearable. In fact, she was in so much pain that she wouldn’t even try to move to go outside.

Knowing their life expectancy was around that 10 year mark, I started paying attention to them when they got to be about 8 and 9 years old. Often, I’d wake up in the middle of the night in a panic, wondering if they were still with us.

Thankfully, they were.

In retrospect, I think because of this fear and appreciating them as they ran to the door each day as I got home, I had a lot of good quality time with them. That’s actually a comfort for me now as I grieve.

In a time when we’re all glued to our digital devices or work, it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to spend this time with our loved ones.

Take the time to appreciate your close ones on a regular basis. You never know when the last time will be.

 

Action Steps

Nothing really deep here, guys. If you have doggos yourself, give them an extra strong hug for me when you see them next. Appreciate them.

For those of you who might have recently lost your own furry friends, is there anything they taught you?

Feel free to share below.

achieving the dream

Achieving the Dream – Why One Degree Makes All the Difference

I recently got the opportunity to spend some time with Harrison and Dr. Ping up at Purdue. We had a chance to see a lot of the change that is going on around campus – and… man, there’s a lot!

While we were exploring a bit, we also paid a visit to the Triple XXX Family Restaurant. Whenever someone’s new to the area, that’s one of my go to places because it’s been a Purdue establishment since 1929. In fact, it’s such a local treasure that Guy Fieri visited it back in 2007 for his show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

achieving the dream

After leaving there, we went to meet up with one of my business mentors – Mike Cassidy – on campus.

As Mike was chatting with us about our plans, we came to a part of the discussion where we were talking about his students and members of the Amplify Hope program.

Something got stuck in my mind about both groups of people. I realized that they were trying to build their dreams without fully having a real plan in place. They’re doing what they’re doing because their emotions are telling them to. (That’s actually one of the things that Mike helps his students with – getting out of their own head and looking at their business objectively.)

There might be a few minor issues they’ve overlooked, but over time those minor bugs can lead to huge problems.

 

Why One Degree Can Make a Huge Difference

These minor issues might not seem like a big deal. I mean, a few minor tweaks going along the way and the problems they might cause can be mitigated, right?

Well, sure.

However, if they’re not taken care of, then we’re looking at problems that might be noticed until it’s too late.

The traditional illustration of this principle is one of distance traveled:

Let’s say you’re going somewhere and you’re off course by just one degree. After one foot, you’ll miss your target by 0.2 inches. Trivial, right? But what about as you get farther out?

 

  • After 100 yards, you’ll be off by 5.2 feet. Not huge, but noticeable.
  • After a mile, you’ll be off by 92.2 feet. One degree is starting to make a difference.
  • After traveling from San Francisco to L.A., you’ll be off by 6 miles.
  • If you were trying to get from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., you’d end up on the other side of Baltimore, 42.6 miles away.
  • Traveling around the globe from Washington, DC, you’d miss by 435 miles and end up in Boston.
  • etc…

 

See what I’m talking about?

In real life, this can mean the difference of creating a business or nonprofit that is sustainable or pursuing a mission that makes someone take a 2nd or 3rd mortgage out on their house.

The key is to not let emotions and the pursuit of passion get in the way of our own success.

 

Delusions of Passion

David Anderson and Mark Nathan spoke in detail about this in their book, The Delusion of Passion: Why Millennials Struggle to Find Success.

In the book they argue that there’s several delusions we Millennials struggle with.

  • Where there is Passion, There is No Pain
  • Where there is Passion, There are No Problems
  • Passion Precedes Total Commitment
  • You Must Be Passionate About the Process
  • Living Passionately Is all About You

When we believe one of these delusions, we’re knocking our navigation off by a degree or more from the very beginning!

 

Action Steps

If you haven’t had the chance to read this book, here’s the link. Also, I’ve had both Mark and David on the podcast to discuss their perspectives a bit further.

I imagine it’d be worth your time to see if any of these perspectives are sabotaging your efforts to get to where you want in your career in life.

investing basics

Whitney Nicely – Real Estate Investing Made Simple: Learning the A, B, C’s of Investing Basics (AoL 123)

If you’re an entrepreneur who’s making money passively or you’re simply interested to do so, there’s a good chance you’ve read a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.

I remember when I read that book back in 2002 – it was an eye opener. I couldn’t put the book down. Since then, it’s one of the books I’ve bought whenever I see on sale so that I can give it to other people when I see them struggling to get ahead.

What’s cool is that this particular book isn’t the only one that Robert has written. And if you spend any time reading those other books, you realize that he made a big part of his fortune early on in Real Estate.

Today’s guest is on the same path. After starting in 2013 being paid $24k a year, she now does that in a month. In fact, she actually owns more than $2.5 MILLION in real estate assets!

Personally when I saw that she’s in the business of helping others do the same, I had to jump at the chance to get her on the show.

In our chat, we talk about getting started in real estate investing and some of the common pitfalls that newbies make when they’re getting started.

If you’re thinking about getting into the investing game and not sure where to start – real estate might be a good choice.

Listen in to find out!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How did Whitney get started in real estate? 7:26
  • Where can people find real estate auctions to attend? 10:35
  • When did she believe that she could leave her 9 to 5 position to do real estate investing (REI) full time? 12:10
  • What’s some good advice that she’d tell someone first starting out? 14:55
  • What’s the process in finding a property to possibly buy as a someone starting out? 17:48
  • What are some mistakes that she’s see newbies make in REI? 19:31
  • How does someone scale their real estate business without getting over consumed by responsibilities? 23:20
  • How can someone find an apartment complex to buy if they have the means to? 26:35
  • What are some emotional pitfalls that can happen when you’re a landlord? 29:31
  • What’s a good strategy to use when you’re looking for places to invest in? 34:48
  • What’s she looking forward to in the near future? 37:00
  • Who are 3 influencers that have helped her get to where she’s at today? 38:42
  • Is there something that she believes is going to affect entrepreneurship or REI in the future? 41:45
  • What’s an issue that people should be talking about yet hardly anyone is? 43:17
  • Is there something that all high school students must know? 44:24
  • What’s it mean to live a life of abundance? 45:44

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

 

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Strategies to get Started:

Why Women are the Best REI’s:

Blissful Buy and Hold Houses with Moneeka Sawyer:

What’s Whitney’s Course About?


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Cheers!

a simple life

The Magic of a Simplified Life

Over the weekend, many people all around the world watched the Royal Family’s wedding. When you think of a Royal wedding, you think of a huge production full of… well all kinds of stuff: trumpets, long dresses, swords, horses, crowns and tiaras, limos… you name it.

As much as it was advertised, many would say that you had to practically be under a rock to not have watched a part of it.

If that is the case, then consider me squashed!

I really had no interest in watching it.

If you did, then we’re cool. It’s your call to do so.

But for me, I didn’t want to watch it because it interferes with my desire to keep simplicity in my life.

What do I mean by that? Well, let’s talk about it.

 

The Western World is Full of Offers

So what do I mean by keeping simplicity in my life? Well, it’s what it sounds like.

I like having a simple life. I’m really a simple guy. I have the things I like to do, and there’s only certain times where I feel I need to buy something.

Heck, I won’t buy anything unless it’s a replacement for something else that’s broken, torn, or somehow wrecked. I have clothes that are fairly old (some are 10 years old!), one of my cars is 20 years old, and when I do listen to music – it’s usually from the 90’s or the 00’s.

Here’s the thing, I’m happy with this stuff.

But, if I was to watch the wedding – I might have thought “Oh, damn. I really need to step up my game! I want something like that!”

Growing up, I was always comparing myself to others. It’s something we all do.

Even this morning, I saw an advertisement for a store I’ve never heard of. It was a very Ikea like place – I think it was called At Home?

Anyway, the ad that was played was like, “Keep up with the seasons by buying all new furniture!

Keep up with the seasons? Really? Who needs to switch their chairs and sofas that many times?

No one. But society, especially here in western society, would make us think we have to keep up with the Jones’. No, scratch that. The Kardashians!

Why do people behave this way?

Because buying stuff just to buy stuff – aka retail therapy – is nothing more than addiction. Those who participate get a high when the thing is new, but in the end, they don’t want the item anymore and/or, even worse, they end up being in a worse financial situation than they started.

 

Getting rid of Stress with a Simplified Life

So if you find yourself with a lot of stuff in your house you wonder why you bought OR you find it hard to live under your means, perhaps it’s time to not think about buying yourself out of the problem. Instead, perhaps it might be easier to bring more simplicity into your life?

I’m not saying you have to go minimalistic. No, instead I’m suggesting to have less stress in your life. Less clutter. Having the money to buy things you really REALLY want.

Does that sound good?

Well, here’s a few things to think about:

If your house was about to get hit by a tornado or a hurricane and you had a 20 minutes to pack a handful of items, what would they be?

In that same situation, what items would you pack in a suitcase?

If you had to move into a space half the size of what you’re currently in – what would you HAVE to keep?

 

Action Steps

I’ll tell you, when Laila told me she was a minimalist, I wondered what she meant by that. What went into being a minimalist? Later I had the chance to interview a couple of digital nomads including Arne Giske and Gregory Diehl. We found out that being able to live the lifestyle they do requires a minimalistic approach.

Today, I know that the minimalist lifestyle isn’t completely for me. However, it might be for you. Here’s a couple of exercises you can try if you’re wanting to experiment with this lifestyle. If it feels liberating, then maybe it’s a sign to bring more simplicity into your life.

 

  1. For one month, limit the non-essential items you bring into the house to one thing a week. At the same time, go through your house and ask yourself what items you need and love. If you don’t need OR love something, then consider getting rid of that item – you can trash it, sure – but I’d recommend giving it to someone who appreciates it (just like the collectors do with Mike and Frank on American Pickers!) either by giving or selling it.
  2. Also, as I mentioned in a recent post, pay for everything with cash only. This gives you a finite about amount of funds to work with and makes it harder for you to buy on impulse. You learn to appreciate the money you have. Stretch that dollar!

 

Let me know how it works out for you!

industry trends

Keeping Up with Industry Trends – Should Businesses be Overly Concerned about Being Trendy?

Many of us struggle with finding content to write about. Especially if we’ve been writing or making content for awhile. As you’ve guys have seen this year, I’ve been writing in this blog since 2010. Since then, I’ve written quite a bit.

I have to admit, there’s times where I wonder if I’m going over the same stuff over and over. And if I am, is it worth it to you guys to go over something I’ve might have talked about not too long ago?

For those of us who are regularly creating content, it’s easy to do this because it’s what we know.

However, there are times where we might feel that we’re not keeping up with the times. That perhaps we’re missing something on this or that social media. Or that, perhaps, social media is where we should be to put our message out there.

Is that really the case? Let’s look at this a bit closer.

 

It’s All About Your List

When it comes to having a successful online business (or any business for that matter) is having a list of people who like what you’re about and could be a potential customer.

So, it’d make sense that the longer your list is, the more income you could possibly make when you release a new product.

This is true. And in fact, that’s the real power of Facebook and other social media platforms. Businesses of any size can “rent” parts of Facebook’s list (their users) by paying for ads. Or, as an alternative, if you don’t have a budget to spend on ads, you can spend more time by making a Facebook group.The more activity you have in your group, the more Facebook will share your group with its users. The more users you have in your group, the more you’ll be able to market to them.

But there’s a catch. You’re still using Facebook’s list.

And really, you need to own your own list. And still to this day, as I said in a recent interview, the best way of doing that is owning your own website and building a list of emails.

 

If You’re Not Trendy Can You Still Be Successful?

Now at this point, you might be thinking about that old saying “What brought you here, won’t get you to there.” Meaning, can my bread and butter – whatever you’re good at – can it take you to the next level?

The short answer is that it can – but not the way you’re currently doing it. What you’re offering people or however your servicing them, it should stay the same. If you want to scale, the way to do that is by changing your process.

However, don’t mistake this for new products or new services. Sure, you can get new customers by offering new things that are more trendy. BUT, that’s not what attracted your original customers.

What do your original customers want and are they still getting it? Ask yourself how can you service them better?

 

McDonald’s Attempt to Stay Trendy

Let’s take McDonald’s for example.

McDonald’s has a process that we’re familiar with. Every store has the same process. If you watched the movie “The Founder”, you’ll know that what Ray Kroc did to make McDonald’s better wasn’t by just toying around with the menu, it was by how he was able to scale the company. He offered the same thing at every store and that brought them loyalty.

That model worked for decades – until people started realizing what they were eating and wanted to eat better.

Now, McDonald’s realized that people wanted healthier alternatives. So they started offering all kinds of different products to cater to the healthy consumer. Their menu got larger and larger until in 2013 or so, not only could you order your regular burger, but you could order a fairly large chicken wrap.

The problem is, though, that these healthier alternatives that McDonald’s was trying… they weren’t improving their revenue. In fact, I’m guessing they were losing money with this bloated menu. Because it wasn’t too long that they got a new CEO and the menu was scaled back to a more basic selection.

They decided to cater to WHO got them there in the first place.

And one of the biggest ways they did this was by expanding the times in which they offered breakfast food.

That said, here we are in 2018 and I’d pretty much say that McDonald’s menu is about the same as it was when I was growing up. That’s why they’re still in business – not because of all the healthy alternatives they were starting to offer.

 

Social Media is Designed to be Addictive

Something else I want to point out is that social media is designed to keep you interacting with it. When I was in Honduras in January, I didn’t have a reliable internet connection. So I had just enough time to get me off of Facebook. Sure, there was a couple of times a day where I connected, but for entertainment – I read. And in fact, I read a good book you’re probably all aware of by now (Meaningful Work).

Unfortunately, that hasn’t helped me be the best steward when it comes to the Junto Facebook group. I still think that people get more fulfillment out of working their personal mission – but at the same time, they need to be actually working on it. On one hand, I don’t want to be the reason they spend all their time on Facebook, on the other hand if I didn’t care about that, the group might be growing at a more steady rate.

So, right now to get back on the horse with the Junto, I’m going to schedule time for me to actually be present on there and post. Because really, I’ve just stopped using social media altogether recently. It’s a great feeling, but I need to make sure I’m connected and connecting still too. So yeah, be it a half an hour or an hour, I’ll create a little time in order to do stuff in the group and create buzz in other groups.

 

Action Steps

So trends. Sure, they can be useful in creating more customers. But if you’re already a successful entrepreneur, stay with what you know works. Identify who those raving fans are and figure out how you can serve them better.

Are trends something that you can ignore all together? Probably not. Carve out a day once a week or once a month where you can explore to see what’s popular out there – where you can experiment in growing your business. Not only will you see more opportunities this way, but you’ll also be helping yourself avoid burnout!

As usual, let me know what you think below. How do you utilize trends in your work?