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surround yourself with good people

Finding Your Success Board – Why It’s Necessary to Surround Yourself with Good People

Have you ever thought back to a time where you met someone super intriguing? Someone who simply made you feel better about the world? And all you had to do was be near them? Maybe you met them when you were in school and they gave you a certain attention that others didn’t? Perhaps it was a colleague you gave you some career guidance?

Hopefully, you’ve lucked into one of these people in some way in your life.

They’re a complete joy to be with.

 

John Maxwell says that people are like elevators. Some bring you up, and others bring you down.

Personally, I’m all about spending time with people who bring me up. In fact, I try to have a core group of around 5 people in which I bounce ideas and concerns off of on a regular basis.

Why 5? Because Jim Rohn once said that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

If you’re looking to get somewhere in life or with your business, you need to make sure that those people are people YOU’VE chosen and are not placed there randomly by the universe.

 

YOU have to seek these people out.

So here’s the question – how do you find these people? Well, here’s a few ideas to help you start a process to find these right folks.

 

Define Your Influencers

Here’s the thing. The 5 people on your Success Board – your Influencers – they need to be sought after and chosen by you. Your immediate family members don’t really count because they’re family and you’re stuck with them. There might be some bias there and there’s a good chance they might not have the life that you’re looking to have someday.

So who does that leave? You’d think the rest of the world, but that’s simply not the case. I wish it was as simple as that!

No, what you and I both have to do is have a way of sorting out the folks that we want in our life. We want to find those that take us up, not down.

How do you do that?

By defining a list of characteristics that you want in those people!

If you take the time to define the vision and the attributes of your inner circle, you could discover those folks who embody those attributes are probably not far away from where you’re at today.

When it comes to those that I surround myself with, here’s a list of characteristics that I thought was important.

 

Authentic

No one wins when people try to be someone they’re not. Not the person themselves, and certainly not those that think they’re that certain kind of person. Who you are professionally should be a better representation of who you are, but not completely alien.

 

Intelligent

For me, up til grad school, I knew I always wanted to be around people who had completed their bachelors. The reason I believed I wanted this in my friends and spouse was because for the longest time, academic achievement was how I measured intelligence. (Unfortunately, that’s how it is in most of the world yet today!)

However, when I did get into grad school, I had many huge revelations. One was realizing that there are people who have degrees that aren’t that intelligent (they do whatever they’re told). There’s also those that don’t have degrees who have been super successful in life.

So how do you recognize intelligence? It’s simple. Look for thinkers, dreamers, and people who want to do great things.

 

Creative

There’s a lot of problems in the world that need to be fixed. We need more people who want to fix those issues themselves or be part of a group that’s making great change. Personally, I don’t have time for people who think “someone should do something about that…”. Do you?

 

Growth Mentality

It’s been said that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Or, if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. Either way you look at it, to move forward you have to grow. And to grow, you have to learn.

When searching for people to be part of my Success Board, I like to find out what they are currently learning about. If they’re not learning about something or aren’t readily willing to share what they’ve learned, they might not be the best folks to work with.

I also like to look for people who aren’t happy with where they’re at in life and are actively trying to be more, earn more, and help more.

 

Aware of Meaningful Current Events

I don’t understand people who live vicariously through others. Watching reality shows has never really been of interest to me. Why? Because I feel that it’s not fair for someone to devote their emotions to an event that doesn’t affect them one way or the other.

When I was younger, I did this way too often. Heck, I’d have a bad week when the Colts lost – but if they won, it’d be a great week! (And of course, those were the weeks where I’d wear a jersey with pride!)

A lot of my friends were the same way about their favorite NFL teams.

However, when they finally won the Super Bowl back in 2007, it got me thinking: how did this affect me personally?

The best response that I came up with was “Well, I guess I can tell future generations that ‘I was there.’” When in reality, I saw it on TV.

Today, anyone can watch that same game on YouTube. It’s not that big of a deal.

What’s going on with the Kardashians or the Royal Family? Who cares? How does watching their life help yours?

What’s going on with your family or the people around you who you care about? What can affect those people? That’s what really matters.

And just for clarity, I’m not saying that you and the folks you surround yourself with should not pay attention to pop culture at all. What I am saying is that we all need to find the things that are interesting to the REAL us. If you’re a bit dorky like I am, then enjoy your Sci-Fi. But ask yourself why you liked that series or movie. Was it worth the time you put into it?

Are you really into music? Why are you into that particular song or group?

These aren’t just questions we should be asking ourselves, but also those who we surround ourselves with.

 

Sense of Humor

One thing that irritates the heck out of me is when folks are constantly promoting a politically correct agenda. If you want to be, that’s great. If you want to be the next Donald Trump, I’m for that too.

But sometimes, you need to look around and see things for what they are and have a chuckle. While I might not have had the same views as George Carlin on a lot of things, I did appreciate his genius in finding the humor in just about everything. And when he did, there was always a bit of truth to it.

There’s a place and time where humor is needed. Heck, even Avengers: Infinity Wars used it for plot gaps!

 

Civilized

As much as I hate to admit that I have certain standards, I do.

I like being a person of the people. I believe that everyone has potential. It’s just that they have to see it in themselves before they can act on it.

So sometimes, I find myself interacting with people who others might think are a bit shady on the surface. But the truth is that if I see they’re trying to be better (see above), then I’ll help them along the way.

However, if they’re not interested in improving themselves, are vulgar for no reason, and just down right crude – I’ll typically not be interested in spending time with that person.

Same thing could be said about how they achieve what they want in life. Are they grateful for what they have or are they trying to knock everyone else down?

Even taking care of themselves. Do they practice good hygiene regularly or only when they have to?

If you have certain standards, why surround yourself with people who don’t? They could easily become a distraction or even worse, a downer!

 

Action Steps

So the above traits are a few simple examples of traits that people in my Success Board have. You might have a longer list than the one above – which is just fine.

In fact, using a list like this can be a great way of finding a future spouse. (It’s how I realized Maria as wife material! However that list was much longer as it was more of an itemized list.)

The sooner you have a list like this, the sooner your subconscious will start seeing disconnects with those who are bringing you down but you just weren’t aware of.

Are you thinking of adding any other traits to your list? Maybe you have already. I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

break the cycle

Break the Cycle: Using Corrective Actions to Overcome Bad Habits and Mental Blocks

It’s true what they say. A person who is convinced that they can or can not do something is right.

Even when we’ve figured out what our personal mission is or our next steps in life are, many times we’ll find ourselves still in a place where we might think “Well, the ideal me might be able to do this or have that – but I’ll never get to that point. I have these problems to deal with.”

If you have that kind of perspective, then you need to break the cycle.

Why?

Because this is the mindset of a victim. Victims blame others or their situation in life for their shortcomings. If you pay attention to the media, there’s a lot of this going around.

Unfortunately, a victim is just one of 4 internal saboteurs that can affect our ability to actually achieve what we want to do.

The others include the child, whose entirely naive and innocent. They focus on family and fun.

There’s the drama queen, who just feeds on drama and being the center of attention.

Then there’s the prostitute, who might say “I have these standards and I’d never do… <fill in the bank>”, but as soon as as a large enough reward enters the situation, they throw their standards out the window.

Personally, I can recall being one or more of these at different points in my life. 3 of the 4 I used quite regularly when I was in college. (I don’t remember ever trying to be a drama queen. Video games kept me from being in everyone’s business.)

It’s no wonder that I didn’t feel like my life was going anywhere!

Eventually I was able to stop the vicious cycle, and hopefully what I learned can help you too!

 

Building Your Awareness

Don’t Aim For Perfection – Go for Mastery!

Being more aware of your surroundings, or simply being more present, I feel is the biggest ingredient in getting out of your own head.

What do I mean by this?

Well, when you think about your time in school, if you were a good student, you might have been focusing on doing everything perfectly.

However, in life, we can’t be perfect. In fact, trying to be perfect before we actually take action only prohibits our eventual success.

Have you heard that an entrepreneur doesn’t go “ready, aim, fire” but instead goes “ready, fire, aim” when they’re starting a business?

That’s what I’m talking about.

Entrepreneurs have to be aware of their situation and read it for what it is. Why? If anything clouds that perception, then their product or service won’t do as well as they’d like. They could build the perfect solution to a problem they believe their market wants, but if they’re not actually getting feedback, then they’re not really building what the market wants.

 

Check Your Outdated Caveman Firmware

Another thing that clouds our perception of reality is our antiquated feeling of fear. On his podcast, Jordan Harbinger regularly has guests on that talk about how many of our bad habits are from outdated caveman habits – fear is one of them (jealousy is another).

Back in caveman days, it made sense to have a decent amount of fear. They had a ton of threats to deal with in their day to day lives. Some of these threats included large animals – some that wanted to eat them for lunch.

So the more fearful they were, the more likely they’d stay alive.

However, that fear today prohibits us from stepping out of our comfort zone. In our conversation with Marti MacEwan, we chatted a bit about how this fear gets in the way of us becoming public speakers. (Here’s a bit more on the topic from Dr. Dave Guin if video is more your thing.)

In both the case of running from predators and public speaking, what you’ll find out is that this fear can be totally rational. The trick is to be aware enough to understand why that fear is there in the first place. What could have triggered that feeling? If nothing presents itself as a trigger (for example, the audience isn’t going to laugh at you) – then you should proceed.

The more you do this, the more you can harness it as somewhat of a “Spidey Sense” to tell you if a certain situation is wrong or not.

 

Instances Where Action-Correction is Useful

As I previously said, a real entrepreneur doesn’t go “ready, aim, FIRE!”. Instead they’re all about “ready, FIRE, aim!”. As veteran Andrew O’Brien said in his interview, being an entrepreneur isn’t about being a sniper. It’s about seeing where the bullet lands and adjusting!

But entrepreneurship isn’t the only instance where this cycle can be used. Here’s a few others:

  • Personal Spending (Use cash if your spending is out of control!)
  • Health and Wellness (Count your caloric intake!)
  • Investing (What works, what doesn’t?)
  • Relationships (Learn to care what your significant other cares about so you can help them get what they want when you get what you want and visa versa.)
  • Fun and Entertainment (Get out there and give it a shot! Don’t knock it until you try it! Want to learn to dance? Then dance!)

 

Action Steps

Ok, so your next step here really depends on how you’re planning on using this new information. In most instances, it probably would help if you have someone external to give you feedback – so get an accountability buddy.

Another thing that would help is to have a journal. Why? Because you don’t want to keep all these thoughts and ideas about your learning about in your head all the time! Perhaps that journal takes the form of a blog. Maybe it takes the form of a calorie counter app on your phone. Heck, maybe it’s a financial statement.

Just keep track of whatever you’re trying to improve. Doing so will allow you to make better judgements in how you can adjust your game!

introverted intuition

Kate St Hilaire – Being Introvertedly Bold: Unlocking the Magic of Introverted Intuition (AoL 121)

Introverts are said to be geeks, lonely, and awkwardly shy. At least that’s what society would have us all believe. Many of us use that stereotype as a means to stay in our comfort zone.

In fact, we trick ourselves to think that extroverts are the only people who can make a big impact in the world. I mean, they’re people-people, right?

Actually that’s not totally the case. Some of the most influential figures in tech, art, and business have been and are introverts.

So how do we embrace our introversion and use it as a superpower?

That’s what today’s guest, Kate St Hilaire, helps members of her Facebook community with.

Join us as we talk about how she found herself in this business and how you can use your leverage your intuition as a super power!

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • When did Kate realize there was a big difference between introverts and extroverts? 8:05
  • Why did she pursue studying Psychology in school? 9:14
  • How’d she came to the realization she could make her interest in introversion as a business? 11:05
  • What can happen if people can “get over” their introversion? 27:42
  • What are some specific tools that someone can use to change their mindset or get out of their limiting beliefs? 31:04
  • What’s Kate looking forward to in the future? 35:48
  • What are 3 of Kate’s top favorite books? 41:39
  • What’s a gift she loves giving others? 42:36
  • Smallest decision she’s made that has had the largest impact on her life? 43:30
  • What is something Kate has learned to say no to? 44:54
  • What’s the secret to achieving personal freedom? 46:21

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

 

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

#BeBoldGoLive Challenge 1

#BeBoldGoLive Challenge 2

You Don’t Want to Bother Anyone?

Put yourself out there to make more impact!

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!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

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A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

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?

learning process

5 Checkpoints to Expect In Your Learning Process

Back in March of 2011, I decided that I was going to become part of the John Maxwell Team. This was a big deal for me at the time as I felt that it was going to be a good way for me to get out of the funk of losing Mom. At this point, it had been just a couple of months and I figured “Hey, I’m not getting any younger. I better commit to growing myself as a professional so I’m not stuck where I am.”

Needless to say, getting started with JMT propelled me in the direction that would eventually lead me to a good part of the network that I have, including Brawn Lide, who was my roommate for the week long training at the end of the program.

Anyhow, I wanted to share with you guys a little bit from what I was thinking as of April 3rd of 2011 as I officially started off on this new journey. Hopefully it will do two things for you: 1.) Give you courage to spend money to invest in yourself. 2.) Don’t have expectations of being great at the beginning of any new venture or experience.


So I’m finally starting the John Maxwell Certification Program. And I gotta say, after the first week of “class”, I’m impressed. The faculty is spot on. I really feel that this is a capstone program to my OLS studies. One that will get me to the next big thing – being a certified Exec and Life coach.

However, when I first signed up for the program, I kept asking myself “why did I just spend as much as I did on something that I have plenty of info around me on?” I knew I could eventually get to where I wanted to be by just reading book upon book that were recommended to me through LTD. This has worked pretty well for me already.

Then it occurred to me. The reason that I did jump into the program because it IS a program that has it’s own curriculum. It’s not a collection of “best practices”. It’s a program where the faculty actually are with you step by step through the curriculum. There are even Q&A sessions. Even though it’s extra work that I’ll need to be doing and I’ll be grading myself based on what I get out of the program, this is basically how I worked in all my years in school. Everyone starts on the same level and ends up with the same outcome. I love that it’s a level playing field. I’m just down right excited!

Putting It Into Action

One of the things that has seemed to be a underlying generality about LTD and what this program has taught me so far is that “growth” does give you quite a bit in the end. Most of the time, however, I think that both are referring mostly to the growth we go through in the process of self discovery.

While a particular event might motivate you to do something, it’s only the process that matures you – that grows you. An event happens in a day while the process happens daily. And simply put, the person who has grown the most will attract others to him. The ones that have matured the most will have more meaningful relationships than those that haven’t, including romantic relationships and clients (if those are what you’re seeking).

So what am I talking about?

I’m just saying that if you want ANYTHING to change for you in life, it’s not going to change on it’s own. You need to put the effort and work in. You ought to keep an open mind. Learn to ask the big questions. Read the books you need to read. You need to do the reflecting. In fact, you might just see your life going in reverse if you don’t do these things.

Checkpoints in Your Learning Process

If you are wanting to improve in something, here are some key checkpoints that can apply to any learning process:

1.) “I don’t know what I don’t know.”

Yes, that sounds dumb at first glance, but it’s a nice way of saying that people are ignorant about something until they actually start realizing that an alternate path exists.

2.) “I know that I need to know.”

This point comes into play when you start realizing that you need to know more about a particular subject that might help you out. If you do search for more information, make sure that the source is credible and not some anonymous source that can easily be a Joe Schmoe that hasn’t been greatly successful in their life. A lot of people put their trust in people they’ve never even met on the net vs someone they can actually get bodily communication from. Why would you do that? Are they really an expert? Just make sure you do a good “Lit Review” of the material out there on any given subject as you’re starting out. It’s better to have a consensus of 10 anonymous people on the web, two people you’ve met, and checking out wikipedia vs only asking 2 people that might have some knowledge.

3.) “I know what I don’t know.”

This stage occurs when you start realizing that there actually are people out there that have been successful with something that you want to do or been curious about using a method that you don’t know much about. This is when you start formulating your strategy for your own growth based on what these others have talked about.

4.) “I know and grow – it starts to show.”

After determining the changes you need to make and taking the advice of others who have been successful in doing something you want to do, you have put the plan into motion and small results are starting to show. This is also known as the “action yields results yields belief which in turn yields action again stage”.

5.) “I simply go because of what I know.”

At this point, the action is second nature to you. You simply do something because you know it has a better outcome then what the alternative is because you’ve seen both sides of the coin.

The more you know… the more you grow!


Action Steps

As I’ve been going down this entrepreneurial path for sometime after writing this post (already 7 years!), I have to say that the words of this post make so much more to me now than I’m thinking it back then. I understand the words on a much deeper level.

For example, the podcast. Would I have done things a bit differently if I was to relaunch the show? Sure. Would I have named it something else? Ha. Perhaps.

But it is what it is. We can’t expect to be perfect right out of the gate. It’s not fair to us or the people that we’re going to help with our work. As we move forward in our craft, we learn that it’s not necessarily about the craft, it’s about the people.

Or as Shawn Askionsie said in his book Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul, “It’s not about the chocolate, it’s about the chocolate.” Meaning his business isn’t just about making chocolate, it’s about the relationships he’s built in his direct trade based business.

I’m curious, guys. What’s some things you’ve picked up during your time as you’ve been working on your meaningful work? What are some things that you wouldn’t have known before you started working on whatever it is you’re doing? How did it help you grow as a person?

moral compass

Developing a Moral Compass: 21 Standards to Live and Work By

Here we are at the beginning of a New Year. In a lot of blogs across the web regarding business and self development, you’ll be seeing a lot of posts talking about planning your upcoming year.

I’m going to change it up just a bit here. Instead of giving you yet another one of those posts (which I have done my fair share), I wanted to focus more on having a good mindset to start out the new year.

Because, really, when you think about it, planning and reflection shouldn’t just be a particular once a year activity. It should be ongoing.

That being the case, one can talk about doing these things until you’re blue in the face. But if you don’t have the right Attitude or “Lattitude” as the podcast would suggest, you’re not going to be getting too far.

You need a moral compass.

So here’s a post originally from March 20th, 2011. When I first heard the information, it really helped me out of my funk. Not only that, but it was one of those pieces of knowledge that set me on my current trajectory.

I hope it does the same for you!


So here’s a question for you. What’s holding you back? What is the main problem that keeps you from achieving whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve? Have an idea? Ok. Now let’s see if you agree with one of these next sentences. It’s someone else’s fault. Someone else got the promotion. Someone else got first place in the last tournament.

But is that really the reason why or is it that you beat yourself? Through all the conversations I’ve had over the years (including the podcast) it seems that there’s one main reason they’ve failed. Up to a point, they believed that to be successful, you had to work by beating the competition.

What we’ve found is this simply isn’t the case. To be successful in life, you simply have to beat the you of yesterday. That’s really one of the keys of success. A mentality of “If not today, then when?” or “Don’t put off ’til tomorrow what you can accomplish today.”

Back when I was active member of LTD, we had a subscription to a weekly CD called the Continued Education Program (CEP). Many times the topics that were covered relate to business development itself, but more often than not, most of the time it relates to living a successful life in general. (Side note: you can’t be successful in one thing without being able to be successful in another. The rules and laws of success transfer.) One example is a CD I was listening to by Joe Markiewics. In it he talks about something that I think definitely needs to be brought up to the front of my things to write about – Standards to Live By.

In my Freemason studies, one of the things that I’ve also come across is the idea of the ashlar block. At first it starts out as a rough ashlar, but after the work of educated workmen it becomes what is known as a perfect ashlar. In construction, a perfect ashlar is a standardized building block that is then used to build reliable structures with.

So with that said, how does one become a perfect ashlar? How do we become a part of a community in which others can trust them to be valuable part of the community? It all starts with standards. If you want to be successful in life, then I suggest you determine your own standards. With a bit of help from Joe in reminding me, here are standards that I try to live by:

1.) No one person is more important than another, the group as a whole, or the vision of that group.

If one person thinks that they’re better than the next guy and causes problems, then that person can and should be left behind. If you ever get the chance to study a pack of dogs (via Dog Whisperer), notice what happens when one starts acting weird. The others start noticing right away and soon leave it behind. In a pack of wolves who have to hunt to survive, unpredictable behavior can not be tolerated.

2.) No excuses.

If something isn’t done, it’s not done. Period. “Do or do not, there is no try.”

3.) Never complain.

I know that things aren’t fair and they may hurt your feelings, but it’s not for you or me to retaliate in complaining. Just do better next time. Make your reasons to not do something your reasons to do it.

4.) No weak faces.

This means no bad body language. In a sports team, if one member drops the ball repeatedly because their head is not in the game, can they ever be trusted to actually catch it and be a go to guy of the team? All it takes is one person to feel sorry for themselves and the rest of the team falls apart. Don’t lose your poise.

5.) Be unselfish.

There are other people. Make sure they get their share as well.

6.) Positive mental attitude (PMA) at all times.

Learn what to say when you talk to yourself. “I can do this. I just got to figure out how!”

7.) Never talk negatively about somebody behind their back.

Never gossip for gossiping sake or for small talk. If you feel you have to be negative, only be constructive about it and do it in a manner that is not mean or backhanded. State only the facts. Use the sandwich method.

8.) People matter – care about them.

If there’s someone sitting by themselves in a group setting, go be a friend to them. Invite them into your group. Offer to do something for them. (When my mom passed, I got more cards from LTD members than from any other group. I haven’t opened them yet, but I really truly appreciate them!)

9.) Be a giver – go the extra mile.

Be a giver with time, friendship, and money when and where possible.

10.) Be enthusiastic.

Have fun! It brings energy to people you’re with and rewards them in being with you. Never mail it in.

11.) Edify all success.

Promote and congratulate people for all levels of success. People like to be noticed – they probably do the same back to you.

12.) Be committed to people you team up with.

Have each other’s back. Pray for each other when they’re having troubles.

13.) Be honest all the time.

Your word is your worth; your worth is your word.

14.) Personal conduct.

If you wouldn’t do it in front of your family or people you work with, then why do you think you should do it all by yourself? Don’t be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Remember there should never be double standards – ever. You don’t need to give people a reason to be skeptical of you – especially if they’re not a trusting person to begin with.

15.) Take personal responsibility for your decisions and actions.

This is something that is taught to kids early on. Why would it change as an adult? It’s not the alcohols fault you were drunk. It was your fault you were drunk and yours alone.

16.) Be accountable

Especially to those that are important to you. This includes friends and family. (If you’re at all spiritual or religious, don’t forget God.)

17.) Collective responsibility.

Aka Unity with your group. You win together, you lose together. It’s not the failure of one person on the team to fail, it’s the teams. (Example – it’s not the kicker’s fault he missed the last chance field goal, it was the team’s fault for putting him in a position where it was up to him to be the clutch guy. Ask Peyton Manning about this one…)

18.) Preparation

If you don’t prepare to win, you don’t deserve to win.

19.) Pride

Have pride in what you do and who you are. Be proud of your lineage. Be proud of your work ethic.

20.) Never settle for good. Go for the great.

No matter what happens, you have not arrived. Never settle for what you have now because you can always be better. Success only gives you a platform to be a motivator and helper of others. Create a vacuum of inspiration.

21.) Perform to your standards at all times.

So there are my standards. I’ll admit, I don’t live up to them all the time – I’m not perfect. But I don’t go out of my way to break them either. What are some standards that you’ve set in place that work for you and you work towards them?

Action Steps

There have been many times where I thought the rest of the world would profit quite a bit from the things I learned during my time in LTD. Many of the topics that were discussed were very eye opening. This was definitely one of those lessons.

Let me hear from you. What principles do you use regularly in your day to day life? They can be your own or items from this list.

self image

Eleven Quick Tips to Improve Your Self Image: A Big Part of Fulfilling Your Personal Mission

As I’m approaching the release of my newest resource on finding a Personal Mission, I thought a good lead into the launch should involve some related content. Last week’s post was an example. Here’s another one.

This piece, originally posted on October 26th, 2010, is probably one of my favorite early posts.

I used to struggle with my self image a lot. A good part of it was because I didn’t have my own mission yet. I was a fish trying to compare myself to monkeys when it came to climbing trees. Perhaps just like you, I was told that climbing trees was the best career out there. Except it wasn’t really trees – it was “finding a job”.

It just wasn’t for me – and I eventually figured that out.

Even if you haven’t realized your own mission yet, you can start building your self image. While having your own mission does help with making these tips more practical, sometimes it helps to make the transition one small piece at a time. When you do have a high self image, you’ll have the required confidence to live the life you want. Without the confidence, there’s a good chance you won’t commit!


Getting out of Your Rut

In today’s world, society has forced many of us to be what we’re not. Making us feel like we’re somehow inadequate. For most people, this is considered the norm.

But the result is that it might leave us feeling stuck in a rut.

If you find yourself in this rut and not feeling like you actually appreciate yourself as much as you think you should, then there’s a good chance you have a low self image. As you’ve probably heard, having a good self image can help give someone more confidence. So, increasing your self image can help you with your personal life but it can even help with your professional life.

In the past, as I have worked with others in their self development path, one of the biggest problems I see most frequently are those that deal with self acceptance and self image. As I have personally struggled with my identity and these problems myself, I had plenty of time to figure out what worked and what didn’t… and several times over for others.

1. Clothes Do Make the Man (and Woman)

Yes, it’s an old cliche’, but that doesn’t make it any less true. A few years back, I remember a time when I didn’t really have any more than one oversized suit. Now I have several. Why? Because when we dress confidently, we feel confident. Try this experiment: for one week, dress like the person you want to be, NOT the person you think you are. This one is a simple change and can have the potential to dramatically improve your self image.

2. Keep Your Environment Tidy.

Keeping your house and car clean helps raise your self image. Most people like being in clean areas more than cluttered ones. Those same people tend to get depressed when they’re in a cluttered environment. So instead of submitting yourself to a environment that could prove to be depressing, put some effort into keeping your environment like that of a person you believe to have a higher self image would have. That doesn’t have to be spotless — maybe just organized and practical.

3. Stop Trying so Damn Hard.

Improving your self image should not be about struggling. Give up trying to be a perfectionist, and give yourself permission to be a human being who will naturally make mistakes sometimes. As I mentioned in my last post, detailitis is a disease of success. If you’re constantly searching for perfection, you’re constantly failing to achieve just that. So instead, just strive for excellence. A sure-fire way to feel inferior is to set the bar too high in every area of your life. Cut yourself some slack — you deserve it.

4. Focus Your Attention Outward.

One of my favorite quotes that I quote Zig Ziglar for saying is this: “Those who help enough other people get what they want, automatically get what they want in return.” Lack of confidence often causes people to focus an inordinate amount of attention inward, on the “self.” Make it a point to focus more attention on others than you do on yourself. Remember, confident people focus outward — insecure people focus inward.

5. Avoid Energy Drainers.

All of us know someone who seems to “suck the energy” out of a room just by entering. These negative people are all around us. They might even be your parents.  Give yourself permission to minimize contact with these people. Don’t hate them or judge them in any way. Just recognize that they do not improve the quality of your life, and minimize your connection with them.

6. Take a Chance.

Try something new and different that you may have been apprehensive about in the past. Enroll in an adult education class, or join a book club, gym, bowling league or other social pastime. Anything that will get you out of your shell.  The change will do you good, and your self image will improve!

7. Be a Giver.

The Golden Rule states: “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” With that in mind, start giving what you want to receive in life. If you want people to treat you that you’re a confident and human person, Make other people feel as confident and human as you can. When you build up others, you are sure to get back the same thing. Call it karma or what ever you like – it always works!

8. Practice Forgiving Others.

Many people are very hard on themselves because, deep down, there’s something in their past that they would rather forget. If you’re clinging to some failure or transgression from the past, you should realize that you are doing so. Then forgive yourself completely for what it was. Likewise, if someone else did something that you’ve been holding a grudge against. Forgive them and don’t hold that grudge. It’s belittling of people to hold grudges.

9. Learn how to talk to Yourself.

In fact, this is the topic of one of my favorite books. “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself” Some people repeat affirmations such as “I have a great self image,” which is fine, but you can improve your affirmation results by using leading questions such as, “why am I so confident?” When you ask yourself a question like this, your subconscious mind operates in a very simple manner.  It will immediately go to work looking for the answer, and it will report back to you all of the ways you already are confident. This, in turn, will boost your self image.

10. “Model” Other Confident People.

One way to improve your self image is to model the behavior of people whom you consider to be supremely confident. If you can befriend a very confident person, that’s great. But if not, just find an actor or other celebrity who is confidence personified, and study their behavior. Do this several times a week, and some of their confident mannerisms are bound to rub off on you.

11. Practice Being Thankful.

This one might seem a little weird and/or tedious. However, a grateful mind is a peaceful mind, and a peaceful mind radiates confidence. While you’re building your self image, practice making a daily gratitude list. Particularly focus on different aspects of yourself that you appreciate. Maybe you are a great swimmer, or good at math, or really strong, or a good dancer, or have an unusual sense of humor, or are good at design, or a great singer, or a really good friend, or any number of other positive attributes. Look for what is great about you, and then be grateful you have those qualities. Appreciating your good qualities will improve self-confidence, and help you develop the kind of positive self image that is crucial to success in life.

Action Steps

So, again, if you haven’t figured out what your mission is, that’s not a problem. It can be hard to go after your own thing if you don’t have the confidence in yourself to do so yet.

That said, even if you have your mission figured out but you’re not quite sure how to pursue it yet – don’t hesitate to start working these habits into your life. There’s a good chance you’ve already worked on a few of them, but utilizing all of them might possibly help boost your results.