happiness in life

Finding Happiness in Life by Not Giving In to Negativity

In this post (originally posted August 6th, 2012) I talk about why it’s important to not dwell in the negatives. Since I originally posted it, I’ve personally grown to come to a point where I think it’s necessary to see the negative in the world – but to not dwell on it. However, I think to get to that point, you have to actually detox from a negative world and mindset. Only then will you be able to be aware of all of all the stuff we’re being barraged with day after day.

It’s at that point that you’ll be able to make better choices for yourself.

So how do you enter a positive mental space when all the messages you receive are negative by nature?

Here’s a few pointers:

This morning I had the opportunity to be on a coaching call with a gal by the name of Linda. She is battling cancer. Horrifying to to even think about, right? Well… yeah, of course!!

However, what separates Linda from a lot of people, especially those that are going through a tough patch in life, is that while she could be focusing on the negative, she actually chooses to focus on the positive. Even when she’s going through radiation treatments in “gray, dark, lifeless rooms”, she still manages to jokingly say to the staff “It would be nice if we could have some colors in here!”.

Linda doesn’t have to have this courage. She doesn’t have to fill her life with laughter and continued hope. She could easily give in and fill every second and every minute with negativity. But she doesn’t.

I’m sure Linda is not alone in her perspective. In fact, I know that a lot of people who beat cancer actually keep a positive perspective on life as they’re going through treatment. I wonder what the ratio of positive cancer survivors to negative cancer survivor is… I’d be willing to bet that the positive outweighs the negative.


Choosing to Be Happy and…


What I’ve found out since Mom’s passing is that you can either dwell on the negative or you can get energy from the positive. Either way – you’re going to have to live life! Might as well make it a good experience than a bad one, right?

Once I make that decision to be happy, I have to be able to do something to actually back that decision up. Interestingly enough, nothing makes most people more happy than helping others. Either they enjoy the act of giving to those other people – or they love the feeling they receive from getting recognized for making an impact. Either way, they get something out of it.

I’ve been thinking recently that depression is the opposite of happiness, right? And since one can be happy with helping others, doesn’t it make since that depression comes from the lack of involvement with people? Perhaps Expressives are probably more prone to going through depression due to their need of being the center of attention? That’s an interesting concept…

Adding to that – another thing that leads to happiness is not only having people in your life – but those that you can call positive anchors. Look for those people to share common things with and then get involved with them on a more personal level!


Actions to ‘Happiness’:


What keeps you happy? It’s different for everyone – but a big part of it is sharing with others. Whether you’re an introvert with a few close friends or an extrovert with plenty of them, you always feel better when you share experiences with others.

What if you don’t know what to share with others? Then here’s a few more steps I’ve found for myself.. (I’m pretty sure I’ve covered this before.)

  1. Figure out your passions. (Passions are things that you do automatically and make you happy.)
  2. Determine your purpose from your passions. All 6 Billion people in this world have different passions thus they have a different purpose. Those that identify themselves as their job usually don’t know their individual purpose.
  3. From your purpose – figure out a plan that includes helping or sharing with others.
  4. Figure out where those others group together and then execute (find them)!!
  5. Keep out all negative sources from your life as much as possible. In the end, there’s nothing more unsettling and unproductful than negative sources. This includes most news, gossip, and other negative people. (Sometimes that last one is EXTREMELY difficult.)

If you’re following your purpose then you’re automatically not giving into negativity because you’re doing exactly what makes you happy!!

  • Bonus: Once you execute, there’s a good possibility that if you’re bringing enough value to enough other people – you might be able to make income on your passion! (Don’t let this be the reason you do what you do, though!!)

Actions Steps

So – how about you? What are great ways that you’ve learned to get and stay happy? Does true happiness always revolve around others? Please, as usual, share your thoughts below!! Look forward to expanding my understanding of this topic!

how to get into voice acting

Tim Paige – There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is: Discovering How to Get Into Voice Acting (AoL 116)

Voice acting is something that a lot of people don’t think about, yet we probably hear it everyday. It’s one of those things that if done well, is not noticeable – but when it’s done poorly, you can’t help but notice.

As a podcaster, I’ve learned to appreciate good audio as well as vocals. One guy that I’ve known for several years has made it his business to be great at vocals.

And as you’ll find in this interview with our guest, Tim Paige, being a voice actor doesn’t come automatically. Just like any other craft, you have to work at it.

In today’s chat, we’ll find out why he chose voice acting as a career, how he broke into it, and why he’s happy at the level he’s at.



  • How did Tim get started with The Foundation? 10:02
  • How did he get into voice acting? 12:09
  • How did Tim eventually get become the webinar guy for Leadpages? 14:09
  • What gave him the confidence to get into voice acting? 19:06
  • What’s a common misconception that people have about voice acting? 22:02
  • How did Tim arrive to a point in his career where he was doing voice overs for big shows including Jimmy Kimmel? 27:06
  • How does one find a voice over coach? 32:02
  • What’s a topic Tim would never do a webinar for? 36:14
  • What kind of teas do we each like? 38:18
  • Why does he prefer working with service based business vs product based ones? 43:06
  • What’s Tim looking forward to in 2018? 52:32
  • Tim’s favorite top influencers are? 55:03
  • Hardest thing that he’s had to say no to? 55:49
  • What’s something that isn’t as bad as he thought it would be? 56:35
  • Which three truths has he learned over time that he’d share with others? 56:59

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



Tim’s Promo Video Reel

Michael O’Neal interviews Tim on the Solopreneur Hour

Why You Should Use Webinars For Your Business

Ezra Firestone Testimonial

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.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

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


dealing with grief

Dealing with Grief: 5 Ways to Commemorate the Loss of a Loved One

I mentioned in the Junto last week that I’ve been struggling with some things since my return from Honduras in late January.

For one, 6 hours after we got back, Maria and I were in a pretty serious car accident. Luckily our ride took the brunt force of the impact – because it might have had much worse results.

Car was pretty much totalled.


Unfortunately, the bad news didn’t stop there.

It wasn’t long until we found out from our vet that our two aging labradors weren’t doing all that great healthwise. One was having seizures while the other one was starting to not eat.

There’s a good chance that the one with the seizures (Sable) has a tumor in her head. We were able to start her on medication.  The second one, Sadie, who wasn’t eating – well, apparently, cancer was getting to her too.

More specifically, she had developed liver cancer. I imagine it was already stage 4 by the time we figured out that anything was wrong. When the results came back from her ultrasound, the veterinarian said that it had spread all throughout her body – including possibly her lungs and bladder.

Our hearts dropped. But we were committed to keeping her comfortable in whatever form we could.

After a few weeks of trying to feed her things we thought she’d like, it finally got to a point where we were having to force feed her Ensure by injecting it into her mouth.

Not only was this difficult for us, but Maria and I were pretty sure that it was traumatizing for her.

This couldn’t be comfortable. So it was about this time that we had to make the decision to euthanize her.

Last Friday was her departure day. It’s now Monday. And I’m moving forward without one of the angels that mom left me.

RIP Sadie. We’ll always love you.


4 Ways to Cope with Grief

So, this post could totally stop there. But I don’t want to leave you all on a downer note. Sure, as someone going through grief, I have the right to just lock myself in a room with no contact to the outside world.

I don’t see how that is beneficial to anyone. Personally, doing that too long drives me crazy. I tried it again this weekend by pretty much “Netflixed and chilling” all weekend. I can only do that for so long before losing my mind!

As a creative, I feel it’s necessary to take action to get through my grief. And in fact, it’s through action that I was able to get through the passing of my mom back in 2010-2011.

Of course, I’ve learned a few things since then about how to cope with grief. So here’s a few things that I plan on doing myself or things I know others have done after losing a loved one.


1. Reach Out to Others

We don’t have all the answers. So something you can probably do right now using the same device you’re reading this on is to hop onto online message boards, Facebook groups, or even jump on Meetup to find a support group in your area that you can check in with. Often, another person who has experienced loss is better suited to understand what you’re going through.

That said, if your grief is preventing you from functioning, perhaps you can take it another notch up and seek professional help. You might be suffering from depression and if that’s the case, it’s usually pretty hard to get off that slippery slope on your own.


2. Perform a Good Deed

A simple thing you can do is donate in their name.

When my mom passed, I told the funeral home to donate anything people sent to the local animal shelter. This weekend, Maria and I did the same for Sadie – we contributed to a dog food pantry in her name.

That said, perhaps you want to put a bit of time into it. I know plenty of people who have done a 5k or 10k in memory of a friend. I also have heard of folks who started volunteering in place of their missing friend.

If you lost a pet, maybe it’s time to start caring for other pets. One option is volunteering. Or you can actually become a dog sitter on Rover.


3. Perform a Ritual or Spiritual Ceremony

Depending your own personal beliefs, there are a few different ways to mark the end of your loved one’s life in a special ceremony.

If your friend has been cremated, there’s a few options you can take.

You can go as simple as planting a tree. Tree planting ceremonies are pretty common these days. I think that’s a great idea because in a way, your friend continues to live on through the new tree.

Want something a bit more permanent? Perhaps a headstone might be a better option.

Maybe you’re religious. If so, perhaps you and your loved ones can say a prayer as you scatter ashes in a favorite place. While I haven’t spread ashes myself, I know if I was going to spread my mom’s ashes, I’d do it off of a sand dune near Empire, Michigan.

Here’s a third option that I thought was pretty cool for pets: open their collar. I heard that this allows their spirit to run free. Then take the collar and put it in a place that you see regularly so you don’t forget them – such as where you hang their leashes or your keys.

Finally, you could create a time capsule. Stick all kinds of things in it from them. If it’s a pet, it could be their favorite toys, a stick from their favorite park, or maybe a rock from their favorite walking path. Five or ten years from now when the grief has subsided a bit, you can take it out and reflect on how much they brought to your life.


4. Create Something!

If you’re a creative like me, then perhaps exercising that creativity is what will help you out. For me, writing this post is soothing. Once it’s posted, I know it will be out on the web helping others cope with their grief.

If you’re not the writing type and more of a maker, there’s tons of things you can do! Just off the top of my head, here’s a few things: creating a scrapbook (if you have Google Photos, that will help you organize all the pictures in your phone), a quilt (my mom was a huge fan of quilts), a portrait (had one at my mom’s funeral), or heck – maybe making jewelry or creating a garden is your thing.

Guess it really depends on what you feel comfortable doing… but I’m almost certain that “tributing” whatever you create to your friend will help.


5. Positively Fill the Void Left Behind

Even if you’re on this healing path, there’s always going to be a missing part of you when your loved one moves on. There will be times where you just want to be with them but can’t.

Perhaps the reason they were in your life in the first place was because they filled a void you had before they were in your life.

I know that this was the case with Sadie. Mom got her because she shared a house with our emotionally unavailable cat. From day one, Sadie did a great job of filling up the void I had left.

If you have your own void, perhaps it’s a good idea to consider finding a new friend or companion. Of course this is a very personal decision and when to do so will vary from person to person.

More specifically when it comes to pets, it may be tempting to rush out and get another one.

However, in most cases, it’s best to mourn the previous pet first. Wait until you’re emotionally ready to open your heart and your home to a new friend.

Again, you may want to start by volunteering in your local 4-H dog group, a local shelter, or rescue group. Spending time caring for pets in need is not only great for the animals, but can help you decide if you’re ready to own a new pet.


Action Steps

Thank you guys for dropping in on this post. As we all know, death is one of those certain things and we all deal with loss differently. I hope that these ideas help you move forward in your life after your loss – whether it be a person or a furry friend.

If there’s anything that you’ve heard people do during their grieving period, I’d love to hear about it. As I said, I want this to be a bit of a “internet memorial” for Sadie, so the more good advice the better!

hospitality consulting

Mike Thorp – Less Talk and More Creation! – How Saying No to Gary Vaynerchuk Helped Launch a Hospitality Consulting Business (AoL 114)

There’s a reason that many businesses fail in the first several years of business.

Of course, finances might play a part in that. But I think that even having a revenue problem is the sign of a deeper issue.

The issue is simply that business ownership doesn’t necessarily make one a great leader.

And without the ability to paint a vision and help employees see what’s going on, of course a company is going to fold.

Today’s guest, Mike Thorp, helps restaurants with this problem. He says that what he does for his clients is a combination of Hell’s Kitchen and The Profit. He loves what he’s doing, as you’ll find out.

But doing his own thing – it came at a cost. As creatives, we find out that to create our consumption must go down. And sometimes, we have to cut it out completely.

That’s exactly what Mike had to do with Gary V.

So in today’s chat, we’ll hear all about what Mike brings to the table with his business, but we’ll also learn what motivated Mike to pull the plug on Gary.




  • How’d Mike get started in the restaurant industry? 9:43
  • How does Mike view leadership and culture in the restaurant industry? 15:16
  • What’s an important role he sees his company doing for local students? 22:02
  • Does he only work with local businesses around Grand Rapids? 26:53
  • What was his transition like going from corporate work to consulting? 30:43
  • What does Mike wake up for in the morning? 34:18
  • What lead Mike to write his viral post on Medium? 42:28
  • Why do so many people have trouble leaving the consumer mindset to becoming a creative? 50:37
  • What are some of the things Mike’s looking forward to? 52:39
  • What are his three top favorite books? 54:50
  • What’s a fact from today that would blow the mind from someone ten years ago.? 56:41
  • Smallest decision he’s made that’s made the largest impact? 57:08
  • What’s a life skill that he’s amazed people lack? 58:44
  • How can someone be a difference maker in their community? 1:01:44

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





Last Video You Have to Watch:

Cy Wakeman on The #AskGaryVee Show:

Danny Meyer – The Convergence of Casual and Fine:

Michael Shafer reviews the Oz Principle:

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.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

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


forever alone

Forever Alone? Here’s My Solution!

I’ve been recently listening to one of my favorite podcasts again for the first time in at least a year or so. It’s called The Art of Charm. There’s a good chance you’ve heard of it!

If not, you might want to check it out. It’s a great show. Jordan Harbinger, who’s actually around my age, is the host and in it he talks with a top performers from various industries in how they’ve been so successful.

It’s actually where I got a bit of some of the things in my show.

One thing I haven’t touched on a great while are romantic relationships. While Maria and I are in a great place in our own relationship, I can’t say that telling others how they should meet people should be anything like how we met.

Honestly, our relationship skipped a couple of steps – including anyone proposing. We moved from hanging out at coffee shops, to her mom inviting me to holidays, and before you know it we were talking about possible wedding dates.

We still don’t remember how that all worked – at least I don’t.

This post, originally from July 5th, 2012, is from that time period. If my memory serves correctly, we might have been engaged at this point since we got married in July of 2013. (Wow, it HAS been five years already!)

Anyway, since Valentine’s Day is just a month away and I’d rather it not be Single’s Awareness Day for those of you who want to find someone, here’s a bit of advice – you don’t have to be Forever Alone. Just like most crappy situations, it usually comes from a negative mindset. Let’s explore a bit in how we can get out of it!

In a previous post, I had talked about Good Guys (aka Nice Guys) and their determination to make themselves bend over
backwards so that they appear nice to everyone.

In the past year+, I’ve learned that while that bending over backward for everyone might be useful for being a politician, it isn’t as so for most people. Also, it isn’t true when you want to appear confident. And better yet, it isn’t so useful when you’re actually trying to attract people in your life. Take it from someone that just happened to “stumble” into a relationship/marriage after being “Forever Alone” his entire life.

Confidence is key in everything in life.


What I’ve Learned about being “Forever Alone”

There are a group of people out there who believe that they are doomed to be “Forever Alone”. What this basically means is that they believe that no matter what they do, they’re really never going to have any good friends. They’ll  potentially lack the great bonds with family members and even worse to most, they’ll never have a significant other in their life. They’ve basically convinced themselves that they have no qualifying values for anyone AND that they have never attracted anyone to them in their life.

Funny thing is that these same people are probably well educated (if not overly educated) folk who have studied over and over why they’re alone – or seemingly that way. And even more ironic is that they typically come up with the same answer: “It’s them, not me.”

The truth is that what makes you smart isn’t necessarily your best friend in many situations. See, the problem here, is that Forever Aloners think that the stereotypical geek/nerd/dork who has had social issues – will always continue to have them. And they get “proven” data to back them up from all of the nonsense that society puts out there.

Most recently, I saw the recent movie 21 Jump Street where one of the main characters (Schmidt) gets turned down supposedly by an attractive girl because he was a nerd. This proves the Forever Aloners perspective. However, while this might have been the case for this one girl, it’s not the case for all!

Read on for the solution…


So What’s the Solution to being “Forever Alone”?

Here’s the deal. If Schmidt hadn’t changed who he was and stopped looking in the wrong places, he probably was going to always be Forever Alone! However, through the movie he actually gains confidence by hanging around an old enemy/new friend Jenko. While Schmidt brings the brains to the friendship, Jenko brings the confidence.

A couple of things that I don’t think Forever Alone people think about are:

1.) If they don’t meet people, they won’t have friends.

Instead, what I believe is that they look at it the opposite way… that even if they were to go meet people, no one would like them… for whatever reason.

2.) Popular people get all the attention.

 Again, this is backwards. You need to get attention to be popular. And to get attention, you need to have influence. And to get influence, you need to have confidence. To get confidence, you really need to be ok with who you are now OR the ideal version of you that you want to be. The more you see the current you becoming that future you, the more confident you become.

3.) Unless they give each other value, some personalities have harder times getting along with other personalities. 

It’s true. Amiables  and Drivers tend to suck the energy out of each other if they don’t understand where each other is coming from. Same can be said about Expressives and Analyticals. However, what’s even more interesting is that those same personalities also attract each other like magnets in the end. Just like Schmidt and Jenko did.


Forgive and Gain a New Perspective

If you don’t want to be Forever Alone, the simplest method of fixing it is by dropping your insecurities. And the easiest way to do that is to forgive others.

Just like Schmidt forgave Jenko.

Forgiveness is the key to insecurity. And that’s exactly what being Forever Alone is… an insecurity.

It’s these insecurities that is the root of a ton of issues in our world today – including being Forever Alone.

Once you start forgiving (others, and even yourself), your next step is to find out that personal mission of yours. Learn to embrace that. Of course, there will be some people who don’t like you because of it. However, there will be others who love you because of it.

Once you find your true self, go find people who are interested in the same things. If it is an SO you’re looking for, make sure one of your networks could potentially involve your new mate.

Seriously, there’s nothing wrong with making everyone friends first and then moving on from there.

It worked for me – it can work for you.

Just as a side note: The “Friend Zone” does not exist after the age of 25 or so. If you think a person is friend zoning you, you probably shouldn’t be wasting your time pursuing them as an SO.

Also, it wouldn’t hurt to understand personalities so that you know which personalities click. It’s much easier to find potential friends/mate if you know why different personalities attract and repel each other.

Action Steps

So what do you think about being “Forever Alone”?

Can it be cured? If so, how? What are you personal thoughts on the matter? Am I full of it above?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!


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.

relationship building

Making Winning Connections: Relationship Building Tips for Life and Business

As the Junto is starting to grow, I realize that there’s going to be more and more opportunities for people to connect with others who are seemingly going the same direction as they are.

To make sure they are, here’s a few notes from a recent John Maxwell course called the Mentor’s Guide to Relationships. I hope you can use the information presented here to make sure that a pursuing a certain relationship is worth your time.

At the very least, I want to help you realize if you’re in a one way relationship. One that you might be putting way too much energy in yourself and not getting anything back from it.

So let’s start off by looking at the four different levels of relationships.


Four Levels of Relationships

Surface Relationships

Now, when you’re on social media (or anywhere else for that matter) and you’re just meeting someone – you’re engaging in the most basic and common form of a relationship. A surface relationship is one where there’s really no strong commitment from either person and it’s a very passive interaction.

An example of a surface level relationship is just randomly adding a “friend” on Facebook and they in turn accepting that request. You might have just added them to your friends list because they have a lot of mutual friends – even though you don’t really know who they are.

Acquaintances would be part of this this level.

Just remember, all real friends start off as strangers at one point. So, just give it some time if you want things to grow…


Structured Relationships

The next level of a relationship is what’s called the structured relationship. These relationships are with people who meet at certain times. This can mean daily, weekly, or monthly.

Generally speaking this type of routine based engagement is centered around some sort of interest or activity such as an Meetup. In the online business world, it might mean a mastermind group. Or in the typical offline world, it can mean a group of students.

Outside of that group, there’s not much meaning for those people to interact – so they don’t.


Secure Relationships

The next level of relationships are those that when members of a structured relationships start appreciating the bond.

At this level, trust begins to form as the need to spend more time together grows. Most of the time, these folks will have no problems sharing with each other. And there’s a bit of a comfort zone feeling with these folks.

When you were going to school, these were the study friends. Perhaps they were the friends  that you hung out with before games. Or maybe they were your fellow band friends who you’d play euchre with each day. But the main thing was that these folks started relying on you as you relied on them.

In business, this might be someone that you decide to joint venture with on a particular project such as a course or new podcast.


Solid Relationships

Next up, we have the highest of all relationships – the solid relationship. At this level, not only do full trust and confidentiality exist, but there is a need to give back to the other party if they’ve helped you in some way.

Of course, this is the basis for a long term relationship.

If we were to think of the school analogy, your close friends were (or are still) examples of this! While, in the business world, you’d start new businesses with these folks.


Avoid High Maintenance Relationships

When I first started dating Maria I had a very strong feeling of “normality” when we were together. She felt like someone that I had known for a long time.

Society suggests – especially TV – that a normal romantic relationship is something that has a lot of maintenance to it. Drama and fighting is to be expected – not calmly discussing the issues at hand.

The truth is that this shouldn’t be the case in ANY relationship you want to make long term – including romantic relationships!

So how do you know if you’re in a high maintenance relationship?

In his book, High Maintenance Relationships, author Les Parrott talks about 12 different types of people who it would be hard to get along with – especially over a significant amount of time.

  • Critic – constantly complains and gives unwanted advice.
  • Martyr – forever the victim and wracked with self-pity.
  • Wet Blanket – pessimistic and automatically negative.
  • Steam Roller – blindly insensitive to others.
  • Gossip – spreads rumors and leaks secrets.
  • Control Freak – unable to let go and let be.
  • Backstabber – irrepressibly two-faced.
  • Cold Shoulder – disengages and avoids contact.
  • Green Eyed Monster – seethes with envy.
  • Volcano – builds steam and is ready to erupt.
  • Sponge – constantly in need but gives nothing back.
  • Competitor – keeps track of tit for tat.


Are you with one of these types of individuals? If so, you might want to move on.

If you wouldn’t be in romantic relationships with someone with one or several of these particular traits, why would you want to be in business with them… or visa versa?

Going from Surface to Solid Relationships

In the past week, I’ve relearned how awkward people can be when it comes to developing real relationships. Whether it’s simple friendships, jv partnerships, or going after a life partner… the goal is to not be a weirdo.

Believe me, I learnt the hard way!

So how do you go from adding a friend on Facebook to making them a good friend, business partner, or building something that could be even more?

Here’s 5 traits of a solid relationship.


Mutual Enjoyment

Here’s the truth. Spend time with people who enjoy your presence. If you feel that you’re having to pry and overly try with the relationship, it’s probably not a good foundation and you should move on.

Don’t be an irritant!



What’s the best way to make sure you’re not an irritant?

Be respectful of the other person.

Forget the golden rule of treating people how you’d want to be treated. Instead, treat people like they would like to be treated.

What’s that mean?

Learn how they want to be interpreted. Find out their story. Be curious and let them be the storyteller. Find out where they went to school and for what. If they didn’t go to school, find out what they’ve learned “the hard way”.

If you’re unclear as to how to read a certain topic with them – don’t feel like you have to assume something – this usually works out negatively if you do. No question is dumb. Just say “I’m not sure how to ask this but…” if you’re completely unsure how to ask something.

Have a problem with them? Let them know. Likewise, if they feel like they have a problem with you, they should come to you about it.

Make a point to get to know someone, but not for manipulative purposes. If they tell you something that’s a secret, don’t tell anyone. If they are hesitant in a certain area, learn how to help bring out the best in them through their own permission.


Mutual Shared Experiences

There’s a reason why military veterans get along as well as they do even if they didn’t know each other prior to them first getting together.

What’s the reason?

They have shared similar experiences.

From day 1, they’re taught to trust each other to be part of a larger organism. When you count on someone to do a certain action which allows you to do your job, then you’re going to care about that other person more. Cause if they get taken out, then you won’t be able to do what you need to do properly.

Sports players are the same way.

When talking about developing a winning football team, Vince Lombardi said, “The difference between mediocrity and greatness is the feeling these guys have for each other.”

It makes sense. If the line doesn’t do their job and block, then the ball handlers can’t do their jobs. The result is that the ball doesn’t go anywhere.



For the above teams to win, that caring feeling needs to be mutual between teammates – whether on a battlefield with bullets… or on the gridiron.

Right here is how you can tell if a relationship is worth your time to develop. If you feel like everything is running smoothly, then everything is fine.

However, if you feel that the other person is getting a better deal, bring it up with them. If they don’t acknowledge it, then it might be time to move onto another relationship.

If you feel like you’re getting a better deal, then it’s your job to make sure that they’re being evenly compensated.



Trust comes over time and is the result of the previous 4 traits humming along just fine. Don’t forget that intentions don’t really matter when it comes to other people.

It’s all about actions.

When your actions match your words, that’s how you build trust.

Just make sure that those actions are positive and truly helpful to the other party!


Action Steps

As you might have realize, relationships are something that I take seriously. There was a time when I wasn’t super great at them – so I made it a point to go out of my way to learn about them. If you want to learn more about building great relationships, I’d check out the book by John Maxwell and Les Parrott 25 Ways to Win with People: How to Make Others Feel Like a Million Bucks

As you probably know, I’m a big fan of John’s and he has ton’s on this topic!