mental focus

Increasing Mental Focus – 4 Simple Steps that Can Change Your Life

Last Week I talked about how you can get more life satisfaction. There’s multiple reasons why someone would want more life satisfaction. With that post, I simply jumped into the how to of getting it started.

In today’s topic, we’re going to dive a little deeper into two of the 4 tactics mentioned in the previous post. Specifically, long term goals and having a growth mindset.

Here’s the thing, while you’re pursuing a long term goal, you’re going to grow as a person. There’s no doubt about it.

However, to do that growing AND achieve those goals, you’re going to have to put in a ton of work.

And to get that work done, you’re going to have to focus.

We All Make Choices

If you’re like me and many people I know, you probably have a busy life. For the most part, going to work takes up a ton of our time. If you have kids, that’s another layer of stuff you gotta do. And if you have extended family – there’s even more stuff you got to manage time for. And let’s not forget all the social things we might be a part of. Gaming, sports groups, you name it.

With all these things that we have to do on a daily basis, it’s hard to imagine how anyone has ever successfully done anything meaningful in their life after entering the workforce.

Seriously, who has the time?

Here’s the answer: You do.

“But how?”, you might be wondering.

We all have time. Everyone has 24 hours a day. Everyone has always had and always will have 24 hours a day.

We all make choices in how we’re going to spend our 24 hours.

Here’s a few that I’ve had to make in the past:

  • Go to a workplace that requires us to be there 7, 8, or even more hours per day.
  • Go to school and do the homework for the classes.
  • Be part of a sports team.
  • Go to the gym.
  • Keep working on that character in that video game.
  • Watch or hear that particular show so we have something to talk with people about.
  • Have friends or family that wants to hang out when we’re not doing work.
  • Sleep.

Many of these choices are things that “busy” people are probably already doing most (if not all) of. However, just because we’re busy doesn’t necessarily mean we’re being productive. And it sure as hell doesn’t mean we’re being satisfied by our lives. I could and will argue that many of these above choices can be distractions.

Most of our Satisfaction in Life Comes from Mental Focus in Working Towards Something

Outside of hanging out with friends and family, there are few things that give us all satisfaction.

Sure you might get some temporary satisfaction in playing games, watching shows, or getting that paycheck from your job. But again, I could argue those things are possibly examples of time that could be used more productively. Especially, if a person is interested in building a more satisfied life.

It’s not that we haven’t used mental focus before. You might have previously focused in school, sports, military… and even, believe it or not, playing video games.

Many would say that video game players are lazy – but they are as dedicated to their craft. Just as much as those who are focused on getting their degree, throwing a ball, or knowing what to do during an emergency situation.

Here’s Cam’s take on it:

In all four of these examples, we feel satisfied because we feel that the work that we’re performing is being put towards building something.

If it doesn’t require mental focus or we don’t feel like we’re building something, then there’s a good chance we’re not going to get satisfaction from the time, resources, or work we spend on a given activity.

Increasing Mental Focus:

So, how do we spend more of our time utilizing our mental focus towards building we care about?

1. Prepare for Prolonged Focus

The first part of being able to successfully focus on something we want to do is give ourselves the ability to actually focus.

If you’re the type of person runs on caffeine all day and doesn’t do much physical activity – that needs to change. You don’t want your body having to rely on caffeine to perform day in and day out – which can happen.

Also, stay hydrated. Personally, this is one that I struggle with myself. I know I don’t drink enough water. Having grown up on all kinds of sodas, juices, and other sugary drinks, I’ve never been able to make drinking water a part of my routine. So if you’re like me, make sure that you’re figuring out other ways of getting your water in. For me, I’ve become a tea-aholic!

One other way to prepare for prolonged focus is by making sure you get plenty of sleep. Seriously.

7 or 8 hours is what we should be shooting for. That means if you’re planning on getting up at 5 or 6 in the morning, you’ll be wanting to go to bed at 9 or 10pm at the latest.

2. Choose Your Most Important Tasks

Once you are rested up and have something to drink near you, you’ll be ready to get going. But before we do, we need to make sure we’re aware of the tasks that we want to do that particular day.

I’ve talked about how important it is to properly plan the tasks you want to get done that week and month. When it comes to doing something in a particular day, all we want to do is 1 to 3 things.

For example, I keep it simple by focusing on writing on Monday, podcast editing on Tuesday and podcast publishing on Wednesday. The rest of the time is committed to marketing, meetings, and specifically on Thursday and Friday, I try to learn and utilize new skills and systems to help with the other days.

3. Clear Space for Focused Work by Getting Rid of Distractions

Distractions come in all sizes. Having a dead end or uninteresting job, playing videogames or watching TV for 4 or more hours a day, or endlessly scrolling through social media or answering emails are examples of distractions.

The difference between distractions and other activities is that distractions are activities that aren’t helping you reach your goals or enriching your life.

If you’re having problems figuring out what the distractions in your life are, then think about the things you do that others would consider a waste of time or you personally feel is “a grind”.

Your job might literally drain you and stress you out. This might grounds to look for another job.

If you feel like you have to play video games “like a job”, then figure out something else to spend your time on. Maybe you feel like you have to be on all the social media platforms that your friends are on. If this is the case, then just pick one and let them know they can actually call you if they need something.

The goal with this step is to make sure we are not being interrupted when we actually sit down and do activities that are meaningful. If you need more help with distractions, here’s a post for more info.

If you want to start small but have some really drastic changes in this department, here are three things you can do today:

  1. Don’t multitask. No one can multitask and if they say they can, they’re still living in the year 2000.
  2. Turn off notifications on your phone and computer
  3. Do not connect to social media or other things until your main tasks are done.
  4. Don’t leave email going all day. Check it twice – preferably mid-morning and before you’re done for the day. DO NOT check it first thing!

4. Get in the Zone – Your Zone

Being busy is something that many of us have grown up believing is the key to success. And the truth is that, being busy is often times a sign that a person isn’t in control of their lives. The busier someone is or seems to be, the more they’re probably at the call of someone else.

So the goal, believe it or not, is to not for you to appear busy all the time. Instead it’s to actually be doing something when you’re wanting to do it and committing to that action. This will get you “in the Zone” or “in flow”. When you’re in flow, you won’t have to worry about others perceiving you as being busy because you will be and the more times you get there, the longer you’ll be able to stay there.

Being in flow for long periods of time is called Deep Work or Slow Working. Interestingly, this type of work yields better results in the long run.

If you’re not used to doing work for a long period of time, shoot for at least a half an hour sprint. And then work your way up to longer periods of time. The goal is to train your mind like a muscle. Ideally you’ll be able to spend enough time in a deep work mode that you’ll be able to finish the task at hand before you need a break.

However, you need to take breaks from time to time. So make sure you do take that lunch hour and walk around for a few minutes every hour or so.

If your current job prevents you from going into the zone on a regular basis, you might want to consider finding another job. I personally believe that being able to be in flow is a vital part of having job satisfaction.

If you’ve never had a job that will allow you to get there, then that might be a sign that it’s time for you to start your own business. This will give you a way to do something you like to do in a way that you will like doing it.

Ending Thoughts

I hope that this post gives you a clearer sense of what focus and subsequently, your work life, should be like. If you believe that you’re not being able to clearly focus on your job or in your business, then it might definitely be time to change some things up.

Lack of focus will cause you unneeded stress. Period. With so many options and opportunities in the world today, it’s just not smart to strap yourself to a particular group of coworkers or a paycheck with a particular name on it.

That might have been expected with the Baby Boomers, but even they know that things are changing quickly. (For a great discussion on this topic, check out my discussion with Dr. Joe Albano)

Your goal is to not look at a job as “working for” a particular company. It’s to look at a job as “working with” them. If you can’t find the partnership you seek in your current industry, you owe it to yourself to find that partnership elsewhere – even if it means starting your own business.

Word of advice: Don’t expect for your current company to change for you. Just because you might be starting to find your own goals in life, doesn’t mean your current place of employment agrees with those goals.

You might have to move. But that’s ok, because you don’t want to work at a place you’re not appreciated.

If you find yourself looking for a new job, do your due diligence when you’re interviewing and find out if the position truly works for you along with the goals and culture of the company that you’ll be working with.

sandra bellamy

Sandra Bellamy: How to Embrace Your Quirky to Be Your Own Authentic Self (AoL 050)

Society in general teaches us to not only care what other people think, but that we have to conform to those thoughts. For many people, that’s not a problem. But for us creatives it can be really hard. And often times we find ourselves asking two questions:

Am I living the life that I’ve seen for myself? And “Who am I going to live my life for?”

The answer to those two questions often times leads to the formation of one’s own passion based business.

In fact, that’s what happened to today’s guest, Sandra Bellamy.

Not only did Sandra come to this realization back in 2012, but she’s made it her mission to help other people figure out for themselves that they’re connected to a Matrix that has no interest in their personal desires. She calls it “Embracing Your Quirky”.

The truth is that once we unplug, we have to start believing in ourselves and take a big leap of faith – because no one else is going to on our behalf.

In this chat, we talk about how she learned to embrace her quirky, how you can do so in your daily life, and we also dive a bit into her experiences as a writer and why she believes that anyone can be a writer.

It’s a practical and exceptionally helpful episode. Enjoy!


  • How can someone tell if they’re not embracing who they are enough? 22:23
  • Why she loves “the lifestyle of a teenager” to empower how she see’s herself. 23:14
  • How someone can “embrace their own quirky” more. 26:30
  • What are some of the experiences that she’s had working with others. 30:06
  • Why she has a wide spread of book topics and where each one came from. 34:42
  • How she’s able to write so much and why she believes that anyone can be a writer. 46:39
  • What she’s looking forward to in the not too distant future. 51:38
  • What are three thought leaders she recommends to other people the most. 54:13
  • One thing that’s under $100 that has changed her life. 55:15
  • One gift she likes giving others. 55:50
  • 3 truths that she would share with others. 56:06
  • Something she believed when she was 24 but now thinks is bogus. 58:00
  • When she thinks of the word success, who comes to mind and why? 1:00:31
  • … and MUCH more!

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



Stop Worrying, Start Living:

5 Lessons from Launching a Amazon Kindle Book:

Free Book and Review Opportunity from Red Door Publishing:

Andy Harrington’s story of how Tony Robbins Changed his Life:

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!



take control of your life

7 Ways to Stop Being a Victim and Take Control of Your Life

A video from this past winter of Gary Vee’s got me thinking. The world is full of victims. And really, much of the direction of the country as a whole is going because of how many people in their lives that they are a victim – more to the point – a victim of their circumstance. Here’s that video:

Just this past weekend, I had the opportunity to sit down with a friend of mine from the Muncie area. As we were talking, he made it clear that he felt that his place in life made it hard for him to progress in life. Having a disability from a past job and not feeling like he could be retrained to do something else due to his age, he seemed adrift in his career. Just bobbing up and down in the sea of life and letting whatever currents that be take him with them.

I asked him, “if you had an ideal life, what would it look like?”. He said “You know, I haven’t really thought about that because it seems like it would be too far out of reach.”

I then asked him, “How do you think that the Olympic athletes are there doing their thing? Do you think they thought that being there was out of reach?”

His response was, “No. But they had people that helped them get there. They knew the right people.”

“Interesting.”, I replied. The conversation continued after that for a bit… but I could tell that I got his mind spinning a bit.

Formal Education Can be a Waste of Time

Now, if you’re not familiar with the Muncie, Indiana area – it used to be full of manufacturing jobs. However, since those jobs have all but left the country, there are many people who are still displaced and trying to figure out what to do with their lives. (A bi-product of this loss of jobs has been the rise of drug use in the area – including, but not limited to, meth.)

When I worked at Ivy Tech for a few years, my students were mainly a mixture of kids just out of high school and these displaced individuals. I’m glad that they were there. Whether they were there because they got some money from the state to be there (school loans that might later hurt them) or they actually realized that education IS a way to move forward. I loved these adult learners – but I hated that I wasn’t getting the opportunity to teach them important things that would help them actually move forward in their lives.

Seriously. How is Algebra going to help them? They need a whole reworking of how they see the world. Not the knowledge of how to find the equation of a line drawn on a grid!

Even when I first went to college, I was hoping that it would teach me skills that I would actually be able to apply to having a successful life. Instead all I was taught was code, equations, and facts. While it applied to me getting a job, it never applied to real life.

When I graduated, I pretty much had the same perspective on life that I did when I entered. I just had a higher vocabulary. (Which, funny enough, ostracized me from everyday folks outside out of academia. Later, when I did start teaching at Ivy Tech, I had to become more relatable and adjust my speaking patterns again.)

I can attribute my new perspective on the world as starting during my active years in LTD. That was the first time in my life that I had positive and successful people around me. I learned from them how to start learning how to live a better life myself. And the biggest thing that I learned was that I needed to adjust my own victim perspective. (Soon, with the passing of my mom, I also realized that the mindset of a victim can actually kill. She had several things wearing on her at the time and anytime I hear people stuck in life with little options, I really feel their pain. It usually brings me back to what she was going through.)

7 Steps to Retaking Control of Your Life

So, how did having these people in LTD specifically help me get out of having a victim mindset? Well, you’re in luck. I’m going to share you a list of steps that I can look back on and see what I did to start getting to point where I am today.

Become aware and realize when you’re playing the victim card.

Like any other “normal” behavior, blaming others for your misfortunes can become a habit and even an addiction. Like any other addiction, we need to be able to admit that we need to make a change in our own life before we can actually do it.

Realize why you actually do it.

  • You might want attention and validation. You can always get good feelings from other people as they are concerned about you and try to help you out. On the other hand, it may not last for that long as people get tired of it.
  • You don’t have to take risks. When you feel like a victim you tend to not take action and then you don’t have to risk for example rejection or failure.
  • You don’t have to take the sometimes heavy responsibility. Taking responsibility for your own life can be hard work, you have to make difficult decisions and it is just heavy sometimes. In the short term it can feel like the easier choice to not take personal responsibility.
  • It makes you feel right. When you feel like the victim and like everyone else – or just someone else – is wrong and you are right then that can lead to pleasurable feelings.
  • As with any other bad habit (or addiction), being aware of what you’re actually doing is will give you the ability to start thinking about those actions rationally. It’s when you’re aware of your actual choice that you can start thinking about taking different actions.

It’s Ok to Not Be a Victim

Anytime we think about doing something different in our life, we always wonder what others in our life are going to think. If you’re a gamer, you’re going to wonder what your gaming buddies are going to think. If you’re an alcoholic, you’re going to wonder what your buddies at the bar are going to think. The list goes on.

Also realize that you’re going to struggle with it yourself. You may have spent hours each week with thinking and talking about how wrong things have gone for you in life. Or how people have wronged you and how you could get some revenge or triumph over them. This whole new thinking process is going to be new to you. It’s going to be tough, but in the end it’ll be worth it to be free.

Now you have to fill your life with new thinking that may feel uncomfortable because it is not so intimately familiar as the victim thinking you have been engaging in for years.

Take Responsibility for your Life.

Stop waiting on other people’s approval to live your life. As much as you might think growing up, you’re not your parents, and they’re not you.

Growing up, if we’ve had good parents, they’ve programmed into us that we’re capable of doing anything with our lives. However, over time we might start feeling that we’re not living to their standards. (I know that’s something that I’ve struggled with in the past.)

From this, we start developing self-esteem issues. We start believing that we’re totally capable of living a good life, but for whatever reason, it’s not happening.
We might lash out on other people, we might drown ourselves in other types of addictions to avoid the pain that we’re feeling.

This damages other vital parts of our lives: relationships, ambitions, and other achievements. Obviously, this isn’t a good thing.

Until we take take responsibility for our own lives, this pain of ours continues. If anything goes wrong in life, take responsibility for it – unless your life is literally threatened then you should probably blame the other guy. 😉

(Side note: Also forget what other people say if you’re having issues there. You don’t need to be part of a group that disrepects you as a person.)

Have Gratitude for What you do Have.

I can almost guarantee you that you’re probably upset about where you’re at in life – with something. You might have thought that you were going to be farther in life than you currently are. Maybe you thought you’d be married by now. Maybe you want to have kids and you don’t yet. Maybe you actually have a successful business now, but you don’t own the Jets yet (looking at you, Gary. 😉 )

The truth is that there’s a thing called “The Missing Tile Syndrome”. We all have it and need to deal with it regularly. The best way to deal with it is to appreciate that all the other tiles in our lives are in place. That maybe we have a loving family and that we have a good job to pay the rent or mortgage. Or that we can travel anywhere in the world that we want to at any time.

Having a journal can help immensely with this step.

Forgive Those who Trespass Against You.

At this point, you’re starting to realize that you’re not perfect. That’s great! But you also have to give others the benefit of the doubt too. The truth of the matter is that no one has time to worry about your life more than they worry about their own. So they’re going to piss you off from time to time because they’re just trying to do their thing.

Forgive those that cut you off in traffic. They might be having a really bad day. Forgive those that cut in line at the fair or Disney World – they might actually have a VIP pass. (Is that an actual thing?)

The point being is that you bring on this negative energy onto yourself when you have these feelings. You want positive energy and forgiving does that. Start thinking about other people’s perspective when they seemingly are picking on you. (Unless again if your life is ACTUALLY threatened… then you might want to go into self preservation mode.)

Turn your focus outward and help someone out.

There’s a saying, “People don’t care about what you know until they know that you care”. But the problem is that people really don’t know who you are (because why would you have ever shown them the real you?) or they don’t know you’re trying to make a change to be a better person.

Action speak more than words. So if you’re true intent is to ultimately feel that you’re not a victim, there’s nothing more that will show this than actually being of service to other people.

Really, when you’re known as being a server and later a servant leader, that’s when you really know you’re no longer a victim – you’re a victor.

Sometimes You’ll Need to Give Yourself a Break.

Sometimes you’re going to have relapses in your feelings about yourself and your new decisions. It’s part of what makes us human. In entrepreneurship, it’s called the entrepreneur emotion rollercoaster.

Sometimes you’re going to love what you do. Sometimes you’re going to wonder if it’s worth your trouble.

When I’m on the bottom of this rollercoaster, I’ll remind myself that I’ve done the work to come to this point and realize that this is who I am and no one can take that from me.

In your instance, you might simply need to realize that it’s not about being perfect. It’s about being happy. Sometimes other people are going to crap on you on rainy days. Just remember that they’ll get theirs and there’s nothing you should do to speed that process up because you’ll look bad in the process (again, unless it’s about actually surviving… then take them out or escape. We don’t want anyone suffering from Stockholm Syndrome).

Action Steps:

Below, I’d love to hear from you! Let me know how these work out for you if you get a chance to use them in your life too. Or maybe you’ve gone through a similar process? Let me know if I left anything out!

skill hack

AoL 047: How to Skill Hack and Stay Engaged In Your Creative Work with Stephen Robinson

On the show today, 2 friends and a host share what it’s really like learning for a living. That’s right, I said LEARN for a living.

What does mean? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Ginger joins me again in this one and we talk with one of her friends that she’s met in her travels – Stephen Robinson.

Stephen is founder of 52Skillz, a YouTube channel in where he discovers, learns, and shares a new skill weekly.

With so many “leading learners” out there, there’s a lot of conversation in how to do it.

While Stephen has had plenty of inspiration, he wants to make sure he does it his own way. He does it by one-upping people that are already out there.

So, is it as easy as it sounds? Or, as we ask him in the chat: How do you stay engaged and up-to-date in your work?

The answer, and the story of where 52Skillz came from is what we lay out for you today on the show.


  • How Stephen chose his major in college 10:42
  • How to not get your business lost in the ether of the internet. 14:37
  • Where the idea for 52 Skillz came from. 17:00
  • Does Stephen feel he was inspired by Tim Ferriss? 19:46
  • Does he feel like there’s any favorite skills that he’s learned? 21:53
  • Where he would recommend that people start if they wanted to start learning skills quickly. 29:02
  • How Stephen has a constant flow of content coming for his YouTube channel. 33:13
  • Does he do his own video production? 36:08
  • How he has the ability to work on a passion project while at the same pay the bills. 40:58
  • What’s a strategy that Stephen would recommend to transfer to do something they love? 44:34
  • How does Steven stay engaged in his work? 48:17
  • How he got ready for his TEDx talk 58:33
  • What is Stephen’s thoughts on having deadlines? 1:00:22
  • What’s Stephen looking forward to in the near future? 1:03:24
  • 3 Favorite Influencers 1:07:00
  • 3 Truths to share with others 1:07:18
  • What’s the message he’d put on social media? 1:08:42
  • What’s one thing that he used to believe but doesn’t anymore? 1:09:38
  • … and MUCH more!

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



Ginger comes through on her promise in learning to juggle!!:

Stephen’s TEDx Talk:

How He Prepped for his TEDx Talk:

Zephan Blaxberg Interview of Stephen:

Alexis Hillyard’s “Stump Kitchen” Crossover:

My Favorite Video of 52 Skillz:


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!



10 Entrepreneur Movies that will Give you Peace of Mind and Help you Share what You’re Doing with Others

Many of us solopreneurs start our entrepreneurial careers in some sort of MLM. Whether or not we succeed in that MLM, isn’t so much the point. More often than not, a lot of us come away with some pretty good experiences from being it in.

In fact, last night I was watching a movie with Maria where a small part of it at the beginning reminded her and I both of an MLM-like motivational speech at a convention. Sure, the commentary was a little more colorful than I remember, but it was interesting how close they got it. Surely, whoever came up with the scene had to have been at an event at some point in their life!

As I was thinking about that, I started remembering how when I was active in Amway and LTD, we would watch movies in a way that I hadn’t watched them before.

I started watching them not necessarily for entertainment but to also see if I could use them to help me define my why. In other words, I started using them to not only use as motivation for building a business but to see myself in the protagonist’s shoes.

The Breakdown

So, getting to the point of this week’s post. I want to highlight a few movies that you can use as model of what you could do with your own passion based business, and maybe help you combat the questioning of friends and loved ones as you get started.

I’ve broken the list up into various subgroups.

The first group are movies that will help you fine tune why you’d be interested in starting your own business. Knowing your why helps you persevere when times get tough.

The second group consists of movies that will help you define what taking action in your business looks like. It’s always nice to have an idea of what someone else did to climb the ladder of success – even if it is fiction.

And the third group is of movies that discuss big names in the business world. Everyone has heard of these names and if you can express that you feel a need in yourself to do something similar to what they did but with your own signature, they might have a better understanding of what you’re attempting to do.

Why Builders

I’m Fine, Thanks:

One of my favorite documentaries to date about unplugging from culture and seeing the world differently. Back in 2012, Pat Flynn mentioned that he had been interviewed for this movie. Again, being a fan of his since 2010, I figured that he knew what was up and that I should definitely check it out on Kickstarter. It’s a movie about being tired of the same thing over and over – day in and day out. But so many of us feel powerless to get out of the rat race.

As you guys know, in 2015 I made the leap to finally start my journey with building New Inceptions. I hope this movie inspires you to do something similar.

As a note, I did end up pledging enough that I got Maria and I into the credits BEFORE we were married in 2013. Needless to say she liked that present and I think you’ll really get a lot from seeing this movie


The Abundance Code:

This documentary just came out just a couple of weeks ago and I was lucky enough to get noticed about it’s pre-launch where it was viewable by everyone and anyone for free!

Yes, just like many books are starting to be introduced for free so they can drive up the reader reviews on Amazon, so are these grassroot movies.

This particular piece touches on why people are fearful to leave the caged or comfortable life that society programs us with and some ideas to help us combat that fear.

The one tactic I think I’ll use for the foreseeable future is thinking about what I loved to do as a kid and use that as a vital part of my business.

If you’re struggling to figure out why you think that many entrepreneurs treat life as a game, then maybe you should check this one out.


Office Space:

This one is a classic. I really think that this is one of the movies that woke me up to entrepreneurship when I first started learning about it. I had this movie in the back of my head and it had always struck me how I was going to get out of a life like the characters had in it.

Doing my own thing was the answer.

This is a mainstream movie that starred many celebrities when it was released in 1999 including Jennifer Aniston and John C. McGinley (who is actually in the next mentioned movie, too!).


Examples of Taking Action

Get a Job:

This recent mainstream movie didn’t get great praise by critics, but what does these days? It stars a whole bunch of well known entertainers playing the main roles all the way down to the owner of a shady motel.

The protagonists are young millennials with the world in front of them but they’re just squandering it playing video games and smoking weed. Well, life hits them quite suddenly when they lose their TV and are forced to go out into the world and “make it happen”.

If you’re a younger millennial or just out of college and wondering if you got what it takes to start your own business, then you might want to give this a look.


The Intern:

Two age ranges are dealt with here. The Baby Boomer and the older millennial / Gen X’er. I particularly loved this one because it shows that anyone at any age can learn something from someone else regardless of age.

While I really appreciate Anne Hathaway’s character’s tenacity for running her business, I love how they show the in’s and out’s of the life that she leads. While it isn’t perfect, it definitely is a sign of the new norm for professional women – including stay-at-home dads.

Robert DeNiro’s character does a really great job of helping hers find her center and, in the end, having a happier and more balanced life.



If you’ve ever thought about starting a restaurant or maybe you’ve had a career taken away from you and you’re having to start from scratch, this is a great example of how virally things can grow for you if you just go out of your comfort zone.

It’s important to note that your results will vary – you don’t have the reach that a world renowned chef has. However, I want people to notice how they had ideas and then implemented them fairly quickly that they made due with what they had available. Sometimes that’s what you have to do! It can’t all be perfect!


The Pursuit of Happyness:

Another one of my all-time favorite movies AND it stars Will Smith at the peak of his popularity. In this “inspired by actual events” movie, Will plays the part of Chris Gardner who went from being homeless at one point with his kid to getting a job at one of the biggest financial firms in the country.

It’s pure Hustle.

Sometimes you have to hit bottom to truly be able to reach for the stars. When you hit bottom, there’s no other options than up. This movie (and book) are for people who think they have it bad and don’t see a way out.


Inspirational Stories of People Who Made It:

The Aviator

The story of Howard Hughes is pretty mysterious. But one thing is definitely true is that he completely subscribed to the theory of “Whatever the Mind of man can Conceive and  Believe, it will Achieve”.

His vision was second to none and his OCD really helped him in carrying these visions to fruition. Purely remarkable guy.


Visionaries come in all forms and from all industries. If it wasn’t for Billy Beane and how he introduced the idea of using stats to put together a team, major league sports would not look anything like it does today.

This movie is a great example in understanding how metrics can be just as beneficial if not more so than instinct when we’re building something.

The Social Network:

Ever wonder how Facebook got started? How it went from the idea of a kid at Harvard to being the hub of online communication that it is today? This movie does a pretty good representation of how it all went down. However, it isn’t completely dead on with the facts. (But none of these movies are. So take it in stride.)

Bonus: Pirates of Silicon Valley:

Before there was Facebook and the internet, there were actually still computers. They just did a lot less than their modern descendants and not everyone in the world relied on them as much as they do today.

That said, if it wasn’t for those old relics we wouldn’t have the connected world that we do today.

I saw this movie for the first time right around the time that I saw Office Space. I was blown away by the stories of the founding of Apple and Microsoft. Here you had two huge companies that essentially start out in people’s garages with a ragtag group of geeks. It was always my goal in college to meet people like that and learn hacking a bit more.

I never did meet my hacker community, but it did inspire me to Think Different.

Action Steps:

If you’ve heard of a few of these and haven’t seen them yet, I’d highly recommend checking them out. Once you’ve seen one of them, ask yourself afterwards, what are some takeaways that I got from watching this? How can I apply them to my business?

Also, I’d like to hear about movies you’ve seen that you believe have added value to your business. Let me know in the comments below.


4 Quick, Simple, and Immediate Steps to Take Action in Your Work

Whether you call it analysis paralysis or overthinking it, why is it that we spend so much time trying to do what we know that we should be doing? Many of us go to workshops, classes, and even big events to get over this issue.

Even when I was in college, I started realizing that I’d think about how I’d want to do something before I actually tried. In retrospect, it probably cost me some good opportunities here and there.

Here are some of the reasons that people might over think something:

  • Worried about what other people might think.
  • Don’t want to start something else that they believe they might fail.
  • Not sure what the next step is.
  • Don’t want to waste time that could be used more productively.
  • Know what many next steps might be.

Do these sound similar to thoughts you’ve had? I know that for me, I’ve struggled with all of them at different points and continue to at times.

Needless to say overthinking things can happen at any level. Let’s look at how we can hack ourselves out of these thoughts that keep us in our comfort zone.


Look Beyond Yourself.

This is one that most of us struggle with as teenagers and early 20 year olds. We wonder if we’re good enough to go on the date with the cool guy or the pretty girl. We wonder if we’re good enough to get on the team. We believe that if we aren’t perfect at school or whatever that we take seriously, that other people won’t take us seriously in the future – meaning that we won’t get into that great school or land that awesome first opportunity.

Personally, for me, I lived in this cage for a good part of my life. I think I started caring when I was constantly bullied in school. And I have to say that really made me worry what others thought of me until 2011.


Then I was given a task to do: make 100 cold calls a week.

That’s what it took to break me out of my mold.


When I was doing those calls, I stopped worrying about what others were going to think of me. What I started to think about was what I was going to be able to do for them.

Here’s the key. When you don’t want to care about what others think of you, you need to realize that you taking action can help others. Sure, it can be people you don’t know with products you believe in (that’s key). But it can also be your friends and family.

By setting the example to do something new, you’re being an example of what’s possible.

However, you might have a deeper issue than that. Sure, you want to be a speaker on a stage sometime, and you realize how many people that would help. But you don’t see yourself as a speaker. In fact, you might have a speech impediment that’s keeping you from getting your message out.

However, it’s still possible for you to become that speaker.


Well, for one, there are some speakers and comedians that have overcome some major hurdles in their lives to do the role that they do. Some of my favorite personalities are those who don’t see their disability as a disability – they see it as a way that sets them apart from the crowd.

One example of a comedian who does this is Josh Blue who has cerebral palsy. (If you want more, he has a special on Netflix.)

Another comedian that I love is Zach Anner – check out his YouTube channel here.

Yet another example is a Christian motivational speaker that you possibly might have heard about is Nick Vujicic who doesn’t have any limbs.

How did these guys get over their hurdles?

  • First off, they realized that doing what they felt they were being called to do was more important than what others might think.
  • They also realized, as we talked about before, that doing this new activity would make a difference in people’s lives.
  • But I think the main thing is that they were able to ask themselves this question: “What’s the worst thing that can happen from this?” and realize that while they might get the occasional heckler, not many bad things can actually happen from doing what they love to do.

Another way that you might be able to get over what others think of you is to simply focus on doing things that you know you have control over that are related to the task that you’re wanting to do.

When I was trying to get over my fear of doing cold calls, I started doing something I knew I could do. Call people that I already knew. That got me used to talking with people.

From there, I would call warm leads that I didn’t know. People that responded to an email that had already been sent.

During that time, I realized that not all those people had actually seen the email. So after a few of those, I realized that essentially I was doing cold calls anyway.

Well from there, I just started cold calling using a line similar to “Hi, this is JC in response to the email that <insert name> showed an interest in. Are they available?” This usually got me past the gatekeeper. From there, if they didn’t know what I was talking about, I just simply said “Oh yeah. Well, basically it was talking about this <insert topic>. Do you know how knowing how to do that would impact your business?

If you’re looking to become a speaker, maybe you can become a member of a nearby Toastmasters group?


Get Help From Others

Perhaps your problem isn’t so much the fear of doing something, but you currently don’t have the knowledge to get the task accomplished on your own. You don’t know what to do next. Or maybe you just don’t have the time to get proficient at yet another skill. This is when you ask for some help.

The first thing you can do is simply see what other people in your situation have done. When it comes to New Inceptions, you guys know I usually seek help from Fizzle. If there’s no answer there, I’ll go on over to SPI. If Pat doesn’t have an answer, I’ll check elsewhere.

Chances are that whatever you’re wanting to do, someone has probably already done it and they’ve made their success available on the internet.

That said, John Maxwell regularly talks about knowing your strengths and bringing in people for your weaknesses. Sometimes you have to do that. You have to delegate for others to make the decision.

You already do this in your life. Like me, you probably already have a mechanic for your car. Why is that? Because you don’t know how to fix your car.

Do you have an IT guy to fix your computer? Maybe you do. Maybe you don’t. Personally, I’m my own IT guy for the most part.

While I don’t have to pay anyone to do this, there’s a ton of down time when I have to put that hat on. When it comes to the website, while I might be able to figure out how to make it more robust, there’s a big chance that when we do add additional features that I’ll need to hire someone else to work on it.


Accomplish 3 – 5 Things Daily

In the last segment, we discussed getting help to do things you don’t know anything about. However, that’s only going to get you so far.

Perhaps you know everything you should be doing, but because you’re busy doing other work, you find yourself not getting to the core work you should be doing.

The fix here is to set priorities by identifying what your objectives are. Ask yourself these kinds of questions:

  • What does your ultimate outcome look like?
  • What does success look like along this path?
  • How will you know if you’ve reached a goal?

Now figure out what the process is to accomplish these.

John Maxwell says it’s helpful to have a Rule of 5.

Simply said, if you find yourself trying to do everything, then nothing you do is going to be done well.

To solve this problem (which Chris Ducker calls Superman Syndrome) there’s going to be a time when you have to ask someone to do some of the work you might enjoy doing.

For example, I know I enjoy getting out and doing yard work. I think it comes from all the years that my mom and I did it. However, I realize that as New Inceptions becomes more popular, that I’m not going to be able to do all the work that I need to around the house.  I know that while I do enjoy doing it, I’m going to have to delegate that work to a professional.

Similarly, I’m going to do the same with the editing of my podcast. While I love working on each talk, eventually I’m going to have to hire it out so I can get my main 3 to 5 things done.


Daily Practice

As the above segment says, you have to do things daily to reach your goal. It’s not so much that that you have to be perfect at your work (we never are), but you should focus on being “Highly Ok”.

Pick which activity you’re going to do until it gets done. Don’t look back after choosing that activity. Do it until you have a stopping point.

And above all else. Set a hard time limit to get your 3 to 5 tasks done. Give yourself “working hours”.

Unless you’re Gary V., don’t be busy for busy’s sake. Don’t worry about hustling… unless you love the chase. In fact, you might want to consider having an anti-hustle lifestyle.

For even more on Anti-Hustling, check out this episode of the Fizzle Show:

Action Steps

The next time that you find yourself overthinking about a specific subject. Remember that there is a resource (here) that might help you from stopping. Try out the recommendations that I’ve suggested. However, if it doesn’t help – I want you to come back and let me know where it’s failing. I’ll personally help you think of a strategy and then add to this resource about what we did!

martial arts academy

AoL 033: Building a Successful Martial Arts Academy with AJ Clingerman

As we have found out, passion filled work comes in many forms. Just last week, we saw how David Picciuto helps others learn about woodworking online. He gets to utilize his past interests in art and design to aid in getting his new found passion of woodworking out into the world.

For me, I’ve recently come to realize that I love teaching, connecting people and ideas, tech, and entrepreneurship. These are topics that I’m constantly learning more about when I can. They are what I naturally gravitate towards.

Likewise, this session’s guest, AJ Clingerman, always knew that she wanted to have her own studio. While originally it was a dance studio, she was open to the idea of starting the Indiana Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy with her husband when she realized how deep his love of the martial art was.

In my opinion, they have a heck of a story and team going on. Able to capitalize on what they both do well. She does business, he focuses on training and training others.

In this session, we’ll get to know half of this partnership. Particularly we discuss with AJ what James told her about BJJ when they first started dating, where the idea of the academy came from, growing pains that she and James have held to deal with while growing the business, what experience she’s obtained from working with people like Scott Manning and Dan Kennedy, and where the idea for her two books came from.

If you’re interested in starting a athletic training academy, or simply want to expand online what you’re already doing, then I think you’ll get a ton out of this talk.


  • How AJ got into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the first place.
  • How long AJ has envisioned herself running a business.
  • Why she chose not to pursue a college degree.
  • Where the idea for INDY EGO (Extreme Grappling Open) came from.
  • Where the idea for the Indiana Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy came from.
  • What kind of growing pains they had to go through when starting a business knowing little about actually running a business.
  • Where the idea for Indy Business Success came from and how this initiative is helping business owners around Indianapolis.
  • How she won Dan Kennedy’s Marketer of the Year award.
  • One thing you should definitely consider when starting a business based YouTube Channel.
  • What gave AJ the idea to write her books.
  • What she thinks about women in men’s fields – especially in martial arts.
  • …and MUCH more.

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



AJ featured on Dan Kennedy’s YouTube Channel:

Marketing Methods Guerrilla Marketing Techniques with AJ Clingerman

How You Can Defend Yourself by Disarming a Gunman

7 Essential Kickboxing Techniques

Thanks for Listening!

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