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AoL009: Ideas to Improve all the Tomorrows of your Life with Jim Vaughan

Gary Vaynerchuk, Pat Flynn, Tim Ferriss, even Tony Robbins. These are names that we can picture when we think about being successful in climbing their respective career mountains. We all know these names because they share, on a regular basis, how they got to where they’re at and what they’re currently doing. One thing that they all have in common is that they’re releasing new content all the time. That’s what makes them popular, I’m sure.

They all are people we’d consider to be extraordinary and able to give lots of information in how we can be great like them. However, the idea of being great and teaching others to be the same isn’t new. Would you believe that Tony Robbins wasn’t the first big self-help star out there? He had to learn from others… but who did he learn from? Who was popular in that time?

These were questions I continually searched when I first learned about the self-help field. I know Tony mentions a few in his books, but I always wondered if there were others that were popular at the time. If you know Tony’s story, you know that he started out pretty normal like most of us. So it wasn’t like he had special access to any insider information.

When I met Jim Vaughan in 2012, he helped shed some light on this mystery. With the site that he had at the time, I was able to go into this vast library and learn from some of these past rock stars of success. Some of those names included Earl Nightingale, Paul J. Meyer, Andrew Carnegie and others. These are people who he considers part of his Personal Board of Directors. These were people that I was sure that could have impacted Tony’s education!

And when I say education, don’t believe that what I’m talking about has anything to do with what you find in formal education. You know, K-12 and college. So much of that knowledge is a complete waste of time when it comes to actually being successful in life. I mean, outside of those who graduated with a STEM related major, it’s insane how many college graduates don’t have a job in the field they went to school for. However, I’m sure you know this. (Hell, you might even be one of those people. I feel your pain. I went to school for a STEM related major… and used it for a whole two years before I realized that it didn’t fit what I wanted to do.)

So, if you feel that you’ve been lead astray in your career (and life in general) and want to really learn from proven old-school life advice, I’d check out what Jim has to say. He’s been listening and implementing a lot of it for a good part of his life and is now dedicated to passing that knowledge along. It might just help you be the next Tony Robbins in your field.

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN:

  • Why Jim started listening to success masters and how they amplified his career.
  • How Jim got hired to do DJ work at the White House (yes, that White House).
  • How you can change your thought process to get to where you want in life.
  • What kind of impact Jim wants to make with his businesses.
  • How Jim came up with the idea for the IQ Morning Report and what it consists of.
  • Why he believes it’s so important to keep learning.
  • Some of the great tips he’s learned through the years including the easiest way to become a people magnet.
  • Proof that you don’t need a formal education to do well for yourself in life.
  • …and MUCH more.

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

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Here’s some popular YouTube videos and other media related to Jim’s Personal Board of Directors:

Thanks for Listening!

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

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

Cheers!

5 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Personal Strengths

 

One of the things that I believe is necessary for people to perform at a high performance level on their life journey is to become aware of what they’re naturally good at in life. I’ve mentioned several books that you can learn about this with (StrengthFinders and Standout are my top two), but this really is the beginning of your journey.

The next step of leveling up in life is working on these strengths. In the video above, John mentions that you need to focus on your strengths and not on your weaknesses. However, he doesn’t exactly say how you can do that.

Here are some strategies that I’ve used in the past which will help you improve your personal strengths.

Gain Experience

When I was a kid, one of the coolest things to look forward to during the school year was when we would go on field trips. I think as a kid, you want to go because it’s a change of scenery from the regular class room. Also, the longer it took to get to the destination, so that meant more time you had on the bus to mess around.

Those days were awesome.

Looking back, though, I think those field trips had more lasting impressions on me on what I remembered than talking about the same thing in class. Was it because of the change of the routine? Sure. Perhaps that’s what started the the vivid memories, but being fully engaged in the environment I’m sure helped as well. Whether it was a trip to the Children’s Museum in Indy to study dinosaurs, or a trip to Metamora to learn about canals and to ride a train, those were the days that very particular memories have stuck with me.

Later in college I had lab segments for many of my courses. Professors said that these sections were for hands on learning. Well, I’ll tell you, I was horrible at many of the in class activities we had. (I was so horrible in lab that I came close to failing most practicals!)

However, thinking back now I realize that if it wasn’t for the lab section of many of my undergrad courses, that I wouldn’t have done as well in the rest of the course.

In both situations, I can think back now and realize how important those times were, even though (especially in the case of the lab sections) the material stretched me a little bit. Today, I compare many of the road trips I’ve been on with my past field trips. Likewise, when it comes to doing things that I’ve never done, I can think about the labs that I was in and think “Well, I know nothing can be that bad!”.

In the end, it’s that hard earned experience that will launch you further than if you just passively heard about it. It gives you confidence that you know what’s going to come up around the bend. Having dealt with similar situations before really helps you be confident in that you can handle whatever you’re doing with ease. And it also means that you can share something with others about how it went last time.

Get Feedback

Verification is key. Just ask any comedian.

Do you know why comedians are really funny when you just hear about them and then later they’re not as much? It’s because until the point where you’ve heard them, they’ve probably been working on that same joke routine for 5 to 15 years! From small audience to larger audience, to finally getting noticed by Comedy Central and then possibly on to sitcoms – they’re working on the same material.

After the Comedy Central Special has aired or the sitcom has run its course, what happens to these successful comedians? Many would say they go underground.  It could be that, sure. Another thought is that they haven’t had time to get their new material as polished as their old stuff… or they just don’t feel the need to!

Similarly, when you’re doing an activity that utilizes your strengths, make sure you’re asking for feedback. For one, it makes you better at your strengths. And two, it might just keep you relevant to your potential audience!

Keep a Journal (Write Stuff Down)

Ok, so as you might be aware, I recently started writing down weekly plans. This has been game changing and I’ve only been doing it for a couple of weeks now. I now know why teachers have to lesson plan. It’s amazing the difference of work you can get done when you plan out when you’re going to work and get stuff down.

On top of this, I’m also keeping ideas down as part of my daily journaling. Journaling is just as important as the weekly planning because it’s really easy to later examine what you’ve already done.

Writing things down is also important because it just stares back at you. It doesn’t change. You can keep coming back to it and adding. Obviously, the opposite of that, simply speaking things and trying to remember them… is not so functional. It’s real easy to go from one idea to the next. Never really planning anything out.

Just get things recorded and you’ll later be able to act on them or make them better. (In fact, a recommendation that Pat has is using sticky notes if you’re looking to brainstorm. He does this for books.)

Participate in a Mastermind (or another type of study group)

Think tanks, masterminds, roundtables, or simply small groups – whatever you call them – can be huge. Not only do you get the benefit of immediate feedback, but you also have the benefit of multiple people contributing to making each other better. Throwing an idea out and reflecting upon it with a group is obviously going to have much better results than you just working on it yourself or with one other individual.

Follow in the Footsteps of Others

One of the sayings that I’ve heard over and over about being mentored and/or coached on a strength is that particular mentor or coach has probably seen it before. So the question is, “Do you want to find the land mines yourself or would you like to know where they are and get through the path faster?”

Personally, I’d like to know where the potential problems are going to be and learn from others about them.

To do this, you can either personally interact with someone 1on1 (probably expensive) or you can spend time reading books and online resources that they have produced. Either way, just one hour a day spent towards using these resources will help you grow a great deal. Depending on the topic, after a month or so, the results of study and fine tuning start compounding and you’ll notice a great difference.

Homework

Ever since I started on my self development path back in 2006, I’ve believed that we should focus on growing our strengths, and get help on our weaknesses. Once you figure out what your strengths are (again, I’m a Connector and a Teacher according to Standout), work on gaining experience doing those strengths, getting feedback, keeping a journal, participating in groups, and studying great resources. You’ll find that your efforts in these areas will pay great dividends in your personal growth.

If you have already started developing your strengths, I’d love to hear how you did it. Was it one of the ways above or something completely different?

Properly Wielding Positive AND Negative Thinking

The Ying Yang of Positive and Negative Thinking

In the world of self-help and personal development, one of the biggest things you hear is that positive thinking will help get you where you want to go. That you must change all your negative views to positive ones. That you should always be a optimist. I see where people are going with that… but it’s only half the truth. The key is learning how to use both positive and negative thinking together.

I was a Pessimist Before I was an Optimist

It might sound odd, but looking back on my life, I believe that I was a pessimist for much of it. At one time, I was so focused on the bad things which were going to inevitably happen, that I never saw the good things for what they were.

I don’t know how I became a pessimist, really. Perhaps it was being picked on at a young age and then moving on to being socially awkward and not wanting to do anything outside my comfort zone? That might have been it.

I do know that it got worse in some ways when I got to college. I went through several instances of depression when I first got there. Mainly because one of the few things I was decent at (getting good grades) I was no longer capable of doing – so it seemed. So instead of having time to figure out who I was and working on problems in my own time, I felt I had to keep up. I went from being the victim to being the delinquent. I looked for what was wrong with a given situation, other people, and how I could exploit them. And as you could probably imagine, this was a bad habit to get into. It turned me into someone that wanted to fix everything and everyone. What I saw wrong in others was a reflection of the insecurities I saw in myself. It also made me think that nothing was my fault.

Obviously, this perspective quickly drops one’s self-esteem and confidence and keeps it down. How come? Simply because your subconscious mind is always listening. Crap in, crap out.

If most of your thoughts are of judging others, then you’re going to probably think negatively of yourself and of the world, too.

In fact, it was only recently that I started learning how to give compliments (without being weird) and how to receive them.

Moving from Pessimism to Optimism

When I first got into LTD in 2006, going out of my way to think positively was very liberating but difficult at the same time. I was so used to putting others and myself down. Half the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it until members of my upline pointed it out. (Thanks Gabe and Dave!) I didn’t realize that many of the bad vibes that I had with other people were because of my own words and actions. It was then that I realized I wasn’t a great as person as I had thought.

One of the first books I read when I got into LTD was called What to Say When You Talk To Yourself (Kindleby Dr. Shad Helmstetter.

In the book, he talks about how there is a feedback system not too different than the Trigger => Habit => Reward system that I talked about here.

His model is: Programming => Beliefs => Attitudes => Feelings => Actions => Results. Your results then reinforce or chip away at the programming in your head. Cycle starts over again.

As you start taking control and being aware of this loop, your life starts to take a turn for the better. You are now present and start to realize that you can actually achieve things that you set out to do. Life isn’t just about chances and things outside of your control.

Hoping Your Life Away

However, something I’ve seen time and time again are people wishing their way out of things actually getting done. That as long as they focus on how awesome the future is going to be, that it will magically happen for them. In fact, for the longest time after getting involved with LTD and reading self-help book after self-help book I was caught up in this mindset. This limbo mindset can be described as doing something completely different than what you should be doing to get you the desired results you want.

Or, in other words, you’re practicing to be a basketball player but want to be a professional baseball player. Both types of players want to win, true. But how many people remember Michael Jordan as a baseball player? Not many outside of classic sports and sports trivia world. He didn’t have nearly as much time practicing and playing baseball as he did basketball. Therefore, he wasn’t as great. (Not totally knocking him, though. A professional athlete is still a professional athlete!)

Positive Thinking is a great thing. However, on top of the mentality to succeed, you need motivation to get started. Most of the time, stress is that motivator.

Appreciative Inquiry or Problem Solving? The Realist Uses Both.

In the above video, Kelly talks about how stress can actually be a good thing in your life. However, by many yet today, stress is considered a big killer. They believe that you have to do anything you can to avoid stress. Some of them might even believe a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) is all that you need to succeed and that all your stresses will simply melt away (or they’ll somehow take care of themselves…?).

Ha. Likely story, right?

When you have a stress at home, school, or at work, you have a choice to do two things. You can either see all the good effects the stress has made, or you can simply find a solution for the stress. In academia, looking for the good is called Appreciative Inquiry.

Again, I’d argue that it’s only half the solution.

The truth is that stress is a sign that you care about the thing that you’re stressing out about.

What I’ve found is that if you don’t have stress, you don’t really have that initial motivation to get started in your next journey. If you don’t see things that are wrong with life… then how can you possibly help to fix them and add value to others? You can’t simply block bad things out of your mind. You must recognize the problem that is there then choose on how you’re going to deal with it. This is the proper use of Negative Thinking. It is basis for the Scientific Method (aka the Problem-Solving Method).

In the end, the difference between good stress and bad stress isn’t the stress itself, it’s what your reaction is.

Do you see stress as a threat? Do you see it as a challenge to make your life and the life of other’s around you better?

I would recommend to try to see the stress in BOTH perspectives. See it as a threat and then see it as the challenge. Threats have to be dealt with immediately, challenges make us better off when we overcome them.

Is the glass half full or half empty? It’s both. Fill it up the rest of the way and get on with life.

Homework:

I want you to specifically look for an instance in your life where you might get stressed and start freaking out. For many of us, we ourselves, or people we know, school is starting up again. Maybe you have a big review coming up at your job? Or perhaps you have a presentation you have to give to a potential client?

Whatever the situation, I want you to look at it as an opportunity to knock one out of the ballpark.

Then, I want you to prepare for that event as if you’ve done many before and this is just another notch on the wall. Prepare proactively and not reactively. Have a strategy. Sure, you could miss, but if you prepare for the big day with a little bit of positivity and enough caution to take the event seriously, you’ll probably do better than you expect.

Let me know how it goes for you and if you changed anything from when you typically handle a stressful situation.

Developing Life Changing Habits Through 5 Types of Triggers

A Little Background in Habit Formation Theory

There are two books that are pretty interesting reads about habit formation. The first one, the Power of Habit (via Audible), Charles Duhigg talks about The Habit Loop. In this loop, there are three parts to forming and reinforcing habits.

1. The Cue / The Trigger – the event that actually starts the habit

2. The Routine – the actual habit that is performed

3. The Reward – what doing the habit gets the participant

In the the second book, Hooked (via Audible), Nir Eyal takes this loop and adds another piece called:

4.  The Investment – The longer we spend doing a habit that yields favorable rewards, the less likely we are to stop doing that habit.

Each phase of the loop is important in developing new habits. If it wasn’t for a cue, we wouldn’t start the routine. If it wasn’t for the routine, we wouldn’t get the reward. If it wasn’t for the reward, the cue wouldn’t mean as much to us in the future. Therefore, we wouldn’t spend as much time on it. So on, and so forth.

Simple enough, right?

Note: In the video above Brendon talks about the importance of Triggers. The term Trigger is another name for the term Cue. Personally when I think of the word cue I think of a cue ball. When hit by the pool stick, the cue ball starts a series of events that hopefully lands a ball in a pocket during a pool game. Likewise, when I think of the word trigger, I think of a trigger on a firearm that starts the whole chain of events that pushes a bullet out of that firearm. Personally, I use them interchangeably, but we’ll stick with Trigger for the rest of the post.

In this post, we’ll be specifically talking about Trigger use and formation. I believe it’s the most important part of the Habit Loop and probably the one we have the most control on.

Trigger 1: Time

In Brendon’s video, he talks about setting alarms to be triggers. Time is probably the easiest way to start habits. Most of us start our days with alarms that starts a chain of events where we’re getting ready for the day. (Others are luckier where they don’t need an alarm to start their day. They’re triggered by kids, pets, or even the sun. Wouldn’t it be nice?)

How and when to use it: In the video, he talks about setting three alarms on your phone to keep yourself calm throughout the day. This helps someone be more present. For me, I use alarms to remind myself when to keep hydrated. Using time as a trigger is typically used to do something that you need to do a reoccurring daily basis.

Trigger 2: People

When I’m around other people, I have an internal switch that goes off. Most of the time, I’m an introvert. But when I’m around others (especially networking), I go into extrovert mode and start talking to everyone I can. Why? Because both of my strengths involve interacting and adding value to other people: teaching and connecting.

Other people will use others as a trigger as well. If you’ve ever heard of social drinkers, these people use others to tell themselves when to drink. While it might not be the best habit to have, the end result is the same as mine: connecting with people.

The difference of the two habits is that I learned mine from hanging around other successful people. While the social drinkers might have learned their habit from their party days at college.

How and when to Use it: Depending on who you want to connect with, you’ll need to practice a method of connecting. Whether you’re the life of the party, the host, OR the bartender, you can’t afford to be socially awkward. Learn how to be normal (which we’ll discuss at another time) and enjoy others’ company.

 

Trigger 3: Places

Sometimes it can be really hard to get through a kitchen, especially if there’s pie sitting out. Or walk by a pool at the YMCA without wanting to jump right in. Places can be triggers too.

However, among all the triggers, places can be the start of the most mindless habits. This can be good and bad. If you’re an addict and you’re exposed to whatever you’ve been addicted to, it’s much easier to indulge. Likewise, if you’re that same addict and you’re putting yourself in all new situations, it’s much easier to find something else to put your mind on.

Studies by David Neal and Wendy Wood from Duke University suggest that new habits are actually easier to perform in new locations. They say that old locations mean old habits and old routines. If you’re trying to perform a new habit, you’ll have to break the old cycle which can be very difficult. Likewise, new places are like blank slates. There aren’t any pre-existing triggers, therefore it should be easier to start a new habit.

I know for me that I do all my work in an office. Why? Because anywhere else I go I can’t seem to get that same work done. I’ve set the office setting to work and the rest of the house for other things.

How and when to Use it: As mentioned before, locations can equally trigger good and bad habits. First, if you’re trying to do something new, see if you can’t find a new place to do that new thing. Are you working out after several months or years of not regularly? You should probably go to the gym (unless of course you suddenly find all of your furniture replaced by exercise machines). Are you trying to start a business at home? You better not start typing in your comfy chair in the living room. Instead, if you have a spare room/space, go there. If you don’t, go to a nearby coffee shop or restaurant with Wi-Fi.

Trigger 4: Emotions

Many people eat when they’re bored, sad, or even anxious. For most of my life, that was me. Or if you don’t eat, maybe you play video games instead. Either way, these habits are caused by emotions. And as we all know, those who let their emotions dictate to them, don’t live a very happy life.

Emotional habits tend to happen when we’re not present. If you think about the video and Brendon talking about the alarm trigger for a minute, it’s almost a double trigger. First, the alarm triggers you to breathe in a way to make you calmer. As you get calmer, you become more present. If you’re present, you can make better choices. You’re not running on emotions at this point, you’re running on logic. And this new logic can help you build better habits.

How and when to Use it: One thing you can start doing is trying to sense any weird habits you have. Do you bite or pick at your nails? Do you fidget? Then, when you identify them, figure out what caused them. Do they start from you being anxious or bored? Are you still feeling that way? If you are, sense that feeling and then make yourself do something else. Perhaps you can start a few exercises? Or you can take Brendon’s advice and do a breathing technique to calm yourself.

Trigger 5: Notifications and other Events

The last kind of trigger that I know gets the best of me are beeps from my phone and tabs flashing or showing numbers in Chrome because of new messages. If it has a sound notification, I typically got to deal with it. If it’s visual, it gets harder as time goes on. This is the bad side of events being a trigger. However on the other side of the coin, you can build new habits by what’s called Habit Stacking. Habit Stacking is a new term I learned from my mastermind in which you start with one habit. As time goes on, you add another. One such habit stack might be our waking up or going to bed ritual. When it’s time to get up, you typically have a routine that you do. It can be as simple as using the toilet, taking a shower, and then brushing your teeth. Or perhaps you’re one of those who like to start coffee first and then do a few exercises?

How and when to Use it: You should not that the smaller the habit is, the easier it is to put into your life. It’ll probably much easier to eat healthier in the morning than suddenly becoming an early morning runner. However, that said, it really depends on your goals. If you want to feel like you’ve accomplished something by running a mini-marathon, then perhaps the running routine might be better followed by a shake later on in the day.

Picking Your Next Habit Trigger

Regardless of which habit you want to do, you’ll need to make sure that the trigger you choose for that habit is specifically defined and actionable. For me, I like to do certain exercises a day. I typically do them right after I’m done getting my shoes on for the day. I’ll do 35 pushups and then walk the dogs for 20 minutes. After that, I’ll be fresh and alert and ready to get my day started.

Experiences with Triggers?

In the comments below, I’d love to hear how you’ve used triggers in the past for good or bad habits. If you do have some bad habits you’d like to get rid of, what are some ideas that you have to weed them out of your routine?

5 Steps to Successful Weekly Planning via Tony Robbins

Weekly planning. It’s something that many of us might not be familiar with. Especially if we’re having to deinstitutionalize ourselves from the academic and/or corporate world. But the thing is that planning is a vital element to be successful in self made career.

So let’s see what Tony has to say on the matter:

“I Don’t Have Enough Time.”

When I was first getting started with LTD, one of the first CDs I ever heard had a Diamond talking about how people have a top few excuses about why they don’t want to start The Business. The number one reason was this phrase.

The CD continued, “There is no bigger killer of dreams than those five words”.

But the truth is, everyone that has ever lived has had the same amount of minutes in a given day and in a given week. Lack of time never stopped Picaso from painting, it never stopped Steve Jobs from creating and building Apple, and it sure hasn’t stopped Tony Robbins from connecting with tens of thousands of people (yearly) from all over the world.

So the question is… how do they do it?

When it comes to time, they have a strategy. Most of us don’t. In fact, I’m still learning to keep an ever more productive calendar and this is why I wanted to share the strategy with you.

The first thing to do is stop telling yourself that busy people are special. They’re not. They simply have found a strategy that works for them. Then they execute, adjust, and execute again.

Most people go into the week with little planning going into what their week looks like. At best, they have a jumbled list of tasks.

I fear, however, that many of us were taught to act this way. From day one in Kindergarten, we’ve been told when it’s time to stop something and then move onto the next task. Those who went to college had even more of this ingrained into our heads.

This is one reason doing something you love is not easy. We’re not used to setting our own schedules.

If you’re wanting to do something on your own, you need to have a strategy, otherwise you’re going to sink back to default which is waiting for someone to tell you to do something.

However, you should realize that the strategy that successful people have is not just for them. You can learn it too.

5 Step Weekly Planning Method

So below you’ll see the overview of the different steps. While we note that many execute, learn, and then execute again, there are 3 other important steps.

1. Commit To Success

2. Be Present

3. Reflect on the Past

4. Plan the Future

5. Fill in the Gaps

So let’s dive in.


1. Commit To Success

It all starts with the Routine

When you’re committing to success, there are two vital parts you need to take note of. First and foremost is the actual point in the week in which you do the planning that we’re going to be laying out here. Personally, I like to do it on Sunday. Sundays have always felt so “Ugh, here comes another week” most of my life that I want to replace that feeling with a “Oh snap. Here’s the stuff I’m looking forward to doing this week!”

However, if Sunday doesn’t look good for you, then perhaps the first thing on Monday might be better?

Either way, you’ll need an hour to do this. (Possibly up to 2 hours if you’re just beginning your journey and aren’t in a groove yet!) Also, make sure you do it before checking emails or any other weekly tasks.

Action Step 1: Write down your planning time and schedule it. That’s the first thing you have to commit to each week. Committing to yourself.


2. Be Present

Building the Framework (Visualizing the Big Picture)

So, as I’ve said plenty of times on NI before, you always want to start with the end in mind, right? When you get there, how will you know? What does success actually look like? Where do you want to be in the next 3 to 10 years? What do you want to be remembered for? Think of these items as your framework for what you’re doing. Without the foundation, whatever you do this week won’t be anchored properly.

In fact, it might help to put this in some sort of visual aide so that you remember quickly it from week to week.

Action Step 2: When meeting with yourself, reconstruct your goals and framework to get there. This first step should be relatively short. 2-5 minutes at most.


3. Reflect on the Past

What Were Your Wins?

First part you can look forward to is celebrating your wins. People rarely take the time to appreciate the things they’ve accomplished before diving into what’s next. Personally, I know I’m horrible with this. Learn how to be proud of things you’ve done. Learn how to give yourself a compliment – a good grade.

Here’s something that was a win for me last week: I was able to edit all of the first AoL podcast using a software I didn’t know much about. Had a awesome Fizzle meeting with Maria and Jon Ridge. Talked about a business opportunity he’s excited about. Also looked into becoming an online tutor. I feel that tutoring and teaching is a great way to connect with people.

Action Step 3a: Take 5 to 10 minutes listing 5 to 10 wins that you had this week.

 

What Did You Learn?

Sometimes a win isn’t actually a win. Sometimes it’s something your learned. What major things did you learn about? Any quotes you want to share? Or how about things that inspired you? Or possibly found out about people you’d like to connect with? You need to keep track of these things!

Something that I learned this past week: It doesn’t matter how many people are signed up for an event. If it’s free, there’s a good chance they’re not going to come. I had 4 other people besides Jon, Maria, and myself listed for the Fizzle Meetup. None of them showed. Would be interested in finding out why.

Action Step 3b: Take 2-5 minutes going through any notes, shares, and ideas from last week. List all the lessons that come to mind.

 

What Didn’t Happen?

Finally, here’s the part that many dread in their day to day life. Funny enough, though, it’s actually what most of us have to deal with when it comes to reviews at our careers and even in school. So the reason we hate it so much is because that’s what we’re used to is bad news in our reviews.

However, we should only care about the things that actually mattered. Don’t worry about the small stuff.

The stuff that went south – did it happen for a good reason (maybe other important things happened?), or was it a bad reason (getting sucked into social media debate that lasted on and off all day long?). What could you have done to avoid it? If you see yourself going down that path again, what can you change?

Something that didn’t go my way last week: I wanted to record another one or two more conversations for the podcast. However, due to weird technological issues, I wasn’t able to get either. Looking forward to recording them in the future. Also wanting to go through some of Pat’s newbie stuff so I can remember how bad he was so I don’t feel so terrible myself!

Action Step 3c: For 2-5 minutes come up with a list of things that didn’t go right and what you can do to improve next time. For bonus points, you can start taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong – even a meteor strike.


4. Plan the Future

Determine Outcomes for the Week

We’ve already looked at where we are by thinking about our goals and developing the framework to get there. We also have quickly looked at the past. Now it’s time to look at what’s coming down the pipeline.

The next step is thinking about our outcomes. Personally, my outcomes come from the Pillars of Happyness.

A good amount of outcomes to do on a weekly basis is probably 5 to 7 items. If you’re thinking of the Relationship Pillar, maybe you could start that new dating site profile. Or if you’re looking at the Health Pillar, perhaps something like getting a gym membership might be a good goal. You get to decide how big or small they are. Whatever they are, make sure that they’re propelling you to your long term goals. So surfing Reddit all day might not necessarily be a great decision.

A big goal for me this week is to get this post out on time. I’ll be having some connectivity related problems this next week and I just want to make sure that before I don’t have access, that I get it posted.

Action Step 4a: For 5 to 10 minutes, make a list of 5 to 7 outcomes that you want to get done for the week.

Schedule Everything You Want to Get Done – Seriously.

This step is one I struggle with. I have issues with scheduling. However, everything I do takes up time in my day. However, while most of us realize this, we typically don’t try to do anything about. I would guess that if you took all of those 5 to 7 outcomes that you just listed that you’d probably need a lot more time in a day then you actually have.

This is the reason we feel that we never have enough time in a day. While we might just make a list, most of us usually underestimate how much time something is going to take. Since everything takes time, we need to assign actual time to those items that matter the most to us.

Action Step 4b: For the next 5 to 15 minutes, look at your 5 to 7 tasks you just listed in Part a. Spread those out throughout your week while doing only 1-3 per day. Now actually reserve the time on your calendar. The key is assigning real time to each task.


5. Fill in the Gaps

Make Room for your Miscellaneous Items for the Week

So you have your outcomes and then broke them apart into smaller manageable daily lists. Next, you have to fill in other stuff. Have a meeting you need to go to? Put that in. Have a mastermind that you’re a part of? Put that in. Taking classes from Fizzle? Get those in there.

By the end of this process, you shouldn’t have any stray lists or tasks in your head or on stickies around your desk.

Also, while you’re at it, you might want to take a little bit of time to touch base with some people this week.

Ask yourself two questions:

  1. Who can I add value to this week?
  2. Who can help me get done what I have coming up?

Do both of these weekly as I can tell you that you can’t keep all your good ideas in your head. You’ll forget by morning (even if you don’t you’ll definitely forget by the weekend!).

Action Step 5: For the last 5-10 minutes, look at what’s left on your to do list*. Now looking back at your schedule. Think about where you could fit these little tasks and connections in. Schedule all of them!

*A multi platform tool that will help you organize your to-do lists is Trello. You can use Trello on your desktop, laptops, mobiles – whatever.


Bonus Tips

So here’s the deal, even with this strategy, you might have some small questions in getting everything in that you want to get in. So let me see if we can predict those:

Q: Everything keeps taking longer than I expect! What can I do to make better predictions?

A: As Frank Forte would say, “The Analytical in me thinks that if you believe you’ll take an hour to make a blog post, you better schedule it for an hour and a half or two”.

Q: So, I got behind on day one. I had everything planned out just like you said. Now what?

A: Did you have buffer time? If you planned on having a 45-60 minute conversation, did you leave the extra 15 minutes of buffer time? They might have wanted to talk longer.

Q: So, I put in buffer time and I still am not getting everything done I want to. Now what?

A: You’re just going to have to be ok in not getting everything done this week. Nobody’s perfect.

Q: I find that by the time I get to some important tasks in the day, that my energy is giving up to do them. How do I get them done?

A: If you find yourself not having enough energy to get things done (I’m a night owl naturally, I don’t have that problem), you might want to get everything done at the first part of your day. You can even take that another step and do all your important tasks at the beginning of your week.

 

That’s It. There’s my strategy. Now, what are your hacks?

Think I’ve missed anything? Is there anything you’d add or need cleared up? Let me know in the comments below.

Millennials as Entrepreneurs Part 2 of 10: The Power of the Trend Setter

The world of the Millennial is already upon us. It’s really ours for the taking. Those who have realized this have already started doing so.

 

Just look at Chelsea Krost. I didn’t even know she existed until a week or so ago. And what does she do? She talks about the characteristics of Millennials as a whole. Yeah, there’s plenty of us who do this – but wow – she’s been on shows like Good Morning America, Today, and Tyra. I mean, for a person in their early 20’s, she’s doing great!

 

As it was eluded to in the last post, there are some that will really have a hard time coming to terms of our demands as a generation. Millennials have a completely different value structure than those that came before us.

 

However, we’re here and we’re creating a lot of change early in our career.

 

Case in Point? Look at Today’s Fashion

 

Have you ever actually paid attention to what people are wearing? Like, just looking at what they wear? Is it new? Is it old? Is it something new to look old?

 

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably thought about it at least once in your life and laughed and said, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that!”. And even then we question whether or not we’re behind in fashion.

 

Personally, I’ve found myself thinking this more and more. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s almost not worth bothering about what you wear.

 

If you look at what makes Millennial fashion unique… you might think of all kinds of different things. Let’s look at glasses, for example. It would seem that predominant style is thick black frames. However, thin seems to be still in as well. Or heck, you might even see something from the 60’s (You know the ones with the little corners with gems or designs peaking out of the corners? Yeah, I’ve seen those around too!).

 

Or heck, let’s look at pants. Who would have EVER thought that leggings would come back as hard as they have. Oh man. If you were to tell my early college self that those would be coming back, I would have thought you came to the future with Marty McFly.

 

And now, not only are high school and college kids wearing them – but their parents who probably wore them originally in the 80’s and 90’s are wearing them again – even after the originally said “Never again!”. Lol.
We’re setting the trend.

Other Successful Industries Have Started Catering to Us

 

The Baby Boomers, obviously, were the last generation to set the trend. As discussed in the last post, much of what we do today is based on their principles and values. That’s not bad, but it’s not necessarily great either. I would like to believe I have a work ethic similar to what Baby Boomers would expect everyone to have. However, at the same time, I think much of what’s wrong with Washington is that those in power want to keep the lifestyle they’re accustom to and they’ll gladly take money from lobbyists to do so. (Check out Generation Zero about this.)

 

Millennials – we’re not like that so much. There’s so much of a difference between Baby Boomers and Millennials that I believe right around 2020 – there’s going to be a HUGE shift how everything is run.

 

Many Industries have already seen the writing on the wall and are totally skipping over Gen Xers and their tastes and going straight to us. A big part of that is because we’re larger than the Gen Xers as a demographic. However, we also have more disposable income as a whole. Most Gen Xers are already in midlife and have to worry about putting houses over their families’ heads. There’s other reasons why they haven’t been counted, and you can refer to this column here for that info.

 

To survive, major conglomerates will have to change their tune. For example, today, Comcast sells things for convenience. The larger a bundle you have, the more you’ll save for more channels. This caters to the Baby Boomer audience. For the most part, they don’t want to mess with the technology to get their entertainment fix.

 

On the other hand, if you see what’s been trending in popularity, it’s all about On Demand. Whether that comes from Comcast is up to them. Why? Because us tech savvy Millennials are, (as we explored last post) all about “Me!”. We don’t care if we get our entertainment fix is from Netflix, Roku, Apple TV, etc.

 

Think about it. Do you think there are more cord cutters in the Millennials or the Baby Boomers? Comcast sticks to simple and possibly outdated tech for the Boomers (who really needs a landline?). At the same time they’re transitioning to On Demand for Millennials. That being said, they better work on that price structure a little more to keep us around!

 

 

Mind The Gap

 

So really, rather or not companies would like to complain about how much we’re different than X’ers and Boomers is not the point. The point is, again, we’re setting the trend. They can’t help but figure out what keeps our interests if they want to survive the big change.

 

But they’re at a disadvantage. Why? They have to higher millennial consultants, like Chelsea, to tell them how Millennials minds work. You and I, on the other hand… we have the upper hand. We are millennials.

 

So, in the comments below. I want to know about what kind of trends you’re starting with your friends and other people you have some influence with. Something as simple as a new app you’re using or a new website you’re following that you’ve shared. Then, I want you to think on whether or not they think of you as the source of particular new things in their life.

 

If you can do that simple exercise, you know that you’re adding value to someone. You are a trend setter.

 

Also, stay tuned for next week’s post in which we’ll be exploring the reasoning on how there are so many types of potential business out there.

 

Tip #2 For Young Entrepreneurs – Taking Small Steps

One of the things that I think is key in developing a successful version of yourself is by doing things that most others wouldn’t do. This is true. However, there’s another thing that makes people more successful than this. Its when you choose to do those other things – over and over and over again – that actually leads to success. For example, what makes the difference between sport champions and other athletes? What makes Peyton Manning and Tom Brady different than other QB’s in the NFL? It’s taking those extra steps to prepare – to practice. It’s taking those steps to study the other team.

What made Tiger Woods who he is? He prepared throughout his entire life to be great. In the following video, “Tip #2 For Young Entrepreneurs”, Mark Nathan asks Derek Kosek what he has done to be successful in his entrepreneurial career. He makes great points.

Obviously being a successful entrepreneur and sports player isn’t the only way that you can put this principle to good use. I’m sure some of you have already put this principle to use. I’d love to hear how you might have already used it in the past… but maybe you weren’t aware that you were doing it?