The Usual Risk

We sure do talk about mindset a lot around here. It’s probably because it’s more critical to our success in all areas of life than anything else. Letting our mindset get too settled into unquestioned patterns runs the risk of getting us stuck in the wrong ones, ultimately grinding us down into a rut until we have a hard time seeing over the edge and how to escape.

For the sake of this conversation let’s call this pattern the usual, and if we want out of that pattern, we’re going to have to change up our thinking. It’s going to require we be willing to question pretty much everything we know and believe in our efforts to find something greater.

It might seem scary at times, yet we’ve done it so many times already. Think about the first time we switched jobs, or dated somebody totally new. Heck, go back to our early childhood and look at how risky it was to learn how to walk or say our first few words.

Should we decide to remain in our current patterns then we are always going to get what we’ve always got. It’s pretty much that simple.

If you want something different, then it’s time to look around and see what else is out there. You might be surprised.

True Ignorance and How to Overcome It

Closed minds aren’t open to new ideas, new input, fresh perspective, and a whole other pile of things. They are led to overloaded ego, pride, prejudice, bigotry, and fail to explore their creativity or see beauty in life. If the flow of life is a river, then a closed mind is a swamp.

We talk all the time about the evils of these things, yet how often do we close our own minds to new ideas? I don’t want to suggest we’re all walking around with swampy heads, but it’s worth exploring where we stand and how open we are to new ideas. Or more importantly, where are we going to get our information and what are we looking to improve upon?

Instead of our broke neighbors, perhaps it’s worth talking to someone who better understands business and the proper handling of money. Or if we want to improve our relationships we talk to couples that have survived a lifetime of growing theirs instead of our friends that still struggle to get a date. It’s not that these people would intentionally steer us wrong, but do they really have the information we need?

Far better we work on keeping our minds open rather than shutting down the first time we hear something that makes us a bit uncomfortable, particularly when it means we have to shift our thinking. It doesn’t mean we have to accept every last bit of advice we ever get, but we must consider the source of information and whether it will help us before we just reject it on account of making us uncomfortable.

Daily Motivation

The secret to our success can be found within the pattern of our daily habits. Whatever we repeat on a daily basis reflects what is going on in our minds and that in turn is reflected in our results.

And of course we like the idea of the bigger successes, the toys and rewards. They’re rather exciting! But what do we do to maintain that excitement?

Taking on the bigger goals requires additional work, stretching outside our comfort zones, and creating a new routine. We’re creatures of habit and don’t readily adapt to change. To keep progressing toward our goals we are wise to continuously renew our motivations. Preferably daily! Otherwise it becomes too easy to push off the things we need to do for another day, slide backwards into old patterns, and can even start convincing ourselves that the new goals we set don’t matter.

Consider posting your goals in a place where you can review them frequently. At your desk, your computer, next to your bed so you see them first thing in the morning, on the mirror in the bathroom… Anywhere you’ll see them often to maintain your motivation. It might sound ridiculous, but there’s incredible power in such a simple practice.

YOU Are The Solution…

You’re the only person in your life you’re ultimately accountable both to and for.

How’s that for a bold statement?

Think on it, though. Every single relationship we might form in this life has the potential to go away. Our friends, family, work partners… All of them. At the end of the day it’s the person we see in the mirror that we are ultimately accountable to.

What to make of this? If it seems a burden, please think again. When we understand it is the sum total of all our decisions that have led us to this exact moment we can see it as blessing or a curse. In a very real sense it can be both.

Of course there have may have been bad things that have happened that were beyond our control. Accidents happen, injuries, abuse… Plenty of things. This isn’t to suggest it’s our fault that we’ve had the experiences we have; only that we are responsible for our responses to what has happened. We can let them defeat us or we can use the experiences as stepping stones to something else.

Which is where the blessing arrive. If we don’t like where we’re standing, we also have the power to change it. Recognizing that we are 100% responsible for our lives isn’t meant as an anchor to drape around our necks; it’s a declaration of freedom! If we have the absolute power to make decisions then to get different results we only need to make different decisions. It’s literally that simple! It may take some effort and work, but this is the truth.

Hence Bob’s simple statement is so brilliant because we really ARE our greatest solution.

You Can Choose Your Destiny

We spend much of our time cruising along through life doing whatever we have crafted into our routine. Even those of us that are more restless and easily bored still have our patterns that over time become predictable.

Whether we realize it or not our daily patterns are the result of decisions we’ve made leading up to this point in time. On the higher levels we consider things like thoughts of how we conduct ourselves, the kind of work we do, and the type of people we interact.  On the lower levels we think about how we dress, the words we speak, or how we brush our teeth. It could be an extensive list should we want to create it, but the point remains that all of our decisions ultimately make up who we are

What we don’t often realize is how much control we have over our decisions. This world does not lend itself much to independent thinking, yet those that reach the highest levels in business, leadership, and other assorted callings are the ones that have mastered the art.

Nor is it as complicated as one might think to achieve greater success: figure out your long range goals and then start shaping your decisions around how to get there. We commit to the journey, we take one step at a time, looking around us daily with the long range focus in mind, and we can accomplish many great things.

The Mind is Everything

We can boil all of life down to four key words: your mindset is everything.

It is literally that simple. Yet somehow we so often seem to make it much more complicated. We get all these crazy ideas about what we should and should not do based on someone else’s opinions until we are so confused that we don’t know what to do at all. We get stuck in overwhelmed, incapable of taking even the next step forward.

We get stuck in that confusion and start looking outside of ourselves for answers when everything we need to know it’s already inside of us. Only when we learn to start letting go of everybody else’s opinions of who and what we are, how we should behave, can we get back to the truth of who we actually are and get back into a beautiful, creative, productive state. This doesn’t mean we should seek anarchy, rather authenticity about what are most passionate about doing in life.

As we learn to honor our selves we better serve those around us which in turn lifts us to a higher and more beautiful state. Our businesses grow, as do our relationships and it becomes a continuing upward spiral of awesomeness.

If you never listen to anything else ever again, look at the condition of your mindset and evaluate from there. Learn to cultivate what makes you unique. It is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and everyone else around you.

Riding a Bicycle

The world is going to keep moving forward whether you want to jump on or not. It’s just the way it is. There isn’t even an option to sit still! Inflation, technology in the form of communications and medical advancements… We’re living longer for cheaper and there’s no slowing down.

Think on it. When is the last time you listened to Def Leppard on your 8-track player? How many people reading this even know what an 8-track is? Or called your neighbor on a rotary dial telephone? (Which were a huge advancement over party lines, by the way…) Or took your horse to the blacksmith to have his shoes redone? Or washed your clothes on a washboard in a river?

This might be reaching back in the vault a ways, but the point is each of these things were once state-of-the-art and are now things we find in museums. Well, maybe not the Def Leppard 8-tracks, but the point remains…

In order to keep balance in life we need to continuously improve on our situations. We don’t have to be seeking for mansions and Ferraris (although those are fun!), but if we’re not working on expanding ourselves, we are literally sliding backwards. It can be as simple as learning new tools to enhance our work situations, taking classes on whatever might strike our fancy, or maybe finally starting that business we’ve been thinking about for years.

Whatever it is, take action. Get to work. Do what it takes to move forward and enjoy the bike ride!

Accept Responsibility For ALL of it…

Let’s be blunt: if you truly want to succeed in life and business you need to take responsibility for everything you have ever done and said. Not just the parts where everything is shiny and perfect, but all the bumps and rough spots, too.
Not only is a function of being honest about who you are and what you stand for, it’s a function of integrity and doing the right thing. This doesn’t mean we have to beat up on ourselves when something hasn’t gone according to plan. One would hope your intentions are good and that the mistake just boils down to a miscommunication or error in calculation. That and accepting responsibility for our mistakes is also the fastest path to making corrections so we can put things back in order for the benefit of everyone involved.
The bigger bonus is this means we also get to accept responsibility for our triumphs as well. As long as we don’t get carried away into ego, we’re then also free to celebrate our successes for a job well done in solving the challenges in front of us. This boosts morale for all improved and keeps everyone on the team focused forward for the next round.
In both experiences we’ve grown, conquered, and ready to tackle the next great thing we’re ready to do. Accept responsibility for all of it, and you’ll be at the top of your before you know it.

Don’t Compromise

Ah, the sweet temptation of quick rewards. We’re not overly patient as a species and tend to like getting things as soon as we can. For example, answer the following question honestly: how many times have you stopped the microwave a few seconds before it’s done just so you can have your plate of food that much faster? Sure, there’s the excuse of not wanting to hear the beeps, but you promised to answer honestly…

It’s a similar reason so many of us end up in the workforce in jobs we don’t like. The illusion of a safe and steady paycheck can be a mighty lure when money is tight and the prospects are bleak. Of course we need to generate income and sometimes a job is what we need to do as we work on other things, just as some find great fulfillment on account of what they do for work.

Yet there are countless more that settle; just clinging to the job they hate while they complain about the bosses they also hate, thinking that this is as good as it’s going to get and give up ever trying for other things that truly call to them.

How many of us decide that that last slice of cake isn’t a big deal and we’ll start working out over the weekend? Or maybe we skip out on the date of a lifetime because why would a person like that be interested in someone like us?

These might be some odd examples, but they still point to a common theme of giving up what we most want in exchange for something we can have right now. It’s quite natural, but if we want to have bigger and better things in our lives it means sometimes we’re going to have to give up a short term gain in exchange for a larger reward down the line. The long game might not always be as fun, but the rewards are so much greater.

Success and Service

Serving others should be the core to all we do, particularly in business. In every interaction we have whether it’s the management team or the person cleaning the toilets, we must remember that all business is people business and the medium of exchange are the products and services we provide.

The truth is that most people are willing to help and serve when given the opportunity to do so. But when they feel less valued for who they are and the gifts they have, they will tend to withdraw from others and not be so willing to share. They won’t perform as well as they used to and your interactions will become more strained.

The more you seek to gain from others the less they will be willing give of themselves, causing a disservice to both you and the customer you’re seeking to find as a result. You’ll start to find they start acting indifferently, all the people you interact will pick up on it that they are no longer as important to you.

On the there hand, seeking to serve others shows a very different style of leadership. When we’re looking to see how to help others, it’s amazing how many come to give more freely of themselves in return. All of our lives are expanded for the efforts we put forth and success becomes a natural consequence in our lives and business.

Don’t hesitate to provide service when called upon and be sure to look for opportunities to serve whether you are noticed for it or not.