You Gotta Be Bold!

Smart and bold aren’t always measured correctly in this world.

Too often we think we have to wait until we have all the answers before we take any action. We can get ourselves stuck, looking for one more answer, one more fix, trying to get “smarter” until we get ourselves so confused and stuck in an endless circle that we forget we need to at least take the first step.

That’s where boldness comes in: having faith that we know at least enough to get ourselves in motion and adjust along the way as we learn. Growth never comes from inside the comfort zone. In fact that’s not even a proper name for it; we’re better off thinking of it as the “familiar zone” because let’s be honest, are we ever really comfortable when we’re having a hard time paying the bills or wondering how we’re going to get off the plateau we’re currently stuck on?

Go ahead and get a little wild and do something today that stretches you outside that familiar zone. That’s both bold and you’ll be amazed and how much smarter you get along the way.

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.

Your Calling In Life…

Think on this. The average work week is counted at roughly 40 hours, not counting transit time and the other miscellaneous things we need to do as preparation. Multiply that by 50 weeks to get 2000 hours a year, multiplied by 45 and we come to roughly 90,000 hours of our lives spent just on work. That’s a fair bit of time!

If we’re going to invest that kind of time, why would we waste it on something that doesn’t keep us inspired and motivated? It doesn’t have to be something grandiose or of earth-shattering importance, but wouldn’t it make sense to invest ourselves into something that keeps us looking forward to each new day instead of just praying for Friday so we can escape it all?

Finding your calling and making it your career brings so much more opportunity for fulfillment on so many levels. It’s worth the effort.

The Cornerstone of Abundance

There’s a magic that comes to our lives when we’re on point to our purpose in all that we do. We’re stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zones, yet not so far that we’re constantly in distress. It’s the kind of growth we crave rather than simple endure. It’s the difference between an authentic life and mediocrity.

We don’t have to have the entire plan mapped out to get started. Obviously the more we can map out to achieving our goals the better, yet we must not make the mistake of waiting to start because the conditions aren’t just right. They never will be and life is too short to spend it waiting.

Figure out what it is you most want to do, draft out even the first few steps to move in that direction, and then do it. Living a purpose driven life is a very different kind of life than what seems “practical” or “realistic.” The truth is that the only thing in life that is practical and realistic is doing what you truly love to do. It changes your outlook on life, your relationships, and your motivation for anything you ever do. This is the true source of abundance and entirely worth your time to find.

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.

…And Then You Win

As entrepreneurs we are regularly outspoken. We see the world differently than most and that can create a fair bit of confusion and chaos for others at times. Speaking generally, we’re not interested in disturbing the lives of other so much as we’re interested in serving others through problem solving even when the masses don’t see there’s a better way.

It can be lonely at times as we begin to assemble our businesses. There is much to do and the path forward may not always be clear yet, except we know that there is a problem to solve and there’s no one else who can do it the way we can. So forward we move, sorting out the issues along the way until we have a better defined way to go.

Then come the critics; the ones that think they know all there is about what we’re doing. Rarely have the critics attempted something so bold and even if they have, how could they possibly know what exactly is on our minds, in our plans, and all the other details that form your routine? We too often mistake the opinion of the critics with the counsel of our mentors and get bogged down. Remember this much: the critics are enjoying the only glory the will ever found. We have bigger destinations in store.

It’s going to take some work to get this all done. While the saying about it being better to work smart than hard makes sense, the work still must get done whether it’s hard or easy. You will be met with resistance along the way, sometimes from your own mistakes and sometimes from others trying to slow you down. It’s how you’re tested to prove you’re really going to see this all the way through to the goals you’ve set.

And the final phase of all your work? Your success. Stick with anything long enough and it WILL pay off. Go ahead and enjoy the rewards for your, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re done. The smart thing after you’ve enjoyed the moment is to sit down with a sharpened pencil and scratch out what comes next.

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.