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.

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.

Take the Dare

It’s amazing how powerful our imagination can be. We discussed yesterday that thoughts are things and how we must be careful in how we craft and cultivate them. 

To match yesterday’s theme, it’s amazing how often we spend countless time and energy waffling over a decision to act. We start picturing all the reasons why something won’t work and then do all kinds of things to sabotage ourselves before we even start. Set our imagination for negativity out of fear or anxiety and it’s amazing how much more difficult tasks can become. On the other hand imagination set to task in positive thinking and success and suddenly the great things become just a matter of process.

After a while we’ve created this giant, formidable task in our minds, loaded with all this negative thinking and energy and it’s no wonder daring to do great things becomes such a difficult thing for us to do.

Yet even the great things we want to do get done the same way everything else gets done: one step at a time. And when we can break down our tasks into simpler steps and just get to it, it’s remarkable how we manage to do these incredible things more easily and rapidly.

The key ingredient? Take action. Set the intention and get to work. It’s amazing how much stuff you’ll figure out on the way.

Live Out Your Imagination

Think on this statement. Your history is what got you to where you are based on all the decisions you’ve ever made. If you’re 100% happy with where things are, then there’s little reason to read any further.

However, if there are things out of place, keep reading.

In a nutshell, thoughts are things. There is nothing in this world that was first an idea in somebody’s mind. The electronic device you’re reading this on, the clothes you’re wearing, the cars we drive in, the buildings we erect… There was much energy expended to create these things and make them a physical reality, but the energy wouldn’t have had anywhere to be directed if it didn’t first start as an idea, or more specifically in someone’s imagination.

You have access to the same forces of imagination. You can dream of anything you want to do and putting the proper energy behind those ideas you can make them a reality in your life as well. It doesn’t even matter if things didn’t go perfect in the past. They are behind you and that’s exactly where they need to stay. We still have the undetermined future ahead of us and we can craft it any way we desire.

So let your imagination run wild. Craft an entire new world in your mind and see what fits you best! Then get to work.

Live in the Moment!

It’s true! Think about it…

The past is gone. Every moment you’ve ever experienced behind you. It can be studied and analyzed until there’s nothing left to uncover. We are certainly wise to remember where we’ve come from, but it’s literally impossible for us to return to any time leading up to now. Relish in the good, enjoy the spirit of it and build upon it. Learn from the tougher times so you’re more resilient and grow from them.

AND… The future isn’t here yet! We set goals and move in that direction. It helps us establish a routine and we get much more work done. However, we don’t know what exactly comes next. In spite of our best guesses, life can still blindside us and try to knock us off the path we’ve chosen. We have to be flexible so we can adapt and keep moving to the future we can never 100% predict.

What does that leave us? Right here, right now. It’s the only thing we can control and when we fully embrace that we no longer have to live in regret of the past or anxiety of the future. We take back control of what we can do in the moment to make corrections for the past and keep us on course for the future.

And THAT… Is a beautiful thing!

Be Kind

Among the most amazing writing in history comes the Diary of Anne Frank. Hiding with family in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam in World War 2, she was ultimately discovered and led to a concentration camp where she passed away due to illness. Her father was the only member of the family to survive and hurried to publish the journal shortly after its discovery.

The trials of hiding for several years in an attic is not something most of us could readily endure. Yet Anne Frank’s journal shows us that it is possible. Although not everything in her journal is uplifting, it still has many examples of how we don’t have to be trapped by the experiences we’re having.

If anyone could have been justified for holding a grudge or be angry for their surroundings, Anne Frank would have been right at the front of the line. She was a girl with no country and the occupying force wanted to destroy her for reasons completely unjustified. And instead of harboring anger, we could even suggest she mocked the weapons from which she was hiding. She kept peace at the forefront of her thoughts so she could keep the one they could never take from her: her spirit.

Please think on this as you go about the world. We have all been through things that have caused damage. So many of us just need to know somebody cares about us, that we count, and that our efforts mean something. For the pressures heaped upon us by increasing pace of the world, we could all use a little more kindness to get through the day.

Heck, even the toughest among us could still use an extra smile here and there. We don’t have to turn into total softies because business does require some toughness, but it is possible to have compassion at the same time.

Can You Believe It?

Our minds are powerful tools, capable of creating almost anything we can think of. More specifically, we can use our minds to uncover the laws of nature that make the world tick.

For example, the principles for flight have always existed. After a lot of experimenting, the Wright Brothers finally figured out the right combination of materials and methods to get an airplane off the ground.

Just like steam has always existed, long before we figured out how to create it ourselves. It took some physicists and engineers working together to figure out how to use it to produce energy, which in turn made way for train engines, which made way for faster travel and moving more materials, which in turn made way for expanding the country across the United States…

The list goes on and on! And at each step of the way somebody had a vision of something bigger and better than what already existed, a new way of doing things, and set the right actions in motion to see their vision become a reality.

It’s no different for us. We are constantly creating the world around us. It’s important to remember we get what we focus on. Which is why it’s so important we look for the positives in any situation so we continue to grow and expand, even if they might be hard to see at the time. The clearer you can create the picture of what you want, the easier you can achieve the goal.

So what’s in your mind? How clear is the picture? Can you believe in your idea strong enough to see it become a reality? Because you absolutely can do it.

Enthusiasm

“When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It’s very simple.” -Paulo Coelho

Have you ever noticed how enthusiasm spreads? It’s contagious! The more energy you have for what you do the more you want to do it and it becomes a self-feeding cycle of awesomeness. The only thing that really gets harder is trying to call it work anymore!

We serve ourselves and each other best when we are living up to our potential and we best live up to our potential when we like what we do. It’s one of the primary reasons for finding and developing expertise around our passions.

Our enthusiasm can even help us move through things that we have to do that perhaps we’d rather not be doing. Attaching such tasks to our greater vision helps remind us that all steps get us that much closer to our goals.

The alternative is to be grumpy, but what does that get us? The same things still have to be done, but how much harder do they get? How much longer does it take and how many people want to be around us when we’re grumpy?

Having enthusiasm doesn’t mean that absolutely everything we do is going to be inspiring. However, choosing enthusiasm no matter what we have to do and attaching it to our passions and goals makes for a much more fulfilling life. We also get more done in less time and have more fun along the way.

Entrepreneur Lessons From Ella Fitzgerald…

Ahhhhh…. Music. So awesome for so many reasons and for so many occasions. No way can we all be serious all the time and music is easily among my favorite escapes!

Ella Fitzgerald came on the radio the other day (yes, I listen to “oldies”) and she delivered this wonderful set of lyrics:

You got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive

E-lim-i-nate the negative

And latch on to the affirmative

Don’t mess with mister in-between

Aside from a catchy tune, it’s a FANTASTIC lesson for entrepreneurs. There is so much we have to do to put our businesses together and maintain and sometimes it can feel like a grind. Through in mistakes we make as we move our way forward and it’s easy to start getting down on ourselves, why we started in business, yada yada…

Obviously we can’t just ignore the things that have gone wrong or the rough parts. That’s like an ostrich burying its head in the sand thinking somehow that will make it all go away. All that does is leave our butts sticking up in the air to get kicked again and that’s what we’re trying to avoid!

Here’s the thing, though. Our businesses are built on our failures. If we’re paying attention we can certainly learn the most in those times, but it’s ultimately the successes that become the foundation for our growth and expansion.

Quite literally we accentuate the positives (build upon our successes), eliminate the negatives (learn from the failures and leave them behind), keep looking for more positive growth and leave that negative garbage behind us.

Such timeless wisdom! Such great music!

Let’s all commit to accentuating the positive!

(Bonus points if you know who wrote the song…)