Lies…all lies.

    This is a subject that I’ve actually written about before, probably more than once, but I feel so strongly about it I keep coming back to it. If we lied to other people HALF as much as we lie to ourselves, we’d have no friends or credibility. Think about that for a second. It’s true!
    One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves has to do with the existence of a “comfort zone.”
DISCLAIMER: This is the part of the email where I tell you that some of what you’re about to read is considered “tough love,” but I’m not in the business of telling you what you WANT to hear…I tell you what you need to hear. This is one of those. 
    Tough love fact #1: There is no such thing as a comfort zone. We attribute “comfortable,” or I guess a better word would actually be “familiar,” with secure and it’s simply not true. Unless you’re completely financially independent (I’m talking Bill Gates, Richard Branson, or Forrest Gump after the fruit company, level of financial freedom), you are no more secure hiding in your “comfort zone” than you would be actually taking control and living your life. Let’s face it – you could get laid off tomorrow. You could find out that your CFO has been embezzling money for years and your “stable” job was an entire house of cards and it just collapsed. Your boss decides to get out of whatever business you’re in, sell the company, and close the doors. Just like that…your “comfort zone” is gone. There are a million different scenarios like this.
    Tough love fact #2: The idea of your “comfort zone” actually just means you’re most likely unprepared should one of the scenarios listed above actually occur. One of my mentors, Ed Decosta, has a book called “Ascend” and in the book we learn this:
“Psychologists teach us that a comfort zone is an artificial mental boundary within which you maintain a sense of security and out of which you experience great discomfort.” 
    Like Ed mentions in his book, of course, while these boundaries may be artificial in the eyes of the world’s psychological professionals, they can be very real to you and me. But it’s important to recognize it for what it is…a lie.
    Tough love fact #3: Your “comfort zone” is really just a nice way of saying “doing nothing,” because that’s exactly what we do in our comfort zone. Nothing. You’re certainly not growing, because in order to TRULY grow you have to take some sort of action. Growth does not occur within your comfort zone. Period.
    “But JR, I’m paralyzed by the fear of what might happen if I leave this warm, cozy, and familiar place,” you say.
    Tough love fact #4: You’ve already experienced this AT LEAST once before! Think about it…at some point along the way…what is familiar to you now…was new and unknown. You made a decision to do the things you’re doing now, and the result was your NEW comfort zone.
    Tough love fact #5: You’ve already proven that you can change. In fact, you’ve not only proven that you’re capable of making a decision for change, but proven that it CAN work and you CAN be “comfortable!”
“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal!” ~Robin S. Sharma
    Tough love fact #6: The life you want, and the dreams you “wish” and “want” to come true already exist outside of your comfort zone. All you have to do is go get ’em. The journey of a thousand miles begins with that first step…take it! Create your new normal, and remember that time is not on our side…so start now!
    I’ll leave you with this life lesson from Lucille Ball:
“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t.”

The 3 W’s

    You’ve heard me reference “Think and Grow Rich” several times by now, and over the past few months, I’ve been in deep study on the subject of “thinking.” Believe it or not, it’s something that not a lot of people do. Sure everyone has thoughts, but most people don’t pay any attention to them and just “go with the flow.” Few people actually make an effort to be intentional about their thinking, and subsequently suffer because of it.
    Having said that, I also believe that everyone would like to be happier, healthier, and wealthier…it’s just that very few people are willing do what it takes to achieve any of those, and it’s because it’s not easy. If it were easy, we’d all have Bill Gates bank accounts, the Dalai Lama’s demeanor, and the body of that guy from the P90X infomercials. But we don’t. Because it’s hard, and we don’t do things that are hard. Or if we do, we don’t them for very long. The best example of this is your local fitness club. Try to find an empty treadmill on January 6th…then go back and try to find someone using a treadmill on April 6th. Working out is hard, so we don’t do it.
    I’m still working all of this out, so bear with me, but I think you’ll appreciate the point here. I don’t know what I’m going to call this yet, but for now, we’ll call them the “3 W’s”
    The first W:
    I wish…
    I would venture to say that a majority of people are stuck here. Sure, they’d really like for their lives to improve, but for now…it’s simply a wish. “I wish things would get better.” “I wish I could find a job.” “I wish I wasn’t single.” I wish…I wish…I wish. What is a wish? A wish is a desire or hope for something to happen. It’s aimless and completely dependent on luck and circumstance. You have absolutely no control over a wish, and therefore little to no effort should be put here. Genies grant wishes. Genies don’t exist. See where this is going?
    Here’s the next W:
    I want…
    Okay, we’re inching closer to something that can actually make a difference, but this still is not it. This is better than a wish, because at least with a “want” you can actually begin to see the effects of whatever it is in your life. If you want a house, you see the benefit of having a home and everything that it would mean for you to own your own home. You’re still not doing anything about it, but at least at this point, we’re not hoping a genie will appear.
    And the final W:
    I will…
    This is where it gets good and things actually begin to happen. When you say the words “I will” you begin to speak things into existence. You’re no longer talking about dreams and desires, but rather stating your intention. Once you make that commitment to yourself, you’ve now taken a wish and/or a want – and turned it into a goal. Wants and wishes require an outside force to do all the work to make something happen. A goal is actionable objective that YOU now have control over. You now have the ability to create a plan of action and create results!
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way” – English Proverb
    There’s a reason that famous saying doesn’t mention wants or wishes! It’s because they won’t get you anywhere or anything. Stop wishing and wanting and start doing! Creating a clear goal allows you to formulate a plan of action and begin taking the necessary steps to THEN go from “I wish” and “I want” to “I will” and “I have!”
    This blog actually started as part of my email series “The Inner Circle” – if you’re not part of the group, I’d encourage you to click here and sign up! It’s absolutely free, and I’ll never sell your information to anyone, ever. It’s just a daily (mostly) email that goes out Monday through Friday with stuff like this blog. Again, no obligation, and if you get sick of learning, you an always opt out. (see what I did there?) I hope you’ll join! 

The “Success Inner Circle”

A few weeks ago I created an email group that I call my “Success Inner Circle” and I send out emails…very similar to what I’ve been blogging for the last however long. I try to send an email every day (Mon-Fri) because, seriously, no one should have to check their email on the weekend.

The emails come directly from me and any replies also come directly to me. This is just something I really enjoy doing and I’ve gotten so many requests from people to do something like this…so here it is. :)

Oh, and I’ll never sell or trade any of your information…ever.

If you’d like to sign up, and I hope that you do…click here.

Like I said, you’ll get emails from me that I hope you’ll find value in, and I do this absolutely free of charge. Just my gift to you. This will also give you first dibs on any Mastermind Groups, Master Class Studies, or anything else cool that we come up with.

So get signed up! All the cool kids are doing it!


Why You Can’t Keep Employees

I realize the title of the blog may be a little aggressive, especially considering the overall tone of 99% of the other postings on this site, but as you’ll read in this blog – it not only fits…it’s appropriate.

If you work for, manage, own, and/or operate a company that is having trouble attracting quality employees, or keeping them once you do hire them; this is for you.

I can sum it up in one word: culture.

Culture is the absolute most powerful aspect of any organization. Culture is about behavior. It’s the personality of the organization, and people do what people see.

A mentor of mine said that culture eats vision for lunch. He meant, if you don’t have a culture that is truly conducive to growth and success, the quality and clarity of your vision is moot. If you don’t have the buy-in of the people that are responsible for executing your vision, you’re going to fail. John Maxwell says it best:

“The leader finds the dream and then the people. The people find the leader and then the dream.” (21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership)

People don’t go along with people they don’t get along with. The good news is that it’s not difficult to develop a culture truly conducive to success for everyone involved! It’s important to understand a couple things, first, though. For instance, most people don’t believe in themselves. Too many people believe they’re destined to fail. Not only that, most people also lack someone in their life that has faith in them. Then they come to work for a company that constantly reminds them of both of those self-limiting beliefs. Again, I say, there’s an easy fix to this.

One of my favorite quotes:

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – John C. Maxwell

In most companies, it’s just easier to fire someone than it is to train, coach, develop, and equip them. It’s a sad fact that 95% of “leaders” never develop another leader. I use quotations because the entire purpose behind leadership is to develop other leaders. If you’re not adding value to people, you’re not a leader…you’re a boss. They’re not following you because they want to go wherever you go and charge the hill for you, they’re following you because at the moment you’re the means in which they pay their bills. Trust me when I say the moment something else comes along, they’re gone. Focus on growing people, and your business will grow faster automatically.

Here are 5 things you can do to immediately improve (or create) a culture that people will want to be a part of:

  1. Value people. People want to know that what they’re doing matters and that someone actually cares. 
  2. Think of new ways to add value to people. Believe in them before they succeed. It’s easy to have faith in people that are already successful, but it’s much more valuable when you’re able to show people you believe in them BEFORE they’ve “proven themselves” 
  3. Look for ways to add to value to people. Emphasize their strengths. Find reasons to congratulate and offer praise. 
  4. Do things to add value to people. When you congratulate your people – do so publicly. Any reprimands should always happen in private, but the opposite is true for praise and recognition. 
  5. Encourage others to add value to people. This is what causes a culture to permeate an entire building and company. When you add value to people, offer praise and congratulations publicly, and then encourage everyone to do the same thing…it starts to catch on. Instead of gossip and backbiting, your team members are encouraging, empowering, and lifting each other! 

You probably picked up on the pattern there, and it likely seems elementary at best. The fact is…hardly anyone actually does this. It’s impossible to sustain growth without equipping and developing people. Take the time and do the little things that show people you care. It’s really that important.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Richard Branson:

“Invest in and train your people so that they could walk away from your company and be total rockstars elsewhere in the industry…but treat them so well that they’d never consider it.”

Goal Setting…There’s a Good Chance You’re Doing It Wrong.

Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution to eat better, lose weight, get out of debt, a dream of starting your own business, or anything else you decide you want in life – the process of setting goals for ourselves is where we most often get it wrong.

One of the greatest books on how to correctly and effectively set goals is “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. It’s in the preparation for this book that Hill spent the better part of two decades studying the uber successful people of that era. Household names like Rockefeller, Ford, and Schwab. I was listening to one of my mentors, Paul Martinelli, talk about this one day and he makes the point that Hill recognized that these tycoons didn’t possess an abundance of generalized or specialized knowledge that made the super successful; instead they had perfected their ability to harness their intellectual faculties and developed the ability to create, manifest, and attract whatever it is they desired in life.

The good news for us, is that we have those same intellectual faculties and, therefore, the same ability to create, manifest, and attract whatever it is that WE desire in life. We just have to learn how to recognize those faculties, and then what to do with them.

In Maxwell Maltz’s book “Psycho-Cybernetics” (I actually have the updated version “The New Psycho-Cybernetics”) we learn that its impossible for us to outperform our own self image. Simply put, we will never do more, or be any better than that which we believe we are capable. Like Henry Ford said, “whether you think you can, or think you cannot…you’re right.”

To keep this from becoming a book in and of itself, I’ll sum it up with this and hopefully give you an actionable piece of the equation that really set things in motion for me.

One of the biggest and most effective ways to really begin setting goals that will ACTUALLY begin to create the change you’re looking for is to visualize your goals through the powers of your imagination. Paul Martinelli said it best, “our memory relies on our past experience and historical recall. However, imagination when used properly defines our future potential.”

If you’re looking to create change, but basing everything on the things you’ve been doing that have generated your current results…until you break that cycle…you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got.

Step outside your comfort zone. Picture in your mind what your life will look like when you’ve achieved the goals you’ve set for yourself. How will you feel? How will your life be different? Really get a clear mental picture of what that looks and feels like and generate your goals from that, and put it in writing.

Then, make that part of your every day routine. Spend a few minutes every day re-reading your goal and focusing on that clear picture and vision of where you’re headed…and you’ll be amazed at how things begin to fall in line for you.

Up until May 6, 1954 – a human being running a 4-minute mile was impossible. Couldn’t be done. Then Roger Bannister did it. Today, it’s a standard for most distance runners. It couldn’t be done, until it was…and now it happens all the time. Until the belief system of “impossible” was broken, the 4-minute mile was simply unattainable. This applies to the limitations you set for yourself. The moment you allow yourself to dream without limitations is the moment that you begin to attract those things into your reality.

“People dramatically overestimate what they’re capable in the short term, and dramatically underestimate what they’re capable of long term.” ~Tony Robbins

Get of your own way! Dream big and win!

Things I Learned from the Dalai Lama…

Just the sound of that is almost surreal to me. As I sit here tonight, writing this, I’m honestly still trying to absorb everything I experienced today. If I had to sum up everything I’m feeling in one word…I think the best word is “hopeful.” Hearing the inspiring words of the Dalai Lama honestly restored my “hope” for the future…not just my own…but hope for the entire world.

I’ve seen and listened to many different motivational speakers in my life, but I’ve never experienced anything like I experienced today. I’ve never seen someone that truly embodies a spirit of peace and happiness like this man. I’m going to be paraphrasing, but I wanted to share some of the biggest takeaways from this afternoon.

The overwhelming message was that we need to be working tirelessly to promote the deep human values of love, compassion, tolerance, and happiness. It’s important to understand that while we are one person, we belong to the entire human race. Instead of finding ways that we’re different, we should pay attention to the ways that we’re alike.

No matter the religion you claim as your own – they’re all rooted in one overall message of love and forgiveness. Hate, anger, violence, and other destructive emotions are man made and not of God. A heart that contains fear, anger, intolerance, and distrust will never be able to obtain the inner peace, or happiness, that we’re so desperately in search of (and were created to experience). There are more than 7 billion people on this planet, and at their core, they all just want to be happy.

The only true enemy is our own anger and destructive emotions. Science has proven that over time constant fear, anger, and turmoil is terminal. However, genuine caring for others brings an inner strength that leads to a peaceful mind and a healthy body. It’s not just important to think “love” but to put love into action!

While we may feel as though we’re just one person in a giant world with over 7 billion other people, any sort of global change has always and will forever start from within a single individual. Let that person be you.

When he entered the room, you could really feel the air in the room change. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced, first hand, what true peace and happiness looks like in an individual…until today.

One of my favorite quotes is from Zig Ziglar:

You can have whatever you want in life if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.

His Holiness has helped so many people find a happiness they didn’t know existed, and I believe proves what Zig said to obviously be very true.

Understand that a majority of the problems we face in life are of our own creation, but rest easy knowing that from the place the problems were created lies the secrets to a lifetime of peace, love, and happiness. You just have to know where to look.

Hidden in Plain Sight

First, let me start by saying, one of my favorite writers is Thomas Troward. I’ll also be the first to admit it often takes reading and re-reading (sometimes several times) his essays before I’m able to really grasp his message…but it’s always worth it.

When I’m speaking, I’ll frequently refer to several of Troward’s pieces because they have been so impactful in my life. I was re-reading (see? I told you) one his essays last night and it really got me thinking. So much so, that I shared part of this with my staff earlier today.

First, I’ll share with you his writing. This is from “The Spirit of Opulence”:

If we clearly realize that the creative power in ourselves in unlimited, then there is no reason for limiting the extent to which we may enjoy what we can create by means of it. Where we are drawing from the infinite we need never be afraid of taking more than our share. That is not where the danger lies. The danger is in not sufficiently realizing our own richness, and in looking upon the externalized products of our creative power as being the true riches instead of the creative power of the spirit itself.

Wow. I want to challenge you to go back and read that again.

When we hear the word “opulence” we often associate that with money. In fact, by definition we’re automatically pointed toward money.

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But even though the definition uses the phrase “great wealth” – Troward says “do not think money, as such, for it is only one means of opulence.”

When we’re faced with a difficult task or asked to do something we’re not “comfortable” with, we develop a fear based on a lack of confidence in our ability to do whatever it is. “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not smart enough.” “I don’t have enough experience.” The list is a mile long.

Instead, imagine what we would be capable of doing if we were constantly able to operate from an understanding that the creativity and brain power necessary to complete anything was already in abundance within us. If we were able to enter into the “spirit of opulence” every time we’re faced with something that is a outside our “comfort zone” there would, literally, be no limit to what we’d be capable of accomplishing!

Since we were toddlers, we’ve been told “you can do anything if you’ll just put your mind to it” – that’s because the wealth, or opulence, of creative power within us is truly unlimited!

The next time you’re faced with an obstacle that seems insurmountable or a task that seems impossible – understand that within you is an ENDLESS supply of power that is more than capable of conquering everything! You were created for greatness and there is greatness within you!

Now, go do something spectacular!