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!

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

There’s a statute in the legal community referred to as “fruit of the poisonous tree” that states that evidence gathered with the assistance of illegally obtained information must be excluded from trial. Simply put…once something is established as “bad” – everything from that point forward, as a whole, is also bad.

I believe this principle applies to business and leadership equally as well. Once leadership goes “bad” – all that comes from that will eventually fail. John Maxwell puts it like this, “everything rises and falls on leadership” – therefore, if you’ve got bad leadership…the culture within your organization will follow suit. I firmly believe it’s impossible for an organization to be successful under “poisonous” leadership. You simply won’t win. Period. And no matter where the breakdown occurs…it affects everything from that point. It doesn’t always mean that the person at the top is the problem…but it’s absolutely the person at the top’s responsibility to recognize the issues and make adjustments accordingly.

It’s not to say that an organization with bad leadership can’t have good people, but that organization won’t have good people for very long. You don’t have to worry about the bad employees turning the good ones into bad…the bad employees will simply run your good people off. Remember: people don’t quit companies…people quit people. The best thing you could ever do for your best employees is eliminate the bad ones.

No matter the tchotchke your company sells (cars, TVs, medical devices, or ham sandwiches) your only true appreciable asset is people that make up your organization.

Think of it like this…if you’re a car dealership, the sales people’s product are the cars. However, the sales managers’ product are the sales people!

Avoid the “fruit of the poisonous tree” by committing yourself to not only doing what is right for your business, but more importantly, doing what is right for your people. Hire good people, invest in them, treat them well, and they’ll see to it that your company is successful.

Black Lives Matter.

I was standing in line at Barnes & Noble tonight, as I do most every Sunday, and the cover of Time magazine caught my attention.


It broke my heart.

Of course they do. EVERY life matters. Senseless violence is senseless violence.

I’ve seen three videos THIS WEEK that show life being snuffed out by another individual. For what? From my vantage point…not much. Senseless violence.

As a Christian, my heart is broken every time I see it. Families devastated. Lives shattered in an instant. For what? Not much. Senseless violence.

As a Christian we have one job…to be the light of the world. Be a beacon of hope. Be the lighthouse in an otherwise vast darkness.

Quite honestly, I think we suck at our jobs.

The fact that we live in a society that feels it’s inportant to remind us that “black lives matter” should rock the Christian community to its core. We have people in our midst that feel as though their lives are deemed less important than others. How does this happen? Christians…this is our fault.

Our faith is a faith of hope, love, forgiveness, and redemption, and the people speaking the loudest are demonstrating otherwise.

Shame on us.

If you’re reading this, know you’re loved and your life matters. It always has, and it always will.

Expanding the Circle Beyond 12

This was too good not to share…I wish I had written it! This comes from my mentor, John Maxwell’s daily devotional email. I’ve included the link to sign up at the bottom of this blog…I highly recommend it!

“Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’ And He said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.'” Luke 10:17-19
If you look at the roster of any successful team, you will see that the starters are always outnumbered by the other players on the team. In pro football, twenty-two people start on offense and defense, but teams are allowed to have fifty-three players on a team. (College teams often have more than 100!)

You find similar situations in every field. In the entertainment industry, the actors are often known, but the hundreds of crew members it takes to make a movie aren’t. For any politician or corporate executive or big-name fashion designer that you know about, hundreds of people are working quietly in the background to make their work possible. Nobody can neglect the majority of the team and hope to be successful.

The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork

Click here to sign up!

Be Better…Not Bitter.

There are three things that you cannot avoid in life. Death, taxes, and the fact that life is just simply not fair.

Think about it…when your position in the food chain is largely determined by whether or not you were born with a thumb…it’s pretty easy to determine that life isn’t fair. There is often no rhyme or reason why things happen the way they do…they just happen. The problem occurs when we let this truth become a self-limiting belief. More often than not, we adopt the fact that “life isn’t fair” and then use that as an excuse to keep from performing at our true potential.

I believe it was Thomas Jefferson (I could be mistaken) that said:

“The only thing worse than an excuse…is a good excuse.”

Let’s face it. There are going to be things that don’t go your way. There are going to be things that happen to you that shouldn’t. There are going to be things that are beyond your control that have a significant impact on your life. Sometimes life can be really tough. BUT…the true test isn’t what happens to us, but rather what happens within us during those moments.

You have two options: Be bitter or be better.

  • If you’re not where you want in your career – be better at your job.
  • If you’re not where you want in your marriage – be a better spouse.
  • If you’re not where you want with your children – be a better a parent.

There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that says:

“If you see a good man, emulate him. If you see a bad man, examine your heart.”

Another common mistake we make is basing the idea of our own success on the success of other people. We see people doing great things and say to ourselves “I want to do that” or “I want to feel like that” or “I want to look like that” – and in a lot of ways…that’s okay. But there’s a stark realization that also has to come with that…

If you want what other people have…you better be prepared to do MORE than what they’ve already done. That’s why I say the only person you should try to “beat” or “be better than” is the person you were yesterday. You want a better product? Make a product better than the one you made yesterday. Don’t worry about beating the “other guy” – focus on being better than you were yesterday…and one day…you’ll look up and realize you’ve left everyone in the dust.

Don’t allow yourself to become bitter…focus on becoming better…it’s much easier to win that way.