Regain Control of Your Life in 3 Steps

This past week I had the great opportunity to speak to a group of leaders (from all different types of business) from the Nashville area. It’s always great to talk to a group of people that are committed to growth and development because they’re there to get as much out of the event as possible. They’re engaged and plugged in, and it’s just a really energizing environment, especially for me!

I was talking about the power of questions, and used a lot from John Maxwell’s book, Good Leaders Ask Great Questions. Then, like I try to do at every event, I open it up to the audience for a Q&A session. As I’ve been thinking, over the past few days, about what my next blog would be about…a question from that night kept coming back to me. I wasn’t sure exactly how to piece it all together, but I felt it was important enough to write about. I also believe that we’re given ideas for a reason, and this one keeps coming  back up – so I figured the universe was trying to tell me something, so here it is.

The question that the woman asked regarded “question shamers.” Let me provide a little context: One of the principles I was talking about was the need to get past the self-limiting belief and fear that asking a question would make you appear inferior, silly, stupid, or any other unreasonable and irrational emotion that we allow to continually prevent us from obtaining what it is that we either want or need.

So she asked, “how do you handle question shamers?” When I asked her to explain she described the typical office bully. Maybe it’s your boss. Maybe it’s a co-worker. Maybe it’s a direct report to you. Whatever the case, these people exist and can be a real problem if we allow them to be. So here was my reply.

First and foremost, we have to understand that someone else’s opinion of us is none of our business. As my mentor Les Brown says:

“You don’t have to allow someone else’s opinion of you to become your reality.”

Every day, we’re faced with a bully. It could be a co-worker, your boss, neighbor, family member, or even just some random stranger. For us, we have to remember one thing – their negative opinion has absolutely no power over us unless we allow it to. If someone is bullying you and ruining your day, week, or more…the first thing we have to do is take personal responsibility for it.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying it’s your fault that you’re being bullied…I’m just saying that if it’s affecting your life in a negative way…THAT is something no one has the ability to do unless we allow it happen.

So here are a few steps to help deal with these types of people.

  1. Take responsibility for how you feel. The moment you accept responsibility for your own emotions and feelings, you strip away any power over them that someone or something else may have had. Instantly. you’re back in control.
  2. Understand that you have the ability to have a different thought, at all times. Once we’ve taken responsibility for our feelings and thoughts, it’s as simple as shifting our focus on to something positive and serving to us. Go for a walk, turn on positive music, call a friend…physically something to change the negative dynamic and get your mind focused on something positive that will serve you. “Cut off the branch that does not bear fruit.” This part requires some sort of action…do it.
  3. Remember why you’re here. You exist for a purpose, and if you’re breathing air today your purpose is still extremely important. You are created to live a life of peace, hope, and prosperity with an abundant future. Everything that exists in your world exists so that you’re able to do magnificent things. The resources you will need to do everything you’re destined to do exist in an infinite supply in the universe for this exact reason.

You might have noticed that none of those steps have anything to do with the other person or circumstance, and that’s because one of the most incredible realizations that we can ever have is understanding that we have the ability to create/change our reality if we’ll first take responsibility for the reality we’re currently in. No one can make us feel anything unless we give them the power to do so. So stop it.

The bad news is that the more success you have, the more likely you’re going to run into people like this. A key difference in successful people versus unsuccessful people is that the successful people realize THEY are the only ones in charge of their lives and their destiny. You have the ability to live your life by design…or you can live by default. To put it another way: You either live out your plan, or plan to be hired by someone to help them live out theirs.

I’ll leave you with this. A mentor of mine once told me, “If you’re getting kicked in the butt…at least you know you’re out in front!”

Everything Is Either a Burden or a Gift

Everything is either a burden or a gift, and the decision is up to you.

The other day, I tweeted “Change burdens to privileges by changing the words “have to” to “get to” in your vocabulary, then watch the amazing shift in your attitude.” (I wish I could take full credit for this…this was actually one of things I’ve learned from Michael Hyatt that has stuck with me and really been a game changer for me.)

I had more people reach out to me about this tweet than I’ve had in a long time, and the sentiments were almost all identical. “JR, that is so true, and I’ve just never thought about it like that.”

So often this is the case with almost everything we face. We forget that events or circumstances are neither good nor bad until we process and apply meaning to them. We have the ability to create whatever reality we want, if we’ll first take responsibility for the reality we’re currently in. As long as our reality is someone or something else’s fault, we surrender that control.

One of the most powerful phrases I’ve ever heard comes from James Allen’s book, As A Man Thinketh:

“We are made or unmade by ourselves. By our thoughts, we forge the weapons by which we can destroy ourselves. Likewise, we also fashion the tools with which we build for ourselves heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”

Our thoughts are capable of being the most destructive weapons known to man, or the most powerful resources the universe can muster. The difference lies within us.

Let’s try something…here’s what I want you to do:

Close your eyes for a moment and think of a large empty box.

Picturing the box? Okay, great…

How big is the box you’re imaging?

Is it large enough to house a fleet of 747 jets? Likely not. You’re imagining, what you perceived to be, a large box. In comparison to the box large enough to fit the 747’s in, it’s likely quite small. What changed about your box? What took it from being what you perceived to be large to your perception of it actually being quite small?

In reality, nothing about your box changed. The only thing that changed was that with which you were comparing it to. I use this as an example of the filters we’re constantly using throughout the day. Only, we’re often not referencing the size of an imaginary box, but rather determining whether something is “good” or “bad.” The fact remains the same. Just as you were able to shift you’re idea of the size of the box, you have that same ability to shift from “bad” to “good.”

Happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a choice. Don’t strive to be happy, decide to be happy. In his book, Paradise Lost, John Milton wrote:

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

You always have more control that you often realize. You create your own reality. Your reality doesn’t exist for anyone but you, and you have the ability to make it however you want! And remember, if you don’t, no one else is going to do it for you. You either live your life according your plan or according to someone else’s…and they never have much planned for you!

Create Your Own Mountain

I was having a conversation with a friend in the music business the other night and he mentioned how difficult it can be for an artist to break through and “climb the mountain” that another artist has already climbed. In other words, if a “Carrie Underwood” has reached the peak of the mountain, other aspiring females will have a hard time climbing that same mountain.

It got me to thinking…this is really the case in a number of scenarios we’ll face throughout our lives. Right? I mean, there will always be someone in the job that we want or living the dream we have for ourselves. It’s in these moments that, so called, 1%’ers are defined.

Here’s what I mean.

Let’s stick with his “mountain” analogy. When you get to the point that you feel you’re never going to be able to reach the peak because the person/people that are already there have cornered the industry, keep knocking you back down, things don’t work out the way you want, or any of the excuses we are able to come up with…you really have 3 options.

  1. Quit. Just give up, go home, accept defeat, allow your self-limiting beliefs to win and continue to live your life by default instead of by design. (Not recommended)
  2. Wait. You can sit at the bottom of the mountain, in your current position, and wait for them to move on or die. (Also not recommended)
  3. Create your own mountain. You can look at their mountain and establish the mindset and belief that if THEY were able to create this world for themselves and achieve great things through whatever means necessary, then those same opportunities, powers, and abilities are available to you! (Become a member of the 1%)

The biggest difference between the super successful and the people that “fail” is the moment they decide to quit. If you want what other people have, you have to be willing to do more than they’ve done. 99% of people quit before they get to this point, because it’s hard. We were created to do great things and live a life of prosperity and abundance…nowhere does it say it will be easy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Throughout history, the greatest successes begin out of failure. It’s just extremely important to remember that failure is an event, not a person. In fact, like Tony Robbins teaches, there is really no such thing as “failure” – only results. While, they may not be the results we were hoping for, but they’re results none the less. So we adjust and try again from a different perspective or with a new approach. And again. And again. And again.

Thomas Edison has 10,000 failed experiments before ever successfully creating the lightbulb. Ten thousand!! When asked about it, he says “I didn’t fail 10,000 times, I created 10,000 ways NOT to make a lightbulb.”

Others may be able to stop you temporarily, you’re the only one that can do it permanently.

“Go so far as you can see and when you get there you will always be able to see farther.” – Zig Ziglar

The same energy sources that keep the earth rotating on its axis and revolving around the sun, and the tides coming in and going out, exist within you. Everything you will ever need to succeed beyond your own wildest dreams and imaginations exists in endless supply in the universe.

Think about it…there is an endless amount of money and wealth in the universe. Wealth exists in the universe in an infinite supply. The only thing standing between you and your hefty share is the self-limiting belief that you can’t get it, won’t get it, shouldn’t have it, or don’t deserve it.

Remember…mountains don’t just pop up overnight, but if you’re consistent and intentional, before you know it, you’ll be sitting atop a peak that even YOU didn’t know could, would, and should exist!

Go build your own moutain!

Cleared to Land

One of the best lyrics I’ve ever heard comes from Eric Church’s song “Over when it’s over”

The song is about a failed relationship, but this particular lyrics has stuck out to me since I first heard it. There was something bigger about this line:

“We had it in the air, we just couldn’t land it”

Think about that for a second. Let it really sink in.

Chances are you’ve got a number of things in the air – waiting for you to land them. Careers, relationships, ideas, dreams, goals, etc. They’re all just flying around up there – circling like an airplane without a runway.

It’s nothing to get something off the ground, landing takes focus, hard work, and dedication. Landing requires intention. Sticking with the airplane analogy a little further – the two most difficult and crucial parts of flying are the takeoff and landing. The same applies to our daily lives…the two most difficult things we ever do are starting and completing a project (especially something we’re not super excited about). Most people will never even make the effort to get “off the ground” but when they do even fewer ever have the determination, focus, and intention required to “land.”

We will come up with every reason why we can’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, don’t, won’t, aren’t…because the easiest thing to do is always nothing.

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

I believe that quote belongs to Benjamin Franklin, but I’ve heard it attributed to so many different people, I’m not exactly sure – I just know it to be one of the truest things ever said, especially in regards to one’s success or the lack thereof.

If you’re one of those people that has a bunch of planes in the air, circling, waiting for an opportunity to land – put on your air traffic controller hat and bring them in! Identify them, prioritize them, create your plan of action, tap into the unlimited resources that are always available to you through the power of intention, and prove to yourself that you CAN do it.

I grew up in Texas and as a kid, whenever I would say the words “I can’t” I would always get the same line in return: “can’t never could do nothing!” As long as I believed I couldn’t, I never would. By believing that something isn’t possible or that you can’t do whatever it is – you automatically shut off the parts of the brain that COULD have. However, the moment you become open to the possibility – you unleash the unlimited potential and attractive powers of your brain that are designed to make whatever it is, a reality. You are wired and created to accomplish amazing and incredible things. It’s why you’re here. Stop cheating yourself, and start believing and encouraging yourself…because whatever it is that you want is not only possible but already exists in your future if you’re willing to do what’s necessary to attract it.

The Greatest Distance

We all know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but what would you say is the greatest distance that exists? Think about that for a second…what is the greatest distance you can imagine?

Now that you’ve imagined the greatest physical distance, what about the distances that exist in our lives? What is the greatest distance that exists within you? I’d venture to guess that it’s the distance between where you are and where you want to be, right? The distance between the way life exists and the way we would dream to live. The distance between who we are and who we could be. Seems pretty far away, sometimes…right? Almost as far as the greatest physical distance I first had you imagine. So far, in some cases, that getting there would be basically impossible, yes?

The next thing I want you to do is to attempt to put a physical distance on the gap between you and your goals and dreams. If you had to put an actual measurable distance on it, what would it be? A mile? 100 miles? Somewhere between here and Mars?

I have the answer.

Less than 8 inches.

Less than 8 inches separates you from the absolute life of your dreams where you’re accomplishing every goal, living every dream, doing everything you ever imagined…and beyond!

Less than 8 inches…about 7.8 inches to be exact, or, the average distance between your ears. Between your ears lies the largest gaps in the universe because it’s the gap between who you are and who you were created to be. The doubt, self-limiting beliefs, insecurity, negativity, and everything else we allow to control our minds creates a gap that we would measure to be a distance so great that we’d never get there in 10 lifetimes.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Instead of looking at our potential and our dream job, house, lifestyle, family, or whatever as something that is lightyears away…what if we could realize the gap is actually only less than 8 inches and we have the ability to change it right now? What would you do differently? What would you take action on that you’ve been putting off? What could you do RIGHT NOW to eliminate that “gap” and take charge of your life?

You live your life one of two ways: by design or by default. You either live YOUR life’s plan or live as part of someone else’s, and I’ll be the first to tell you – they don’t have much planned for you.

The only thing separating those two realities is 7.8 inches. Take back that control and seize those opportunities and possibilities…they’re much closer than you think.

Well, Then Do Something About It!

“Nothing I do ever seems to work.”

“I just keep trying and trying and no one appreciates me.”

“I’m working all these hours and not getting anywhere…”

“I’m just stuck and I don’t know what to do.” 

We’ve all experienced some variation of that at some point in our lives, hell, maybe you’re there now! As I’ve been coaching over the past several years, “stuck”, seems to be one of the biggest problems people face on a daily basis. We’re stuck in our jobs, personal lives, relationships…you name it! We’re just unhappy, not going anywhere, and don’t have the first clue of how to do anything about.

At least, that’s what we allow ourselves to think.

If you’re “stuck” in any aspect of your life, currently, there’s actually something you can do RIGHT NOW to completely turn it around. In a previous blog (almost 2 years ago exactly) I wrote about one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned. Pain is an inevitable part of life…but suffering is a choice.

“In life, we get what we tolerate.”Tony Robbins

If we’re ever sufferingit’s because we are allowing ourselves to do so. Being in a perpetual state of stuck-ness (that’s probably not really a word, but you get the idea), it’s because we are tolerating the feelings and the behavior that keep us there. So how do we fix it?

Do SOMETHING. Change your physiology. If you’re moping around the house or sitting on the couch watching TV – go outside! Go for a walk. Go to the gym. Go to Starbucks…I don’t care, just do SOMETHING. When you change your physiology the actual functionality and chemistry in your brain begins to change, therefore adjusting your mood and how you feel. The other thing you’ll have done, possibly on a more subconscious level, is make that first decision. Being “stuck” is being in a constant state of indecision. You feel like you don’t know what do, so you don’t do anything. But, the moment you decide to do something and then take action on it – you’re instantly no longer “stuck,” because you’re moving toward an objective. Something as simple as deciding to go for a walk, and then getting up walking out the door – reestablishes the power already within you to create change. You’ve made a decision and taken action on it, thereby shifting your brain out of a mode of helplessness and into a mode of decisiveness. One of basic human needs is the need for certainty, and making a decision (ESPECIALLY in a moment like this) instantly fulfills that need.

That’s why people will tell you that happiness is a choice. They’re not BS’ing you or just imparting some “Kumbayah, mumbo jumbo” it’s a scientific fact.

So when you’re stuck – do something about it simply by just doing SOMETHING different.


PS – Don’t forget to sign up for my “Inner Circle”

Stop Sabotaging Your Day

Several months ago, I found myself (once again) in a situation where I felt out of control, stressed, overwhelmed, and just frustrated overall. It seemed that I couldn’t ever catch up, much less get ahead. No matter how hard I worked and the hours I was putting, it was never enough. So, I blamed the amount of workload in my job and just adopted the belief that it was just part of the territory and I needed to get used to it.

The problem with that is that I knew better. I remember one particular night I was feeling exceptionally frustrated and so I turned on the television to take my mind off of things, and on the TV was President Obama. I remember thinking to myself, “I’m not busy…THERE’S is a guy that’s busy.” It got me thinking about all the people that are “busier” than I am, and appear to be handling it quite well. Tim Cook, Mark Cuban, President Obama, Ryan Seacrest…and before I knew it I had a list of names of people that I’m quite certain are far “busier” than I am.

I didn’t do this to make myself feel better or to minimize my job or workload, I did it so that I could begin to figure out what I was doing wrong. It was through this process that I really discovered that my “problem” wasn’t in the amount of work associated with my career, but rather the disorganization of every other aspect of my life. It was easier to blame work, because work was “other people” and all the things there were doing to me that I didn’t have to take responsibility for.

I realized that I was starting my day in a very counterproductive manner that was setting the tone of disorganization, frustration, procrastination, and all the other things that had me feeling overwhelmed. My day (start to finish) was absolutely running my life and not the other way around. The other thing the list of people did for me was show me that not only were those people “busier” than I was, but they were in control of their time and I wasn’t. If I was going to get rid of this “black cloud” hanging over me that was filling my life with frustration, resentment, anger, anxiety, stress, and all of the other terrible emotions that were ruling me – I was going to have to be the one to make the change. It wasn’t work, family, relationships, or anything – it was me.

The great thing about realizing that WE are the ones responsible for everything that happens in our lives is the fact that because we are responsible – we have the ability to fix it.

A problem is only a problem if we have the ability to do something about it.

Deep down, I had always wanted to be a morning person. I wanted to be the person that was up and productive before everyone else, probably because that symbolized control. Those people had their stuff together and were making things happen. Again, I went back to my list of “busier people” and a common thread amongst all of them is their morning routine. Tim Cook is up at 4:30 every morning and starting his day with a purpose.

Me? I was up in time to get run around my apartment with my hair on fire, running late, trying to find my car keys, skipping breakfast, realizing that I forgot to get gas the night before and now I’m REALLY late!

This had to change.

Enter Jeff Sanders. I discovered Jeff’s book “The 5AM Miracle” right at the time I was looking for a roadmap of how to get back in control. Reading and working through this book gave me exactly the template I was looking for, and it’s been a total game changer for me.

I, like most people, was starting every day with a tone of procrastination which lead to increased stress and anxiety. The absolute worst thing was my snooze button addition. I would hit snooze on my alarm 4 or 5 times before I even woke up and realized what I was doing. I had conditioned my body to hit snooze while I was still asleep! Five snoozes at nine minutes each…I’m almost an hour behind and I haven’t even opened my eyes!

Then, because I was running late I would skip breakfast, leave the newspaper (yes, I still get the newspaper every day – New York Times if you’re curious) on the porch, not make my bed (because who has time for THAT?!), and forget about any exercise!

Every one of those things sets and amplifies a tone of procrastination for the rest of the day. My level of stress had nothing to do with my job, and EVERYTHING to do with what I was doing long before I ever even stepped foot in the office. So, long story longer, here’s what I did to correct it.

  1. Ditch the snooze button. This was tough because it was automatic for me. So I had to move my alarm far enough away that turning it off actually requires getting out of bed. Then, once I’m up I force myself to stay up.
  2. Overnight your body naturally dehydrates – so the next thing I do is start pounding water. I, much like Jeff Sanders, drink a liter of water before leaving the house.
  3. Exercise. Do something first thing in the morning to get your heart rate up – even if it’s something quick and simple, personally, I’ve started running. I’m out the door by 5:10 and I will run for 30-45 minutes. I’ve got my headphones in, super energetic and uplifting music, and because it’s 5am – there’s really no one else up and around so it gives me time to really connect with mind, body, and spirit and get my mind set in a productive and positive direction.
  4. Guided meditation. I was most skeptical of this, but I have to tell you, it works! I downloaded the app “HeadSpace” and it’s been a game changer for me. 10 minute guided meditation to help keep my mind focused and under control. You’d be amazed at how powerful it is to take control of your thoughts and mind…download this app. Trust me.
  5. Make my bed. This is one of the first “tasks” of the day and just by simply completing that – I’ve shifted from a mode of procrastination to productivity and accomplishment. I learned that we’re most likely to accomplish and achieve something immediately after we have accomplished or achieved something. This energy and momentum has an INCREDIBLE impact on the rest of the day.

And there you have it, those are the key things that I do every morning to kickstart my day in a way that is going to serve me the rest of the day. I can’t begin to tell you what an impact this has had on my life in almost every area.

This blog has become extremely long, so I’ll stop here…in my next entry…I’ll give the second part to this: my nightly routine.🙂