Don’t Let Your Circumstances Paralyze You

Sadly enough, one of the biggest dream killers in the world is tough circumstances. It’s very easy for people to put the blame on current circumstances and use them as an excuse for why they can’t do something or haven’t achieved a particular goal or dream.

I have fallen victim to my circumstances many times. I’d bore you if I began to list them all, so I’ll just share one example.

When I decided to not continue pursuing professional football after sustaining an injury with the Chicago Bears, I let my circumstances define my target market as a professional speaker.

I’d be invited to speak to corporate audiences but would make excuses such as “What can a 26-year-old possibly teach a successful businessman?” I continually drilled that into my head over and over again — so much so that it began to become my reality.

I became a victim of my circumstances. Over time, I caught myself and pulled myself out of this funk.

Tough circumstances are preventing individuals all over the world from reaching their full potential in life and from achieving their biggest goals and dreams. Don’t let this happen to you.

Where you are right now has nothing to do with where you can be five years from now.  

Here are three ways to avoid becoming a victim of your circumstances:

1. Create a dream or vision board. 

One reason why it can be so easy for circumstances to paralyze someone from taking action is because that person is blinded by where he or she is currently at in life.

Creating a dream or vision board can help tremendously with expanding your vision. Pick up a copy of your favorite magazine or search the Internet for images aligned with your goals and dreams.

Pictures can have a phenomenal effect on the mind and motivation. Every morning and night, glance at these pictures and spend five to 10 minutes imagining these images becoming part of your reality.

It will only be a matter of time before your current circumstances become just a stepping stone to something much greater.

2. Develop positive inner conversations.

Instead of telling yourself that this is where you’re supposed to be or that you just have to live with your current circumstances, empower yourself by telling yourself how great you are — that this is just an interlude for what’s to come.

Your current circumstances will always get the best of you if your inner conversation isn’t positive and empowering you to do something about them.

3. Hang around people who are doing better than you.

If you want to create new possibilities in your life, hang around people who are constantly working and searching for ways to maximize their potential. Association is everything, you’ll hear me say all the time.

The same goes for when you’re striving to not let your circumstances stop you from moving forward in life. Think about it this way: You can either surround yourself with people who inspire you to become better or those who help you stay average. Which do you want? It’s up to you to decide the category you fall in.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The New Era of Time Management

One thing I have always been incredibly fascinated with is how the most successful people in the world manage their time. Recently, I sat down with one of the world’s leading thinkers on productivity and New York Times bestselling author, Rory Vaden.

We discussed that there are really three generations of time-management thinking.

Era 1 time-management thinking was all about efficiency.

It was predicated on the idea of doing things faster. All things being equal, efficiency is good, but there is a limitation to efficiency that gives it a point of diminishing returns as a time-management strategy.

No matter how efficient we are, in today’s day and age, there is always going to be more to do than we can ever get to. At one point in history the idea was to create tips and tricks and tools and technology to help us get our to-do list done faster so we’d have margin or space left over.

But that’s an incomplete strategy today. Because we all carry computers in our pocket, we are all working as efficiently as ever before and we are still never caught up. That’s because at the end of today’s modern to-do list isn’t more margin — it’s another to-do list!

Era 2 time-management thinking was about prioritizing.

Prioritizing time was about developing calendars and checklists to help us focus first on what matters most.

Prioritizing has been the pervasive paradigm of thinking in the world of productivity since 1989. We still refer to “prioritizing” as the cure-all for most of our time-management problems. While prioritizing is still a highly valuable skill and as relevant as ever before, it too has a very substantial limitation that nobody ever talks about.

According to Vaden, there is nothing about prioritizing that creates more time. All prioritizing does is put one thing in front of the other. It takes item seven on your to-do list and bumps it up to one. But it does nothing to help you get the other items on your to-do list completed and it does not create more time. Prioritizing is simply borrowing time from one activity to spend on another.

The modern era is all about multiplying time.

In the world today, a new type of thinker has emerged. They don’t manage their time and they don’t prioritize their time — they multiply their time.

Multipliers have figured out ways to actually create more time while everyone else is still living with the fallacy that time is finite. Welcome to Era 3 time-management thinking.

How in the world do you multiply time? Simple.

In fact, this next sentence is the entire core premise of Vaden’s new book that comes out in January (Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time).

You multiply your time by giving yourself the emotional permission to spend time on things today that create more time tomorrow.

You don’t just think, “what are the most important things I have to get done today or this week?”

Instead, you ask the question, “what are the things that I could do today that would free up more time tomorrow?”

Vaden says, “When you ask yourself that question, you will find that you immediately feel less pressure to only focus on the urgent things that are pressing today or this week and you instead gain a perspective to start thinking about what you can be doing now to make a positive impact on the future. You give yourself permission to do the significant things that matter for the long term.”

That is what multipliers do.

He goes on to say, “They get outside of their to-do list of short-term priorities and they realize that the real key to creating more margin in their life isn’t about working faster, or somehow ‘prioritizing’ better, it’s about learning to think differently.”

To be a multiplier you must stop living urgently, and start living significantly.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

An Exceptional Vision for Your Life Can Lead to Joy and Success

Two qualities that can affect your success, quality of relationships and positive influence on others is passion and enthusiasm. Take a look at some of the greats. Whether it be an athlete, CEO, writer or musician, those who have reached an extraordinary level of success in their lives shared both passion and enthusiasm.

Those who are passionate and enthusiastic most certainly have an edge over those who are not. Passion and enthusiasm turns ordinary folks into extraordinary achievers. Passion and enthusiasm turns the impossible into the possible. Passion and enthusiasm has the power and ability to change and influence the lives of others.

If passion and enthusiasm is so essential to the level of success one achieves, why do so many lack both qualities? Simple. Most don’t have an exceptional vision for their life. Something that has always struck me is that a majority of people spend more time planning what kind of car they want to drive or what they are going to purchase at the mall than they do planning their everyday life.

The only way to become truly passionate about your life and wake up every morning enthusiastic about tackling every task on your to-do list is to create an exceptional vision for your life. A vision so powerful that nothing can get in the way of you making it a reality. That’s where greatness lies — working towards and being able to see past your current circumstances. We all need an exceptional vision for our lives.

Here are three steps to help steer you in the right direction to creating an exceptional vision for your life.

1. Establish your purpose

It’s very difficult to live an exceptional life if you don’t do everything it takes to find out what your purpose is. What are you passionate about? What puts a smile on your face even when times are hard?

The key to creating a powerful vision for your life is keeping your purpose in the forefront of everything you do. If you lead with your purpose, everything else will fall into place. Working every day to fulfill your purpose is a key factor in igniting passion and enthusiasm in all areas of your life.

2. Be specific as possible

The more specific you are, the further your vision will propel you into making your vision a reality. Every little detail counts. What do you want to experience along the way? What’s the difference you want to make in the lives of others? What’s the quality of your relationships?

The more specific you are, the further your vision will propel you into making your vision a reality. Every little detail counts. What do you want to experience along the way? What’s the difference you want to make in the lives of others? What’s the quality of your relationships?

3. Think big

The third key step to help you create a powerful and exceptional vision for your life is to expand your thinking. If one of your major goals in life is to become a millionaire, start thinking in terms of $4 million. Take a big goal of yours that resonates deep within your entire being and multiply that goal.

If you believe you have already been thinking big, think bigger! The large goals you set for your life that excite you beyond measure are what will have you waking up each morning with a burning desire to make each day a masterpiece.

Creating an exceptional vision for your life is necessary to live with passion and enthusiasm. Life will always throw its curveballs but when you have such an extraordinary vision for the person you want to become and the life you envision for yourself, no trial, failure or setback will be able to steal your joy. You have too much to look forward to. You have an exceptional life to create for yourself!

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Energy Management Is the Missing Link to Peak Performance

For the last decade, the corporate world has been very conscious about time management. We have seen an extraordinary amount of books, audio programs, online courses and other materials that have been created to help us manage our time better.

Why exactly is time management so important? Why has it taken the corporate world and entrepreneurs in every country by storm?

The answer is that time management is really life management. How we manage our time is a direct correlation to how we manage our lives.

I am a huge advocate of being a master of managing our time and finding new ways to incorporate better structure into our lives on a daily basis. However, I have seen countless people who were terrific with how they managed their time but still seemed to not get much of anything of value accomplished.

The reason why someone could be excellent at managing their time but still not rise to the top of their selected profession and live a tremendously satisfying life is because they lack energy management.

Energy management is the missing link. You could be the world’s greatest planner and be very careful about where you spend your time, but if you mismanage your energy it does you absolutely no good.

The key is to become an excellent manager of your time along with mastering where you direct your energy. The major problem I continually see is people directing an enormous amount of energy towards low-value tasks, which then depletes energy levels when it comes time to work on the high-value tasks.

This way of operating will forever create average results.

Instead of working solely on time management, start to analyze and focus on where your energy is going. When you begin to carefully track your energy levels, the results could be substantial simply given the fact that most people neglect managing their energy.

This isn’t to say time management is useless, because it’s not. However, great time management combined with phenomenal energy management could completely change the game for you and take your success levels to new heights.

Before you begin a new task, ask yourself exactly how much energy needs to go into that task.

If an athlete wastes all of their energy in warm ups, how in the world will they have enough energy to perform at their very best when game time comes around? Sadly enough, I have witnessed this exact scenario before several times throughout my football career.

Think of those big tasks and projects that have the ability to advance you closer to the achievement of your goals as your game time. Don’t waste your valuable energy in warm ups.

Energy management is the missing link.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com