10 Things the Best of the Best Do Differently

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Something that has always fascinated me over the years is what are some of the things that the best of the best do differently than everyone else.

While there are many different qualities and habits that the best possess, here are 10 of some of the most common things that I have found that have helped them differentiate themselves from everyone else:

1. They constantly expand their vision.

Instead of letting their past mistakes, failures and hardships define their destiny, they constantly expand their vision as to what’s possible. They know that as long as they’re still breathing and get the opportunity to live another day, there is more for them to be, do and achieve.

2. They are extremely goal-oriented.

They take time out of the year to sit down and visualize what they want in their lives. Once they know what they want, they write down their goals and come up with a detailed plan for everything they have to do for it to become a reality.

3. They take massive action.

After they set their goals and come up with a detailed plan, they fully understand that absolutely nothing will work if they don’t work. Many people want to complain about their circumstances or how hard life can be, while the champions, the best of the best, just gets moving.

 

4. They surround themselves with supporters.

They have friends and people in their inner circle that help them grow, get better and achieve their biggest goals and dreams in life. They want nothing to do with people who suck the life out of everyone they come in contact with. The best of the best know how vitally important it is to surround themselves with a team of like-minded individuals who are going to help them win in all facets of life.

5. They are lifelong learners.

They are constantly searching for ways to grow and get better. They invest in their personal development and regardless of how successful they already are, you can always find them eager to learn something new, refine their skill set or simply grow in some way, somehow in some area in their life. They work harder on themselves than they do anything else.

6. They serve others.

They understand that true success and fulfillment comes from serving and helping others get to where they want to go. The best sales people serve. The best parents serve. The best executives serve. The best entrepreneurs serve. Regardless of what field or what one does for a living, the best of the best operate out of a servant mentality.

7. They work harder than anyone else.

Many people might think that they are just lucky or privileged but the truth is that a great percentage of the men and women who are at the top of their game and dominating their selected field work harder than anybody else. They have a ridiculous and what some would call a sickening work ethic. They still put in the long hours regardless of their bank balances and are absolutely never satisfied.

8. They don’t let failure stop them from taking action or trying something new.

The best of the best thrive under pressure. They love when their backs are against the wall and they have to perform at a high level. The best of the best actually love failure. They understand that the trials and tribulations that they go through are only present to help mold them into something better.

9. They believe in and work toward a vision or mission that is bigger than themselves.

Instead of being temporarily pushed by motivation or some exterior reward, they are being pulled by their powerful mission or cause that is way bigger than them.

10. They never give up.

This last one sounds so cliché but it’s unbelievable the amount of fight, persistence and perseverance that the best of the best display over the course of their journey. No amount of setbacks and failures will stop them from waking up each morning and getting ready to work.

They love the fight that it takes to be the best and completely understand that it’s not about instant gratification but who can persevere through the most crap. They have a last-man-standing-wins mentality. The day the best of the best gives up is the day that they will be in their coffins.

Adopt these 10 things into your life and maybe you too could eventually be among the best of the best.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

You Need to Conquer Your Comfort Zone Before It Kills You

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Have you ever looked back on your life and started to realize that some of your biggest goals and dreams just vanished? Not because you didn’t care about them anymore, but because you never took that initial step to get started on pursuing them wholeheartedly. Life then just started to pass you by.

Everywhere I go and speak there is always a select handful of people who come up to me afterwards describing a similar scenario as to the one I mentioned above.

As a matter of fact, this quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., says it all: “Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.”

What a chilling statement.

There could be a hundred different reasons as to why someone doesn’t take the proper action that is required to get their goal or dream off the ground and up and running, but more times than not it’s the lie that your comfort zone is feeding you.

Every day, people from all walks of life have the opportunity to do what’s easy, listening to the lie of their comfort zones, or to do what’s necessary, which more than likely are the things that they do not want to do. From the time we wake up in the morning, to what we eat for breakfast, and how we go about the rest of our day, our comfort zones will be talking to us.

Everyone wants to be great. I can honestly say I have never met anyone who doesn’t want to feel good about themselves and feel as if they are a success in the game of life. Unfortunately, wanting to be successful and actually being successful are two completely different things, and a great determining factor of success a majority of the time is if a person is paralyzed by comfort or conquering comfort.

Entrepreneurs and business owners must get comfortable with being uncomfortable very quickly, or else there is virtually no chance to withstand the pressure and demands that it requires to be in business for yourself and manage others.

It really saddens me when I see someone fall into the extremely dangerous trap of comfort, and watch them bundle up their potential and push it off to the side as life passes them by. That’s the true definition of dying at the age of 25 but not getting buried until 75.

Or, as Holmes says, “Die with their music still in them.”

One of the more sad times in my life came when someone very dear to me died at a very young age due to a massive heart attack. The death alone was heartbreaking, but even more heartbreaking was thinking about all of the things he said he was going to do and accomplish, but ended up bringing those passions and dreams to the grave with him. It wasn’t a lack of skill, time or resources that prevented him from actually getting started on those things, but the cancerous word “comfort.”

Every day someone heads to the grave with their music still in them, with an unlimited amount of potential not touched, all because they let their comfort zone kill them. Please don’t let your comfort zone kill you and head to your grave with your music still in you. Greatness requires courage. It requires you to conquer comfort every single day of your life.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

When Failure Strikes, Protect Yourself By Being Positive in These 3 Areas

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Being positive, especially in the face of a crisis, is no easy task. The moment something goes wrong, negativity of all sorts begins to take over our thoughts, which eventually goes on to affect many other areas of our lives if we aren’t intentional about increasing positive energy.

This is something that I have struggled with for quite some time. It really took a while for me to be positive, think positive and expect positive when everything seemed to be falling apart in my life.

We have a choice whether we direct our focus on the negative or positive, and whichever one we decide to focus on greatly determines where we are headed. A key point that we can never lose sight of is what we focus on expands. If we give in and decide to play the victim card, negativity will eat us up and provide us with virtually no choice to move forward.

The absolute worst thing that we can do to hinder our ability to perform at a high level and be successful is to be negative, or worse, be negative in the middle of adversity or failure.

Being positive extends how long people live on this earth. Being positive creates thriving relationships. Being positive can turn very dark times into incredible blessings.

Here are three areas where you should be more positive.

1. In your thinking

Being a former athlete, I know firsthand just how powerful the mind truly is. Everything we are and everything we are not is a direct correlation to the quality of our thoughts. You can’t be great without thinking that you are great. You must already be in your mind before you become that in reality.

The same goes for when adversity strikes. The quality of our thoughts matter, and not only do they matter but they will lead us to victory or continual defeat over and over again. Start today to increase your thought patterns. Constantly talk to yourself in a positive and uplifting way. Direct your attention towards the good in your life, not the bad. Do everything in your power to make sure your thoughts are building you up instead of tearing you down.

One of the main reasons why positive thinking has caught a bad rap over the years is because some people will tell you to just think positive and stop there. But that’s foolishness. However, when the positive thinking is paired with massive action, phenomenal things begin to happen. Don’t just think positive, be and act positive as well.

2. In your relationships

We all currently have or know of those certain individuals that completely strip us of any little bit of positive energy that we may have had left in the tank. These individuals must be shown the exit immediately.

When you look to increase the positive relationships in your life, it serves as a springboard to thinking positively. It benefits you in more ways than just one. Don’t wait any longer to get rid of the energy drainers that make it nearly impossible to envision a brighter future for yourself or a way to overcome this hardship that you are experiencing.

3. In your expectations

Failure brings out the negative that ultimately changes our expectations. It’s hard to expect anything good to come out of a situation when all you know is struggle. It’s hard to expect the best when you have been knocked to the ground so hard that you don’t even know how you are going to get back up.

For some, they even decide to give up and quit completely by taking their own life. That’s what the tough times of life can do. That’s what failure can do.

Nothing is ever that serious to make you give up on yourself. Your destiny is a whole lot bigger than what you are currently going through. I have seen time and time again what happens to the people that let their problems and the unfortunate twists and turns of life define them — it’s not a pretty sight.

Every bad situation, failure or adversity is only present in your life to help you, not hurt you. Remember that!

When you increase the positive thinking, relationships and expectations that you have for your life and your business when all seems lost, failure will not get the best of you. As a matter of fact, you will actually get the best of it as you have decided to grow through challenges, not just go through them.

It’s certainly not an easy task to be positive in bad times, but is there anything worthwhile that is easy?

Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com

The 4 Secrets to a Successful Pivot

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A pivot is a powerful tool. A company that stays the course without looking for new opportunities risks failure.

Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, said in an interview: “Kodak or Blackberry — pick your favorite company in the last few years that’s gone from a 100 million market cap to 5 billion. And ask yourself, ‘was playing it safe actually that safe?’ I don’t see evidence of that.”

Even billion-dollar companies need to pivot in today’s world.

A smart pivot can save struggling companies, create growth opportunities in a related yet new direction or be the breakthrough that allows for the domination of an industry. In the dizzyingly fast pace of modern business, learning to quickly adapt through a well-thought-out pivot is essential. Responding intelligently to changing demands allows the more adaptive businesses to flourish.

Pivoting could mean a business changing its focus to something completely new, using research to help identify a fresh target audience or test a new product line. What is most important is that the change is efficient and wise.

Joe Liebke, founder and CEO of LUXPADS, a leading international vacation rental company, describes it as “a directional change that is based on experience and knowledge gained from a previous position.”

A successful pivot lies in a leader’s ability to execute his or her new plan with as much insight and passion as he or she had for the original business. This is exactly the approach that Liebke is taking by pivoting with his new venture Villaway.

Using the knowledge gained from his previous venture, Luxpads, Liebke focused on emerging trends in the way people want to experience upscale travel, essentially creating an AirBnB for the jetset. Rather than letting the opportune moment pass by, Liebke decided that Villaway has to be the leader in the field and dominate the luxury vacation rental marketplace.

So, what are the four secrets to a successful pivot?

1. Timing

You have to listen to what the market is telling you to decide when a pivot is the right move. This is something the self-aware entrepreneur needs to keep in mind. Half the battle with a successful pivot is picking when the time is right.

Liebke says “too many people fall victim to over analysis and they miss market opportunity.”

Reacting quickly is key. All business must change and owners must react if they want to stay current with their audiences and be competitive within their industry. The worst thing for a business is to become stagnant and irrelevant.

In the case of Villaway, the team behind it assessed the situation within the travel industry and felt the agency model wasn’t adequately serving the needs of property owners, managers or the guests. So they created a unique platform that connects the property managers directly to guests. This new approach to more efficiently manage luxury property might be the disruptive model that changes the way things are done.

History abounds with pivots that have changed whole industries. Remember when HBO used to play movies made by others? The traditional model of cable television was dying, so it made a pivot by producing its own content and now it is a juggernaut in the media world. A well-timed pivot can be worth billions.

2. Learn

The ability to learn, or “validated learning,” is one of the key strategies that must be adopted by business owners when pivoting. One of the foundations of this strategy is the need to understand new problems at their core. This helps to guide the business venture.

Luxpads’ experience as an agency taught its leadership the challenges and shortcomings of the current agency model. They knew they could create a viable solution by climbing vertically to a managed distribution business model by controlling the quality of product and partner members via the Villaway platform. Learning from relevant business experience helped inform the decision-making process.

You need to assess what is acceptable risk to make a change, your capacity to make that change, measure the cost and then weigh these against the potential rewards. Relevant experience should also be used to guide future learning. Knowledge is key. There is no excuse for ignorance if you are considering a pivot to a new market.

3. Adapt

A strong business leader is always assessing, measuring and adapting to the marketplace. This is the best way to create sustainable growth when making a pivot. By adapting to the market you place yourself in the best position to take on the new regulatory and financial risk-management challenges that come from rapid growth.

The window of opportunity opens only briefly, so the confidence in your team, resources and ability to execute are key measurements in evaluating a decision to pivot. Adapting to new market developments is the only way to ensure success, especially when timing is a consideration.

The success of a new business model depends on the ability to adapt to fast-changing marketplace conditions.

In the case of Villaway, Liebke says, “Our business puts us in the balance of technology, travel and real estate. These are all very dynamic and change frequently, so we have to pay close attention to all the market movers.”

This dynamism also permeates the tech world, where product cycle development gets faster every day. Instagram used to be a virtual check-in service, but it quickly adapted. Had its leadership stopped assessing their business, they never would have made the change they needed to grow.

4. Ride the wave

Pivoting was originally a sporting term, and many analogies have been made about pivoting in business and sports.

“I would draw the analogy of riding a wave. You have to sense and feel your position in relation to the wave as it is always changing,” says Liebke, a former nationally ranked surfer and surfboard shaper. “If the waves slows, speeds or changes shape, you can pivot off your back foot to reposition yourself depending on your strategy for the ride.”

This analogy suggests the importance of responding to market developments, the feel of the wave, as a catalyst for your decision to pivot. Assessing the right time to make a pivot and how you respond to the wave of the marketplace is then dependent upon having the passion and the knowledge gained from previous rides.

A successful pivot is a dynamic maneuver, leveraged from a previous position that optimizes your momentum and direction for the most positive outcome, whatever the objective might be. This applies to both surfing and pivoting. With a keen sense of timing, learning and adapting you might just make the right pivot and ride a wave to a whole new level of success.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

 

 

 

Want a Better Life? Ask Better Questions.

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The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your questions. — Dr. John Demartini

Questions have the ability to completely change your life. Questions have the ability to save failing marriages and relationships. Questions have the ability to help you take your life to the next level and build stronger finances for your family. Questions have the ability to turn massive failures into extraordinary gifts.

When adversity knocks and failure arises, the quality of our questions matters even more. Naturally, we are going to start using questions that diminish our self-worth or ability to actually get the job done.

Think of the last time you were unhappy about a certain event that didn’t go how you wanted or you felt like a complete failure. I’m sure the first set of questions that you started to think about was, “Do I even have the ability to do this?” “What did I get myself into?” “Why did I even try in the first place when I knew this was going to happen?”

These types of questions are the self-diminishing ones that will forever leave you trapped in the crowded space of mediocrity. The types of questions we ask when failure presents itself determines the final outcome. Failure is not a final event, but for most people it actually becomes final because of the lack of quality in their questions to themselves.

Just like anything in life, once we get in a specific pattern of doing something, it becomes natural for us to do over and over. If you get lazy and form the habit of asking yourself lousy questions, you will continue to get lousy results. There is no way around it.

One of the best ways I have found to put an end towards the negative and self-diminishing questions is to start being very intentional about it. The next time failure presents itself, force yourself to ask questions that will empower you and actually help you find solutions to what it is you are going through.

When I went undrafted in the NFL in 2010, I felt like the biggest failure. Everyone was counting on me, and for so many years I worked so hard for this very moment. I was almost in denial.

At first, I started asking myself, “Am I even good enough to play in the NFL?” That right there is a prime example of the type of negative questions we become so accustomed to asking ourselves when we fail. It wasn’t until I was able to tune everything out, take full advantage of the classroom of silence, and start asking myself different questions, that my perspective changed.

I started asking, “Is this the end of the world?” I thought long and hard about that. Of course not. Hey, I didn’t get drafted, but it happens. It’s a business. That didn’t make me feel any better, but it did provide me with a much needed fresh perspective. This new perspective became fuel to my fire and actually provided me with a burning desire to prove my worth to every team, general manager and owner who passed on me in the draft. This all changed because of the questions I started to ask myself.

I have personally seen struggling businesses, marriages, friendships, athletic teams and individuals all make a massive turnaround because of the increased quality of their questions. The importance of questions is extraordinary.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Wherever You Are in Life, Value the Journey

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Even though we all are on different paths, one of the major causes of unhappiness in the world of entrepreneurs, business leaders and high achievers is not taking the time to value the journey we’re on.

Whether you are already a major success and achieved everything that you set out to achieve at this point in your life, or if you are a startup founder passionately and aggressively working day and night to get to where you want to go, it’s so easy to let the hustle and bustle of the daily grind suck the life out of you and forget to value the journey.

I have witnessed this repeatedly. Just a few weeks ago, I was talking with a client of mine. He’s the vice president of a Fortune 100 company, and the particular conversation we had is what prompted me to write this article.

This man is a multi-millionaire. He is a core reason as to why his company is dominating the game right now. He has a beautiful family. His relationships for a busy executive are far above the average norm. His health and fitness are a priority.

You would think this man had it all together. However, deep down, he was miserable. He felt a major part of him was missing and his happiness was at an all-time low.

After talking with him for 15 minutes, I could easily point out that he wasn’t valuing his journey. He was letting the hustle and bustle of life drag him down. He was always striving to hit his next target, without ever taking the time to just appreciate where he is now. I simply asked him for a week to start making it a priority to value the process and the journey that he is currently on. He looked at me like he just wasted 15 minutes.

Long story short, he came back a week later in disbelief. He couldn’t believe how much his mood, happiness and even work performance skyrocketed by just beginning to value the current process and journey. He admitted that for once in his life, he was fully able to appreciate his life. Even though he was still extremely motivated to take his life and company to the next level, he was actually able to see the world clearer because he was intentional about placing a high value on his journey.

Now, I know you are probably thinking that it’s much harder to value the journey if you aren’t necessarily where you want to be in life, but I strongly disagree with that and even think that it’s even more vital when that’s the case.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the startup phase and forget why you even started your company in the first place. It’s so easy to constantly think about your next move and how you’re going to top previous results when you are already a major success in the public’s eye.

Whether you’re not where you want to be, exactly where you want to be or even if you are unsure of where you want to be, you can benefit greatly from valuing the journey that you are currently on.

Your happiness as a human being depends on it. Your performance at work depends on it. Your most precious relationships depend on it. And finally, your growth as a human being depends on it.

Value the journey.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com