3 Traits All Effective Leaders Possess

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Titles don’t define leadership. A certain title may have others calling you their boss or you may be referred as one of the leaders of the organization on the company’s website, but true leadership is much more than just a title.

True leadership involves the execution of a grand vision, where leaders enroll others to get passionate about seeing that vision through and then joining on the ride to bring that vision to reality. The hard part is actually getting your team members and employees to buy in to where you want to go and then working relentlessly to move that vision forward.

The leaders that are driven by a title will have a difficult time motivating and getting their team members and employees to not only buy into the grand vision, but actually work hard and come together for a common purpose. Here are three things that all effective leaders have in common:

1. They possess a deep sense of humility.

The best coaches I ever had in football were also the coaches who had the most humility. They were always thinking about those they were leading and rarely about themselves.

In my life as a speaker I see the exact same trait in the high performing and dominant organizations that I get to spend time with. The one characteristic that all of the top executives in dominant organizations possess is humility. Top employees never want to work for or be associated with leaders who are full of themselves.

As Billy Graham once said: “The smallest package in the world is a man all wrapped up in himself.”

2. They radiate positive energy.

Just like in life, the business world is full of unexpected twists, turns and obstacles, but the most effective leaders never let the unexpected deteriorate their positive energy.

It’s your job as a leader to stay positive and strong in the face of uncertainty. Your people already go through enough with the demands of work piled on top of the hustle and bustle of life. Don’t sabotage your organization’s growth by putting energy into the wrong places.

As the leader, you set the tone. Whether that tone is positive or negative is completely up to you. If you’re not radiating positive energy, how do you expect your people to?

3. They lead by example.

This one may seem self-explanatory, but you would be shocked at the number of leaders that would never consider doing what they ask of those they lead. One of the best ways to lose the respect and trust in your people is to continually fail to lead by example.

Look at any phenomenal leader. They are self-starters. They live what they preach. They demand excellence from themselves before they ever demand excellence from anyone else.

If you’re in a leadership position and not seeing the results from your team that you had maybe hoped to see, do a quick audit and ask yourself if you are leading by example to the best of your ability. Be who you say you are, do what you say you are going to do and care like you say you care.

There are a number of different things you can do to get the results that you are looking for out of your employees and team members. I hope these three attributes help to get the ball rolling for you. Having a deep sense of humility, radiating positive energy every chance you get and leading by example doesn’t produce miraculous and instant results, but I promise over time these three characteristics bring massive results.

 

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Listening Is an Art, and Mastering it Will Make You a Great Leader

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Wise businesspeople and leaders listen carefully. They listen to their peers, they listen to their staffs and they listen to their friends and family.

Carefully listening is especially important during business meetings. Many managers and leaders act as though they’re listening to their teams when they’re not. Often, the words spoken in meetings fall on deaf ears.

Listening is an art, after all, and not everyone knows how to do it properly. But if you can master the art of listening, you’ll improve your leadership and business skills.

A wise business leader knows how to listen and actually hear what others are saying. Epictetus, the Greek philosopher wrote: “We have two ears and one mouth — for a good reason.” It’s more important to listen than it is to talk most of the time. How else can you learn about what needs to be done to improve a situation? No one ever stops growing and evolving in his or her business and one of the ways to learn is by listening to others.

Ask yourself these questions: Should I be concerned with how people listen to my messages? How can I improve my listening skills? How do I know if people are truly listening to me? Am I listening to them?

A powerful listener is someone who is able to focus on what another person is saying without getting distracted with their ego or personal agenda. Being a powerful listener is critical for a leader because listening can be a powerful tool. In addition, leaders lead through conversations and a call to action. If you’re not a good listener, then there is a greater chance this won’t happen.

What do effective, powerful listeners do? Here are some examples:

  • They refuse to be distracted by their own egos and personal agendas. They ask questions and then listen to the answers. Wise leaders focus on their teams, employees and peers.
  • When interacting one on one, they direct all their attention and focus on the other person. They put their cell phones on “mute” and stop looking at it to see if they have any messages. They’re “present,” instead of daydreaming or thinking about who is texting them. Think about your own feelings when you’re in a conversation. Have you noticed how rewarding it is when someone listens to your ideas and thoughts? Likewise, if you focus and listen to someone, that person will feel validated and know his or her input is valuable.

I have learned that most people do not listen well. In this day when everyone carries around an smartphone or tablet, people don’t focus on each other when they’re together. Unfortunately, this holds true for businesspeople and leaders. Listening requires putting our own egos aside to listen to someone else.

A powerful listener acknowledges that the person speaking will welcome the opportunity to be heard. A wise listener and leader will validate anyone who is speaking.

In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie quoted a man speaking of Sigmund Freud: “It struck me so forcibly that I shall never forget him. His eyes were mild and genial. His voice was low and kind. His gestures were few. But the attention he gave me, his appreciation of what I said, even when I said it badly, was extraordinary. You’ve no idea what it meant to be listened to like that.”

This story about Freud shows how powerful it is to listen and give someone your full attention. You never know what kind of influence you have upon another person.

It may seem small and not that important, but some of the best leaders of our time have mastered the art of listening. The art of listening truly can take not only your leadership ability to the next level, but also your success and likability as well, all of which help to create a healthy culture and peak performance.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

 

 

The One Question That Could Change Your Life Forever

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I recently had the privilege to have a great conversation with a 95-year-old man who was full of energy, passion and enthusiasm for life like something I have never seen before. What surprised me the most about this man was his age combined with his youthful passion and eagerness to make each day a masterpiece.

Roughly 10 minutes into the conversation, I asked the man, “How do you do it? How do you stay full of energy, passion and enthusiasm at your age? I don’t mean to sound rude or anything, but you are hungrier and more excited to make a difference and live life to the fullest at 95 than most people in their 20s and 30s.”

His response was chilling and really prompted me to go into deep thought about it for a couple of days: “It’s simple son. For the past 50 years I have always asked myself, ‘if today was my last day here on earth, would my life matter? Would my life be remembered as one that held significance and meaning?’ By asking myself this question every day, I’m excited to wake up each morning and live that day to the fullest. Frankly, I believe that’s the only reason why I’m still alive.”

Later that night, I spent a lot of time thinking about the elder man’s response. It hit me that this sentiment should be lived by all of us in our business and personal lives, as well as our relationships and encounters with other human beings on a daily basis.

Will your life matter?

This is a really profound question when you give it some thought. Every one of us should be asking the question, “If today was my last day here on earth, would my life matter?” It’s amazing to see so many people, and I have even caught myself falling into this trap from time to time, just navigating mindlessly through life without ever coming to the realization that life truly is short and that we don’t live forever.

 

That’s a major reason why so many people don’t follow and live their passions. That’s why so many don’t embark on their life’s calling that tugs at their hearts every single day. That’s why so many just do enough to get the job done instead of going the extra mile to create a masterpiece. They completely lose sight of the fact that they won’t live forever and that their time here on earth is very limited.

Living in a world of “somedays” is not enough to live a life of significance. I encourage you to begin the process of asking yourself this question each day. I am certain that you will find a newfound passion for life that will have others asking you just like I asked the elder gentleman, “What are you doing differently?”

Go beyond materialistic possessions.

Living a life that matters is about a whole lot more than materialistic possessions. This is where I think a lot of people get it all mixed up. During your final days here on earth, I can promise you that your materialistic possessions will not be one of the first things that comes to mind. You can make a lot of money and have a ton of nice things while still not living a life of significance.

We all want to earn a comfortable living and enjoy nice things, but don’t forget what matters most. What is the quality of your relationships? Are you making a difference in the lives of others each day? Is your business and organization making a profound impact on the industry that you are in? Are you living every day to the absolute fullest? Are you creating a masterpiece today?

So ask yourself that one simple question, “If today was my last day here on earth, would my life matter?” Doing so can change your life in a variety of different ways.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Work Hard, But Don’t Lose Your Sense of Fulfillment and Empowerment

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When I first set out to build my business and the life of my dreams, I forgot one important ingredient: To care, nurture and love myself first and foremost.

I started to see some big success in year three of my business, but I couldn’t wrap my head around why I was feeling miserable and lost. After months of dissecting the situation, it was easy to see that I was so focused on building the life and business of my dreams while completely neglecting my own mental, physical and spiritual health.

That is something that you never want to happen, because once you lose a sense of fulfillment and empowerment, everything you do will start to feel as if you are just going through the motions and coasting along. It’s a surefire recipe to become miserable and live beneath your full potential.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hustling and working harder and smarter than everyone else. That was the blueprint as to how I was able to overcome a teenage drug addiction that nearly killed me to then having the opportunity to go on to play in the National Football League. But you must never forget to care for yourself.

Here are two ways to empower your life immediately that will ultimately help serve your business and professional success as well.

1. Discover the incredible power of stillness.

This one was a life changer for me. My whole life leading up to discovering the incredible power of stillness was predicated on moving fast, quickly and constantly. It still is to an extent, but my biggest issue back then was never taking the time to just slow down and be still for even a couple minutes a day.

When I refer to stillness, I am referring to a number of different things: mediation, prayer, thinking in solitude, journaling in the presence of beautiful mother nature and just slowing down some way, somehow every day.

We live in a busy world, and it’s imperative to find time daily to escape the noise and get in tune with yourself. Maybe you have another way of escaping the noise. Whatever that may be for you, I encourage you to make time for it every day.

When I started to adopt some of the practices that I mentioned, my peace of mind alone was instantly and drastically noticeable. Practicing stillness and searching for solitude throughout my day has changed not only my success in the game of business, but most important, in my health and overall well-being.

2. Love yourself.

I have written so much and speak all the time on the topic of how important it is to love your customers, team members and the process of where you are to where you want to go, but haven’t spent as much time on a major factor in being able to do all of the above exceptionally well: To love yourself.

Loving yourself is taking time for you. Loving yourself is taking time off if you feel the rate that you are going is unhealthy. Loving yourself is never neglecting your well-being, values and characteristics that define who you are as a person for monetary gain or professional advancement. Loving yourself gives power over your life.

One of the major reasons why so many successful men and women lose the empowerment in their lives that once ignited them is their lack of love and nourishment towards themselves. Continue to work ridiculously hard and become the absolute best at what you do, but don’t forget to love yourself along the way. No one can love you to the extent that you want them to if you don’t love yourself first.

It’s easy to forget about yourself when you are striving to achieve the audacious goals that you have for your life and business, but discovering the incredible power of stillness and loving yourself are two practical and easy ways to empower your life immediately.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Never Stop Growing. Here Are 3 Ways to Maximize Your Potential.

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A major factor that inhibits so many people from achieving the success that they desire in life and business is thinking that there is no more room for growth or improvement. This thinking alone can do more damage than economic downtimes and many other circumstances that none of us want to come face to face with.

Here are three ways to help you maximize your potential:

1. Do an audit from the neck up. Change your thinking.

I put this as number one because if your thinking doesn’t change, then nothing else will ever change. If you’re not happy with where you’re at in life right now, the first place that needs a checkup is the quality of your thoughts.

The men and women that never tap into their full potential during their time here on earth usually possess a major thinking deficiency. Not only do they lack the quality of thoughts that it takes to become all that they can be in life, but they also completely neglect the importance of mindset development and how vital it is to treat the mind like a gold mine.

Each of us has genius within, but whether that genius is cultivated comes down to what takes place on a daily basis from the neck up. The first step towards building a bigger future and maximizing your potential is to never limit what’s possible. People’s thinking and mindset get in the way of greatness more than anything else. If you want to change your life, first change your thinking.

2. Be a fanatic about becoming a lifelong learner.

Don’t be like most people. Most people stop learning the second they are finished with a formal education. Most people don’t have a personal-growth plan to how and when they are going to grow each month. Most people get stuck in their old ways and will continue to get the same results over and over again until their time is over.

If you’re serious about maximizing your potential and becoming all that you can be, devote yourself to becoming a lifelong learner.

Read great books in your field, listen to audiobooks while in the car, enroll in online classes and constantly search for ways to expand who you are as a person. Becoming a lifelong learner is one of the best decisions that you can ever make. Thinking you know it all or that there isn’t any room for growth is a major barrier that will forever trap you in the current space that you are operating out of.

Those who truly believe they have reached their capacity in life and as a person never take the time to invest back in themselves and become lifelong learners. Don’t let that be you.

3. Build a winning team around you.

Great organizations and the leaders within those organizations understand that people matter. A great CEO knows that his or her organization can only become great if the employees of that organization are striving, growing and looking for ways to become great as well.

The same thing applies to your life as well. We as people can only become as great as the people around us. A surefire way to maximize your potential is to associate and be around winners — the men and women who are doing it at a level that you aspire to operate out of.

I encourage you to create a list of the men and women who are on your personal team. Next to each name, write down whether that person is really helping you to grow and get to where you ultimately want to go.

A lot of us, including myself, get so caught up in our hectic schedules without ever analyzing our inner circles. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you’ll be able to find one or a few people who no longer serve your greater good. Building a winning team around you is an absolute must if you are going to maximize your potential and become an uncommon achiever.

When we stop looking and searching for ways to grow, that’s when our potential and achievement levels become stagnant.

 

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Your Words Have Impact, So Think Before You Speak

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Do you know of those people who fly off the handle without stopping to think about the consequences of what they’re saying? Someone who just reacts to something someone said or did and starts attacking that person with cruel accusations? The damage could be so profound, it will forever sever the relationship. In business, this could forever impact a career in a negative way.

You’ve probably observed this in others many times. Maybe even in yourself. Whether it’s at work, with friends or in some type of social situation, many people speak their minds before thinking. There are many who “fly off the handle” and don’t stop to think about the repercussions of their words. I cringe when this happens because I know people are going to get hurt, and later on people will be sorry for what they said. But the damage is done.

How important are words and speaking to business leaders? Leaders should think about words as being so powerful that they might be the main reason a leader will succeed or fail. Sure, a leader who doesn’t choose his words carefully may succeed to some degree, but the truly great leaders are great orators, as well.

Think about one of the greats: President John F. Kennedy, inaugurated on Jan. 20, 1960. He is known for his famous line: “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Within the words we speak is an emotional potency. Each word that we use can have a colossal impact. A word from a manager or boss, may, at first glance, seem inconsequential. But never think of words as inconsequential. Instead, think of them as powerful. Words can build up or tear down. They can motivate or discourage.

Words influence others and build relationships at work and personally. They can tear down relationships. Simply put, language holds massive, colossal power to manifest change, whether it’s good or bad.

Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD, considered to be one of the most Stoic philosophers who ever lived, said: “Perform every act in life as though it were your last.”

We can take this a step further and say: “Speak every word you say in life as though it were your last.”

Sometimes, it might be best to not say anything at all. I was always told that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

Choose the words that you speak very carefully because they have the potential of accomplishing nearly anything or destroying nearly anything. Just one negative comment can ruin a person’s day. A few might even ruin the person’s life. On the flip side, one positive and encouraging comment can be just enough to increase employee engagement, create healthier cultures and make more of a difference in an individual’s life than you will ever know. We tend to overlook the small things in life.

The way you speak — the attitude and tone — reflects the person you are and impacts everything around you. It can greatly contribute to your success or “non-success” both in business and your personal life. So next time, think before you speak. It will make all the difference.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The Many Ways Being Kind Leads to Success

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We often hear about the importance of focusing on the positive despite the negatives in our lives, but that can be a tough feat to accomplish. Whether we are experiencing a catastrophic business failure or going through a personal struggle, most of the time it feels impossible to think “positive.” We’re too busy focusing on everything that can go wrong.

There is a way out of this dilemma. It all starts with being intentional. There is an extraordinary power that lies within intention. It will take practice, but it’s crucial to stay positive at all times, especially in times of change and turmoil.

The Power of Intention, written by the late Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, an internationally renowned author of 30 books, offers numerous action tools to help build positivity in your life that are focused around virtues.These can help you register positive experiences so that they sink into the deepest layers of the mind and alter implicit memory. These tools will help you transition your feelings from negativity to positivity more easily, and more often.

Dr. Dyer said in an interview that “The Law of Attraction is this: You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.” Dyer is referring to the Tao Te Ching, written around the 6th century BC by Lao Tzu.

According to Dyer, the Hua Hu Ching, Lao Tzu’s further writings, clarifies, elucidates and reinforces the Law of Attraction. Those who want to build positivity along with Reverence, Natural Sincerity, Gentleness, and Supportiveness in their lives will utilize the following virtues, which can be attributed to the Hua Hu Ching:

1. Gratitude and reverence.

Be reverent and grateful for all of life. This manifests as unconditional love and respect for oneself and all other beings. Every day, and as often as you need, say, “I intend to honor and respect all life and I am grateful for all life.” Take this one step further and write a Gratitude List for all that you are grateful for, including the failures.

2. Sincerity.

The second is natural sincerity. This manifests as honesty, simplicity and faithfulness. Every day, say, “I intend to be faithful to my life, to my dreams and goals, and to my mission.” Give attention to the loved ones in your life every day. Don’t take them for granted. Show them that you are loyal and devoted to them.

3. Gentleness and kindness.

The third is gentleness, which manifests as kindness, consideration for others and sensitivity to spiritual truth. Every day, perform at least one act of kindness for someone else. It can be something as simple as letting someone go before you in the grocery line. Or it can be as difficult as helping a friend move to a new home.

4. Supportiveness.

The fourth is supportiveness. This manifests as service to others without expectation of reward. Do something each day that is supportive.

It can be as simple as something like anonymously paying for someone’s movie ticket who will be approaching the window after you. One young college man I know often puts a $20 bill on the windshield of someone’s car. He doesn’t know who owns the car, but he just wants to give something of himself. Another friend often picks up the tab for young couples who are out on a date in a restaurant. They never know who paid the ticket.

One evening in Nashville, the country music artists, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, were dining in an upscale restaurant. The whole restaurant was filled with young high school students who were dressed in formal wear, heading to their spring prom later. Without disclosing who they were, Tim and Faith paid the bill for the entire group of students. Only later, after some servers leaked it to the press, did anyone know who paid this bill.

When you do something for others anonymously, with no expectations of a reward, you give back to life in a way that sustains you and manifest a “kindness” in the world that will spread a thousand-fold. This “kindness” will in turn bring positivity to your business and personal life in ways that you cannot imagine.

These Virtues are key components of the Power of Intention. They are tools that will help you shift your body and mind from negative to positive, to happiness and success.

Thank you, Dr. Dyer, for the wisdom.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The Importance of ‘Showing Up’ Every Single Day

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Fall is one of my favorite times of the year because my favorite sport is back in action: football. But this isn’t my favorite time of the year just because of all the incredible college and NFL games that will have millions of people glued to their TV sets, but because of all the potential football upsets.

We see a lot of these at the college level. At some point during the college football season, a highly ranked team will go down at the hands of an underdog team. That win will be the talk of the whole country, and everyone will be in shock as the highlights are replayed over and over on ESPN and other networks for the subsequent week.

These upsets during football season should remind us of the simple truth that applies to building businesses, organizations and whole cultures and ultimately becoming more as people: the importance of simply showing up every single day.

The reason why upsets happen in sports as well as business, the reason people fail to become their best version of themselves, is because people forget to “show up” every day. You will always have the number-one or the second-ranked team in the country being beaten by a smaller-division team because that top team forgot to show up that particular day.

Its members will have let their record, their past achievements and the praise heaped on them by the media get in the way of their executing and treating that specific game as if they were 0-0.

The same thing needs to happen when we build businesses, embark on massive goals or improve an area in our personal lives. Showing up every day and treating each new day, project and task as if your life depended on it is a surefire way to make sure you get better at what you do and move in the right direction to where you want and need to be.

Here are two ways to help you make sure you show up every single day.

1. Create a contract with yourself.

This piece of advice really works. I can attest that it has made a great difference in my own life by motivating me to show up and improve upon what I did the day before.

Have some fun with this: Craft a couple of paragraphs stating that you will show up and give everything you have. How you word it is up to you, but just the act alone of crafting a contract with yourself will have an incredible psychological effect. After you craft this contract, you should laminate it and put it somewhere where you’ll see it multiple times a day.

The real work will come at the end of each day, when you have to be 100 percent honest with yourself by looking at your contract to see if you’ve lived up to the words that you wrote down.

I have talked and written about this advice, but a book that I highly recommend for greater detail about creating a contract with yourself is the The One Day Contract: How to Add Value to Every Minute of Your Life, by Rick Pitino, head basketball coach at the University of Louisville (and cowriter Eric Crawford). It’s a phenomenal book that chronicles how Pitino started using a one-day contract for himself and his team before they won their national championship.

2. Pick one key area that you are going to get better at every single day.

When I was a former linebacker, in both college and the NFL, we would always pick one key area to focus on for that specific day. After a couple of months, I noticed what a great impact this was making on me in becoming a better player overall. I then adopted this same practice into my personal life. Every day, I would focus on one key area and put on my list whatever was that day’s focal point.

The results were phenomenal. So much so that I still maintain this habit even now that I am away from football. For example, if you’re in sales, maybe you are working on getting better with cold calls one day, and then the next day you are working on improving your communication or prospecting skills. Whatever you do for work, find one key area to get better at every day.

It’s amazing what can happen a year from now if you pick one thing to work on and get better at each and every day. Over time, you will notice a drastic difference, not only in the results you begin to see, but how you approach each new day.

The reason why this practice works is because it’s not overwhelming yourself with 1,000 different areas you need to work on, combined with your already hectic schedule.

Showing up every single day of your life is critical when it comes to the success of your business, organization and individual success. Just when you think you’ve made it or don’t have to work as hard, someone, somewhere is already gaining an advantage over you and working to surpass you.

Champions show up every day, whether that occurs on the field, on the court or in the boardroom. Showing up may help you be one of them.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Distractions Are the Enemy of Good: 3 Ways to Minimize Them

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One of the biggest obstacles standing in your way from achieving greatness and becoming all that you can be in life and in business is the never-ending flood of noise and distractions in the world. We live in a world where these things are constant. Everything from television, phones, text messages and the Internet, to work obligations and family duties, demands our attention almost every minute of every day.

Yet, you need not fall into the high percentage of men and women who sabotage their own success by never recognizing that they are the ones in charge of where and what they direct their time and focus to.

I’m always amazed when I hear someone proclaim unhappiness with where he or she is at in life. Then I pay closer attention to the complainer’s everyday movements and energy focus. I typically witness activities like surfing the Internet instead of finishing a proposal to send to a prospect — or texting friends instead of making sales calls — or filling down time with reality television instead of investing in personal and professional development.

These are just a few examples of the small distractions throughout the day that can tremendously hurt people’s chances of achieving greatness and moving closer to where they aspire to be.

Distractions aren’t just the enemy for individuals, but for teams and organizations. Every single day, we are faced with a countless number of distractions with the potential to negatively affect performance and success levels.

Here are three ways to minimize those distractions and make sure you, your team or organization thrives.

1. Stay mission focused.

As human beings, we yearn for meaning and fulfillment, and one of the quickest ways to achieve that and simultaneously minimize distractions is to stay mission focused in all we do. It’s easy to wake up each morning and go through the motions and coast along, but when you stay mission focused, distractions never stand a chance. To help yourself in this regard, post your mission statement in a place where you will see it all throughout the day.

I have my own statement on my desktop and laptop, in my phone, and on a notecard I carry around with me everywhere I go. This forces me to constantly stay mission focused and ignore the “noise” that comes up throughout the day. When we don’t stay mission focused, distractions intrude more often. People forget why they’re here or where they’re going because they’ve become sidetracked.

2. Understand and analyze your weak points.

A beneficial exercise for me was the time I devoted a whole weekend to analyzing the biggest distractions getting in the way of my achieving some of my biggest goals and dreams. I was feeling frustrated and unproductive so I spent time going through my daily routine and schedule, and tracking exactly how my time was being spent.

I finally was able to be honest with myself and see three key distractions that had been preventing me from getting my most important tasks and projects done. I wasn’t aware of them before I made some changes.

You don’t have to spend an entire weekend to analyze your biggest distractions, but spend at least 20 minutes and see what you can do less of throughout the day that will free you up for more quality work time and time to spend on things that matter most.

Most people don’t do this. But if you do, you’ll realize what your obstacles have been.

3. Get serious about scheduling everything and time blocking your days.

The easiest way to fight distractions is to schedule the most important projects, work and priorities that you absolutely need to do each day. Something that has worked well for me is time-blocking, which entails going back to my roots as an athlete, when I had a ridiculously disciplined schedule and the whole day blocked out. When you set aside a specific time in which you devote undivided attention solely to that urgent project or task, distractions and “noise” are greatly minimized.

So, preferably the night before, schedule your next day, blocking out your most important tasks and priorities. This will prompt you to wake up in the morning knowing that you not only have a game plan, but know exactly when something has to get done.

Every single day, millions of people are victimized by the noise and distraction in their lives. Don’t let that happen to you. Intead, be intentional. Get rid of the distractions that don’t serve a greater purpose, to get you to where you want to go in life and in business.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

3 Ways to Turn Negative Experiences Around

1405518571-how-much-can-your-startup-really-growImage credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center | Flickr

Do you feel that you struggle with the negative experiences that have occurred up to this point in your life? Maybe you got fired from your job, failed at achieving an important goal or even could be battling something in your personal life that has been difficult for you to come to grips with.

Whatever that negative experience may be for you, there is hope beyond your current state of mind. If there is one thing that I continually see that completely wipes out aspiring business owners, athletes or anyone for that matter, is the inability to turn negative experiences into positive ones.

This kind of turnaround is a vital prerequisite if you aspire to become all that you can be and achieve unlimited amounts of success. Here are three ways that have made a tremendous difference in my personal and professional life when it comes to turning the negative into a positive.

1. Value the negative experiences.

The first mistake that most people make when viewing their negative experiences is they neglect to value them. They think of everything negative that has happened up to this point in their lives as something that wasn’t supposed to happen. This is a mighty, major mistake. The reason why is because this not only instantly puts you in a bad mood with a negative outlook, but it prevents you from growing through the experience.

There are two types of people: those who grow and those who go through the negatives in their lives. In order to grow through it all, it’s imperative that you value all of the negative experiences that occur from here on out and understand that it’s an opportunity to get better.

2. Don’t rush judgment.

This is one of my personal downfalls when it comes to turning the negative into a positive. When a negative experience occurs, one of the first things that tends to happen is your mind instantly begins to create a scenario that is completely different than what’s really going on. It takes work on your part to put a positive twist to whatever it is that you are facing — it doesn’t just happen out of nowhere. The decisions that are rushed in the face of a negative experience usually don’t end well.

The next time you face a negative experience, don’t be so quick to judge or go along with the story that your mind was so fast to come up with. Start to look for the message that lies within that negative experience, as every single negative experience in our lives carries a seed of a growth lesson.

3. Take complete responsibility for your life.

It really saddens me when I see that someone has let their outside circumstances define them. It doesn’t have to be that way. As individuals, regardless of how much or how little we have, we ultimately determine our destinies. That’s why you will see men and women who grew up poor go on create an extraordinary amount of wealth and success for themselves.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have the men and women who grew up with loving parents and what would seem like a fabulous childhood go on to live beneath their full potential. No matter how tough your life has been, you have the opportunity right now to change your direction and create the life of your dreams. And that all starts with taking full responsibility for where you are and everything that has happened up to this point.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

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