What True Leadership Is All About

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Here is a fact about leadership that no one really wants to talk about — it’s a lot bigger than just yourself. Sure, leadership can bring bigger paychecks and a whole lot more notoriety in most cases, but that’s not even remotely close to defining what true leadership is really all about.

True leadership is much more than authority and recognition from the outside world. Instead, leadership is all about developing people and helping others reach their full potential. It’s about equipping others with the right tools and strategies to not only maximize the success of an organization but also the lives of individuals. It’s about breaking down barriers and leading others through the uncertainty of the future.

The best leaders to ever live not only succeeded at helping their team win championships or organizations reach new milestones and dominate the marketplace, but they deeply cared for people and understood what a privilege it is to be a leader.

Think about it for a moment. As a leader, you have the incredible opportunity to change someone’s life every single day. It could be something as simple as saying hello and remembering people’s names when you greet them. It could mean you being passionate about helping your people achieve and pursue all of their personal dreams and ambitions just as much as their professional one’s. It could mean you forcing everyone around you to grow and develop into stronger and wiser human beings that will end up taking them to a place they never thought was possible before they met you.

There are a plethora of qualities that one must need in order to become a fantastic leader. However, I strongly believe that one of the most important traits that all leaders must possess is a passion to develop and maximize the potential of others. When you begin to transform people individually, you then begin to transform your organization or team as a whole.

Transforming people is a quality that every memorable leader has thought about every single day of their lives, because they understood if they could transform their people, they would then be able to advance their mission. The leaders that are too caught up in egotistical gratification rather than the development of their people will surely fall short in the long run. There is a major difference between true leadership and authority-driven management.

Just as athletes have to take daily reps and constantly work to elevate their game, leaders also need to have the same mentality on finding ways to become more efficient in touching the hearts of their people, inspiring others to take what their doing to the next level and unlocking the barriers that hold others back.

Your commitment to going the extra mile to care for your people, lend a helping hand and inspire them will determine the results you receive. When a leader fully understands what true leadership is all about, not only will their organization never be the same again, but they as individuals will be changed forever as well.

There is nothing easy about true leadership. It’s one of the most difficult jobs in the world, but it also has the potential to be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Whether you lead a team of five or 5,000, focus more on being a developer of people and helping those you lead become all that they can possibly become. That’s true leadership.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Set Yourself Free — Let Go of the Dead Weight In Your Life

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There is no better feeling than setting yourself free and eliminating all of the dead weight from your life. I can go on and on telling you about all of the extremely talented athletes that I have either played with or have seen throw all of their potential right down the drain — all because of the dead weight that consumed their life.

When I refer to dead weight, I am referring to toxic and negative relationships that bring hardly any value or significance to your life. All of the negative and time-consuming habits that play virtually no role in helping you get to where you want to go. Environments that encourage you to stay right where you are while never stepping a foot out of your comfort zone.

Dead weight can come in all shapes, sizes and forms. To make it easy, dead weight is anything that holds you down in life and prevents you from moving forward and making daily progress.

It’s impossible to live an extraordinary life and achieve your goals and dreams with any sort of dead weight in your life. I encourage you to, once a month — preferably once a week — take the time to analyze your life, and see if there is any dead weight that can be cut out immediately.

An exercise to help remove the dead weight in your relationships

This exercise has helped me tremendously in the past when I was looking for a change. I was in a major rut and couldn’t find out what the problem was. Without knowing how much this exercise would benefit my life, I took out a sheet of paper and put a big letter Y on the top left hand corner of the paper and an N on the top right hand corner. I started with my relationships.

I began to think of everyone that I talk to often whether on the phone or in person and asked myself if they help me get to where I want to go or hold me back. If they added value to my life, I wrote their name down under the Y category. If they were negative and seemed to always have something discouraging to say, they would go underneath the N category. Y stood for yes and N stood for no.

After 15 minutes passed by, I couldn’t believe what I began to see. My N category was clearly getting longer than what I had for the Y category. It all of a sudden hit me that no wonder I wasn’t happy with the results I was getting up to that point in my life. I had an enormous amount of dead weight in my personal relationships that was drastically holding me back from moving forward to achieve the success that I deeply desired. This simple exercise really clarified that for me.

Apply the same exercise for your habits.

I applied the same exercise for all of my daily habits and again, I was completely shocked at what I saw. I couldn’t believe all of the things that I was doing on a daily basis that added no value to my life what so ever. Not only were my relationships garbage and holding me back, but my habits were also an added source of dead weight that was making it virtually impossible to advance my life forward.

By taking the time to analyze your habits and place them into a category to see whether they are adding value to your life or sabotaging your success can be an absolute game-changer for you. The things we do on a daily basis ultimately determine our destiny. Just as there can be dead weight in our personal relationships, there can be dead weight in our habits and the things we do daily as well.

Most people don’t even take the time to analyze their lives, let alone make the change to remove all of the dead weight that has interfered with them reaching their full potential. Setting yourself free from all of the garbage in your life, the bad habits and the toxic relationships is one of the best feelings in the world. You not only will be doing your happiness and peace of mind a huge favor, but you will also in an instant begin to increase your success rate.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

We Are All Salespeople. Use These 3 Techniques to Become a Better One.

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You may not have the title of a salesperson, but it’s imperative that you polish up on your skills and become a better communicator to win in business and in life. Whether you run your own company or currently employed by one, there is a good chance that at some point throughout the day you are spending time doing sales related work. All of us, regardless of job title or influence, do some type of sales on almost a daily basis.

Parents spend a significant time trying to sell their children on to make their bed, do the chores and study for the upcoming test. A startup entrepreneur spends a significant time trying to sell their idea and newly founded organization to investors and other key players that can help them to advance the process of growth.

A CEO or leader of a big organization is constantly spending a significant time trying to sell the company’s vision to employees. An employee who works for a company is spending a significant amount of time trying to sell their skill set so they can land a promotion and move up the corporate ladder.

Sales is the oxygen to your business growth and success. Without it, there will eventually be no business. It’s impossible to grow anything without sales.

 

Here are three ways to become a more polished salesperson.

1. Always lead with questions.

Some of the best communicators that I have ever come across would always lead with questions. I have written a lot about the importance of questions, and it also certainly applies to becoming a better communicator and salesperson as well.

In your next sales meeting or interaction with someone, try to lead the conversation with great questions. Do your research and come prepared with great questions ready to be asked.

When you ask good questions, you are doing two things that will help you in the long run. Number one, you display a sense of humility that will always serve you in a positive way. Number two, you will start to receive key answers that you would normally not have been able to find out. There is nothing more powerful on both sides when great questions are asked. Lead with questions during every interaction from here on out.

2. Change your perception about sales. 

I can’t tell you how many people I have encountered that had nothing good to say about sales. They couldn’t understand why anyone would want to do such a thing, or that being in sales meant that you couldn’t find a job anywhere else.

To succeed in sales, you must first change your perception about sales. Instead of looking at it as a negative, start viewing it in a totally different light. Sales is all about serving and helping others get to where they want to go. In sales, you only succeed when you help others succeed.

It’s quite difficult to succeed in sales and successfully sell your product or service if you keep telling yourself how much you hate sales and never try to change your negative perception of what sales really stands for.

 

3. Be obsessed about being a master at solving problems.

This one can be a total game-changer. Become obsessed about solving problems and providing real value in the marketplace that makes you different and unique from everyone else. The most successful salespeople don’t look at it as a sale, they look at it as an opportunity to solve a problem. They are completely obsessed about becoming a master at solving problems.

Look for ways to double the value you are bringing forth into the marketplace and to your prospects, and then direct all of your time and energy towards solving real problems. When you start to solve problems and become known by being a problem solver before someone labels you a salesperson, your business and life will transform.

Becoming a more polished salesperson and working on your communication skills will help you a whole lot more than just succeeding in business. Even though you may not have the title of a salesperson, we are all in sales to an extent.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Why Worry? Because We Do. But We Can Kick the Habit.

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We all have different kinds of mental routines. Some are positive and nourishing to the mind, while some are so negative and tragic that they actually lead to death.

A key part in reprogramming the mind for optimal performance and healthy thoughts is to kick the worry habit. So many people love to worry about every little thing. Half the things people worry about are not even in their control. Most are worrying about things that they can do absolutely nothing about. They are creating stress and negative energy all throughout their entire body when they worry.

Worrying is unhealthy. Worrying kills. Worrying destroys dreams. Worrying creates bigger problems than the actual problem itself.

As human beings, we naturally tend to worry about so much already. Then all of a sudden go ahead and add some kind of adversity or major failure to the mix, and then the worry just intensifies. Worrying about anything, whether big or small, creates a huge burden in our lives that limits us from reaching our full potential.

John Lubbock said, “A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work.” I couldn’t agree more with that statement. Worrying completely sucks all of the energy right out of us. Worrying really does create more work than actually doing work itself.

Just like all of the other habits that we have and spend time doing every single day of our lives, worrying ends up becoming a habit for most people as well. There are all kinds of things you can do to temporarily eliminate all worry from your thinking, but the only way to permanently rid yourself from the worry habit is to get in tune with your faith like never before.

Bestselling author Max Lucado said it best when saying, “Feed your fears, and your faith will starve. Feed your faith, and your fears will.” You can’t worry and have faith at the same time.

Let your faith be so big that there isn’t even the slightest of chance that worry can even creep in at any point in time. When your faith isn’t there, it’s second nature for worry to occur. It’s almost expected, especially when your back is up against the wall.

Here are two ways to help you kick the worry habit.

1. Focus on what you can control.

It seems so self-explanatory, but it’s also one of the hardest things to do most of the time. One of the best ways to help eliminate worry is to put all of your energy and time on the things that you can control.

Each and every one of us spends more time than we should on things we have absolutely no control over. You can’t necessarily control an outcome, but what you can do is put yourself in position to win by focusing on the process and everything that you do have control over.

When we start to focus on things outside of our control, anxiety, worry and fear begin take over in a big way. I will be the first to say that only focusing on what you control is not the easiest of task at times. However, it’s an absolute must in order to minimize the amount of worry in your life. Focus on what you can control.

2. Make progress every day, and then acknowledge it.

When you focus on making progress each day and then acknowledge it, you begin to feel good about yourself and instantly boost your self-esteem. You come to the realization that you are better than you were the day before — and that gives you a deep sense of satisfaction.

A lot of the times most people worry when they feel like they aren’t making progress or getting anywhere in life. So by putting your attention towards making progress and then finding a way to acknowledge it can greatly help in decreasing the amount of worry in your life.

To give you an example, every night before I go to bed, I grab my journal and start writing down the progress that I made for that specific day. Some days I have more to write down than others, while some days it can be hard to find things to even write down in the first place. However, regardless of how easy or hard it is to find things to write down at night, getting in the habit of acknowledging your wins and daily progress can positively impact your life — and tremendously help in removing worry.

It’s awfully hard to tap into your full potential with worry becoming a natural and daily habit for you.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

4 Ways Documenting the Journey Has Become More Popular Than Celebrating the Outcome

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LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman is popularly quoted as saying that an entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.

While this is a bit of an exaggerative description, it accurately captures the common experience that all entrepreneurs share — their journeys as they build something from nothing.

Not all entrepreneurs can relate to high-profile exits, initial public offerings and the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine. Being an entrepreneur is an extremely personal experience that permeates all aspects of life. The ups and downs, highs and lows, successes and failures are all parts of this experience and are what bond entrepreneurs together.

Whether you are an entrepreneur who has taken multiple companies to successful and profitable exits or a first-time founder grinding away through late nights, you all share this journey in common.

And while media tends to highlight the huge successes and massive failures, I often wonder why they miss out on covering the thousands of entrepreneurs who are hustling and living out their journey on a day-to-day basis.

Interestingly enough, within the past month, I came across two online publications that were recently featured on Entrepreneur.com for theirInstagram Accounts — HDFMAGAZINE and PRSUIT

While the lineup of all seven accounts is quite impressive, these two brands clearly had an interesting angle.

HDFMAGAZINE (Hustle & Deal Flow), founded by Matt Gottesman, documents the journeys of entrepreneurs (which they call “creators”) from around the world as they’re building their company. In essence, they feature the “hustle” and not the end results of success that many media outlets tend to do.

PRSUIT, founded by Case Kenny, has created an impressive content platform providing “perspective that inspires”. That is, they feature over 400 writers from around the world who are writing about their journeys to success.

I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with the both of them, and in doing so I recognized four key trends about the entrepreneurial journey as inspired by two guys who are personally documenting it.

1. Entrepreneurship is all about the work you put in.

Ask any entrepreneur about his or her journey, and work ethic will surely come up fast. It doesn’t matter where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, consistently and effectively putting in the necessary work is something that all creators and founders can relate to.

Late-night hours, early-morning meetings and weekends are part of this hustle — and is something that unites entrepreneurs.

PRSUIT founder Case Kenny says that “entrepreneurs we interact with pay no attention to the hours they are working. They simply put in the work necessary to progress their visions. When you are chasing your passion, the hours mean nothing  — because you are truly enjoying your journey and know that your time will ultimately pay off.”

2. The journey is something that unites all of us entrepreneurs.

Because we can’t all relate to regular nine-to-five jobs, societal norms or working in environments that suppress our creativity, entrepreneurs do not want to feel alone. We’d rather gravitate towards each other in order to feel our version of “normal,” which is quite the opposite to the general public.

What ends up happening is pure collaboration. We not only support each other, but we share our resources, promote our ventures and introduce our networks.

In essence, we’re not concerned with the end result but the road ahead of us, and we do so by helping each other grow through it.

“Taking a leap of faith takes courage,” says Matt Gottesman. “You don’t know the outcome, and most people are not willing to take that leap. What creeps in are all those negative inputs from others who are not willing to do what you are. So, the next best thing is to associate yourself with people who are — and they will grow you just as you grow them.”

3. The lessons are in the details.

You will never know how to successfully manage a company unless you experience and embrace the finer details of running it. And you can’t do that without fully immersing yourself in the details.

Ask any entrepreneur how they have learned the skills and know-how they now possess, and they will tell you that they learned from doing. Trial and error. Success and failure. That is how you learn.

You learn the skills necessary from the ground level, not just from reading books and studying the craft. Entrepreneurs know this and embrace the experience.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” Kenny says. “Entrepreneurs check their egos at the door and acknowledge that they don’t know everything. What they do know, however, is that if they try and dive in headfirst, they will find out. Entrepreneurs need to be fearless in their pursuit of experiences that will progress their visions. The only way to know what you don’t know is to try.”

4. The journey is what makes you great.

When media looks at the successes of most entrepreneurs, they’re looking at the end product. The fact is, what made that end product or outcome was a culmination of sleepless nights, daily sacrifices, countless adjustments and numerous character-building obstacles.

A successful person, whether it be an athlete, entrepreneur, actor or business person, is created during all the finer details from the lessons mentioned above. That is why you see the person standing before you. The journey was through the training in order to become great.

Where do we go from here?

With the rise of social media and Internet platforms that allow us to document our endeavors in real time, it would be most appropriate to say we’re heading into a newer storytelling generation of creativity and entrepreneurship.

I, too, find comfort in outlining the day-to-day details in my Instagram and SnapChat accounts (@matt-mayberry). I want people to see the actual work as it’s happening and not think of me as only an end result. It’s about demonstrating the work — and not glorifying my successes.

I believe the more you can document the hustle, the more you can impact others who are watching. That’s how I see serving my purpose.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Dare Great in Order to Be Great

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I gave a keynote a few weeks ago at an Entrepreneurship conference, and when I opened up for Q&A, I received a question that had me thinking long and hard. The question was, “How do you become an entrepreneur if you hate to take risks?”

My answer was short and simple. I said, “I’m sorry ma’am but it’s not possible.” I didn’t want to sound rude or negative. I had just finished motivating and inspiring a crowd of 600 people on how absolutely nothing is impossible, yet just answered a question saying the exact opposite.

There was just no other way to put it. Not only do you need to take risks as an entrepreneur, but you must absolutely get comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to be great.

How many people do you know personally who have missed opportunities because they were too scared to move past their comfort zone and away from their safety net? I bet you can come up with a few without even thinking long and hard about it. Heck, you may even start to look at your own life and realize how many incredible opportunities were left to die, simply because you never acted and decided to take a risk.

Please understand me on this. I am not telling you to be irresponsible or to run blindly into the abyss of extreme risk without thinking it through and weighing the pros and cons. What I am telling you however, is that after you have done all of that — just get going! Not only do most people not take risks, but they over think and talk themselves out of it when they’re on the verge of moving forward.

A quote that I have lived by when it comes to taking risks and stepping out of my comfort zone is this one by Abraham Maslow, “You will either step forward into growth or step back into safety.” I absolutely love those words and find it to be a question that we should ask ourselves every single day of our lives.

We are either moving forward and growing or stepping backwards to what we are comfortable with. The only possible way that we can become all that we are destined to be in life and in business is to get uncomfortable and take risks. In everything that we do, the decision is up to us. Are we going to play it safe, or take risks to go after what it is we want?

Not only are great entrepreneurs risk-takers, but any man or woman who has left their place in history and done anything of significance during their time here on earth is. You simply can’t be great by staying in your comfort zone just because it feels good. Staying in your comfort zone and not living a courageous and daring life may feel good at the moment, but over time it will turn into regret and a life filled with “What if’s.”

I encourage you to take a long and close look at how courageously you have been living. Where do you stand? We all could benefit from making the decision to step away from our comfort zone more often. It turns out that the popular saying, “Better to be safe than sorry,” isn’t always applicable. Instead, let the words “Dare great in order to be great” guide your life from here on out.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Stop Paying Attention to the Non-Urgent in Your Life. Learn How to Single-Task.

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People are always talking about multitasking, and they think it’s a talent — but I think it’s counterproductive to success. It means you’re dividing your attention into a million parts. If you’re talking on the phone to a client but doing some kind of household chore or even reading a magazine while talking, you are not fully engaging your client. You’re not in the flow of the conversation.

Your client deserves better, don’t you think? In the same way, your life deserves better. The ability to single-task — to give one thing your undivided attention — is one of the keys to true productivity. Not the kind of productivity where you knock off 20 items from your to-do list while still managing to run 15 miles and respond to 20 emails. Sure, that kind of productivity feels good.

But I’m talking about the kind of productivity where you actually achieve your goals, where you accomplish important and long-lasting things. It means finishing major projects rather than doing a million little things that don’t add up to anything lasting. It means quality productivity instead of quantity productivity.

Once you’ve learned to give your undivided attention to that one thing —  to laser-focus on the important projects —  you will automatically shift into the flow. That’s because flow is how you get them done. You block out all extraneous noise, all phone calls, all menial tasks, all interruptions, and you just focus. You are able to sit and focus on that one task long enough to complete it. When you can work in the flow, you can accomplish anything.

Getting consumed by tedious tasks and busy work is a major battle many of us face each day. Every morning when we get up, the first thing on our minds should be the projects and tasks that will ultimately give us the biggest return on energy (ROE). The reason why this is extremely difficult for most people to do is because often what gives us the biggest ROE and reward is also usually the hardest and most time-consuming of everything that we have to do.

Sending emails, talking on the phone, cleaning up your desk and moving from place to place might seem like you are getting a lot done, but as I stated above, there is a major difference between quality productivity and quantity productivity. If we all took the time to assess our current habits and schedules and pinpoint what is consuming most of our time and energy, we may be surprised at how much time and effort we give to the non-urgent things in our lives.

Even though multitasking may make you feel accomplished temporarily, it’s not a way to go about business or achieving your main goal. It’s nearly impossible to be a master at your craft and become the absolute best if you’re always focusing your efforts in 10 different ways. By shifting our priorities to the big tasks and projects that add extreme value to our goals, we begin to feel accomplished and deeply fulfilled — not just a person accomplishing a lot of busy work.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Effort Is an Overlooked But Major Key to Success

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If you had to rate your effort on a scale from one to 10 and how much you give of it every single day, what would your score be? If you aren’t where you want to be or seeing the results that you want to see, then chances are a lack of effort over long periods of time may be the reason why.

Effort isn’t the only thing needed in order for you need to be successful and get to where you want to go, but it sure is an absolute must and something that lacks in a whole lot of people who desire massive amounts of success. If you followed around 10 people who were highly dissatisfied with their station in life, I can bet their effort wouldn’t even come close to someone who is doing the exact same thing they are doing except on a much higher level. Effort is the missing link.

 

The fact of the matter is this, anything and everything that you want to achieve this year has a price tag on it. You must give up something in order to get something, but the rewards and fulfillment that comes from true success are well worth the effort and fight every day.

As each day passes, we pay our lives for that day. As each month passes, we pay our lives for that month. As each year passes, we pay our lives for that year. We don’t get those days, months and years back, and the only thing that we have to show for it comes down to what kind of effort we gave throughout those days, months and years.

An often-overlooked but major key to success is to give an incredible and ridiculous amount of effort — the one thing that each and every one of us controls on a daily basis over long periods of time. That’s where the confusion enters in for most. Those who complain about their lot in life and how unlucky they have been are the same ones who only give maximum effort when they feel like it or when the timing seems to be right for them.

My good friend and bestselling author Rory Vaden said, “Success is never owned; it is only rented — and the rent is due every day.” That’s one of my favorite quotes and speaks volumes on the amount of effort and work that is required to be great and separate yourself from the pack of mediocrity. You don’t only give maximum effort when you feel good or the timing feels right. Champions give maximum effort every day of their life, even when they don’t feel like it. They pay their rent over and over, year after year, regardless of how much is in their bank account or what hardship they may be currently experiencing.

You will have different seasons in your life and business, no doubt about it. There will be times where great things will happen. There will be times where bad things will happen as well. But the one constant thing that you have the opportunity to control throughout everything that happens is your effort.

I think a lot of people look at some of the greatest athletes, executives and entrepreneurs in the world and automatically think to themselves how wonderful it must be to be in their shoes. What they don’t know is the sacrifice, work, and most importantly, the insane amount of effort that was required for 20-plus years, every day of their lives to get where they currently are at.

Orison Marden summed it all up perfectly when said, “What keeps so many people back is simply unwillingness to pay the price, to make the exertion, the effort to sacrifice their ease and comfort.”

You can learn all of the latest and best strategies in the world, but if you lack in effort, you will only get so far. It may not be the sexiest word or topic to talk about, but the one thing that effort does is produce results. Without it, 2016 will be a very long and average year.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

5 Ways to Get Out of a Rut and Enter a State of Flow

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More than likely, all of us at some point will feel like we are in some type of rut or struggle with getting back on our feet after getting knocked down so hard from sort of failure or hardship in life or in business.

Here are five ways to help you get out of a rut and enter a state of flow.

1. Solitude is king — find your special place.

What – who – do you want to become? You won’t know if you don’t pause and listen to yourself. We all have to do this more often. We have to listen to the silence. As Thomas Edison once said, “The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst thinking has been done in turmoil.” We need regular time away from our everyday hectic lives and schedule specific time to just sit and think. Some of the greatest achievers to ever step a foot on this earth all spent time in solitude every day.

It can be very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. So often, we think that if we’re sitting in silence not doing anything, that we’re missing out on something important or not being productive. But that’s the farthest thing from the truth. When failure, disappointment or challenging times present themselves, as they will, what we need most is silence. One of the major reasons why so many get caught in a rut and can’t seem to move past failure is because all of their thinking and decision-making is being made in turmoil.

One of the hardest things to do when we are upset or mad is to go sit in silence, but this also has the potential to be one of the most rewarding things we can do. The great thinkers of this world all have a special place where they can go sit in complete silence and just think.

2. Take baby steps to get to where you want to go — but move!

It’s quite difficult to get into a state of flow and get your feet back on the ground, raring and ready to go after failure hits if you don’t take immediate action. Do not wallow in self pity and misery. Change your attitude to one of positive — and move! Maybe it’s only a baby step, but it’s a step. After failing or experiencing a rut that has you stuck, you might question everything in your life — your relationships, your career. A surefire way to stay exactly where you are is to do nothing, which is what a great majority of the population does.

The risk takers, the dreamers, the men and women who go on to create everlasting masterpieces get moving even while some of the most difficult times in their lives are right in front of them. There is a magical magnetic power that follows the person who is willing to take massive action even when times are not the best.

3. Exercise is king.

Especially after being in a major rut or failing tremendously, everyone needs an emotional lift. A way to blow off steam and frustration. Exercise offers many benefits. Many people experience being in the flow when they exercise. If you’re not accustomed to a daily exercise routine, I encourage you to start one now. A workout at the gym or even a brisk 30-minute walk can help.

Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals including endorphins that leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

4. Write a ‘count your blessings’ list.

When you count your blessings regularly — and I recommend that you do this daily — you will feel significantly better and happier after each time. When you measure how much gratitude you feel in your life, you’re going to shift your mind and body much faster into a state of happiness and success. The more gratitude you feel, the faster your life will begin to change.

As you continue to count your blessings and to be grateful, you will begin to notice a bigger difference in the way you feel and your blessings, and gifts will multiply. What’s easy to do when we are in a rut or going through a painful time in life is to analyze and look at what’s going wrong. Shifting your focus on all of the good in your life instead can without a doubt redirect your direction.

Here are some sample ideas to get you started:

A: I am grateful and blessed for all of the tough times in my life, because they are teaching me to be strong, persistent and more motivated than ever to go after my true calling in life. If I never try, I’ll never know if I can achieve something, so I’m grateful that I can keep on trying.

B: I am grateful to have my health, energy, mobility, intelligence and the ability to earn a good living.

C: I am grateful and blessed to have a wonderful loving family and friends.

D: I am grateful and blessed to have a warm, comfortable home.

5. Discover the incredible benefits of meditation.

In my own personal experience, especially when the going gets tough, or I seem to be in a rut that I just can’t get out of, meditation has been one of the best ways to discover how to shift my body and mind to happiness and success. Numerous specialists and spiritualists provide online podcasts and classes on meditation and contemplation exercises. You can also find these in your community if you search online.

For example, Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra announced the launch of an all-new meditation experience called “Finding Your Flow.” They also offer “Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience,” co-produced by Harpo Studios and The Chopra Center. Other programs include “Creating Abundance,” “Perfect Health,” “Miraculous Relationships,” and “Desire and Destiny.” All of their workshops are designed to help you achieve flow. Go to www.Oprah.com/meditateand sign up for a free 21-day meditation experience.

These ideas have helped my life enormously, and I hope they will serve as a powerful and energizing inner guide for transforming your life when the down times of life get the best of you or a rut that you are in begins to seem never ending.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

High-Performance in Any Profession Is Rooted in Physiology

20151218171955-athlete-jumping-polvolt-winner-jumpImage credit: shutterstock

For decades, scientists believed that once we reached adulthood, our brain was incapable of any change beyond than the negative alterations associated with disease and aging. We now know that the brain is incredibly dynamic, with a potentially unlimited ability to change throughout our entire lifespan. At any age, new neural pathways can be created and refined, and our gray matter can actually be thickened.

The brain’s plasticity is an infinitely precious quality that we can harness to move from habitual negative-feeling states, including depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — to an expanded experience of emotional well-being and happiness in our daily lives.

When you realize that what’s really driving our behavior is our thinking, then the next realization is that our thoughts are largely determined by our feelings — and these are driven by our emotions. Our physiology is made up of our feelings and thoughts. It’s really simple when you think about it.

This is one reason that many athletes, students, entrepreneurs and businesspeople lose time and time again and experience numerous failures that completely wipe them out — and why many give up after only one or two big failures. They let their feelings and emotions control their thoughts, and their thoughts control their actions. If they don’t learn how to change their emotions and feelings and turn their failures into success, then they will repeat them over and over again.

Sometimes, people will settle for second best or for mediocre lives because of their physiology. Their emotions. Their thoughts. They lose their drive and inspiration, and when they start feeling this way, this is going to affect their thoughts. Their thoughts may then lead to poor decisions or lack of decisions, which could ultimately cost them numerous breakthroughs, opportunities and financial rewards.

On the football field, when a player does not function at his best, part of that is because he doesn’t understand and integrate the complex internal and external systems and processes that need to be working harmoniously together to consistently perform better — i.e., being in the flow. And we’re not talking about physical injuries that limit a person from achieving his best — we’re talking about the emotional and mental processes.

When a player and his team lose a game, it’s important for the coaches and team members to take all of the bad plays, rethink the processes and create plans on how they can turn them into positives. This same physiological process can be applied to every walk of life, no matter if you’re a businessperson, a student, an athlete or a stay-at-home parent.

Being an athlete and having studied high performance for a great majority of my life, I am intrigued with the physiology and biology of my physical makeup, which has spurred a lot my research. I was fascinated with the thought that we as human beings are these giant computer systems operating on physiological data.

Physiology is just data or information streams like the data that is processed in a computer program. Your body is like a computer, and your information streams comprise your physiology. According to the online encyclopedia, a bit stream is a contiguous sequence of bits, representing a stream of data, transmitted continuously over a communications path, serially (one at a time). These vast streams of data are continually being sent and received from one physiological body system to another in the form of electrical signals, electromagnetic signals, chemical signals, pressure and sound and heat waves.

Everything is energy. Just like a computer, the human body is the ultimate performance machine, which is why it’s so important to take care of this body with good thoughts, good programming and good nutritious food and exercise. It doesn’t require different apps or an instruction booklet. It runs its physiological program whether we are aware of it or not.

At first, I didn’t fully understand the impact of physiological information flowing around our body 24/7. Very few people do. We all go about life existing — almost like robots — and some of us are more zombie-like than others. But the fact is, we exist almost on autopilot. We breathe, we eat, we think, we feel, we act, we love, we get angry, we get happy, we sleep, we dream. We experience highs and lows, successes, setbacks, heartbreaks and failures. Sometimes, we get up, dust ourselves off, and continue onward, doing the best we can and oftentimes, screwing up more than we succeed over and over again.

We seldom break down any one failure — or success, even — and try to figure out the components of the situation, let alone think about the data flow of information that comprises our systems and helps or deters us from the best performance possible. But if you’re anything like the high performers in the world, then you want to be the best. You’re not going to settle for seconds or thirds.

And once you reach the top, you’ll climb to the next plateau, higher and higher, over and over again. That’s the core makeup of high-performance individuals, and it’s all rooted in our physiology.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com