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

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

 

The Incredible Power of Believing in Yourself

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To live a life of high achievement, you must fully believe in yourself and your ability.

Find me an extremely successful person who doesn’t greatly believe in themselves. It’s not going to happen. Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Jr., Michael Jordan, Elon Musk and Mark Cuban are just a few highly successful individuals who benefited greatly from this confidence. However, it’s not their levels of success that I want to talk about. It’s their willingness to get up again and again when they failed or experienced a setback while in pursuit of creating the life of their dreams.

They were only able to keep going and achieve success because of the level of belief in themselves despite the enormous amount of failures they had experienced for years leading up to their big breakthroughs. Their belief is what created a vision so big that they didn’t care how many times they failed at something. They were eventually going to get to where they wanted to go.

Especially as a business owner and entrepreneur, you are most definitely going to fail and experience a loss or setback at some point. If it hasn’t happened already, it eventually will. That’s not to be negative or discourage you, that’s just life. But when it does happen, and when your belief is strong, no failure or setback will have the power to completely wipe you out. Belief in yourself is the name of the game.

Here are two of my daily habits that have consistently helped me increase my belief in myself and shatter all self-imposed limitations.

Count your wins.

As human beings we naturally have the tendency to get stuck on the negative and think about all of our losses for the day, instead of counting our wins and finding all of the good that took place.

I use my gratitude journal to capture all of my wins at the end of each day. This can be the wins from today, last week, last month or even last year. It doesn’t really matter when, but the key is to just get in the habit of capturing all of your wins. This will bring you a complete sense of joy that will let you know that you have done some incredible things in the past and remind you that even bigger things can happen in the future.

Whether big or small, it doesn’t matter — just count your wins!

Talk to yourself like a champion.

Just as my friend and bestselling author Jon Gordon always says, “Talk to yourself more than you listen to yourself.” Just for one week, try talking to yourself like a champion instead of listening to yourself as a victim. I guarantee that you will be blown away by the results. It may seem weird to talk to yourself, but give it a try and then see if it’s worth the “weirdness.”

Thinking positive and empowering thoughts is one thing, but talking to yourself like a champion reconditions your thought process in an instant. When you form the habit of talking to yourself like a champion you don’t give the negative and discouraging thoughts the time of day.

With power and conviction, repeat phrases such as, “I am the greatest at what I do,” “There is nothing that I can’t do when I fully commit myself,” and “There is nothing ordinary about me. I am a champion.”

If you don’t have a huge amount of belief in yourself, then there is no way you can expect anyone else to believe in you. If you are an employee, you can’t expect your boss to fully believe in you if you don’t even believe in yourself. If you are an entrepreneur, you can’t expect an investor to believe in your ideas if you don’t even believe in yourself.

The men and women that change the world all understand the incredible power of belief.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The Important Lesson for Entrepreneurs From a Quarterback’s Fight for His Life

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Make sure you surround yourself with people who cheer you on in the midst of the battle — no matter what it is you may be doing or fighting. Whether it is starting a new business, running a certain race or even fighting for your life like Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly once was, you can’t rely solely on your own strength to get you through.

Here is an edited excerpt from the new book, Kelly Tough, written by the daughter of Jim Kelly, Erin Kelly.

Former teammates Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and Bruce Smith went from helping raise the Bills’ score back when they all played together to raising my dad’s spirits when they came by the house to give him a sendoff as he left for New York City. He was gearing up for a six-week tour that was to include surgery, pain management, chemotherapy and radiation and it turned out to be very demoralizing. And yet in the throes of a very challenging time, even for one of the NFL’s toughest quarterbacks, all three of them also made the trip to visit him.

I learned a lot from the way all of these former players and my dad’s friends stepped right into his corner and went to battle with him, not on the gridiron as a teammate, but as brother who really loved my dad and put legs on that love (so to speak).

We are not meant to do this life journey alone. We need something bigger than ourselves and we need each other. Every one of us will come against insurmountable circumstances and trials that will cause us to want to give up and call it quits. However, when we have an incredibly strong inner-circle of people who are willing to go to battle with us, absolutely nothing is impossible.

You may not be fighting for your life like Jim Kelly was, but it certainly does show you how vitally important it is to have strong, courageous and like-minded individuals in your corner.

This celebrated and hall of fame athlete was used to being on top for most of his life, and then, in an instant, was fighting to live another day. When reading through the book and talking to those who were close to him, it’s incredible to hear that his inner-circle of loved ones is really what got him through the extreme pain of chemo treatments and the whole process as a whole.

All successful entrepreneurs and business leaders will tell you that a large part of their success is because of the people they surrounded themselves with and those that are on their team. When you feel like all is lost, when you are ready to give up and throw in the towel, it’s amazing the strength you find deep within when your team and those around you believe in you and is right by your side every step of the way.

Even though we may not be fighting against two separate bouts of cancer, we must learn this invaluable lesson from the great Jim Kelly: We are only as strong as the people around us.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

6 Ways to Enhance Your Mindset So You Can Take on Life’s Challenges

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One of the most rewarding things that I have ever done was create a daily mindset enhancement program for myself. This program has one goal and one goal only: to constantly feed my mind with uplifting and positive material that will help to keep me performing at a high level day in and day out, regardless of what’s going on.

Failure, toxic people and the everyday challenges of life have the potential to completely shatter our dreams, hopes and desires to do anything worthwhile in this world. Don’t be like everyone else and take a major hit to the quality of their thoughts and thinking when something bad happens in their lives.

Take charge of your mind. Grow and protect it with everything you have. All achievements, riches and happiness start in the mind.

There are going to be times where you wake up in the morning and don’t feel like going to work on your mind. However, failing to do so provides you with a lot more challenges and problems than to actually take the 20 to 30 minutes out of your day to sit down and do it.

Here are the steps of my daily mindset enhancement program that you can use as a starting point to help get you started.

1. Rise early.

Wake up at least two hours before you have to be somewhere. If you have to be at the office at 8, then wake up at 6. Waking up two hours before you have to be anywhere is very important because one of the main reasons why most people don’t have very good morning routines is because they rush. From the time they get up until the time they run out the door, everything is just a constant blur for them. They have no time to spend on themselves before they enter the real world.

2. Enter the classroom of silence.

In this day and age with all of the technoglogy, gadgets and obligations that we have, we hardly ever spend time in solitude. There is no better time to tune out the rest of the world and get in touch with your inner-self than early in the morning. All you need is roughly 10 to 15 minutes to sit in solitude and capture the essence of all of the beauty in your life.

I visualize how I want my day to go to every exact detail, from the moment I walk out the door, to the facial expressions of clients after meetings, to eating healthy meals all day long. My vision for the day ahead is as positive and successful as possible.

3. Keep a gratitude journal.

The best attitude to have is an attitude of gratitude, and keeping a gratitude journal is an excellent way to incorporate gratitude into your daily routines. When we are going through a rough time or have a million things on our mind, the last thing we are thinking about most of the time is what we are grateful for.

Taking the time to actually write down at least three to five things you are grateful for in the morning sets you up for a happy and amazing day. Regardless of what setback or challenge you may be currently facing, gratitude is one of your best weapons against unhappiness and feeling sorry for yourself.

4. Read an uplifting and positive book.

Reading to the brain is what exercise is to the body. By reading a motivational and uplifting book you are providing yourself with the mental fuel to have a positive state of mind all day long. What we read and watch first thing in the morning is said to have the biggest effect on how the rest of our day goes.

5. Utilize the tremendous power of audiobooks.

Instead of driving to work and listening to music, put on a good audiobook or some type of audio program that is going to motivate, inspire or teach you something.

Work out in the morning? Get your sweat on while feeding your mind at the same time.

We spend so much time every day in cars, trains and airplanes that one of the best ways to utilize that commute time is to grow with audiobooks.

6. Engage in conversations that stimulate your mind.

Think about all of the conversations that you have on a daily basis. How many of them stimulate your mind with positive energy that gets you extremely excited about life in general?

There will always be negative people around us, including some of our closest friends and family members, but start to get real serious about the daily conversations that you engage in every day. Our moods, lives and mindsets are greatly affected by the conversations that we engage in. Make sure yours are building you up, not tearing you down.

Creating a mindset enhancement program and going to work on your mind every single day can dramatically change the direction of your life and business in an instant.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

If You Want Greatness, Take Responsibility

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“If you had to pick one quality that someone needs to possess, what would that be?” someone recently asked me.

After I was forced to give just one answer, I said, “If I had to pick just one quality, it would be taking complete and full responsibility for your life.”

Yes, there are a plethora of different qualities and habits that must be developed to truly become great, but there is no better starting point than taking complete responsibility for your life.

We live in a world where maximum results are expected with minimal effort given. If something goes wrong, it’s someone else’s fault. If you’re not happy financially, it’s the economy’s fault. If you’re not happy in your marriage, it’s your partner’s fault. If you’re not being compensated as much as you would like, the company doesn’t pay enough.

Any of those sound familiar? Chances are some hit home. It’s human nature to blame circumstances or the next person instead of taking ownership. However, in order to live a truly exceptional life, you must put an end to this way of thinking immediately.

So how can we once and for all start taking complete responsibility of our lives? Here are three ways to help get you started.

1. Decide.

It all starts with a firm decision to do so. It sounds simple, but there is a very small percentage of people who actually make the decision to take responsibility for their lives. They keep going back to their old ways and lose sight of the fact that they are the ones in the driver seat.

Force yourself to stop looking outside of yourself for things you are in control of. It’s a simple concept, but not easy by any stretch of the means. From here on out, make the firm decision that no single event or person is going to dictate your level of achievement.

2. Stop playing the blame game.

A large number of men and women from all walks of life struggle with this one, including myself from time to time. As I mentioned above, what’s easy to do is to blame your partner when a relationship gets shaky. What’s easy to do is to blame the government for a lack of financial success.

It’s absolutely imperative that you throw away every single excuse and start taking ownership in every area of your life. There is no way we can ever grab a hold of our lives completely when we are too caught up in the awful habit of playing the blame game.

3. Make a promise to yourself.

Something that has worked wonderfully for me is to write a simple creed on a notecard promising myself that taking complete responsibility for my life is something I will abide by every waking moment. It can be something as simple as, “I, Matt Mayberry, promise that I will never lose sight of taking full responsibility for my life.”

Legacies have been built and history has been made by men and women who decided to take complete ownership of their lives. Are you ready to do the same?

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Why You Should Strive to Be a Lifelong Learner

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Many people wonder what they can do to become well-rounded and competitive while increase their rate of success. An often overlooked yet simple way to improve is to increase your knowledge by being a self-starter.

Traditional, structured education is very important, yet much success is derived from highly motivated individuals that have dedicated their lives to the concept of lifelong learning. These individuals prioritize the creation of time in their busy lives each day to educate themselves on new concepts and ideas. These individuals understand the importance of creating plentiful opportunities in all spheres of life.

Your business is only as strong as the people behind it. There’s a direct correlation between individuals who strive for growth in their personal lives and those who thrive in their professional lives. This can be accomplished by committing to the concept of lifelong learning. In an ever-changing market and world, it’s more important than ever to stay current, competitive and up to date.

Pursuit of knowledge is easier than it has ever been before, as technological advances can relay information instantaneously to our fingertips. It’s a modern day privilege to take this convenience and utilize it in productive ways.

First and foremost, you must be willing to expand your mind. Rid yourself of assumptions and convictions so that you can be open and receptive to new information. This at times may even contradict what you have always believed to be true. You will eventually come across information that challenges your worldview. Rather than remaining static in your comfort zone, use this time to stop, reflect and shed light on these ideas in a way that can develop and expand your vision.

When you come across new information, take the time to think about what you believe and why. Is your outdated mindset preventing you from advancing in a modern world? Be willing to question new information and research it further. Digging deeper will separate you from the crowd and allow you to see the value in developing an independent mind.

Cultivating the mind prior to seeking information is as essential as cultivating a field prior to a harvest. It is a necessity to weed, fertilize and create space where information can blossom and grow. As the soil of the Earth needs to be fed to blossom, our brains are the absorbent sponge waiting to be fed with new ideas and concepts. Water it daily to stimulate growth, and you will yield a bountiful harvest of information and knowledge.

After the mind has been prepped, the next step is application. Create a to-learn list just as you would a to-do list. These are ideas and concepts you have great interest in learning more about.

Many people may think with their hectic and already overflowing schedules there is simply no extra time to learn anything more than what is absolutely necessary to get through the mundane tasks of everyday life. To simply develop enough skill to adhere to your job description or be informed just enough to get by is a sure pathway to mediocrity.

This is where the self-starters get ahead. They understand the importance of time management and prioritizing daily growth. They are constantly striving to know, learn and do more. This competitive edge they have created propels them to success in other areas of life.

There are many simple, effective and realistic ways to implement daily learning opportunities that do not have to inconvenience your life. Learning on the go has actually never been easier! For those who are auditory learners, audio books are the perfect way to incorporate knowledge with a simple press of the button. While stuck in traffic on that 30-minute commute to and from work, simply play an audio book that suits your interest. Rather than listening to the same songs in rush hour, listen to a political debate on talk radio. If music is a passion of yours, try listening to music in another language.

Learning information you can utilize in your daily life is very important to having a continuous desire to further advance your education. Skill-based learning, for example, is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on auto maintenance isn’t the same as physically changing the oil or tire on your car. Reading about art isn’t the same as picking up a brush. If your knowledge can be directly applied in a functional and fun fashion, put it into practice! Many people learn by being hands-on.

Make time one weekend to seek a mentor or attend a personal enrichment class. Culinary, fitness, dance or art classes are all fabulous ways to attain hands-on learning and experience. Volunteering at a shelter or children’s hospital are great ways to learn and culture yourself or your children and on worldly issues that may have otherwise been nonexistent to you.

Think about all the wasted time you spend sitting in doctors’ offices, waiting to pick the kids up from school or in a long check-out line. You could be reading a few pages of a book of your choosing. A simple 15 minutes a day could have you completing a new book every other week!

It’s estimated that Americans are spending 23 hours every week texting and on social media. Imagine spending that time every week on your craft or your personal enrichment. You could speak five languages and be a walking fountain of knowledge by changing your habits and mindset.

Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and try to always take something valuable away from your daily interactions. Many people are professionals in their field and have valuable information and insight to share. If you have questions, ask them! Never be too prideful, for each question you don’t ask is a missed opportunity!

Go ahead and challenge yourself today. Commit to expanding your mind, continuing your education and becoming a student of life. Utilize the world as your classroom, and no matter how big or small, always come away with a lesson. Remember to cultivate your mind so it is prepared to expand, blossom and grow. And share your fountain of knowledge. My bet is you will slowly begin to notice you are not only achieving everything you are setting out to accomplish, but you have stimulated a perpetual hunger that drives you for more in both your personal and professional lives.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Don’t Let Fear Conquer Your Greatness

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For one moment, just imagine what you would be able to accomplish if you knew you couldn’t fail. That anything you put your mind to or wanted to achieve, it would be accomplished.

I’m sure if you thought in terms like that, you would be a high-action-oriented person, hardly ever second guessing anything. Most people don’t realize or even come close to acknowledging the incredible potential that they are capable of. I believe that we all have greatness deep within us from the time we were born. However, somewhere along the way and the older we get, we let fear completely take over and rob us of the realization of just how powerful we really are.

This is extremely important because some of the most talented people in the world never get that idea off the ground, write their first book that they always wanted to write, open up their own business, or do something remarkable with their life, all because of fear.

Can you remember something you once wanted to achieve or a goal that you set for yourself, and the first thought that came to mind was “I can’t really do this” or “How will I ever be able to achieve this goal?”

I know I have had plenty of those moments. I always would set huge goals and then think to myself, “Stop kidding yourself Matt, you can’t do that.” It’s a natural human reaction to have those thoughts occur when you set huge goals for yourself, goals that will make you grow as an individual and stretch your current way of thinking.

Just know that those feelings of fear are completely natural and happen to everyone who has achieved greatness or done something remarkable. However, what must not happen regardless of how uncomfortable it may be at first is to let those same exact feelings prevent you from taking massive action and constantly moving forward. This unfortunately is a category that most people fall into.

There is a huge difference between feeling fear and letting that fear hold you back. If we want to achieve greatness and reach our full potential in life, one thing is for certain: We have to move past the fear and take action anyway! Fear wants you to stall and stay still. Fear and mediocrity go hand in hand. Don’t let them defeat you like they have defeated so many.

That is the whole point and purpose of setting big goals. They help us grow and move out of our comfort zone. If you line up some of the best innovators and highest achievers, I can almost guarantee you that they will tell you they felt tons of fear when they began to take action on their brilliant ideas. What they didn’t do is stop. They didn’t let the fear or thought of failure win the battle of their minds.

I challenge you from here on out to constantly expand your vision as to what’s possible in your life. The more we can see ourselves victorious and not being paralyzed by fear, the more that will prompt us to actually take action and get going.

The next time fear pops up, just go. The more you think about your fears, the more those fears start to define you. You were born to be great, so don’t you dare let fear conquer you!

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The Question You Should Ask Yourself Every Day

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Every morning, when we are given the privilege to wake up and embark on a new day, we are also given the opportunity to grow as individuals. One of the most important questions you can ask yourself daily is, “How can I grow today?”

That particular question is powerful because when you start your day by asking yourself what are the ways you can grow, your mind will go to work on finding the answers.

For the longest of time, I would constantly focus more on my work than I would on myself. I would become more frustrated as time went on, because here I was spending a ridiculous amount of time working on tasks, projects and other things while not focusing one bit on growing into a better me.

Jim Rohn once said, “Work harder on yourself than you do your job. If you work hard on your job you can make a living. If you work hard on yourself you can make a fortune.”

Over the years, I have found that profound quote to hold an incredible amount of truth.

The day I started asking myself, “How can I grow today?” is the day my life and business changed for the better. After I went through my morning routine, I would write down on a note card what I was going to focus on for that day in terms of growth. Somedays it would be to practice forgiveness. Other days it might be to learn a new skill or practice something I felt I was lacking in. Whatever the case, I made sure I got better and grew as an individual daily.

Growth is optional.

We all grow older in age, but growing as an individual is optional. It’s a choice you and only you can make. Every experience, thought, relationship and encounter in life gives us the opportunity to grow, whether negative or positive.

When you make the firm decision to grow on a daily basis, you begin to reap the real beauty and joy that life has to offer. There is no better satisfaction than to know deep down that you are growing more and more into the person you were put here to be. Since growth is optional, that leaves the majority of the population to take the easy way out and not focus on daily growth.

The reason why most don’t commit to daily growth is because it requires you to move out of your comfort zone. You can’t grow while you’re comfortable. Learning a new skill, refining an old one, changing your thought process, reading more or waking up earlier than normal requires you to move past your comfort zone.

It all starts with a decision.

Becoming the best you and growing daily doesn’t just happen by accident. It starts with a firm and bold decision. Just like anything in life, we are provided with decisions. Take the time right now to make the decision that you will grow as an individual every day, somehow, someway.

Create your own daily growth program. Whatever works best for you, do it. As long as you make a firm decision that you will grow somehow, someway is all that really matters. You owe it to yourself to reap the full benefits that life has to offer.

After all, we can only grow our businesses as to the extent we grow ourselves.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com