What Pushes People to Bring Their Dreams to Life?

The world is full of dreamers. But what the world needs more of is dreamers who decide once and for all that “dreaming” isn’t all they will be doing. Great dreams need to be followed by massive action, which also needs to follow enormous faith.

Why is it that everyone has some big and amazing dream but so few actually make their dream a reality? The answer to that question is what has driven me for well over a decade, even when I was an athlete. How can someone with limited resources, no college education and little talent go on to change the world?

Those who live their dream and those who die with their dream still inside of them are not much different from one another. The fact of the matter is that we are all special. We all have talents, abilities and gifts that are unique and special to us individually. The one difference that does separate the two and ultimately serves as the deciding factor is the ability to do whatever it takes.

Don’t let indecisiveness, the fear of failure and the fear of what others may think prevent you from taking action and get moving on making your dream a reality. Those ingredients are the recipe for heading to your grave with your dream still inside of you. Your ability to dream and then act on your dream is a gift that needs to be utilized fully.

And just when you do decide to take massive action, don’t be thrown off guard when challenges knock on your door. The bigger the dream, the bigger the challenges. Things will never be perfect. Expect that. However, don’t let what happens outside of you dictate and control what happens within you.

Decide right this moment to do whatever it takes. Through blood, sweat and tears, you will fight for your dream. Recite over and over again that you were put here to win. Develop an inner dialogue to help keep you in the game and thrive no matter what comes your way. Your relentless pursuit to make your dream a reality will most certainly pay off.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The 3 Reasons Most People Fall Short at Entrepreneurship

Being a former professional athlete, one of the hardest things I have ever had to do didn’t involve blocking, tackling or going through the dreadful dog days of training camp. It was becoming a successful entrepreneur.

That might come as a shock, as you would expect having a 300-hundred-pound, angry, big and very agile offensive lineman trying to take your head off every single play would be difficult on you. Of course, football, and most sports for that matter, weed out the weak, undetermined and those who have no discipline at all. However, in my eyes, entrepreneurship is the true test of mental strength, guts and courage.

A great majority of entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners fail. We have been hearing that for a while now, and if it isn’t some news source or latest research telling us how hard it is to make it in entrepreneurship — family members and friends are sure to give you their input on how you are out of your mind for even contemplating bringing an idea of yours into the marketplace.

Why is it that most entrepreneurs fall short, or even worse, never even get off the ground? I had the wonderful privilege to chat with entrepreneur, New York Times-bestselling author and mega hustler Gary Vaynerchuk this week to find out what you can do to not fall into the very crowded space of wannapreneurs.

Here are three reasons as to why most entrepreneurs fall short.

1. No faking it

As Vaynerchuk says, “So many want to be experts in a field they never learned, experienced or mastered themselves.”

One of the worst things you can do is enter a space you know absolutely nothing about. Vaynerchuk was in the wine business and learned, studied and practiced what he preached long before he ever claimed to be an expert.

What’s something you’re really great at and actually know a lot about? Play to your strengths, not your weaknesses.

2. Work ethic

This is one of my favorite topics because I have the same point of view as Vaynerchuk on this point. Maybe it’s being a former athlete that has something to do with it, but I truly love the dog days, the work, the hustle. Whether you follow Vaynerchuk on Twitter, Facebook or watch the value-packed GaryVee show, you will know that Vaynerchuk is a major hustler and preaches the importance of having a ridiculous work ethic.

“Way too many people aren’t putting in the hours but want the results as if they’re working 18-hour days for 10 years straight,” Vaynerchuk says. “The fact of the matter is this: Way too many people aren’t reaching their biggest goals in life because they lack in hustle.”

3. Watch the puck

Wherever I go and speak, I always talk about the importance of having a vision and taking the time to get really serious about your legacy.

“There needs to be an aggressive need for anticipation to where things are going,” Vaynerchuk says.

It’s also important to understand that where you are now has absolutely nothing to do with where you can be five, 10 and 15 years from now. Having a long-term vision is what’s going to help you overcome some of the hardship and tragedies that you definitely will eventually experience as an entrepreneur.

Whether you love or hate him, Vaynerchuk is an incredibly successful entrepreneur who we all can learn something from. He understands what it truly takes to dominate the marketplace and take your business to the next level.

I hope you don’t let these three reasons be why you don’t succeed as an entrepreneur. You have what it takes. Be a master of your craft, work ridiculously hard and get serious about where you want to take your business 10, 20 and 30 years from now.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

To Be an Extraordinary Achiever, Commit to Daily Excellence

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Every week, I am fortunate to be surrounded by some of the world’s most extraordinary achievers. Being surrounded by these men and women opens my eyes to how they differentiate themselves from the rest of the population.

I’m not referring to anyone being better than the next person, because I truly believe we are all created equally. However, what I do refer to is how they think and go about their lives.

Vince Lombardi once said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

If you take a look at some of the world’s greatest athletes, most successful entrepreneurs, or anyone who has mastered their craft, you will find that they made a firm commitment to daily excellence. Constantly striving for excellence in every area of your life is ultimately what will determine the quality of your life, no matter what you do for a living.

Committing to excellence is what has shaped some of the most successful companies. Committing to excellence is what turns an average athlete into a great athlete. Committing to excellence is what spurs an ordinary person to creating extraordinary success for themselves.

Sure, you can show up at work and just keep busy and act like you are doing something when the boss is around, but is that really going to advance you to where you really want to go in life? I highly doubt it. But what will take you to where you want to go in life is to focus on the task at hand and commit to do your work to the best of your ability day in and day out.

Excellence is not about how much money is in your bank account or what kind of car you drive. Excellence is about waking up each morning and declaring that you will do your best at everything you do and be better than you were the day before.

Excellence is not about settling for average. When you give your all at everything you do, when you commit to excellence daily, you will suddenly start to see the quality of your life escalate. You will feel more at peace. You will feel a sense of accomplishment like never before because you know that deep down, you gave your all.

Make up your mind that you will commit yourself to excellence daily. When you do, you are well on your way to places where halfhearted people will never go!

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

5 Ways to Remind Yourself How Powerful You Really Are

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You, yes you, are far greater than any problem or disappointment that may be present in your life.

I don’t care who you are or what you have accomplished, we all go through disappointments in life and struggle from time to time with coming to the realization just how special we truly are.

Think about it: let’s say you have a goal that you desperately want to achieve, but three months down the road you find out that you didn’t reach your mark. What happens? You quickly rush to blaming yourself and questioning your abilities and talents. You start to listen to the negative voices that keep rolling in and out of your head. You feel powerless, and like a victim instead of a victor.

What you have to understand and never lose sight of is that you have more power and control inside of you than you think you do. Some people get hit so hard by the outcomes of life that they lose complete sight of their uniqueness and wonderful talents they have been blessed with.

Failures and disappointments aren’t present to degrade our confidence and love for ourselves. You can experience so much more in life when you don’t look at disappointments and failures as some terrible mishap. Learn how to make it “OK” to fail and mess up every now and then.

Look at Abraham Lincoln. How many times did he fail before he actually was elected president of the United States? Look at Steve Jobs. He was a remarkable man who went through disappointment after disappointment before he actually achieved success. When he achieved success, he was fired from the company he founded! Look at Albert Einstein. How many times did he fail before once and for all breaking through?

These are three remarkable men who achieved remarkable success and went through very difficult and tough times. What they didn’t do though is let the hits they took from life keep them down. When things went wrong, they didn’t go with them!

They never forgot how powerful and special they truly were. If you make the decision to tell yourself daily how special you are and list all of your unique qualities, no setback or failure will ever be able to hold you back.

Here are five ways you can start to remind yourself daily of how powerful you really are.

1. Write in a gratitude journal.

When things go wrong in life, being able to sit down and start listing all you are thankful for will rekindle your happiness and give you a sense of accomplishment. Even small successes will serve to remind you of your past successes and that you will be successful in the present and future.

2. Continually review and look at your long-term goals.

Short-term disappointments are less likely to derail your well-being when you pay mind to all you wish to accomplish in the future.

3. Strive and work to dig deeper in your spirituality journey.

We all have different beliefs, but working to strengthen your spirit will help reinforce how powerful you are. Going to church every Sunday, reading scripture throughout your day or tapping into the power of meditation can help paint a positive picture of yourself.

4. Find time to read 10 to 15 pages of something motivational, inspirational or uplifting.

Just spending 10 to 15 minutes a day reading uplifting material can help renew your mind and enlighten your day. It alone can take your life to the next level.

5. Keep a note card filled with powerful and moving quotes.

Whenever I feel down or upset about something, I take my note card out and repeat over and over to myself the positive quotes that I had written on it. This habit helps to interrupt all of the negative thoughts that are trying to take control of your thinking.

You are powerful. Don’t ever lose sight of how powerful you really are. Life will knock you down and derail your path, but you don’t have to give in! Don’t let the tough times demoralize your beauty. You have a unique skill set that no one else possesses.

You are here to make a difference and make this world a better place. Just remember, you are far greater than any problem or circumstance that stands in your way!

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Focus on Doing This One Thing Every Single Day

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In college, I had the wonderful privilege of playing football for coach Terry Hoeppner at Indiana University.

He was the type of leader who made a lasting impression on me after the first meeting for the rest of my life. His energy, enthusiasm and passion to bring out the best in others is what totally reeled me in when the time came for me to decide where I would play college football.

I still get the question all the time: “Why did you choose Indiana when you had the opportunity to go to programs that won championships before?” The reason why I chose Indiana University over other schools is because of the man who made a profound difference in my life, coach Hoeppner.

While I was at Indiana University, I and other members of my football team wore shirts with the letters GBT engraved on the back. This stands for “Get Better Today.” Coach Hep would remind us over and over again that the only thing that truly matters is to capitalize on the opportunity to live another day and promise ourselves to “GBT.” Above all else, if we focused on getting just a little better than the day before, over time the results would be substantial.

I still use the GBT method today and speak about it wherever I go. It doesn’t matter the type of work you do. This method can take you to the top and help you become the absolute best at what you do over time.

Something I often see is people seeking instant gratification without putting in the necessary work required. People forget the importance of waking up each morning and focusing solely on maximizing their life for that particular day — not tomorrow, next week or next month, but today.

Whether you’re an executive, teacher, salesman or stay-at-home mom, you have the opportunity to get better today. Every single day you’re faced with countless obligations and distractions. It’s your job to minimize the things standing in your way preventing you from becoming the best version of yourself and being phenomenal in the game of life.

One of the first decisions you can make is to determine that each day no matter what your circumstances are, the struggles you’re facing or how unhappy you are, you will find ways to get better. Some days will be challenging and will consume all your energy. But if you don’t make a deliberate effort to get better, you won’t.

Make the decision to GBT. Write it down on a Post-it note and place it where you can see it five or six times every day. Pick one area that you want to get better in for that day and write that down, too. Carry it in your wallet or purse and look at it every chance you get.

Over time, your decision to get better every single day will reap tremendous benefits in your life and drastically increase your success rate.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Keeping a Daily Journal Can Give You Tremendous Power

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For over three years, I have reaped unbelievable benefits from keeping and writing in a journal daily. Being able to have a place where I can analyze where I am, see my daily progress and capture quotes/sayings that really move me has been incredibly beneficial.

As the late Jim Rohn once said, “A life worth living is a life worth recording.”

Not only can a journal be a place where we store important information, record quotes or sayings that move us, but it’s also a wonderful tool to help us analyze where we are at and where we want to go.

A journal can be used in a number of different ways. Personally, I do quite a few different things in my journal. Below, I will give you an excerpt from my own personal journal, but first I want to jump into five reasons why you should consider keeping a journal.

1. Increase your happiness by listing five things you are grateful for each day.

Before I do anything else, I begin to list five to 10 things I am grateful for that particular day. There is tremendous power in actually writing down on paper what you are grateful for. The pen to paper to mind connection is magical.

2. Keep track of your goals by logging daily action steps.

The little things can pay big dividends. Being able to physically write your goals for the year and track the action steps that are being taken towards them is a sure path to success. You might notice you didn’t do as much one day in comparison to another. This will help pinpoint areas of growth so more can be done to maintain consistent progress, even on a bad day.

3. Jot down key lessons learned throughout the day or notes from a book you are currently reading.

Find a quote you like and write it down. Learn something new from an online course you are enrolled in and write it down. However you are learning or searching for ways to grow as an individual, being able to write down what you learned is reinforcing the concept. You’ll be able to go back at a later date and look at what was written to refresh your memory.

4. Monitor your health and fitness gains.

Sometimes something might or might not be working, but being able to quickly write down the results you are seeing, your actual workout you did for the day, or how you felt before and after the workout is setting you up for optimal health because you are making it a priority.

5. Take motivation levels to a whole new level and grow individually daily.

Being able to write down how you are feeling, what you are learning, quotes and sayings that move and inspire you is motivating. When you go back and look at what you wrote the previous day, you will be able to see progress or a saying that inspires you to move faster and work harder.

Those are just a few ways I use my own personal journal. There really is no right or wrong way.

As promised, here is an excerpt from my very own personal journal to give you a good idea on how to get started:

Aug. 7, 2013

– Today I am extremely grateful for the health of my family and friends. Without them, I am nothing.

– I am grateful for the opportunity to be speaking to 1,000 business leaders on how to maximize their performance as an organization. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love but more importantly serve others. 

Fitness and health

I ran 2.5 miles this morning and got in a light dynamic lower-body workout before prepping for my speech. I felt great before and after my workout. I reached my goal today of drinking 1 liter immediately upon waking. Before bed tonight, I will spend 10 to 15 minutes stretching. 

Daily objectives

To serve and bring tremendous value to the client. Spend time before and after the event talking with employees on ways they think the organization can grow and become better. Report my talks with leadership with a follow up phone call.

I came across a quote from Norman Vincent Peale today that really touched me. 

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” 

This quote speaks volumes in so many ways. Self-confidence is an absolute must for anyone striving to achieve their biggest goals and dreams in life.

It’s my hope that after reading this you feel a little more compelled to utilize the tremendous power of a journal. It can be a fantastic tool to help make 2015 a fantastic year for you. Even if you are a little reluctant at first, just try it for 30 days.

I can confidently say that I think you will be pretty satisfied after the 30 days are up and won’t want to stop anytime thereafter.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

3 Things We Can All Learn from Stuart Scott

One of the more moving speeches I have seen in quite some time was Stuart Scott’s speech at the 2014 ESPYs when he was presented with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.

There are a million reasons as to why this speech was so spectacular, but what touched me the most was that he was speaking solely from the heart. He meant every word that came out of his mouth and actually lived it every single day of his life.

Stuart Scott wasn’t just a legendary sportscaster. He was a legend of a human being that brightened everyone’s world around him.

Of course everyone is sad and grieving when someone passes away, but to see the reaction of some of the world’s biggest stars when Scott officially passed away was a clear testament to the way he lived his life. Stuart Scott was the real star.

Here are 3 things we can all learn from Stuart Scott.

1.) Never give up.

One of the most incredible things that Stuart Scott lived and breathed for every single day was to demonstrate to never give up. Whether it’s fighting for what you want in life or continuing to come back time and time again after getting knocked down to your knees, never give up. Stuart Scott was a champion where it mattered most, in the game of life.

2.) Love your family now.

It deeply touched my heart the love and affection Stuart Scott had for his family, especially his daughters. You could tell by the way he went about his everyday life how much his family meant to him. We don’t know how much time we have left here on earth. Life in itself is one of the most extraordinary gifts we will ever receive. Love those closest to you now. Stop what you are doing right this second and tell someone that you love how much they mean to you.

3.) Be YOU!

If there is one quality that I absolutely love about Stuart Scott it would be his ability to be himself and not worry about what others thought or said about him. When he first got into being a sportscaster and on TV, he brought his own persona. He wasn’t like everyone else. He brought a whole new dimension to being a sportscaster. People praised him, people bashed him, and people doubted him, but one thing that never changed was Stuart Scott being himself.

I strongly believe that Stuart Scott was as successful as he was and was loved by so many from all over the world because of his authenticity while on camera. We can all learn to be more authentic and true to ourselves every waking moment of every day.

I was deeply saddened by the passing of this courageous man who made such a tremendous difference in the world. I never personally met Stuart Scott, but I sure did learn a lot from him and his courageous battle.

“When you die, that does not mean that you lost to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live. So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.” -Stuart Scott

Don’t Let Your Circumstances Paralyze You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Create a dream or vision board. 

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

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

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

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

2. Develop positive inner conversations.

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

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

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

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

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

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Establish your purpose

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

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

2. Be specific as possible

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

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

3. Think big

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

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

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

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

A Personal Mission Statement Can Set You on a Course to Success

Many people find themselves simply going through the motions of life without truly knowing where they’re headed. This is the main reason why so many people can’t escape mediocrity. Going through everyday chaos, meeting new demands, and striving for more, we can easily fall victim to what I like to call “blindly coasting.”

Just as you might see your favorite company or business with a mission statement, it is vitally important that you as an individual create one as well. Take a look at the success of one of your favorite companies, for example. It has a set of core values, accompanied by a mission statement clearly stating what its purpose is as an overall company or brand.

This mission statement is its guiding light. Something that directs it through every decision it makes. Mission statements are your “why.” Why you do the things you do. Why you keep going when things get tough. If you have no mission, the complexity of everyday life will surely catch up to you and define your mission for you.

Here are three reasons why you should have a personal mission statement:

1. Identity

Way too many people operate out of their memories instead of their imaginations, letting what happened in the past create their present and future identity. Having a mission statement solidifies why you are here and what you’re passionate about.

2. Motivation

We all encounter our share of road blocks. However, when we are very clear in our mission here on earth, nothing can permanently hold us back. It is nearly impossible to prevail through difficult times when you aren’t sure why you should keep going.

3. Direction

Sometimes life can pull us in a million different directions. Having a well-detailed mission statement will help you define priorities and focus on what’s truly important. Just as a business wouldn’t participate in ventures that didn’t support what it is as a company, you wouldn’t participate in activities that jeopardize who you are as a person.

As a starting point, try to see yourself as a brand. What valuable qualities are you contributing to the world? What core values and/or morals are you fearlessly defending? When the going gets tough what drives your purpose? Take these questions into consideration when thinking about the person you have to become in order to accomplish your goals in life.

By answering these questions you should have a good idea of your why, your mission and your statement to the world. It should be your compass through everyday life, your pick-me-up during tough times, and your purpose when you lose sight. Now simply go out and live it.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com