Why Talent Alone Will Never Be Enough

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One of the great mistakes of life is to think that talent alone is enough to be great and become a high achiever. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen talented people get cut from the sports team, go bankrupt after a few years in business or just completely get flat out beat by someone with a lot less talent.

I first came to realize how very little talent means in the long term during my athletic career. Some of the most talented athletes in the world are the ones who you don’t know or never hear of. I was amazed and never could fully wrap my head around how some of the best players I played against in high school never made it to college or how the best players in college never went on to have lengthy NFL careers.

Everyone had a different journey, so I’m not saying that every single case was the same, but when I began to dig a little deeper, there was a remarkable trend that I started to see dating all the way back to when I played sports as a little kid. There was always that extremely talented kid who seemed he or she could do it all. He or she was light years ahead of everyone else and you instantly started to think to yourself how far this kid is eventually going to go. But then as time went on and the older he or she got, everyone around them started to get better as well, and he or she was still relying on talent alone.

On the flip side, you have the kid who wasn’t very good, but through hard work, dedication and perseverance, eventually went on to make it the furthest and even surpass the kid with all the talent. I have seen the exact same scenario in the world of business: The man or woman who is extremely gifted in a particular skill, has a little bit of success and thinks that they are going to go down as one of the greatest in the world. As time goes on, he or she stops nurturing and developing his or her talent and before he or she knows it, a less talented person comes along and knocks him or her out of business.

Here are two ways why talent alone will never be enough.

Someone with less talent is coming with a major chip on their shoulder.

Doug Flutie, Oprah Winfrey and Muggsy Bogues are a few of high achievers who maybe weren’t the most talented or destined for major success from an early age, but through a second-to-none work ethic with a major chip on their shoulders went on to do what others thought was the unthinkable.

 

Just because you are extremely talented at something doesn’t guarantee that you will have long-term success, and the moment you stop nurturing and developing your talent, someone else with less talent is working day and night to beat you.

Talent alone can only get you so far.

You might make a ton of money, reach a certain level of success and even think you made it at some point, but if you stop there, you will eventually fall down. Just as there are so many less talented people who go on to beat the people who are 10 times more talented than them, there are also those who are incredibly talented but who work like they have no talent whatsoever.

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are two of my favorite examples. I used to be amazed at how the two of these men are arguably the greatest to ever play the game but also work harder than anybody else. How in the world does that happen?

Will Smith, one of the great actors of our time, credits his major success in Hollywood to his sickening work ethic and mentality to die on a treadmill rather than get off before you do.

We are all talented at something, but if we stop there it will more than likely end a disaster. Do something every day, even if a little, to develop and nurture your talent. Adopt the champion mindset that Jordan and Bryant have. Make it up in your mind that absolutely no one will outwork you, regardless of how talented you may be.

I want to leave you with a quote from Tim Notke that sums up everything I have been trying to hammer home in this column:

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

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

The Extraordinary Power of Visualizing Success

All top performers, regardless of profession, know the importance of picturing themselves succeeding in their minds before they actually do in reality. Something I have been able to translate over to the business arena from athletics is the power of visualization. It is extremely effective when harnessed and used correctly.

Every Friday night after our team dinner, my college teammates and I would gather in the hotel conference room to prep for our game on Saturday.

We were led through a series of visualization techniques and practices led by a sports psychologist. Right away, I started to experience the incredible benefits of taking the time to picture myself succeeding before actually playing in the game. I visualized every little detail, from walking into the locker room, tying my cleats and having conversations with my teammates and coaches.

I would picture myself having the “perfect” game, executing the defensive game plan and making big plays. The more vivid I was, the better I seemed to play. I couldn’t believe it. Before the game even started, I had already played the entire game in my mind. This made a tremendous difference because it greatly increased my confidence and comfort level.

In turn, I have been able to harness the power of visualization outside of athletics. Before I take the stage and speak to a large audience, I always picture myself giving the “perfect” speech. I begin weeks in advance by picturing the audience, my choice of words and the reaction from the crowd once I am finished. Visualization can be applied to any area of your life, as I know it has become very beneficial throughout mine.

Consider these three examples:

  • Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was always stressing the importance of seeing himself victorious long before the actual fight.
  • As a struggling young actor, Jim Carrey used to picture himself being the greatest actor in the world.
  • Michael Jordan always took the last shot in his mind before he ever took one in real life.

These top performers, among many others, have mastered the technique of positive visualization and openly credit it as a success tactic.

When you think of a big goal or dream that you want to achieve, it’s natural to think of all of the obstacles that will come your way. The problem is far too often we allow these obstacles to become so big in our minds that it inhibits us from moving forward. This is when many become satisfied with mediocrity.

Don’t let this be you. Rather than creating larger-than-life barriers in your mind and dwelling on everything that will hold you back, envision yourself victorious like Ali. Picture yourself as the greatest at your craft like Carrey. Visualize your next shot as your winning shot like MJ.

What will it take? What sacrifices will you make? How can you handle any obstacles and still have enough to make it to the finish line? The key is to make your positive vision stronger than anything that can set you back.

The truth is, if you can’t picture yourself achieving a goal, chances are you won’t. The more vivid you can get, the better it will work for you. Start thinking of your personal goals in life. Spend about 10 to 15 minutes picturing yourself achieving each one.

Get as detailed as possible. Picture what you will do once your goal is reached. How amazing does it feel? How will this change the course of your life? Remember, the little details increase the likelihood of the big picture.

You don’t need to spend endless hours. Simply get in the habit of putting together a positive vision into your everyday life. Visualize yourself succeeding, achieving every goal, completing every task. See what it does for you and how it makes you feel. This will likely become a pivotal part of your success arsenal.

The bottom line is this: If you can’t picture yourself in your own mind being extremely successful, dominating your market, and running a phenomenal business, then chances are you never will.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Forget All of the BS

Forget all of the problems.

Forget all of the violence.

Forget all of the disappointment.

Forget all of the hate.

Forget all of the doubt.

For a brief moment, take your mind completely off all of the negativity. Focus on all of the positive and promising possibilities instead. Remind yourself of how much you are capable of doing in this lifetime.

And if you can’t see all of the wonderful possibilities for your life, then start speaking them into existence. Plant the seeds now!

All too often, worry and anxiety creep in and steal our joy and power. We forget how powerful we really are.

That’s why it’s very important to turn your attention away from that mess. Instead, remind yourself of all the blessings in your life. The possibilities for your future.

Where we direct our focus is the direction our life will move. If we continue to focus on everything that is going wrong, that’s exactly where our life will head. But when we choose to look at the blessings, more good will come our way.

Forget all of the BS!

The One and Only Secret for Achieving Massive Success

Turn on the TV or flip through your favorite magazine and chances are you will come across some ad or article that promises massive success in your life or business if you just buy this particular product or do this one particular thing. It’s all a lie.

There is no secret to achieving massive success. As human beings, it’s not out of the ordinary at some point to look for a shortcut or seek ways to maximize results without maximizing the effort. This type of thinking is carried by the majority of the population.

The fact of the matter is that there are absolutely no shortcuts to accumulate massive amounts of success or to live out your dreams. And there certainly are no secrets that you don’t know about.

The one and only secret to success is taking persistent, massive action. Every high achiever knows this truth. The reason why so many neglect this very important aspect is because actual work has to be done. There is nothing sexy about it. It may not always be the “fun” thing to do, but it always will be the right thing to do when you are in pursuit of greatness, looking to maximize business success, or achieve a specific goal. Taking persistent, massive action requires you to get out of your comfort zone and move even when you may not feel like it.

Create your own opportunities.

Over the years, I have learned one thing is for certain. Those who are willing to take relentless, persistent, and massive action begin to create their own opportunities. Instead of waiting for the perfect time, they go out and create the perfect time. As an entrepreneur and business owner, especially in the beginning stages, you must be willing to do the dirty work.

Increase is the name of the game. 

Make it a game with yourself. If you made 20 phone calls yesterday, make 60 today. If you are visiting with prospects 10 times a month, do more. The name of the game is increase! Increase action, increase persistence, increase relentlessness and increase results.

Find ways to fire yourself up. 

There will be times where taking massive action is the last thing you will feel like doing. That’s why it’s an absolute must to find ways to fire yourself up. Hang your most important goal somewhere where you will see it daily. Talk yourself through. Whatever you have to do, constantly search for ways to fire yourself up and keep yourself in the game. Let the competition fall off and become complacent, but not you. Determine what that “something” is and make it a part of your daily routine.

Massive success doesn’t just happen overnight. But if you are willing to wake up each morning and declare that you are going to compete with the person you were yesterday and constantly take massive action, you will be well on your way.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Live Your Life Like it Matters

Life That MattersIf you have made mistakes or failed in the past, so what!  If you have been a success and everything is going just fine, you can do better!

Every moment in life is an opportunity to get better.  No matter what has happened in the past, whether good or bad, we should always be searching for new ways to grow, learn, and capitalize on past failures and successes.

There is something beautiful within you.  There is something powerful within you.  There is something extraordinary in you.  Don’t live life out of past experiences.  Live out of your imagination.

Take a moment and look around.  See all of the amazing possibilities that are all around you.  Envision yourself living your best life.  Picture yourself achieving your biggest goals and dreams.  How does that make you feel?  Capture that moment and never forget how it makes you feel.

It’s very important to never stop running toward your dream.  You have everything you need to make your life a masterpiece.  Right now isn’t the time to get caught up in the many distractions that loom all around you.  Right now isn’t the time to give up and let fear override your biggest aspirations and dreams in life.  However, right now is the right time to keep believing and working all day and night on your dream.  Right now is the right time to give new meaning to your life.  Right now is the right time to live with passion and make the most out of today.

Don’t go another day postponing what’s important to you.  No one will ever just hand you a life worth living.  That will come from a burning desire to do more and become more daily.  Accept nothing less than world class.  Accept nothing less than excellence.  Accept nothing less than living what’s inside of you.

Do everything in your power to not just go through this day, but to GROW through this day.  Live your life like it matters, because it most certainly does!

Talk To Yourself Like a Champion

We all fall victim to negative self-talk from time to time, saying things about ourselves such as, “I never do anything right.  I look terrible.  I’m not smart enough.  I don’t have the right resources.”

As Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  In other words, the way we talk to ourselves will most definitely affect our lives.  Start talking to yourself like a champion.  Repeat over and over again to yourself, “There is nothing average about me.  I wasn’t put here to be just ordinary.  I am special and I have greatness within me.”

When you switch the negative self-talk with positive and uplifting words, the quality of your life will start to change.  One of the biggest misconceptions is that we need materialistic things or to reach a certain level of success before we can be fully happy and live a great life.

We create our own happiness and one thing you have to understand is that no amount of success will replace negative or self diminishing self-talk.

Next time you find yourself downplaying your ability or second guessing a situation, talk to yourself like a champion.  No one will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself!

Action tip to help talk to yourself like a champion throughout the day:

Write powerful statements and uplifting quotes on a notecard.  This exercise has helped me tremendously with battling negative thoughts or situations during my day.

The key is to keep your notecard in your purse, wallet, or pocket so you can easily access it.  Look at this card and repeat the words with conviction.  If you make this a habit, you will begin to see increased motivation and boosted confidence levels.