3 Ways to Stop Playing the Blame Game and Get Better Yourself

20160603172330-GettyImages-638681671Image credit: Caiaimage / Paul Bradbury

One of the most beneficial things that I have ever done from both a personal and professional standpoint was to decide early on and commit to creating my own personal growth plan that would force me to grow every single day.

The reason for this monumental decision all transpired when I was having coffee one morning with a mentor of mine. I was extremely frustrated with how things were panning out in my life at the time and quickly started to play the blame game and make excuses as to why I was so dissatisfied.

The moment that changed everything for me was when my mentor interrupted me in the middle of one of my negative sentences and said, “Matt, you need to get better. It’s not your circumstances or other people around you that need to get better. It’s all on you. You must constantly go to work on yourself if you want to begin to experience different outcomes.”

At first, I was kind of pissed. Here I was going on and on about this rut that I was in, and his only response was, “You need to get better.” However, as a couple minutes went by, and he continued on with the conversation, it all started to make more sense. He shared a quote with me by Jim Rohn that really hit home. The quote was, “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.” It was that quote by Jim Rohn and that particular conversation with one of my mentors that changed my life forever and started my journey of becoming growth oriented in all that I do.

It’s more than likely that all of us want some area of our life to be a little better than what it currently is. When things aren’t going as well as we would like, it’s so easy to start participating in the blame game and keep a running list of all the excuses as to why things are the way they are.

This type of mentality, the one that I possessed for so long, will do nothing but keep you exactly where you are. If you want to change your situation, circumstances, finances or professional success, look to change yourself before you look anywhere else. Understanding the power and true significance of developing a personal growth plan can be worth more than a gold mine.

Here are three ways to help get you started in creating your own personal growth plan.

1. Know why you want to grow.

When you know the why behind why you want to grow and go to work on yourself, it becomes that much easier to actually do just that. Maybe you want to increase your income, start your own business or achieve a massive goal of yours — whatever it is, know exactly why it is you want to grow. Whatever it is you want to do, it’s going to require you becoming a completely different person. When you know exactly why you want to grow, you will begin to develop a sense of urgency that helps you to make sure you grow somehow, someway each and every day regardless of what else comes your way.

 

2. Know when you are going to grow.

After you have discovered why you want to grow, knowing when are you going to grow is all about creating a game plan to ensure you execute. What gets scheduled gets done, and if you want to make sure you are growing and working to get better, you must know exactly when that growth is going to take place. Chances are you are extremely busy, already have a full calendar, have family to attend to when you get home from work and have a ton of other obligations.

This is the main reason as to why most never fall through on creating a personal growth plan for their life. It may initially sound great to them, but they never end up following through. They don’t take the proper time that is needed to determine when exactly their growth is going to take place throughout their bust day. Figure out what works best for you, and make sure you schedule it into your calendar just like all of your other very important obligations.

3. Know how you are going to grow.

Once you know why and when you are going to grow, the third key is to know how you are going to grow. To give you a small example, my own personal growth plan consists of reading a new book each week, listening to some type of audio when driving in the car or on the plane, setting up calls with my mentors each month and having a mastermind group that consists of other ambitious and successful individuals. Find a plan that works for you — and make it a major priority to execute that plan.

Creating a personal growth plan can radically change your life. Let these three steps guide you in the process of creating your own game plan.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Ask Yourself These 3 Questions to Set Yourself on a Path to a Better Life

1408472232-5-questions-great-managers-need-ask-themselves-dailyImage credit: Leo Reynolds | Flickr

The power of choice is truly extraordinary. Choice is one of the few things that most people leave out of the equation when thinking about all of the reasons that separates those who achieve their biggest goals and dreams compared to those who don’t. The one thing that each and every one of us has is the incredible potential to live a remarkable life and be great in our own right.

We choose our habits. We choose the action or lack of action that we are going to take on a daily basis. We choose how hard we work. We choose what we think about all day long. Every thing that you do on a daily basis comes from a choice. Living a better life, building a more successful business and becoming happier all comes down to making better choices.

Here are three questions that can greatly benefit the direction and quality of your life if you begin asking and answering them regularly.

1. Where am I right now?

This is an extremely powerful question to ask because most people don’t take even five minutes out of their days to think about where they currently are in life. They know deep down that they are miserable but they just continue to coast along the path they are headed down because they fail to ask this important question.

The key when asking this particular question is to be honest with yourself. When you are honest with yourself, you are offered the opportunity for growth that will in the long run help you get to where you want to go.

Some days I have setbacks and don’t take strides forward, but as long as I am honest with myself when asking this question before I go to bed, I am able to know where I stand and what steps need to be taken to move forward. Take the time to analyze your life and really take a long and hard look at where you currently are.

2. Where do I want to be?

This question is all about what you want out of your life. What are you putting in the long hours for? What gets you so excited that it keeps you up at night? Once you know where you currently are in life, you then must analyze where you want to be.

Most people have no clue where they want to be. They wake up in the morning 30 minutes before they have to be in the office, go to work, do enough to get the job done and then head home before they have to do it all over again. They follow this exact pattern for the next 40 years.

If you don’t take the time to think about where you want to be, the circumstances of life and other people’s agendas will determine that for you. You deserve better.

3. What are the steps needed to bridge the gap?

This third question is the one that requires the actual work and action, so it’s the one that is easiest to neglect. After you discover where you currently are and where you want to be, the next question that you must ask yourself is what are all of the things that you must do to bridge the gap between the two. This is going to require several sessions of strategic thinking on your part, and may even take several weeks.

Another thing to note is that your answers to this question will never stop. As time goes on, more answers will come your way. The more you strategically think about what you have to do to get to where you want to go, the better and more efficient answers will begin coming to you.

Whether we are talking about an individual or organization, these are three questions that when answered carefully can dramatically increase efficiency, performance and motivation. I often write the above questions in my moleskin journal to constantly remind myself of my progress, then start the process of transferring all of the things that I have to do to my daily task list.

When you take time out to answer these questions regularly, you give your life meaning and purpose. The power of choice is truly extraordinary.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

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

20150312145810-empower-business-mind-woman-thinking-meditatingImage credit: Snapwire Snaps

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

Here are three ways to help you maximize your potential:

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

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

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

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

2. Be a fanatic about becoming a lifelong learner.

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

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

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

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

3. Build a winning team around you.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

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!

You Have Good Ideas–Don’t Let Them Disappear

good ideas

Good ideas come and go every second, but what doesn’t happen very often is the capturing of those thoughts. You can have the brightest and sharpest ideas that could take your life and business to a whole new level, but they mean absolutely nothing if they’re pushed aside and forgotten.

It doesn’t matter what our education levels are or where we come from, we all have great and wonderful ideas. The only problem is that most people let the hustle and bustle of life get in the way and interrupt their ability to capture their golden ideas.

Now, you might not come up with the world’s next greatest invention (or maybe you will). But everything we use in our day-to-day lives was once just an idea. Not every idea will be worth a billion dollars, but perhaps one or two of them can change the trajectory of your business and life for the better.

We all have 24 hours in a day, no more or no less than the next person. Think about how many times where an idea or thought comes to mind but you do nothing about it. There really is no value for us if we don’t take the initiative. The other reason why it is so imperative that we capture our ideas is because coincidence or not, some of our best ideas don’t come to us in the office.

Here are three steps to take every day:

Have a system. The best way I have found to capture ideas on a regular basis is to take a systematic approach to it. We all prefer different ways of doing things. Some of us prefer electronic devices while some of us stick to the trusted pen-and-paper route.

Either way, pick what works for you and stick with it. I prefer to log all of my ideas and thoughts into evernote and then at the end of the day analyze each idea. After I dig a little deeper, I transfer the ideas that I may want to act on immediately or in the near future into my moleskin journal.

Pick the good ones. Just because you start capturing your thoughts and ideas doesn’t mean everything that comes to mind is going to be something that you will act on. Finding time alone where you can analyze what you logged for the day helps tremendously. This is where you can determine whether a specific idea is worthy of your time. Throw out what’s useless.

Make it a habit. Just like with any new habit that we try to adopt into our everyday lives, it takes time. I truly believe that if you make a determined effort on a regular basis to capture your ideas, it will greatly benefit your personal and professional life.

Of all the great men and women I have had the fortune to work with, they all knew the importance of keeping track of their thoughts and ideas. Stick with it.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The Power is Already Within You

The Power is Already Within You

The past failures. The past mistakes. The past heartbreaks…..Let them go! Stop letting things from the past weigh you down and paralyze you from tapping into the amazing God given power that is already within you.

Directing your focus towards everything that went wrong in your life will do nothing but keep you exactly where you are at. If you want to move forward in life is which I am sure you do, you must be willing to press forward and focus on all of the positive in your life.

The seeds of greatness are planted in each and every one of us. Not in some of us, but all of us. We all have big dreams and strong desires. Things we want to accomplish, things we want changed, and things we want to do throughout the course of our lives. But so often, life has a tendency to get in the way. Big plans never fall through. Tragedy strikes once again. This can create an atmosphere for settling to take place. Settling for second best and less than what you deserve.

Don’t settle for second best. Don’t put the power and greatness that is already within you on the back burner. We are all here for a purpose. Nothing in life is a waste and most certainly not yourself. Instead of focusing on the losses in your life, focus on the wins. No matter how big or small they may be, get in the habit of counting your blessings. Your wins. The moments of happiness.

Do everything in your power to get your fire back. Claim your greatness and recreate your swagger. Develop and search for a deeper meaning for your life. Continually put yourself in a positive, faith-filled environment everywhere you go. Don’t wait for others to do good until you do good, take initiative and set the tone. Be the leader you were born to be.

The message that I want to get through to you today is that you are already equipped with everything you need to make your life phenomenal. To make your life a masterpiece and leave a spectacular legacy that lives much longer than you do.

Don’t wait any longer to speak and think victory over your future. Every day remind yourself how powerful you truly are. Say over and over to yourself, “I am a winner. No loss or defeat can override the greatness that is already within me. I am blessed with an overwhelming amount of joy.”

The power is already WITHIN YOU.

You Are Powerful!

You have to understand  that 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 want to achieve so badly in life, but three months down the road  you come to find out that you didn’t reach your mark.

What happens?  You quickly rush to start blaming yourself and question your abilities and talents.  You start to listen to the negative voices that keep rolling in and out of your head.  Feeling powerless.  Feeling 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 from 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.  It is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in life.  Learning how to make it “ok” to fail and mess up every now and then.

Understanding that it all is apart of the process to reach and achieve my goals and dreams in life.  To become the best version of myself.  You can experience so much more in life when you don’t look at disappointments and failures as some terrible mishap in life.

Just for a second, look at Abraham Lincoln.  How many times did he fail over and over again before he actually was elected President Of The United States?  Look at Steve Jobs.  A remarkable man who went through disappointment after disappointment before he actually achieved success.  And then when he achieved success, he was hit again with being fired from the company he founded!

Look at Albert Einstein.  How many times did he fail over and over again before once and for all breaking through?  These are three remarkable men who achieved remarkable success who all 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, start listing 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 on how powerful you really are.

1.)  Get in the habit of writing in a gratitude journal. When things go wrong in life and being able to sit down and start listing all you are thankful for, your happiness will be rekindled and you soon will feel a sense of accomplishment.  Even small successes will keep you reminded that you have been successful in the past 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.) Striving and working 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.  Whether that is going to church every Sunday, reading scripture throughout your day, or tapping into the power of meditation can help paint the positive picture of yourself.

4.) Find time to read 10-15 pages of something motivational, inspirational, or uplifting to help renew your mind and enlighten your day.  Just spending 10-15 minutes a day reading uplifting material can alone take your life to the next level.

5.) A habit that has positively impacted my life is keeping a notecard filled with powerful and moving quotes to help pick me up throughout the day.  Whenever I felt down or upset about something, I would take my notecard out and repeat over and over to myself the positive quotes that were written down.  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!