This is the Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make

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One of the most important decisions you can ever make is to become your own CEO. I’m talking about taking complete responsibility for your life and not blaming others or your circumstances for past results or where you are right now.

It’s mindboggling to me how someone can go year after year, month after month, day after day complaining about their laundry list of misfortunes but do absolutely nothing about it? I hear so many people say they want to be great, achieve more success and make more money. But they never do anything about it. The main thing that most of these individuals do is whine and complain about their sorry lot in life. They sit back and let others make their decisions.

Granted, I understand there are situations and issues in peoples’ lives that may prevent them from achieving their dreams. There can be circumstances that are beyond their control. Certain family issues, disabilities, and extreme illnesses to name a few. I’m not judging people when I see them living in undesirable situations. It’s possible life has dealt them a bad hand and they can’t navigate their way out. I get it, and I do not mean to sound preachy.

On the flip side, I see others who could do something about their lives if they just tried a little harder.

Throw away the excuses.

“I don’t have any talent.”

“I can’t ever seem to get a good job. Someone better always gets the job.”

“I can’t make enough money to pay my bills.”

“I don’t have any luck at all.”

“I feel like the world is out to get me.”

“I am worried about what others will think.”

Does this sound like anyone you know? They make you want to kick them in the butt and say, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself! You can change your destiny! You can change your life!”

The list of examples can go on and on, but you get the point. Making excuses has never crowned anyone a champion. The day that you decide to throw away all excuses once and for all will be the day that changes your life forever. A simple but extremely powerful transformation begins to take place.

Just do it!

Nike’s slogan “Just Do It!” is one of the best in advertising. Getting up off your butt and going out there to make things happen is the way you become the leader of your life.

Sure, I know. I agree with you. I’ve been through it, so I’m speaking from experience. One of the hardest things to do is take full charge of your life and be the leader of your destiny. But when you do, you force yourself to look at your life and say, “I am not where I want to be because of myself and the choices and decisions that I have made.” Your next comment may be, “I am going to do something about it and make a positive change.”

When you do this, you take ownership of where you are and where you are headed. That’s not an easy thing to do, trust me. One of the hardest things I ever do is force myself to look within when times are not the best. Heck, when I was 16-years old and a full blown drug addict throwing my life away I could barely look at myself in the mirror. I was so despicable. Things began to change when I finally had had enough. That is when I developed the courage to truly look within myself. Slowly but surely, I became the CEO of my life — the leader of my destiny.

Becoming my own leader redefined my philosophy of life. It will redefine yours, as well. There is absolutely nothing you can’t do or overcome when you choose to be the CEO of your life. Being the leader of your destiny is rejecting the easy road and opting for what’s worth it in the long run.

Think about it. It will be a shame if you get to the final stages of your life with nothing but your excuses for why you didn’t follow a passion or a dream. It breaks my heart to even think about this, but it happens all the time.

Maximize opportunities.

Becoming the leader of your destiny opens the floodgates of opportunity, and life seems to become a bit easier, because others will join in and help when they can.

For example, let’s say there are two young men named John and Chris. John is the leader of his destiny. When something goes wrong, he doesn’t make excuses or place the blame on someone else. John doesn’t focus on the negative. He constantly searches for ways to better himself and elevate his position in life.

Chris is a totally different story. He has a long track record of letting his failures define him. Every chance he gets, he makes excuses or blames someone else for his misfortunes and lack of success. It truly is a negative, energy-draining experience for anyone who comes in contact with him.

Out of the two men, who do you think is more likely to receive more opportunities to get back on the right track and have others want to help in any way they can? The answer to that question is obvious. People gravitate toward positive people. They’re attractive and make you feel good. On the other hand, it’s difficult to be around negative people because they’re a liability to your happiness.

Make the decision.

One of the most rewarding decisions you can ever make is to become the leader of your destiny, your own CEO, and take complete responsibility for everything that happens. Once you do, it won’t be long before your opportunities begin to expand. And others will go out of their way to help you, even if it’s something simple. Being the leader of your destiny is a trait that all champions possess.

This piece is adapted from Matt Mayberry’s book Winning Plays, published by Hachette/Center Street.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

3 Questions That Helped Me Discover My True Purpose

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Discovering your why, the real reason as to why you do what you do, that special thing that tugs at your heart and gives you complete satisfaction, very well could be one of the most important tasks that you will ever be faced with.

Finding out your why means that if you identify a dream or a major goal you want to pursue, ask yourself why. Is it because it will put the music in your heart? Will it fulfill the creative stirring that’s welling up inside you? Or do you want this goal because it will make you rich? I remember in college some friends talking about wanting to become physicians.

When I asked why, a couple of them said, “Because I’ll get rich.” I couldn’t help but think that was the wrong answer. I would never want to go to a physician who was in it for the money. I believe that to be truly fulfilled and happy, you must follow and live your bliss.

You must embrace a purpose-driven life and serve mankind in some way. For me, it was simple. I wanted to change peoples’ lives through my speaking and writing. I wanted to share everything I had learned with everyone else. And, yes, friends and family were shocked when they learned that I didn’t want to play professional football anymore. But my mind was made up. I wanted to live my purpose. That’s what tugged at my heart. I strongly believe that each and every one of us was put here to fulfill a specific purpose.

When you find out what that purpose is, I can promise you that your life will never be the same again. Mark Twain said, “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” If you haven’t yet found out what your why is or discovered your true purpose, answer the following questions. They may help steer you in the right direction.

1. What keeps you up with excitement at night?

I loved football tremendously, but it never tugged at my heart and kept me up with so much excitement at night that I couldn’t sleep. On the other hand, speaking and impacting the lives of others absolutely did and still does to this day.

2. What makes you cry?

Best-selling author John C. Maxwell says, “Finding our purpose requires us to seek to discover two things: our passion and our giftedness. What is the deep desire set in your heart, the thing that sets your soul on fire? What makes you cry? What do you get most excited about? And what are you good at? No one else in the world has exactly the same gifts, talents, background, or future that you do.” When you identify what makes you cry, and what sets your soul on fire, and you tap into those, you begin to understand your why.

3. What would you do if your days were numbered?

If you went to the doctor for a routine checkup and received unexpected news that you were terminally ill and had a very short time left to live, what would you do? I asked myself this before I told my agent that I would no longer be playing football. I thought of many things I wanted to do, but football wasn’t one of them. Speaking and making a difference in the lives of others was at the forefront of everything I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Answering these three questions helped me discover my true purpose and I strongly believe that they can point you in the right direction of doing just the same.

This column is an excerpt from Matt Mayberry’s book, “Winning Plays.”

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

How to Turn Negative Experiences Around and Thrive

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This column is an excerpt from Matt Mayberry’s book, Winning Plays, out now.

When we experience failure, tragedy, or hardship, I believe we all struggle with envisioning the absolute worst outcome. When I got injured in my very first game in the NFL, I was completely broken and defeated in that moment, but I made it even worse because I chose to feel sorry for myself and refused to take the initiative to improve anything.

In times of despair it’s imperative that we constantly remember to see ourselves beyond our current circumstances. Just like clouds in the sky can temporarily block the sun, the clouds in your life should only be passing through.

I struggled desperately to see my life beyond the football field. I wallowed in disappointment and self-pity over things I could not change at the time. It was my own doing. And it was eye-opening and life-changing when I finally realized this.

I’m sure you must feel this way at times. Do you feel that you struggle with the negative experiences in your life? Can you see yourself beyond them? Do you just want to give up and have part of you die like I did? Or wallow in self-pity? Do you feel ashamed? Angry?

The negative experience could be anything — small or big. Maybe you were fired from your job. Maybe you failed at achieving an important goal. Maybe you’re battling depression over losing a loved one. Maybe you were rejected by a company or a friend. Maybe something has happened in your personal life that’s been difficult for you to come to grips with. Whatever it is, take it from me: there is hope beyond your current state of mind. You just have to think beyond yourself.

If there is one thing that completely derails aspiring business owners, athletes or anyone for that matter, it is the inability to turn failure into a gift and thrive despite negative experiences. It takes a lot of work and practice, and I don’t think that it ever becomes an easy thing to do, but once you learn how to stop overanalyzing and beating yourself up over something that didn’t go as planned, the better off you will be. It’s important to put yourself in a position to grow from that negative experience instead of surrendering to it and remaining stagnant.

Here are two ways to help you come alive again after getting knocked down and turn negative experiences into positive ones.

1. Create your own opportunities.

Create your own opportunities instead of waiting for someone to hand them to you. If something happens where you feel broken, but you know there’s a dream out there waiting for you, then know this: you can create your own opportunities. It’s up to you. If you’re passionate about a goal or anything you want to do, create and design the opportunity in the best way you can.

For example, if you’re interested in a new career but aren’t sure what the culture looks like from a workplace environment, offer to work as a free intern so you can get some hands-on experience. The people who wait for the door of opportunity to swing wide open so they can waltz through will likely be waiting a lifetime. Sometimes you have to walk right up to that locked door and break it down.

2. Power through like a champion.

Champions experience rough times like everyone else. But you know what? They simply power through them. I hadn’t learned how to be a champion yet when I felt broken and desolate about losing my dream as a professional athlete. Since then I’ve learned that champions develop alternate winning plays that will put them on top. Absolutely nothing stops them.

They grow stronger through the challenges. If life is easy for you, then you’re not going to grow. It’s the difficulties that present the opportunities for growth. One of the biggest mistakes most people make when confronted with failure or a negative experience is they don’t look for the “positive” in the negative. There’s value in every experience no matter if it’s a positive or a negative one, and it’s up to you to analyze the situation and create an opportunity to turn that negativity into a gift.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

3 Ways to Have a Positive Attitude Amid Failure

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This article is an excerpt from Matt Mayberry’s new book WINNING PLAYS published by Center Street/Hachette.

Many, many people talk about attitude and especially the “attitude of gratitude.” It has become such a normal topic of discussion that few people probably really think about it. I’m not sure how many people actually work on their attitude daily. But trust me, it can make all the difference when it comes to reprogramming your life so you can reap the rewards and gifts of failure. It’s important to have an attitude of gratitude and be grateful for everything in your life. Even — perhaps, especially — the failures.

How can some people defeat the odds and achieve success? How can some turn major failures into incredible gifts that not only bless themselves but the entire world? Simple. It’s the attitude they choose.

Selecting the right attitude.

When our attitude is right, we can achieve maximum results. The right attitude can help us soar to greater heights than ever before and create extraordinary lives and businesses. Likewise, the right attitude can bring out the best in others. That’s why I mentioned that we need to interact with people who have positive attitudes because they will help us achieve our best.

You’re probably saying, “This sounds great and all, but how am I ever supposed to have such a positive attitude when everything seems to be going wrong in my life?” I get it. I really do. It’s still something I battle with in my own life. Here are three simple ways to help you keep a positive attitude regardless of negative situations or events that present themselves throughout your journey.

1. Make a conscious effort.

Make a deliberate effort to work on your attitude. I always heard about the importance of a great attitude and every football coach I ever had brought it up, but I never really saw the value of it until I hit rock bottom. I struggled so much to keep a positive and encouraging attitude amidst the failure and hard times, but that all changed when I finally made a conscious effort to improve my attitude despite what was going on in my life. Nothing will change if you don’t change. Don’t let circumstances or misfortunes dictate your attitude. Decide today to build up your attitude and attract the right kind of people into your life from here on out.

2. Create an affirmation card.

Writing an attitude affirmation card can be a total game changer for you when you’re rewiring and reprogramming your thinking. You can create an attitude shift for the better. I have always reaped tremendous benefits of “speaking things into existence” by repeating affirmations over and over, and the same goes for when I needed a change in my own attitude.

When I wanted a Division I college scholarship, I wrote and recited every day, “I will receive a Division I scholarship,” and I eventually started to believe it. Simply take out an index card and describe the exact type of attitude you want to possess. You can write something like, “I (your name) am an honest, loving, and hardworking individual. I have a positive attitude, and I build up others and let my words radiate encouragement and success. No matter what happens in life, my attitude will never be sour and negative.” This is just an example to help get you started, but you get the idea. We need to rewire and reprogram our thinking and declare the exact type of attitude we want. If we don’t, it will be extremely hard to change our attitude when we experience a failure or a setback.

3. See goodness.

Most poor attitudes stem from your perception of something, so start to look for the good in everyone and everything you come in contact with. If you look for the positive, your attitude will reflect that. An amazing transformation takes place when you see the good in everyone and everything, even failure.

Don’t let a poor attitude be the reason why you stay in a mediocre state forever and why you never fulfill your potential.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Book Cover Announcement

Book Cover

I am so happy to reveal the cover of my upcoming book, Winning Plays: Tackling Adversity and Achieving Success in Business and in Life, which releases on September 6th, 2016.

About the book

Today, former college football star and NFL linebacker Matt Mayberry is an acclaimed keynote speaker and performance strategist, but he was once on a downward path to destruction, struggling through drug addiction and a career-ending injury. Then one day he had an epiphany; he didn’t want to throw his life away day-by-day. Instead, he decided to transform his failures and create a bigger future for himself. Taking each setback as an opportunity to learn, Mayberry surrounded himself with mentors. With an infectious never-give-up attitude, he tells his story of transformation into a nationally sought-after speaker and success coach. Through the hardship and trials, Mayberry found his true passion and gift–helping others achieve massive success. Offering readers practical steps on applying his strategies to their own lives, Mayberry explains how anyone can power through and learn to create opportunity and success.

What others are saying

WINNING PLAYS is a story of hope and renewal. Author Matt Mayberry has seen the highs and lows — from drug addiction to an NFL career cut short — and he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about finding success in the ashes of failure. Let his story inspire you to achieve your goals. –Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of To Sell Is Human and Drive

 

If you think your failures are painful, you haven’t met Matt Mayberry. His experiences with persevering in the face of adversity are full of inspiration and lessons for all of us. –Adam Grant, Wharton Professor and New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

Available for pre-order now

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