A crowded mall doesn’t mean people are buying. It just means it’s crowded. This was our experience this weekend. The mall was crowded, but I noticed very few people had bags. What’s the deal?

Well…

1) Malls Are A Dying Breed: you can blame it on the internet and people wanting to buy online. So even if you are a holdout know that to stay relevant you going to have to learn how to deliver a powerful message online. It’s a must, times up!

2) We Still Crave The Experience: people will always want and need live experiences (well at least for now until VR takes over). That means, in your area, ONE mall will stay relevant. But, there’s a caveat. People will go to the mall or another venue for the experience, not necessarily to buy. So that means you have to combine an offline experience AND powerful messaging to convert people into buyers.

Get it?

Out… X
Lead Your Story

So many business owners or potential entrepreneurs are trapped because they will not ACTIVELY PUSH THEIR CREATIONS to people who appreciate what they have to offer. The fix seems really simple right…

Create shit, get it to people who love it, and make a profit so that you can do it again.

But it’s not that simple. Because CREATION, especially creating something of value, requires we pay attention to all three stages of creation. Skip one stage, and you’re trapped. Complete all three, and you’ll profit enough to do it all again.

Creation Stage 1

The first stage is in your head. You have to see it, feel it, and develop a crazy belief in YOUR CREATION. Because here’s the truth…

If you don’t believe in it, then why would you expect anyone else to believe in it! Or said differently, you must be the first one sold. And my friends, this is a huge trap for most and why so many business owners, especially service-based businesses, fail. Here’s the fix…

BELIEVE! And when you think you believe enough, find a way to BELIEVE SOME MORE.

When you are the first one sold, you’ll 10X your capacity to communicate value. PLUS you’ll have the drive to do what it takes to make your idea real. So don’t skip this step – see it, believe it, feel it, and know the value you and your creation bring.

Creation Stage 2

Next, take your inner vision and communicate it to the world. Yes!!!!! Even though you have not done much, you should speak about it, write about it, and share the idea with buyers BEFORE you sit and try to create your widget. Here’s why…

Feedback is the creators best friend. It allows you create at your best because you have to find a way to meet not just your vision, but the value and vision of those who will consume your creation.

Remember, you must profit from your creation to have the opportunity to create again. So by speaking about it, you begin the early process of having to take an amorphous emotional stew of possibility and form it into something that travels well (at least when communicated). This will allow you to make your idea better and give your first creation value. Meaning, you’ll get paid from the jump.

Side Note: building a strong internal BELIEF doesn’t mean being closed minded. It means believing enough in the potential of your creation that you’re willing to share. And… because you want your creation to come to fruition so badly, you’ll listen to feedback from REAL BUYERS. Don’t ask just anyone, only get feedback from people who are potential buyers/consumers of your creation.

Creation Stage 3

Afer getting feedback, create fast and furiously. Don’t think and over analyze. Just take the input and deliver your first creation. And VERY IMPORTANT, don’t be timid about asking for payment. A creator requires profit to keep creating. Get ya money 💰💰💰!

Don’t Fall Into These Creative Traps

Most people don’t go through these simple stages out of fear. The first fear is falling so in love with their idea that they dare not share it. So they live it out in their head and are content with the vision of it. Why risk reality messing with such a perfect vision (I’ve been here)

Or even worse… you fear early feedback, so you run and just blindly start creating. You give everything to creating the PERFECT product. Then what happens? You get stuck in the perfection loop never getting it done and then eventually quitting. Or…. the market says, “we don’t like it, so sorry, so sad!”(I’ve been here too).

Here’s the truth, perfect isn’t the goal, delivering real value that makes you a profit is. So no more of that, the world needs your story, vision, and creation. So see it, believe it, communicate it powerfully, get feedback from real buyers, and then get busy creating and delivering immediate value.

That’s all for now.

Over the last 20 years, I’ve put a ton of work into self-mastery and emotional control.

To that end, I’ve experimented with meditating well over 10,000 hours and at times being able to hold in-depth sessions for eight hours straight.

This along with other eXtreme activities has allowed me to go for weeks without eating. And to this day I routinely fast for days, sometimes weeks several times a year. I’ve also gone without sex for a year and to be honest can do without it.

And whenever I sense fear within myself, I attack it. That’s what pushed me to jump into a cage and fight as a professional mixed martial artist. It’s what inspired me to jump out planes, run marathons, and do powerlifting contest. It’s all out of attacking my fears and gaining a deeper level of control.

That said, one fear I have not attacked is the intense vulnerability I feel being in the ocean. Something about being in the deep-blue freaks me out. So I’ve planned a trip to Thailand to swim with the Whale Sharks. Again, it’s another attempt at attacking my gaps.

Point is, I do whatever it takes to be in control of ME. It’s what my clients and those that I love and lead appreciate most in me. They know they can depend on X to be confident and in control. And having pushed myself, I have no qualms with pushing them to do the same.

But the irony is that as I’ve gained more and more control, I now feel like I’ve become a slave to it. Meaning, I realize that I have not chosen anything other than control.

So all in all, I don’t have deep driving passions, desires, or things that I have to have. Shit, If the apocalypse happens tomorrow, I’d say bring it on and wouldn’t miss a beat.

And let me be clear, this has nothing to do with LOVE. I love many things, including my wife, kids, and my fellow man. I’d die and give everything I have to protect and uphold them. But I can do all of this while in complete control, almost dispassionately.

But is this living? Is this the point of emotional control?

Having recently turned 40, I’ve been doing some deep reflection. And this idea of control has been heavy on my mind.

And what I’ve realized intellectually and am starting to grapple with emotionally is this…

Maybe my greatest fear is NOT being in control. Perhaps I fear to allow myself to want, to deeply desire, and to emphatically say this is what I choose. Because…. to choose at this level and not receive, is to experience let down and so-called pain.

To be continued…

Photo by John Baker on Unsplash

Our habits can hijack our sense of self. We start to believe we are them and they are us. But in truth habits are just thoughts, feelings, and behaviors practiced enough that they become automated programs.

So while our habitual patterns of doubt, fear, worry, anxiety, or anger may feel like they are US, they are really just undesirable code. The key then is to be HE who purposefully programs desired thoughts, feelings, and behaviors… (that is, creates desirable code).

Once you understand this, you no more need to believe you are your habits than a computer programmer believing she is her code. Coding for the computer programmer is a job, just as habit cultivation is our job.

And I want to emphasize that habit cultivation is a JOB. You will not automagically think, feel, and behave the way you want. It will NOT feel good, be easy, or flow like the undesirable code you’re trying to overwrite.

But, if we accept this work, we are rewarded with becoming who we want to become. We get to think, feel and behave the way we want to, not how we have to.

The first step in this journey is to know you are NOT your habits and that as the master programmer you can be who you want to be.

 

 

It’s tempting to think that how we see things is how they actually are. Or that what we feel is somehow real. But the truth is, it’s all made up. Or more accurately, our reality isn’t THE reality, it’s merely our perspective of it. 

Why is this important to know?

Because if you understand that perspective is everything, then it gives you the ultimate FREEDOM to see life through a lens that serves you instead of traps you. 

For example, last night I was talking to my 17-year-old daughter about her so-called “stress.” I said, your stress isn’t real, you’re making it up. 

Of course, she looked at me like I was crazy. I said, you could continue to believe that it’s legitimate to feel stress over exams because heaven forbid you get a B and it ruins your chances of getting into Harvard and thereby destroying your entire life  (yeah that’s her belief). And the truth is, her perspective is not all that far-fetched given humans naturally are wired to see potential threats everywhere. So we all do it at some level, which again has nothing to do with reality, just our perspective of it.

I then said, you could choose to believe that the challenge isn’t happening to you, but rather for you. See it as an opportunity to grow, to get better whether it’s ending up at Harvard or not even going to college. She scoffed at the idea.

Like my daughter, some of you may be saying, that’s a cop-out. It’s not caring if you succeed. And my reply is Bullshit….it’s the exact opposite. Because without the undue “stress” you’re far more likely to give everything you got to your goal. Further, not only will you try harder, but you will have more to give. This is a natural outcome of rationalizing that the challenge is for you, not against you.

Just think about it. You don’t go into the gym and say, shit these weights suck and are here to crush me. That’s the surest way to get your brain to throw a hissy-fit, signaling the sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight response. You’ll then interpret how you feel as “stress” and will in time convince yourself to get the hell out of the gym. Sound familiar?

The alternative is to adopt a different perspective. Maybe you train yourself to say, think and eventually feel this affirmation: “The gym is here to serve me. These weights are here to help me work out so that I get stronger and build more muscles. I’m excited about pushing myself and seeing what I can do.”

This may sound corny, but every meathead (including myself) thinks of exercise this way. It’s to serve not to trap and destroy.

Now be honest, which of the above perspectives would allow you to go further faster? Exactly, so stop believing that feeling like shit, stressing, or being down is a sign that you somehow care more. Nope… It’s a sign of poor perspective management, which by the way is holding back your potential for greatness. So stop it!

That said, over the years I’ve cultivated 11 Master Perspectives that boost performance, happiness, health, and success. I’ll share one here:

Everything happens FOR me, not TO me.

This one perspective can change your entire life. And I say that from experience not only in my life but from working with clients, and now my daughter. So remember, we are always FREE to choose our perspective and see life through a more powerful lens.

Be sure to subscribe to the blog as I’ll share the nuts and bolts of how to LIVE by the 11 Master Perspectives. 

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Let’s keep it 💯,  there is no doubt that you CAN DO it! But here’s the truth…

It doesn’t matter if you CAN DO it, if you’re not WILLING TO DO it.

Going From CAN DO to WILLING TO DO

Let me share with you a performance recipe that you can use to help convert more of your potential into real-world results. It’s simple but effective. Try it and message me with how it turns out.

Steps 1-3: build more confidence that you CAN
Steps 4-5: boost your WILL and take more action

  1. I have done it (past) – most times you’ve done a version of your goal before. So don’t play yourself short as if you were born yesterday. You’ve been off the tit for some time and have gone through enough that whatever you’re contemplating, you CAN DO. You just have to go back and remember what you’ve already been through.
  2. I am doing it (present) – many times your doing something in the here and now that is similar to your goal. And even if you’re not, you should be doing things that help you feel worthy and able. So get in touch with how you’re putting in work today that proves that you CAN DO it. And as important that you are worthy of the crown (that is, you’re worthy of accomplishing your goal AND the reward that comes with it).
  3. I can do it (future) – it’s essential to go into the future to create.  It’s what Robin Sharma said, “everything is created twice, first in mind then in reality.” So see it, feel it, and once clear on your mission and goal affirm that you CAN DO it.
  4. I’m willing to (remove time) – after past, present, and future “imagination” it’s time to load your chamber by getting clear and real about what you are willing to do.  This is your gut check, the moment where you take confidence from I CAN and turn it into true intention. If you don’t do this, then it’s likely you will not pull the trigger and take action. Those who get it done, do so because they are crystal clear about their WILL TO DO IT. So draw a line in the sand with what you are WILLING TO DO.
  5. I AM doing it (take action) – the chamber was loaded, and you’ve pulled the trigger. That’s awesome, but seldom do we hit the target on the first attempt. So it remains important to stay down in the dirt taking action. When things get tough, make a quick trip back to the clouds (past present, future) and fuel up. Then as quickly as you can get back to the dirt (remove time – take action). This is my play on Gary V’s clouds and dirt (see video here). One caveat, when you refuel in the clouds don’t get stuck in the the feeling of I CAN.

You CAN DO pretty much anything, but are you WILLING TO DO it.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Fact, true empowerment requires risk. It’s literally saying…

This is important, and I’m giving you the power to make it happen or to f#ck it up.

If these three ingredients, success, failure, and risk aren’t in high supply, then you have NOT empowered nor been empowered.

This is easy enough to register when being empowered. That’s because we naturally know when someone has trusted us with the goods. We know when someone has said, “here are the keys, I believe in you.”

Just think about the first time your parents gave you the keys to the car. It was a great joy for you and a night up worrying for your parents.

Fast forward a year and that same parents say “can you drive and pick up…” Before they even finish the sentence, you grumble and complain. Why? Because now it’s merely a task, a job, it has no risk, no upside or potential for real failure.

At the end of the day, it’s human to want power, especially from those we admire or follow. This isn’t about hierarchy, ego, or usurping the throne. It’s more about being trusted, valued, and believed in. And as important, it’s about having an opportunity to contribute and prove we have worth. Who doesn’t want that?

A Quick Leadership Gut Check

Ask the below questions, but be sure to measure against the standard of mutually shared risk (many times more to you), and the potential for success, and failure:

  • Do you empower your kids or tell them how and what do?
  • Do you empower your staff or do you give them a never-ending list of tasks?
  • Do you empower your leaders or merely delegate jobs you don’t want to do?

The typical parent, manager, leader says…

But they hurt themselves.
They may break things.
They may fail.

And I say, So What! Because while empowering is risky, NOT to empower your people is far more. It’s the surest way to alienate, squelch potential, and foster a culture of stagnation. This happens because as mentioned, disempowerment cuts us off from an essential human need.

Further, disempowerment hampers growth, destroys trust, and lobotomizes creative engagement. Meaning, it’s stupid to disempower when the alternative directly maps to better performance and higher levels of emotional fulfillment.

And this makes sense given empowerment is the power behind building trust, experience-based wisdom and having shared collective ownership. All things the best leaders have in great supply.

Happy Empowering.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Your home has roughly 30,000 small nails. They are under the pretty paint, in the drywall, and driven into the studs. You’ll never see them, yet they are what keep your home standing.

The same is true for the 1,000’s or unseen and unchecked thoughts, emotions, and actions that prop up your life.

So the trick to changing a life is to make the unseen seen. It’s getting down to the studs and pulling out the nails that hold it together.

It’s hard work for sure, but it’s how you remodel a home; I mean a life!

Photo by Débora Rousse on Unsplash

Checkers is a lot like life because you must make it through a series of challenging gauntlets before being crowned. Meaning…

You have to first make it through a series of small moves no matter how big your talents, grand your ideas, or your capacity for delivering value.

In short, it’s not you, it’s the game of life. So don’t complain, don’t quit, don’t worry because of how slow and hard it may seem.

Just keep working to get to the end of the board.

Because once you make it, once you break through, you can shout “King Me.” And just like that, in one move, you can now jump across the whole f*cking board.

All work repetitions (reps) aren’t created equal. For example, your first rep is important because at least you’ve started. But your second attempt is far more critical. The third even more, and so on.

The reason being is that the last attempt is generally harder than the effort that preceded it. Harder because we humans get tired, or more challenging because we are trying to one-up what we’ve already done. Either way, our last attempt stretches us the most and thereby facilitates our most significant growth. This simple growth principle hides something profound about our work, and it’s this…

The work we do just before it’s too hard to continue is our most important work (period)!

Or said differently, we must strive to find and hit the all-important nth rep, the next to last attempt just before it’s too hard to continue. This nth or next to last attempt resides in our Greatness Zone. This is where greatness begins – not ends, but begins!

Seth Godin’s mentions a similar concept in his excellent audiobook Leap First: Creating Work That Matters. He said, to create great work the artist must “Strain Against The Standard.” His emphasis was on making better stuff than the standard in the market. I’d like to dig one level deeper and suggest that THE standard to break is always ours. Not the market, not his, not hers, but ours.

For example, In the gym reps, 1-9 are all done to get you to the all-important 10th, where it’s too hard for you to continue. That’s your standard. The questions is – will you attempt #10?

In your marriage, it’s time to have your fifth tough relationship talk this week. You don’t feel like talking, but… conversations 1-4 were all in service of this all-important fifth attempt. The only question is – will you bite the bullet and have the talk?

In your business, calls 1-39 are in service of #40, where it starts to feel too tough to continue. Again, that’s your standard to strain against.

This may sound exhausting, but it’s not because you are in complete control of your Greatness Zone. Remember, you’re only going to your limit. Not mines, not the market, not his, but yours.

Greatness Zone Tips:

  • Have a goal, but focus your work on leading indicators. For example, closing more deals may be your goal, but calling 30 prospects daily “leads” to your goal. For example:
    • close more deals > making calls
    • be a better leader > communication > talking to staff
    • improve my marriage > time together > weekly date
    • lose weight > eat better > don’t eat out > plan/pack lunch
  • Think of early reps as your warm up. Don’t count early attempts as if they are the actual work. Remember, they are the reps we do just to get us to the all-important nth rep. Tell yourself, the set hasn’t even begun until it gets somewhat challenging.
  • Don’t try to beat your MAX every day. It’s not feasible, that’s why it’s called a max. Instead, strive to become self-aware of when you’ve reached your edge, which by the way will fluctuate. Some days you’ll be on fire, others ice-cold. But as a professional you show-up, work and play at the edges.
  • The One More Rep Rule: when you feel the pressure of your edge, step inside your mind and say – “Just One More Rep.” This little mind-hack almost always gets you one more, if not several more attempts.

When you make the next to last attempt your target, you’ll begin to see what pushing yourself feels like. It’s liberating because you won’t play beneath your potential by checking the box on the early attempts. You’ll buy time to improve by keeping yourself in motion. And more important you’ll play at your edges and be in full control of your growth.