11 WAYS TO START STAYING COMPLETELY COMMITTED

We all start a new year, a new job, a new relationship with good intentions. The thing that we lack after the first few weeks is commitment. 

Commitment isn’t just a word that you utter in the midst of a heated conversation. “Yes, I promise to do that.” “I’m definitely making that change today!” “I’m starting that right now!”

I’m guilty of it, too. I hear an idea. I see a new “thing” that sounds awesome, and I’m on it. I want to give it a shot. And then maybe I get bored or I don’t give it a chance to work the way it is supposed to and I’m quickly on to the next thing. I didn’t commit to it.

So what is the secret to staying committed? How can you start being committed?

“WHAT IS THAT ONE THING RIGHT NOW THAT YOU ARE FINALLY READY TO ACHIEVE AT ALL COSTS?”

If you are ready to be awesome, here are 11 ways to get started. Started staying completely committed

1. Commit to Knowing Who You Are

How often do you sit down and really take the time to question yourself and your motives?

Is it just at the end of each year when you are reevaluating your life? Or do you always follow your gut, walk to the beat of your own drum, and walk away when something doesn’t give you peace anymore?

It’s important to know you are — and if you don’t, it’s important to figure it out.

So think about it. What kind of person are you? What kind of person do you want to be? And then stick to it.

2. Commit to Your Path

Yes, it is completely possible for your path to change. If you were with us last month, we talked every single day about your purpose FOR NOW.

Change is inevitable. But your path, while you are on it, should be your commitment. Once you pick your path, you should be all in. One hundred percent. And then don’t stop until you get to the end goal you had set for yourself.

Whether it’s losing 10 lbs or 100 lbs, you have got to stick with it until you get there. And if you need to set small goals like 10 lbs, 10 times until you get to the 100, then do that.

The key is to stay completely committed.

3. Commit to Your Personal Relationships

Whether it is making time for your wife, your kids, or just taking time to walk your four-legged best friend — committing to your relationships is one of the best ways to start on your journey of complete commitment.

“IT’S EASY TO GET LOST IN THE HUSTLE OF BUSINESS AND FORGET ABOUT WHAT TRULY MATTERS.”

It’s understandable that everybody gets busy, but make sure you aren’t too busy to spend even twenty minutes a day, letting those you appreciate and love, know you appreciate and love them.

4. Commit to Your Physical Health

You’ve made your resolutions. You’ve cut out the sugar. You’ve been to the gym at least three times a week. You’ve cut out meat from your diet. You’ve added extra meat to your diet. Whatever the case.

But you are losing momentum. Now is the time to re-commit. Even if you have to commit again every single month this year, just commit – even short term- for just one more month. Completely!

And then next month you can re-commit again. And again each month after. If you can’t go all in, take the baby steps!

5. Commit to Your Mental Health

Read the book. Take the class. Meet the friend. Commit to doing the things that make you laugh, make you happy, and basically make your life better.

And if that doesn’t help, don’t feel bad about seeking professional help for what ails you mentally. Sometimes positive thinking doesn’t always do the trick. Sometimes you need someone else who has no dog in the fight to hear you out.

If you aren’t at your best, you can’t give your best to anyone else. So commit to being mentally fit as well as physically. 

6. Commit to Your Financial Health

If your saving habits pale in comparison to your spending habits, it’s time to make a new commitment. Start with a six-month emergency fund. Then work your way up to saving 20% of what you make.

Shop at discount clothing and food surplus stores. Make shopping lists. Stick to them. Save your pennies. Maximize your employer’s retirement (if it’s offered) or build your own Roth through Betterment.

Give yourself a giving budget — so you can be generous without being broke. Whew! Finances are tough, but once you commit to getting them on track, you’ll be glad you did.

7. Commit to the Hunger

There is something to be said about the human spirit — and human behavior — when hunger comes into play. Commit to your success the same way you commit to finding food when you are famished.

Question everything. Thirst for more knowledge. You don’t know it all — in your field or in life. So when you can’t figure something out or when you are just plain curious, commit to finding the answer — from an actual human being.

Google is great, but Google won’t introduce you to someone in your field who may be able to teach you something new.

“COMMIT TO FEEDING YOUR HUNGER FOR KNOWLEDGE, NEW SKILLS, AND BETTERING YOURSELF.”

8. Commit to Excellence

Don’t half step. If you’re going to do it, do it the best you can. Set your expectations high enough to reach them but not so high you continuously let yourself down.

Sure it seems easier said than done, but lots of people are pulling it off. So work hard, risk failure, be consistent. If you slip, get back up and keep going.

Don’t beat yourself up but do commit to excellence in business and in life in general.

9. Commit to Trying New Things

So maybe you don’t have to say “YES” when your crazy brother-in-law asks you to go skydiving (unless that’s on your bucket list), but don’t turn down every invitation to step outside of your comfort zone.

Go paint the picture. Sing the song. Go on the date. Eat the sushi. Try the new business plan. You don’t have to say yes to everything, but committing to saying yes more often than you say no will increase your quality of life tenfold.

10. Commit to Boldness

It’s OK to make the first move. It’s OK to ask for what you want. It’s OK to do something unpredictable. It’s OK to take risks. It’s OK to commit to boldness.

Say the things that need to be said. Do the things that need to be done. Even if those things are looked upon unfavorably. And do them unapologetically.

If you commit to being passive, the world will be happy to pass you by. So stand up, be seen, be heard, be bold. 

11. Commit to Changing the World

Whether it is teaching your children to say “Please” and “Thank You” or teaching a room full of people how to do CPR — commit to doing one thing that will help make the world a better place.

Donate your time. Donate your money. Donate your clothing. Pick up someone else’s trash and throw it away.

You don’t have to start your own soup kitchen, but you could volunteer at one weekly or monthly and help change a life. It may even be your own that changes. 

Here is an empowering truth about commitment. It isn’t something big or audacious.

“THE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT COMMITMENT IS THAT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE SOME BIG GRAND GESTURE OR THAT COMMITMENT NEEDS TO MATCH THE GRANDEUR.”

That is completely opposite the truth. Follow through is the key to commitment. So, don’t plan on doing everything on this list. Start small. One at a time. One day at a time. One week at a time.

Staying completely committed is more about consistency than quantity. Small changes make a big difference.


By the way, if you need a boost to help you stay committed, download the FREE February Calendar of Awesomeness.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE FEBRUARY CALENDAR OF AWESOMENESS

Grab the calendar used by superstars to guarantee you get things done each day. 

  • Keep Track of Tasks – Write down everything that needs to get done and by when
  • Live With Intention – Every day starts with you reminding yourself of what matters most
  • Manage Daily Priorities – Follow the 1/3/5 methodology used by superstars everywhere
  • Improve Your Health – Log what you eat for each meal and the water you are drinking
  • Develop Better Habits –  Remind yourself each day about new skills you’re working on

HOW TO MISS LESS, WIN MORE, AND MAKE EACH MOMENT MATTER.

The quantity of your purpose is directly related to the quality of your life experience.

The magnitude of your success depends on how you approach the hard lessons life will teach you.

Which is why purpose matters.

Without a life of purpose, you are destined to keep making the same mistakes.

Lurching forward sporadically. And then finding yourself pulled back by the consequences of poor choices and unlearned lessons.

It’s a “hit-or-miss” existence. And any hits just don’t feel worth it.

“THE ESSENCE OF PURPOSE IS TO USE YOUR MISTAKES AS GUIDEPOSTS FOR FUTURE SUCCESS.”

To learn and grow and adapt. To avoid making easy excuses and blaming others for where you are in life right now.

That means you can no longer shuffle your way through life as if success will come to you automagically. Because it won’t.

You have to wake up each day with a specific plan for that day.

And not just a plan, you need a process for how you are going to execute your plan.

It’s not crazy to take that a step further and refine your schedule down to a series of hour by hour activities. Sometimes, even minute by minute.

And then leave yourself some room for self-reflection. Time to review how purposeful you have actually been.

  1. Could you have spent your time in a more useful way?
  2. Did you get the results you were expecting from your effort?
  3. What specifically could you do better next time to achieve the outcome you have been working towards?

There is pain in purpose.

You either suffer the ill effects of perpetual setbacks or demand uncomfortable discipline of yourself. It is your decision to make.

So take back control. Own your day.

Live a big life. Impact the world around you. Experience wealth and happiness like never before.

It’s possible. But not without purpose.

THE POWER OF MAKING RIGHT NOW AS PURPOSEFUL AS POSSIBLE.

To be successful you don’t need to know the purpose for your life right now.

You just need to know your purpose for right now. This moment. What you are going to do next.

That’s the secret to staying motivated and creating the momentum to lead you to uncover your ultimate purpose.

It is so easy to become so enamored with the prospect of your future that you lose track of the importance of what you’re doing right now.

You forget that your future is a direct result of all the now moments between now and then.

“YOUR FUTURE ISN’T AN ACTION YOU TAKE. IT’S THE RESULTS OF THE ACTION THAT YOU’VE ALREADY TAKEN.”

It’s the consequence of your purpose for right now. Good or bad. Awesome or indifferent.

Purpose isn’t something that finds you. It’s what you become.

It’s what you do with your life. Which makes all the small things in your life that much more important.

  • Paying attention when someone else is talking to you.
  • Being generous with your money and attention.
  • Giving your support to those who need it.
  • Being kind when it’s easier to be mean.
  • Mastering the details with getting it done is a lot less painful.

The tiny moments that make up every part of your daily existence.

Those things are what dictate your life long potential. Your purpose.

Looking back you’ll see the impact of your choices to make right now as purposeful as possible. 

WHY AWESOME PEOPLE DON’T COPY OTHER PEOPLE.

The idea of finding your purpose can seem intimidating. It can be scary to not know what’s your life’s work is intended to be.

The whole discussion around purpose and passion and life choices is important — but doesn’t need to be overly complicated.

“PUTTING YOUR QUEST FOR PURPOSE INTO ACTION IS NO MORE INVOLVED THEN YOU LIVING LIFE PURPOSEFULLY.”

You being purposeful in everything that you do.

But what does that mean?

It means that you’re not quick to copy someone else just because they have a new hack, trick, or “proven process.” You follow the clues left by successful people, but you don’t have copy-and-paste existence.

You watch what works and continually learn and grow.

Being purposeful means that you have to capture what you’re doing, measure it against your intended outcome, and then make corrections to improve those results if you’re not happy with what you have experienced so far.

That’s the essence of being purposeful. It’s not some “Come-to-Jesus” moment at a tent revival, although there is nothing wrong with that.

It’s about the boring, pedantic details of how you live your life each day.

It’s the stuff you might not think matters.

Learning and growing and improving. Not by copying someone else, but by being intentional in every area of your behavior.

For starters, here are a few of those things:

  • What you do.
  • What you read.
  • How you spend your time.
  • The people you hang around.
  • The food you put in your body.
  • The words that come out of your mouth.
  • Who you’re willing to work for.
  • What wealth means to you.
  • Your daily priorities.
  • The people you consider credible.
  • How you treat your kids.
  • How you treat your friends.
  • What you say about your enemies.
  • What you believe about yourself.
  • The stories you tell yourself about yourself.
  • The excuses you give to other people.

Being purposeful demands that you know where you want to go.

“BEEN PURPOSEFUL DEMANDS THAT YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW.”

Being purposeful demands that you take action when you’re not getting the results that you want.

It’s about you being deliberate about slow and steady progress towards the finish line.

You won’t find purpose without first being purposeful.

HIDDEN BEHIND THE FOG OF BAD WEATHER DAYS.

Just because you don’t see the sun shining doesn’t mean that it’s not there.

It’s there. It’s always there. You revolve around it. You exist because of it.

The simple fact that you can’t see it right now doesn’t mean that it’s gone anywhere.

A few clouds and some bad weather aren’t the end of the world. Today just happens to be a day where you can’t see the sun.

The same is true about purpose. Your purpose. Finding your purpose.

It’s out there. Your entire world revolves around it.

And just because you can’t see it for a few days doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

It’s important to take a step back from the thoughts and feelings that invade your mind on those bad weather days.

Those days when you’re broke. Or about ready to be. Those days when your relationships crumble. When you realize you’re more fallible than you thought possible. Those days where you hurt inside.

You feel miserable. You feel like a loser. Like a waste of space.

That’s a lie. A dangerous distraction.

A trap that can steal years of happiness and fulfillment from your life.

When you let yourself believe the lies you tell yourself on bad weather days you underperform. You don’t act like a champion. You don’t do much of anything at all.

And why shouldn’t you, if you truly believe the worthlessness your lies tell you?

But all of that can change with a simple whisper. An almost silent reminder from you to yourself the destiny is meant for you.

Greatness is meant for you. Purpose is meant for you.

Bad weather days come to each one of us.

You might not have done anything to deserve it, but you’re tough enough to take it. To withstand the frustration you feel and proceed magnificently towards your purpose.

Whisper often. Whisper quickly. Keep whispering to yourself until the truth becomes outrageously clear.

Behind the bad weather in front of you is the glorious sunlight of your purpose.

11 OBVIOUS MISTAKES YOU’RE MAKING TO GET RICH.

Getting rich isn’t everything. But it it’s your goal right now, there are rules to making it happen. 

More importantly, there are silly mistakes that you need to avoid making. 

Even then, it’s not going to happen overnight. Well, it might, if you have that winning lottery ticket. But if you are like the other 99.99999% of us, you have to work for every penny you deposit. And let’s face it, you want lots of pennies. 

But getting rich isn’t as simple as “Click here now.” If it were, everyone would be rich. But these are obvious mistakes you can’t afford to make:

1. You’re Not Frugal Enough.

Overspending is no fun at the end of the month when you are looking over your budget, but never spending can lead to boredom. And just like dieting, when you deprive yourself of something you’ve always had, you end up caving and binging.

Sure, when you’re on a diet you end up with a stomach ache, chocolate lips, and a small case of self-loathing, but when it’s money and you’re binge shopping, that can lead to so many other problems.

Go back to the good ole slush fund days and give yourself a “fun” budget. That way you can still do the things you love–within reason. 

2. You’re Trying to Keep Up with the Joneses. 

We’ve all done it. We need the newest and finest toys and tools regardless of cost or interest rate. Why? Because we need what everyone else has. We need that status.

Thinking like that will lead you straight to the poor house. Sure it’s nice to have a phone that is up to date, but if it still works and performs all the necessary functions, there’s no need to upgrade every single time a new version comes out.

Be different than the Joneses. Keep your treasure to yourself and don’t flash it. 

3. You’re Not Invested.

When it comes to investing, you should definitely not put off today what you think you can do tomorrow. Smart investing means investing now.

Starting at age 20, in an ideal world, you should be saving and investing $3,000 per year. But in the realistic world we live in, you’re probably already a year (or ten) behind. So if you haven’t started yet, now is the time. 

For example, if you invest $300 per month starting at age 20 and don’t stop until you’re 60-years-old and managed an 8% overall return during that time, you would have more than $1 million dollars in that account alone.

If you had waited until you were 30 to get started, you would only have $440,445 in your account. Those first ten years you missed out on would cost you more than $550,000 in returns – even though you only skipped paying $36,000.

4. You’re Not Saving.

If you’re not saving, you are definitely not getting any closer to being rich. You are standing in the way of your own wealth.

“THE KEY TO BEING FINANCIALLY SECURE IS SPENDING LESS THAN YOU MAKE.”

Put the leftovers in an account. And repeat that month after month. Start small and increase over time. Save 5% of your income. Then 10% and so on until you start seeing the savings.

Save for the house, the car, the college expense, the rainy day. Just save. 

5. You’re Not Budgeting.

Budgeting can be hard, especially when you are living paycheck to paycheck, but it’s a necessity. If you sit down and write out where every single penny is going (including the ones at the coffee shop), you will get a better grasp on what items are necessities and which items are luxuries.

If you know where the money should be going, you will be able to better get in in the right place at the right time with money leftover for points 3 & 4. 

6. You’re Using Credit as a Crutch.

Having credit is like living a dream. Find it. Love it. Swipe it. Pay later. But paying the interest later is a nightmare. Add up all that interest and see how much you could have in your savings instead of giving it to the credit card company.

If you can’t buy it outright, you probably don’t need it. Points are great, so are frequent flyer miles, and actually, they are a really good idea if you can pay off your balance monthly with no interest, but if you can’t, you should really start trying to stand on your own (credit card free) two feet. 

7. You’re Spoiling Your Kids.

Even if you have a million dollars in the bank, there is no need to hand your children everything they ask for every time they ask. That will turn you into their credit crutch.

Teach them to work for what they want and teach them to save what they have. This is especially important if you are reading this well into your twenties. Remember, the more they save, and the earlier they do that, the more money they will have later in life.

Teach your kids the importance of doing what you started later in life. Save. Invest. Plan. And keep your money in your own pockets. They will thank you later. 

8. You’re Letting Fees Get the Best of You.

Whether you have the money or you don’t, paying fees of convenience (or late fees) will eventually catch up to you and that little ding in the windshield will crack and come crashing in on you. Eight percent here. Four dollars there. Those numbers add up over the year.

So stop paying them. Plan your spending so you aren’t caught in the middle of a trip to Vegas spending $10 on ATM fees to get the money you budgeted into your vacation out of the bank.

Make sure your bills are paid on time. Set reminders so you can avoid penalties and fees. 

9. You’re Saving, but Not Earning.

It’s not enough to get to the point of saving and investing that magic number for success. You have to always be pushing towards more success. Make a pact with yourself to increase your income each year by 2%, 5%, 10%, you pick.

Just make sure you are going into every day with the mindset that you will make more money today than you did yesterday, more money this year than you did last. And then find a way to make it happen.

If that means taking a second job, like making art and selling it or turning that hobby into a side-hustle, find a way to make this year more prosperous than last. 

10. You Marry Without Talking About “It”.

Love is great. So are weddings. But if you are in the mindset to save and your future partner is a “spendster”, you will always be making more money and your partner will always be spending more money.

When it comes to long-term relationships and happy marriages, you have to have a talk about finances. You have to make sure the person you love and plan on spending the rest of your life with is on the same page as you.

If they aren’t, you either have some tough decisions and conversations ahead of you or maybe you should keep wading in that dating pool a little while longer. 

11. You Sacrifice Value for Saving.

Yes, you should save. Yes, you shouldn’t splurge on meaningless “things.” But if you’ve worked hard, and you are ready to play hard, you needn’t go cheap just for the sake of saving a few dollars.

The most important thing you should consider when you are going to spend money (and you are) is the quality of your purchase. Spending money to better yourself is not a waste. Spending money on a workshop that gets you out of a financial rut is not a waste.

Spending an extra $100 on a pair of running shoes that will last you ten times longer than the cheaper pair is not a waste. So spend on value, because you really do get what you pay for. 

Getting rich isn’t automatic.

And it’s not even all that important. Unless it’s your goal.

And if it is, you should make sure you aren’t making these mistakes.

Take an honest look through your last few months of behavior. 

What are the patterns you go through with money?

Are you willing to change if it means the possibility of turning things around?

Because you might need to do just that. 

WILLIAM HAWKINS: FLAWED. VULNERABLE. AND POWERFUL BEYOND EXPECTATION.

The chaos of the battle faded briefly from his mind. 

William D. Hawkins bowed his head to pray from the edge of the boat he was standing on.

Heading to the island of Betio, in the Tarawa atoll, William and his men were at Betio to get the island back from the Japanese after they stole it from missionaries.

The warship fired round upon round of ammo into the water in the hopes to deter Japanese submarines from attacking their fleet. William and his platoon waited for the signal before jumping into the boats resting in the shallow water.

They were called amphibious tanks, the first of their kind to ever be used in battle. Then they headed to the shore.

As they approached the shore, aerial bombs were dropped by the U.S. on the Betio beachhead by the thousands.

Smoke was everywhere. Fire exploded on the shore.

The soldiers jumped out of the boats and swam the last few meters to the shore as the Japanese peppered the water with gunfire.  

In the crossfire, William took a direct rocket hit to the shoulder — but he kept going.

He wasn’t willing to back down now. Even with 4,000 Japanese soldiers firing machine guns at them.

The island was full of dangerous machine gun bunkers — dug some 20 feet into the ground. On every hilltop, the Japanese were in trenches raining down gunfire on the oncoming U.S. Marines.

It was death every few steps as William and his men destroyed pillboxes with a flamethrower. He was in the middle of the bloodiest battle of World War II.

Over and over again, Japanese soldiers were taken out and the Marines pushed their way further into the island.

The trees looked like they were in the middle of a tropical storm, from the devastation of the battle.

The smoke of the gunfire settled on the island like a dense fog. The only two smells that existed that day were gunpowder and death.

He had been picked for this job and he had worked too hard to give up because he was dangerously wounded. Plus, it wasn’t the worst pain he had endured in his life.

When he was three, he came bursting out of his front door — straight into the wash lady holding a pot of scalding water. He suffered third-degree burns to his body — his arms, his back, and one leg and shoulder.

The water melted the skin on his little arm causing it to draw up and making it nearly impossible for him to straighten. Doctors wanted to cut the muscle in his arm to straighten it, but William’s mother wouldn’t let them.

It took him a year to figure out how to straighten out his arm. 

As he got older, he endured endless questions about his scars.  He loved swimming but was embarrassed when all the kids looked at him and pointed.

Eventually, his scars just became a part of who he was. And people accepted it. Except for the military.

William tried to enlist numerous times into the Navy, but they wouldn’t take him because of his deformity.

So he went to work instead for the railroad. A job that didn’t last very long. He was under a car when it fell on him — dislocating his vertebrate.

When he went to the railroad doctor, the doctor saw his previous scars and fired him immediately.

He was 18 with no job and no hope for a military career.

He bounced from job to job until he settled in a dark office in Texas, where he was miserable every single day. When he couldn’t take it anymore, William decided to try for the military again.

Pearl Harbor had just been bombed and William felt like he needed to do something.

So he went to the Marines and tried to enlist. It worked. He was their brand of crazy.

His comrades nicknamed him “Hawk” in boot camp and it stuck. He quickly rose up the ranks to First Lieutenant. And had his own squadron as he waded into the waters at Betio.

William and four of his remaining men along with another lieutenant were the first to set foot on the island.

His body still torn by shrapnel, Will took out sniper after sniper and burned bobby-trapped homes to the ground.

He insisted on pushing on.

At the beginning of the second day, William took a bullet to the shoulder. He refused to leave the fight. As long as he could shoot, he would. So the fight raged on.

Over the next day, William single-handedly took out more than six Japanese machine gun nests in the battle of Betio. Killing hundreds of Japanese warriors who sought to stop him.

But it came at a high cost. A few hours after his second wound, William was shot a final time. In his other shoulder. He died with his back to a tree, pistol in hand, encircled by enemy soldiers he had taken with him.

Over one thousand Marines lost their lives that in that short battle. Among them was William Hawkins the fearless boy from Kansas. 

In recognition of his heroic behavior, the airstrip on Betio Island was named Hawkins Field. The bar at The Basic School, where Marine Corp officers are trained, is called The Hawkins Room.

Along with his men, William was awarded two Presidential Unit Citations.

Ten months later at the White House, President Franklin Roosevelt presented William’s mom with the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest commendation awarded to the military, telling those gathered that: “To say that his conduct was worthy of the highest traditions of the Marine Corps is like saying the Empire State Building is moderately high.”

He was one man. But had a massive impact on his team and the war and the victory that followed shortly afterward. 

Burned as a child. Mocked as a teen. Rejected as a young adult. He reached beyond all of that to make a difference. To achieve his goal.

He sacrificed his life in pursuit of his mission. He didn’t have to. He could have gone back home and told his story about his wounds from the deadliest battle of the war. 

But he realized the power he had to make a difference in the battle ahead. Just one man. Flawed. Imperfect. Vulnerable. 

And powerful beyond expectation.

That same power is available to you as well. 

  • Your flaws can’t stop you.
  • Your fears can’t hold you back.
  • Your failure can’t cripple you.

Not when you decide that you’re going to do whatever. Not when you decide to do that next thing — even though you’re in pain. Not when you make the tough decision to try one more time.

“THERE IS NOTHING MORE POWERFUL ON EARTH THAN A PERSON WHO IS WILLING TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO ACHIEVE BREAKTHROUGH.”

You don’t have to be perfect to be awesome. You just have to be awesome.

11 PODCASTS TO HELP YOU UP YOUR GAME.

It’s no secret that time is limited.

You want to read, but you’re on the road too much. You want to call your mentor and talk it up, but you have too many conference calls and are lucky to fit in a decent lunch–let alone find some quality time with a relationship of value. 

Sacrifices have to be made to get where you want to be. It’s hard work. Completely worth it, but still hard.

Some days it’s hard to do anything besides work. 

But what if you could work while you get inspired? That’s one of the beauties of podcasts.

They are convenient, short (if you listen to the right ones), and chock full of encouragement. They teach. Train. Inspire and support.

I put together a list of the favorite podcasts from the entire EDGY Empire team to help you up your game. Maybe you’ll find your new favorite below:

1. Awesome Etiquette [link]

This podcast is exactly what it sounds like – lessons in awesome etiquette. As we’ve moved out of the roaring 1920’s and closer to the 2020’s, the Post family has held tight to their beliefs about personal conduct and etiquette.

And they get together regularly to school the rest of us on how to be better people. They do it in a fun, conversational tone that makes you want to try a little harder to put your best foot forward.

2. Radiolab [link]

Radiolab is a completely immersive experience. It’s a podcast where you can learn cool things about science, philosophy, and life in general. There’s an entertaining banter between hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich as they retell stories–sound effects included– to get to the bottom of things.

Since each podcast is around 60 minutes, it’s perfect for a one-hour commute–so you might as well use that time to learn something new. This is a great podcast to introduce to your science and history loving teen to as well. 

3. How I Built This [link]

I spoke about a rainy day file the other day on my podcast (episode 73) that encouraged you to find inspiration. How I Built This is that kind of rainy day podcast.

Get inspired by the stories of other founders, innovators, and business people (just like you) who’ve made their dreams come true…and then some.

4. TED Radio Hour [link]

Also hosted by Guy Raz (the host of How I Built This), TED Radio Hour compiles the ever-popular TED talks into a power hour of information that will blow (or expand) your mind.

From how the brain works to how art can influence your life, Guy covers just about every topic imaginable.

5. Pop Culture Happy Hour [link]

Another NPR podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour keeps you up to date on the latest books, music, comics, television and movies. Lots of movies.

Featured in a roundtable format with writers Linda Holmes, Stephen Thompson, Glenn Weldon, and whatever guests happen to pop in for the day, you can stay on top of pop culture with this twice-weekly show without actually letting pop culture consume you. 

6. NPR Politics [link]

Suffice it to say, we’re big fans of NPR here at the EDGY Empire. They really do have a little bit of everything, including politics (obviously).

Stay on top of the political world without getting stressed out or arguing with anyone with 30-45 minutes of what you need to know about what’s happening in our country.

Each episode features a listener-submitted opening, so if yours gets featured (and you mention The EDGY Empire), let us know 😉.

7. What It Takes [link]

What It Takes is a podcast put together by Academy of Achievement where they interview people who are at the top of their game in their field.

People in music, literature, business, television, social reform, and the military. In less than an hour, you will hear the life stories of people you know (and maybe love) and get a takeaway that you can apply in your own life.

8. ESPN’s 30 For 30 [link]

If you like sports and you like sports stars, 30 for 30 is the podcast for you. Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, and even UFC stories are retold each week.

They take current audio and original audio (when they have it) and weave together beautiful (true) tales about life in sports.

9. Terrible, Thanks For Asking [link]

Terrible, Thanks for Asking is a great podcast on how to handle pain because sometimes when you answer, “I’m fine”, you know you are lying through your teeth.

Hosted by Nora McInerny, who lost her own husband to cancer and the author of It’s Ok to Laugh (Crying is Cool too), the show looks at difficult situations and how to deal with them from a new (and sometimes comical) perspective.

10. Mortified: [link]

In thirty minutes or less, hear others tell their embarrassing stories on stage in front of strangers.

The mortified podcast is a good (no, great) way to remind yourself you’re not alone and things could be worse….way, way, way, way worse.

11. The EDGY Conversations podcast [link]

I may be biased, but this is my personal favorite. Every day, in less than 20 minutes, I like to tell stories that will hopefully inspire and push you to be just a little bit better today than you were yesterday. And I know you were pretty awesome yesterday.

And once a week, I step back to let a true story, richly sound designed, step into the spotlight and encourage you.

The EDGY podcast is radical help for people who want it in easy to digest doses, so subscribe below.

What are you listening to right now that is going to help you elevate your game?

Do you need something fresh and powerful to help you drive the results that you want?

Although a good podcast won’t replace a hug from your kid, the thrill of a signed contract, or a coffee date with your best friend, when you need a pick-me-up or some encouragement on the fly, podcasts are here to save you (in an hour or less). 

Listen in. Tell me which ones become your favorites.

11 SURPRISE PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS FOR NEXT LEVEL PERFORMANCE.

Successful people are productive. They get things done. Regardless of what is going on in the world around them, they just keep moving forward.

They find a way to do more than everyone else around them. 

One of the reasons why is that they use smart tools and creative technology to do more with less. 

“THERE ARE A LOT OF GREAT TOOLS OUT THERE THAT CAN DO WONDERS FOR YOUR BUSINESS (AND YOUR PRODUCTIVITY). BUT THERE ARE A FEW TOOLS THAT HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO TAKE YOU TO THE NEXT LEVEL.”

A lot of precious time can be wasted trying to find the right productivity tools — taking you away from doing the exact thing you are on a mission to do — get things done. 

You might not have heard of any of these before, but you need to jump in and check out these productivity tools:

AUTO CAPTURE AND A.I.

  1. Whipnote.com [link]  — Whipnote is the Artificially Intelligent personal assistant you always wanted. It goes into your meetings and takes notes for you. It transcribes every bit of the conversation so you never have to ask someone to repeat themselves.
  2. Clarke.ai [link] — Clarke is similar to Whipnote in that he (Clarke) quietly joins your meetings and takes note. Instead of transcribing verbatim, Clarke makes bullet points of notes and recommends the next steps of action to be taken, leaving you to be able to be in the present moment in the meeting instead of scrambling to keep up.

AUDIO & VIDEO CREATION

  1. Showbox.com [link] — Showbox is a cloud-based video creator. It helps you create high-quality videos while helping you target your ideal audience. Not only that, Showbox allows you to engage your audience and helps them make their own high-quality videos that promote your brand while still leaving you in control. And since 80% of the internet ads will be video based in the next year, this is a great place to start.
  2. Landr.com [link] — Whether you are in the music industry or just want to produce a quality podcast, Landr is the tool for you. You get quality mastering without having to give up an arm (or a leg). Plus, it’s user-friendly. Although it’s not a free tool, it will save you loads of time and money in the long run.

GRAPHIC DESIGN

  1. Illustrio.com [link] — Illustrio is a super cool (super free) icon library. You can peruse their database and choose from any of the thousands of icons they have for free. Then to add to the awesomeness, you can change the color of the icons to your brand’s color scheme to use on your website or newsletter or whatever other thing your heart desires. Did I mention that it’s free?
  2. BoxBrownie.com [link] — If you are in real estate of any kind, Box Brownie is a game changer. It gives you floor plans and 3D renders at a great price with a super quick turnaround (less than 48 hours). And to top it all off, this service even offers furniture placement in your render, which is a great selling point for buyers who need a little inspiration to see the bigger picture.

EMAILS & CAMPAIGNING

  1. Seamless.ai [link] — Seamless takes the hair pulling and dreading out of prospecting and relationship building via email. It does require a license, but it’s absolutely worth its weight in gold. With Seamless, you just download the chrome extension and you can create lists just by searching. Seamless helps you find contact info such as email and phone numbers, but it even goes a step further and will even search for prospects likes and dislikes allowing you to personalize your contact with them.
  2. Spreadsheetbooster.com [link] — Spreadsheet booster collects data from a number of sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest to help you quickly gather the information you need without spending hours in front of your computer. It’s currently only compatible with your Google spreadsheets but it’s worth porting over your excel until they get it up and running on that side.

SOCIAL MEDIA

  1. Eclincher.com [link] — Eclincher is your one stop shop for all your social media marketing needs (that’s why there it’s the only one on this list). You can schedule posts, recycle content, monitor keywords and hashtags, and engage with your followers on a daily basis on all Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn. Instead of spending way too much time each day, you can sit down and schedule your posts for the whole week while still looking like you are doing the most!

MINDSET

  1. Brain.fm [link] — Brain.fm is music created by scientists for all of us who need focus, clarity, meditation, or just need to sleep. You can get the boost you need in as little as fifteen minutes. You pick the mental state you need to focus on and let the music do the rest. This is a must download app. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, you should do it now. Before you even read #11.
  2. EDGY Tab [link] — The EDGY Tab is my brainchild so, of course, I think it’s worth mentioning again. This tool is easy to download and free. Just add it to your chrome extension from the store and every time you open a new tab, before you put in a web address, you will get a daily dose of AWESOMENESS. Snippets of inspiration. Doses of encouragement. A daily pat on the bum, if you will.

Find a few of these that seem to fill holes in your current productivity. Give them a try. See what works.

What didn’t make it on our list that is a favorite productivity tool of yours?

SPENCER WEST: WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF GIFTED BY TRAGEDY.

On his ascent up Mount Kilimanjaro, Spencer West looked down at his dirt-stained hands and fingernails. He didn’t know how long it would take before they would be clean again. He had been walking for days.

He was tired. He was hungry. He was ready to move on. But he waited patiently and empathetically as his two traveling companions vomited uncontrollably onto the side of the mountain. The altitude sickness that crippled so many climbers had skipped him and gotten to them.

Spencer wanted to lift them up and carry them. He wanted to help his friends the way they had helped him during this trip. But he couldn’t.

It was the only time in Spencer’s life that he wished he had legs. 

Spencer West was born with a rare bone disorder in his legs. From the moment he was born, doctors told Spencer and his family that he would not have any quality of life. He wouldn’t be able to enjoy or participate in any of the things “regular” kids did. They also didn’t believe he would live through his teen years. 

Spencer and his family chose to believe otherwise.   

Time and time again, Spencer West did things that his doctors would have never dreamed he could do. He learned to skateboard. He danced. He sang. He drove a car. He worked a retail job.

“AND HE WAS ABLE TO DO ALL THOSE THINGS BECAUSE HE NEVER FELT LIKE HE SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO. ”

Spencer enjoyed childhood just like any other kid.

Except for two times in his life where he was keenly aware that he was different. 

Once when he had to have both of his legs cut off right above the knee when he was three. 

And a second time when he had to have the remainder of his legs cut off right below his pelvis when he was five. 

Other than that, Spencer got to be a regular kid. Spencer’s mom didn’t believe in babying him because he was different. She wanted to make sure he was responsible for his actions just like any other child his age. 

Because of his mother’s unwillingness to coddle him, Spencer never accepted that he should be limited just because he was a little different than his peers. When he was a toddler, he dragged his dead legs behind him to get wherever he needed to go.

As he got older, his arms got stronger and Spencer made sure to get on with his life just like everyone else. 

He went outside and got into mischief like other little boys do.

He played too close to the street and rode his skateboard too fast down hills. He didn’t worry about getting hurt any more than the other boys in the neighborhood who had legs to carry them. 

But Spencer wasn’t under any impression that he was the same as everyone else. He was acutely aware of the way people looked at him when he came walking in on his hands or rolling in with his wheelchair.

And he didn’t care. 

In elementary school, Spencer decided he would never, ever use the prosthetics that had been made for him. It was the prosthetic limbs that made Spencer feel like he was different. Like he was an outcast. They were awkward, gawky, and not natural looking at all. 

Plus, Spencer got around just fine on his hands. Spencer navigated his way through middle and high school the same way his friends did.

At times it was great.

Other times, when he was being pushed out of his wheelchair onto the floor by the captain of the football team, it wasn’t so great. When everybody walked by him to go their classes instead of stopping to help Spencer back into his wheelchair, it wasn’t so great, but high school eventually ended. And so did the bullying. 

Spencer applied to Westminster and got accepted. An hour from where he grew up, Spencer studied computer science. 

His first year of college brought with it a storm of depression that even the strongest umbrella couldn’t withstand. Spencer was ready to quit and go home before Christmas break. He hated his computer class. He realized computers were not what he wanted to do. He spent a lot of his time alone. Sulking. 

When he went home on Christmas break, he told his mother how he was feeling. His mother had always been very caring and loving toward him so he was sure that she was going to tell him that everything was going to be OK and that he could come home. 

He was wrong. 

Spencer’s mom told him the exact opposite. She told him he needed to quit sulking. She told him that anybody would be miserable if they sat around all day thinking about how miserable they were.

Instead of telling him to come home, she told him to come home less.  To make some friends. To be a college student. 

Spencer went back to college broken and just as depressed as before.

But it didn’t take long before he realized she was right. Spencer was making himself miserable. He wouldn’t allow himself to be happy. Until the day he woke up and looked outside and saw three fellow students throwing snowballs at each other. 

Spencer sat at the window and watched for a long time. Taking in the sounds of their voices. Watching their breath as it escaped from their warm laughs. He wanted to join them. He wanted to be outside playing in the snow. 

Why wasn’t he outside playing in the snow like he wanted?

And then it dawned on him. Nobody was stopping him from going outside. Nobody was forcing him to take the computer class. Nobody was causing his misery. Spencer realized that he was the one in his own way. He couldn’t get out of his head long enough to see his options.

He just kept spiraling down into the abyss of self-pity and aloneness. 

In that moment, Spencer had to make a choice. He could choose to continue on his road of misery or he could change directions. 

Spencer chose to change his direction. To change his mindset. 

By his second year in college, Spencer had changed his major and chosen a communications path. He was able to take music classes, drama classes, broadcasting classes. All the things he loved and was missing by taking computer science.

He was back on the stage acting. He was back on the field cheering. He had made friends with similar interests. He had a job. He had a life.

He wasn’t missing out anymore. 

But he still felt like he was missing something. Spencer felt like he had a calling. He just didn’t know what it was. 

Spencer was offered an opportunity to go to Africa to help build a school the following summer. He didn’t think he would be able to afford it and so he declined. 

But every night, when he was supposed to be sleeping, Spencer kept thinking about the trip. Every day that passed, the feeling just got stronger that he should go. Finally, he made up his mind. He would go. 

When he got to Kenya, he was the talk of the village. The kids wanted to meet him. They wanted to see how he got around. They enjoyed watching him walk on his hands. They really enjoyed watching him do wheelies in his wheelchair.

“THEN A YOUNG GIRL SAID SOMETHING TO SPENCER THAT CHANGED HIS LIFE: ‘I DIDN’T KNOW THAT THINGS LIKE THIS HAPPENED TO WHITE PEOPLE.’”

In that moment, Spencer knew what it was he had been missing.

He knew what it was he was supposed to do with his life. 

He was supposed to share his story. 

Spencer never realized what an inspiration he was to other people. To himself, he was just Spencer West — a kid from Utah who lost his legs before kindergarten. He had adapted — but he never took notice that his adaptations were special. That he was special.

Spencer’s story was his gift. His calling. 

We all have a gift inside us that we have to find. Some people call it a crossroad. A calling. Others call it that gnawing feeling deep in their soul telling them to do something different than what they are doing right now. But one thing is certain. 

“YOU HAVE A GIFT INSIDE YOU. EVEN IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS YET.”

Spencer West has done what many people with two legs wouldn’t even attempt. He helped build a school in Africa.  He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro — 80% of that climb was on his hands. He raised over half a million dollars for clean water in Kenya. 

What others saw as a tragedy was his greatest gift.

Now, he travels around the world sharing his story of overcoming obstacles — obstacles that seem impossible to some. 

What are your obstacles? What is your mountain? What is the thing gnawing deep down inside of you waiting to rear its beautiful head? 

What you go through you grow through. It’s that simple.

The problems that you think are going to crush you are a stepping stone to your greatness. 

Have you ever thought about it that way? Tragedy is your gift. Your opportunity to inspire the world around you. 

So stand tall. Fight long. Be obsessed about breakthrough. 

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: CREATING A VISION SO STRONG YOUR DREAMS BECOME POSSIBLE.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said it best:

“THE MIND IS THE LIMIT. AS LONG AS THE MIND CAN ENVISION THE FACT THAT YOU CAN DO SOMETHING, YOU CAN DO IT, AS LONG AS YOU REALLY BELIEVE 100 PERCENT.”

When he got to the gym, shivering from the freezing bike ride there, he walked to the door and pulled. It was locked.

This couldn’t be happening. Especially after he had committed himself to working out. How could this be fair?

And so Arnold Schwarzenegger, at the age of 15, four miles from his home in Thal, Austria did the only logical thing.

He broke into the gym. Just so he could keep a promise to himself.

He had resolved to become great. He could taste it. He could feel it. He could also feel the cold making its way deep into his bones.

Because the gym was closed, there was no heat that day.

But Arnold wouldn’t let that stop him though. He had, years earlier, dedicated himself to becoming a weightlifting champ. He had envisioned it.  Obsessed about it.

And so, with the towels laying around in the gym, he wrapped up his hands in makeshift gloves, and started his daily workout. Lifting steel bars with hundreds of pounds of weight on them in the freezing cold concrete gym. 

Exercise had always been a part of Arnold’s life. His father was ex-military and a civil police officer. He believed in structure and he believed in discipline. Every morning before breakfast, Arnold and his brother were forced to do sit-ups and push-ups before they would be allowed to eat.

Arnold didn’t mind. He loved physical activity. He didn’t even mind that his father would make him and his brother practice soccer every single day after school. That is, until Arnold decided that soccer was not the sport he was going to excel in. That sport would be weightlifting. 

When Arnold was fourteen, he met the current Mr. Austria. His name was Kurt Marnal. Arnold was in awe of the physique of the man. He would watch him swim in the pool and wondered what he did to get that built. Then one day, he decided he would never find out if he didn’t ask. 

From that day on, Kurt took Arnold under his wing.

They would meet daily at the gym. The same gym that Arnold would later break into. Kurt would show him what exercises to do. He would tell him how many reps.

When Arnold first started working out, Kurt pushed him so hard Arnold couldn’t even get on his bike to pedal home. His legs were like Jell-O and his arms felt like rubber bands. He tried numerous times to pedal and steer his bike, but he kept falling over. His balance was off and his limbs wouldn’t work.

So he had to walk the bike home. 

But Arnold loved the pain. He knew without the pain, there would be no rewards. So he continued to work out. He visualized himself becoming Mr. Austria one day. 

That all changed when he saw a magazine from the United States.

The magazine had a picture of a greased-up buff man, flexing on the front cover. It was Reg Park, the current Mr. Universe. 

From that moment on, Arnold saw things much clearer. He expanded his vision.

He would still be Mr. Austria — but he wouldn’t stop there.

He wanted to be Mr. Universe. He wanted to get invited to the United States. He wanted to work out on Muscle Beach. He wanted to break records in powerlifting.

So he worked day in and day out. Before school. After school. Before work. After work. He hung posters of other powerlifting heroes on his wall to motivate himself.

Which his mom had a problem with.

She even went as far as to question the neighborhood doctor. All the other boys were out trying to score a home run with girls. All the other boys had posters of bikini models on their walls. Arnold had posters of really buff men in speedos. She was quite alarmed.

The doctor assured her that it was perfectly normal, healthy even to have male role models. She accepted his opinion and let him have his posters.  

But his success wasn’t easy or automatic.

Every boy in Austria was required to join the army when they became of age.

Arnold was no exception. He enlisted and went to basic training.

It wouldn’t have been a problem, but by the time he was 18, he was fairly successful in local lifting arenas. He had even managed to place 3rd in the Mr. Austria contest.

And prior to basic training. He had signed up to compete in the Mr. Europe contest. 

His army sergeant knew the competition was coming up, because Arnold begged and pleaded with him to get a leave of absence to go. But base rules were put in place for a reason and he was denied any sort of leave. Arnold hadn’t worked this hard and this long for the military to tell him what he could and couldn’t do.

So he followed his heart, left camp and took the 7 hour train ride to Stuttgart, Germany where the competition was being held. 

He oiled up and walked out on stage in his tiny borrowed trunks and flexed for all the audience to see. The biggest audience he had ever had before.

And he won Best Built Junior Athlete of Europe. 

When he got back to base, his sergeant was not happy about his leaving.

Especially after being denied permission. Arnold was sentenced to solitary confinement.

He was only there for twenty four hours, though. When the military found out he had actually won the contest, they freed him. He didn’t sneak out anymore during his training. 

When training camp was over, Arnold was able to set up a weight room on base and was able to work out for four hours a day. And he was served meat every day — which never happened in the civilian world.

With the mixture of weight training and protein, Arnold got bigger and bigger and bigger. He outgrew a uniform every few months. 

After a rocky ride in the army, Arnold was offered a job running a gym in Germany. He didn’t want to pass it up so he applied for an early discharge from the army and was miraculously granted it.

Arnold saw this as just another part of his vision to get to the Mr. Universe title and ultimately to the United States. 

He knew what he wanted and was working to turn his vision into reality.

As he would teach other later: “What you do is create a vision of who you want to be and then live that picture as if it were already true.”

And that’s exactly what he did from his humble beginnings. He envisioned himself in America. He envisioned himself as a bodybuilding champ. He envisioned himself as a leader. 

Because of that, he became a seven-time Mr. Olympia. Winning it six times back to back. Then he made an unexpected comeback when he entered the competition years later at the last minute. He scoped out the competition. He thought he could win. And so he did. 

He made it to America and became one of the highest paid actors of his time. His movies became cult classics. His name recognizable around the world. 

And finally, he seized the moment when Gray Davis got recalled and became the Governor of California. 

Visualize your success.

Make up your mind to be great. And then do it. 

That’s how you achieve success. 

We talk a lot about being willing to do whatever it takes. About going that extra mile. About working while everyone else is sleeping.

“WE THROW AROUND INSPIRATIONAL WORDS ASSUMING THAT BY KNOWING THE VOCABULARY WE’VE ACHIEVED THE CRAFT. ”

There is no substitute for heart and determination and will. There is nothing that can replace the drive you have when you have already visualized the finish line. When you are living in that moment of expectation and success.

In your mind, you’ve already accomplished it. You have figured out where you want to be. You have the target in mind.

You know what you want. And that’s most of the battle.

It’s not the fight that trips you up. It’s not the determination or perseverance that you’ll need. It’s knowing what your target is. Knowing what you want. Where you want to be when the battle is over.

What’s that vision for you?

THE ONLY QUESTION WORTH ASKING YOURSELF.

There are a lot of questions you have to answer each day. Some are simple questions about “where things are” or “who needs to be involved”.  There are complex answers about “how to do” a particular task or “why doing it that way” matters.

Every day you are faced with questions. It’s your responsibility to find answers. To break through the confusion with insight and clarity.

Which means that you have to get good at answering a few questions well.  One more important than the others:

Did we do our best?

Did I do my best? It’s that simple.  You can’t ever do better than your best and it’s incredibly natural to do a lot less than your best.  

“THE ONLY QUESTION THAT MATTERS MOST EACH DAY IS: DID WE DO OUR BEST?”

The answer tells you everything you need to know in order to change the situation.

  • If you did your best and lost then you might be competing at a level or in an arena where you don’t belong.  Or maybe you just need to do your best another day.  Keep trying.
  • If you did your best and won then you know the conditions and environment for getting even bigger results in the future.  You know how tough it is and level of focus you need to deliver.
  • If you didn’t do your best and still won then you need to chalk that up to “luck”.  Or maybe that’s an indication that you need to play in a bigger arena or against tougher competitors.
  • If you didn’t do your best and lost then you don’t know much of anything. You don’t know if your best would have changed things. You don’t know what to change — what to do differently.

Doing your best is the benchmark.

That’s where success starts.  And that’s why you feel confused and frightening when you try to answer other questions first.  “Did we do our best” is the beginning of that journey.

If you’re not doing what you can with what you have then there is little else that can help you.  Not outside consultants.  Not friends, family, or therapists.  Not anyone.

The only one who can help you is “you”.

So maybe it’s time to start asking yourself the only question that really matters: “Are you doing your best?”

Dani Johnson: It’s Hard To Be Different. But It’s Worth It.

Dani Johnson never imagined in a million years she would be happily married with five children. She didn’t plan on living long enough to think about that life. 

At 21, Dani dove into Hawaiian waters with the intention of not coming back out. She was broke. She was homeless. Living in her car she parked overnight at a beach a 40-minute drive from where she was planning on ending it all right now. 

She had become everything she had hated. She had become her parents. 

Dani grew up in an abusive home. She was beaten and molested repeatedly by her stepfather for years. Her mother was aware of what was happening, but did nothing. 

She watched her parents drink, do drugs, fight, pass out — and then do it all over again. 

She promised herself that she would never turn into them. She would do something with her life. But that something never seemed to happen. The years sped by. So did her dream to do something different. 

But it never happened. 

At 21, she was a waitress in a small Hawaiian town — with one big problem. She couldn’t afford the cost of living in Hawaii. Not on her meager tips. But she knew where to find men she could go on dates with so they would feed her and she knew how to party with her co-workers. Those things came naturally to her. 

One night, she was out with the girls. Everyone was drinking. Everyone was dancing. Everyone was doing cocaine. Including Dani. It was a party of epic proportions.

She had spiraled out of control. She had become everything she never wanted to be — and worse. 

She woke up on her beach mat the next day exhausted. And miserable. Her body craved more cocaine. She would have done anything to get it. Including sell her body. 

That was not the life she had ever planned. She felt herself slipping away. In that moment, she decided to do something. If she couldn’t control herself, she would get rid of herself. 

That’s when she decided the ocean could have her life. She didn’t want it anymore. She hated what she had become.

So she walked into the waves and dove in. Underwater, she wasn’t fighting for breath. Dani was just letting go. And then she heard what she describes as a voice that said, “pick up your mat and walk.” 

Maybe the ocean was talking to her. Maybe it was her subconscious. Maybe it was God. 

It doesn’t matter who it was. It matters what Dani did next.

Dani listened to the voice. She got out of the water. She grabbed her mat. And she walked. 
She walked back to her car and got in.  She drove the 40 minutes back to the beach she lived at. She didn’t know what her next move would be, but she knew she would be alive to make it.

She didn’t crave the drugs anymore. She didn’t crave the partying. Dani knew that something inside her had changed. She had changed.

Looking out from the back seat of her car, the sunlight sharply reflected off something up front. Dani looked to see what it was. It was a partially used bottle of weight loss formula that she had ordered long before — and never used. 

Something inside her just clicked. She had an idea.

Using one of the last coins in her pocket, she decided to call the manufacturing company and find out what she needed to do to sell their product. 

First, she needed a phone. Then, she needed an address. Finally, she needed customers. 

She had none of those things. But Dani refused to give up.  

She called a local telecommunications company and inquired about getting an answering service line. The number was going to cost her $15 a month that she didn’t have. After talking to the sales rep for a while, he gave her a phone number to use and told her to mail him a check. She had solved one problem. 

She wrote up a flyer talking about the product she was selling.

She put her new phone number on it and hung it at the post office. She crossed her fingers and hoped for the best. That hope turned into her destiny.

Within 3 hours, she had 25 phone calls about her product. 

She called back the first number. Dani didn’t know how to sell anything, though. When the customer asked how much the product was, Dani just told him. He told her it was too expensive and hung up on her. Ouch. 

At that moment, Dani knew she needed to try something different. She made a phone call to a weight loss center close to where she was.

When they answered, she told them she was inquiring about their product.

The person on the other line started asking her questions like, “how long have you been trying to lose weight?” and “what else have you tried?” Dani wrote down every question they asked her on sticky notes and she stuck them to the pay phone glass in the order she would ask them to the other 24 people on her list. 

Dani wasn’t great at reading. She was dyslexic and hadn’t even read a book until she was 21. But she was determined and she was resourceful. 

She still had one problem. Even if she could fulfill the orders, it wasn’t like the post office would deliver to her car. She needed an address. 

Dani went to a nearby liquor store and asked if she could have some packages delivered there. 

They agreed. 

Dani had worked out all the answers to her problems. 

She started meeting with prospective clients. She listened to their stories. She never mentioned that the car she drove to their house was also her home. She focused on helping them. She wasn’t worried about her situation. 

By the end of the first month, Dani had collected $4,000 for a product she didn’t even have with her when she went to sell it. In fact, she didn’t even have any literature. Or a bank account to deposit the checks. 

All she had was a listening ear and a possible solution to their problems. 

And that’s all she needed. 

Less than a year later, Dani had made a quarter of a million dollars. And she had opened her own weight loss store in Kona. She was so busy that she had to hire people to help her. 

Her business grew faster than she could keep up. She became less involved with the people buying her products and more involved with growing her empire. In truth, her salespeople didn’t give the personal touch she had started her business on. They didn’t care like she did.

She made a couple bad business deals and got taken advantage of a time or two. The business was suffering. 

Instead of giving up, Dani decided to get back to her roots. 

She started training her salespeople to treat their customers like people — not like a sale. She taught them how to ask questions. She taught them the importance of listening. She taught them that everyone has a story to tell. 

Dani firmly believed that it was her listening ear and empathetic nature that created the sales. She pushed her team to get back to that place. And she succeeded. 

It took another year of hard work, but her business was back on track. She sold her company, keeping a percentage of the royalties. The company expanded and thrived, making Dani Johnson millions of dollars. She went on to start five more companies. 

Today, Dani Johnson teaches her practice of putting others before yourself all over the world. 

She has been featured on Oprah, the Steve Harvey Show, CNN and many other outlets globally. 

She has come a very long way from that desperate day on the beach, feeling desperate and alone — living a life no different from her abusive parents.

Her story is like thousands of others. Except with one huge distinction. She did hard things to break the spell of her old life and be different.

“IF YOU WANT SOMETHING YOU HAVE NEVER HAD BEFORE, YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING YOU HAVE NEVER DONE BEFORE.”

That’s the truth. You can’t change your life for the better without being different from who you are right now. You can’t get better without trying something new.

It’s hard. And uncomfortable. But it’s worth it. 

So get started. Your destiny is waiting. 

THAT ONE LIFE-CHANGING THING YOU’VE BEEN MISSING.

Make no mistake, you’re not going to escape death. Your time will come eventually.

No matter what you do. No matter what you learn. No matter how healthy, sophisticated, or lucky you intend to be, the inevitable will happen.

And while it makes no sense to live life discouraged, dwelling on the inevitability of your finality, it should focus your intensity.

It’s a reminder that every day you have is precious.

It’s a wake-up call that achieving your destiny is not something you have unlimited time to achieve.

You’re not promised tomorrow. You’re not promised the rest of today. You’re not even promised one more hour.

What you do have is this moment. This time right now.

“YOUR DECISIONS ARE POWERFUL. WITHIN YOU FLOWS THE SAME ABILITY OF EVERY OTHER AMAZING PERSON THAT YOU ENVY.”

You have millionaire’s blood flowing through your veins. You have the same synapses in your brain as the world’s smartest prodigy.

You have the same capacity for courage and heart as every Special Forces operator brought in to change the course of a battle.

Imagine if you actually believed that.

Imagine if you could fully embrace the power of your humanness. You were put on this earth to do mighty things.

You started off fearless. But now you’ve let fear and mediocrity break your will to win and convince you that if you don’t just “go along,” your life’s going to explode around you. Broken into a thousand tiny pieces of nothingness.

If you’re not living the life of your dreams. If you’re not achieving the level of greatness that you know you can achieve. If you’re not happy, fulfilled, conquering, and magnificently obsessed.

If that’s not you, then today is the best time to change that.

Right now is the best moment to get started.

You have all the tools you’ll need. In fact, you’ve always had them. What you been missing is intensity. Urgency. That sense of purpose. The realization that what you do matters. That what you do does indeed have impact.

Don’t let yourself get so beaten down by your past that you destroy your chances for an amazing future.

YOUR LIFE DOESN’T NEED TO BE PERFECT FOR YOU TO BE AWESOME.

Make it work. You’re never going to have all the resources you need. You’re never going to feel as motivated as you need to be. 

All the stars don’t need to align for you to get busy making progress. The truth about big goals achieved by ordinary people is that there are a lot of days where you don’t feel like doing anything. 

You’re not feeling well. You’re overwhelmed by your immediate circumstances. You’re tired and frustrated and not really sure if what you’re doing is going to pay off.  

Achieving success in your life isn’t about having the perfect circumstances. 

Your family situation and personal friendships are never going to be perfect. That’s just not going to happen. 

The people who make the most progress are those who take what they have and use it wisely. People who count their resources — not to complain about it — but to make every single thing count. 

Sometimes in your life you’re going to have money but not enough time. Other times you’re going to have time but not the right relationships. 

You can’t wait until you have it all before you put your head down and drive forward. You’ll never get it all that way. You’ll never achieve success. You’ll never make enough progress to stay the course. 

Success isn’t about the resources you have, but how resourceful you are. 

Look around you for answers. 

Isn’t it interesting that you seem to perform the best when you’re under pressure? When your back is against the wall, and your life depends upon you figuring it out, somehow you always do. 

You get creative. You’re suddenly willing to try something new. You stop noticing all your problems and instead search for answers.

This, my friend, is about mindset. What you think about. What you allow yourself to focus on. 

You’re not the first person who is in the situation where you find yourself right now.

You didn’t magically stumble into a problem that no one else has ever heard about or been able to solve. 

What you’re going through, they’ve already been through.

Someone. You may not know who. But they’re out there. 

Which means several things to you specifically: 

  1. You are just as capable of figuring out your current situation. 
  2. There are awesome people ready to help you achieve breakthrough. 

So change how you think. Pick your head up. Life isn’t especially unfair to you.

You can figure it out. Your life doesn’t need to be perfect before you get started being awesome.

HOW TO KNOW EXACTLY WHY YOU’RE STUCK.

The excuses you allow yourself to make are the reasons you are failing. If you’re not sure why you’re stuck, check your excuses.

The truth is that the excuses you allow yourself to tolerate dictate your level of success.

Your attitude determines your altitude.

On a personal level, it’s automatic to be dismissive of ideas that haven’t worked for you in the past or thinking that might be new and awkward for you.

It’s not until you’re truly motivated to change that you’ll begin to take the steps necessary to move from where you are to get closer to where you want to be.

That’s exactly how it worked for me.

I am in awe of early morning people. But I’ve never truly been one of you. I’m working on it as a matter of sheer human will, but it’s not natural or easy. I tend to be the sort of person who just gets up and grinds. Often working late into the early hours of the next day. I go and go until everything gets done. Or close. 

Here is my problem. Every study I’ve ever read about productivity seems to indicate that early morning risers get more done than everyone else. I was explaining to a mentor and friend of mine that I just wasn’t a morning person.

To which he replied to me, “NO. You’re just not a motivated person.”

My immediate reaction was to throw back my shoulders and deliver a: “Do you know who you’re talking to? I’m Dan Waldschmidt. I run 100-mile races. How dare you call me not motivated.”

But it only took me a couple of seconds to realize that he was right. Motivation isn’t about history. It’s about destiny. Your future. Not what you’ve done, but where you are going.

Winners don’t make excuses for their behavior.

They are aware and alert for a problem. They fix it. They move on.

If your first response to feedback is an excuse, a reason, or a perfectly good explanation, you’re not acting like a winner.

Think about that the next time you’re put into a situation where someone else is judging your performance and telling you to do better.

Think about that the next time you’re left wondering why everyone else around you is succeeding and you’re left feeling stuck in place.

The excuses you make hold you back from realizing your full potential. Those reasons and explanations are why you’re feeling stuck.

When the only thing that matters is progress, you listen to anyone who can help you.

You fall in love with your enemies because they’re the only ones brave enough to tell you your true flaws.

You dig deep into the scathing criticism delivered by your skeptics. Inside their disrespect and unfair critique is the answer to your malaise and lack of performance.

If you’re not all in, you are not in the game at all.

Remember that. No excuses. No perfectly good explanations. Achieving your destiny isn’t a matter of luck or perfect timing. It’s you deciding you’re willing to change anything as long as it gets you closer to where you want to be.

It’s you deciding your ego isn’t as important as the end goal. That’s when you get unstuck.

That’s when you feel empowered to change the world.

I Make Way Too Many Excuses.

I’ve finally come to a starting realization — I make too many excuses. I hate it when my team tells me that something isn’t possible. Yet I’ll tell myself that a big goal I want to achieve isn’t really a possibility.

I make an excuse. I pave the way to let myself down gently when I fail.

I don’t let my kids make excuses. Not without me yelling at them. “Just get it done,” I tell them. “I don’t want to hear it,” I say as I cut them off with the wave of my hand.

Yet I’ll listen to my own excuses. I won’t just listen to them, I’ll think about them. It’s a whole bit of internal drama.

How ridiculous is that?

I fight it each day. Especially with big goals and a lot of people looking at me for support.

I don’t want to let anyone down. I don’t want to let myself down. But these excuses are killing me.

They’re probably killing you too.

No one else knows. Just you. You can feel it happening inside you — when you’re stressed and tired, beaten down, and unsure of what to do.

Make no mistake, I’m going to get to where I want to be. I will persist. I will achieve greatness. I will win.

That’s what I do. I fight and struggle, hustle, wage war, and put in the work. One of those struggles is to make fewer excuses. To do my best and just let the chips fall where they may. Without the need to make excuses or explain.

You can either make excuses or progress. Not both.

Maybe you’re fighting the same battle. Maybe you struggle with making excuses as well. Maybe we hold each other accountable.

No more excuses. No more defending. Just a single-minded focus on achieving something awesome.

Because You’re Poisoning Your Future.

What you consume has an impact on you. It’s not a shock for you to believe that drinking poison would negatively impact your existence.

It’s not a shock for you to imagine that surrounding yourself with negative, lazy people would negatively impact your enthusiasm for living.

The things you put into your body and into your mind are the fuel that drive your performance.

They dictate your future possibilities.

You can’t feed your body an unhealthy diet and then be shocked that you don’t have the energy and strength and stamina to be a high performer.

You can’t feed your mind the negativity and fear and rage of other people’s opinions and then be surprised when you struggle to stay motivated and focused on your goals.

Your fuel is your future.

What you put in is what you get out.

So do things that’s fuel your future.

  1. Avoid negative influences that make you feel uninspired.
  2. Carve off time each day to fuel your mind with new books and fresh ideas.
  3. Pay for a coach to guide you a little bit more quickly down your path to awesome.

Take action right now.

Look at where you want to be in the next 12 months and then make sure that what you put into you today will yield the success you want down the road.

The ideas you fuel feed the future you realize.

It’s Not Noise. It’s Their Story.

If you feel like you’re not being heard, you might be right.  Being heard is an emotion that is human. It’s vital to your sanity and horribly frustrating when you don’t feel it happening. 

There’s an important lesson to be learned. Especially when all around you is a fog of noise.

Know this.  Everyone wants the exact same thing. Everyone. Right now. In this very moment. Wants their story to be heard. 

Everyone is fighting for attention. 

And they are doing it by telling their story. Which sounds like noise to you. Because there are so many different types of stories. 

There are inspiring stories. Motivating and challenging stories of personal fulfillment. The kind of stories they turn into movies and you cry and fist pump and root for the hero. 

And then there are stories of hate. Where the pain of not being heard bubbles over into trollish and evil-spirited negativity. 

Instead of inspiring you, those stories are intended to hurt you.

Delivered by someone in so much pain they don’t even want to be heard anymore. They just want everyone else to hurt. You especially.

In truth, everyone has a story. You. Them. All of us. Parts of that story are triumphant. Other parts are nothing to be proud of. 

But there is always a story. If you listen for it, you’ll hear it. 

Stop complaining about all the noise. 

It’s not noise. It’s a story.