The Mistake Of Believing That They Are Smarter Than You.

Think about the rules and conventional wisdom you have adopted to help you run your life.
You believe that if you have more money that you will have fewer problems.

You believe that you can’t get a decent job without an advanced degree.

You believe that you shouldn’t feel good about yourself unless your body is sexy.

You believe that the better you are at following these, the more assured you are of success.

But you’re dead wrong.

You’re following other people’s rules because you think that they know something that you don’t know.

You believe that they have some insight – or perhaps a shortcut – that will help you avoid your own insecurities and more quickly propel you towards success than if you ventured out on your own.

The truth is that the people who created the wisdom that you’re living by aren’t any smarter than you are.

They are just like you.

They don’t have any magic formulas or know any special secrets that you don’t already know.

They are flesh and blood. Human. They make mistakes and screw up just like you do.

So before you give up on yourself, maybe you should rethink your hero worship.

Before you decide that your ideas are stupid, remember that a lot of other “stupid ideas” turned out to be wonderfully amazing — the lightbulb, pasteurized milk, and travel to the moon.

The secret is that there isn’t a secret.  Just “stupid” hard work.

You’ve Got So Much More Potential.

Thuuuuuuuud.

It was the middle of the night. Steve was jolted awake in the middle of a raging storm. In the dark and stormy unknown of the Atlantic Ocean.

It had all started as a race. He had planned to race his sleek, 6.5m sloop, the Napoleon Solo, from England to Spain and then back across the Atlantic.

But on his way to Spain, he was forced to drop out when the hull of his craft developed a small crack. Beaten but not broken, Steve decided to sail solo across the Atlantic anyways.

But then he had to get back home. And that’s what he was doing right now.

Thuuuuuuuud.

In a panic, Steve realized that he was in a much worse situation than a mere crack. Something enormous, perhaps a whale, had crashed into the side of his boat, tearing the hull wide open.

It was February 4, 1982. Two days before Steve’s 30th birthday.

Knowing he had to move quickly, Steve started packing his life raft. It was raw instinct.

Sleeping bag: check. Flare gun: check. Emergency kit: check.

Speargun: check.

Diving in an and out of the cabin that was now completely under water, he grabbed all the food he could find: a head of cabbage, a box of eggs, 10 oz of peanuts, 16 oz of baked beans, and 8 pints of water.

As he was underwater gathering more supplies, a wave smashed into the boat, slamming the cabin door shut from the outside. He was trapped underwater. Helpless.

Gulping the last bit of air he could, hatch lid still closed, Steve felt in his gut that this was it. His time had come. His moments of his life flashed before him in an instant.

That instant seemed to last an eternity.

Just when he couldn’t hold his breath any longer, the pounding waves changed direction — ripping the hatch back open and allowing Steve to swim back to his life raft.

Exhausted, he tied the life raft to the boat. He needed rest. He would get more supplies in the morning.

But then his line snapped in the middle of the night. He was alone — at least 450 miles from the nearest living soul.

Taking stock of his situation, he reasoned that he had enough supplies to last about 18 days.

After that, he’d be at the mercy of the sea.

Working quickly, Steve began to examine the solar stills he had salvaged from the boat. Each of those 3 had the potential to turn ocean water into 6 pints of safe, drinkable water each day. Except none of them worked.

He was a dead man floating.

Knowing he’d be dead without fresh water, he took one of them apart to see how it worked. Using the odds-and-ends he had in the raft, he managed to get the 2 remaining stills back to operational — a little. Together, they were able to create 5 cups of clean water each day.

Days turned into a week. And one week into two.

He exhausted his food supplies and had to figure out what to eat.

He noticed that barnacles had grown on the bottom of his life raft. And slowly, small fish started to eat the barnacles. And then slightly bigger fish started to eat the smaller fish. And eventually, the fish were big enough to spear and eat.

Which worked perfectly until his spear gun broke.

So he tied his survival knife to the end of the spear and started stabbing away.

Two weeks turned into three. Three turned into four. Four turned into five.

Five weeks turned into six.

He was 44 days into his survival journey home when he accidentally ripped a hole in the bottom of the raft trying to spear a fish.

No amount of patching worked. After surviving the impossible, he was doomed to a slow but sure death. But that wasn’t a fate he was willing to accept.

Every day, the raft leaked, and he blew it back up. Every night, he repeated the same process.

One day passed doing this. Then two days. Then three days. And while he worked to repair the hole that could end his life, sharks circled, waiting to strike while he worked to repair the bottom, arms submerged in the water.

He was enraged. Tired. Hungry. And thirsty.

He wanted to just give up and die. So he did what any reasonable person would’ve done in that situation. He threw a temper tantrum. Nothing he was doing was working.

It would be easier to just quit than to try to fix his hopeless situation.

But after he calmed down, he came to a moment of clarity and talk himself down: “look, you’re going to be dead if you don’t do something that works. You have only enough strength left to try one more thing. Now figure it out.”

The next morning he had an idea from this Boy Scout days. He used a fork to twist the nylon he had bunched around the gaping hole to seal it off.

It worked.

And he drifted like that, shivering all through the night, burning up during the day, floating along with nothing to see but an endless expanse of blue ocean and the fish that swam around him.

Day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day. One monotonous day after another.

He saw hope passing in the distance in the form of a ship. Digging through his supplies, he grabbed the flair gun and launched one towards the boat. If they would just see the flare, they could come and rescue him.

Except they didn’t.

And then there was another ship. Same story. And a different, third ship. Same story. Seven times ships passed close enough for Steve to see them, but none of them stopped to help. Three times he turned on his emergency beacon, hoping a passing ship or airplane would pick up his signal.

Except they didn’t.

A man can start to go crazy in situations like that, drifting alone, covered in salt sores, and ignored by passing ships. Steve knew this. And so he knew he had to figure out how to keep himself sharp.

So he developed a daily routine. Wake up. Exercise — he found a way in spite of his weakened state and swollen feet. Restock the water. Check his food supplies. Measure his current location. Do algebra.

Think about the deeper meanings of life.

So he came up with a series of questions to keep himself focused:

Which of the elements most critical to my physical survival need the most attention: water, food, or raft? What specifically are the most basic elements of the problem that I am currently facing, and what among my limited resources would address that specific need? How can I be a better person, to be of more help to others, to be a willing participant in my society? What is the worst-case scenario if I do this? What are the beneficial elements of what is happening right now? Am I doing the best I can?

Every day he ran through that routine. Wake up. Exercise. Restock the water. Check his food supplies. Measure location. Do algebra. Think about the deeper meanings of life.

He was determined to keep his mind straight. One day at a time.

Day 44 turned into day 56. Day 56 turned into day 67.

Day 76 was April 20th. Against the blackness of the clear night sky, Steve saw the glow of lights off in the distance. It was an island. It was hope. But it could also be death.

To get to land, Steve would have to travel through the crashing surf and wash ashore, a relatively easy task for a grown man, but an impossible task for someone having spent two and a half months living on a starvation diet.

As he braced himself for the struggle ahead, another boat came into his view. But this wasn’t like the seven other boats before. It was a small three-man fishing boat that had headed his direction when it saw all the birds hovering over the water — a sure sign of good fishing.

They found those birds hovering over Steve Callahan. And rescued him.

He had drifted 1,800 miles in those 76 days.

All the way down to Marie Galante, a 9.5 mile-wide island in the Lesser Antilles.

As he would later write about his survival: “it was one in a billion.”

And maybe he was wrong about that.

The Navy SEALs have a rule: “When your brain tells you that you’ve given it your all, you’ve only given 40%.”

It would’ve been easy for Steve to quit and resign himself to despair when the rope broke from his boat. It would’ve been easy for Steve to quit when the solar stills quit or when he ran out of food or when the raft got a hole or for any other of the thousands of reasons that floated through his brain every second of every day.

But he kept going.

Each new excuse to quit was an obstacle to overcome. Each boat that passed him was one boat closer to rescuing him.

He didn’t have anyone to depend on. Nobody was going to save him. But him. He didn’t have time for excuses. He had to get tough and figure things out — or die.

The same is true for you.

When you think you’ve given it your all, you’ve only given 40%.

When you think you’ve saved as much as you can, you’re still wasting 60%.

When you think you’ve invested everything you have into your relationships, keep investing.

They’re not even half as strong as they could be.

When you think you’ve worked all you can, you’re walking away from 150% growth.

You’re tougher than you think you are. You’ve got more potential. More power.

You don’t have to be afloat for 76 days on the angry ocean, surrounded by sharks, to dig a little bit deeper.

You can start today. Right now. This moment.

14+ Ways Cloze Delivers a Better CRM Experience.

Smart people use smart tools to achieve greatness. It’s hard to be maniacally focused on your goals when you’re juggling 37 different tools, email accounts, social media profiles, and to do lists scattered throughout your phone, inbox, and refrigerator sticky notes.
The other problem is that most of the tools being thrown at you today to help you make money, organize your business, or get things done are woefully incomplete or clunky.

They add more work to your daily routine, which is frustrating and unhelpful.

Over the last few years, I have used all the popular CRM tools in my different businesses — Salesforce, OnePageCRM, Nimble, Contactually, and Hubspot CRM. As a nerd, I get deep into these tools. I try everything. Click all the buttons. And then leave frustrated (and sometimes enraged).

Over the last year, I have been using Cloze as the core of my business. I can tell you that it is the best sales platform I have used in the last decade. I’m not exaggerating. And here are a few surprising reasons why.

DISCLAIMER: I wasn’t paid to write this, and you can’t pay me to write about your tool. I pay full price for Cloze and email their senior leadership (like you can) when I want a new feature.

  1. It is better than Gmail and Outlook for managing daily email — Cloze combines all of your accounts into one unified inbox, regardless of platform. You can archive, create new, or reply just by using keyboard shortcuts.
  2. It logs your cell phone calls, so you know when you talked last — You connect your mobile provider (e.g. Verizon, T-Mobile, etc…) and Cloze automatically connects your calls to your contacts. No data entry required. You just call — and Cloze reminds you of when you did it.
  3. It combines multiple contact profiles into a single record — You get one view of all your contacts from email, social media, and phone. Cloze will use the information you give it (email and phone numbers) to add social profiles and bio data.
  4. It provides sales-centric social media management — Cloze organizes your social feeds by who matters to you, not by who you talked with last. You can reply and schedule posts like you would with a fancy platform like Hootsuite.
  5. It delivers proactive reminders — Cloze automatically reminds you to stay in-touch with important people. You can add special follow-up requirements for certain types of people (e.g. prospects, existing customers, partners, vendors, etc…) or just use Cloze’s built in AI to do the work for you. Cloze also tracks email opens and reminds you if a reply email was not received.
  6. It is one place for everything in business — Cloze brings together all your different calendars, Evernote, call history, Slack notes, projects, to-dos, contact enrichment, RingCentral data, and anything you can add via API. And there are no limits on email accounts or contacts.
  7. It shows the full deal picture — It makes it incredibly easy share the complete view of project and deal activity with the right people automatically – no data entry required. Emails and notes and last call data are all a part of the record, which means your team is tripping over each other to get things done.
  8. It scrapes contact data from your emails — Cloze analyzes email signatures in emails you receive and lets you know when the sender’s contact information has changed, so you always have the latest info. You’ll be asked if you want to  update the contact record, so you always have the choice whether to enhance your database or not.
  9. It is the easiest mail merge on the planet– It allows you to send a personalized email to multiple contacts at once — as many as 50 at a time. Each person will receive their own email delivered through your email account, just as if you sent each of them a separate, regular email. And, with open tracking, you’ll know who read the email or clicked a link. It’s “dummy proof.”
  10. It allows you to create and share email templates — Cloze makes it a single swipe to reconfirm meetings, reach out to contacts or follow-up on a next-step. And you can customize the built-in templates and create your own to consistently deliver a powerful sales message. Imagine combining templates with mail merge. It’s a great time-saver.
  11. It sends you a morning briefing — Before you start your day, Cloze sends you a morning briefing that outlines all the things you’ve got to get done for the day, emails and posts that you haven’t seen and might want to take a look at – as well as a snapshot of what you’ve accomplished in the last week. You can turn it off too if being overly productive becomes a problem for you.
  12. It allows you to schedule email to send later — You can draft an email and schedule Cloze to send it at a later date or time. Write it at night. Send it first thing in the morning.
  13. It helps you coordinate follow-up — As a team, you can use Cloze to track who’s responsible for contacts, projects, deals, next steps, and to-dos. You can easily add people to the group or move them out, assign tasks, and leave notes for everyone involved.
  14. It lets you search in “sales speak” — You can search for contacts the way you think – “VPs in the Big Apple,” “marketers at IBM,” “customers in Boston.” Makes it incredibly easy to track down that “one guy” you know you’ve needed to speak with. 
  15. It is priced at an incredibly fair $13.33 per user per month — In spite of you what you have read thus far, awesomeness doesn’t need to break the bank. Most tools are at least $100 per user per month. That makes Cloze an absolute steal.

If it sounds like the tool for you, give it a whirl. Then get back to focusing on your plan for world domination.

By the way, we call this a CRM, but really it’s just a smarter address book. And that, in my opinion, is really what a great CRM should be all about — people.

Whatever you do, don’t assume that all technology is a waste of your time. Products like Cloze can help you deliver more value, stay in touch with the right people, and make more money.

Right now, I think it’s the best thing going.

Cloze for iPad and iPhone
Cloze for iPad and iPhone

Don’t Waste Your Life Being Reasonable.

Life isn’t reasonable.
It’s not reasonable that some people are born into a lifetime of abject poverty while others are birthed with a silver spoon in their mouth.

It’s not reasonable that bad people get away with horrible crimes while others who try to bring justice to the helpless are taken advantage of.

Life isn’t reasonable.

It’s not reasonable that mean-spirited, passive-aggressive business leaders gain influence and get promoted while those who work hard, inspire other, and lead quietly suffer through the grind.

It’s not reasonable that life takes the young and sweet from us too soon.

It’s not reasonable that dreams take more money and time to pursue then we imagine.

Life isn’t reasonable.

Your mistake is trying to be.

You believe that if you have a fair and logical plan and put a reasonable amount of effort behind that plan, that everything will turn out perfectly.

But that’s not how unreasonable works.

Life is full of glorious potential and opportunity for those who are willing to live unreasonably.

Your options are endless.

Be unreasonable.

  • Believe what you want.
  • Work harder than you feel necessary.
  • Laugh when you feel like crying.
  • Try when the last try didn’t work.
  • Have a purpose that defines you.
  • Be mission-driven.
  • Forgive the unforgivable.
  • Ignore the critics and cynics.
  • Invest in love.
  • Trust people.

If it sounds crazy, it might be that one unreasonable thing that catapults you closer to where you want to be.

Don’t waste your life being reasonable. You deserve better.

Your Bad Habits Are Costing You Greatness.

Don’t pretend like you’re interested in changing your life when you’re not willing to get up a little bit earlier each day to make that change start the stick.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that tomorrow is going to be any different than today if you’re not doing something different today that will change tomorrow.

Stop blaming other people for your own laziness, your bad attitudes, and the bad reputation you have because of the way you treat other people.

Just because life is miserable for you right now doesn’t mean that you get to take out your pain and stress and confusion on those around you.

And by the way, maybe you should take a closer look at your budget, your finances, and where you invest your wealth. How you spend your money is pretty telling.

If you can afford 900 cable channels but be too broke to hire a coach or buy a book, the story of your failure has already been written.

Bad habits and poor behavior will derail every bit of progress you’ve made in getting closer to where you want to be.

Some of those bad habits are just sloppiness. The rest are just baggage you’ve let build up over time.

You’ve been hurt and so now you’re hurting someone else. Life has been unfair to you, so you don’t care that it’s unfair to everyone else.

From time to time it’s important to stop and think about how your behavior is getting in the way of you getting to where you want to be.

Are you growing or are you slowing? More importantly, what are you going to do about it?

If you say that you truly want breakthrough in your life, then you must be open to changing anything and everything in that pursuit.

If you’re serious about success, take time to fix your bad habits.

The Superpower Hiding Under The Rubble Of Your Rage.

You can’t hold on to the past and move rapidly towards your future.
You’re living each day inside a rubber band that keeps pulling you back.

Just about the time you think you’ve moved forward and made progress you realize that you’re back in the middle of your anger and misery from the past. Snapped back from greatness.

Which is what you have to let the past go. You have to forgive.

Not forget. Forgive.

It doesn’t excuse what other people have done to you. You’re not letting anyone off the hook.

You’re not making it right with them. You’re making your life right for you.

You’re cutting the ties that keep pulling you back. You’re breaking the connection.

By forgiving, you find the superpower hidden under the rubble of your rage.

You thought that if you were angry enough, the world would find a way to heal your pain and despair.

You thought that if you obsessed about justice for that person who did you wrong, that the hole in your heart would begin to heal.

But you were wrong.

Looking back you see that over time, you’ve let that pain and frustration rob you of your destiny.

The only thing that breaks the tie to your past is forgiveness.

You have to let go. It won’t be easy. It’s not for them. It’s for you.

It’s not something you do one time and magically you feel better. It’s a series of purposeful decisions.

To begin, you have to relive the past. You have to go back to that moment when you were hurt and relive the experience. Feel the pain. Feel the shame.

And then you say “I forgive you.” Out loud. “I forgive you.” At first, the words won’t mean much more than a phrase.

Just a sentence. A few words.

But don’t give up until you feel the forgiveness.

What must have that other person been going through themselves to hurt you so badly? What emptiness and fear, panic and hate must consume them?

And so that right now, so that you can move on, it’s time to forgive.

It’s a purposeful decision for you.

Deliberate. Something you know you need to do.

Something you’ve been needing to do for some time now.

You’re making the decision that where you want to go is too important to be held back by the pain and fear you’ve been holding on to.

Forgive. Then move forward.

When You Should Give Up On Your Ice-Cold, Crazy Ideas.

It was at a dinner shortly after the wedding that the idea came up. One of Frederic’s younger sister had just married the most eligible bachelor in town. Chilled drinks were flowing. And so were the ideas.
As Frederic’s rich older brother William joked with friends, out tumbled one of those ideas: ice for everyone.

Why not harvest the plentiful New England ice, currently only affordable to the rich and famous and sell it to the masses in the steamy Caribbean? It was clearly a joke. The ice would obviously melt along the way.

But that joke of an idea became a burning question for Frederic.

Why not bring ice to the masses?

The more he thought about it, the more convinced he was that he could pull it off. Using what he had learned from his apprenticeships and calling on his contacts in the Caribbean, this idea could make him seriously rich.

So it was on August 1, 1805, he inscribed in his journal—a journal bought specifically for this grand new business venture—his determined outlook:

He who gives back at the first repulse and without striking the second blow despairs of success has never been, is not, and never will be a hero in war, love, or business.

And quickly those blows of despair landed.

He couldn’t pay enough to get a boat captain to take him seriously. The first captain he tried to hire brushed him off. He wasn’t interested in being part of that failure. And neither was the second. Or the third.

Frederic decided to take matters into his own hands, spending $4,750 (or over $90,000 in today’s money) to buy his own boat, called the Favorite.

With 130 tons of ice on board, he left dock on February 10, 1806 — to the ridicule of the press. The Boston Gazette reported, “No joke, ship full of ice sets sail for Martinique. Let’s hope this doesn’t prove to be a slippery speculation!”

His friends laughed at this insane notion. His own dad called his new venture “wild and ruinous”.

Turns out they were all absolutely right.

Twenty days later he arrived in Martinique, located in the Caribbean. Most of the ice on his boat had already melted. The business partners he sent ahead of his arrival had failed to drum up much interest. They weren’t able to sell the wild idea of having a chilled drink on a hot day.

In a little over 3 weeks, he had lost just over $50,000 in today’s money.

But that was just the beginning.

His own brother (and business partner) bailed out on the business. Quit. Left. He wanted no part of his insanity.

If that weren’t bad enough, the warehouses used to store ice could not stop the ice from melting.

And then life happened.

A few month after the launch of his grand idea, the Embargo Act of 1807 made it illegal to trade in foreign ports, cutting him off from his Caribbean market. That was followed by the War of 1812, which tanked the business.

Frederic was broke. And he went on the run from his creditors.

When he couldn’t outrun his creditors, he was thrown into debtor’s prison. And when he got out, he was thrown back in. A second time. And then a third time.

Humiliated. Broken. Beaten. Destroyed by his own crazy joke of an idea.

And every day, while his world crashed down around him and he logged one failure after another, he saw these words written so many years earlier in his journal:

He who gives back at the first repulse and without striking the second blow despairs of success has never been, is not, and never will be a hero in war, love, or business.

It took a decade of despairing blows before he finally started to get it right.

And then that bit of success seemed like a stroke of luck.

He started hauling a cooler of ice into the eating area at the boarding house and convincing his roommates to try their first iced beverage. At first they laughed him off, but then they started clamoring for more.

And that was the spark that changed everything.

It was all-out hustle. He and his salesmen would travel the country convincing bars to experiment with chilled beverages to see which would sell better. They even went so far as to offer some bars free ice for a year.

He taught restaurants how to use his ice to make ice cream.

He pioneered the practice of chilling meat, fruits, and vegetables to ship them longer distances. He convinced doctors and hospitals to use ice to cool down feverish patients.

He developed an insulated ice house that kept his product cold by trapping a layer of air between two stone walls. He put those houses in Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans, Havana, Rio de Janeiro, Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta — literally, all over the world.

He continued to perfect his process, harvesting ice in ways that produced more uniform ice bricks, allowing them to be stacked tighter and higher. Some as high as 80 feet tall.

With that hustle came the success he envisioned so many years earlier.

People began to want cold drinks. Queen Elizabeth herself refused to drink any other kind of ice but Frederic’s.

By 1856, Frederic was at the center of an industry that was shipping 140,000 tons of ice to China, Brazil, Japan, India, Australia, and 38 other countries.

He became known around the world as the “Ice King”. He had fought his way from debtor’s prison to a fortune worth over $200 million dollars in today’s money.

And all because of a single sentence penciled into his journal:

He who gives back at the first repulse and without striking the second blow despairs of success has never been, is not, and never will be a hero in war, love, or business.

“The sweltering inhabitants of Charleston and New Orleans, of Madras and Bombay and Calcutta, drink at my well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges,” penned Henry David Thoreau as he watched Frederic’s men harvest the ice on the famous Walden pond.

His ice melted, but not his impact.

The same could be said for you. So don’t give up on your crazy ideas.

Even when people say your idea is stupid.

Even when people tell you to back off, to be reasonable, that it’s okay to “move on”, that “it wasn’t meant to be”.

Even when people tell you “no”. Even when they tell you “no” a second time. And a third time. And a hundred times after that.

Keep fighting. Do the next thing. That ice-cold determination to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes is exactly what it takes.

Whatever you do, don’t give up.

As Frederic Tudor so boldly wrote: “He who gives back at the first repulse and without striking the second blow despairs of success has never been, is not, and never will be a hero in war, love, or business.”

When You Talk About Wanting To Achieve Greatness.

Greatness isn’t a status. It’s an attitude.
It’s not one particular thing you achieve. It’s the consistency with which you maintain momentum heading towards your goal.

It is measured by the focus you apply to perfecting the details. It’s magnified by the speed and sincerity with which you apologize for your mistakes along the way.

Great men do not usually achieve greatness.

It is the small and insignificant person, unwilling to give up on his ideals, who is most likely to achieve that status.

Greatness demands hunger and resolve.

You must be willing to change anything and everything in the pursuit of it.

Ego is a limitation.

So too is anything less than superhuman effort.

So when you talk about wanting to achieve greatness, make sure you know what you’re wishing for.

Greatness is a magnificent destination but a lonely journey.

Your Facts Are Just A Bad Perspective.

Your reality isn’t a fact. It is just your perspective.
What you consider to be ordinary and normal, other people are guaranteed to see as obscure and special.

Your perspective is shaped over the years of your life. Your specific circumstances and upbringing play a major influence in how you interpret the world around you.

A bad day for you in a first world country might be the dream of a lifetime for someone in a third world country just trying to stay alive.

Success is one of those matters of perspective.

It’s not a fact.

You might have a lot of money but not a lot of joy. Can you call yourself successful then?

And what about your job? You say you hate it. But at least you have one. And it pays you enough money to take care of the people that you love.

It provides you an opportunity to thrive.

And is it really a fact that everyone is out to get you?

Maybe you’re just going through a few bad days.

But maybe, in reality, you’ve been so obnoxious to everyone else around you that you’re just getting in return what you’ve dealt to so many other people.

When you separate facts and reality and perspective, you become powerful. Because you stop blaming other people for where you are in life.

You stop pointing the finger at circumstances that you could change right now.

You realize that your life is just a series of choices that you get to make. And remake.

There are no facts, only current realities. If you don’t like your reality, change it.

That’s always a possibility. No matter from what perspective you look at the situation.

You’re only limited by what you believe to be possible.

And that’s a fact.

The Story Of Your Success.

You wouldn’t laugh at an apple seed that you just planted in the ground, calling it a loser because it’s not delivering bushels of ripe apples each season.
You just planted it. It’s still a seed.

In time, with enough water and sunlight, fertilizer and proper attention, it will begin to grow into a skinny wisp of a tree trunk. So thin that it seems the wind will blow it over at any time.

You must protect it until it can gain strength from deeper roots and a stronger base.

Over time, that tree will become self-sufficient.

Its bark becomes tougher. Its limbs reach out further. Its roots tunnel deeper through the earth in search of the best nutrition.

Over time, that wispy tree trunk has become mighty, delivering bushels of fresh fruit.

It’s big enough for you to climb on it. Tough enough to be used as the foundation for a child’s playhouse or rope swing.

What was once just a tiny seed, is now an impressive sight to behold. No longer mocked because it is just a kernel buried over its head in the dirt.

That seed and that tree are the same things.

They are an apple tree. You just didn’t notice the tree until it was big enough to consume your full attention. It was there the entire time, digging its way inch-by-inch out of the dirt.

That tree is your story of success.

You’re going to start your journey covered in dirt and muck. Most people won’t see you. Some will step on you.

You have to protect your seed of success at all costs. Feed it the sunlight of possibility. Protect it from the ravaging floods of skepticism and negativity.

Take care of that seed every day.

You fight for it. You cheer for it. You do whatever it takes to make sure that seed turns into a stem. And then into a mighty tree.

Strong enough to take care of itself. Tough enough to protect the seeds other people are planting for themselves.

Success is a mindset long before it is something that other people can see.

5 Choices Successful People Always Make.

It’s all on you. Your results. Your recognition. Your chance at greatness.
You decide how far you’re willing to take your dream. You make the decision whether to press ahead, in spite of the obstacles holding you back, or to change course and move on to something else.

Every day, you are presented with countless opportunities to impact your destiny. How you respond to those opportunities every day ultimately decides the full measure of the greatness that you achieve.

There are a handful of decisions that successful people all make the same way.

They all do these things in their pursuit of greatness:

1. They give massive amounts of value.

They are valuable. Not just for what they know or for their generosity.

They create value by what they give.

Instead of being focused on their own needs and wants and goals, they go out of their way to give.

They take their best ideas and give them away. They don’t hoard awesomeness; they make sure everyone else around them has access to it.

2. They don’t quit when things get tough.

They want to. They think about it. But they don’t.

They have something deep within them that drives them to keep pursuing their dream.

They have grit. They have resolve. And they’re not going to be pushed around by bad luck, an unfair situation, or circumstances that just don’t go their way.

They don’t quit because it’s more painful for them to abandon their goal than it is to endure the uncomfortableness they feel at the moment.

3. They say “No” to great ideas.

They are intrigued by all the options being presented to them.

They like the challenge of learning something new or trying something different. But they understand that their resource of time is limited.

They understand that money and emotion and focus are quickly exhausted.

By saying “No” to things that are interesting, good, or even great, they have much more time to focus on things that will turn out to be awesome.

4. They stay busy pursuing their goals.

They work hard. Really, really hard.

They don’t angle to work smart. They know that hard work is the smartest work possible.

One of the core differences between people who successfully achieve breakthroughs and those who seem to stay stuck is the amount of time they work at it.

There is no substitute for hard work. Success demands it.

5. They are willing to make big mistakes.

They aren’t so afraid of failure that they play it safe. They try things. Dangerous things. Scary things.

Most of those tries end up in failure, often with uncomfortable consequences.

They look at failure as an opportunity to get better — not that they are inferior or that what they are attempting isn’t likely to achieve success.

To win big, you have to try big. Which sometimes means you’re going to fail big.

Successful people keep failure in context and learn, grow, and do it better next time.

It’s on you to change if you want to be awesome.

If you want to build something new. If you want to point your life in a new direction. If you want to achieve those goals you’ve been talking about until now.

No one else can determine your destiny for you.

The choices you make today, tomorrow, and every day for the rest of your life are what lead to those magical outcomes you’ve been dreaming about.

It all comes down to a few smart decisions. Give more. Don’t quit. Say “No”. Get busy. Try big.

It’s You That Is The Problem.

Most business problems have nothing to do with business.
Most leadership problems have a little to do with leadership.

Most of these challenges stem from personal flaws.

In other words, the greatest benefit you can give to your business is to grow yourself. To round out your rough edges.

The bad habits and poor behavior that strangle your personal ambitions are the exact same vices that end up derailing your business goals.

It’s not good enough to put on an act. It doesn’t work.

You can’t pretend long enough to be successful being something that you’re not. Eventually, your true nature comes out. Those flaws cripple you.

  • Get in shape physically. It will help you get your business plan in shape financially.
  • Take responsibility for your actions. It will show your employees that you expect the exact same from them.
  • Do the hard things that scare you. You’ll end up leading an inspired business along the way.

Remember, if you’re not growing, you’re slowing.

The bad habits you tolerate today are they same things you’ll be whining about later that come out of nowhere to throw your business into turmoil.

It didn’t come out of “nowhere.” It was inside you the whole time. Festering. Growing. Building into the problem that it appears to be right now.

So suck it up and stop whining. Take responsibility for your actions and attitudes. And just be a better you.

Why You Need Better Friends.

Your friendships determine your destiny.
Who you are as a competitor, what you achieve in life, and how you react to everyday circumstances — these are all reactions shaped by the people you surround yourself with most.

Your friends. Your family. Your mentors, co-workers, peers, and fellow competitors.

Those relationships will either make you or break you.

Those people who you allow in the closest places of your intimacy either push you relentlessly towards where you want to be or they ensnare you in a web of unending distraction and soul-crushing malaise.

Which is why it matters who you choose to spend your time with.

It matters that you seek out people who inspire you to be your best. It matters that you deliberately avoid negative influences and people who always seemed to bring you down.

It matters that you ask for help from people who are qualified to give it.

You are right now or soon will be the average of the top five people you’re hanging around right now.

And if you don’t like what that looks like, it’s time for you to change your company.

Look for people who are already doing what you want to do — and doing it well.

Look for people who you admire. People who do that one thing so magically well that you can only describe it as being awesome.

Surround yourself with people who have a chip on their shoulder — people madly driven to achieve despite the frustration and uncertainty.

Relentlessly avoid the skeptics and cynics who wish to keep your feet on the ground.

Your destiny isn’t about being reasonable. It’s about the pursuit of awesome. So make it that.

Find awesome friends. Be an awesome friend. Success demands it.

When Shame Is Worse Than The Pain.

There’s an important lesson you learn when you’re a long distance runner. All the pain goes away when you stop running.
Your blisters stop hurting. Your stressed muscles stop screaming at you.

All the things that hurt start to feel better the instant you stop.

Once you stop, all that’s left is either the shame of not doing your best or the uncontrollable happiness of achieving what you set out to do.

The instant you stop it starts to feel better.

Along the way, you think it’s too much. And it is too much.

You’re banged up, beaten down, sleep-deprived, and in need of food and water.

There are countless reasons to quit. All of them are running through your head.

The pain will go away just a few seconds after you quit. But then you have to deal with the shame.

That’s something you’ll remember the rest of your life.

You’ll remember that you talked yourself out of finishing. You’ll remember the negativity and fear that you let control you.

You’ll remember that you could have held on a little bit longer.

One more step. One more mile. One more hour.

Right now you’re likely facing your own big challenge. And you’re not sure if you have enough within you to keep going.

You are questioning whether continuing on will be worth it. You’re frustrated and beaten down.

You just want the pain to go away. And it will.

Make no mistake: the pain will go away. And when it does, all you’ll be left with is either shame or accomplishment.

The choice is yours. Hold on. Fight on.

Keep moving towards where you want to be. Don’t quit yet.

Find A Reason To Not Give Up.

There’s no special skill to not giving up.
You aren’t born with any special genomes that automatically make you less likely to quit.

The truth is that every day you face tough choices and scary obstacles.

On one hand, you have the things you want for yourself — money, happiness, fitness, friends and fulfillment.

On the other hand, you have a million different unforeseen problems that will challenge you and shake your faith in your ability to keep going — critics, failure, lack of resources and experience, and fear.

The more you think about it, the less logical it seems that you will actually end up winning.

The more unreasonable it sounds that your goal is something that you can actually achieve.

If you listen to the crazy thoughts running through your head, it is a waste of your time and effort to keep investing in yourself when it’s a foregone conclusion that it’s never going to work.

You’re not the only one who thinks that way. Everyone does. Everyone you ever meet thinks about quitting.

What separates winners from losers is something very simple.

Winners find a way to persist. They insist on forward progress.

Even if it’s small. Barely noticeable.

They aren’t willing to throw it all away.

They want more of what could be more than they want the pain to go away.

And so they find a way to keep trying. They get inside their own head to think their way forward:

  1. They pump themselves up with motivating thoughts.
  2. They make silly bargains about quitting later.
  3. They find friends to help them make the journey.
  4. They get angry at themselves for even thinking about quitting.

It’s not pretty. It’s not the formula you would read about in a best-selling book.

But it’s the secret of their success.

And it could be your secret as well.

You don’t have it any worse than anyone else.

Your problems aren’t any more devastating than those around you.

Your ability to think your way forward is ultimately the only thing that will separate you from winning or a lifetime of excuses.

Find a reason to do one more thing. Today. And every day.

You’re Asking Yourself The Wrong Questions.

How do I make more money? What’s the fastest way to get out of debt?
What do I do when other people treat me unfairly? How do I get promoted when I’m not flashy or outgoing?

What’s the fastest plan to becoming a millionaire?

You might not have asked one of these specific questions, but you have asked yourself something similar not too long ago.

These are common questions — based on points of pain or future pleasure.

And all of these questions are universally human.

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world or what you do to earn a living; you will find yourself wondering what it is that you’re missing.

Which usually means you’re going to be thinking about money, your physical health, and your daily emotions. Not just thinking, questioning.

Those questions you ask yourself aren’t usually the right questions. They’re not necessarily wrong, but they don’t dig deep enough into the core elements that drive the change you want.

For example, you might be asking yourself how you can make more money.

In truth, your options are endless.

Which options you choose are a direct result of the resources you have and your urgency in achieving your goal. But “wanting more money” isn’t good enough to drive long-term change. You need to ask yourself a different series of questions.

Why do you want that money in the first place? Why are you in the position where you need more money right now? If you weren’t able to make more money, what’s the worst that could happen?

When you can answer those questions honestly, you’re ready to achieve your desired goal.

Success demands that you anchor yourself around “why” and “how” and “when” — instead of just thinking about “what” it is that you want.

Maybe you’re not getting the results you want because you’re not asking yourself tough enough questions.

Being Uncomfortable Doesn’t Mean You’re Wrong.

Just because you’re uncomfortable doesn’t mean that you’re doing the wrong thing.
Just because there are obstacles in your way doesn’t mean you’re executing the wrong strategy.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make about success is believing that if you had the perfect plan you wouldn’t have any of the problems associated with making progress.

That’s a lie.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you can avoid the frustration of failure by reading enough books or following enough expert advice.

Information isn’t the same as transformation. Knowledge isn’t the same as hustle.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how amazing the book you’re reading might seem, you were going to have to try and fail and find a way to try again.

That’s uncomfortable.

But that doesn’t make it the wrong move.

That uncomfortableness doesn’t mean that you’re wasting your time and effort. It means that you’re going through the normal process of attempting break through.

You’re not broken. You’re evolving. You’re growing.

You’re growing.

You’re right where you need to be right now.

Don’t give it all up because you think the uncomfortableness you feel means you’re doing something wrong.

4 Questions Successful People Ask Themselves.

The principles that drive success are timeless. They are not trendy or fashionable.
They don’t just work in a particular region or for one generation. They aren’t governed by how much money you have or what degrees and certificates you have achieved.

The basic building blocks of success and breakthrough are always the same.

Effort, curiosity, personal accountability, and a definite goal — these are the core elements of success.

Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Am I working passionately and desperately towards getting to where I want to be?
  2. Am I willing to question anything and everyone, even when I look stupid doing it?
  3. Do I take responsibility for the consequences of my actions on the outcomes around me?
  4. What one incredible thing do I want most in life right now?

When you can answer these questions honestly, you are well on your way to finding breakthrough.

The tough truth is that most people don’t work hard enough, don’t question long enough, and don’t take responsibility for enough of what happens to them.

And when you don’t put enough into your formula for success what you get out is never enough.

You are left stuck in a miserable loop of dissatisfaction.

Living with the miserable awareness that you could be better. That you could do more.

Success is possible as long as you’re willing to focus on what really matters.

Those four questions will help get you there.

If you don’t like the answers you are hearing, maybe it’s time for a change.

Uncertainty Is A Certainty.

Most of the time you’re not going to be sure.
That’s the challenge of making hard decisions and trying to pursue your goal without having already been down the path that you need to go.

There are clues that lead you to believe you should be doing what you’re doing.

The insights and perspectives of those you trust are convincing enough that you’re going to follow through on their advice.

You’re locked in and pointed at the target.

But you’re still not sure that what you’re doing is the right thing to do.

You’re not certain. And you desperately want to be.

You sure would feel a lot better if you knew without a doubt that all your effort and strategy and investment is going to pay off this time around.

That’s not going to happen. Not if you have big dreams and audacious goals.

The hard stuff is always the most uncertain stuff. No one else has done it. You’re the first one.

It’s all on you. And all in your head.

Success demands that you be able to handle the uncertainty and fear you feel attempting greatness.

You have to get up and go to work even when you’re not sure that what you’re going to do is going to pay off that day…or any day.

You have to invest in yourself and give value and try even though you’re not sure that it’s going to yield the results you want so desperately for yourself.

It’s really quite a simple decision. You either lose the day waiting to find certainty or win the moment by navigating towards where you think you want to be.

You might lose. You might fail.

All of your effort and imagination might yield none of the results that you expect. Or you might just be fantastically correct.

Regardless, all that matters is that you try. That’s the best you can do.

Uncertainty is the only certainty. Don’t wait until you’re sure. Be obsessed with trying.

Willing To Pay Whatever Cost.

The cost of freedom is fear.
The cost of progress is pain.

The cost of innovation is ridicule.

The cost of believing is loneliness.

The cost of trying is failure.

The cost of friendship is status.

The cost of trust is abuse.

Greatness demands grit.

You can’t change your life or improve your financial position without physical and emotional discomfort.

It’s going to cost you something to achieve breakthrough.

The free or easy option you’re looking for is just a slow-release poison that will rob you of everything magical and wonderful you’ve been wanting for yourself.

The things in life that don’t cost you anything don’t mean anything to you.

They aren’t valuable. They’re just a distraction.

Don’t let those distractions waste the precious time and resources you have to pursue your greatness.

Invest generously in your dreams. Believe that your goals are possible.

Know that the cost you’re paying right now is a small price to pay for the wonder you expect down the road.