The Surprising Way To Know You Are Chasing The Wrong Goal.

You’ve got to want it. No matter what your dream is you’ve got to want it.

Maybe you want to make more money. Maybe you want to be in a relationship where you feel valued. Maybe you want to be happy.

It doesn’t really matter what you want. To get it you have to be consumed with desire.

Getting what you want can’t just be an option.

It has to be the difference between life and death. Like oxygen or water, it has to be elemental to your reason for living.

Let’s be honest. We all have goals. Some of them you say out loud and share with others. Some are so crazy audacious that you keep them inside. Locked away. And unsaid.

You’re afraid that you’re never going to achieve it, so why even spend the time thinking about it. Why let yourself be disappointed.

Staying motivated is a challenge that we all face.

And the same time, stress and burnout are at an all-time high in today’s business environment. And it’s safe to say that at some level you are going through the exact same thing.

It may not be today, but it’s been a day recently.

Everything seems to pile on you. Your money problems. You’re people problems. Your recent failures.

It piles on and on and on. Until at last, you find yourself suffocated. Like you can barely breathe.

With everything pressing down on you, you find yourself straining to find the will to take the next step. To do what needs to be done.

You want to want it but you weren’t sure how.

You know that where you’re at now isn’t a place you want to stay long, but you feel trapped. And broken.

Inside you, the dream of getting to where you want to be feels completely lost.

And the answer for you might be as surprising for you as it was for me.

A few years ago, I found myself on a stage in Dubai presenting a speech to wealthy business leaders who had flown there from Russia to learn the latest strategies for business growth.

As I was taking the stage, the person introducing me went off script a little bit and made the comment that I was an ultra runner, had claimed some records for running long distances, and that I was an extreme athlete.

After my speech was done, I was asked by the conference organizers to answer some questions from the business leaders in attendance. I was expecting to be asked about the marketing strategies I had presented earlier or the business insights I had delivered for the last two and a half hours. Instead, I was asked a peculiar question that I have thought about many times since.

A well-dressed businessman towards the back of the room was handed the microphone and he looked at me earnestly: “What do you do to stay motivated? I have goals. And I’m sure you have goals. What do you do if you want to be motivated?”

My response was automatic. I didn’t even think about it. And what I said surprised me a little: “It’s not about having more motivation. It’s about having bigger dreams. If you’re fire burns hot enough then you never have to worry about the flame going out.”

Instead of chasing more inspiration, find a bigger dream.

You don’t give up on things that matter to you.

You stand and fight for them. You find a way. But if you don’t need to win you probably won’t.

So if you want to want it but you’re not sure why you don’t, maybe you’re looking in the wrong spot.

Maybe it’s not about you lacking the motivation to take the next step. Maybe what you think you want isn’t really what you know you need.

You’re chasing the wrong thing.

3 Secrets To Leading Change When Changing is Tough.

Nothing changes in your life until you decide you need to change. It doesn’t matter what incentive is in front of you or what penalty is behind you — you will only change when you decide for yourself that change is necessary.

That’s true for you. And it’s true for everyone else around you.

That’s important to remember as a leader.

Just because you want to change and just because you want your people to change doesn’t mean that the people you are leading will see the need to change.

That can create a big problem for you — especially if you’re the type of person who feels compelled to keep leveling up. While it might seem obvious to you that growth is always important, and that changing towards improvement is necessary, it’s not obvious to everyone else.

And it won’t always be easy for you to change.

So what do you do when you want to change other people? What do you do when you feel like other people changing will actually make their life better for them?

What if that person is you?

1. Respect how difficult changing really is

The problem with changing is that it’s both new and uncomfortable. Even when you are excited about the possible positive outcomes, the first few times you try changing, you end up with miserable results. Almost always.

The pattern looks a little like this:

  1. You know you need to change, so you think about changing.
  2. Then you convince yourself to start changing.
  3. But changing is awkward and uncomfortable and feels horrible — even with great results,
  4. That forces you to decide whether or not to continue changing.

That’s the pattern — whether you’re in business trying to close deals or in a relationship where your partner tells you things have to change or they’re out.

Changing is difficult. That’s not an excuse. But it should impress upon you the importance of treating it with the seriousness that it deserves.

Changing isn’t easy. And it’s not automatic. It requires conscious work on your behalf.

Perhaps the biggest reason why leaders find it so difficult to lead change is that they don’t take the act of changing seriously enough.

They just add it to their list of things to do — like everything else. But changing isn’t like everything else. It’s more emotionally impactful. It requires more brainpower. More energy. More courage.

It’s new and wildly uncomfortable.

Which means it requires more of “you” to navigate.

If you’re a leader, covered up with six to seven hours of meetings and conference calls each day, you aren’t emotionally prepared to change.

Which is why most discussions around change quickly degenerate into a discussion about priorities and productivity.

To change in a meaningful way, you have to do more of the uncomfortable things that you’re not used to doing and less of the “productive things” that you can check off your list and feel good about each day.

But you know the difference in intensity and purpose. You’re giving change the respect that it deserves.

2. Focus on an overwhelming need to change

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to change when you need to change?

You might spend 50 years screaming “bloody murder” about how you’ll never eat green leafy vegetables, but once you’ve had a heart attack and the doctor tells you that you’re at high risk to have another one, it’s pretty amazing how quickly you decide you want to change.

Cold turkey. Overnight. It happens instantly.

Because it’s a mindset change.

The vegetables didn’t change their taste, and your taste buds didn’t magically evolve to appreciate the uninspiring taste of healthy food.

The only thing that changed was your desire to live. Your ambition to hold back the looming consequences of your actions.

When you strip away all the emotion, changing isn’t actually hard. But needing to change is very hard.

And then some days it’s not hard at all.

It’s the only option in front of you.

But when that day comes, where change is the only option in front of you, you might find yourself in a position where you’ve already wasted strength and life and the ideal opportunity to do something that truly transforms the world around you.

That’s a lesson that you need to share with your people, and remind yourself of each day:

  1. Take life seriously right now.
  2. Use each moment you have as an opportunity to be a better version of you.
  3. Push the limits of what you think it’s possible.
  4. Work harder than you think you should.

Put in the effort. Sweat. Bleed. Fight. Be possessed with a calling bigger than yourself. Need to change before you have to change.

3. Use momentum as your measuring stick

At face value, changing appears to be nearly impossible.

Long-time studies show that 70% of change management projects fail.  That means that as a leader most of the changes you want to drive will fail — more than 2 out of 3 will end in disaster.

Which begs the question: “Is change really possible for business? And how do you measure it?”

Because if change isn’t going to happen, you should know that as early as possible.

You should be able to predict when something might work and if what you’re doing right now is (or is not) working. You should be able to predict a successful change.

What makes change nearly impossible is the metrics and measurements used to define and scale change.  The truth is that there is really only one accurate predictor of successful change — momentum.

Any meaningful change starts small. So the evidences of successful change are largely unnoticed for a while.

Due to the raw dynamics of big business, momentum is the single best way to measure change.

Just going through a series of steps and exercises doesn’t cement the change you want to see become successful.

You have to build momentum, maintain momentum, and increase momentum around the change that you want to drive.

Momentum looks at different key performance indicators than revenue and profit and basic customer satisfaction. Momentum digs deeper at things like:

  1. How many fewer meetings can we have as a company and still communicate better?
  2. How many of our existing customers are offering their help to grow our business?
  3. How often are we thanked for our extra effort and told we are over-delivering?
  4. How are we creating and delivering memorable marketing and sales stories?
  5. How many of our customers are sharing (on their own) our story with ideal prospects?

This type of momentum is what delivers better results.

It’s not “skin deep”.  It’s thoughtful and comprehensive.

And it’s what builds momentum.  And makes change possible.

As you lead change, remember that life is full of seasons.

There is a time to be up and a time to be down. You’re going to find yourself celebrating success, another time scrambling to recover from what seems like impending doom.

There are moments when everything is good and you don’t feel the need to change — other moments where you can’t change fast enough.

Each one of us is going through these seasons at different times — and all at the same time.

Be the best you possible. Show the results that come from being willing to change. Accept and celebrate the hard changes others are willing to make in their pursuit of getting to that next level. Stay true to your mission for leveling up.

Some days it’s going to feel like everything is working perfectly. On quite a few other days, you’re going to feel like absolutely nothing is working.

Take a deep breath. Keep moving towards where you want to be.

Changing is worth it.

The Greatest Sports Comeback Story And 3 Secrets To Winning All High-Performers Live By.

High performance. You know it when you see it.

It’s one of those stories you can tell a dozen times and still be excited each time. It’s captivating to watch. More of an experience than just an event or an occasion.

The comeback story of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at Superbowl LI is one of the most improbable wins in an American football championship ever.

Chances are — you probably watched it.

It was late in the championship game on February 5, 2017, when the Patriots faced a 4th-and-3 at their own 46-yard line down 28-3 with 6:04 left in the third quarter. It seemed like game over. They seemed absolutely dead in the water.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Patriots odds at that point of pulling off the comeback were less 0.5%.

But Brady found Danny Amendola with a short pass to convert the 4th down, beginning what would become an almost unbelievable series of events.

After scoring just 3 points in the entire first half, Brady led 5 consecutive scoring drives after halftime, including 2 touchdown drives (both followed by successful two-point conversions) in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.

In overtime, Brady completed 5 straight passes to get close to the end zone before James White scored on a 2-yard touchdown to claim the win.

No other team has ever achieved a 25-point comeback in a championship game like this. It’s a level of high performance that won’t be easy to match ever.

But it’s certainly not the greatest football comeback story of all time.

And not the greatest comeback by points in a championship series. That story — and that record — belongs to Frank Reich.

Warren Moon and the Oilers had the 1993 NFL Playoffs in hand when, two minutes into the third quarter, the score was 35-3. A complete blow-out. With a depleted Buffalo Bills offense — both superstar players Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas were injured — the Bills had little chance to win this game.

That is, until the Bill’s backup quarterback, Frank Reich, began an unthinkable series of amazing plays.

With the score 35-10, Buffalo recovered an onside kick and Reich threw a 38-yard bomb to Don Beebe to make it 35-17. It didn’t stop there.

Five unanswered Reich touchdowns put the Bills ahead, but at the last minute, the Oilers tied it up with a field goal.

In overtime, Nate Odomes picked off Warren Moon to set up the most improbable of victories and the greatest NFL comeback in history.

The final score: 41-38 for the Bills.

But appreciating this comeback requires that you know a little bit more about who Frank Reich really was.

Frank Reich was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the third round, 57th overall, in the 1985 NFL Draft. The Bills already had drafted future Hall of Famer Jim Kelly in 1983 and when Kelly signed with the Bills in 1986, Reich’s only option was as backup QB.

Reich got his first start only after Kelly went down with a shoulder injury in 1989 — after more than 3 years of only playing a supporting role. And he took advantage of the opportunity.

In front of a Rich Stadium crowd of more than 76,000 fans and a Monday Night Football audience, Reich led the Bills to two straight victories. He rallied the Bills in the fourth quarter by throwing two drives down the field for a 23-20 victory over the previously unbeaten Los Angeles Rams.

Reich returned to find himself the backup the following season; however, when Kelly was injured again late in the season Reich provided the Bills with another two key wins, clinching them the AFC East title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Three years later, he would lead that improbable come-from-behind victory over Warren Moon in the 1993 NFL Playoffs.

High performance. Most of us don’t know how to describe it any other way.

Is it a comeback? An underdog story? Pure passion? Being awesome?

The truth is that it looks like a lot of things. That’s why it can be so hard to explain. Even harder to do. Which brings us back to living — high-performance living.

What is high-performance living? And how can you do it?

Here are some observations for you about completing your own comeback story.

1. You are going to have to fail a lot more than you are right now.

When you fail and it starts to look like success to those around you, you know that you
are a high performer. Look. Let’s get real frank, real fast. Life isn’t a competition with anyone other than the rock star that you are intended to be.

If you think that I am advocating that you look around and compare yourself to anyone else, you are dead wrong. You know better than that already. That’s a complete waste of time.

Here is what I’m trying to say. High performers look at failure as a step closer to success. It’s not an act. It’s a way of life. Rejection and loss are not endpoints. They are guideposts.

High-performance living requires the discipline to look at each opportunity in life and say “What can I do differently the next time?”.

Here’s a reality — there might be a time where there is nothing you could have done better. But I haven’t had one of those moments yet. When I am brutally honest about my own performance I have always found 3-4 tiny mistakes that all contributed to my failure.

Maybe you are the same.

2. You won’t make progress until you get radical with your perspective and activity

You have to know going in that it’s going to be rough. Rougher and tougher than anything you have ever allowed yourself to imagine before.

There is a reason that we call this the top 1%. The air is thin at the top. And not because your nose is out of joint. Because you are pumping your knees so hard you can barely breathe.

You have to be ready to work harder than you ever imagined — and then double that.

Listen, you can lead a pretty safe life by working a guaranteed 35 hours a week. You will have plenty to time for all your hobbies without the stress of having to change the world or achieving progress toward your goals.

But high performance requires working smarter and harder.

  • You need radical effort: Are you willing to put in more value and passion than anyone else?
  • You need radical creativity: Are you willing to think differently about your situation than you have done before?
  • You need radical discipline: Are you willing to quit letting your immediate feelings stop you from realizing your long-term goals?

In this age of tolerance and equality, it is might seem like heresy to suggest that you need to be different. Radically different.

But that’s the only sure path to high-performance living. There is no other way.

3. You have to believe you can even when you can’t see how.

You can only achieve what you believe. The battle for high performance is won long before you ever go through the motions of winning. It’s all in your head.

Your dreams. Your fears. They are all part of what you will ever achieve. High performers think about high performance. It’s that simple.

They think. They obsess. They plan for high-performance selling.

  • They don’t stay paralyzed by fear — they act.
  • They don’t wonder — they discover.
  • They don’t doubt — they try.

It’s a fundamental difference between those who envy and those who are. It’s all in your head long before it ever happens.

And because it is all that is in your head — you living not being controlled by fears or doubts or questions — that is all you have time to act on.

And what a powerful difference that makes.

By the way, if you think a few comebacks is the end of the story for Frank Reich, think again.

After retiring from playing professionally, Reich became a coach for the Indianapolis Colts where he personally trained and mentored Hall of Fame Quarterback, Peyton Manning. Who took what he learned from Reich to the next level.

By the time he finished his 18-year professional career, Manning would claim many NFL records, including the most MVP awards (5), the most Pro Bowl appearances (14), the most 4,000-yard passing seasons (14), the most passing yards and the most passing touchdowns in a single-season (both in 2013).

He is a two-time Super Bowl championship winner and the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLI, Manning is also the only quarterback to start the Super Bowl for two franchises more than once each and the only starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two franchises.

At the time, he was the oldest quarterback in sporting history to win the championship.

The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Real Change In Your Life This Year.

Change is hard. But it’s something that you want and know that you need.

The beginning of the year spawns this romantic feeling of possibility. Regardless of where you are in your life, the end of a year marks a time of automatic introspection and thoughts about what might come next.

That usually starts with you coming up with a few resolutions. New Year’s resolutions.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t work out for almost anyone.

According to a recent study by Forbes, 40% of Americans will take stock of their year and make a declarative statement of their intentions for the year to come. Of that group, 80% will fail within 30 days — and give up. Only 8% of resolution makers actually achieve the success they want for themselves.

For almost everyone, making a resolution will result in frustration and a sense of defeat.

The answer isn’t to not make resolutions. And the answer isn’t to throw away the concept of making a change in your life.

It’s time to take a fresh look at making resolutions and achieving change. Here are a few perspectives to help you achieve the change you want for yourself this year.

Before you sit down and write your resolutions for the New Year, take a moment to decide what you really want for yourself.

What is that? Money? Fame? Personal satisfaction?

In the center of your soul, what is that missing piece that you need to find or fill?

Start there.

Before you do anything, think about what you are willing to give up to achieve success. Are you truly willing to do the hard things you need to do? Make up your mind that your goal is worth the effort it’s going to require.

To get it right this time you are going to have to toughen up your mind, your body, and your spending habits. You won’t achieve anything awesome with a bad attitude, bad financial habits, our bad health.

Is that a commitment you are willing to make this time around?

Take a moment and look around at the people you have surrounded yourself with. Are you friends with people who can push you further? Or do you need to level up that part of your life too?

And since you are thinking about setting big goals and deciding what you really want for yourself, take a moment to get brutally honest with yourself about what it is going to take. Be prepared to get pushed down, stepped on, and made fun of.

Are you determine to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes?

By the way, you are going to have a plan in place to actually get things done. Think through the seemly insignificant steps you will take each day to make progress. There are milestones you will want to track.

Take the time to prepare for everything you didn’t think was important in the past.

And while you’re thinking about the past, get honest with yourself about the last resolutions you made. Did you hit the mark? Were you even close?

Before you start writing resolutions, remember that every good plan has a clear way to measure success — and warning lights when your effort and activity aren’t moving you in the right direction.

And having this plan should make it easier for you to push past your fears and past failures.

So dream big.

A big part of success is ignoring other people’s expectations for you. And avoiding the negative people who will hold you back.

Before you start writing those new resolutions, pause and think about who you blame for your own past failures. Is it someone other than you?

This time you need a plan that’s more specific than you have had in the past.

Because this time around you are going to make every moment matter until you get to where you want to be.

There’s a difference between making promises and keeping promises. There’s a difference between thinking about doing something and getting started doing it.

Making changes in your life is not about hoping that things change for the better for you.

It’s about purposing that you will do whatever it takes in order to achieve the change that you want for you.

That’s the difference between making a resolution and resolving.

  • A resolution is a moment in time. Resolving is a fire that burns deep within you forever.
  • A resolution is what you tell your friends. Resolving is how you get back up when you’ve failed a few times.
  • A resolution is what you write down on paper and post on your refrigerator. Resolving is what powers you through the dark moments when no one believes that your dream is worth fighting for.

Introspection is important. Aiming for big goals is important for growth. Believing in yourself is important.

But resolving might be the most important activity you can do.

Resolve to be a better person. Resolve to love more. Resolve to try harder.

Resolve to push yourself further.

Resolve to always keep heading to where you want to be — no matter how far away you seem to be right now.

  • Resolve to forgive.  Start with yourself.
  • Resolve to lose.  Start with your pride.
  • Resolve to stop.  Start with quitting.
  • Resolve to love.  Start with those you dislike.
  • Resolve to quit.  Start with doubting yourself.  
  • Resolve to give up.  Start with your fear.

Change starts with the radical resolutions that you make for yourself.

Remember, if your goals are simply ordinary don’t expect to achieve what is extraordinary.

Instead of hoping this year is better than last year. Instead of wishing that tomorrow would be different from today.

Instead of feeling frustrated, pointing fingers, and making excuses.

Instead of staying stuck, resolve to do things differently this coming year.

Resolve to be open-minded. Resolve to be candid. Resolve to not be petty. Resolve to start doing the things you’ve been scared to do up until now.

Take a deep look at yourself each day.

Don’t wait until the end of next year to decide what you need to improve. Make small changes every day.

Perhaps there’s a kind word you need to share. Perhaps there’s a skill or lesson you need to learn. Perhaps you’re spending too much time around negative people.

Why wait to reflect and improve until a new year comes around?

Take the first 5 minutes of your morning and check in on your daily progress.

Make it all about one small thing. Not five. Or four. Or two. One thing that you could work on each day.

The possibilities are endless:

  1. You could eat better, drink more water, and take back control of your health.
  2. You could give a compliment to somebody you’ve never spoken to before.
  3. You could read a book about that topic you’ve been wanting to research.
  4. You could look for a new job or find a new opportunity for growth in your current job.
  5. You could spend a few more minutes sharing time with family and friends.
  6. You could make a phone call to somebody you know is struggling.
  7. You could just spend 10 to 15 minutes quietly meditating by yourself.
  8. You could take a walk, go for a run, or try out a new fitness class.
  9. You could save the money you’re wanting to spend on that thing that won’t matter in the long run.
  10. You could find a new coach to help you take your game to the next level.

You could start just about anything in a day.

And that’s the beauty of resolving to change.

It’s not about endlessly big dreams and lofty goals that you’ll never end up actually achieving. It’s about the tough, tiny decisions you can make right away.

The changes you can implement immediately.

Creating change isn’t something vague in the future. It’s right now. This moment. What you resolve to do better today.

That’s so much better than hopes and dreams. So much more powerful than the resolutions you have made in the past.

It’s time to take action. Time to change.

Take a moment right now and get started.

Who do you want to become this time next year? What are you willing to start changing today?

You Were Never Promised That It Was Going To Be Easy. Just That You Can Make It.


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.


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 underwater, 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 with the hatch lid still closed, Steve felt in his gut that this was it. His time had come.

The moments of his life flashed before him in an instant.

And 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, allowing Steve to swim back to his life raft.

Exhausted, he tied the life raft to the boat.

Right now he needed rest. He would get more supplies in the morning.

He woke up to find that his line had snapped in the middle of the night.

He was all 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. He found 3 of them.

And each of them had the potential to turn ocean water into 6 pints of safe, drinkable water each day.

Except none of them worked. None of them.

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 working — a little.

Together, they were able to create 5 cups of clean water each day.

And that’s where he found himself — in the middle of the ocean with a few cups of clean water available each day

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

By now he had 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 every day he blew it back up.

Every night before he went to sleep, he repeated the same process.

One day passed doing this. Then two days. Then three days.

And every day, while he worked to repair the hole that could end his life, sharks circled, waiting to strike while he worked to repair the bottom of the raft, 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.

He shouted until his voice was broken. He cursed and swore and challenged the universe to come at him.

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 talked 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 flare gun and launched one towards the boat. If they could just see the flare, they would surely come and rescue him.

Except they didn’t.

And then there was another ship. Same story. And a different, third ship. Same story.

Seven different times, a ship 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 normal person would go crazy in a situation like this — drifting alone in the middle of the ocean, 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 in his head.

And think about the deeper meanings of life.

It sounds a bit nutty — but he came up with a series of tough questions to keep himself focused each day:

  • 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 who 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 they 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 everything that you have, you’ve only given 40%.”

It would have been easy for Steve to quit 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 exactly true for you. And your dreams,

  • When you think you’ve given everything that you have, you’ve barely gotten started.
  • When you think you’ve saved as much as you can, you’re still got 60% more.
  • When you think you’ve invested everything you have into your relationships, you have more to give.

You’re not even half as strong as you 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.

You just have to decide to be tough. And keep moving forward.

Will you?

8 Ways To Stop Letting Fear Keep You From Being The Person You Were Meant To Be.

Ever since my youngest daughter was born seven years ago I wake up from time to time with a reoccurring dream. Somehow, I’m backing over my little girl with the car that I’m driving.

In my dream, I’m not paying attention, while she is doing something cute and not noticing that I’m leaving — and I do the unthinkable.

It’s the same dream. The same nightmare. Like a bad movie that you’re forced to sit through.

When I start having this dream, something in the back of my brain tells the crazy part of my head that it knows that I’m dreaming. And sometimes I’ll even wake myself up halfway through the dream.

But when I go back to sleep that night I have that dream all over again. It’s a weird, psychological bit of craziness that usually indicates I’m stressed out.

It’s a pretty good sign that there are things inside my head that I need to work out.

Fear does that to you. It forces you to think. It forces you to stop.

No matter how fast you’re moving or how determined you are to get to where you want to be, fear has the power to paralyze you in an instant.

In some ways, that’s a good thing — because it stops you from doing some really incredibly foolish things. It protects you. And keeps you alive. But left unchecked, fear will destroy every good thing in your life.

It will make you paranoid and skeptical, bitter, angry, and without hope for a better future.

Fear is the single most powerful poison to ever infect your dreams.

Infect. Then effect.

In truth, we are all afraid of a lot of things. And at different levels of intensity.

And sometimes those fears compete against each other.

There is a part of you that is afraid of sticking out and getting noticed — and maybe being called weird. There is another part of you that is deeply afraid of not being noticed at all.

Your fear isn’t exactly rational or reasonable. But it’s a head game that is all too real though. And if you can’t learn to handle it, you’ll end paralyzed, underperforming, and lost in a whirlwind of regret.

So what’s the secret to handling fear? What can you do when all you feel is panic and dread and fear — deeply overwhelmed by life, and more importantly your current situation?

Here are a few ways to win the game of fear:

  1.  Admit the power that fear has over you. — Recognize that you are powerless on your own to fix this problem. You haven’t been able to beat it in the past and the only way to fix it going forward is to do something different this time around. You need to do something different if you want to feel better. If you want to achieve something better.
  2. Believe that you are on this earth to do something uniquely possible for someone of your abilities. You have a higher purpose — a noble calling.  You were meant to be amazing. Fear does not have to hold you captive. And if don’t do what only you can do, some part of the universe is incomplete. You have a reason
  3. Search yourself honestly. — How much of your fear right now is caused by poor choices you made in past? This isn’t a brand new situation for you. You already know why fear has such a grip over your soul. It’s time for the most honest conversation of your life.
  4. Clean out your past skeletons. — Apologize to people you have wronged.  Confront people who have hurt you deeply. Apologize to those you harbor bitterness for. Confront your demons head-on. Fight for your future by cleaning up your past. You can run forward towards a bright future when you and handcuffed to your secrets from the past.
  5. Accept responsibility for every feeling, thought, and choice you make from this moment forward. — Today is a clean slate. As of this very moment, nothing needs to hold you captive any longer. So act like it. Try something new. Most importantly, own your results. And when you start to feel that panic rise up in the back of your throat, immediately start talking yourself down. This is on you
  6. Spend time healing each day. — Whether it’s meditation, prayer, exercise, or yoga — spend time keeping your head straight. Invest in activities and habits that build your endurance for doing the hard work to beat your addiction. Go running. Read a book. Talk to a mentor. Do things that are physically tasking.
  7. Take inventory of your progress each day. — You’re going to have good days and bad days. To win you need to be deliberate and honest about your behaviors — and the thoughts that you battle each day. Improve each day in small ways. Maybe you should journal what you feel each day and remind yourself that not every day is bad.
  8. Help someone else beat their addiction to fear. — The best learning you’ll ever do is to teach someone else. The best healing you’ll experience is to help someone else get better themselves. Pay it forward. Be a mentor. Help someone else get past the obstacles standing in their way. What you feel in you is what they feel in them. Can you help them break free? Probably.

I can’t tell you why it happens exactly. But every time I run an ultra-marathon I feel my stomach contort itself into a thousand possible shapes and sizes in the days and hours before the gun goes off.

I feel like I’m going to throw up. And then I feel like I have to go to the bathroom. Then I’m nervous.

Behind it all is a simple fear that underlies what will be the most honest of reckonings.

In the race that will follow, all pretense will be stripped bare. All excuses will become clear. What I will do or don’t do is about to become crystal clear to everyone there, most importantly me.

That’s scary. That’s a moment full of raw panic. And yet, when the gun goes off and the idea of the race turns into the actual race itself, I find comfort that the path from fear to greatness is simply a series of next steps. A decision to plant one foot in front of the other — whether at a sprint or a jog or a crawl.

Success is simply a matter of choice. And fear, when battled back with activity, is nothing more than an empty illusion.

So, no matter how you handle your fear, remember that fear itself can survive for long in an environment where activity and effort, intensity, purpose, and clarity are the rules for living.

Fear less.

To Change Who You Are, You Have To Change Where You Are.

Where you are, determines what you do.

It doesn’t matter how cold-hearted or foolish you might be, you’re going to change your behavior when you’re in a church or around someone you feel is especially religious. The same is true for how you act on vacation away from the office.

It’s different — and so you act differently.

That’s because your environment has a lot to do with your actions.

What you do isn’t entirely a result of willpower. In fact, just using willpower to change who you are limits your ability to get to where you want to be.

You can lose weight and have a pantry full of cookies and candy — but it’s going to be really hard.

Almost impossible, in fact.

But what if you had a pantry full of fresh ingredients and a refrigerator full of fruits and vegetables? It’s almost automatic that you’re going to lose weight.

The same is true with money and a bountiful career.

If you hang around people who are smart with their money and conscientious in their planning, chances are so will you.

It’s why we use that phrase “birds of a feather flock together”. Rich people understand rich people. They understand the mindset and the journey it took to get there. So they naturally gravitate to other rich people.

You don’t need to hang around rich people in order to become rich yourself, but, if you change your environment so that financially responsible people are all you surround yourself with, you are doing more for yourself than any app on your phone or willpower alone can do for you.

You’ll become a bit richer putting yourself in an environment where that’s what automatically happens.

Where that is the behavior that is rewarded.

Think about rehab for a moment. It’s rather obvious but still bears explaining. When you step away from your daily life to battle addiction head-on, you change your environment.

You go away to a secluded place where all the influences point you in the direction of recovery.

Lasse Viren of Finland, was a police officer who burst onto the international track scene in 1971 running the 5,000 and 10,000 meter events. He finished a miserable 7th and 17th place in each respective race. He ran too fast at the beginning of the race and faded fast.

He had talent but needed to make a change in order to become a winnner

Determined to make a difference, Lasse decided to move more than 4,000 miles away to Thompson Falls in Kenya to begin a brutal training regiment. Under the 250 foot scenic waterfall at the base of the Ewaso Narok river, Lasse pushed his body to the breaking point each day.

As the mist of the powerful waterfall crashed down around him, he planned to smash the world record for the 2-mile event at an event in Helsinki in the early summer of 1972. Which he ended up doing.

The full story can be found in EDGY Conversations.

Change only happens when you are deliberate about your environment. Lasting change, that is.

We can all change for short periods of time. And we all do. But then we slip back into old behaviors. We fall victim to old vices. We lose our way and get in trouble almost automatically.

And then we wonder what happened. And it’s worse than that.

We feel shame — because we didn’t have enough willpower that last time.

But it’s not about willpower. It’s about your location. It’s about your environment.

If you want to change who you are then you need to physically change where you are.

It’s that simple. The greatest life hack for getting to where you want to be isn’t learning a new skill, it’s simply getting up and moving.

That might seem radical, but maybe that’s why so few people live fulfilled, rewarding lives.

Maybe that’s why so few of us actually live our full potential. It’s easier to feel shame and guilt for a short period of time than it is to make the drastic change of moving from where you are to a place that will help you get to where you want to be.

  • It’s easier to pretend that God doesn’t want you to be successful.
  • It’s easier to pretend like suffering is your lot in life.
  • It’s easier to pretend as if the world has it out for you.

It’s so much easier to make excuses than it is to do the hard work of moving.

But it’s where all the results are.

Is it any wonder that Olympic athletes move to the mountains of Colorado or Kenya where the high altitude helps them run faster? No. Being in that place is what makes them better. Not different thinking. Not better coaching.

Not a thousand different variables other than the fact that their location is what allows them to dominate.

Think about that for yourself.

If the root cause of underperformance is your location, then what do you need to change?

Maybe you need to move jobs so that you’re in a place where your spirit feels refreshed and renewed.

Maybe you need to move to a different part of the country so that who you are matches a place where people are encouraging and inspiring.

You have unlimited options for moving.

In fact, if you think about all the things that happen to you on a weekly basis — almost every one of your frustrations results from you being at a place where you don’t need to be.

You’ve made a choice to be there. And to get different results, you need to make the choice to be somewhere else.

Where is that for you?

“You’re Basically Crushing It” And Other Reasons For Gratitude.

No matter how bad things are right now for you, they are better than they could be. That alone should fuel your sense of gratitude.

And when you think about it further, you realize how very good you have it.

No matter how desperate your situation might feel, you still have the opportunity for change going forward.

Looking back you can see how far you have already come.

You haven’t figured it all out. You’re not exactly where you want to be. Things aren’t even close to being perfect.

But you should be overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude. Overwhelmed by a fresh chance and new opportunities still to come.

But that will not happen by accident.

That sense of inspiration and purpose won’t overwhelm you automatically.

You have to put yourself in the position to be overwhelmed.

You have to make time to pause and think about where you are and where you are headed.

You have to force yourself to look around and realize where you are and all the opportunities still ahead.

Here are a few reasons why gratitude is your best strategy for success:

  1. When you’re grateful, you attract the right people to you. — “Birds of a feather flock together” might be an outdated antidote. But it still holds true. If you want awesome, appreciative clients, then you need to be that person yourself. No one likes being around a miserable, self-righteous complainer who thinks he knows everything. Gratitude changes that.
  2. When you’re grateful, you tend to be more creative. — Instead of stumbling over the doom and gloom of your particular situation, you’ll find yourself finding the bright spots buried in the bad news. That will give you the strength to try what no one else is willing to investigate. When you try more, you win more. Gratitude shows you the way forward.
  3. When you’re grateful, you make better decisions. — Instead of lashing out at those who do you wrong or letting dangerous emotions drive your next steps, you’ll find yourself making smarter decisions — that don’t come back to hurt you in the future. Gratitude is you taking that deep breath. Gratitude allows you to take a step back and look at life with clearer eyes.
  4. When you’re grateful, you spend your money much more wisely. — Instead of wasting money on everything that you “need to have” because of how little you think about what you already have right now, you invest in your own long term success. You are willing to say “NO”. And that’s means a much bigger “YES” in the future. Gratitude makes you smarter with your money.
  5. When you’re grateful, you tend to be a little bit luckier than everyone else. — Maybe you’re not actually any luckier than anyone else. But if that’s how you feel, can you argue against it? Imagine waking up and feeling like the luckiest person in the world each morning. How much differently would you act? Chances are, you wouldn’t be doing what you’re planning on doing right now. Gratitude gives you lift.

Gratitude is a decision. It’s an option that you can choose at any time.

Regardless of what’s going on around you practicing gratitude is an option.

It’s more than an option, a decision, or a choice. It’s a mindset. And a smart one at that.

You might be broke, fighting for a minimum wage that is $15 per hour. But you probably make more than $15 per month — which is the average salary of a worker in Ghana.

  • Yes, you’re working hard every day.
  • Yes, you make smart choices.
  • Yes, you learn and grow and evolve each day.

But it’s undeniable that the launchpad for your life — where you started — is something that you had nothing to do with.

You didn’t make the decision where you were born. You should be grateful for that geographic advantage.

The same is true about countless other things that make up the mosaic of your daily existence.

For a moment, think about the positive things in your life. Think about the people you love most. Think about where you have worked.

Think about the magical moments in your life where you’re pretty sure luck was on your side.

Think deeply about all those moments and then ask yourself a simple question: “Did I do this all on my own?”

Probably not. And by the way, that’s not a smear on your work ethic or anything the least bit negative. It’s just an observation in providence.

It’s a reason for gratitude. You’re not in this all by yourself.

“You are loved. You are noticed. You matter.”

And not just in the physical world where you cultivate friends and develop new relationships.

It seems to me an undeniable fact that a Higher Being has your best interests at heart. Looking out for you. Putting in place the stepping stones to move you towards where I need to be.

And that, my friends, is perhaps the most important reason for gratitude.

But again, it’s your choice. Your option. Your decision.

But when you put it all into perspective, not being grateful seems like a crime. At best, a missed opportunity for greatness.

Taping Your Feet Back On So You Can Try One More Time.

High Mountain Climber

You might not realize it right now, but the truth about you is that you are impossibly powerful when you refuse to quit.

You are tougher than you think you are. You are mighter than you might ever have imagined.

And the key to all of that is your willingness to simply keep trying.

  • You can work harder than you think you can.
  • You can learn faster than you think you can. 
  • You can keep giving longer than you think you can. 
  • You can dreams bigger than you think you can.
  • You can live more boldly than you think you can. 
  • You can push the limits a little bit more than you think you can. 
  • You can dig deeper more than you think you can. 
  • You can fight through the fatigue longer than you think you can. 
  • You can take being laughed at more than you think you can. 

You can always do more than you think you can.

But you won’t find out if you’re not willing to try.

And sometimes trying means you get hurt and fail. That you have to pick yourself back up off the ground and get back headed towards where you want to be.

That you quite literally will yourself to keep going.

It was January in 1913 in a remote section of Antarctica. Douglas Mawson was 14 feet away from the top of the crevice — hanging by a rope attached to his waist.

The sled wedged into the snow above him was the only thing keeping him alive.

As he swung helplessly– his feet unable to reach either side of the crevice to push off and climb — his only thought was that he had not finished eating the rest of the food on his sled.

Douglas Mawson was the leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, a team of 31 scientists and adventurers pursuing the most ambitious exploration yet of the southern continent.

Mawson was determined to return from his expedition with the most scientific analysis of the area, including geographic analysis, meteorology, magnetic measurements, local biology, atmospheric science, and movements of the glaciers.

But it wouldn’t be easy.

Every part of their journey would be a struggle of magnificent proportions.

Their base camp at Commonwealth Bay was built on an ice shelf that proved to be mostly unlivable. The average constant wind speed that year was 50 mph — with Douglas recording regular winds approaching 200 mph. With blizzard conditions daily, this was quite literally the windiest place on the planet.

In those harsh conditions, it took the team 10 months to build out their camp and put together plans for their expedition deeper into Antarctica.

The airplane they had brought with them was a bust as well. It had been damaged on the journey to Antarctica and was converted into a tractor on sleighs.

But the engine wasn’t built for such cold conditions and would only work for a few minutes at a time. They would use the scrap metal to reinforce their huts.

By December 14, 1912, despite the impossible odds against them Douglas Mawson and his 2-man team and several dozen dogs were 35 days and almost 300 miles into their exploration. He had assigned himself the hardest of the 8 different explorations that fanned out from their windy base at Commonwealth Bay.

They had already crossed 2 glaciers and hundreds of deadly crevices — deep holes in the ice hidden by a powdering of snow.

That Saturday morning in December was no different.

Xavier Mertz, guiding a dog sled ahead of Mawson raised his pole signaling a dangerous crevice ahead. He carefully navigated his way diagonally across the thin ice instead of head-on. Mawson did the same.

Continuing on, Douglas heard the faint whimper of a dog behind him.

Ahead of him, Mertz turned around, hearing the same sound himself. It was the look on his face that shook Douglas to his core.

A gaping hole in the snow bridge showed a crevice 150 foot deep where a husky lay whimpering with a broken back. There was no other sign of their companion, Lieutenant Belgrave Ninnis, or the sled.

He was gone — along with their best dogs, their tent, and nearly their entire food supply for the expedition.

They improvised a tent out of extra sled runners and a tent cover they found. It was just enough for room for both of them to crawl into.

The next morning they begin their race home. And for the first few days, they made excellent time. But it wasn’t long until their dogs gave out.

When the Huskies could no longer pull the sled, Mertz and Mawson carried them to their makeshift camp for the day and shot them, eating as much of the meat as they could stomach and throwing the scraps to the rest of the dogs.

It wasn’t long before only a single dog, Ginger, was able to pull the sled. So the two men hitched themselves to the harness and pulled alongside her.

They would only make it a few miles before they collapsed, exhausted by the snowdrifts that were 4 feet tall in places.

It wasn’t just the dogs that were dying. Mertz was sick, losing weight rapidly. His fingers were horrifically frostbitten and he was too weak to move.

He couldn’t go on.

Determined not to let his friend die, Mawson convinced him to ride in the sled while he pulled it a few miles each day. Day after day, Mawson pulled as Mertz’s condition steadily deteriorated into a slow and painful death.

After burying his friend, Mawson was determined to make it back to base. Most of his food was gone and his body was in horrible condition.

He had open sores on his lips, nose, and scrotum. Hair was falling out of his head in large clumps and the skin on his legs was peeling off in large strips. The soles of his feet had detached completely from the skin and sinew holding together the rest of his foot. Using tape from his pack he desperately attached the dead soles to his feet and put on 6 pairs of wool socks.

With every step, blood and pus oozed from the bottom of his frozen feet. He was still 80 miles from camp and growing desperately weaker by the day.

But step by step he made his way home

And then he stepped through an ice bridge — and found himself hanging by a rope in a deep crevice. Weakened by hypothermia and near starvation, he hung 14 feet below his sled which was straddling both edges of the crevice.

He reached for the first knot in the rope and desperately pulled himself up. Holding on, he reached for the next knot. And then the next.

Inch by inch he pulled himself up the harness rope. Praying that the ice would hold.

Reaching the top of the crevice he rolled his body onto the snow-covered lip of the crevice. His weight caused the overhang to break off — plunging him back down into the icy crevice.

His raw hands were slippery with blood. His fingers, frozen and numb. Utter despair overwhelmed him. He wanted to die. It was too much for him to bear.

As he hung in the tangles of the harness rope, a verse from his favorite poet, Robert Service, flashed through his mind: “Just have one more try—it’s dead easy to die. It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.”

Inch by inch. Minute by minute. Knot by knot. Mawson made his way back up the rope.

When he reached the top of the crevice he pushed his feet out first and then pulled his weakened frame free of the edge, rolled over and, passed out.

A few hours later he would wake up covered in snow. He got to his feet and kept walking.

Days later he would find a chest of supplies left by a rescue party of his fellow explorers out looking for him — food, supplies, and a map showing him the final 28 miles back to base.

It would take him the next 10 days to make it back to the base.

When he arrived, the Aurora, a rescue ship sent to rescue them was on the horizon — having left just 5 hours earlier. It would be 10 months later before that same ship would come back for Mawson and the 6 men who stayed behind to find him.

Regardless, he had survived against all odds. He had refused to stop trying. Beaten and battered. Tired and trembling

When Mawson finally reached Australia in February a year later, he was welcomed as a national hero and knighted by King George V.

In fact, it is Douglas Mawson’s face you’ll see on the Australian one hundred dollar banknote.

His life was an improbable story of courage and triumph made possible by simply trying.

When you too find yourself hanging by a thread, with hands raw and bloody from past tries, think of Mawson and keep moving towards where you want to be.

You might have lost skin off your fingers and might find yourself taping your feet back together. Friends might die. And ideas fail.

You can give up and die. Or you can try. And try. And try again.

And be the hero of your life from this day forward.

You Don’t Need To Pretend Anything. You Just Need To Keep Working On It.

Don’t waste your time trying to be something that you’re not. Don’t waste a moment pretending to be someone that you think other people want you to be.

The truth is that you get to choose what you do and who you are. You get to decide everything about your future. All of it. The money you make. The job you have. The people you love and the friends you surround yourself with.

None of that is forced upon you.

It’s already completely within your control to own each of those decisions. But pretending just makes everything worse.

You start to fool yourself.

When you first start pretending to be something that you’re not, you do it because you think it’s a temporary solution to achieving your long-term goals.

It just seems like an easier path forward. But it always comes back to cause you long-term anguish. It’s easy to think that who you’re pretending to be is actually the person that you are.

It’s easy to believe that because other people think something positive of you that who you’re pretending to be is a positive decision.

But you can never replace the real work you have to do on yourself to achieve lasting breakthrough.

You can’t run fast enough to escape your reality.

It catches up to you. And determines the ultimate level of your success.

Which is why you didn’t need to pretend anything in the first place. You don’t need to go through the motions with anyone or for anything. You just need to be you. Flawed. Fabulous. And a work in progress.

It’s okay to work at it. It’s okay to work on it.

It’s perfectly reasonable to be moving in a direction away from where you are right now.

What does that mean?

  • You don’t need to be ashamed or embarrassed that you’re overweight or that you’re not as financially successful as you want to be.
  • You don’t need to pretend like you’re smarter than you are or that you have more status or worldly significance.

You just need to be working on it.

Whatever it is that you want to be, you just need to be working on it.

There will always be others who have more money or who look better or who appear to have the thing that you’re working to acquire right now.

It will always seem easier and less frustrating for them than it is for you.

What you don’t know is that some of the time those other people who look like they’re so successful are just faking it.

What looks like success to you is really just a big batch of pretending. And you start to think that because it’s easy for them and they’re already successful that something’s wrong with you. That you’re broken.

That maybe you should give up on the hard work of changing who you are — and just pursue shortcuts. You start to think that instead of applying the discipline that comes along with transformation that you should just fake it until you make it.

True greatness takes time. Lasting domination isn’t an accident.

Breakthrough isn’t ever the result of you pretending anything.

You Are What You Do.

In 1936, Berlin, Germany held the world’s attention. 

Athletes from around the world traveled to the center of German power, led by Adolf Hitler, to display their athletic prowess in the XI Olympiad.

It was the year American Jesse Owens captured four track and field medals — the first American to do so, cementing his place in Olympic history.

But off in Wannsee, southwest of Berlin, Germans, Scandinavians, and other global powers were battling it out for something different — shooting medals.

Eight Hungarians competed. One took silver in the men’s 50-meter rifle, prone. But their best shooter was conspicuously absent. He was Karoly Tackas, a sergeant in the Hungarian army.

But since only commissioned officers were allowed to compete, he was forced to remain home while two Germans and a Swede took their places on the podium in his favorite event: 25-meter rapid fire pistol, where targets are only visible for an increasingly smaller amount of time. Any competitor who misses a target is automatically ineligible for the next round.

The rule barring non-commissioned officers to compete was lifted for the 1940 Olympics, and Karoly knew the event would be his to win.

So did everyone else in the competition.

A year later, everyone continued to believe he’d take gold in the Tokyo Olympics as he cleaned up in event after event. He won them all.

You could say he was the man with the golden right hand. That’s what everyone called him. He believed it too.

All of that changed one day in a routine military training session.

As he prepared to lob a grenade, like had done thousands of times before, something was different.

Pull… Click… Boom…

But the boom of the explosion felt too close.

He held a faulty grenade. Or rather, he had held a faulty grenade. It exploded early.

Looking down, he saw a bloody stump. Gone was his right hand — and his dream of 1940 Olympic gold.

For a month, Karoly lay in the hospital bed, feeling useless. Utterly depressed.

But he determined to figure it out.

As soon as he was out of the hospital, he taught himself to shoot left-handed.

At first, he could barely hold the pistol — nevermind shoot straight.

But he was maniacally focused on getting this right so for a full-year, he trained to do the opposite of what came naturally — shoot with his weak hand.

Frustratingly, agonizingly, he started to make progress using his left hand.

Late in 1939, he stepped back into the public spotlight and competed in Hungary’s National Shooting Championship.

His friends were shocked to see him there and thought he had come to spectate.

“I’ve not come here to watch. I’ve come here to win”, he told them. And win he did.

He was back, and ready for the 1940 Tokyo games.

But he faced circumstances beyond his control.

Germany ignited a global war by attacking Poland. The 1940 Olympics were canceled. And so were the 1944 games.

He grew depressed and frustrated. Yet through all of this, Karoly persisted. Shooting. Training. Improving his craft.

It was a full 10 years later — in 1948 — when the world would finally come together for the Olympics games set in London.

As British athlete John Mark circled the track in Wembley stadium to light the cauldron in front of thousands, the stadium’s marquee held these words:

“The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning, but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering, but fighting well”

That could have been Karoly’s motto.

He had fought well to come back from the hospital bed to his country’s winner’s podium. Now it would be time to step onto the global stage and fight for his dream. Gold in the 25-meter rapid fire pistol event.

Quiet and steady, Karoly didn’t let on to the inner flame burning in his soul.

When the world record holder, and favorite to win, Carlos Díaz Saenz Valiente approached him, confused why he attended, Karoly replied, “I’m here to learn”.

But it wasn’t even close. Karoly shot better with his non-dominant hand than anybody else in history had with their good hand.

On the podium, after setting both an Olympic record and a world record in the process, Díaz Saenz Valiente turned and said, “You have learned enough”.

He had accomplished the unthinkable. With one hand. With the wrong hand.

Four years later, Karoly was back at the Olympics to defend his title as the world’s best rapid-fire pistol shooter. He fell one point shy of tying his Olympic record score of 580 points from the London games.

Karoly went on to rack up 35 national shooting championship wins in Hungary during his life. All of them with his left hand.

His story illustrates a powerful lesson about what you do.

The difference between where you are and where you want to be is what you do. Your actions directly lead to your results.

You are what you do. That’s important to remember because you’ll find yourself stating emphatically from time to time that what you’ve done doesn’t adequately describe who you are.

That the results are somehow skewed. That what you have just done isn’t “who you are.” And certainly, there’s a little bit of truth to that.

The results you’ve experienced so far are the results of who you were and what you have done — not who you are and what you are working towards now.

Your history will show everyone if you have changed.

Actions lead to results. Results lead to your lifestyle.

If you want a better lifestyle, then you need to change your actions. Think about that with me for a minute.

Whether good or bad, you aren’t anything, until you do something.

  • A murderer isn’t a murderer until they take someone’s life.
  • A winner isn’t a winner until they come in first.

There are a lot of things that happen before that label is applied.

That person who goes on to be a murderer might have started off angry and petty. They might have felt marginalized and under-appreciated, simmering in a stew of passive aggression and resentment.

But they aren’t yet a murderer.

They might not even be thinking about it.

But given enough time, as anger takes hold and emotions swing wildly out of control, what used to be just a thought and a bad attitude becomes an action that can never be undone.

The same is true with success.

You’re going to spend a lot of time thinking about it, planning it and possibly even pursuing it at some level. But you can’t call yourself successful at whatever goal you’ve set out for yourself until you actually achieve that goal.

Until you cross the finish line. Until you do that thing you set up for yourself as a prize. Everything else is just words and thoughts and aspirations.

If you want to change who you are then you need to do different things.

If you don’t like the results you’re getting, you need to do different activities. Put in different efforts. Attempt something new.

All too often we find ourselves saying things like “I don’t do that” or “I’m not the type of person who is into that” or “That’s just not who I am.” Well, maybe that’s who you need to be.

Especially if it’s the thing that gets you closer to where you need to be.

That’s the point, isn’t it? If you’re not where you want to be then, until you figure out what’s missing, your only move is to try something different.

Sure, it’s going to be uncomfortable and awkward at first. You’re likely going to fail a bunch of times before you figure it out.

But you are already failing now, so what do you have to lose?

We each have bad habits we want to fix. We all look at certain areas of our life with disdain, hoping those things will change. We have this fantasy that we can read good books and attend inspiring webinars, meditate a bit more, adopt some journaling habits and do some other light “life-scaping” — and that will solve the problem.

But it doesn’t. And it won’t. Not all by itself. You have to change the actions.

You have to do something different. Because what you do determines who you are. And the results that you realize.

  • You might have been a procrastinator. You won’t be if you just get started today.
  • You might have been selfish. You won’t be if you start doing something kind.
  • You might have been too stubborn. You won’t be if you start to listen.
  • You might have been lazy. You won’t be if you try.
  • You might have been ignorant. You won’t be if you learn and grow.

You might have been a million different things that don’t serve you.

The truth is you’ll still be that person until you decide to change.

Your mission is simple — do a different thing.

You are what you do. Where you get to next is a direct result of what you do now.

How To Know When It’s Time To Give Up.

We all have a breaking point.

No matter how smart or strong or insightful you think you are, you are going to have a moment with it’s time to stop doing what you are doing and move on to something else.

You’ve asked yourself: “When should I quit? When is it time to be reasonable?”

To be honest, it happens to everyone. At some time, you are going to face failure, disappointment, and insurmountable odds.

And not the stuff that comes and goes in a quick day or week or month.

The scary, can’t-sleep-at-night type of stuff that rocks you to your core and makes you question everything you’ve ever believed about how life is supposed to be.

You feel broken. And you aren’t sure how to put the pieces back together.

More than anything, you just want the pain to go away.

Perhaps, Emilie’s story illustrates this best.

Walking down Shotwell Street in San Francisco, you’d be forgiven for not noticing the thin, nondescript brown building with its two businesses splitting the narrow front.

Pedestrians walking past the building on October 3, 2015 might have smelled the scent of freshly cooked pasta and sauce wafting from the building.

Inside, an artist was cooking up an experience. Using handmade, unstained porcelain bowls and carved wooden spoons, artist Emilie Gossiaux served 85 guests a meal they weren’t likely to forget.

Not because of the delicious food or the bowls left unglazed for the sauce to leave their imprint.

It was because Emilie Gossiaux was blind. And deaf.

And serving each guest personally with food, dishes, and utensils she made herself.

It was all part of an exhibit celebrating the life and work of Oliver Sacks — a neuroscientist famous for studying the edge cases of what the human brain is capable of.

She had been blind for the past 4 years and 360 days. Deaf since she was 5 years old.

Art was always her coping mechanism.

As a kid, her mom used to find her hiding in the closet, drawing her own cartoons hours after she was supposed to be asleep.

She filled notebooks with her sketches and drawings as she processed what life was like growing up “different”, constantly being picked on, having to learn to lipread her teachers.

As her mom said about her art: “it is all she sees”.

On the Friday morning of October 8, 2010, she had to go to the studio of famed artist Daniel Arsham whom she was working for while attending the prestigious Cooper Union art school in New York City. She kissed her boyfriend goodbye and pedaled off through the bustling New York City traffic.

At the corner of Johnson and Varick in Brooklyn, as she waited for the light to change, her life changed forever.

An 18-wheeler took that turn too tight, plowed right over her, crushing her—fracturing her skull, pelvis, and left leg.

She was rushed to the hospital where doctors frantically worked to save her life. But the doctors couldn’t work fast enough. She flatlined.

Her heart stopped beating: 1 second… 10 seconds… 30 seconds… A full minute passed before her heart started pumping blood again.

But she couldn’t breathe. Her internal organs had swollen from the trauma and were compressing against her lungs, causing her to suffocate.

The doctors had to do something—so they pulled her intestines out of her abdomen so that her chest cavity had room to breathe again.

She was alive. But inside, Emily remained in a hopeless, dark, silent void. Still unresponsive.

Her mom sat down by Emilie’s bed. She had just given the medical team permission to harvest Emilie’s organs when the time came.

That seemed to be coming all too soon.

Sitting there, she read one of their favorite books to Emilie, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, a 1927 Pulitzer-winning novel about seemingly random tragedy and death.

Her mom, overcome with emotion, whispered in Emilie’s ear, telling her that she would love Emilie forever, an unending love, a love that wouldn’t quit.

To the surprise of her mom, Emilie raised her left hand.

When her mom tried to convince the doctors that Emilie was inside, alive and fighting to come back, the doctors insisted that Emilie’s responses were just reflexes.

They saw no signs of high brain function.

Every time she scratched her wounds, slapped away a helping hand, or flailed her head when they tried to reinsert her hearing aids, the doctors insisted it was a reflex.

The doctors didn’t believe it was possible for her to recover from an accident that bad. But after several weeks of steady improvement in ICU, she finally stabilized enough that she had to go somewhere.

But where? She was blind and death. It is impossible to help someone recover when they can’t respond to basic commands.

Somehow Emilie kept finding a way to fight back.

When they removed her tracheotomy, she started talking again.

She cursed out everyone around her.

She called people “Ms. Dashwood”, recalling Sense and Sensibility she and her boyfriend Alan had watched a few months back. But it wasn’t enough to prove she was a candidate for rehab.

That left just one choice: a nursing home.

Her dad flew back to their hometown of New Orleans to look for a place for Emilie without bothering to tell her boyfriend. They felt it would be best for him if they just took Emilie away.

Alan insisted they give her a chance. He knew she’d claw her way back.

He was desperate for her to come back.

At 3 am one night, he had a breakthrough.

He had read about Annie Sullivan, the woman who taught Helen Keller through print on palm.

Taking her left palm in his and using her wrist as the baseline, he painstakingly traced large capital letters in her hand with his pointer finger.


I love you.

“Oh, you love me? That’s so sweet. Thank you.” She responded.

But she didn’t know it was Alan or that he was her boyfriend.

But to Alan, it didn’t matter. He couldn’t believe it. Neither could the doctors. He had to prove it to them somehow, so he started recording their conversations.

“What’s your name?” “What year is it?”

By painstakingly tracing each letter, he convinced her to let them put her hearing aids back in. And instantly, her personality came back.

But that was just the beginning of the fight. She would have to learn how to communicate all over again. She would have to learn how to do everything all over again.

So she dropped out of school to deal with life. What other choice did she have?

It takes most people 2 years to learn Braille.

Within a year, she finished reading her first Braille book: Ernest Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises.

She enrolled at a dedicated school for blind people to help them navigate society.

She could have picked a campus in her hometown, but she chose Minneapolis. She wanted to train in a city similar to New York City.

She wasn’t about to give up on her dream.

While in school, she took up an Industrial Arts class. She was determined to get back to art through whatever means possible.

Her teacher handed her a block of wood. She was told to carve the wood into who she wanted to become. As she painstakingly worked the block down, a definitive shape started to emerge.

She was carving a knife.

Emilie was going to cut through everything that was holding her back from art. That determination led Emilie to enroll in a night class where she honed her ceramics skill.

That determination led Emilie to become one of the first people to wear the BrainPort, a device specifically designed to help blind people “see” with their tongue.

The camera on the bridge of a special pair of sunglasses translates various shapes and levels of light into electromagnetic signals that stimulate the tongue like thousands of soda bubbles.

The only problem: the resolution was like using a child’s Lite Brite. Her doctors told her that even with the BrainPort, it would be impossible to create good art.

Somehow, she figured it out.

She painstakingly set up a blank sheet of paper on her desk and positioned a bright light on it so she could better see the contrast. If she drew with enough force, she could feel the wax of the crayon with her fingers — like Braille.

She also realized that a rich, dark ink called India Ink would show up well through the BrainPort.

And so she drew. Using the BrainPort as her guide, she drew a pair of hands. And as she studied those hands, she realized their cupped shape resembled a dove. She took that drawing and shaped it out of clay.

In 2013, that dove won Emilie the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Award of Excellence.

A year later, Emilie finally accomplished one of her dreams: she graduated from college.

And today, she continues to create art that inspires the world.

Her story makes clear this question about when it’s time to quit. In truth, every inch of her success was a fight. For life. For love. For art.

She understood clearly that small progress takes massive effort. She willing to do whatever it took to turn her dream into reality.

Are you? Or have you decided that life is especially unfair to you?

It doesn’t matter what you have gone through so far in your life.

Get hit by a bus? Go through an ugly divorce? File bankruptcy? Lose a job? Lose a friend? Lose everything?

Here are three simple truths:

  1. When you want to win bad enough, you’ll figure out how you do just that. Don’t worry about it now.
  2. When you can’t stand to walk away, you’ll keep working at it long enough to figure it out.
  3. When you are willing to sacrifice anything, you’re guarnteed to make it. Because that’s what it takes.

Do you know what you really want? Do you really care about winning?

You get to write your rebound story.

You get to decide that you are going to keep trying.

You decide when it’s time to give up. And hopefully you won’t.

Because you don’t need to.

Why Winners “Won’t”.

Stop saying “I can’t”. Enough already with the “should I” or “I don’t know how” self-chatter.

If you are being honest with yourself and the rest of the world most of what you “can’t do” really ought to be an honest discussion about what you “won’t do”. 

It’s easy to reply to a hard challenge with the observation that “you can’t do that”.

You “can’t” or you “won’t”?

  • You can’t lose weight or you won’t stick to a diet?
  • You can’t make more money or you won’t work hard enough to earn more?
  • You can’t find a job or you won’t do what it takes to be found?

Being successful in life isn’t about what you “can’t do”. It’s about what you “won’t do”.

There is power in saying that you won’t do something. There is clarity in saying that you won’t do something.

There is a singular power and potency and seemingly superhuman potential when you shut down an opportunity for disastraction and refuse to be deterred.

But it’s scary to stop yourself. It feels awkward to slow yourself down. It’s unnatural to put limitations on yourself.

After all, isn’t that what other people are doing to you all the time.

Aren’t you keeping your options open so that if something bad happens you have something to fall back on?

The power you want lies in the secret behind your refusal. Behind every “won’t” is a much more powerful will.

The will to win. The will to work. The will to stay focused. The will t fight on, despite past losses.

If you will, it will. But when you decide that everything is an option — that every opportunity is equally important for yourself — you sacrifice what you really want.

All that potential. All that opportunity. Everything you could have been. You throw that away for the emotional crutch of feeling like you have unlimited options.

Here is the naked truth, your options have always been unlimited.

You have always been unlimited. You’ve always been able to do what you want to do.

So it’s foolish and rather downright silly to pretend that you “can’t” or “shouldn’t” or “might not”, “not sure”, “possibly,” or any other self-limiting self-talk you say that is stopping you from realizing your full potential.

Just say that you “won’t“. Say that you “won’t“.

Refuse to do anything other than that for which you have your heart set on most.

Demand awesomeness from yourself. Plan for all the best things to be right at your fingertips. Push yourself beyond mediocrity to the very edge of the greatness that you’ve always dreamed about.

It’s inside you, waiting to come out. Waiting to emerge. Waiting to show you the light of your own possibility. But none of that will ever happen until you refuse to do anything else but focus on what you care about most.

“Won’t” more. You’ll end up winning more.

But “won’t” isn’t just about focus. It’s about a mindset. A raging purposefulness.

“Won’t” is about that line in the sand you set for yourself.

I won’t back down until I get what I want. I won’t stop working until I reach the outcome that I want.

I won’t give up on my marriage, my relationships, or my destiny. I won’t stop fighting to be a better version of myself.

I won’t complain, be a cynic, point the finger at other people for my own mistakes, or pretend like the universe is out of my control.

Winners have a different vocabulary.

They see the world differently. They think of the world differently. They act differently.

They declare with passion what they won’t do.

That’s what winners do. Here’s the truth about trying:

  1. You can work harder than you think you can. But if you think you can’t, you probably won’t even try.
  2. You can learn faster than you think you can. But if you think you can’t, you probably won’t even try.
  3. You can keep giving longer than you think you can. But if you think you can’t, you probably won’t even try.
  4. You can dream bigger than you think you can. But if you think you can’t, you probably won’t even try.
  5. You can live more boldly than you think you can. But if you think you can’t, you probably won’t even try.
  6. You can push the limits a little bit more than you think you can. But if you think you can’t, you probably won’t even try.
  7. You can dig deeper more than you think you can. But if you think you can’t, you probably won’t even try.
  8. You can fight through the fatigue longer than you think you can. But if you think you can’t, you probably won’t even try.
  9. You can take being laughed at more than you think you can. But if you think you can’t, you probably won’t even try.

You can always do more than you think you can.

But you won’t find out, if you’re not willing to try.

And sometimes trying means you get hurt and fail. That you have to pick yourself back up off the street and get back headed towards where you want to be.

And if you won’t do that for you, why should anyone else believe that you are worth it?

Believing in yourself doesn’t magically solve your problems, but it solves the biggest problem of all — getting started in the first place.

Chances are, you’ll surprise yourself with how good you really are after taking that first step.

So why won’t you get started?

What’s stopping you from being focused, fearless, and fantastically willing to keep fighting for getting to where you want to be?

25 Truths To Guide You Through Tough Times From That Time Rocky Sold His Best Friend.

Life comes at you fast.

It doesn’t matter whether you are an entrepreneur, an actor, business leader, or just trying to get ahead — you’re going to have to make it through tough times

It’s easy to get an idea stuck in your head about the direction your future should be going. About how much money you should have by now. About how much status and popularity and success you should have already achieved.

Especially when you believe in your heart that you are destined for more.

But in front of you, all you see is frustration. And a desperate need for a breakthrough. 

That’s how Sylvester Stallone felt. 

In his late teens, the lonely kid from Hell’s Kitchen decided acting was his calling. And maybe even screenwriting.

He had a vivid imagination that made him the laughing stock of most of his teachers.

But he kept imagining. He kept writing. Working. Pursuing his dream.

After leaving college to pursue his dream, it didn’t take long before he started feeling the heavy weight of the world on his shoulders. 

Living in a roach-infested apartment in New York City, he tried to make it in the cutthroat world of acting–without success. Audition after audition. Rejection after rejection.

Stallone was not someone casting directors would call “good looking.” They called him gruff. Deformed. Ugly. Stupid, even.

But that part wasn’t his fault. 

He was born n the charity ward of the New York Hospital System. Pried out of his mother’s birth canal with forceps.

A procedure that damaged Sylvester’s facial nerves. Leaving him with a drooping eyelid, deformed lips, and speech impediment. 

But what he lacked in good looks growing up, he made up for in muscle.

Sylvester became obsessed with working out.

And when he realized the strength that came with the bulk, he started using his fists to defend his awkward speech and looks. 

Although his speech improved with therapy over the years, it crippled his barely-existant career. He was cast as a thug or a gangster in the small roles that he was able to get. 

And he did get a few roles.

Sometimes even enough to pay the rent in his tiny apartment.

And he was good at playing the thug. He had plenty of real-life experience getting in fights. Fighting to make the teasing stop. Fighting to defend the way his face looked and the way his voice sounded.

Eventually, people stopped making fun of him and started to take note. He even became somewhat popular.  

It wasn’t too many years later that Sylvester and his wife, Sasha, decided to pack up their little car with Sylvester’s huge bullmastiff, Butkus, in the back seat and head to Hollywood — where Sylvester was sure he would make it big. 

Instead, they left the slums of New York for the slums of Hollywood.

They moved into an apartment that was no better and no bigger than the one they had just left. And it had just as many roaches hanging out for dinner. 

He went out for audition after audition. Only getting picked for the parts of the dumb jock or the angry thug.

Again, he and his wife were hungry.

Rent was due. The light bill was due. The dog needed food.  It seemed like the world was closing in around them. They had each other, but not much else. 

Success seemed impossibly far away.

They were so broke, Sylvester made one of the toughest decisions of his life.

He had to sell his beloved dog. He couldn’t afford to feed him.

He couldn’t afford to feed himself and his wife — much less an animal.

So he put a for sale sign on Butkus outside of a convenience store and sold him for $50 to a guy named Little Jimmy. And then he went home and cried over the loss of his best friend.

It was one of his lowest moments.

A couple of days later, Sylvester found himself watching a Muhammed Ali fight. Live.

He had managed to get tickets to the big match because Ali was fighting a no-name fighter and promoters had to practically give the tickets away to get an audience.

And Sylvester was there. Watching. Being inspired. 

When he left that fight, which Ali won as expected, Sylvester went home and began to think about why all of the other screenplays he had written had failed.

He realized all of his scripts were too close to home. They were all autobiographical.

And if he was being honest, they were boring. And depressing.

He needed something uplifting and encouraging. He needed to inspire people.

And so he started writing a new screenplay.

He was in-the-moment. Obsessed. He wrote frantically. Nonstop. For three days. 

When he emerged from his mania, he had written a script called he called Rocky.

It had a lot of potential according to the producers he showed it to. So much potential that they were willing to buy the screenplay from him for $75,000.

That was more money than Stallone had ever seen in his life. 

But it came with a catch. 

They only wanted the script. They didn’t want Sylvester to act in the movie — and he had his heart set on doing just that.

So he refused the offer.

They offered $125,000. He refused that offer.

They offered $175,000. He refused that one too. 

He wanted to act in his own movie. He knew he could do it.

Plus, he had written that part for himself and he wasn’t going to let any other actor do it.

He’d let the script rot on a shelf and starve first. 

After weeks of negotiation, they agreed to let Sylvester play the part of Rocky. But they would only pay $30,000 for the script at that point.

He had been a real pain in the ass — so he wasn’t going to get paid for the acting. He would have to take a percentage of movie sales.

Stallone happily agreed.

He got his check and went back to his shabby little apartment. He could have moved into something nicer, but he stayed there with his wife. He was too busy to think about moving.

He was 100% committed to becoming Rocky.

He bought a heavy bag and hung it up in the apartment. He cut out carbs and ate only protein for 3 months prior to filming to get in shape.

But he needed something more. To stay focused he needed his best friend back.

When he went tried to buy his dog back, Little Jimmy told him: “NO”. He said his kids liked the dog and would be heartbroken.

The $50 price he had paid earlier soon rose to $100. Little Jimmy still said “NO”.

Sylvester offered $1,000. Little Jimmy still said “NO” and pointed to his children who had grown to love the dog in the less than six months they had it.

He eventually offered Little Jimmy $3,000. Ten percent of what he sold his script for.  it was an offer Jimmy couldn’t refuse. 

Stallone was reunited with his best bud — who appeared in Rocky with him.

Life was looking up. Maybe. 

The movie was filmed in less than 30 days. On a small production budget. It was a B-list movie at best according to the experts.

When the film was released, it shocked everyone by becoming an Academy Award and Golden Globe winner, making the poor kid with the deformed face a millionaire and a household name. 

The rest of that story is well-known history.

Six Rocky movies, Rambo, the Expendables series and appearances in over 50 other full-length films over the last 50 years. And a net worth of about $400 million. 

You know who Sylvester Stallone is. But you probably didn’t know this story.

That he was so broke he had to sell his dog to buy groceries. 

So when you find yourself frustrated by a lack of results, know that you are in good company. Know that doing whatever it takes is always what it takes.

Fall back on some common truths about what it takes to make it through tough times:

  1. Your ability to win is directly related to your ability to tough it out.
  2. Inspiration is a reward. You have to work for it and fight to keep it.
  3. The opposite of success isn’t failure. It’s apathy.
  4. You don’t need to worry about getting it wrong as long as you are willing to keep trying.
  5. Progress is the reward of the courageous.
  6. Just because the critics are louder than you doesn’t mean they’re right.
  7. You’re not stuck. You’re just not making the right choices.
  8. The fastest way to get hurt is to look back while running forward.
  9. If you’re not radically different, you’re really not different at all.
  10. The path to realizing your full potential travels through the valley of setbacks.
  11. What works for someone else almost certainly isn’t going to work for you.
  12. Don’t believe everything you don’t hear.
  13. If you don’t believe in yourself, no else’s opinion will be enough to keep you motivated.
  14. There’s no such thing as burnout. If there’s enough fuel, the fire always burns.
  15. You don’t have to be “up for the job” to finish the job.
  16. If you have to tell people that you’re the one in charge, you’re probably not.
  17. Effort is one of the only factors in life that is solely within your own control.
  18. If life were easier you wouldn’t be any happier.
  19. If you think you can’t make it, you probably won’t.
  20. Motivation is like oxygen. You only know it’s missing when you’re gasping for more.
  21. The difference between winning and losing is when you stop trying.
  22. Spend the time you worry about what other people think about you making progress towards your goals.
  23. Changing might hurt right now, but losing hurts forever.
  24. Winning isn’t about the resources you have but how resourceful you are.
  25. The greatest discovery you will ever make is that nothing is impossible.

According to Stallone, buying his dog back was the best investment he ever made.

He still uses a picture of Butkus for his desktop wallpaper on his home computer.

And tells heartfelt stories of those dog days of life when the only person he had to talk to was his four-legged companion.  

It was a reminder of what it takes to make it through tough times.

26 Mistakes That Will Stop You From Achieving What You Want In Life.

It was a little after 4 AM when I got to the starting line. It was freezing cold — barely 20 degrees outside. I was wearing Nike running tights, a compression shirt, and a light running jacket.

It was my last race of the year —  a 50 miler through horse trails in beautiful North Carolina.

It was early and cold, and I was nervous — which makes everything a little more frustrating than it needs to be.

At that moment, I needed a bit of help. I was wearing a hat and gloves and struggling to get water into my running bottle without getting myself wet.

To be honest, I wanted to ditch the water bottle and just run empty-handed — but I wondered if that would be a mistake 10 miles it.

As I was fumbling around trying to figure this out, I heard a bit of advice from the runner standing next to me: “I’m not taking any water with me. It’s too cold right now to get dehydrated.”

That made sense to me.

It was 4 AM and cold. This guy was an expert. Clearly — you don’t need water when it’s cold outside. Throwing my water bottle on the ground, I turned my headlamp on and headed to the starting line, waiting for the gun to go off.

When the race started, I joined a pack of runners who jumped ahead of the rest of the athletes. As we stumbled around in the darkness, trying not to miss the trail, we chatted a little bit about who we were and where we were from.

Anything to take our minds off the ultra-marathon we had just started

My new friend with the advice about not needing to drink any water shared a little more information with the rest of us: “This is my first ultra-marathon,” he commented, “I’m just hoping I can finish in 13 hours.”

If it wasn’t so cold I would have stopped dead in my tracks.

I had just accepted advice from a newbie. A novice. A nobody. A person who sounded like they had great insight — but without any real experience and wisdom.

What sounded logical to me at the time is something that you know is absolutely dead wrong.

Why? Because I confused and tired and scared at the moment — and he sounded confident. I was willing to buy into this theory that “you don’t need water when it’s cold outside”.

I believed it. I wanted to believe it. I accepted it as truth. And it was going to cost me.

Unfortunately, that sort of advice isn’t relegated to my running. It’s all over the internet, packed into books and webinars, courses, coaching, and countess video programs you buy.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of blindly following other people’s advice, hoping that it’s better than what you’ve been doing thus far.

When you’re tired and frustrated by the battle, it’s natural for you to want to believe that someone else’s solution will help you get to where you want to be faster than what you’re doing already.

In your state of frustration and hopelessness, you can injure yourself irreparably.

You can too easily waste time, money, and precious resources making mistakes that will stop you from achieving the success you so desperately want for yourself.

Here are a few of those mistakes to avoid.

  1. It’s a mistake to not put in enough effort to achieve your goals. The grind is what leads to glory. You have to pay the price.
  2. It’s a mistake to play it safe. Progress is the prize of the courageous.
  3. It’s a mistake to chase what is easy, fast, or free. It’s an automatic shortcut to a dead-end. Every time. Guaranteed.
  4. It’s a mistake to think that you can achieve success without massive amounts of sacrifice. Enough said.
  5. It’s a mistake to not ask for help. There are others willing and able to help you get to where you want to be.
  6. It’s a mistake to expect other people to care more about your success than you do. It’s on you to stay motivated.
  7. It’s a mistake to look at failure as anything other than a learning experience. You can’t level up without failing around the way.
  8. It’s a mistake to expect that the details of your life’s mission can be managed by others. Nope. You have to be the one working that out.
  9. It’s a mistake to not listen to what isn’t said. Your chance at breakthrough is often found in the silence of what others are afraid to tell you.
  10. It’s a mistake to let bad times cause you to lose sight of the big picture. You are going to make it. Keep fighting.
  11. It’s a mistake to choose more money over a bigger mission. You can make more money doing just about anything. But a mission is priceless.
  12. It’s a mistake to worry about what other people think about you. What others feel about you is none of your business.
  13. It’s a mistake to think that you can do anything one time and expecting it to be successful — no matter how smart or successful you have already been.
  14. It’s a mistake to blame other people for your circumstances. It’s a lie that destroys any chance you have of achieving big goals.
  15. It’s a mistake to forget that everybody is going through something right now. Empathy is your superpower. Try using it.
  16. It’s a mistake to expect that everybody thinks exactly as you do. They can’t. And won’t. Listen and care.
  17. It’s a mistake to let your raw emotions drive the decisions that you make. What you feel matters. But sometimes that feeling is self-destructive.
  18. It’s a mistake to try to be what you think other people want you to be. Be authentic. Care deeply about who you want to be.
  19. It’s a mistake to spend your emotional energy making sure no one takes advantage of you. Lose the chip on your shoulder.
  20. It’s a mistake to try to please everyone. Please yourself by leveling up each day. Be a better version of yourself each time you compete.
  21. It’s a mistake to surrounding yourself with people who are only as good as you. You get better by learning from better people.
  22. It’s a mistake to focus on what people say you should be doing. You know what you should be doing. Do that.
  23. It’s a mistake to refuse to change your mind. Stubbornness is a fire that will burn you in the end. Be open to whatever makes you better.
  24. It’s a mistake to compare where you are in life to where others seem to be. Looks are always deceiving. Just focus on your own mission.
  25. It’s a mistake to not be honest with yourself. You can lie to everyone else. But you lose everything when you can’t tell yourself the truth.
  26. It’s a mistake to believe that perfection is possible. It’s usually just the enemy of you making progress.

The good thing about learning from your mistakes is that no matter how badly you have failed in the past, you can turn things around with a few smart choices.

Ten miles later into my ultra-marathon, I grabbed my water bottle of the ground and finished running.

I ended up finishing in second place overall. A few minutes behind the winner. My friend, with great advice, finished 8 hours later.

And I learned a powerful lesson about accepting advice.

It’s easy to assume that the person telling you what to do knows more than you. But maybe they’re just as confused as you are.

Maybe what you’re hearing isn’t what you need to be doing. Maybe it’s time for you to believe a bit more in yourself.

And stop making these mistakes.

The Magic Of Knowing That You’ll Make It Out Alive.

There is nothing more powerful than believing that you are going to make it. Not just believing. Knowing.

Knowing that no matter how bad you feel right now that you are tough enough to make it through to the other side. To survive. And thrive.

If you are struggling right now, you know the sense of dread that accompanies problems. You know the panic that creeps up the bottom of your throat. The hopelessness and fear.

You aren’t sure if this is the struggle that finally breaks you. You don’t know if you are going to be able to make it this time around.

What you need is to know that you will indeed make it out alive.

That you are strong enough to do what it takes to realize your dreams.

No matter how bad things look, you need to know. Like “Nando” did.

It was October 13th in 1972.  Flight 571 from the Uruguayan Air Force was flying over the Andes Mountains.  Onboard were 45 people, the entire Uruguayan rugby team and their friends and family.

It was a time of celebration and joy as they enjoyed each other’s company and the time they had together.

And then, that all changed in an instant.

A flash snowstorm high above the mountains caused the aircraft, a twin-turboprop Fairchild FH-227, to crash.  As the plane exploded against the side of the mountain more than a dozen of the passengers were killed instantly.  

The rest were left scrambling. In a wild panic.

Wondering how long they would make it.

At 11,000 feet in blizzard conditions, the 29 remaining survivors huddled around a makeshift shelter sharing a can of sardines, a few chocolate bars, and a couple of bottles of wine that they found in the wreckage of the plane.  

That was all they had.

They waited for rescuers to find them in temperatures that plunged to -30°F.  The first night 5 more survivors died.  Frozen solid in the unforgiving conditions.

A few days later, an avalanche fell from the top of the steep mountains peaks above them.  As the snow swept furiously around them, several of the group were snatched from their flimsy shelter and swept over the side of the mountain to their death.

Little did they know that the search-and-rescue effort for them had been called off days ago.  The best search teams in the world couldn’t make it to them.  

They were doomed to certain death.

Stuck impossibly high in one of the most inhospitable locations anywhere in the world.

For days they waited to be found by people who weren’t actually looking for them.  

No food.  Harsh conditions.  The odds against them.  

But then – things were about to get worse. Much worse.

To stay alive they resorted to the unthinkable.  The only thing left to eat were the frozen bodies of the family and friends who had died in the plane crash.  

They couldn’t build a fire in the swirling winds of the mountain top so they ate the frozen body organs raw.

Sickened by their state. Weak. And broken. They waited to die.

Hours turned into days.  Days turned into weeks.  Weeks turned into a month.  One month turned into two.  

That’s when hope began to die.  

They had survived an unimaginable tragedy.  They had stayed alive for 60 days by resorting to cannibalism.

And despite it all, they were still going to die.  Only 16 of them were left.

That’s when Nando knew he had to make a difference.  

A poor child from a poor section of Uruguay, Fernando Parrado, was a knock-out: a rugby player and captain of a popular team.  

His mother and sister had died in the crash.   He was all alone now.  If anyone was going to live, it was going to be because of him. He would go find help and bring them back to rescue the remaining survivors.

To begin their escape, he made snowshoes out of seat cushions and seat belt straps.  Using an old sleeping bag he put together a three-day ration of human flesh as food for their journey.  

Nando asked two other survivors, Roberto Canessa and Antonio Vizintín to go with him.  

They left the crash site and headed west.

To get out of the mountains, Nando led his small group up the mountain pass directly to their west.  The peak of the mountain was over 14,447 feet high.

From the top of the mountain they could see the faint outlines of a road and the Pacific Ocean far away.  They knew they had a longer trip than 3 days.  

They started walking.

For 10 days they walked up and over mountains until they finally saw signs of civilization — green grass, a farm, and a river.  

They had walked 40 miles and were now in Chile.

Too exhausted to go any further, they collapsed on the side of a riverbank. They had given all they had. They were finished.

A short while later, a Chilean rancher found them and brought back the military and a medical support team, who were shocked at the men they saw.

It had been 71 days since their plane hit the side of the mountain.

The next day, Nando led helicopter pilots to the crash site where 14 of the survivors waited to be rescued. They had lived through the most horrifically improbable tragedy in history.  

Weeks later as the dead were buried atop the mountain, the rescue workers marked the grave with an iron cross on top of a pile of stones.  

That still stands today as a monument to the tragedy and a memorial to the miracle of hope.

Hope led by one man.

A man who knew that he was going to make it.

Chances are your life isn’t exploding against the side of a South American mountain pass like Flight 571 did 47 years ago.

You won’t have to eat the dead bodies of your friends and family to survive.  You have food in the pantry, a roof over your head, and 300 channels on cable TV.

But your problems might seem just as horrific.  And they’ve still solved the same way: “You need hope.”

You need to believe that you can make it. To know that “you’ve got this.”

You need to know that no matter how tough things are right now that you can do what success requires.  You can make it out alive.

You are tough enough to do what it takes to realize your dreams.

Shuffle. Stumble. Crawl. Move. Do whatever it takes to make forward progress.

You go this.

1 Epic Victory And 10 Lessons Learned About The Power Of Words From The Greatest King Who Ever Lived.

It’s not good enough to be right. Or to do what you think is right. The hard truth about leadership is that to be effective you have to master the power of words. You have to master delivering those words in the right tone.  

A good example of this comes from perhaps the greatest ruler who ever lived. 

In early 335 B.C., Alexander the Great began his quest for world domination.  No other ruler had a passion for conquest like Alexander.  

Not even his father, Philip II of Macedon, who had expanded the Greek empire further than any king before him.

After ten years of fighting, Alexander arrived at the edge of India without having lost a single battle.  His army controlled most of the known world at that time — Greece, Egypt, and what had been the Persian empire.   But Alexander wanted more.

The problem was that his men were tired.  

They had followed him for ten years — fighting thousands of miles across lower Europe, into Africa, and to the edge of the Middle East.    Far away from families and wives, they languished in fatigue, without the rage to conquer another empire.

Alexander gathered his men together and delivered an impassioned speech: “I observe, gentlemen, that when I would lead you on a new venture you no longer follow me with your old spirit.

I have asked you to meet me that we may come to a decision together: are we, upon my advice, to go forward, or, upon yours, to turn back?

I will make those who go the envy of those who stay.”

Those words made a big difference.

You don’t have to be in too many shouting matches to figure that when things get heated it’s very easy to say things that are cruel. Things that are unfair or highly manipulative, hurtful, or mean.

These sort of words rise quickly to the top of an angry argument especially when you feel like you are losing the fight.

And then, instead of arguing about the original reason for your discussion, you find yourself simply trying to hurt the other person. Trying to win at all costs.

That’s because words are effective weapons.

What is especially interesting about those moments where you say hurtful things is that those cruel words didn’t just magically come out of your mouth. They were words shaped by thoughts that you had been doing a good job keeping bottled up inside you.

But once you say the words out loud, you can’t take them back. The words are out there. The emotions they create. The way they make people feel.  You can’t take that back.

So it’s important to act like words matter.

It’s important to know that your tone delivering those words matters.

You don’t need to act fearfully. Or without candor. You need to use words purposefully.

Here are a few lessons to learn about words and leading with tone:

  1. Ask smart questions and people will believe you’re a smart person. Challenge yourself to ask more questions than making statements.
  2. If you want people to take action, then be specific about the results that you expect and a timeline that is acceptable.
  3. Words spoken angrily are ineffective in the long run — even if they contain something truthful. Give yourself 3-seconds of quiet before you answer.
  4. Don’t be unclear. It makes you untrustworthy. Effective conversations require words that inspire trust, confidence, and intrigue.
  5. If everything you talk about is “I’s” and “Me’s” then don’t be confused when you don’t get a lot of help.
  6. Whining creates massive amounts of irritation, anger, and fear — not positive progress or constructive growth. Ruthlessly eliminate it.
  7. Choose words that make the mission personal for the other person. It’s not about what you want, it’s how they hear you.
  8. Passive-aggression is confusing (and annoying) for anyone listening and the least effective way to get what you want from others.
  9. There is nothing you can say to be interesting when you’ve talked for too long. Fewer words make for an effective conversation.
  10. Grateful and thankful words are the best way to motivate people to accomplish results over the long run.

The wrong words can make your life miserable

They can make it take longer accomplish your goals. And impossible.

Just because you need to say “what’s on your mind” doesn’t give you permission to be a jerk. You don’t get a chance to take things back, hurt people, or re-explain bad behavior.  

Words matters.  Act like it.

Actions might speak louder than words, but words are the best way to drive better actions.

That’s important to remember when you need to get things done. 

Say what’s important. Be purposeful. Ask questions. Take responsibility for the results of the words that you use. 

It didn’t make sense.

King Porus had hundreds of elephants. The Persians had none.

But that simple speech Alexander the Great delivered to his tired army had an incredible impact.

It inspired his men to dig a little bit deeper and push into India — adding another victory and more territory to the largest kingdom of all time.

It took actions. But behind it all was the artful delivery of words.

Speak to inspire.

Finding Your Greatness, Abandoning Glory, And The Grit You’ll Need To Do Both.

You can choose greatness or glory. You can’t have both at the same time. That’s the hard truth of doing something that matters.

Getting started, it feels like you need glory to propel you towards greatness.

If you just have enough attention. If more people just knew about what you are doing. If you had more time, money and notoriety, you would be so much more ahead in your conquest for getting to that next level.

Greatness comes without glory.

It has to because what you need to do to become great isn’t glorious. It’s gory. And gritty And flat out hard work.

Remember that moment in the valley of Thermopylae when 300 Spartans stood against the powerful army of Xerxes? That moment when 2 million soldiers decided that the few hundred soldiers fighting for King Leonidas were too much for them.?

That moment wasn’t the result of more social media attention. It didn’t come about because people all over the world were cheering for the Spartans.

It was simply because of the decades of training those soldiers had endured.

It was about the way of life their parents had instilled within them.

The Spartans of old spent years developing skills for combat that many of those warriors would never actually use in a real battle. They trained, prepared, ate right, and sacrificed entertainment in pursuit of their ideals. 

According to historians of the day, their focus and hard work seemed like overkill to the rest of the Grecian Empire who openly mocked them: “Why put in so much work when life is so good?”

  • While everyone else in the world was getting drunk, they were getting strong.
  • While everyone else was goofing around, they were getting smart.

It sounded cruel to rest of the world when they would send a 12-year-old boy out in the wild on his own. Some of them never came home.

But in that valley — on that day — those 300 men who had been battle-tested every day of their life thus far created a story so great we tell it thousands of years later.

Their greatness did not come from glory.

It came from intentional activity and a daily routine that was focused on building the strengths and courage it would take to win — despite the number of opponents against them.

But it wasn’t just the spirit of hard work and discipline that made the Spartans great. It was their mindset. It was how they viewed the world around them.

We see that illustrated clearly almost 130 years after the Battle of Thermopylae and those 3 days of epic conquest.

It was 346 B.C. and Philip II of Macedon, better known as the father of Alexander the Great, invaded Greece with a powerful army. Dozens of key city-states immediately submitted to his conquest without putting up a fight — knowing that the Macedonian army would destroy their lands, kill their sons and their women if they didn’t surrender before the fight began.

And that strategy worked perfectly.

They were promised life and peace if they submitted and sent yearly tribute to the empire. To spare their people destruction, the leaders wisely pledged their loyalty to the invading king.

All of them except Sparta. Sparta refused to submit.

There was no discussion. No persuading. No compromise. No nothing.

They simply refused to be ruled by anyone else. And it was about to turn into a potentially epic mistake.

The enraged invaders sent a warning to the Spartan leaders: “Surrender. If I conquer your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.”

It was a clear message: “We are going to crush you like we have crushed everyone else.”

Except the Spartans didn’t read the message that way. They didn’t see the same threat that had stopped every other leader in Greece in their tracks.

The Spartans replied with a single word.

They didn’t overthink it. They didn’t stammer. They weren’t confused or frightened.

They said: “If’.

The “IF” in their reply was the result of the greatness in their mind and discipline of their lifestyle.

It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Philip of Macedon with his much larger army would actually win. And so they asked back to him a serious question: “Are you sure that you can actually beat us?

  • Are you willing to lose everything to try to beat us?
  • How much are you willing to do to try to win?
  • What happens if you try and fail?
  • Who else will rebel against you?
  • What if you end up with nothing?

Their message was clear. And the outcome proved it.

Neither Philip II nor his son Alexander the Great ever attempted to capture the city. Sparta remained the only spot int he known world that was not crushed under the dynasty of Philip and his son.

They didn’t chase glory. They were mocked. They were scolded.

They looked foolish and overly obsessive.

But when trouble came — and it always does — they were the only ones left standing.

Maybe that sort of living is good enough for you too.

3 Rules High Performers Live By That Are Hard To Achieve But Surprisingly Simple.

Success is frustrating. The advice you get from people trying to help you is often conflicting and seemingly impossible.

Your own pathway is confusing. At times it’s hard to make sense of the feedback you’re getting from your actions.

Failure one day can often look like success the next. What used to work doesn’t work anymore — and the changes you’ll need to make to fully appreciate that are often the most frustrating part of your journey to success.

This raw, human element to navigating the twisting pathway of success is often the part that undoes you. It’s often the obstacle you can’t get around.

That’s because what’s missing from your struggle — and the entire conversation about success — is simplicity. You need less to do. Less to manage, monitor, and obsess about. Inside the giant cornucopia of rules that make up success, you need a few, simple ride-or-die beliefs that you can hold on to. Philosophies and rules and edicts that guide your daily existence.

Over time, those will change as your goals change and as your skills and your expectations change. It’s not for me to tell you what your rules for you should be.

I’ve focused on many different ones for the years. Tried some. Abandoned many. I’ve also read the rules that other successful people put in place for themselves, sometimes even speaking and interviewing them. Digging deep into what works. Building relationships with those I share the most in common.

Despite how you word them, here are the three simple rules that successful people live by.

1. Be Honest

This is a hard one. A really hard one at times. You will feel the impact intensely before, during, and after your exercise this behavior.

Most often when you hear someone talking about “being honest” the discussion involves the word “liar”, but honesty is a lot more complex than that.

It’s about candor and kindness and believing that you can help others level up when you encourage them with your clear, illuminating insight.

Before that happens with others, you have to experience the discomfort that creates by practicing honesty with yourself.

It’s impossible to practice radical candor with others when you haven’t first done the same for yourself.

  • What was the last time you took a few minutes to examine your motives and intentions?
  • When was the last time you had an honest conversation about your results, your effort, and your attitude?

It’s easy to look around and blame all of your problems on other people and their bad behavior. To blame bad luck. To pretend like none of the reasons why you are where you are right now have nothing to do with you.

But that’s not being honest. Not in the least bit.

Nothing in life is an accident. Your results, your predicament, your income, your obstacles — they are all there for one reason or another.

Be honest with you. It’s an emotional investment you won’t ever regret

As for being honest with others — you already know that it’s the right thing to do. But somehow — and when it matters most — you don’t do it. You hold back. You equivocate. Pause. And obfuscate.

You aren’t honest. And it’s not because you’re a stone-cold, manipulator. Or a con man. Or a liar.

It’s most likely because being honest is hard work. It’s a huge emotional investment.

By being honest with others you have to care about them. A lot.

It’s easy to tell others what you know they want to hear. It doesn’t hurt their feelings and you don’t have to invest in a tough conversation where you tell them that they can achieve more if they’re willing to put in the time and effort to improve.

Which is why being honest is such an important rule.

The fact that it’s hard to do already puts you in an elite category of performers. To do it consistently will make you a superstar.

By the way, being honest with others isn’t a license to be a jerk. Kindness always trumps candor. In fact, candor is kindness. You don’t have to be loud or obnoxious, or the least bit insulting, to give feedback that is honest and hopeful.

The reason you’re doing this in the first place is to help them. So, help them.

To get started you might need to premise your insight with a quick question or two: “Would you like my feedback?” or “Can I be honest with you?”

Once you have permission, you now have a duty to be honest. And remember, you want that same candor from others — especially when you are desperate to level up. Extend the same honesty to others.

2. Ask Questions

You see the world through your own perspective — which is great until you expect that others share that same outlook. Which they likely won’t.

You see what you see based on years of your own life experience and struggle. And that’s different for all of us.

The only way to get the perspective of others is to ask them for it. Asking questions. Probing. Digging into the reason behind the explanation.

Asking questions will help you increase the growth of your business. It’s a skill that will help you build better relationships and avoid unnecessary conflict — and solve just about any other sticky situation where other people are involved.

The simplest question is “why”. It’s somewhat crude and often misunderstood to be offensive if delivered with the wrong tone, but it is at the core of all questions.

Why does it matter? Why are you doing that? Why do you think what you think?

But beyond “why”, there are many other important questions that will get you the answers you need.

Questions to help you level up in business and in your relationships — but also to help you dig a bit deeper into your own psyche. To hope you get clear on the baggage in your mind that can often be debilitating.

Here are a few of those questions you’ll want to practice asking yourself:

  1. Would I be embarrassed if other people were to know that I was making this decision?
  2. What advice would I give someone else if they were in my position?
  3. Is this a legitimate step towards getting closer to where I want to be or am I chasing a shortcut?
  4. When I look back at this decision, how will I feel?
  5. What else haven’t I considered that might help me make a better decision?
  6. Am I making this decision based on fear?
  7. Can I deal with the consequences that will come from making this decision, this way?

Ask yourself the hard questions. Be clear about your intentions, even if it isn’t something you want to share with anyone else.

And then practice the art of asking questions.

Most conversations would be more productive if the first words said came in the form of a question.

Try it. You’ll find it uncomfortable at first. But like any important skill, if you deliberately stick with it, you will find yourself spending less time on hurt feelings and misunderstood intentions.

3. Do Things That Matter

It seems obvious that high performers do things that matter.

However, it’s not that simple. High performers don’t start doing things that matter actors after they are high performers, it’s what makes them high performers in the first place.

Doing what matters is the playbook. The road map.

The answer is actually quite simple. You only have so much time in a day.

You’re going to spend half the day working — or working to get to work. You’ll spend another 8 hours sleeping — or getting ready for or out of bed.

After you factor in eating, reading, working out, and personal entertainment, you probably only have a few hours (if any at all) that are all yours.

What you do with your time ultimately determines your destiny.

Doing things that matter is your shortcut to consistent and reliable progress.

The faster you focus on what matters, the more quickly you’ll move around obstacles and the less frustrated you’ll feel by failure.

But it’s not always easy to see what matters.

Priorities change. So does your environment. And the world around you is constantly changing. All of that comes straight at you — at a torrid pace that is confusing and overwhelming.

The only way out is to stop and live in quietness. Even if only temporarily.

That quietness is your compass, pointing you towards greatness. In the direction of what really matters.

But sometimes, even that doesn’t work. You can’t find quietness because of the chaos and noise inside your head.

And so you have to fall back on timeless activities that are proven to propel you towards progress, regardless of your goals or the obstacles in your way.

Here are a few of them:

  1. Make time to improve your “mind game”. — Everything you ever do — or don’t do — is a direct result of how you think — and what you allow yourself to keep thinking about. Be aware of which thoughts make you act which way. By the way, meditation is a great exercise to figure this all out. Try using Calm or Headspace or Omvana if you want to master this skill.
  2. Take time to get physical. — Instead of eliminating regular exercise from your schedule, protect the time you work up a sweat. Run. Punch. Kick. Cycle. Just move fast. You’ll find yourself thinking of ideas you wouldn’t have considered. You’ll return to your work focused. And — you’ll eliminate a bunch of the frustration and pettiness you would otherwise direct at those around you.
  3. Stop wasting time on regrets or worries. — It’s easy to spin out of control when you think about what you could have done or should have done. Replace those negative thoughts with specific thoughts for moving towards where you want to be. Again, this about you being aware of what you are thinking. When you recognize negative thoughts you pause and switch them to thoughts that help you get closer to where you want to be.
  4. Reduce the time you spend on entertainment. — It’s amazing how distracting a binge-watch session on Netflix can be. Instead of working toward success, your brain goes to mush when you call up the latest episode instead of working on the things that matter most. Sometimes, you need to take a break and reboot. But that shouldn’t be a “most of the time” thing.
  5. Get more sleep. — Most human beings need 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night to operate at optimum performance. Your brain reboots. Your immune system recharges. Your body gets a bit more resilient. The more sleep you can get, the more likely you are to stay strong and healthy — and clear-minded. When you do more, you need more sleep. Don’t overdo the sleeping part and don’t think you can cheat time by sleeping less. It’s guaranteed to backfire on you.
  6. Pay attention to the details. — Getting things done isn’t the same as getting things done well. Don’t just check things off your list. Make sure you’ve done the best that you can do. Take the time to reflect on what you can do better the next time. Dig deep into the success you want for yourself. Hone in on what other people who have achieved the success you want for yourself are doing. Always be learning and growing.
  7. Avoid everyone and anything who takes you off your game. — It doesn’t really matter why or when or who — negativity and fear and worry and confusion will crush your ability to get to where you want to be. So avoid it. Don’t try to contain it. Or tolerate it. Get as far away from it, as you can. It might not be forever, but for now, you need to anything that is negative completely behind you.

More importantly, this is a mindset. A deliberate way of spending your time.

Make no mistake, three simple rules won’t fix everything. They aren’t the perfect formula for every obstacle standing in your way.

But they do give you a foundation to stand on. A platform to launch from.

And when life is hard and your dreams are big, sometimes it’s important to know that you have a few simple rules guiding your pathway to success.

The Hard Truth No One Told You About Doing Whatever It Takes.

I can’t help but look down at my running watch.

My heart feels like it is about to explode out of my chest. The pain in my lungs is now in my neck. Pounding through my cheekbones.

I am literally moments away from a heart attack.

It all started with a simple phone call from one of my long-time ultra running buddies: “Let’s go to Pisgah and attack some mountains. It will be fun”

I should have known from the drive that this run was about to be a lot different than any of us expected.

We decided to park at the top of the mountain, run to the bottom, and then run back up. Up and up and up and up we drove.

When we got to the top, we checked our gear to make sure we had enough water and food in case it took us longer than we expected.

Finding the nearest trailhead, we started our descent to the bottom. The trail obviously hadn’t been used much because there were rocks and roots and large overgrown spots along the path.

The path itself seemed to descend straight down. At times, the only way to stop was to run into a tree. Or you could try to grab the side of one as you ran by, flinging yourself around the tree in a circular motion to slow yourself down.

If that seems absolutely insane, it is.

The only thing more insane is getting to the bottom of the mountain and realizing that you have to run back up.

Instantly, your brain starts to make excuses.

  • Maybe there is a way to drive the car down here and pick us up?
  • Are you sure there isn’t an easier way to get back home?
  • Why did we decide to do this anyway?

We took a minute to collect ourselves. Checking the map to see exactly where we were in the trail system. And then, the inevitable became reality.

“Ready to go?”

Those three simple words were really an unspoken paragraph about the pain each of us knew we were about to endure. Little did we know what that would actually be.

So back we went. Up. And up. And up. And up.

At first, it didn’t seem like that hard of a climb. But I could tell it was starting to get in my head when I noticed how often I was checking my watch.

The miles accumulate quickly when you’re running downhill. Not so much when you’re running back up.

Slowly but surely, the path became more difficult and our breathing louder. My watch appeared to show that we were close to being at the summit. But the path seemed to go on endlessly.

And despite the water and food we had brought with us, neither of us felt as prepared as we should be.

I felt a slight buzz on my left wrist. It was a notification that we had run another mile.

When I looked down at my running watch I was horrified by what I saw.

My heart was beating at close to 200 beats per minute. And the time for my last mile was a grizzly 29:32. Almost 30 minutes.

Impossible — it seemed. For the amount of effort my body was expending I should have been running a lot faster. A whole lot faster.

But there I was, in the middle of the trail with my body exploding in pain, exhausted by the journey, and completely disillusioned by how much effort and pain it was going to take to get to where I wanted to be.

I wish I could say this was the only time I have been in this precarious position. But it isn’t. And it won’t be.

The hard truth I have come to realize about accomplishing dreams is that it always costs you more then you think it will.

It’s easy to tell other people that you’re willing to do what it takes. It’s a cool phrase to put on a t-shirt. And empowering to believe in. But living your life that way requires next-level focus and a radical commitment that most people consider to be overly obsessive and a bit wacky.

But if you’re not committed to doing what it takes you’ll find yourself giving up too early and only coming close to achieving your goals. You’ll never quite get there.

So what does it take? And why are you going to have to try so hard?

We all agree that you won’t get far in life doing the bare minimum.

To be candid, you won’t get much farther doing a little bit more.

It’s a dangerous trap to think that because you are doing more than those around you that you’re doing what it takes to accomplish your goals.

The truth is that you have to do a “lot a bit” more than everyone else around you to have a chance at accomplishing great things.

That’s nothing new. That’s always how it has been. You just haven’t noticed until now. maybe this goal is a little more important than the ones you’ve had in the past. Maybe the stakes are higher for you accomplishing breakthrough right now.

Maybe you just want it more.

The truth is that doing what it takes is what success requires. You have to lay it all on the line. No matter where you are trying to go or what you’re trying to do. You won’t make it happen by hedging your bets or holding back.

You have to be all in with every fiber of your emotions, every bit of your financial resources, every ounce of will in your body — and a bit more you don’t believe is possible right now.

What does that really mean?

  • You have to work tirelessly.
  • You have to focus on the details.
  • You can’t play it safe.
  • You can’t pretend like doing what’s easy is really going to work.
  • You have to be vulnerable enough to try and fail and try again. Until you get it right.

Even when you don’t feel like it.

Even when it feels like you don’t have enough strength and courage to get back to the starting line again.

You have to get back up and keep moving.

Because doing what it takes is always what it takes to achieve big dreams. And if that’s what you have, then that’s what you have to give. Anything. And everything. And sometimes both at the same time.

So when you find yourself panting for air and wondering why you set out to conquer the mountain in the first place, know that in this moment by taking the next step you are one of the very few who are actually doing whatever it takes.

From the time that I looked at my watch and realized how incredibly slow I was running up a very steep hill, I ended up only being about 45 minutes away from my car. And the top of the mountain. And a moment when I could sit down and breathe a bit more slowly.

I’ve not been back to that mountain since, but I’ve run other mountains — emotionally and literally.

There is always a crest. Always a finish line. It might feel like forever, but it never is.

It can’t be, especially if you refuse to stop moving forward.