BUT FIRST YOU HAVE TO BE HONEST 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.

You might call this taking responsibility for your actions  — or being accountable.

It’s really the first step in you practicing radical candor with others. It’s practicing radical candor with yourself.

An inside-out look at the truth behind your current existence.

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

So take some time to get real with yourself. If you aren’t willing to grow, why should anyone else around you?

WHY RADICAL CANDOR WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

Success usually requires a bit of awkwardness. One of those awkward moments can be you practicing radical candor.

Candor is one of those subjects that often gets misunderstood.

Those who are habitually cruel use the label candor to justify their jerkish behavior. On the other hand, those who struggle with conflict and seek to avoid it at all costs excuse away their lack of candor by pretending that they care too much.

In truth, candor is balanced. It’s already the “middle of the line” option. Not unnecessarily cruel. Not overly kind. Just true words delivered in a way so that others can use it to be their best self.

According to the dictionary, candor is “the quality of being open and honest in expression.”

So what is radical candor?

It’s practicing candor even when you have to be open and honest with people that you love and respect greatly.

“RADICAL CANDOR IS YOU SAYING WHAT IS ON YOUR MIND WHEN IT IS EMOTIONALLY EASIER TO DO NOTHING.”

You have to fight a lot of battles in a day. It can be easy to let the stress and strain of that combat diminish your ability to utilize candor to help you.

Instead of saying the truth and possibly offend someone, it’s just a lot easier to sigh and overlook the situation — hoping that people and situations automatically fix themselves. In truth, not much in life ever gets fixed without honesty and openness.

It’s easier said than done. But when it is done, it’s a powerful accelerator for getting closer to your dreams.

To test that that, ask yourself this question: “How much better would your life be right now in a thousand small ways if you were more open and honest and your daily interactions?”

WHAT WILL YOU DO KNOWING THAT YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL?

You’ve heard that motivational question before: “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t lose?”

The intent is to get you to think bigger. To realize that your perceptions of reality and deep-seated beliefs control the size of your dreams. 

If you think something is impossible, you act like that. You might attempt to achieve the impossible, but you won’t have enough courage, enthusiasm or tenacity to keep on fighting after you’ve failed a few times. 

The question is a good one. You should ask yourself if your dreams could be bigger. If your goals and beliefs are grand enough. 

But maybe, at the heart of the matter is a more powerful question. A question that gets to the heart of your daily reality. 

What will you do knowing that you are going to fail? 

You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. You’re going to fail more than you don’t fail. The times that you win are the minority. 

“WINNING ISN’T THE RULE. IT IS THE EXCEPTION.”

No matter how good you are at what you do. No matter how much knowledge you’ve gathered over the years. No matter how many connections, advocates, or luck you have in your corner. 

Small failures are all around you. They are inescapable. A part of your daily existence. Your hourly existence. Your minute-by-minute existence. 

And while it could be a depressing reality, it doesn’t need to be. And it shouldn’t be. 

The idea of winning wouldn’t exist without the reality of failure. Failure should cultivate your thirst for achieving big dreams. 

Every time you try something new, you are choosing to win. 

You could give up and not try anything. That would stop most of your failure. At least the public kind. 

You can go through the motions and pretend like you’re trying. That too would stop a lot of your failure. 

But there is something magical and deeply inspiring about giving something a “go” even when you know it could backfire magnificently. That you could lose money and time and reputation. 

It’s also the simplest path to success. 

“TRYING IS WINNING IN THE MOMENT.”

Knowing that you’re likely to fail and still heading into the battle with the belief that no matter what happens you’re going to get back up and try again. Time after time after time — until you get to where you want to be.

What will you do?

IF YOU REALLY WANTED TO BE SUCCESSFUL, YOU WOULD BE.

The truth is that if you really wanted to be successful, you would be.

Think about the things you really wanted in life the times — where you been backed into a corner and desperate to be anywhere but where you are right now.

That experience was so gripping and real and raw, that it motivated you to take drastic action.

You made changes that you weren’t willing to make before. You did things and went places and tried new behaviors that you weren’t prepared to attempt before.

So when you’re thinking about change and progress, success, better results, and getting to where you want to be you can’t remove the human element — the element of desire.

Do you really want what you say you want?

Or is what you say you want the thing that you think will get you closer to what you really want?

Are you fighting for what you want? Or are you just doing things that will make you money or make you happy so that eventually you’ll have the time and resources to do what you really want?

“THERE’S NO FORMULA THAT CAN HELP YOU GET REAL ABOUT SUCCESS. THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET OR MAGICAL PROCESS THAT CAN REPLACE THE RAW AND REAL ENERGY OF DESPERATION.”

When you’re entirely consumed by a single purpose.

It’s clear. And you know why you want it. And you have decided that you’re willing to do whatever it takes.

If you really wanted to be successful, you already would be.

So maybe what’s holding it back is a bit of clarity.

You knowing what you want. You being clear on what you want and why you want it.

Start there. Let it consume you. Then do it.

WHERE YOU ARE NOW CAN’T BE WHERE YOU STOP.

There’s always another level. There is always more room for delivering surprise and delight and what you do each day. 

So what is that level for you? It starts with a simple question: “What would make what I’m doing even more spectacular?” 

Change the adjective. Add your own. Refine it. Tweak it. 

But, try it. 

It’s not a hard question. But it is revealing. It’s not always easy to think about the next level when you’ve already broken through a level and find yourself enjoying where you are. 

In truth, there’s room to celebrate. You’re growing and getting better. You’re taking things to another level. 

“BUT WHERE YOU ARE NOW CAN’T BE WHERE YOU STOP.”

No matter how much you grown or gained, there’s room for you to play the game at a higher level. Remember that. 

You don’t need to be a workaholic to push yourself to play the game at a higher level. 

This isn’t about obsession or managing the details. 

It is simply a reminder that you are either moving forwards or falling behind. 

Keep challenging yourself. Keep pushing yourself. 

Level up!

WHEN YOU ACTUAL BELIEVE THAT YOU’RE IN CONTROL OF YOUR DESTINY.

You chose the life you’re living. Your results and outcomes — they are the consequences of your decisions.

For good or bad, you are the creator of your destiny.

That should be encouraging to you.

Even if you’re not in a spot that you’re especially proud of right now, you get to make the decision about where you end up.

You call the shots.

“IT’S YOUR WILL AND PERSISTENCE AND MINDSET THAT DETERMINE WHERE YOU GO AND HOW FAST YOU GET THERE.”

You probably don’t disagree with any of that. There’s a part of you that knows you’re supposed to own up to your own behavior. That accountability and responsibility are something that you are in charge of.

So why not live like it?

If you can choose anything, why not choose what you really want?

The choices you make determine the outcomes that you experience. That’s always true.

It might take time for that to happen. But it will happen. The seeds you plant become the crops that you harvest.

If you truly believed that you were holding your future in your own hands,  you would act differently.

  • You would probably wake up at a different time and go to bed at a different time.
  • You would allow different words to come out of your mouth and have different thoughts running through your head during the day.
  • You would probably live a different life than the one you’re living right now.

Which is ironic, because all you’ve been talking about recently is how badly you “want it” and that you’re willing to do whatever it takes.

So stop talking about it and start acting like you care.

Choose better. Act better. Be grateful and kind. Do the right thing even when no one is watching you. Dream big and work bigger.

Remember, you call the shots.

“NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW, YOU CAN END UP WHERE YOU WANT TO BE. BUT YOU CAN’T DO THAT WITH YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND.”

You have to take ownership of your life. Fast.

Today is the time to take that first step towards the future you’ve been telling everybody else you want to get to. The anecdote to your problems isn’t the hope that they magically fix themselves.

It is to take action. To be bold. To choose wisely.

You got this. Time to level up.

STOP DRINKING YOUR OWN PUNCH. DO THESE THINGS INSTEAD.

You can’t see clearly. You can’t think clearly. You’re intoxicated. Drunk on your own crazy thinking.

You don’t see reality. You can’t. Because you’ve been drinking your own punch — a sweet concoction of syrupy excuse-making and non-existent goal setting.

It’s all wishy-washy. Nothing specific. Nothing worthy of your absolute obsession and focus.

It’s just you talking to you about you. That’s what happens when you drink your own punch.

You stop being objective. You stop noticing your weaknesses.

You make excuses for everything that happens in your life.

The good things that happen to you are a result of your genius and talents. The bad things are just other people picking on you — and clearly not your fault.

Here’s the thing, everyone else can see your ridiculousness. Sometimes they even feel sorry for you. They know you’re not in your right mind.

But they can’t help you. Not in the state you’re in right now. You’ve been drinking your own punch for too long and it’s caused you to lose track of all those things you wants valued.

So here’s a sobering thought for you: “Your dream is dying!”

You need to get serious about getting to where you want to be.

And you have to start right now. 

And if you’ve been wondering how you do that — how to stop drinking your own punch, start here:

  1. Take the first step in something you always say you’ll do but never seem to start.
  2. Replace your negative friends with people who inspire your inner greatness.
  3. Spend money on things that help you make progress — instead of looking successful.
  4. Challenge your beliefs about what you can and can’t do by trying something new. 
  5. Forgive the people in your life that you envy or still hold a grudge against.
  6. Learn a new skill. Take a new course. Find a new mentor. Join a new club.
  7. Spend time with yourself quietly reflecting, meditating, or praying.
  8. Pay attention to other people’s body language and your own.
  9. Help someone else do something crazy scary to get out of their comfort zone.
  10. Show up to your next meeting early and just be committed to that experience.
  11. Find a job and a boss that you can respect, enjoy, and grow a little bit each day.
  12. Read a book. Then another one. Then another one. Read. And read some more.
  13. Commit yourself to hard work. Commit yourself to doing the hard things.
  14. Make the choice to live life without regrets, anger, or jealousy.
  15. Treasure the process. Enjoy the journey. Stop to appreciate how far you have come.
  16. Contribute to a higher cause. Embrace your destiny with every bit of your will.
  17. Compete mightily with yourself and then stop comparing that performance to others.
  18. Practice gratitude daily. Make it the first part of our day. Write it down. Let it guide you.
  19. Stop consuming so much daily news — avoid the urge to be “connected” all the time.
  20. Say “Thank You” and “I Love You” to the most important people in your life.
  21. Remove anything that is non-essential from your life. Seriously.
  22. Choose to believe in something bigger than yourself and hold on to it.
  23. Stop obsessing about the outcome and focus on an exceptional performance.
  24. Genuinely apologize to people when your actions (and attitudes) hurt them.
  25. Seek out friends and mentors and allies who inspire you to be your best self.
  26. Measure daily at least one habit or behavior you’re trying to improve.

There isn’t a quick fix to achieving success.

“PROGRESS REQUIRES EVERYTHING YOU HAVE — AND THEN SOME.”

So you have to be sharp and aggressive and focused maniacally on improving you so that your negative baggage doesn’t slow you down.

You can’t drink your own punch. You can’t drink anyone’s punch.

You have to be all in on being the best “you” possible.

If it seems you aren’s seeing things clearly, maybe it’s time for you to take a sober look at how badly you want to achieve your goals. If you are serious, you will change. 

Why not get started now?

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE RUNNING THE COMPANY TO GET THE BENEFITS OF BEING DELIGHTFUL.

There’s a direct connection between greatness and delight.

The most successful companies — those producing consistent growing profit — focus manically on delivering surprise and delight.

You can’t build a hundred-year-old company if you don’t care about delivering outrageous customer service.

It just doesn’t happen.

It can seem attractive to be trendy and cool and relevant in the short run without caring about people, but you won’t last without a plan to deliver surprise and delight.

The same is true of you as an individual.

You don’t need to be “a company” to understand the importance of delivering surprise and delight. In fact, it’s more likely than not that you’ll never be in charge of an enterprise. You won’t get the chance to dictate across the entire corporation a focus of delivering surprise and delight.

But you can still make a difference just being you.

It’s still just as important. It’s just as impactful.

“WHETHER YOU ARE TRYING TO GET A RAISE, CONVINCE INDIVIDUALS OF YOUR POINT OF VIEW, OR BUILD YOUR CAREER — SURPRISE AND DELIGHT IS YOUR FAST TRACK TOWARD GUARANTEED OUTCOMES.”

The results won’t always be perfectly spectacular — but you will consistently outperform everyone else around you.

No matter your plan or position or current project, ask yourself a singular question: “Will my behavior create delight?”

If not, level up. 

IT DOESN’T REALLY TAKE MUCH FOR YOU TO BE DELIGHTFUL.

Do you know what is surprising?

When you don’t whine. Even when you have a perfectly good reason to. 

When you give value to people who don’t deserve it.

“THE SECRET TO DELIVERING SURPRISE AND DELIGHT ISN’T THAT YOU EXECUTE THAT STRATEGY WHEN IT’S CONVENIENT — OR WHEN YOUR AUDIENCE IS DESERVING OF IT — BUT RATHER THAT YOU GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO DELIVER SMALL BITS OF SURPRISE AND DELIGHT WHEN YOU LEAST FEEL LIKE IT.”

It’s almost instinctual. Subconscious. A skill you hone and practice for so long that it’s just another part of you.

There are so many annoying things that happen in life — so many small, frustrating things that rob you of your joy.

It doesn’t take much for you to be delightful.

In fact, just a little bit less of the bad stuff and a smidge more of the good stuff is all that it takes. Usually.

You don’t need to do any superhuman sort of activity or attempt some intellectually challenging feat of brilliance.

It’s about small and focused differentiation — smiles and attention, not discounts, coupon codes, or over the top promises.

There’s no excuse for not delivering surprise and delight.

You don’t even have to be that good at it.

Mainly, you just have to try. And not make excuses. When you get it right, do more of that. When you get it wrong, apologize and fix it.

It won’t take you long at all to be really good at manufacturing surprise and delight.

It’s improving the small things. Maybe they aren’t really small after all.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR SUCCESS NOT TO HAPPEN WHEN YOU BELIEVE.

Have some faith. Trust the process. Believe that it will all work out.

It’s easy to throw around words.

It’s a lot harder to believe in them. To build your plan around them. To keep executing strategy directed by those words, even when your results don’t seem to line up.

But that’s where you going to spend most of your time — while you’re trying to figure it out.

You’re not going to go from “searching for it” to “found it” overnight.

It’s going to take you weeks and months, possibly decades, to figure out all the components — all the parts of the solution — that allow you to manufacture awesomeness consistently.

It’s not just about having all the pieces. You have to know how they all fit together. The timing and tone and intensity of each element.

Which is incredibly painful to figure out.

Most people give up along the way. You’re going to be tempted to do the same thing. Especially when you’ve tried so many times it seems like trying anymore is just another exercise in insanity.

Which is why you have to trust the process. And have some faith. Believe that you’re smart enough to figure it out in the end. That’s the dark side of delivering surprise and delight.

The finished product is glorious — unmatched in its greatness and awe. You see it. They see it. Everyone sees it.

“BUT TO GET THERE, TO FIND YOURSELF IN THAT MOMENT WHEN IT ALL COMES TOGETHER MAGNIFICENTLY, YOU HAVE TO FIND YOURSELF IN MANY MORE MOMENTS OF EMOTIONAL AGONY.”

Your heart being torn out by the roots. Frustration and failure. Another loss. Another ill-fated experiment. It grinds on you. Beat you down.

Makes you feel like success is never going to happen.

But success will happen.

It’s impossible that it won’t happen. It can’t not happen.

But only when you believe. When you trust. When you have faith. And then you let those emotions carry you along your day.

Despite the failure that comes. Despite the fear you feel. Despite the strange looks and raised eyebrows you get from those around you.

Just believe. Let it infect you. And drive you. Lead you.

Don’t give up on your journey to delivering surprise and delight. To get there, you’re going to have to experience everything but that.

YOU CAN’T FAKE IT. THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUR SOUL NEEDS TO BUBBLE OVER.

Be who you want to be. Do what you want to do. Go where you want to go.

Just don’t fake it. And don’t pretend like your destiny doesn’t matter.

We spend a lot of time pretending to be what we think other people want us to be.

“ALL TOO OFTEN, WE SACRIFICE HAPPINESS AND MONEY, MAKE DUMB CHOICES AND DESTROY OUR CHANCES FOR A BETTER FUTURE SIMPLY SO THAT WE DON’T NEGATIVELY IMPACT SOMEONE ELSE’S PERCEPTION OF US.”

And maybe I’m not speaking to you at all. (Maybe I’m the only one who does this brand of self-immolation.)

But here’s what I have figured out over the years.

The people who have your back when you’re struggling are the same people that have your back when you’re on the top of the mountain.

Your real friends are those who want you to be happy and successful. They aren’t trying to keep you down or compete with you or prove a point.

They want you to be the best version of you. Ego and fear hide this truth from us.

It’s crazy, but we feel like we need to be compliant — and not make waves.  To not do anything that causes someone else to be uncomfortable.

That’s easier. Less confrontational.

And why cause problems when you don’t need to? This is about mindset and potential and more specifically, your happiness.

You can’t bring delight to others unless the fountain of delight within your soul is bubbling over already. You can’t bring surprise and excitement to those you engage unless within you is spewing a volcano of those same raw emotions.

You can’t fake it. So don’t even try. Don’t waste your time pretending.

Just be who you are. Just be. Just be. Grow, evolve, and intend to be the best version of you.

Those are words to live by.

WHY SUCCESS DEMANDS EXTREME BEHAVIOR.

If you can solve a complex problem with easy answers, then do that. If you can make a lifetime of bad choices disappear by pushing a button, that’s the wise choice. The hard truth is that achieving turn-around in your life is a little more difficult than pushing a button, yanking a lever, or wishing it to be so.

You can’t just wish your way to better outcomes.

You can’t just execute a series of micro-tweaks and hope that your problem is solved.

Success demands extreme behavior.

There’s no way around that.

It doesn’t matter how you feel or what your personal opinion might be, you have to be extreme if you’re going to achieve success.

And not just a big success. Even small successes, the things that you would expect to be easy and simple and ordinary — they require a massive commitment as well.

That might seem absurd to you. Almost unbelievable.

But put it into context with what you want to achieve.

That’s pretty big, isn’t it? Your big goal isn’t easy or automatic or even something that other people think is likely.

That awesome goal you have requires an awesome amount of effort. It requires an awesome amount of focus.

That’s the essence of extreme behavior.

It’s not you being radical simply for the sake of being radical. It’s you believing in your soul that nothing is more important to you than achieving success. And then letting that feeling of obsession push you to do whatever it takes.

That attitude of desperation mixed with effort is exactly what extreme behavior is all about.

A powerful focus of your obsession. It’s an attitude. It’s a religion. It’s a belief.

It’s a reason to get up in the morning. And a reason to do the hard things — even after you’ve spent years already doing hard things.

Quit chasing easy ideas and quick fixes. You’re losing momentum.

You could already be a lot closer to your goal if you simply committed yourself to doing whatever it takes.

USE YOUR SUPERPOWER.

Do you know what makes you special? What’s your superpower? Maybe it’s your ability to be blunt. Your ability to see the big picture when one of the people get bogged down in the details. Your knack for befriending almost anyone.

Creating wealth is a skill. Strategic insight is a skill. So is bringing smart people together, convincing other people to give you their money, being a source of inspiration, and fierce focus.

It’s important that you know what makes you special.

If you don’t know, you can’t use it.

You can’t be special. You can’t do special things.

Your life will be a series of mediocre undertakings. Always limping along. Never at the bottom of the class, but never rising to soar where you belong.

You’re different than the people around you. You’re different than the rest of your family. You’re different from the people you go to church and work with and the people in your association.

How you achieve success will be different from how others achieve their success.

Copying someone else won’t get you there any faster.

In fact, it might just create a lot more confusion for you.

A lot more frustration. The reality of life is that each of us brings something new and fresh and different to the game of life.

No one talent is better than the other. They all have their place. Which is why it matters that you know what makes you special.

If you’re not sure, start with your hobbies.

What is it that you’re drawn to automatically?

That’s a hint. Think about your last few success stories. Big or small. What happened? How did you achieve that success?

Once you figure that out, think about how you can use your special power in everyday life. Do the super part and outsource everything else to the people around you who are super at those things.

WHEN LOFTY DREAMS DEMAND UNPLEASANT SACRIFICE.

It was April 22, 1951, Donald “Lofty” Large and the boys in B Company found themselves face down in the dirt. “Lofty”  laid in the ditches by the Imjin River, holding his breath and waiting for the order to be given to attack. At 20 years old, he was at war. Defending troop routes against the Chinese. Fighting against communism.  His night was spent watching the fireworks in the sky from gunfire and returning fireworks of his own. The rest of the time he spent huddled in the cleft of a shallow hole. Hoping to avoid the damage of enemy gunfire.

The smell of gunpowder stuck in his nostrils.  It seemed the ringing in his ears never ceased.

His company had the fight of their lives ahead of them that night.

This attack would pass. But it would soon be followed by another. Over and over and over. Seven attacks that night, to be exact. Historians would later name this the battle of Gloster Hill.

During the last attack, Lofty was shot in the left shoulder twice. He had two open bullet wounds and least 18 pieces of shrapnel in his arm. He also had a tracer from the same weapon embedded in his ribs.

He had narrowly escaped death. Shot to pieces and surrounded by an enemy much larger than them, B Company was soon forced to surrender.

That’s when the real fight began. Lofty and his company were forced on a ten day march to a prison camp. With bullet wounds festering. Barefoot.

Forced to give up his boots, every step Lofty took was a painful one.

Sticks, thorns, and stinging bugs tore the flesh from his feet. His wounds felt like burning lava inside his damaged shoulder and chest.

His feet screamed. His legs gave out. But every time he fell, he got back up. Despite the agony, he marched on. He marched for his life. Staying down meant a bullet in the head from his Chinese captors.

He limped into camp barely alive. He would spend the next 700 days fighting for his life.

It would be two years later before he received any medical treatment for his bullet wounds. Days before his release as a prisoner of war, a Chinese doctor removed the tracer round from his ribs, but not the shrapnel in his shoulder.

He would leave camp a skeleton of his former fighting self.

His arm had atrophied, and he lost almost all movement in it.

He had been starved — going from a fighting weight of 217 pounds down to barely 136 pounds at the time of his release.

After his return home to the UK, Lofty was offered a medical discharge from the Army. But he wasn’t ready to give up the fight just yet. All he had ever wanted, since he was a child was to go to war. So he declined.

He was determined to go back into the battle. Not just as a regular. As a badass operator in Britain’s elite SAS unit — a fighting team equivalent to the US Delta Force. A group of the best-of-the-best warriors.

He worked tirelessly to recover —  while serving his duties in the quartermaster’s stores and in the regimental police of his local unit. He conditioned and rehabilitated his arm on his own. He had to. No doctor would help him. They told him that his arm should be amputated. That getting use of his atrophied muscles would be impossible.

But Lofty proved them wrong. He battled through the pain. But he knew what he wanted. And he was willing to pay the price. It took time, but his arm recovered. He beat the odds.

Lofty decided to go big. And got accepted into the SAS.

He completed the brutal SAS training — twice, in fact — and was ready to deploy when he had a freak accident on his motorbike. He broke his ankle in several places. This would prevent him from being deployed. Or so you would think.

He just decided to keep the situation to himself.

Being no stranger to pain or the endurance of it, Lofty didn’t think twice before he wrapped his ankle, put on a boot two sizes too big to accommodate the swelling and pushed through the daggers of pain. With every step, he could feel the pressure on the broken shards in his ankle. He could feel the swelling. He could feel the heat of the pain.

He knew that if he could endure two years of torture and starvation and untreated wounds, Lofty knew that he could endure a few weeks of ankle pain.

But it wasn’t a week or two. The pain wasn’t about to stop with untreated broken bones. He had signed up for service that was full of unpleasant sacrifice.

He was asked to lead a team that was sent into the jungle to locate enemy special force bases and report back the location.

For fourteen day stretches, the men would have to be silent, never uttering a word to each other knowing that the slightest noise could cost them their lives. They couldn’t bathe. They couldn’t smoke. The only thing they could do was eat the same bland meal every day. Curried bullied beef. Curried sardines. Curried everything.

There was no limit to the pain the jungle could inflict.

They would go to sleep in the jungle and wake up covered in leeches. Having to pull them off every part of their bodies, even the most private ones. They suffered bug bites that they couldn’t slap at because it might be too noisy. They got rashes everywhere from the brush and the elements. Not scratching was a mental exercise in itself.

Mission after mission, Lofty and his team found victory. Tracking, locating, targeting and destroying the enemy. “The trick is to do it and hope to Christ you get away with it,” he would tell his unit.

And “get away with it” they did,

On Lofty’s last mission, he and the other soldiers were required to complete an 8,000 foot climb in the dark of night. It was like climbing up the side of a cliff ten times higher than the Empire State Building in New York City.

It was a mission that seemed impossible to almost everyone. Except Lofty.

They each carried packs on their backs full of special operations gear that weighed 120 lbs — more than half of Lofty’s body weight. One wrong step would mean instant death.

Every step  — every climb — got heavier with the supplies on their backs.

Lofty felt his previous ankle injury with every movement. And every time he heaved his backpack to a more comfortable position, he was reminded of the bullets and shrapnel still lodged in his body.

For ten hours, they climbed, one foot in front of the other.

Raw agony. A test of human persistence. Lofty encouraged his men with every step.

The packs got heavier, but they moved forward. The mountain got steeper, but they would not stop. Their steps got slower, but they pressed on. Following Lofty, the man they looked up to.

When they finally reached the top, they surprised the rebels — easily defeating them. Another victory for a man who understood that big dreams require sacrifice and pain.

That was a lesson he would spend the next 27 years teaching as an instructor in the Army with one of the SAS’s two reserve regiments.

Even at the end, he practiced what he learned in the jungle. Fighting for his life. Fighting leukemia. Fighting through his pain. Never complaining. Always smiling. A warrior willing to do what was uncomfortable.

Big goals demand unpleasant sacrifice.

Lofty knew it. So do you. Now you have act like it.

Instead of avoiding anything that makes you hurt, you have to embrace the discomfort. It is what you powerful.

It’s what gets you closer to what you want to be.

Stop giving up on your dream just because you get banged up. Life is going to treat you unfairly.

You are going to feel pain. A lot of it.

There is no escaping it. No avoiding it. It’s on you to push through it. To find success. To follow your dreams.

You’ve heard the phrase: “No Pain. No Gain.” It’s the truth. What you go through, you grow through.

There is no path to success that avoids discomfort.

There is no opportunity for greatness without pain.

You have to decide. Do you want to be good or feel good? Do you want to make progress or excuses?

Lofty made his choice. Now it’s on you to make yours.

Pete Scholey, in his book SAS Heroes: Remarkable Soldiers, Extraordinary Men wrote perhaps the most compelling description of Lofty’s inspiring leadership: “When I joined the elite SAS unit, I was told that the best way to survive those first years in the squadron was to pick out someone who you thought you would like to be. It wasn’t until later in my service that I learned that most of us had picked the same person — Lofty.”

MAYBE YOU’VE BEEN WASTING YOUR LIFE DOING THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER.

If you’re struggling to over-deliver, you might be in the wrong line of business. Have you ever thought about that before?

Passion and purpose are a big part of what fuels the creativity and attention to detail you will need to create surprise and delight for those you interact with.

It’s not unlikely that you’re doing the wrong thing with your life.

A lot of people are. They think they have to do what they’re doing in order to pay the mortgage. Keep the lights on.

But they don’t love what they’re doing. They aren’t obsessed with it. They’re hoping to make enough money to go do something else.

And that’s where the problem begins.

If you’re not obsessed with how you spend your day, it’s impossible for you to deliver an experience that creates surprise and delight.

So it’s only natural that we start with the most important question of your life: “Are you doing your life’s work?”

You don’t have to love everything about every part of your day. No one does. But you do have to be doing things that get you closer to where you want to be.

“YOU HAVE TO CARE MORE THAN YOU’VE EVER CARED ABOUT ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE. IF YOU ARE JUST GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS, NONE OF THAT WORKS.”

If you don’t care, it’s not worth it for you to go the extra mile. You’re not going to care enough to double-check and over prepare.

Which is why I come back to where I started this discussion. Maybe you’re in the wrong line of work right now. Maybe you need to burn the ships and go pursue your destiny.

There are a lot of people who pay lip-service to that.

They pretend like pursuing your destiny is easy. That it all works out. That you’ll never get hurt. That good things automatically happen for good people.

But that’s not true. None of it is. 

You’re going to have problems — big scary horrifying problems. People are going to try to hurt you. For no good reason.

You’re going to face obstacles that you never imagined. Which is why it matters that you’re doing something you can be passionate about.

“WHEN LIFE BEATS YOU DOWN, AND IT WILL, YOU NEED TO BE FUELED BY THAT EXTRA SPECIAL SOMETHING THAT FORCES YOU TO DIG DEEP.”

Maybe it’s time for you to rethink your priorities.

That includes where you work and what you do and who you allow inside your inner circle. All of that impacts the amount of surprise and delight you’ll be able to deliver to those around you.

It all starts on the inside. Start looking there.

THE BAR IS SO LOW THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR YOU NOT TO JUMP OVER IT.

The bar is pretty low. Delivering surprise and delight in your daily interactions might seem like a daunting task — until you consider the alternative.

The bar for delivering awesome service is pretty low. Even when it’s a premium product.

It used to be a foregone conclusion that you would do what you promised, especially when someone paid you for it. Then business leaders started adding fine print, terms, and conditions.

Now, you had to deliver as long as you didn’t have a loophole to escape through.

The bar got a little bit lower when someone in corporate strategy realized that by delivering less the company as a whole would profit more.

“THE CYCLE OF PURPOSEFULLY DIMINISHING SERVICE IN ORDER TO INCREASE PROFITABILITY QUICKLY BECAME A SPIRAL DOWNWARDS.”

When was the last time you had to interact with your cable company, and came away feeling like it was easy to achieve success?

I’ve been told before that I need to take my phone number off my website and hide my email address so that people won’t be able to contact me. Think about that for yourself.

You have probably struggled to get support or talk to a “real person” to solve what is really just a simple challenge. The person on the other end of that transaction forced you to use a chatbot or send an email to a giant bulk email address without reassuring you that they would take care of you and get your problems answered.

Think about the last time you walked into a boutique to purchase something.

Were you received warmly by the staff or did you simply receive a robotic: “What can I help you with today?”

In fact, as you think about your experiences spending money or engaging with people who are providing you service, have you ever been truly surprised and delighted?

If so, you can probably count those experiences on the fingers of one hand. In your entire lifetime, you won’t have many of those experiences. That’s because the bar is low. Really low.

Which means you have all the more reason to buck the trend and focus on delivering surprise and delight.

No one else is doing it consistently.

Or at all. And in a world, where buyers are beaten down and used to having to fight to get what they want, what a refreshing experience you bring when you over deliver surprise and delight intentionally.

When you set out to make your prospects and customers smile. When you purposefully work to ensure that they’re happy.

The effects will last for a lifetime. You will be one of only a few people that they will ever remember as having delivered so much value it no longer made sense. 

It doesn’t take much to deliver surprise and delight. It does take intention. And a focus on the details.

But imagine the payoff. It’s generational. For you. And them.

WHY DELIVERING SURPRISE AND DELIGHT IS YOUR SECRET SUPERPOWER.

Nobody wants boring service. Nobody listens to the boring ideas. No one wants to be around boring people.

Boring isn’t safe. It’s boring. Unimaginative. Lacking charm, wit, creativity, or hope.

It’s no longer good enough to deliver customers what they ask for. You need to be thinking about what they are surprised and delighted to want.

It’s about doing more. It’s not necessarily more effort at a cheaper price.

It’s about an ethos of listening to what people are telling you.

Listening to what they’re afraid to tell you. Listening to what your gut instinct tells you.

And then over-delivering. Delivering so much value it no longer makes sense. We call that surprise and delight — delivering surprise and delight.

It’s not a business concept that you learn much about when you are getting an advanced degree in economics or a subject matter you’ll hear in business school. Most discussions about getting rich or making money are all about the least you can do to make the greatest return on investment.

“THE PROBLEM IS THAT WITHOUT SURPRISE AND DELIGHT THE ONLY THING YOU HAVE TO OFFER IS BORING.”

And most often self-serving. But not truly self-serving — because it doesn’t serve you in the long run.

So it’s boring. And bad business.

  • You don’t need to be in sales to deliver surprise and delight.
  • You don’t have to be in marketing or be the leader of your division to deliver surprise and delight.
  • You don’t have to be an entrepreneur, a freelancer, or someone who “calls the shots” to deliver surprise and delight.

To deliver surprise and delight you just have to deliver surprise and delight.

And that’s a choice. That’s an intention. That doesn’t mean you’re perfect or that you get it right all the time.

It just means you try. You aim for that mark. That’s your goal. You’re not boring.

In everything you do, you ask yourself:  “Is this likely to be surprisingly delightful to the person on the other end of the transaction?”

And then you do things, and only those things, that meet that standard.

Success is guaranteed to follow.

No matter what that means for you — making more money, getting a raise, meeting a deadline, losing weight, falling in love, or just making it through another day.

It has to be more than just about you.

So stop being boring. Dare to deliver surprise and delight.

How could you start today?

BEING THE WARLORD OF YOUR DESTINY.

“It’s very sad for all of Kokang,” said a former soldier of her death. “We have come to say farewell to our leader.” On July 13, 2017, in the hills of Burma, “Uncle Olive” passed away peacefully in her sleep. She had retired years earlier to the beautiful countryside, guarded in her secluded compound by a militia of loyal fighters. She was the world’s most fearsome warlord you’ve never heard of.

She didn’t set out to rewrite history books. She just knew that she was different. Instead of trying to be what other people told her that she should be, she lived life on her terms.

And that changed everything.

Olive Yang was born in British Colonial Burma in the late 1920s. Her family was considered royalty in the region, so expectations were high, but Olive was not the type of “princess” her family expected her to be.

Quite the opposite. She had no desire to become a princess. Or even act like a little lady. She rejected the idea of motherhood or getting married.

Instead, she chased after her brother’s girlfriends and dressed like a boy.

Her people expected her to have her feet bound and marry a prince. Instead, she became a warlord and a drug smuggler. She ruled an entire corner of the world.

But it wasn’t easy.

Her parents, and the rest of the royal family weren’t willing to tolerate her nonsense for long.  As soon as they could, they forced her to get married. To her cousin.

Where she was forced into sex until she became pregnant. She didn’t want or need a child. She was a child herself. Overwhelmed after giving birth to her son, Jipu, she left him with a wet nurse and made a mad dash for the hills of Burma’s remote Kokang region. Never to return.

Over the next fifty years, she would turn those hills into her empire. Ruling with power and genius opportunism. She provided a unique service — guarding caravans of raw opium through the hills to the Thai border.

It was a man’s business. But she decided it was her business.

Soon “Olive’s Boys” — as her militia of hundreds of pistol-toting warriors were known — controlled a worldwide operation. At home, she ruled over a region the size of Luxembourg.

Her shipping routes in the Golden Triangle grew to be the second largest source of illicit opium in the world. Her secret? She was the first person to use trucks, not mules, to ferry opium through the Burmese highlands. She built a financial empire as big as Pablo Escobar in his prime.

And how did she use that wealth?

Besides wooing famous Burmese movie actresses, she plotted the demise of communist leaders.

A woman fighting against dictators.

She was cunning and ruthlessly efficient in her craft. Using the opium trade to fund her anti-communist crusade.

She was good at it. So good the CIA decided to get behind her, secretly giving her weapons to keep her militia in full force on the ground.

She bucked conventional wisdom at every turn. Wearing men’s clothes instead of dainty dresses. Cutting her hair short instead of letting it grow out. She was openly gay in a world that punished such behavior by death.

Weirdly enough, her nickname for much of her life was “Miss Hairy Legs”.

A name given out of humor and respect by her loyal fighters.

She spent years in prison where she endured horrendous torture and sexual abuse. She faced death threats from her government and power struggles from leaders within her organization.

She was Olive Yang. No one else. She did things her own way. Not asking permission or waiting to be told what to do. It was truly living on her own terms.

And then, at the peak of her power, she stepped down. Retired from being a warlord. She gave the entire operation over to one of her lieutenants, Lo Hsing Han, whose job was to carry a jar of cigarettes for Ms. Yang.

Wealthy beyond measure. More powerful than the military of the country she lived in. Wise. Capable. And witty.

She was all done fighting.

So she gave it away and settled into a simpler life — further earning the respect and adoration of the rebels in her country.

In her late 60’s she was called out of retirement to help her people negotiate a peace treaty between the Burmese government and the Burmese rebels. That treaty unbelievably lasted twenty years, until 2009, when fighting again broke out.

By that time, Olive Yang was wheelchair bound and living safely in a compound full of militiamen who called her “Uncle Olive.”

She wasn’t supposed to be any of that. Or do any of that. She was supposed to look pretty and marry smart — living out her life in luxury and wealth.

But she wasn’t about to let that happen.

She was determined to live life on her own terms. To direct the course of her destiny.

She was accountable for her behavior and took ownership of her choices. But through it all, she offered no excuses. No explanations. No equivocation.

She was the warlord of her destiny. She fought for the right to live life her own way.

Whether you agree with her choices or not, you have to admire someone so committed to success. Someone so dedicated to getting to where they want to be that they stop at nothing in pursuit of that dream.

So what’s your excuse?

What is stopping you from standing up and standing out? You automatically start the game in a better position than Olive.

You probably won’t face torture, rape, or sexual abuse. You might face some mockery and skepticism.

Stop crying about it. Grow up. Take ownership of your dreams.

Be the warlord of your destiny.

THAT ONE STRATEGY FOR EPIC GROWTH YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN WAITING FOR.

Perhaps the most overlooked strategy for outrageous business growth is surprise and delight — you intentionally manufacturing magical experiences for your buyers, your prospects, and everyone else you come into contact with.

The reason why surprise and delight is so magically effective is that so very few companies specialize in it. Most companies don’t even think about it — let alone have a plan to improve upon it.

In truth, most discussions around sales and marketing are about doing more. More emails. More sales activity. More calls, postings, viewers, sales, and transactions.

It’s about more — but your buyers don’t really care about more. They care about better. Something better. And not just a little bit better.

Something so much better that it’s surprising. And then delightful.

An experience that is so memorable you feel like it should last forever. You know you’re spending money with someone — and maybe more than you anticipated at first — but you feel good about it. You feel like you want more of it.

It’s so new and fresh and exciting — so invigorating — that you’re left with a warm place in your soul that wasn’t there before.

That’s the tactical advantage of a focused effort on manufacturing surprise and delight.

“IMAGINE IF YOUR CLIENTS WERE SO OUTRAGEOUSLY HAPPY WITH YOU THAT THEY WERE ASKING WHAT ELSE YOU COULD DO FOR THEM AND HOW ELSE THEY COULD SPEND MONEY WITH YOU?”

When was the last time you had a raving fan?

That person who falls so magically in love with what you do and who you are that they can’t help but share the message of your wonderment with everyone they interact with.

They’re completely swept off their feet.

Deeply emotional, in love with you, and desperately loyal — even to a fault.

It’s possible to build a company that services just those people. It’s possible to manufacture awesomeness so completely that your community and industry and the entire world stop for a moment of awe and wonder.

You’re missing out on the opportunity to be a part of magnificent growth — as a company, as a leader, and as an individual when you overlook the idea of focusing on surprise and delight.

Think about where you are right now. Think about how much further ahead you would be if you had a community of obsessed and delighted buyers.

Go there.

“PUSH THE LIMITS OF PROFITABILITY BY INVESTING IN A LONG-TERM STRATEGY THAT WILL PAY OFF IN THOUSANDS OF PERCENTS OF GROWTH.”

Take things to the next level in your personal life by manufacturing so much awesomeness you leave others surprised and absolutely delighted.

Start by asking yourself this one tough question: “Who do I need to be an order to consistently manufacture surprise and delight?”

BELIEF MODE ISN’T AN ACCIDENT. GET SOME.

There isn’t anything you do that exceeds the limits of your beliefs.

As an example, if you don’t believe that you’re meant to be rich, you’ll stay broke — financially and mentally.

But it goes deeper than that.

If you believe that you’re the sort of person who’s just meant to be reasonably wealthy, make a few hundred thousand dollars a year and sometimes being happy, that’s the limit of your success.

Even if you do manage to scrape and pull and grind your way past those self-imposed beliefs, you’ll quickly find yourself boomeranging back to those boundaries.

What you believe to be possible — that’s actually what you create as the limits of your possibility.

It’s not actually the true limits of your capacity or the true limits of anyone else just like you.

But it is as far as you will go, because it’s as big as you can believe.

That’s the crazy thing about destiny. You create it. First, in your mind. And then with your actions.

Doing more isn’t good enough. You can double your effort, but if you’re still living in the same belief box, you’ll never be able to truly escape or expand, grow, or achieve new levels of greatness.

“EXERCISING YOUR BELIEFS IS AS IMPORTANT AS EXERCISING YOUR BODY.”

You make time to put in the work to get things done, so make time to strengthen your beliefs.

Make time to believe. In you. Where you want to go. And who you want to become.

There are a few tried-and-true ways to do that:

  1. Take time each morning to write down three things for which you are grateful. You’ll start the day with a happy soul and a clear mind.
  2. Carve off two 20-minute chunks of time throughout the day to spend in meditation. You’ll “find yourself” in the midst of the chaos going on all around you.
  3. Be deliberate about daily exercise. Run, spin, cycle, lift weights, or do your own special brand of activity that has you working up a sweat.
  4. Write out your goals and review them weekly. It’s hard to be distracted when you make time to focus on staying focused.
  5. Hire a therapist, find a mentor, and grab an accountability partner. Nothing works better to clear your mind and focus your soul on doing amazing things.

In truth, the list is endless. So find what works for you.

Just don’t ignore your beliefs or pretend like the best beliefs flourish naturally.

What happens naturally is that negativity creeps in. So does fear and doubt and paranoia.

In the end, without even trying, all your belief has leaked out. Leaving your dreams just a hollow shell — soon to be crushed by the brutality of everyday life.

Belief mode isn’t an accident. Get some.