What Pain Are You Willing to Tolerate in 2018?

do something great

There are only four days left until the new year! New year. New you. Where are your goals at? Have you updated your Future Self? Have you completed your vision board? Do you have a 2018 business plan ready to go? What are your big goals for the new year?

As you are planning and prepping to make 2018 your best year yet, I want to challenge you. Instead of asking yourself the question, “What do I want to do this year?”, instead ask yourself, “What pain am I willing to sustain over the long-haul in order to accomplish my goals?”

Yup, that’s right. What pain are you willing to tolerate? We can all put out these airy fairy goals of losing 100 pounds, increasing our revenue by $100 Million, or taking on 100 new coaching clients, but what are we going to do to get there? What are you WILLING to do to get there? You won’t achieve your goals by putting in the same effort or doing the same activities that you did last year. You’re going to have to change up your routine, take some risks, put extra time and attention on certain areas of your life and sacrifice other areas. You’re going to have to get really good at saying no and you’re going to have to 10x your daily routine so that you are working every day like you’re about to go on vacation. Most importantly, you’re going to have get uncomfortable and experience some pain in order to get there.

If you want to get into the best shape of your life, you’re going to have to push yourself and sustain a certain level of physical pain. If you want to write a book, you must be willing to suffer (sustain pain) through sitting and writing daily. If you want to get 100 new clients, you’re going to have to 10X your marketing and sales efforts, which probably means suffering through sales calls or live videos. Painful? Yes. Will it get to your goal? Hell yes!

Whatever you want to achieve, you will have to sustain the pain and suffer over a period of time. I’m not talking about a week of hard workouts. I’m talking about getting up early every day to fit a workout in (painful), running longer than you ever have before (painful), upping your weights and number of sets once you’ve hit a plateau (painful), and saying no to social obligations and having people judge you for your new lifestyle (painful). It’s not easy. But we know that nothing worth having ever is or we would all be billionaires just floating around on our yachts being served champagne and caviar. No pain, no gain.

Growth requires a bit of suffering and that is A-okay. Because even if you have to suffer for a month, a year, or 10 years, ultimately, pain is temporary. The pain of quitting or never realizing your full potential or achieving your goals? That lasts forever. So, you’ve got to choose your struggle. Do you want the pain of feeling trapped in your current job? Or do you want the pain of risking it all to start your own business? Do you want the pain of feeling uncomfortable in your own skin or do you want the pain of lunges and jumping jacks? Do you want the pain of loneliness or the pain of putting yourself out there and dating? I’ll ask you again. What pain are you willing to tolerate?

So, the next time you are about to embark on a new adventure, make sure you want to sustain that level of pain before you sign up. Because when we grow, we suffer, which leads to finding meaning in your life. Nelson Mandela suffered for over 25 years in prison, but ultimately found meaning in his suffering. We all must suffer in order to grow. We must all go through pain (psychological or physical) in order to accomplish our goals. The pain that you are willing to tolerate will determine how much you grow.

What pain are you willing to tolerate in 2018? Share in the comments below so we can support each other and hold each other accountable.

I’ll start. Here is the pain I have signed up for in 2018:

  • The pain of delaying gratification and income now, for a big pay-off later. I am willing to give up millions of dollars of profit over the next year, for a larger snowball the year’s after by rolling money into larger assets so that the snowball grows for future use (thanks for that advice, Warren Buffett!).
  • The pain of saying no to the 5 children’s birthday parties every weekend and saying yes to only a select few so that our family time isn’t hijacked by birthday parties and other obligations. I risk the pain of being judged, sure. But I’m willing to tolerate that.
  • The physical pain of taking my fitness to another level, a deeper level of pain then I’ve gone to before. I’ve actually already begun, so that I have no hangover in 2018. I’ve run the most miles I’ve ever run in a week the past two weeks before the new year (and did I mention that those were in below zero weather… on ice… at 5:30am?). That’s pain. But that’s also mental fitness.

Here’s hoping you have a splendid year of pain that will get you to your goals! Cheers!





How To Gain a 52 to 1 Advantage Over Your Competition


High achievers, leaders, hustlers, goal diggers… we’re all just trying to do a little (okay a lot), disrupt industries, crush our competition (with a smile), build our companies, support our families, and show up like a boss every. damn. day. So, what’s the quickest way to come out on top (that doesn’t involve tearing everyone else down)? Personal development. Lead yourself first, grow yourself each day, become the very best you you can be. Rising tides raise all ships. It’s okay to be competitive and to get obsessed with being the best. The key is to take as many people along for the ride with you. That’s the real win.

Okay, so, we’ve got that out of the way.  Free enterprise means there will be winners and losers. And if you win big, you can help the losers out. We good there? Good. So, do you want to be on the winning team? Do you want a 52 to 1 advantage over your competition? It’s simple. Read one book every week.

The average person reads 12 books a year. But you’re not average are you? CEOs read about 60 books a year. Do the math – that’s more than one a week! Whether you’re a CEO or not, develop a CEO mindset and you’ll be steps ahead of your competition next year. And just a quick note about your “competition”. Your competition may be a fellow intern angling for the one full-time slot at that Fortune 500 company, another applicant for grad school or a board position, or another candidate for that dream job you’re looking at. Competition is competition. How are you going to set yourself apart from everyone else?

Reading (or listening) to books and pouring knowledge into yourself is one of the most effective and fastest ways to gain a competitive advantage. Get consumed with it, make it your mission and your focus… get obsessed!

I’m not saying you need to sit down for 6 hours a week and read a book. Find pockets of time throughout your day. Listen to Audible while you’re driving, working out, folding laundry, grocery shopping, or getting ready for work in the morning. Those mindless/repetitive tasks are the perfect opportunity to get in some reading. And what I think most people forget is that a lot of audio books are only 5 hours long. Some even less! It doesn’t take that long to listen to one or even two a week! And if you’re training for an Ironman or marathon, like I am, you’ll get through 3 or 4 books a week! Just one more reason everyone should train for an Ironman. Just saying.

There are a couple of ways to maximize your time and effectiveness when listening to audio books. First, listen on 1.5X or even 2X speed (depending on the natural speed of the reader). People can think at a much faster rate then they speak. For example, we can speak at about 125 words per minute, but listen at 400 words per minute! Take advantage of that and crank up your Audible speed! Better yet, have the physical copy of the book in front of you while listening at 2X. You will take in and retain even more information that way

As you’re reading or listening to one of your books, make sure you are listening/reading with action in mind. Look for concepts or models that you want to implement into your life and test out. The key here is implementation. You don’t have to go implement the entire book each week (that would become a little unreasonable), but, there are probably one or two little things you’ll pick up that you could incorporate into your life. Do that.

And, of course, the best way to learn is by teaching others. As you are reading your book a week, absorb the info as if you are going to be teaching it to someone else. Bonus points if you actually go out and teach! It doesn’t have to be complicated. Share what you learned with your partner or kids, build your social media following by sharing what you learned on a live Facebook video, do a podcast, or simply send an email to your team. If you are doing this once a week can you imagine the amount of value you are bringing to yourself through your growth and learning, and then the value you are providing to others? Hell,  you’ll be unstoppable.

January 1 is less than two weeks away. What are you going to read first? Need some recommendations? Below are my current favorites (and keep up to date with what I’m reading in real time over on Goodreads).

  1. Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm
  2. The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing by Bronnie Ware
  3. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan
  4. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink
  5. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Build a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
  6. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
  7. The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection by Michael Singer
  8. Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens
  9. Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim S. Grover
  10. Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone
  11. The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins
  12. The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Sean Covey, Chris McChesney, and Jim Huling

Why Self Awareness is Essential to Success

self aware

While I was interviewing a CFO candidate last week he showed me a graph about self awareness to illustrate some of the communication complexities that emerge as your company grows. Later that week as I was working on developing some content for my upcoming book it really struck me just how important self awareness is to success – individual success, success as a leader, and success within an organization (whether that’s a company or a family unit). If you don’t understand yourself (your motives, your personality, your idiosyncrasies, what your want, what drives you, etc.) it is very difficult to understand others and navigate the intricacies of communicating with various people with conflicting and competing wants and needs. First understand yourself, then seek to understand others.

Below is an illustration of what happens when leaders and employees are aligned (or not) in terms of self awareness.

Self-Awareness Graphic

Let’s break this down:

  • Employee is Self Aware & Leader is Self Aware —> There is a huge opportunity for the employee and leader to succeed together in the organization.
  • Leader is Self Aware & Employee is NOT Self Aware —> There is an opportunity for the Leader to work with the Employee to develop their potential and their self awareness.
  • Leader is NOT Self-Aware & Employee is Self Aware —>There is a lot of frustration between both leader and employee, often in the form of communication and assumptions. This is also true when the Leader is self aware and the Employee is not.
  • Leader is NOT Self-Aware & Employee is NOT Self Aware —> It’s complete chaos! And the likelihood of either party being successful and providing value to the organization is limited.

We use a couple of tools to really help our team members (leaders and employees) develop self awareness: the User’s Manual and Behavior/Personality Assessments.

The User’s Manual is something we have each team member complete upon joining our company. We share these with each other, from the Executive team to any of their team members. Transparency is critical here and can mitigate so many potential issues. But the best part about this tool is being able to reflect and bring more self-awareness to yourself. There are six categories: Expectations, Values, Idiosyncrasies, Strengths, Weaknesses, Processes. Take the time to really understand where you stand with all of these for yourself and then share and discuss with your team. You will all be better for it.

While we use the behavior assessment when interviewing candidates, it’s such a critical tool to pull back out before you have a conversation with a team member or if you are trying to figure out how to better communicate with someone on the leadership team. Hell, it’s a great tool to do a gut check about why you took something personally or why you may be having communication issues with someone on your team. Review your behavior first and then take a look at someone else’s and see where there could be some issues. “It’s not you, it’s me,” actually applies here. Take ownership of your assumptions, attitude, and communication style and you’ll be one step closer to being a self-awareness master.

Beyond being able to work well with your team, without self-awareness you can be in constant conflict with yourself! Imagine if you are in a job or a relationship that you are always at odds with. It’s easy to blame your partner or your boss. But what if it’s because that career path or your girlfriend really don’t align with your core values, your personality, your wants and needs? The first step is awareness and then it’s deciding what action to take. Sometimes it’s as simple as having a conversation and making sure everyone is on the same page and hearing the other person’s perspective. Other times, it means you’ve got to take massive action: quit that job, move to the city, or break off that engagement. Intelligent individuals can adapt to any situation regardless of whether or not it is a natural fit for their behavior and personality. However, when stressed or under too much duress for too long, even that highly intelligent person can be stretched until they break. You don’t want that for yourself or for anyone in your organization. Get really focused on developing your self awareness and teach your team how to do the same. Success is just a self-awareness step away.

So, how about those 2018 goals? Use your newfound self awareness to really get clear on what you want and why. The more self aware you are, the more realistic and attainable your goals will seem. Are you really going to do the actions required to accomplish your goal? Maybe. Maybe not. How self aware you are will determine your success while goal setting and ultimately, in achieving success.


5 Simple Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

So, I have this friend, that whenever he sees a plate of brownies or a big ole chocolate cake, he. just. wants. one. bite. And before he knows it, he’s eaten 3/4 of a cake, one sliver at a time. You know what I’m talking about, right? And at that point, if you’re like the majority of the population, the “what the hell” effect kicks in. You’ve had a ton of cake, what the hell, might as well go for that second glass of wine. You’ve had the wine, what the hell, might as well skip your workout tomorrow and sleep in. Missed the workout? What the hell, guess I’ll order that pizza and just start my workouts again on Monday.
The what the hell effect is real. It’s a cycle when you indulge, regret what you’ve done, and then go back for more. And it’s even more intensified around the holidays. There is a family, work, or kid event almost every week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s and virtually all of them are underscored by food. And I guarantee your coworker is serving sliders, not salad.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of “I’ll start eating healthy next week, actually, the holidays are almost here, so I’ll just start that fitness routine next year.” That’s almost thirty days away people! And let’s be honest, it’s not just the new routine you need to start, it’s also managing the temptations and impulse to indulge around the holidays, because, what the hell?
The fact of the matter is, it’s not easy to stick to a plan or your goals or in general live a healthy life, especially around the holidays. Too many people are giving themselves an out and encouraging you to do the same because it makes them feel better! Be strong. The mental victory you’ll get by exercising some control and moderation is a far greater reward than eating an entire cheese plate. Now, if you want to cheat, have a treat. ONE. But don’t let that derail the rest of your day or week. It’s just not worth it in the long run. And you’ll just be regretting it come January 1.
So, what can you do to stay healthy during the holidays? Read on.
  1. Get a smaller plate. —> You all know you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. And I get that you may want to indulge a little around the holidays. The operative word being little. A great way to do that is by choosing a smaller plate. Grab an appetizer dish at a party or one of your kid’s plates when you’re going in for leftovers. Size does matter. Just reaching for a smaller plate will cut down on how much food you eat and how much better you’ll feel the next day. Bonus? Take a lap around the buffet table before you dive in, so you’re really conscious about what you’re choosing and so you only get the really good stuff (on your small plate)!
  2. Carry a water bottle with you. —> A good rule of thumb is to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces per day. A 200lb dude should be drinking about 100 ounces of water a day, more if he’s working out. With all the holiday hustle and bustle, bring a water bottle with you. It can help curb hunger, will definitely keep you hydrated, and will stop you from get that 3rd Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks. Here’s my go-to water bottle.
  3. Don’t skip meals. —> The hungrier you are, the more likely you are to go crazy at your sister-in-law’s soiree. If you know you’re going to a party later that night, eat small, frequent, and healthy meals throughout the day. Save up those calories for when you want them, but don’t starve yourself all day. That actually slows down your metabolism and can end up backfiring! Better to stick as close to a regular routine as possible  and grab that smaller plate!
  4. Bring a healthy dish. —> You are probably not the only one who is trying not to gain 20lbs over the holidays. Other guests will appreciate that you brought a healthy/gluten free/dairy free/vegan/paleo/whatever option to the party. It also cuts down on the anxiety you may get about if there will be anything there that you can eat (whether it’s due to lifestyle or an allergy).
  5. Make time to exercise. —> When life gets crazy, the first thing to go is usually something for yourself (i.e. exercise). If you’ve already got a fitness or training habit down – don’t stop! If it’s something you plan on working on in the new year – start now! It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Just move. Walk, run, or do some yoga the morning before a big party – something to wake up your metabolism. Make it a family affair. There is nothing better then going sledding before Christmas dinner or going for a long walk after New Year’s Day brunch. Do not make excuses, just make the time. 10 or 15 minutes is all you need!

Most importantly, enjoy! Enjoy time with your friends and family, be gentle with yourself, and be realistic. Do not try to lose 15 lbs or get a new PR during the holidays if you know you are also going to allow yourself some indulgences. Now, if are 110% committed to not having any sweets, not drinking any alcohol, etc. then more power to you (I support you 1000%!). But, if you do plan to do one less workout a week or add a few more drinks then usual, do not expect to have massive results. Focus instead on maintaining and staying in the moment and enjoying each experience.

What are your best tips for staying healthy during the holidays? Comment below!