5 Ways to Secure Your Company’s Reputation

best placesThis week we moved into a brand new state-of-the-art office building – the new headquarters for Hergenrother Enterprises (KW Vermont, Hergenrother Realty Group, Adam Hergenrother Training Organization, BlackRock Construction, and Hergenrother Foundation). Last week, Hergenrother Enterprises was named one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont. Both of these accomplishments were a testament to the hard work of my incredible team and garnered a lot of positive press.
I’ll take it! Because it’s not always this way. These moments in the spotlight are great, but fleeting. They will be up for a day, maybe two, and then replaced by the next big story – usually something controversial or provocative – whatever will get the most attention. For every positive piece of news about you in the media, there are five conversations swirling around the business community maligning your reputation, questioning your business practices, or just spreading rumors about you and your leadership. The funny thing, is the more success you have, the more people will try to tear you down.

There are two ways to build the biggest building in town:
1. Build the biggest building in town.
2. Tear down all the other buildings around you.

I will always choose option one. But my competition and your competition may choose option two and you’ve got to be prepared. So how do you get your company to stand out among the noise? How do maintain your company’s reputation day after day? How do you secure your company against the competition who may be determined to tear you down?
Perception is reality. It is your job to ensure that your company’s perception is pristine, that you are leading your company from a place of integrity, and that you are sharing your successes widely and often. No one else is going to do it for you.

strategic givingHere are five things you can implement to secure your company’s reputation against the competition:

  1. Earned media. Public relations. Free press. Whatever you want to call it. Go get it. The more good news you are putting out into the world, the better. It can be as simple as sharing a press release about your company’s latest charity event or sharing each new hire on social media. It’s great when your company receives an industry award, but if you aren’t sharing that with your followers, your customers, and your clients, they will never know. Publishing a weekly blog or monthly newsletter that highlights an employee or the success of a recent wellness initiative, all stack the cards in your favor. I’m not talking about paid advertising here. I’m talking about sharing your company’s story and inviting people to get involved – whether that’s with an upcoming volunteer project or to submit their resume for a career opportunity. I know your company is doing great things. It’s time to let the rest of the world know.
  2. Strategic giving. At a certain point in your career, you’re going to start getting asked to donate or sponsor events several times a week. I get it. There are thousands of amazing organizations, all with limited funding and resources. But your resources and charitable donation pool is limited too. This is where you’ve got to get strategic. With the funds that you do have allocated to charitable giving, make sure to work with organizations that you are passionate about and who align with your vision and mission. Your giving will go much further when you not only give monetarily to two or three organizations that your believe deeply in, but that you will also wiling donate your time to.
  3. Company culture. Your employees and business partners can be your biggest allies (or your biggest adversaries) when it comes to protecting your company’s reputation. Who knows the inner workings of your company better than your staff? What will they say about your company?  Is your culture strong enough to withstand your competition’s attempts to tear you down? Do you have weekly, monthly, and yearly company events to bring everyone together? Are you transparent when there are issues? Do your employees know they can come to you with concerns? Focus on your people. In fact, your people are the ones that create the culture, not you. Culture does not come from the top down, but from within the organization, based on each of the people you bring into your world. Protect your company culture fiercely. If your culture is strong your team will be your biggest defenders and advocates when there is a bump in the road.
  4. Leave your ego at the door. As you build your empire and start having more success, the target on your back becomes bigger. You are a threat to other businesses, and really at the core, you are making other people feel less significant. You will have people attack you personally and you are going to want to attack back; it’s just human nature. Don’t. It is not about you anymore. You have a company and hundreds, maybe thousands, of people, who depend on you for your sound judgement, integrity, and ability to remain calm and collected in the face of chaos. The decisions you make are not for you, they are for the good of the company. It doesn’t matter what is said about you, it’s about what is best for your company’s reputation, and what is best for the people you are responsible for. There is no room for ego at the top.
  5. No comment. When you’re faced with negative press, when rumors are flying, and when you’ve got reporters calling for an interview (and at some point this will happen to all of you as you’re building a business), just pause and consider your words carefully. Haters are gonna hate. You don’t want that negativity in your life. Take the high road. Simply reply no comment, or consult your lawyer for an appropriate response. If you don’t add fuel to the fire, the fire will die. Instead, focus on your team (point 3) and all the positive work you are doing and share (point 1)!

Did you notice that all of the points above are about YOU and your company? They have nothing to do with you competition. Keep your focus on bettering yourself and your company every day and you will always win.

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Do You Have a Heart for Business?

One of the very first things we do with any new leadership team member is hand them a copy of my User’s Manual (email Hallie for a blank copy to create your own). It’s basically a cheat sheet of my idiosyncrasies, my values, my strengths, and my weaknesses. Actually, we talk about all of these things before we even bring someone on-board, but everyone needs a little reminder once in a while. I don’t ever want there to be any surprises for people when they join my organization. I am a hard-driving, obsessively growth-oriented, high standards, results not stories, push you until you almost break because I want you to reach your potential kind of guy. Not everyone is going to like it. And that’s okay.

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We even go so far as when we ask for our candidates’ references, we give them a list of MY references – including people who have been fired or no longer with our company. Why? Because I want anyone who is coming into my world to get the full picture. We can tell people that I’ll push you to grow or that we move lightening-fast, but people only understand that to the degree that they have been pushed or been in a “fast-paced environment.” One of the biggest comments we get from people who may not have worked out at our company or decided to take a different role in one of our organizations is, “You guys move REALLY fast. Like, you don’t operate like any other company I’ve been a part of…” Now, I’m just used to it and so is my team. But, to an outsider it can be completely overwhelming and sometimes debilitating. So, we do everything we can to mitigate that. We may have the most talented candidate – great behavioral match, moves quickly, has all the skills and experience in the world, but they still may not be able to keep up!

It is not my job to slow down to accommodate. It is not my job to provide an opportunity to everyone. It is not my job to hold people’s hands. It is not my job to save everyone.

By now, you must be thinking, “Who is this guy and why would anyone work for him!?” And to that, I would say, ask the 230+ people in my organization who work WITH me. Just because I have high standards, expect my team to work hard and push towards our goals, and to move quickly, that doesn’t meant I don’t have a heart. Just because I don’t stop in the halls to chit-chat about your weekend, doesn’t mean that I won’t sit down with you to talk about your goals for your family’s future. Just because I don’t go out for drinks after work, doesn’t mean I won’t join you for a hike at sunrise the next day.

Here’s the thing: I care more about who my employees and team members become as a person, than I do about being their friend.

Their personal, professional, spiritual, financial, and physical growth is of the utmost importance to me. And if I have to push a little harder than someone likes, point out their blind spots, or play the bad cop, I will.

I’ve been told by a couple people (okay, maybe more than that) that I need to have more of a heart. I think they’re wrong. My version of heart and their version of heart are just different. You can have a huge heart, but that doesn’t mean you need to save everyone. You know how I show love? By making sure everyone that comes into my world is hitting their goals, that they are transforming their lives and the lives of their family, that they are reaching beyond their potential and growing every day, and that they are living the biggest life that they can imagine.

The people that are attracted to that type of leadership are the people who survive and thrive in my organization. I’m not trying to be anyone I’m not, which is why I’m so transparent from the get go. You better be damn sure that when you join my organization that you are ready, because I will push you, you will grow, and your life will change.

If that sounds like something you’d be in to, email me. We always have opportunities for those who hustle and have heart.

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3 Ways to Think Bigger Every Day

Think big and think bigger are on the verge of becoming overused catch phrases with the growth-minded entrepreneurial crowd. And I’m just as guilty. It’s a phrase I throw around and talk about all the time. We must all think bigger in order to grow. But what does THINK BIG or THINK BIGGER really mean? And how do we actually do it?

How do we think bigger?

Here’s a real-life example for you. Earlier this week I was on a coaching call and the individual mentioned to me how their thinking had recently changed as they have grown from a sales rep into a leadership position. He said that instead of walking into a restaurant and store and viewing all the people there as potential clients, he started asking himself, “Could these people work for me?” This individual had figured it out, but how can the rest of us train ourselves to think bigger?

There are three things you can do every day to practice thinking bigger and to train your brain to always think bigger no matter what situation you’re in. Let’s break them down.

  1. Ask bigger and better questions. We all know that the quality of your life is determined by the quality of questions you ask. So are you asking big enough questions that encourage you to think bigger every day? Or are you asking yourself the same series of questions every day – Why is that person driving so slow? Why didn’t I work out today? Can I really leave my corporate job and start my own business? And think about this, who is answering those questions? You are! But you can retrain your brain to start thinking bigger by purposefully planting bigger and better questions in you mind. It doesn’t take any more energy to ask yourself a small question (like how do I lose 5 lbs in 30 days or how do I earn $35,000 a year) than it does to ask yourself a big question (like how do I lose 25 lbs in 30 days or how do I earn $1 Million a year). The small questions have endless answers. I mean, how many ways could you lose 5 lbs in 30 days? You could create an endless list. But think about how focused and purposeful and specific you would need to get in order to lose 25 lbs in 30 days.

    think-big-1If you start giving your brain better questions to chew on, then you’re going to start thinking differently and just elevate your life in general. Try this – once a month choose a new question to plant in your mind and then ask yourself that question every day. Maybe it’s “Who do I need to become in order to spend 2 hours of uninterrupted time with my kids?” or “What must I say no to in order to do 100 push ups a day?” or “Who do I need to hire in order to triple my income in the next year?” Whatever it is, make sure it prompts a shift in your thinking and maybe seems a little impossible. Asking yourself those bigger questions requires you to take more risks, to grow, to be more disciplined, and ultimately to become a better version of you.

  2. Practice confidence. Confidence comes from recognizing that you don’t know everything, but that you do know you can figure anything out. The best way to gain confidence and to practice confidence is to fail. I know, I know, just hang with me for a minute, here. It’s actually through the process of failing and realizing that you’re just fine (and maybe even learned something new or a very valuable lesson) that gives you confidence to keep going. If you never take a risk and never test yourself, you never really know what you are capable of. Courage leads to confidence. You build confidence by having the courage to get back up after failure and to keep going. You have failed, you are not a failure. So try something new every week, something that scares you and takes you out of your comfort zone – volunteer to lead a committee at your kid’s school, tell someone you love them, sign up for a marathon, or say no to another obligation. Whatever you are afraid of, for whatever reason… go do that. It may be great or you may fall on your face. But you will survive and your confidence will soar. Stepping out of your comfort zone like that and developing confidence (and having courage to keep going) leads to bigger thinking.
  3. Implement a daily routine. Practice means progress. In addition to practicing confidence and asking yourself bigger and better questions, you’ve got to create a series of daily habits for success. Asking bigger questions and building your confidence are great, but you will not really be thinking bigger or changing your life, until you take action. That’s where building a purposeful daily routine comes in. Your day may look different than mine (after all, not everyone likes to start their day with wheatgrass), but the point is to get really clear on your goals and then construct daily habits that support them. No excuses.  If your goal is to build up an online coaching business in order to leave your 9 to 5 corporate job, then perhaps you build in an hour of personal development and entrepreneurship training and an hour of working on marketing and building your client base every day. No cheating. When you do cheat the only person you are really cheating is yourself. The habit of implementing and sticking to your daily routine means you may need to get creative in other areas of your life, which leads to thinking bigger. Every quarter, reassess where you are at with your goal and reset. If your new routine hasn’t become a habit stick with it. If it has, then it’s time add in another activity to get you closer to your goal (or maybe you met your goal and it’s time to up it!).

Asking purposeful questions, building confidence, and creating a strategic daily routine all work together to get you to think big and ultimately to take action to live the biggest life possible. Structure in your day will help you get to your goals faster, because it allows you the freedom to think, create, ask bigger and better questions, make decisions on the important things, take risks, and more. And the more you ask bigger question, the more your confidence increases, and the more you implement new daily habits, which leads you to asking even bigger and better questions. Then just like that, you’ve created a virtuous cycle of thinking bigger! And there’s no going backwards from there.

 

One Simple Action for a Competitive Advantage

I love the smell of wheatgrass in the morning. Every morning at 4:43am, I jump out of bed, down a glass of water and a shot of wheatgrass and I’m now ready to start my day.

rise upIf you want to get started on your emotional fitness journey, all you have to do is implement getting up early. That is a pretty good test of your fortitude and resilience. Do not make excuses – like you need X number of hours of sleep or you’re not a morning person. You might not be now, but you will be after 66 days of creating the habit! Stick with it. You will thank yourself later.

The first week or so is not so bad. You’re in the honeymoon phase and excited about your new routine. It’s that second or third Monday when it’s rainy or you didn’t sleep well that you say, “WTF. Why did I start doing this?” That’s when you are really tested and you must recommit yourself to the decision you made and practice your self-mastery, which is overcoming that voice that says no.

I said it was simple, but it’s not easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it. And I know I’m talking to a bunch of high achievers here, not anyone willing to settle for mediocrity, right?

I started getting up before 5am about 3 years ago and it was uncomfortable the first few days, but I quickly discovered I loved it! Every morning before 6am, I had already gotten a “win” for the day. Now, 3 years later, I’m literally excited to go to bed (before 10pm. Okay, fine, I’m usually in bed before 9pm) so I can get up early and start my routine.

Why get up before 5am? Because I, like you, have a lot of kicking ass and taking names to do throughout the day. My personal growth is a priority, so I put that first in my day, before the rest of my business and family responsibilities begin. A lot of people tell me they can’t do this because of their kids. I have two kids (ages, 4, 2 , and one on the way), so that kid thing? I get it. Actually, I was up at 3:45am this morning with my youngest. But did I let him watch TV and veg out? No. If he’s up, he’s drawing, playing with crafts, journaling (yes, he wants to journal because he watches dad do it), or doing yoga. Hey, if they’re up, they’re up. But I don’t compromise my personal development time, nor do I compromise time with my kids.

So what do I do at 5am? Journal, meditate, review my goals and affirmations, and spend some time with my family. You can see my complete daily routine here. This daily ritual of personal development activities gives me the raw energy I need to be the best leader for my company and my family.

The key is going to bed early. What are you willing to say no to in order to get up early enough to work on your personal development? It may mean saying no to that second beer with friends or saying no to finding out who gets the final rose on The Bachelor, but it means saying YES to creating the best life and the best version of you. Sounds like a win to me!

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
– Ben Franklin

Turns out, I am incredibly brilliant before 6am and get my best work done then. My creative thinking and problem solving skills are on fire and my brain is tackling challenges at 200 MPH. After that, I focus on putting my ideas to work throughout the rest of the day.

Some of the most successful people get up early. Success leaves clues. And I follow. If the people that I most admire and respect have implemented this habit, then there must be something to it. I know from my own personal experience, it has made me more focused, increased my energy, and made me incredibly purposeful throughout the day. I have gone back to drinking coffee and tea after my no coffee experiment, but I will not go back to sleeping in. There is so much life to live and so much to gain by getting up before 5am!

Additional Resources:

I’m winning the race while others are sleeping. Are you?

Get up, get going, get yours.
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A Day in the [Herg] Life

I get a lot of questions about what my schedule looks like, so this week I’m going to break it all down for you.

I have developed a very specific rhythm to my days and it’s going to seem like I’ve got this whole scheduling stuff down. And for the most part I do. But it does not come naturally and it hasn’t always been this way. Not too many years ago I cursed mornings, stayed up late, and got pissed when I had something scheduled in my calendar. I felt like my time was being robbed and someone else was controlling my life. Sound familiar?

It took many many months of discipline to realize that my time was not being stolen. If I was strategic and purposeful about what I was doing, I was actually investing my time. I was not spending my time in meetings, I was investing minutes with my leadership team in order to provide big returns for my organization. That was one big mindset shift for me! I still struggle a bit when I look at my calendar and see most of my time blocked off, but I know it is what I must do in order to lead the life I desire.

Leave a comment if you have more specific questions, I’m always happy to share!

DAILY


water4:18am
Wake up and immediately drink a glass of water with wheatgrass and go outside for a few deep breaths of fresh air (yes, even when it’s -10 and snowing or when it’s humid and 95. The point is to shock the system and move quickly into a different state.)

5:00amMeditate for 20 minutes (I practice Transcendental Meditation)

5:30am – Journal I have several different journals I write in each day while drinking a cup of black coffee. I use Evernote to journal. I’ll do a separate post just on journaling at some point, but here are the basics:

  1. Life Journal – This is a stream of consciousness where I write about my life, my thoughts, my challenges, my successes, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  2. Gratitude Journal – I write everything I am grateful for, usually 70-100 things that come to mind. I just keep it flowing.
  3. Gratitude Journal for my Wife – Every day I write something different about her that I am grateful for.
  4. Journal for my Kids – Each child (I have a girl, a boy, and another on the way!) has a separate journal and I write something about each of them – something new they learned, a milestone, a moment we shared, etc.

6:00am – Emails I quickly check emails and set the course for the day for my company. I usually shoot off a few emails touching base with my leadership team and share any ideas or items that need action.

6:15am – Affirmations & Goal Setting I review my future self (email hallie@adamhergenrother.com for a blank copy and instructions so you can create your own), 411, personal financial statement, and say my affirmations.

6:30am – Family Time This includes making breakfast for myself and the kids every morning. Here’s a typical breakfast for me (and the kids just have a smaller portion):

  • 6 scrambled eggs (2 whole eggs, 4 egg whites)
  • 1 cup of steel cut oatmeal with fresh fruit and a drizzle of 100% pure Vermont maple syrup

8:00am – 11:30am – Focused Work and Meetings (see Weekly Schedule below for more details)

11:30am – 2:00pm – Gym, lunch, meditate for 20 minutes

2:00pm – 4:30pm – Focused Work and Meetings 

family time5:00pm – 8:00pm – Outdoor Activities and/or Family Time

8:00pm – Emails 

8:15pm – Read I always have a book going on Audible for drive time, usually another book at home, as well as several magazines including Men’s Health, Outside, Inc., Forbes, and Fast Company. Check out www.goodreads.com/adamhergenrother to see what’s on my bookshelf now.

9:00pm/9:30pm – Bed 

WEEKLY 

Mondays – Goal setting and accountability meetings with key team members, coaching calls

Tuesdays – Goal setting and accountability meetings with key team members, coaching calls, Hergenrother Realty Group company meeting

Wednesdays – Coaching call, BlackRock company meeting, meetings with business & educational leaders, exploring new business opportunities, interviews, writing time

Thursdays – Coaching, meetings with business & educational leaders, exploring new business opportunities, interviews

DSC_7295-ZF-2791-74420-1-002-024Fridays – NO SET SCHEDULE. I often use this day for misc. meetings that MUST happen that week (particularly if I’m traveling the following week), time with my wife, hiking, snowboarding, mountain biking, yoga, etc. I usually check the forecast a few days ahead and if it’s going to be nice out, I may work in-office a few hours, then take the rest of the afternoon “off.” A big misconception though is that when business leaders or entrepreneurs are “off” then they are not working. Completely not the case. That’s when I do some of my best work! What I’m doing is disconnecting from the daily minutia in order to come at challenges from a different angle, come up with new ideas, and gain clarity in order to be a better leader and to better serve my company and staff.

Saturdays/Sundays – Same morning personal development time, meditation, family time, outdoor activities, reading

MONTHLY/YEARLY

Throughout the month I have several other commitments – usually involving teaching or learning. I teach a class at my real estate office once a month and every few months I’m asked to be a guest speaker at a local college or organization. Several times throughout the year I also travel (yup – same personal development morning schedule) around the country to teach classes on how to recruit, hire, train, lead and motivate talent or to teach inspirational mindset and business classes. Almost once a month I’m at a training event or masterminding with top business leaders somewhere in the country.

kilimanjaroI am also very purposeful about scheduling my vacations which can range from a long weekend at a resort with my wife or whale watching with the kids, to week-long hunting trips, to tropical family vacations, to a yearly adventure trip with the guys.

My days, weeks, and months are so purposeful because I want to experience as much as possible, I want my businesses to thrive, and I want to grow spiritually every day and every year.

What does your day look like? Does your schedule reflect your goals? Are you setting yourself up for success?

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Want Something Done Right? Don’t Do It Yourself

I’m inherently lazy. If I can get someone else to do something for me, I do. At home, I have my kids (and they’ve already learned how to leverage me!). At the office, I have to be a bit more strategic.

eisenhowerPretty early on in my career, I knew I was good at a few things: casting a massive vision, leading a team, inspiring action, and implementing quickly. But I also knew that in order to build a big business (and I planned on building a freaking huge empire) I needed to surround myself with the best people on the planet. There is no way I could succeed at the level I wanted to alone.

Within a few months of starting my career in real estate, I hired an assistant. Then fired her. Hired another. Let that one go. Then hired another. But I would rather go through the pain of hiring and firing any day than go through the pain of pushing paperwork, following up with attorneys and accountants, scheduling meetings, etc. But guess what? That is someone’s ideal job!

And that was just the beginning. Ten years later, when my team wants to create a new division or an opportunity comes our way, my first questions are always, “Who is going to do that? Who do we know that can build that division better than anyone else?” I always find a WHO first and then let them implement and execute under my leadership. I do not want a job. So I find someone who does.

And you don’t want a job either. You will become addicted to the income that that job creates and it will be that much more challenging to go hire someone else to do that job in the future. The goal is to be able to insert yourself into your business and life where, when, and how you want to. Not because you HAVE to. Do you really want a job? Or do you want freedom?

lawn-mowing-by-kid-1024x768We all talk about the ONE thing, the 80/20 rule (mine is more like 95/5), staying in your strength zone… but how many of us actually do that? If you want to build a big business, then you need to stay focused on the one or two things that you do extremely well and hire someone to handle the rest – the sooner the better. And no, I don’t mean you need to hire a COO for six figures. Pay the neighborhood kid to mow your lawn so you can work on your blog. Get an intern to handle client calls or administrative work. Or check out upwork.com or taskrabbit.com to get almost anything you need taken care of at a very reasonable price. The point it – get someone else to do it!

Find what it is you love to do (maybe that’s leading your company or maybe that’s marketing or maybe that’s administrative tasks). Figure out what gets you excited to get out of bed every morning. Discover your juice of life. Better yet, know what you hate. Understand yourself well enough to know what you want your life to look like and then continue to hire people around you until you are only operating on those few things that challenge and inspire you.

The gap between where you are now and where you want to be is always a WHO.

I teach my team this concept too. From day one I ask them,”Who is your replacement?” First of all I want my team to always be thinking about growth and their next opportunity. But even more so to instill in them the concept of success through others. We can all accomplish more, grow faster, and build our companies bigger when we have the very best people on the planet operating in their 20%. The reality is, there is someone out there who can do parts of your job better than you and who will actually enjoy doing it. Make it your mission to find them and bring them into your life. Your growth and your company’s growth depends on it.

Who is your replacement? Who is your next hire?

Never give up!

A

What I Learned in 2015

Last week, there was only a dusting of snow in Vermont, so instead of hitting the mountain to snowboard, I bought a fat bike and hit the trails. I headed out around 1pm to bike in Huntington at the base of the Green Mountains. The ride was awesome, but challenging – there was snow and a sheet of ice so I was constantly shifting between gripping and sliding. More like a controlled slide the whole time. Which is a lot like life – always shifting between a contented state of fulfillment and the tension of wanting more growth… My new bike sailed smoothly over the rocks and roots and ice and snow under the pine trees. I was about seven miles out from the main road when I heard a clicking noise. Turns out this over-sized, off road bike could not handle me! The hub was shot.

mountain bikingSo there I was, seven miles into the woods, drenched in sweat, with a busted bike and a long walk back to my truck before the sun set. My mind wandered from a $30 million development meeting the day before, to whether or not I had packed any dry gear (and not my wife’s this time), to reflecting on the past year. Physical repetition like walking, running, biking is such a great way to think. As I trudged back through the woods carrying my bike, I started to think deeply about some of the big lessons I learned in 2015.

Any fool can learn from his own mistakes, but a wise person learns from others. Wisdom is learning from someone who has gone before you and implementing that knowledge into your own life. I encourage you to take what you will from my lessons and make 2016 your best year yet! Here they are in no particular order.

  1. Never fear the fight. You can’t get rid of fear, but you must learn to dance with it. Fear is a human emotion and a sign of life. If you stop fearing the unknown, then you are no longer afraid to think big and go out and fail. Failure is a part of life. You are going to fail, so you might as well have fun doing it! I know that I will have fear in my life – either from the bear that could run out on to the trail or not contributing enough to my family. But I never let the fear take over. Instead I practice turning that fear into courage every time it arises and the more I practice that, the more I no longer fear the fight. When you can do this – your life is limitless!

    steve jobs quote

  2. Death is the greatest teacher of all and makes you realize how precious life is. I believe that we are a spiritual being having a temporary physical experience (thanks Gary!) I strive to live each day growing as much as I can spiritually; therefore I want to have as many experiences as possible – positive or negative. Some are hard and they hurt, but those are the experiences that shape us the most. We are arrogant to think we know how much longer we have on this planet. Because I just want as many experiences as possible, failures and successes, I no longer fear the fight of thinking big.
  3. Doing small activities each day will ultimately lead you to geometric growth. While it doesn’t necessarily feel like you are making progress each day because you’re not seeing any great success, those small activities compounded over time will give you a life others only dream about. But the hard part is in the activities. Not many people have enough disciple, drive, or a strong enough connection to their WHY to endure the grind need to make those small activities into success habits.
  4. Enjoy the journey. If you have massive goals and dreams, you will never actually arrive; there will never be some magical moment where you instantly feel some sort of fulfillment. The reality is, there is no magic moment. Every day we are either growing or dying, there is no in between. We’re humans. We screw-up and we grow. That is where the magic is. Life is nothing but growth in all areas of your life. When you go for growth (not arriving somewhere) you are always asking yourself how you can improve your life and the life of the people around you. Now that’s magic! Accept your problems and challenges and understand they are a sign of life! The key is to have better and better problems to solve. It’s about how you grow from them and how you train yourself to stay in the moment and enjoy the ride.
  5. adam and kidsPeople grow into the conversations you have around them. Lead yourself first and then lead by example. Watch your words and especially your actions. You never know who is watching. I use this principal with my children (4 and 2). I speak to them as mini-adults and use every moment I can to challenge their thought process and instill in them the habit of self-awareness and self-reflection. Sure, they are not always able to respond or fully comprehend what I’m saying, but they are listening and they will grow into those conversations.
  6. Everything is interconnected. We may not see it or understand it, but I adamantly believe that everything connects in the future. Be kind and treat others with respect as you never know when that person will show up again in your life. You don’t want to miss a critical relationship or connection because you were too busy or important to notice.
  7. Just breathe. Implementing Transcendental Meditation into my life about three years was one of the most important things I did for my personal and professional growth. I meditate twice a day, every day, for 20 minutes. Constant meditation continues to allow me to see things at a higher level. A higher level than I saw it just a month or a year before. While I’d like to say I’m completely clear of not wanting external motivators, the truth is I still have some and while it’s significantly less than it was 3 years ago, it still shows up at times.  But the gap between when the need for external reward comes up and goes away and shows up again continues to widen. When you put a big change into your life, the urge to go back to your previous thinking will continue to show up for a long, long time. But concentrating on daily activities and daily successes gives you a purposeful schedule to eventually eliminate your old thinking. Meditation gives me clarity about what I’m doing and what I should be doing. I don’t often need external motivators anymore; I have a full-on internal drive that takes over and I’m able to appreciate and learn from each moment – the good, bad, or ugly.
  8. You are not your thoughts. You are the one who sits back and watches your thoughts. We all have crazy thoughts every day (many that we would never want to share with the world), but we don’t act on every one of these thoughts, do we? We aren’t these thoughts. We watch these thoughts come and go. When you can do this easily and effortlessly, that is when you have reached enlightenment. We’re getting pretty deep here, but a great book to read (multiple times) that talks about this is The Untethered Soul.

What were your big lessons from 2015? How will you use what you learned to make the most impact in 2016?

Onward!

 

The Powerful Powerball Question

The Powerball is $1.3 Billion – the largest ever. There is a 1 in 300 million chance of winning the lottery. You’re more likely to be crushed and killed by a vending machine (1 in 112 million) or hit a hole-in-one on two consecutive, par-3 holes (1 in 156 million) then win the lottery. So why do people even buy tickets when the odds are against them?

Buying a Powerball ticket allows people to ask themselves a powerful question:

“What would my life look like if I had absolute financial freedom?”

It allows the brain to imagine a seemingly impossible world. But is it really impossible?

Every now and then I buy a Powerball ticket, not to win the lottery but to allow my mind to wander and imagine. Then I ask myself the big question, “How much of my life would I change if I won?” If the answer is that I would change more than 10% of my life, then I become really purposeful on those things that I would change, and work to close that gap in that quarter or year. Meaning, if there is something in my life that I would change if I won, I don’t wait for that windfall (which may never come); I put measures in place and take action NOW to correct it. The drive for money is never the factor that pushes me to live a big life, because I’m already living it by constantly working on those big goals.

Money is not the end goal – growth and fulfillment are.  It’s the people who can retire who never do. Why? Because they’ve figure it out. They understand that life is not about chasing the next dollar, it’s about each moment, each challenge that allows them to grow in every aspect of their life. This visceral knowledge, that money can not buy happiness, allows them to never give up on what is truly bringing them joy.

So let me ask you this: what would you do if you won the Powerball? What would your life look like? Dream big! Nothing is impossible.

Okay, do you have a clear vision? Can you feel it?

Now go take action. Right now.

Take one small step towards achieving that life. You don’t need to wait for money to make it happen.

Onward!