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In today’s podcast we look at doubt and confidence, how to build confidence and overcome doubt.

 

We review the five strategies for overcoming doubt:

 

  1. Revisit Past Successes
  2. Stop Worrying about what other people think
  3. Talk to some Encouraging
  4. Load up on Inspiration
  5. Don’t do Nothing

 

Thank you for listening to Student of Life. If you enjoyed it, please review us at iTunes and Stitcher. It makes a difference and encourages others to check out the show.

 

Also, Joe’s new novel, Rooster’s Leap, is now available on Amazon. Please check it out here.

What you believe about yourself is just as important to your success as your skills and talents.  Are you overvaluing or undervaluing your abilities?

 

In today’s podcast we look at the Dunning-Kruger Effect and how having Superiority Illusion can hurt you.

 

We review the seven behaviors which help you to discover your Purpose:

 

  1. Quiet Time
  2. Step outside your comfort zone every day
  3. Surround yourself with people you admire
  4. Weed negative people and negative thoughts out of your life
  5. Stop lying to yourself – No more excuses
  6. Never stop learning
  7. Become an aggressive goal setter

 

We examine how to study yourself to discover where you might be over or under valuing your abilities and talents.  Finally, we lay out a plan for how to apply metrics to your core competencies, which allows you to gather data to demonstrate where you measure up or fall short.

 

Thank you for listening to Student of Life. If you enjoyed it, please review us at iTunes and Stitcher. It makes a difference and encourages others to check out the show.

 

Also, Joe’s new novel, Rooster’s Leap, is now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions. Please check it out.

Everyone has goals and dreams they hope to achieve.  What’s keeping you from going after yours? Are you willing to do what it takes to accomplish something significant? It all starts with discipline and sacrifice. “Flipping the Switch” allows you to create great momentum by implementing positive behaviors that move you toward your goals.

 

In today’s podcast we cover the four steps that allow you to Flip the Switch…

 

  1. The Trigger – The event or thought that gets you started
  2. The Path – The clear goal and defined plan for reaching your goal
  3. The Mindset – Understanding your own psychology to create an All In mentality
  4. The Grind – Building your sacrifice muscles so you can accomplish the little things that make a big difference.

 

Thank you for listening to Student of Life. If you enjoyed it, please review us at iTunes and Stitcher. It makes a difference and encourages others to check out the show.

Fear keeps many people from being everything they created to be, from achieving their potential, from realizing their vision for themselves, and being able to spend more time working in their purpose. For many, fear is the biggest impediment to fulfilment in their lives.

 

What’s the definition of fear?

Fear is an unpleasant emotion cause by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.

 

The key part of that definition is two words: the belief.

 

Some fears do have to do with something really causing pain or being a threat, but many of our fears are simply the belief that there will be pain or a threat. It’s not real, but we allow those beliefs to get in the way of us being able to do the things that we want to do.

 

So, if this belief can stop us from achieving our goals, why we were created with fear as one of our emotions?

 

If you’re walking through the woods and all of a sudden you see a mama grizzly bear and two cubs, if you’re smart you’re probably fearful and wanting to get away from that. Likewise, if you come across of burning forest fire, you probably will be at least a little scared of that.

 

When it’s not just the belief, but there really is something that’s a threat to you, fear is a good emotion to have because it will keep you alive. It’s a healthy emotion. It’s helpful in that case. That’s good fear.

 

But the bad kind of fear is when there’s not actually any danger and the fear keeps us from realizing our potential. Those kind of fears—the ones about things that won’t really harm us—they’re a barrier to us reaching our goals. It’s the belief that there is danger that keeps us from moving forward. Those are the fears that we generally need to overcome to be able to have fulfilment in our lives and achieve the things we want.

 

Where does fear come from?

  1. Danger. As we just discussed, these are the real situations where it’s justified to be fearful. For example, if the captain of your airplane announces that the plane is going down. That’s a situation of real danger.

 

  1. Facing uncertainty or the unknown. When you don’t know what’s coming, your mind can play games that make it seem worse. That’s a belief that makes you fearful rather than reality, because the reality is unknown.

 

  1. A prior bad experience. This can be your bad experience or someone else’s bad experience that you’ve witnessed. For example, a person who has been through a horrible divorce is so scarred (and scared) by it that they won’t date again.

 

  1. Ignorance and lack of understanding. This is where your belief is built on a lack of understanding and causes fear, like when the people in Columbus’s crew believed the earth was flat so they were afraid of sailing off the edge of the world.

 

Allowing fear—or indeed any negative emotions—to stop us from doing things we want to do in our lives is being a slave to that emotion. When you allow fear to grow up like a weed, that fear is really your master. A slave is completely submissive to the master and has no free will. Fears make you a slave because they diminish your freedom.

 

Fear and The Four Freedoms

Dan Sullivan talks about four freedoms: freedom of money, freedom of time, freedom of relationship and freedom of purpose.

 

Joe worked in Real Estate and one of the biggest problems agents have is the fear of making prospecting calls. This is called, “call reluctance”. How does this fear impact the four freedoms for an agent?

 

Freedom of money: if you’re afraid to get on the phone and make your prospecting calls, you’re not going to do as many deals and you’re not going to have as much money. That’s going to stop you from having the freedom of having the money to do what you want to do.

 

Freedom of time: often people have a big plan but because of the fear they spend two hours on Facebook instead of prospecting. Fear leads to procrastination and if you’re procrastinating you’re losing your freedom of time because your time is being diminished.

 

Freedom of relationships: if you’re afraid to do your prospecting, that’s fewer people you will interact with. In turn, that’s reducing your sphere of influence, and shrinking your comfort zone, and ultimately reducing your freedom of relationships.

 

Freedom of purpose: if you’re doing all of those other things—you don’t have money because you’re not making calls, you don’t have time because you’re procrastinating and you don’t have the relationships that could be built by going out and prospecting—that’s going reduce your ability to work in your purpose. Fear has limited your freedom in those situations.

 

The biggest problems many people have with their fears is they avoid them or they won’t even admit that they have fear.

 

Lying to your self only makes it worse. Admit your fear—there is no shame in being afraid. Every one is afraid at some point. In fact, there is great strength in admitting you have a fear. Hiding it, avoiding it, ignoring it, pretending it doesn’t exist? That’s a sign of weakness. If you try to hide from it or pretend it doesn’t exist, it causes you to have less freedom and it keeps you from achieving your goals and your dreams.

 

Courage is not the absence of fear, courage is being afraid, but doing it anyway.

 

There is nothing to be ashamed of in being afraid. What you should be ashamed of is if you’re afraid and you don’t face it or you won’t even admitting you’re afraid. When you refuse to deal with that fear it rents space in the back of your head and becomes a stronghold in your life to keep you from doing what you want to do.

 

It’s time to figure out how to get past your fears. Joe has six strategies to help you overcome the fears.

 

Strategy One: Reframing

Physiologically, your body reacts exactly the same to fear as it does to excitement. All of those extreme sports people doing all kinds of crazy stuff don’t realize they are physiologically terrified because they’re so excited.

 

One way to reframe is to just say, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so excited I get to do this,’ instead of saying ‘I’m so scared I have to do this.’ You trick your mind into being excited instead of scared.

 

Another way to reframe is to use the Fear vs. Danger scale. Take whatever you’re afraid of, admit to yourself you’re afraid, admit your level of fear and fill in on the left side of the scale between 0 and 10 what you’re fear level is. Then go to the right side, which is the danger level, and be honest about what the danger level really is. When you look at it and say, “well, there is no danger, there is no reason to be fearful,” that allows you to have the courage you need to attack whatever that fear is.

 

So reframing is taking your mind and shifting it from fear to excitement and or taking what you think your fear level is and comparing it to the danger levels, so that you can reframe what it looks like to you and make it something easier for you to attack.

 

Strategy Two: Strength in Numbers

If you’re afraid of something and you can find someone else to do it with you, that’s always a way that can help you to take that leap of faith instead of sitting there scared by yourself. And if you can find someone who’s not afraid of it to deal with it with you, that’s great. Or if you have someone else who you know is not going to chicken out at the last second, who is afraid of it as well and the two of you do it together, that is just a great way to overcome the fear. It will help you to push through it by having that buddy to do it with you.

 

Strategy Three: Find a Mentor

Whatever you’re afraid of, there is a good chance somebody else has already confronted that fear and lived to tell about it. If you can find somebody else who’s already succeeded in what you’re afraid of, you can learn from them how to do it and use that as your springboard to being able to face the fear yourself. That’s exactly what Joe did in starting this podcast—he learned from podcast guru Paul Colligan, whose book gave Joe what he needed to push through and start doing the podcast.

When you find that mentor it doesn’t have to be someone you know. It can be someone who has written a book, who’s got a blog, who has a podcast or videos on YouTube. Or it can be someone you know who had success tackling whatever fear is in front of you.

 

One key thing: all you perfectionists out there, don’t get caught in paralysis by analysis. Don’t be studying so long that you never do anything. Lots of people spend so long studying their fear, they never actually attack it, so find the minimum you need to do and then dive in and do it.

 

Strategy Four: Develop a Powerful WHY

A WHY in your life, a reason why you need to get through that fear that is so powerful the prize for achieving your WHY makes the fear pale by comparison. You just say, “I’m going through that fear because this is so important.” What is your WHY? What are your reasons and purpose? Achieving that and living out that potential God has placed in you can help you push through whatever fear you’re facing.

 

Strategy Five: Lower Your Expectations

There are many people who allow their pride or perfectionism to keep them from doing things they fear. They have this misplaced notion they should be great at whatever they try the first time they try it. So until they know they can be great, they don’t do something and they let fear of it not going well, or the fear of not being perfect, to stop them from facing that fear. When you do that, you diminish your life. You can get so much joy and satisfaction from trying new things. You need to be more childlike where you know you’re not going to do well the first time you do something.

 

If you’re facing a fear and you’re afraid you’ll fall on your face the first time you try it, just get it over with.  Then you get the bad one over with to start getting better. Lower your expectations and quit expecting to be perfect.

 

Strategy Six: Do It Scared

Whatever it is, just resolve you’re going to jump in and do it. What’s the worst that can happen? Check out Tim Ferris’s TED talk on YouTube about Fear Setting. He says, I’ve got this fear. What are the worst things that can happen if I do it? And then you look at that list and make another list of how to mitigate those things so they won’t be as damaging if they do happen. That allows you to get to a point where you’re able to go ahead and push through the fear, do it scared and realize that it’s not as bad as you thought it would be.

 

The Benefits of Stepping Out

If you follow one of these six strategies and face your fear, there are two main benefits. Firstly, it’s rarely as bad as you think it will be! Secondly, that sense of accomplishment you get from pushing through a fear creates great momentum in your life. When you do something and bust through a fear, do it again as soon as you can because it creates muscle memory which means the fear will never have power over you again. Attack the fear, face it, defeat it and get that muscle memory.

 

Sometimes, we have fears we can’t handle by ourselves, that we need help with. A good sign you’re in a place where you might need help beyond just these strategies is when you feel like there’s no way out, or you feel like there is no hope.

 

To get past all of that, be humble, turn to God, turn to others, admit it and ask for help. When you have that kind of fear, where you feel like there is no way out, where you feel you have no hope, that is when you have to see your pastor, a psychologist or a psychiatrist, or a professional counselor. That is where you have to humble yourself and get the help you need to get past those things. If you’re having trouble determining where you are at, Joe recommends the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety, which professional counselors use to determine the anxiety level of their patients.

 

If you go through that with whatever fear you’re dealing with, you can see whether you have moderate anxiety or severe anxiety. If you are in moderate to severe, you know that probably you need more help than just your friends can give you or you can find on your own. It’s a great tool.

 

If you’ve got fears like tall weeds in your life, you need to do whatever it takes to chop them down and get them out of the way because they are limiting your fulfilment in life. They are limiting your success, and they are diminishing your freedom. So do not let fear stop you from being the best you can be.

 

Links mentioned:

The Fear vs. Danger Scale

The Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety



Are you allowing ‘defensive thinking’ to negatively impact your life? Today, we examine two kinds of defensive thinking, Brain Spin and Piñata Mind.

 

Brain Spin

Brain Spin is when you are fixated on just one thought and your brain spins in circles over and over again. What makes Brain Spin defensive thinking is your thoughts are just spinning around and your brain is not working out solutions. Your brain is going too fast, creating anxiety and stress, as well as the inability to think clearly. It’s defensive because you are allowing your brain to happen to you. You are allowing outside influences and problems to have an impact on your ability to function because you are allowing that spin to happen.

 

Overcoming Brain Spin

How do you stop yourself from falling into the Brain Spin trap?

 

S-P-I-N

 

When you have Brain Spin, go on offense. It’s a simple process: just remember the word “spin.” There’s a little exercise you can do to stop the spin and get yourself back on even footing, where you can take control of your thoughts, go on offense, and come up with solutions instead of staying on defense with stress, anxiety and worry.

 

The “S” stands for “Stop.” “Stop” means you stop, acknowledge the Brain Spin is happening. Actively engage your brain in something, instead of allowing it to passively spin.

 

The “P” stands for “Process”. “Process” means you’re going to think about whatever  it is your brain is spinning about, and you’re going to dissect a little bit and ask yourself the question, “Is this something I have any control over? Is this something where I might be able to step in and make some changes or take some action to alleviate whatever is causing this stress?” You process it and figure out what the problem is.

 

Then you have “I”, which stands for “Intervene.” If it is a legitimate problem and you have legitimate options to go on offense and solve it, then you can intervene. Take steps to put on paper what you’re solutions are going to be. How are you going to attack this problem? Decide what you are going to do instead of just letting that thought spin in your head. Start working on a productive solution.

 

On the other side of the same coin, if you determine that either, you have no control over it, or it’s not a legitimate problem, then you can say, “This is not something I have any power or control over and I just need to understand that so I don’t allow my mind to keep spinning in search of solutions that aren’t there.”

 

Finally, the “N” stands for “Next.” The next time this happens, you need to know what you will do. Either you will start implementing your solution or do the steps to intervene and go on offense. Alternatively, if it’s a problem or a worry you have no control over—for example something that happened already and you can’t go back and adjust—the “Next” there is to let it go. And if you can’t let it go, come up with something you will switch your thoughts to instead. Maybe you think about something to do with your business or a sports team or how you could show some love to your spouse. Come up with something else productive with which you can replace the other thought.

 

So the S-P-I-N steps are how you end brain spin.

 

Piñata Mind

Piñata Mind is the opposite of the Brain Spin. Brain Spin is when you’re fixated on one thought. Piñata mind is when your brain is so distracted there are hundreds of thoughts going on and you can’t think of anything. There is a reason Joe calls it “piñata mind”. It came from a day he spent the whole day working really hard, and was really busy, but when he looked back he was interrupted and distracted a lot and didn’t accomplish anything. You are probably familiar with that feeling of working hard, doing lots of stuff but getting nothing done. At the end of the day you’re exhausted but you have nothing to show for it. You didn’t move any big rocks forward.

 

Picture a kid’s birthday party. They blindfold the child,  spin him around, and hand him stick. Then they point toward a piñata. An adult is holding a rope and moving the piñata around while that kid is swinging wildly with that stick. He can’t hit the piñata, because the adult moves it every time the kid gets close. So “Piñata” Mind is when your mind is just like that kid swinging wildly all over the place and never hitting anything.

 

Piñata Mind is a negative, defensive brain posture. It’s defensive because once again, you’re not taking charge of the situation. You are allowing circumstances to eat up your energy and your confidence. Unable to focus, all those thoughts to come in, mess with your mind and get you going a hundred directions at once. You are so diverted, distracted, and all over the place, you lose all of your energy very quickly, just like a cell phone with too many apps open at once. You just don’t accomplish anything because you’re not putting any filters in place to stop everything from coming at you.

 

Overcoming Piñata Mind

There are four steps to overcoming it.

 

  1. Start with a brain dump. Get a sheet of paper, write down everything you’re thinking about in your brain. Write down everything. It might be several pages of information, but writing it down empties it from your brain. You don’t have to eat up space in your brain holding onto that information anymore.
  2. Go through the list and decide what is urgent and what is important. Remember, things that are on fire are urgent but not necessarily important. Sometimes things that are urgent you can delegate to somebody else to handle. Sometimes, with things that are urgent but not important, you can just let go and not worry about them. It doesn’t matter, it’s not important. Find the things that are urgent and important. They’re high value activities and you should be doing those first.
  3. When your brain gets to that point where your list is out of control, and you’re totally playing defense, take steps build incredible momentum going in the opposite direction. The only way you can do that is to have great focus. You can accomplish two or three times the amount you normally do if you’re able to focus without distraction. Close the door, go to a place where you won’t be bothered, turn off your phone, close all the windows on your computer, close down everything except the resources you need to accomplish those tasks. Remember, we’re trying to go from a defensive posture to being totally on offense and building momentum in our favor. So, no phone, no email, none of that turned on.
  4. So you choose one to three items on your priority list you will focus on. Attack those items! Stay on them for at least two hours. It takes a good twenty or thirty minutes to get into focus where you are really honed in and able to work well. When you get in to the zone, you don’t want to leave so quickly. If you can do three, four hours, it’s amazing how much momentum you can gain and how much you can get done.

So, to conquer your Piñata Mind, you want to organize, prioritize, focus, and attack.

 

To have fulfillment in your life, you need to be doing things where you spend time in your purpose. You also want to do things that move you closer to the vision you’ve laid out for your life and business.

 

Sometimes the only way to move towards that vision is to get a little selfish and shut out everybody else, so you can focus on the things that are important to you to move them forward.

 

Frequently, as leaders, the last person we take care of is ourselves because we’re giving to everybody else and we’re the go-to person. But you sometimes have to be selfish, focus on yourself and work on yourself so you can develop momentum, stop playing defense, and go on offense when it comes to your mind and the way you think.

 

Take these strategies and use them. Everyone has experienced Brain Spin and Piñata Mind at times. Having some tools in your tool belt will help you overcome them, gain momentum and move toward the vision for your life.

Your mindset is the biggest tool that determines whether or not you’re successful or have fulfillment in your life? It’s how you think and the filters you perceive the world through.

 

There are some people who naturally take in what the world throws at them and see all the possibilities. There are other people who only see limitations.

 

Which one are you? Do you see unlimited possibilities or do you think about all the things that could stop you?

 

The space between your ears is the biggest determiner of whether or not you’re going to have what you want in life, and whether or not you’re going to achieve fulfillment and success.

 

Pie People and River People

For Pie People, there is a finite amount of all the success, fulfillment and abundance in the world. To them, there is a limited amount, like pie. If one person is successful, it means there is a little bit less of the success pie for the next person. If you are a pie person, and you see other people doing well and having success, you percieve that as leaving less success available for you.

 

You know those people who never seem happy when someone else does well, or never share in someone else’s good fortune? Probably, that’s a pie person. It’s typically a subconscious thinking pattern and most people who are pie people don’t realize they are pie people: it’s just the way they live. It was probably the way they were brought up. They believe their ability to succeed is limited by other people’s ability to succeed.

 

Then, there are River People, who believe success, fulfillment, abundance and all the things life has to offer are a flowing river. They believe anybody can step up and dip their cup into that river and have as much of that success as they want because there is a never-ending supply of it. When you are a river person, you tend to share in other people’s excitement when they do well. You don’t think their success means you have less chance of doing well. You say, “they did well, that shows I can succeed too.”

 

If you pay attention, the pie people and river people become very easy to spot. You want to be a river person, not a pie person. You also want to hang out with river people and avoid hanging out with pie people.

 

The truth is there is not a set amount of success, wealth, prosperity or fulfillment in the world. There is a constantly growing and expanding amount, for you to grab hold of. People with an abundance mentality—river people—believe the world is open to them and because they walk through life with their eyes wide open, they see opportunities everywhere.

 

People with a scarcity mindset—pie people—tend to look at the world as if it’s against them. They have blinders on and look straight ahead. The opportunities that may be coming are flying by them unnoticed because they believe the world has a limited amount of success, and they have been locked out.

 

Gary Keller, the founder of Keller Williams Realty International, said, ‘There is not enough business for everyone but there is enough for anyone.’ Although he was talking about business and real estate, this statement really applies to any endeavor you choose to pursue. If everybody in the world was fully engaged at one time to achieve something, we probably would run out of resources and there wouldn’t be enough for everybody. But the truth is only a very, very small percentage of people actually pursue those things.

 

There will be more than enough for anybody who is willing to pay the price to achieve success and fulfillment, because most refuse to go after it. If you want to be a person who has a fulfilled life, choose to be someone who goes after it. Choose to be someone who has an abundance mentality versus the scarcity mentality.

 

Characteristics of Abundance and Scarcity Mindsets

What are the characteristics of a person with an abundance mindset versus a scarcity mindset? It is really difficult to have an abundance mindset if you don’t believe there is a higher power helping to create big things for us. There probably are people who don’t believe in God who have an abundance mindset, but it is much more difficult if you think everything is on you.

 

  1. Trust in God (or the higher power you believe in) to provide.

When you see people who go through life with that attitude, that’s usually a sign they have an abundance mind set. Meanwhile, the people who believe everything is up to them; if they don’t do it, it’s not going to happen, are typically the people with a scarcity mindset because they don’t trust the world and they don’t trust God. They don’t trust others are there to help them achieve and succeed.

 

  1. Have faith in God and faith in the process.

This goes right along with trust. Believe if you work hard, the abundance will come to you. Those who are scarcity thinkers only go by “what they see is what they believe” and think they are responsible for everything. Scarcity thinkers are trying to adjust the process, so they can make it more their own. They don’t trust hard work will ultimately allow them to succeed and have their abundance.

 

  1. Be hopeful and optimistic.

That comes from the belief that you are moving forward and you are going to have all you need. That kind of belief—the river person thinking—naturally leads to hope and optimism. Scarcity thinkers are full of fear and doubt. They are afraid the world is really built against them, afraid someone else has succeeded before them and now that success is gone, not to be enjoyed by them.

 

  1. Be generous, sharing and giving.

The most generous people are those who think they are always going to be successful. Have you ever noticed people who may not have anything but are still very generous? They give their time and money because they believe in the abundance of the world. They believe it will come back to them. The scarcity thinkers hold onto what they have because they believe they will never get back what they let go of. They can’t give to other people because they might need it for themselves down the road.

 

Extremely generous people are river people. The people who are really stingy and have every nickel they ever earned inside their one-way pockets—where it goes in and never comes out!—are scarcity thinkers.

 

  1. Have contentment and satisfaction.

It’s the people who are stingy and afraid of losing what they have, who are pie people with a scarcity mindset. That kind of person is always discontented, feeling they never achieve, do or have enough. Being satisfied and content with where you’re at doesn’t mean you don’t want more, or you’re not striving for more. Being content is knowing you’ve given your best effort, and you are trusting God to deliver. You know you’ve done everything to a point of being content with where you’re at because you’ve done what you can and know that more is coming.

 

  1. Have a steward mentality.

Joe believes everything he owns was given to him by God, and it’s his job to manage what he’s been given to the best of his ability. That doesn’t just include money. It includes his intellect, education, knowledge, work and all resources. Managing and using those resources for the betterment of the world is part of being a river person. Meanwhile, somebody with a scarcity mindset will have an ownership mentality. They have the idea of limited resources so anything they have is theirs and they won’t share it. Instead, pie people tend to hoard their resources.

 

  1. Work on helping and completing others.

When you have the attitude of abundance, you look to help other people. It comes back to the generosity, and being willing to share what you have because you believe there is more than enough. River people believe in abundance and want other people to find abundance as well. Whereas, people with the scarcity mindset also tend to be hyper-competitive. They try to beat you to something instead of helping you get there. They’re afraid if you get there first there may be less for them.

 

Change your mindset

It’s not that pie people are bad people. They have fear because of wrong thinking. They often believe they have a certain level they can get to it and that’s it. When you realize how the two minds work, you can have the compassion for people with the scarcity mindset instead of wondering why they are like that.

 

When you change your mindset, you change the outcome. When you have an abundance mentality, it’s amazing how the world seems to be a different place and you see opportunities that you never saw before.

 

If you have noticed some pie person tendencies in yourself, how do you go about changing them?

 

Watch who you hang out with.

Firstly, look at the people surrounding you. We are the average of the 5 people we spend most of our time with. If you are hanging out with a bunch of people who always moan and groan about the world and their lives, you will probably become a pie person. But if you hang out with people who live in abundance, expect the world to work out well for them, and they step out of their comfort zone on a daily basis and work to grab the abundance they believe is out there, then you’re more likely to be a river person. Hang out with abundance people.

 

Let go of the outcome.

Secondly, do everything in your power to achieve success and fulfillment and let go of the outcome. Trust that the work will deliver the reward, that God has your back. If you’ve done everything possible, you don’t have any more control over the outcome anyway, so you might as well stop worrying about it.

 

Be content where you are, but always strive for more.

Thirdly, learn to be content with where you are, but strive for more success, more fulfillment and to be a better person. If you’ve done all you can, good things are coming.

 

Never allow fear or other people to put caps on your dreams.

Finally—and this is the most important one—if you want to be a river person, never allow fear or other people put caps on your dreams in life. If you have big dreams, go after them. Stay true with yourself, keep your dream alive, and surround yourself with people who encourage you instead of discourage you.

 

If you have a tendency to be a pie person, take a look at these four steps of becoming a river person. There is enough success, prosperity and fulfillment in the world. So if you are willing to change your mindset, and do the things that you need to take a leap of faith, you can have great abundance and great satisfaction in your life!

 

Go for the abundance!

Everyone has greatness within them. God has put potential in everybody, but are you playing your part to achieve that potential?

 

To Joe, potential is the maximum level of success or fulfillment you could possibility reach. If you squeezed out every ounce of that special something in you, to do what you were created to do, and you overcame every obstacle and you shed off all the negatives that come at you, what you will achieve then would be your full potential.

 

Another great definition of potential is “the best version of yourself.” If you take all the skills, experiences, qualities that you’ve got and you distill it down to the best you can possibly be, that’s achieving your potential.

 

Every one should strive to achieve their potential but too many people don’t work hard to achieve it. It’s also really easy to get caught up in things that get you off track, and cause you to lose focus. As a result, very few people achieve their full potential.

 

There are three things that have a direct impact on whether your potential is maximized or falling backwards: aptitude, environment and desires.

 

Aptitude

Everybody has some natural abilities. That goes back to your purpose, your areas of greatest strength and what some people call your ‘super powers’. Additionally, what determines your aptitude, is the level of schooling or education you get. It’s your character and your integrity, your core values and what you believe.

 

If you believe things that are negative or destructive, you’re not going to move towards your potential. If you believe in things like integrity, honesty, and serving other people, those types of things will move you towards your potential. So your core values play an important role with your aptitude.

 

Environment

The easiest definition of environment is your physical location. If you have two people and one is born in poverty and lives in a mud hut in the third world, their potential is limited compared to someone born in a Western society who has access to school, access to the internet, access to food. Those aspects of environment play a huge role in whether or not you’re going to have the opportunity to achieve your potential.

 

Another area of your environment is your culture. Culture is the environment of a group of people, which Joe covered in a previous episode. It can be the culture of a nation, the culture of a church, the culture of an organization, the culture of a company and/or the culture of you and your friends. The culture is going to play a huge role in whether you’re going to achieve your potential or whether you’ll allow yourself to be pulled away from it. The culture of the groups you spend the most time with, and your personal culture, plays a huge role in the achievement of your potential.

 

Another part of your environment is your mentors or your role models, the people you learned from, the people who showed you the way and went before you.

 

Desire

Desire to Joe, is directly related to your purpose in life. Why did God create you? If you have a purpose and a vision of what you want to be that is so strong it propels you toward it, that desire is going to carry you toward your potential. If you are not protecting your confidence, will-power, or energy and they are being depleted before your day even gets going, that will pull you backwards. So desire is going to play a huge role in whether you are moving forward with the potential God put in you or whether you are being pulled away from it.

 

Attitude, environment and desire; take a look at those things. Which of them are working in your favor? Which of them are working against you? Which of them can you change so they’re working you in favor?

 

In America, there is an epidemic of lost potential. When you look at sports, it’s easy to tell whether someone is achieving their potential, because it’s all about performance on the field. You’re either winning or you’re not. You’re breaking records or you’re not.  When you’re dealing with life or business, there are gray areas. You can’t quite tell whether someone is achieving their potential in the way you can with sports.

 

Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry had both the aptitude and the desire to be among the best baseball players in history and help the Mets achieve a 10-15 year dynasty after they won the World Series in 1986. However, they didn’t have the right environment. They were surrounded by a party culture. Drugs, women, drinking and they got caught up in the addictions. And because of that, although they were great for a couple of years, their true potential was squandered.

 

In your life, when you look at your potential and the areas where you want to be great, what areas are cheating you out of your greatness? Where are you lying to yourself or engaging in an activity or behavior that doesn’t line up with where your potential should be taking you? What are you doing to correct those things? There are really five different areas that stop people from achieving their potential.

 

Laziness

The first thing that holds people back from achieving their potential is laziness. They’re complacent, self-satisfied, and don’t have any goals or vision. They’ve just settled into a comfort zone and basically given up the desire to be anything more.

 

If you’re in that lazy zone but you have a glimmer of desire to be more, what can you do to break the cycle?

 

It comes down to your WHY. Why do you not want to be lazy anymore? What is your purpose? You such a powerful WHY that you will do it even when you don’t feel like doing it. Lazy is hard to overcome without goals or vision or values.

 

By the way, quiet time is not lazy time because quiet time is the time that gives your brain a little oxygen and that oxygen allows the fire to light that gets things going. Quiet time is a great way for someone who is complacent and satisfied with mediocrity to start. Think about what you’d like to be great at and what your purpose is. Spend time imagining what life would be like if you really got good at that and honed your skills there. If you’re lazy, you need to find a WHY that’s going to stop you from being lazy.

 

Fear

The second reason people fall short of their potential, is they’re scared. It’s not a terrified, trembling-in-your-boots scared, but having no confidence. You never want to leave your comfort zone because you don’t know what’s out there. Or maybe you failed in the past and you’re afraid you’re going to fail again. Maybe you didn’t quite measure up one time and you were humiliated or made fun of and you don’t want to experience that again.

 

Everybody is scared, at times. It all comes back to your comfort zone. Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary.

 

Figure out, what it is you’re scared about, and do it scared!. That’s the best way. Expand that comfort zone because if you are not stretching your comfort zone everyday, it is shrinking. Every day you can move forward, every day you can expand your comfort zone, and every day you can experience what it’s like to step out. If you try something new, you’re not going to be good at it the first time you try it. You need to take the attitude of a learner and not be afraid to look silly or goofy. Just do it and then laugh about it when it’s tough and try again to get better at it. That’s how you learn, so if you’re scared, expand your comfort zone and do it scared.

 

Lack of discipline

The third thing that stops people is they are undisciplined. They’re distracted. They don’t know how to prioritize. They don’t know how to grind. They’re not able to focus for a long period of time to move the ball forward on a project. Lack of discipline comes from a short attention span, or when people multitask five things at once but actually are doing five things badly. Undisciplined comes from stretching too thin and trying to do too much.

 

If you get to the end of a day, exhausted because you’ve been so busy, but haven’t actually accomplished anything important, then you may have a problem with discipline. You need to learn how to focus, and a great place to start is to read Gary Keller’s book The One Thing and set aside an hour to work on your purpose.

 

It’s important to understand, what got you to your current level of success, is not going get you to the next level of success. You have to change things.

 

Are you doing things now, just like you’ve always done them and expecting a different result? If you are, you may have something you need to deconstruct, take up a step back and reconstruct better before you move forward. A lot of times, getting disciplined and focused is one of those things.

 

Deceived

The fourth reason people fall short of their potential is they’re deceived. They’re lying to themselves, saying they’re doing fine when they’re not. Or pretending that there’s not a problem when there is. They’ve convinced themselves everything will go great, when it really won’t. Most of all, they’re not willing to admit they have a problem they need to address or an issue they need to solve.

 

Another way people lie to themselves is they expect it to be easy. They expect the things worth having in life to be easy to achieve. And typically, the best things in life are very difficult to achieve.

 

Also, people make excuses. They act like the world is against them. They’re victims. Those people are deceived. The day you become an adult, your problems are on you. It’s not always fair but the truth is the world doesn’t care. The day you become an adult, it is your job to overcome whatever challenges are in front of you. Are you going to be an overcomer? Or are you going to wallow in self-pity and pretend the world owes you something?

 

It’s not to minimize problems, but it’s about making a decision to be an overcomer. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking the world owes you anything because you were dealt a bad hand. Face your problems and your issues head on, and figure out a way to overcome them.

 

Arrogance

The fifth reason why people fall short of their potential is arrogance. These are the people who won’t ask for help, who lack humility, or who have no commitment to personal growth because they think they know everything they need to know. They have no mentors, no examples, and no ongoing education.

 

Howard Brinton always said, “Get out of judgment and get into curiosity.”

We can learn something from anybody we meet. If you sit down and ask those people, everybody has wisdom they can share. And if you take the attitude of a student in life, you’re going to learn things from everybody.

 

If you walk through life with arrogance, like you know everything, you’re missing out on all kinds of stuff that can help you, make your life richer, and help you reach your potential. So get out of judgment, get into curiosity and be a student of life.

 

Out of those five reasons why people fall short of their potential—laziness, fear, lack of discipline, being deceived and arrogance—which of them is holding you back?

 

Are you really doing everything you can to achieve your potential?

 

Everybody has something getting in their way. Whatever it is, you need to address it. Spend the time to find solutions and get inspiration. Allow your brain the space to think about your potential and what’s keeping you from doing that.

 

What kind of person are you? What are you going to be? Are you going to go after your potential? Or are you going to let the world beat it out of you?

 

If you’ve enjoyed the podcast today, Joe would love to hear from you. Email him at joe@studentoflifepodcast.com

 

Hit subscribe and share the podcast with your friends. Have a great week!

Do you start your day with a win every day? Are you on offense or do you start your day playing defense?

 

A morning routine is hugely important because it protects your energy and confidence. When you start the day with a routine where you know exactly what you’re going to do, it’s kind of like starting an engine. You get that thing rolling because you just go through the same process every day. There is no decision to make. There is no problem to solve. You just do the same thing on a regular basis to get the day going.

 

Remember the biggest drains of energy and confidence are problem solving and decision-making. Morning rituals and routines take all of that out of the equation.

 

Mark Twain said, ‘Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.’

 

You want to use the morning, when you have the most energy and the most confidence, to get the big things done in your day.

 

Are you operating each day in your purpose, the reason God created you? Are you doing things every day to move closer to making your vision for your life and business reality?

 

Put a positive spin on your day. Start by instead of saying “I have to do this,” say “I get to do this.” This is one of the best times in the history of the world. In terms of technology, peace, abundance, the ability to succeed and opportunities to thrive. We get to do amazing things, things that move us toward our vision, toward our purpose. And if you’re starting your day with those sorts of things and thinking about them, it is going to help you move forward.

 

Every successful person has some sort of morning routine or ritual. Margaret Thatcher, one of the greatest leaders in the history of the western world, used to get up every day at 5 AM so she could listen to Farming Today on the BBC.

David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, never looks at any of his emails until he arrives at work. So he starts the day on offense.

 

If you get up and the first thing you do is grab your device and start looking at your texts and emails and responding to what the world has thrown at you, you’re immediately on defense. You need to get your mind right, you need to get your body right, you need to get your spirit right before you start your day.

 

Jim Kwik just did a great podcast all about his morning rituals. His morning routine is very involved. Check out Kwik Brain, Episode 16 http://jimkwik.com/kwik-brain-016/ He goes into his nutrition. He even talks about the type of shower he takes. He gets very detailed about how he starts his day.

 

Ben Franklin—one of the smartest people in the history of our country, a true entrepreneur, a true thinker and philosopher—has a very famous outline of what his typical day looked like. He had a 3-hour morning ritual he did every day. He always started his day with the question, “What good shall I do this day?” So if you read from what he has on his morning routine, it says, “Rinse, wash, and address powerful goodness.” He was a pretty successful guy who accomplished many great things.

 

What are you doing every morning?

Do you have a ritual you follow?

Do you have a routine you follow?

Do you have a certain time you get up every day?

What do you do to give yourself a win first thing in the morning?

What do you do to set up your day where you will have a great success?

 

Joe’s Morning Routine

Joe has different morning routines for different days of the week. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, he will get up and go to the gym in the morning.

 

Last week (StudentOfLifePodcast.com/7) we talked about flipping the switch, making blanket decisions you make once, forever. So on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights, Joe has already made that blanket decision he will be getting up to go to the gym next morning. The alarm clock goes off at 4:21, which is precise and intentional because it plants a seed in the brain about beginning the day intentionally and with purpose.

 

As he gets up, he is saying a little prayer, “God let me be awesome today.” He gets ready easily because the night before he already prepared a gym bag, clothes for the day at work, a pre-work out shake and a protein shake. He gets a big drink of water, gathers his things and gets in the car. Joe has his phone with him but hasn’t looked at it yet. Six months ago he made the decision not to look at his phone anymore until after he’s done some things to get on offense for the day. In the car, the seat heater goes on to loosen Joe’s back before he gets to the gym. He turns on the app on the phone that does a daily reading from the bible and listens to that on the way into town. That gives his brain a chance to start easing into the day. Also, Joe knows spending time with God to start his day means he will have a better day.

 

At the gym, Joe walks on the treadmill for 30 minutes to loosen up his body, drink his pre-workout shake and give him time to work through his mind. It’s important to give your brain free space to breath and a chance to work on problems without lots of clutter. So whatever the brain has been mulling over at night, Joe will think about during that 30 minutes on the treadmill. Otherwise he will turn on a podcast and pour some wisdom into his head.

 

Then he meets up with a group and does a boot camp style work out. This is great for accountability, but also because having a trainer who is leading the boot camp means Joe doesn’t have to think or make decisions. All he has to do is show up and do what the trainer says. After the workout, Joe has his protein shake, takes a shower and get dressed.

 

By this time it’s 7.30am, and having been up since 4.21am, Joe is fully awake and full of energy. It’s a big win to start the day and he feels good about himself. It recharges his battery and protects his energy and confidence for the day. Next it’s off to the coffee shop to do morning planning. Typically this involves spending 10 minutes reading scripture or a devotional, and then journaling thoughts. After that, he tackles any problems that need to be solved, such as presentations to prepare. And finally, the last thing is writing out a task list for the day. The task list always includes Joe’s Big 3: At least one item each working ON his business, working IN his business, and personal development. These are the key things that help move him forward in all three areas.

 

Starting the day on offense like this means Joe knows whatever happens the rest of the day, he is following the agenda he set for the day, rather than just responding to other people and other stimulus. It gets things off on the right foot.

 

The morning ritual starter kit

Feed 3

  1. Feed your spirit.
    Schedule quiet time. Pray. Be somewhere inspiring.
  2. Feed your mind.
    Spend some time studying, getting education, or gaining knowledge.
  3. Feed your body.
    It’s not just food, it’s taking care of your body by working out and getting moving. It doesn’t have to be a hard workout; start the day getting the blood flowing.

 

Protect 3

  1. Protect your energy.
    Make sure you’ve gotten sleep, don’t look at emails or texts. Be on offense not defense.
  2. Protect your will power.
    Do this by making blanket decisions, and when you do your planning, make sure you figure out the most energy draining thing, and tackle it first.
  3. Protect your confidence.
    Plan, focus your day and have a block of time where you’re working in your purpose.

 

Work 3

This is the Big Three

  1. Work ON your business.
  2. Work IN your business.
  3. Work on yourself.

 

Feed Three, Protect Three, and Work Three. That’s a great framework on which to build a Morning Ritual. If you don’t already have one, make it your starting point. Study yourself and figure out what works for you. Try things and get on a schedule where every day you go through a routine that gives you energy and gets you fired up for the day. You continue to do it and it becomes muscle memory.

 

Remember, the first step to success is learning how to win the morning. If you win the morning that gives you a chance of winning the day. When you win enough days in a row them you have success and fulfillment.

 

If you haven’t already, hit the subscribe button on iTunes or Stitcher. And if you’ve enjoyed it, tell your friends about the podcast!

Energy and confidence are the fuel for your vision. How do you protect them?

 

By the term energy, Joe means your actual physical energy. It’s the physical stamina you have to get things done that need to be done. Confidence is your emotional and mental energy. It’s having the resolve to deal with problems as they arise.

 

Confidence and energy are very much like a battery. Picture the battery on your cell phone. There are some days you are dealing with all kinds of phone calls, working with apps and all kinds of things are going on. Before the end of the day, the battery is completely drained and the phone is worthless unless you recharge it. Then, there’s other days where that phone is barely used. You might make a couple of calls here and there but you’re not really using it. At the end of the day, it’s got 70 or 80 percent of the battery charge still remaining.

 

That’s like your confidence and energy in real life. Some days it’s drained down, other days you’ve got unlimited amounts of it. If you have 27 apps open on the phone, the energy is draining even when you’re not using those apps. If you’ve got your focus divided on 27 different things, even though you’re doing one thing, the other stuff is occupying space in the back of your mind and you’re draining down even though you’re not working on those things.

 

How are your energy and confidence created?

Physical energy comes from taking care of your body. Your diet or eating properly, getting enough sleep and exercise or working your body to keep it moving. Jim Kwik, who does the podcast Kwik Brain, says that doing things physically helps your brain work more effectively. So if you are not properly taking care of your body, your brain suffers. Your ability to think and function suffers.

 

Your physical energy affects your emotional and mental energy.

Mental energy comes from getting rest, removing your mind from the daily grind of what you do every day. Do you have hobbies or distractions to get you away from those things? People who work seven days a week, eight or 10 hours a day, are not as productive as people who are working five or six days a week and taking that day to let their mind be renewed, recharged and refreshed. It’s counterintuitive to a lot of hard driven people who are trying to make things happen. They believe they can’t afford to take a day off because something will slip through the cracks. But when you don’t take a day off, more things slip through the cracks because you’re not as mentally sharp.

 

The two biggest drains of your confidence and your energy are problem solving and decision making. Decision making can be painful when it’s a decision you haven’t been planning for. You get a group of people going to lunch and nobody can make up their mind where to go. Nobody wants to think about it because it’s out of the ordinary. It’s an exhausting process to make a decision. Now, imagine that multiplied by 20 with the big decisions with your company or with your life. When you haven’t prepared to make those decisions and you haven’t protected your energy, you’re making those decisions in a depleted state. The odds are high that you will make a poorer decision when you’re low on energy and confidence, than you will when you are charged up and ready to go.

 

Three strategies to protect your energy and confidence.

Strategy 1: Routine

A routine is a process that allows you to develop a system where you’re doing something the same way all the time until it becomes it becomes a habit. You begin doing it without thinking, which frees your brain to be working on other things while you’re managing that routine.

 

Imagine if your daily life and business were loaded with those kinds of routines. You get things done in such a systematic method and process that by the time you’re finished you haven’t expended any energy or confidence on them. All that is going to help you have more energy for the important things, for the unexpected problems that pop up. It brings freedom in your life.

 

A lot of people who don’t practice this kind of discipline look at these routines and these habits as something that takes away their freedom, that keeps them from being able to do what they want to do. They want to have an artistic life where they just kind of flow through life and do whatever feels like the right thing to do. Well if you do that, the odds are you will be a starving artist your whole life. If you want to have success and fulfillment and go toward a vision you’ve created for yourself, you have to have discipline and routines.

 

Routines are important because they allow you to play offense. They allow you to attack the day instead of letting the day attack you. One of the best examples of a routine you need is a morning routine. Every successful person Joe has ever met or read about has some sort of morning routine to get their day off on the right foot. It’s something that really gets your battery charged up.

 

Strategy 2: Focus

Look at two of the richest, most successful people on the planet: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Both of them have been quoted as saying the biggest reason for their success is their focus.

 

Are you focusing with such intensity that you can cut through the problems and the decisions in your day? Or is your focus divided and scattered, trying to focus on 100 things at once and really not accomplishing anything?

 

One of the biggest myths in the business world is the idea of multitasking. There have been studies done that show that while a person is trying to do two or three things at one time, their IQ actually goes down and they’re not doing any of them with any kind of excellence. When you’re multitasking, what you’re actually doing is constantly interrupting yourself and going from one task back to the other. You’re dividing your focus and not really accomplishing anything, doing both tasks much slower than if you did one at a time.

 

It is just impossible for the human brain to focus its energy, power, and thinking on two different tasks at the same time. You can only focus on one thing at a time. If you’re a multitasker, it’s time to reconsider that and think about having focus time.

 

People call it different things, e.g. being in the zone or being in flow. You need at least an hour or more regularly of focus time where you’re focusing on the biggest issues you need to solve in your business. The biggest rocks you need to move in order to move towards your vision. Joe encourages you to have a routine that creates focus time for you.

 

Focus creates incredible momentum. When you’re focused for an extended period of time, you can get to three, four, or five times as much done as when you’re trying to do it amidst interruptions and distractions. So if you are in an office environment where it’s impossible for you to avoid distractions, you need to find a place you can go to have your focus. Or if you’re in an environment where you encourage distractions from the people around you, you need to change that. Let them know you’re going to be in the zone and not to bother or interrupt you for X-number of hours.

 

Our society has developed in us such a short attention span, people can’t stay focused. It’s a skill you have to rebuild. Turn off your phone. Turn off your computer. Put your office phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ and take away all of the distractions.

 

If that focus time is spent in your purpose, the thing that you were created to do, it can actually be an energizing thing. That’s what happens when you’re protecting your energy and your confidence. Energy feeds confidence, confidence feeds energy, and when you’re doing things to protect them, build them, and feed them, they just keep building on each other and feeding on each other.

 

Strategy 3: Blanket Decisions

A blanket decision is when you make a decision once and it’s done. This is for when you have a certain activity you do on a regular basis that is difficult for you, or something you don’t want to do, or something you hesitate to do. You make that decision one time and that’s it, it’s done. There’s no more thinking about it, you just go do it because the decision has already been made.

 

For example, many people who are successful with working out on a regular basis start their day with their work out. When Joe wanted to make his workout something that started each day with a big win, he made a blanket decision and flipped the switch, saying “I’m not deciding whether or not I work out when the alarm goes off in the morning. When the alarm goes off in the morning, the decision has already been made. I’m getting up and I’m heading to the gym.” Joe does everything the night before to make it really easy to get up and go. His gym bag is ready to go. His clothes for the day are already set out. To make it even easier, he has a trainer at the gym and a boot camp group to work out with so he’s got accountability from the people who are there and accountability from the trainer who’s creating the workout. He doesn’t have to think about the work, just go there and do it.

 

Flipping the switch and making a blanket decision allows you to put your brain power and energy towards other things, because that decision has already been made.

 

Where in your life do you have regular things you do where you could flip the switch so that you can get better? Where can you create a process to take away the decision making and the problem solving that go with it?

 

When you do these kinds of things—flipping the switch, having focus time, being in the zone, building routines throughout your day—it helps you to be more successful. These things create momentum in your life. They allow you to protect energy and confidence so that when the big problem or the big decision does show up, you’re not already depleted through things you had control over.

 

Start paying attention to your energy and confidence levels and when are they at their peak during the day. Study yourself. Get to know how you work, how your body works. how your mind works. And when you see patterns, adjust your work day and your life accordingly.

 

Do an autopsy of the day

Even if you’re planning everything out and being very intentional about everything in your life, you’re still going to have days where things don’t go to plan. The world beats up on you and you come home feeling tired and defeated. When you such a day, it’s important thing to take steps that evening to get yourself ready to have your energy back at a high level the next day.

 

Do what Joe calls an autopsy of the day. Stop and look at it. Ask yourself, “what could I have done differently to avoid whatever happened? How could I have managed everything better so it would have been a different outcome? What do I have to deal with tomorrow that’s lingering from today?”

 

Take a little extra time that evening, and with your morning routine, to set up a plan so that when you’re freshest you can deal everything. Go on offense the next day, instead of starting the day on defense, attacking those problems, issues, and decisions that beat you up that day. Start the next day with a fully charged battery of energy and confidence and push through those things.

 

Remember, confidence and energy are the fuel that drive you towards your vision. If you want your vision to become reality, you need to protect that energy and confidence. Take care of getting those decision-making and problem solving issues out of the way when you’re at your highest energy level. If you do this, you will operate at peak efficiency.

 

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It’s a force that drives you towards success or failure, and most people don’t pay it much attention: culture. Most people think about culture in terms of a business culture. But if you’re the leader of a team, you need your personal culture in line for your business culture to fall into place.

 

Joe’s definition of culture is your environment. When done intentionally, it’s a philosophy about life and business that you play out, that’s played out by your team and those around you. At its worst it’s a demoralizing and destructive force. At its best, it’s an uplifting, motivating force that gives you momentum. It’s a rising tide that lifts all boats, carries your team forward, and gives you and your team the ability to keep pushing.

 

Culture is one of those things that even if you don’t pay attention to it, will still come to be. If you have a team and you don’t create a culture intentionally, it’s going to grow organically and it’s probably not going to be what you want it to be. It’s no fun to fight a bad culture.

 

Intentional Culture versus Organic Culture

Right now organic is really big. Everybody wants organic food; organic is seen as a good thing. But when you’re talking about culture, organic is a bad thing. Organic is the kind of culture most people and businesses have. There’s no one thinking about it. There’s no one putting any guardrails in place. Meanwhile, an intentional culture is where you think through the building blocks that create culture and you put them into place so you have the kind of environment and the kind of motivation and momentum you want in your life.

 

Culture is driven by your beliefs and the beliefs of those around you. If you have positive, empowering beliefs and that’s your dominant focus, then you’re going to have a positive, empowering culture. But if the dominant focus is negative or limiting beliefs, then that’s going to create a negative or limiting culture.

 

Have you ever seen people who just have a dark cloud over them? They’re always negative. Everything that could go wrong does go wrong. That’s someone who has a very bad personal culture. They’re usually speaking negative things into the world and living those negative things out. Someone who has that kind of demeanor and life almost always has automatic negative thoughts. Or as Jim Kwik calls them: ANTS, automatic negative thoughts. That’s where when something happens you immediately think negatively about it.

 

So many people allow those kinds of thoughts to dominate their mind. What you feed into your mind and what you say out into the world eventually becomes your reality. Because, if that’s what you’re always saying and always thinking, your life is naturally going to follow that progression.

 

Some people live such negative lives they don’t even see the positive opportunities that come their way. They are ruled by their emotions instead of by their thoughts and they’re lying to themselves all the time. So, what are you saying to yourself? What are the thoughts that pop into your head when things come up? What are the things you say to the world about yourself?

 

You’re creating your personal culture with that.

 

Another way to look at it is with an organic culture you allow life to happen to you and then you react to what happens to you. You’re always playing defense.

 

With an intentional culture, you happen to life! You play offense and you set the agenda for what your life’s going to look like. When bad things happen, you find the positive in it. You study it to find out what went wrong and you fix it and move on instead of just staying in a negative place.

 

Personal culture

You have to know and intentionally live out your core values. What do you believe? You also have to know your vision very clearly. Who and what do you want to become? You have to know your purpose and you have to seek out opportunities to be working in the purpose God created you for. You have to cultivate an attitude of abundance as opposed to an attitude of scarcity and that comes from knowing what you believe.

 

A culture is naturally going to grow around you based on those things, rather than on what you would become if you were just living life haphazardly.

 

Who you associate with is going to shape your personal culture. If you’re hanging around a bunch of people who are negative, always talking about how they’re failing and say they’re not good enough, then that’s your sphere of influence. Guess what you’re going to end up being like?

 

Instead, surround yourself with people who are positive. Be around people who are seeking fulfillment in their life, who are working towards being better people and towards their own vision. Are you developing and building positive and empowering relationships?

 

What do you spend your discretionary time doing? Are you sitting on the sofa with a bag of chips instead of doing something productive? That’s fine once in a while, but you should be spending most of your discretionary time reading and learning and trying to better yourself. Are you moving towards your vision and figuring out what you need to learn to achieve it?

 

How do you behave in your moments of crisis? What happens when you’re faced with a moral dilemma? How do you treat other people?

 

If you’re a leader, what do you encourage in yourself and in others? How do you carry yourself in front of them? And what do you tolerate from people and from yourself?

 

Are you content with your life right now? Even if you’re not satisfied, are you learning to be content with where you are? There are a lot of people who spend their whole life dissatisfied. It’s ok to not be completely satisfied with where you’re at, but if you’ve got core values and a purpose and a vision and you’re going after those, you can be content where you are while still having a clear idea of where you’re going and what you want to accomplish.

 

All those things come together to create your personal culture. So whatever you create, however your life looks, because of that, know you’re going to attract more of what you created. If you’re someone who’s always negative, positive people will not want to interact with you. If you’re someone who’s always positive, negative people won’t want to interact with you. It’s your choice which group you want to be a part of. It’s up to you who you want to be, who you want to attract and how you want that all to play out.

 

Joe’s personal culture

Joe strives to be a person who is a thinker, contemplator and someone who ponders the big questions in life. He always wants to be learning. He is always listening to podcasts, trying to read as many books as possible, looking for people to learn from. He is always striving for achievement and fulfillment.

 

He is really trying in life to live out his purpose and the reason that God created him. He spends time focused on and working on those things. He strives to stay true to his core values to use them as a tool to filter life decisions through.

 

Additionally Joe wants to spend his discretionary time wisely. He doesn’t want to waste time or hang out with people he doesn’t enjoy being around. He has a small group of people he spends discretionary time with, who he enjoys being around. They’re people he brings value to and who bring value into his life. They’re people he can learn from and who can learn from him as well. Joe wants to spend his time in general serving people and helping them get better.

 

He also wants to always be content with where he is in life, knowing he’s done all he can to get where he is, but never satisfied. He strives for healthy dissatisfaction, which drives him to do better and reach more of the potential God has placed in him.

 

All these things create Joe’s personal culture.

 

Business culture

Your business culture flows directly from your personal culture. If you’re doing things in your personal life that you shouldn’t be doing, or that you don’t want other people to know about, it’s going to show up in your business culture. You want to be the best person you can be so that people will respect you because they know you’re a person who walks the talk.

 

Most businesses have an organic culture, which rarely results in a culture that’s pleasing to the leader. It’s common to hear the statement, if you just get great people the culture will take care of itself. Joe couldn’t disagree with that more.

 

Great people could be very talented, but they could have different core values than you. They could have their own agenda coming into your organization. They could have different goals than you and be working towards their goals while they’re in your business, leading other people in a different direction than where you want them to go.

 

You need great people, but you need great people who are like-minded to you and who are sold out to going after your vision. Otherwise, you’re going to develop a culture that’s geared toward the vision of your people. That’s probably not your vision.

 

Have you ever had one of those situations where you just can’t drag yourself out of bed in the morning to go into the office? You just can’t bear the people there, you can’t bear the environment there and you can’t bear what’s going on. Working in a bad culture is just miserable.

 

Characteristics of a bad culture

  • Everyone does their own thing
  • Office cancers actively working against your vision
  • Infighting and office politics
  • People protect their turf and refuse to share or help other team members
  • Team members sabotaging one another
  • Poor client experience because your team is working against one another at the expense of your clients
  • Good people leaving your team out of frustration
  • The wrong people sticking around too long
  • A toxic atmosphere / office gossip
  • Staff always arriving the moment the work day starts and leaving the moment the work day ends
  • Salespeople find excuses to stay away from the office as often as possible

 

 

Do you have any of those things going on with your team or in your office? If you do, it’s a big red flag. You need to take a look at this and see if you’ve got things rolling the way you want them to.

 

If you are the leader and you’ve got a bad culture in your office, it’s your fault. It is nobody else’s fault. As the leader you are 100 percent responsible for your culture. You set the tone for it. You allowed it to flourish. Think of yourself like a gardener. You’ve got this garden to tend, you’re trying to grow flowers, and when weeds are popping up you’re just sitting back and letting them grow. Do you blame the weeds for being there? Or do you blame yourself for letting them grow?

 

It’s the same thing in your culture. If you’ve got a bad business culture, it doesn’t matter if someone on your team is causing it. You’re the one who sets the tone, so you’re responsible for it.

 

Building an intentional culture within your organization

It’s a very simple process. It’s not easy but it’s very simple. It starts with very clearly defined core values and a very clearly defined vision. These fundamental principles are foundational to building a great culture.

 

What do you believe for your business? Do you have this written out so you can recite it? How does your purpose create this vision of who you want to be and what you want to become?

 

Your next job is to give them away to your team, and to do it with conviction. You stand behind them and say, “these are things that we’re not going to compromise on.” And then you personally live them out. You’re the example everyone else is going to follow. So you need to truly believe them, and you need to hold your team and yourself accountable for living them out.

 

One of the beautiful things about having a great vision and culture is that you don’t have to make all the decisions yourself. You can create an environment where everybody’s running forward together instead of you out in front dragging them along behind you. You, as the leader, are the keeper of the culture in the beginning, especially if you’ve had a team that’s been together for a while and you’ve been really lax. They’re going to test you and make it difficult on you at first. You have to keep that culture, and encourage and correct the people who aren’t living it out, to get it established. And then when you bring new people on to your team you have to filter them through your core values and your vision to make sure they’re buying into those things before they ever join your team. Check out Episode 3 for more on that.

 

Over time, the culture takes over and starts to correct itself. You’ll have the people on the team who are sold out to your culture, core values and vision. They’re going hold people in line or make sure  someone who’s not operating within the core values knows it. Your time to step in and deal with those things is going to be relatively minimal because the culture will protect itself. But that takes some time to get into place.

 

Culture is an incredible force. It’s probably the most important thing in business that nobody thinks about. Are you letting it be momentum against you instead of momentum for you?

 

 

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