I recently had a coaching call with a man in his late 30’s who was looking to make a dramatic change in his business life. He didn’t want to just change jobs, but he wanted to create a business that works around his ideal lifestyle.
My sweet spot as a mentor.
When I asked him to tell me his “superpower” he replied: “I’m a hard worker. That’s my best skill and attribute. ”
When did working hard become a skill that sets someone apart from others striving to be successful? Did I miss a memo?
If working hard is your key selling point as to why you feel you should be successful, then you’ve got problems lurking around the corner.
Being able to work hard should be a bare minimum, something you just do as an entrepreneur, and not the way you separate yourself from the rest of the crowd.
I don’t know any successful business owner, athlete, or person in any walk of life that doesn’t work hard.
“But Doug, I work smart, not hard.”
Good for you! This is a great strategy provided your competition isn’t working at all or is mentally handicapped in some way.
Yes, you should work smart, but you should also work hard when launching your business. Working hard, and working smart, should be things you just do. They shouldn’t need to be talked about. This goes for your staff as well.
Clock in at 8:05 and clock out at 4:50…
… this won’t work for anyone looking for something other than average. This is the mindset of someone who is ok with being mediocre and if that’s you, that’s fine. Just stop reading now.
Did you know that Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, would walk around the gym and pick up the basketballs and put away people’s towels? It’s what champions do and to him, it wasn’t hard work.
What would life look like if your norm was doing those things that needed to get done rather than claiming it was hard work?
What would your business look like?
What would it look like if you were so passionate about what you were doing that working hard felt like simply doing those things that got you what you wanted out of life and not as much like work?
What if we stopped patting ourselves on the back for doing what needed to get done and instead, we celebrated doing the “and then some” moments?
What if, in reality, it was easy?
When I explained this to the man on the other end of the video, he broke down in tears. Not because he was sad, but because he was relieved.
He had carried around a story that wasn’t serving him. He had put himself in a box that wasn’t allowing him to get what he wanted out of life – he just didn’t know it.
What if, in reality, it was easy?
Here’s something you can do today:
Grab your journal, or a piece of paper, or open a doc, and answer this question: What would my life look like if it were easy? What would my business look like if it were easy?
Paint that picture clearly.
You’d pick up the phone and make those calls…
You’d wake up with more energy because the stress wouldn’t be there…
You’d give up that lame story of not knowing what to do…
You’d do those things in your business that move the needle first, not last…
We’ve all heard this phrase being passed back and forth to help motivate people and more commonly, it’s used to make us feel better.
“We didn’t win, but hey, showing up is half the battle.”
“I’m tired today, but I came anyway. Hey, showing up is half the battle.”
No, it’s not!
The battle hasn’t even begun. You just showed up. This drives me absolutely nuts. It’s insane to think that we’re going to grow or get better by merely showing up. If showing up is your battle, then you’re in the wrong game. Get out now.
In business, the battle doesn’t start until you’ve exhausted your list of leads, it’s late in the day, you’re tired, and you still have to make sales. Or when you and your team are working hard to meet a deadline only to find out that the timeline got bumped up by a week. That’s when the battle starts.
In your relationships, to me, showing up is as necessary as breathing, and no one gives awards for breathing. If you want your relationships to thrive, then you get to show up in a big way each and every time. The battle starts at 3 AM when you’re tired, but your wife and son are both sick, so you stay up and take care of them both. That’s when it starts. That’s not even half of it.
In your health, the battle starts when you sit down with colleagues after work for a bite to eat and you get to choose what it is that you’re going to eat – the nachos or the chicken salad.
The battle doesn’t start when you show up.. .and showing up certainly isn’t half of it. The battle begins when your discipline and drive are tested. This is the starting point. I’m not sure where the halfway point is precisely, as I think it’s a moving target, but I do know that showing up doesn’t even register on the scale.
The next time you hear someone say “Hey, showing up is half the battle.” Just smile. You know that battle hasn’t begun because you’re playing at an entirely different level. Your game is different than theirs – no need to judge, just accept them for where they’re at today.
As a leader, showing up in your business, for your family, for your community, and for yourself is just the norm.
This is why leaders train both their minds and their bodies. Because when the actual battle does start, they’ll be ready.
“I’m going to stay in the middle and play it safe.”
These are all ways of saying: “I’m going to play small and give my power to someone else and hope that it turns out ok.”
Notice I said “ok” and not great. Because that’s really the hope here – that it turns out ok. Something you can live with. Not something that allows you to thrive.
I had a conversation with an amazing businessman last night. A man whose passion and intelligence far surpasses the norm.
A man who is going to change the world for the better.
You know the kind of person I’m speaking about – the kind of person whose energy lights up a room and whose conversation leaves you feeling heard, yet thinking in new ways. That’s rare in my experience.
Except he’s not being that person. Nope, he’s settling because he’s scared of what might happen if he disturbs the peace or causes conflict by going after his dreams and goals. He’s choosing to play small so that those around him feel good about themselves.
I get it. I used to do the same thing. I would make fun of myself when I was around someone that I could tell was lacking in self-esteem so that others would feel better. I would act dumber than I really was to make someone else feel good about themselves. I would deliberately mess up in sports, in games, or activities if I thought someone else there needed a pick-me-up. I’d play small and dim my light to make them shine brighter.
This way of being cost me a lot in my personal and business life. It cost me countless clients as I didn’t want to showcase how our company was better. It cost me in my personal life – missed out opportunities for fun, for relationships, and to express myself.
More importantly, dimming my light, so I didn’t rock my boat cost me my life.
Bold statement, I know, so let me explain.
When you dim your light for others or settle for “ok,” you rob yourself and the world of You. You are forced to put a mask on and pretend to be someone you’re not. A lesser version of yourself. And we do this in the hope that in the future we might be able to be more Us.
The truth is that when we do this, we step off the field that is our life, and go sit in the stands – watching and hoping that someone will save us. We become victims in our own story.
My wife taught me this lesson, and I’m lucky. She would catch me, more often than I care to admit, dimming my light to make other shine. She explained to me that I was robbing those people the opportunity to up their game and in effect, I was allowing them to play small. I wasn’t making them safe as I had hoped, I wasn’t protecting them, no, I was enabling them to hide.
The world needs more great people. The world needs YOU.
Let your light shine so brightly that you light up the people around you. Let your presence and way of being shine so that others will inspire to shine themselves.
Here are three things you can do today:
Recognize any time that you hold back or resist the urge to be fully you. Why are you holding back? What are you waiting for?
At that moment, push forward and show all your colors. In business, this might mean going after that larger client or showcasing your knowledge in a particular area. In your personal relationships, this might mean dressing a certain way or speaking up about your opinion. This isn’t a license to be a jerk. It’s a license to be you.
Reclaim Your Power. Have that conversation you’ve been putting off. You know the one I’m talking about. This is your life, not a warm-up for your life, but the real deal. Decide what it is you want and go after it with passion and love. If you feel that you’ve been holding back so you won’t hurt the people you love, then you’re wrong. Give the people you love a real gift – a relationship with the real you, not your fake representative.
When should you start?…
… How does now sound?
What is one thing that you’re committed to doing today to allow yourself to play big? I’d love to know.
My family and I recently decided to spend seven months in New England. For a man born and raised in Southern California, the change couldn’t be more drastic.
We live by the beach, and although the sun is out and the views along the shore are incredible, the weather is in the low 40’s. For me, this is cold. Bone-chilling cold.
As much as I want to blame the weather for my desire to stay inside where it’s warm and cozy, I see people of all ages out walking and running, enjoying the beauty around us. They aren’t making excuses. They are living.
I put on an extra layer and head out – my son doesn’t understand “it’s too cold” or “it’s raining.” To him, it’s now and now is a time to play outside.
He doesn’t accept excuses. They just don’t exist in his world yet. He also doesn’t explain his actions. He’s only been in the world for 18 months. Things are the way they are. That’s it.
Watching him navigate the world reminds me of a quote Benjamin Disraeli said: “Never complain, never explain.”
If you’re reading this, you have access to a computer and access to the Internet. You are doing well. You and I really have nothing to complain about and if we do complain, who cares? It doesn’t change anything when we complain. Nor, when we explain our actions and reasons for doing, or not doing, thing.
The complaining is merely a momentary state of victimhood. We’re blaming things outside of ourselves and essentially saying “it’s not our fault.”
What if we do what Jaco Williams suggestions in his book Extreme Ownership and take ownership of everything around us? What would that world look like?
Instead of complaining, we get to maintain the power over ourselves and take action.
Instead of explaining why we did, or did not, do something, we instead took action and showed those around us, and ourselves, who we are by what we do?
How would living this way change our lives? Who would be in the driver seat?
The next time you have the urge to complain, I invite you to take a pause, count to 4, and then take ownership over what you were just about to complain about. Take back your power.
As I write this, it’s 70 degrees in my home and 27 degrees outside. On my calendar, it says “workout” in 15 minutes.
I can complain about the weather.
I can explain that it’s too cold to go outside and workout.
Or, I can do what I told myself I was going to do.
I have options. What do you think I’m going to do?
The buck stops here.
How can you apply this to your day today?
Perhaps, instead of complaining about your employees, your spouse, or the weather, you take extreme ownership and let your actions do all the talking.
We all have one. That version of ourselves that does the right thing at the right time always has the perfect thing to say no matter what the situation and oozes charisma like an active volcano oozes lava.
We tend to imagine what it would be like to be that person. We imagine what our life would be like. We imagine what we’d feel like. We picture ourselves, head carried high, walking around our hometown, and everyone looking at us in admiration.
Well, maybe that’s just me, but…
We all have some version of this going on in our heads.
We imagine what it would feel like to be that superhero.
What if I told you that you could be that person now? Not soon. Now.
You can be. Or, at least you can have the feeling of being that superhero at any moment you chose. Don’t believe me?
Try this on for size: Imagine you just won the lottery. Really, imagine looking down at the ticket in your hand as you realize that all the numbers on the ticket your holding match the winning numbers shown on the screen in front of you. Not only did you win, but you won the largest jackpot in history… and you’re the only winner. How does that feel? (come on – really feel into this!)
What would you spend that money on first? Who would you take out on your private plane? What band will play at your next party? The Rolling Stones?
How are you feeling now?
My guess is that doing that simple exercise caused your energy to shift. I don’t know about you, but when I think about winning the lottery, I come alive with even more energy and passion.
And this was all in our heads. We can harness this power at every moment of our lives. It’s a choice. It’s mindset.
We don’t have to wait to win the lottery to feel like the superhero in our heads either. We can feel that way today.
Take your mask off and allow yourself to be the true you. No suppression of your inner superhero. Let that person out and claim the power from within that’s always been there for you.
Average is boring. You are meant for greatness.
Chances are if you’re being your superhero – you’re also being someone else’s.
The heater doesn’t kick in until it’s cold. At my house, the thermostat is set for 70. The temperature falls below that, then the heat kicks in. We like it that way in our home, and my wife and I are also conscious of the other thermostat in our minds.
Our mindset can be like a thermostat – changing when we hit highs or lows in our thinking.
A typical example of this is the entrepreneur who is doing well only to find themselves burning it all down subconsciously.
Back against the wall, they fight to get back on top. The underdog story plays in their mind. They are Rocky, and the world is Captain Ivan Drago.
To the outside world, they look like the hero, building new businesses and revenue streams. Inside, they are frantically working to find another way to get back on top.
It’s a cycle… a pattern… and my guess is you can relate – inside of business and in our personal life.
The secret is the thermostat.
In the above analogy, the entrepreneur hits a certain level of success and instead of breaking through to the next level, their thermostat kicks in and ensures their temperature is brought back to normal.
Only the thermostat is your mindset, and the temperature is how well you’ve trained that mindset.
Thermostats break. They go haywire. They can always use an adjustment… an upgrade.
You see, in my house, I can wear a jacket to make myself warm, but when the temperature drops below 70, the thermostat will still kick in.
I can complain about it being too warm. I can blame the temperature outside for being too cold. But nothing changes until I adjust the thermostat.
When was the last time you looked at the thermostat in your mindset?
Here are a few ways you can tell if it can use a tone up:
Do you notice a pattern in areas of your life, such as business, relationships, or health where things seem to be going really well, then all of a sudden they turn to crap? Then you rebuild that area, and things are good again,… until they aren’t. The pattern repeats. Time for an adjustment.
Do you find your bank account to be about the same no matter what you do? You get a raise, you make more money, yet your bank account has about the same amount of money in it? Time for an adjustment.
Do you find that you workout hard, eat the right foods, and just when you start to look and feel good you self-sabotage only to find yourself saying “I know better!”? Time for an adjustment.
We can all use an adjustment from time to time. This isn’t the warm-up for your life… this is your life. It’s game day. Time to adjust the thermostat.
Self-Sabotage, or as Gay Hendricks calls it in his book The Big Leap “Upper Limiting”, is a process that we all go through.
Here are some resources to help you push through your upper limit and prevent self-sabotage :
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks is a quick read and a great resource on how to prevent hitting what Gay refers to as your Upper Limit. This book will tell you Gay’s story and then walk you through the exercises he used to help stop his self-sabotage.
The hurts. The offenses. The actions that injure. Even thoughtless abuse from sources beyond our control is stored inside us chemically and spiritually. It becomes a toxic hindrance to moving forward in healing.
The parts of our being are inextricably combined; soul to body to mind to emotions. One cannot be addressed without the others also being affected. Which is why it is so important to remember to care for every slice of ourselves so that every slice is able to be healthy.
To heal, we strip away the spiritual toxin of resentment which means we have to go to the root of the problem. We must “unpack” all the baggage we’ve acquired. There are boxes, suitcases, and even little carry-ons of baggage to be thoughtfully opened and sorted. Which things should be kept for practical use, what should be let go of, what should be destroyed, and what should be filed away under, “Things I Learned”.
Only unpack what you are ready to take care of. Once you begin you can take your time in the process, but once you start it’s started! Prepare for experiences that only the healing of unpacking can bring to you. Revelations through healing that will change you forever.
What bags are lurking in the corners of your soul that need to be unpacked? Are some of them hurts inflicted by others? Are some labeled things like “guilt” and “shame” that need a little extra attention? Are you ready to start the practice of deliberately sorting through all these bags to heal and live with more peace?
I hope that you’ll be patient with yourself and allow yourself grace and time as you work through. I hope that you’ll offer forgiveness and compassion to those that added to your baggage. I hope that you’ll find the quiet and rest that comes with unpacking the baggage.