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6 Steps to Achieving Work-Life Balance

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6 Steps to Achieving Work-Life Balance

I know something about you. Your life is messed up. You aren’t where you thought you would be by now. You expected something very different than your current reality. I know this because you’re still reading. If your life was all sunshine and tropical beaches then you would have blown right past this article.

I know something else about you. Down deep shines a glimmer of hope. A flickering flame of belief that you can still have the life you wanted. Don’t let it die. The life you dream of is out there, but you have to make it happen. What does it take?

Here are 6 simple steps that will allow you to achieve the work life balance you so desperately seek:

1. Discover what you love

Work life balance means doing more of what you love and less of what you hate. In any career there will be tasks that you don’t love, but overall you should be spending most of your time doing things that are both fun and challenging. You’ll never have balance doing something that isn’t your passion.

“The truest drive comes from doing what you love.” – Peter Diamandis

2. Find the right type of work

Discovering what you love is about finding what makes you happy. Finding the right type of work is how you apply that to real life. Many people are perfectly content working a normal job in a field that brings them joy. I see this all the time in teachers, nurses, and leaders of companies. But for others a job is too restrictive. If that’s you then congratulations! You live in the age of the freelancer, consultant and virtual assistant. Organizations around the world pay millions of people every day to solve their problems, without hiring them as employees. I have a friend who recently started doing voice overs for commercials and other types of gigs. Now she does voice over work full time while travelling the country with her husband and young daughter.

 

3. Make a plan

Do you really know what you want in work life balance? Take some time to think through how you want to spend each day. For a normal job, do you like 9-5 for 5 days per week? Would you prefer working 10 hours a day and taking every Friday off? Does the idea of telecommuting excite you? For freelancers and consultants you must control your schedule or it will control you. Figure out exactly when and how you want to do what you love.

 

4. Hold yourself accountable

It’s really easy to slip back into a routine. Work life balance isn’t something you set up then just let happen. Keeping careful watch on how you spend your time and what you are doing will make you happier. Don’t be fooled into thinking that life is more fun lived randomly. Self-managed structure allows for freedom. Keep an eye on your daily life so that it remains yours.

“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.” – Margaret Thatcher

5. Don’t compromise

If you are like me you’ve lived most of your life by default. Your friends and family believe that’s normal. When you step out and start making conscious changes there will be pushback. Stay the course. Do what is right for you and those you love. Don’t give up management of your life to those who can’t even manage their own.

 

6. Give first place to the most important things

Are you married or is there a highly significant person in your life? Do you have children? Sometimes I think work life balance is backwards. We should call it Life Work balance. The people you love most should come before any business or work. Isn’t the point of work life balance to do what you enjoy most? Then make sure spending time with the people you care for comes first. Let the passion for your dream be fueled by the desire to be with the people you love so very much.

 

Perhaps the best advice I can give you is to take responsibility for your work life balance. No one else knows what truly makes you happy and only you can take the steps to reach that goal. Don’t let what you’ve always done keep you from doing what you really want.

A paycheck, even a very large paycheck, isn’t worth being miserable for the rest of your life. Be the person you were created to be and spend your life doing what you love.The life you dream of is out there, but you have to make it happen.

Are you doing what you love? If so, tell me what you are doing and why it is so fulfilling in the comment section below!

I help people develop amazing relationships and love what they do every day. I'm a writer, speaker and coach and you can read my articles on great sites such as the Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, the Good Men Project and Lifehack. Happiness in life and passion in your work are my goals. Meet me at TroyStoneking.com and Troy Stoneking on Facebook.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Tony Ciccolella

    Jul 20, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    I left the hustle and bustle corporate lifestyle of a successful headhunter to start my own sports agency. I currently represent 30 professional baseball players and now have the freedom not only help and enrich the lives of these players living their childhood dreams but as you say doing what I love….watching baseball and spending time with my family…I’ve been truly blessed

  2. Jenn Mullen

    Nov 19, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    This is a great article! Most of which I know already, but never commit to making work-life balance happen. I am currently working for a major health insurer in the state of Massachusetts and am in an investigative role. That being said, my role is very high-pressure and there’s never enough hours in the day to do everything. As we all know, healthcare fraud is rampant and that’s why I wanted to flip the coin and be on the proactive side of healthcare. Last May, I began schooling to become a certified health coach. I already have a part time partnership with a company that is looks at healthcare this way and thought it would be the perfect route to go. This coming May, I will be graduating and will be starting to take on clients and moving more toward my passion. I will be flipping my view to life-work balance. Thanks so much for this advice!

    • Troy Stoneking

      Nov 29, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      Thank you for the kind words Jenn! I’m so excited that you are going to become a certified health coach and follow your passion. We need you!!! I’m also glad you are taking control and going to make it life-work balance. 🙂 You are very welcome, I’m here to help.

  3. Alexis

    Nov 11, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I left the Oil & Gas world of Houston (after 16 years of the 8-5) to start my consulting business last January. What freedom it has been! I am actually living my priorities, instead of wishing I had more time to take care of my priorities (children, friends, running, etc.). GREAT article!

    • Troy Stoneking

      Nov 15, 2015 at 3:39 am

      Great job stepping out Alexis, your courage is inspiring! Thank you for the kind words.

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Life

10 Things You Must Do More Often in Order to Build an Enjoyable Life

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how to enjoy life

Most of us constantly look for ways to improve our lives. We want to make more money, be more attractive, and be regarded more highly by our friends and our colleagues. We are on a mission to achieve more, earn more, and learn more. More often than not, we are in a hurry to do all of it.

Unfortunately, this mindset misses the point. Think about it, what do all the things mentioned above have in common?  They’re all about ME. We’re all busy, we’ve all stretched out our limits and we’ve all got too much to do.

In the rush to improve our lives, we end up focusing too much on ourselves, which leads to disappointment and frustration when things don’t go as planned. But there are small actions we can take which help ground us in reality and make us remember what is most important about our lives.

Here are 10 things that you should do more often if you want to build a life that you truly enjoy:

1. Wake up before everyone else

Waking up early may not be your cup of tea, but I would urge even the most stalwart night owl to try this trick at least once over the course of the next few weeks. Set your alarm for an ungodly hour (like 5am) and make a concerted effort to get out of bed when your alarm goes off.

The brain functions differently in the early hours of the morning. Things may seem sharper, and ideas may come to you in different ways. On top of that, there is a subtle motivating factor that comes from the knowledge that you are up being productive while everyone else is still asleep in bed.

2. Spend a day doing anything you want to do

Many of us are shackled to our jobs, or studies and our personal commitments. We have become so overbooked that we rarely have a night off just to sit and relax. Even if we have that time, our minds typically wander to what we have to be doing the next day or later in the week.

Due to the above reason, I urge you to schedule one day a month where you actively schedule a full day of doing nothing but what you want to do. Not something for your business or your side project. Not something for someone else. Be selfish.

3. Reach out to old friends

The power of a network grows stronger based on how strong the connections are between each piece. Reach out to an old friend (or friends) and start the process of catching up and rebuilding relationships that have faded. You never know what opportunities may develop from these connections, so it is always a good idea to maintain these open channels.

“Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

4. Ask someone to do something for you which you could do yourself

You may have the time or skill necessary to do something, but delegating will be invaluable to you as you continue to move through life. The practice of delegating is a subtle art that few of us are comfortable with, but almost all of us would benefit from.

Delegating requires you to plan exactly what you want to happen, and it also requires that you set clear expectations for what you expect from others. You can practice this by hiring someone from Fiverr or Upwork to help you with your job or a random task of some kind.

5. Say thank you to someone that made a difference in your life in the last year

You have no idea what a difference a gesture of this kind can make to someone. Reach out to a stranger, a colleague, a family member, or a long lost friend. Tell them why you appreciate them, and say thank you for what they’ve done for you. You don’t need to tell them it was because I told you so… just go for it. You won’t regret it, and you’ll make their day.

6. Give your opinion about what someone should do in their life or in their work

This is nearly as hard as asking someone to do something for you. As humans, we tend to avoid potential conflicts, and telling someone to change something about their lives has a huge potential for conflict or argument. Still, if you are able to share your opinion in a clear and thought through manner, that person will not only appreciate your advice, they will respect you moving forward.

7. Give a compliment to someone without expecting anything in return

Similar to saying thank you to someone, giving a compliment allows you to strengthen your relationship with others in and outside of your network while helping you build the self confidence to share your opinions openly and without self-judgement. If possible, focus on giving “growth mindset” compliments rather than “fixed mindset” compliments.

Growth mindset compliments are those relating to skills or traits which can be learned and improved upon (i.e. you did such a good job with that presentation), whereas fixed mindset compliments are those which relate to fixed attributes related to physical appearance, intellect, etc (you’re so smart).

“Everybody likes a compliment.” – Abraham Lincoln

8. Make something and share it with the world

Often we are told to create widgets for our employers or to churn out content for individuals that pay us. However, real creativity requires tapping into our inner passions and ideas about how the world works. Being creative in this way is a great way to reconnect with your true nature and ground yourself in the present moment.

9. Go to a free event and see something you’ve not experienced before

Always keep on learning! If you live in or near a big city, chances are there are a ton of free events being advertised online which you can attend. Look for new museum exhibitions, street fairs, musical concerts, talks, etc. and try to attend something new every month. Even networking events can lead to future job prospects or business opportunities.

10. Cook a meal for someone (or a group of people)

Some of the strongest bonds between human beings are formed around food. Since the discovery of fire, humans have been gathering around and feeding one another, sharing memories, advice, opinions and accolades. Even if you’re not a good cook, throw a few pizzas in the oven and invite a few friends over for a drink.

Now I know what you’re thinking right now. I don’t have time to do all that every week, or even every month. Heck, maybe even every year is asking too much. But I assure you, you do have time for these activities. Some of them let you reconnect with yourself at a deeper level, while others require you to connect with the ones around you in an empathetic and emotionally engaged way.

Remember that this life is not just about you, it’s about everyone you come in contact with. Every small action you take will have a butterfly effect which changes the hearts and minds of those you come in contact with.

How are you making sure you’re building the life you truly want to live? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

The 4 Agreements You’ll Need to Make With Yourself to Live a Happier Life

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Here’s something we can all agree on: Life is hard. And if this wasn’t enough, caring about other people’s opinion only makes it harder. You have a good job but you’re too scared to run your own business. You have a good relationship with your partner, but you’re too scared to get married. And you live an interesting life but you’re too scared to share it on social media.

In other words, fear is taking over your life. The problem is that changing your perspective isn’t easy. But here’s the big secret…You can unlearn your previous beliefs and adopt new ones that will help set you free from your fears.

It won’t be easy but if you’re hungry for positive change, here are the four agreements based on the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz you’ll need to make with yourself:

1. Always Be True To Your Word

Do you know the power of your word? Most people don’t stop to appreciate the power they possess in their word. Your word has the power to kill millions of people or to change someone’s life forever. Think back when Martin Luther King managed to change millions of lives with his “I Have A Dream” speech.

The problem is most people fail to use the power of their word, or worse they use it to unintentionally hurt others. However, the trick is to say only what you truly mean. Don’t speak badly about yourself or others. And speak about truth and love.

Negative feedback can act as poison to other people. Start taking the power of your word seriously by speaking only positive things. Instead of gossiping behind your co-worker’s back, try to say positive things or don’t say anything at all.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

2. Free Yourself From People’s Ideas

Chances are that other people’s words closely relate to your own perception. So what happens? You believe your friend who calls you ugly when you’re having a bad hair day. You believe your boss who states you’re an incompetent worker when you’re experiencing a bad breakup. And you believe your family when they provide you with many reasons of why you won’t be able to run a successful business.

The list goes on and on. Repeat this for years and it’s no wonder why you take other people’s criticism personally. What you have to understand is that other people’s opinions aren’t about you, it’s a reflection of themselves. For example, if someone tells you that you’ll never launch a successful business it’s screaming what they believe is possible.

You shouldn’t even take your own comments personally. Sometimes your own words cause self-inflicting damage. So what’s the solution? Start by listing your beliefs that make you fearful or unhappy. Then work on your smallest beliefs and begin replacing them with positive beliefs.

3. Stop Making Assumptions About Everything

Be bold and ask questions. The next time someone explains something to you, repeat what they’ve said to confirm if their statement was correct. Rinse and repeat until you’re confident that you understand the other person. Will it be easy? Of course not. There will be times when you’ll be scared to ask questions or people will look annoyed. However, you can’t let fear hold you back.

Here are the two questions to ask yourself when you’re facing tough times: 1. If today was my last day would this problem be significant? 2. How do you want to live? Be curious and become confident in asking questions so you’ll never have to assume anything.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama XIV

4. Consistently Do Your Best

Don’t strive to be perfect, strive to do your best. You’ll regret more the chances we didn’t take vs the times you’ve failed. If you’re always performing at your best you’ll be less likely to feel disappointed. Your best will vary from time to time but as long as you’re always putting your best effort you’ll be at peace.

Why does this work? As humans, we punish ourselves multiple times for a single mistake. That’s because we tend to live in the future or past replaying old mistakes and punishing ourselves further. By always doing our best you eliminate the possibility for regret and self-judgment. Don’t forget to do your best with the little things as well.

Here’s what I mean: The moment you wake put your best effort to make your bed. When you’re feeling off, put your best effort going to go to the gym to lift weights. Stop waiting for those rare days when you wake up feeling amazing. Get up each morning with the intent to do your best at everything you do!

Start Living A Happy Life

Picture this, it’s 5 am and you’re starting your morning ritual. At the end of your ritual, you’re ready to have an amazing day despite it being Monday. But that’s not all. You’ve found the courage to leave your job to go all in with your business. You’ve found the courage to get married and take your relationship to the next level. You’ve even found the courage to share silly pictures of yourself on social media.

Life is good. Most people wish for these types of day, but not you. Ever since you’ve adopted these 4 agreements your life has transformed for the better. You’re no longer a victim to what happens in your life.

Amazing isn’t it? This can be your reality if you begin adopting these 4 agreements into your life today. You’ve only got one life to live, are you going to let fear hold you back from being happy?

What have you discovered about yourself? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

5 Actionable Tips to Master Your Mental Illness and Be Successful

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With May being Mental Illness Awareness Month, it’s imperative to know what actions we can take to develop more successful emotions. Emotional pain is one of the worst things that can happen to an individual. After attempting suicide twice and checking myself into countless mental health clinics, I was able to finally to become the master of my world. Reaching rock bottom twice, I’ve learned how to become successful in both my personal and professional life.  With a little bit of effort, this is something you can do too.

Even if you’re not battling a mental illness, these techniques can work wonders for improving every part of life:

1. Reading For Personal Growth

With so much negative material in this world of the internet, one must take the time to purposefully install positive material that’ll help you grow. Just by being on Addicted2Success, you’re on the right path.

Reading also is another way to exercise your mind. By exercising the mind and inserting positive information into it on a consistent basis, it’s inevitable that your thoughts, actions, and results will begin to change. What I did, and still do, is read books from the genres of Self-Help, Self-Improvement, Personal Development, and Psychology.

2. Writing To Vent

Even after speaking to therapists and psychologists, what I have found to work wonders is to simply write. What’s great about this is you can get everything off of your chest and then destroy the evidence by shredding it once you’re done. By bottling everything up inside, it begins to eat away at us, stacks up with other negative emotions, and then comes back with a vengeance.

Start a daily journal to vent about everything that’s bothering you and then shred it if you choose. I personally shred everything all at once rather than one day at a time.

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” – Gustave Flaubert

3. Changing Environments

Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the five people you hang out with most.” This is true for success, finances, health, mentality, and all other areas of life. If you want to become successful, if you want to pull yourself out of an emotional slump, change the stimuli you’re currently in. This can include your friends, work, tv shows, news, movies, music, social media, unorganized office/home, and more.

If you feel like something is dragging you down, it is. Do what successful people do and change it! I personally went for months without a friend because they were the biggest source of negativity in my life…and I’d do it again!

4. Controlling Your Thoughts

This is easier said than done, but it’s extremely possible. On average, we have about 60,000 thoughts running through our minds every day, more than half of those are negative.

One thing you can try is to make a tally mark every time you notice a negative thought. Doing this will help you become more aware of this and you’ll notice over time, those tally marks will slowly dwindle. The key here is to have a predetermined affirmation or mantra to replace that negative thought with. I personally have a go-to affirmation which I repeat over-and-over again while forcing the biggest smile I can muster at the time.

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” – Mark Twain

5. Taking Action On Ideas

Ideas are a dime-a-dozen because too many are stillborn, most never take action on any idea they have. By taking action in any capacity on an idea that you come up with, it’ll help boost self-esteem and confidence. It also sends a signal to your subconscious mind that you’re becoming a different person who has a purpose in life. Start small at first, then go as big as your imagination can dream. I use to ignore my ideas because everyone told me how stupid I was, yet now I receive praise for being a innovative visionary with determination.

It took me nearly ten years without medication or therapy to completely reverse my life for the better. Now that I am where I am, I still practice all of this and more! You can be successful in whatever it is that you desire, but it all starts in the mind and your actions.

If you or anyone you know is battling any type of mental illness, know that it is only temporary if you choose for it to be. Take the advice Bob Proctor told me and implement it immediately: “The mind is the most powerful force in all of creation, hold the image of what you want, and surprise the whole world.”

What tricks do you have for controlling your mind and making sure your brain helps you achieve success throughout your day? Let us know in the comments below!

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Life

Why I Drastically Reduced My Social Media Consumption (And I Work in Social Media!)

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Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the way I consume, create and connect using social media.

What started out as a tool that was supposed to bring us together has turned into something we didn’t expect. Now, I’m the biggest advocate of all when it comes to social media. So much so, that I’ve dedicated most of my career to it.

This post is not designed to get you to delete social media and go and live off-grid, away from the Internet, on a farm, with no car and no connection to the community around you.

The point is to get you to rethink your social media usage.

These are the 4 burdens of social media:

 

Responding to comments

One of my coaching clients said to me the other day “How do you find time to respond to all of the comments you get online?”

I told him “I don’t.”

This is a new thing for me. If I go back six months, I was responding to every comment I got. It’s no secret that by responding to comments on social media in real-time, you get more engagement on your posts.

So yes, commenting is good if you are building an audience and want more people to see your work, but on the downside, you become a slave to comments.

The other challenge with comments is that you will get trolls and people that say nasty stuff. No matter how hard you try, some of them will affect your mindset, motivation or even your mood.

This is why I have drastically reduced the comments I respond to. I still engage and support people that like my work, I just do it less.

This leaves me more time to create, which ultimately provides more value than a reply to a comment.

 

Liking people’s posts

Social media also brings on the expectation that you’re supposed to like people’s posts who supported you, are your family or maybe even your work colleagues or friends.

I always like to support other people’s work, but I disagree with people expecting me to. Some posts just don’t resonate with me and that’s why I don’t reshare them even if they are my friends, colleagues or even super fans of my work.

 

Responding to direct messages

“Instant messaging has been the bane of my existence. It’s like a meeting that never ends”

Now everyone can reach me. This might seem like it makes us more connected but I don’t feel it does. Instead, it takes up huge amounts of time to respond to direct messages. A lot of the ones I get have ‘asks’ attached to them.

There’s nothing wrong with an ‘ask’ through social media but if you don’t know someone at all, it gets annoying quickly.

 

Having to check notifications

When I see 150 new notifications on LinkedIn (or any social network) as much as I hate to admit it, it feels good. I end up checking my notifications in meetings, while out for dinner with my significant other and even in the car (dangerous).

“Most of what these notifications are telling me are unimportant but my dopamine addicted brain can’t resist. The need for validation that I am growing or becoming somebody is too great”

<<<>>>>>

It’s for these four reasons that I recently severely limited by social media usage.

This may seem like the action of a crazy person given that I work in social media. I promise you it’s not. I can still have a career in social media or as a blogger without checking apps 100 times a day.

My time is now focused on something far more important:

Maximizing my time creating content that serves my purpose instead of consuming which is what the social media platforms want me to do (I never did like following rules).

<<<>>>

Here are the benefits I got by drastically reducing my social media usage:

 

Less stress

The recent test I took to measure my cortisol levels shows that I’m currently at 800 on the cortisol scale and the normal range is between 0-400.

I’ve been looking for any way I can to reduce stress. My experimentation with reducing social media has helped significantly.

“I find myself living in flight mode more often and enjoying right now”

One of the biggest flaws with the 24/7 social media model is the increase in stress if nothing else. The need for instant validation is making our stress levels soar. It’s time to fight back!

 

It’s made me more creative

I’m now being inspired more by things I witness in real life as opposed to the sometimes made-up, perfect world of social media. Creativity fuels our passions and even our businesses.

It takes empty space and free time to be creative. Social media was sucking up all my spare time after work and on the weekend. By consuming less, I had blocks of spare time to create.

That also gave me time to be inspired by books that fuel my imagination like Harry Potter (strangely enough).

 

I feel freer

Being tied to my phone and glued to social media is like having chains around my arms.

“It’s been nice to be free of advice, funny videos, opinions, politics and everything else that is like a fire hose in your face”

 

More present

Meditation has been something I’ve sucked at for a long time. I find it hard to be present and observe the now. Part of the reason, I’ve discovered, is that I was thinking about what was happening on social media.

Having time away from social media has made being present easier for me. I’m thinking less about how many views I got on LinkedIn today and more about the meaning of life and the people I care about.

It’s not perfect though. I still spend time on social media (obviously) and so I have to balance the benefits, with the negatives like being less present.

 

Fewer distractions

All the way back to high school, my teachers told me “Tim, you’re easily distracted.”

Even on my report cards, it says it. My teachers put it down to my appreciation of the opposite sex (this is what they said!) but I disagree. I put it down to my need for human interaction which is what has made me love selling in the business world.

None the less, I am easily distracted -  that’s a fact. Social media has forced me to check my notifications consistently. Since reducing my social media consumption, I’ve put into action a new strategy.

What I do now is turn off all notifications on my phone, computer, iPad and laptop. I only have SMS and phone call notifications turned on.

This setup allows me to time-box when I check my social media and only look at certain times of the day. By batching similar tasks like checking notifications together, I spend less time overall on social media.

Not only do I have my notifications for social media turned off, but I also do most of the commenting and responding to messages on my iMac. The screen of my phone is small and it makes the process longer, more stressful and it’s a burden on my eyes.

 

It’s increased my real-world interactions with people

By being less social without the need for social media and online communities, my hunger for connection has not disappeared. If anything, it’s increased.

The only way to get my fix is to attend a social catchup, hang out with workmates, have more meetings with clients and say hi to strangers.

This has improved my confidence, got me out of my comfort-zone and even helped me with my public speaking ability.

 

Final thought

Social media doesn’t have to be a burden but until you learn to control it, it will wreak havoc on your life. Working in social media makes me a big advocate of the upside, but the downside is not so obvious.

I hope, through my own reduction in social media, you’ve got a new perspective – or at least a different view of social media.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Success Advice

One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I don’t believe in quick fixes, in get-rich-quick schemes, or any other system that guarantees instant success with only a modicum of effort. But, I do believe it’s possible to condense great strings of logical thought and intellectual algorithms into basics. I like to keep things simple! Many of my clients love the fact that I don’t overly complete things, and frankly, so do I! I like to ask simple questions whose answers can be had quickly but require some focus in obtaining the outcome. (more…)

Biagio Sciacca, known to his friends as Bill, was a lifelong resident of Pittston, PA. He is the owner of Intelligent Motivation, Inc. a global consulting and training firm specializing in management and leadership training as well as psychological assessment for hiring and staff development. He is the author of several books relating to goal setting, and his third book, Provocative Leadership, is publishing soon. Now residing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, he divides his time between his international coaching and training clients, writing his next book and wandering aimlessly on the beach. Feel free to contact Bill at bill@intelligentmotivationinc.com or schedule a call with him by going to www.intelligentmotivationinc.com and clicking on the “set up a call” tab.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Tony Ciccolella

    Jul 20, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    I left the hustle and bustle corporate lifestyle of a successful headhunter to start my own sports agency. I currently represent 30 professional baseball players and now have the freedom not only help and enrich the lives of these players living their childhood dreams but as you say doing what I love….watching baseball and spending time with my family…I’ve been truly blessed

  2. Jenn Mullen

    Nov 19, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    This is a great article! Most of which I know already, but never commit to making work-life balance happen. I am currently working for a major health insurer in the state of Massachusetts and am in an investigative role. That being said, my role is very high-pressure and there’s never enough hours in the day to do everything. As we all know, healthcare fraud is rampant and that’s why I wanted to flip the coin and be on the proactive side of healthcare. Last May, I began schooling to become a certified health coach. I already have a part time partnership with a company that is looks at healthcare this way and thought it would be the perfect route to go. This coming May, I will be graduating and will be starting to take on clients and moving more toward my passion. I will be flipping my view to life-work balance. Thanks so much for this advice!

    • Troy Stoneking

      Nov 29, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      Thank you for the kind words Jenn! I’m so excited that you are going to become a certified health coach and follow your passion. We need you!!! I’m also glad you are taking control and going to make it life-work balance. 🙂 You are very welcome, I’m here to help.

  3. Alexis

    Nov 11, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I left the Oil & Gas world of Houston (after 16 years of the 8-5) to start my consulting business last January. What freedom it has been! I am actually living my priorities, instead of wishing I had more time to take care of my priorities (children, friends, running, etc.). GREAT article!

    • Troy Stoneking

      Nov 15, 2015 at 3:39 am

      Great job stepping out Alexis, your courage is inspiring! Thank you for the kind words.

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Life

10 Things You Must Do More Often in Order to Build an Enjoyable Life

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how to enjoy life

Most of us constantly look for ways to improve our lives. We want to make more money, be more attractive, and be regarded more highly by our friends and our colleagues. We are on a mission to achieve more, earn more, and learn more. More often than not, we are in a hurry to do all of it.

Unfortunately, this mindset misses the point. Think about it, what do all the things mentioned above have in common?  They’re all about ME. We’re all busy, we’ve all stretched out our limits and we’ve all got too much to do.

In the rush to improve our lives, we end up focusing too much on ourselves, which leads to disappointment and frustration when things don’t go as planned. But there are small actions we can take which help ground us in reality and make us remember what is most important about our lives.

Here are 10 things that you should do more often if you want to build a life that you truly enjoy:

1. Wake up before everyone else

Waking up early may not be your cup of tea, but I would urge even the most stalwart night owl to try this trick at least once over the course of the next few weeks. Set your alarm for an ungodly hour (like 5am) and make a concerted effort to get out of bed when your alarm goes off.

The brain functions differently in the early hours of the morning. Things may seem sharper, and ideas may come to you in different ways. On top of that, there is a subtle motivating factor that comes from the knowledge that you are up being productive while everyone else is still asleep in bed.

2. Spend a day doing anything you want to do

Many of us are shackled to our jobs, or studies and our personal commitments. We have become so overbooked that we rarely have a night off just to sit and relax. Even if we have that time, our minds typically wander to what we have to be doing the next day or later in the week.

Due to the above reason, I urge you to schedule one day a month where you actively schedule a full day of doing nothing but what you want to do. Not something for your business or your side project. Not something for someone else. Be selfish.

3. Reach out to old friends

The power of a network grows stronger based on how strong the connections are between each piece. Reach out to an old friend (or friends) and start the process of catching up and rebuilding relationships that have faded. You never know what opportunities may develop from these connections, so it is always a good idea to maintain these open channels.

“Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

4. Ask someone to do something for you which you could do yourself

You may have the time or skill necessary to do something, but delegating will be invaluable to you as you continue to move through life. The practice of delegating is a subtle art that few of us are comfortable with, but almost all of us would benefit from.

Delegating requires you to plan exactly what you want to happen, and it also requires that you set clear expectations for what you expect from others. You can practice this by hiring someone from Fiverr or Upwork to help you with your job or a random task of some kind.

5. Say thank you to someone that made a difference in your life in the last year

You have no idea what a difference a gesture of this kind can make to someone. Reach out to a stranger, a colleague, a family member, or a long lost friend. Tell them why you appreciate them, and say thank you for what they’ve done for you. You don’t need to tell them it was because I told you so… just go for it. You won’t regret it, and you’ll make their day.

6. Give your opinion about what someone should do in their life or in their work

This is nearly as hard as asking someone to do something for you. As humans, we tend to avoid potential conflicts, and telling someone to change something about their lives has a huge potential for conflict or argument. Still, if you are able to share your opinion in a clear and thought through manner, that person will not only appreciate your advice, they will respect you moving forward.

7. Give a compliment to someone without expecting anything in return

Similar to saying thank you to someone, giving a compliment allows you to strengthen your relationship with others in and outside of your network while helping you build the self confidence to share your opinions openly and without self-judgement. If possible, focus on giving “growth mindset” compliments rather than “fixed mindset” compliments.

Growth mindset compliments are those relating to skills or traits which can be learned and improved upon (i.e. you did such a good job with that presentation), whereas fixed mindset compliments are those which relate to fixed attributes related to physical appearance, intellect, etc (you’re so smart).

“Everybody likes a compliment.” – Abraham Lincoln

8. Make something and share it with the world

Often we are told to create widgets for our employers or to churn out content for individuals that pay us. However, real creativity requires tapping into our inner passions and ideas about how the world works. Being creative in this way is a great way to reconnect with your true nature and ground yourself in the present moment.

9. Go to a free event and see something you’ve not experienced before

Always keep on learning! If you live in or near a big city, chances are there are a ton of free events being advertised online which you can attend. Look for new museum exhibitions, street fairs, musical concerts, talks, etc. and try to attend something new every month. Even networking events can lead to future job prospects or business opportunities.

10. Cook a meal for someone (or a group of people)

Some of the strongest bonds between human beings are formed around food. Since the discovery of fire, humans have been gathering around and feeding one another, sharing memories, advice, opinions and accolades. Even if you’re not a good cook, throw a few pizzas in the oven and invite a few friends over for a drink.

Now I know what you’re thinking right now. I don’t have time to do all that every week, or even every month. Heck, maybe even every year is asking too much. But I assure you, you do have time for these activities. Some of them let you reconnect with yourself at a deeper level, while others require you to connect with the ones around you in an empathetic and emotionally engaged way.

Remember that this life is not just about you, it’s about everyone you come in contact with. Every small action you take will have a butterfly effect which changes the hearts and minds of those you come in contact with.

How are you making sure you’re building the life you truly want to live? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

The 4 Agreements You’ll Need to Make With Yourself to Live a Happier Life

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Here’s something we can all agree on: Life is hard. And if this wasn’t enough, caring about other people’s opinion only makes it harder. You have a good job but you’re too scared to run your own business. You have a good relationship with your partner, but you’re too scared to get married. And you live an interesting life but you’re too scared to share it on social media.

In other words, fear is taking over your life. The problem is that changing your perspective isn’t easy. But here’s the big secret…You can unlearn your previous beliefs and adopt new ones that will help set you free from your fears.

It won’t be easy but if you’re hungry for positive change, here are the four agreements based on the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz you’ll need to make with yourself:

1. Always Be True To Your Word

Do you know the power of your word? Most people don’t stop to appreciate the power they possess in their word. Your word has the power to kill millions of people or to change someone’s life forever. Think back when Martin Luther King managed to change millions of lives with his “I Have A Dream” speech.

The problem is most people fail to use the power of their word, or worse they use it to unintentionally hurt others. However, the trick is to say only what you truly mean. Don’t speak badly about yourself or others. And speak about truth and love.

Negative feedback can act as poison to other people. Start taking the power of your word seriously by speaking only positive things. Instead of gossiping behind your co-worker’s back, try to say positive things or don’t say anything at all.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

2. Free Yourself From People’s Ideas

Chances are that other people’s words closely relate to your own perception. So what happens? You believe your friend who calls you ugly when you’re having a bad hair day. You believe your boss who states you’re an incompetent worker when you’re experiencing a bad breakup. And you believe your family when they provide you with many reasons of why you won’t be able to run a successful business.

The list goes on and on. Repeat this for years and it’s no wonder why you take other people’s criticism personally. What you have to understand is that other people’s opinions aren’t about you, it’s a reflection of themselves. For example, if someone tells you that you’ll never launch a successful business it’s screaming what they believe is possible.

You shouldn’t even take your own comments personally. Sometimes your own words cause self-inflicting damage. So what’s the solution? Start by listing your beliefs that make you fearful or unhappy. Then work on your smallest beliefs and begin replacing them with positive beliefs.

3. Stop Making Assumptions About Everything

Be bold and ask questions. The next time someone explains something to you, repeat what they’ve said to confirm if their statement was correct. Rinse and repeat until you’re confident that you understand the other person. Will it be easy? Of course not. There will be times when you’ll be scared to ask questions or people will look annoyed. However, you can’t let fear hold you back.

Here are the two questions to ask yourself when you’re facing tough times: 1. If today was my last day would this problem be significant? 2. How do you want to live? Be curious and become confident in asking questions so you’ll never have to assume anything.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama XIV

4. Consistently Do Your Best

Don’t strive to be perfect, strive to do your best. You’ll regret more the chances we didn’t take vs the times you’ve failed. If you’re always performing at your best you’ll be less likely to feel disappointed. Your best will vary from time to time but as long as you’re always putting your best effort you’ll be at peace.

Why does this work? As humans, we punish ourselves multiple times for a single mistake. That’s because we tend to live in the future or past replaying old mistakes and punishing ourselves further. By always doing our best you eliminate the possibility for regret and self-judgment. Don’t forget to do your best with the little things as well.

Here’s what I mean: The moment you wake put your best effort to make your bed. When you’re feeling off, put your best effort going to go to the gym to lift weights. Stop waiting for those rare days when you wake up feeling amazing. Get up each morning with the intent to do your best at everything you do!

Start Living A Happy Life

Picture this, it’s 5 am and you’re starting your morning ritual. At the end of your ritual, you’re ready to have an amazing day despite it being Monday. But that’s not all. You’ve found the courage to leave your job to go all in with your business. You’ve found the courage to get married and take your relationship to the next level. You’ve even found the courage to share silly pictures of yourself on social media.

Life is good. Most people wish for these types of day, but not you. Ever since you’ve adopted these 4 agreements your life has transformed for the better. You’re no longer a victim to what happens in your life.

Amazing isn’t it? This can be your reality if you begin adopting these 4 agreements into your life today. You’ve only got one life to live, are you going to let fear hold you back from being happy?

What have you discovered about yourself? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

5 Actionable Tips to Master Your Mental Illness and Be Successful

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mental illness

With May being Mental Illness Awareness Month, it’s imperative to know what actions we can take to develop more successful emotions. Emotional pain is one of the worst things that can happen to an individual. After attempting suicide twice and checking myself into countless mental health clinics, I was able to finally to become the master of my world. Reaching rock bottom twice, I’ve learned how to become successful in both my personal and professional life.  With a little bit of effort, this is something you can do too.

Even if you’re not battling a mental illness, these techniques can work wonders for improving every part of life:

1. Reading For Personal Growth

With so much negative material in this world of the internet, one must take the time to purposefully install positive material that’ll help you grow. Just by being on Addicted2Success, you’re on the right path.

Reading also is another way to exercise your mind. By exercising the mind and inserting positive information into it on a consistent basis, it’s inevitable that your thoughts, actions, and results will begin to change. What I did, and still do, is read books from the genres of Self-Help, Self-Improvement, Personal Development, and Psychology.

2. Writing To Vent

Even after speaking to therapists and psychologists, what I have found to work wonders is to simply write. What’s great about this is you can get everything off of your chest and then destroy the evidence by shredding it once you’re done. By bottling everything up inside, it begins to eat away at us, stacks up with other negative emotions, and then comes back with a vengeance.

Start a daily journal to vent about everything that’s bothering you and then shred it if you choose. I personally shred everything all at once rather than one day at a time.

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” – Gustave Flaubert

3. Changing Environments

Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the five people you hang out with most.” This is true for success, finances, health, mentality, and all other areas of life. If you want to become successful, if you want to pull yourself out of an emotional slump, change the stimuli you’re currently in. This can include your friends, work, tv shows, news, movies, music, social media, unorganized office/home, and more.

If you feel like something is dragging you down, it is. Do what successful people do and change it! I personally went for months without a friend because they were the biggest source of negativity in my life…and I’d do it again!

4. Controlling Your Thoughts

This is easier said than done, but it’s extremely possible. On average, we have about 60,000 thoughts running through our minds every day, more than half of those are negative.

One thing you can try is to make a tally mark every time you notice a negative thought. Doing this will help you become more aware of this and you’ll notice over time, those tally marks will slowly dwindle. The key here is to have a predetermined affirmation or mantra to replace that negative thought with. I personally have a go-to affirmation which I repeat over-and-over again while forcing the biggest smile I can muster at the time.

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” – Mark Twain

5. Taking Action On Ideas

Ideas are a dime-a-dozen because too many are stillborn, most never take action on any idea they have. By taking action in any capacity on an idea that you come up with, it’ll help boost self-esteem and confidence. It also sends a signal to your subconscious mind that you’re becoming a different person who has a purpose in life. Start small at first, then go as big as your imagination can dream. I use to ignore my ideas because everyone told me how stupid I was, yet now I receive praise for being a innovative visionary with determination.

It took me nearly ten years without medication or therapy to completely reverse my life for the better. Now that I am where I am, I still practice all of this and more! You can be successful in whatever it is that you desire, but it all starts in the mind and your actions.

If you or anyone you know is battling any type of mental illness, know that it is only temporary if you choose for it to be. Take the advice Bob Proctor told me and implement it immediately: “The mind is the most powerful force in all of creation, hold the image of what you want, and surprise the whole world.”

What tricks do you have for controlling your mind and making sure your brain helps you achieve success throughout your day? Let us know in the comments below!

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Life

Why I Drastically Reduced My Social Media Consumption (And I Work in Social Media!)

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Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the way I consume, create and connect using social media.

What started out as a tool that was supposed to bring us together has turned into something we didn’t expect. Now, I’m the biggest advocate of all when it comes to social media. So much so, that I’ve dedicated most of my career to it.

This post is not designed to get you to delete social media and go and live off-grid, away from the Internet, on a farm, with no car and no connection to the community around you.

The point is to get you to rethink your social media usage.

These are the 4 burdens of social media:

 

Responding to comments

One of my coaching clients said to me the other day “How do you find time to respond to all of the comments you get online?”

I told him “I don’t.”

This is a new thing for me. If I go back six months, I was responding to every comment I got. It’s no secret that by responding to comments on social media in real-time, you get more engagement on your posts.

So yes, commenting is good if you are building an audience and want more people to see your work, but on the downside, you become a slave to comments.

The other challenge with comments is that you will get trolls and people that say nasty stuff. No matter how hard you try, some of them will affect your mindset, motivation or even your mood.

This is why I have drastically reduced the comments I respond to. I still engage and support people that like my work, I just do it less.

This leaves me more time to create, which ultimately provides more value than a reply to a comment.

 

Liking people’s posts

Social media also brings on the expectation that you’re supposed to like people’s posts who supported you, are your family or maybe even your work colleagues or friends.

I always like to support other people’s work, but I disagree with people expecting me to. Some posts just don’t resonate with me and that’s why I don’t reshare them even if they are my friends, colleagues or even super fans of my work.

 

Responding to direct messages

“Instant messaging has been the bane of my existence. It’s like a meeting that never ends”

Now everyone can reach me. This might seem like it makes us more connected but I don’t feel it does. Instead, it takes up huge amounts of time to respond to direct messages. A lot of the ones I get have ‘asks’ attached to them.

There’s nothing wrong with an ‘ask’ through social media but if you don’t know someone at all, it gets annoying quickly.

 

Having to check notifications

When I see 150 new notifications on LinkedIn (or any social network) as much as I hate to admit it, it feels good. I end up checking my notifications in meetings, while out for dinner with my significant other and even in the car (dangerous).

“Most of what these notifications are telling me are unimportant but my dopamine addicted brain can’t resist. The need for validation that I am growing or becoming somebody is too great”

<<<>>>>>

It’s for these four reasons that I recently severely limited by social media usage.

This may seem like the action of a crazy person given that I work in social media. I promise you it’s not. I can still have a career in social media or as a blogger without checking apps 100 times a day.

My time is now focused on something far more important:

Maximizing my time creating content that serves my purpose instead of consuming which is what the social media platforms want me to do (I never did like following rules).

<<<>>>

Here are the benefits I got by drastically reducing my social media usage:

 

Less stress

The recent test I took to measure my cortisol levels shows that I’m currently at 800 on the cortisol scale and the normal range is between 0-400.

I’ve been looking for any way I can to reduce stress. My experimentation with reducing social media has helped significantly.

“I find myself living in flight mode more often and enjoying right now”

One of the biggest flaws with the 24/7 social media model is the increase in stress if nothing else. The need for instant validation is making our stress levels soar. It’s time to fight back!

 

It’s made me more creative

I’m now being inspired more by things I witness in real life as opposed to the sometimes made-up, perfect world of social media. Creativity fuels our passions and even our businesses.

It takes empty space and free time to be creative. Social media was sucking up all my spare time after work and on the weekend. By consuming less, I had blocks of spare time to create.

That also gave me time to be inspired by books that fuel my imagination like Harry Potter (strangely enough).

 

I feel freer

Being tied to my phone and glued to social media is like having chains around my arms.

“It’s been nice to be free of advice, funny videos, opinions, politics and everything else that is like a fire hose in your face”

 

More present

Meditation has been something I’ve sucked at for a long time. I find it hard to be present and observe the now. Part of the reason, I’ve discovered, is that I was thinking about what was happening on social media.

Having time away from social media has made being present easier for me. I’m thinking less about how many views I got on LinkedIn today and more about the meaning of life and the people I care about.

It’s not perfect though. I still spend time on social media (obviously) and so I have to balance the benefits, with the negatives like being less present.

 

Fewer distractions

All the way back to high school, my teachers told me “Tim, you’re easily distracted.”

Even on my report cards, it says it. My teachers put it down to my appreciation of the opposite sex (this is what they said!) but I disagree. I put it down to my need for human interaction which is what has made me love selling in the business world.

None the less, I am easily distracted -  that’s a fact. Social media has forced me to check my notifications consistently. Since reducing my social media consumption, I’ve put into action a new strategy.

What I do now is turn off all notifications on my phone, computer, iPad and laptop. I only have SMS and phone call notifications turned on.

This setup allows me to time-box when I check my social media and only look at certain times of the day. By batching similar tasks like checking notifications together, I spend less time overall on social media.

Not only do I have my notifications for social media turned off, but I also do most of the commenting and responding to messages on my iMac. The screen of my phone is small and it makes the process longer, more stressful and it’s a burden on my eyes.

 

It’s increased my real-world interactions with people

By being less social without the need for social media and online communities, my hunger for connection has not disappeared. If anything, it’s increased.

The only way to get my fix is to attend a social catchup, hang out with workmates, have more meetings with clients and say hi to strangers.

This has improved my confidence, got me out of my comfort-zone and even helped me with my public speaking ability.

 

Final thought

Social media doesn’t have to be a burden but until you learn to control it, it will wreak havoc on your life. Working in social media makes me a big advocate of the upside, but the downside is not so obvious.

I hope, through my own reduction in social media, you’ve got a new perspective – or at least a different view of social media.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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