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5 Tips On How To Score A Fulfilling Job That Aligns With Your Purpose

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5 Tips On How To Score A Fulfilling Job That Aligns With Your Purpose

It’s a bitter reality, isn’t it?

You’re dissatisfied with your job, you feel overworked and overloaded, and you’re struggling to maintain balance between your responsibilities and your passions.

You’re not alone. The majority of workers aren’t happy with their jobs, and the numbers aren’t getting any better. You aren’t suddenly discovering new meaning in your work, nor are you magically producing job satisfaction out of mid-air.

You stay in your meaningless, stress-filled job because you believe you have to. Your pressures and responsibilities don’t allow you the freedom to hit the open road and live a life of blissful nomad-ism. After all, where would you be without your health insurance, 401(k), or sick leave?

A glut of information is out there about the new entrepreneur who leaves the corporate world to start a passion-based business. Whether it’s a retail tee shirt company backing a cause, or a small business consulting firm helping companies improve their social media presence. These are wonderful success stories, and it’s worth paying some attention to the possibility that you, too, can carve your own path.

However, starting a business isn’t for everyone. Some people enjoy, even thrive in a corporate environment where opportunity exists for career growth, skills development, and where they can contribute to large-scale projects and initiatives with global reach. Breaking away from this structure isn’t even on their radar.

So how can you; the dedicated, lifelong employee, gain that same level of passion that the new entrepreneur feels? How can you learn to find meaning in your work amidst the chaos and noise of other peoples’ agendas? How can you become one of the few who are not only satisfied with their job, but also flourish and bloom within it?

I will show you just how to do that with these 5 simple tips.

 

1. Forget about building your resumé

Warren Buffett once said that taking a job only because it will look good on your resumé is like saving up sex for when you’re 70.

Witticism aside, he’s right. Why would you continually do things you don’t enjoy for the sole purpose of someday, maybe doing something you like?

All too often, people think that taking a job for the experience is a rite of passage, just like a musician paying her dues before she gets the big break.

It’s nonsense.

Instead, take an inward-facing approach when assessing a new job opportunity or re-evaluating your current job. Ask these critical questions:

  • Do I believe in this work?
  • Am I motivated to learn more?
  • Does this company’s mission align with my own?

If you’re struggling to find meaning in your job or are dissatisfied with your career direction, start by looking at yourself first. Ask questions that get to the root of why you might feel stuck. Don’t be afraid to make a change, even if that means a less “impressive” resumé.

 

5 Tips On How To Score A Fulfilling Job That Aligns With Your Purpose

2. Hone in on what lights you up

You can, however, use your resumé as a tool to figure out some ways you can break out of the dissatisfaction cycle.

Look back at all of your previous work experiences and note times when you were:

  • Fulfilled
  • Unfulfilled
  • Passionate
  • Bored
  • Challenged
  • Resistant
  • Motivated
  • Distracted

You should be able to identify themes and patterns within this framework that highlight activities that best align with your personal mission and your overarching purpose. You’ll also see which types of work to reduce or eliminate. Put these experiences into two lists: Do more of and Do less of.

Once you have a “Do more of” list that suits you, further refine it by looking at each of those experiences and responsibilities through the following filters:

  • Was I truly happy when I worked on this?
  • Did this work feel meaningful to me?

Some of your experiences might end up in the middle; somewhat happy, marginally meaningful. That’s okay. The point is to enable you to understand the kind of work that lights you up; work you can rally behind and work that feels right.

You may need to look beyond the job description to answer these questions. Intangibles like values alignment and corporate culture also matter, and they may help you determine what kinds of jobs and environments best fit you.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

3. Define what you really want

Sometimes your experiences won’t shed much light on what matters to you the most. You may have followed the well-worn path of taking job after job based on how good they’d look on your resumé, and your list from above is full of experiences that left you unfulfilled, bored, and distracted.

At this point, you’ll need to dig deep to find answers. Play a little “what if” game:

  • What if money weren’t an issue? If I could do anything, what would I choose to do?
  • What if I could find work that fits my unique talents and strengths? Could I create a job description that captures them perfectly?
  • What if someone right now is doing exactly what I want to do? Who are they? Can I find them and talk to them?

By answering these questions, you’ll have a great chance of solidifying what you really want out of your job and your career. You can then take this new found awareness and apply it to your current situation. Whether you’re job hunting, evaluating a job offer, or trying to find ways to inject more meaning into your current role.

 

4. Get used to discomfort

Change happens at the intersection of discomfort and intention. It may be uncomfortable to become an active participant in your own life and make difficult choices that others may not agree with, but what’s the alternative? Do you really want to wait for a chance; a possibility you may find fulfillment somewhere out there?

Take a step back and look objectively at your life. Have you been reacting to what’s placed in front of you, or are you strategically directing the actions you take?

If you’re part of the unfulfilled and dissatisfied majority, think hard about this. Carefully examine how you categorized each of your work experiences, and pay particular attention to the themes and patterns you saw. Have you been living a predominantly passionate and challenged life? Or has yours been more unfulfilled and resistant?

You’re the only one who can change those patterns. So take the first step.

 “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” – Stephen Covey

5. Take ownership of your choices

It’s easy to get stuck on the career roller coaster. You’re caught between what other people think is best for you and what you really want to accomplish. Often, you choose the path of least resistance because you’re tired of working so hard to defend your beliefs.

Your choices are yours alone, so own them. You have the power to direct the course of your life by figuring out what you truly want and devising a strategy to take you there.

Decide that you no longer wish to settle for meaningless work. Actively design a working life that aligns your purpose with your paycheck. Become someone others look up to as a model of career fulfillment.

Are you ready to be that person or will you keep waiting for your big break? The choice is yours to make.

 

What tips would you add to this list that have helped you find what path was right for you?

Scott L. Sind is on a mission is to help burned-out employees and business owners build a life that enables them to do meaningful, rewarding work they truly love. He's the author of ActivateThought.com, where he writes about leadership, success, creativity, and professional development. Get his free Cheat Sheet for Building a Powerful Support Network for quick tips on expanding your influence.

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Liara Covert

    Apr 28, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Love that this article draws attention to the importance of being brutally honest with yourself about values and priorities. For many people, this is unconscious. Many people are out of touch with why they think and feel as they do, and how to link this back to behavior patterns. Living authentically is about having the courage to clarify, explore and act based on what you love and a deeper sense of purpose. This is not obvious for everyone. Raising self – awareness is very useful and can be done in a variety of ways.

  2. Ellie

    Dec 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Great process for figuring out what matters. What matters most to me is how much money they pay me.

    I’ve created the ideal situation of independence and corporate for me. I’m a company of one I work on a project basis, which are usually 6 months. If things suck at one gig, I know its only 6 months.

    Getting to this place happened by accident rather than by deliberate thought.

    The bottom line for me though is the money. There is nothing quite like seeing an offer in writing for an insane amount of money that makes you sick. Getting that first pay and seeing it in the bank, yeah, that’s what give me my thrills.

  3. Linda

    Jun 16, 2015 at 6:49 am

    The corporate world can indeed be incredibly fascinating! It has taught me sooo much and I am forever grateful for that. But you’re right, it’s easy to get a little lost in it all and it’s good advice to stay on your toes and watch out for yourself and your happiness along the way. Good stuff, Scott!

    • Liara Covert

      Apr 28, 2017 at 4:28 am

      Agree with you, Linda. Great article that highlights meaningful stuff. Appreciating something about every experience is what keeps us growing.

  4. Nicki Lee

    Jun 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    I wish I would have thought about my career choices in this way many years ago, Scott. I’m going to try actually writing a job description that captures my strengths and talents and see where that takes me! 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 10, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      That’s a great idea Nicki! I’d love to hear how it turns out 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Ellen

    May 31, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Great post Scott – I especially agree with number 5 – it wasn’t until I really took ownership of my choices and realised that I had the power myself to change the situation, rather than waiting for others, that I took the leap and left my corporate role for a more portfolio career. Even if it’s between a rock and a hard place, there’s still a choice! Thanks, Ellen

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks Ellen! For me that’s the big one as well. I decided that if I failed, at least it wouldn’t have been because I didn’t try. We all have choices, but it’s the ones we don’t take that haunt us the most.

  6. Helen McCarthy

    May 31, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Great article Scott. Like Cherryl (above) I too wish I’d had this perspective earlier in my career. Do you think there’s a generational shift towards aligning your paycheck with your purpose? That certainly appears to be my observation.

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Helen! Yes, I definitely see a shift, especially with the Millennials. There’s more emphasis these days on portfolio careers rather than single-track careers. And with more and more people staying in jobs on average of 3 years, purpose and passion have become core values for job satisfaction.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Elle

    May 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    This is the way to success Scott. Being happy = success. You touched on many areas that people forget about. Kudos for a great read.
    Elle

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Much appreciate Elle! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  8. Lawrence Berry

    May 30, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I think you nailed. Defining what you want and going after it with tenacity are the keys to getting what you want, but you MUST have a clear vision on what you are doing now and what you plan to do. I think it is crazy that people get jobs just so that it can look good on their resume, you must find work that you believe in a can get the most from the experience. When you are motivated in your work, you learn and do more than you ever thought you would. This would shoot you to the top faster. You are right, you have the power to take control of your choices and actions, so align what you love to do with your paycheck.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks Lawrence! I completely agree that you must have a clear vision. That’s where it all starts. Unforunately some of us have a difficult time aligning our actions and choices to our vision, which then bogs us down under the consequences of sub-optial decisions.

      I like what you said about finding work that you believe can give you a valuable experience—that’s another part of a great career strategy 🙂

  9. Valerie Leroyer

    May 30, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Hey Scott! Nice post. I like your #5: I hear lot’s of people saying that they don’t have the choice. The truth is, once we realize it, we always have a choice. And taking 100% responsibility for our choices is the first move towards success. You ask us for another tip. Tip #6: Take action NOW. Make a list of your dream jobs and start acting 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 2, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Hey Valerie – LOVE IT!! Take action now is probably the simplest yet most effective tip. One can plan forever and never take that first step.

      Thanks for adding your voice!

  10. Ann

    May 30, 2015 at 10:56 am

    #4 -I like it- learn to survive in discomforting situations because there is never going to be a perfect timing.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      So true Ann!

  11. Cherryl Chow

    May 29, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Hi, Scott, what a wonderfully written and inspiring article! If only I’d gotten this advice when I just got out of college! How life would’ve turned out differently. I hope that your article gets disseminated widely and as many people as possible can read and benefit from your sage advice!

    • Scott

      May 29, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you Cherryl! I wish I had this advice too way back when! It’s funny how easily we resign ourselves to the “easy” path because we don’t really know how to do anything else. I do hope that this inspires at least one person to jump out of their comfort zone and design a working life they love.

      Appreciate you stopping by!

  12. Lynn

    May 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Scott,

    I love the concept of aligning my paycheck with my purpose! So clearly put, and so compelling.

    Thanks for sharing your advice about how to do that.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks Lynn! I wish more people would embrace the concept—we’d all be a bit happier, don’t you think?

  13. Mike Harrington

    May 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I’m just going to say this:

    When I graduated from a top MBA program in 2012, the anxiety and fear of the future was palpable on campus.

    Most people had taken on massive debt burdens, to finance their “gamble” of improving their career prospects with another piece of paper. The MBA degree.

    I’d say 95% of them were completely bought in to the idea of having as many “gold stars” on their resumes as humanly possible. They worked themselves to the bone to land the best internships, get the highest grades and pretend to be actively involved in as many on-campus clubs and associations. I saw through the noise, as I knew my path would be different.

    I see it all about skill building, and finding that unique intersection of what turns you on as a person, with what other people value enough to pay for.

    Is it an overnight process? HELL NO. Tons of trial and error, periods of self doubt and wondering if you made the right decision.

    But, when the wins inevitably come, as they have for me, the struggle you’ve gone through makes it that much sweeter.

    And yes, this path is NOT for everyone.

    But it is for me. And it sounds like it is for you, as well. =)

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Mike you nailed it here. I, too, recently got my MBA from a top program, but for very personal reasons, the least of which was the degree itself. Many others in my cohort, though, were there for the piece of paper only, and so they could add the letters to their business cards.

      I gave up prestige a long time ago. Yes, I’ve made bad decisions when it’s come to my work, taken the wrong jobs for the wrong reasons. But you’re absolutely right when you say that when the wins do come, the struggles make them so much sweeter.

      I applaud you on the path you’ve chosen—you have a spirit and fortitude that many don’t, and those will see you a long way 🙂

  14. Sameer

    May 28, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Very nice post Scott. Another major imagined hurdle for not doing it is i feel afraid of the thought “What if i get bored after some days” , what do i do then! Won’t i loose the kind of stability (though boring) ….These are the kind of limiting belief(s) that hold me back.
    it would be great if you can comment about this kind of fears.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Sameer, thanks for the comment! As to the fear of getting bored, well…usually when we feel bored it’s because we’ve reached a plateau and aren’t challenged anymore by the work. I’d suggest that the best way to beat boredom is to consistently strive for new heights, keep challenging yourself, and do things that are just outside of your comfort zone. That may mean a new job or career, but it could also mean going freelance, starting a business, or if you don’t have the enterpreneurial spirit, moving into an industry you have no experience in and “starting over.”

      Boredom is just a mental state, and we have full control over how we react to it. I hope this helps!

      • Sameer

        May 29, 2015 at 4:57 am

        That indeed helps to understand clearly. Thanks a ton Scott

  15. Scott

    May 28, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    You’re right, it’s much easier for us to stick to the safe, well-worn path even if it’s boring and uninspiring. I’d much rather say “I’m so glad I tried that!” instead of “I wish I could do that.”

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting John!

  16. Sue Anne Dunlevie

    May 28, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Great article – I so agree with John that we need to do what excites us. Plus, I always add, makes us money.

    Thanks!
    Sue

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Sue – so true!! There is a strong correlation between earning more and enjoying what we do 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  17. Ashley

    May 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Love #1!! “Look at yourself first…” So true. Wish we could stop focusing so much on resume building, and instead, place more weight on experiences we enjoy, and benefit, from. Great post!

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks Ashley! When I interviewed people, I rarely discussed their resume. I wanted to know what made the candidates tick, what lit them up, to get a sense of who they were, their likes and dislikes, etc. Most of the time the candidate with the “strongest” resume (i.e. filled with keywords and fluffy job titles) bombed these conversational moments. Not saying there’s scientific proof of anything, just my observations 😉

  18. John Anderson

    May 28, 2015 at 10:24 am

    It always amazes me that as humans we tend to shy away from what really excites us. Thanks for laying out this plan, it is very helpful.

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Success Advice

10 Confronting Reasons Why People Don’t Reach Their Goals

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What is the incentive for attaining your full potential and realizing your goals? Why do some people seem to achieve more than others despite having the same time and resources availed to them? The devil is in the details, and this is especially true when it comes to accomplishing your goals or not.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck in the same spot for weeks, months or years now and are not accomplishing much; it might be time for you to assess yourself with the following ten truths.

1. You Lack Self-Confidence

One of the biggest reasons why people fail is because they don’t believe in themselves. Belief is actually a trained function, therefore the deeper you condemn yourself to the rut of self-doubt, the harder it is to come out of it. Our past has a lot to do with how we view our own abilities.

Maybe you just landed a new job or transferred to a new school and are now meeting new people who seem much smarter or more accomplished than yourself. It is often said that battles are won long before they are ever fought, and a lack of self-confidence will cause a reverse effect in accomplishing your goals. Don’t doubt yourself and miss a crucial opportunity in the process.

2. You Always Make the Same Mistakes

This is simply about accountability. If, say you were fired from your dream job because of always showing up late and happened to land another job where soon after you began you made the same mistake, you just dig your own grave. The thorough self-assessment is a crucial part of achieving your goals. You won’t get to the gym and achieve success if you are always oversleeping, or overeating. The same applies to any other dream that you may possess, so work hard and do anything that is possible.

3. You’re Averse to Taking Risks

Risk taking isn’t just limited to those who are looking to go into business or for savvy entrepreneurs. It directly applies to every aspect of our daily lives. How many of us keep that 9 to 5 job that we hate only because we are afraid of taking a plunge and following our passions?

There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t take that risk, after all, bills have to be paid, and there’s a 401k to contribute to, right? But there’s one greater reason why you should take that risk: your dreams lie in wait. Start that business, go on that trip or try out that relationship. You never know what tomorrow might bring, so do not hesitate and take risks.

“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” – Les Brown

4. Unwilling to Let Go of Productivity Killers

One of the ridiculous reasons (but true) why people can’t have what they want is the fact that they can’t let go of habits that take up valuable time. Facebook posts, Insta selfies and a whole lot of Netflix-&-Chill might make the whole day down the drain. A global study conducted by B2X also reports that Millennials are spending more than 25% of their day on smartphones, thoroughly diminishing their productivity and bearing a hindrance on them achieving their goals. So, put aside all of the unneeded and pointless activities – it takes too much time!

5. It’s Just Not as Easy as You Thought

Starting is the most important part, but constantly grinding and working on it is even more important to become successful. We often see the glitz on media with stories of overnight successes and folks who hit the jackpot with their ideas. What we don’t see is the pain, sweat, tears and rejection that took up the biggest chunk of the grind.

If it were that easy, it would be worthless. Along the way, you are bound to feel tired, uninspired, depressed, on the verge of giving up even. However, try to find ways of keeping motivated by learning a new skill, meditating, reading etc. Failure is a critical part of succeeding, and you have to embrace it and learn from it.

6. You’re Not Surrounded with Ambitious People

The people around us have a huge impact on how we utilize our time, how we think and the kind of goals we set for ourselves. Tom Mendoza, a brand contributor on Forbes, tackles this subject well by talking about the key qualities of the company he keeps and how it helps him grow. That old musing about being the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with couldn’t be truer.

7. Folks Who Don’t Reach Their Goals Because They Failed Before

This is probably the biggest reason why people don’t accomplish their goals. According to Fundera, about 20% of businesses fail in the first year. Does this mean the other 80% don’t face the same obstacles or they have a magic formula for victory? No, it just means that they managed to get themselves together and try again. The reason people can’t have everything they want is because they want everything `here and now`, but they don’t realize that failure is imminent and is the only sure road to the victory.

8. You Lack Vision and Never Take Action

Biagio Sciacca tackles the subject of a visionary mindset quite well in his blog article on how the boundaries of manifestation are limited by our own perception. He emphasizes with a personal story how everything that we see and interact with starts with a single idea in mind. A vision is not just a vague wish or some random fairy-tale hope, it is the fuel that drives your passion and every meticulous piece of work that you put in. Goal setting provides the big picture perspective on what and why you are doing something.

“Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but because of lack of commitment.” – Vince Lombardi

9. Thinking They Lack Enough Time to Achieve Their Goals

A good number of folks don’t believe they can accomplish their dreams with the time they have left. If you’ve watched “The First Grader” you’ll get all the motivation you need. The story of an 84-year-old who goes back to school to attain a life-long desire to be learned is enough to make you think twice about giving up on your own ambitions. So it is never too late to do something you like, give yourself a try.

10. You Will Succeed Only If You Do It This Way

Living by others’ limitations and the boundaries they set for you is one sure way to box yourself in from your goals. You’ll only get more tired, frustrated and demotivated in the long run. People impose their limitations on you because they don’t want you to succeed or because they have fears about their own abilities and personal failures to deal with. Achieving your goals means silencing those critical voices and having faith in your own way of doing it. Your biggest motivation should be to do it for the people who want to see you fail.

In most of the cases, people shield themselves from success. So, don’t let anything hold you back from any goal you’ve ever set for yourself and always try your best.

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Success Advice

Stop Replying To Everyone.

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Many of you are running around like mad trying to manage your time. You’re reading productivity hacks, taking cold showers and waking up at 5 am.

You’re doing all of this because you want more time to do what you love.

Let me hit you in the face with one technique that has allowed me to win back time, so I can do what I love.

Stop replying to everyone…

You get emails asking you to do stuff.
You get asked to do an intro.
You get asked to speak at an event for free about your area of expertise.

Here’s the problem:
YOU KEEP RESPONDING TO EVERY REQUEST OF YOUR TIME.


What’s the answer?

The answer is really simple like everything I write. Are you ready?
Stop replying to everyone.

I learned this technique the hard way. When I was looking to interview entrepreneurs in 2014 about their story and share it in the form of a blog post, I didn’t get many replies.

I’d email very successful people who have achieved the impossible and get nothing.

Radio silence.
Donuts.


Why don’t your idols respond to requests for their time?

There’s many reasons.

  1. They have too many requests and could never humanly answer every single one.
  2. They have limited time and can’t fit everybody into their schedule.

The second reason is the most important. Your idols don’t respond because that’s their way of saying no.


No response is the best response.

By responding to every request of your time, you go down the rabbit hole of endless back and forth conversations.

Let me illustrate this point with a short story.

A US startup approached me on LinkedIn and asked me to advise them on their social media strategy. They offered me equity in return for my expertise.

The product was not something that aligned with who I am, and I was heading off to Europe on holidays and had no time to draft a proper reply.

I sent no response to their request.
They messaged me a second time.
I sent no response to their request.

Then, I got sucked into responding. I felt my moral compass telling me to reply and tell them no. On top of that, the startup had a very well known person in the social media industry join them. FOMO kicked in.

I replied and that’s where everything went wrong.

Once I replied to the request I got daily reminders and emails with pitch decks trying to convince me why they were the one startup who could beat Instagram. The claims of how much traction they had got more and more ridiculous.

“Eventually, a simple request of my time turned into a daily debate”

They wouldn’t leave me alone. I began to regret my stupidity for responding in the first place.

If a request of your time doesn’t resonate with you, and you don’t feel like saying “Fuck Yes” when presented with an opportunity, say NO.

Don’t be tempted by a request of your time. 
Say no.


Not replying is what works.

People generally give up after one email or direct message asking for your time. I’ve tested this theory a lot and it has almost always turned out to be true.

As soon as you reply, you become like a lawyer in the High Court trying to defend someone who is accused of murder. Your time is yours. You only get one life.

“You don’t need to justify yourself, your time, or your goals to anybody”

YOU HEAR ME? NOBODY!

The way you win back time and make room for what’s important to you is to fight the temptation to reply to every request that comes your way.

Quit giving away your time like free balloons at a car expo.


You end up making up lies.

The problem with replying to every request of your time is you can end up making up lies to get out of doing something. Or you may end up exaggerating or putting forward excuses that aren’t entirely true.

This causes even more problems for you because if the requester knows people within your network, they may find out you’re not being honest.

Why construct a grand plan that takes more of your time to respond to a request?

It’s easier to say nothing at all.


Silence says it all.

Smart people who ask you for stuff will know that after a week, if you haven’t responded, you’re probably not interested.

Silence is the best response. After all, if someone really wants you to do something they’ll chase you, they’ll follow you up and they may get a mutual connection to intro them to you.

Many pitches and requests are poorly written or incredibly selfish.

Fight back with silence. Don’t reply. Stop replying.


You’re not missing anything.

The temptation to respond can also be caused by the fear that you’re missing out.

Maybe someone is contacting you to fund your idea.
Maybe something you wrote is going to be published in the New York Times.
Maybe the request will lead you to direct a Hollywood Movie.

All of these false ideas are what’s causing you to respond to everybody.You’re worried you could miss the jackpot or your lucky break.

The harsh truth is that these opportunities are earned through hard work.Genuine opportunities that will excite you are clearly articulated and your gut feeling will guide you better than you think.

You’re not going to miss out on winning an Oscar for a movie you made because you didn’t reply to an email”


Not replying isn’t rude.

We feel we must reply to every request of our time. We have a fear that we will be accused of being rude.

This belief is false also. There’s nothing rude about not replying. We all get lots of emails and messages online and we can’t answer them all. People will understand when you don’t reply. If they don’t understand then that’s a problem with them, not you.

Don’t feel you have to reply out of politeness.

<<<>>>

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

Practice These 4 No’s for Greater Success

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In much of the success literature and in the applied motivational literature that is developed today, the explicit suggestions contained within are to practice certain behaviors for a certain outcome. So, you may see information with titles such as, “Do these four things for greater happiness”, or, “Perform the seven steps every morning for more focus”.

Not only am I a large proponent of these quick and distilled attributes of behavior change to bring about greater levels of whatever the outcome should be, I am also an author of a great many of them. The notion of cause and effect is explicit in applied motivation. If you want to change and affect then do not work on the effect directly, work on the cause that will invariably change the outcome.

So many of us try to psychologically bully our conscious mind into various effects, when all we really need to do is understand the causes. Thoughts drive behavior. If you change the thought the behavior must change. But can you increase your level of overall well-being by NOT doing certain things? And I know the answer is yes. It all begins with a shift in our perception and the thought process.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim

Here are four NO’s that you may want to stop practicing. And by virtue of not doing these things you will have more mental room, and idea space between your positive notions for greater levels of contentment and well-being.

1. There are no justified discontentment’s

If the laws of cause and effect, and the law of attraction hold true, then we are where we are right now by virtue of our past behaviors, which are a direct result of our past beginning. So don’t be mad over your current situation, you created it! If you want to be happy, change it! But don’t just sit there and bask in your discontentment; bring about the necessary changes that you require.

In the words of James Ray, “a person of power embraces challenges and complete gratitude. No matter the situation life may bring, discontent is never justified, but rather all is experienced as an opportunity and privilege to adventure and grow.”

2. There are no justified excuses

The present is a doorway that balances past events with future circumstances. When we begin to fully grasp the idea that there is no dress rehearsal, we are on Broadway; that there is no scrimmage, today we are in the Super Bowl, we begin to realize that our life is a series of micro adjustments and that we are in total and complete control over them. Instead of wasting time making excuses for poor decisions, spend that time in fine-tuning future decisions to make up for those poor decisions of the past.

3. There are no justified complaints

We complain about a situation for one of two reasons. One, to elicit pity from another and, two, to transfer the issue we are complaining about to somebody else. Either behavior is destructive to the current personal relationship and will only serve to undermine future transactions with that individual.

Be a person of higher self-esteem; handle your issues in silence then speak to another individual about your successful outcomes. By doing so, you have altered your focus on a positive outcome instead of our negative conditions. By the way, there is always a successful outcome! If you can find it, look deeper, it’s there!

“Champions never complain, they are too busy getting better.” – John Wooden

4. There are no justified resentments

None, zip, zilch, zero! That person that borrowed $500 off you and never paid you back, forgive them. That significant other that dropped you like a hot coal just when you needed them the most, forgive them. That business partner that screwed you to the wall and caused you to lose a vast amount of money, forgive them. Remember, forgiveness is not about them, it’s about you. By letting go of the resentments that you have toward other people you open yourself up to the endless possibilities of bountiful manifestations that can occur because of your positive attitude and constructive optimism.

Think of these four big No’s! Number them, with number one being the one which you practice and think about the most. Then answer the following questions:

  • What can I do to alter this behavior and/or thought process?
  • What situations do I encounter and lead me in this behavior and/or thought process?
  • Can I avoid those situations?
  • If so, am I willing to avoid those situations?

Then do that with the second the third and the fourth big No’s. What will happen after enough time is that you will no longer be looking for situations to offend you, rather you will begin to open up to the possibilities of what the world and the universe have to offer you in a positive, enthusiastic, and engaging light.

I look forward to your comments, opinions, and suggestions. Please feel free to write them below.

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Success Advice

9 Ways To Build Unbreakable Confidence From The Outside In

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Build Self Confidence

There are a million different resources and pieces of advice out there from “experts” on how to build confidence, particularly self-confidence.

A vulnerable and anxious population consumes this guidance like they are starving for it… probably because they are. The dream of being able to overcome all fear and self-imposed limits by simply reading some advice is a very tempting dish indeed.

After lifetimes of being subject to images and ideals that they cannot possibly live up to, people start to feel like they are “less than.” This fear of being a substandard human being drives some of us to seek guidance, bringing us into contact with the murky, over-crowded world of self-help products and services.

Look, some of the stuff out there is good – I know, I’ve tried most of it. However, some of it is very misguided and even delusional.

People who lack self-confidence themselves can take a class on basic theoretical knowledge of psychological research, and use it to excrete volumes of garbage about how to build self-esteem and confidence. They then charge copious amounts of money for this drivel, which usually makes you feel great temporarily but does absolutely nothing to change your long term situation.

I’m not going to pretend I know it all, yet what I do have to offer is that I have completed the full journey, from shy, “nice,” and trying to please everyone, all the way through to where I am now.

You may ask, where is that, and what does being confident mean to me? It means that these things now occur in my life where they didn’t before:

  • I regularly seek out opportunities to push boundaries and expand my comfort zone, running towards fear rather than away from it
  • I can go into a situation full of anxiety and quickly push through that to enable me to feel competent and at ease
  • I feel comfortable being honest in all situations. Rather than hide my views, I express them calmly and diplomatically where required, but also without compromise
  • I place my needs above everything else. I am selfish about developing my life and inner-self, because I know that ultimately the people in my life will benefit from me being a better person
  • Most importantly from my point of view, I can’t remember the last time I felt jealousy or envy, and it’s been many, many years since I entertained the idea of wanting to be anyone else

So how did I get to this from being a “nice” guy that did all I could to avoid confrontation and anxiety-provoking situations? Well, it wasn’t easy! I have taken some time to break down the steps I took to achieve this in order to help others out there who are similar to me and serious about developing true, unbreakable inner confidence.

See the secret is really no secret at all – it’s about constantly taking action in a way that pushes your comfort zone further out until you learn how to make any situation feel like it’s in your comfort zone.

Below are 9 ways to build unbreakable confidence from the outside in:

1. Identifying your ultimate dream lifestyle

Something that is a real confidence drainer is not knowing where you’re going in life. The great thing is you don’t even need to be sure about it; you just need to have a direction to travel in.

Try taking 30 minutes to write down a descriptive paragraph or two about what your life would look like if you could wave a magic wand and choose anything. I’ve found with my clients that answering these three questions in detail is a great structure to use:

1What will you have / what will you be doing?

2) How would other people describe you?

3) What will you think about yourself?

Writing down the detailed answers to these questions, using emotional and descriptive language. Once you’ve done this, make sure you re-read it regularly (at least twice per week) to remind yourself constantly about why it is you are getting out of bed.

This will increase your sense of purpose in life, a reason to live in a way, which will increase your confidence. Of course, to actually achieve this dream lifestyle, there are further steps you need to take… (read on).

2. Writing down goals and striving to achieve them

I remember reading about a study at Oxford University: researchers asked all students in a class who had written down their goals. I can’t remember the exact details but about 3% of them did this.

When the researchers revisited the students again 20 years later, the small group who had written down goals were earning a combined income that was greater than the combined income of all 97% of their classmates.

There are plenty of free resources out there on how to write goals (including The Inspirational Lifestyle). The general key I recommend is that rather than write outcome based goals (e.g. “I will get a promotion”) try writing action-based goals that are under your control (e.g. “I will take a management course and then apply for a promotion”).

By making sure the goals are under your control, your confidence is not subject to luck. Remove luck by making sure that nothing and no-one can affect the achievement of your goal except for you.

3. Reading popular self-development books by successful business people

While there are far too many refuse-bin-worthy self-development books out there, your safest bet is to read the memoirs and how-to books which are written by people who have actually achieved something.

It really is simple; if someone like Richard Branson is a billionaire, he’s probably a pretty reliable source of information on how to make money. It’s much better to listen to him than someone fresh from completing an MBA and spilling a bunch of inexperienced theory-based conjecture.

4Learning how to manage your state of mind

Most of the time the reason you feel anxious or nervous about a situation you’re about to go into, such as public speaking, is because you’re in the wrong frame of mind.

Imagine this: you’ve been studying accounting for three straights hours without interruption, when all of a sudden you’re dragged to a party. Straight away you feel anxiety even though going to a party is not an unusual situation for you. So what’s the problem?

Your brain was set into the “studying” state, which is secluded, quiet, and antisocial. You are then thrown into a situation which requires you to be extroverted, talkative and social. This is a really uncomfortable imbalance for your brain to handle. The solution? Taking baby steps.

When you realize you are feeling anxiety about an upcoming situation and you suspect that it is because of being in the wrong state, try to figure out some in-between steps you can take.

Using our example above, rather than going straight to the party, you could have a chat on the phone with some close friends, followed by pre-drinks at your house with just a few people. This way by the time you get to the party your state has gone from withdrawn to outgoing in easy to manage steps.

confidence picture quote

5Understanding the balance between learning, mentoring and action

One of the most common barriers to success is too much thinking and not enough doing. It’s the doing that builds confidence, not the learning.

As a general rule, for every hour you spend reading or watching videos (passive learning), you will benefit most by complementing this with two hours of mentoring or coaching, and seven hours practicing or otherwise taking action. It’s the 10/20/70 rule.

This is why I’ve titled this article “9 ways to build confidence from the outside in,” because building confidence goes far beyond just reading inspirational or educational books. It’s about taking action so you will start seeing results and positive changes.

6. Approaching strangers

This is one of the scariest things for people to do – very few can do it sober without a background in cold-calling or sales of some kind. Doing this is a really powerful way to build confidence, particularly if you’re single and approaching strangers with the intention of potential romance.

If you can get yourself to do this sober and during the day, it makes everything else seem a lot less scary. You can learn to love rejection as the learning and feedback experience it really is.

7. Trying new things regularly

Having a routine can kill your creativity and make your life boring. It’s important to seek new adventures, and always try new things regularly because it can boost your confidence through the following two ways.

1) By learning a range of skills and having varied experiences, you start building up transferable abilities. Over time less situations will seem totally unknown because you will have done something similar before.

For example, I found I really enjoyed salsa dancing despite never having danced before, because it combined my previous experiences of playing in a band and doing martial arts.

2) You will eventually find those things that bring you the most pleasure and satisfaction (in a non-creepy way of course).

Confidence is often also described as “conscious competence,” which basically means that if you are doing something that you are skilled at, and you know that you are skilled, you feel confident.

8. Surrounding yourself with successful people

Successful people always say “how can we do this?” whereas unsuccessful people generally say “why should we do this?

What kind of people do you spend the most time with? Until you develop a strong inner core of confidence that others cannot touch, you need to surround yourself with “can do” people in order to feed on their confidence.

People showing you that anything is possible, and that they believe you are capable of anything will go a long way towards helping you believe this yourself.

9. Making a conscious effort to stop caring about other’s opinions of you

Finally, the biggest lesson I ever really learned about developing true all-round confidence is that the only person I should compare myself to is… myself. There is nothing to be gained in comparing myself to others or trying to live to others expectations.

Confidence comes from setting your own expectations of yourself and then trying your best to live up to them. I am not saying that you shouldn’t compete with others, because that’s a great motivator too, but your results and progress should only be measured against your past self.

Well that’s it. There’s a million other things you can do, but I am sure that if you start with this list and TAKE ACTION rather than just read this and do nothing, then you will start to see big changes in how you feel about yourself.

Which one of the above 9 ways to build unbreakable confidence resonated most with you and why?

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The Top 70 Buddha Quotes

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Image Credit | Tricycle Magazine

Buddhism has been around for over 2,500 years and is a way of life that about 300 million people around the world follow.

At the age of 35, Gautama left the palace walls where he had grown up and ventured into the real world to walk his own spiritual path. Sitting under a Bodhi tree until he became enlightened, ‘Buddha’ attracted a following and dedicated the rest of his life teaching the path of enlightenment and awakening to them.

Buddhism is a very calm, peaceful and fair way of life and these Buddha quotes encompass the philosophy of Buddha’s teachings.

Here are 70 of The Best and Highly Shared Buddha Quotes to enlighten your mind and soul.

(more…)

Charlene Barry is the fun loving founder of This Is Project Me, a wellness, spiritual and inspirational channel on YouTube that inspires others to live the life of their dreams with passion, love and joy. Charlene believes in serendipity, wellness and spirituality and is an Ayurvedic and Lifestyle coach; helping people live their ideal life through Ayurvedic medicine, Meditation, Yoga and Balance.

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Liara Covert

    Apr 28, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Love that this article draws attention to the importance of being brutally honest with yourself about values and priorities. For many people, this is unconscious. Many people are out of touch with why they think and feel as they do, and how to link this back to behavior patterns. Living authentically is about having the courage to clarify, explore and act based on what you love and a deeper sense of purpose. This is not obvious for everyone. Raising self – awareness is very useful and can be done in a variety of ways.

  2. Ellie

    Dec 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Great process for figuring out what matters. What matters most to me is how much money they pay me.

    I’ve created the ideal situation of independence and corporate for me. I’m a company of one I work on a project basis, which are usually 6 months. If things suck at one gig, I know its only 6 months.

    Getting to this place happened by accident rather than by deliberate thought.

    The bottom line for me though is the money. There is nothing quite like seeing an offer in writing for an insane amount of money that makes you sick. Getting that first pay and seeing it in the bank, yeah, that’s what give me my thrills.

  3. Linda

    Jun 16, 2015 at 6:49 am

    The corporate world can indeed be incredibly fascinating! It has taught me sooo much and I am forever grateful for that. But you’re right, it’s easy to get a little lost in it all and it’s good advice to stay on your toes and watch out for yourself and your happiness along the way. Good stuff, Scott!

    • Liara Covert

      Apr 28, 2017 at 4:28 am

      Agree with you, Linda. Great article that highlights meaningful stuff. Appreciating something about every experience is what keeps us growing.

  4. Nicki Lee

    Jun 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    I wish I would have thought about my career choices in this way many years ago, Scott. I’m going to try actually writing a job description that captures my strengths and talents and see where that takes me! 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 10, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      That’s a great idea Nicki! I’d love to hear how it turns out 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Ellen

    May 31, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Great post Scott – I especially agree with number 5 – it wasn’t until I really took ownership of my choices and realised that I had the power myself to change the situation, rather than waiting for others, that I took the leap and left my corporate role for a more portfolio career. Even if it’s between a rock and a hard place, there’s still a choice! Thanks, Ellen

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks Ellen! For me that’s the big one as well. I decided that if I failed, at least it wouldn’t have been because I didn’t try. We all have choices, but it’s the ones we don’t take that haunt us the most.

  6. Helen McCarthy

    May 31, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Great article Scott. Like Cherryl (above) I too wish I’d had this perspective earlier in my career. Do you think there’s a generational shift towards aligning your paycheck with your purpose? That certainly appears to be my observation.

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Helen! Yes, I definitely see a shift, especially with the Millennials. There’s more emphasis these days on portfolio careers rather than single-track careers. And with more and more people staying in jobs on average of 3 years, purpose and passion have become core values for job satisfaction.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Elle

    May 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    This is the way to success Scott. Being happy = success. You touched on many areas that people forget about. Kudos for a great read.
    Elle

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Much appreciate Elle! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  8. Lawrence Berry

    May 30, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I think you nailed. Defining what you want and going after it with tenacity are the keys to getting what you want, but you MUST have a clear vision on what you are doing now and what you plan to do. I think it is crazy that people get jobs just so that it can look good on their resume, you must find work that you believe in a can get the most from the experience. When you are motivated in your work, you learn and do more than you ever thought you would. This would shoot you to the top faster. You are right, you have the power to take control of your choices and actions, so align what you love to do with your paycheck.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks Lawrence! I completely agree that you must have a clear vision. That’s where it all starts. Unforunately some of us have a difficult time aligning our actions and choices to our vision, which then bogs us down under the consequences of sub-optial decisions.

      I like what you said about finding work that you believe can give you a valuable experience—that’s another part of a great career strategy 🙂

  9. Valerie Leroyer

    May 30, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Hey Scott! Nice post. I like your #5: I hear lot’s of people saying that they don’t have the choice. The truth is, once we realize it, we always have a choice. And taking 100% responsibility for our choices is the first move towards success. You ask us for another tip. Tip #6: Take action NOW. Make a list of your dream jobs and start acting 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 2, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Hey Valerie – LOVE IT!! Take action now is probably the simplest yet most effective tip. One can plan forever and never take that first step.

      Thanks for adding your voice!

  10. Ann

    May 30, 2015 at 10:56 am

    #4 -I like it- learn to survive in discomforting situations because there is never going to be a perfect timing.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      So true Ann!

  11. Cherryl Chow

    May 29, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Hi, Scott, what a wonderfully written and inspiring article! If only I’d gotten this advice when I just got out of college! How life would’ve turned out differently. I hope that your article gets disseminated widely and as many people as possible can read and benefit from your sage advice!

    • Scott

      May 29, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you Cherryl! I wish I had this advice too way back when! It’s funny how easily we resign ourselves to the “easy” path because we don’t really know how to do anything else. I do hope that this inspires at least one person to jump out of their comfort zone and design a working life they love.

      Appreciate you stopping by!

  12. Lynn

    May 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Scott,

    I love the concept of aligning my paycheck with my purpose! So clearly put, and so compelling.

    Thanks for sharing your advice about how to do that.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks Lynn! I wish more people would embrace the concept—we’d all be a bit happier, don’t you think?

  13. Mike Harrington

    May 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I’m just going to say this:

    When I graduated from a top MBA program in 2012, the anxiety and fear of the future was palpable on campus.

    Most people had taken on massive debt burdens, to finance their “gamble” of improving their career prospects with another piece of paper. The MBA degree.

    I’d say 95% of them were completely bought in to the idea of having as many “gold stars” on their resumes as humanly possible. They worked themselves to the bone to land the best internships, get the highest grades and pretend to be actively involved in as many on-campus clubs and associations. I saw through the noise, as I knew my path would be different.

    I see it all about skill building, and finding that unique intersection of what turns you on as a person, with what other people value enough to pay for.

    Is it an overnight process? HELL NO. Tons of trial and error, periods of self doubt and wondering if you made the right decision.

    But, when the wins inevitably come, as they have for me, the struggle you’ve gone through makes it that much sweeter.

    And yes, this path is NOT for everyone.

    But it is for me. And it sounds like it is for you, as well. =)

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Mike you nailed it here. I, too, recently got my MBA from a top program, but for very personal reasons, the least of which was the degree itself. Many others in my cohort, though, were there for the piece of paper only, and so they could add the letters to their business cards.

      I gave up prestige a long time ago. Yes, I’ve made bad decisions when it’s come to my work, taken the wrong jobs for the wrong reasons. But you’re absolutely right when you say that when the wins do come, the struggles make them so much sweeter.

      I applaud you on the path you’ve chosen—you have a spirit and fortitude that many don’t, and those will see you a long way 🙂

  14. Sameer

    May 28, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Very nice post Scott. Another major imagined hurdle for not doing it is i feel afraid of the thought “What if i get bored after some days” , what do i do then! Won’t i loose the kind of stability (though boring) ….These are the kind of limiting belief(s) that hold me back.
    it would be great if you can comment about this kind of fears.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Sameer, thanks for the comment! As to the fear of getting bored, well…usually when we feel bored it’s because we’ve reached a plateau and aren’t challenged anymore by the work. I’d suggest that the best way to beat boredom is to consistently strive for new heights, keep challenging yourself, and do things that are just outside of your comfort zone. That may mean a new job or career, but it could also mean going freelance, starting a business, or if you don’t have the enterpreneurial spirit, moving into an industry you have no experience in and “starting over.”

      Boredom is just a mental state, and we have full control over how we react to it. I hope this helps!

      • Sameer

        May 29, 2015 at 4:57 am

        That indeed helps to understand clearly. Thanks a ton Scott

  15. Scott

    May 28, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    You’re right, it’s much easier for us to stick to the safe, well-worn path even if it’s boring and uninspiring. I’d much rather say “I’m so glad I tried that!” instead of “I wish I could do that.”

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting John!

  16. Sue Anne Dunlevie

    May 28, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Great article – I so agree with John that we need to do what excites us. Plus, I always add, makes us money.

    Thanks!
    Sue

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Sue – so true!! There is a strong correlation between earning more and enjoying what we do 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  17. Ashley

    May 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Love #1!! “Look at yourself first…” So true. Wish we could stop focusing so much on resume building, and instead, place more weight on experiences we enjoy, and benefit, from. Great post!

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks Ashley! When I interviewed people, I rarely discussed their resume. I wanted to know what made the candidates tick, what lit them up, to get a sense of who they were, their likes and dislikes, etc. Most of the time the candidate with the “strongest” resume (i.e. filled with keywords and fluffy job titles) bombed these conversational moments. Not saying there’s scientific proof of anything, just my observations 😉

  18. John Anderson

    May 28, 2015 at 10:24 am

    It always amazes me that as humans we tend to shy away from what really excites us. Thanks for laying out this plan, it is very helpful.

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Success Advice

10 Confronting Reasons Why People Don’t Reach Their Goals

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failing to reach your goals
Image Credit: Unsplash

What is the incentive for attaining your full potential and realizing your goals? Why do some people seem to achieve more than others despite having the same time and resources availed to them? The devil is in the details, and this is especially true when it comes to accomplishing your goals or not.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck in the same spot for weeks, months or years now and are not accomplishing much; it might be time for you to assess yourself with the following ten truths.

1. You Lack Self-Confidence

One of the biggest reasons why people fail is because they don’t believe in themselves. Belief is actually a trained function, therefore the deeper you condemn yourself to the rut of self-doubt, the harder it is to come out of it. Our past has a lot to do with how we view our own abilities.

Maybe you just landed a new job or transferred to a new school and are now meeting new people who seem much smarter or more accomplished than yourself. It is often said that battles are won long before they are ever fought, and a lack of self-confidence will cause a reverse effect in accomplishing your goals. Don’t doubt yourself and miss a crucial opportunity in the process.

2. You Always Make the Same Mistakes

This is simply about accountability. If, say you were fired from your dream job because of always showing up late and happened to land another job where soon after you began you made the same mistake, you just dig your own grave. The thorough self-assessment is a crucial part of achieving your goals. You won’t get to the gym and achieve success if you are always oversleeping, or overeating. The same applies to any other dream that you may possess, so work hard and do anything that is possible.

3. You’re Averse to Taking Risks

Risk taking isn’t just limited to those who are looking to go into business or for savvy entrepreneurs. It directly applies to every aspect of our daily lives. How many of us keep that 9 to 5 job that we hate only because we are afraid of taking a plunge and following our passions?

There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t take that risk, after all, bills have to be paid, and there’s a 401k to contribute to, right? But there’s one greater reason why you should take that risk: your dreams lie in wait. Start that business, go on that trip or try out that relationship. You never know what tomorrow might bring, so do not hesitate and take risks.

“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” – Les Brown

4. Unwilling to Let Go of Productivity Killers

One of the ridiculous reasons (but true) why people can’t have what they want is the fact that they can’t let go of habits that take up valuable time. Facebook posts, Insta selfies and a whole lot of Netflix-&-Chill might make the whole day down the drain. A global study conducted by B2X also reports that Millennials are spending more than 25% of their day on smartphones, thoroughly diminishing their productivity and bearing a hindrance on them achieving their goals. So, put aside all of the unneeded and pointless activities – it takes too much time!

5. It’s Just Not as Easy as You Thought

Starting is the most important part, but constantly grinding and working on it is even more important to become successful. We often see the glitz on media with stories of overnight successes and folks who hit the jackpot with their ideas. What we don’t see is the pain, sweat, tears and rejection that took up the biggest chunk of the grind.

If it were that easy, it would be worthless. Along the way, you are bound to feel tired, uninspired, depressed, on the verge of giving up even. However, try to find ways of keeping motivated by learning a new skill, meditating, reading etc. Failure is a critical part of succeeding, and you have to embrace it and learn from it.

6. You’re Not Surrounded with Ambitious People

The people around us have a huge impact on how we utilize our time, how we think and the kind of goals we set for ourselves. Tom Mendoza, a brand contributor on Forbes, tackles this subject well by talking about the key qualities of the company he keeps and how it helps him grow. That old musing about being the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with couldn’t be truer.

7. Folks Who Don’t Reach Their Goals Because They Failed Before

This is probably the biggest reason why people don’t accomplish their goals. According to Fundera, about 20% of businesses fail in the first year. Does this mean the other 80% don’t face the same obstacles or they have a magic formula for victory? No, it just means that they managed to get themselves together and try again. The reason people can’t have everything they want is because they want everything `here and now`, but they don’t realize that failure is imminent and is the only sure road to the victory.

8. You Lack Vision and Never Take Action

Biagio Sciacca tackles the subject of a visionary mindset quite well in his blog article on how the boundaries of manifestation are limited by our own perception. He emphasizes with a personal story how everything that we see and interact with starts with a single idea in mind. A vision is not just a vague wish or some random fairy-tale hope, it is the fuel that drives your passion and every meticulous piece of work that you put in. Goal setting provides the big picture perspective on what and why you are doing something.

“Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but because of lack of commitment.” – Vince Lombardi

9. Thinking They Lack Enough Time to Achieve Their Goals

A good number of folks don’t believe they can accomplish their dreams with the time they have left. If you’ve watched “The First Grader” you’ll get all the motivation you need. The story of an 84-year-old who goes back to school to attain a life-long desire to be learned is enough to make you think twice about giving up on your own ambitions. So it is never too late to do something you like, give yourself a try.

10. You Will Succeed Only If You Do It This Way

Living by others’ limitations and the boundaries they set for you is one sure way to box yourself in from your goals. You’ll only get more tired, frustrated and demotivated in the long run. People impose their limitations on you because they don’t want you to succeed or because they have fears about their own abilities and personal failures to deal with. Achieving your goals means silencing those critical voices and having faith in your own way of doing it. Your biggest motivation should be to do it for the people who want to see you fail.

In most of the cases, people shield themselves from success. So, don’t let anything hold you back from any goal you’ve ever set for yourself and always try your best.

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Success Advice

Stop Replying To Everyone.

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Many of you are running around like mad trying to manage your time. You’re reading productivity hacks, taking cold showers and waking up at 5 am.

You’re doing all of this because you want more time to do what you love.

Let me hit you in the face with one technique that has allowed me to win back time, so I can do what I love.

Stop replying to everyone…

You get emails asking you to do stuff.
You get asked to do an intro.
You get asked to speak at an event for free about your area of expertise.

Here’s the problem:
YOU KEEP RESPONDING TO EVERY REQUEST OF YOUR TIME.


What’s the answer?

The answer is really simple like everything I write. Are you ready?
Stop replying to everyone.

I learned this technique the hard way. When I was looking to interview entrepreneurs in 2014 about their story and share it in the form of a blog post, I didn’t get many replies.

I’d email very successful people who have achieved the impossible and get nothing.

Radio silence.
Donuts.


Why don’t your idols respond to requests for their time?

There’s many reasons.

  1. They have too many requests and could never humanly answer every single one.
  2. They have limited time and can’t fit everybody into their schedule.

The second reason is the most important. Your idols don’t respond because that’s their way of saying no.


No response is the best response.

By responding to every request of your time, you go down the rabbit hole of endless back and forth conversations.

Let me illustrate this point with a short story.

A US startup approached me on LinkedIn and asked me to advise them on their social media strategy. They offered me equity in return for my expertise.

The product was not something that aligned with who I am, and I was heading off to Europe on holidays and had no time to draft a proper reply.

I sent no response to their request.
They messaged me a second time.
I sent no response to their request.

Then, I got sucked into responding. I felt my moral compass telling me to reply and tell them no. On top of that, the startup had a very well known person in the social media industry join them. FOMO kicked in.

I replied and that’s where everything went wrong.

Once I replied to the request I got daily reminders and emails with pitch decks trying to convince me why they were the one startup who could beat Instagram. The claims of how much traction they had got more and more ridiculous.

“Eventually, a simple request of my time turned into a daily debate”

They wouldn’t leave me alone. I began to regret my stupidity for responding in the first place.

If a request of your time doesn’t resonate with you, and you don’t feel like saying “Fuck Yes” when presented with an opportunity, say NO.

Don’t be tempted by a request of your time. 
Say no.


Not replying is what works.

People generally give up after one email or direct message asking for your time. I’ve tested this theory a lot and it has almost always turned out to be true.

As soon as you reply, you become like a lawyer in the High Court trying to defend someone who is accused of murder. Your time is yours. You only get one life.

“You don’t need to justify yourself, your time, or your goals to anybody”

YOU HEAR ME? NOBODY!

The way you win back time and make room for what’s important to you is to fight the temptation to reply to every request that comes your way.

Quit giving away your time like free balloons at a car expo.


You end up making up lies.

The problem with replying to every request of your time is you can end up making up lies to get out of doing something. Or you may end up exaggerating or putting forward excuses that aren’t entirely true.

This causes even more problems for you because if the requester knows people within your network, they may find out you’re not being honest.

Why construct a grand plan that takes more of your time to respond to a request?

It’s easier to say nothing at all.


Silence says it all.

Smart people who ask you for stuff will know that after a week, if you haven’t responded, you’re probably not interested.

Silence is the best response. After all, if someone really wants you to do something they’ll chase you, they’ll follow you up and they may get a mutual connection to intro them to you.

Many pitches and requests are poorly written or incredibly selfish.

Fight back with silence. Don’t reply. Stop replying.


You’re not missing anything.

The temptation to respond can also be caused by the fear that you’re missing out.

Maybe someone is contacting you to fund your idea.
Maybe something you wrote is going to be published in the New York Times.
Maybe the request will lead you to direct a Hollywood Movie.

All of these false ideas are what’s causing you to respond to everybody.You’re worried you could miss the jackpot or your lucky break.

The harsh truth is that these opportunities are earned through hard work.Genuine opportunities that will excite you are clearly articulated and your gut feeling will guide you better than you think.

You’re not going to miss out on winning an Oscar for a movie you made because you didn’t reply to an email”


Not replying isn’t rude.

We feel we must reply to every request of our time. We have a fear that we will be accused of being rude.

This belief is false also. There’s nothing rude about not replying. We all get lots of emails and messages online and we can’t answer them all. People will understand when you don’t reply. If they don’t understand then that’s a problem with them, not you.

Don’t feel you have to reply out of politeness.

<<<>>>

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

Practice These 4 No’s for Greater Success

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how to achieve greater success
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In much of the success literature and in the applied motivational literature that is developed today, the explicit suggestions contained within are to practice certain behaviors for a certain outcome. So, you may see information with titles such as, “Do these four things for greater happiness”, or, “Perform the seven steps every morning for more focus”.

Not only am I a large proponent of these quick and distilled attributes of behavior change to bring about greater levels of whatever the outcome should be, I am also an author of a great many of them. The notion of cause and effect is explicit in applied motivation. If you want to change and affect then do not work on the effect directly, work on the cause that will invariably change the outcome.

So many of us try to psychologically bully our conscious mind into various effects, when all we really need to do is understand the causes. Thoughts drive behavior. If you change the thought the behavior must change. But can you increase your level of overall well-being by NOT doing certain things? And I know the answer is yes. It all begins with a shift in our perception and the thought process.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim

Here are four NO’s that you may want to stop practicing. And by virtue of not doing these things you will have more mental room, and idea space between your positive notions for greater levels of contentment and well-being.

1. There are no justified discontentment’s

If the laws of cause and effect, and the law of attraction hold true, then we are where we are right now by virtue of our past behaviors, which are a direct result of our past beginning. So don’t be mad over your current situation, you created it! If you want to be happy, change it! But don’t just sit there and bask in your discontentment; bring about the necessary changes that you require.

In the words of James Ray, “a person of power embraces challenges and complete gratitude. No matter the situation life may bring, discontent is never justified, but rather all is experienced as an opportunity and privilege to adventure and grow.”

2. There are no justified excuses

The present is a doorway that balances past events with future circumstances. When we begin to fully grasp the idea that there is no dress rehearsal, we are on Broadway; that there is no scrimmage, today we are in the Super Bowl, we begin to realize that our life is a series of micro adjustments and that we are in total and complete control over them. Instead of wasting time making excuses for poor decisions, spend that time in fine-tuning future decisions to make up for those poor decisions of the past.

3. There are no justified complaints

We complain about a situation for one of two reasons. One, to elicit pity from another and, two, to transfer the issue we are complaining about to somebody else. Either behavior is destructive to the current personal relationship and will only serve to undermine future transactions with that individual.

Be a person of higher self-esteem; handle your issues in silence then speak to another individual about your successful outcomes. By doing so, you have altered your focus on a positive outcome instead of our negative conditions. By the way, there is always a successful outcome! If you can find it, look deeper, it’s there!

“Champions never complain, they are too busy getting better.” – John Wooden

4. There are no justified resentments

None, zip, zilch, zero! That person that borrowed $500 off you and never paid you back, forgive them. That significant other that dropped you like a hot coal just when you needed them the most, forgive them. That business partner that screwed you to the wall and caused you to lose a vast amount of money, forgive them. Remember, forgiveness is not about them, it’s about you. By letting go of the resentments that you have toward other people you open yourself up to the endless possibilities of bountiful manifestations that can occur because of your positive attitude and constructive optimism.

Think of these four big No’s! Number them, with number one being the one which you practice and think about the most. Then answer the following questions:

  • What can I do to alter this behavior and/or thought process?
  • What situations do I encounter and lead me in this behavior and/or thought process?
  • Can I avoid those situations?
  • If so, am I willing to avoid those situations?

Then do that with the second the third and the fourth big No’s. What will happen after enough time is that you will no longer be looking for situations to offend you, rather you will begin to open up to the possibilities of what the world and the universe have to offer you in a positive, enthusiastic, and engaging light.

I look forward to your comments, opinions, and suggestions. Please feel free to write them below.

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Success Advice

9 Ways To Build Unbreakable Confidence From The Outside In

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Build Self Confidence

There are a million different resources and pieces of advice out there from “experts” on how to build confidence, particularly self-confidence.

A vulnerable and anxious population consumes this guidance like they are starving for it… probably because they are. The dream of being able to overcome all fear and self-imposed limits by simply reading some advice is a very tempting dish indeed.

After lifetimes of being subject to images and ideals that they cannot possibly live up to, people start to feel like they are “less than.” This fear of being a substandard human being drives some of us to seek guidance, bringing us into contact with the murky, over-crowded world of self-help products and services.

Look, some of the stuff out there is good – I know, I’ve tried most of it. However, some of it is very misguided and even delusional.

People who lack self-confidence themselves can take a class on basic theoretical knowledge of psychological research, and use it to excrete volumes of garbage about how to build self-esteem and confidence. They then charge copious amounts of money for this drivel, which usually makes you feel great temporarily but does absolutely nothing to change your long term situation.

I’m not going to pretend I know it all, yet what I do have to offer is that I have completed the full journey, from shy, “nice,” and trying to please everyone, all the way through to where I am now.

You may ask, where is that, and what does being confident mean to me? It means that these things now occur in my life where they didn’t before:

  • I regularly seek out opportunities to push boundaries and expand my comfort zone, running towards fear rather than away from it
  • I can go into a situation full of anxiety and quickly push through that to enable me to feel competent and at ease
  • I feel comfortable being honest in all situations. Rather than hide my views, I express them calmly and diplomatically where required, but also without compromise
  • I place my needs above everything else. I am selfish about developing my life and inner-self, because I know that ultimately the people in my life will benefit from me being a better person
  • Most importantly from my point of view, I can’t remember the last time I felt jealousy or envy, and it’s been many, many years since I entertained the idea of wanting to be anyone else

So how did I get to this from being a “nice” guy that did all I could to avoid confrontation and anxiety-provoking situations? Well, it wasn’t easy! I have taken some time to break down the steps I took to achieve this in order to help others out there who are similar to me and serious about developing true, unbreakable inner confidence.

See the secret is really no secret at all – it’s about constantly taking action in a way that pushes your comfort zone further out until you learn how to make any situation feel like it’s in your comfort zone.

Below are 9 ways to build unbreakable confidence from the outside in:

1. Identifying your ultimate dream lifestyle

Something that is a real confidence drainer is not knowing where you’re going in life. The great thing is you don’t even need to be sure about it; you just need to have a direction to travel in.

Try taking 30 minutes to write down a descriptive paragraph or two about what your life would look like if you could wave a magic wand and choose anything. I’ve found with my clients that answering these three questions in detail is a great structure to use:

1What will you have / what will you be doing?

2) How would other people describe you?

3) What will you think about yourself?

Writing down the detailed answers to these questions, using emotional and descriptive language. Once you’ve done this, make sure you re-read it regularly (at least twice per week) to remind yourself constantly about why it is you are getting out of bed.

This will increase your sense of purpose in life, a reason to live in a way, which will increase your confidence. Of course, to actually achieve this dream lifestyle, there are further steps you need to take… (read on).

2. Writing down goals and striving to achieve them

I remember reading about a study at Oxford University: researchers asked all students in a class who had written down their goals. I can’t remember the exact details but about 3% of them did this.

When the researchers revisited the students again 20 years later, the small group who had written down goals were earning a combined income that was greater than the combined income of all 97% of their classmates.

There are plenty of free resources out there on how to write goals (including The Inspirational Lifestyle). The general key I recommend is that rather than write outcome based goals (e.g. “I will get a promotion”) try writing action-based goals that are under your control (e.g. “I will take a management course and then apply for a promotion”).

By making sure the goals are under your control, your confidence is not subject to luck. Remove luck by making sure that nothing and no-one can affect the achievement of your goal except for you.

3. Reading popular self-development books by successful business people

While there are far too many refuse-bin-worthy self-development books out there, your safest bet is to read the memoirs and how-to books which are written by people who have actually achieved something.

It really is simple; if someone like Richard Branson is a billionaire, he’s probably a pretty reliable source of information on how to make money. It’s much better to listen to him than someone fresh from completing an MBA and spilling a bunch of inexperienced theory-based conjecture.

4Learning how to manage your state of mind

Most of the time the reason you feel anxious or nervous about a situation you’re about to go into, such as public speaking, is because you’re in the wrong frame of mind.

Imagine this: you’ve been studying accounting for three straights hours without interruption, when all of a sudden you’re dragged to a party. Straight away you feel anxiety even though going to a party is not an unusual situation for you. So what’s the problem?

Your brain was set into the “studying” state, which is secluded, quiet, and antisocial. You are then thrown into a situation which requires you to be extroverted, talkative and social. This is a really uncomfortable imbalance for your brain to handle. The solution? Taking baby steps.

When you realize you are feeling anxiety about an upcoming situation and you suspect that it is because of being in the wrong state, try to figure out some in-between steps you can take.

Using our example above, rather than going straight to the party, you could have a chat on the phone with some close friends, followed by pre-drinks at your house with just a few people. This way by the time you get to the party your state has gone from withdrawn to outgoing in easy to manage steps.

confidence picture quote

5Understanding the balance between learning, mentoring and action

One of the most common barriers to success is too much thinking and not enough doing. It’s the doing that builds confidence, not the learning.

As a general rule, for every hour you spend reading or watching videos (passive learning), you will benefit most by complementing this with two hours of mentoring or coaching, and seven hours practicing or otherwise taking action. It’s the 10/20/70 rule.

This is why I’ve titled this article “9 ways to build confidence from the outside in,” because building confidence goes far beyond just reading inspirational or educational books. It’s about taking action so you will start seeing results and positive changes.

6. Approaching strangers

This is one of the scariest things for people to do – very few can do it sober without a background in cold-calling or sales of some kind. Doing this is a really powerful way to build confidence, particularly if you’re single and approaching strangers with the intention of potential romance.

If you can get yourself to do this sober and during the day, it makes everything else seem a lot less scary. You can learn to love rejection as the learning and feedback experience it really is.

7. Trying new things regularly

Having a routine can kill your creativity and make your life boring. It’s important to seek new adventures, and always try new things regularly because it can boost your confidence through the following two ways.

1) By learning a range of skills and having varied experiences, you start building up transferable abilities. Over time less situations will seem totally unknown because you will have done something similar before.

For example, I found I really enjoyed salsa dancing despite never having danced before, because it combined my previous experiences of playing in a band and doing martial arts.

2) You will eventually find those things that bring you the most pleasure and satisfaction (in a non-creepy way of course).

Confidence is often also described as “conscious competence,” which basically means that if you are doing something that you are skilled at, and you know that you are skilled, you feel confident.

8. Surrounding yourself with successful people

Successful people always say “how can we do this?” whereas unsuccessful people generally say “why should we do this?

What kind of people do you spend the most time with? Until you develop a strong inner core of confidence that others cannot touch, you need to surround yourself with “can do” people in order to feed on their confidence.

People showing you that anything is possible, and that they believe you are capable of anything will go a long way towards helping you believe this yourself.

9. Making a conscious effort to stop caring about other’s opinions of you

Finally, the biggest lesson I ever really learned about developing true all-round confidence is that the only person I should compare myself to is… myself. There is nothing to be gained in comparing myself to others or trying to live to others expectations.

Confidence comes from setting your own expectations of yourself and then trying your best to live up to them. I am not saying that you shouldn’t compete with others, because that’s a great motivator too, but your results and progress should only be measured against your past self.

Well that’s it. There’s a million other things you can do, but I am sure that if you start with this list and TAKE ACTION rather than just read this and do nothing, then you will start to see big changes in how you feel about yourself.

Which one of the above 9 ways to build unbreakable confidence resonated most with you and why?

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