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7 Fatal Habits Slowing Your Entrepreneurial Success

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7 Fatal Habits Slowing Your Entrepreneurial Success

You work hard. You buy the courses, read the books, go to the seminars, but your business is still growing small or maybe even non-existent.

You just KNOW that the secret to your success is in there somewhere. If you could just copy their talent, or their skills or even some daily habit you know you will see your productivity increase and your results skyrocket. But is that really the case?

So many times when we see successful people we wonder what can we do to copy them, or what are we not doing that we could be to follow in their footsteps and see those same results. But the reality is that it is not necessarily about learning a new skill or talent, or even adding something new at all. Sometimes the biggest gains we get are from stopping or altering your current habits.

 

Fatal Habit #1: Letting others control your morning

If you are having trouble getting a lot of things done, first look at your morning routine. You probably wake up groggy almost every morning, hit the snooze button once or twice before dragging yourself out of bed, and what is the first thing you are likely to do? Probably check your phone.

That’s the problem. Right away you are putting other people’s agendas ahead of your own. Their texts, their emails, their Facebook posts. Why not make yourself the first priority in the morning? What could you do instead that puts your goals and your life as the main priority?

Here are a few options:

  • Read a book, just a chapter, heck just a few pages would be better for you than checking email. It will give you some new ideas just to start your day. It might trigger a new idea for a blog post, or someone you should be reaching out to. Either way, your business improves right from the start of the day. Your mind actually has all day to work on developing solutions for whatever ideas you got from your early morning reading.
  • Meditate, either on your own or with one of many awesome guided meditations out there (I personally love guided meditations because I struggle to sit there myself…my mind tends to wander).
  • Listen to an audio book (same benefits as reading a book without even needing to open your eyes).
  • Listen to a podcast. This might take a little bit longer than the other options, but again it will teach you some interesting things that can foster creativity and inspire new ideas for your business.

All of these are fine. They will wake up your mind and get you ready to attack your day far better than the useless junk that is probably in your inbox or on your newsfeed. In fact, try turning email off on your phone and see how much better your morning is.

The best part of this change in your morning routine is that it takes up less than 10 minutes of your morning. If you say you don’t have 10 minutes in the morning, try getting up 10 minutes earlier to get this done. The result will be huge for you.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing that you can do first thing in the morning, is to work on your biggest, most pressing challenge for at least 25 minutes before you ever think about looking at your phone or checking your email. I would recommend giving yourself a full hour. By working on your biggest challenge first thing in morning you will ensure that you are putting in enough time to eventually blow past it and move on to other tasks to continue growing your business.

 

Fatal Habit #2: Losing focus from your current project

This is one of the more common habits we face as entrepreneurs today, as there are just so many distractions: television, social media, netflix etc. And then there’s all the things going on in your social life, the text messages from your significant other, kids running around the house. Sometimes it is just hard to stay focused and it gets us knocked off track, costing us valuable work time trying to restart after each interruption.

Additionally, sometimes even when our phones aren’t going crazy and the kids are not running around the house, we still are not as productive as we could be because we are not entirely sure what we should be doing. We have all seen tons of people who recommend creating huge “to-do” lists with like 8-10 tasks on them, but this is not ideal.

Why? Because it is incredibly difficult to get 8-10 things done each day, especially if the business is not your only focus. Instead of motivating you, it ends up demoralizing you because everyday you feel incomplete because you are never completing your entire list. Try creating a list of just the three most important tasks for you to get done that day. This gives you an achievable number of tasks each day. You actually look forward to getting them all done because then you can enjoy some time with your family, your friends or a hobby guilt free.

But here’s the trick to really make sure you get things done. So many times we will write down that we need to get this done, but will stop completely when we hit any kind of resistance. So how do we ensure that we know exactly what to do to complete our three daily tasks? The night before, write them down before you go to bed.

By writing down the necessary steps to complete each task you will be able to plan out the exact steps you will be taking to complete each task. This helps you from getting stuck or being unsure what your next move is. When you complete all the steps for each task, you are done, go enjoy yourself for a bit, write your three tasks for tomorrow and do it all over again the next day.

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” – Paulo Coelho

Fatal Habit #3: Doing non-income producing activities first

Far too often we get bogged down in unimportant tasks that do not grow our business. But because we are doing something we think we are being busy and/or productive. The reality is that we are actually neither. The reality is that all tasks are not created equally and you need to know how to prioritize which tasks to do first, and which tasks can be put off until later, outsourced or scrapped entirely.

There are 4 different types of Business Activities:

1. Income Producing Activities

These are the activities that will immediately provide you with sales. This can include webinars, writing sales pages, writing email launches or creating sales videos (for a service based business this would be actually performing the service). The simple rule for this group is if it won’t make you money it doesn’t belong here, this will be your top priority tasks.

2. Asset Creation

These are the tasks that will create useful pieces of your income producing processes. This includes creating products, making website pages (for sales or products), building out new sales funnels and guest posting. These activities are generally related to either product creation or list building.

3. Active Asset Nurturing

Once you have an asset created this is when you are providing additional work/value to the asset. Tasks in this category include creating new bonus modules for courses or sending out a value adding email to your list (notice how I did not just say send out an email, a sales pitch email…whether your product or an affiliate product does NOT qualify here, that actually is higher up). Basically, these tasks are providing additional value to assets that are already up and running.

4. Everything Else

This is everything else. The basic rule here is that if it’s not one of the first three tasks you either delay it, delegate it (outsource it) or discard it. There’s nothing here that is an immediate priority and you should avoid spending as much time on these tasks as possible. Doing $10/hr work will not get you moving toward your goals.

Set up a spreadsheet with the 4 types of tasks, list all the tasks you do or need to do and put them in each category. List all the tasks that you do, whether daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly. For the category 4s, figure out what you will delay until you have free time, what you will outsource and what you will just delete from your list of tasks.

 

Fatal Flaw #4: Poor personal health habits

Many times we expect that we have to “grind” our way to success. Unfortunately that means we end up thinking we need to just work on business and ignore everything else: fun, family, friends, but the most important thing that we cannot ignore is our personal health.

Sir Richard Branson has said the number one “secret” to improved productivity is to work out. Because our body is the single most important investment in your life. Working out increases your energy, your sleep and your focus, all things that you need to do your best work. The good news is that you can work out fairly easily, because you don’t need to be the next Mr. Olympia to receive the benefits of regular exercise.

For me, I like to do some kind of quick workout right after getting out of bed to get the blood flowing, and also because getting in a light workout before eating a meal allows your body to burn more fat as it will pull from your reserves since you haven’t recently fed it anything for it to burn.

This can be a simple program consisting of stretching, pushups and body squats (or whatever types of bodyweight exercises you like to do). You can do a full workout later in the day, or after work if still at a 9 to 5 job. If you are a morning person feel free to go nuts and do your full workout first thing in the morning. Additionally you have to fuel your body properly in order to get peak performance. If you eat better your body will react better: better focus, more energy, happier.

Again, much like workout plans there are tons of options for nutrition plans online. I personally like the Tim Ferris Slow Carb Diet. It is simple, easy to follow and starts giving you immediate results (I lost 5 pounds the first week I did it, that made it easier to get past the adjustment period and keep going). This allows you to be healthy and still enjoy your cheat day (FREE TIP: Don’t drink away your calories…save that for your cheat days).

 

Fatal Flaw #5: Not taking action

It is great if you have the best morning routine, you eat the best foods, drink enough water and even find time to workout. But what about your business? It’s great that you have the entire Dan Kennedy library of products (Dan Kennedy ROCKS, by the way), but your business will not grow unless you take ACTION. The only way you will make money is by taking action.

All those “think about the money and it will come” mantras are simply woo woo crap. It takes real work to build a business that makes money versus one that is just an expensive hobby. Why expensive? Think of all those courses that we buy, hoping that each one provides that ONE secret that explodes our business. So we just keep consuming course, after course after course, and yet the results never seem to come.

A good course is not designed to be consumed in full. It is designed for you to go through a module, and then take action on what you’ve learned, and then go to the next module. Rinse, wash and repeat.

A good rule of thumb is that for every one hour of training you should take 3 hours worth of action. Now some will take longer and some will be shorter, but that should be the goal (especially since you should end up having some ongoing tasks that you will have to keep doing over and over again, such as writing emails, making sales funnels or writing guest posts).

“Never confuse motion with action.” – Benjamin Franklin

Fatal Flaw #6: Allowing negative influences into your life

Honestly, I was tempted to make this #1, because one of the biggest flaws that we make is keeping negative influences in our life, this can include television, radio or even other people. To be successful we need to RUTHLESSLY keep those negative influences away from us. They can be poison to our mood, our minds, and our productivity.

Both television and radio have too many things you cannot control. Things like commercials or news stories that will not help you. Food commercials that give you unhealthy food cravings, medicine commercials about different diseases and side effects…it is all just really sad and depressing. And they both hurt you physically, mentally and emotionally.

But I’m also not going to tell you that you have to cut it out entirely (although that is obviously ideal), as I’d be a hypocrite because I love Shark Tank, The Profit, and Major League Baseball. As for the radio, that one is much easier to replace. You can listen to an audio book from a source like Audible or your local library, or use an app to listen to one of your favorite podcasts. By turning your car into a classroom you can get literally days worth of extra learning in during the down time of driving.

But use it as a welcome break from your hard work rather than something that you do out of habit. Treat it like a small reward for a good couple days of work rather than an everyday event.

The worst negative influences of all, can be our friends and family. While you cannot let them try to destroy your dreams (and they will if you let them). So you really have two options: Avoid spending time with them as much as possible (understanding that they are your family and friends so you will likely see some of them a bit even if they don’t support your business goals) or try to turn them into an ally by asking them for advice, put them in your shoes and then asking what they would do if they were you.

And finally there are those people who are just so negative that you may just need to cut them out of your life entirely. I had former teammates who I haven’t spoken with in years now because of how unsupportive they were about my entrepreneurial ventures.

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey 

Fatal Flaw #7: Not measuring your progress & results

Baseball great Yogi Berra once said “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” This is true with our businesses as well. We can do all this work to try and get results, but how do we know what is working and what isn’t? One word; metrics.

But not just any metrics, pick metrics that are based on your goals. For example, if you want to get to 1000 subscribers on your email list, you will likely care about metrics such as total subscribers each month, and your conversion rates from your opt-in page or other lead capture devices. If your goals are mostly based on income then our metrics will be based more along sales and expenses.

But the key is to give yourself specific numbers to shoot for: 1000 subscribers, 25% conversion rate, $100k in sales etc. Then give yourself specific time frames to measure (I personally like monthly, quarterly and yearly goals). This gives you a few short term goals to make changes on, as well as the full year goals that give you a full picture of your business.

 

Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

BJ Pivonka is the founder of Athletic Entrepreneurs (bjpivonka.com), where he helps former college and professional athletes successfully transition from their playing career into their own profitable entrepreneurial venture. At his website you can get hisFREE 5-day email course to get your first profitable idea and start earning money even if you do not have an idea yet.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Alexander

    Sep 27, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Great article, it help everyone to be more focus
    benz service

  2. Matt Lancaster

    Jan 21, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Habits can be very powerful – or destroying, holding you back.
    Really Really nice article.
    Thanks

  3. MD Farhad Hussain

    Jan 7, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Great Article. I was suffering with #6. Even though I know what to do, this article clarifies all things again.

  4. Geraldo Angel

    Jul 11, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    That was amazing! Sometimes one of those habits happened to me but with the time I get better and better

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 12, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      Geraldo,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      And yes, as long as you know about the habits, you can work on fixing them and continuously getting better.

  5. Mohinish Nirwal

    Jul 11, 2015 at 2:08 am

    Great article. I had my tongue in teeth on 4th one… From past few years I am not able to do physical exercises the way I used to do in college and later… I’ll stick to it.
    Thanks BJ Pivonka.
    Mohinish Nirwal

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 12, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks Mohinish!

      You don’t even need to go crazy and do some instanity type stuff, James Altucher just goes for walks everyday. I know guys who do sprints.

      And then there are sites about doing five minute workouts to do some high quality exercisein a short time.

      You have tons of options, just find something that works for you and keep doing it.

  6. Sija Mafu

    Jul 10, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Geez! I see a lot of my own flaws in this article. I’ll do what I need to in order to adhere to them. Thanks for sharing,

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 10, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Sija,

      Glad you enjoyed the article. It’s a matter of just taking small steps to keep getting better in each area. Once you keep that up you’ll starting disproportionate results.

  7. Ernie

    Jul 10, 2015 at 12:56 am

    Very wise advice my friend! Even correcting just one or two of these flaws is enough to build some solid momentum. Great article.

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 10, 2015 at 2:28 am

      Thanks Ernie!

      glad you enjoyed the article.

      And I agree, you don’t need to fix all 7 right away. Fix one or 2 at a time and you’ll start seeing huge results.

  8. Janette

    Jul 9, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Oh wow! #1 is definitely talking to me! ” Right away you are putting other people’s agendas ahead of your own. Their texts, their emails, their Facebook posts” that’s exactly what I do…but not from tomorrow morning that’s for sure!

    Thank you! Mwah x

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 10, 2015 at 2:29 am

      That is what I’m talking about Janette!!

      Great start.

  9. Adrian

    Jul 9, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Yes, negativity is one of the worst thing ever if you want to start good life.

    I started making money online because my goal was that $$$ per day and I reached it in 12 months.

  10. Arnold Chitwa

    Jul 9, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    I think i want to use this article as a daily guide, to make improvements on areas that i have been underachieving, its reaching out to me in practical and Big ways, i have to give a shot to every piece of advice i have received here.

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks Arnold. Glad you found this useful.

      Come back here and let us know how it went.

      or just shoot me an email with the results: bj@bjpivonka.com

  11. Muqadas

    Jul 9, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Woho, What an article. Agreed on each of it’s point.

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Muqadas,

      Glad you enjoyed it. Each point is CRUCIAL.

      Let me know what kinds of results you get.

  12. Matimba Ngwenya

    Jul 9, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    This article hit me hard. Fatal Flaw #5 speaks to me most. I know what to do, and how to do it. My follow through however is not consistent, and I have not been prioritizing my action. Thanks for the wake up call Pivonka

  13. ssenyonjo wilberforce

    Jul 9, 2015 at 9:49 am

    wow!!!!!,its a good information en it has given me courage.

  14. Stefanie

    Jul 9, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Great article! I totally agree, that habits can be very powerful – or destroying, holding you back. Your article reminded me it’s important to continuously check my own habits. Thank you!

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Thanks Stefanie, glad you enjoyed it.

      I picked out these specific habits for a reason. They can not only set the tone for you day, but determine your energy level for the rest of the day when you should be doing income producing activities.

      Thanks for your support!

  15. Lawrence Berry

    Jul 9, 2015 at 12:56 am

    This is some great information and I completely agree with everyone of them. I think your morning routine is what will determine if you make it in business or not. The morning is the foundation for your day, so you should really take care of yourself and your mindset. I have read about alot of successful people and they all do something in the morning that get them started for the day, such as meditating, exercising, or just eating a great breakfast. Take care of yourself and your mind. Great post.

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      Lawrence, YES. That is exactly the case. The morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day and also determines what kind of energy you have left for the rest of the day. That’s why I made it #1 on the list.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  16. Heitem Ak

    Jul 8, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Nice one Pivonka!

    I completely agree on the metrics.

    Specific goals keeps you on track through hard times!

    Just like jogging, if you run without metrics, you are likely to stop running as soon as you start getting tired!

    Keep them up,

    Heitem Ak

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Heitem, absolutely. You need to know what direction you are headed so you know whether to change course or not.

      Otherwise you’ll just wander around aimlessly doing things that won’t get the results you want and never actually get there.

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Success Advice

Are You Really a Leader? 3 Questions That Will Help You Find the Answer

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Being a leader is a lot of responsibility. People look to you to make decisions, direct them, provide support, and get results. A true leader is an amazing presence: a humble yet confident person who inspires those around them.

Unfortunately, a lot of people think they’re leaders, but really aren’t. In fact, according to talent scientist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, 80% of people believe they are better-than-average leaders, which is objectively impossible. I see people claiming to be leaders all the time, but they’re all talk and no substance.

What is Leadership?

A lot of the people I talk to seem to think that you become a leader just by having a job managing people. That’s simply not true. Leadership is a balancing act that would make a master juggler impressed.

True leadership involves making sure that there is a happy balance between employees’ needs and the company’s needs. If only the employees’ needs are prioritized, the company won’t be profitable. Likewise, if only the company’s needs are considered, employees will leave.

True leaders have the self-awareness and strategic skills to understand this delicate balance and understand their role in creating those key compromises.

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Ken Blanchard

Can You Be a True Leader?

Although there are a number of different leadership styles and theories out there, leadership boils down to a few essentials. Leaders need the emotional intelligence to navigate difficult and uncomfortable situations while being able to inspire others to take action. There’s a big difference between saying you’re a leader and acting like one.

If you want to increase your self-awareness and find out if you’re a leader others can rely on, start by asking yourself these three questions:

1. Do you want to be a leader?

It may seem unfair, but in my experience, the people who make the best leaders don’t necessarily want to be. You only want what you don’t have, and same rings true here. If you want to be a leader then you probably aren’t focusing on the right aspects of leadership.

True leaders are natural trail-blazers, but they don’t set out to lead anyone. People just happen to take note of their talents and confidence and look to the person for advice and guidance.

2. Do you have an original vision, or are you just power-hungry?

Why do you want to be a leader? Is it so you have the final say, or do you have actual goals you want to accomplish with a team? True leaders don’t feel threatened by others—they’re too busy getting stuff done. Leaders typically don’t need to test or confirm their power.

If you think good leaders give directions and just want others to listen, you’ve got it wrong. The best leaders often don’t need to speak a whole lot—they listen and observe, they think deeply, and when they do speak, it’s meaningful.

A true leader acts and others follow those actions because they trust and respect the leader. It isn’t about a power battle or an ego trip. Leaders have a true vision.  

3. Are you willing to do the dirty work?

You don’t get to be a leader if all you do is sit around, give orders, and let other people do the dirty work. Real leaders are humble, and no work is “beneath” them.

They want to know what’s going on at the ground level, and they want to help their people when they’re struggling. If you’re not willing to talk to a customer or back your employee up in a bad situation, you don’t get to call yourself a leader.

“Leadership is a choice, not a position.” – Stephen Covey

Becoming a Self-Aware Leader

How did you do? Maybe you’re not cut out to be a leader. Maybe you are. Maybe you need to work on a few things first.

Real talk: being a good leader isn’t easy. However, becoming a true leader benefits everyone around you and can be extremely fulfilling. If you’re more determined than ever to become the best, most self-aware leader you can be, that’s great news: we need more leaders out there.

What are the characteristics of a great leader in your opinion? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Capitalize on the 80% of Business That You Are Missing Out on Right Now With This Method

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Most of us are aware of Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 rule. This principle states that 20% of the input gives us 80% of the output. The top 20% of your salespeople account for 80% of your business. The top 20% skills you have, account for 80% of your success. The top 20% of our customers will give us 80% of business. When we use this principle it allows us to narrow in and focus on the most important clients who are in our target market.

You’ll find that most people tell you to focus on your top 20%. Here’s the big question: What do you do with the other 80% of people who you do not work with?

Most of us let this 80% of potential business fall to the wayside because they are not our target market and we have no system set up to still do some form of business with them. However, this is not the case for Tim Johnson.

Just last year, he generated $11 million dollars from REFERRALS! He is the master of building a referral based business. By sending clients that he cannot work with to his friends and referral partners, he is able to receive commission for the introduction and new business.

Imagine having the potential to make money from EVERY business conversation! Tim speaks to about 3,000 people per year, and if he cannot help them personally, he knows someone in his Global Renegade network who can.

The thing is, we can all do this if we are intentional about it. As Tim puts it, “We need to date our referral partners. We put so much time and effort into people that do nothing for our business, yet we do not build strong relationships and invest time into our referral partners.”

Tim is a speaker, author, real estate developer, and business coach who is well known around the world. He starts each business conversation by saying, “Is it okay with you that if at anytime during this conversation I realize that I am not the right fit for you, I introduce you to someone in my network who is?”

Each time he is met with a resounding YES! Who would say no to this offer? This strong referral network has built Tim a net worth of over $4 million dollars. Tim uses a framework called SOLD and if you use this framework you can build a strong referral network as well.

Below, is the exact SOLD framework Tim uses:

Strategy

According to Tim, everything is mathematical. He approaches each conversation looking to learn and serve. When you approach conversations in this way, you focus on relationship building instead of feeling like you have an agenda to do business.

Ask great questions here and give the person you’re speaking with an opportunity to share their situation and what they are going through. Tim always asks, “What do you need and how can I serve you?” This is a powerful question that most people neglect and it’s the reason they are not experiencing as much sales success as Tim.

“Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.” – Nelson Boswell

Objections = Opportunities

As the old wise quote states, “We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.” This means we need to speak less and listen more.

Too often, people pitch and become salesy instead of being human and having a conversation where they are listening to the person they are sitting with. When you are listening, you give yourself the opportunity to learn their problems, obstacles, and needs in order to identify new opportunities.

Leverage referral partners

As you are gathering information you will identify if you are able to provide the solution that your prospect needs. If you cannot, it is time to leverage your referral partners and make the introduction.

By starting out the conversation saying, “Is it okay with you that if at anytime during our conversation I realize that I am not the right fit that I introduce you to someone who is?” you have already pre-framed yourself appropriately to leverage your referral network if you cannot provide a solution that is needed.

Your prospect will be very appreciative for your honesty and will trust your judgement. You get a lot of brownie points when you have the integrity to say that you are not the right fit, but let me introduce you to someone who is.

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Duplicate

Rinse and repeat this process. Having conversations in this way will enable you to work with the top 20% of people you speak with, and still provide value to the other 80%. In this way, every conversation opens up the opportunity for new business.

SOLD is business growth through asking great questions, active listening, and leveraging referral partners. Start to capitalize on the 80% of business that you are missing out on by referring these people to other service providers in your network.

If you think about providing value in service of others first, then you can leverage the SOLD framework for increased revenue in your business by simply being a connector and receiving commissions of 10%-25%.

Do you have referral partners in your business? Would love to hear your experience in the comment section below!

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Success Advice

A 5 Step Morning Routine That Leads to Explosive Growth and Success

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Have you ever noticed that how your day starts can dictate how the rest of your day goes? If you start your day on a positive and productive note, you feel a sense of excitement, pride, and accomplishment. And then those feelings power you through the rest of your day. You knock things off your to do list and find yourself in a great mood. Yet, when you wake up later than you were planning on, it can throw your entire day off. So make a decision to take control of your mornings and come up with a routine that will set you up for success.

When trying to construct a morning routine that fits your life, one thing to take into consideration is how important the night before is. Most people with winning morning routines, also take nighttime rituals into consideration. Before going to bed each night, plan your next day out in a journal, so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Nothing is worse than going into a day without a plan, and that’s a great way to lose control of the day.

Here’s a list of some of the most important things you can start each morning with to get off to a good start:

Step 1: Hydration: The elixir of life

One of the most important things you can do each morning is start your day off by drinking at least one glass of water. After 6-8 hours without any water, it’s essential to hydrate your body when you wake up and get it ready for the day. Your body is composed of mostly water and a lot of times, the importance of water is overlooked. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and headaches, so starting the day with water can help prevent dehydration. Because of that, staying hydrated means more energy and a lot of times, clearer thinking. There are a lot of health benefits to staying hydrated.

“Your day is pretty much formed by how you spend your first hour. Check your thoughts, attitude and heart.”

Step 2: Priming: The key to self transformation

Anthony (Tony) Robbins, one of the biggest motivational speakers, always talks about the importance of starting your day with priming. His priming exercise combines two important elements; gratitude and visualization. The priming exercise is about 15 minutes and the purpose is to get you into a good mental and physical state before you start your day. First, Tony asks you to think about 3 things that you are grateful for, and to step into those memories like you are there.

Next, he asks you to think of three things that you want to accomplish (short or long term). The purpose of these exercises is simple; start your day with gratitude and visualizing yourself accomplishing what you want to accomplish, whether it’s a short term goal or a long term goal.

If you don’t want to do that exact exercise, you can also do a combination of meditation and visualization. There are a lot of guided audios that you can use to help you get the most out of meditation and visualization.

Step 3: Exercise/Movement – Jumpstart your brain and your body

Exercise has massive benefits, both physical and mental. Starting your day with even 30 minutes of movement can give you increased energy and endorphins. It’s also a great way to start your day on a positive note. Think of how amazing you feel after you finish a good workout.

Step 4: Journaling – Create your future and write your goals into existence

Everyone has their own way of journaling; you need to find what works best for you. Some things you can do while journaling are making a list of 3-5 things you are grateful for, writing your goals down (daily or long term goals), or setting your intention for the day. Journaling can make you more productive as well as remind you what your goals/ targets are so that you stay focused on what you need to get done.

“Your morning routine generates a 10x return for good or for bad. Make it good.” – Todd Stocker

Step 5: Attack the day- conquer your biggest task that you have to do first thing

A lot of people tend to procrastinate on their most important task of the day. They’ll find any excuse to push it off. “Later” becomes “tomorrow.” And then somehow, the end of the week rolls around and the task still isn’t complete. However, if you prioritize your most important task and get it accomplished first thing in the morning, it gives you a sense of discipline and accomplishment.

Starting your morning with a routine can help transform your day. It can help you build new habits but even if you start with 2 or 3 of these, you will begin to see a big difference in how your days go. If you already have a morning routine but you are missing some of these steps, test them out and see what kind of an impact they have on your days.

What is your morning routine like? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Here’s Why Goals Are for Losers

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If you enter the word “goals” into your browser, more than 1.6 BILLION search results pop up. Safe to say, there’s no shortage of goal setting advice as a stepping-stone on your path to success. Yet, there’s a contrarian willing to risk criticism, challenge the status quo, and debunk goals at face value.

In his book “How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big,” Scott Adams is an author, cartoonist and Periscope streamer, who sees goals differently than most everyone else. Adams observes that if you study people who succeed, you’ll see most of them follow systems, not goals.

Goals vs. Systems

Adams defines goals as “reach it and be done objectives.” Whereas systems, is what you do on a regular basis with an expectation that you’ll build on and improve your chances of success.

In Adams book, he says he didn’t have a goal to write it by a specific date. He had a “process” that included blogging daily (for practice) believing this consistency would lead him down a path to where he wanted to be.

Other examples:

  • dieting to lose 10 lbs. is a goal. Learning to eat right, and doing so on a regular basis, is a system.
  • making a million dollars is a goal. Being a serial entrepreneur, is system.
  • running a marathon in under 3 hours is a goal. Exercising daily, is a system (forming a habit).

Could goals create tunnel vision? The problem with goals, says Adams, is that they’re laser-focused and could block awareness of other opportunities around you. If you have your head down pursuing a goal, you may miss better opportunities that could potentially advance you, perhaps even faster.

In contrast, says Adams, systems are flexible, leaving you wide open for new and better ways of doing things. “A system, performed daily, is moving you from a place with low odds to a place with better odds.”

Adams concedes, goals aren’t completely off the table. Goals are useful in “simple” situations that are “narrow, simplistic and have predictable pursuits.” They’re ok for short tasks with a clear purpose.

Two examples of different goals would be an “ok goal,” which would be entering a contest, while a “great goal” is to win. “It’s simple, it’s near term, it’s manageable.” Nonetheless, for success, goals are terrible for long-term endeavors like personal health and career success goals.

So are goals for losers? Adams says goals are psychological. If you haven’t reached your goal, you could be in a perpetual state of frustration and disappointment, possibly feeling like a failure.

Goals proceed with blinders on, expecting certain results at the end of weeks, months or years. Then once you’ve achieved that goal, what are you prepared for? Whereas systems are skill-based that add up, and can serve you on future projects.

“Never settle for average.” – Steve Jobs

Talent Stacking for Success

Talent stacking is the process of increasing your personal value by “layering together several mediocre skills” until you have something unique.

Although Adams says most of his undertakings can be considered failures from the standpoint of goals, they’re actually successes from the standpoint of systems. Gaining transferable skills has allowed him to achieve success in the long run.

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Adams shares how he stacked his talents of “mediocre artist, an ok writer, somewhat humorous, and some business knowledge” to create the wildly successful comic strip Dilbert (seen online in 2,000 newspapers, 65 countries in 25 languages) and substantial economic value.

Previously we outlined the four principles of success. Here, we add talent stacking, allowing you to capitalize on the array of opportunities that come your way. Adams recommends choosing to acquire ‘talents’ that build assets you can apply to future projects.

The assets you build will lead you down the path of eventual success over time. In today’s fast-paced world, Adams feels we’d all benefit from adding t­he following skills to your main talent:

  • public speaking
  • persuasion (to understand psychology)
  • some business sense
  • some technology sense

Adams recommends to not worry about the end result. Focus on daily execution and over time, there will be a payday.

Passion will follow

Ask a billionaire what’s the most important element to success and he’ll likely say “passion.” Adams disagrees. He says someone’s passion may not be realistic. In addition, he feels you can develop passion with success.

Adams’ observation is that people who have a good business plan probably do well. As things start working, and you start making money, suddenly passion appears!

The crossroads of luck

Adams believes the flexibility of systems increases your odds of luck finding you. By adding to your talent stack, more opportunities cross your path, with success following close behind.

There are many kids today with better programming skills than Bill Gates had. Yet, Gates was born in a time in history where he had access to computers when other people didn’t, and that luck has made him billions and billions of dollars. Adams says go where the luck is, tune yourself into the vibration of luck and increase the chances you’ll get it.

“Success is luck multiplied by the skills you obtain” – Scott Adams

So there you have it, systems are better if you have a complicated situation and a long time frame. Goals are fine if you have a simple situation and a short time frame.

The thread that ties this highly recommended book together is that if you develop good systems and follow them daily, then your efforts eventually overlap with luck.

What do you think about goals now? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments area below.

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How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan. (more…)

Meghan Olsgard is the creator and writer of www.infinitesoulblueprint.com where she writes articles about self-empowerment and creating a fulfilling life. She shares her personal experiences and the obstacles she has overcame to help and inspire others to do the same. You can get more information at her website or follow her on Facebook.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Alexander

    Sep 27, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Great article, it help everyone to be more focus
    benz service

  2. Matt Lancaster

    Jan 21, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Habits can be very powerful – or destroying, holding you back.
    Really Really nice article.
    Thanks

  3. MD Farhad Hussain

    Jan 7, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Great Article. I was suffering with #6. Even though I know what to do, this article clarifies all things again.

  4. Geraldo Angel

    Jul 11, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    That was amazing! Sometimes one of those habits happened to me but with the time I get better and better

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 12, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      Geraldo,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      And yes, as long as you know about the habits, you can work on fixing them and continuously getting better.

  5. Mohinish Nirwal

    Jul 11, 2015 at 2:08 am

    Great article. I had my tongue in teeth on 4th one… From past few years I am not able to do physical exercises the way I used to do in college and later… I’ll stick to it.
    Thanks BJ Pivonka.
    Mohinish Nirwal

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 12, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks Mohinish!

      You don’t even need to go crazy and do some instanity type stuff, James Altucher just goes for walks everyday. I know guys who do sprints.

      And then there are sites about doing five minute workouts to do some high quality exercisein a short time.

      You have tons of options, just find something that works for you and keep doing it.

  6. Sija Mafu

    Jul 10, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Geez! I see a lot of my own flaws in this article. I’ll do what I need to in order to adhere to them. Thanks for sharing,

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 10, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Sija,

      Glad you enjoyed the article. It’s a matter of just taking small steps to keep getting better in each area. Once you keep that up you’ll starting disproportionate results.

  7. Ernie

    Jul 10, 2015 at 12:56 am

    Very wise advice my friend! Even correcting just one or two of these flaws is enough to build some solid momentum. Great article.

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 10, 2015 at 2:28 am

      Thanks Ernie!

      glad you enjoyed the article.

      And I agree, you don’t need to fix all 7 right away. Fix one or 2 at a time and you’ll start seeing huge results.

  8. Janette

    Jul 9, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Oh wow! #1 is definitely talking to me! ” Right away you are putting other people’s agendas ahead of your own. Their texts, their emails, their Facebook posts” that’s exactly what I do…but not from tomorrow morning that’s for sure!

    Thank you! Mwah x

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 10, 2015 at 2:29 am

      That is what I’m talking about Janette!!

      Great start.

  9. Adrian

    Jul 9, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Yes, negativity is one of the worst thing ever if you want to start good life.

    I started making money online because my goal was that $$$ per day and I reached it in 12 months.

  10. Arnold Chitwa

    Jul 9, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    I think i want to use this article as a daily guide, to make improvements on areas that i have been underachieving, its reaching out to me in practical and Big ways, i have to give a shot to every piece of advice i have received here.

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks Arnold. Glad you found this useful.

      Come back here and let us know how it went.

      or just shoot me an email with the results: bj@bjpivonka.com

  11. Muqadas

    Jul 9, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Woho, What an article. Agreed on each of it’s point.

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Muqadas,

      Glad you enjoyed it. Each point is CRUCIAL.

      Let me know what kinds of results you get.

  12. Matimba Ngwenya

    Jul 9, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    This article hit me hard. Fatal Flaw #5 speaks to me most. I know what to do, and how to do it. My follow through however is not consistent, and I have not been prioritizing my action. Thanks for the wake up call Pivonka

  13. ssenyonjo wilberforce

    Jul 9, 2015 at 9:49 am

    wow!!!!!,its a good information en it has given me courage.

  14. Stefanie

    Jul 9, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Great article! I totally agree, that habits can be very powerful – or destroying, holding you back. Your article reminded me it’s important to continuously check my own habits. Thank you!

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Thanks Stefanie, glad you enjoyed it.

      I picked out these specific habits for a reason. They can not only set the tone for you day, but determine your energy level for the rest of the day when you should be doing income producing activities.

      Thanks for your support!

  15. Lawrence Berry

    Jul 9, 2015 at 12:56 am

    This is some great information and I completely agree with everyone of them. I think your morning routine is what will determine if you make it in business or not. The morning is the foundation for your day, so you should really take care of yourself and your mindset. I have read about alot of successful people and they all do something in the morning that get them started for the day, such as meditating, exercising, or just eating a great breakfast. Take care of yourself and your mind. Great post.

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      Lawrence, YES. That is exactly the case. The morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day and also determines what kind of energy you have left for the rest of the day. That’s why I made it #1 on the list.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  16. Heitem Ak

    Jul 8, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Nice one Pivonka!

    I completely agree on the metrics.

    Specific goals keeps you on track through hard times!

    Just like jogging, if you run without metrics, you are likely to stop running as soon as you start getting tired!

    Keep them up,

    Heitem Ak

    • BJ Pivonka

      Jul 9, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Heitem, absolutely. You need to know what direction you are headed so you know whether to change course or not.

      Otherwise you’ll just wander around aimlessly doing things that won’t get the results you want and never actually get there.

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Success Advice

Are You Really a Leader? 3 Questions That Will Help You Find the Answer

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Being a leader is a lot of responsibility. People look to you to make decisions, direct them, provide support, and get results. A true leader is an amazing presence: a humble yet confident person who inspires those around them.

Unfortunately, a lot of people think they’re leaders, but really aren’t. In fact, according to talent scientist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, 80% of people believe they are better-than-average leaders, which is objectively impossible. I see people claiming to be leaders all the time, but they’re all talk and no substance.

What is Leadership?

A lot of the people I talk to seem to think that you become a leader just by having a job managing people. That’s simply not true. Leadership is a balancing act that would make a master juggler impressed.

True leadership involves making sure that there is a happy balance between employees’ needs and the company’s needs. If only the employees’ needs are prioritized, the company won’t be profitable. Likewise, if only the company’s needs are considered, employees will leave.

True leaders have the self-awareness and strategic skills to understand this delicate balance and understand their role in creating those key compromises.

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Ken Blanchard

Can You Be a True Leader?

Although there are a number of different leadership styles and theories out there, leadership boils down to a few essentials. Leaders need the emotional intelligence to navigate difficult and uncomfortable situations while being able to inspire others to take action. There’s a big difference between saying you’re a leader and acting like one.

If you want to increase your self-awareness and find out if you’re a leader others can rely on, start by asking yourself these three questions:

1. Do you want to be a leader?

It may seem unfair, but in my experience, the people who make the best leaders don’t necessarily want to be. You only want what you don’t have, and same rings true here. If you want to be a leader then you probably aren’t focusing on the right aspects of leadership.

True leaders are natural trail-blazers, but they don’t set out to lead anyone. People just happen to take note of their talents and confidence and look to the person for advice and guidance.

2. Do you have an original vision, or are you just power-hungry?

Why do you want to be a leader? Is it so you have the final say, or do you have actual goals you want to accomplish with a team? True leaders don’t feel threatened by others—they’re too busy getting stuff done. Leaders typically don’t need to test or confirm their power.

If you think good leaders give directions and just want others to listen, you’ve got it wrong. The best leaders often don’t need to speak a whole lot—they listen and observe, they think deeply, and when they do speak, it’s meaningful.

A true leader acts and others follow those actions because they trust and respect the leader. It isn’t about a power battle or an ego trip. Leaders have a true vision.  

3. Are you willing to do the dirty work?

You don’t get to be a leader if all you do is sit around, give orders, and let other people do the dirty work. Real leaders are humble, and no work is “beneath” them.

They want to know what’s going on at the ground level, and they want to help their people when they’re struggling. If you’re not willing to talk to a customer or back your employee up in a bad situation, you don’t get to call yourself a leader.

“Leadership is a choice, not a position.” – Stephen Covey

Becoming a Self-Aware Leader

How did you do? Maybe you’re not cut out to be a leader. Maybe you are. Maybe you need to work on a few things first.

Real talk: being a good leader isn’t easy. However, becoming a true leader benefits everyone around you and can be extremely fulfilling. If you’re more determined than ever to become the best, most self-aware leader you can be, that’s great news: we need more leaders out there.

What are the characteristics of a great leader in your opinion? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Capitalize on the 80% of Business That You Are Missing Out on Right Now With This Method

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Most of us are aware of Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 rule. This principle states that 20% of the input gives us 80% of the output. The top 20% of your salespeople account for 80% of your business. The top 20% skills you have, account for 80% of your success. The top 20% of our customers will give us 80% of business. When we use this principle it allows us to narrow in and focus on the most important clients who are in our target market.

You’ll find that most people tell you to focus on your top 20%. Here’s the big question: What do you do with the other 80% of people who you do not work with?

Most of us let this 80% of potential business fall to the wayside because they are not our target market and we have no system set up to still do some form of business with them. However, this is not the case for Tim Johnson.

Just last year, he generated $11 million dollars from REFERRALS! He is the master of building a referral based business. By sending clients that he cannot work with to his friends and referral partners, he is able to receive commission for the introduction and new business.

Imagine having the potential to make money from EVERY business conversation! Tim speaks to about 3,000 people per year, and if he cannot help them personally, he knows someone in his Global Renegade network who can.

The thing is, we can all do this if we are intentional about it. As Tim puts it, “We need to date our referral partners. We put so much time and effort into people that do nothing for our business, yet we do not build strong relationships and invest time into our referral partners.”

Tim is a speaker, author, real estate developer, and business coach who is well known around the world. He starts each business conversation by saying, “Is it okay with you that if at anytime during this conversation I realize that I am not the right fit for you, I introduce you to someone in my network who is?”

Each time he is met with a resounding YES! Who would say no to this offer? This strong referral network has built Tim a net worth of over $4 million dollars. Tim uses a framework called SOLD and if you use this framework you can build a strong referral network as well.

Below, is the exact SOLD framework Tim uses:

Strategy

According to Tim, everything is mathematical. He approaches each conversation looking to learn and serve. When you approach conversations in this way, you focus on relationship building instead of feeling like you have an agenda to do business.

Ask great questions here and give the person you’re speaking with an opportunity to share their situation and what they are going through. Tim always asks, “What do you need and how can I serve you?” This is a powerful question that most people neglect and it’s the reason they are not experiencing as much sales success as Tim.

“Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.” – Nelson Boswell

Objections = Opportunities

As the old wise quote states, “We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.” This means we need to speak less and listen more.

Too often, people pitch and become salesy instead of being human and having a conversation where they are listening to the person they are sitting with. When you are listening, you give yourself the opportunity to learn their problems, obstacles, and needs in order to identify new opportunities.

Leverage referral partners

As you are gathering information you will identify if you are able to provide the solution that your prospect needs. If you cannot, it is time to leverage your referral partners and make the introduction.

By starting out the conversation saying, “Is it okay with you that if at anytime during our conversation I realize that I am not the right fit that I introduce you to someone who is?” you have already pre-framed yourself appropriately to leverage your referral network if you cannot provide a solution that is needed.

Your prospect will be very appreciative for your honesty and will trust your judgement. You get a lot of brownie points when you have the integrity to say that you are not the right fit, but let me introduce you to someone who is.

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Duplicate

Rinse and repeat this process. Having conversations in this way will enable you to work with the top 20% of people you speak with, and still provide value to the other 80%. In this way, every conversation opens up the opportunity for new business.

SOLD is business growth through asking great questions, active listening, and leveraging referral partners. Start to capitalize on the 80% of business that you are missing out on by referring these people to other service providers in your network.

If you think about providing value in service of others first, then you can leverage the SOLD framework for increased revenue in your business by simply being a connector and receiving commissions of 10%-25%.

Do you have referral partners in your business? Would love to hear your experience in the comment section below!

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A 5 Step Morning Routine That Leads to Explosive Growth and Success

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Have you ever noticed that how your day starts can dictate how the rest of your day goes? If you start your day on a positive and productive note, you feel a sense of excitement, pride, and accomplishment. And then those feelings power you through the rest of your day. You knock things off your to do list and find yourself in a great mood. Yet, when you wake up later than you were planning on, it can throw your entire day off. So make a decision to take control of your mornings and come up with a routine that will set you up for success.

When trying to construct a morning routine that fits your life, one thing to take into consideration is how important the night before is. Most people with winning morning routines, also take nighttime rituals into consideration. Before going to bed each night, plan your next day out in a journal, so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Nothing is worse than going into a day without a plan, and that’s a great way to lose control of the day.

Here’s a list of some of the most important things you can start each morning with to get off to a good start:

Step 1: Hydration: The elixir of life

One of the most important things you can do each morning is start your day off by drinking at least one glass of water. After 6-8 hours without any water, it’s essential to hydrate your body when you wake up and get it ready for the day. Your body is composed of mostly water and a lot of times, the importance of water is overlooked. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and headaches, so starting the day with water can help prevent dehydration. Because of that, staying hydrated means more energy and a lot of times, clearer thinking. There are a lot of health benefits to staying hydrated.

“Your day is pretty much formed by how you spend your first hour. Check your thoughts, attitude and heart.”

Step 2: Priming: The key to self transformation

Anthony (Tony) Robbins, one of the biggest motivational speakers, always talks about the importance of starting your day with priming. His priming exercise combines two important elements; gratitude and visualization. The priming exercise is about 15 minutes and the purpose is to get you into a good mental and physical state before you start your day. First, Tony asks you to think about 3 things that you are grateful for, and to step into those memories like you are there.

Next, he asks you to think of three things that you want to accomplish (short or long term). The purpose of these exercises is simple; start your day with gratitude and visualizing yourself accomplishing what you want to accomplish, whether it’s a short term goal or a long term goal.

If you don’t want to do that exact exercise, you can also do a combination of meditation and visualization. There are a lot of guided audios that you can use to help you get the most out of meditation and visualization.

Step 3: Exercise/Movement – Jumpstart your brain and your body

Exercise has massive benefits, both physical and mental. Starting your day with even 30 minutes of movement can give you increased energy and endorphins. It’s also a great way to start your day on a positive note. Think of how amazing you feel after you finish a good workout.

Step 4: Journaling – Create your future and write your goals into existence

Everyone has their own way of journaling; you need to find what works best for you. Some things you can do while journaling are making a list of 3-5 things you are grateful for, writing your goals down (daily or long term goals), or setting your intention for the day. Journaling can make you more productive as well as remind you what your goals/ targets are so that you stay focused on what you need to get done.

“Your morning routine generates a 10x return for good or for bad. Make it good.” – Todd Stocker

Step 5: Attack the day- conquer your biggest task that you have to do first thing

A lot of people tend to procrastinate on their most important task of the day. They’ll find any excuse to push it off. “Later” becomes “tomorrow.” And then somehow, the end of the week rolls around and the task still isn’t complete. However, if you prioritize your most important task and get it accomplished first thing in the morning, it gives you a sense of discipline and accomplishment.

Starting your morning with a routine can help transform your day. It can help you build new habits but even if you start with 2 or 3 of these, you will begin to see a big difference in how your days go. If you already have a morning routine but you are missing some of these steps, test them out and see what kind of an impact they have on your days.

What is your morning routine like? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Here’s Why Goals Are for Losers

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If you enter the word “goals” into your browser, more than 1.6 BILLION search results pop up. Safe to say, there’s no shortage of goal setting advice as a stepping-stone on your path to success. Yet, there’s a contrarian willing to risk criticism, challenge the status quo, and debunk goals at face value.

In his book “How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big,” Scott Adams is an author, cartoonist and Periscope streamer, who sees goals differently than most everyone else. Adams observes that if you study people who succeed, you’ll see most of them follow systems, not goals.

Goals vs. Systems

Adams defines goals as “reach it and be done objectives.” Whereas systems, is what you do on a regular basis with an expectation that you’ll build on and improve your chances of success.

In Adams book, he says he didn’t have a goal to write it by a specific date. He had a “process” that included blogging daily (for practice) believing this consistency would lead him down a path to where he wanted to be.

Other examples:

  • dieting to lose 10 lbs. is a goal. Learning to eat right, and doing so on a regular basis, is a system.
  • making a million dollars is a goal. Being a serial entrepreneur, is system.
  • running a marathon in under 3 hours is a goal. Exercising daily, is a system (forming a habit).

Could goals create tunnel vision? The problem with goals, says Adams, is that they’re laser-focused and could block awareness of other opportunities around you. If you have your head down pursuing a goal, you may miss better opportunities that could potentially advance you, perhaps even faster.

In contrast, says Adams, systems are flexible, leaving you wide open for new and better ways of doing things. “A system, performed daily, is moving you from a place with low odds to a place with better odds.”

Adams concedes, goals aren’t completely off the table. Goals are useful in “simple” situations that are “narrow, simplistic and have predictable pursuits.” They’re ok for short tasks with a clear purpose.

Two examples of different goals would be an “ok goal,” which would be entering a contest, while a “great goal” is to win. “It’s simple, it’s near term, it’s manageable.” Nonetheless, for success, goals are terrible for long-term endeavors like personal health and career success goals.

So are goals for losers? Adams says goals are psychological. If you haven’t reached your goal, you could be in a perpetual state of frustration and disappointment, possibly feeling like a failure.

Goals proceed with blinders on, expecting certain results at the end of weeks, months or years. Then once you’ve achieved that goal, what are you prepared for? Whereas systems are skill-based that add up, and can serve you on future projects.

“Never settle for average.” – Steve Jobs

Talent Stacking for Success

Talent stacking is the process of increasing your personal value by “layering together several mediocre skills” until you have something unique.

Although Adams says most of his undertakings can be considered failures from the standpoint of goals, they’re actually successes from the standpoint of systems. Gaining transferable skills has allowed him to achieve success in the long run.

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Adams shares how he stacked his talents of “mediocre artist, an ok writer, somewhat humorous, and some business knowledge” to create the wildly successful comic strip Dilbert (seen online in 2,000 newspapers, 65 countries in 25 languages) and substantial economic value.

Previously we outlined the four principles of success. Here, we add talent stacking, allowing you to capitalize on the array of opportunities that come your way. Adams recommends choosing to acquire ‘talents’ that build assets you can apply to future projects.

The assets you build will lead you down the path of eventual success over time. In today’s fast-paced world, Adams feels we’d all benefit from adding t­he following skills to your main talent:

  • public speaking
  • persuasion (to understand psychology)
  • some business sense
  • some technology sense

Adams recommends to not worry about the end result. Focus on daily execution and over time, there will be a payday.

Passion will follow

Ask a billionaire what’s the most important element to success and he’ll likely say “passion.” Adams disagrees. He says someone’s passion may not be realistic. In addition, he feels you can develop passion with success.

Adams’ observation is that people who have a good business plan probably do well. As things start working, and you start making money, suddenly passion appears!

The crossroads of luck

Adams believes the flexibility of systems increases your odds of luck finding you. By adding to your talent stack, more opportunities cross your path, with success following close behind.

There are many kids today with better programming skills than Bill Gates had. Yet, Gates was born in a time in history where he had access to computers when other people didn’t, and that luck has made him billions and billions of dollars. Adams says go where the luck is, tune yourself into the vibration of luck and increase the chances you’ll get it.

“Success is luck multiplied by the skills you obtain” – Scott Adams

So there you have it, systems are better if you have a complicated situation and a long time frame. Goals are fine if you have a simple situation and a short time frame.

The thread that ties this highly recommended book together is that if you develop good systems and follow them daily, then your efforts eventually overlap with luck.

What do you think about goals now? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments area below.

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