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How to Overcome Entrepreneur “Shiny Object Syndrome” In 4 Simple Steps

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Entrepreneur Ideas

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice tells the Queen, “One can’t believe impossible things” and the Queen confidently replies, “I daresay you haven’t had much practice. When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Without a doubt, the Queen must be an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs are like idea machines. Churning out ideas like candy coming from the Willy Wonka factory. We are creators. Innovators. But there’s a problem that most entrepreneurs face somewhere down the line—having too many ideas.

At first, it seems like having a constant influx of great ideas isn’t a terrible thing, but when you have tons of new ideas flooding into your brain day after day, you can run into two problems:

1. You become stalled. You never take action on any of your ideas because you don’t know how to get started or even what to start.

2. You get easily side-tracked. You’re always chasing the white rabbit. You start project after project and you’re always onto the next thing before you’ve even completed the first.

The latter is what I like to call “Entrepreneur Shiny Object Syndrome”—always chasing that next “shiny” idea. Many of the entrepreneurs that I know (including myself) suffer from this “disorder”. If you’re one of these people, sometimes having only 6 impossible ideas would feel like a relief.

The issue with having Shiny Object Syndrome is that you run the risk of not using your time wisely and not being able to operate your business efficiently. Since your time and energy is money (especially if you’re a solopreneur who’s in charge of everything), your business’s bottom line will undoubtedly suffer if you can’t stay focused.

As a business owner, you need to get really good, really fast, at effectively filtering through your fishing net of ideas and only selecting the right ones to work on.

Below is a helpful 4-step process that you can use to get a handle on this “disorder” and continue to stay on track and focused every time a new idea arises…

 

Step 1: Create a running list of all your ideas

Write down every business/marketing/blogging/etc idea that you have throughout the day by keeping a running list in a journal or on your Smartphone. When something new pops into your head, jot it down and then immediately go back to whatever you were doing.

Keep in mind that just because this certain idea magically occurred to you in the moment does not mean that…

1. It is top priority
2. It needs your full attention
3. It needs to be implemented straight away

When you write everything down, you can come back and build on an idea later without worrying about forgetting it. Try scheduling 30 minutes a day for “idea time” to think through some of your recent ideas. This way, you won’t get distracted from your current tasks, but you’ll still give the necessary attention to your innovative thoughts.

 

Step 2: Pause before you start anything

This is a lesson that I find myself having to learn over and over again. When you have a new idea, take a pause. Don’t execute it right away. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small idea like “I should send a Twitter message to so-and-so” or a big idea like “I need to do a complete overhaul on my business website”—both ideas can wait.

Decide on a specific delay time between your idea conception and execution. For example, every time a “big idea” for my business occurs to me, I let it sit and think about it for 7 days before giving myself permission to consider implementing it. If in 1 week, I’m still excited about the idea and certain that it will help my business, I will make a plan to execute it. If not, then the idea falls onto the backburner and I don’t have to worry about it.

Find delay times that work best for you and do your best to stick with them.

 

Step 3: View your new ideas through the lens of your long-term goal(s)

After you’ve written all your ideas down and given them a little space, it’s time to figure out if a specific idea is worth implementing.

To do this, you have to look at your new ideas through the lens of your long-term goals. With every idea, ask yourself the question: “Does this idea take me closer to reaching my ultimate business goals?” If it does, go for it. If it doesn’t, let it sit on your idea list a little longer.

Some ideas might need to stay on your business’s backburner until you get more important things accomplished. In the meantime, if something does seem urgent (maybe you really really hate your website design), try outsourcing the task and continue to spend your time working towards your ultimate goals.

 

Step 4: Don’t make crucial business decisions every day

If you attempt to make important decisions about the long-term objectives of your business on a daily basis, you run the risk of falling off track every time you have a new killer idea (or something bad happens like a revenue dip or you receive negative feedback). Instead of making these important decisions on the fly, have a 6-month or yearly plan that spells out the direction that you want to take your business.

Think about it this way—say, for instance, you want to drive away from Los Angeles and be on the road for 2 days. Well, you have two options:

1. You could choose which way to turn each time you encountered a stop light, on-ramp or fork in the road
2. You could choose your destination to be New York City in advance which would influence every directional decision you make along the way

With the first option, you could end up anywhere in the country, or even back where you started. When you make business decisions based on the specific circumstances that you face each day—this is unlikely to lead you to your final (desired) destination. With the second option, you will arrive at your destination in 1 day and 16 hours and find yourself exactly where you want to be.

Writing out the overall plans and ultimate goals for your business will help you stay steadfast and focused in the long-term.

In the end, in order to overcome Entrepreneur Shiny Object Syndrome, you should always be filtering your ideas through these 4 steps to keep yourself and your business moving towards your ultimate goals and on target for success.

Laurel Staples runs a popular blog & podcast called Go Fire Yourself that gives you the insider secrets to successfully escape your day job, grow your own business and live life on your terms. Connect with Laurel and download her free ebook: Income Switch: How to Replace Your 9-to-5 Income by Building a Profitable (& Unstoppable) Online Platform by visiting her website: www.gofireyourself.com

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Wendie Kause

    Nov 23, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Great article, great steps that I will apply, starting right now. But do you know what I like most about it? Knowing that this syndrome is not mine alone. It’s as if there’s a little gremlin in my brain, clicking on all these ideas all the time. I thought perhaps I was alone with these little guys! It’s good to know there are others!

    Thanks much!

  2. Pat Royston

    Jan 1, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Such good information. You pegged me!

  3. Michael Levanduski

    Feb 22, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Excellent post. This is a very big problem for anyone working online! These are great tips for everyone, especially those just starting out.

  4. Janine Gilmour (@JanineGilmour1)

    Jan 11, 2014 at 12:08 am

    I’m thinking “all that glitters isn’t gold” … and knowing I gravitate to my own shiny objects when I’m doing something difficult. Nice to know I’m in good company. Better still to working with a process that staves off starting 50 things and not finishing many. Thanks for the perspective on how to see my big goals over the finish line. Thanks!

  5. Curt

    Jan 6, 2014 at 3:47 am

    I am so glad you wrote this article, Laurel. My friends have described me as a serial entrepreneur…I thought they were just being nice. I seem to come up with a new idea with each breath I take. I own several successful small businesses. I am blessed with good employees to run each business. I have list upon list of additional projects that I am working on that are not related to my businesses: titles of nearly thirty books to be written, a producer has ask me to develop two of my ideas for TV programs, my multiple real estate projects that are in various states of completion and valued from $240K to $29M, and a list of twenty-two additional ideas that I would love to develop. To say the least, I am spread thin. The best thing I have done recently is to start working with a business coach that helped me to focus. I now write thoughts on my list and revisit the list every 30 days. Since starting this, I have not started one new project…and I have been able to finish, or make subtancial headway, on several of my pending high-priority projects. I don’t know if everyone will have the same success, but for me, I now prioritize, focus and accomplish. Without my business coach helping me to understand how I think/work, I would still feel like I had severe ADHD. I sincerely appreciate reading that others face these same hyperactive idea issues, and appreciate your efforts to assist us. Your writings are spot-on!

  6. Goodtogo

    Dec 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I’m cleared, thanks Laurel.

  7. Diana Schneidman

    Nov 29, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Laurel,

    I heartily endorse Step 1, maintaining a running list.

    I keep a list in Word every time I come across another idea for marketing my business. Sometimes I simply list a website to revisit; other times it’s a big concept.

    Once I have captured an idea, I free myself up to go on to the day’s work, comforted that the new, shiny idea won’t be lost.

    I rarely look at the list, but I know where to find all my ideas when I want them.

    -Diana

  8. Micah

    Nov 28, 2013 at 2:55 am

    Great article. I love the idea of a running list. I often have to remind myself to focus on what I need to focus on right then… And spend time researching all of my “great” ideas later.

  9. Laurel Staples

    Nov 28, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Thanks! So glad you enjoyed it!

  10. Ahmed Muse

    Nov 28, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Very useful tips here. Thanks!

  11. Margaux Dela Cruz (@Margaux_Dela)

    Nov 26, 2013 at 11:54 am

    These are practical suggestions to help entrepreneurs stay focused on the more important things. True, once ideas come running in, there’s no way to stop entrepreneurs. But another thing I learned to help me focused on the priorities is segmenting. It would help if entrepreneurs learn to visualize their business on a map. By adding data by category, they can analyze each category individually and identify which is the most important. Then, they can analyze the connections between each data set – another simple and practical way to ignite more ideas but this time, in a more systematic way.

    • Laurel Staples

      Nov 28, 2013 at 2:26 am

      Thanks for your awesome tip! That’s a really great way to stay focused on your objectives. I’ve known many entrepreneurs who do that it say it works wonders.

  12. Abe Stone

    Nov 25, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Excellent… It really helps to acknowledge the issues and then create an understanding of how to fix it… So many times we don’t want to admit that some of our ways of living are problems and they never go away.. I think coaching helps in this too.
    Having someone who can objectively help you question the ideas and ask new questions you may not be thinking of…

    • Laurel Staples

      Nov 28, 2013 at 2:23 am

      Great points Abe! I think in business, we get too close to our own situation and it’s hard to see things from an objective point of view. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Jodi Barthold

    Nov 25, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Great article – I’m going to memorize these and use them.

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Success Advice

It’s Not How Smart You Are That Defines Your Career — It’s This

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Look around the office you work in. Some people are managers. Some people make six-figure salaries. Some people are senior executives. Some people work in customer service on the frontline.

It’s a big mistake to think that where you are in your career has something to do with how smart you are.

I’ve met many smart people who crash and burn in their careers because they have to be always right or they overthink, or they know a lot about the wrong things or they have very low emotional intelligence causing them to upset many people at the same time.

If being smart made us successful then we’d all go and consume endless information and become millionaires shortly after.

Being smart is not enough.

So what does define your career and the success you have?


1. How badly you want it

The woman/man that became CEO wanted it more.

The person with the 7-figure business wanted it more.

The woman that won an Olympic Gold Medal wanted it more.

You have to want your goals really, really, really bad.

Wanting something so badly that you’re prepared to do anything to get there (ethically) is how you get the energy to overcome the rejection and failure it’s going to take to get reach that point.

I wanted to share my story and inspire people with it very badly. I thought of creating a WordPress website, but I had no idea how to and had zero technical skill. My knowledge of how to market that website was also zero.
I tried creating a Facebook Page and to date, it still has less than 3000 followers which means I fall short by a lot in terms of my target to inspire millions of people.

I tried using Twitter and reaching people that way. I was never able to get any real engagement. I’d tweet Elon Musk. I’d message Tony Robbins. I’d write the best tweet humanly possible. It all led nowhere.

I tried using a blogging platform called Medium. I was able to build a small following, but most people in my area of the world don’t use it. I still came up short of my goal.

Then, I tried writing on a blog that already had lots of viewers called Addicted2Success and began posting on LinkedIn daily.

Everything changed. I wanted to inspire people so badly that I kept trying until I found a platform that worked for what I had to say. Wanting it badly enough was what helped me keep going from 2014 until now. It didn’t stop there, though.

When my career took a turn down a black hole, my motivation died. Suddenly, writing on Addicted2Success and LinkedIn became hard. I didn’t want it as bad because the pain caused by my work life was too much. I let things slip temporarily for about 3 weeks. Engagement went to an all-time low.

It didn’t last long, though. Why? My thinking changed when I reminded myself how upset I would be if I didn’t achieve my goal. It meant far too much and in the back of my mind, I still wanted it badly.

I went back over all the emails from people I’d helped and that spark came back. Deep down, I still wanted it badly. I still wanted to inspire millions of people.

Wanting it bad was what helped me to revive my blogging career and continue helping millions of people.

Wanting it badly will define your career.


2. What you think is possible

I met a guy earlier in the year that came from a farm in the middle of Outback Australia.

He’d sold his digital marketing business for a lot of money and banked a huge amount of coin as a result. He had no tech background. He had no business knowledge. He didn’t have seven-figure friends that drove Bentley’s.

What he had was an uncanny ability to think anything was possible. He saw himself rising above his circumstances even though he had no evidence to prove that he could do so. He worked long hours and built up a team of cult followers. They learned together how to get businesses exposure through social media and search engines.

For many of the people on his team, it was their first job. He didn’t pay them well because he couldn’t. All he thought was that one day, together, they’d do something incredible — and they did.

A lot of what happens in your career is based on how you think. If you think you can never be a manager, entrepreneur or executive, then you won’t be.

If you think you can be good at public speaking, you might.
If you think you can hit your sales target, you might.
If you think you can start a successful business, you might.
If you’re not successful right now, you will be.

It’s only a matter of time until one of the bets in your career pays off

It’s a combination of being ready, being humble, thinking right and having the skills to execute. Not thinking you can achieve big will rob you of whatever it is that you want in your career.

I shouldn’t be a successful blogger because I can’t write that well, I have bad spelling/grammar skills, I don’t own a blog and I’m not filthy rich. Despite all that I’ve achieved my blogging goal.

I saw my goal become possible before anybody else did.

I told myself that every major challenge was necessary for me to eventually get what I wanted. I thought my goal was possible even though all the facts suggested it wasn’t. Instead of relying on data I relied on my own mind to lead me down the right path.

I chose to believe when no one else did.

This very way of thinking is not unique to me. Many of the leaders around the world that shape the human race think in the same way.

What you think is possible in your career will define what goals you can achieve.

Your thinking defines your career.
Being smart isn’t enough.

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Success Advice

How to Create Your Own Version of Success

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Success is in the eye of the beholder. And because every human being sees life and all the things that come with it through their lens of experience, everyone’s individual idea of life, growth and success is defined by what they see, hear, think, feel and taste. This means that you have the power to determine what success means to you.

Many of the greatest thought-leaders, business people and influencers throughout history have provided their thoughts and opinions about success –  how to achieve it, how to manage it and how to be it. They’ve written books that are supposed to share with the world how success is merely a feeling and a wish. While many of the most successful people have warned that success is what you make of it, society has coined “success” as being wealthy, influential, famous, and lavish.

You may be thinking, “I’m not rich, but I’m well off,” or “I’m not a social media influencer, so I don’t have much clout.” But here is the truth: You, just the way you are, are already a success. Here’s why. Think of all the things that have happened in your life – the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Up until this very moment, you have made a series of choices that have shaped your reality.

Therefore, you have created the life you have, and you have set the terms of how you decide to live your life. Not to suggest that your life is perfect because no ones life is exactly as they want it, but the fact that you have created your reality shows that you are a creator. It also shows that you are in charge of creating the success you desire.

“Success is not in what you have, but who you are.” – Bo Bennett

Even if you feel like you should be so much further along than you are today, you still made it to today and that’s a good thing. If you are reading this feeling like you need to shift things around in your life so that you can feel like a success, try these three things below.

  1. Jot down all the words that you think of when you read the word “success,” and mark the words that align with who you are. Ask yourself what you believe you need to feel like a success. Only write down what resonates with you, not what you think people expect of you. Remember, that you are defining your journey, so you get to make up all the rules.
  2. Now, write down all the words you think about when you read the word “unsuccessful,” and mark all the words that may describe some aspect of you that you want to eliminate. Don’t just consider the big stuff, small stuff matters too! Procrastinating to get out of bed in the morning, drinking too much soda, or even spending too much time watching television are all examples of habits that could in some way affect your personal growth.
  3. Lastly, create an SAP (Success Attack Plan) to align yourself with more of the descriptive words that you associate with success and start to eliminate the characteristics you may possess that depict you as less than who you desire to be.

Your Success Attack Plan doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can start with an actionable idea as simple as, “Read one book this month about personal development,” or “Connect with someone who can mentor me.” Sometimes, you have to look to those who have been where you are to help you get where you desire to be. Just remember, your journey won’t look like theirs so pay attention to your inner being at all times and do what feels natural and right to your situation.

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting.” – Buddha

When you create your lists, be as imaginative as possible. Consider those people, places and things around you. Think about what you like and don’t like. Ponder on energy you want to attract that you do not already have and things you want to repel.

Don’t worry about setting a timeline for this. Creating a vision for your life starts with setting an intention at this moment and allowing that intention to lead you in the days to come. To see yourself five years from now, you have to do the things today that will help you get to the future.

Don’t allow others to tell you what you should aspire to be when it comes to success. You are in command, and you are in charge of your present and your future. Own it, own your success and own you.

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Success Advice

What It Really Means to Be a High Achiever in a Culture of Lazy

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Keeping employees interested in their work has been an increasingly difficult challenge for today’s employers. Whether it’s due to a generational shift of Millennials fully entering the workforce or an increasingly distracted society across the board, the vast majority of American workers are not passionate about their work.

This dispassionate workforce is causing large-scale problems, for both workers and the companies that employ them. When young people become immersed in cultural laziness, it can be hard to become a high achiever, but there is a path for those willing to do what it takes to be a top performer, and it’s simpler than you might think.

Laziness by the Numbers

According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly two-thirds of American workers are either unengaged or actively disengaged in their job. This leaves only a third of Americans who are actively engaged and passionate about their work. This lack of interest has enormous financial ramifications for companies due to all of this lost productivity.

Research from McLean & Company, estimates that a disengaged employee costs a company $3,400 out of every $10,000 in annual salary, or 34% of their wages. That means a disengaged employee who earns $75,000 costs their organization $25,500 per year due to a lack of productivity. If roughly two-thirds of workers are disengaged, this adds up to billions of dollars lost across the economy.

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.” – Khalil Gibran

Motivation: Whose Job is it Anyway?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to employee motivation: Either managers need to actively motivate their employees, or employees need to step their game up and figure out what they actually like doing. Stefan Aarnio, a highly successful real estate investor, author, coach, and speaker, falls squarely into the second camp. He attributes his company’s success to the culture of high accountability and high performance he cultivated over the years.

It all began with Aarnio honing his own intrinsic motivation over the years by discovering, and then doing, exactly what he loves to do. In Aarnio’s own words, “you don’t need the resistance of waking up every day and doing things that you hate doing, life is too short for that”, and he expects those he hires to follow the same logic. When you love what you do, you don’t need a manager to constantly poke and prod you to gin up some motivation, however fleeting it might be.

It may seem like common advice that only works for the wealthy, but doing what you love really is the simple solution to the scores of dispassionate workers plaguing the workforce of today. People are trained to believe that they should get the highest paying job they can get regardless of how it makes them feel.

“You don’t build a business, you build people, and then people build the business.” – Zig Ziglar

Aarnio believes this is shortsighted and will ultimately lead to a sad and dispassionate life. By being attuned to what makes him passionate, and expecting the same from his employees, Aarnio has been able to flip the script and develop a culture of passion and high achievement.

How do you motivate your team to want to show up every single day? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

How To Improve Yourself In The Next 6 Months With Very Little Effort.

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Sounds like a huge claim doesn’t it? That Tim Denning Self-Help idiot is at it again isn’t he?

Wrong. Improving yourself in 6 months so that you can achieve all your big goals is easier than you think. A word of warning though, the advice is brutal but effective at the same time.

I’ve recently gone through this process myself and it’s changed everything in my life. My top four fears before the 6 month challenge were the following:

  1. Career change
  2. Getting married/kids
  3. Becoming a people leader
  4. Health issues

I overcame these fears by working on myself for the last six months.

Here are the steps I took:


Confront your fears head-on.

I’ve just told you my top four fears and you probably have your own list.

Unless you are honest with yourself and acknowledge your fears in writing, you’ll never conquer these invincible demons.

Harden up. Acknowledge your fears.

My top four fears were something I avoided for years. I was embarrassed to share them and even talk about them. I thought they’d magically take care of themselves.

I thought the fairies would come through my window at night and whisper in my ear the answer to my biggest fears. I was wrong”

Writing down my top fears and then writing down how each of them was ridiculous and full of false evidence is how I freed myself from them.

I conquered each one head on. You can do the same and you must if you want to improve in the next six months.


Stop giving a damn.

This next one is tightly linked to the first point. You can’t confront your fears or make progress unless you stop giving a damn.

Holding on to your BS stories and ways of doing things in the past is screwing everything up for you.

As of tomorrow, stop giving a damn.

Don’t waste any of your energy caring about useless things like what could happen if you make changes in your life, or sell your car, or make a bold move.

Before making a few changes in the last six months, I gave a damn about too many little things. Things that just don’t matter like what my family thought of my girlfriend or where I lived. It just didn’t matter.

When I gave in to my stupidly, insane, stubborn ways of the past and did what I knew I had to do, things got easier. I could go about my day without caring about so many small things that had previously distracted me from my dream of inspiring the world through personal development and entrepreneurship.

You can have the same beautiful realization as me if you stop giving a damn about all the small things.


Reduce everything.

The major improvements in your life will come from taking stuff away not adding more into your life.

Reduce Netflix time.
Reduce your belongings down by at least 25%.
Reduce your expenses by cutting off things you don’t need or that don’t serve your primary goals.

All of us have too much of everything and it’s sucking up the time we need to improve ourselves.

You can’t truly turn your life around unless you commit to focusing big chunks of time on just a few commitments.


Select one thing you’re going to achieve.

Not ten goals. Not twenty-five. One.

For the last six months my one goal has been to double down on my blogging. No more podcasts, speaking opportunities or coffee catchups I feel I must do. I took one goal, and I did it every single day — including my recent holiday to Europe where I posted something daily that could inspire people.

Even if I was on the train going between Rome and Florence, my daily habit was achieved no matter what. It was easy to remember because I’ve only committed to achieving one thing.

The power of doing one thing that matters the most to you will give you the fastest transformation and sense of fulfillment.

The challenge is to discover what that one thing is going to be for yourself.


Commit to discipline.

Fat? Stop eating sugar and exercise.

Smoke too much? Quit.

Bored of your job? Get a new career.

Friends dragging you down? Divorce them.

Nothing in your life will change in the next six months unless you commit to discipline and follow through with action. Everything you need to improve in the next six months is pretty straight-forward.

To make progress requires discipline. Not discipline for five out of seven days a week but every day. Not “I’ll eat clean during the week and then binge on the weekend.”

Discipline is taking the action which you know is good for you and not being tempted to shy away from that. After being disciplined for 6 months, you’ll find it hard to go back. The hard part is creating the habit.


Read a lot.

Many of the answers you need to improve yourself will come from reading books not watching what the Kardashians had for dinner last night.

Aim to read a few books a month on problems you want to solve.

If you’re trying to build a company, then read The Lean Startup.

If you need brilliant mentor advice, then read Tribe Of Mentors.

If you need a radical transformation, then read Unlimited Power or Think And Grow Rich.

Each person has their own challenges and the answers can be learned through someone else’s experience. Someone else has gone through what you’re going through — read about the solution, then radically implement it.


Get your phone, turn off all notifications except SMS and incoming calls.

This was a big one for me. My phone had taken over my life and I had no blank space to think.

“I deleted Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, WeChat and Slack”

Damn, it felt good.

Life is effortless when you’re in control and that will come from being insanely focused on the tasks you need to execute on.


Come up with a why for your entire life.

Now to be fully transparent I had this one in the bag over a year ago, but during the last six months, it was the pillar of everything else I did.

Unless you know why you need to change and why you exist, it’s hard to achieve anything. Whenever I look at my to-do list, I sort it by the tasks that are linked to my why above everything else.

This makes managing my calendar simple. I ask myself this question: “Does the request of my time support my why?”

You can ask yourself the same question once you know the why for your entire life. This why will evolve over time, so my recommendation would be to start somewhere. Don’t overthink your why in the beginning.


Have one life-changing moment.

Radical change (especially in the next 6 months) usually needs a defining moment. These moments can come from life naturally, but the trouble is it could take years. I chose to manufacture my one life-changing moment.

I attended an immersive event that was about lifestyle design. During that process, there was so much emotion linked to what I uncovered that I had several breakthroughs.

Putting aside time to work out what you’re going to do and to reflect on the past is how you find your one defining moment.

If you want a few suggestions of events that might trigger a life-changing moment for you than send me a note and I’m happy to tell you a few I’ve attended.


Invest some money in your future.

Most of us (including me) typically only save for the present or the near present financial goals we have.

Investing for the future is how you set yourself up to win. I chose three buckets to put my money in:

  1. A long-term index fund (5+ years until any withdrawal)
  2. Personal development courses and events
  3. Books from Amazon

By having a plan for the future, I’m setting myself up to win. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, you can still set up a few similar buckets and start filling them up right now.

Within 6 months, you’ll have more invested in your future than you thought was possible.


Make a stand and forget what people think of you.

Maybe people don’t like the way you dress. Screw them.
Maybe people think your dream career is stupid. Screw them.
Maybe people will think your poor based on your current financial situation.

Take their opinion and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

It’s time to make a stand and stop letting what everyone thinks of you and your goals hold you back. People that have time to judge you probably suck at their own goals. Remember that.

The fastest way to go nowhere in the next six months is to sit there daydreaming about what every person you know might think of you. You don’t need permission”

In fact, you don’t need endless advice either.

Most advice is biased and most people are not you, don’t understand you and have no idea how you feel. So with that freeing thought right there, go out and make the next six months the period of your life that defines you.

Take my last six months and use them as inspiration for your next six months.
You can improve yourself and do so with very little effort.

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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Lacking Self-Discipline? Do This One Thing Everyday to Change Your Life

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What’s holding you back? This is the question that I asked myself after repeatedly falling short of my goals. In my mind, I had these crazy hopes and aspirations, but in reality, there was a gap between my intentions and my actions. Having read dozens of personal development and business books, I already had the knowledge. I already knew what I needed to do. The problem? A lack of follow through. (more…)

Mo Saleem is an independent men’s health researcher and publisher of TripleYourT.com. Having overcome the symptoms of depression, chronic fatigue, and a lack of drive, his mission is to empower men with the strategies and tactics to live with more energy, purpose, and power. Use the FREE T-Analysis Tool to figure out if your testosterone level is where it should be.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Wendie Kause

    Nov 23, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Great article, great steps that I will apply, starting right now. But do you know what I like most about it? Knowing that this syndrome is not mine alone. It’s as if there’s a little gremlin in my brain, clicking on all these ideas all the time. I thought perhaps I was alone with these little guys! It’s good to know there are others!

    Thanks much!

  2. Pat Royston

    Jan 1, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Such good information. You pegged me!

  3. Michael Levanduski

    Feb 22, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Excellent post. This is a very big problem for anyone working online! These are great tips for everyone, especially those just starting out.

  4. Janine Gilmour (@JanineGilmour1)

    Jan 11, 2014 at 12:08 am

    I’m thinking “all that glitters isn’t gold” … and knowing I gravitate to my own shiny objects when I’m doing something difficult. Nice to know I’m in good company. Better still to working with a process that staves off starting 50 things and not finishing many. Thanks for the perspective on how to see my big goals over the finish line. Thanks!

  5. Curt

    Jan 6, 2014 at 3:47 am

    I am so glad you wrote this article, Laurel. My friends have described me as a serial entrepreneur…I thought they were just being nice. I seem to come up with a new idea with each breath I take. I own several successful small businesses. I am blessed with good employees to run each business. I have list upon list of additional projects that I am working on that are not related to my businesses: titles of nearly thirty books to be written, a producer has ask me to develop two of my ideas for TV programs, my multiple real estate projects that are in various states of completion and valued from $240K to $29M, and a list of twenty-two additional ideas that I would love to develop. To say the least, I am spread thin. The best thing I have done recently is to start working with a business coach that helped me to focus. I now write thoughts on my list and revisit the list every 30 days. Since starting this, I have not started one new project…and I have been able to finish, or make subtancial headway, on several of my pending high-priority projects. I don’t know if everyone will have the same success, but for me, I now prioritize, focus and accomplish. Without my business coach helping me to understand how I think/work, I would still feel like I had severe ADHD. I sincerely appreciate reading that others face these same hyperactive idea issues, and appreciate your efforts to assist us. Your writings are spot-on!

  6. Goodtogo

    Dec 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I’m cleared, thanks Laurel.

  7. Diana Schneidman

    Nov 29, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Laurel,

    I heartily endorse Step 1, maintaining a running list.

    I keep a list in Word every time I come across another idea for marketing my business. Sometimes I simply list a website to revisit; other times it’s a big concept.

    Once I have captured an idea, I free myself up to go on to the day’s work, comforted that the new, shiny idea won’t be lost.

    I rarely look at the list, but I know where to find all my ideas when I want them.

    -Diana

  8. Micah

    Nov 28, 2013 at 2:55 am

    Great article. I love the idea of a running list. I often have to remind myself to focus on what I need to focus on right then… And spend time researching all of my “great” ideas later.

  9. Laurel Staples

    Nov 28, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Thanks! So glad you enjoyed it!

  10. Ahmed Muse

    Nov 28, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Very useful tips here. Thanks!

  11. Margaux Dela Cruz (@Margaux_Dela)

    Nov 26, 2013 at 11:54 am

    These are practical suggestions to help entrepreneurs stay focused on the more important things. True, once ideas come running in, there’s no way to stop entrepreneurs. But another thing I learned to help me focused on the priorities is segmenting. It would help if entrepreneurs learn to visualize their business on a map. By adding data by category, they can analyze each category individually and identify which is the most important. Then, they can analyze the connections between each data set – another simple and practical way to ignite more ideas but this time, in a more systematic way.

    • Laurel Staples

      Nov 28, 2013 at 2:26 am

      Thanks for your awesome tip! That’s a really great way to stay focused on your objectives. I’ve known many entrepreneurs who do that it say it works wonders.

  12. Abe Stone

    Nov 25, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Excellent… It really helps to acknowledge the issues and then create an understanding of how to fix it… So many times we don’t want to admit that some of our ways of living are problems and they never go away.. I think coaching helps in this too.
    Having someone who can objectively help you question the ideas and ask new questions you may not be thinking of…

    • Laurel Staples

      Nov 28, 2013 at 2:23 am

      Great points Abe! I think in business, we get too close to our own situation and it’s hard to see things from an objective point of view. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Jodi Barthold

    Nov 25, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Great article – I’m going to memorize these and use them.

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Success Advice

It’s Not How Smart You Are That Defines Your Career — It’s This

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Look around the office you work in. Some people are managers. Some people make six-figure salaries. Some people are senior executives. Some people work in customer service on the frontline.

It’s a big mistake to think that where you are in your career has something to do with how smart you are.

I’ve met many smart people who crash and burn in their careers because they have to be always right or they overthink, or they know a lot about the wrong things or they have very low emotional intelligence causing them to upset many people at the same time.

If being smart made us successful then we’d all go and consume endless information and become millionaires shortly after.

Being smart is not enough.

So what does define your career and the success you have?


1. How badly you want it

The woman/man that became CEO wanted it more.

The person with the 7-figure business wanted it more.

The woman that won an Olympic Gold Medal wanted it more.

You have to want your goals really, really, really bad.

Wanting something so badly that you’re prepared to do anything to get there (ethically) is how you get the energy to overcome the rejection and failure it’s going to take to get reach that point.

I wanted to share my story and inspire people with it very badly. I thought of creating a WordPress website, but I had no idea how to and had zero technical skill. My knowledge of how to market that website was also zero.
I tried creating a Facebook Page and to date, it still has less than 3000 followers which means I fall short by a lot in terms of my target to inspire millions of people.

I tried using Twitter and reaching people that way. I was never able to get any real engagement. I’d tweet Elon Musk. I’d message Tony Robbins. I’d write the best tweet humanly possible. It all led nowhere.

I tried using a blogging platform called Medium. I was able to build a small following, but most people in my area of the world don’t use it. I still came up short of my goal.

Then, I tried writing on a blog that already had lots of viewers called Addicted2Success and began posting on LinkedIn daily.

Everything changed. I wanted to inspire people so badly that I kept trying until I found a platform that worked for what I had to say. Wanting it badly enough was what helped me keep going from 2014 until now. It didn’t stop there, though.

When my career took a turn down a black hole, my motivation died. Suddenly, writing on Addicted2Success and LinkedIn became hard. I didn’t want it as bad because the pain caused by my work life was too much. I let things slip temporarily for about 3 weeks. Engagement went to an all-time low.

It didn’t last long, though. Why? My thinking changed when I reminded myself how upset I would be if I didn’t achieve my goal. It meant far too much and in the back of my mind, I still wanted it badly.

I went back over all the emails from people I’d helped and that spark came back. Deep down, I still wanted it badly. I still wanted to inspire millions of people.

Wanting it bad was what helped me to revive my blogging career and continue helping millions of people.

Wanting it badly will define your career.


2. What you think is possible

I met a guy earlier in the year that came from a farm in the middle of Outback Australia.

He’d sold his digital marketing business for a lot of money and banked a huge amount of coin as a result. He had no tech background. He had no business knowledge. He didn’t have seven-figure friends that drove Bentley’s.

What he had was an uncanny ability to think anything was possible. He saw himself rising above his circumstances even though he had no evidence to prove that he could do so. He worked long hours and built up a team of cult followers. They learned together how to get businesses exposure through social media and search engines.

For many of the people on his team, it was their first job. He didn’t pay them well because he couldn’t. All he thought was that one day, together, they’d do something incredible — and they did.

A lot of what happens in your career is based on how you think. If you think you can never be a manager, entrepreneur or executive, then you won’t be.

If you think you can be good at public speaking, you might.
If you think you can hit your sales target, you might.
If you think you can start a successful business, you might.
If you’re not successful right now, you will be.

It’s only a matter of time until one of the bets in your career pays off

It’s a combination of being ready, being humble, thinking right and having the skills to execute. Not thinking you can achieve big will rob you of whatever it is that you want in your career.

I shouldn’t be a successful blogger because I can’t write that well, I have bad spelling/grammar skills, I don’t own a blog and I’m not filthy rich. Despite all that I’ve achieved my blogging goal.

I saw my goal become possible before anybody else did.

I told myself that every major challenge was necessary for me to eventually get what I wanted. I thought my goal was possible even though all the facts suggested it wasn’t. Instead of relying on data I relied on my own mind to lead me down the right path.

I chose to believe when no one else did.

This very way of thinking is not unique to me. Many of the leaders around the world that shape the human race think in the same way.

What you think is possible in your career will define what goals you can achieve.

Your thinking defines your career.
Being smart isn’t enough.

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Success Advice

How to Create Your Own Version of Success

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Success is in the eye of the beholder. And because every human being sees life and all the things that come with it through their lens of experience, everyone’s individual idea of life, growth and success is defined by what they see, hear, think, feel and taste. This means that you have the power to determine what success means to you.

Many of the greatest thought-leaders, business people and influencers throughout history have provided their thoughts and opinions about success –  how to achieve it, how to manage it and how to be it. They’ve written books that are supposed to share with the world how success is merely a feeling and a wish. While many of the most successful people have warned that success is what you make of it, society has coined “success” as being wealthy, influential, famous, and lavish.

You may be thinking, “I’m not rich, but I’m well off,” or “I’m not a social media influencer, so I don’t have much clout.” But here is the truth: You, just the way you are, are already a success. Here’s why. Think of all the things that have happened in your life – the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Up until this very moment, you have made a series of choices that have shaped your reality.

Therefore, you have created the life you have, and you have set the terms of how you decide to live your life. Not to suggest that your life is perfect because no ones life is exactly as they want it, but the fact that you have created your reality shows that you are a creator. It also shows that you are in charge of creating the success you desire.

“Success is not in what you have, but who you are.” – Bo Bennett

Even if you feel like you should be so much further along than you are today, you still made it to today and that’s a good thing. If you are reading this feeling like you need to shift things around in your life so that you can feel like a success, try these three things below.

  1. Jot down all the words that you think of when you read the word “success,” and mark the words that align with who you are. Ask yourself what you believe you need to feel like a success. Only write down what resonates with you, not what you think people expect of you. Remember, that you are defining your journey, so you get to make up all the rules.
  2. Now, write down all the words you think about when you read the word “unsuccessful,” and mark all the words that may describe some aspect of you that you want to eliminate. Don’t just consider the big stuff, small stuff matters too! Procrastinating to get out of bed in the morning, drinking too much soda, or even spending too much time watching television are all examples of habits that could in some way affect your personal growth.
  3. Lastly, create an SAP (Success Attack Plan) to align yourself with more of the descriptive words that you associate with success and start to eliminate the characteristics you may possess that depict you as less than who you desire to be.

Your Success Attack Plan doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can start with an actionable idea as simple as, “Read one book this month about personal development,” or “Connect with someone who can mentor me.” Sometimes, you have to look to those who have been where you are to help you get where you desire to be. Just remember, your journey won’t look like theirs so pay attention to your inner being at all times and do what feels natural and right to your situation.

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting.” – Buddha

When you create your lists, be as imaginative as possible. Consider those people, places and things around you. Think about what you like and don’t like. Ponder on energy you want to attract that you do not already have and things you want to repel.

Don’t worry about setting a timeline for this. Creating a vision for your life starts with setting an intention at this moment and allowing that intention to lead you in the days to come. To see yourself five years from now, you have to do the things today that will help you get to the future.

Don’t allow others to tell you what you should aspire to be when it comes to success. You are in command, and you are in charge of your present and your future. Own it, own your success and own you.

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Success Advice

What It Really Means to Be a High Achiever in a Culture of Lazy

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Keeping employees interested in their work has been an increasingly difficult challenge for today’s employers. Whether it’s due to a generational shift of Millennials fully entering the workforce or an increasingly distracted society across the board, the vast majority of American workers are not passionate about their work.

This dispassionate workforce is causing large-scale problems, for both workers and the companies that employ them. When young people become immersed in cultural laziness, it can be hard to become a high achiever, but there is a path for those willing to do what it takes to be a top performer, and it’s simpler than you might think.

Laziness by the Numbers

According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly two-thirds of American workers are either unengaged or actively disengaged in their job. This leaves only a third of Americans who are actively engaged and passionate about their work. This lack of interest has enormous financial ramifications for companies due to all of this lost productivity.

Research from McLean & Company, estimates that a disengaged employee costs a company $3,400 out of every $10,000 in annual salary, or 34% of their wages. That means a disengaged employee who earns $75,000 costs their organization $25,500 per year due to a lack of productivity. If roughly two-thirds of workers are disengaged, this adds up to billions of dollars lost across the economy.

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.” – Khalil Gibran

Motivation: Whose Job is it Anyway?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to employee motivation: Either managers need to actively motivate their employees, or employees need to step their game up and figure out what they actually like doing. Stefan Aarnio, a highly successful real estate investor, author, coach, and speaker, falls squarely into the second camp. He attributes his company’s success to the culture of high accountability and high performance he cultivated over the years.

It all began with Aarnio honing his own intrinsic motivation over the years by discovering, and then doing, exactly what he loves to do. In Aarnio’s own words, “you don’t need the resistance of waking up every day and doing things that you hate doing, life is too short for that”, and he expects those he hires to follow the same logic. When you love what you do, you don’t need a manager to constantly poke and prod you to gin up some motivation, however fleeting it might be.

It may seem like common advice that only works for the wealthy, but doing what you love really is the simple solution to the scores of dispassionate workers plaguing the workforce of today. People are trained to believe that they should get the highest paying job they can get regardless of how it makes them feel.

“You don’t build a business, you build people, and then people build the business.” – Zig Ziglar

Aarnio believes this is shortsighted and will ultimately lead to a sad and dispassionate life. By being attuned to what makes him passionate, and expecting the same from his employees, Aarnio has been able to flip the script and develop a culture of passion and high achievement.

How do you motivate your team to want to show up every single day? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

How To Improve Yourself In The Next 6 Months With Very Little Effort.

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Sounds like a huge claim doesn’t it? That Tim Denning Self-Help idiot is at it again isn’t he?

Wrong. Improving yourself in 6 months so that you can achieve all your big goals is easier than you think. A word of warning though, the advice is brutal but effective at the same time.

I’ve recently gone through this process myself and it’s changed everything in my life. My top four fears before the 6 month challenge were the following:

  1. Career change
  2. Getting married/kids
  3. Becoming a people leader
  4. Health issues

I overcame these fears by working on myself for the last six months.

Here are the steps I took:


Confront your fears head-on.

I’ve just told you my top four fears and you probably have your own list.

Unless you are honest with yourself and acknowledge your fears in writing, you’ll never conquer these invincible demons.

Harden up. Acknowledge your fears.

My top four fears were something I avoided for years. I was embarrassed to share them and even talk about them. I thought they’d magically take care of themselves.

I thought the fairies would come through my window at night and whisper in my ear the answer to my biggest fears. I was wrong”

Writing down my top fears and then writing down how each of them was ridiculous and full of false evidence is how I freed myself from them.

I conquered each one head on. You can do the same and you must if you want to improve in the next six months.


Stop giving a damn.

This next one is tightly linked to the first point. You can’t confront your fears or make progress unless you stop giving a damn.

Holding on to your BS stories and ways of doing things in the past is screwing everything up for you.

As of tomorrow, stop giving a damn.

Don’t waste any of your energy caring about useless things like what could happen if you make changes in your life, or sell your car, or make a bold move.

Before making a few changes in the last six months, I gave a damn about too many little things. Things that just don’t matter like what my family thought of my girlfriend or where I lived. It just didn’t matter.

When I gave in to my stupidly, insane, stubborn ways of the past and did what I knew I had to do, things got easier. I could go about my day without caring about so many small things that had previously distracted me from my dream of inspiring the world through personal development and entrepreneurship.

You can have the same beautiful realization as me if you stop giving a damn about all the small things.


Reduce everything.

The major improvements in your life will come from taking stuff away not adding more into your life.

Reduce Netflix time.
Reduce your belongings down by at least 25%.
Reduce your expenses by cutting off things you don’t need or that don’t serve your primary goals.

All of us have too much of everything and it’s sucking up the time we need to improve ourselves.

You can’t truly turn your life around unless you commit to focusing big chunks of time on just a few commitments.


Select one thing you’re going to achieve.

Not ten goals. Not twenty-five. One.

For the last six months my one goal has been to double down on my blogging. No more podcasts, speaking opportunities or coffee catchups I feel I must do. I took one goal, and I did it every single day — including my recent holiday to Europe where I posted something daily that could inspire people.

Even if I was on the train going between Rome and Florence, my daily habit was achieved no matter what. It was easy to remember because I’ve only committed to achieving one thing.

The power of doing one thing that matters the most to you will give you the fastest transformation and sense of fulfillment.

The challenge is to discover what that one thing is going to be for yourself.


Commit to discipline.

Fat? Stop eating sugar and exercise.

Smoke too much? Quit.

Bored of your job? Get a new career.

Friends dragging you down? Divorce them.

Nothing in your life will change in the next six months unless you commit to discipline and follow through with action. Everything you need to improve in the next six months is pretty straight-forward.

To make progress requires discipline. Not discipline for five out of seven days a week but every day. Not “I’ll eat clean during the week and then binge on the weekend.”

Discipline is taking the action which you know is good for you and not being tempted to shy away from that. After being disciplined for 6 months, you’ll find it hard to go back. The hard part is creating the habit.


Read a lot.

Many of the answers you need to improve yourself will come from reading books not watching what the Kardashians had for dinner last night.

Aim to read a few books a month on problems you want to solve.

If you’re trying to build a company, then read The Lean Startup.

If you need brilliant mentor advice, then read Tribe Of Mentors.

If you need a radical transformation, then read Unlimited Power or Think And Grow Rich.

Each person has their own challenges and the answers can be learned through someone else’s experience. Someone else has gone through what you’re going through — read about the solution, then radically implement it.


Get your phone, turn off all notifications except SMS and incoming calls.

This was a big one for me. My phone had taken over my life and I had no blank space to think.

“I deleted Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, WeChat and Slack”

Damn, it felt good.

Life is effortless when you’re in control and that will come from being insanely focused on the tasks you need to execute on.


Come up with a why for your entire life.

Now to be fully transparent I had this one in the bag over a year ago, but during the last six months, it was the pillar of everything else I did.

Unless you know why you need to change and why you exist, it’s hard to achieve anything. Whenever I look at my to-do list, I sort it by the tasks that are linked to my why above everything else.

This makes managing my calendar simple. I ask myself this question: “Does the request of my time support my why?”

You can ask yourself the same question once you know the why for your entire life. This why will evolve over time, so my recommendation would be to start somewhere. Don’t overthink your why in the beginning.


Have one life-changing moment.

Radical change (especially in the next 6 months) usually needs a defining moment. These moments can come from life naturally, but the trouble is it could take years. I chose to manufacture my one life-changing moment.

I attended an immersive event that was about lifestyle design. During that process, there was so much emotion linked to what I uncovered that I had several breakthroughs.

Putting aside time to work out what you’re going to do and to reflect on the past is how you find your one defining moment.

If you want a few suggestions of events that might trigger a life-changing moment for you than send me a note and I’m happy to tell you a few I’ve attended.


Invest some money in your future.

Most of us (including me) typically only save for the present or the near present financial goals we have.

Investing for the future is how you set yourself up to win. I chose three buckets to put my money in:

  1. A long-term index fund (5+ years until any withdrawal)
  2. Personal development courses and events
  3. Books from Amazon

By having a plan for the future, I’m setting myself up to win. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, you can still set up a few similar buckets and start filling them up right now.

Within 6 months, you’ll have more invested in your future than you thought was possible.


Make a stand and forget what people think of you.

Maybe people don’t like the way you dress. Screw them.
Maybe people think your dream career is stupid. Screw them.
Maybe people will think your poor based on your current financial situation.

Take their opinion and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

It’s time to make a stand and stop letting what everyone thinks of you and your goals hold you back. People that have time to judge you probably suck at their own goals. Remember that.

The fastest way to go nowhere in the next six months is to sit there daydreaming about what every person you know might think of you. You don’t need permission”

In fact, you don’t need endless advice either.

Most advice is biased and most people are not you, don’t understand you and have no idea how you feel. So with that freeing thought right there, go out and make the next six months the period of your life that defines you.

Take my last six months and use them as inspiration for your next six months.
You can improve yourself and do so with very little effort.

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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