The Profile Of A Champion

When you think of Lebron James, one of the greatest athletes of all time, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

What about the global icon, Oprah Winfrey?

What about one of the worlds most influential people, Barrack Obama?

Or, one of the most celebrated individuals to have ever lived, Muhammad Ali?

Profile of a champion Collage

All four of these legends are considered leaders, changemakers, visionaries, and linchpins. When I think of them, the first word that comes to my mind is “champion”. 

And over the past few weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time contemplating what goes into the character of a champion. What do they have that I’m missing? What do they believe that most people don’t believe? How do they think about their goals, their lives, and the world that we tend to look past?

Naturally I started to create a vision of how I could get around these types of people. Thinking if only I was close to them, they would rub off on me and I could choose the qualities I felt I was missing and apply them into my own life. But, I ran into a friend last week that completely shifted my thinking.

Happie, one of our most valued members at Toastmasters, asked me to meet up late at night before he left for his trip across Canada. He needed to leave the supplies bag for our group and I was happy to pick it up for the next meeting. We met, and he started bombarding me with questions! I had just spend the last two weeks at an entrepreneurial training camp (VFC), designed to prepare some of the top graduates across Canada to work in innovative, high growth startups. When I told him that out of over 2000 applicants and an acceptance of only sixty, he wanted to know what we did, who I met, and what I learned.

At this point, I didn’t have that much of an opportunity to reflect on the experience. Thinking fast I told him it was incredible. I learned about sales and marketing, conflict management and negotiation, and how to be an asset to my startup employer. I also recognized that there were about fifty graduates there. Each of them were enthusiastic, and intelligent and hard working and an inspiration to me. It finally hit me, they were all there for a reason, they were there because they’re all champions. 

VFC outdoor group pic
2017 Cohort of Venture for Canada

Clearly, we’re not yet at the status of Lebron James, Oprah Winfrey, Barrack Obama, or Muhammad Ali. But, I know deep down in my gut that this group has the potential to change the world. I’m only now realizing what a privilege it was for me to be with that group. VFC training camp has been unquestionably the most impactful experience I’ve had over the last twelve months. All of which I credit to the quality of character, of the staff and fellows I was learning and growing from. This group is an example for youth, for young adults, and for Canada, of what it takes to one day become world class.

It turns out, I’ve been missing what was in front of my eyes the whole time. We don’t need to seek out Lebron James to have a chance to achieve at that level. All we need to do is get good at identifying what qualities of character make the leaders around us so powerful. In one of my first posts I described a philosophy I embody daily called “be like Frankenstein”. Being like Frankenstein means stealing qualities you admire in others and blending them into your own life. Mimic those characteristics, mimic the profile of a champion, and in due time through years of repetition we’ll become who we want to become and make our small dent on this universe. 

Do This.

Over the next half a dozen posts I’ll be sharing what I’ve identified as the profile of a champion. Before that, I want to challenge you to make your own list. In your opinion, based on what you’ve observed from the leaders and champions in your life, what are the five to ten characteristics that go into your unique profile of a champion? Leave a comment below and we’ll see how ours match up!

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction.”

-J

Out.

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The Most Important Relationship In Your Life

“Integrity is the most valuable and respected quality of leadership. Always keep your word.” – Brian Tracy 

Everyday before I fell asleep my Dad would ask me whether or not I was going to school the next day. Now… I wasn’t nine years old, it was 2011 and I was sixteen. He needed to ask me because at the time I was missing more school than I was attending. At the time, I was virtually always sleepy, I felt heavy and a constant cloud of negativity was weighing me down. My depression not only made me feel weak and that life had no meaning, it destroyed the most important relationship I had in my life.

Every night my Dad would ask me if I was going to school the next day. Every night I said yes. Every morning, however, was a different story. Every morning, I fought and I struggled with my Dad. Nine times out of ten, I won. I got back in bed and slept till twelve or one o’clock. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that those wins, were some of the most devastating losses of my formative years.

Amid all of that struggle, I was picking up the pieces of the most important relationship in my life: the relationship with my word. Meaning, I said, but I didn’t do. I said I was getting out of bed in the morning, but my actions told a different story.

Can you remember a time you didn’t keep your word?  

Maybe it was this morning…

Did you tell yourself you were going to get out of bed at a certain time, but hit snooze and fell back asleep?

Did you tell yourself you were going to eat a healthy breakfast, but instead you stopped for fast food because it was more convenient?

Did you tell yourself you were going to go to the gym today, but felt too tired and said, “I’ll just go tomorrow?”

What about that book you said you were going to write? Or that homework you said you were going to start? Or that book you wanted to read? When you said you were going to be there at 5pm, but you showed up at 5:15pm?

How many times do we commit our word to something and lack the integrity to follow through? For most, including myself, it’s every single day. My example at sixteen years old is only a reflection of an entire cultural and societal lack of integrity. As Stephen Covey points out,

“honesty is making your words conform to reality. Integrity is making reality conform  to your words.”

Your word creates your world. Here’s what happens when you don’t keep your word.

You Lose Confidence In Yourself

If you consistently break your word, you will consistently feel less and less confident about your ability to achieve.

Every time you set a goal and miss the mark, you lose certainty in yourself.

Every time you make a promise and break it, you lose your personal power.

If you’re like me at sixteen, you currently have this formula twisted. I was speaking to a friend I met recently named Gillian, most would admire her for her accomplishments as a top graduate across the entire Country, yet, she confided in me a lack of confidence in herself. She believed that her lack of confidence was the reason she wasn’t her commitments. A lack of confidence was holding her back from accomplishing her goals and doing what she said she would do. Like Gillian, most people need to reverse that equation. And like Gillian, most people have limitless potential for growth if they just focused on their word first.

I strongly believe that authentic confidence comes as a by product from a powerful relationship with your word. Start there, confidence will follow.

Others Lose Confidence In You

When you break your promise with your friend, family, colleague, or partner you’re telling them that you don’t value them.

A broken promise demonstrates you’re unreliable.

That lack of integrity will consciously or unconsciously cause the people in your life to lose confidence in you.

Most of the promises we make on a daily basis are small commitments. We may promise to meet at a certain time, finish our homework, or pay a bill. But, it’s critical we don’t underestimate the importance of those little commitments. Every time we’re ten minutes late, or miss that deadlines by a few hours, we slowly lose peoples confidence overtime. If we can’t handle the little disciplines in life, like being on time, how will we ever be prepared for the big ones? How will we ever be trusted with that big project that could change our lives? How could we ever be chosen over a peer who is known as being reliable and dependant?

It can take your entire life to build a reputation and one broken promise to destroy it all. 

Do this.

I credit these four steps for the development of an extremely powerful relationship with my word. I challenge you to tackle them today!

  1. Schedule It– If it’s not in my calendar, it’s not happening. Whether you want to carry a written day planner or use Google calendar, start carving time out of your week for the commitments you promised to yourself and others.
  2. Focus On Small Wins- When I was progressing from my depression I didn’t set goals to make a million dollars. I set small goals that would help me get quick wins and build momentum. After getting into the gym  three days a week, I pushed for four. Once I had four days easily, I transitioned to five. By this time I had already built up a stronger relationship with my word and more confidence. That confidence spread into every facet of my life.
  3. Be AccountableOne of my favourite topics to write and teach about is the power of accountability. It will force you into action immediately and help you keep your commitments.
  4. Say No– It’s possible you’re over committing. But, more likely, you’re committing to times, people and projects that aren’t a priority. Pick your direction and only say yes to the opportunities that align with that path.

I’m confident if you follow those four steps your word will once again have power. Schedule some small wins today and feel free to connect about any challenges we can tackle together along the way. 

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction.”

-J

Out. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick Your Path

“The only thing worse than setting the wrong direction is having no direction” – Jim Rohn

This is one of those lessons I learned the hard way. For 2 years, being directionless taught me not only will you not be an achiever if you have no goals, you will quickly become depressed. Before 16 years old, I never knew why we needed goals and why the lack thereof is so anxiety inducing.

If you’re reading this, I know you can relate. A lack of clarity and direction produces uncertainty. Go back to a time in your life when you were down. There’s a high probability you were confused about your direction. You questioned yourself, why you’re here and what you’re truly passionate about.

My goal is to help you avoid my path. For 2 years I had no direction and it was a big mistake. What I was missing is that as a human being, I am obviously, as Doctor Maxwell Malts said, like a bicycle.

If a bicycle isn’t headed towards something, or moving forward, it loses it’s equilibrium and it will fall over. Well you and I are designed exactly like that emotionally. When I was 16, I wasn’t moving towards anything. No direction. No purpose. No goals. What I’ve come to realize is that at any point in my life where I’ve lacked this clarity, of knowing that I was going towards something, my life fore, our life force, and our energies are kind of just splintered and splattered. And we cannot produce results like that. Fuck, we can’t be happy like that.

So why set goals? Why have a clear direction? Because it is consistent with our nature. Remember the bicycle? Because it garners and focuses our energies to get things done.

You know what happens when you set goals and focus on something that you want? When we’re focused, in your sleep, we begin to create blue prints in our subconscious to achieve what we want next!

“Our subconscious is either our best friend or our greatest enemy”

We’ve all experienced this. I remember being back in High School and having a test the next day. I studied all night for math and often wouldn’t be able to solve a few problems. When I went to bed I didn’t have the answer. But, when I woke up in the morning I knew exactly which direction to take it. I had the answer.  The subconscious is amazing, once it knows what we want ,our mind must align with what we want and help us get it.

On the other hand, there’s a downside to that. The downside is when I was 16 with no direction, my mind just sat idly,  focusing on anything that came into my experience because it didn’t know what I wanted! My subconscious said,

“well it looks like Jonathan doesn’t want anything, so let’s give him a whole bunch of things he may not want. Because it’s clear he doesn’t want anything!”

The next thing that shows up? You guessed it. It’s uncertainty, anxiety, and confusion. Why did those emotions show up? Why do they show up for you? Their warning signs. We’re out of sync! I wish I could give my 15 year old self this talk. Jonathan, you’re depressed and out of sync because you’re like a bicycle. You need to keep moving. You need to set some goals in alignment with improving your self-image.

But, instead, I’m taking that advice now and I’m also giving it to you.

Do this:

Set a direction. Set a few goals and take action towards it’s accomplishment. Write them down. Share them with your accountability partner and work towards those aims as a team. Finally, stay tuned for my next post as I dive deeper into setting intelligent goals.

Remember, don’t get hung up on carving out the perfect path. Firstly, there is more than one path to the same outcome. Don’t let that be your excuse to not get started. And more importantly, the only thing worse than the wrong direction, is no direction. 

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction”.

-J

Out.

The Tipping Point

Did you know…

92% of the 17 million people that try to quit smoking each year fail.

95% of people who lose weight fail to keep it off long term.

88% of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail at their attempt.

Why is the world full of well intentioned people trying to make positive change, yet so many fail? Why do you hold yourself back from positive change? 

holding-yourself-back- blog

It’s an important question that I’ve been asking myself in 2017 more than ever. For example, I’ve been telling myself I would start blogging about my mental health journey for two years.  Yet, I only started a few months ago. I’ve been telling myself for the last year that I would also make videos. I know I’m a strong communicator, I know I have talent and I also know that if I I could get myself to blog, I can get myself to make videos!

Whether you want to lose weight, quit smoking, ask your cute neighbour on a date, or if you’re just like me and you want to make videos, we all need to find out what I like to call our tipping point.

Before that however, we need to understand that a fundamental level, there are two forces that motivate us to do what we do: the desire to avoid pain or the desire to gain pleasure. Taking action and making a change isn’t a matter of ability, it’s a matter of motivation. When change is a should, most people won’t make the change. If change is a must, it’s another story! The tipping point makes taking action a must.

The tipping point is a strategy I’ve used successfully in the past. I’ve used it to overcome some of my biggest roadblocks in creating change. When I wanted to start waking up at 5am, I  used the tipping point. When I wanted to speak in public for the first time, I used the tipping point. And, just like when I finally decided to write my first blog, I’m going to use the tipping point to take action on my first videos.

“Simply put, our tipping point can be described as the moment in time when we associated more pain to inaction than we do to action. “

I want you to imagine an unbalanced scale. scale - blogIf you’re like most people (often including me), your scale is either completely level or tipped in the direction of your fears and excuses. Meaning we can’t take action! If our desire to make a positive change is overpowered by your fears of taking action, we will not change. In this visual, we’ve found the tipping point, only in the wrong direction. In other words,

“Until our perceived fear of taking action is outweighed by the pain of not taking action, we won’t change.”

Have you noticed the whole world is full of people who’s fears are bigger than their desire to take action? Have you noticed that all of the movers, shakers, and people we look up to in this world decided that the pleasure of  creating a legacy and making an impact far out weighted all of their concerns and excuses?

In order to access the tipping point, we need to associate massive PAIN to not changing NOW, and massive PLEASURE to changing immediate. The motivation is based on both pain AND pleasure. Pain is short-term motivation, but you need the pleasure for long term change.

Do This (If you’re not going to participate, close the window now because you’re wasting your time).

*I’ve used the following questions about making videos to help unlock my tipping point. Take the time to ask yourself the same for whatever you want to change!

Pain-associating questions:

  1. What will not changing cost cost me?
  2. What has not changing cost me in the past?
  3. What is not changing costing the people you love?
  4. What is it costing you in (money, work, family etc)?

Questions that identify inconsistency

  1. How does not changing keep you from being close with your friends and family?
  2. Should people follow a leader that doesn’t have the discipline to make the change you’re trying to make?
  3. How can you tell yourself that it’s okay to not make the change even though you think about it everyday?

Pleasure-associating questions:

  1. If you change this now, how will your life be?
  2. What will you gain?
  3. What will it mean for the people you love?
  4. What will it give you?

Final thoughts… The tipping point will only happen when you’re emotionally associated to the massive, immediate pain of not changing, and the massive immediate pleasure of changing now. If you find the questions helpful in making that change, share them with someone you think it can help!

Till next time, stay on the offense. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction”.

J

Out.

 

Fluctuations: The Law of Impermanence

As you’re reading this, I bet you’ve gone through your fair share of ups and downs in life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could only experience the ups and avoid the downs? Well, it’s more complicated than that…

I grew up strong, confident and competitive. On top of the world, I competed for Canada in Trampoline at only 13 years old. But, overtime, my mindset changed and ultimately so did my circumstances. I became pessimistic, I lacked belief in myself and lost my drive to win. At my lowest of lows, I’ve laid in the comfort of my bed for days on end. Not moving for school, for sports, for family, nothing. My depression and anxiety overwhelming. Those months were the darkest days of my life. I felt completely numb. I contemplated whether or not life was worth living. And I almost said no.

For the majority of my life I never understood why I had experienced such dramatic change in my mindset and circumstances.  When life was going so well, why did I suddenly experience such a major low?

But, recently, it all started making sense to me. Last week I walked into CSI Pitchmasters like I do every Tuesday. Joze, our Toastmaster for the evening, was on fire. His theme: Fluctuations. Tuesday night he was witty, philosophical and he shared a unique perspective of Buddhist philosophy I’d never heard before. He said,

“Fluctuations are an inherent fabric of life. The Buddhist law of impermanence states that because nothing is permanent, attachment to the ups leads to inevitable suffering. Conversely, aversion to the downs is illogical because those too shall pass”.

What a powerful observation.

Life is cyclical. As Jim Rohn would say, life is like the changing seasons.

Winter- a season of difficulties, trials and tribulations.

Spring- a season of opportunity. The time and space for us to start new projects.

Summer- a season to hustle. The time for us to work hard and protect all the good we started.

Fall- a season of harvest. The time to reap all the rewards of which you’ve previously sown.

4 seasons blog picture

As I spaced out reflecting in the meeting reflecting on my life, it became clear to me now that my life, my thoughts and my circumstances have always fluctuated. That it is in the contrast of our emotions that beauty exists. If there was no such thing as winter, how can we truly appreciate the summer? If there was no pain, how can identify our joy? If I never experienced my depression, I never would have treasured the happiness I now enjoy.

I regained my focus just in time to catch Joze finishing up his toast. He said that the philosophical pop-singer Nelly Furtado once sang,

“All good things come to an end”. And that he would modify those lyrics into,

“All things come to an end”.

I now know that too be true. So, if you’re experiencing a high, please share in the comments so we can help celebrate your success!

If you’re experiencing a low, know that I’ve been there. It’s okay for you too as well. Don’t get too addicted to the ups, they are temporary. And don’t get too bogged down by the downs, they too are temporary. There are people you can reach out to and connect with for support. I personally know that in my lowest of lows, the strongest and most courageous thing I did was ask for help. I couldn’t have done it alone, and you don’t have to either. Email me at mrjfandrews@gmail.com or send a text to 416 886 4774, I only write this blog to help.

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction”.

-J

Out.

 

The story 99% of people don’t know about me

For the majority of my life I have experienced a deep feeling of inferiority. Most of what I believed about myself wasn’t rational either. I would get mostly A’s, I had girlfriends, and I was an extremely competitive athlete. But, for whatever reason, I couldn’t shake it my lack of confidence.

At 13, I competed at the National level of Trampoline. One event that year I competed in an under 17 category made up of 15, 16 and 17 year olds. I finished 9th in Canada!

I’m sure you would agree this is a significant accomplishment…

Well I didn’t. 9th place to me meant that I was no good. I quit trampoline forever that year because I was embarrassed and never believed in myself.

Fast forward to high school,  my own self-talk led to a downward spiral. My lack of belief in my abilities became my crutch not to try. I gave up sports, academics, and interacting with a good group of friends. I actually started spending a lot of  time alone and abusing drugs.

Sleeping in, smoking weed and skipping class became my pattern.

16 years old was the darkest time of my life. With few real friends, I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone. I was overwhelmed by a deep feeling of depression and anxiety.

I want to stop for a moment…

I know some of you may be thinking “That’s it? A competitive athlete lost in competition and had some negative self talk? ….. Boo-fuckin’-hoo, man. Give me a break”….

To that I’d say, in moments of negativity, it’s SO easy to blow things out of proportion, to get lost in the story you tell yourself, and to identify with negative self-talk.

On the other hand, if you can relate to my story because you’ve either experienced similar thoughts and feelings or are currently going through a cycle of depression know that it will get better. You and I can change our thoughts and the direction of our lives.

You could be reading this thinking to yourself, he doesn’t know the half of what I’ve been through. And you’d be right. But here’s a sober reminder – Oprah Winfrey gave birth at 14 and lost her child. Nelson Mandela served in jail for 27 years only to become the first black president of South Africa. Beethoven was DEAF, yet created some of the most beautiful symphonies in history.

We all have the power to overcome seemingly impossible circumstances. And as interesting as it would be to say there was one defining moment that changed my life, that would be trite and dishonest. The truth is – you don’t change years of negative circumstances in a moment. Jim Rohn described my path to change best,

“You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction”

Candidly, I believe my change in direction can be an example for a lot of youth. I am not saying that anything can replace the expertise of a professional. Depression is something to take seriously and I can say from personal experience that was my first step to overcoming my circumstances. I am however saying that depression, anxiety and a whole host of other mental health challenges can be minimized and CONQUERED.

My change in direction has led me to a version of myself that I couldn’t be more proud of. I see myself today as a confident and driven leader. In the last 3 years alone I’ve operated a business to over $100,000 in top line ARR (annual re-occurring revenues). Competed in business and speaking competitions that I could never have imagined at 16 I would have won, but did. And on January 1st 2017, I was officially part of the 3% of applicants across Canada accepted into this years cohort of Venture for Canada.

In the next post I’m going to share the 3 pillars of growth that made all the difference for me.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for taking the time to get to know me and where I’ve come from. If you’re battling depression, know that the best thing you can do is to talk about it. Leave a comment or shoot me an email or text (info on homepage) and I’m more than happy to help in anyway I can.

Till then, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction”.

– J

Out.