The Profile Of A Champion: Winning Circle

The secrets to life are often hidden behind the word cliché.

One in particular, get’s a lot of attention, yet, is rarely put into practice. Jim Rohn, one of the worlds all time greatest business philosophers, famously said,

“You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Commonly referred to as a cliché, this profound truth is common sense, yet uncommon in practice. In fact, it’s validity is so clear, the maxim has been communicated throughout history.

“Birds of a feather flock together.”

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

“If you lay down with dogs, you’ll wake up with fleas.”

If it’s sheer restatement and repetition in literature wasn’t enough to get your attention, maybe a few definite examples will.

Think about Michael Jackson. Michael had talent. Michael was born with greatness. Up until, twelve he was seen as just a cute kid. It wasn’t until he met Quincey Jones, when he upgraded his circle of influence, that things started to explode for him! He went to a whole other level. Together they released “Off The Wall”, “Thriller”, Beat It”. Michael went from a cute little kid to a musical icon. He went to a whole other stratosphere by connecting with just one person!

Think about the 07-08 Boston Celtics. Prior to that season, the Celtics hadn’t won an NBA championship since 1986. In 2007 however, the Celtics traded for both Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. With Paul Pierce already in the Celtics lineup, Boston now had three all-star players on the floor. Individually, Paul Pierce was doing it, Ray Allen was doing it, and Kevin Garnett was doing it. But when they came together, they became champions. When they came together, they were unstoppable.

I could go on and on because I’ve researched it. When I was sixteen and depressed, the first thing I needed to do was change was my circle. That’s why I’m so proud to be part of the 2017 Cohort for Venture For Canada. I’m constantly being exposed to young professionals that are like minded. Who are focused on growth, focused on making an impact, and most importantly continue to stretch me to be a better version of myself.

One fellow in particular, is an obvious by-product of a winning environment. Every conversation we have is filled with wisdom far beyond his years. He’s someone that, wether he knows it or not, I look up to as a mentor. He reminds me everyday of the importance of having a Winning Circle. And I know his story will inspire you to start to create a Winning Circle of your own!

John Connell headshot for blog

A proud Nova Scotian, John Connell, is a fellow with Venture for Canada, SDR at Fiix, Volunteer at TechTo, Freelance Guitarist (he’s incredible), and recent graduate from York University. This eclectic background is a result of endless curiosity, paired with the exposure to a winning network of friends and family. Today John has experience the influence, and the corresponding effects, that come with both a Winning and a Toxic Circle. Here’s how you can identify both.

Growing up in Middleton, Nova Scotia, John was exposed to a tightly knit network of people that were connected through deep and encouraging relationships. Whether it was in his backyard, across the street, or at school, Middleton had a team mentality that left an impact on John to this day. He recalled that when you were feeling down, there was always someone there to pick you up. Everyone in the community was expressive, supportive and accountable.

That environment, the Winning Circle, was the perfect playing ground for developing leaders. In High School, John was challenged to be constantly moving, to always have a goal he was striving for, and to push beyond what seemed reasonable or comfortable at the time. This is an indicator of a true Winning Circle. You won’t always accomplish your goals and you won’t always win in your pursuits, but, when you fall, you will always be supported. You’ll always have your community to lean on in times of difficulty.

With the support of his friends, family, and community, John went on to become the captain of both his schools Rugby and Hockey teams. Again, John was exposed to the attitudes, attributes and aspirations that make up the Profile of a Champion. In his three years playing for his school John skated alongside teammates who went on to compete at the Jr. A and QMJHL level of hockey. John was amongst winners. And in the presence of winners John was forced to step up. Sitting on the porch of his apartment, he told me that he was never the best player. He didn’t skate the fastest, he didn’t shoot the hardest, he didn’t have skills people were awestruck by. But, because of his circle, he was forced to work harder. He was stretched. He was pushed and forced to grow. By skating with players that were better than him he had to step up and go from average to great.

That’s how you know if you’re in a winning circle! Do the family, friends, teams, or colleagues that you surround yourself with force you to grow? Do they demand a higher level of execution you’ve ever been exposed to? Do they accept average? Or, are they striving for greatness? In my experience it’s worth auditing the quality of your circles. Do they remind you of the Winning Circle we’ve described above? Or does it look more like this…

John and I have similar stories. From eight to thirteen I was competing for Canada in Gymnastics and Trampoline. I was exposed to greatness. I was exposed to the work ethic, attitudes, and execution of world class athletes. However, when I graduated elementary school and transitioned to High School I quit training twenty-five hours a week in order to have a social life. I lost the ever present  example of greatness in my life. In fact, like most people I see today battling depression and mental illness, I went on to choose the wrong circle. I chose a circle that had no direction, abused drugs, and skipped class. Looking back I’m not surprised at the negative, downward spiral my life took. And after speaking to John, I’m not surprised in the direction his life took either.

John shared with me that when he went to university, he lost his mojo. He lost the zest for life he felt when he was surrounded by winners. Without clear intention, John walked into his new school, new town, and new network. Unfortunately, more often than not, when you’re not intentional about your environment and who you decide to surround yourself with, you connect with the wrong group. You miss out on the circle that is aspiring towards big goals and accomplishing their dreams. You miss out on those that are intentional about their time on this planet. The group that by being in their presence you too will become more clear with your own direction.

That feeling of lack of purpose, or when you can’t quite put your finger on why you’re not feeling 100%, I attribute to being engaged in the wrong environment. John’s challenge is that he wasn’t necessarily in a toxic circle, he was in an average circle. They weren’t all negative, they weren’t all doing drugs, and they weren’t all directionless. They were average. Average is such a monstrous contrast from greatness. You get different feelings when you’re surrounded by winners. You hear different language when you’re surrounded by winners. You see different actions when you’re surrounded by winners.

Being surrounded by average can be even more dangerous than being surrounded by toxicity. With toxicity you can see, feel, and taste it. You’re conscious about it’s effects on you! With average… It’s effects are subtle. You find yourself wondering why you’re not feeling passionate and why you’re not winning. John didn’t know why he lost his mojo until he once again was exposed to greatness.

He didn’t find a way to feel positive, enthusiastic, and at the top of his game consistently until he met his now girlfriend, who helped him rebound from a difficult time. It was through their association and teamwork that they were able to pull the best out of each other. This close connection with a supportive and encouraging partner brought the winner back out of John. Her support helped pick him back up to the point where he started to get his mojo back. John was always a winner, he always had the attitude of a champion, but as John said better than I ever could,

“The champion needs desire, with the right support. You need to drive the ship, but  you can’t always pick yourself up on the grace of your own strength.” – John Connell

The more I get to know John, the more I’m proud to call him a mentor and a friend. In my opinion he epitomizes the Profile of a Champion. He has the attitude of a champion, the curiosity of a champion, the work ethic of a champion and most importantly he understands the criticality of surrounding himself with other champions.

As you reflect on your circle of influence, no matter where you are today, I know that you could be just like John, you could be one person away from becoming the best version of yourself. Or maybe you’re like me. Maybe you need two, three, or a whole community of people to support you. What really matters is that you can identify what type of community you’re being influenced by. Wether they’re winners or average, both will impact you through expectations and exposure.

In winning circles you’re expected to be a winner. The expectation is greatness. The expectation is that you’ll be a champion. The challenge with average circles is that when you’re good, you’re okay with being just good. When your environment is average, you start to believe you’re great. You can quickly become delusional because the expectations are low.

When you’re in a winning circle, all you’ve been exposed to is winning. All you see is great, so all you know is great. Exposure to greatness, winners, and champions will give you no choice but to step into your own greatness. Your environment is everything!

You don’t need a new brain or a new heat to change your life. The day your circle of influence changes, everything will change. You can only go so far by yourself and you can only get so far with the people you’re hanging with. If you surround yourself with winners, you’ll become a winner. If you surround yourself with losers you’ll become a loser. If you can change your circle of influence, you can change your money, your attitude, and your destiny. I dare you to take your life to the next level. I dare you to manifest the greatest circle you could possibly imagine!

Do This.

  1. Audit – What are you being exposed to? Do you need to add one person or a dozen people to your Winning Circle? Or perhaps you need to take one person or a dozen people out of your circle… Regardless of where you’re at, you need to be candid with where you’re starting. If you truly become the average of the five people you spend the most time with, do a gut check on whether or not you would be proud to be an amalgamation of those five people.
  2. Affirm – Affirm that you will no longer accept average. Affirm that you will no longer settle for good and that you will find a great community. Know that no matter your talent, no man is an island. Affirm that you will no longer fear being around great. That you will no longer be intimidated by being in circles of influence where you will be stretched, pushed, and forced to grow. Affirm that in your one and only life you will intentionally and deliberately change your circle of influence for the better.
  3. Act– Start today! Message John on LinkedIn. Download Shapr. Join a new group on Meetup. Cold email someone you look up to and ask for a meeting. There are countless ways to start developing your new Winning Circle. We’re stronger together as long as you’re deliberate that your new group embodies the Profile of a Champion and forces you to grow.

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.

john-connell-headshot-for-blog-e1500067629869.jpg

The Profile Of A Champion: Burning Desire

When you study people who are up to something, the first attitude necessary before anything is achieved is desire.

But, if that’s all it took, we’d have a whole lot more successful people in this world. Most people live with an illusion that they have a desire to achieve something. These people talk a big game, but their actions never reflect their word.

They say they want to make extra money, but instead of starting their part time business, they watch Netflix every night.

They say they want to get better grades, but instead of studying in the library, they go out for lunch everyday.

They say they want to lose ten pounds, but instead of working out in the gym, they’ve got Cheetos dust on their fingers.

I observe this false illusion of desire everyday. And I can quickly recognize it because I was once in those same shoes. So the question is, how is desire held for the champion vs those that are runner up?

Desire for the champion is an imperative of purpose. Their vision, their purpose, their goal is larger than you and I as individuals. From afar, I had observed this level of desire time and time again through the examples of athletes and business leaders. Yet, I had never seen it so pronounced until I spent two full weeks with the top Canadian graduates at Venture for Canada.

I remember on one of the first weekends of training camp we kayaked, canoed, and paddle boarded on lake Ontario. The sun was shinning, our skin slowly burning, and everyone was smiling looking forward to the day on the water. Other than myself, one of the only other people paddle boarding was a new friend I had made, Tyler Sellars. We had made small talk previous to the day on the water, but we had never really connected about what brought us to Venture for Canada and what our future plans were. In only thirty minutes, it was clear to me that Tyler obviously embodied the first attitude of the champion, desire.

Tyler Sellar Pic for blog

Born in Moncton New Brunswick, Tyler grew up in a family who built their careers in the financial industry. He told me about how privileged he was growing up. At a young age, he understood the opportunities that having money could provide for him and his family. Being accustomed to this life of prosperity, he was unprepared for what happened next.

In 2008, at fourteen years old, his entire family’s lives were flipped upside down by the greatest financial crisis since the depression. In less than a year they went from comfortable living, to working pay-check to pay-check. With all the same bills to pay, no one was hiring his dad. They lived for years with little income. Becoming increasingly more difficult to pay for their competitive soccer fees anymore, Tyler remembers standing outside local businesses begging for money to keep him on the field.

Imagine how disempowering that would feel.

The contrast between rich and poor weighed so heavily on him that it drove him to make a decision. 

Tyler shared with me that he made a decision that he would never live like that again. He made a decision that he would take ownership of his income, his freedom, and his life.

In those decisions, Tyler developed the first attitude of the profile of the champion, a burning desire. Following are the three reasons why we all need to cultivate a burning desire to achieve, and how to go about doing it.

1. Without desire there is no work ethic

I now understand why most people don’t have a burning desire. Most people’s goals are logical. For example people say , “Oh, if I could only scrape together enough money to pay my lousy bills.” If you’re only inspired to meet your needs, you’ll never cultivate the desire that will compel you to do great things. Needs are logical, but logical things don’t compel us to reach beyond our comfortable grasp. They won’t have you up early and working hard late into the night. Tyler on the other hand, set goals for complete financial freedom. He never wanted himself or his future family to ever experience what he went through. His goals were emotional, and they were lofty.

With those goals, in 2010, Tyler started his first business. He was going to school, playing competitive soccer like it was his full time job, and still making the time to build one of the early e-commerce drop -shipping businesses. At the end of a long day while most people would make an excuse as to why they were tired, or deserved to relax and watch TV, Tyler’s desire pushed him into action. He developed relationships with Japanese clothing manufacturers and sold both soccer equipment and men’s fashion. Around an already exhausting schedule, Tyler worked his ass off building a  profitable company.

The vast majority of us need an immediate gut check when it comes to our work ethic. Ask yourself, are you matching your work ethic with your level ambition? If not, why not? For most, it’s because they’ve yet to cultivate the level of desire of the champion.

2. Without desire there is no persistence

Achieving lofty goals is hard. Creating something from nothing is difficult. Do you think what you want is going to be easy to accomplish? Far more often than not, our goals will require more energy, more time and more money than expected.

The path you will travel down requires a desire that is nothing other than white hot. It’s about getting to a place in your life where you say this is it! Anything less than that, is tentative. And anytime you’re tentative, there is no power. Tyler on the other hand, surrendered to his purpose.

When eBay learned that he was selling on their platform underage, he was on the brink of being shutdown or forced to pay hefty fees for each transaction. Either way, the business was going to take a big hit. Like with any great achievement, he was confronted with a lot of problems. However, Tyler wasn’t engaged with his obstacles the same way as most. By surrendering to his purpose of providing financial security for his future, he was able to use his mind for him and not against him. Instead of quitting business forever, he looked for other avenues where he could make money. Tyler went on to create three more businesses over the next three years. Each business came with it’s opportunities as well as it’s own unique set of challenges. But because of Tyler’s burning desire, his perseverance lead to many new skills, profitability, and thicker skin.

“The reason success alludes so many people is that the road to our alter of riches is laden with obstacles.”

When you’re on the path to accomplish your goals, do you find yourself starting and stopping frequently? When there’s a roadblock, a challenge, or your goal required more resources than you expected, do you persist despite the obstacles? Or do you fold like a cheap suit? If you fold, check your desire. If it’s hot enough, you will persist past all obstacles on your road to riches.

3. Without desire you cannot prioritize

This week I’ve been asked to attend two different networking events, three coffee meetings, a speaking event and to go out for drinks and a trivia night. If you think about your schedule, I’m sure your time has been elicited just as much if not more! If you don’t have desire, a clear purpose, or a goal that moves you, when people ask for your time, you won’t have the gut to tell people no. Warren Buffet is famous for saying,

“the difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

The ability to prioritize is necessary in order to accomplish your goals. If you’re constantly being pulled in different directions, you’ll never direct enough energy into one thing to accomplish it. In order to build his businesses, Tyler needed a ridiculous work ethic, he needed to persist past his obstacles, but he also needed to say no to a lot of other things. There was so much power in his declaration to provide financial abundance for his future he was able to say no to leisure and yes to his goals. His desire had him in alignment with what was important. His desire kept him focused and in the end, his prioritization paid huge dividends in the success of the business.

What are you saying yes to? Are the activities your investing your time in going to get your closer to accomplishing your greatest desires? Or are you like Tyler and I, where you need to remember to say no to others, in order to say yes to yourself?

Do This. 

Now that we understand why the champion has a burning desire, we can start to cultivate it in our own lives. Here are 2 things to remember about building desire.

  1. Desire is triggered– It often waits and sleeps until you wake it. For Tyler, it was his family’s finances. But for you, maybe it’s a book, or a song, or a seminar, a conversation with a friend, a happening or an event. Who knows which one will turn it all on! What I do know is that you need to welcome every human experience. Sometimes from the most negative experiences comes the greatest awakening.
  2. Desire can be selfish- Never feel ashamed about your motivations as long as it works for you. If you’re not hurting anyone, and your desire fires you up, use it! Just because your neighbour is excited about ending cancer doesn’t mean that your desire to stick it to your brother isn’t a good one. Whatever gets you angry enough, excited enough, passionate enough, or determined enough to start working hard and persist through your obstacles, is a worthwhile desire and you need to take full advantage of how it makes you feel.

A burning desire is the first attitude of the champion for a reason. Without it, you won’t work hard enough. You won’t persist long enough. And you won’t be willing to say no to others when it comes down to focusing on your own goals. If you want the respect, mastery, and character that comes with being a champion, cultivate your desire and never let that fire extinguish. 

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 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.

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Default Mode: AGGRESSIVE

Red faced. Short breathed. Hot-tempered. 

Yosmity short tempered

If those are the images you get when you see the word aggressive, I’d like to challenge your thinking. When I think of being aggressive in my own life I think about taking action. I think of the words attack, offence and industry. Being aggressive is the counter to how most people live their lives. If you want to stand out, build confidence and crush depression or anxiety,  do the opposite of the masses, make your default mode AGGRESSIVE.

Last week I met a group of new friends out in Kingston at Venture for Canada training camp. I knew I made the right first impression when Shannon, a Social Anthropology Major, asked me if I had always been so intense. I knew immediately that I hadn’t. I knew that for years I was defensive and passive and as a result, timid, lacking in self confidence and depressed. Her question reminded me immediately of one of my favourite quotes by Montaigne,

“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”

Can you relate?

When I was depressed and defensive, I was always in my head. I always pictured the worst thing that could happen. I never took action on any of my ideas or inspiration. I would postpone doing things until I proved to myself I shouldn’t or couldn’t or until it was too late to even try. I learned first hand that being default defensive is the most disempowering state you can live in. When Shannon asked me that question, “have you always been so intense?” I felt tremendous pride and burning desire to share with you how to be aggressive and get the action habit. 

Aggressive VS Defensive

Successful people are aggressive. They’re on the offence. Virtually all unsuccessful people are defensive. They’re passive. Mr. Aggressive is a doer. He takes action, gets things done, follows through on ideas and plans. Mr Defensive is a “don’ter“. Like me at 16, he waits, contemplates, postpones action until he has 100% of the information he needs.

The difference shows up in little ways. Mr Aggressive plans a vacation. He takes it. Mr. Defensive plans a vacation. But, he postpones it until “next” year. Mr Aggressive decides he needs to take his health seriously. He hires a trainer and starts meal prepping. Mr Defensive decides he needs to take his health seriously. But, this weekend is his Uncle Bobs birthday party. He chooses to wait until Monday and than proceeds to never get started. Mr Aggressive read that he should pay himself 10% of his income before spending anything on expenses. He calls the bank and sets up an automatic withdrawal where 10% of his income goes directly into his investment account. Under the same circumstances, Mr Defensive finds a good reason to put of calling the bank and the withdrawal is never set up.

The difference shows up in big things too. Mr Aggressive wants to go into business for himself. He does. Mr Defensive also wants to go into business for himself, but he discovers just in time a “good” reasons as to why he better not. Mr Aggressive knows he deserves a raise. He asks for it. Mr. Defensive also knows he deserves a raise, but after imagining all the worst case scenarios of brining it up with his boss he does not.

The differences in these examples are profound and they happen everyday. Think about two people you know that embody these two opposite personalities. 

Everyday the Mr or Ms Aggressive in your life is getting the things they want done, done. As a by-product, they’re gaining confidence, a feeling of inner security, self-reliance, and more income. On the flip side, everyday the Ms or Mr Defensive in your life is not getting the things they want done, done. As a by-product of not acting, they’re losing confidence in themselves, destroying their self-reliance, and are living in mediocrity.

As you reflect on those people in your life, take an inventory of your own personality. Are you in a natural state of being aggressive, doing, and taking action? Or, are you normally defensive, passive, and waiting for the perfect moment to act? If you relate more to the latter, write down this quote by Chazz Palminteri,

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent and the choices you make will shape you forever.”

I’m writing a book right now titled, “Squandering Talent”. It’s a reminder to myself as well as a warning to others on how to prevent wasting your innate potential. Talent itself is not enough! Talent is only valuable when it is cultivated, expressed, and aggressively acted upon. Allow future regret, of wasting your talent by being defensive, drive you.

Someone once said that the saddest words of tongue or pen are these: it might have been or I should have. 

Avoid regret by being aggressive. Being aggressive is as simple as getting the action habit. With all circumstances the same, the only advantage Mr Aggressive has over Mr Defensive is that he takes action now. Now is the magic word of success. Tomorrow, next week, later, sometime, someday, are all more often than not simply synonyms for the failure word, never.

Do This. 

We should make new years resolutions if we’re reading this post on January 1st. But, if we’re reading this on June 22nd, than we should make June 22nd resolutions. Waiting for the calendar to flip for us to start making our life better is ridiculous. Whenever you’re reading this, resolve to do better today.

Resolve to stop thinking about it. Stop dreaming about it. Stop researching every aspect of it. Stop debating all the pros and cons of it. Be aggressive and just start doing it. 

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.

 

Plan Your Path

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”- Jim Rohn

Setting an intention is not enough. Making a declaration won’t cut it. Without a clear, detailed plan, screaming out your window that you’re going to be the world’s greatest just makes you crazy. Okay, even with a plan, you’re probably still a bit crazy…

Everyone talks about goals. Every personal development guru preaches goals as the key to success. Because of that I find most people take the idea for granted and do not have clearly defined goals. If I was to ask you to show me your list of goals for tomorrow, this week, month, year, and long term, what would you say? Would you say, “that’s a good question, let me think about it,”or would you say, “hold on, let me get my journal out of my bag and I’ll show you.” For the sake of you and your families future, I hope your answer is the latter.

Planning your path is simple, but it’s not easy. Most people, including myself for the first 18 years of my life, will never write out, take action on and achieve their meticulously planned out list of goals.

“The key to success, is doing what the failures won’t.”

Guess what the failures of our society aren’t doing… They’re not planning their path! I am, and after today, so will you. Let’s walk you through how. There are only 3 parts to successful goal setting: reasons, specifics and a formula for achievement.

Reasons

5am picture for blog

Do you think I love waking up at 5am? Do you think my accountability partner Ryan loves waking up at 4am? Hell no. We would both love to get 9 hours of sleep every night! Why do we do it? We have enough reasons. Personally, I love the way it makes me feel to have complete control and discipline over myself. I get excited knowing that when most people are sleeping, I can get the slightest leg up day by day. I have enough reasons. For Ryan, he trains his personal training clients at 5, 6 and 7 am. He disciplines himself because he loves what he does. He feels gratitude everyday knowing that he’s able to change people lives and do what he’s passionate about.

 

Your goals, your level of desire, your vision  for your future can explode to new heights if you only had enough reasons. Here are a few to ponder. Decide today what reasons will help you live the life of your dreams.

  1. Personal reasons– Are you driven by:
    1. Recognition?
    2. Respect?
    3. Mastery?
    4. Legacy?
    5. The way it makes you feel? Those are all good reasons. I have some millionaire friends who keep working 10-12 hours a day, not because they need the money, but because they need the joy and satisfaction of being a constant winner!
  2. Family Reasons– Some people do extremely well for other people. Human beings can greatly effect each other! In fact, we’ll often do things for other people that we would never do for ourselves.
    1. Example 1: Andrew Carnegie. They found a note written in his desk at the end of his life. At the age of 20, Andrew wrote on his goal card, “I’m going to spend the first half of my life accumulating money. I’m going to spend the second half of my life giving it all away.” Andrew got so inspired by that goal of affecting other people, in the first half of his life he accumulated $450,000,000. He spent the second half of his life giving it all away.
    2. Example 2: I’m so driven by the aim of retiring my dad, I’ll do anything for him. I’ll work three jobs. I’ll wake up at 4am every day. Anything. A good question to ask yourself is who will you work harder for than you would for yourself?
  3. Nitty Gritty Reasons- 
    1. Jim Rohn tells an incredible story about one of his friends named Bobby. He writes that as an unhappy school teacher Bobby decided he would get into sales. Bobby’s brother thought he was crazy! He had a great job, it paid well and it was secure. His brother, made fun of him, put him down and told his whole family he would go broke. Bobby got so mad at the way his brother treated him, he decided to get rich. Is it possible to get that mad? Hell yes! It turns out wealth is not a matter of intelligence, it’s a matter of inspiration! Bobby quickly became one of Jim’s millionaire friends and to this day is a great example of nitty gritty reasons for achievement.

What pisses you off? Who pisses you off? Ask yourself. Get a long enough reasons so after today you never lack for inspiration.Which reasons will get you bombed out of sight to get up early, stay up late and hit it all day? Enough reasons will forever alter your life.

Specifics For Goal Setting

goals setting picture

There are two parts to goal setting, long range and short range goals.

  1. Long range goals– These are your dreams! These are your goals for the next 3-5-10-20-40 years. Actually the rest of your life.There’s a bible phrase that says that without visions people parish! You’ve got to have something to go after that inspires the heart and the soul. Ask yourself:
    1. Where do you want to go?
    2. What do you want to do?
    3. What do you want to be?
    4. What do you want to see?
  2. Short range goals– These are your goals for tomorrow,  this week, this month, this year. I focus intensely on short range goals with my accountability partnership. First, the world changes and we change… Therefore long range goals may also change over time. However, short range goals are confidence boosters. If you set up something short range, go for it, work hard,  accomplish it, that starts building your confidence for going for your dreams!

Both long and short range goals have three categories.

  1. Economic goals– These are your goals for money, income, business, or profits. Make sure you have them well planned! Economics plays a major role one everyone’s life. That’s why they should be meticulously planned for this week, this month, this year, and long range. What if I asked you tomorrow if I could see your meticulously well planned list of economic goals? Remember, it’s worth repeating that success is doing what the failures won’t do. Make sure you’ve got your economics well planned. It will put you in the top 5 percent.
  2.  Things- This is a fun one. These are the things you want! Little things as well as major things. Put everything on your list. It doesn’t matter how small! Load your list with everything… Cars, homes, watches, a gym membership, books, a lamp… everything! Part of the fun of having a list is checking it off! 
  3.  Personal development goals- These are your goals to be stronger, be a speaker, be a leader, learn a language, all kinds of skills.  You attract what you want by the person you become. Skills are what attracts. Make never ending improvement a high priority in your life and get started on your list of personal development goals.

**** NOTE

When you check off something major, celebrate! Have a party when you reach something you’ve worked a while for. We grow from two experiences, the pain of losing or the joy of winning. We need both of them. Amplify them as much as you can. Which also means, make losing painful! If you didn’t get it, because you fooled around or procrastinated, be hard on yourself! But, if you worked hard and you did get it, live it up!

Formula For Goal Achievement

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  1.  Work on your goals- Setting goals is hard work. There’s no point in kidding you. That’s why a lot of people just let goal setting slide. They hear it’s key, they know it’s important, but as I mentioned, goal setting is simple but not easy. Part of the work involved is called planning your path. I know most people won’t. But, don’t let that be you.
  2. Write your goals down- Put your goals in your journal. It allows your accountability partner to help keep you on track. It shows you’re serious about doing better. And to do better, you need to get serious. Everyone hopes things will get better. If you’re not serious, 5 years from now you’ll wake up wearing what you don’t want to wear, driving what you don’t want to drive and being what you don’t want to be. Now is the time to get serious about your goals!
  3. Take massive action on your plan- Go all in. Push yourself. When roadblocks come up and you don’t feel like it’s worth it, remember all the reasons you started. Keep taking action. Move past your threshold of comfort and you will see massive growth and achievement. Make adjustments when necessary, but make sure you tackle your goals aggressively.

Congratulations! This has simultaneously been my longest and most important post. Having a clear direction has not only helped me over come depression, but it’s helped me  grow my first 6 figure ARR gross sales business, become an award winning public speaker and a 2017 Fellow with Venture For Canada.

Do this:

If you’re serious about planning your path, leave a comment! I will personally reach out and work with you to hold you accountable for your goals. I’m going to retire my dad. What do you want?

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.