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: Empowering Self-Image

I listened to one of George Zalucki’s audio programs when I was 18 and it changed my life. As an educator for sociology and psychology, he shared an experience of how our minds and our self-image are easily influenced by outside forces. He said that in education, if you take a sample of students and tell them that great things are expected from the, that they’re capable, they’re marvellous, then that group of students would perform that way. However, if you took a different group of students with the same basic IQ and told them that you were concerned about their learning capabilities, that there are indications they’re not going to cut it, then that group of students would deliver exactly what you suggested to them.

“Most people absolutely destroy themselves with their self-image.” – George Zalucki

I had an incredible epiphany in that moment! I realized that at a larger scale, that is you and I… I recognized that my entire self-image was formed in my youth. The thoughts that I have about myself today are a reflection of  my experiences, the influencers in my life, and what I’ve exposed my mind to in the past. George shares that more often than not, the self-image we develop is a negative one. It’s often shaped when a parent, or a teacher, or an older sibling tells us we can’t do something. You don’t have the talent. You’re not smart enough. You’re a boy. You’re a girl. You’re black. You’re a minority. You’re overweight. Or any other number of ridiculous reasons as to why what you’re working to accomplish is wrong.

That was true for me.  And that was true for my good friend Megan, too. I met Megan this year through my fellowship with Venture for Canada. I was blown away by Megan’s confidence! She’s one of the most transparent, authentic, and open minded people I’ve ever met.  Yet, candidly, I was surprised when I heard her story.

Knowing how paramount our youth is to building one’s self-image, I imagined Megan would be reserved and quiet. But that description couldn’t be further from the truth! This sparked my curiosity. Why was Megan able to face tremendous adversity and oppression, and still manage to see herself today with confidence, poise, and power? And how can others who’ve been through similar crisis’ of identity, who’ve been told they’re not good enough, and grew up believing they’re worthless and unlovable,  take responsibility for their self-image and thrive?

Fortunately, Megan was generous enough to share with me just that. We discussed that no matter where you start, everyone has the ability to build an empowering self-image and become the champion of their lives.

Megan VFC for blog

“Everyone goes through different struggles. And it’s those struggles that make up who you are. Until you own that about you, you can never reach self-confidence.” -Megan Heesaker

We live in a world obsessed with symmetry. And in that world of symmetry, Megan doesn’t match. Self-identified as cis-gendered and a lady-lover with masculine gender expression, our world has thrown it’s unfair share of oppression and adversity her way. When she was six years old, rocking her bowl cut, she was confronted in a restaurant bathroom by another girl. The girl demanded that she leave the bathroom immediately because she was obviously a boy in a female bathroom. To this girl, Megan didn’t match and wasn’t accepted. She represented many others who also believed that what Megan was doing wasn’t right, and she shouldn’t be herself. 

This is an incident that may seem inconsequential to some. Yet, at the tender age of six, at a time where our minds are open like a sponge, ready to accept any ideas that come our way, this example of oppression is significant. As George Zalucki demonstrated, Megan was in the midst of building her self-image. However, when she accepted these ideas as being true, she built a prison, not a paradise, to play in. Megan’s traumatic experience forced her to submit to social norms. She grew her hair, wore tighter shirts, and started to make the fact that she was a girl explicitly clear.

It wasn’t until sixteen years later, when she was twenty-two, that she finally once again accepted herself for who she truly is. Sixteen years! Sixteen years of living in a disempowering state. Of thinking that she didn’t belong. And of holding herself back from true self-expression. I’m writing this post because I was so inspired when I learned that it ONLY took sixteen years. Too many people will allow the experience they had when they were six, ten, fourteen or any age, shape their self-image for the rest of their lives. Those people never experience true self-confidence, never believe in themselves, and as a result will never live up to their full potential.

How We Shape Our Self-Image

Firstly, notice that I wrote, “how we shape our self-image” not, “how others shape our self-image.” You and I are responsible for shaping our self-image. Our thoughts about ourselves are based upon our belief system. And our belief system is based on the patterns of our minds, our definitions, and the interpretations of the events that happen to us. We develop these patterns and definitions by ascribing themes to those events and we make them mean something. No one else can make anything mean anything, except for us. As much as it’s easy to blame and make excuses, that little girl didn’t shape Megan’s self-image at six years old, she only influenced it. Megan was responsible for ascribing meaning to the event. As a result, her thoughts that she had about herself in that moment became habitual thoughts over time. Those habitual thoughts created her beliefs, which in turn formed her self-image.

I want you to see yourself in Megan’s example. Personally, I can see how I shaped a disempowering self-image image in my youth because of one or two main events. Can you see that for yourself? Can you identify the events that you mistakenly attributed the wrong meaning to? Take the time now to think about it. Because if you don’t, you won’t be able to attribute new meaning, forgive those people, and begin the process of developing an empowering self-image.

How We Can Reshape Our Self-Image

Why was Megan able to build back up her confidence when so many others will give up hope and live their entire lives in a box? How did she go from oppressed, to empowered? The answers are in the application of these two concepts, forgiving those who influenced your self-image and engaging in new activities.

Nobody had the right to do what they did or say what they said when they influenced your self-image. They had no authority or any right to do it to you. But, they didn’t create the meaning, we created the meaning! When we realize that, we’ll be able to forgive all those people who suggested we were limited in any way. Until you do that, you’ll be engaged in something that is incomplete and you’ll have a real challenge wiping your slate clean.

Megan described that by not accepting the event, and forgiving those who influenced your thoughts and beliefs, you’ll get caught up in a negative feedback loop. I know men and women in their fifty’s and sixty’s, that to this day, continue to play the toxic tapes of their youth over and over again! They never forgave themselves, and they never forgave those who participated in the event. For decades, these people have been stuck in their disempowering beliefs. Don’t let that be you. Forgive and move on to engaging in new activities.

Once you’ve forgiven, you can now spend your mental energy focusing on what’s right about you and who you want to be. Get a vision of where you’re headed and stay focused on the person you can become. When you do that, you’ll start to get engaged in new activities. This is the real substance of changing your self-image. 

In order to build an empowering self-image, you must be willing to get out of your comfort zone. Which incidentally, if we truly knew what a comfort zone was, we’d be all to eager to jump out! The comfort zone is so inconsistent with our capabilities as a human being. Our true nature is to achieve, to excel, to stretch, and to reach! This is exactly what Megan did and what I want to challenge you to do.

In the summer of 2013, Megan cut her hair. Up to this point she had built her entire self-image around fitting in, looking like someone else, and submitting to social norms. This action (a new activity), changed her life. She felt more like herself than ever before. And was reminded of that spunky and confident kid she used to be. Her story inspired me with this truth that I now want to share with you,

“It takes time to figure out who you are. But I think it takes even more time to be comfortable with who you are.” – Megan Heesaker

If you focus on a new event, possibility or activity, your old disempowering self-image will sort of dissipate in the process. When you engage in new activities you’ve now extended your domain of possibilities in direct proportion to your willingness to venture out!

I want you to notice how you feel inside when you read about your comfort zone. Do you feel excited to jump out? Or, do you feel anxious, scared, or straight up disgusted by me for even bringing it up? If you’re feeling the latter, it’s OK. Know that I, and most of the world, feels the same way. Getting out of our comfort zone scares us! That’s why I want to encourage you to find the right support network. Often, before we can empower ourselves, we need to find others who will empower us, first. That’s what I did, what Megan did, and what I recommend to you.

“Support is critical when you’re in the midst of a crisis and especially when you’re ready to emerge from one.” – Megan Heesaker

Instead of pushing people away when you’re shaping your new and empowering self-image, Megan encourages folks to bring people in. Finding a community that will support you (your “Winning Circle” also my next post 😉 ), whether that’s friends, family or other, is critical in getting started and progressing longterm in your new activities.

You’ve now set yourself up for a phenomena. You can now become successful in some new things you’re trying. That is how you restructure your self-image! Self-image is based upon what you believe and you cannot lie on top of a fundamental belief. So if we believe ourselves incapable because of our past events, then who we are is incapable, until I have some new experiences I can succeed at. Then I can have some new input and some new data to help me form new beliefs.

Finally, when you’re in the process of building new beliefs, and you catch yourself thinking your new self is beyond your reach, remember Megan’s story! Today, I’d describe Megan as raw. Completely authentic. With all pretense stripped away, her confidence allows her to deeply connect with others. She’s vulnerable, which allows you to be vulnerable. She’s doesn’t need to moderate her behaviour, which allows you to be yourself. But it was only through developing an empowering self-image that Megan was able to experiencing this state of full self-expression. And it’s only through full self-expression that Megan is able to continuously touch the lives of those lucky enough to know her.

If Megan can do it, you can too!

Do This. 

An empowering self-image is fundamental to giving the champion enough confidence to solve big challenges. Without it, you’ll never have the belief in yourself to persist past obstacles or even give yourself the space to try.

  1. Identify the 1-3 events and people from your youth that influenced your self-image. Write it out. Understand that you gave those events meaning and take full responsibility for your beliefs about yourself. Now, forgive those people and prepare to move on.
  2. Get an accountability buddy, buddies, or whole community! There’s no better feeling than knowing someone’s got your back. They will get you started, keep you going, and cheer you on as you make progress on your new activities.
  3. Get engaged in new activities! If you have a disempowering self-image be like Megan, decide today what new hobby you’ll practice, or skill you’ll learn. Will you become successful at guitar, Spanish, salsa? The possibilities are endless! Decide today and take the first step right now towards building your new and improved empowering self-image.

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And what 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: Doing More Than Expected

One of the most important rules of personal economics I ever learned was from Jim Rohn. Jim’s unique philosophy is this,

“we get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. It takes time to bring value marketplace, but we get paid for the value, not the time.”

My whole life I learned about hourly wages. About punching a clock and getting paid x dollars for the time I put in. I quickly learned that thinking was wrong. Jim challenged me and in this post I want to do the same for you.

Why is it that one person can make only $20 an hour, when another person can make $100 an hour? Why is it that with the same background, the same ethnicity, living in the same country and with everything the same, one person can make two times, three times or five times the money that someone else makes? The answer, value. Value makes the difference in economic results. And when I observe the champions of our world, they’re focused on providing more value than their being paid for. They go above and beyond their peers through work ethic, thoughtfulness and generosity. They do more than is expected. 

At Venture for Canada training camp I met a lot of champions. One in particular, caught my eye quite literally. Camp was a casual setting with most people dressed relaxed. We wore jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. Ryan however, was always dressed professionally. He wore a clean button down with dress pants and shoes. He was sharp, respectful, and walked with an air of confidence. He immediately stood out as someone who respected himself and how he was perceived by others. I knew I wanted to get to know him.

Ryan Cobb headshot

As I got to know Ryan better, I quickly understood that dressing professionally was only one of many ways he did more than expected. From being the first member of his family to go to University, all the way to running for Fredericton City Council in a municipal election, Ryan consistently goes above and beyond what is expected. Born and raised in Riverview New Brunswick, Ryan’s first exposure to the profile of a champion was through his father. Owner of a local funeral home, Ryan’s father instilled in him the importance of giving time, energy and respect to others no matter their background.

Clearly those early lessons paid off. Today, Ryan’s willingness to do more than expected has shown up in his value to the marketplace.

In my opinion there are three reasons to do more than expected.

Your Example Empowers Others

In both his social and professional life, Ryan has become a servant leader. He believes the first responsibility he has as a leader is to those surrounding him. Anyone reading this that aspires towards getting promoted, making more money, and feeling more joy and fulfillment can benefit from embodying this thought,

You can be a champion in your own life, but you can always be a champion in someone else’s life.” – Ryan Cobb

It wasn’t until Ryan became a servant leader that his true value was realized. In his second year of University, he decided to become a residence assistant. An RA is tasked to facilitate the social, academic, and personal adjustments of first year students coming into University. A role that already presented a myriad of responsibilities, Ryan became a pillar for his students to lean on. He took it upon himself to be the best role model possible.

Ryan intentionally dressed sharp. Was always smiling. Was respectful with every student. He Showed up early for class. And was cheerful and enthusiastic everyday. He believes that no matter the personable stresses and troubles we’re dealing with, we can always choose to have the right mindset. Ryan shared a story with me about a young man in his first year who was skipping classes and had a poor attitude. After a few months of watching Ryan’s example, greeting people in the halls, attending every class, and being excited about his time as a student, the young man approached him. He said, he had been skipping class all semester. But after seeing Ryan’s example, hadn’t missed a class since the Christmas holidays a few months before.

What type of example are you setting for the people around you?

Are you giving your best self today?

Do you showing up with a contagious enthusiasm that will empower others to feel the same way? 

The champion does. The champion leads from the front. They set the tone. They’re always willing to sacrifice whats easy for whats right. The champion does not forget the “small things” like thanking those around them, working for others, and always lending a hand. They know there’s great impact in the small things.

You Will Be Valued

If you want to quickly add more value (making you more money), get promoted into a leadership role. Leaders with the habit of doing more than expected virtually always cultivate the most respect, admiration, and work ethic from their teams.

Completely unqualified, Ryan told me about his job working for a truck driving company. Put in charge of a team of twenty truck drivers double his age, most people would expect to be discounted for being young and inexperienced. Not Ryan. His habit of doing more than expected meant that he took time and energy to get to know each and every driver personally. He had empathy for them. He knew how hard it must have been for them to put in ridiculous hours on the road. To live in their trucks and be away from their family for weeks.

“If you want to be valued, value other people first” – Ryan Cobb

The personal relationships that he built payed huge dividends. It meant that his team felt comfortable with his leadership. They were able to have difficult conversations. And ultimately, when Ryan left the company, eight of the drivers came into the office to wish him well on his next journey. Completely unheard of in that line of work.

Do you want to be truly valuable to your company? To your family? To your friends? 

Than take heed on Ryan’s advice as I am, value others more than expected. The champion gives people they care about their time, energy, and patience. At the end of the day you will be valued and respected.

You’ll Begin To Think Big

Just like a young child, the champion is a big thinker. They believe in possibilities for themselves and society most people can’t imagine.But, if you’re not a big thinker today, it’s okay. Neither was Ryan.

Ryan shared that he didn’t always do more than expected. He didn’t always believe in himself. As he was growing up, he learned to be afraid of being wrong. That fear crippled his thinking.

He had thought for a long time about running for the Municipal Government. Yet, like most people, he was afraid of what people would think of him. Afraid of embarrassing himself. Afraid of rejection and a potential loss that would crush his confidence. He wasn’t thinking big. He was focused on the obstacles instead of the possibilities. 

I asked Ryan what had changed. Why did he finally decide to run for office, despite the feelings he had recently experienced? Here’s what Ryan said,

The accumulation of my experiences from my Undergraduate degree, being an RA, living alone, and managing many teams made me realize that I’d be better off losing, than living with the regret of never trying.”

All of Ryan’s experiences of doing more than expected lead to a clear boost in his confidence. When you empower others, you empower yourself. When you value others, you value yourself. As Ryan developed as a leader, he built the belief necessary to think big. Without big thoughts, you will never be willing to venture out, take action and execute on your ideas. 

I know that Ryan has an incredible future ahead of him. He’s demonstrated the willingness to be and do more than expected. He’s dedicated to adding value to his peers, community, and his companies. I know without a shadow of a doubt, this young man is a champion.

Do This. 

The purpose of this series is to help you recognize some of the traits necessary to become a champion. It’s important to remember that each trait of the champion is a learnable skill. As an example, right now I’m focused on doing more than expected by being hyper diligent with my follow up with people. I’m adding new people I meet on LinkedIn. I’m sending them an email. I’m thanking them for the opportunity to connect. I’m asking them if there’s anything I can do to help them. And I’m going out of my way to make sure that I add more value in the relationship than I’m taking in return.

Ask yourself what one area of your life can you do more than expected. Is it in your homework? Is it taking out the garbage for your partner? Is it by dressing sharply by Ryan? What’s it going to be?

Choose right now what one thing you will do to add more value to your peers, community, and company that you weren’t doing prior to reading this. Even the slightest shift in value, can give you tremendous upside in return. 

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 the 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.

Do The Opposite

If most North Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, the majority obese or overweight and a staggering number of people feel unfulfilled, why are we funneled down the same path?

If the majority of people struggle with what is often seen as the fundamentals to a happy life, financial achievement, health and vitality and our spiritually, isn’t success in all of these areas as simple as doing the opposite of most people?

It’s practical… It’s logical… But, it has to be more complicated than that right? Let’s take a look.

  1. Do you think most people wake up inspired to take action and conquer the day? Or do most people wake up tired and groggy, only to hit snooze and fall back asleep for another 10-30 minutes?
  2. Do you think most people eat 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day? Or do most people consume enormous amounts of sugar, processed foods and unhealthy fats?
  3. Do you think most people do resistance workouts with high intensity 3-4x per week? Or do most people make excuses about lack of time and get into the gym with no consistency?
  4. Do you think most pay themselves 10-20% of their income first before they spend money on expenses? Or do most people struggle so much with their expenses they don’t even have the opportunity to pay themselves at all?
  5. Do you think most people invest at least 10% of their income of their own personal and professional development? Or do most people invest their money into entertainment rather than education?
  6. Do you think most people are working to consistently get out of their comfort zones? Or do most people live their life in a box afraid to venture out and grow?

I’d be more than happy to continue with more examples but I believe you get the point. If you don’t, ponder this thought from Jim Rohn,

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day”.

If most people aren’t willing to practice the simple disciplines that make up a successful life, we should have no problem separating ourselves from the masses. Read over the questions above one more time. This time I want you to place yourself inside those examples. Do you identify with the first question or the second? My guess is that if you’re taking the energy to read this blog, you’re already well on your way to creating the disciplines necessary to live your best life. Kudos to you for reading!

Perhaps you identify with the second questions, and that’s OK. Remember that today is the perfect day to begin changing the direction of your life! I strongly believe that a fulfilled life is much less complicated than we make it. Whatever most people are doing, you should probably do the opposite. It’s 9:07Pm on a Wednesday night as I’m writing this post. Most people are either watching TV or scrolling through social media right now. That’s OK… If you have no goals. But, again, if you’re reading this I know you have a burning desire like me to do something great.

Do this.

Starting today, look at how you can do the opposite of most people. If most people zig, try to zag. Starting today, forget the habits that most people have. Most people are broke, tired and uninspired. We have a real opportunity to discipline ourselves. To build the habits that will support us. To build the habits that will support our familes. And by doing so, by doing the opposite of most people, I’m convinced we’ll live an extraordinary life together.

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. 

Be. Do. Have.

One of the biggest frustrations in life is looking for an above average job, with above average pay, without becoming an above average person!” – Jim Rohn

One of the biggest challenges we’ll face on our own unique journey of achievement is focusing on the wrong things. Over time we’ve developed an unhealthy focus on having. Having things, having money, having the end result. Think about it… Yesterday when you scrolled through social media, weren’t you constantly inundated with peoples supposed success stories? Whether it’s real or fake, on Instagram and Facebook we see young people with fancy watches, nice cars, money, beautiful bodies etc… Dramatically more often than not, this success is fake. Whether it’s rented cars or borrowed money, plastic surgery, or filters on pictures, it’s often a facade.

Even when the success is genuine, and those same people worked their asses off to achieve what they wanted, it still proposes a problem. When you and I look up to those examples we get obsessed with the end result, we get obsessed with the having. We have a hard time separating the end results with the two dramatically more important focuses of the success equation, being and doing.

When I look at the real achievers in my life, it’s almost never about having. It’s about the journey. When I look at real achievers their success equation looks like this:

  1. Be or becoming
  2. Do or doing

Their equation focuses on the journey and the process of becoming the type of person that would deserve the type of success they desire.

Gary vee for blog

Gary Vaynerchuk is the perfect example of be, do have. For anyone that follows Gary, you know focuses on the 2 most important parts of that success equation, the being and the doing.

First, he focuses on who he is being: what should his self-talk sound like? What should his personal philosophy be? How should he treat other people?  These are in the realm of who he is. Gary is patient, Gary is a hard worker, Gary always provides more value than he takes, Gary has long term goals, Gary is charismatic, Gary is resilient. Here’s a great question to ask yourself: Who are you becoming? Who do you want to be? What character traits do you want to embody? Start there. Ask yourself those questions, and then come with me to the doing.

Second, by becoming that person, he was then able to venture out into the realm of doing. Imagine Gary wasn’t patient. In 2007 he would have started his Youtube show, and quit after 10 episodes. Nobody watched his videos for over 2 years. But by focusing on who he was, which was patient, he was able to create over 1000 videos and ultimately had incredible success. This is where I needed to check my own thinking… In order for us to do what a successful person would do, we need to become a successful person in our minds first. We need to think like an achiever or, here’s the blunt truth, we’ll never commit, stay persistent, or learn the skills we need to justify the having. Now that you’ve committed to being that person you want to become, here’s some other great questions to ask yourself: what time would that person wake up? What type of goals would that person have? What type of books would that person read? What type of foods would that person eat? What do you need to do day in and day out to justify having what you want?

First, embody the person we want to become. Do the things that person would do. And finally, by taking those actions, you can justify having what you desire.

Is that you today? Because for the majority of my life I had that equation backwards. One of my good friends Happie asked me yesterday if I’d always been such a good listener. His compliment gave me an opportunity to reflect. My answer was NO! My family used to tell me over and over that I sucked at listening and that they felt I never cared what they had to say. I told him that I had to consciously focus on becoming a person who was intensely interested in other people (being). Because of that focus I read all the books on communication, body language and interacting with people I could find (doing). As a result of becoming an above average person, committed to learning new skills, today I’m known as a great listener (my girlfriend may argue with me on this one)….

And for the majority of people looking for an above average paying job, or to grow a profitable business, they also have this equation backwards. If you were like me, or like most people, they’re looking to have the having, without becoming. Without becoming, you’ll never have the skills or character needed to do the doing long enough to deserve what it is you want to have! We’ve got it backwards!

Do This.

Check your thinking. Do you focus on becoming better? Or, do you focus on wanting more?

If you’re honest with yourself, and your answer is: I’m focused on wanting more… Today is a great day to change the direction of that focus. 

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change he 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

achieving-goals-pic.jpg

  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.