Profile Of A Champion: Goals, The Mind, And Mastery Of Emotions

In my experience, goals, the mind, and emotions are like a three legged stool. If one leg is removed, the stool would inevitably fall. Without goals, we experience emotions of confusion, anxiety, and frustration. Without the right mindset, we see people without enough belief in themselves to even start or get close to accomplishing their goals. And last, without mastery over emotions, each obstacle, setback, and dip in the journey presents itself as an impossible challenge. Alas, it’s only through the presence of all three, their intimate and interdependent relationship, that allow the champion to live a life of achievement and fulfillment.

None more important than the others, when you see all three aligned with intention, the cumulative effects are powerful. It presents itself clearly in the way the champion shows up for life. It’s so obvious, that I had heard stories of this specific champion before I had even met her. I’d heard stories about her confidence, enthusiasm, and influence during Venture for Canada selection day. I was told that she dominated the challenges and unlike me, was unfazed by the tough questions and competition. Finally, in May of 2017, we met and I understood why.

Do you remember the last time you saw someone that walked with purpose? Who’s presence and energy was magnetic? Who, when you met them for the first time, your immediate impression was that they were different? I do. And when I met Sharita I knew I wanted to show up for life how she showed up. I knew I wanted to deconstruct what made her such a high performer so that you and I could do the same.

Sharitas headshot

Raised as a first generation Canadian, her parents, a Micro Biologist and a Chemist, helped Sharita cultivate a love for athletics and knowledge. Much the same as many of the champions I’ve come to know and admire, she is highly motivated and extremely competitive in all of her pursuits. A recent graduate from the Honours Environment and Business co-op program at the University of Waterloo, Sharita is a fellow with Venture for Canada, a dedicated pole dancer, has Shakespeare tattoos, and is crushing Sales at Georgette Packaging. Her unique philosophy on goal setting, and the mindset required to accomplish those goals, will prove incredibly useful on our continuous journey to embody the profile of a champion.

Goals

Goal setting for blog

Personally, I’ve never liked goals. In fact, I really resisted them up until the last 4 years. Even when I did try to write them down, it proved extremely challenging. Do you notice how heavy a pen feels when you try to write down your goals? Do you notice when we start writing how limited they get? I know I’m not alone. I never wrote down my goals for same reason most people don’t, because we know we aren’t going to keep our word.

The champion on the other hand, holds goals contextually in a completely different way! Sharita for one, has a personal philosophy on goal setting that I found inspiring. She believes,

“It’s okay to set impossible goals. But, every step to that goal has to be meticulously calculated and very real.”

All you need to do to know why it’s important to set goals is to observe someone who is up to something. Those like Sharita, who are out to achieve, have a different spark. They show up in life with a different demeanor about them. There’s something attractive about people who are intending to do something. Why? Because what you’re seeing is a human beings true self expression.

In one of my favourite posts everDr Maxwell Maltz demonstrated human beings are obviously like bicycles. If a bicycle isn’t headed towards something it loses it’s equilibrium and falls over. You and I are designed exactly like that emotionally! If we aren’t going towards something, if we have no goal, our life forces and energies are splintered and splattered. And it’s clear from the first eighteen years of my life, we cannot produce results like that.

When I met Sharita I could tell she was a goal setter. She sets goals because like me, and perhaps like you right now, she knows how it feels to be without a goal. In 2011, Sharita broke her shoulder playing soccer. Highly competitive and aggressive on the field, she fell battling for the ball with another player. With her arm stretched out, the other player landed on her shoulder shattering multiple bones. Ready to play varsity soccer in University, it was one of the first times Sharita was without a direction.

Can she be an athlete anymore? Should she continue to pursue science? Would she even go to University? Like many high school students today, she didn’t know what she wanted to do. Worse, she had no goal or direction motivating her to make a decision and move forward. It was one of the darkest and most mentally challenging times of her life.

I wish we could get all the high school students that are confused about their future to read this… There are consequences to having no direction! Remember, if we’re not moving towards something it’s easy for us to just fall right over. What shows up for those who have no goals is uncertainty, anxiety, confusion, and often times even depression. All these emotions are is a warning sign that we’re out of sync!

Why set goals like the champion? Because it is consistent with our nature. It’s consistent with the machinery of how we’re made as human beings. Not only does it garner your focus and energies to get things done, it compels us to reach out and achieve.

The Mind

The mind for the blog

On a biological level, the mind is extremely complex. On the other hand, on a practical level the mind is extremely simple. Further, the worlds most profound philosophical literature has preached the importance of positive thinking and the protection of our minds for thousands of years.

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelis

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale

“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.” – Confucius

To break it down, on a practical level, there are only two parts to the mind. The thinker and the prover. 

The thinker thinks.

The prover proves.

What does the prover prove? Simple, whatever the thinker thinks. Let’s explore two examples:

A) I can’t do it. That was my thought pattern for the first eighteen years of my life. With plenty of talent, work ethic, and ability, I lacked the belief in myself to think that I could win. Now, the proving part of my mind had to bring into my experience the actual events and criteria that say’s I’m right! You can’t do it… I manifested I can’t do it over and over and over again for eighteen years. I talked myself out of opportunities, I failed when I should have succeeded, and I gave up far too quickly on challenges where I should have persevered.

The thinker thinks and the prover proves.

B) I can do it. That was Sharita’s thought pattern her whole life. The thinker thinks, what must her prover prove? The prover must bring into her experience all of the events and criteria that say’s you’re right! You can do it… Sharita told me about a business pitch contest at Waterloo’s Social Incubator last year. Students had been working on business plans, financial projections, and scripts for months. With less than six hours before the start of the event she was asked to participate!

Most people including me would have backed off and said there wasn’t enough time to prepare. Sharita on the other hand didn’t question herself, the time, or if she had enough information. She read the description and immediately knew she could do it. In less than six hours, with one piece of paper and three powerpoint slides, Sharita pitched her idea with full confidence knowing that she had what it took to win. What do you think her prover did in those moments? Surprise, surprise, she showed up with conviction winning the entire competition and a fellowship with the Incubator.

The thinker thinks and the prover proves.

When you set a goal, and lay it on top of a foundation full of negative thoughts and self doubt, it’s a recipe for disaster. But, when you tackle your goals head on with the belief that you can do this. You deserve to be a winner. You were born to be a winner. And that you have all the confidence, all the skills, and all of the resources needed to accomplish your goals, your prover will bring into your life all of the experiences that are in exact agreement with the thinker.

Do not discount the simplicity of this process. The champion forces themselves to develop an empowering self-image. They force themselves to think positive thoughts. They understand what Marcus Aurelius said when he wrote that our life is what our thoughts make it. Think, and prove your way to embodying the champion.

Mastery of Emotions

emotions for the blog

From the moment we’re born, we’re fashioning our character out of our emotional responses to the world around us. I believe that emotions exist so that we can manipulate, dominate, and control everything in our experience. Think about this… When you were a baby, you’d cry and you’d get your mother or father’s response. You had a behaviour that elicited the response you wanted, so you continued that behaviour.

This is true for both the negative emotions we experienced in life as well as the positives. If we had a behaviour (public speaking, asking someone out, trying to make a joke, etc) that elicited an emotion or response we didn’t like, we cut off that behaviour all together. For the most part, this is done completely unconsciously. Therefore, for most people, they’ve unknowingly designed their life around the avoidance of the uncomfortable emotions they’ve decided are most uncomfortable for them. Sit with that for a second.

We have emotions that we’ve voted on to be so severe for us to experience that we have shaped our entire lives out of the avoidance of those emotions. Emotions like failure, undeserving, unlovable, not good enough. But the champion doesn’t do that. The champion understands that nobody attached meaning to those emotions except them. They’ve discovered that if you are unwilling to include those emotions and master their own response, they’re going to lose! There is no other reason on this planet that will make the average person lose other than their emotions.

I love Sharita’s story because she proved mastery over emotions at a very young age. When she was a teenager she played for the best soccer team in the Province. Her coach was well known for being disciplined and blunt. In fact, he was so harsh that many girls on their team would cry and quit after being given feedback on poor performance. Sharita recalls one terrible game specifically  where  her coach brought her aside after the game. He said that she could leave the team if she wanted to. That if she was going to stay she would need to step up and make a real contribution. He went on to say that her mediocre performance wasn’t going to cut it on that team.

This is where most people are slapped in the face with feelings of anger, disappointment, embarrassment and resentment. This is where most people quit. Sharita, however, displayed true mastery of her emotions. She immediately started practicing an extra three-five hours a day. She started going to camps where they taught high performance soccer skills. Unlike the runners up in life, when faced with difficult emotions instead of getting bitter, the champion decides to get better.

As you think about handling your emotions in your own life, remember that, just like you, Sharita had a choice. In those moments of adversity, challenge, and even disappointment, we get to decide the theme, or meaning that we attribute to the events in our lives. Nobody else get’s to decide the way you feel about what happens to you in life except for you. Don’t make yourself the victim of your own thinking. Rise up like the champion and attach new meaning to the emotions in life that make you feel uncomfortable.

Do This. 

  1. Write Down Your Goals– Ask yourself whether or not you have written down clearly defined goals for the second half of this year. If not, why not? Do you think you won’t keep your word? Are you afraid of success? Afraid of failure? Do you need an accountability partner to hold your ass to the fire? Whatever the reason, know that the excuses are only lies, do not rationalize. Take the evening to map out what you want and how you’re going to get there.
  2. Be honest about your thoughts- Because our thoughts are unconscious it’s challenging to pick up whether or not our thinker is helping to empower us. The easiest way to know is to check the fruit. If your thoughts are the seeds you’ve planted in your life, how are the results? Are you accomplishing the goals you set out to achieve? Did you lose that weight you wanted to? Did you hit that quota you set your sights on? Did you start that blog/business/video you wanted? Or have you procrastinated and made excuses as to why it’s a bad time to start. If the fruit is bad, there’s a good chance the seeds are bad too.
  3. Seek out discomfort- One of the quickest and most effective ways I’ve found to build mastery over emotions is to expose yourself to discomfort. My personal favourite are waking up early, taking ice cold showers every morning, and public speaking. Choose something small to start and slowly make your way to mastery over the emotions that make you feel uncomfortable.
  4. Re-read this post- Fundamentally, all of the other attributes of the champion, lay on top of your goals, the mind, and the mastery of your emotions. These three pillars are the foundation for your character and future success. Invest the time in yourself to understand where you have a weakness in one of these three areas and bring it up to par!

Leave a comment and let me know which of the three you’re going to start working on! I’m working with my accountability partner Ryan to have a clearer view of my goals and the steps and behaviours required to get them completed.

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.

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Profile Of A Champion: The Giver

Five months ago, I got kicked out of my Nona’s house. New to the city and now homeless, I didn’t have a clue of where to go next. At the time I was stressed, anxious, and pissed off at my grandparents. But looking back, I’d never change the tough love I experienced. The entire situation forced me to look critically at myself. A couple nights of huddling in the freezing cold, in the backseat of my 2000 Jetta, really helped me see my shortcomings!

In those moments, I realized that I had always been on the receiving end of my relationships. I defaulted into being a taker, asking for more than I’d given. I lived with my Nona for 6 months, rarely, if ever, contributing. I was focused on writing, reading, speaking, and volunteering outside of our home. And it was through this experience I learned that the taker never wins long term. It’s the honest giver who earns your trust, confidence and admiration. Givers earn your respect. It is they who are valued and who embody the champion. It became clear to me that if I was going to become a champion, I needed to develop a giving mentality.

Fortunately, there have been more champions in my life today than ever before! When I was at Venture for Canada training camp in May, I observed individual after individual that demonstrated this invaluable trait. The more champions I met, the more generosity, selflessness, and giving continued to show up as a theme in their character. One fellow in particular caught my attention. They went out of their way to compliment others, to share all of their best strategies and tools, and to made sure to contribute to the positive experience of every single fellow.

During the morning session of my third day, she sat in front of forty people, completely vulnerable, and shared her mind map. The map consisted of all her goals, ambitions, and plans for the year ahead. Meant for her eyes only, she shared the essence of who she was with a group she had met only a couple of days ago. As the map was passed around, eventually landing on my lap, I read one of the most profound mission statements I’d ever seen. It wrote,

“My purpose lies in living a life that creates social good, both personally and professionally. I will live a life that embodies generosity, kindness, strength and compassion. I prioritize balance and well-being. I will make time to discover the world. And I will seize every opportunity to learn and I will be present for those I love and who love me.”

I immediately knew she was the model I sought out. She was the missing link that could open me up to a world of giving and social good. Her name, is Lucia.

Lucia profile of a champion headshot

Lucia has been by far one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. As her mission statement suggests, Lucia is engrossed in multiple ventures to help leave a positive impact in this world. One, accessible to support by the public, is an initiative to build libraries in needy schools and communities throughout her home country, Honduras. This year she is hoping to launch two more ventures, one to promote gender parity in STREAM fields through play, and one to champion innovation in emerging markets. On top of that, she wakes up between 4:30 and 5am everyday, is Trilingual, and is working on her first belt in Krav Maga (I wouldn’t mess with her if I was you). During the day, she works full-time as the Marketing Coordinator for the National Angel Capital Organization.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, the more I get to know her, the more I realize that she embodies all eight of the qualities making up the profile of a champion. And because of that she’s paved a path for what it means to be a giver. If we model that path, we too can live a life of abundance and fulfillment.

Now, before you can live that life, it’s important to know what to avoid. Let me help you with that.

The Taker

The taker

Both Lucia and Adam Grant, Author of “Give and Take“, would characterize the behaviour while living at my Nona’s as that of a taker. The taker views interactions as a way of extracting value from other people. They approach people with the mindset of, “How can  get as much as possible from this exchange?” They tend to believe that by taking, it’s the shortest and most direct path to achieving their own goals.

Admittedly, and unfortunately, that was true for me. I was too frugal to contribute in rent. And even if I couldn’t afford to pitch in with money, I didn’t try to help out in other ways. I took advantage of the food in the house instead of helping out with the groceries or cooking for my grandparents. I didn’t care for the house or try to help maintain it. I didn’t clean up after myself enough. I didn’t even contribute to the laundry…

Looking back, I recognize my selfishness. I’m surprised they didn’t kick me out sooner! And I’m lucky that’s all that happened. If you’re a taker, more often than not, you’ll burn bridges in your relationships and start to be known as someone who is selfish, narcissistic, and cancerous to teams. So let me be clear, the taker never wins long term. They may get lucky and avoid being noticed at first, but in the long run, they will be exposed and lose.

While most people will never be exclusively  givers or takers, the champion is, by and large, a giver. So if you recognize yourself in the description of the taker and want to work towards becoming a champion as I do, it’s time to audit your behaviour and at least be a matcher.

The Matcher

The matcher

If you’re thinking I’m being pretty hard on myself, I am. It’s by being critical of my behaviour that I’ve been able to transition to being at least a matcher. In most of our interactions, our instinct is to maintain and even balance of give-and take in life. We try to keep fairness and a sense of quid pro quo in our dealings with others. If we do someone a favour, we virtually always expect an equal one in return.

This is where I see myself today. As a salesman, one of my favourite books is Robert Cialdini’s, “Influence“. In that book, the first rule of influence is reciprocity. Robert shares that in society, we’ve grown up in a culture where I’m obligated to give back to you the same form of behaviour that you give to me. For example, if you invite me to one of your parties, I should invite you to one of mine. If you remember my birthday with a gift, I should bring one to yours. And if you do me a favour, I owe you a favour.

I loved that concept! It’s better than a taker right? Well, it turns out, only slightly. After diving into purpose, giving, and what it means to be generous with Lucia, I found out the huge difference intention makes in the giving process. When writing Ryan Cobb‘s post on doing more than expected, Lucia was literally the first one to message me privately and give me feedback for where I stumbled in his write up.

Much like Lucia, Ryan isn’t a matcher, he’s a giver. He doesn’t approach situations knowing that by doing and giving more than expected, he’ll in turn, get more because of reciprocity. No. Both Ryan and Lucia’s intentions when giving, are to give. End of story. It’s not about economics, it’s not about reciprocation, it’s about doing the right thing and how it makes them feel to be a giver. Lucia shared that,

“As soon as you start adding, ‘what am I getting out of this?’ your giving becomes disingenuous. You need to be willing to put others before yourself. The whole point of being a generous human being is that it comes from a place of helping others. Selflessness is key.”

Matchers, as Lucia pointed out, aren’t being generous. Further, in my experience with matching, I’ve even been seen as manipulative or that I was only doing a favour because I expected one in return. I don’t want to come from that place anymore. Do you? As a matcher, I do understand that I’m making better decisions than when I was a taker. But, I know I have the capacity to do better. Generosity is about intentions. I want to challenge you, as I have myself, that if your intentions are to take, or to give solely because we expect reciprocity, it’s time to start modelling a giver, immediately.

The Giver

Lucia Profile of a champion Screenshot

Every week on my Facebook wall I can expect to see this post by Lucia. Selflessly, she opens up her time, energy, and resources, to contribute to lives of her community in one way or another. Just as Adam Grant describes, the champion comes into an interaction trying to figure out, “What can I contribute here? How Can I add value here?” The champion is looking for ways to be helpful, without strings attached. 

Now that it’s clear what the giver looks like, there’s only one final question to ask: why is the champion a giver, rather than a matcher or taker?

As discussed, the taker will lose long term. Wether that is due to poor relationships or reputation, they aren’t able to build enough trust to open them up for opportunity in the future.

The matcher, although better, can still be perceived as having dishonourable intentions. On top of that, you will always have to give a matcher more if you want to receive more. Not only does this have diminishing returns, the matcher is less likely to take on a leadership role in tough times. When the situation has less to give, so does the matcher.

The giver however, should be our default mode. Have you ever wondered how you could feel more passion and zest for life? The answer is help other people. I’m a huge Tony Robbins fan. He’s famous for saying that one, of the only two paths to fulfillment, is through contribution.

The givers and the champions in your life find more meaning and purpose in their work and experience because they’re contributing. They know that what they do daily, truly makes a difference. They make it clear that their colleagues, friends, and family are really important to them, and as a result, they end up building many and deep relationships with people who often become sources of creative ideas and open doors to new opportunities.

According to Lucia, givers can look forward to more opportunities, responsibility, and respect. Over time, the more she gives, the more her professional results are dramatically amplified. Her coworkers and friends recognize this character trait, and know that if given a task or added responsibility, she will be generous with the effort she puts in. That is what builds her reputation. The possibilities for someone who is a problem solver, resourceful, and giving are endless.

She warns however that as much as it’s important to come from a place of selflessness, it’s equally important to be generous with one’s self.  Avoid becoming a doormat. Lucia stressed to me that being a giver is not always easy. It’s easy to take a beating because some people will take advantage of you. So remember, just like on an airplane, we need to put our own oxygen mask on first, to make sure we can support and give to those around us. In the end, the quality and quantity of what we give is improved when it’s coming from a happier, balanced, and nurtured place.

I don’t know about you, but I want endless possibilities. I want more respect, trust, and deeper relationships in my life. I want to be a giver. Fortunately for me, and for anyone on the path to becoming a champion, we have examples like Lucia, Ryan, and others we can turn to and model.

Do This. 

  1. Learn from Lucia- Lucia’s Facebook post is only one of many examples of how she gives. One of the most humble people I know, Lucia described all of her initiatives to give as simply part of her values and purpose. She want’s to show others that there is more than one way to give. Today, she’s engaged in two socially conscious businesses. Volunteers with many charitable organizations and with her local MP. She contributes to building homes and even though she’s always wanted a tattoo, she’s never gone through with it because it would interrupt her blood donation schedule! The key is that Lucia is intentional with her giving. She regularly schedules time out of her busy life (trust me, I thought I was busy) to make a contribution. I personally plan on spending more time volunteering, how about you?
  2. Focus on the little things- If you can’t do that she said, simply focus on the small things you can do every single day. Where can you be more generous at work? With your family? With your friends? Can you hold doors? Share an insight of something you recently learned? Make an introduction? There are unlimited ways to be generous. Unlike the taker, Lucia says that the giver asks themselves daily, “Am I making the world better, yes or no?” “Am I making this persons life better, yes or no?” If you can’t go big, start small. You’ll feel so good, that small wins will grow into big ones over time!
  3. Start Now– Let’s go on this journey of giving together. Lucia has been generous even to provide her email for anyone that has further questions about generosity or her story (mgallardo115@gmail.com). Take her up on the offer because she’s the type of champion you want in your life!

Our families deserve our contribution. Our work deserves our contribution. Our Country deserves our contribution. And most importantly, we deserve the feelings of fulfillment and joy that will inevitably follow us on our path to endless possibilities!

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.

 

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. 

Practicality of Positive Thinking

Courtesy of my favourite Google Chrome Plug In  Momentum, every morning I open my laptop, I’m presented with an inspirational picture and quote.

Blog picture- thinker prover

How appropriate that as I sat down this morning to write about the mind, our thoughts and ultimately how they dictate the success or failure of every facet of our life, Momentum gave me this quote,

“Don’t think about what might go wrong, think about what could be right.”

How true! But it’s not enough to understand this concept on a surface level. For you and I to take our health, wealth, relationships, or impact on this world to the next level we need internalize this as part of our belief system. Fundamentally, positive thinking is extremely practical. And while the mind and brain are extremely complex, my mentor George Zalucki broke it down for me so that it is simple to explain. He said the mind is made up of two parts, the thinker and the prover.

The thinker thinks. 

The prover proves. 

What does the prover prove? Simple, whatever the thinker thinks! This is why positive thinking is so fucking practical! Let’s explore two examples:

A) I can’t do it. That is my thought. Now, the proving part of my mind must bring into my experience the actual events and criteria that say’s, you’re right! You can’t do it…

The thinker thinks and the prover proves.

B) I can do it. That is my thought. The thinker thinks, what must the prover prove? The prover must bring into my experience all of the events and criteria that say’s, you’re right! You can do it…

The thinker thinks and the prover proves.

Simple right? Here’s where it becomes a challenge, most of our thoughts are unconscious. That means that 95% of my life is run by my subconscious programming! When I started to take a more positive direction in my life, I had to become conscious of every thought coming from my thinker!

What do you think my prover said to me through 18 years of thinking: I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not good looking enough, your voice is too feminine, your nose isn’t symmetrical, you can’t be a public speaker, I’ll always be a runner up, there’s no point of living? You guessed it… It said, you’re right! 

When I started to consciously think more positive thoughts, my life change was dramatic. For example, at 18 my parents forced me to start working with them on their business. Forced WAY out of my comfort zone, I was asked to speak in public, to sell and share the companies story. If I let my subconscious do the thinking for me… My prover would have slapped me in the face with massive failure.

Instead, I thought, I can do this, I deserve this, I’m confident, I have what it takes, I know the information, I will be charming and charismatic and they will love me. Guess what happened? Surprise, surprise, my prover brought into my life all of the experiences that were in exact agreement with the thinker.

I started to gain momentum. My self-esteem sky rocketed. I was asked to speak more and more. Eventually, my subconscious thoughts became empowering and self-serving. I’ll be forever grateful for those months and years of consciously focusing on positive thoughts.

“Thinking about what could go right changed my life.”

Do this: Choose two new empowering thoughts that you will repeat consciously. When something outside your comfort zone presents itself, remember those thoughts. Repeat them to yourself. Yell out loud, I CAN do it! And like magic, you’ll gain the strength you need, like I have, to overcome all obstacles.

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively purse 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calling Out My Bullshit

As we change seasons and Spring makes it’s appearance, I’ve spend the last 24 hours reflecting on the first 90 days of 2017. Looking from the outside in, most people would say that I’ve had a pretty good start to the new year. From the outside, they’d be right.

But, that’s just bullshit. 

The truth, which is what I spend the last 24 hours reflecting on, tells a much different story.

Am I too hard on myself? Yes. Have I made significant progress on some of my 2017 goals? Yes. Then what’s all the drama about? Last night I realized I’ve been using the wrong god-damn measuring stick! I’ve been focused on the wrong progress. I have the wrong reasons for why I’ve been working.

In a world of Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, where we obsessively check our social platforms all day long, where “entrepreneurship” and the “hustle” is romanticized, I’ve been working hard because I want more likes. I’ve been working to impress others. I’ve been trying to look good in front of people who’s opinions shouldn’t even matter to me. It’s vain.

The truth is, when I was sharing pictures of me winning awards, I was actually beating myself up for second place. When one of my mentees won his public speaking contest, I was jealous. When I was smiling on camera to show other people how great my life was, I had just spent the last 2 weeks homeless.

The truth, is that I’ve been lacking in integrity. My discipline has wavered. My zest for life diminished. Telling the truth is hard. Calling out my bullshit sucks. But it’s the only way I’ll ever grow.

It’s clear that my character needs a facelift.

Myself and the majority of people have strayed too far from what matters in life. Living a life of quality character, not quantity of likes. My focus needs to shift from what will other people think of me, to what will this make of me. When the dust settles, and I’m 6 feet under, I know no one will remember what I did, but how I made them feel! It’s my character that people will remember, end of story.

The question that’s left is: what do I do about it?

Well, if you’ve been following any of my shtick so far you know almost any question I ask myself can be answered with the late Jim Rohns philosophies. This is no different. I’ve traveled  down the wrong path and I don’t like my destination. Jim Rohn would take one look and simply say,

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

My Declaration

The character facelift:

Gratitude- A commitment to swapping my expectations for appreciation.

Integrity- A commitment to doing all that I said I would do.

Service- A commitment to focusing on what I can give, rather than what I can get.

Discipline- A commitment to getting up with my alarm, regardless of how I feel.

Personal Development- A commitment to learning everyday.

Enthusiasm- A commitment to maintaining my positive attitude regardless of my circumstances.

I ask you two favours:

  1. Hold me accountable to this. Don’t let me get anyway with wavering on any of these virtues. I know there will be days that I forget this declaration and your accountability will ensure I don’t slip up.
  2. Be honest with yourself. Why are you doing what you do? Are you focused on what people will think of me, or what this will make of me? Does your character need a facelift and if so where can you start?

The rest of 2017 is going to be the best of 2017. 

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

-J

Out.

 

 

 

Tough Love

nona and me- blogThe past few months I’ve received tough love because, well, I’m tough to love! It was extremely tough for me because when the dust settled, I was left homeless.
This experienced forced me to reflect. It made me want to take all of the positives out of this challenge and be an example for others for what it means to learn from your obstacles. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a mentor a few years back.
He said,
“There are three types of people in life. Wise, smart and stupid”
Wise- these people have a huge advantage. They are the type of people who learn from other peoples mistakes.
Smart- these people tend to get ahead. They are the type of people who learn from their own mistakes.
Me- stupid people…well…. they just keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again.
Why stupid? Well…
People say i’m charismatic, I’m supportive, that I’m a good person. Yet, there I was, kicked out! Homeless. Today, looking back, I now know where it all went wrong. I have always been on the receiving ends of a relationships. I have always been the taker. I have always asked for far more than I have ever given. It took me all of my 22 years and being kicked out of my grandparents house for me to finally understand a universal truth:
“The secret to living is giving!”
When I got my first sales job in downtown Toronto I panicked. Anyone who knows me knows I HATE sitting. Living in Bradford at the time,  I wasn’t about to commute 3 hours a day to get from Bradford to Toronto….and back again. I just wasn’t going to do it!
Then it hit me!
3 years ago my sister lived in downtown Toronto with my Grandparents when she was going to school at Ryerson. So I thought, this is fucking perfect! I’ll just live with my Grandma and won’t have the harsh commute. I smiled as I thought, we’re family, they would feel obligated to help me out. And they did.
Wise
wise- blog
This is where, if I was wise, I would have quickly recognized my Grandparents had all the leverage. They opened up her home and gave me everything they had. If I was wise, I would have grilled my sister and found out about the things my Grandparents loved, their quirks, and anything that I may do to really piss them off (which turned out to be virtually everything I did)!
Instead, I took their generosity for granted . As I settled in, I got into a rhythm of leaving for work early, coming home at night to a dinner prepared by my Grandma, and packaging up the left overs preparing to do it all over again.
This repeated and very quickly 6 months had passed. One day, my Grandma and Aunt asked me what time I would be home the next day and that they wanted to meet with me. We sat down, and I couldn’t understand what they said next,
“Jonathan, you’ve been living here now for over 6 months. When we ask you to do something, or to stop doing something, we mean it. We opened up our home to you out of the goodness of our heart and if you want to stay here you’re going to need to start contributing like it’s your home too.”
That makes sense right? Their house, their rules. Well I didn’t get it.
Smart
Cute Thinking Kid Girl In Glasses With Empty Bubble Looking
If I was smart, I would have realized this is a learning opportunity. I’ve been messing up,
I’ve been focusing on what I can get rather than what I can give.
The relationship has been completely one sided, not even close to 50/50, and you can guess what happened next. Another few months passed, I didn’t change much. I came home one day, I walked over to say hello to my short, non english speaking Italian Grandpa and before I could say a word he yelled, “GET OUT!”
I thought he was joking. He wasn’t…. I sat there devastated. I felt confused, I felt angry, but most of all, I felt stupid. How did I not see this coming? As much as I wanted to argue about all the reasons as to why I should stay, there just weren’t any.
Stupid
jetta- blog
What a sobering experience being homeless was for me. A few nights of sleeping in my car in the cold of winter made me completely see the light. The secret to living is giving!
Life is not a zero sum game. If you give, in any capacity, give with you money, connect someone to the right person, help them become more successful, if you give, it doesn’t mean there’s less for you. But that’s how I saw life!
I thought if I gave, you win, and I lose.
That is just so stupid. The world doesn’t work that way that way. In fact, the world works the opposite. 5 months ago I damaged my vocal cords. It still hurts to speak. I now realize, the times my throat feels the best, is when I’m helping people. When I’m giving a speech to share my mistakes or when a friend calls me up in need of a boost. The secret to living is giving, and there is only an upside in it for you and for me.
Be wise, and learn from my mistakes. Because sleeping in a warm soft bed with the fireplace blazing, beats the shit out of huddling in the cold in the backseat of my 2000 Jetta EVERY Time!
Leave a comment and let me know how you plan on giving more in your life!
Till then, stay on offense. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction”.
-J
Out.