How to Elevate Your Everything

einsteinitsnotthatimsosmart

This post is for me, but if you read something that resonates with you, please let me know. Comment below or send me a tweet @marketcouncil.   I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Way You Do Anything, is the Way You Do Everything

I’m thinking about why my successes are not more consistent.

Why my life seems so yo-yo-ee.   A bit up and down. 

roller-coaster

Why I haven’t achieved all that I want by now. Why I don’t have more time for wonder and wander. Why I work so damn much.

How come I still hold on to the last ten pounds of weight? Where is the additional savings in my account? How come I don’t laugh more, have more fun each day?

I’m thinking about how I can improve so that I can have deeper relationships with my friends and family, more sacred moments with less worry and more time for self-care.

I’m thinking about how I can execute for more excellence in my life. How I can improve my life in ways that really matter. 

Perhaps I need to raise my personal standard of performance.

I am inspired by Bill Walsh’s tenets of mental toughness. His dedication to focusing on what should be one, how it should be done and when it should be done.

It’s the deceptively small things that when done every day, make transformation happen.

The counting of each calorie, taking advantage of promotions when shopping, putting aside a few dollars a day to build up our savings, dressing the part for a big meeting or interview, taking a moment to breathe, going to the gym instead of sleeping another thirty minutes and planning the night before to get closer to completing a project I am about to launch.

It’s about making the call, sending the text, holding on to that hug. It’s about realizing that life is so fleeting. Make the time to smile, breathe and enjoy – in-between all the work.

It’s a commitment to never slack off, to maintain the effort each day and to return and perhaps raise the standards that initially fueled my success. To push past my self-imposed limits and test my endurance and performance each day.

Bill’s Tenent’s of Mental Toughness

  • Maintain a ferocious and intelligently applied mindset directed at continual improvement.
  • Demonstrate respect for everyone you meet. Everyone is your teacher.
  • Be deeply committed to learning and practicing what you learn.
  • Be fair and honest with yourself and others.
  • Demonstrate good character.
  • Honor the direct connection between details and improvement, relentlessly seek the latter.
  • Show composure and self-control, especially under pressure.
  • Demonstrate loyalty to your core values and beliefs.
  • Use positive language and have a positive attitude.
  • Be willing to go the extra distance for what you know is important.
  • Deal appropriately with victory and defeat, adulation and humiliation.
  • Promote internal communication that is both open and substantive.
  • Seek poise in yourself and those you lead.
  • Put other’s welfare and priorities ahead of your own.
  • Maintain an ongoing level of concentration and focus that is abnormally high.
  • Make sacrifice and commitment your trademark.

And may I add –

Be soft, gentle, curious and flexible and feel the freedom of racing like a Mustang.

wildhorsesrunning-mustangmonumentcaaronmillar

The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us as we live.

The Importance of Self-Reliance & Taking Responsibility

This post is about taking responsibility.  Responsibility requires constant readjustment combined with increased clarity and purpose.

leonardo-divinci

Real improvements never happen without changing your behaviors. A change in outcome is a benefit of changing habits, attitudes and skills you acquire.

there-are-no-laurels-in-life-just-new-challenges-quote-1

True success, steady ongoing, sustaining success, is systematic. It’s made of incremental improvements in the way things are done.  It is a (daily) relentless attempt to eliminate the unnecessary activities, delay and waste.

Where we decide to put our energy decides what we will actually accomplish.

 

For me, it begins with identifying the obstacles and problems; tackling the issues I have been ignoring.

I commit to trying to get to the root of the problem.

Asking Why????

  1. Write down your specific problem clearly and completely. A good statement of the problem often points to its own solution.
  2. Ask “why” the problem happens and write your answer.
  3. Continue asking “why” to the previous answer until you or others agree that the problem’s root cause has been identified.

I will use today as an opportunity to do what I have needed to do.

bubbles_the_snow_leopard_1_o

Elevating My Everything

  • Triple check my work for errors before publishing, sending or presenting.
  • Be more considerate of everyone’s time and attention.
  • Review my priorities and ask myself, is this really necessary? What tasks can I eliminate?
  • Review and measure the outcomes of each day.
  • Give credit to those who have contributed to my success.
  • Thank others for their help.
  • Look and ask for feedback and follow up when that feedback makes my performance stronger.
  • Don’t react to every little thing that happens.
  • Make note of the important tasks at hand and the follow up that must be done.
  • Watch for signs along the way and know how to read them.
  • Stay calm, composed and true to my mission of self-improvement.
  • Never stop and never get lazy.
  • Pay attention, focus deeply and never get distracted.
  • Try not to get side-tracked.
  • Seek to work with the very best.
  • Raise the standards around me, including my environment.
  • Practice what I preach.
  • Attempt to decipher the urgent from the important. Do the important first.
  • Refrain from enticing short-cuts.
  • Respect others, especially when I know they are giving 100%
  • Continue to do what really worked in the past.
  • Learn new ways of doing what I have always done but also sticking to what really works.
  • Devote myself to a daily discipline of focused work.
  • Be extremely patient.
  • Learn to utilize what is around me.
  • Work with a mix of humility, acceptance and strength.
  • Face my biggest problems head on.

Ego is the Enemy

Do not wait to elevate your everything. Raise your standard of performance, make everything you do better and better.

From Emerson’s Essay on Illusions. . .

`Set me some great task, ye gods! and I will show my spirit.’ `Not so,’ says the good Heaven; `plod and plough, vamp your old coats and hats, weave a shoestring; great affairs and the best wine by and by.’ Well, ’tis all phantasm; and if we weave a yard of tape in all humility, and as well as we can, long hereafter we shall see it was no cotton tape at all, but some galaxy which we braided, and that the threads were Time and Nature.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays

Feature illustrations Lion-Comp & Bubbles the Snow Leopard from Daryl at Cargo Collective.

 

better

As We Are, So It Is

5887-Ana-s-Nin-Quote-We-don-t-see-things-as-they-are-we-see-them-as-we

Our perception builds and constructs our reality; which in turn becomes our life. With the help of our good, bad and indifferent judgements, our choice of language, our cognitive biases, past experiences and memories, we  assemble how we choose to see the world. All of these inferences paint the way we experience our lives and effect the lives of those closest to us.

n

What we see is one thing, what we perceive is a completely different matter. Our reality is a co-production. Everything is a projection of what we hold inside our mind. So, I wonder, what if everything we see is really our very own optical illusion?  Everything in a way, our own private hell hall of hallucinations.

Like this beautiful parrot. . .

 

parrot

That’s really a woman painted to look like a parrot.

woman2

What if we could change the way we see everything, to see more clearly, to expand our mind and in turn our world?   What can we bring to this next moment, day, week, year so that we may live a life filled with more purpose and meaning?

skull-brain

Instead of allowing our brains to create a haphazard existence based on our misconceptions and judgements. . .

What if we played a more active role in the process of creating our lives?

Laura-Williams-photography-11

 

Perhaps we begin with examining some of our cognitive biases. A cognitive bias is a systematic error in thinking that affects the decisions and judgments that people make.

Cognitive Biases can screw up our thinking and decision making.

cognitive bias

I am curious, which cognitive biases do you relate to?

 

Side note: a fascinating look at some of the most impressive optical illusions.

Featured photography by Laura Williams

The Real Reason You Aren’t Succeeding

successWhether you are trying to get ahead in your career, start a new business, lose 15 pounds, cut sugar from your diet or just be a calmer and more peaceful person, chances are you are frustrated with your rate of improvement. You wish you were making more progress. You think you are doing everything right, you just don’t know why you don’t see the results.

Planning vs Action

Those of us on the improvement track all do it.  We create a list, a plan, a budget and we spend hours reading and learning how to take better care of ourselves, our families and our future. It is remarkable. We have access to an amazing amount of information to help us become better versions of ourselves. Wiser financially, stronger emotionally and healthier physically and yet so few of us actually see the results we want. The results we want to see are had with less planning and more daily practice. We need to take action and work the plan. 

We need to practice every day, just the way professional athletes, writers and artists do. We need to go pro.

Getting Ready to Get Ready

This is how it is for many of us who become fixated on the emotional high associated with personal growth.  We might make a little progress and feel pretty good about that.   It’s easy to keep learning and studying new inspiring ideas, creative methods, and  techniques while convincing yourself that you must be making progress simply because you’ve invested a lot of time and effort in learning and growth.

We spend our time getting ready to get ready to improve our situations. We’re reading all the books, watching the videos, listening to the podcasts. One of the big traps is believing that you’re making progress when there’s no actual evidence of it.  This idea of going pro and stepping up your game, is inspired from the quote below and the book Turning Pro

“To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence.”

Read more in Steven Pressfield’s Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work

Execution is the Elixir

Planning without action creates a false sense of security. You may feel more confident if you meet with a life coach, financial advisor or spiritual guide, but scheduling time with them, listening to a TedX video or attending a seminar is not doing the actual improvement work. Journaling, note taking and writing the ultimate goal list is not going to make the difference. Action and practice every day will. 

drawing global concept in book

From Procrastinator to Producer

Perhaps you consider yourself a procrastinator and that is why you don’t move into action. “The Procrastination habit catches people in a vicious cycle: get overwhelmed, feel pressured, fear failure, try harder, work longer, feel resentful, lose motivation and then procrastinate.” Read more in The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

Propel then Practice

American_progressEvery single morning I give myself the ultimate rallying cry, a trumpet call. I call it my $25 million dollar life. I’ve printed it out on a double side of copy paper and I recite it out loud every morning. It’s my manifest destiny and it reminds me of the greatness I want to achieve and the action necessary to get there. If you try this, I would love to hear how it is working for you.

Better, Not Perfect

Execution is the real elixir, the secret, the answer to self-improvement. We just need to get better, not perfect. Sure we can still learn by the book, but we need to go out and test our new found knowledge. 

What you Measure Tends to Improve

Taking action begins with making sure that whatever you are setting out to do you have –

  • broken it down into daily doable habits
  • created projections for success
  • continue to track measurable milestones
  • have a clear vision of what success looks like

For example, if you want a calmer more peaceful day, than begin to practice 10 minutes of morning mindful meditation. Measure your heart rate and breathing before, during and after with Spire, the newest device to help us navigate this chaotic modern life. Now, what does a calmer and more peaceful day look like to you? What are you doing? How are you behaving? Be mindful of the success you want to achieve. You will know you are successful after many hours of practice and the way your life improves.

Put your Emotions in Motion

Anger and frustration are huge motivators for me. If I feel really frustrated I don’t linger around and complain, I get into solution as quickly as possible and then do something about it. I make the call, put on my workout clothes, apologize. . . whatever will help me move away from frustration.

I don’t know anyone who likes ruminating about negative thoughts, so get creative and find a solution to what is nagging you and just do it.

Next time you feel like you just can’t get motivated remind yourself what you don’t want and use those emotions associated with it to propel you out the door.

Ready, Set, Action

A friend of mine told me about the 60 second tip. When you are gearing up to do something good for yourself but you are not in the mood or you are too tired, try it for 60 seconds. See how it feels. Check out this site “Know more in 60 seconds” http://www.knowmoreinsixtyseconds.com  

Re-Commit Every Day

“Turning pro is like kicking a drug habit or stopping drinking. It’s a decision, a decision to which we must re-commit every day.” Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro

Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work

What are you trying to accomplish? What tips do you have to help take more action?

The Relentless Pursuit of Greatness

shutterstock_130119419-760x507

My husband drives me crazy. He never writes anything down. Not a single reminder. Not even a note in his phone. He laughs at all my list making. So what.

The Secret to Achieving Your Goals

Now, I imagine if you are reading this, the headline got you and you are looking to achieve something great. Weight loss? More money? Better relationships? Peace of mind? Whatever you are attempting to get better at, it helps to set goals. Here is the formula I found works for anything I want to achieve and it is a mash up of some of the best advice and tips from experts throughout history on how to go about setting and achieving goals. 

Scientific behavioral studies at Harvard have proven that those who WRITE down their SPECIFIC and ACHIEVABLE goals increase their chances 10 fold.   I add that WRITING and SPEAKING your goals OUT LOUD with emotion each day in the morning (and maybe in the evening too) increases your success even further.

It’s simple, it’s easy and here is how it works.

STEP 1. SET PRECISE and MEASURABLE goals that you are CONFIDENT that you can achieve.

For example: I want to lose five (5) pounds by Thanksgiving, November 25, 2015.

body weight

I found this free Body Weight Planner recommended by Shape Magazine and developed  by the National Institute for Health with the help of Dr. Kevin Hall’s research group for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to better understand how diet and exercise quantitatively contribute to weight loss and weight loss maintenance.

According to this calculator, I’ll achieve this measurable goal if I walk/hike and run at a moderate jogging pace for 60 minutes a day seven (7) days a week consuming no more than 1,955 calories a day. I calculate this is a loss of .75 (3/4) of a pound a week.

STEP 2.WRITE them down on paper (or in your phone) and keep them in CLEAR site. READ the goal OUT LOUD each morning.

Me in the mirror every morning:

I will be 123 pounds by Thanksgiving in 48 days by following these easy steps to achieve this weight. I will practice self-discipline and design my days around achieving this goal. Relentlessly.

STEP 3.BREAK down the goal and REMOVE all obstacles involved in the process of achieving it.

Each Bite Counts

Each day, I commit to counting calories – the LoseIt App is wonderful for this, as is the FitBit calorie tracker. You can also use a note book. Here are 5 great calorie counting sites/apps that you might want to try. I will jot down what I ate or take a photo of what I ate to calculate my calorie intake every day.

What if it’s raining?

How will I make SURE that I get in a 60 minute moderate run/hike each day? What if it rains and I can’t go outside? Will I go to the gym? Do I have a way of doing this at home in the house?  Will I ask a friend to hold me accountable? Will I get it out of the way every morning? What if I am traveling?

Have a PLAN to REMOVE every obstacle.

No more chips. Damn.

I eliminate all refined carbohydrates from my daily meals. No breads, crackers, chips, cookies, etc. I will try to each a very healthy, plant-based meal with protein three (3) times a day and limit by alcohol to 1 glass of white wine. I will consume no more than 1,955 calories a day.

STEP 4.READ your goal OUT LOUD every morning and include HOW you will FEEL when you achieve your GOAL.

Me, in my head all day long:

I will look and feel amazing in my jeans, feel lighter on my feet and freer and more energetic. All that movement will also help me feel less anxious and healthier at 123 lbs.

Inspired by Executive Toughness: The Mental-Training Program to Increase Your Leadership Performance

You can do this four step process with anything you want to achieve, including making new friends, getting a raise, building a business, whatever. The secret is a mindful attention with intention and focus on your goal.

toughness

Visit Jason’s website here

This gem of a book by Napoleon Hill  Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller – Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

grow

And the book that inspired me to lose 25 lbs last year.

The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman

four hour

The Sky’s the Limit. Your Amazing Future.

human-robotWhen you stop to think about where you will be in 10 years, what do you consider? Will you be doing the things you are doing right now?  Will you be richer? Thinner? In love? Famous?

Tomorrow is Today

Focusing on our future selves helps us to make new decisions about what we should be doing right now. With this vision and connection to our future self we can apply the action needed today to make the changes in order to be a more fantastic future versions of ourselves.

One caveat. It will take self-control.

So if you really want to be 20 lbs lighter in the future, put down that bag of chips right now and stop mindlessly eating at your desk.

The Future is Here

top-10-robots-710x434Want to know what your future will look like? Thanks to technology, you can get a glimpse. This website lets you talk to your future self using a sophisticated combination of motion capture software, speech recognition and 3D imaging. You will need to download the latest version of Chrome to check it out here. It’s really fun, I promise.

Need a bit of help with self-disclipine and control? Who doesn’t?

Read The Marshmallow Test: Why Self-Control Is the Engine of Success

marshmallow

Instead of hanging on to hope and possibility, you can increase the probability of your success with these tools.

If you want to be Fabulously Fit

Stop hitting the gym like an amateur. Workout like a pro, forget CrossFit, practice mindful movement. LearnSelf-Limiting Movement

jumpropeBoost up your cardio. Jump Rope Jump Rope Workouts: Cardio fitness for increased stamina, lean muscle building and fat burning

Find Your Very Best Friend and Soul Mate

Study Rules of the Game and don’t be afraid of finding love on line. Check out these top ten best dating apps here.

Rules

Crushing it in Your Career

Rev up the motor. Move the Needle. Read this detailed system that will help you achieve your professional and personal goals.

ReadMoving the Needle: Get Clear, Get Free, and Get Going in Your Career, Business, and Life!

needle

Remember

gandhi-future-present

On Deliberate Practice. Pointers from a Boston Marathoner

running

I started this blog to connect with brilliant thinkers and doers like yourself with the intention of making new friends from all around the world so we can inspire each other to move in the direction of our dreams.
I recently discovered Johnathon Jones, creator of Building United.  Johnathon is creating a community of readers and followers who have a vested interest in living a life full on consistent personal and professional growth.  One of my favorite pieces of inspiration here.

Performance and Endurance

Johnathon is a runner. For most runners, a marathon is not just 26.2 miles of physical endurance – it means months and months of arduous, painstaking preparation.

Typically, those signing up commit to long periods of meticulous planning, a careful diet and a regimented program of progressively longer runs.

Here Johnathon gives his advice on creating a habit of deliberate practice for maximum results and success.

What is Deliberate Practice

Practice makes perfect.  Practice like you play (or perform).  Practice what you preach (do).
The list goes on, and I could spend the next several minutes reciting quotes about practice that we have all heard at some point in time.  Practicing a skill, task, or act is vital to our long term success in achieving what the said skill or task prepares us to do.

However, there is a significant difference between the act of practicing in order to ‘get in your repetitions’ and deliberate practice in order to become better.  There is a difference between going through the motions and passing time and spending time honing and refining a skill in attempt to perfect it.

Quality of Practice
After all, if you’re going to devote time out of your day towards bettering yourself at a particular undertaking, then it is in your best interest to focus your energies on being as productive as possible in that short amount of time.

Maximizing Results
The question I get asked, though, is “How can I be most effective in the little amount of time that I have?”  In other words, how can I be deliberate in my efforts to maximize my results?
In my own experiences, I have found that utilizing a three step approach has been crucial to my development.  For example, I began running on a consistent basis nearly 6 years ago.  The goal was always to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  In order to arrive at this goal, I had to be deliberate in my methods.

How did I get there?  I implemented these three steps.
time-calendarStep One – Dedicating a Time Slot
You must dedicate regular time slot intervals to deliberately practice.  It needs to be built into your calendar, as do your work appointments, children’s activities, and family events.  If it’s on the calendar, then you are committed to it.  For me, I set an alarm nearly everyday for 4:30am or 5:00am to wake up and commit myself to training programs for various marathons.  This is when my body functions best for this type of training.  For you, it doesn’t need to be 5:00am, but it does need to be at a time when you feel best about working on that skill.

to-do-listStep Two – Eliminating Other ‘To-Do’s
Let’s face it, we are all challenged with varying obligations each morning when we wake up – meeting a project deadline, meeting with a client, taking the kids to school – these activities can overwhelm our mental capacity.  In your deliberate practice, it’s not only important, but necessary, to eliminate any fleeting thoughts of these other tasks.  This will help you to better identify how you feel, what worked, what didn’t work, and what to improve upon next time.  Moreover, this is the difference between ‘being present’ and ‘being in the moment’.

repetition-copy

Step Three – Refine and Repeat
Even those who were born with natural tendencies and talents still had to work hard, and continue to work hard at their specific skill set in order to be the best they could possibly be.  Michael Jordan never quit practicing throughout his entire NBA career, and is highly regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.  Steve Jobs never stopped refining his products and technological advances because it was necessary to grow Apple into the company that it is today.  This is the step where you utilize and build upon what works well, and trash what wasn’t useful.

Achieving Your Goals
It took nearly five years for me to finally achieve a Boston Marathon qualifying time.  It didn’t happen overnight, but that’s not important.  What is important is the deliberate intention I had of achieving a goal.

This same principle is applicable in your own life.  Consider how you can you apply it in your office,  your marriage, friendships, etc.

Passion, Enthusiasm and Dedicated Work
Not only does being deliberate display a commitment to become better, but it also exemplifies and defines passion, enthusiasm and work ethic.  I have never known someone whom had these three characteristics that didn’t achieve a goal.
How about you?  When was the last time you were truly deliberate was about what is was you were engaging in?  Did you feel the passion burning inside, the enthusiasm from without and the reward of working hard?

Moving forward, as you engage in practice, make it deliberate – intentional if you will.  Implement the three step approach and see where it leads.  Chances are, it will lead you directly where you want to go.

About Me Johnathon Jones

From a personal standpoint, running has been my true passion for nearly 6 years, but since moving to Denver, CO, I am spending quite a bit of time outdoors – hiking, road biking, climbing, etc.  I’m a firm believer that those who achieve the most in life are the ones who take advantage of the opportunities that surround them.  That being said, I love to travel (especially on the whim), cooking is a daily thing I love, and meeting people in order to build relationships.

Connect with Johnathon on LinkedIn

Join the Building United Community. Visit his blog

Learn more about refining your deliberate practice.

talent

Read:  Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

Are You Destined for Greatness?

violin-newHave you ever wondered what make some people wildly successful, others just middle of the road mediocre and  some just, well really bad at what they do?

Are the super successful achievers bestowed  some special divine gift? Some inborn or innate ability? Is there such a thing as a natural born leader? Have you ever wondered what category you fit in?  Are you destined for greatness?  I could be wrong, but I imagine that any of us putting ourselves out there want to achieve some level of success, giving our greatest performances.

The Reality and Great “Secret” of Success

I was so lit up yesterday by an interview that I heard on the Unmistakable Creative podcast with Geoff Colvin who wrote a few books on the topic. His questions began with  . . . What makes Tiger Woods great? What made  Chairman Warren Buffett the world’s premier investor? We think we know: Each was a natural who came into the world with a gift for doing exactly what he ended up doing. As Buffett told Fortune not long ago, he was “wired at birth to allocate capital.” It’s a one-in-a-million thing. You’ve got it – or you don’t.

Well, it’s not so simple. For one thing, you do not possess a natural gift for a certain job, because targeted natural gifts don’t exist. (Sorry, Warren.) You are not a born CEO or investor or chess grandmaster. You will achieve greatness only through an enormous amount of hard work over many years. And not just any hard work, but work of a particular type that’s demanding and painful.

Read the entire Fortune article here and it turns out that Colvin was inspired by a study about daily demanding deliberate violinist practice  that pushed them just a bit each day. Just a bit. You can read the original study on deliberate practice here.

The take away for me (and I would love your opinion). You will achieve greatness only through an enormous amount of hard work over many years. And not just any hard work, but work of a particular type that’s demanding and painful. Great performances are available to all of us with daily deliberate practice.

Two books on my list to read this month –

Geoff Colvin  Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else and Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will

gc_book_HUMANS_bettertalent