Today - Live in the Moments

Today is all we have. Right now is the only thing we have a guarantee of. We spend so much time planning and worrying about the future, that often we forget to live in the moment. We make calls or text while we are playing a game with our kids. Our mind is thinking of what needs to be done tomorrow and the next day while we are supposed to be listening to whoever we are engaging in conversation.

Too often we fail to see the wonderful things of today in anticipation of what tomorrow will bring. I'm not saying we shouldn't plan, we shouldn't try to be better and grown, or we should try to accomplish our goals. What I am saying is that we need to live in the moments that life gives us. A mentor of mine has done a great job of getting this across to me. Life is about the moments you create. It's about being present in whatever it is that you are doing at that time. It's about making memories and doing things with your loved ones that will make an impact on their lives, as well as yours, because you will remember it forever and the joy it brought you. What are your moments? What is it that gives you life? It's important that you know, so you can put as much energy as possible into creating as many "moments" in life as you possibly can.

We're all busy. We all have a million things going on in our lives. But I challenge you to be deliberate in being present where you are. Put the phone down at night when it's time for dinner. Don't let your mind wander when you are reading to your kids. Even during your business day, be there when you are talking to a co-worker or a client. I promise you that you will start to see a difference in your attitude, in your perspective, and in the responses of those around you.

Peaks and Valleys

Peaks and Valleys. Life is full of them. One minute we can feel on top of the world, and the next we feel like everything is falling apart. So how do we deal with this without letting our lows bring is down too low, to the point of inaction? Or without letting the highs get us to high, to the point of complacency?

It is important to understand that we can't let our highs be too high, and we can't let our lows be too low. With either extreme, we need to stay grounded in reality. Celebrate your victories and get excited about your accomplishments, but remember to keep your feet on the ground and keep yourself in check, or it may not be long until you tumble back down again. Remember what it took to get there, and keep on going. Don't think you can coast once you are at the top of your game. Your are either getting better or getting worse, you cannot stay the same. So make sure you are always improving yourself!

At the same time, you can't let your lows get you too low. Know what the reality is, as grim as it may be, and then take the necessary steps to make it better. Don't mope. That doesn't help anybody, and it certainly wont get you out of your situation. Figure out why you are where you are, where you want to be instead, and put together a game plan to get from A to B. Then do it!

It is also important to realize that everyone has their ups and downs; even those who are extremely successful. Just look at the likes of Donald Trump, one of the most successful and well-known Entrepreneurs. At one point he was millions upon millions of dollars in debt and facing personal bankruptcy. But he fought out of it. He had doubts. He was down. But he kept going, he did things he didn't feel like doing, and he eventually dug himself out, dusted himself off, and became the ultra-successful businessman he is today.

So whether you are currently in peak or a valley, remember it is all a journey. You will experience ups and downs. The valley will turn into a peak, and a peak into another valley. But keep your attitude and your actions in check in all these circumstances. No matter what life throws at you, you can make it through to the other side.

Your Response is What Counts

There is often the debate on what has the most effect on how a person ends up. Is it how they were brought up? Is it the events that happen in their lives? Is it the circumstances that surround them? While these factors may have some impact, the thing that has the ability to change your direction regardless of these is your reaction.

Jack Canfield, co-founder of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series and author of several best-selling books, has a formula he often teaches called E+R=O. This stands for Event + Response = Outcome. Most people tend to look at the events around them or their circumstances and - whether they realize they are doing it or not - they blame their problems, where they are at, or how they feel on these things. In reality, we need to look at ourselves. How are you responding to the things that come your way?

There are many examples of people that have gone through the same or similar circumstances, where one person may end up at the top of their game and very successful, while the other is down in the dumps. Why is this, if they both experienced the same or similar events? The answer is that the one who ended up being successful responded in a positive, proactive way instead of a negative, blaming one. It's up to you to decide how you are going to response when obstacles that life throws at you come your way. The event in itself is not what determines where you end up; it is the combination of the event and your response to it.

Why is this important? If you look at how you were brought up, or the circumstances that are around you, and use those as excuses as to why you are not achieving what you would like to be, you are giving up control to outside factors you have no influence over. You are letting others control your destiny instead of you controlling it for yourself. But if you take responsibility, if you determine that you are the one that is in control, you shift the power to yourself. Nobody can make you feel angry or said; that's how you're responding to the event. A circumstance can't make you give up or be defeated; that's your response. Change your response, and you change the outcome.

Reflect on how you are responding to the things that are in your life. Are you placing blame elsewhere instead of taking responsibility for your own responses? I encourage you to do this on a regular basis, consistently challenging yourself to change your response wherever it needs an adjustment. I promise you that once you start taking control back in those areas where you have given it up in blame, you will start to see huge positive changes in your outcomes.

Putting Your Action Where Your Mouth Is

You've heard the term "put your money where your mouth is", meaning back up what you say and don't just give out advice that you don't follow yourself, or spew an opinion that you can't or won't stand behind. However, I think there is a key word that needs to be replace in this phrase - money doesn't back up what you say; action does. Let me explain.

With all the training and endeavors I've been a part of up to this point in my life, I've seen plenty of people so called "put their money where their mouth is" by paying huge amounts of money to start a business or to go through educational courses to learn how to make money in various industries. The problem is, they think that paying the money for the education is what will solve their issues and will make them successful. This could not be further from the truth. You could pay a million dollars for education from the best educators and most prominent leaders in whatever industry you'd like to be successful in, but paying the money doesn't do anything for you. It's not paying for the training that gets you anywhere, it's the action that follows it.

So many people think that somehow paying money form something will be what gets them the results, or that it will be easy once they get into whatever program they are starting. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no educational program or business system in the world that you pay and then just sit back and watch the money roll in. Success is not easy! It is hard work and takes a dedication to learning whatever endeavor you choose. Success is a process. It will not happen overnight and will not happen without you putting in the effort (and if anyone tells you that it will, RUN FAST). If you want success, if you want to reach your goals, you are going to have to make it happen, and that means taking action, not just paying for a "magic formula". I makes me sad to see so many people thinking they can buy their way into prosperity.

Now I'm not trying to be negative, I'm just trying to be realistic. If you are going to back something up with your money, you have to be prepared to back it up with action. In reality, the action part is what really matters, and is the only part that will get you anywhere. Without action, you are stagnant, and you will always be where you are right now. To progress, to move towards your goals and dreams, you have to take action. Go out there and put your money where your mouth is, but make sure you are also putting your action where your mouth is. Without that final component, your money will just be wasted.

Trying and Failing is Better Than Not Trying at All

One of the major things that stops most people from ever moving forward on their goals and closer to their dreams is fear. One of the biggest fears is the fear of failure, of not knowing if you can actually accomplish the dreams you set out to achieve. We are afraid of what people will say or think if we don't achieve what we set out to do.

Theodore Roosevelt put it amazingly well:

"It's not the critic who counts; Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit goes to the one who is actually in the arena; Who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; Who knows the great devotions, the great enthusiasms, and spends himself in a worthy cause. Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and, at the worst, if he fails at least he fails while daring greatly; so that his place will never be among those timid and cold souls who know neither victory or defeat."

Have you faced defeat in your endeavors? If not, I would contend that you are not putting yourself out there nearly enough. Ask any successful person if they experienced defeat or setbacks along their road to success and you will get a 100% "yes" response". In fact, most successful people have experienced far more defeat than those who are not successful. Most get knocked down once or twice and give up. Successful people get knocked down over and over and over, but they keep bouncing back up and keep moving forward.

In the end, what is worse? Failing, or not trying at all? Which is going to leave you with regret? Which is going to have you wishing you would have tried harder or kept going instead of giving up? Which is going to get you to where you want to go? If you never try, or try and give up quickly, you will have regret down the road. Now I'm not saying there is never a time to let something go so you can move on to something else, but we do it far too often, and bounce from one thing to the next in search of something that will get us to our desired result. But most of the time it is not the "vehicle" that is the issue, it is the "driver" (you). Pick your vehicle that you want to use to get where you are going, and stick to it and make it happen. Don't quit. Most importantly, make sure you are at least out there trying. If you fail while trying, you can deal with it. Get up and get going and try again.

Failure is our best teacher. It won't kill you, it will only make you stronger. Even if you fail, at least you know you gave it your all (you did, right?) and you don't have to face the regret of not having tried at all. Even if it doesn't work out as you planned, it is better than looking back and not knowing what you could have done or been but will never know because you didn't try. So get out there and start failing! When you move past your failures, success is waiting for you on the other side.

“If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.”
Thomas J. Watson
Founder, chairman & president of IBM.

When the Going Gets Tough...Just Keep Going

There is no denying that along the path to success there are many obstacles, and there will be tough times along the way. If anyone ever gives you a "secret" to success that they say involves no pitfalls and no struggle or work, they are either lying to you or they have never actually tried it for themselves. There is one principle you must be aware of if you are to get past these hard times, and that is "stickability". This is the ability to "stick to it" and keep going no matter what.

I love this speech by Charles "Tremendous" Jones:

"Stickability is Tremendous"

"Stick by it, die by it, never give up. We need to burn the word "stickability" into our hearts. There is a plague sweeping the world, it is now reaching epidemic proportions. It's better known as the Quitters Disease. Everywhere I go I hear the phrase, in many different tones I QUIT - I QUIT - I QUIT. I expect to be greeted by some overwhelming, happy associate each time I return to the office with a great big -I QUIT. The problem with most people is that they don't realize what the problem is. I remember how I always wanted to quit. In fact, that's why I worked so hard to become successful so that I wouldn't have to go through that agonizing wanting to quit all the time. Then, finally, I became a success, and to my surprise, I wanted to quit anyway. I then learned that the human being hits psychological lows two or three times a year, and wants to quit for no reason at all. Of course, the real problem was in wanting to quit, because the more I would want to quit, the more I would want to quit, and the more I would want to quit, the more I was afraid I was going to quit, and I didn't want to quit, I just wanted to want to quit. Finally, one day I discovered the difference between quitting and wanting to quit. I then decided I would never quit, and now I enjoy quitting all the time, because I know I'm not going to QUIT. Sometimes someone will ask, "You mean you can't ever quit?" That's right, you can die, retire or get fired, but that's it. Of course, there are exceptions and you are going to think you're it every time you want to quit and if you sell out that easily, you'll never get to pay the first price of leadership. I think you'll agree that more is to be gained by stickability, than chasing better deals, and most of the time our attitudes at the time of our quitting is setting the stage for almost certain failure in whatever we run to."

You're ability to stick to your dreams and to keep going when times get tough and when you run into obstacles is what is going to have the largest bearing on your success. Those who keep going, who make sure they are the last ones standing, are the ones that will reap the rewards. Too many give up right when they are about to turn the corner to success, because the going has gotten too tough. Too many give up when they have put in effort but have not seen results as quickly as they would like.

Calvin Coolidge said "Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

Keep going; stick to what you start; don't quit. Persistence will win in the end. Ask yourself "how high does the hurdle have to be, how large the obstacle, before I throw in the towel and quit?" Remember your "why", and don't let anything keep you down. When you get knocked down, get up, dust yourself off, and just keep going.

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action Commercial Real Estate