Are You In The Sandbox?

Have you ever watched a kid play in the sandbox?

Some waddle in, others go full-throttle, while plenty scope out the landscape before they enter.

I’ve never seen a kid not go in when the thought of playing in one is presented to them.

Kids are not held back by self-limiting beliefs. They don’t question what could go right or wrong.

They want to play, test, taste, and then iterate.

It may not be the iteration you think of but they iterate.

They build a castle, they knock it down.

They start to dig and then stop.

They drag a rake to make a road, and then they fill it with water for a moat.

Kids instinctively have an idea in their head, baked out or otherwise, as they enter the sandbox.

Then they keep ironing it out. Over and over. attempt after attempt.

It’s not about how great their masterpiece is or isn’t. That’s not what is most important.

It’s the fact that they went into the sandbox in the first place.

Are You In The Sandbox?2021-03-19T10:41:48-04:00

F.E.E.L. Framework for Goal-Setting

If you’d like to hear the full audio version of this article on my Just Get Started Podcast click here -> The F.E.E.L Framework for Goal-setting or you can listen on any major Podcasting platform.  This episode originally aired on December 24th, 2020.

Every year-end most of us take time to sit and reflect on the prior year and make an assessment of the areas we achieved in as well as the areas we came up a bit short. No judgment, just realistic truths on where we came from in order to set ourselves up for success on where we’d like to go in the future.

Oftentimes, when assessing our goals, we either completed them too quickly, not at all, or there were too many to even focus on and put the right time into them given all of the other things that come up in life. 

As we sit down this year to put together our goals for 2021, I wanted to come up with a better system that would help us all create more structure around our goals and organize them in a more manageable way to be able to hit the target. I thought about the areas in my life where I always set goals as well as areas to improve that I hadn’t considered in the past that might be relevant to tie goals around.  

This led me to create the F.E.E.L. Framework for Goalsetting.

Here’s how it works.

There are 4 total categories; Focus, Eliminate, Experiment, Learn, and 3 items in each category. I am trying out 3, if you’d like to try 2 or try 4 or try another number then feel free. I’d be curious to hear how it works out anyway no matter the items in each category.

Let me share more on each one.

FOCUS

This category will contain our big projects for the year. What are the key items we’d like to complete that are going to help us get further ahead and bring more fulfillment to our life? Based on our lifestyle and mission, these could be anything from writing a book to starting a Podcast to creating a garden, to whatever. What are some things that we’ve wanted to accomplish this past year that got pushed down the list or is a new idea that has become important we’d like to spend more time on. Also, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a goal that gets completed next year. This could be apart of a larger project that might take many years but completing the first part gets us to the next. Remember, each of these are our goals and our goals alone. Focus on what will make us happy and lead us to a more fulfilling life and that should make choosing much simpler.

ELIMINATE

As we begin to focus on new projects and things we enjoy, it’s also time to look at areas that are creating stress or strain in our life or are distractions that are taking us away from higher priorities. As we think through bad habits, distractions, bad relationships, etc, pick three items that can have a big impact on improving our overall happiness. If we remove happiness blockers while adding items that make us happy in these other categories we will be able to walk out of next year in a better frame of mind and attitude for the future. Examples of things to eliminate like biting our nails, excessive Social Media/TV, sugary foods, negative friend, procrastination, etc. These are just a few and as we consider our own situations there will be some that pop to mind that we can honestly say removing would be such a huge stress reliever for us.

EXPERIMENT

I’m a firm believer that we should always be trying to acquire new skills that are related to a curiosity we have or tied to something that might help us achieve our goals in the future. Sometimes, these might be new hobbies we’ve wondered about and would like to experiment with. There is no right or wrong in these categories and the parameters are to help each and every one of us put together a sound list. We can certainly go, rogue, if we feel it’s in our best interest. Experimenting (or trying) new things is always exciting but it can also come with fear, anxiety, and doubt when entering a new arena we might not have ventured into. That is part of the fun of this because it’s supposed to help us get out of our comfort zone and create new opportunities and experiences in our life. Examples of this might be learning the guitar, doing Improv, learning Karate, starting a Podcast, taking up golf, etc. Notice that we put “starting a Podcast” in both the Focus and Experiment categories. This was done to show that based on each of our situations, one of us may have Starting a Podcast as a big project while someone else may want to try it out without it being tied to a larger project-oriented goal of theirs. Everyone will have different initiatives and drivers in their life. Choose what is best for you.

LEARN

Different than the Experiment category, the Learn category is geared towards topics that we are curious about, passionate about, or would like to get a better understanding of. This is not so much about acquiring a new skill but to acquire deep knowledge of a subject versus “headline reading” or doing a cursory search of a few articles. What are some areas we’ve wanted to learn about more in depth over the years that we haven’t invested the time in? Writing it down and making it an item of focus for next year might be the catalyst we need to put more effort into that learning process. Examples could be to learn about nutrition or more specifically gut health, learn about Mars, understand our political system, learn about Stoicism, etc. The topics are vast and the most important thing is what each of us is excited to spend time learning about through books, podcasts, programming, etc.

So that’s the Framework! 

  • Focus
  • Eliminate
  • Experiment
  • Learn

Organizing our goals into a more structured framework will help us create more actionable and repeatable goals that last far longer than the “new year resolution smell” that wears off weeks into the new year. 

I hope we are all able to create goals that mirror our mission in life whether focusing on big projects, eliminating the bad stuff, experimenting with new skills, or learning more insight about topics that interest us.  We need to hold ourselves accountable in setting time aside for these important items and not be afraid to adapt or change them as we see fit throughout the year. This is supposed to be a fun and motivating process so we need to make sure we keep a positive and optimistic mindset as we go through the year.

If you get stuck, remember this age-old quote; “Before you quit, remember why you started.”

Happy new year everyone!

Carpe Diem!

Brian

F.E.E.L. Framework for Goal-Setting2021-03-19T10:42:23-04:00

Benefits of a Bedtime Routine

Discovering the power behind sleep has been one of the most important findings of my life and I wanted to share a brief breakdown of some of the things I’ve learned in recent years and how they have impacted my overall daily performance.

Back a few years ago I would sometimes struggle with getting a full night’s rest. I’d either take to long to fall asleep, wake up during the night, or not get enough rest and feel horrible the next day. I uncovered that when I get a great night’s rest I normally have a ton of energy the next day but I didn’t know where the inconsistencies were coming from. Around this time I started to add meditation to my life and found that I liked doing it more in the evening before bed as that helped me wind down and relax. All of a sudden, my sleep quality improved. I was hooked on learning and discovering more.

Shortly after, I came across the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast episode with Dr. Matthew Walker who wrote the book “Why We Sleep” and is a world-renowned sleep expert. I started to implement a few of his recommendations but it was only after purchasing his book and fully grasping all of the reasons we sleep poorly that I was able to form a new bedtime routine.

I’ve kept it simple.

  1. I try to go to sleep around 10-10:30 pm every night
  2. I turn off all devices
  3. I read a book for 20-30 minutes once in bed
  4.  I meditate, sometimes, if my brain is very active that day
  5. I try to lower my body temperature by making the A/C lower or removing blankets (might even be a shower prior to reading)
  6. I shut off the lights and calm my mind

Some of the keys I’ve added to this routine like going to bed at the same time each night and trying to remove devices 30-minutes prior are paramount to gearing your body up for sleep and building consistent routines into this practice. By adding this routine into my life I feel more energized in the morning and I’ve had a lot easier time falling to sleep at night. Nothing is worse than laying in bed for an hour or two and trying to fall asleep and typically those nights happen when I am off a routine like where I might be out late, had a drink, got right into bed after doing work on the computer, etc. Being mindful of the things that prevent me from a good night’s rest has been beneficial to making the right choice most of the time and setting myself up for success with my sleep.

Again, I highly recommend Dr. Walker’s book if you are interested to learn more about sleep and sleep patterns and are trying to improve your overall health and well-being. Here’s a link to find it on Amazon: “Why We Sleep” by Dr. Matthew Walker

If you’d like to hear the full audio version on this topic I recorded a One Mic Session on my Just Get Started Podcast.  Click here to go to Apple Podcasts-> Benefits of a Bedtime Routine or you can listen on any major Podcasting platform.  This episode originally aired on October 22nd, 2020.

Benefits of a Bedtime Routine2021-03-19T10:41:49-04:00

Blogging Every Day In May

Month 5 of my Dozen Months of Discovery is finishing up today and my challenge for this month was to write one blog article a day for the entire month of May, 31 days to be exact. As I write this post, this will be my final one of the month and I thought to share a few things I’ve learned throughout the month.

There are many people who write blog posts daily and have for years, for them this achievement is fairly pedestrian. I was originally going to learn the keyboard for this month but after a conversation in April with a friend and talking about sharing more of my message online, it became clear that a challenge like this would be good for me. I haven’t been consistent sharing my voice online besides my Podcast, which is mostly geared toward guest interviews. The written word is still very important on the internet and since I hadn’t blogged consistently in the past couple of years (5-10 posts a year), I wanted to challenge myself to get into a headspace where I can articulate my ideas into text and have to think through things more slowly versus just spitting off thoughts in my head while recording an audio Podcast.

With that, here are a few things I took away from the month:

Consistency is still the most important

This word has continued to pop up every month of the Dozen Months of Discovery and is a constant message shared with guests on the Just Get Started Podcast. Doing something once or twice is nice but putting the time and energy in to continually accomplish something takes more than just momentum; it takes discipline, prioritization, and grit. Whether it is a week, month, or longer or a different interval of time (launching a Podcast episode weekly), being focused on never missing this helps build the foundation to future success. One of the most glaring differences between anyone who achieved anything is putting in the work over an extended period of time. That has to be part of the equation.

You get better by practicing

Different than consistency, simply putting time into practicing something you are not great at improves that overall skill but it might help build others as well. For instance, I am not a great writer by any stretch but making a point to write every day helped improve my sentence structure, grammar, messaging, and most importantly my creativity. My writing has improved, even if just incrementally, but my creativity and observations flying around in my head were able to be articulated in a different way by making myself have to go through this daily practice. So keep practicing areas you are weak at. You don’t need to practice all of your weaknesses but weaknesses that might be essential to your overall growth, like writing, was something important for me to focus on.

Prioritize & Strategize

I’ve discussed the importance of prioritization before and when you have a challenge like this or anything that is important at the given time you have to make sure you understand where it falls on the priority list. It doesn’t have to be #1 but if this goal, however long, is important then you need to make sure it’s a priority or it’ll fall off early on when other “cool” things pop up and you’ll lose steam. Secondly, once you’ve recognized your priorities and have them listed, you need to strategize how you are going to fit them in during the day. Some days, I wrote my blog articles first thing in the morning while others I wrote right before bed at night. There are always a lot of balls to juggle each day and if you can think through what you’d like to get accomplished and the time it might take then you can make a simple to-do list to get these things done and block out the right time to do them.

Just Finish It

Everything prior is all leading up to the big takeaway, sometimes you just have to muster up the intestinal fortitude to get through “it” and finish. Some days get away from you and you might be tired but keeping your mind focused that you must keep the streak going can be enough to push you to the finish line. Remember, we all have bad days and we all have days that feel subpar but one of the most rewarding things you can do is finish whatever you had planned even when your tank is on “E”. That energy can propel you for multiple days going forward and be just the thing to pull out of your memory bank the next time you come across a tough timeline or situation and remind yourself that you’ve been here before and you’ve finished the race.

I look back at the past 31 days and it’s cool to see the great content I’ve put together, especially an 8-part series on a sales topic I had thought about writing for a year. Using this month as a motivator, I was able to complete those articles and will now be putting those together along with other content for a new Sales eBook in the coming months.  These 31 blog posts may do nothing besides additional content sitting on my website but I take away the fact that I completed another challenge (5 out of 5!) in my Dozen Months of Discovery and can use those experiences for future personal and professional goals I have going forward. Sometimes putting a timeline and line in the sand can be helpful and if you struggle to achieve certain goals you’ve had in the past then maybe this is the time to put that time constraint around it.

Every opportunity is a chance to learn and grow and I hope you’ve continued to do that for yourself this year and will set a new bar for yourself next time with the aspirations of exceeding your expectations once again.

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

……..

If you’d like to listen to the One Mic Session on this topic check out the Podcast link here -> Apple Podcasts Audio Link

Blogging Every Day In May2021-03-19T10:42:23-04:00

Don’t Skip The Trail

I had a chance to get back out to Umstead Park today with my son to go for a nice trail walk and enjoy some of the beauty nature has to offer. As we were about halfway through the walk he started to ask the age-old question, “Are we there yet”, which prompted me to share some insight about life which I’ll share here.

The trail is a metaphor for life and the only thing certain is there is a beginning and there is an end.

We all start out the same way, through birth, although everyone’s trail looks different. 

My perspective on the trail and the difficulty in certain spots is based on my experiences in life up to this point. I might be able to easily navigate certain terrain more easily because I have come upon similar things before and can use those memories to help me get through.  There will inevitably be spots though where I need to pause and consider a plan of how to get to the next step; which rock should I step on to propel me forward, should I jump or take a long step, is there any spot that looks slick. All of these types of things come at us at different speeds and at different times, too. You have to be ready to seize all of the opportunities when they are presented to you and make the correct calculation and best decision with the information you have to go in the right direction. 

My son has a different perspective. For starters, he is much shorter than me so his view on the world is already different. Everything looks bigger and scarier and his footing is a little unsteady because of the surface area of the roots and rocks. It’s not harder, it’s just different. But he also doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. The things that I am looking out for, right or wrong, may not be things that he even considers and that can work in his favor, too. There is also a lot more fear of the unknown because he hasn’t seen as many paths as I have and hasn’t climbed as many hills so his mind isn’t callused as much as mine is.  That will come in time and he’ll have to endure these when they come upon him.

That’s why support systems and having people you trust are so important to get through life. We all need mentors and guides at various times and those lessons taught (like Yoda on Luke’s back during Jedi training) will come in handy as we are on our own and have to make decisions in real-time. You can walk the trail of life alone and maybe do just fine but it gets lonely and dark and depressing that way. Finding purpose is a lot harder.

You won’t always know if this path will lead to the right spot but if you continue to evaluate the terrain coming ahead you can try to get back on course if you happen to veer. So this hits another parallel, what happens when you get way off course?

We all get deep into situations we shouldn’t have whether it is a poor career choice, poor health, or a poor financial situation like when I was in $18,000 of credit card debt. That sucked. I couldn’t believe I got myself in that big hole on top of the car payment and student loans that needed to be paid off. Not to mention the other bills that had to be paid each month.

But I had a choice.

I could continue to go down that path even though I had a feeling of where that was going to lead me; more stress, more anxiety, more frustration, less happiness, or I could alter course and use my judgment and newfound experiences to lead me in a better direction.

It wasn’t going to be easy and it wasn’t going to be quick but for me to get back on level ground I had to keep chopping away in small increments. I had to choose that new path every day. In order to tackle newer challenges that were important to me then I had to make the sacrifices in the short term to help me out in the long run. Eight years later, I was completely debt-free, over 50k paid off, and I felt back on track to conquer new adventures.

And so that’s the moral here, as I told my son, the trail is the fun part and not the destination. Oh, you’ll certainly get somewhere someday but what stories are you going to be able to tell when you get there and what level of pride will you have that you navigated tough terrain and not only achieved your goals but worn the path just a little bit more to help people that are coming behind you.

That’s what I wanted him to learn and I hope it’s a great lesson for you reading this today.

  • Enjoy the peaks and valleys because they are inevitable.
  • Stop and smell the roses and don’t be in such a hurry to get somewhere.
  • Help others by being a guide and marking the trail with your experiences.
  • Don’t let fear guide you on your path but the belief in yourself that ultimately you know the direction if you just trust your own judgment.

Good luck as you navigate your own trail and hope to run into you at some point on the journey!

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

Don’t Skip The Trail2021-03-19T10:42:24-04:00

Stymie The Stress

Life

We all deal with stress in our own way and I’ve found that most of the “dealing” is rooted in childhood behaviors and situations that are not going away any time soon. There is hope though that you can change those behaviors and become a person who can deal with stress much better or whatever challenges you’d like to overcome.

I got to thinking about this with a work situation today when I was trying to get some information to a potential client and was waiting on others to finish their side of it before I could send it over. 

In the past, I’d get anxious and be stressed out if things were taking a bit too long. I’d be checking emails or refreshing salesforce or whatever to help me cope and feel like I was at least checking and would be ready to pounce when needed. This was rooted in a lot of childhood issues I dealt with around wanting to make everything perfect because I was always fearful of being judged and not being good enough. I was always someone to go above and beyond in many situations especially when it was with people I didn’t know because of this need to make a good impression. Not a bad thing, I guess, but I’d get stressed and worry a lot. As I got older, this worry continued to transpire into my work and always having that fear of judgment in the back of my mind I’d bend over backward to get things done so quickly.

I still like to try and get things done quickly, that’s just how my personality is and I have a hard time sitting around when things aren’t complete. However, I recognized that it didn’t make any difference for (insert a given task) to be done 2 days earlier, for example, and therefore I became much better at prioritizing and staying patient.

What I have come to understand is that I need to prioritize very quickly the tasks coming across my desk and make lists / time stamps on when these need to be accomplished. If urgent, then let’s get it done but if not then don’t fret so much if it’s sitting there to do in a couple of days. This is where the patience comes in. One of my best traits I’ve learned as an adult and it transfers to many areas especially when dealing with stress and getting things done. It wasn’t always this way but as I prioritize things more clearly I don’t let my mind get cluttered anymore with focusing on it and I move on to the next important item.

The big step to make all of this possible was to address those feelings as a kid that I had to please others and look good in their eyes or I wouldn’t be worthy enough. Although I am continually working on this, I’ve all but conquered that tall mountain. My self-confidence is at a high level and I’ve come to grips that I’m not perfect and will never be. I’ve realized that if I am true to myself and the others around me that’s all that matters and I can hold my head high that I am living the life I want. Trust me, this took many years to work through and it’s a continuing process.

Here are the steps I’d go through and still do:

  • Sitting in thought and reflecting on my past
  • Have the self-awareness to recognize where I need to improve
  • Have the courage to make changes, slowly if necessary, to move in a better direction
  • Keep checking back in with myself and repeating this process to build a more solid foundation

There is no “easy” button, that’s for sure, but dealing with stress and anxiety and worry has been a big issue in the early part of my life and I made a commitment to change this, among other things. It took time and patience but I had a vision for where I wanted to go and trusted the process of getting better every day.

One last thought, I’d encourage a read of the book “Awareness” by Anthony De Mello as a starting point as it was a welcomed addition at the right time and helped a lot in these areas above.

I hope my story helps you in whatever areas you are trying to improve and please reach out if I can be a resource at all.

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

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Stymie The Stress2021-03-19T10:42:24-04:00

Can Your Motivation Be Forced?

Life

You can read a lot of articles and listen to many videos touting that motivation only lasts for a period of time and you have to develop the right habits to sustain consistency long term through an obsession to continue to put in the hard work. I don’t disagree at all. However, sometimes and maybe most of the time you need to be motivated to begin, and by doing that it leads to the next step. Don’t discount motivation because that burst of energy to get started down a path is extremely important to not only those beginning days but as you keep the consistency up long term.

As I sat back and thought about this more it occurred to me that some of the times when I’ve been the most motivated I was being “forced” into it. Either a challenge, deadline or similar made me have to just get started even when I might not be fully motivated to do so.

One time, in particular, came to mind and it was Senior year of High School. In one of the most favorite classes for all seniors who took it, Public Speaking was a course about getting outside your comfort zone and being able to speak up and at an audience of your peers. It was fun but very daunting especially for a lot of us introverts. Larry Hynes was our teacher and he was widely regarded as one of the best teachers in the school and knew how to keep the kids engaged throughout the semester.  He knew about using a motivation to make the kids learn.

Enter Invictus.

You all have probably heard the poem or parts of it at some point in your life.

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me, 

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years 

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll, 

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

Well, Mr. Hynes used this poem as both an exercise in memorization and recalling that information when you were caught off guard and at your most vulnerable.  The kids didn’t take the task lightly either as this was a good chunk of your final grade to pass the class.

After handing out the assignment during the semester, Mr. Hynes would then catch the students in the weeks to follow and make them, right there, on the spot, recite the poem. He caught kids in football practice, on the bus, in the cafeteria.

He caught me in a Social Studies class. I remember being one of the last handful on his list he hadn’t gotten and the days prior I was nervous as all get out. But it made me motivated to practice as I did not want to mess up in front of whatever group I happened to be caught with.  I remember getting up and standing on my desk like a scene from Dead Poet’s Society and belting out Invictus confidently and articulately. At least that is what I told myself afterward as the embarrassment of the moment started to wear off.  Nonetheless, I memorized it and passed his test that day. 

But here’s something really funny, the lesson lasted a lot longer than I thought it would. Years after I’d randomly be thinking about that poem or the moment and was able to recite it without hesitation. 20 years later and it’s still ingrained in my soul.

Go ahead, ask me next time you see me. I’m confident I’ll ace the test again.

So that’s my point through this whole trip down memory lane. We all want to think that motivation has to come from within, and in a way, I guess it does when we are put to the test. However, that motivation sometimes comes from others around us and that’s okay too. You may not be remembering a poem years later but using the motivation to your advantage and seizing the opportunity can give you more confidence in your abilities short term and spark the path to new abilities, lessons, and experiences that help you continue your track of personal growth.

At the end of the day, remember, “You are the Master of Your Fate and The Captain of Your Soul”.

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

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Can Your Motivation Be Forced?2021-03-19T10:42:24-04:00

Be Weary Of Advice Givers

Life

We all are looking, at times, for a second opinion to confirm the decision we are making is the correct one. It’s hard to go with intuition exclusively on every decision and we’ve been told our entire lives to look for mentors and individuals that can help guide us to the next phase of our growth.

Mentors are vital. But there is a problem.

“Advice givers” are everywhere.

You must make sure you are seeking out the right ones.

I have started to think about this more recently because I’ve been getting out to the golf course with my son and having the opportunity to become a coach once again. I was a PGA Teaching Professional for many years and worked with golfers of all ages and skill levels. I had a certain style to me that was unique and I related to my students and was able to help them get better, not just physically but mentally. Although I left the golf industry all together several years ago, the coach in me and my knowledge of the game didn’t.

Maybe that is why it pains me when I overhear someone on the range driving giving advice to another person. I can tell very quickly by watching one swing whether they are a good enough player to even understand proper swing mechanics or sequence one needs in the golf swing. Also, the verbiage and amount of information is another tale altogether. Generally, the player they are “instructing” gets frustrated and is most likely going to have that poor thought in their head for a while leading to more harm than good. 

This happens a lot in all areas of life, and we’ve all been there. We all want to seek out advice but figuring out on your own is far better than being led down the wrong path when the path is very unclear. When it comes to more difficult decisions you certainly need to have your intuition be a guide, but it’s also vital to have people that you trust and that have been down that road before share their insights to help you navigate a decision more clearly. And that is why mentorship is so important. Having a couple of mentors or coaches to lean on for critical advice can save a ton of time and money and get you in the right headspace.

That is why it’s important to choose advice wisely. But how do you do that? 

I’ll share a couple of questions I like to ask myself prior to getting a mentor or seeking advice from someone I know.

  1. Does the person giving the advice have the domain knowledge to be giving this advice? 
  2. In the time I have known them, have they been consistent in their approach and actions?
  3. Are they available to be able to mentor me?
  4. Do I trust them without any doubt?
  5. Will they provide me honest constructive feedback or sugar-coat to avoid hurting feelings (look at #2 to help)
  6. Do I walk away from conversations with them feeling confident and energized or confused and unsure?

These are some of the things I like to consider in the process.

As I said, I believe most of the decisions we make on a daily basis need no advice from anyone. We don’t have to post a question on Facebook or text, 10 friends, because the reality is that we are going to be biased and go with the decision in line with our thinking anyways. We’re human, It’s our nature.

But mentors should be pushing us to think differently and expose our “weak-minded” thoughts that plague us in decision making in order to help us grow stronger.

I believe everyone needs at least one mentor in their life at all times, sometimes more than one. I have a couple of people right now that are mentors to me and they been tremendous in their guidance. I’ve gotten lucky I guess but I’ve also used the questions above to vet them well prior to letting them into that deep relationship with me.

If you need any more guidance on this please reach out, but there are probably a few people you can already see as possible mentors in your life. Make sure they pass your sniff test, and after you’ve done a full vetting, remember to not overthink it and go with your gut if you feel they’d be a great person to lean on.

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

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Be Weary Of Advice Givers2021-03-19T10:42:25-04:00

Eliminate The Obstacles

Life

As I continue to go through this reflection period and have dipped into the memory bank of my earlier days it never dawned on me how many obstacles were in my way to grow as a person. Some of them I conquered, others it took many years to overcome, and others were sheer luck when they were removed for me, hence is the case with my older brother.

As a middle child, it was a brutal upbringing. Never feeling adequate enough as the 2nd son but certainly not new or different enough as the younger daughter. I felt stuck. I didn’t have many friends outside of school and hung out with a lot of my brothers’ friends. It’s funny now, really, but back then I looked up to him as an older brother and wanted to do the things he did. That’s pretty natural in most families and definitely wasn’t different in mine. Being only 17 months apart, we were close enough in age to play a lot of sports together and enjoy some of the same things. But we were so different it wasn’t even close. We thought similarly as we do to this day, but our actions were different which makes sense with his position as the first child and my place as the 2nd fiddle.

It was like that all the way through school. He was the cool, obnoxious, funny kid and I was, well, Nick’s brother. I played the role well and hid my feelings which most kids do and went on with it. What else was there to do.

But then my chance came to break out of the funk. A glimmer of hope to break free from the shackles of that existence. My big brother left for college.

So here I was, atop the mountain I so desperately was looking for. Finally, I took advantage. From afar you might not have noticed, but I knew there was a change. I was more outgoing, more sure of myself, and more the life of the party. See I too had quite a sense of humor, self-deprecating at times, and since I had forged my way as the “everyman”, I fit into many groups. I could hang with the athletes, spark conversations with the smart kids, and didn’t have a hard time talking to the girls (well unless it meant asking them out!). Still, some work needed to be done there.

What I noticed looking back is that I had built the tools in place to “win over” the crowds and be very likable and fit in almost anywhere.  

  • I had learned emotional intelligence from being the quiet one and observing my surroundings.
  • I built my confidence slowly from working hard on my golf game and earning my own money through various jobs.
  • I learned empathy and compassion from hanging around with my grandparents
  • I learned to listen from watching a lot of interview TV from Regis and Kathie Lee, David Letterman, and Oprah.

It was only when the main obstacle was moved to the side that all of these things, that I didn’t really realize back then were strengths, came to life, and allowed me to open up as a person and spread my wings.

I think this can be a lesson for anyone out there struggling to find their own way. You may have what you need already to push forward and succeed but maybe there is that one obstacle standing in your way. Maybe it is the wrong job, wrong city, wrong group of friends, or something completely different. I got lucky that my big brother went to college, but you may have to pull back the layers a bit more to find what is holding you back.

Look at all the clues and whiteboard it if you have to but more times than not the most logical answer is probably the right one. The right answer may not be the one you want it to be but at least you have identified the problem and can take action to overcome it.

Once you get that boulder out of the way I’m confident that you too will be able to spread your wings and fly.

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

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Eliminate The Obstacles2021-03-19T10:42:25-04:00

Next Gen and Chill

Life

I was sitting on a weekly “Community Coffee” Zoom call that the Next Gen group puts together weekly led by Rachel Gross, the Next Gen Director of Community. It’s an open forum for members to show up and have a collective discussion about almost anything. As we were having a debate around what people are doing to grow themselves, both personally and professionally, it reminded me of just how powerful a community Next Gen is. Here I was, around a mix of people of all different backgrounds, ages, and experiences but with the same common vision in mind – to surround themselves with a support system of like-minded people that are enthusiastic and inspired to change the world for the better.

I’ve been fortunate in many areas of my life for the opportunities that have come my way both as lessons learned from tough times or luck that just happened to work out in my favor.

One of those “luck” moments was the serendipitous introduction to Justin Lafazan, Co-Founder of Next Gen, to be a guest on my Just Get Started Podcast. Thanks, Bryan Wish for the intro!

Fast-Forward 18-months and the connections and life-long friends I have made from that single encounter could not be put accurately into words or probably an equivalent dollar amount.

I was able to attend their Next Gen Summit event in June of 2019, their signature event for their group of entrepreneur members, which totals in the thousands.

I’ve met countless Podcast guests through there, mentors, friends, and even have had the chance to provide guidance to members in need.

One member, in particular, Rich Keller has focused my mind on understanding who I am and the mission I have in life and has helped me discover my One Word, Navigator, which has been a key to defining that purpose.

Other members, Sean Casey and Nick Costelloe, Founders of Universal Dialect, have become fast friends and always have a couch for me to crash on when I visit NYC.

And Chau Mui, Founder of Ciaooo! Magazine has become a great friend where we can be a sounding board for one another with advice while always having the best intentions for the other in mind.

I have dozens of these examples from being a part of this group.

Throughout our lives, we come into new groups and leave old ones. We spend a little time with some and a whole bunch of time with others. We all have reasons for joining certain groups or being attracted to certain situations.

Mine was a community.

I haven’t had many great support systems in my life. Growing up as a middle child and having low self-esteem, I had a hard time fitting into a lot of groups and didn’t have a ton of friends growing up. As I got older and started to find my voice I found the best group of friends anyone could ever ask for. Guys that are still my friends 20 years later. But, as I started to venture into the entrepreneurial waters and tap into my mission in life, I was looking for a new support system, one that looked a lot different than any group I’d ever been a part of before. The Next Gen group appeared to be that fit I was looking for, even as an older Millenial like myself.

My expectations have been exceeded.

From their member-driven Facebook group, to live interviews with well-known Founders, to being one email or message away from making a warm connection to anyone, these folks have the goods.

Full Disclosure, this post was originally slated to be about great support systems, and maybe there was a flavor of that, but it’s also turned into a Next Gen Pep Rally of sorts, which I’d be leading the marching band in. The momentum behind this group, led by Founders Justin Lafazan and Dylan Gambardella, is unreal and I’m so thrilled to be a part of the next phase of Next Gen as we come out of these unprecedented times and into a “new start” filled with optimism, innovation, and gratitude; all key characteristics of the Next Gen group.

I’d encourage anyone looking for a new support system in their lives, has the drive to do great things, and has the “go-giver” mentality, to look towards Next Gen as a place for you.

Go check out their website here: https://nextgenhq.com/

Hope to see you at the next Community Coffee!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

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Next Gen and Chill2021-03-19T10:42:25-04:00

Find The “Chip On Your Shoulder” 

Life

I believe anyone that ever wants to accomplish great things has a “chip on their shoulder”. I don’t see how you can’t in such a competitive world we live in. We all get slighted or past over from time to time and that should motivate anyone I would think. It definitely motivates me.

I was thinking about this recently while watching the wonderful docuseries on ESPN called “The Last Dance” chronicling the Chicago Bulls Dynasty with a focus on Michael Jordan and their 6th and final championship in that historic run.

There are many instances where we see Michael Jordan use his surroundings to fuel him when needed whether a news story, a player from the other team or his own team. He found ways to keep motivating himself to push forward. I believe in a way we all do this and we may not readily admit it but I think it can be extremely beneficial to our future growth. As long as it not used in any malicious or hurtful way, I think having it inside us to pull out when needed is vital.

I was thinking about this personally as it relates to growing my Podcast or personal brand. Very few people know who I am and what my mission is in life and fewer than that actually care.  That’s fine with me now but there was a time when I was insecure and needed the attention.

That dates back to my childhood and many of the struggles I went through in my family life and upbringing with the feeling I was never good enough or could never feel included in almost anything. That took a long time to overcome (still working on it in some ways!) and it was important for me to get attention, any attention, in order to feel I had self-worth.

And that’s where I’ve used the “chip on the shoulder” mentality to help me. I use that fuel from all of the years of being slighted, or laughed at, or not thought of as worthy of anything. It drives me to want to produce a better Podcast, or write better books, or continue to share my story. 

I’m not sure what your past was like or the moments in time you felt less of a person or were treated as such but don’t let those moments die off into a distant memory. Although sometimes difficult, with the right mindset you can use those moments to refuel yourself and keep adding logs to the fire when you find your motivation wavering. I have certain memories cornered away in my mind to use when needed and it’s made a big difference. There was a lot of pain I had to overcome from earlier in life and proving myself over and over again is just something that drives me. 

We are often told to let go of the past and move on but unless you grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth and never had problems then I think those painful lessons you experienced should go to good use and become the “chip on the shoulder” material that you can use to reshape your mind and grow to new heights.

I’m not sure what you want to do in life but just know you can do great things, you truly can, with the right mindset and perspective on the world. Keep driving toward your mission and the impact you want to have on this world and I hope you continue to stay obsessed with changing the world in a more positive way.

Thanks for reading,

Brian

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Find The “Chip On Your Shoulder” 2021-03-19T10:42:25-04:00

How Valuable Is Your Time?

Life

One of the things I’ve pondered recently is how much my time is worth considering the many competing priorities in my life and it always seems to be a balancing act of epic proportions to get everything done I need to get done. However, there are a lot of these items that I either don’t enjoy doing or feel they are repetitive and administrative and it’d be more beneficial to get help to complete them.

As I thought more about this it reminded me of several years ago when I decided to use a lawn care service to cut my yard, trim my hedges, fertilize, etc. I enjoyed doing it every now and then as it was my time to think but as my son was growing older I wanted to spend that 1 ½ hour normally set aside for yard work and spend it with him. So, that’s what prompted me to bring on German and let him do my landscaping.

I am using a similar thought process nowadays in regards to leveraging Virtual Assistants for many of these administrative tasks. I’ve found through sites like Freeeup.com and others like it there are many people looking for work and are offering their services for a fair price. In the past, I wanted to do everything myself as I thought I was “saving” myself money by not freelancing this workout. 

But now I’ve taken a different perspective on the situation and look at the value of my time as it pertains to my work and when the delta between these numbers is in my favor I will often side with the help to get tasks completed.

Here is what I am speaking about.  Let’s use a very simple example and this may be eye-opening if you’ve never done this exercise.

Let’s say, hypothetically, you make $100,000 a year working an average of 40 hours per week. And assuming you take a couple of weeks of vacation, let’s use 2 for easy math, that means you work 50 weeks for the year.

So, 40 hrs/wk x 50 weeks = 2,000 hours of work per year and divided by $100,000 = $50 / hour

That means your time can be equated to being worth $50 an hour. 

So, as an example, you need to get email lists together for a marketing campaign you are doing.  If that would take you 2 hours to complete (or $100 of your time) then you may be better off using a Virtual Assistant at $7-$10 per hour to complete the work while you spend your time using those 2 hours wisely to potentially increase your hourly rate, attract new business, or work on other projects that are important.

Virtual Assistants have become very common nowadays but it’s still something newer I am trying and many people have never even considered it. It’s definitely different handing over control of projects to people you’ve never or barely met but if you look at it as a professional situation and treat it as such you might be surprised at how it turns out.

My advice: 

Find a small project to start with that might take an hour or two and try this out. 

Make sure you give direct and clear details to your VA and I’d put everything in email and have it agreed upon prior to beginning the project.

You might find it works out well for you and frees up all sorts of time that can be valuable both personally and professionally.

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How Valuable Is Your Time?2021-03-19T10:41:51-04:00

Why Everyone Should Start A Podcast Tomorrow

Life

Like it or not, Audio has been on a rise over the past several years and podcasts have taken a place near the top of content consumption. It’s no wonder companies like Spotify and iHeartRadio have made significant financial investments in podcasts and will continue to do so in the coming years.

So that begs the question you should be asking yourself, should I start a podcast?

The answer is almost certainly a yes and here’s why.

It’s How People Learn And Will Continue To Learn

With the growing distractions and short attention spans, people don’t always have time to read a new book and some don’t absorb the information as well as other mediums. In the past, you could basically listen to others teach something but you had to be in that physical location which made it expensive and time-consuming. With the invention of video, that added a new interactive layer to learning because you could now sit in the comfort of your home or office and get the same “in-person” learning without having to leave your chair.  However, there lies one problem, you must be viewing the screen most of the time especially if there are visuals like a presentation included. Since most people have access to a phone, watch, echo, or other devices besides the TV, they can now use that to multi-task and learn or get entertainment while doing other activities like yoga, washing dishes, running, etc.  The younger generations are always looking at ways to hack life and the access to podcasts has made it a clear path to do just that.

It Allows You To Stay Relevant

Let’s face it if you want to grow your own personal brand or business you have to continue to put out content and make it relevant to the audiences you are serving.  Since audio content is certainly a part of the future it only makes sense to start making your mark now. I look back to 2017 when I started my Just Get Started Podcast and would have never imagined the doors and relationships the podcast has opened for me.  Like anything, it takes time and consistency to build good content and the only way you stay relevant is to keep up with the times and speak about the things that matter today. With the world moving so quickly, content from a year ago may even be outdated in some regards. Furthermore, you can repurpose content in multiple ways to broaden the reach as people learn in all different ways. For instance, I can take this written article and turn it into a podcast episode and if I record with both audio and video I can now add this to YouTube or other social sites as video content as well. So, one piece of content can easily become three and many more if you break it down into mico-content.

There is No Better Time

The old cliche, “There is no better time than the present”, rings true in this situation. You obviously haven’t started a podcast yet, I’m assuming, but if you did then congrats and keep it going! If you haven’t, then consider all that could come from putting this content out there like gaining reach from other industry publications, reaching new prospects or clients, establishing yourself as an industry expert, networking with people who are where you want to be, and the list goes on for miles. I often hear people complain when they see others gaining notoriety or attention for their work and it’s followed up a lot by “They got lucky”. This is total BS as we all know. They received notoriety because they’ve proven in one way or another that they have a deep knowledge of a particular industry or domain and generally that comes from many years of experience in that field. Podcasting isn’t any different. Not only can you be seen as that expert by putting out great content you may be able to learn vastly more if you interview other like-minded people in that field on the show. Think of the immense learning you will have just asking them the questions you want to know. However, you don’t get here overnight. Imagine if you started a podcast a year ago and published one episode a week. You’d have 52 episodes to your credit and hours upon hours of thoughtful and relevant content. So, imagine you wait a year before you start after reading this and think about all you might miss out on.

I could go for hours talking about this and I’ll continue to share the learnings from my podcast journey in hopes that it helps you accomplish more on yours.

In the meantime, a good starting point is this eBook I wrote called The Bootstrappers Guide To Podcasting: How To Overcome The Fear and Just Get Started. It’ll give some real-world ideas of what to do to get off the ground quickly. Remember, this is what I chose to do but you may go a different path. There are so many resources (and podcasts) online talking about how to start podcasts so try to google some ideas as well.

Don’t hamstring yourself by overthinking as you can continue to tweak and refine it as you go along. So, read the eBook today and start to gather your thoughts but by tomorrow you should be energized and ready to start on this new adventure called podcasting!

If you had any questions I am happy to try and help and please send a message to me through my website.

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

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Why Everyone Should Start A Podcast Tomorrow2021-03-19T10:43:07-04:00

The Toolbox of Knowledge

Life

Over the past several years I’ve immersed myself into a deep state of learning more than I ever had before in my life. I’ve been trying to figure out, how do I get better and better each and every day? And not just “better” because that can be anything, but how do I acquire more knowledge, how do I do research on topics that are important to me, how do I push myself past that comfort zone that I lived a lot of my life in and ultimately improve at a very high rate of return.

Let me take a quick step back and kind of give some context behind it. In my teens and in my 20s there were periods where I had a really good work ethic like having a paper route when I was 11 years old and doing that for six years. I would wake up every single day between 5-6 AM, and I’m from upstate New York, so maybe a foot of snow sometimes. That taught me a lot of work ethic. And I remember even practicing golf, which was very important in my life, for hours on end in high school and college. I actually worked for the Registrar, which is the department in college that handles all classes and records and those types of things. I actually was able to schedule all of my classes when I wanted before anyone else and so I scheduled them literally the first couple classes in the morning every day so I’d be done before lunch. That allowed me to basically hit golf balls for three, four, or five hours and play golf every afternoon. I would just pound golf balls. That taught me work ethic.

The work ethic was there in periods. But I also noticed that sometimes I would have some lapses in that, whether it was in my job, maybe not go full effort, or from a fitness standpoint, I’d have ups and downs. I look back at those moments and I realized I left a lot on the table. There was a lot of stuff that I could have done differently or better or improved upon. Maybe I would be further ahead now than if I didn’t do that but I also am a “glass half full” guy and realize that it happened and I can now learn from it for the future and maybe help other people that haven’t been through that yet and give some guidance and insight into something that I stumbled with that could be important.

One of the lessons I uncovered I call the Toolbox of Knowledge. If you think about it, we acquire various knowledge through our own experiences all the time whether it’s through school, a job, relationships, etc. These situations are exactly where my metaphoric “toolbox” comes in handy.

As an example, imagine hiring someone because something’s wrong in your house. They say they can fix and promptly come over but there’s only one problem, they only arrive with one tool in hand.  Now, they could certainly get that job done, potentially. But if they don’t really know what the problem is, or didn’t expect it to exactly as they found it, one tool may not be enough and therefore they can’t possibly handle the task or it might end up being extremely challenging and corners might be cut.

Now imagine that same person showing up and having one or two or three big toolboxes, all different tools, all sizes, and different materials to help out in whatever challenge they approached. I’d bet money they can get the job done.

That’s how I want everyone to think about their life. Since we can’t change the past, let’s not focus on it. What’s happened has happened. So, I really want everyone to focus on going forward. Whether it’s your day job you have, whether it’s some side hustle, it could be something with your family, it could be your fitness and nutrition.

What are you going to do to fill up that next toolbox or the next one after that?

Think about your job today. Are you maximizing every once of the opportunity to learn? If you’re in sales, for instance, do you seek out advice from the top reps in the company to learn, have you sat with other managers to gain perspective on how they run their teams or are you talking with customer success teams to learn more about the customer’s needs.  These are small examples but they are the kind of things that can be done to help you gain additional knowledge and leverage that experience for your future.

The real question when you look in your “accountability mirror” is are you maximizing your opportunities to learn information that could be very useful for you many years down the road.

I take it from a fitness standpoint, right? You can certainly putter around each day; maybe you go for a walk. But maybe you don’t eat well, right? Maybe you’ve put on some weight; maybe your fitness is not there.

Are you acquiring the proper knowledge to help you get healthier and improve? Are you doing research to figure out if there is a better way that’s going to improve my longevity, my sleep, or my energy? Or are you just using the information you’ve gathered from the past and assuming it’s still correct?

That’s really what I want to challenge everyone that’s reading this to think about. What could your “toolbox” be next week, next month, or next year? Could you just fill it up a little bit more or could you fill up three toolboxes full?

When you’re carrying it into that next job, or that new gym you signed up, or maybe a new relationship you have to ask yourself what you are bringing to the table starting out and how are you going to grow to be a better person going forward. How are you going to try and taste new things and new experiences to build up that toolbox.

Try one thing next week. That’s it, one thing, and see what happens.  Reach out to a co-worker in a different department that works with your department from time to time. Ask them questions to learn about their day-to-day and be curious to know what things they know that could be valuable for your role, and vice versa.  If you feel you’ve gained weight, go search online for an hour about healthy foods and ways to structure your eating such as Intermittent Fasting. There are so many simple ways to gain more knowledge and learn from new experiences.

The hard part is to slip out of the warm comfortable bath and into an uncomfortable cold shower. However, I’ve learned if you do it in small doses you start to form the proper habits and harden your mind to do these things more often.

I want everyone to have that mindset. It’s a glass half full mindset, you’ve got to be positive in order to have the courage to shed the insecurities and seek out unknown places and conversations because those are the situations that make you a better human being both inside and out and allow you to carry that toolbox around and tackle any job in your path.

If you’d like to hear the full audio version of this article on my Just Get Started Podcast click here to go to Apple Podcasts-> The Toolbox of Knowledge One Mic Session or you can listen on any major Podcasting platform.  This episode originally aired on September 12th, 2019.

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The Toolbox of Knowledge2021-03-19T10:42:26-04:00

Overcome Your Pain Wall

Life

Has anyone else ever had a needle stuck in their eye?

Weird question, I know. But there’s a point, I promise.

I had a corneal transplant when I was 21 years old that went very well and I was healing fine until one morning 6-weeks later I woke up and had a hard time seeing out of that eye. I went to class and still had trouble. I immediately called my surgeon and went into his office. Apparently, I rubbed my eye too hard during the night and 30% of the stitches in the healing cornea came out. I needed surgery again.

Being a bit stubborn, I didn’t want to wait for a day or two to get into surgery and asked if it was possible to get it done now, in his office. I wish I hadn’t asked.

It turns out it was possible. I was given a couple of Advil and told to lie down on a table in one of his office rooms. What ensued turned out to be the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life. 

I was awake, barely, if at all, sedated from the Advil, and watching my surgeon stitch my cornea back to my eye. Yes, you read that right. I literally could feel the sharp pain of needles in my eye and realizing I cannot move an inch or something really bad could happen.

As an aside, I give tremendous credit to the surgeon. How someone could have that steady of hands I’ll never understand. But I digress…

I reminded myself of this today on a run where I set a goal of 4-miles while wearing my 20-LB Weighted Vest.  First, I hate running. Second, I never have run more than 2 consecutive miles wearing the vest.  

So why does this all matter?

It matters because as I was hitting the 2-mile mark I could feel the fatigue in my legs set in (I had just done 200 Air Squats with the vest the prior day) so that was starting to take a toll on me and my feet were starting to cramp a bit.  I had every right to stop and pat myself on the back and feel good that I accomplished a PR by surpassing the 2-miles.

But then I remembered the eye surgery and I remembered the pain tolerance I had built up through that whole event. Oh, I forgot to finish the story. After he completed it and it went well, I had to go back 5 hours later at midnight to his office because my eye pressure had risen to a level I can’t explain. I couldn’t even think straight and was puking, that’s how bad it got. If anyone has ever dealt with immense eye pressure you know what I am talking about. 

I remembered I had relished taking pain and not having it bother me and using that as a badge of honor to push me through things.

This run was no different. I had to go deep down to help get me over that “pain wall” that I had put up in my head. The one that says it’s too painful, too rough, too hard to keep going. I had to find a way to overcome it and fight it.

My solution is creating a distraction. I distract my mind and divert the attention away from the pain to something else for just a minute until it passes. And then I thought about writing this article and how much the story would suck if I didn’t finish the 4-miles. See, I think the internal motivators are needed as well and I used them strategically when I need that kick of energy.

We all have a “pain wall”. Everyone is different and nobody can compare theirs to someone elses.

Do you break down that wall or stop at it every time you approach it?

Nobody can answer that but you and the only encouragement I can give is that deep down there is so much more pain tolerance we all have and just need to give ourselves that excuse or permission to pull it out. Use whatever method you like or try mine from above but I hope next time you encounter your wall you’ll be able to break right through it and form a new vision in your mind of what pain you can manage and overcome.

Overcome Your Pain Wall2021-03-19T10:42:27-04:00

Keep Chipping Away

Life

I had a serendipitous conversation today that activated something in my brain which reflected on my time in high school woodworking. Yes, I took woodshop in high school and loved it.

I certainly wasn’t the best at measuring and cutting but I created some cool things. A Poker table with a beautiful Formica top. A breakfast chair that I believe my Dad still has in his house. I also made a Chalace with the lathe machine (it’s a machine where you secure a piece of wood and it spins very fast and you can chip away or sand down the object).  I still have that Chalace somewhere, too.

And that’s what got me thinking about this call today.

I want to have all the answers to the puzzle from day one. I want to know the direction and the destination. I like having the “knowns” of the situation. It helps me. 

But it’s not realistic.

Everyone reading this now is doing something very different today then they were doing 10-years ago. A different city, a different family situation, a different career/title, etc. We don’t have the playbook.

Life is like a game of backyard football, we mostly just improvise on the fly.

So that what got me thinking about my Chalace and the lathe machine back in high school woodshop. I had an idea of what I wanted but as I started to widdle the wood down it started to take a different form. Some spots I had to shave more than expected. Others were a bit harder and laborious. Sanding took way longer than expected.

I focused on the journey and experience of the process and had a “sort of” path to go down but nothing more. I didn’t know what or how to explain it then, but that is what I now call my “North Star”.

The North Star is your mission and vision of where you want to go but it’s just that, a vision. There is no flag in the ground saying “I’m going to be here at X date and be doing X”. Life doesn’t work that way. As long as you start down the path that is leading you toward your mission you’ll find your way. I think we all do, eventually.  When you look all the way back later in life it’s really the moments of the journey that are most memorable and rarely the finish line.

Just keep chipping away at you “Chalace” and don’t get so caught up in the finished product but put a lot of focus and attention on the process and experiences you are building through it now.

In the end, whenever that happens to be, the stories and the experiences that shaped them turn out to be your legacy, and reaching the finish line becomes an afterthought.

Keep Chipping Away2021-03-19T10:42:27-04:00

When Was The Last Time You Quit?

Life

When was the last time you quit something?

Like realized it wasn’t fitting into your life and just quit it.

We all want to do more. Workout more. Make a few more calls. Spend more time with family. If you’re not doing more its said that you are falling behind or missing out.

But at what cost?

When was the last time we prioritized our day/week and analyzed the things that are distractions versus the things that are actually helping us grow or are important to us?

I believe this is one of the most ultimate struggles we have inside ourselves. We want to do everything and be everywhere. We stretch ourselves too thin.

Whether it’s wasted activities that are “time robbers” or giving our time to others who simply don’t respect it, there are a lot of applications to this question.

Something I’ve continued to ponder when it comes to prioritizing my time and efforts because I was doing so many things at surface level and feeling like I was just treading water. It wasn’t until I realized that I needed to go deeper into only a few of them and “quit” the others that I started to gain momentum.

By the way, it wasn’t easy, nothing ever is.

So, Here is how I prioritize some things now…

  1. My son
  2. Sleep
  3. Crossfit/Fitness
  4. Nutrition
  5. Full-Time Job
  6. Podcast/Children’s Books

And the list goes on….

There are a lot of balls to juggle and only so much time available. So let’s take a step back so I can share a bit more of how I found time.

For the longest time, my Sundays were filled with NFL Football all day long. As a huge 49ers fan (still disappointed in our Super Bowl loss!) I never missed a game. And I didn’t miss others, either. I played fantasy football, used to bet on games, and wanted to “enjoy” my Sunday. And that’s fine if you choose to do this. But for me, it wasn’t cutting it.

My son was growing, and it was a priority to be there with him and for him.

I started the Just Get Started Podcast and wanted to spend time editing it for the following week.

I also had business ideas I wanted to work on and test out.

And I was getting into CrossFit and had lofty goals of strength and weight gains.

Oh, and another HUGE priority of mine is sleep. I am a firm believer in all of the sleep research out there that you need a minimum of 7 hours per night of actual sleep, not just laying in bed.

So when I started to add it all up it made sense. Remove as much of the Sports/TV that I could while still allowing myself enough to satisfy those “cravings”. And that’s what I did. I only watched my 49ers and occasionally a game or two here and there if they were on a bye or played the primetime game. I also took out almost all TV watching during the week and spend that time with my son before bed and then work on some projects after.

As I’ve built this habit, it’s been amazing how I’ve trimmed even further without even noticing. I don’t have the NFL Sunday Ticket not so I can only watch my 49ers when they are on Primetime slots. I have taken out almost all weekly TV watching as well besides catching a few shows I like to watch like Shark Tank or Westworld. Since these are streamed, I can watch whenever I want so I am in more control.

Again, you may decide to do something different but it first starts with your priority list. What is most important in your life to focus on. Do those things first and if you are running into trouble with time available then you have to look farther down the list to what you are doing that is causing the problem. Although it may be fun or cool to do, you may have to make the sacrifice because, in order to grow and evolve and be fulfilled, you have to be focusing on the things that are most important.

Figure that out and I am confident you’ll free up a lot of wasted time and be much happier each and every day.

Carpe Diem,

Brian

When Was The Last Time You Quit?2021-03-19T10:42:27-04:00

Lessons From A Legend

Life

I’ve had a ton of interesting experiences in my life, and some, where I made wrong choices and had to do things over or I made them harder than they probably needed to be. I hardly looked at the choices I was making, how I was reacting to them, and where I could improve. Unlike Sherlock Holmes, I wish I had laid the pieces out and tried to fit them together to unlock the mystery.

Then I hit what I have affectionately called my “Renaissance Period” in my early 30s. 

It has been a journey of deep learning and discovery filled with eye-opening lessons and revelations that have helped alter my path and set me on a more meaningful course for my life.

As I reflected and thought of the impression I wanted to make on the world, I was reminded of my grandmother, Nana Ro, as I called her. She was my everything and she taught me so many very subtle lessons that I didn’t realize until much later.  She had been through a lot. She had witnessed pain. When she was in her mid-20’s and with two toddlers at home, the love of her life and father to her boys got killed in a car accident. She didn’t find out until a day later.

She had several miscarriages later in life, worked 3rd shift to make ends meet, and raised five children along the way. She deserved to take a break every once in a while. She deserved to get waited on like a Queen. But she never once complained about it. She was the epitome of servant-leadership.

For the years I knew her it was extremely rare for her to do anything first or for herself, especially when her grandkids were around.

She cooked dinner, we ate first.

We wanted to watch a TV show, she turned the channel.

She cooked Christmas cookies, we always ate them first (and found her hidden spot in the downstairs freezer and raided that as well)

I wish I realized this all in my younger years. It wasn’t until this Renaissance Period and deep reflection that I realized (very luckily) that some of this rubbed off on me and a whole bunch more of it needed to be refined. It took some work to iron out the learnings and apply them to my life.  But here’s what I came up with. Simply put like Nana Ro would have done.

Feed others first that otherwise can’t feed themselves.

Translation – Many people, to no fault of their own, have a narrow view of the world, business, new technology, etc. and you have the opportunity to be the guide of information for them to open up a new way of thinking. You can help people help themselves by feeding their minds with creative ways of solving a problem or simply suggesting to them to ask the correct question to themselves to gain a new lens on the same situation. You need to do it with honesty and humility, however, as this is the way for people to start buying into those ideas but you have to let people be the hero of their own story and you are just the guide to get them to their destination.

Don’t be so polished and lighten the room up

Let the ego go! Nobody wants or needs the hard-ass and it doesn’t go over well anymore. I’m not saying to not be professional especially in business environments but try to be “business casual” in your encounters with most people. They’re human just like you and do you think they are as happy as they seem or don’t have 15 other things on their mind or even want to be at this particular job? So lighten up the room, have fun, be personable. It not only differentiates you from almost everyone else but you get more out of people that way. Being yourself builds trust and respect much quicker than putting on “a show”. Trust me, people can see right through the charade. Just stop it!

Bring a smile to everyone you encounter

Smile more often. Take the glass-half-full approach to life. There are a lot of bad times and challenging situations but you have a choice to make each and every day. You decide on the attitude you’re taking into your family life, your business, your workouts, and everything else that matters to you. Even though things may not be perfect, be the strong one that others can use for inspiration. I know it can be hard but looking at life through the positive lens ends up making it much easier and manageable. You somehow can breathe a bit more freely. The storm clouds seem to pass and the days just appear brighter. Trust me, it works, because I’ve tried it both ways.

Although I narrowed down to three bite-sized chunks, I learned so much from Nana Ro that I can’t put in one article. Some stuff I am still uncovering periodically as I reminisce about my childhood and the time I was lucky to spend with her. 

I miss my Nana Ro very much. She passed away in the Spring of 2019 and I think about her often. I think about her kindness and the love she projected out into the world and hope she’d be proud of my mission and the impact I am trying to make on the world.

I’d like to think it’d make her smile.

Lessons From A Legend2021-03-19T10:41:53-04:00

The Writing On The Wall

Life

We all need an “Accountability Mirror” to look ourselves straight in the face and force us to deal with our shit, whatever that happens to be at the time.

That mirror for me happens to be my bathroom mirror. I get to glance in it many times a day and it offers up a lot of brutal honesty especially when I’m down on myself. 

But I’ve added a layer to it that has helped me get through the troubled times when my confidence is starting to lack and the “Imposter Syndrome” rears its ugly head.  I’ve added words in the form of questions.

I’ve written these two questions in dry erase marker that I have no choice but to look at every time I’m in there.

Question #1: Why can’t it be you?

I get down on myself a lot. Most of it stems from my childhood, but that story is for another day, and some of it is that I’m just a “late bloomer” and although I’ve had a ton of experiences and learning lessons along the way, I have to continue to kick myself to believe that I alone can make an impact in the world. Even though my mission is clear I still tend to question myself every once in a while.  

This question kicks me in the pants and “gets in my face” about why anyone else would be better suited to tackle the mission and change the world than I would. It pushes me away from the comfort zone and reassures me that although there are a lot of unknowns, on the other side of fear is the fulfillment I’ve been looking for. Keep moving forward

Question #2: Why am I here?

This question came from reading (listening to the audiobook) of “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. He was on the beach at the Naval Base in Coronado where they ran through the infamous “Hell Week” of Navy Seal Training. Goggins went through three of them.  As he faced physical exhaustion and his mental fatigue was on the edge as well he muttered this question to himself, “Why I am here?”. He recounts many times throughout his journey after that where he uses this question to check himself and remind himself how far he has come and why he made all the sacrifices to get to this point. He certainly puts in more eloquently.

I use this question to pull me back into reality when I start reverting back to old habits or old ways of old thinking. Just because you’ve accomplished certain things, physically or mentally, doesn’t mean the demons can’t come back. They will and you never know when they will show up. This question is a constant reminder of what I am trying to accomplish and all of the struggles I’ve gone through to get to this point.  There is a reason I am here and it’s because I’ve put in the time and effort and I can’t let a few moments of regression get me down.

These two questions have been a staple in my mirror for almost 12 months. I have no reason to take them down and I don’t want to. I want a reminder. I want the reflection looking back at me constantly. If motivation is on one level then regret is on a whole other tier above it. I certainly don’t want that so these questions check me at the door and help me stay focused on where I am going.

What do you use at motivation or the driving force to keep moving forward?

Please send me a note or message me on social and I’d love to hear!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

The Writing On The Wall2021-03-19T10:41:53-04:00

The Bootstrappers Guide To Podcasting

Life

Back in 2015 when I first began thinking of starting a podcast there were a lot of ideas in my head about what to do and how to go about it. After overthinking, making excuses, and ultimately failing at starting for two years, I finally took the leap and begun. Thus, the podcast name “Just Get Started” was born.

The reason, you might ask, as to why Just Get Started stuck with me is that I know there are a lot of people out there just like me. They have an idea and want to accomplish something bigger but for some reason, they have been pinned down by naysayers, fear of the unknown, and most of all, negative self-talk that buries your confidence and clouds your judgment. I want everyone to realize they have to take a different path than the norm to get more done then they have ever imagined. To do that, you must take the first step to overcome that fear and Just Get Started.

This won’t be a novel. This isn’t rocket science. There are a ton of great resources out there about monetizing podcasts, growing a following, and doing all sorts of crazy things with them. But, none of that matters until you start and I wanted to share one perspective on how you might go about it.

So, just like with what I struggled with, I wanted to give everyone some insight into what you might want to consider thinking about when beginning a podcast and some useful questions to ask yourself along the way. I’ll share a few tools I have used that have helped but in no way are the answer to every situation. A simple Google search would give you several options that may fit just as well and I’d encourage that. But don’t hamstring yourself with overthinking it. That’s what I did. Don’t make the mistake that you have to have everything figured out on Day 1 because you don’t.

This is not the end all be all guide to podcasting. I imagine, however, most people reading this are like me. They’ve listened to podcasts and enjoy the content and have always wanted to create their own but it seems like a ton of work and a lot of money that is needed to be spent to get started. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case at all and that you can create your own very quickly and with solid quality for minimal to no money.

You can do it BUT if you are going to do it then you have to give it everything. You have to commit to it. There are a lot of people that have started podcasts that do 6 episodes and quit. If you’re going to take the time to set this up and go through the motions then I suggest setting a minimum bar for yourself. Do at least 20 episodes and call it “Season One” or something like that. Then, sit and reassess and make sure this is something you want to commit to further. If you get past that, you’re golden!

I hope you enjoy some of my insight into podcasting and what I have learned through my experience of trial and error and figuring it out along the way. The views expressed in this ebook are my own and from over two years of being in the trenches and knocking out episodes almost weekly. I hope you get as much enjoyment out of reading as I did of writing and sharing.

Let’s get it started.

To get the full eBook please go here and download for free – The Bootstrapper’s Guide To Podcasting

The Bootstrappers Guide To Podcasting2021-03-19T10:41:53-04:00

100+ Episodes and We’re Just Getting Started

Life

Do you know what these numbers signify?

880 Days…5,300 hours…100 People

The numbers above equal 880 days since I started the Podcast, over 300 hours of editing, over 5,000 hours of content, and over 100 Guests….and the Just Get Started Podcast is just heating up.

I didn’t realize the amount of time I’d take to get this far when I decided to begin. And as the great Jesse Itzler says, “I didn’t come this far to only come this far”. So I sure as hell am not stopping now.

The time investment never comes across the mind of someone determined to get outside their “fear neighborhood” and start something. Until I wrote those numbers above (and used a calculator to help) I never cared about the amount of time because all along the journey to achieving my mission was the most important. 

I balked on starting the Podcast for two years out of fear of what others would say and a poor self-confidence that I could even do it. 

I worried. 

I pondered. 

I battled myself. 

…But then I acted.

I built up this confidence, not in a single day, or a week, or even year but over a long period of time of consistent reflection and glances in the “accountability mirror”. I realized that maybe I could be the voice for others that have fear in their life. Those that have a fear to take the leap.

As Brene Brown once said, “I don’t leap for the perfect landing, I leap for the feeling in the air”. I thought that maybe I can be the invisible nudge they’ve need all along to take the leap.

And that’s why I began on this quest. 

And that’s why I continue to battle the doubt that creeps in and the imposter syndrome that looms too closely in the night. 

I know I can be their rock when life is holding the scissors in the hopes that the spark inside them fuels a bigger fire that can light the path for others in the future.

The numbers are irrelevant. The only ones I care about are the people positively affected by the message.

As long as that number is >1 then we’ve succeeded.

If you’ve read this far down then you get it. You feel the burn. You realize you have something deeper inside that yearns to get out into the world. You owe it to others to let it out. 

Life is too short to keep pondering. 

Let’s get started, shall we? 

I can’t thank everyone but a few quick shoutouts….

Thanks to Matt Heinz for being my first guest on the Podcast

Thanks to Gary Vaynerchuk for 9 years of being my “virtual mentor”

Thanks to Ryan McGuire for the great design work

Thanks to Rich Keller for coining my ONE Word, “The Navigator”

Thanks to Rob Munz for being the best Mentor and Friend anyone could ever ask for

…And Thanks to the Late, great Coach Larry Hynes for telling a young 18-year old that “You have incredible Pitch and Tone, You should be on the radio someday

Truly blessed. Truly Grateful.

Carpe Diem,

Brian

100+ Episodes and We’re Just Getting Started2021-03-19T10:41:54-04:00

Learning Spanish In 30 Days

Life

I am in month 3 of my Dozen Months of Discovery and for this month I decided to learn Spanish! I’ve always wanted to learn a language (Well, I tried once but failed Italian in High School). I thought this was an incredible opportunity to see what I could learn in 30 days.

I grade myself at a B+ after all is said and done. There were a lot of challenges going on in the world as we all know so I had to be hyper focused on keeping up with my practice and lessons and I’d say I learned a good amount.

Some things I learned like:

  1. I learned the entire alphabet and pronunciations (Did anyone know there are like 5 separate sounds with each letter!)
  2. I learned numbers up through 100
  3. I learned articles like The for both Masculine and Feminine words
  4. I learned many phases for general conversation

I probably learned a lot more that hasn’t fully sunk in yet and look forward to continuing practicing and evolving my Spanish speaking skills!

To listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts – Listen Here – or search “Just Get Started Podcast” on any major Podcasting Platform.

To get a refresher on my “Dozen Months of Discovery” you can view the write-up on the blog article here

Review On Apple Podcasts

If you enjoy this episode I’d be grateful if you would leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts, if you believe I’ve earned it.  Thanks for listening!

Leave a Review

Learning Spanish In 30 Days2021-03-19T10:41:54-04:00

Flexibility February and What I Learned

Life

This new One Mic Session is a recap of Month 2 of my Dozen Months of Discovery in 2020 where I chose to complete 1-Hour of Stretching every single day in the month of February.

Almost every day, I used a video online from Sean Vigue Fitness (link to video) which is about 40 minutes long and then I added 20 minutes of my own stretching exercises and mobility work to round out the hour.

Here are a couple takeaways I talk about in the episode:

  • Finding Your Balance
  • Ain’t Over Til It’s Over
  • Finish What You Started
  • Prioritize
  • Breathe & Have Fun

My challenge to everyone…For 7 straight days perform 30-minutes of stretching by using the video above, searching for your own through YouTube or an App you download, or just sit in some poses you know. It doesn’t matter. It’s that you are commiting to something and exposing your body to things that it needs which is activity and mobility so it can open up a bit more. Do you accept this challenge?

Report back to me or share your results with a friend and let’s pass on the good vibes!

Link to listen on Apple Podcasts – Listen Now

Or You can Listen on Any Major Podcasting Platform.

Review On Apple Podcasts

If you enjoy this episode I’d be grateful if you would leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts, if you believe I’ve earned it.  Thanks for listening!

Leave a Review

Flexibility February and What I Learned2021-03-19T10:41:54-04:00

My 30-Day Social Media Detox And What I Learned

On this One Mic session, I share a bit of my experience and learning from doing a 30-day social media detox in the month of January. This is the first month of my Dozen Months of Discovery in 2020 and helped me set the table for the rest of 2020 and kick it off on a positive start.

I share some of my thoughts on:

  • Cravings
  • Time-Management
  • Boredom
  • Prioritization
  • Habits
  • and much more

Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts – Listen Here – or Find it on any other major Podcasting platform by searching “Just Get Started Podcast”

My 30-Day Social Media Detox And What I Learned2021-04-24T17:44:47-04:00

Dozen Months of Discovery in 2020

Life

It’s 2020 and the Dozen Months of Discovery have begun!

Part of the premise of the Just Get Started Podcast is to get out of your comfort zone and try to accomplish things far greater than you ever imagined. Whether it is changing your eating habits, a better fitness routine, starting a business, etc. At the micro-level, everything you do has to be “started” at some point but are we truly pushing ourselves outside our comfort zones as much as possible and learning new skills or knowledge that can become valuable. Or, maybe it doesn’t become something valuable but you can say you tried it because it was interesting at the time. That’s okay, too.

That, my friends, is the whole premise of the Dozen Months of Discovery.

12 months to have 12 new challenges or adventures. This could be anything from committing to a workout plan one month to learning how to play the piano another, learning a language, or detoxing from Social Media. Whatever it is you have to invest time into it and you have to practice but more than that you must create a different mindset and the focus on accomplishing the challenge must be present every day. We (and I certainly mean me) say over and over “I wish I could do….” Or “I wish I tried….”. As the old saying goes, “You can wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one gets filled up first”. 

Stop wishing. Why not go out and do it? I know your answer. I don’t have time. It may actually take less than you think. Malcolm Gladwell famously wrote that you need about 10,000 hours to master a skill. But I’m not asking you to master a skill, I’m asking you to try and learn something new whether it be a new skill or just challenge yourself to stick to something for an extended period of time. So, how long would that take to try?

Well, someone already did that research for me and his name is Josh Kaufman. Now, Josh did a phenomenal Ted talk about this topic and, in short, concluded that to learn and be good at a new skill it would take about 20 hours. I highly recommend you watch the entire Ted Talk here – How to Learn Anything in 20 Hours – as it provides a lot more context.

Also, Podcast Guest (Episode 76) Scott Young and his book “Ultralearning” is a fantastic guidebook of some useful techniques and stories to speed up your learning and actually make it sticky.

So, the question I posed to myself a little while back and will pose to you right now is…How far did you advance yourself this past year? How much more could you have done that would have led to increased skill development, more fulfillment or joy in your life, new doors being open…all of it….How far did you push that needle? 

Get out of your comfort zone and try to make the next year your best year even. You certainly won’t get there by doing the same thing you are doing now. You must broaden your horizons and I think this is one way to do it.

So here’s the challenge.

Pick 12 new skills/challenges/topics you think would be cool or interesting or maybe something you always wanted to learn. If you can’t think of that many then ask your friends and family or post online and ask your larger community to throw out ideas.

Next, write them down and share with the world those 12 you are going to learn.

Here is my working list for 2020 (I may slip in something if I come across it during the year and swap out with one already on the list but that is still to be determined)

January – No Social Media for 30 Days

February – 1 Hour of Stretching / Mobility work every day

March – Learn Spanish

April – Learn the Ukelele 

May – No Sugar (Less than 20g a day)

June – Conduct an Interview a Day

July – Plastic Free Month (Don’t use single-use plastics)

August – Learn Adobe Illustrator

September – Run a Mile a Day (With 20 LB Weight Vest)

October – Charity Month (Donate 30 Hours of my time)

November – No Complaining 

December – Random Acts of Kindness Per Day

Finally, each month you need to pick a goal (if it is a learned skill) so you have something to reach for by the end of that month. If you don’t pick a goal you can’t conclude if you truly learned anything. Don’t make it too easy but I’d rather it be achievable than overly aggressive.

Now, start with the first one on the first day of the next month and do it. Learn by taking classes locally, watching videos online, syncing up with a friend skilled in that craft, whatever. Invest around 20 hours that month and see what you can accomplish. 

I’m starting this endeavor on January 1st, 2020. My first monthly challenge is to not launch one social media app (Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter) for the entire month. I’ll document each journey prior to starting and the week after I finish each month. 

If you are down to join, let me know and we can hold each other accountable. If not, we’ll catch you for the next one and I’d love to hear what you are trying to do to challenge yourself and push beyond your comfort zone.

Let’s crush 2020!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

Dozen Months of Discovery in 20202021-03-19T10:41:55-04:00

The Surprisingly Simple Way to Make Sure You Start In 2020

Life

It’s a new year, a new decade, and a clean slate to get it all right this year. “This is going to be my year”, It seems is the type of thing we say to ourselves each orbit around the sun. Why will this year be any different? What have you learned in the past 12 months that will make you believe you can change?

We all have aspirations at one time or another to break outside of our comfort zones and explore new ideas or endeavors. Then fear sets in and the excuses start to flow on why we “Can’t” do it. Just like a butterfly that landed on your shoulder, it’s there for a second before the idea fleets from your mind. All too often, that isn’t the last time we think about it. It continues to pop up at random with no regard for the timing of it all and the longer it goes without being acted upon the fear generally turns into regret. A disappointment of what could have been. Arguably, one of the worst individual feelings one could have.

I have a hunch that as you are reading this there is something festering inside that you want to accomplish but for whatever reason, you haven’t taken the leap of faith yet. Whether it is the smallest action or the biggest idea we all know that overcoming the fear of starting can be quite challenging. Let’s try to get started on it before the chance of regret from not trying can even weasel its way in.

I think I have the key that will unlock that door for you. It might be quite literally the simplest action you can do but could end up being the hardest. Because it involves self-observation and accountability for your actions.

Think of all of the reasons or excuses you can come up with as to why you can’t get started. You can write them down or just think of a couple in your head. They probably seem legitimate and you may even be able to convince yourself there is some truth to them.

Now I’d like you to try something.

Simply change the “can’t” in the sentence to “won’t” and see how that sounds.

Here is an example:
I can’t go to the gym because I don’t have time.
I won’t go to the gym because I don’t have time.
Which one stings a bit more and why?

“Won’t” does sound a whole heck of a lot worse because it’s a choice. Can’t is final. Can’t has some boundaries. Can’t is a line in the sand that we are not able to cross.

But won’t, that’s a different story. That’s personal. That’s a direct reflection on you as a person, what you prioritize, and how you want to live your life. You are making the conscious decision to not do whatever it is you want to do. You are standing in the way of it happening. You are your own worse accountability partner.

This simple exercise on reflection can fundamentally change your perspective on what you are trying to accomplish and get you in the right frame of mind to accomplish it. I’m not saying it’ll work out every time and you may find instances where you confirm that this isn’t the right path. It’s okay if that is the outcome. However, most of the time, it will allow you to take a deeper look in the mirror and help you gain perspective on why you are scared to do this in the first place and what you would really lose (if anything) from trying.

We all have fear and doubt. We all overcomplicate things. We all worry about stupid shit that is ridiculous and mostly meaningless.
It is the perspective shift that is needed in order to overcome these obstacles and start moving forward. Please keep it simple and believe that you can do it. Once you alter your perspective and start improving your mindset it can open up a lot of doors you never imagined possible.

Now get out there and crush 2020!

The Surprisingly Simple Way to Make Sure You Start In 20202021-03-19T10:41:55-04:00

A Tribe Called Next — The Evolution of the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

As a 1st time “Gen-er” (Is that a word? We’ll make it a word!) to the 5th Annual NextGen Summit I wanted to share a few key thoughts from the observation deck that might prove useful as you go about your day.

Before I jump it, let me take a quick step back. NextGen is a group of thousands of entrepreneurs that are looking to develop the next wave of innovative products and services to shape our future. It was started by Justin Lafazan and Dylan Gambardella five years ago and has had a “rocket-ship like” trajectory in years since. 

Enter NextGen Summit. 

This is their premiere annual conference to get all of these people together and connect them with great speakers and mentors to help shape their businesses. My journey to the conference was a unique one. See, I’ve gone through a Renaissance period, if you will, over the 5 years to rediscover who I really am and what I want out of life. With curiosity as my catalyst, I decided to start a Podcast called Just Get Started 18-months ago to talk with entrepreneurs and others trying to be fulfilled in life. If it wasn’t for that initiative and subsequently being introduced and then interviewing the Co-Founder of NextGen, Justin Lafazan, I wouldn’t have had this incredible opportunity to even share.

If you were so inclined, here is the first episode I did of the Podcast back in November of 2017 that explains my journey a bit more and how I finally got the Podcast going – Just Get Started Podcast: Episode 1

If you didn’t attend NextGen Summit that’s fine. Keep reading. There may be a few gemstones I gathered from the conference that might alter your thinking a bit and help you on your way to become the superstar version of yourself. Maybe not, but at least you can get the pleasure of my “almost failed English class” writing style.

Find Your Tribe

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

A tribe is only as strong as its people and to make those people be harmonious you have to have great Chiefs. It’s hard to find better Chiefs than Justin Lafazan and Dylan Gambardella. There is no shock that this NextGen community has grown so strong. The passion and drive behind Justin & Dylan’s vision is what makes this event special. That resonates with people and it makes people want to fight to hold onto that feeling they get from attending this event. The energy, the kindness, the curiosity, the sharing. It’s so organic and authentic it almost sounds made-up. So that’s my first takeaway. Who do you associate with that makes you feel that you can accomplish anything? That makes you believe you can change the world? I’ll tell you what. I found that here at NextGen. I’ve never been so motivated and hyper-focused in my life and I know, unlike other times in my life, this feeling won’t burn out as the days pass by but smolder and stay hot as I go forward. That’s what having a great tribe will do for you. They’ll support you. They’ll believe in you. They’ll high five you when you win and hug you when you fail. As the famous quote goes, “The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts”. I’ve never believed that more firmly than after leaving this event and excited for the opportunity to keep in touch with my new Tribe!

How is Your Brownie Different

“If you don’t have a seat at the table you create one.”  – Jesse Itzler

Jesse Itzler (@jesseitzler on Instagram) was a keynote speaker at the event and this guy literally brought the fire the entire session. I won’t give his bio here but go research him. Fascinating guy. I probably could write the whole article on him but one massive takeaway I gleaned was this, “How is your brownie different” (this is in reference to a story he told about pitching a business idea in school). 

The punchline is that you can speak about features and you can speak about service and all that bullshit but when you get down to the brass tax of it all you have to go above and beyond the noise and truly create something that is world-class and doesn’t just limp over the finish line but annihilates the world record. He wasn’t just speaking about business. Personally, what are you doing to create a different experience that is impacting you, your friends/family, and the world. Are you “cashing it in” most days or are you truly trying to be different?

This reminded me of the time I had the Founder of ActiveLifeRX, Dr. Sean Pastruch, on my Podcast and he gave a great quote. He says, “In order to be World-Class, you have to prepare to be un-relatable”. Jesse has done that. He’s thought differently about the world he wants to live in and has set his sights and goals about making an impact in a positive way. He said, “If you don’t have a seat at the table you create one.” Don’t settle for what everyone else around you is doing. If you want to be different, you need to act, think, and perform different. Set the bar high and make your brownie different!

Serendipity Is Real and It’s Spectacular!

“To be called on, you must raise your hand” – Kim Kaupe

(Okay, who got the Seinfeld reference?) I preach Serendipity. The reason I believe in it so strongly is that we have no control over it and yet we have all the control over it. How I got to the conference started long before I got on the plane to NYC. We don’t know what the next step will bring (I could die on this plane flight as I am writing this). Don’t worry, I didn’t. But you get the point.

It’s an opportunity to get outside the dreaded comfort zone and let the universe steer the ship a bit. As Brene Brown once said, “I don’t leap for the perfect landing, I leap for the feeling in the air”.

As an introvert in sheep’s clothing going up and talking to people is tough for me at times. But I met some incredible people. People that I never would’ve crossed paths with if I didn’t accept the invite from NextGen. Full Disclosure: I declined for scheduling reasons initially and glad I made it work out. Who knows what some of those relationships will transform into but it doesn’t matter. My life and hopefully the people that I met will be impacted in a positive way forever. Kim Kaupe (@KimKaupe on Instagram), Founder of the SuperFan Company, spoke about this in her keynote in relation to growing your brand and business. She said,“To be called on, you must raise your hand”.

Sitting on the sidelines and telling a story to yourself of why something isn’t going to work out might seem cozy and nice but it’s not the way you make a splash and it is certainly not the way your create your own luck. If we live in a bubble then truly serendipitous moments are very few and far between. It might be a safe life but what’s the fun in that? Here’s a secret: The “comfort zone” is a made up place. Have the courage to challenge that mindset and look at creating life-changing moments for yourself and your business and not only will you be more fulfilled but serendipity might just connect you with something or someone in a magical way you never could’ve dreamed of.

Come Out of Hibernation

“You have two lives. The second begins when we realize we only have one” – Confucius

Just like a bear hibernating from a long winters nap (literally some hibernate for 7 ½ months), we all have pounds of weight we need to shed. But in my weird animal metaphor I’m not talking about physical weight. A lot of time it’s the mental burden of negativity and the mind warp we’ve all been through for most of our lives that needs to be erased. We’ve all heard it. You can’t be that. You’re not good enough. You’re too young. You’re too old. Whatever. It’s a bunch of Malarkey. Once you accept who you are and what you’re about and why that is absolutely good enough you can start to finally move forward. Maryellis Bunn (@maryellis.bunn on Instagram), Founder of the Museum of Ice Cream, gave a passionate talk about the journey of learning and asking questions that shouldn’t stop when you reach adolescence but should continue on for your entire life. I was amazed when she explained that children ask around 125 questions a day compared to adults who ask only about 6. What happens to that wonder and amazement and imagination we all had? Society happens. That’s what. We become this comatose society of zombies that are following old rituals and habits that haven’t made people any more happy or more successful. So why do it? As Maryellis says, “We have become a society that accepts what is instead of questioning what it should be”.

How many questions are you going to ask about the world today? Shed your mental weight, start believing in yourself and start living a life filled with passion and purpose that is on your own terms.

There Is No Spoon

“You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.” – Morpheus, The Matrix

Let’s be honest here. What I just wrote about won’t resonate with most. People will cast it aside with excuses of why they can’t do things and chalk it up to “that’s life”. They’ll go on with their day acting like each day before it. And that’s where this Tribe of NextGen-ers and others reading this are different.

You’ve had a choice. You’ve taken the red pill. You’ve become Neo…or Morpheus or Trinity or whoever you want to play in this adventure. Hell, you can be Agent Smith if you like to get down like that. But I digress. You’re already ahead because you’ve realized what most people never will. As the great Steve Jobs said, “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again”.

The spoon only exists if you accept the world as it is and fit in that box. But that’s not you. There is something inherently different about you. You can’t explain it, I know. But don’t ever let that fire go. Remember what Rich Keller’s passionate talk was about. Just S.C.O.R.E.

Stand-out, Conquer Obstacles, and Reach Excellence.

Whatever you do, always keep that kid inside with wonder and imagination and curiosity to question the outermost realms of the universe and why this all matters.

Until next year. 

Carpe Diem,

Brian

So…what was your biggest takeaway from the conference? Leave a comment below and would love to hear what everyone enjoyed the most!

A Tribe Called Next — The Evolution of the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs2021-03-19T10:41:55-04:00

The Summer of You: 5 Simple Truths For Crushing Your Health Goals

Over the last decade I’ve tried to observe our world from a different lens and really understand the human mind and choices we make. One of the areas that fascinates me is overall human health. Now, I’m not a trainer or nutritionist, but trial and error over the years and vast amounts of my own research and plain logic led me to realize there are some core fundamentals to follow for long-lasting health. Even with all the advances in science and research, we still decide to make really poor choices on a daily basis that contribute to many health issues. Currently, the one plaguing our nation is obesity, and I’m not just referencing folks that are morbidly obese.  My explorations have led me to 5 simple truths about overall health that are shockingly simple but often overlooked. Whether you are trying to get in the best shape of your life or shed a couple extra LBs before beach season, hopefully these will help re-focus you on some easy things to keep top of mind for better health and fitness.

1. Drink Lots Of Water
I’m hoping this should not come as a surprise but drinking plenty of water is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Besides the fact that many medical journals say drinking a glass of water in the morning contributes to eating roughly 30% less calories a day, it just makes you feel good and has many additional health benefits.  I see a lot of folks start with coffee in the AM and then move on to a sweetened or sugary drink by lunch.  You wonder why you crash halfway through the afternoon? Lack of H2O is a big contributor.  Stay consistent with your water (at least 7-8 glasses a day) and you’ll be more full throughout the day and able to keep your energy up.

2. Sleep
I feel that sleep is one of the most misunderstood things we do as human beings.  Your body needs to “reboot” for the next day and getting at least 6-7 hours of sleep is vital for a full sleeping cycle to happen.  Plus, your body is working through that downtime to repair muscle fiber from your workouts and using stored fats to hibernate. Don’t you just feel really refreshed after a nice long night of rest? Do it. It’s good for you. Through my last round of P90X3 I stayed very strict to getting to sleep before 11 PM and noticed increased energy the next morning which helped improve my workouts. And to improve your comfort even further, I’ll plug a great company I use for my pillow and mattress. It’s like sleeping on a cloud. Check out HIBR and you’ll be saying “Thank you, Brian” in no time.

3. 30-Minutes Of Exercise A Day
You certainly don’t have to exercise to lose weight. However, working out for at least 30 minutes a day gets that adrenaline going and helps with overall health and your mood will actually improve. It’s a fact that people who work out consistently are in better spirits throughout the day. It’s true, look it up! Actually, I already did for you so go here. It doesn’t matter what you do but just get off your butt and do something. I’ve found it successful to mix up your workouts and routines regularly. Three main areas I focus on are Weights, Cardio, and Yoga. Weight training helps burn more calories and improves your over body tone and posture. Cardio (some, not excessive) helps with cardiovascular improvements and endurance. Yoga (even with some Pilates mixed in) helps “open up this ancient ol’ gristle”, as Tony Horton would say. It massively helps with balance and flexibility while improving overall strength in a lot of those little muscles.  I’ve enjoyed a lot of the Beachbody programs over the years and would recommend P90X 3 as a great place to start for an overall mix of everything.  All you have to do is show up and Press Play!

4. Smart Eating
You know the old saying “Weight Loss starts in the kitchen” and it’s so true.  For any significant weight loss you must focus on what you put in your body. I’m not going to go all nutritionist route on you. See, I’m a regular person, just like you. I’ve learned through trial and error and making sacrifices. That’s all eating healthy is about. There are so many great blogs and resources for recipes and foods that are nutritious for you. Check some out and try something new. Some of my favorite foods recently have been Quinoa, Hummas, Steel Cut Oats, and Sweet Potatoes (not all together, of course).  I’ve also found that it’s easier to stick to a plan by cooking a large amount and eating it over several meals. It saves time both in cooking and preparing meals each day for lunch. Check this article out for help.  Bottom line, just be smart with portions, stay away from crap; like fast food, soft drinks, and greasy snacks, and treat yourself every once in a while to your favorite indulgence.  It’s not always easy but you reap the benefits long term and that should be the deciding factor when making choices about what you put in your body.

5. Motivation
The other four points above are irrelevant if you are not committed to improving. Have you ever seen anyone not passionate or motivated about something become a success at anything? I didn’t think so.  You have to make the choice inside that you are going to push through the cravings, make an effort to hit the gym when you’re tired, and put down the soda in favor of the aqua.  In a practical sense, motivation or determination, is doing something when you don’t feel like it. The good days are easy. Everything flows nicely. It’s on the tough days that you have to preserver and stay committed otherwise you fall off that cliff and have to start climbing again from the bottom. Find something that motivates you and use that as the fuel to get you through the grind of the tough days.  Following a program can be helpful but also setting small, short-term goals makes you pass “checkpoints” on your path to success.  Do 3 workouts in a row or Bring your lunch for a week straight.  Achievable goals to get you moving in the right direction allow you to keep hyper-focused and present in the short-term while ultimately looking for long-term success.

There are a lot of things you can blame others for in life but your overall health is not one of them.  It’s a shame most people don’t take it seriously but I’ve realized the fact that some people just don’t care. They want to hear bones crack when they roll out of bed, or get tired walking up the stairs, or keep having to adjust their wardrobe.  I’ll never fully understand it.

But if you want to feel a little better or have more energy or maybe shed a few pounds or 20 then make the commitment in your head and heart and stick with it. Be consistent each day and set some goals and realize it isn’t going to happen overnight. Success breeds success and with each little “win” comes a monumental breakthrough.

Look forward to seeing you be the best form of you this year.

Thanks for reading

Brian

The Summer of You: 5 Simple Truths For Crushing Your Health Goals2021-03-19T10:41:55-04:00

Why Are We Polling Like It’s 1969?

As we begin the fiasco that is the primary elections and embark on another year of electing a President, I can’t help but think there has to be a better way to do it. By “IT”, I am referring to voting.  Already, we are one Iowa Caucus down and controversy over who “won” that state looms large.  It’s ridiculous.

If everyone forgot, it’s actually 2016. There are cars on the road that can drive themselves, small computers in everyone’s pocket, and the word “streaming” is synonymous with everything. This is the world we live in. Yet, despite all of the technological advances, our country still makes you register to vote, drive to some local government building, step into one of those “private” booths, use a pen to nominate our next President, and put it in a box. No wonder our voter turnout is piss poor. The people that do have the right to vote, should. Why don’t we make it easier then?

voters-voting-boothsThere’s only one logical person that needs to be consulted and sought out to bring voting to every US citizen and that’s Mark Zuckerberg. Yes, that Mark Zuckerberg.  Now, here me out for a minute.

If the government can take forever to build the healthcare.gov site and incur the many blunders it did early on then why not look to an established platform that pretty much controls the population anyways. Americans spend more time on Facebook per day than any other website by far. If we want to change our politics and truly get everyone we can to vote then the people need to be more involved and informed. There is no better platform to do that than Facebook. So, let’s lay out some simple facts on why I’d propose this as a solution.

1. An extremely high percentage of Americans are already on Facebook so you have a captive and engaged audience. If you’re not, you can sign up very easily. We can check that box.
2. It is secure. Rarely do we hear of hacking Facebook accounts therefore the opportunity to “game” the system is relatively low.
3. I’m confident a simple program can be written to confirm your social security number and that you are, in fact, a citizen and of the legal age. It can be done.
4. Accuracy and speed is crucial (we all remember 2000, right? Technically should have been President Gore. This opportunity would provide real time insight into the elections and provide voters with rich overviews of candidates and their information should you need to refresh your memory.  Also, no more “hanging chads”.
5. It’s time. Why are we voting the way my grandparents did? The resources it takes to run polling sites and the amount of error that can occur is ridiculous. This can be all but eradicated with a central online location for the masses to come vote.

These are just a couple of logical reasons Facebook may be an avenue to solve our voting woes. The government can certainly build something themselves but why try to reinvent the wheel. For the time being, it just makes sense. I know the chances are slim to none something like I am proposing would happen. Hell, there are many political figures trying to keep voter turnout low. Maybe, just maybe, if enough people voice concerns then there might be a legitimate chance to break into the 21st century for something so important to our future as electing the President of the United States.

Hope you enjoyed my perspective.

Thank you.

Why Are We Polling Like It’s 1969?2021-03-19T10:41:56-04:00

How One Race Regained My Confidence in Our Society

I would hope that my friends and family, if asked directly, would agree that two personality traits I have carried throughout my life are Optimism and Patience. Over the last several years those have been pushed to the limit with what I have been observing with everyday life, whether in person or on the news. The way we have come to treat one another is pretty bad. Now I know that our crime rate is down around this country when compared to years ago which is great to see. Frankly, a very small percentage of people are making up that population of physically harming others so we can assume most wouldn’t. What I have always been shocked by are the simple things we don’t do that seem so easy to do in order to help our fellow humans out. It could be simply letting someone merge into a lane on the road (instead we speed up) or helping someone struggling to put the bag in the overhead bin on an airplane. Whatever it might be, we need to do more of it.

2015-04-18 09.21.51That is why today was great. I ran my first ever race and it was called the Tar Heel 10-Miler in Chapel Hill, NC. I have done other athletic things throughout my life but this was a huge challenge for me because I dislike running. Hate would probably be an appropriate word. However, I was challenged by my wife and some neighbors last fall and I accepted. I really focused on training to do well over the last several months.

Having never been to a race before, it was really cool to see the turnout. The atmosphere was electric with so many people around and I was pretty amped up and had my music blaring to keep me motivated throughout. It was fun (besides the pain in my legs late in the race), and I finished the 10-miles at 1:51:12. Not bad, I guess. But that wasn’t the biggest takeaway I had from the race as I thought it might be training all those months prior.

As I was on about mile 7, I was trying to keep focused on anything but my body which was starting to really hurt. So, I turned my focus onto the other runners. All different types of runners; large and small, short and tall, it didn’t matter. We were all running together!

Everyone had different goals in mind entering the race whether to simple finish to gain a sense of accomplishment or maybe to support a great cause. I even saw a Firefighter with his full gear on running the race. Pretty cool! It was so great to see all of these different people from all walks of life running together; no bad thoughts, no hatred, no judgement, just purely focused on the task at hand.

Then there were the fans. People setting up shop on their driveways, volunteers giving out water, or just random folks at various parts throughout the course. At every turn they were there cheering and applauding the efforts of people they have never met before. Maybe they enjoyed watching the runners or enjoyed athletic events but it’s not like we were Jordan Spieth at The Masters just a week ago, we were unknowns. However, those people knew why we were racing and why we showed up that day to compete. They took time out of their day to clap and smile and give us all a little extra motivation as we were finishing the race. It was a great sight.

Today gave me more hope in our human race. We have a lot of problems, no one will deny that, but for just a split second or maybe a few hours, we all came together to accomplish something, whatever that something was. The moral of the story is that we did it being KIND to one another, being FRIENDLY, and being COURTEOUS.

Today I saw a lot of good in the world.

I hope to see more.

How One Race Regained My Confidence in Our Society2021-03-19T10:41:56-04:00

Why I Put My Phone In Time-Out

Several months ago I pondered a thought…what did I do with my time before “smartphones” existed?

I figured it had to be something.  I know it was a lot more golf and working out.  I also found that I actually had conversations with friends when we hung out and not just texting or through social media.  Times were different; Times were simple.

Back in 2002 I got my first cell phone.  A beautiful Samsung that had a nice flip to it and a spacious dial pad.  Do you know why I got it?  To actually make a phone call to someone!!!  It’s amazing where we have come from!

Steve-Jobs-iPhoneOver the years the phone was a nice to have.  If you needed to call a friend quickly because you were running late or a nail found your tire and you needed some roadside assistance.  All relevant reasons to have one and nobody batted an eye.  Over the last several years you could probably hear many excuses coming from my mouth like “No, honey, I need to keep a pulse on what is going on…” or the occasional “I need to interact with my clients…” or my favorite, “But it’s part of my job”.  After thinking back on it, not only were these excuses pretty lame, but by being so dialed into Social Media, I was missing the little things in life that become distant faded memories all too soon.  I was living in this clouded world of “micro content” with so much flying through the feed in a matter of seconds and needing to try and consume every piece of it.  It was dominating my life and affecting my family.

And then it happened…

I woke up one morning and it just hit me.  Do I want to sacrifice the time I had with my wife? Do I want to miss out on all the things my son was doing because my nose was head down in a phone rummaging through information that was 98% useless?  The answer was a big fat NO.

So I did one of the toughest things any human being could possibly think of doing.

I tried to change!

As Winston Churchill poetically said: “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

I decided that I would start slow.  And…Since I have been watching so much Special Agent Oso lately (Look it up, great show!), I figured I would do it in “3 Simple Steps”.

Step 1:

I’d start with weekdays from 6pm until my son went to sleep and I wouldn’t touch the phone.  Only in an emergency situation would I answer.  This allowed me to spend as much time as possible with my wife and son without the interruption of my Facebook feed clouding my mind.  Sure I had the occasional slip up but no more was my head down in the phone.

Step 2:

Then, I moved to weekends.  Minimal interaction online unless my son was napping, I was alone maybe watching TV by myself or taking a break from hitting a few golf balls.  This has been the toughest thus far.  I have allowed myself to take a few calls and check up on emails to not totally go “cold turkey” on this whole thing.

Step 3:

As I am writing this, this is my next step I will take in the coming weeks.  No social media interaction on the weekends at all.   This will undoubtedly be difficult to say the least.  I know I can handle it, heck I went on a weeklong Facebook Detox at the beginning of July.  It will just take patience and the understanding that some of this “stuff” online may be important, however, nothing is more important than my time and I want to spend it as much as possible with the people that make me happy.

 (Cue the “Full House” music at the end of every show)

The “Real” First step in all of this is to realize that there are greater things in life than keeping up with everything “going on” online.  If you find some solace that there is someone else like you out there struggling to balance all of this stuff then hopefully this helps.  It won’t be an easy road.  Mine is only a few months in the making.  It is getting easier each day.  Heck, I still find myself reaching for my phone dozens of times throughout the night as part of the natural routine I put in place many years ago.

The phone had to be put in its place.  We all have plenty of time during normal work hours on a break, or lunch, to fidget with the phone, tweet, share, pin, etc that should last until the next day.   The world will be fine.  You will be too.

Just think, when you stop looking down at that phone you’ll be amazed at what is right in front of you that you could’ve missed all along.

Why I Put My Phone In Time-Out2021-03-19T10:41:56-04:00
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