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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
When Was The Last Time You Quit?Brian Ondrako2021-03-19T10:42:27-04:00
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.
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!