This category is all about articles that are intended to help you grow in whatever path you choose to be on

Are You An Imposter?

Are you creating the life that you want?
Are you pushing the status quo?
Are you finding areas outside your comfort zone to explore?
Are you learning and adapting to change?
Are you different than you were a year ago?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you are not an Imposter. You shouldn’t have Imposter Syndrome.

You are creating, you are exploring, you are evolving, and you are doing it your way. You are in the small percentage of people in the world that are actually doing this.

We cut ourselves down too often by thinking we are some “Imposter” in the realm of what society believes but the fact that we are outside the bubble and forging our own path is good enough.

Stop beating yourself up.

You’re you. There’s nothing Imposter about that at all.

Are You An Imposter?2021-07-07T16:38:44-04:00

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

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

Personal Growth

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

Grab That Notebook

Personal Growth

I’m thankful that I came across an article a few years back where Richard Branson had mentioned that he carried around a notebook to jot things down from time to time because he didn’t want to forget them. I never really thought of doing that in the past. I’d have ideas, thoughts, observations, etc and they’d come and go without any real consideration if they could turn useful down the road.

I decided about 18 months ago to order a couple of notebooks from Amazon (here are the ones I got) to start this process and try to form a habit around carrying it from various meetings or writing it in when ideas pop in my head.

It’s been a gamechanger!

I write down all types of notes from meetings with mentors, business ideas, or just a quote I see online that piqued my interest.  Having these jotted down has helped me stop worrying if I was missing out on an idea but what it has done more than anything is to help organize thoughts that I had in the past and then reference them to see how I’ve grown. Things like what I thinking then, why was it important, what could I learn from it today that I didn’t learn during that time. It allows me to recalibrate in more real-time as I look at where I could have altered course or made a better decision.

This seems a bit old school with all of the digital options out there but just the feel of the pen and paper helps me remember things easier and gives me quick access since it is normally next to my computer or in my backpack. 

Simple thought and idea but I know I personally lacked this understanding and notes I wrote down on a scratch pad would get lost or I’d just listen to a discussion and never fully absorb all the main points. I’d loved to have looked back 10-15 years and see what I was thinking then.

If you are looking to organize ideas and have a roadmap from where you’ve come from then I’d encourage you to take Richard Branson’s advice and carry a notebook around wherever you go. I hope it helps you on your journey!

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

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Grab That Notebook2021-03-19T10:42:24-04:00

Can Your Motivation Be Forced?

Personal Growth

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

Personal Growth

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

Personal Growth

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

Personal Growth

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” 

Personal Growth

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

4 Things People Should Do Before Ever Reading A Sales Book

Personal Growth

Before you go grab the latest and greatest sales book, understand you already have most of what you need to be successful at sales. You’ll learn a ton through experimental trial and error but I think a few suggestions below can get you started on an easier path as well.

In my opinion, I believe there are a lot of things early on that make sales hard for newer folks that don’t have to. 

There is:

  • Too much information – product knowledge, value statements, sales playbooks and frameworks
  • Too much bad direction – poor training, unproven sales templates, bad call scripts
  • Bruised confidence – Overwhelming expectations, high activity metrics, poor personality fit in the role

There are good intentions behind all of these, especially from organizations facilitating these practices, but oftentimes it comes in the form of misguided or misinterpreted information and that can cause a lot of uncertainty and anxiety for reps, especially new to the game. Now, throw in all of the sales books out there that sales reps are suggested as they start down this path. A lot of this information and the strategies or practices are outdated and what has worked for some that wrote the books may not work for all using its teachings.

I personally believe there are other things you can do first to help you get on your way and be a more well-rounded sales professional.

Learn How To Write

Most sales are done through phone or email so those are the two powerhouses, to begin with. This is not about “sales tactics” or anything like that. This is about proper grammar, word usage, paragraph length, bullet points, and all other things around professional writing. It’s vital because you will write thousands of emails and other documents in your career. Learn how to write in a clearer form and this will help when you start slipping in your sales language. Also, it translates well into your spoken word.

My Suggestion: First, I’d take a few writing courses online for free or jump on YouTube and type in How To Write Better.  It also doesn’t hurt to download the Grammarly plugin for Chrome as this will help instantly as you begin to type. Next, I’d look at the emails you write to people and which ones tend to get the most positive responses. Remember, the tone is very tough to pick up in an email so how you write can be taken in multiple ways if not structured correctly. That’s why I say positive responses. Also, emails tend to grab your attention from people. Are they short, bulleted, bolded, etc? Chances are, if they catch your eye then they probably will to your future clients as well. 

Learn How To Listen

Listening is hard and can be much harder when you are trying to think about the next question to ask without paying attention to someone. Stop that. You’ll have plenty of time to ask questions and a gentle pause isn’t so bad. Being able to dissect a conversation and pick up the undertones of the language as well as the social awareness piece all at once is a masterful skill to have. 

My Suggestion: There are a lot of ways to do this and it could be as simple as turning on a Podcast to try and observe the conversation or you might call a friend or family member and interview them. Try to catch yourself when you lose focus and attention as well as when you start to think ahead too much and forget to stay present in the discussion.  It can be much easier to lose focus over the phone without someone watching you being visibly distracted so keep an eye on this.

Learn How To Learn

When was the last time you actually learned something new that you knew nothing about the topic beforehand? It’s a No for most people, too. However, the great thing is you can start today. Pick something you are curious about and learn about it. For instance, during my Dozen Months of Discovery, I learned Spanish for a whole month. My sessions with the tutor were really difficult especially the first few days but it got me attentive and feeling like a beginner learner again. You may even sign up to do a demo of a product you are interested in. Whatever gets you into the mindset of knowing nothing and then having to take in information for the first time.

My Suggestion: When you are demoing a product, think of the person on the other end that has no idea what your product does, how it could help them, or is able to visualize use cases to help a problem they might not even know they have. You have to do a great job of communicating properly and simply and your messaging has to help them come along for the ride otherwise you’ll lose them. By going through this prior, you’ll be able to anticipate the challenges the future client might have during the call and it will help you navigate better. (i.e- Slowing down, fewer mouse clicks, reiterating key points, pausing to ask questions and get clarity, etc.

Learn How To Get Uncomfortable

The best sales reps and leaders I’ve been around have taught me how important it is to “own the room” in any conversation. Sales conversations can get uncomfortable really quickly. You need to be confident in yourself and believe that the product can truly help the client to solve a problem they have. This is tough when you are new to sales because you get nervous or timid or fearful or (insert appropriate word here). Heck, even I have these feelings every now and then and I’ve been doing this for a dozen years.  

My suggestion: Figure out how to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Put yourself into situations when you get really nervous or anxious and try to navigate yourself through that process. Even if it’s a big struggle, you’ve grown a bit and it will help you on the next try. This could be as simple as asking a person out on a date randomly that you see out somewhere, taking an Improv class, or signing up for a Public Speaking course. Many of these options cost minimal dollars and the experience gained is priceless. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to deliberate skill practice and the beauty of all of these is that whether you choose to remain in sales or not, these are very transferable in almost any other career you go into.

So, think a bit differently as you look at a sales role. This can be valuable for anyone doing sales especially entrepreneurs or company founders and, yes, even seasoned sales professionals. You should always be looking to refine your skills and improve your communication and I hope some of this guidance will be a big help in your life.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions and I’m happy to be a resource.

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

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4 Things People Should Do Before Ever Reading A Sales Book2021-03-19T10:43:06-04:00

Why Everyone Should Start A Podcast Tomorrow

Personal Growth

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

Personal Growth

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

Personal Growth

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

Personal Growth

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

Writing A Book In 30-Days

Personal Growth

Well, I knew it would happen at some point and my impulses to jump on a new idea would shake up my Dozen Months of Discovery.

It’s actually a great lesson to follow your feelings and passion and don’t be stuck in a certain path just because that’s what was initially scripted.

Originally, when I planned out my twelve months I had April slated as a month where I was going to learn the Ukelele. Solid choice and it was going to allow me to be that “beginner learner” again like I experienced in March learning Spanish. However, as I spoke with a friend and editor of a book I had been thinking about writing, it was determined that maybe the best thing to do was to put a time window into play and just get it done because it can be very easy to procrastinate especially when writing a book.

So, I took a short look into the future and said “Adios, Ukelele, and hello Book writing!”.

Little did I know the path it would take me down.

As I rounded out March and already had some ideas and notes down for the book I intended to write, one focused on the Just Get Started mission, I stopped myself and really thought about the path I was going down.

This is where self-awareness comes in.

My mission is to help the next generations of our world through earlier self-discovery about themselves and the world around them. This book idea was geared toward that but I had a change of heart.

So, I pivoted and started writing a fictional book taking the elements of the non-fiction book I was going to write and turn it into a story about a boy learning entrepreneurship at an earlier age. I had the idea finally and started writing. I scripted out notes, had the plot laid out, and began on my way. But there was just one problem…I couldn’t stop thinking about rhyming.

See, I am already in the process of publishing my first children’s book called “Luke’s First Round Of Golf” and finishing up on the illustrations as I type this. I couldn’t help but think; maybe this is my “thing.” Maybe someday I’ll write a longer story but I love the rhyming aspect of children’s books, I always have. I love rhyming, in general, having been a fan of the greats of Hip Hop all my life. It’s in my DNA.

So, after a second pivot one week into April I began freestyling on this book.

What did I learn through this process

  1. Go with your gut, sometimes it is always leading you in the right direction
  2. If you are not truly invested in something, you won’t get your best work. Don’t settle for something you deem so important
  3. Be patient – some days you don’t have your best stuff. Even Michael Jordan had off shooting nights. 
  4. Hold yourself accountable to finish – There are a lot of ways to weasel out of things and put it off until later but later sometimes never comes. Get back on the horse and ride and finish what you started. Parkinson’s Law works well here “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”

To listen to the audio version of this with some extra tangents and insights you can go here -> Writing A Book In 30 Days Podcast Episode or listen on any major podcasting platform you choose.

Writing A Book In 30-Days2021-03-19T10:42:27-04:00

When Was The Last Time You Quit?

Personal Growth

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

Dozen Months of Discovery – One Mic with Brian Ondrako

BRIAN ONDRAKO

ONE MIC: Dozen Months of Discovery

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This One Mic Session is a Reboot of an idea I tried 2 years ago…but just like life, sometimes excuses clutter your vision and momentum to accomplish things. So, it’s back to stay! The Dozen Months of Discovery.

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 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 is your mindset and focus on accomplishing the challenge must be present everyday. 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 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 a new skill and become good at it. So, how long would that take?

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.

Finally, each month you need to pick a goal that will be the accomplishment you are trying to achieve 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 push yourself.

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. Some other ideas I have are Stretching for 1-hour each day for a month and learning a new language over the course of a month. The list is still getting worked out and look forward to any suggestions!

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.

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Dozen Months of Discovery – One Mic with Brian Ondrako2021-03-19T10:42:28-04:00

My Journey to Intermittent Fasting – One Mic with Brian Ondrako

BRIAN ONDRAKO

ONE MIC: My Journey to Intermittent Fasting

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This One Mic session covers some of my journey with nutrition and how I started Intermittent Fasting and the things I’ve learned along the way.

I’m not a Doctor or Nutritionist but I’ve worked a lot off logic in my life and this seems like the proper approach for where I wanted to take my fitness and nutrition into the future.

If interested, just type in “Intermittent Fasting” into google and read some articles or watch some videos. There are a variety out there so I won’t guide in too many directions but just explore and make your own decisions and I’d encourage to always consult your doctor.

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My Journey to Intermittent Fasting – One Mic with Brian Ondrako2021-03-19T10:42:28-04:00

Donating a Kidney with Special Guest Doug Neumann

BRIAN ONDRAKO

ONE MIC: Donating a Kidney with Special Guest Doug Neumann

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Another One Mic Session in the books and this time I bring on a special guest in former Podcast guest Doug Neumann (Episode 57). Doug recently did something that I think many of us would never consider, he gave away 1 of his kidneys.

I was so excited to learn more about this story and the process involved with it I had to do a separate episode on this topic alone.

Doug was given a lot of help and guidance locally by UNC Hospital and if you wanted to learn more about donating a Kidney check out the link below:

UNC Hospital – Become a Donor – https://www.uncmedicalcenter.org/uncmc/care-treatment/transplant-care/kidney-transplant/become-a-living-donor/

Hope you all enjoy it!

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Donating a Kidney with Special Guest Doug Neumann2021-03-19T10:42:28-04:00

Selling Like a Human – One Mic with Brian Ondrako

BRIAN ONDRAKO

ONE MIC: Selling Like a Human

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On this episode of the One Mic series I start the conversation around Sales especially as it relates to people who have never had to “sell” before. This idea was originated from a great conversation I had up at the Next Gen Summit in NYC this past weekend. A lot of Start-up Founders have many talents and skills but one of the challenges a lot have is actually understand sales and the sales process of pitching VC’s, selling their first clients, etc.

I’m going to turn this into a multi-part series but wanted to give a taste of how I look at Sales and what has helped me become successful in the world of Sales.

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Selling Like a Human – One Mic with Brian Ondrako2021-03-19T10:42:29-04:00

Gratitude…It Just Matters – One Mic with Brian Ondrako

BRIAN ONDRAKO

ONE MIC: Gratitude…It Just Matters

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On this One Mic session I go a bit deep on how lucky we all are to even be on this planet and have the opportunities that we do. What type of outlook do you want to take into each and every day of your life…positive or negative? A lot of that starts with gratitude.

Here is a link to that article I was referencing -> Link here

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Gratitude…It Just Matters – One Mic with Brian Ondrako2021-03-19T10:42:29-04:00

Getting Started and Sticking With It – One Mic with Brian Ondrako

BRIAN ONDRAKO

ONE MIC: Getting Started and Sticking With It 

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On this One Mic Session I talk a bit about the journey to getting started with whatever you are trying to tackle and share some insights to set you up for success early on and keep it going. I share some insights I’ve learned from over the years and from my many guests I’ve interviewed and hopefully some of the tips will be helpful for your journey.

Here is a link to the Josh Kaufman TED talk I reference -> https://youtu.be/5MgBikgcWnY

 

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Getting Started and Sticking With It – One Mic with Brian Ondrako2021-03-19T10:42:29-04:00

Vulnerability Creates Opportunity – One Mic with Brian Ondrako

BRIAN ONDRAKO

ONE MIC: Vulnerability Creates Opportunity

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Pheww…My first One Mic Session is in the books. Excited to start sharing some insight and thoughts with the audience and I hope you all enjoy my perspective and have some takeaways.from this one.

If it was good, please let me know. If it is was horrible, please let me know that too!

For those that wanted to watch the Steve Jobs video where I referenced the quote from – here it is -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvEiSa6_EPA&feature=youtu.be

 

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Vulnerability Creates Opportunity – One Mic with Brian Ondrako2021-03-19T10:42:29-04:00

Goal Setting 101

It is easy to play this game and get frustrated when things done go well.  It’s tough, however; to be mad when there is no achievable goal in mind.  Let me explain further what I am speaking of.

It is difficult to know where you want to go in the game of golf without having a REACHABLE goal……Hitting the ball consistent, or putting better, or being more accurate are not reachable goals.

How can you track what hitting the ball consistent means?  How do you know if your putting better?  How is your accuracy better?  Go the extra step and write down exactly what you mean.  And then own it!  Then we you succeed you know you’ve truly succeeded.

So, let’s get more defined.  Let’s taking accuracy for example.  How can we make it more defined?

How about: I want to hit MORE fairways, or I would like to hit MORE greens in regulation, or I would like to limit my hazard penalties.  See these are all achievable.  If you normally hit only 3 out of 14 fairway a round and with practice and lessons you can now hit 7 then that is a goal reached.

This should also be down with your score too.  It doesn’t matter how you get there.  If your goal is to break a 100 then go and break 100 whichever way possible.  If that means hitting iron off the 18th tee to avoid water then do it.   There are only numbers on the scorecard.  Who cares how it is done.

Set your goals and work hard to achieve them.  If they are achieved, then you can look in the mirror and be proud.  If they weren’t achieved then you still have to look in that same mirror and question why?  Was the goal too extreme to begin with or did you not work hard enough?

Set your goals and get it done!  You’ll be happier on the course and be able to track improvements.

Goal Setting 1012021-03-19T10:42:30-04:00
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