You Should be the Hardest Worker in the Room

Why you should be the hardest worker in the room

Listen, no one is going to do the work for you. Every day is a new day and trust me, it doesn’t always feel like it’s getting easier. In fact, some days it can feel like you’ve taken 3,000 steps backward and it’s harder than it’s ever been. Feeling that? Why put in so much work then?

You put in the work because it DOES get easier. You put in the work because the bad days are just that… bad days. Even when you are feeling like you haven’t made any progress whether it’s in the gym, in school, or at your work, you’ve made the progress.

I like to talk about the power of compound interest. Compound interest is a great financial tool, but you’d be surprised how much you can leverage it in your daily habits and life as well. All it takes is a little more effort today than it did yesterday. If it’s harder than it was yesterday to do half the work, so what? If it feels hard, then you’re doing something right, just keep at it.

My promise to you is that if you keep up the hard work, even when it feels like it’s too much, you’re going to cross over that hump and you’re going to enter into a world of infinite possibility.

How to Leverage Compound Interest in Life

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ok, so how do you leverage compound interest in life? The math on this is easy.

If you are working an 8 hour day, work 1 more length longer. Maybe you work 15 minutes more today than you did yesterday. The next week, work 30 minutes longer. I guarantee you that extra work doesn’t feel as hard as it did when you first tried it.

Just tell yourself… one more.

How about at the gym? If you’re doing 20 reps, I want you to do just one more! Go for 21. Does it burn? Does it feel like too much? Great! It’s not too much, it’s just one more!

Being the hardest worker in the room means you have to be willing to cross the barrier of what you thought was possible. Remember, it’s not what you were born with, it’s all about what you’re mindset is and how hard you’re willing to work for it.

I’m going to give you my secret to staying motivated. Watch this video. In fact, save this video and play it every day. Maybe you move on to other motivational videos after that, but I can tell you that if you put the time in to grow your mind and change your mindset, you will change your life.

Ben Lionel Scott on YouTube

Affirmations to Work Harder

Looking for a way to challenge yourself to work harder? Try these affirmations to work harder and see where they take you…

  1. I AM the hardest worker in the room.
  2. I AM embracing pain.
  3. I AM unafraid to grind everyday.
  4. I AM doing one more of everything I do.
  5. I AM pushing past any limits.
  6. I AM enjoying the process.

Stay motivated and stay strong. Remember, not every day is going to feel like the best day. Those are the days that you will progress the most.

What Does Grind Mean in Life?

The word grind means a lot of things in our culture, but what does grind mean in life? It clicked for me finally what this word really means and how we can apply it to our lives. You hear entrepreneurs and athletes say it all the time – they’re in the grind. I’v even been saying it a lot lately!

Can anyone find their grind? I’ve been doing a lot of deeper thinking lately. Critically asking myself questions of how or why we do certain things. When it comes to self development, I really wonder if every person is able to find their grind, or if it’s reserved for people who have a certain trait.

For example, if you’re someone who seeks spontaneity, then do you find yourself able to get into the grind? Or, if you’re someone who enjoys doing something different every day rather than repetition, do you avoid “the grind” altogether?

First, let’s start by answering the most important question.

What does grind mean in life?

Per Google’s definition, the grind in life meaning is: “hard dull work.” Isn’t that negative! But, just wait… Miriam Webster Dictionary defines it as: “dreary, monotonous, or difficult labor, study, or routine“. Now that is pretty unfortunate.

It’s unfortunate because so many of us our programmed now to think that “difficult labor, study or routine” is negative. Why must it be dreary or dull? Why can’t repetitive work just be that, monotonous and hard. Should’t we decide whether the monotonous, hard work is dreary or not?

In fact, that’s exactly what we have to do to ensure the grind continues to hone us. We have to be willing to do the hard work every day to get better at something and to grow. If we aren’t willing to do that, or we shy away from the grind because of a negative connotation then we are doing ourselves a disservice.

What if the grind is something we need in our life? Then, we need to change the way we define it and the way we view it.

Repetition

Students working hard at their skills. Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Repetition is key to getting better at something. You’ve heard the term “practice makes perfect”. This is the more simplified version of that statement. Just do the hards things every day over and over and over again until one day you wake up and that hard thing is no longer so hard anymore.

Repeating the task or the effort will eventually lead to an outcome. Really, just think about probability. If you roll a dice over again, repeatedly until you get the outcome you want, it will happen. It may take a lot longer than you expected, but there’s a chance every time when you roll that dice that you’re going to land on the outcome.

As with probabilities, there’s a guaranteed chance you will get your outcome if you just try and you put in the effort to keep trying. Whether you’re learning a new subject or trying to accomplish a goal, the outcome will happen. You don’t know when, but you have to keep going. This work state, this effort phase is really what entrepreneurs and athletes, creatives, and other people who recognize you have to hone a skill call “the Grind.”

Small Tasks Turn into Big Changes

A critical part of the grind you have to remember is that it doesn’t always happen in large, massive moments. The daily grind is a series of small tasks that turn into something bigger over time. As you know, you can’t transform overnight. But, a series of small changes can lead to something really wonderful.

As the dictionary would tell us, this grind isn’t so easy. You may find it incredibly dull. You might actually call it “dreary” if you use that term, and I would say that some days it does feel that way. But, if I’ve learned anything over the last 22 days of the new year, it’s that each day is what we decide to make of it.

We can wake up and dread the grind and the work we have to put in, or we can celebrate it and push through it. It’s all about our mindset when it comes to these repetitive tasks each day. They won’t be as exciting on the 20th day as they were on the first when you were just getting started. So, how do you keep going?

It’s all about mindset! On that note, I’ll leave you with this video that has really transformed the way I look at the grind. If you’re aiming to achieve something, I hope you find this helpful to achieving your dreams.

Join the 5 AM Club – How to Make Waking Up Earlier Easier

Hey everyone – I’m recruiting! Really… it’s for this cool new club that gets the day started before the sun even thinks about rising. We do fun things like workout in a quiet gym, grab coffee in an empty coffee shop, get emails sorted before anyone has a chance to fill up the inbox, and most importantly, we spend time with ourselves.

Waking up earlier doesn’t just literally add hours to your day to get things done, but it also is better for your health. As an early morning workout enthusiast, I find that my body actually burns more calories throughout the day. I’m more energized, more alert, and I’m not as frantic trying to pack in all the important tasks while juggling work.

So, this is my recruiting pitch. If you’re not open to it now, I hope you’ll take some time to consider. Maybe even just start small – it’s amazing what 15 minutes can do!

Check out my Instagram for motivation.

Tips for Waking Up Earlier

So, you think it’s too hard? Well, maybe you haven’t found the right method to help you get started. I’m sure you’ve heard people say, just wake up 5 minutes earlier every day. Eventually, your body will naturally begin waking up earlier. While yes, it can be that simple, we all have those days where it just isn’t enough. You have to dig deeper, have a better strategy and be ready to fight the mental fog that will inevitably try to convince you to stay in bed.

  1. Find your why.
  2. Develop a routine.
  3. Create a mantra or adopt a strategy.
  4. Stick with it for two weeks.

Your Reason for Waking Up Earlier

I’m a big a fan of finding your why. Whether it’s a purpose for working out or purpose for getting more time back in your day, the reason for waking up earlier is the most critical to finding success. So, what’s your why?

Figure out the why that motivates you to move. Something has to rock you out of bed every morning, even on the days when it’s too difficult to get up. My why is made up of a few things that leads to a talk track in the mornings. See, you are your worst enemy every morning. Either you wake up with a positive mentality or you fall prey to a mindset that will slow you down.

When I wake up, the first thing I think about is what happens if I don’t. The implication of not getting out of bed when my alarm goes off at 4:15 is that if I stay too long I may miss a workout for the day, I may not get in those good feelings I get when I’m done with the gym, but most importantly, I may not get time to do something I love. I may not be able to go for a run or sit down and write a blog. Some days, I have a lot of work to do and my career, plus my side hustles like this blog and another business I’m helping to build may not get my attention because I have other priorities.

I’ve found my flaw – I’m inherently a person who hates letting other people down. And even worse, I hate letting myself down. So, I MUST wake up. I MUST get started early. Find yours.

An Early Morning Routine and Your Strategy

In addition to finding your why, make a routine and have a strategy. One of my favorite quotes says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” My way of looking at life is all about strategy. When you don’t have a way to tackle a challenge or a method to follow, you are likely going to fail. If you need a strategy for getting out of bed try following this sequence:

Alarm Goes Off
Talk Track: Tell yourself your Why.
Strategy: Avoid negative thoughts by counting backward from 5.
Movement: Stand up and get out of bed.
Talk Track: Tell yourelf your Why.

From there, you are well on your way to the rest of your day. Remember, what you tell yourself and the words you use are critical. If you let a negative thought creep in, then you’ll be a victim to your own mind. You must battle it and having a strategy is the only way you’re going to win.

Forming an Early Morning Habit

When you’ve developed your strategy, you’ve honed in on your why, and you’ve identified all the ways you’re going to make yourself successful at waking up earlier, the next step is creating a habit. The only way you’re going to make this last is if you do the work to stick with it for two weeks.

These are going to be the hardest two weeks, but it’s so important to not give up. Two weeks or 21 days is all it takes to form a new habit. Then, it gets easier. In fact, once you stick it out, you should be able to make your routine stick through even the toughest, darkest, coldest days. Just remember to follow your strategy.

What are you waiting for? Write down your strategy today when you have a few minutes, then get started tomorrow. There’s no time like now!

Seeking Authenticity

An original poem about authenticity.

I love myself she said.
All the eyes darted toward her.
I’m unscripted she said.
Her papers flew out in every direction.
Stumbling through the room, gravity felt heavy.

I need to get some air she said.
Whispers filled the quietness like waves crashing on the shore.
There’s nothing here for me she said.
With a last glance back at envious, interested eyes, she walked into the distance.
Many are left behind when you pursue your truth.

Becoming an Authentic Self

As I looked up the definition of authentic, I had a really hard time with the dictionary. First, there are several sources that have a little bit of a different flare. My favorite out of all them was : of undisputed origin; genuine. This is just the definition you get from searching on Google, but out of them all it felt as if it carried the most weight. There is something about “undisputed” that really resonated.

Think for a moment about who you are. What is your identity? Where do you come from? What do you stand for? These elements of you are, these should be characteristics of your person that are truly undisputed. Miriam Webster defines authentic as : true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character. That’s fine I suppose, sure be true to your own, but now consider being undisputedly genuine. Like no one and no thing could argue that’s truly who you are.

Today felt like a good day to reflect on what makes me feel undisputedly like myself. As I continue to work on who I AM, writing out my identify and what I believe I stand for today, I think I struggle a bit like most people with what is genuinely me. I actually think with so much that I’ve done over the last several years of my life, I lost a little bit of what made me authentic.

It’s not an easy realization. It’s actually quite sad. But, slowly, as I’ve repaired my own brokenness and focused on gratitude, blessing and self growth, I’ve come to find pieces of me that make me more authentic than ever. There’s just one last task that remains when you begin to find your authentic self – you must fight to keep it.

Fight for all you have to stay genuine and authentic. Whether it’s using your voice, questioning your behaviors, denying the temptations or the allure of what others are trying to get you to do and say. These are all the battles we must face each day to stay real to ourselves.

Today, I”m reflecting on my genuine self. I’m defining my identity in detail. One thing I know I am for sure is a writer. I love to write. I’m passionate about words and what they mean. So, the poem I wrote above is real, it’s authentic. And although one of my greatest fears is sharing the writing I do for some weird human psychological reasons I can’t begin to unfold, I know that my only way through the fear is by just letting it free.

Just like the girl in the poem, when you pursue what is real to you – it often means you leave a lot in your wake. Whether that’s people or things, usually it’s for the best. Shedding those layers makes us more of who we are, but we have to be willing to let it all go for the pursuit of who we truly are.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or find me on Instagram at IntentlyAmy.

75 HARD: 75 Days of Mental and Physical Growth

When I first learned about 75 Hard – a super 75 day challenge created by Andy Frisella – I didn’t actually stop to look up how it was supposed to work. I simply learned about the rules from a friend, made up some of my own rules, and dove right in. It wasn’t because I wasn’t interested in the real rules, rather I was so excited I didn’t even realize that it was a legitimate program that people are doing all over the world.

So, about 14 days into my new life, feeling empowered, kind of achy, and mentally fresh, I looked up the “the 75 hard challenge” and the first link I saw was Frisella’s text heavy explanation. It felt a little dicey at first, with big disclaimers and a sort of raw web page that didn’t feel legitimate. But, then I realized, this program is so much different than I thought. The words that stuck out to me at the very top of his website say:

“THIS IS NOT A FITNESS PROGRAM

75 HARD IS A TRANSFORMATIVE MENTAL TOUGHNESS PROGRAM”

Source: https://andyfrisella.com/pages/75hard-info

Well if that doesn’t pique your interest… So, I dove deeper and what this program claims to do is change your life completely. And, who wouldn’t want that? Things from being better friends and family members, to getting raises at work, and becoming more confident, are the outcomes Frisella says are possible when you take part in the 75 Hard program.

Opinions on 75 Hard

Then something interesting happened. I continued my research, scrolling down the search results page only to find one negative article after another. Now, I’m 23 days into this program and yes, it’s hard. I’m tired. My body is sore all over and I can’t get enough sleep right now. But, I feel amazing! I am balancing everything in my life to a point where I’m able to do more, I have more self-confidence than ever, and I actually wake up and crave my daily routine of positive affirmations and motivational “priming”. I’ll get to my routines in another blog.

So, why are all these big media sites bashing the 75 hard challenge? I’ve concluded it’s because people don’t understand what it takes to transform yourself. One of the caveats of the program is to select a diet program and stick with it for the 75 days. Now, when people are desperate to make changes, they sometimes rush to do the most drastic thing they can. Well, that’s a surefire way to get yourself into a mess fast. Everyone is well aware that yo-yo dieting is a real thing and that intense changes to your diet or fitness routines are not sustainable. They can lead to health problems and opposite intended effects on your body like fat and weight gain.

Hence, the negativity surrounding 75 Hard. Since you get to choose your own diet, you can be make this terrible decision and it’s easy if you don’t do your research first! If you’re choosing a drastic diet plan and a drastic fitness plan, then yes you may be making this 75 days more dangerous than it needs to be. However, that’s not the point of a 75 day challenge. So, there are some different ways to think about it and make this a more positive, safe program. (Why don’t writers ever speak to the positive things?!)

Forming Life-Long Habits

75 days is a long time! That’s over two months of consistently doing the same activities day in and day out to expand your mind and grow your mental fortitude. They say it takes just 21 days to create a new habit… well that’s actually a bit of a myth. There are several articles now backed by scientific studies that prove it can take about 66 days or 2 months. So, during this 75 days, you’re creating completely new habits for yourself. Imagine, just 75 days and even if you just wanted to make one positive change – you can do it. That’s so empowering to think about!

The most important thing someone could do when preparing for the challenge is decide on the most sustainable habits to create life-changing results and not contribute to dangerous behaviors. I mean let’s be honest, if you do something consistently for 75 days, there is no doubt you’re going to see some change! But, you also must be able to stick with it.

So, my positive spin on the 75 Hard challenge isn’t to warn people of the potential dangers and pitfalls. I’d rather encourage people to choose something that’s simple and accomplishable in 75 days. Remember, it’s every single day for over 2 months. You have to mentally commit to that change and when you do, it can be so powerful. It doesn’t have to be a crash diet or impossible calorie restriction because 75 days is enough time for any small diet changes to show big results.

Plus, you’ll get so addicted to the feeling of just being stronger, smarter, clearer in thought, that you’ll want to do more than 75 days anyway. Think about this for the long haul…

I’m interested in your opinions! Leave a comment or let’s chat on Instagram @IntentlyAmy!

Les Brown Speaks to Me: Finding Motivation

A wise friend has said to me multiple times he needs motivation every single day to get going. There is no day that doesn’t start with a routine that opens his mind to new ideas, inspires good ‘ole hard work, and encourages him to get moving. That sat with me. Then, I adopted that same thought process. Now, it drives me and has opened my mind to achieving more than I ever thought possible.

It now surprises me when someone says they don’t need motivation. I’m a pretty active and “busy” person. Not only am I working a full-time at a start-up tech company that I’m 200% invested in helping grow, but I also have a side hustle consulting for small businesses on marketing, and I’m getting my Master’s in Business Administration. Plus, I workout at least 7 times a week and dedicate at least an hour every day to development and growth, like learning to play guitar or reading up on the latest technology and business news.

However, I don’t wake up every day powered up and fueled, ready to take on everything. It takes a spark, a jolt of inspiration to get going and find the energy to do it all. For me, Les Brown’s inspiring stories or a few videos on the Motivate App are what get me going each morning while I drive to the gym or while I sit in the sauna. (Les Brown’s the Power of Purpose literally brings me so much joy.) Finding what speaks to you is an important part of the process… so we’ll get there. But first it’s seeking that inspiration.

The way I think about it is that I don’t have to muster up all the energy in the world to get my day started at 100% effort. All I have to do is have enough energy to roll out of bed, put my clothes on, and be open to receiving motivation. If I can open my phone and just watch one of those videos or listen to Les speak, then it happens…. my brain powers up and my gears start turning. And, after that you can’t stop me! It even gives me physical energy to push through tough workouts.

Today’s blog is just to inspire you to think about things differently. Are you someone who doesn’t believe you need motivation? Have you ever considered adding “getting motivation” as the number one thing on your to-do list each day? Perhaps a shift in that mindset could lead to something great.

The Excuses for Avoiding Motivational Content

Among some of my favorite reasons people avoid motivational content are:

  1. “I don’t need motivation. I’m happy the way I am.”
  2. “That stuff is a bunch of BS. No one really needs that to be successful.”
  3. “My life is great. I don’t need anything else, so why would I seek out motivation?”

So, what if we rejected these beliefs? What if we accepted instead that we are not as powerful as we think we are? That even though our lives are wonderful, they can always be better. We can always be better and share that light with others.

Our brains are powerful networks and the science behind motivation is actually quite interesting. Today, I challenge you to just CONSIDER. In the next few blogs, I’ll explore the science behind motivation, my habits with motivation, and great ideas for seeking motivation. For now, just consider what would happen if you sought out motivation first thing every morning.

Whether it’s an inspirational quote, a series of affirmations, or a hyper-charged pump up video, just consider shifting your mindset to accepting a different way of starting your day. Then, grow from there.

Plant the seed. Watch it grow.

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How To Write Your Vision Statement

In my last blog, I explained what vision casting is and how to use it to guide your life path. In this post, I’ll share exactly how to create that vision statement and what the process takes.

As I mentioned before, this is a pretty creative process. Writing a vision statement takes reflection, brainstorming, and a lot of critical thinking. If this isn’t something you’re used to doing, then it may feel a little uncomfortable at times.

Be willing to take a risk with your vision statement. Step outside of your comfort zone and really dig deep for what it is you want out of your life. So, as you get started, preparing to write your vision out, be sure to think about the basics of a vision.

I’ll write these out in question form so you can come back and ask yourself these questions along the way.

  1. What are the emotions and sentiments you would like to feel about your life and your journey? ie. “I am proud” or “I am amazed
  2. What impact do you want to make on the world?
  3. Where do you imagine yourself being and who are you surrounded by?
  4. Is there a certain thing you want people to remember you for?
  5. What is life like for you in 15 – 20 years?

The Steps of Vision Casting

To vision cast properly, you need to be prepared to look beyond your present situation. Remember, that a vision is something you aspire to create. It’s a place you want to be, not something you already have achieved. That’s what so magical about a vision. You have to believe that anything is possible.

To think through your personal vision, there are three simple steps. Each step in your vision process can be done throughout your day, or at an optimal time when you feel you have the most peace.

The important part of this is being sure that you have time to clearly think through what you actually want. You need to be able to spend time with yourself in an uninterrupted space, even if it’s just for 10 – 15 minutes.

  1. Let Your Creativity Flow
  2. Let Your Ideas Settle
  3. Write it Down and Reflect

Let’s dive deeper into each step.

The First Step of Vision Casting

The first step to crafting the perfect vision is the exploration phase. Some people consider this brainstorming or ideation, but it doesn’t matter what you call it. The only important part of this phase is that you write down every possibility of what you want for your future.

You see, most people don’t really know what they want. They want everything. Sure, it all sounds good. But, that’s not realistic. You need your version of the best possible outcome, so that it’s clear in your life path.

If you’re uncomfortable writing statements, or don’t have a lot of experience writing, then just bullet point out your answers. Be as specific as possible and write every single idea down, even if at the moment you know it’s not right. You’ll have time to sort that out later.

The Second Step of Vision Casting

After you’ve written down all your thoughts, the next step is let it all sit for a while. Yes, that means leave all your thoughts on that piece of paper or notepad or document on your laptop and move on for a bit. The most critical thing you can do in your process is to allow your brain to really process it all.

Processing your vision will give your brain time and space to clarify. I highly recommend meditating on the ideas that you brainstormed. Take time to sit in a quiet space, close your eyes, and reflect on the ideas you have for your future.

The Third Step of Vision Casting

it’s time to start writing your statement out. Keep in mind that your vision statement can change. You can evolve.

The structure of a vision statement is pretty simple. It’s your end state, your impact, your surroundings, and finally your time frame.

In most vision statements, the time frame is not really mentioned, but I really believe a personal vision statement should have an understanding of when it’s occurring. As you get older, you’ll create new vision statements for further in your life. It’s essential to always have a goal for where you want to go.

As you write out your vision statement, make sure it’s clear. Write it down on paper and put it somewhere where you can reference it maybe once a week or if you’re feeling committed, every day. I wrote my vision statement in my goals and gratitude journal. It’s a simple journal where I write my gratitudes and thoughts each day and I have my vision statement bookmarked to reference.

Enjoy the process!

What is Vision Casting for Personal Growth

In the business world, vision casting is a term used amongst organizational leaders. The leadership at a company may go through a time when they are establishing the vision for the company, which involves writing out a vision statement, making sure their values and daily practices live up to the vision, and helping their employees to see the vision. But, this business practice of vision casting serves a lot of purpose in personal growth as well.

As you learn to live your life more intentionally, you’ll need something to root you. A vision can help you establish goals, find the path you need to take, and keep you centered along the way. In this short blog, I’ll share with you why it’s important to vision cast. Then, in a few follow up blogs I will break down how to write a vision statement, resources to help guide your vision, and my personal journey through vision casting.

Why Vision Casting Works

Diligence is the mother of good luck.

The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (2 ed.), 2006

There are a lot of debates on the internet about whether success is an outcome of luck or a result of hard work. Many people would agree success is guaranteed with hard work, but some do occasionally get lucky. Others, like Malcolm Gladwell would argue that it’s a little bit of both. You need to be in the right place at the right time. There may even be situations in which that path was just not meant for you.

So, what is it that actually makes someone become out-this-world successful and achieve their lifelong dreams? For me, the perfect summation to the factors attributed to success is vision.

The universe is a funny place. We are all connected in some magical way and the thoughts, emotions, and suggestions we put into the world tend to have a way of nudging things along. I don’t believe that we can alter destiny, but I do believe we choose the path we want to take. And it’s simple, it’s with our thoughts.

When we can tap into our thoughts and use them to direct the choices that we make each day, and develop the experiences that happen, then we are becoming more enveloped in our universe. If you’re up for going down this path a little more and reading about how to become “one with the universe” check out the EOC Institute’s blog on using meditation.

So, vision casting works because it drives the focus of your thoughts.

The Basic Architecture of a Vision

There are a few basic elements that make up the structure for a good vision. Of course, you’ll want to write it down, but it may take a while to develop. So, consider this a creative journey. If you’re someone who isn’t really into writing or being creative, use bullet points, short hand writing, and don’t stress too much about how you say something, but more so what it is you’re trying to say.

Remember that a vision is more inspirational and aspirational than it is actionable. It is meant to guide your future and give you purpose and clarity throughout your journey. You should be able to craft actionable goals based on your vision.

A vision is made up of five elements:

  1. A desired end state, which is more than a feeling but includes the state of being you’re in, perhaps values, health, achievements
  2. Your impact on the world around you, or your ultimate contribution
  3. The environment you see yourself in or the people that you’re surrounded by
  4. The values you project long-term, or who people will perceive you as
  5. It’s long term, so it’s aimed at who you are 10 – 20 years from now

I’ll leave you with this final note. A vision statement can be as long or as short as you want it to be. It can be as simple as:

Each day, I wake up with a feeling of pride for my life’s achievements and my family’s impact on the world to make it a better place to live for our future generations.

Short vision statement example

You can imagine with this vision statement above, that this person has a family that is dedicated to helping their community and contributing to society. That is their form of success.

Start to think about your vision and what success looks like to you in your future. If you could look forward to 20 years from now, what would make you feel successful? In the next blog in this series, I’ll explain how to write your perfect (but ever evolving) vision statement.

3 Steps to Making Conscious Choices

What’s the secret to making a choice you’ll never regret? The secret is there is no secret to it… Making choices confidently is done with one simple strategy in mind – think through it thoroughly! I can tell you from personal experience I’ve dealt with both types of choices in my life – the unconscious, the uncertain and on the opposite end, the conscious, the rooted.

Making conscious choices is really the only way to go about life with zero regrets. Otherwise, you’re constantly kicking yourself, wondering what could have been different. How often do you think back on decisions like that? When you’re completely committed to a decision, it changes your perspective completely, even when and if that decision turns out to be the wrong one.

Conscious choice doesn’t keep you from making the wrong decisions. It just helps ensure you’ve made the best decision at that moment for yourself. What comes of that decision is only left then to destiny. Whatever is meant to happen, will happen and at least you’ll feel good that you made the best decision possible.

The 3 Steps to Conscious Choice

When you have a decision to make, it’s always good to lay it all out and take your time. Of course, no one likes indecisiveness and that’s not what this process is meant to do. Indecisiveness is when you can’t make a decision. Conscious choice is the exact opposite of indecisiveness. It’s clarity in making choices and making them with full intent.

However, no one ever said you couldn’t take your time deciding. In fact, even the smallest decisions need room to permeate. Maybe you don’t always have time luxury to make decisions and that’s understandable, but I believe in using the time you do have wisely. Oftentimes, you’ll see that taking your time with a decision actually allows the universe to lay out more cards and create a clearer path for you.

When you have a big decision to make and some time, there are three phases to ensure the best possible outcome.

  1. The Written Problem
    As with any problem, it’s always best to write down your thoughts and situation clearly. Seeing the problem written down allows room for you to think through how you will deal with it. It frees up space to think beyond the idea and on to the alternate realities. Using the choice to be childfree as an example, write down the question, “Should I have children or stay childfree?” Now, you’ve established your problem, and it’s time to explore both realities.
  2. The Alternate Realities
    What happens when you make one decision over another? You only get one chance and one reality to live, so this decision is important. There is no going back, only forward. At this point in your conscious choice, it’s important to consider your alternate realities. You’ve written down the problem or the choices, and now you need to explore them each a bit further. Continue writing down what each reality could look like to you. What are the benefits? What are the consequences? How does each path make you feel?
  3. The Present Factor
    I call this final step the “Present Factor”. The question you should be asking yourself at this point is, what feels right to you at this moment? I can tell you that there are decisions that you either just know are right or know are wrong when you take the time to stop and ask yourself the question. Your intuition is good enough to tell you if you’re on the right path. So, listen to it. A lot of times, people make decisions only to look back and know at that moment they were making the wrong decision.

    Back to our childfree example, if you are not 100% committed to having a child, then why would you make that choice? Your body, your mind, and your soul will tell when the right time is to do something. All you have to do is listen. Let’s use a different example, one that maybe is less life altering.

A Conscious Choice Example

Let’s say you are contemplating looking for a new job. You have a job, and it’s fine. You are pretty content with life at this job. However, you know there is better opportunity out there. Should you start applying for new jobs? (The Problem)

If you started looking for new jobs, it’s likely you’ll need to interview. You’d possibly find something that is more exciting, more pay, and more fulfilling. Or, you could stay. Life is pretty good right now, you make decent pay, and it’s a steady job. (The Alternate Realities)

What is happening right now in your life that is pushing you to have this feeling? Well, you’re bored. You know that job hunting is fairly straightforward, you just need to make a few tweaks to get it right. You have the time right now to pursue this and as you reflected on earlier, there are many benefits and few consequences of finding a new job. (The Present Factor)

After you’ve analyzed all of this, you realize, it is the right time to look for a new job and you can confidently set out on this path to finding the right job.

Conscious choices are simple. They are just decisions made with intent. These choices have purpose and clarity behind them. On the other hand, unconscious choices are made unwillingly. They have no alternate realities, only the one that is destined to be. You trap yourself and limit your potential when you allow a choice to be made for you.

Imagine if you didn’t make the conscious choice to look for a new job. Rather, you just started looking with no plan. You didn’t factor in the present situation you’re in and you overlooked how busy you are getting at work and in your personal life. There’s no way you have time to update your resume, no time to prepare for interviews and the whole situation becomes overwhelming and sloppy.

You’ve now found yourself in a mess of emotions because you didn’t think through the situation. It’s really easy for us as a human race to do things impulsively. We make decisions all the time based just off of our feelings. If you’ve ever put your foot in your mouth, you’re well aware of how condemning this can feel.

With conscious choice, even the little things we do each day become more purposeful and graceful. For small decisions, you can skip writing down the problem, but never skip thinking about the alternate realities or considering how the present situations factors into this decision.

Try this out the next time you’re contemplating a decision and let me know in the comments how you think it worked!

5 Ways to Completely Change Your Day

In 2018, I thought waking up every morning was the hardest thing I had to do. I knew that with every sunrise, there would be heart ache, tears, and an unsurmountable feeling of missing my father. What happened after my dad passed away was a critical turning point in my life, and I truly believe it’s because I chose to do five things that, in their simplicity, never could I have imagined they would be so life altering. That was the most transformational year I’ve ever had.

I think my father’s impact on the world really struck me when I watched a grown man, who I had never met before, weep by father’s bed. He told me that without my dad, he would have never turned his life around after prison. It disturbed him to see such an amazing man be subjected to the cruelty of death by cancer. To this day, I don’t even know what it was that my dad did for him, but I could tell that man was as heartbroken as I was to see such a magical person fade from our world.

When I started to see the impact that my dad had on our neighborhood, his community, his friends, and our family, it was like a light had been taken out of everywhere I went. I went down to tell our local cafe staff that my dad was nearing the end, they all mourned. Our local tailor was distraught. Our neighbors never left our side until my dad finally passed. Every day during that period of time was misery.

If I was feeling this way each day, I couldn’t imagine what my sister and mother were feeling. I knew that I couldn’t fall prey to letting the darkness take me, because one of us had to make sure life moved forward.

Waking up every day with a positive attitude when nothing is wrong in your life, is easily taken for granted. You wake up, you do your routine, you get to work. But, during difficult times, it’s easy to forget how to get going. It’s even easy to forget why you need to get going. Hopelessness is a feeling I never want to welcome back into my life again.

At that time, I had been introduced to a TED Talk speaker and author name Shawn Achor. His book the Happiness Advantage really impacted me and my career during the time when my father was being treated for his cancer. It was difficult to balance a lot of things, but his book taught me to look at the world a little differently.

I came to realize that it’s not what life gives you, because trust me there are going to be a lot of lemons, but it’s how you handle what life gives you. Every bad situation can be flipped. Every horrible feeling can be overcome.

And so, I woke up one day on the couch next to my father’s bed. My mom and I spent nights sleeplessly watching him breathe. I stood up and I promised myself that I was going to do these five simple things every single day and that I would not allow our family to go into a depression or fall into problems because of what we went through. I wrote them down and I remembered my dad telling me to “be brave” before he couldn’t speak anymore.

5 Things to Do Each Morning

The Five Daily Habits

  1. Express Gratitude
    Each day I write down three things I’m grateful for. This is something Shawn Achor taught and I adopted it right away. Three things no matter how big or small, be grateful. Do this even when you don’t feel like writing anything down, it will totally change the rest of your day.
  2. Smile
    As previously mentioned, life is going to kick you in the a$$! That’s true for everyone. Some have it worse than others, but guaranteed that if you don’t appreciate every moment, and put a smile on your face each day, then it will only drag you deeper.
  3. Be Kind
    This is one of the most important things I believe anyone can learn to do. Being kind not just to others, but to your self is the greatest way to invite love and happiness into your life, especially in the bad times. If you’ve ever felt the sting of someone who was not kind to you, just think about how others may have received you. Remember, you don’t need the world to be kind to you first or in return. This is a gift you should learn to give everyone. Being kind to yourself includes eating healthy, meditating, doing yoga, and practicing things that make you feel good.
  4. Remember Your Vision
    On page one of my journal, I wrote down my goals for the next 6 months to 5 years. It’s important to really dig deep. Take an hour of undistracted time to really put some thought into these. Make sure write them down on paper, with a pen. This will help you commit. When you’ve written them all down, be sure to reflect on them at least once a week. Just reading them and remembering your reason for them will help you stay on the right path. It will give every action in your day purpose.
  5. Center Yourself
    Each day, I write down my “Thoughts” underneath my gratitudes list. This is my space for letting go of pent up feelings. It’s where I can brainstorm ideas for this blog, or reflect on events that recently happened. As you write down your thoughts, be as equally committed to sharing the good things as the bad things. If you feel it, share it. Sometimes, I like to go back and see what my train of thought was on a specific day. It helps to see where I was in relation to where I am now. I can tell you, it’s helped me to stay committed to decisions that have been important for me to push on in my life. It’s helped me recognize my priorities, my passions, and what I truly want out of life.

Everything you do in the morning is the setup for what will happen the rest of the day. Remember these 5 things, get a journal and just start at it! My favorite journals are Moleskins. You don’t need prompts or anything too fancy. Just write your goals, your gratitudes and your thoughts. Remember to be kind and wake up with a smile.