5 Steps To Grow From Average To Fortune

Have you ever picked-up a book, gone to a course or delved into some content not known exactly what to expect but expecting it to be good?  Then, once you start you realized you just hit the mother load?

That’s exactly what happened to me a couple of weeks ago when I signed up for Darren Hardy’s “Mentor to the Masters” course.  “Mentor to the Masters” is essentially the curation, collation and packaging of Jim Rhon’s life time body of work by those he mentored in the area of personal growth and development.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but since Jim was a primary mentor to Tony Robbins, Darren Hardy, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hanson, John Maxwell and way too many others to name, I expected it to be good and get some value from it. After all, success leaves clues, right?

What I didn’t realize was just how good…and valuable….this course and collection of content really is.

I now see why he was mentor to so many of these well known giants in the fields of personal growth and development, coaching, and success.  Jim’s presentation style and ability to take foundational principles and truths and put legs on them is extraordinary to say the least.

The jewel I found this week was in a bonus section of the course. It was a simple 13 minute presentation featuring interview footage of Jim that appeared to be from the late 70’s/early 80’s. The presentation was entitled “How to Go From Average To Fortune” and is clearly where the title of this post was taken from.

Here were the 5 nuggets he gave along with some additional commentary:0591 Average2Action II

  1. Get Serious- 10 years from now you will become someone, the question is “who?” and “where?”. Ten years from now, God willing, you will surely arrive.
  2. Get Smart-  Jim said it was much more important to be smart in the present decade then ever before; that was back the late 70’s/80’s! Can you imagine the importance of that today, when we’ve gone beyond the knowledge age into the age of knowledge curation?  Building the discipline of life long-learning…to include journaling and knowledge collection systems…is more important than ever before.
  3. Get Started- It’s not enough to just keep acquiring content. To be effective, you have to actually do something with what your learning. This requires both motivation and design.
  4. Get Excited- Forget the positive thinking and don’t focus on your circumstances. Instead, get excited about your vision or dream and your agency and capacity to do something about it! Anyone can do something to make major changes to their life. An extreme example would be murder: that is one drastic act that in a moment will forever change your life and the life of others…but in a negative direction!!!  Likewise, there are positive actions you can take right now, both small and large, that can be profoundly life changing. Get excited over your capacity and then direct the excitement toward intentional planning and execution on what matters most. Its about excitement, will, and want to…..and having a dream and vision to pull you instead being pushed.
  5. Get Away- This is where you may need to go first to get your dream back or put more defined edges on it. Once done you can set goals around it that then give your dream legs. It’s important that it be life focused and not just work focused; you need to learn how to learn to both live well and earn well. You need to do some growing AWAY from your enterprise so you can come back and grow IN your enterprise. This process of reflection and renewal is pertinent on both a daily as well as intermittent basis.

You may ask “where does the Fortune part come in?!” Good question. Since the concept of “fortune” is similar to “success” and differ for everyone, perhaps the following is the best definition for both: Making progress in the pursuit of meaningful goals. That was Jim’s definition anyway and its one I like it.

Jim’s 5 points are similar to a post I wrote earlier about taking action to get what you want.  The additional insights and perspectives he provides ensure it’s meaningful, sustainable, and energizing. His presentation made these points come alive with through his personality and anecdotes.

The reality is that you can achieve success and satisfaction by taking 5 steps that combine reflection, Hopeful thought, and disciplined action along with regular renewal.

I shared this information with my adult kids during a family meeting shortly after I heard it. The points that made them take sit up, take notice and engage the most were the questions about “who” and “where” they would be 10 years from now.

God willing, 10 years from now you too are going to arrive at someplace one way or the other.  Which of these 5 points do you need to act on now in order to be “who” and “where” you want to be by design when that time arrives? Or do you prefer to just let it happen by default? Think about it, it’s only your future.

6 Steps To Making What Matters Most To You Happen NOW!

Ever reach the end of the day feeling like you’ve been incredibly busy, but looking back you realized you haven’t really accomplished anything of importance….especially your priority items?  It can be incredibly frustrating and even more so when your world seems to get continually busier and busier but you’re accomplishing less and less. A day is one thing, but how about weeks,  months or even a year? That’s when it really gets your attention and moves from being frustrating to disappointing….. and even tragic.

I’ve noticed that my coaching clients and most everyone else who is struggling in this area have a few things in common. While all have unique things they are  looking to achieve, what they are really after comes down to one of three basic things:

  • Clarity around a belief, opinion or information.
  • Meeting a challenge related to a particular issue, person, organization or circumstance.
  • Achieving a “want” related to a goal or something to be gained.

Another common element I see that shows up repeatedly is that while everyone says they’re busy, they aren’t getting the things done that matter the most to them. In fact, despite having important items at the top of their “To Do” list, there are days on end when they never even get started on a single one!  I feel the pain here also because I know that place all too well. I’ve also found a great road out.

Just as there are common elements to our challenges, there are also common elements or steps to getting the stuff done that matters most to you. Here they are:

  1. Awareness. Become aware of what you’re really after (not as simple as it may seem). For things to be different, something has to happen. You have to take action.  Most people think that action has to be big and dramatic. The reality is that the first steps leading to Big change are usually small. Remember, action steps can be taken in one of the following 3 realms: Thought; Observation; Doing.
  2. Clarity. You have to get clarity on what what, specifically it is that you need to do and in what realm.
  3. Decision. Really decide. This is where a lot of people get tripped up; they either simply ruminate or vacillate and never make a decision. Our real power is in our ability to make a decision.
  4.  Commitment. In order to be fully committed, make sure your motivation is where it needs to be in order to sustain you. I’ve written about what Drives us elsewhere. Put in simple terms, what you commit to has to be important to you and you have to have a measure of confidence you are capable of doing it.
  5. Execution. If you get to this point and no further, you’ll be more frustrated than when you began. Unfortunately and perhaps unbelievably, a lot of people do. They either succumb to the Resistance, fear, or fall prey to the Planning Fallacy. If nothing gets done, then nothing get’s done.
  6.  Accountability. Once you execute and take action, you have to complete what you started. Can you complete things without accountability? Sometimes, but the odds go way up when accountability is in place. Another person or group of people are often the most effective for, but having accountability systems in place can also work. Left to our own willpower and “want to” will often leave us “without”.

Knowing these 6 steps is the easy part, but a lot more goes 0590 MakeItHappenNowinto each one when your navigating them in your own situation…….and it’s a lot messier. Whether your taking that first step, the next step, or navigating the step you’re currently on, sometimes you need the help of a friend, mentor or coach. That particular step isn’t listed here and requires something else on your part in order to take it: humility. Regardless,  successive small steps,  when progressively approximated,  eventually lead to big change.

What’s your framework for taking action? If you don’t have one, what would having one do for you getting your most important stuff done?

What’s the next step for you? Please leave a comment or question to spark the discussion.

9 Ways to Awaken Your Motivation

As with any practical and important topic, one concern is that people feel like they “get it” after reading the content; never mind they haven’t actually done anything about it. No different In this blog series on internal motivation, or Drive. While I’m sure that isn’t the case with anyone reading this (right?), it might be for all those other people.

Seriously, who hasn’t read something, identified with it mentally and then automatically thought “I’m good to go?”.  I  know I am guilty of this…..way too often.

To keep that from happening to you, I listed 9 things below that can help awaken internal motivation in yourself and those you lead. These all come from the end of Dan Pink’s book Drive and relate to what I covered in this post series on Drive …with a few added twists:

  1. Give yourself a “Flow” test-   “Flow” is an element of mastery and a state where in which both the goal and activity itself are the reward; time seems to stand-still or be non-existent and any sense of place and self melt away. We’ve all experienced it, but this cool game actually allows you to get into and experience a “flow state” within a few seconds…literally.  If you play the game for at least 45seconds…literally, you’ll quickly re-acquaint yourself with “flow state”. Now, set your phone or computer to go off randomly during the week (~40 times) to give yourself a pulse-check and see how often you experience it. Record what you’re experiencing: flow or no-flow? If flow, what were you working on, what time and how often did you experience it?
  2. Ask yourself a BIG question- Clare Booth, one of the first women in congress, said “A great man is a sentence”. Abraham Lincoln’s sentence was “He preserved the Union and freed the slaves”. As you contemplate your powerful “WHY”, can you boil it down and answer the question “What’s my sentence?”
  3. Ask yourself a SMALL question, daily- “Was I a little better today than yesterday?” What it is can vary and be general or specific (ie. did it better, wrote 2 notes, etc.), but the important thing is that you make meaningful, forward progress of some sort.
  4. Take a “Sagmeister”-  Some may think taking an extended period to get alone for reflection, exploration and even enjoyment is an unaffordable luxury. The reality is that if you’re a leader, at some point extended time away from the grind is a necessity you can’t afford to not take, regardless of whether it’s 2wks, 6mo. or a year. The other is that it will never happen without a deliberate decision and intentional planning.
  5. Get Unstuck by going Oblique-  A cool set of 100 cards developed by a producer and artist  helps you get out of a mental rut, especially when faced with pressure filled deadlines. Each card contains a simple question that acts as a brain bomb that jolts you and keeps the forward progress going. There is a twitter version as well.
  6. Just say “NO”, with a list-  If you have a “To Do” list, then make sure you have a “To Don’t” list as well. Tom Peters found that making an inventory of things that sapped his energy and focus allowed him to keep both and then apply them to the the things that really matter.
  7. Move 5 steps closer to Mastery- engage in deliberate practice regularly; Repeat; Consistently seek critical feedback; Focus ruthlessly on keys areas of improvement; Have the realistic expectation that you’re going  to be mentally and physically exhausted. That’s why most people don’t engage the process.
  8. Cards as a Compass- In his book Rules of Thumb, Alan Webber describes an exercise to help you stay on the path of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose  or AMP. Take two cards, each with a question. The first question is “What gets you up in the morning?” the other is “What keeps you up at night?” Answer both questions each day until you get a sense of alignment and meaning.   Consolidate them and you now have a true north “Card Compass” for your AMP. Check-in regularly, course correct as needed, and revisit occasionally to check that your Card Compass is still rightly calibrated.
  9. Create your own motivational poster- Most of the generic one-word motivational posters are now past prime and have become largely cliche. Motivation is deeply personal and often best served by the words or images that resonate with us most.  These sites allow you to make your own: Despair Inc.; Big Huge Labs; and Automotivator (please leave a comment if you’ve found other sites or tools helpful).  Go make one that moves you.059 AwakeMotivate II

Don’t get sabotaged by good intentions of wanting to do it all or even a lot. If you’re looking to increase Drive in yourself or those you lead, What is ONE  practical step you’re willing to commit to in order to take those you lead, in your business and life, to the next level?

It’s a well known fact that when you commit something to writing your much more likely to actually execute and carry it out. If you committed to take action, do yourself a favor by leaving a comment below. Now, go enjoy your favorite cup!

How To Know Your Powerful “WHY” and Leverage It For Maximum Drive

I was jolted when I heard Ravi Zacharias say “the epitome of suffering isn’t pain, it’s pleasure that leaves one unfulfilled. ” I hadn’t thought about that angle on pain or suffering before. It made me think of another angle on a similar topic: “The epitome of failure isn’t failing. Failure is achieving your goals and dreams only to find out they were the wrong ones!”  In other words, you reach the top of the proverbial ladder of success only to realize it’s been against the wrong wall!

Most of us either know, read about or have heard of someone who just doesn’t have the juice to cross the finish-line. Likewise, the story of someone who crosses the finish line with all the trappings of success but miserable is also familiar.  If you don’t pause and ask yourself “Does what I’m doing really matter or am I just chasing my tail?”, you run the same risk.  The good news is that having a powerful WHY (ie. a clear purpose) virtually eliminates that risk and at the same time sustains your Drive toward enduring success.

The reality is that all of us have to wrestle the question above at some point. The sooner you get into the ring and intentionally pin down your powerful WHY, the more assured you can be that the ladder you’re scaling is sturdy and against the right wall; asking after the fact won’t help.

Pink describes Purpose….. your powerful WHY…..as being the 3rd leg on the stool of Drive…internal motivation….that provides balance to the other two legs of Autonomy and Mastery. A powerful WHY in the context of Drive can be described as “the urge to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.”

Although being in the service of something larger than ourselves is critical, I would take it one step further and say that it also has to be something that resonates with your deepest passion and “fits” with your core strengths and values.  Only until you’ve taken the time to intentionally reflect inwardly on your core strengths and values are you truly ready to look outward and connect with the greater Why that drives you. The truth is, you need both inner awareness and an outer focus to balance your Drive.

In fact, “getting over ourselves”  and adopting a “larger purpose” powerful WHY perspective is so central to enduring success that Jesus said it this way: “in order to find your life you must lose it”.  His words make it clear there are compelling spiritual reasons to do so and evidence shows there are compelling practical ones  as well:

  • Those with primary  “Purpose” oriented goals report higher levels of satisfaction, subjective well-being and lower levels of anxiety and depression compared to those with primary “Profit” goals.
  • When a primary “Purpose” goal is lacking, attaining goals can actually leave you worse off!
  • Chasing wealth solely  for your own benefit is illusory.  Beyond a certain level of income (~75K in today’s dollars), there isn’t much different in the levels of happiness between rich and average earners….and the latter don’t have to worry about the pitfalls.
  • Spending money on other people or a cause instead of one’s self has been shown to actually increase one’s sense of subjective well-being.

What knowing your powerful WHY does  for you and others

In addition to the spiritual and practical, the beauty of knowing your powerful Why is that it then gives 058 Purpose IIboundaries to the HOW and WHAT you commit to.  In addition, people are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Knowing your powerful WHY:

  • Fuels internal motivation.
  • Inspires those you lead.
  • Focuses your passion as you work toward and not just on something.
  • Inoculates you against an unexpected pitfall- your own success!
  • Leverages your core values and strengths in a way that allows you to add the most value to yourself and others.
  • Leaves a legacy.

How To Find Your Powerful Why

  • Determine you will.
  • Carve out uninterrupted chunks of time….you will likely need to lather, rinse and repeat.
  • Connect with your core strengths and values (fyi- not an easy task; most of my coaching clients have a tough time completing the assignment).
  • Get honest and ask yourself what you really care for, what resonates with you and what you’re passionate about.

There are 100 “good” things you could be doing and everybody has an idea of what it should be. The only person who can truly know WHAT you need to be doing to achieve enduring success is you, but only if you’ve first established your powerful WHY.

What is your powerful WHY? Is it clear enough to get you and those you lead where you want to go and will it lead to enduring success? If not, what’s the next best step your willing to commit to in order to get there?

Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear you’re thoughts.






5 Parts For Mastering Mastery

I love to garden.  One of the lessons I’ve learned after years of doing it is that if certain critical elements aren’t present, things aren’t going to grow the way I want. The other is that I can end up doing something that gets me the opposite results I’m looking for, like pinching off tomato blossoms in order to stimulate blossom growth ( by the way, the only thing that will get you are no tomatoes!)

I see the same principle at work way too often when it comes to leaders and organizations seeking to motivate people; they often do things that get them just the opposite of what they want. For example although only autonomy  can lead to engagement which is essential for mastery, most of the time control and compliance are forced instead.

Mastery is the second of 3 keys to internal motivation and can be defined as the desire to get better and better at something that has meaning and matters to you.

The equation for “mastering” mastery is: 1 Part Autonomy + 1 Part Flow + 3 Laws of Mastery.

Since I’ve discussed autonomy in another post, I’ll start with the next part of the equation which is “flow”. Flow is an autotelic experience in which both the goal and activity itself are the reward. When your in flow during a task, time seems to stand-still or be non-existent; any sense of place and self melt away. Although to an outsider you may seem to be in a trance, you’re anything but…..you’re at the peak of your game.

Flow is called “oxygen of the soul” by Dan Pink and has two distinct qualities:

  • “Goldilocks” difficulty- Not too hard, not too easy. A beautiful balance where you’re being stretched and have to focus but have a competency that yields continual satisfaction
  • “Tom Sawyer” nature- This means extrinsic rewards don’t kill play and turn it into work. Likewise, there is a perspective that turns work into play, which is especially important in more mundane tasks.

While flow is essential to mastery, it’s short-term and doesn’t guarantee it. To get long-term results and acquire mastery means you have to observe, embrace and get under the three 057 Mastery IIlaws related to mastery, which are:

  • Perspective- This deals with your mindset about intelligence and learning. Is it fixed or flexible? According to Dweck, a fixed mindset views intelligence as an entity, something you have or don’t have. A flexible or “Growth mindset”, on the other hand, views intelligence as something you develop. Having a growth mindset puts you on the path to mastery as it allows you to adopt learning goals as opposed to only performance goals. With a learning goal you’re not trying to prove anything; the learning is the reward. Because this mindset views adversity as something to be expected, it fosters resiliency and accepts setbacks as inevitable and part of the process.
  • Pain- Learning can be a pain..literally!  However, If people know what puts them in flow they can choose to focus on those things to push through and eventually get to new horizons on the other side of the grind. Having expended effort to get there makes the journey worthwhile. In addition, it provides both a sweetness for having arrived at a goal as well as fuels the tank so you’re ready to take another challenging trip and get to the next level.
  • Plateau- You get closer and closer to your ideal but you never quite arrive….and you know you never will. No matter how good you are, there is always room from improvement. Again, the real joy is in the journey and not the destination. Professional athletes and musicians are great examples of this. For them, its “for the love of the game” or “for the love of music” that matters.

Mastery is hard. If it were easy, everybody would have it or be a master of something. Having a model and equation for mastery can give you the edge and perhaps fuel the motivation you need to get to the next level of mastery you seek.

We’ve all been frustrated at times with not being able to master something.  Before you give up or move on, take a good look and see which part of the mastery equation you need to be different in order to get to where you want to be.  Perhaps you can see it more clearly for someone else who is currently struggling. Whether for you or someone else, what’s your next best step here?