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    How This One Facebook Status Made Me $75,000

    Joseph D Lazukin - Facebook status

    This is the story of how one Facebook status made me $75,000. Not only that, but it unlocked the keys to a better life, a better network, and better opportunities.

    What does your Facebook profile say about you?

    Does it resemble who you are, the values you stand for, and skills you are a capable of?

    Facebook is an incredibly powerful way to show the world your talents.

    If you take a look at my personal profile, you see that I post about myths regarding the Facebook Pixel, share tips on how to increase revenue by segmentation, tips on growth hacking to scale your business, to random tips on here and there on how to increase conversions via small but lucrative changes to your business websites.

    If you look at my business profile, while less maintained, you’ll find similar attributes, but also a treasure trove of motivational statuses and openly shared passive income business ideas to supplement your income or self-fund your own startup.

    As a business professional or entrepreneur, there is a right and wrong way to use social media. If your personal profile, your public Facebook page, your Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. are not landing pages, lighthouses for what you are capable of, then you are missing out on potential business, consulting, and growth opportunities.

    Now before I tell you about the status that made me $75,000 I want to say that I never used to leverage my personal profile for business purposes until very recently.

    All of this happened over a timeline of 30 days.

    At the time, I, like anyone else who’s been on Facebook long enough, had thousands of friends/lurkers who were connected to me, but rarely if ever interacted with each other… and while I had achieved a lot of success early on in my life creating million dollar marketing funnels and co-founding successful SaaS startups, nobody knew me on Facebook for what I did. Unless I explicitly told someone, nobody knew as I wasn’t broadcasting my message, my values, or my skill set.

    So then I had a thought…

    What if I could gamify Facebook to bring clients to me, and growth my way through curating my Facebook presence?

    That idea lead me to delete over 3,000+ of my friends at the time except for my business contacts, re-writing my bio and trashing any old images, statuses, or videos that had nothing to do with my message, values, or skill set.

    Most people use Facebook to be a “highlight reel” of their social lives. Mine, on the other hand, was going to become a highlight reel of my business acumen, values, and skill set.

    The results were immediate.

    Facebook stopped recommending me every pretty girl in town (I’ve had my personal Facebook profile since I’ve been 15 haha…I think that’s all the backstory needed to be said there), and started recommending thought leaders, high-caliber entrepreneurs, celebrities, and millionaires from every industry, aka potential clients. Curating my audience was done, the next step, was to broadcast my message.

    There is ONE question and only one question that you need to answer when it comes to broadcasting your message (and this applies to content your businesses share as well), and that question is…

    “What value can add to the lives of others?”

    A lot of people I knew growing up were too focused on money and hadn’t adopted the proper mindset to recognize that all business is at the end of the day, is solving for how you can provide value to the lives of others.

    Money is the byproduct of value, and value is for sharing, and sharing value is hands down one of the best ways to exercise the law of attraction, and attract the right people into your world.

    So what did I do?

    I made the conscious decision to give some of my best trade secrets away… for free

    These were secrets that I had used to generate thousands of dollars for myself and my clients.

    While it may seem counter-intuitive to give away the strategies that set you apart from your competitors for free, you might be overlooking the fact that broadcasting that information makes you become the “best expert” in your field.

    When people think of marketing on Facebook, they now think of me, not the thousands of other consultants out there. Up until that point, I was just another face in the sea of consultants.

    Since my profile was still pretty early on in the curating process, I shared those tips within various marketing groups on Facebook, and immediately after my first post went up, my inbox became a firestorm of inbound requests. I had dozens of people asking me to consult for their business, if I had a marketing course they could buy, or were asking if I could teach them over a Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangout. Even my personal network took notice and thought leaders who had never recognized me before reached out to hop on calls or bring me into their business.

    My life, my network, and my business ultimately changed overnight because of one post, and the conscious decision to make a change and lead value first.

    Since that day, I have signed two contracts to the tune of $75,000 plus royalties, and have more leads coming in daily as more and more people become aware of the value I share.

    So let me ask you again, what does your Facebook profile say about you? Is it a landing page for everything you stand for? Does the content you share add value to people’s lives? If not, you have some homework to do, but rest assured this is the fun kind of homework that unlocks the keys to a better life, a better network, and better opportunities.

    Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed the read, gift someone with the gift of perspective by sharing this with them. Remember, sharing value is the key to growth, and the value of having the proper mindset, should never be underestimated!

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    The one key to getting what you want in life (and how to get it)

    getting what you want in life - girl jumping

    My name is Thomas and I am currently a full time student in college, attending UAB for business. As a college student and the owner of several business, at only 18 years old, I have learned to rewire my brain to focus on success and nothing but success.

    I do not consider myself an entrepreneur. Rather, I consider myself to be an executer – – meaning that when I have an idea I do not complain or make excuses about how hard it is. If I do not understand the concept, I do not sleep until I understand what I am working on. I currently am the CEO/Founder of Young & Successful Co., which is a motivational speaking company. We travel to different conferences proving that no matter your age or your situation – you can be successful – it all starts with you.

    I have learned that when it comes to success, it’s all about execution. Plain and simple.

    In my opinion, the number one reason why people are not where they want to be financially, physically, or emotionally is simply because the human mind gives you excuses…. and you accept them.

    It is much easier to say, “I am sore so I don’t have to go to the gym today” than it is to get up and actually go.

    Accepting what the mind tells you can be incredibly self limiting.

    The best piece of advice I can give that will help you execute is to cut the crap out of your life.

    getting what you want in life - dress shoes and skateboard

    If you want to stop making excuses and 10x your execution, the solution is pretty simple. Stop watching full seasons of Netflix at a time, stop playing 2K17 for 4 hours in a night and sit down and execute.

    You know what you it is have to do, so do it. It is that simple. You need to prioritize your tasks and your success over everything that can get in the way of your dreams.

    One quote my father told me when I was in sports still sticks with me today. “Successful people do, what unsuccessful people don’t want to do.” I remind myself of this everyday, especially when I make finding myself making excuses to not execute on my dreams and goals.

    Execution is something you need to form in your DNA and make a permanent aspect of your personality.

    I am blessed enough to have had this work ethic imbued in me from an early age. To this day, I am so stubborn that if I can’t complete something I will not sleep, eat, or do anything but that task until it gets done.

    Mentoring several young people has given me the opportunity to realize that not many people have the ability I do and that I am fortunate in that respect. Teaching people how to execute over “instant pleasure” is no easy task. Motivation only lasts so long, so you have to find the inner drive and passion to go above and beyond the hard times.

    One quote I love using with clients and speaking to everyday people might impact you like it has hundreds of others – “I am either going to be successful, or die trying.” – This quote drives an inner fire in me like nothing else has ever done.

    When I talk about excuses over execution with my clients, everyone of them seem so fired up to go and knock out there dreams. I usually will follow up the next week and the fire is gone. You have to be able to find out what drives you emotionally and use it to your advantage because anybody telling you execute is entirely different than when you are working for something personally.

    So ask yourself this question: what are you working for?

    Financial freedom?

    Living life on your own terms?

    Happiness?

    Not having anyone tell you what you are worth or controlling your schedule?

    These are just some things that drive me personally .I was tired of being told what I was worth, not living on my terms, not being truly happy, and this drove a fire in me to execute over excuses.

    To do this, you have to say no to excuses.

    Excuses are the easiest way to get out of doing anything. You will convince yourself to not do what you need to do and you will follow through with that excuse so much more easily than you will go through with the task at hand. You have to be able to train yourself in self discipline to say “no matter what, I am going to the gym today. I do not care about my feelings.” Deep down you know what is right and you need to find the ability to get over yourself about not feeling great and execute.

    The biggest excuse I come across when working with clients or talking to partners is, “I do not have enough time.”

    I will bet anything – you can find 30 minutes to go to the gym or find that hour to stay late at work to finish that report. I have studied my clients and in every case, I have found an unaccountable 4 hours on average of wasted time. Most of this includes watching TV or Netflix, playing video games, taking an hour nap even my personal favorite, “I have to get my 8 hours of sleep or I can’t function.”

    We all have 24 hours in a day, I have the same as Micheal Jordan, and so do you. I live off of 5 to 6 hours of sleep while running 2 companies and am a full-time college student. Time management is key to execution. I do not have the time or the effort to come up with an excuse not to execute.

    I just do, with no questions asked.

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    The Awkwardly Simple Solution To Becoming Successful

    We doubt ourselves way more than we should. We question our ability to create and perform when intuitively we know we have the stuff.

    Not only do we innately know we are highly capable, but our very lives are a reflection of our brilliance. Sure, we’ve had our failures.

    But look at your life. Look what you’ve done. You’re more than enough.

    The problem with your success isn’t your ability.

    It’s how you continue to perceive a lack thereof. It’s that you continue to allow yourself to be far less than you know you are.

    Tony Robbins felt this way. Until one day, it hit him square in the face. This is what he said:

    I remember the moment my life changed, the moment I finally said, ‘I’ve had it! I know I’m much more than I’m demonstrating mentally, emotionally, and physically in my life.’ I made a decision in that moment which was to alter my life forever. I decided to change virtually every aspect of my life. I decided I would never again settle for less than I can be.”

    Living Up To The Person You Already Are

    We waste loads of time trying to pre-qualify ourselves for opportunities we arealready qualified for.

    You don’t need more experience, knowledge, connections, money, or abilities. You have enough. More than enough actually.

    Just put out the creative work that genuinely reflects what you know and who you are. You’ll be stunned and amazed by how impactful it is.

    What have you been wanting and waiting to do — but erroneously believe you’re not quite ‘there’ yet?

    You’ve been taught to ‘act as if’ you’re successful so you can then one daybecome successful. That is all well and good. But you’d be better off ‘acting as if’ you are who you already are. Quit the craziness of believing you’re less than you really are. You’re brilliant and ready.

    You have work to do. It can only be done by elevating your pessimistic perspective and finally accepting the limitless and powerful person looking back in the mirror. You know who that person is. It’s time to let the world see that person. Please stop waiting and stop believing you need more.

    Your work is going to change the world.

    The Startling Results Of Accepting Your Brilliance

    Being inspired in your work, relationships, and life is your natural state of being. Your challenge is that you’ve disconnected from your true self and your true source. You’ve been fed a lie and come to believe it.

    Luck, miracles, and brilliant opportunities will not be rare once you disconnect from the matrix you’ve plugged yourself into.

    Come back to the real world. Miracles are the natural way of living here. You have the power to create and shape the world around you.

    The closer you’re aligned to your reality, the more instantaneous your desires will manifest.

    Stop Hiding

    Perhaps Marianne Williamson said it best:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    Stop hiding.

    Stop lying to yourself and trying to pre-qualify. You’re qualified.

    Now live and be powerful and change the world.

    Connect Deeper

    If you resonated with this article, please subscribe to my personal blog. You will get a free copy of my eBook Slipstream Time Hacking, which will change your life.

    This article also appears on benjaminhardy.com and is published here with the permission of the author

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    Want to start a blog and travel the world? Can it still be done?

    You’ve heard the stories about that guy or girl who started a blog, had a couple pieces go viral and now they do it full-time, making a living and working from whatever beach they want.

    In fact, outside of those exceptional few who make a living from blogging, millions of everyday people have blogs.

    If you don’t have a blog these days, then it may seem like you are living under a rock and have a serious feeling of FOMO. While it might seem like everyone has a blog for something that there is simply no hope for new bloggers to make a name for themselves and stick out from the crowd. WRONG.

    Starting a blog and gaining traction certainly isn’t easy… but it’s easier than ever before.

    Although it isn’t impossible, it takes a lot more time and dedication than you may be lead to believe. Many “new” bloggers are getting attention in their niche market these days that have been working for months, even years to get to where they are today.

    Working online has provided me with incredible opportunities I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams. We are fortunate to be living in this digital era where starting a blog and eventually making a career out of it is not completely bat sh*t crazy. But 2 things it’s not: a get rich quick scheme and easy work.

    I speak to people everyday who say to me, “Jelena, I am starting up my blog and I am looking to monetize it and live off the blog, how can I do that?

    My response is always the same:

    Creating a blog just takes time.

    There is no difference between being a concert pianist to being a pro-blogger. They both require countless hours of dedication, repetition, focus and commitment.

    Here are my 3 tips.

    1. To make a blog successful, you have to brand

    When launching your blog, this can be the most exciting time because you are still exploring yourself, your passions and what niche will you directly fit into.

    Determining your exact market takes a lot of time and research. It is crucial to find a hole in the market you are looking to fill with your blog and dive into that niche head first. This will make it easier for you to stand out from the thousands of blogs that already tell the same stories. If you are passionate about your brand and honestly stand behind it, people will notice your authenticity and become loyal followers.

    For example, I love traveling. My boyfriend and I recently transitioned to the vanlife lifestyle and I share my experience of working as a digital nomad and living the part-time vanlife.

    2. You have to grow an audience to build a successful blog site.

    Growing your following takes time. It is a grueling process but if done correctly, your core base of followers will stick with you for the long run.  Starting off, it is important to respond to any comment that people post. This will increase your engagement and have people be more willing to follow you.

    Commenting on similar blogs, Instagram accounts, and Facebook posts will get people curious about your page and come over to check you out. Although this is time consuming, it can be very effective. Highly targeted Facebook ads linking to a free gift to sign up to your mailing list can work wonders too.

    The mission is to serve others and not yourself. Provide really good value and content and this will help you build a sustainable fan base.

    Try guest blogging. If you are just starting out, email or DM some well known publications in your niche and offer to write a blog post about something that is related to you and the publication. This is another great way to spread the word about you and your blog.

    Join engagement groups. If you are looking to grow your following on social media and increase traffic to your blog, joining engagement groups can really help propel your following. Due to Instagram’s new algorithms, influencers have created engagement groups where people like and comment each other’s posts so they can increase their chances of coming up in other peoples’ explore feeds.

    Use all Social Media. I mean all of them : Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, etc. If you want to be an influencer, you need to be creating various content, daily. If you have an iPhone you can make daily vlogs easily. You can even edit them with a simple app on your phone. It really doesn’t take much other than consistency.

    3. If you want to learn how to blog, learn SEO to get discovered.

    It is crucial to have a basic understanding of SEO optimization on Google.

    Just type it in your Google search and there are countless blogs and Youtube videos explaining it to you for free. If you are using WordPress like I am, there are several plugins that help you improve your blog posts and improve your SEO. This is important because if you write very specific blog posts, then you will have a higher chance of ranking in the top of the Google search and this will bring you lots of traffic. Also putting in backlinks to other pages on your blog and external pages will help improve the chances of your blog coming up as well.

    As you can see… it takes time.

    Figuring all of this out on your own just takes time. It can be discouraging and frustrating in the beginning but you need to stick to it. If you are really passionate about your dreams and the subject then it will be fun and not necessarily something you dread doing every day. If it isn’t fun, don’t do it. Don’t force yourself to do something just because other people are doing it.

    Do it for yourself and do it with a positive attitude and the rest will come.

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    13 millennials share how they overcome social anxiety (and how you can too)

    man taking picture

    Do you get excited when plans get canceled?

    Have you ever wondered to yourself if you’re introverted or just an extrovert with social anxiety?

    Do you find yourself over-analyzing your social interactions?

    You’re not alone in your social anxiety and it’s something that can be overcome. Take the advice from these 13 guys/girls who did it themselves.

    These are 13 ways to overcome social anxiety and step into your full self.

    1. Force yourself to talk to others.

    I talked to people a lot. The only way to get good at something you’re bad at is to do it poorly for a long time until you become good at it. (u/StomachUlcers)

    2. Face it head on.

    The only real way to get over anxiety about something is… you just have to push yourself to do it. If you can’t do that, then just thinking about it for 40 mins until you don’t feel anxious anymore does help, then work your way up to more.

    Anxiety is a very primitive, basic response. Fish do it. It’s a non-thinking survival response to keep you alive. Don’t try and out-reason it, it just doesn’t work like that. The only way past it is to show the part of the brain that runs anxiety that the situation isn’t dangerous. That requires repeated exposure.

    I wish more people knew this.(u/PennyLisa)

    3. Make friends with extroverts.

    I became best friends with a very charming extrovert and followed her to all the parties she was invited to! Being with a close friend helped a lot because I knew she was a safe space for me to retreat to if things became too much. And I pretty much just watched and learned from her socialization style until I was able to mimic it well enough to do good on my own. I never told her how much she meant to me, gotta do that soon (u/pinkiepie_notabrony)

    4. Start over.

    To get over that really huge first hurdle, I did something silly… I moved away from all my family and friends and attempted to start anew. As in hundreds of miles away. It worked out, thankfully. But that first few weeks of being completely alone with no support group at all was a very dark period. (u/throwmyselfaway0)

    5. Take care of yourself.

    Take care of myself. I hated being in public because I think people would stare at me and judge. I dressed better, worked out, got a decent haircut, now I’m much more confident. (u/thehurricane490)

    6. Be independent.

    I think one of the biggest influences is independence. You can easily hide behind others. When you rely on others to overcome your anxiety you never really overcome it, you just hide behind them one way or another. When you’re forced to act independently and act on your own and look after yourself, that’s where you learn to overcome social anxiety. (u/GreyInkling)

    7. Stop being self-centered.

    I stopped being a self centered narcissist when it comes to my self image. People don’t care about what I look like or what I’m doing in public. I’m not the focus of their attention. My anxiety came from viewing myself from the lens of other people. But they didn’t view me at all. (u/CaptnCarl85)

    8. Force yourself to do things (even when you don’t want to).

    I generally just FORCED myself to do thinks. For example, until recently I was terrified of buying things. Like, going up to a counter and handing over money. I stuck to self service. But one day I took a deep breath, walked right up to the counter and there was no turning back. Now, this time I actually had 30p less than I needed to buy the jumper I wanted and was turned away… but I didn’t let this deter me! That’s important, too. Not being deterred. (u/seawaif)

    9.  Be more open with others.

    I try to be as open as possible with other people. That is, if someone says hi to me I don’t assume they’re being sarcastic or wanting to embarrass me. I say hi back. I don’t turn away. Sometimes people mistake shyness for aloofness and asking people questions can stop this. (u/seawaif)

    10. Go out on your own.

    Every time you do something alone and on your own you tame the anxiety a little more. It’s a too easy to shy away from something because there’s no one you know, or to make sure someone you know is nearby you can hide behind. Just going out and doing everyday tasks and errands alone, day by day, will build up your confidence more.

    When you’re familiar with an environment that helps to. Going for walks just to explore, or just going for runs regularly and trying different routes, walking into strange restaurants for lunch, or exploring shops on your own, or even walking into university campus buildings or hallways you don’t have classes, you familiarize yourself with your environment and it builds up confidence in your control and ability to perform in that environment. (u/GreyInkling)

    11. Make yourself uncomfortable.

    The hard truth is you have to force yourself into situations that make you uncomfortable/trigger your anxiety. You don’t have to jump right in, that could just make things worse. But ease yourself in. Take baby steps.

    The more you avoid things that make you anxious, the more anxious it will make you.

    I used to hate phone calls. They would always trigger my anxiety. Last summer I ended up getting a job at the front desk of a hotel. I was forced to answer the phone all day. Some days I’d have 10 back to back calls. I was terrified at first, I felt sick, I wanted so badly to quit. I replace my anxious thoughts with the thought that I needed that job. I needed the money so I could go to Calgary this September. It helped me push my way through and I was able to over come that part of my anxiety.

    Also look into Cognitive Behavioual Therapy. I’ve been going to therapy for a couple months and I’m blown away by how much it’s been helping. It’s really an eye opener to my anxiety and really realizing it better and knowing how to counteract it. (u/FanWh*re)

    12. Embrace it.

    You don’t lose it, you live with it. I was just honest about why I’m weird with the people I know don’t give a crap. Most people I know have some sort of mental thing going on. I’d be more surprised to find someone who claims a full mental state of health. (u/WorldsGreatestP**p)

    13. Stop caring.

    Realize that everyone has some level of social anxiety and awkwardness. Making the first move in social situations usually lets other people relax and in turn lets you relax a bit. In simpler terms, DGAF about what other people think. (u/MeowSayDingDong)

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    3 ways to overcome negative self-image (and get unstuck)

    overcome negative self-image - woman in bedroom

    It’s human nature to get stuck sometimes. Stuck at a job we don’t like in a town we would rather leave, stuck in bad relationships or toxic, destructive thought patterns.

    While it might seem obvious to just walk away from that job or that town or that relationship, the reality is, no matter what changes we make on the surface, (even though those can sometimes be the best decisions we will ever make) the biggest, most important step to getting unstuck, is to begin with the mind.

    To overcome low self-esteem, you must become more mindful.

    Often, the reason we settle for the job we are over-qualified for or the partner who doesn’t respect and value us, is because we are stuck in the grips of our own negative and disempowering thoughts.

    When we experience setbacks and blows to our progress and self-esteem, it’s natural to want to take a step back and go into hiding.

    I’m incredibly guilty of this, myself. But staying in that safe place where nothing bad ever happens to us isn’t doing ourselves, or the world around us, any favors. When we feel hopeless, unsure, confused, frozen in place, unable to make decisions or take a leap of faith, it’s a clear sign that there is work to be done internally.

    The good news is that we all come equipped with the tools to get unstuck; we just need to make to the first move and the universe will follow our lead. Several factors contribute to feeling stuck; low-self esteem, negative self-image, and poor habits to name a few, but with a little self-evaluation and self-care, transformation is possible.

    Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” -Mandy Hale

    Here are 3 ways to get unstuck and better yourself by overcoming low self-esteem.

    overcome negative self-image - girl looking at camera

    1. Evaluate your self image.

    Negative self-image has the ability to destroy us from the inside out, if we allow it. Do you ever catch yourself literally hearing your own voice in your head criticizing you and cutting you down? Ask yourself where this is coming from. Is it the voice of a parent or teacher from your childhood who once projected their insecurities on to you?

    Our minds are incredibly sneaky and have great success at tearing us down when we keep those thoughts silently to ourselves. But when we share them aloud, we take away their power. Make an agreement with yourself that when you hear those negative thoughts rolling around in your head, you will call a friend or write it down in a letter to yourself. Would you call up a friend and tell them how stupid and ugly and boring and nerdy you are? Would you journal about all the excuses your subconscious mind feeds you as to why you’re not good enough? Negativity is a silent killer, and it loses its power when we don’t allow it to eat away at us.
    So when you find yourself in that situation, you have two choices: share those thoughts out loud, OR, find a way to change them. Sometimes calling a friend and sharing your pain is a great way to flip the dialogue and get some positive feedback, and other times, just the thought of calling them up and telling them how awful you think you are is all that you needed to make yourself realize that its all lies. By changing your thoughts and forcing yourself to see the good, you are bringing light to a dark place. The more you are able to utilize this practice, the brighter you shine from the inside out.

    Whenever you notice your thoughts detour in to attack mode, say out loud or to yourself: happiness is a choice I make.” –Gabrielle Bernstein

    2. Make intentional choices.

    The other day I went and saw a speaker named Joshua Reeves give a speech called “The Power of Yes”. He said that every day, the average person makes somewhere around 30,000 decisions.

    These decisions range from small ones, like which foot to place on the floor first, to big ones, like whether or not to sell off all of your possessions, move to another country, and become a monk. But with every moment, therein lies an opportunity to choose. And not every choice is a choice between something “good” or something “bad”, but every choice we make, whether it’s a conscious choice or a subconscious choice, alters the flow of our lives.

    When you feel overwhelmed with decisions, it’s helpful to break it down in to smaller pieces so you are able to more easily digest the flow of life. Take a moment to slow down and make intentional choices. What are you saying yes to? Are you saying yes to growth, or yes to destruction? Which choice will bring you closer to your goals? Closer to yourself? Closer to the light you wish to emanate? Or as Oprah says, “what is the next right move?” What can you let go of that will allow you to chose the path of highest integrity?

    Being conscious of the choices you make gives you power, and the more powerful you feel, the more confident you become and the more capable you are of getting unstuck.

    It only takes one spark to light up the dark” –MC Yogi

    3. Get moving.

    Our emotions are stored in every cell of our bodies. Prolonged negativity can lead to illness, chronic pain, weight gain, and disease, to name a few. There is no separation of body and mind when it comes to our emotions. Sitting stagnant on the couch or at a desk trying to think of solutions is like sitting on the shore of a lake without a pole, hoping a fish will jump out and land in your basket. You have to cast the line.

    You have to make a move. Movement creates flow not only of our blood, but also of our thoughts and our creative juices. Go for a walk, do some yoga, walk amongst the trees. Some of my greatest ideas and revelations have come to me when my thoughts were silenced and I was focusing only on the physical task at hand. Bringing awareness to your breath and to your movements forces your mind out of the hamster wheel of negativity and in to a place of receptiveness. Putting one step in front of the other, one dance move before the other, or one breath in front of the other opens your mind to the endless flow of ideas and possibilities available to you.

    The important thing is this: to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” –Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

    Overcoming negative self-image and low self-esteem is possible. When you find yourself feeling stuck, ask yourself to be the representation of love. Choose the most loving voice in your mind, to be the most loving voice in the room, and the most loving voice in the conversation. Let go of the inner conflict and anxiety and intentionally choose the path that leads you to your highest self.

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    You can’t be a successful entrepreneur without this one thing (do you have it?)

    successful entrepreneur - woman with camera

    Lots of people talk about the tactics behind building a business and becoming a successful entrepreneur– get on Pinterest! Use this free WordPress template! In reality, these are just minuscule parts of a successful business. What I haven’t seen is a gritty guide that takes you through the process of starting a business and shows you the warts, the mistakes, and the things other people won’t talk about.

    That’s why I wrote my new ebook, Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business, which tells you everything you need to know about starting and growing an online business. This is based on my (and my students’) experience scaling businesses from zero dollars to millions.

    In this post, I wanted to share one of my favorite lessons I’ve shared. It’s the lesson on the mindset of successful entrepreneurs––how to overcome failures and setbacks, stay focused, and develop unshakable confidence.

    What sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the rest is their mindset.

    When most people burn out and give up, successful entrepreneurs power through. When most people get exasperated over getting stuck, successful entrepreneurs find another way. Here’s how they do it.

    I remember my trainer stacking on weights and saying, “OK, 10-10-10.”

    He meant 10 cleans, 10 push-ups, 10 pull-ups… times 10. I just shook my head and got started. On the 5th set, I had slowed way down. I was catching my breath when I heard the voice in my head, “I can’t do any more. My heart is beating too fast. I should just sit down and rest.”

    I hate that voice. I hate it because every time I listen to it and quit, I regret it and want to go back in time and slap myself in the face. But it was getting louder and louder in my head.

    Then something happened. As I was thinking about quitting, I saw my trainer add more weight for my next set. I was about to quit, and he was adding more weight!

    He said, “COME ON!!” And I shook my head again, took a deep breath, and went for it.

    I wasn’t the fastest, but I finished. And as I walked out of there, I realized I’d learned more in that one training session than from reading 20 books about business:

    I thought I couldn’t go on, and I was getting ready to quit, but instead of letting me quit or even coast, my coach pushed me to do even more.

    And I did it. This was a magical moment for me.

    It made me think about how easy it is to quit — and how rare it is to find someone who’ll push you harder than you even thought was possible.

    Mark Divine, my friend and retired Navy Seal Commander, shared a similar experience. He was on the verge of Hell Week during SEAL training. Hell Week is generally considered the most arduous period of military training in any special-ops branch in the world.

    His instructor said to him: “Don’t worry about this. This is an easy day. You’re capable of 20 times what you think you are.”

    They started on Sunday. “By Wednesday I was getting more alert,” Mark said. “My body also started to get stronger. I actually started to develop muscle mass. So by Thursday of Hell Week I was developing muscle mass and I was starting to feel really strong, both physically, mentally, and emotionally.”

    What’s any of this got to do with you growing your online business? Everything.

    In every entrepreneur’s journey, he or she will run into incredible resistance. Take a look:

    successful entrepreneur - the startup curve

    It’s in the “Trough of Sorrow” where mental toughness becomes crucial. It’s where many entrepreneurs give up, and let the short-term setback stop them from building a 6-figure business.

    These moments are inevitable. Most entrepreneurs go through it in some form:

    One of the hardest things about failing from the get-go is I felt I had to hide it from my friends and family… It was a really hard time in my life.” — Bryce C.

    About two years ago, I decided that I wanted to try the online [business] thing. I actually left my full-time position at my company… That was really the first time where I experienced putting effort into something and then crossing my fingers and hoping for a result and seeing absolutely nothing. It’s like you’re used to succeeding your entire life and then all of a sudden, you’d come up against a brick wall.” — Tom M.

    I was afraid I’d have to move back home to Alabama. I kept asking myself, ‘Am I doing this right? Am I making enough?’ I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to pay rent.” — Sarah J.

    The entrepreneur’s journey is infected by the Facebook effect. Most business owners compare their day-to-day to everyone else’s highlight reel. You go on Facebook, what do you see? “Oh, I love being on the beach. Costa Rica is so beautiful on a Wednesday!”

    At home, you’re like, “What? I’m sitting in here trying to launch this online business. What is going on here?”

    The tools to weather the journey and stay mentally tough are just as important as your email newsletter tool or your email capture form, if not more so.

    Want more advice on navigating the “Trough of Sorrow?” Grab a copy of Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business here.

    The Power of Unshakable Confidence

    We all know that person. Someone who’s got it all figured out… their business is taking off, they are amazing at their 9-5, AND never miss their kid’s football games. You look at them and wonder, “How are you so confident? How do you have it all under control?

    I call this “unshakable confidence.” How can we as entrepreneurs build it?

    Imagine you wanted to build an online business similar to IWT. You look at what it’ll take. First, you’ll start a blog. Then you realize, “Oh, no, I have to get a domain. I have to register it, and then I have to set up an email list, and then I have to write every day. Wow, that’s overwhelming.

    It is overwhelming… yet to someone who’s been doing it for years, it seems effortless. They wake up, write a blog post, and hit publish. Ten thousand people see it and 200 leave a comment. If we’re starting out, how can we do the same?

    What’s the difference between the 2 people? One difference: Realizing that almost anything can be figured out. In fact, as my friend Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figure-out-able.”

    One person, who’s not confident, sees all those challenges to starting an online business. Email list, domain, URL, writing all the time… “Ahhhh! Overwhelming! No, that’s too much stuff. I can’t do it.

    The second person has to go through the exact same things, but their mindset is totally different. Instead of saying, “Oh, my God, that’s overwhelming,” they say, “Okay, what are all the things I possibly need to do?” They write them down, as many as they can.

    Next, they look at their list. “Okay, each of these things is going to be valuable and it’s going to be fun. I’m going to learn something new.” Setting up an email list? No idea how to do it. What does it involve? What are the best vendors? How much does it cost? They start Googling. And instead of feeling overwhelmed, they think, “I’m going to learn how to set up an email list. Once I learn, I’ll know it forever.”

    You repeat this process over and over again, for each item on your list. With each step, your confidence builds, slowly creating powerful, unshakable confidence.

    How to Never Be Afraid of Failure

    successful entrepreneur - have the right mindset

    Failure is one of the big “F words” in our culture. I want to tweak the way that you think about failure, because I’ve failed a lot over the last few years. In fact, I fail so often, I have a failures folder set up in my email account. If I’m not sending five to seven failures there a month, I’m actually failing at failing. I know that I’m not trying enough, so I’m not failing enough, as well.

    You can see just in that simple example how I think about failure totally differently than many people. Many of us believe, if we fail at something we’re going to be marked with a scarlet letter forever. In fact, some of us have never experienced failure at all.

    Think of something you’re not particularly good at. For me, it’s math. I was never really good at math. Yet, my businesses include online business and personal finance. I cover conversion strategy and becoming rich, and I do math on a daily basis. There are a few different options to get over the idea of failure and get on with your business.

    First, actually get better. There’s no way around this. It can be difficult or challenging to practice something over and over again, forcing yourself to get better. In my math example, that would mean reading math books, practicing problems, etc.

    For running your business, it might be writing blog posts. Or staying on top of all the business administration. Or selling your goods or service. The unsexy but powerful thing is to just spend the time getting better at something you’re not good at.

    Second, reframe failure. Let’s say that you’re terrible at cardio. You hate running on the treadmill, like I do. I’d rather do pull-ups until my arms fell off than get on that treadmill. So what can I do?

    I reframe failure. I say, “Okay, yesterday I ran for 7 minutes and I was exhausted. I felt like I was going to die. Today, I’m going to just try for 7 minutes and 30 seconds. If I run for that extra 30 seconds, it’s undeniable that I’m getting better.

    See how that’s a reframe? Frankly, it’s embarrassing for me to admit I can only run for 7 minutes, but I reframed it. By adding the 30 seconds, it becomes a growth trajectory.

    Another powerful reframe my students use: “It’s not a failure. It’s a test.” No one clicked on your email? Not a failure, you just tested that headline. No one bought on your sales page? That’s a test of your offer, now you know you need to rethink the benefits of your product or service.

    Third, prepare for failure. It’s okay to think, “I’m probably going to fail at this, so let me prepare.” I call this a failure expectation strategy, and it’s helped in so many areas of my life. For example, I had a failure expectation strategy when I was applying to colleges. I expected to get rejected by a number of colleges, including Stanford, because it’s a competitive school.

    I planned out ahead of time, “What will I do if I get rejected?” In this case, I was going to send additional press clippings from the newspaper. I was going to send an update on my grades and a new essay I’d written. If I failed, it would have just been another stepping stone to eventual success.

    In your business, the better your failure expectation strategy, the faster you’ll grow. For example, let’s say you sell a make-up tutorial course. You send it out to some friends and family who might be interested, but all you hear are crickets.

    Fortunately, you have failure expectation strategies up your pocket. You tell another group of friends, but this time, you bundle your offer with a complimentary 30-minute Skype consultation, and this time, you get 2 buyers. Interesting… You sell to another group, and bundle it with your favorite bronzer set, and this time 10 people buy.

    Suddenly, more orders are coming in, and you’re in business, because you used your failure expectation strategy. We also call this “failing forward,” because each failure propels your business another step ahead, until it’s inevitable that you become successful.

    A word of caution about failure: If you set really unrealistic goals, there is a cost to failure. If you say, “Okay, I’m feeling really motivated. I’m going to sit down and write an entire sales letter or write 7 emails pitching my product, which I’ve been putting off for the last 3 months. I’m going to buckle down and get it done…

    If you use generic phrases like “feeling motivated” and “I’m going to buckle down,” I can tell you you’re already going to fail. And after failing multiple times, you’ll start to see yourself as a “person who fails.” In other words, you start to believe, “I’m not the kind of person who can succeed in business.”

    If fear of failure is paralyzing you, then I strongly recommend you set a tiny, realistic goal for the day. When you achieve it, then move on to the next tiny, realistic goal. Your business is going to see better results from taking action on small goals then dreaming about unrealistic big goals that you never achieve.

    Failure is a normal part of business. You don’t have to be a weirdo and track all your failures like me, but if you don’t have 3 things you’ve failed at in the last 6 months, you’re probably not trying enough. A friend once gave me some great advice at a tricky time in my career.

    She said: “Ramit, nobody cares what you did. They only care what you’re doing.”

    This completely shifted the way I looked at failure, and is a reason for a lot of my success today.

    Stop Worrying About Falling Behind

    In my program Zero to Launch, students learn all the steps to build an online business. Inevitably, new students join, see how much progress other people have made, and they freak out.

    Here’s one email I got, where a student wrote: “I see many folks who seem to have been making progress within the course, and I not only feel left behind but confused as to where I might be missing something important.”

    The fact of the matter is, when it comes to this program, there are some superstar students, but they’re probably only about 5% of the student population. They just happen to post frequently, and so you see their results.

    It can get uncomfortable after a while, I get that. How did they get 2,000 people to sign up for their newsletter this week? How did they just make $15,000 in sales this month? What am I missing?

    I get that. I’m in communities, too, where it’s like, “What am I doing wrong? Did I miss a certain slide in the program, and everyone else got it except for me?”

    The truth is, this is supposed to be hard.

    But if you compare yourself to what everyone else is doing, you’re going to be stuck there forever for no reason at all.

    A while back I posted a short video of me bowling. Like any person who grew up in suburbia, I am the man at bowling. I go up, I look at the camera, and I said, “Here we go.” Boom! Knock them all down! Fist bump!

    If you watched it, you’d probably think, “Okay, this guy is pretty good.

    Except no one saw the other video we shot… Same cameraperson, similar set-up. I look at the camera, approach the lane, and completely EAT IT. I slip and fall down. The people next to me are laughing, the camera is shaking because the person is laughing.

    Interestingly, that one didn’t make it to social media. So if you had just looked at my feed, it just looks like I’m great at bowling.

    The fact is, that was just one success I happened to capture on camera, and the same thing is true when comparing your business to someone else’s. You might see someone who launched a $10,000 product. Amazing, good for them, and I want them to succeed even more. But what we don’t see are all the mistakes they made, all the misses, all the times they fell down. They’re there, trust me, they just don’t want you to see them.

    Here’s a simple technique that allowed me to eliminate 99% of these worries about what how others are doing. It goes like this:

    Focus on what you can control, ignore what you cannot.

    That sounds obvious, but when we look at our actual behavior, it’s actually quite unbelievable how much time we spend focusing on the things we cannot control. For example, the economy, politics, negative people, other people’s businesses, these are all things we generally cannot control, and yet we spend a lot of energy worrying about them.

    Once I was getting ready for a TV spot. I was getting my makeup done, and the makeup lady gets really angry with me. She said, “So you’re this finance guy, huh? You know they just started taking $200.00 a week out of my paycheck.

    Who’s they?” I ask.

    You know, the government.”

    I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t think the government is suddenly taking $10,000.00 a year out of her paycheck.” But she was convinced. She was convinced that the government suddenly decided to take $10,000 a year from her.

    What should I do about it?

    I smiled. “You know you could certainly look into that. You should try to find out exactly who’s taking this money out of your paycheck. But, let me ask you a question. Do you have a 401K?”

    Yes,” she said.

    Have you maxed it out?”

    I don’t know.

    “What about a Roth IRA?” I asked. “Do you know what that is?”

    “Yeah. I have one. I didn’t put anything in this year. Last year I contributed a little bit…” And at that moment, she kind of got the point, which is it’s easy to complain about what “the government” is doing, or how bad the economy is.

    Yet the things in front of her, the very things she has control over, she was not doing.

    Why is that? Because we hear from all the media around us how bad things are, and it actually feels great to be able to complain about it and stick it to somebody and tell them, “I can’t believe this!

    What we want to focus on is improving ourselves. Remember, building a business is supposed to be challenging, otherwise everyone else would do it. So I just focus on what I can control, and ignore everything else.

    For example, when I see someone who’s super successful, I don’t let myself get jealous. I force myself to reframe the situation. I’ll say to myself, “That’s great, I’m happy for them. We’re all at different stages. What could I learn from what they did?” If I can, I’ll even message them or shoot them an email.

    I’d say, “That is amazing. Can you tell me what part of the process helped you the most? How did you focus on your copywriting because I noticed that it’s really vibrant?”

    This is how we become amazing entrepreneurs. We develop the skills to become mentally tough, to push through the trough of sorrow that EVERY business owner goes through. Then we look at the other entrepreneurs around us and use them for support. We ask for help. We ask excellent questions. And together, we all grow.


    This article is an excerpt of the best-selling ebook Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business. The ebook is based on author Ramit Sethi’s 10+ years of experience growing a multi-million dollar business. Get your copy of the book here.

  • 100 life changing inspirational quotes that will make you think

    1. You are not the same.

    1. You are not the same.

    2. It's ok to be picky.

    2. It's ok to be picky.

    3. It's your world.

    3. It's your world.

    4. Set goals, be humble.

    4. Set goals, be humble.

    5. Vibes are everything.

    5. Vibes are everything.

    6. That's sexy.

    6. That's sexy.

    7. Your squad is everything.

    7. Your squad is everything.

    8. Being direct is good.

    8. Being direct is good.

    9. Focus and watch what happens.

    9. Focus and watch what happens.

    10. You only get one shot.

    10. You only get one shot.

    11. Do it because you want to.

    11. Do it because you want to.

    12. Your past makes you.

    12. Your past makes you.

    13. Strive for inner peace.

    13. Strive for inner peace.

    14. Do your thing.

    14. Do your thing.

    15. Listen to yourself for once.

    15. Listen to yourself for once.

    16. Lot's to do this year.

    16. Lot's to do this year.

    17. You got this. No one else does.

    17. You got this. No one else does.

    18. It's all about you.

    18. It's all about you.

    19. Relax. Be patient.

    19. Relax. Be patient.

    20. Don't listen to what they say.

    20. Don't listen to what they say.

    21. Be sensitive and proud of it.

    21. Be sensitive and proud of it.

    22. Stop waiting for others.

    22. Stop waiting for others.

    23. Embrace your weirdness.

    23. Embrace your weirdness.

    24. you can do things differently.

    24. you can do things differently.

    25. Have patience.

    25. Have patience.

    26. Find that person.

    26. Find that person.

    27. Be spontaneous.

    27. Be spontaneous.

    28. Make your own list.

    28. Make your own list.

    29. These are the best friends.

    29. These are the best friends.

    30. Discover these truths.

    30. Discover these truths.

    31. Do strange things.

    31. Do strange things.

    32. Be different than the rest.

    32. Be different than the rest.

    33. That's what shower time is for.

    33. That's what shower time is for.

    34. Being alone is a good thing.

    34. Being alone is a good thing.

    35. CEO first.

    35. CEO first.

    36. Don't be most people.

    36. Don't be most people.

    37. It depends on you.

    37. It depends on you.

    38. Strive to be anything but ordinary.

    38. Strive to be anything but ordinary.

    39. Yes please.

    39. Yes please.

    40. Don't let em bother you.

    40. Don't let em bother you.

    41. Freedom over everything.

    41. Freedom over everything.

    42. These are the best people.

    42. These are the best people.

    43. Be spontaneous.

    43. Be spontaneous.

    44. Talk about interesting things.

    44. Talk about interesting things.

    45. Do whatever you want.

    45. Do whatever you want.

    46. Be proactive

    46. Be proactive

    47. Effort is cool.

    47. Effort is cool.

    48. Just to make sure.

    48. Just to make sure.

    49. Real is best.

    49. Real is best.

    50. Your friends are everything.

    50. Your friends are everything.

    51. Never fake it.

    51. Never fake it.

    52. Surround yourself with real friends.

    52. Surround yourself with real friends.

    53. That's how it's done.

    53. That's how it's done.

    54. These kind of people...

    54. These kind of people...

    55. Keep it simple.

    55. Keep it simple.

    56. Leave some mystery.

    56. Leave some mystery.

    57. Good friends...

    57. Good friends...

    58.This is the dream.

    58.This is the dream.

    59. Do whatever you want.

    59. Do whatever you want.

    60. Enjoy the moment.

    60. Enjoy the moment.

    61. Do whatever you want.

    61. Do whatever you want.

    62. Experiences over everything.

    62. Experiences over everything.

    63.Get out of your comfort zone.

    63.Get out of your comfort zone.

    64. What's the point?

    64. What's the point?

    65. Find this person.

    65. Find this person.

    66. Mindfulness is everything.

    66. Mindfulness is everything.

    67. These are the best people.

    67. These are the best people.

    68. True friendship.

    68. True friendship.

    69. Be spontaneous.

    69. Be spontaneous.

    70. Know yourself.

    70. Know yourself.

    71. Do your own thing.

    71. Do your own thing.

    72. Exercise your brain.

    72. Exercise your brain.

    73. Have a home team.

    73. Have a home team.

    74. Be as weird as you want.

    74. Be as weird as you want.

    75. Be kind.

    75. Be kind.

    76. Make yourself better.

    76. Make yourself better.

    77. Growing up...

    77. Growing up...

    78. Find this feeling.

    78. Find this feeling.

    79. Do you.

    79. Do you.

    80. Read a book.

    80. Read a book.

    81. Find these people.

    81. Find these people.

    82. You're good enough.

    82. You're good enough.

    83. Stop comparing.

    83. Stop comparing.

    84. Follow this.

    84. Follow this.

    85. So many possibilities.

    85. So many possibilities.

    86. Morning coffee...

    86. Morning coffee...

    87. You can change.

    87. You can change.

    88. You should go for it.

    88. You should go for it.

    89. Stop thinking about others.

    89. Stop thinking about others.

    90. Support your friends.

    90. Support your friends.

    91. It's go time.

    91. It's go time.

    92. Embrace your life.

    92. Embrace your life.

    93. Enjoy being weird.

    93. Enjoy being weird.

    94. Embrace those moments.

    94. Embrace those moments.

    95. Be that person.

    95. Be that person.

    96. Be real.

    96. Be real.

    97. Work on yourself.

    97. Work on yourself.

    98. Leave some mystery.

    98. Leave some mystery.

    99. Embrace your life.

    99. Embrace your life.

    100. Do something random.

    100. Do something random.

  • ,

    What I learned about Entrepreneurship from My First Crowdfunding Campaign

    learned about Entrepreneurship - girl on laptop

    There I was, product in hand, ready to become an overnight success.

    And even if it didn’t happen overnight, which I was positive it would, I was still prepared to be a business mogul.

    I was to make it big online as a first time entrepreneur.

    The Kickstarter page was built, and I admired it. It was not a bad looking layout for the first go around of someone who was not very technologically advanced. Jot: a minimalist, undated, 30-day planner that takes everything into account from weekly calendars to grocery list templates. It even comes in two sizes!

    I was proud. I had given the planners out to my friends who loved them and were actually using them. I took a deep breath (all the dramatics and feels) and pressed submit. I waited…for days. Because it takes a few of those for Kickstarter to review and either approve or deny your campaign. I received the approval email and it was game on! Or so I thought.

    By day five of the campaign, I had raised less than $100.

    I was clogging up my personal social media feeds with great content about the product. I emailed all of my influential friends about possible Corporate Packages. I even reached out to social media accounts that concentrate on promoting crowd-funding campaigns…for a fee of course. I was doing everything right. I had this great product and I could not understand why no one wanted to buy it! Then, I learned my biggest business lesson yet, and paid handsomely for it might I add. I hired a PR and Marketing firm who “specialized in crowd-funding projects”. They said all the right things, hit all the right queues, laughed when they were suppose to laugh, and raved about how awesome and in demand my product was. This was it! This was to be my big break! Epic fail. I am still waiting for the fruition of that labor. I only saw a 2% rise in page views. That was practically zero.

    learned about Entrepreneurship - girl on laptop

    As a last ditch effort, I turned to Facebook ad promotions.

    I was skeptical. I had every reason to be. All of my efforts had proven stale. I saw some return from the targeted social media accounts, but not near what I had hoped for. I ran a few Facebook ads, and traffic started to come in. It still was not enough. I had one week left on my campaign.

    I was going to fail. I was a loser.

    My product was apparently crap. I mean, of course I love the product. It’s MY product. And just when I was losing all hope, I was approached by an acquaintance who offered me seed money to print my first run of planners. This was great! Someone was offering me cash to produce inventory!

    Once I came off of the high of an unsolicited investor, there was a real question at hand: what good would inventory do if I had no customers. I felt as though I were back at square one. A couple of days later, as I sat pondering this question, a notification popped up on my phone. “Guest” had pledged funds to my Kickstarter. I logged into the app to see just how big of a failure I was to be and to my surprise, I had surpassed my funding goal! “Guest” had just backed me with a good amount of money! Call it fate? Call it luck? I called it a miracle! My Kickstarter had been funded and I still had my investor on the hook!

    But, that lingering question was still unanswered: how do I get customers?

    Over time, I figured out that, though the Facebook ads and marketing posts looked nice, they really were not doing me or my company any justice. I needed a new avenue. I needed press. I gathered contact information on all of the magazines, blogs, and websites that I could find who took on articles around my type of product. I scored a huge success with a great magazine after sending my first round of emails. I built a pretty dope website that is user friendly, and sent out several promotional packages and samples to bloggers who agreed to write a review on their site. It was all about making connections with people who would end up being great to partner with, and putting myself out there by offering journalists a look into me, my product, and my company.

    I always assumed that crowd-funding was easy and that if I constructed a great product, the masses would crash my website wanting to buy it! Negative. But, the experience has been enormous and I have learned a lot of things on the front end and made mistakes early that I probably will not make again as the company grows. Pen-to-paper is reemerging as a premier analog tool. I set out with one goal: create a simple way to write things down. Jot has fulfilled that goal. If I can offer any advice, it is this: stay small until the product tells you it is time to be big. If you don’t understand what I mean by that, feel free to reach out and let’s chat!


    Sham is the CEO of Ink & Paper, LLC and creator of the JOT planner and notebook. www.inkandpaperms.com
    IG/FB @jotnotebook

  • ,

    Stop Trying To Be Somebody

    jumping man

    Make Something. Don’t Just Talk About It.

    When you watch reality TV singing shows, the hopefuls tend to be starry eyed dreamers, who’ll look into the camera and say “I’ve always dreamed about being a singer.” They never say they’ve always dreamed of singing.

    I think that’s a pretty important difference. If they really gave a shit about singing, they’d be out there every day and night, singing their fucking lungs out.

    Joining bands, finding gigs, recording music, filming YouTube videos, working their asses off to get in front of an audience.

    But they’re not. They’re dragging themselves across national TV for a shot at fame and fortune based on scripted drama and audience manipulation.

    They’re waiting for someone to make them into Singers. With the lifestyle, and the glamour to boot. They don’t want to do something. They want to be the person who does something.

    You can see this behavior in a lot of other areas, with a lot of other people.

    They don’t want to found a company. They want to be founders. They don’t want to create art. They want to be artists. They don’t want to spend hours coding until their eyes ache. They want to be developers.

    Life Is About The Shit You Do Every Day.

    Following your dreams, living your life is about getting up in the morning and going to work. It could be art, it could be music, it could be your own business. Work could be a stage, a studio, a swanky office or your bedroom, but it’s always work.

    streetvendor

    It’s got nothing to do with what you call yourself, or what your lifestyle is like. It’s all about the shit that you have to work on, and accomplish every single day. That’s what matters, because that’s how you get somewhere.

    If you’re concerned with chasing the lifestyle, trying to take on the persona and gain the trappings, you’re missing the point. You’ll never make anything worthwhile, because making something isn’t even on your radar.

    The irony of being completely focused on being, rather than doing, is that without doing — you’ll never be anything.

    You’ll Never Feel Like You’ve Reached The End.

    I’m convinced that nobody actually like feels like they’ve become something. Or somebody. No one gets to the end of the line and says they feel like an entrepreneur now, or an artist now. Because it’s not a feeling you can ever capture.

    You’ll always be looking for the one big thing that will get you there, the one big shot that can allow you to finally stop and enjoy yourself.

    But it’s never going to happen. If you keep chasing that feeling of the ticking the box, and becoming someone, there will never be an end to it. You have to chase the doing, because that’s where you’ll find satisfaction and fulfillment.

    There is no point at which you’ve ever made it. There’s no point at which you’re home safe and you can just stop. Those singing contestants? They don’t believe that. They believe they can be happy, if they win this contest. Get this deal. Release this single. It’s not true.

    Your Work Is Going To Suck.

    When you’re only working to be somebody, rather than focusing on doing the work for its own sake, it’s going to suffer. The quality will be low and the level of effort you put in is going to be noticeably lacking.

    The work itself is important, it’s crucially important. It’s not just something that has to be ticked off in order to justify the way you present yourself, or the way you want to feel. It’s not there to give your lifestyle a reason. The work is everything that matters.

    You have to make good art. Write good sentences. Build good shit. If you don’t, if all you’re doing is paying lip service to your own ego, people will notice. The world will notice.

    Nobody Will Take You Seriously If You Don’t Do Shit.

    When you tell everyone that you are something, you are someone, they expect to see some proof. Nobody would listen to me as a writer, if I didn’t spend hours every day hammering out blog posts, working on a book and communicating with my readers.

    It’s the work that makes people sit up and take notice, not your bio or your introduction. If you want anyone to take you seriously, what you really want is their respect. And you can’t just be given respect. Nobody is lining up to hand it out.

    You have to earn it. You earn it by doing things that matter, and working on projects that matter and putting in the effort every single day. It’s the only way to earn it.

    You Won’t Improve, And You Won’t Learn.

    If you’re already content to call yourself a founder, and call yourself an artist, instead of founding, creating and working, you’re closing yourself off to improvement and the opportunity to learn.

    When you look at the work instead, and you spend your time trying to make it the best it can be, that’s when you have the chance to make a discovery. To experience your own Eureka moment.

    The work I do, that’s writing. And entrepreneurship. And marketing. And design. And speaking. But me? I prefer to think of myself as a student, before anything else. I’m here to learn. We all are. 

    You Have To Just Get Out There.

    If you want to make it, you’re going to waste your time trying to hit an impossible goal, and quite probably relying on a series of gatekeepers in order to get there. You won’t find happiness down the road, just a series of increasingly tough disappointments.

    If you want to actually do something, you’re going to find a great deal more satisfaction. There’s so many opportunities to do what you love, when you’re not worried about who you’re trying to be, or what lifestyle you think you should have.

    You can get out there, and make something happen. I like to talk a lot about a band called Fugazi, and another called Black Flag. They were hugely important to me, as a creative and an entrepreneur — because they never waited for a big break. They used to book their own shows, pay for their own records, and work their asses off.

    For their entire careers, they were focused on the doing, not the being.

    And that’s the better path.

    This article also appears on Medium and is published here with the permission of the author

  • ,

    How to get press for yourself as a young entrepreneur

    how to get press for yourself - cameras

    I want to share with you insider information that I’ve learned after getting a ton of press for myself and my brand Leave Normal Behind. As a young entrepreneur, getting press for yourself can make all the difference and my experience in getting in Forbes, INC and Entrepreneur Magazine has proven this.

    Getting press for yourself can make all the difference.

    Imagine someone Googling you because they want to check you out before they buy your book or your T-shirts or organic face cream,etc.

    Now imagine that the first two pages of search results are filled with press clippings from various magazines, TV shows, podcasts and digital media platforms (like PRSUIT), all saying positive things about you and your brand.

    All signalling loud and clear that you’re legit.

    How do you think people feels about you now?!

    Well this is literally what happens to me all the time.

    After being featured in Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and Influencive I can tell you first hand that great press gets you more opportunities, higher speaking and consulting fees, and free VIP access to events and masterminds.

    Scott Oldford, founder and CEO of Infinitus, a company that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses with online marketing, has experienced the magic of earned media exposure first hand after scaling his two-year-old startup past 7-figures.

    It’s HUGE! The ability to have PR and then use that PR to cement your true authority is something that can’t be underestimated,” Scott explains.

    On one front, there is the credibility factor. It’s the invisible “ROI” of being able to have someone know that you are someone they should listen to.

    On a second front, it allows us to reach new audiences that we wouldn’t be able to reach.

    “In real world dollars and cents, we secured a $100K+ client within 3 hours of sending an email linking to an article about me in Entrepreneur magazine to our email list — it’s what gave him the confidence to sign the deal,” Scott explains.

    When’s the last time you got that kind of ROI?

    Of course you’re asking,

    How can I get press though?”

    This is a common question asked by many young entrepreneurs.

    Before I tell you what to do to get press though, let me first warn you that there are dangers attached.

    You do not want to get media exposure if you’re not prepared to run a business that actually cares about its customers and the impact it makes in the world. Press is social proof on steroids,

    Press coverage is social proof on steroids,” says Geeta Nadkarni, media personality and founder of Baby Got Booked, an online course that helps visionary entrepreneurs use the power of PR for exponential growth.

    She and her work have been featured in outlets including the New York Times, CBC, CNN, Global TV, as well as Reader’s Digest, and she’s a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur magazine, Inc., and Global TV.

    I appreciate the insight that she shares because she is genuine and authentic.

    We’ve developed a system that helps you influence the influencers,” Geeta explains. “Most entrepreneurs have heard about the importance of building their email list. Well, building a list of media contacts and getting them excited about your brand is like multiplying your influence by 1000.

    I agree with this because each media contact increases your influence because they come with a built in audience of hundreds of thousands of people who trust them.”

    A warning – what press CANNOT do for you.

    If you try to gain press to mask a sh*t product or service you will do damage to your business reputation.

    People do not like to be fooled. It’s like having frosting on a cake that tastes like sh*t. No matter how good the frosting is when you bite the cake, it still tastes like sh*t.

    Just think about it …

    If someone reads your article that’s all frosting and has a terrible experience with you or your product later on, then they will never come back (and will tell their friends too).

    Worse, journalists are trained to research things. So if you make things that break or break your promises to your customers, then THAT is the story that will be broadcast out to millions of your prospects.

    If you have something great, however, press is going to accelerate your brand at light speed!

    Every time you land an interview, feature, or column on a media outlet, you get to add their logo to your website and marketing materials (“As seen on”) and that allows you to build credibility and trust with your ideal prospects.

    These are my tips to help you secure press.

    how to get press for yourself - iphone screen

    Speak in the language of the writer. Put their interests first and frame your story in a way that fits exactly what they are looking for.

    When a busy journalist is reading your pitch, they don’t care about you or your credentials — at least not at first.

    All they care about is what’s in it for their audience.

    According to Geeta, no matter what outlet you’re pitching and what your topic is, all journalists will evaluate your pitch using these 3 questions:

    Why now, why is this relevant to that particular audience, and why you’re the expert.”

    Here are some things to contemplate:

    Does it inspire, educate, empower or entertain the journalist’s audience?

    Would the reader, viewer or listener’s life be improved after they spent time consuming your content?

    Would they feel smarter?

    In other words, are you bringing massive value to that producer or podcaster’s audience?

    Ditch the press release and get journalists to fall in love with you by thinking of things in THEIR terms.

    Writers really appreciate when you lessen their workload. Which means you have to understand their priorities and make sure your content is aligned with them.

    Get clear on your ideal client (and then pitch a media outlet that is already talking to them)

    You need to think of what your perfect reader looks like. What are their interests? What problem are they dealing with right now?

    Create content that will help inspire, inform, educate and empower that audience.

    Over-deliver on value-packed content. People really appreciate it when you take the time to teach them something new, so go deep instead of wide. There’s plenty of superficial crap out there on the internet, so stand out by truly sharing something that makes people think. And be careful not to overshare!

    Write a killer subject line

    Something that inspires curiosity and makes a journalist, who’s checking email on her phone, unable to resist opening your email.

    Personalize your pitch

    Whenever possible, use a journalist’s name and include a sentence telling her how much you liked one of her recent pieces. Media pros are people too and we love hearing that our hard work is actually being appreciated out there!

    Include an image in the body of the email

    Instead of attaching a PDF press release or image (which will get you thrown in spam), put all of your text and images in the body of your email. Just drag and drop.

    Finish with a mediagenic bio

    This is the grand finale! Make sure this is short, quick, concise, and gently tweaked to fit that particular media outlet’s audience. Here’s a great template to write a mediagenic bio in less than 10 minutes!

    These are simple steps that you can utilize to secure press and gain the media momentum you are looking for.

    There are too many people who are working hard and not receiving the type of press coverage they deserve.


    If you’re looking to gain press and build a strong personal brand without spending $10,000+ then contact me: rob@leavenormalbehind.com.

    Now … get to work and start sending out those pitches!

  • ,

    The real reason travel is so rewarding (and how to apply it to your life)

    man with camera

    Traveling (or as I like to do… backpacking) can be arduous, uncomfortable, and anxiety-inducing. When we see those picture perfect Instagram posts of people traveling the world they represent 1% of the story, glossing over the other 99% (such as the fact that blood, sweat and tears were shed to get to the top of that mountain summit  or the third leg of that flight).

    The chaos of finding yourself in an alien culture, where you’ve been stripped of all familiarity, is at the time nothing other than a test of survival.

    So why then is traveling so rewarding?

    Because when we travel we submit ourselves to the accompanying s**t in order to experience those fleeting moments of bliss — the moments that we recall when nostalgically reminiscing about our travels. We look back on our stories of being ripped off by a local taxi driver or how we got so lost in a place that they started crying… it’s all part of the experience… and we embrace it.

    Life is exactly the same.

    What gives our life meaning is our suffering, and what manifests from that suffering. For example when we graduate from school, our pride and joy isn’t derived from the fact that we now have a new piece of paper that we did not have beforehand. Instead we celebrate all the hours spent frantically studying late at night, our challenging progress in terms of self-development and maturity, or those lifelong friends we made by placing ourselves in new social environments when we would much rather have stayed at home.

    Take parenthood. 99% of being a parent involves doing thankless and repetitive tasks that nobody in their right mind would voluntarily agree to. Yet why is it that parenthood has been proven to be one of the most fulfilling pursuits in life? Because that 1% — seeing your offspring grow up — is so rewarding that the sacrifices which contributed to the end result was worth it.

    What should you take from this post?

    Embrace life’s difficulties.

    Don’t feel bad for not feeling happy all the time. Reframe your attitude to all those annoying micro tasks that need to be done on a daily basis because they are ultimately contributing to your desired end goals. Your sense of fulfillment and happiness should be viewed from an overview perspective rather than a fleeting snapshot in the here and now. Nobody wants to go to the bank to fill out endless admin forms, but perhaps that act is bringing you 0.001% closer to the person who are aiming to become.

    Every single person on this planet is battling inner demons, in one form or another. Empathy and compassion of this fact will go a long way to contributing to your success and well-being. The next time you see that “i have my life together” post on Instagram, take heart from the reality that what you are seeing is a surface reflection of the proverbial iceberg.

    Keep seeking.

  • ,

    Why you should skip your meetings at work and spend more time alone

    spend more time alone - man alone on steps

    The belief that working in teams makes us more creative is so widespread that we’ve stopped listening to our instincts. Solitude is out of fashion… but I’m here today to encourage you to listen to your instincts and be alone for a bit.

    Ever since kindergarten we’re taught to share, we’ve spent years at school solving issues in teams and now we work in offices without walls where we’re encouraged to brainstorm and reach synergistic goals to enhance each other’s creative capabilities. But what if I told you… it’s all wrong?

    What if I told you that years of learning the meaning of teamwork has taught me that you should be spending more time alone?

    Does being alone enable you to be more creative, effective and productive?

    We work collaborating and communicating with each other”… that’s what they’d say as they showed me my brand-new work laptop and a fancy stand-up table in a circle office with glass walls.

    We work together, we have lunch together and we encourage teamwork, which means you have to attend team meetings every day and meetings with the person you report to weekly. It makes us more creative.

    I remember my head buzzing around trying to calculate how much time it actually takes just to prepare for these meetings alone.

    Is that a normal practice here?” I wondered, looking around. I felt my brows meeting in one vivid unibrow showing disbelief in my future work practices.

    Yes it is”, my colleague answered with the brightest smile possible.

    Back then even my extroverted soul wanted to crumble and hide. Does that mean… I’ll actually be forced to spend time attending meetings where everyone will simply be updated what each of us is working on? What if there’s something we disagree on?

    “Okayyyy…” I whispered to myself contemplating where I ended up.

    Daily 20-30 meetings with teammates, weekly meetings with my manager and monthly 2 hour meetings with the whole office – that’s how my work was scheduled from that point.

    If you’re attending meetings all day.. you’re wasting your talent (and solitude might be the answer)

    spend more time alone - man alone on sea

    It’s not your fault, though. Teamwork and collaboration are at the core of today’s corporate work style (and that makes sense!). We hold frequent meetings to encourage knowledge sharing, understanding and consensus in the workplace and the our society is characterized by democracy and involvement. In other words, team meetings are compulsory, every attendant is not only encouraged but is rather expected to contribute and every prevailing issue is discussed out loud. Such practice is expected to foster creativity, brainstorming, flexibility and responsiveness as well as the ability to respond to change.

    I’ve got to admit that despite my initial ignorance I did find the meetings useful an engaging. And while nothing in business gets accomplished without the assistance of others, very quickly I found myself observing the negative effects that teamwork and frequent meetings bring along such as high interdependence and time wasting, to name a few.

    Too much collaboration can be detrimental… you need time for yourself to spend alone.

    Back in the 1890s, French researcher Max Ringelmann discovered what others later called the Ringelmann effect: the larger a workgroup, the more likely workers will mingle with each other and will waste time rather than get inspired and get the work done. That means that workmates will rather socialize and will also expect others to pick up the slack. He claimed that the maximum allowed number of people during the meeting is 5. After that, each extra attendee slows the process down and “extends the unproductive time”.

    My team meetings would usually feature an exact number of 5 individuals and in most cases even a smaller amount of people. In cases when attendee number would exceed 5 we were warned that we will stick to a certain schedule which would normally feature a strict meeting schedule and attendees would not be allowed to speak longer than 3 minutes at a time. Such meetings would usually allow to both express themselves and give a short feedback. Could that have been the secret of focus?

    Go be alone (but not lonely).

    Solitude itself is a state of seclusion, i.e. lack of contact with people due to (mainly) purposeful actions – longer-lasting focus, increased creativity and ability to fully relax. However a purposeful long-term solitude, where any human contact is intentionally neglected is thought to bring negative experiences.

    While collaboration is key to creativity, exceptional thoughts come nearly always in solitude.

    A number of highly creative people, such as Nikola Tesla, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Albert Einstein or Franz Kafka highly valued solitude since solitude was the only state of mind where they could use 100% of their potential. And while the brightest minds we’ve ever known would create in peace and solitude they would still seek for companionship for feedback.

    The belief that working in teams makes us more creative is so widespread that we’ve stopped listening to our instincts. We’ve stopped trying to understand what we need at that exact moment and we’ve stopped experimenting with ourselves.

  • ,

    Music and the brain: how listening to music can get you out of a slump

    Music and the brain - girl listening to music

    Music is the universal language. It’s a therapist, a healer, an old friend, a memory, a warm blanket, a trip to a faraway land, and a fire under our ass. It can inspire and motivate us, it can send us crashing to the ground in a pool of sorrow, it can bring us back to a single day of our childhood, sitting on our grandma’s lap with a popsicle in our hand, breathing in the smell of the cottonwoods and listening to the wind chimes.

    When we listen to music, we are not only tuning in with our ears, but our hearts and minds and souls.

    Music and the mind: music is the soundtrack to our lives and the blood in our veins.

    I’ve written about mindfulness here before, but really, being mindful all boils down to staying rooted in the present moment. There are several ways to approach mindfulness, the most obvious ones are usually focusing on the breath, doing yoga, meditation, hiking, etc., but music is sort of the unsung hero of mindfulness.

    Music has the power to completely change our lives if we truly tune in and we allow it to activate the parts of our brains that only music can.

    When I was 16 years old, I left a toxic home environment and was living alone in a one-bedroom apartment with no furniture, a twin-sized mattress, and a CD player on the floor. I had no dishes, no couch, no shower curtain, and no table to eat off of. But I was finally free and I had my big-ass book of punk CDs and those CDs were my lifeblood. I would sit alone in that empty apartment for hours and hours and hours on end and listen to songs filled with words that I needed to hear but no one else was saying to me; words that told me that I wasn’t a victim of my circumstance, but a warrior and a rebel and a fighter and a trailblazer.

    Songs that reminded me that I owe nothing to anyone but myself, to never look down and to keep my focus on my own lane and my own goals and my own dreams, not on the negativity and drama that was swirling around me trying to derail me. The ritualistic act of placing a CD in an empty disc slot, opening the liner notes, putting on my headphones, and fully immersing myself in the sound and the words on the page and the deeper meaning of it all was the epitome of staying rooted in the present moment.

    Music and the brain - guy listening to music

    When we go to a concert, we are fully present. We aren’t thinking about our appointments and that assignment that’s due or that guy who cut us off in traffic, because none of it matters. All that ever matters is the here and now.

    I didn’t know what “mindfulness” was at the time, but in those moments, with all of those positive messages seeping in to my soul, I was tuning out the world of negativity I had escaped from and was focusing only on the present moment. Looking back now, I can say with absolute certainty that the band Face to Face literally saved me from a life that could have very easily been filled with regrettable decisions. That would have been the easy way out, but music came to my rescue at a time in my life when no one else was around to be that life raft for me and it forced me to believe in myself when no one else did.

    Thankfully, it steered me down a path of bettering myself and giving a big middle finger to anyone who tried to stop me.

    This is your brain on music: it activates nearly every part of the brain:

    …the cerebellum, both auditory cortices, the memory centers, hippocampus, language centers, and the lowest parts of the frontal lobe.

    When our brains are firing on all cylinders, it sparks our flow and gets our heart pumping, acting as a source of strength and creative energy that literally transports us to another dimension. When we find a piece of music we relate to, it reminds us that our pain is not unique only to ourselves, but that we all suffer, we all dream, we all love, we all rage, we all experience sorrow and loss. So not only are we bringing awareness to our own state of being, but also to the connection we all share in this wild ride called life. Recognizing ourselves in another is the true definition of compassion. Compassion breeds love, and love is really all there is. Buddhists call this metta, or the act of loving-kindness, benevolence, and goodwill toward others.

    Music makes us more compassionate!

    Can you imagine doing a high-intensity cardio workout without music? Or dining at a fancy Italian restaurant without music? Without music, what would we dance to?  Next time you go to turn something on, pause for a minute and ask yourself “what mood will this put me in? How do I want to feel? What do I hope to get out of this song or band or experience?”

    Pay attention to how you are affected by the lyrics, the tone, and the message. There is one “artist” in particular whom, when I hear their music, it makes me absolutely cringe and want to pour acid in my ears, but right now, I’m hanging out with Miles Davis.

    What gets your juices flowing?

  • ,

    How to become more confident in yourself

    What is the one common characteristic of today’s great leaders, athletes, creators and doers?

    They know they’re the sh*t.

    That’s of course is a bit of an exaggeration but when it comes to success, if you’re not confident in yourself, your ability and your potential, you won’t get very far.

    That’s as far as I want to go with hyping confidence.

    I have read a lot of ‘how to hack your confidence’ articles lately, and they all seem to glamorize and simplify the art of developing confidence. Lot’s of fake it til you make it advice.

    Sounds like all you have to do is adopt a power stance, repeat self-affirming mantras to yourself, dress your best and you’ll be more confident than Kanye West!

    Don’t get me wrong. I think there’s a lot to fake it til you make it and other similar practices you can do to aid in confidence. But in my experience, they are superficial and don’t last.

    how to be more confident

     

    I have spent the last couple of years in a client facing sales role. This entails daily meetings, entertainment, meeting new people and general schmoozing and “pitching.” If there’s any line of business where having confidence and charisma is a prerequisite, it’s sales.

    There’s a lot of pressure in sales to exude confidence.

    But a lot of the time, it’s quite binary. You either have it or you don’t.

    If you don’t, you need to fake it til you make it, otherwise, your time will be short lived.

    I have learned a ton over the past couple of years about what true confidence means and how to become more confident in all aspects of your life.

    I have learned that, truth be told, there is no way to quickly hack your self-confidence. There are no life pro tips that will give you outright confidence. The truth is quite simple.

    If you want to develop confidence, you need to practice. Plain and simple.

    I think the biggest misconception people have about self-confidence is that being confident means having blind confidence in yourself and your ability.

    how to be more confident

     

    When I first started in sales, I was far from confident. I didn’t have much success to build on, was new in the industry and was thrown headfirst into the gauntlet.

    I tried the fake it til you make it routine and projected outright confidence in myself, my product and my company. But it felt forced. And, in retrospect, it was!

    To project blind confidence in yourself is just silly.

    I have learned that to truly be confident in yourself, you need to be realistic about yourself and your skills.

    It’s ok to accept the fact that you might not be the best in certain respects. Accept that, move on and focus on the areas where you have true confidence.

    The best way to be realistic yet still have the utmost confidence in yourself without being contradictory is to understand the difference between self-confidence and self-esteem.

    Here is how I define it.

    Self-esteem is having confidence in your overall worth as a person.

    I have worth, potential and value to offer myself and the world

    Self-confidence is more action oriented.

    I have the ability to do whatever I set my mind to.

    The thing I have noticed about today’s great leaders, athletes and doers is that their self-confidence emanates from their sense of overall worth.

    Their self-esteem gives them self-confidence. BUT, they are also realistic about their shortcomings. That is true-confidence. It is for this reason that fake it ’til you make it is not an effective means of developing true confidence. If you don’t develop the underlying self-esteem, you are simply building a house on sand.

    The great thing about self-esteem is that it is not something you are just born with or not. It is something you can develop and nurture.

    Self-confidence is a byproduct of self-esteem.

    In my experience, the real key to learning how to become more confident in yourself is to develop your self esteem.

    how to be more confident

     

    When you have developed your self-esteem, you’ll realize that you are okay with not being confident in certain areas of your life. You don’t adhere to blind confidence. And you’re okay with that!

    To develop this, you need to realize that your level of self-esteem is tied to what you believe is possible. This belief is entirely up to you and can be altered.

    The best way I have found to develop self-esteem is to ensure that your inner vision is tied to your external reality.

    Simply put, if your daily actions and decisions aren’t in-line with who you want to be and where you want to go, your self-esteem will suffer.

    You are essentially sabotaging yourself, and whether you realize it or not, it has a tangible effect on your self-esteem,

    To ensure this is not happening to you, you have to live purposefully and be introspective. You have to carry your goals front of mind and ponder them when making decisions.

    If your day-to-day actions are in-line with these goals, your self-esteem will build.

    Your self-esteem is the guiding force you have to gives you the confidence that you are capable of learning and acting. So let’s take a minute and focus on how to increase your daily levels of confidence to mirror that of your self-esteem.

    First, be aware that there are several kinds of confidence.

    Confidence as a result of skill

    Think of today’s top athletes. They are highly skilled, highly practiced and execute on a regular basis. Their confidence is drawn from the fact that they are damn good at what they do day in and day out.

    Confidence in self

    This is closely aligned with your self-esteem but is more aligned with your daily actions. It is the ability to rebound after failure. To see the glass half-full instead of half-empty. It is acceptance of the scenario and confidence to find the good in any result.

    Confidence as a result of success

    This one is a given, but confidence breeds confidence. Once you start seeing results and get success under your belt, it feeds your confidence.

    Which arena of confidence I have learned that the best confidence comes from doing. Doing is the only way to truly develop confidence.

    Here are 4 ways to learn how to become more confident in yourself.

    Loosen up instead of trying to be validated by everyone around.

    This is the biggest lesson I have learned over the past 3 years.

    Knowing who you actually are instead of focusing on some image of who you should be. I’m not talking in terms of goals (in which case you should focus on where you want to go). I’m talking about your personality and characteristics.

    By focusing on who you are, you are turning your back on the exterior image of confidence – status, money, career, cars, friends, popularity, etc. Your old mind focused on having these elements in order to feel good and confident about yourself. This is superficial confidence and is developed by accruing shiny objects. Once those things are gone, you have nothing.

    Instead of focusing on these external qualities, your focus should be on your internal self.

    When this shift occurs, your resilience will become unwavering.

    Failed a test, fired from job, weight gain, made fun of, weak… no matter what it is, your inner confidence remains strong.

    The only true way to grow this is through experiences. It is through those experiences that you realize that they aren’t lasting and that you will always bounce back.

    I call it living in your own bubble. Within that bubble, you are impervious. You are always yourself and you will never feel less than confident.

    So, let this be a reminder to be yourself. At all times. Be weird.

    how to be more confident

     

    Take action without regard to the outcome.

    I don’t mean to always go in guns blazin’. What I mean by this is to recognize that no matter the outcome whether it be success or failure, there really is no negative outcome. It is all a learning experience.

    Take action and learn as you go. Try new things, learn new skills. That is what will make you confident.

    Write down your accomplishments

    Perspective breeds confidence. Feeling stuck? Feel like you are not moving forward and this is affecting your confidence as a result?

    Take a minute and write down some of the things you have accomplished to date. Write down some of the positive qualities that enabled you to accomplish these items. Similar to gratitude journaling, this is a great way to remind yourself of what you are capable of. Time to get out of that rut and learn to not be realistic about your accomplishments.

    Surround Yourself with Inspiring People

    If your squad is winning, you’re winning too.

    If you want to have and emanate confidence, it is helpful to see what that looks like in practice. Surround yourself with people who exude confidence.

    how to be more confident

     


    I’d love to know how you develop your own sense of confidence. Email me! case@prsuit.com

  • ,

    How to better yourself by getting out of your own way

    how to better yourself - woman on phone

    Does this little scenario sound familiar? You are fortunate enough to know what you want out of life but you can’t get out of your own your way to get it.  Your calling is knocking on your door but you are too darn scared to take that first step, or you have no clue where to begin.  It is frustrating being you sometimes, right?  Well, you are not alone, my friend! I like to call this – Lights, Camera, Inaction.

    To learn how to change yourself for the better, you have to realize what’s happening.

    It’s when you get all fired up about your dreams but you don’t do a darn thing about it.  It’s almost as if there is a proverbial wall between you and your dreams and rather than trying to figure out a way to get through it, you just freeze.

    So here’s a little advice… your dreams are not going to magically appear!

    I am a perfect example of this unfortunate truth.

    From the time I was three years old I wanted to be an actor.  While I took classes through the years, I never fully pursued my dream for one reason or another. As I saw it, life always got in the way.  Every year brought up another obstacle. One year turned into 5 years and then 10 years until almost 40 years went by!  No really.

    Time has a crazy little habit of passing by quickly.

    how to better yourself - man taking picture

    I found myself working in the business world and doing very well, but guess what?  I was miserable.  I used to tell my husband that when I went to work I died a little each day.  Sounds a little dramatic now BUT that’s actually how I felt.

    Even after all those years I STILL had the gnawing feeling of wanting to become an actor.  But now the difference was that I feared I would NEVER do it. The last thing I ever wanted to do was look back as an old lady and say, “Wow I never even really tried”.  Ugh!

    So very long story short, I got laid off from my job and I finally went out and started taking acting classes, got my headshots taken and started to pursue my dream- one little step at a time.

    I have been acting now for several years and have been in films, TV shows, commercials and more.  I am in my glory.  Most people would have doubted that a forty-something year old mom could actually pull it off.  But none of this ever would have happened if I didn’t try.

    So, it’s really pretty simple, you have two choices when it comes to bettering yourself…

    You can either accept the fact that you have a dream that will always remain just that – a dream, or you can get busy and make it happen. I know the latter is easier said than done but trying is a whole lot more fun than just giving up.

    Here’s the good news… knowing what you want is a huge advantage.  Do you know how many people struggle with trying to pinpoint what they want to do with their lives?  Two words – A LOT. So now let’s get you moving in the right direction.

    The very first thing you have to do, can be done anywhere and at any time.  It’s simply making the decision to move forward.  Once you do that, the doors of opportunity will have the nod to go ahead and start opening.  Giving yourself permission to have the life of your dreams is sometimes the hardest part.  So go ahead and say, “I give myself permission to have a wonderful life and follow my dreams.”

    Enough said!  The key is to truly mean it when you say it (and to truly want to change).

    The next step is actually taking one small step.  This can be anything – a web search, making a contact or creating a list.  It can be whatever gets you excited and helps you move forward.  The key is not putting it off.  So take action today and be proud of yourself for doing it. Then get in the habit of doing something every day.

    Since we are starting off small, there is just one other step for now.  Close your eyes and see yourself living your dream.  I want you to not only see yourself, but to use all your senses to create a lifelike movie of your success.  Go crazy!  What does it look like, feel like, smell like, sound like and even taste like?  If you really get into it, you will start to feel all the juicy emotions that your dream will bring. This feeling will motivate you to keep taking action.

    So, whatever your dream may be, you have to be willing to take the leap to change it from dream to reality.  It will not happen overnight and may not be easy but time will pass regardless. So why not use it wisely?  I know you can do it!

    You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” — Zig Ziglar

  • ,

    How failing changed my life (and why you should fail more often)

    failing changed my life - Gerard Adams cover

    My first failure was relatively early in my career, and timing-wise, I was lucky for that. However, when you’re just starting out, it can be harder to navigate around what seems like the biggest setback that’s ever happened.

    In reality, what I’ve learned is that failure is a jumping-off point.

    It shows us how to step up and move forward, and how to stay resilient.

    Without these qualities, the entrepreneurial life would be unbelievably challenging, because these characteristics are the making of a true leader.

    Failure is important for this reason.

    I believe it’s one of the fundamental steps on the path to fulfilling success.

    When I was first starting my journey after I made the bold move to drop out of college, the one thing I knew for sure was that I was passionate about the stock market, and wanted to learn more about it.

    I wanted mentors, because it made sense to me to learn from those who were already successful in this area rather than scrappily trying to figure it out alone. What was most important to me was understanding what kind of companies people invested in, and why. So, I searched for those who could be deemed “experts” in this area to absorb what they had to share.

    failing changed my life - Gerard Adams collage 1

    Simultaneously, I was building an online platform and community for other people interested in learning about the stock market. I was inspired by the rating system used on Amazon and Ebay and applied it to a user platform where you could see who’s advice and feedback was most highly rated, giving them a higher gold star presence. I worked relentlessly on getting this thing off the ground, day in and day out, I was furiously passionate about it because I felt like I was creating the very thing that I needed. I was filling a niche, and one that I truly felt was going to support other people in their quest for knowledge, financial awareness, and creating success.

    I quickly reached over ten thousand users.

    Those that had 4 and 5 star ratings became a go-to source for me on getting educated more rapidly in the world of stocks and trading. In a way they became mentors without even knowing it. They were the reason I understood what price to earnings ratio meant, they were the reason I knew about balance sheets. They were the reason I started to see the landscape, and truly understand how people played on it.

    A CEO reached out to me and asked how he could get exposure to the investment community I was building. We’ll call him Rob. He told me I was pioneering investor relations in the digital world — and that stepping outside of the traditional model of getting exposure was more challenging for smaller companies like his. I was 19 at the time, and I went to see him at his office in the top floor of a beautiful building. His office was insane. It was huge, had a wraparound terrace, and overlooked the skyline.

    He gave me a tour, told me a bit about what he did, which intrigued me, and then offered me a job on the spot.

    “Why don’t you become our Director of Investor Relations?”

    I was losing it! This was the most exciting thing in the world to me at the time, because somehow, it also meant I had become an expert. He said he wasn’t bothered by me building my own business at the same time as long as I got my work done, and so the hustle began. I had a key to the office, and I would grind there every day until 3 or 4 in the morning.

    I did everything for this man — built a new website, did video marketing, got him written up in Wired Magazine. I wore one thousand hats, and never hated a minute of it because I was learning so much.

    I ended up building them up to have the largest shareholder base for a company of their size in the world.

    At the same time I was building my own website and company late at night after work. I was all in, and pretty wildly committed to it. During the year I was with this company, their stock went up 400%. Four hundred percent. A solid chunk of change. It was a testament not solely to how hard I was working, but I definitely let myself bask in the fact that I had contributed to this.

    I called Rob, and told him it was time to do a live demo of his groundbreaking tech product, so many people were paying attention to the company, and it could secure millions of dollars in funding for him to take it public.
    He handed the job to me, told me to organize the entire event, and to run with it. So, I did.

    I hustled, rallied anyone and everyone I knew as a resource, and knocked the planning aspect out of the park.

    But, when the day arrived where I would have to speak in front of all of these people, I was barely holding it together. I had cue cards I was nervously fumbling through in the bathroom, when Ron stepped in and told me all I had to do was be myself. “Put the cards away”, he said, and just get out there. So I did. I spoke, then the rest of the event was carried by Ron, and a demonstration of the battery tech that he had developed — the nano battery (a longer battery life than we could imagine).

    I’d gotten tons of important investors and people with a lot of power into a room to watch this demonstration. It’s what they came for.

    It was the live explanation of this technology that was going to change the world. And it didn’t work.

    On that day, on the stage, somehow they hadn’t prepared, and it didn’t work. People were screaming questions, swearing, asking if the whole thing was a fraud. It destroyed the biggest opportunity of their lives, and while I didn’t have a hand in that aspect, as the one who organized the whole experience, I felt responsible.

    I thought my career was over. I was the young guy who royally screwed up.

    What actually happened was that a few guys came up to me and gave me their business cards. “Hey Kid, you got me in this room. Call me.

    The coming days were where things changed. It’s where my real focus on mindset began. I realized that it didn’t matter that it felt like a huge public failure, because the only thing I could focus on was how to learn from my mistake, move forward, and recognize what I had actually accomplished — which was a ton.

    It was a turning point. I sat down and recognized — these are my talents.

    failing changed my life - Gerard Adams collage 2

    This is what I’m great at. So, I started a digital marketing agency based on the motivation to move forward like a bat out of hell and use the experience to remind me that when you trust what you’re capable of, you just keep going, no matter what. I became one of the most sought-after online marketers for publicly traded companies in the world. It was a pretty big leap from being a 19 year old being responsible for an event that failed, and being involved with a company that ruined itself.

    I was managing six and seven figure budgets for companies that wanted full-scale marketing plans and execution, and I was barely out of being a teenager.

    A high percentage of companies fail. It’s good to study and experience failure for this reason, it can be inevitable. Without having some awareness of it, you’re not really understanding the whole picture of what it can mean to be an entrepreneur, be active in business, or to build something from the ground up. It’s part of our human experience, and it’s a valuable lesson that can change our lives beyond our wildest dreams.

    By the time I was 24, I had built my business up to about $10 million a year.

    I was traveling, loving life, and taking full responsibility for having gotten myself to where I was. I can say with full certainty that I wouldn’t have realized what I was made of and where I could go if I hadn’t found it within myself to keep going after what felt like the world ending. It was zero to sixty, and I attribute it to the test of resilience and dedication I received to prove that I was ready and willing to do whatever it took to turn my mission and vision into my living.

    The keys are very simple: keep going, focus on what you’re good at, and stay fiercely moved by your desire to create the life you have in mind.

  • ,

    22 Life Lessons I Learned From My Mentors That Every Person Should Know

    life lessons - man on hill

    With every conversation I have, book I read, mistake I make, and new knowledge I acquire, I feel less sure about everything.

    French philosopher Voltaire said it best:

    The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.

    When I got my first degree in business, nine years ago, I was certain I knew nothing. So I got a master’s degree after that. That took me about two more years.

    Still, I knew nothing.

    So after that, I did my best to learn from mentors, family, business partners, clients, friends, colleagues.

    I tried to absorb all their knowledge.

    I’ve been blessed to meet a lot of wonderful people who I’ve learned a lot from. And if you also want to learn from people you look up to, just observe them. Understand how they behave, think, talk, work, conduct business, etc.

    That’s why I think everyone has mentors. But not everyone actively observes them.

    Most of us expect a mentor to show up and say:

    “As of today, I’m your official mentor. Here‘s lesson one: Don’t be an idiot.”

    I don’t know about you, but that has never happened to me. Instead, I find ways to spend time with people I want to learn from, and learn by observing them. That strategy has helped me a lot in recent years.

    Here’s a list of things I’ve observed my mentors saying. I hope you find it useful too.

    life lessons - man in sunglasses

    1. “I like to work because that keeps me young.”

    One of my mentors is in his seventies. If you believe scientists, he should be a rusty old man with only a few good brain cells. Instead, he’s a vital person. Good genes? Maybe. He doesn’t have time to think about that stuff. He just does things.

    2. “Adults don’t need to ask for permission.”

    Screw gatekeepers and naysayers. If you believe in something, do it. And if it doesn’t work out, it’s always better to ask for forgiveness.

    3. “People who always complain give me a headache.”

    Don’t be a party-pooper.

    4. “If people want to go. Let them. And wish them well.”

    Over the course of your career, you’ll lose friends, colleagues, team members, employees, bosses, partners. Shit happens and people move on. Friends become enemies. Know when it’s time for you to move on. And never hold a grudge.

    5. “Be smart about your career.”

    Don’t be a sheep. Understand that everyone is competing for the same things. Be smart and think about winning. Just stay ethical. And yes, that’s possible. Life is not House of Cards.

    6. “Treat people well. The world is small.”

    We’re humans. And humans are emotional. And emotions make people do weird things. Don’t do weird things to people.

    7. “Life is not fair. Get over it.”

    Yeah, yeah, I get it. You’re sad. You didn’t get that promotion. No one cares about your product. These things happen. Don’t wish things were different. Just be better next time.

    8. “Know yourself. But also know your industry, business, friends, enemies, competition.”

    Self-awareness is the start of personal growth. But if you want to truly advance your career, you must understand your environment too. Otherwise, you’ll be a monk who only knows himself.

    9.“I always make the best out of everything.”

    Stop trying to find your passion. And don’t be a spoiled little brat. Just enjoy your life, have fun, relax, be a sport. You don’t need a dream job or a million dollars to do those things.

    10. “I hate it when people are not prepared.”

    No matter how small your next assignment is, come prepared. It’s the difference between an amateur and a pro. Know your shit.

    11. “Hard things will always remain hard. Things don’t get easier by putting them off.”

    Difficult conversations, firing people, admitting mistakes, saying you’re sorry. You never really get used to hard things. It’s always better to rip the band-aid. Just get it over with.

    12. “Not everyone thinks the same way you do.”

    I often hear people saying: “That person doesn’t understand me.” Have you ever thought that it might be the other way around? People are different. Do your best to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

    13. “Bad people only hurt themselves. I feel bad for them.”

    Never try to get back at bad people. Their punishment is that they are a bad person.

    14. “Always have a side-business.”

    Everyone should be able to make money independently. Create something of value. When people pay for it, you’re in business.

    15. “Everything comes to an end.”

    Your good health, relationships, family, pet, business. We all know how things end. Just make sure you appreciate the things you still have. Before you know it, everything will be gone. And so will you.

    16. “I fail all the time. I just don’t give up.”

    Failure is overrated. It’s merely a different word for learning. We just get all emotional about it. “I suck.” No, you don’t. But if you give up you do.

    17. “Why does everyone want to be happy all the time?”

    There’s nothing wrong with being sad, angry, frustrated. Just don’t stay in those emotions. Acknowledge it, and then move on.

    18. “People are in love with their own voice.”

    Sometimes it’s good to shut up and listen to other people.

    19 .“I hate fabricated fun. It’s not fun.”

    For the love of god, stop forcing people to have ‘fun’ at your stupid office party. It’s not fun to tell people to have fun. Just relax and be human, you weird android in a suit.

    20. “Resting is more important than working.”

    The art of resting is a difficult thing to learn. We’re all so restless. We want things to happen today, now, this very instant. Let it go. Just breath for a second. Rest.

    21. “I don’t give a shit.”

    I can’t tell you how often I heard my mentors saying that phrase. Somehow, happy people don’t care about shit that doesn’t matter.

    22. “My goal is to learn one new thing every day.”

    Learning is something you do deliberately. Remind yourself every day that you want, no NEED, to learn something new.

    What new thing did you learn today? After writing this list, I learned that all the stuff I know, I learned from others. Does that make me stupid? I don’t give shit anyway. It’s time to rest.

    Darius originally published this on his blog and it appears here with his permission.

  • ,

    11 introverts reveal how you can still be introverted and meet your significant other

    introverts - couple on beach

    We’ve said it before, but being introverted is a great thing!

    Introverts truly embrace who they are and they are better for it as a result.

    An introvert embraces who he/she really is. An introvert works and takes pride in their output, they connect well with others on an emotional level, they have the ability to determine what truly matters to a person, and they understand that the difference between success and failure lies in the actions we take.

    BUT, if there’s one area where being introverted can be frustrated it’s in dating – a space where being bold, outgoing and flirtatious has its advantages.

    So, we wanted to know…

    How can you be an introvert and still find your significant other?

    These are 11 quick stories from several self-proclaimed introverts and how they came to meet their significant other.

    introverts - couple on lake

    1. Be bold

    We’re both introverts, but I definitely can force myself to be bold. I was a waitress at a restaurant he came into. He asked to borrow my pen, I told him “only if you write down your number.”

    Sometimes introvert guys need a girl who is not afraid to make the first move.

    We’ve been together almost 14 years now. (/u/KlvrDissident)

    2. Be honest

    I told her, “If I weren’t so socially inept, I’d be trying to have a conversation with you.”

    Married almost 9 years. (/u/Moni3)

    3. Go shopping.

    I met my husband while I was shopping. I spent a good six weeks buying incredibly overpriced avocados from the shop he works at and then after coincidently winning at ‘fruit box weekly draw’ I added him on FB (through the shops FB page, minor stalker alert here) and just asked him out.

    And here we are, a year later, married.

    Bonus, The avocados are now free. (/u/NZ-Food-Girl)

    4. Be clever on Tinder.

    Tinder. His picture was him hanging upside down from a tree and his bio said “proof that nerds grow on trees“. We both made it clear we were looking for a relationship, met up the day we matched for coffee, hit it off, and that was that. (/u/zlae)

    5. Realize.

    Both of us work at a grocery store. I saw her and thought that she was the cutest there but never really did anything about it. She works as a cashier and I work in produce. She would always do the reshop and I soon realized that she was doing that for a reason and started flirting with her back.

    We have been together 11 months now. (/u/Smirking_Sheep)

    6. At the gym

    I’m a female… but I am very introverted. I met my now husband at the gym, I would always work out with my brother and my now husband thought I was dating my brother because we were always at the gym together (ew). When he asked my brother how long we had been dating, we both looked at each other and said “uhh.. we’re sibling so never…” He asked my brother if we could all work out sometime and I went full on awkward when we did.

    He was showing me a new work out and he almost smashed my face in with a dumbbell, I walked off because I was so embarrassed and started working out alone then he asked me out to lunch and we hit it off. (/u/beatbox28)

    7. Dog watching?

    She came over to me in a coffeeshop while she was on vacation in my country, to ask how to tip. We had a two-hour conversation, and then an amazing five-hour lunch two days later.

    She complained about her hostel and I offered her my spare bedroom. She accepted. Nothing happened although it seems crystal-clear in retrospect that we were falling for each other (duh). I didn’t want to be douchey and make her feel uncomfortable under my roof, so putting the moves on her was not something I seriously considered.

    Two nights later, I had to be gone for most of the night, on a work assignment, and I asked if she would please watch and walk my dog in my absence. I came home at 5 a.m. and was greeted by my suddenly very soft, very fluffy dog. She had somehow understood “Will you please wash my dog,” and apparently didn’t find that a strange request at all.

    The next evening, after we’d been talking over a bottle of wine for hours, it seems she’d had enough of my apparent indecisiveness, took the wine glass out of my hand, put it down, and leaned in for a kiss.

    That was 26 years ago. We’ve been married 23 years. (/u/DaytonaDemon)

    8. Find something that excites you.

    (He’s the introvert) he kept coming in to the bar I worked, and I kept asking him questions trying to get a conversation going. But l kept hitting a wall! For 4 days all we did was:

    me: question.

    him: answer

    me: …

    me: question.

    It didn’t stop me from trying though. (It confuses me to think back on, because I was also very annoyed with him!) But anyway. After asking about so many things, I finally on day 4, asked him about books… and the boy never shut his mouth there after!

    So to all introverts out there: asking questions is difficult, but you’re all passionate about something, whatever it is. Lead the conversation towards that one subject, that you feel confident talking about. Then all the rest will come more easily.

    I can’t believe my husband didn’t ask “so do you read any books? Who’s your favorite author?”, when he’s so passionate about them! (/u/flyingmops)

    9. On the bus.

    On the Greyhound.

    During my time in the Army I was stationed at Ft. Eustis, VA. On my way home (Denver, CO, at the time) for Christmas I saw her sitting across from and slightly behind me. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to her at first, but my buddy, seated next to her, did. After getting shot down repeatedly for a day and a half, he finally got off the bus. Shortly thereafter she came over and sat next to me and we started talking.

    After that we got split up (put on different buses) and I kicked myself for not getting her number. Then, when the bus stopped in St.Louis, there she was standing right there in the entrance, almost like she was waiting for me. If my bus had arrived 15 minutes later Id have never seen her again.

    Then I found out the bus to Denver was delayed due to snow, and wasn’t going anywhere for at least two days. She hurried over to the ticket counter and had my ticket changed to Des Moines, IA (where she was going) so I wouldn’t be trapped in St. Louis for two days. We spent the next four days getting to know each other, then I continued home. We had a long distance relationship for about six months until I came home permanently, by which time she had moved to Denver and rented an apartment.

    We got married three years later and have been together 10 years total. (/u/kevon87)

    10. Walk the dog

    I was living in a duplex with some friends. One day I decided to take one of my roommates’ dog for a walk, which I never usually did. Shortly after leaving the house I was stopped by a girl who asked “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” I had never seen her before, but it was enough to start the small talk.

    She helped me walk the dog around the block and we were basically inseparable from that point on. WHAT MY INTROVERT SELF FAILED TO NOTICE AT THE TIME: She had been “stalking” me for weeks, trying to get me to notice her. Walking her own dog past my house, riding her bike next to my car, waiting for me to get home from work when I would unknowingly street park in front of her house where she would be “doing yard work”. She succeeded by catching me walking that dog which, remember, I NEVER EVER DID, it was fate I guess. 6 months after meeting her I moved out of the duplex and 5 houses down the street, lol.

    Married 16 years now. (/u/Kalfu73)

    11. Volunteer

    Volunteered in Thailand to work with elephants. I was one of only two guys with 18 girls (volunteering is very often dominated by compassionate, smart women, especially if it involves animals). My girlfriend is an absolutely beautiful, amazing girl that is now a vet student. We are completely in love.

    I recommend volunteering to anyone, and especially to people who are depressed and lonely. It is rewarding and if you’re not a shit person, you will meet amazing people and​ have amazing experiences.

    Edit: I know this is a late edit, but I wrote this when I was tired and now I’m remembering how we met. I said we’re in love and I just get warm every time I think about her. The night it became obvious we liked each other, she broke my finger. Well, that’s what I tell everyone, by the truth is I was carrying her up some stairs to a movie theater and tripped. She landed on my hand on the corner of a stair and basically shattered my knuckle. I ignored it, we skipped out on the movie with the group and had drinks on the roof.

    It was one of the best nights if my life. I never told the instructor I broke my pinky because I didn’t want to get sent away and miss the rest of the trip with her, so now I can’t bend it all the way… It’s permanently disfigured. I love it because it’s such a good story and reminder of how much fun we always have. Hmm well, I tried to upload pictures of my broken finger and​ the two of us but it ain’t working. Oh well. (/u/sqectre)

  • ,

    A Mini-Guide to Not Being Frustrated All the Time

    frustrated woman

    Pretty much all of us experience frustration on a daily (or even hourly) basis. We get frustrated by other people, by ourselves, by technology, by work situations, by small crises that come up all the time.

    You know you’re frustrated when you find yourself sighing, or complaining about people, or fuming about something that happened, or going over why you’re right and they’re wrong.

    Frustration is normal, but holding on to frustration is not so fun. It’s not even helpful: if the situation isn’t great, adding frustration on top of it just makes it worse. Often frustration will make us not happy with someone else, and worsen our relationship with them. Or it will cause us to be less calm, and handle a situation less than ideally.

    How can we calm ourselves and let go of our frustrations, so we’re not so irritated and angry throughout the day?

    Let’s talk about why we get frustrated, and how to address this problem.

    The Origins of Frustration

    Where does our frustration come from?

    It’s from not wanting things to be a certain way. Not wanting other people to behave a certain way. Not wanting ourselves to be a certain way.

    It’s a rejection of how things are.

    From this, we start to tell ourselves a story: she shouldn’t act that way, she should do this. And she always does this! Why can’t she just see that she’s wrong? She’s so irritating!

    We tell ourselves stories all day long, and we get caught up in them, and this is where we dwell in our frustration.

    A Guide to Overcoming Frustration

    You can’t help frustration coming up, no matter how Zen you’d like to be. It’s natural, and so are the stories we tell ourselves.

    However, you can develop an awareness of it. Are you mad or irritated with someone right now? Do you find yourself clenching your jaw because of a situation? Sighing? Complaining to someone, wanting to vent? Are you fuming? Arguing your case in your mind?

    When you notice yourself experiencing frustration, pause. Just sit still for a moment, even just a few seconds, and notice your frustration. Notice how it feels in your body.

    Then start to notice the story you’re telling yourself. What are you telling yourself is wrong with the situation? What are you saying the other person should or shouldn’t do? How are you characterizing the other person or situation?

    Now ask this: is this story helping me? Is it making the situation better or worse? Is it helping your relationship with the other person? Is it making you happy? If it’s not helpful, maybe you’re creating your own unhappiness, entirely in your mind.

    Instead, perhaps you can see this frustrating situation as a lesson in mindfulness, in letting go, in acceptance, in finding happiness no matter how other people act, no matter what situation you’re in. Every moment has a lesson, if we’re willing to look. If we open up ourselves to this situation, we can learn a lot about how to see other people not as we want them to be, but in the glorious messy beauty of how they actually are, without needing them to change.

    If you’re learning from this situation, you can also see that the other person is suffering. Not in the sense of “life is simply miserable and I’m suffering in agony,” but in the sense of “something is making me unhappy.” Something is causing the other person to act “imperfectly,” because they’re conflicted about something, they’re frustrated themselves (as you are). In this way, you are both experiencing the same thing. You are connected, and you can understand how they feel because you’re feeling it too. They are behaving imperfectly, yes, but we all do that. That doesn’t make it right, but perhaps you can empathize with them, maybe even try to understand their story, where they’re coming from. Try to see how the way they’re behaving makes sense to them from their perspective. It does, you just can’t see it.

    Now perhaps you can let go of your way. You want things to go your way, want people to behave the way you want them to. But you don’t and can’t control the universe. You aren’t entitled to getting everything your way. Other people get to act imperfectly, behave their own way, and it’s true that you don’t have to agree with them or love the way they’re acting, but insisting in your own mind that things go your way or people act the way you want them to won’t work, and will only make you frustrated. So let go! So “c’est la vie” and loosen your grip on the way you want things to be.

    Finally, say “yes” to this experience. It’s perhaps not ideal, but what is? Say “yes” and embrace the way this moment is. Practice this saying “yes” on a regular basis, and you’ll loosen up on your clinging to things, you’ll start to appreciate what is beautiful about the present moment, and start to be frustrated less often.

  • ,

    How investing in real-estate taught me the single key to life

    man jumping in city

    Appreciation (n): to increase in value.

    I want my life to appreciate more than my real estate investments and my other businesses.

    Most real estate investors who have seen appreciation have done so on individual properties and/or entire real estate portfolios. I’ve witnessed it on my own properties.

    I have since been running my other businesses to appreciate, and as of most recent I’m making sure my life appreciates too.

    In 2013 I bought my first property and began my real estate journey. The journey I first discussed with Prsuit back in December about how I went from clueless college graduate to $13MM in real estate in 4 months. It was a four unit. Eleven months later I picked up the four unit next door to the first. Combined price: $380,000.

    They appreciated. Yes, value was added. Remodels and makeovers were done by a great team. Yes, rents went up because of those improvements, and also because of the bounce back in the market.

    With appreciation, in 2016 the buildings had a new value of $450,000. The debt on the buildings had been paid down to $300,000. And the buildings were now valued at roughly $450,000. The bank always wants a minimum of 20% in the deal – we were able to take a new loan of $360,000 (or 80% of the $450,000 value). The old mortgage of $300,000 was paid off using the $360,000. We then had $60,000 in pocket that goes untaxed – wealth isn’t taxed, income is. That is how I had an amazing year in real estate investment in 2016. That $60,000 was reinvested to build more wealth.

    Another year later, in 2017, similar properties to the original two have sold for $560,000 – that’s appreciation. I am currently in the process of adding 1 and 2 more zeros to the end of those numbers!

    Since directly benefiting from appreciation in real estate, I chose to run my other businesses with the aim of them appreciating.

    I’ve yet to take a salary from my businesses. I take out what I need, to pay the basics. Until I am 29 or 30, I probably won’t choose to draw a salary greater than $1,000 from my property management company. Why? I want to pour those dollars back into hiring and keeping the best talent around me, to my team, to technology to run as efficient as possible, to scale a nationwide, and worldwide company. I’m determined for my businesses to appreciate despite the economy. They are appreciating.

    All this talk and thought of appreciation towards real estate and business is great. But there have been many things going on in my life in 2017. Building new relationships, loosing people in my life and attending their funerals, seeing old and new friends get married and starting families. It’s soaking in the time that is flying by – really, really fast. Anyone at anytime can be gone in a blink of an eye.

    This is why, more than anything, I want my life to appreciate.

    In my mind, the best way possible to increase your life’s value? Easy.

    As hard as it can be on some days.

    Every single day I first choose to be grateful and happy – no matter what.

    I choose to always forgive, but never forget.

    I choose to not dwell in the past.

    I choose to immediately pick my foot up and move it forward no matter what.

    I choose to treat others better than I’d ever want or expect to be treated.

    I choose to smile, wait and hold the door open at 5:30AM when walking into the gym and see the old couple walking 40 yards behind me.

    I choose to give more than I ever receive.

    I choose to tell my family I love them (and mean it) after every conversation in person, on the phone, etc. – there aren’t going to be any regrets.

    I choose to pour into, strengthen, lift up, cheer on, and love those around me.

    I choose to make other’s lives appreciate too.

    I believe the way I live my life, is the reason why the businesses have grown. It’s always about the people. That’s how I choose appreciation.

  • ,

    How to turn your hobby into a business (while working your 9-5)

    hobby into a business - guy on skateboard

    You make delicious cakes, take great photos or can play guitar like nobody else.

    You’ve heard many times that you should open a business around your talent and have been encouraged by the prospect of being your own boss while doing something that you love. But you don’t know if that would realistically work. After all, it’s hard enough to deal with the responsibilities of your 9-5, your career and everything life throws your way – where would you fit in starting your own business?

    Is it possible to create a successful business from a hobby or passion?

    In this day and age, it is more easily accomplished than ever before. The internet and the ability to “go viral” and gain followings quickly makes now more than ever before the best time to cash in on your passion.

    Becoming a passion-driven means you are intrinsically motivated by something that moves you to create and gets you genuinely excited to do what you do.

    Passion is a great fuel for the success of your business. This can come without a doubt from a hobby,” says David Pinto, director of the Longitude School of Entrepreneurship. “You will naturally have quiet days and challenging days, in which you will need to seek the strength to overcome. If your business is already part of its essence, it will be a further incentive not to give up.

    From my experience as a digital nomad working in the digital industry and consulting for startups and young entrepreneurs, passion is the intangible factor that I look for.

    Excited and want to start a business from your passion, but don’t know how?

    Here are my 4 tip for turning your interest into a business.

    hobby into a business - woman on laptop

    1. Do you have time?

    Before starting a business based on your passion, respond honestly: is there room for your venture, given the existing competition, and are you willing to battle for your space? Or are you feeding an unsustainable dream just because you like what you do? I think everyone has the ability to turn their passion into a business, but think long and hard about this. Turning your hobby into a real business takes work, blood, sweat and tears. It won’t be easy and you’ll have to make sacrifices. Think through this first.

    It’s one thing to enjoy cooking for your friends and family. Another is to run a restaurant and have to fulfill a series of natural requirements in the business world, such as working overtime and buying its raw material efficiently.

     2. Is there room for it to succeed? (or how can you make it unique)

    Now, it’s time to do an extensive survey of the industry in which you want to launch your business.

    Do other people say there is a need for your business? In my experience, there are people who follow with dreams that do not have viability, then it is doomed to failure.

    Are you going to start just another dog walking business? Are you looking to start your own restaurant? Whatever it is, take a look at the market, competition and what people are saying.

    Even though you are only just becoming an entrepreneur, treat turning your passion into a business as a full-fledged business plan. You’ll thank yourself later.

    3. Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?

    A common flaw that I’ve observed amongst young entrepreneurs just launching their first passion-based business is that they often think that everything remains the same when it comes to their passion and that the only thing that changes is a new dedication to that passion. However, to succeed in a venture, you need to change your behavior and recognize that you now need to use your talent to generate revenue.

    Besides having a hobby that performs well, you need to become an entrepreneur. Many are good at what they do, but they are not good at managing the business,” explains Rand. “Now, you will not only sell to friends and family, but will sell to customers.”

    Change your behavior and attitude to realize that your hobby has become a venture.

    4. Do you know how to balance fun and duties?

    Another part of the process of recognizing oneself as an entrepreneur and not just a hobbyist is knowing that, however much your endeavor is derived from a passion, you will need to do more “boring” tasks in order for it to work.

    You will not always do what you like. There are activities that are not pleasant and do not bring glamorous results to those who see from outside, but that are essential for the day to day business, It may happen for a long time that the business owner cannot show its differential or outcome to others.

    These not-so-enjoyable activities involve all forms of business management (ya know… the stuff you probably do at your 9-5): from conducting a market study to having to deal with finances and managing all matters of finances. A real entrepreneur knows that it is always necessary to recognize his shortcomings and seek improvements: whether in his own knowledge of his hobby or management aspects.

    “Read, take courses, and stay informed. If your disability is in the ability to sell, try to at least understand how the area works, how to identify a productive employee and when to know that your product is the cause of low sales.”

  • ,

    What to do if you have ‘no idea what to do with your life’

    A silent majority of millennials feel stuck in life. For them I offer one piece of advice: Do something that scares you.

    “Still no major, still don’t know where I’m gonna go to school, still no life plan.”

    I received this text from my little sister one lazy Sunday afternoon. I replied with a few 10-second Snaps trying to give her the best advice I could think of.

    Many millennials, especially the ones coming out of college, feel the same way my sister does: stuck.

    I tend to focus too much on helping the millennials who already have a dream, who have a sense of purpose and want to go after fulfilling it.

    In doing so, I neglect the silent majority of millennials who have no idea what to do with their life.

    So here’s my advice for the neglected: do something that scares you.

    thinkingman4

    My Fear Factor

    Growing up I was the shy kid. I rarely spoke up in class and never shared my opinion. Talking to anyone outside of my small circle of friends caused nervous anxiety to well up.

    Somewhere, deep down inside me lives this kid. Every time I write a new blog post I can hear his crackly pubescent voice: Nobody wants to listen to what you have to say.

    But I hit “Publish” anyway and release my words to the interwebs.

    Writing scares me, that’s why I do it.

    Being a father scares me, that’s why I do it.

    Selling a book scares me, that’s… you get the idea.

    Writing scares me, that’s why I do it. Writing scares me, that’s why I do it.

    Fear is More Than Resistance

    Besides my brief anecdote, why does doing something that scares you help you feel unstuck?

    “Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” ― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

    For our ancient ancestors, fear was a survival response used to frighten us away from physical danger (lion attacks, snakes, volcanoes, etc.).

    As young children, we feared because we felt vulnerable.

    Fear, like all negative emotions, is hard-wired to hold precedence over positive emotions. So when you feel stuck and want to Step Forward in a new direction, fear floods our brain:

    “What if I don’t get the job?”

    “What if I look stupid?”

    “What if she says ‘No’?”

    Successful people sense the same fear we do. However, they re-frame this fear to see the opportunities instead of the consequences.

    They don’t see fear as a deterrent. They see it as a compass.

    5 Steps to Re-frame Your Fear

    Instead of waiting to propose to my wife during a romantic visit to Chicago, I popped the question in my aunt’s basement while watching Shrek 2 (she was half-asleep at the time).

    I feared I would lose the ring before the trip. My fear lead to a lackluster proposal (but a good story nevertheless).

    It is possible to overcome your fears strategically and go after your goals. There’s even an app for it!

    manthinking2

    However, I boil it down to 5 steps:

    1. Find your point A and point B – Every goal or dream has a starting and ending point: where are you now and where do you want to be. Write these down.
    2. Map out the obstacles between A and B – List out every possible obstacle starting with the most probable and ending with the least likely.
    3. Confront your fear of said obstacles – For each obstacle, ask yourself what do you have to fear? Write these out too.
    4. Develop if-then actions – Again, for each obstacle, determine what you will do to overcome it. If X happens, then I will do Y.
    5. Embrace the fear and Step Forward – Start Stepping Forward. You know what fears lie ahead of you. You have a plan for each obstacle. All that’s left is movement. Go!
    It is possible to overcome your fears strategically and go after your goals.

    What do You Have to fear?

    If you feel stuck in life, find something that scares you, apply the five steps above, and Step Forward. Embracing your fear instead of allowing it to consume you will bring you closer to your dream.

    The only thing you have to fear is not chasing your dream.

    This article also appears on millennialtype.com

    Photo credit: flickr, 2

  • ,

    Why impostor syndrome is holding you back in life

    I hate feeling like a fraud. All throughout my 20’s I struggled with this notion of impostor syndrome, despite having all the standard prerequisites of a person who should be successful, who could be successful, who was successful…in an average sort of way.

    It wasn’t until I hit my 30’s that I realized I had been living a lie.

    Go to college, get an education, get a job, climb the corporate ladder, BS my way to the top, and most importantly, continually sell myself along the course.

    I hate selling {myself} even more than I hate feeling like a fraud, but maybe that’s because I’m terrible at it. And in this world, if you can’t at least sell yourself, then why should anybody believe anything that comes from your mouth?

    impostor syndrome - girl walking

    Now, I can see that selling myself was the underlying crack in the foundation of my life. It made me no better than the house built upon the sand. I couldn’t sell myself because I constantly felt like a fraud, and who wants to sell that?

    Impostor syndrome is believing everyone in the room has a right to be there, except you.

    It’s that feeling of sitting in a meeting amongst your peers, and yet believing you are the most unqualified person on the planet. It’s listening quietly to the opinions of others and taking their word as certified gold (though it’s usually worth exactly what you paid for it…nothing). And when you leave that meeting to hurry back to your desk to go about your average life, you think to yourself, at least this way I’m not pretending to be someone I’m not. At least this way I’m not a fraud.

    This shitty technique was largely how I lived my life in my 20’s. Despite being equally, and sometimes more so, qualified than my peers, I still felt like a fraud. Like they should be present, voicing opinions, and making important decisions, while I sat silently disagreeing in my head. I hated living this way. And it wasn’t until my very late 20’s when I first heard the notion of “fraud theory” or “impostor syndrome,” that I had an epiphany.

    impostor syndrome - girl wearing hat

    Like every businesswoman on the planet (again, just being average), I was reading Sheryl Sandberg’s, Lean In, when the notion of “impostor syndrome” first rocked my world. I practically jumped out of my chair. THIS IS ME! SHE IS SPEAKING TO ME! Actually, she was speaking to hundreds of thousands of people who could relate to the struggle. Even confident, funny girl, Tina Fey confessed that she sometimes screamed “I’m a fraud” inside her head. Suddenly, things made a hell of a lot more sense. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone, and almost immediately, I began to feel less fraudulent.

    It turns out that women are plagued by this phenomenon more than men. While both can have similar feelings of inferiority, life experiences are the differing factor in how each gender lets it define them. Valerie Young, longtime lecturer on the subject, says this stems from the ways boys and girls are raised. While boys are raised to exaggerate and bluff their way through scenarios, girls learn early on to distrust their instincts and to stifle their voices (ahh the good ol’ ‘be seen and not heard’ quip we frequently heard from our parents).

    Consequently, over time, the bar for a woman’s physical and intellectual capacity has been set very high, to the point where perfection has become the ultimate goal. Each misstep has become a point of contention that can eat away at her self-confidence, and essentially, become gasoline for the fraudulent fire that is burning within each of us. The craziest part of all of this is that WE do this to OURSELVES.

    I made it my mission to learn more about ‘fraud theory’ and ‘impostor syndrome’ and to overcome that hurdle in my life.

    It was holding me back from reaching my true potential. It was causing me to stifle my knowledge, to let others believe I was not nearly as smart or as capable as I was. Feeling fraudulent was causing me to always look over my shoulder, waiting for someone to discover I wasn’t who I said I was, or to call my bluff. It ate away at me so much so that I started to really believe I was undeserving and inadequate when compared to my peers.

    Feeling like a fraud caused me to bypass job opportunities, promotions, and leadership positions, all because of the stupid voice in my head telling me that I wasn’t good enough.

    impostor syndrome - girl posing

    As I embarked on my 30’s with a newfound confidence, I quickly realized that the world was full of bullshitters and fakers. I was learning that it wasn’t always about what you know, but what you pretended to know. It’s the air that you gave off, the way that others perceived you. Bullshitters don’t have any clue what they’re talking about, but they are excellent at persuading a crowd, at selling themselves, and at selling their ideas. As I began to realize that 80% of the people I came across within a single day weren’t really smarter, or more powerful, or more well-equipped than I, the world became a lot less frightening.

    Around this same time, a job opportunity came up that I had been eyeing for well over a year. But when the list of required skills was released, I was dismayed to discover that I only had a portion of what was asked for the role. Not wanting to feel like a fraud, I put my tail between my legs and gave up the fight before it even started. As the application process continued, I became keenly aware of all the men who applied for the job, yet had equal, or even less, of the required skills than I had. How dare they! What were they thinking? Turns out, this scenario is totally typical in modern society. Females rarely apply for job openings unless they meet nearly all of the requirements, while men are much more likely to apply when meeting far less.

    After a nudge from a coworker, I finally did apply, and I ended up getting the job. Turns out the team was waiting for my application all along and couldn’t understand what took so long. Sometimes the fraud is all in YOUR head, no one else’s.

    The moral of this story is simple to understand, yet complex to put into practice.

    Stop discounting your worth and letting your fears of inferiority hold you back. This doesn’t just pertain to work, but to life in general; to running that marathon, to trying that new hobby, to taking that backpacking trip to Europe that you’ve always dreamed about. Stop letting your inner voice tell you that you aren’t deserving and that your opinions and worth should be overlooked. Stop apologizing for being smart, or worse, for being right. Even if bias in the workplace exists around you (which it most likely does), don’t let your own feelings of fraudulence be the defining factor that hold you back.

    So thicken that skin. Put on your big girl pants, stand up tall, and voice your opinion (and for God’s sake, say it like you mean it). If you want to play with the big boys, act like you belong. Act like you have a right to have a seat at the table. Act like you are better than average, because you are.

    Success is not reserved for a select few. It does not know race, religion, nor gender. It is out there for everyone who is willing to grab it. Much like Glinda tells Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, “…you don’t need to be helped any longer because you’ve had the power all along, you just had to learn it for yourself.” Turns out, I hadn’t been BSing my way through life, I just needed the confidence to realize I wasn’t a fraud after all.

    Image credit: Unsplash

  • ,

    Why Combining Coffee and Yoga Saved My Life

    woman doing yoga outside

    I am a yoga teacher, academic and a mom to three teenage daughters, based in Vancouver, Canada. During most of my waking hours, I promote and practice wellness – it is my passion above all others.

    Yoga Saved My Life

    When my daughters were small (I had three under five years old) my personal yoga practice ground to a halt. There simply was never a time when I could be alone on my mat for an hour. I felt scattered, flustered, and utterly unwell. Previously healthy, I developed massive and explainable physical ailments: asthma, paralyzing digestive issues and allergies, amongst others. And despite all the help I looked for, health professionals couldn’t fix me.

    One morning, in a gesture of desperation, I unrolled my yoga mat on the kitchen floor, determined to do as much of my practice as I could fit in while I enjoyed my morning cup of coffee. (THAT particular habit I always made time for!). It took about seven minutes to close my eyes, deepen my breath, drink a cup and practice some seated postures.

    yoga saved my life

    I felt instantly better. Right then I resolved to make this a daily ritual and eventually named my healthy habit Java Yoga.

    That was fifteen years ago, and I still practice Java Yoga every single day, even on the days I teach, or hike, or run, or do any sort of exercise. It grounds me, sets up my day for success and ensures that I always get some mindful movement in my life, no matter what surprises the day has in store for me. And yes, all of my debilitating health issues have since disappeared. I’m almost 50, and I feel younger and better than I did at 30.

    Along with me and my children, Java Yoga has changed and grown. It certainly wasn’t effortless, with spilled coffee cups and happy accidents along the way – three toddlers climbing all over me made for interesting adaptations and variations!  Now they are independent teenage girls, and I have more time to focus on the other things I love; I teach weekly public classes, run Java Yoga retreats, instruct yoga teachers, and research and write on the process of teaching and learning at the University of British Columbia. But what has remained constant is my morning practice, which now includes a breath and meditation component. The original concept still rests on the same foundation: linking a healthy habit we want to adopt with a pleasurable habit we already enjoy.

    I get the question all the time: “Why coffee and yoga, together?”.

    To many, the caffeinated beverage seems at odds with the ancient exercise tradition. “Yoga calms me down”, they say, “And coffee winds me up”. However, I think it’s a lot more complicated and interesting than that. First of all, the actual contents of the cup are irrelevant; occasionally I practice with bone broth in my mug, or tea, or hot chocolate.

    yoga saved my life

    What is important with Java Yoga and coffee is the element of ritual. 

    Routines in general, and morning routines in particular, are soothing and impactful over the course of a lifetime. When I add a few minutes of mindful movement into that ritual, all sorts of good things happen to the body, mind and soul. I am more alert, peaceful and creative. All the systems of my body work better. I am a more effective problem-solver and a better parent.

    In the back of my mind was a little voice telling me this is an idea that could also significantly improve other people’s lives, especially considering the millions of people around the world who drink coffee everyday. I had passed along my daily yoga and coffee habit to several students and friends and had received great feedback, particularly from those too busy to get to a yoga studio or gym on a regular basis but I challenged myself to think beyond word of mouth.

    Three years ago I was having coffee with my friend and local filmmaker, Arun Fryer, and I mentioned Java Yoga to him. His imagination was immediately captured by the simplicity of the concept. He loves coffee, he knows he should practice yoga, and he loved the idea of bringing together two rituals that traditionally clashed with each other. He saw how they could peacefully and symbiotically coexist, and we agreed to collaborate on a series of Java Yoga instructional videos, with our first video premiering on June 21, 2016, International Day of Yoga, and can be found at javayoga.ca

    yoga saved my life

    We decided the videos would be free of charge, with the goal of creating a community of people who incorporate healthy habits into their everyday lives, regardless of age, income or social standing. The fact that Java Yoga is gentle, predominantly seated and home-based makes it appropriate for those who feel they can’t get to, or are intimidated by, a conventional studio class. As we develop and prepare to release further routines, it becomes more and more obvious to me:

    the ritual of a daily yoga practice has enormous benefits for a wide spectrum of the population, and introducing a new healthy habit is easier than we realize.

    If you’ve ever wanted to shake up your mornings and begin your day with the benefits of mindful movement, I invite you to join me and try a week of Java Yoga. It saved my life, and might even do the same for you.

    Image credit: unsplash

  • ,

    The most important human need you are not currently satisfying

    most important human need - woman thinking

    I recently had a life changing epiphany.

    You wouldn’t think it would take me 37 years to grasp a fundamental human need. I had the basics down. I knew I needed food and water before and I appreciated the importance of being secure, out of harm’s way

    I probably recognized the importance of food, water, and safety by the time I was three, but…

    It took me thirty four more years to grasp the next most fundamental human need.

    I remember the moment it hit me (in retrospect, I had been careening toward this moment for years).

    It was a rainy summer night in New Orleans in 2015 – one of the most difficult years of my life. My last endeavor, a psych-tech company dedicated to helping people explore their inner realms, was on life support. A relationship I cared deeply about was, too. And that mixture of commitment and belief that fuels start-ups and relationships was gone. My co-founders and I were too defeated to support each other through the last chapter of a failed start-up, and the woman I loved deeply was too hurt by me, and I was too hurt by her, for us to comfort each other without cringing.

    In that ragged state I found myself wandering through the streets of New Orleans that night beneath the canopy of live oaks that overhang the streets, while rain slipped through the trees and hit my face. I rarely cry, so that might have been nature’s way of bringing me closer to a sensation I needed to experience.

    Like many times before in my hours of need, I tried to reach the people closest to me.

    All I wanted to hear was something along the lines of:

    I’m here for you. I can stay on the phone as long as you want, you can talk to me about whatever you want. I care about you. You’re going make it through this. I’m here with you.

    Fortunately, I have an incredibly strong network of family and friends: two loving parents, two incredible brothers, and six friends, scattered across the world from Germany to Kentucky, who would do anything in their power to support me.

    I just needed to reach one of them.

    Each attempt to reach my first seven ‘favorites’ went straight to voicemail.

    “You have reached . . . at the tone, leave a message.
    You have reached . . . at the tone, leave a message.”
    You have reached . . . at the tone, leave a message…

    On my eighth and ninth attempts, I successfully reached someone, my older brother and my friend Andrew, but neither of them had time to talk.

    I’m in the middle of . . . can we talk tomorrow?
    I’m feeding the kids . . . can we catch up this weekend?

    On my tenth and final call, I finally reached someone who had time to talk to me: my father.

    What’s going on?”
    Silence
    Jeremy?”
    Silence
    Jeremy, what’s going on?”
    Don’t worry about it . . . I’m fine.

    This sequence of events repeated itself numerous times that summer. Time and time again I struggled to reach the people closest to me when I needed them most. And when I was fortunate enough to get a friend or family member on the phone, I couldn’t bring myself to ask for the thing I wanted most — for someone to listen to me, comfort me, encourage me . . . to remind me that they cared about me.

    most important human need - woman laughing

    It wasn’t until months after these ‘failures of connection’ that I discovered that the thing I was looking for wasn’t a special indulgence justified by unique circumstances — it was a fundamental human need generally described as “emotional support.”

    That need was emotional support.

    There is no better way to understand emotional support than to view your own life through the lens of this basic human need. Try it now — it only takes 60 seconds.

    On a nearby piece of paper or any blank screen where you can type, answer the following three questions:

    In a typical week, how much undivided attention do you receive? — time in minutes or hours spent outside of work when someone puts down their phone and casts everything else aside, and dedicates their entire focus to you, as they make you feel heard, understood and important?

    In a typical week, to whom do you give at least an hour of your undivided attention? If you’re checking your phone or multitasking during this time, you aren’t giving your undivided attention.

    In a typical week, who gives you at least an hour of their undivided attention?

    Your answer to the first question is a rough measure of how much emotional support you receive in a typical week. If you answered less than four hours, you may not be getting enough of a vital ingredient of human health.

    Your answer to the second question gives you a sense of the people you are showing that you care about them — not the people who matter to you, but the people you are actually showing, concretely, that you care about them.

    Your answer to the third question may help you take stock of the people who are actually showing, in a typical week of your life, that they care about you.

    Food, water, security . . . and emotional support.

    It may not surprise you that emotional support ranks near the top of our hierarchy of human needs. You have presumably heard of this hierarchy of needs — the more fundamental the need, the more quickly we develop health problems if we fail to satisfy it.

    As you might expect, food and water are at the top of the list: we can only survive for three days without water, and we put our life in jeopardy after three weeks without food.

    Security is next on the list. Keeping ourselves out of harm’s way is fantastic for our health.

    But it is the human need that follows food, water and safety, emotional support, that should be making headlines every day. (Turns out it is making headlines, though you have to watch and listen closely—a follow-up to this piece will focus on that.)

    Emotional support is another person’s undivided attention, compassion and encouragement.

    Because human beings are an ultra-social species, we need regular doses of emotional support to be healthy and happy.

    Our ancestors had an easier time getting emotional support because they lived in small communities near their extended families, and pre-iPhone technological advances, from fire to the first telephones, generally enabled rather than impeded genuine human connection.

    Today is a different story. Families are more dispersed than ever, and the human connections that have replaced familial interactions are less rich — often the equivalent of empty calories. You can spend hours “connecting” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat and not feel “full”— not feel truly heard, encouraged or cared about.

    most important human need - man in glasses

    These transformations of how we live and communicate are having devastating effects on our health. Nearly a third of the U.S. population suffers from significant deficits of emotional support, a depletion that is manifesting itself in three related epidemics: chronic loneliness, chronic stress, and substance abuse, each of which affects millions of Americans and is deadlier than diabetes or obesity.

    What does this mean? This means that a deficit of emotional support may be having a greater impact on your health and happiness than almost anything else you’re doing (or not doing).

    If you want to receive or provide more emotional support, which we all should want to do, it helps to understand what emotional support is.

    Emotional support in three dimensions.

    Three pillars of emotional support are undivided attention, compassion, and encouragement.

    The foundation of emotional support is undivided attention—the feeling you experience when someone leaves their world completely and enters yours. Undivided attention is the combination of time and focus, two of the most valuable resources people provide to each other. Time is the currency of life. When someone gives you their time, they give you a piece of their life. Focus – another person’s commitment to cast everything aside and dedicate their entire attention to you – is precious, too. There are few more effective ways to demonstrate you care about someone than to give them your undivided attention.

    If undivided attention is the floorboard of emotional support, compassion and encouragement are its blankets and candles. Compassion is the balm we seek when life wounds us. It is another person’s comfort, their arms around us, their soothing voice. When we give someone our compassion we accept their pain as our own, lessening its impact by dividing it among two bodies rather than one. When someone gives us compassion, they see us wounded and sacrifice their own peace of mind to embrace our pain.

    If compassion soothes us when we are down, encouragement stirs us to get back up. Encouragement is the light that illuminates our greatest gifts and the path ahead. When someone encourages us, they remind us of our natural gifts, our unsung heroics and our proudest accomplishments. Encouragement makes us glow inside. And the more clearly we see that the most valuable resources we need for the road ahead are inside of us (and cannot be taken away), the more confident we will be when we take the next steps of our journey.

    This is emotional support.

    Think about the last time you gave it to someone.

    Think about the last time you received it.

    We will continue this conversation about emotional support in subsequent pieces.

  • ,

    33 millennials share the best life advice they’ve ever received

    woman looking up

    I’ve always lived by the motto that you shouldn’t listen to advice from someone who doesn’t have to deal with the consequences of it. BUT that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to the perspectives of others. Being open to and listening to the advice and experiences of others can be a profound and long lasting catalyst for change.

    Life advice is great… but it’s what you do with it that matters.

    The internet can be a great place when it comes to increasing your perspective on life. Places like Reddit, Quora, Imgur and others are full of people sharing their stories and the advice that came from living them.

    Here are 33 pieces of life advice from those who lived it and believe it.

    1. If you are constantly comparing your life to the lives of others, you’ll never be happy.

    2. If you blame it on someone else, don’t expect it to get better.

    3. “If you’re going to f*ck up, and you’re going to, make sure it’s your fault.” – I was training to be a boat captain and he was explaining how to deal with the inevitable accidents. I have found owning your mistakes generally is a best practice.

    4. Try not to take anything personally. No one thinks about you as much as you do.

    5. If you want to remember something, write it down.

    6. Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

    7. Act like you know what you’re doing in whatever situation, and 99% of people will leave you the hell alone.

    8. You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there will always be someone who hates peaches. (-Dita von Teese)

    9. Don’t worry about what other people think about you. They are generally too worried about what you think about them.

    best life advice - man by pool

    10. Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.

    11. It doesn’t matter if you spend 1000 hours practicing if you’re doing it wrong, all you learned is how to do it wrong.

    12. Don’t be afraid of being alone. sometimes, you’re better off that way.

    13. If a person is nice to you but not nice to the waiter, they’re not a nice a person.

    14. Figure out what you love to do, and then figure out how to get someone to pay you to do it.

    15. Wait 24 hours before getting mad and reacting at anything. If it doesn’t bother you in 24 hours time, it probably isn’t important enough to get mad over.

    16. There is nothing wrong with not knowing something, there is something wrong with not doing anything about it.

    17. Never make decisions when you’re angry. Never make promises when you’re happy.

    best life advice - man on steps

    18. When dealing with conflict, always use the “when you do/say X, it makes me feel Y because Z” formula. It gets conflict out of the way, minimizes screaming and tears, and works towards a solution much more constructively than just blaming the other person.

    19. Learn something about everything, and everything about something.

    20. When your anger passes, the relationship is still there. Basically, when you’re no longer angry, the damage done to your relationship while you acted on your anger remains and permanently hurts the relationship.

    21. In a year from now, you’ll wish you started today

    22. Don’t promise when you’re happy. Don’t reply when you’re angry. Don’t decide when you’re sad.

    23. Don’t look at what people say…look at what they do.

    24. When you have a generous impulse, follow it. If it randomly occurs to you to give money to a homeless guy, or offer to help a friend move, or pay the toll for the person behind you…just do it.
    I’ve noticed that I have thoughts like this all the time, but then I’m talking myself out of it by the next thought. If I keep this advice in mind, then I’m much more likely to go through with it. And performing small acts of kindness makes everybody happy.

    25. We judge ourselves based on our thoughts. The world judges us based on our actions.

    26. You’ll notice you live your life so much more when you stop giving a shit about what YOU think others think about you. Surprise everyone, show them you’re more than a pretty face and then laugh at them when they look shocked that you’ve made it.

    best life advice - woman lying down

    27. “You deserve what you accept ” One of my university professors once told me that and it has stuck with me and I will never accept failure, and it taught me never to blame my shortcomings on circumstance or anyone else.

    28. If you think you know something, find someone who disagrees and listen to them.

    29. You have to be your own person first.

    30. It’s better to regret something you did, than something you didn’t do’

    31. Be confident and act like you belong.

    32. “Don’t take life seriously, no one gets out alive anyway.” Has served me very well over the years

    33. You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themself into.

  • ,

    How I became internet, TV and radio famous in 5 Days (and how you can too)

    cam adair press cover

    How I got 25 media interviews in 5 days

    On March 1st I had a speech in Calgary at the Children’s Hospital Aid Society (CHAS), and the media blew up.

    What followed was one of the craziest weeks of my life.

    I was featured in the newspaper three times (Calgary Herald, Metro News, and the Toronto Star) — the latter had 350,000 views in 24 hours and was the second largest story the paper had all year.

    I was on TV for the CBC Evening News at 6, CTV Morning Live, Global News at 6, and Breakfast Television… and had radio interviews on the BBC, CBC, NewsTalk770, SiriusXM, SAIT, NAIT, and NoFunIntended.

    I get a lot of questions from people asking me how I did it…

    Did I hire a PR firm to set it all up for me? The answer is no.

    So how did I do it? And how can you do it too?

    KEY LESSON #1: The media cares about stories that have three components:

    Something Current, Something Interesting, Something Local.

    Without your story being timely, they’ll have no urgency to feature it. I’ve recorded multiple interviews (national segments here in the U.S.) that are just sitting on the sidelines waiting for a timely event to release them.

    Current: Since I had a talk coming up in Calgary, I knew I had an opportunity to go for a media blitz.

    Local: Although I no longer live in Calgary, I was born there, so I added “Calgary-born” to my pitch.
    Interesting: Game Quitters reaching 20,000 members/month in 76 countries all supporting each other to overcome their video game addiction.

    KEY LESSON #2: “Just-in-time” Learning

    Instead of consuming content to hoard in my brain, I like to focus on finding content relative to the specific challenge or goal I have at the time.

    The week before my talk in Calgary, a mastermind group I’m a part of (Archangel Masters) was holding a discussion on PR and the Media with expert Selena Soo. Boom. I set aside the time, and came prepared with a number of questions to ask about how I could apply her expertise right away.

    Based on what I learned from Selena, and my homie Clay, I made my pitch:

    “My name is Cam Adair, a Calgary born and raised entrepreneur who’s the founder of Game Quitters — the largest support community for video game addiction. We currently help 20,000 people/month in 76 different countries around the world — including those in Calgary!

    Recently we’ve been featured in Forbes, Vice, and have upcoming features in the Toronto Star, CBS Evening News and *******. My work in this area began through my own experience of being addicted where I dropped out of high school.

    I was invited to speak in Calgary on Wednesday March 1st at CHAS (Children’s Hospital Aid Society). What do you think about doing a story on how a Calgary-born entrepreneur is solving the problem of video game addiction worldwide?

    I’m also open to any other ideas, and really looking to bring the most value to your audience.”

    KEY LESSON #3: Take Dumb Action (and ask for help!)

    It’s easy to overcomplicate things. Should you write a press release? Hire a PR firm? Cold email news stations? I’m sure some of those work, but the lowest hanging fruit is what I like to call Dumb Action.

    The night after watching Selena’s talk, I posted a status on Facebook asking if any of my friends in Calgary had contacts in the media, and included my pitch in the status. A few friends tagged a few friends, and boom.

    Especially nowadays with social media, you’d be surprised how close you are to being connected with anyone you want. Checking your EGO at the door, and being vulnerable to ask for help goes a far way.

    It also helps to provide tons of value to other people first, instead of being someone who is constantly asking for how someone else can help YOU. Give more than you take.

    KEY LESSON #4: Have “The Goods”

    You have to be able to back it up. Pitching, or getting warm intros will only go so far. But is your story interesting? Have you shown actual traction? If you can’t get a random stranger on the internet to care about your story, how do you expect to get the media to care about it?

    Obviously Game Quitters reaching the scale it has so far (25,000 members in 80 countries) is a testament that there’s significant interest, and a need for this work.

    I’ve pitched this story before and never heard back from people. So instead I’ve focused on becoming too big to ignore. Eventually you reach a scale where people have to pay attention.

    I also take the opportunity anytime someone asks me what I do to share our story in a way that will connect with them on a deep level. I “pitch” Game Quitters to people all the time, and in doing so have learned what words or phrases, what angles really connect more with people. Refinement over time.

    KEY LESSON #5: The Media is Fairly Overrated

    No offense! But you have to understand why you’re pursuing media, and how (or if) it will benefit you. If you’re going for traffic to your website, you’ll be sorely disappointed. You’ll have more success with a YouTube video or Facebook Live than you will with the media.

    However, for brand building, it’s a total hit. Since the media blitz I’ve found our “word of mouth” has skyrocketed. The perception of Game Quitters due to all of the media attention had a major impact. And that compounds over time. It also helps in some other places like credibility.

    The lesson here is that the perception of the media in people’s minds is still there, but the traffic you will get from it is not. So use it wisely.

    Special thanks to Selena, Clay, Giovanni, and my personal Uber driver while I was at home, my MOM! And to each of you for all of your support with our mission.

  • ,

    7 Effective Ways to Free Yourself from Your Insecurities

    how to stop being insecure - redhead girl

    Insecurities are just questions. That’s all they are.

    Questions like…

    “Will I be good enough for [that] job?”

    “Am I accepted by [this] group even though I lack [that]?”

    “Can I have real friends who are [overweight, too tall, too short, too skinny, etc.]?”

    “Does my spouse love me when all the magazines are filled with perfect people, and I’m not one of those people?”

    “How can I be a good parent with the examples I had growing up?”

    Some of the questions that you’re asking yourself are rhetorical, but most of the questions require an answer.

    Depending on whether you decide to answer these questions or not, your insecurities can become either instruments of self-actualization or obstacles to overcome.

    how to stop being insecure - man tapping camera

    Your insecurities can become obstacles when you disregard the questions you need to ask yourself. As a result, they become statements about who you are.

    To avoid this, start by phrasing your insecurities as questions and then address them head on. Give a detailed answer to each question including your personal history, circumstances, and environment. Do it out loud. Finish your answer with options and steps that you can take to improve, change or readjust what you need to for a better result.

    There is no problem without a solution because when a problem arises, the solution is born with it.

    Here are 7 ways that have helped me learn how to stop being insecure.

    how to stop being insecure - woman in forrest

    1. Have compassion for yourself

    From the minute you are born, life is constructing your personal history. Some of the events in your life are consequences of your actions, some are due to chance; some are under your control and some are not.

    No matter the case, treat yourself with compassion. Trust that you are doing the best you can at every given moment in your life.

    Having compassion for yourself gives you the break you need from everything and everyone else, the break to recharge yourself with love and understanding.

    Trust yourself that you have done the best you can with what you know. When you know better, you will do better.

    2. Practice constructive envy

    How can a negative feeling like envy be put to constructive use?

    Any and every feeling you have is useful in some way under the right circumstances. Channeled in the right direction, even a negative feeling like envy can produce positive results.

    Here’s how to use envy to address your insecurities.

    When you feel inferior to someone or are insecure about being around that person, you get envy! Put your interpersonal skills to good use by studying why you are envious of this person.

    Collaborate with that person and find out:

    What is making you feel inferior?

    Where is your insecurity coming from?

    What is that person doing better than and how can you get similar results?

    What is their secret to be more successful than you are?

    Add any questions that you might find useful to model your subject.

    Turning your insecurities into envy and asking these types of questions can uncover a surprising truth. That truth is the fact that many people who intimidate you are not as great as you think. This will level the playing field.

    It happens. It happens because what makes you feel insecure and intimidated is not who other people are or how well they know certain things, but rather it is your internal dialogue; the way you perceive yourself and how you speak to yourself.

    3. Positive internal dialogue

    A negative internal dialogue is like a peppermint candy in a bottle of fizzy drink. It explodes when you least expect and makes a big mess.

    Pay attention to the positive and beautiful things that are all around. Stop overthinking things. In time, practicing positive thinking about things and other people will grow your positive mental perspective so that, pretty soon, you see yourself in a positive light as well.

    Respond to your insecure questions positively.

    • “Will I be good enough for [that] job?” “Yes, I will!”
    • “Am I accepted by [this] group even though I lack [that]?” “I am and if I am not, I will find a different group to share my ideas and passions.”
    • “Can I have real friends being [overweight, too tall, too short, too skinny, etc.]?” “Yes, I can. I’m much more than [what you can see on the outside] and those who can’t accept me as I am have no place in my life.”
    • “Does my spouse loves me when all the magazines are filled with perfect people, and I’m not one of those people?” “My spouse didn’t marry a magazine perfect poster, but a human being. We are perfectly imperfect for each other.”
    • “How can I be a good parent with the examples I had growing up?” “I can be a good parent no matter my past.”

    Sometimes you won’t entirely believe the answer you give yourself. However, your subconscious mind will not allow you be a liar. In those instances, view your answers like positive self-fulfilling prophecies.

    As it works with your negative self-fulfilling prophecies, it works with the positive ones as well. It is the same mechanism: your unconscious mind helps you to prove you are right no matter what you say: negative or positive about yourself and your abilities.

    4. You don’t have to justify your existence to others

    You deserve to walk this Earth as much as the next person does. You are entitled to pursue happiness, freedom and love in this life as much as the next person does.

    Your road in life belongs to you. Be happy with what you have. Own it and pave your journey through life as you please.

    5. Invest more in your passions

    Everything you are passionate about becomes an instrument to help you overcome insecurities.

    Invest time and energy in one passion and allow it to branch out into other areas of your life. This will help you build up your strengths, abilities, and skills.

    Plus, it helps you to stay focused on what you want to accomplish because what you are doing with passion is fun, pleasurable and exciting. Is it not?

    6. Life is not an exam that you have to pass

    Even though insecurities can be a teaching tool for you, life as a whole is not an exam. It is not pass/fail or graded. Life is giving you many chances and even more opportunities. Train your mind to see, notice, and identify what you are given and then take advantage of life’s gifts.

    Yes, you will make mistakes…who doesn’t?! That is how we learn to be better next time; that is how you know how far have you come and that is how you know what works for you and what doesn’t.

    Be ready to acknowledge and give yourself credit for every big or small accomplishment in your life.

    Know who you are and who you are not because allowing others to define that for you is taking your self-esteem and self-appreciation away. Why? For the simple fact that you can’t possibly satisfy everybody.

    Therefore, who are you? Who are you if not the one you define yourself to be?

    7. Reframe your weaknesses

    It is true; you are not the best at everything, and perhaps you are justified to be insecure about certain things. However, your weaknesses are opportunities to grow and to discover new and exciting things.

    Reframe your weaknesses as opportunities. Get curious about the ways you can improve every aspect of your life.

    If you were perfect, you would have no drive to stay alive. Life would be boring. The point of living is to grow through time; to be pushed forward by all the things you don’t know today. Therefore, view your weaknesses as colorful incentives for self-discovery.

    Rest assured that flaws and insecurities are bridges to be crossed, they are not who you are as a person.


    Now, do you feel challenged to answer some questions? Is it the provocation in this article enough to help you reframe your insecurities and turn them into questions? If not yet or yes, feel free to share your experience with the rest of us because we learn the most from those like us.

  • ,

    Stop trying to find your passion in life. Find passions instead.

    Remember when you were about to graduate from college?

    Most people don’t really remember what they were doing during those final few weeks of school, but what they do remember is the feelings they had.

    Nervous, apprehensive, excited, confident.

    If you were one of the “lucky” ones, you had a job offer waiting for you, an award to receive, or better yet, your life planned out in front of you. However, most people are not that “lucky.”  They might not have had any job offers waiting for them and they certainly did not know what they wanted to do with their life.

    That was me. I was one of those people.

    I am from the Philippines and there, quite a high number of students choose careers that will give them job security instead of committing to the things they love or feel passionate about. You can ask any Philippine high school student and they will likely have chosen to become a doctor because it’s “in”, or to go into engineering because the demand of the job is high. There’s a culture that shames art or literature majors for choosing professions without this realistic expectation of security.

    I was one of those people who chose a pre-medical degree for that reason. Sure, Dr. House intrigued me, but it wasn’t because I felt passionate about curing people: I already knew, early on, that I never wanted to work for anyone but myself.

    find your passion - man painting

    I was told that you need to quickly find your passion and live it.

    I remember a few weeks before graduation where I was lucky enough to get a few job offers and I was terrified. At first I thought it was because it’s a new phase in my life but later on, I realized that I was terrified because this wasn’t what I wanted.

    Don’t get me wrong. There’s definitely nothing wrong about wanting to work for prestigious companies, but if it isn’t the life you envisioned (like me), then you need to fix it.

    I wanted to work on something related to my creativity but also appease the science-geek in me. I had many passions and was terrified of having to commit to just one. All my job offers only appeased small elements of my passion, and the thought of having to work a 9-5 job was difficult for me. I didn’t want that life and at 21, people thought I was crazy.

    I was supposed to go to medical school and become a neurosurgeon – that was something that everyone wanted to hear me say I would do.

    But I chose the “destructive route”, where I started working 3 different freelance jobs online and a bit of photography on the side so I could afford to travel and explore.

    Right now, I’m living according to my belief that you don’t need to have identified and committed to one passion. I am not sure what that is but what I do know is that passion is supposed to be in the plural form. Passions.

    You don’t have to find your passion and accept it as one and done.

    Nobody was built for only one opportunity or one purpose. I certainly don’t see having to work for other people as fulfilling my purpose or my passions, but I see it when I travel, listen to different languages, and experience different ways of living. Passions!

    Travel as much as you can – hell, make it your living!

    Whatever path you choose, don’t make my mistake: thinking that it’s the end of the world. There are so many great opportunities and windows for your soul to grow. Believe that the “hustle” isn’t all about becoming an entrepreneur but beyond that, it’s becoming your own person.

    I never thought I could have a life where I can pay for my own travels and develop myself according to my own schedule and desires, but it happened because I hustled my way while also leaving room for personal growth. I left room for my passions to develop.

    Do you believe it? Do you believe that everything you’ve ever wanted can be achieved? If you do, that’s great. You’re already halfway there.

    If not, it’s going to take a while but trust that you will get there. Just continue to explore and let yourself grow. That’s what life is all about and of course, remember to never stick with only one purpose or passion. That’s not what we’re made of. Believe in that.

  • ,

    The 6 best self improvement books of all-time (they’re different)

    best self improvement books of all-time - man reading book

    Self-improvement is a throw all term for anything feel-good, inspirational or motivational that makes you excited to “better” yourself.

    But what does that really mean?

    Hop onto your Facebook feed and you’ll be bombarded by life coaches (what is that?), hustle gurus and blog after blog touting the next best way to improve or better yourself.

    While I am often skeptical of the whole self help genre in general, who am I to judge or say what works or what doesn’t? I’m not in a position to do that.

    What I can say, however, is that the truest route to self improvement (of any kind) is perspective… and books offer that perspective with no strings attached.

    Self-improvement books provide perspective unlike anything you’ll read online or in social media.

    Perspective doesn’t tell you to do this or that. It doesn’t tell you how to live your life or provide you with a checklist of how improve certain elements of your life. What it does offer is a catalyst for change.

    Perspective is the truest motivator for change as it exemplifies what has worked in other person’s life. It doesn’t offer conjecture on what might work. It doesn’t try to sell you an online course for self betterment or require that you radically alter x,y  and z. What it does offer is a window into the life or mind of an individual – take it or leave it.

    So, instead of seeking out generic guru-like advice from the hottest new online expert, seek out stories that inspire. Seek out stories that offer perspective  – plain and simple.

    In the pursuit of this, I have found reading (ya know.. the good old fashioned kind – books!) to be the best way to find this perspective. You won’t find this kind of perspective in your newsfeed or being retweeted. You’ll find it in the written word – from someone who bothered to take the time to share it.

    Here are my 6 favorite self improvement books to help kickstart change in your life.

    best self improvement books of all-time - woman in bookstore

    1. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

    Adam Grant approaches success and self improvement from the perspective of being original and examines the subject with a variety of real-world cases across all industries.

    Grant covers ideas, creativity, building an ideas and covers people like Steve Jobs and creative wonders like Seinfeld.

    Takeaway: Learn how to reject conformity and be original in a world of the same status quo.

    Get It: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

    2. The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

    Michael A. Singer writes this book from the heart because it is a true story. It is a reflection on what happens when one let’s go and let’s life happen.

    Reading this book is a true look into amazing life events from a life of solitude in the woods to a billion dollar company and a major FBI raid – all stemming from one man’s decision to embrace what life throws his way.

    Takeaway: Look at your own life in a radically different way.

    Get It: The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

    3. Outliers: The Story of Success

    Malcolm Gladwell’s book is very well-known but I included it because it examines real-life examples of true to form outliers – high achievers.

    In the book, Gladwell differentiates between what successful people are like (their habits, patterns, etc.) and where they are from/their upbringing. It is a fascinating look into how experiences and perspective shape life and your ability to have massive impact.

    Takeaway: Perspective can radically alter your life.

    Get It: Outliers: The Story of Success

    4. Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes

    Tom Rath offers a unique perspective on what it takes to forever improve your health and happiness. It is derivative of his own experience, having battled health issue for over 20 years when he wrote the book. He did an incredible amount of due diligence and research to cover proven and logical ideas for prolonged health in every aspect of life.

    Takeaway: Little things can have a massive impact on your life.

    Get It: Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes

    5. The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study

    Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin cover the most extensive study of life ever conducted and the result is an incredible look at what truly impacts health and happiness. The study reflects on the practices that actually impact health and happiness.

    Takeaway: What it really takes to live a long, healthy and happy life.

    Get It: The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life 

    6. Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy

    Mo Gawdat’s thesis on what it takes to truly be happy is a reflection of his own journey – having surfaced from a time of being incredibly unhappy to the quite the opposite. This book is great as Mo approaches happiness from the only angle he knows – engineering precision. He built his thesis on what creates permanent happiness by creating an algorithm around it and step by step how to achieve it.

    Takeaway: We can all be content with our present situation and optimistic about the future.

    Get It: Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy

    Photo credit

  • ,

    Why you need to stop hating on peoples’ dreams (I did and it changed my life)

    stop hating - man peering over edge

    They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. My name is Brendan and I hate on other people’s dreams.

    Before you start thinking that I’m a big asshole going around putting people down, I want to clarify that I usually quarantine those thoughts in the back of my mind.

    Whenever I hear seemingly outlandish and unconventional goals, I couldn’t help but think toxic thoughts like “well that’s dumb”, “that will never happen”, “he will never make any money doing that”, or my all-time favorite “what’s the end-goal in that?”. It wasn’t until I lost sight of the end-goal in my career path and found myself unemployed, sitting on a beach in San Diego that my mindset started to shift.

    My corporate drone phase.

    Since childhood I have always chosen the conventional path. The path that our teachers told us lead to happiness and success. I got good grades in order to get into a good college and find a steady job. After checking all three boxes I found myself in New York City working for one of the largest Investment Banks in the world. I was on the fast-track to success.

    However, at 26 years old I was miserable and felt like my story was already written for me. Unfortunately, the story wasn’t a very interesting read; commute to work on the subway, run spreadsheets in Excel for 10 hours, commute home on the subway, repeat.

    Meanwhile, people around me were living on their own terms as small business owners, designers, travelers, performers, artists, film-makers, adventurers, and musicians. These were the same people whose dreams I would have previously scoffed at.

    I did all of the things I was supposed to, right?  All of those unrealistic millennials chased lofty dreams; they are supposed to be losers, right?

    I was wrong.

    After seven years, I finally hit my breaking point and decided to quit my job and move to San Diego.

    I spent the following six months sitting on the beach, wondering if I had made a huge mistake, and applying for any positions that loosely fit my experience. The thought of going back to corporate America made me sick to my stomach, but I felt directionless and kept applying.

    I began to wonder, maybe the people I had been dissing for years had it right all along? And maybe I had been hating on their dreams because I envied them for following their passion – or even having a passion for that matter – and being in-charge of their own destiny.

    I decided to reach out to a few of them to pick their brains and figure out what makes them different than the rest of us.  I have shared many of their stories, and more, on The Unconventionalist; a website dedicated to finding people “Living Life Another Way and bringing their stories to light.”

    My hope is that in my personal pursuit of understanding these fundamental questions, readers will extract valuable lessons that they can apply to their own lives. Not everyone will quit their job to travel the world, but maybe someone will be inspired to travel more, start a side business, learn a new hobby, or just push the boundaries of their comfort zones.

    With each case-study, my inner-hater’s voice becomes more suppressed and I become more inspired. The exciting and creative ways that these people make money doing what they love never fails to astound me.

    Instagram would lead us to believe that the free-spirited artist is just hanging out in the mountains painting all day, but what we don’t see is the hustle of running a small business behind the scenes. She is no less an entrepreneur than the Stanford graduate with the latest tech start-up. Entrepreneurs seek to live life on their own terms and in that regard she is a very successful entrepreneur.

    Throughout the stories I’ve shared on The Unconventionalist, common lessons have emerged.

    I have learned more than I could possibly convey to you, but here are 10 of the most fundamental lessons.

    stop hating - man walking on street

    1. They take ACTION and don’t wait for stars to align

    When pursuing a goal or a dream, timing is never going to be perfect. We are all guilty of thinking that once X happens, we will finally be able to do Y. It’s an easy excuse for in-action; the path of least resistance. Talking about your goals with others may feel good, but studies show that this satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed. “One day” may never come so you might as well take the first step today.

    2. They focus energy and time on authentic human connection

    I’m not referring to occasionally attending work sponsored networking events. Get out into the world and touch people’s lives. In a world that increasingly relies on computers and automation, human connection is the greatest currency one can possess. It will enrich your life personally and professionally in an unquantifiable way.

    3. They are supportive of others

    Instead of being bitter, resentful, or jealous (like I was), be supportive of others’ dreams and goals. Unconventional people often have a greater sense of community and believe that we are all better off if we help each-other. The key is being confident in your own abilities. If you KNOW deep down that you are going to succeed, then you won’t feel insecure about the success of those around you.

    4. They treat fear as motivation, not a deterrent

    Individuals inherently crave a life that is unique from the person next to them, but fear standing out as different. Much like the Japanese proverb “the nail that sticks up gets hammered,” society is designed to urge you to fall in line with the crowd. The desire to carve your own path must outweigh the crippling fear of failure or being labeled a “weirdo”. By definition, unconventional people go against the status quo and challenge conventional wisdom in society.

    5. They constantly push the boundaries of their comfort zones

    Staying within the comfort zone is safe and pleasant but leads to a life without flavor or excitement. Everyone’s tolerance for pushing that boundary varies. Unconventional people often describe engaging in a type of self-induced exposure therapy where they push their boundaries often enough to cause them to permanently expand. Newly established boundaries then become a new set of goals or fears to conquer.

    6. They don’t let inexperience or money hold them back

    You will never feel fully prepared to follow your passions or dreams so stop using your lack of experience or the fact that you don’t have financial backing as excuses. Many of the most influential people in history were amateurs and in today’s world you have access to technology that allow you to make an impact or start a business from your family room. Thirty years ago, making a film required expensive equipment and large teams of people. Today, you can make a film using the smartphone in your pocket and free editing software. Regardless of what you want to do, the best way to learn is to start trying.

    7. They often feel compelled by a higher calling

    According to the Harvard Business Review, “any kind of change is risky when you are comfortable with the status quo. And evolutionary psychologists are not surprised at all by the fact that, despite the excellent press that change is given, almost everyone resists it—except when they are dissatisfied.” In other words, human beings are hardwired to avoid change unless they feel threatened or discontent. Unconventional people use their dissatisfaction for particular world issues, such as climate change, as motivation in their daily lives; often adding a greater meaning or purpose to jobs or tasks that may seem inconsequential.

    8. They don’t chase trends or worry about others

    We are bombarded by images on a daily basis with which to measure our own lives

    against. Expectations of the wedding ring you should receive, the girlfriend you should have, the house you should buy, the body you should strive for, or the life you should lead. Unfortunately, content on social media sets the status quo on expectations and is always one thumb swipe away from reminding us of our inadequacies. Ignore the crowd and run your own race.

    9. Happiness, NOT money, is the driving force in their lives

    Envy of billionaire entrepreneurs is often misguided. People tend to focus on their material possessions, but what we all really envy is their freedom to live how they choose. A true entrepreneur is someone who strives to live life on their own terms. These people are by definition unconventional.

    10. They focus on the journey, not the finish line

    Goals, big or small, can often look like unclimbable mountains staring us in the face. Just the thought of getting started is enough to cause crippling anxiety in many people. As mentioned in #7, humans are hardwired to avoid stressful situations and therefore seemingly insurmountable goals get pushed aside. However, this anticipatory fatigue is avoidable and unconventional people have found the solution. Break apart your larger goal into smaller tasks. Then your mountain turns into a series of short hikes. Before you know it, momentum builds and you have reached the summit feeling inspired to take on your next challenge. As explained in #5, exposure to these situations pushes your tolerance to new heights. Your next goal won’t be so daunting and the positive cycle begins!