Most people, sooner or later, start asking what I like to call “ultimate questions.” They tend to ask them in a number of ways, but nearly all of them focus on the quest for a better life.
Unfortunately, many people don’t give those questions much attention. They’ve got too many messages in their outbox to consider issues with no deadline, no matter how important they seem.
I’m not talking about just better living — making a few extra bucks or driving a nicer car. I’m talking about the quality of your life. Something that gets your juice flowing. Something worth living for.
I had a professor once, who would often say about various philosophers, “I’m not sure if I agree with his answers, but I sure like the questions.” In a sense, the questions are more important than the answers. Or perhaps the search for the answers is more important than the answers themselves.
You learn how to make life better but starting with a close look at yourself.
Many people just do what they’ve always done. Somewhere along the way, their dreams got pushed aside so many times that they don’t even notice they’re gone.
Good news: those hopes, dreams and aspirations can be called back. The first step is to actually recall them. Remember them. Bring them back to mind. Give them new life.
You have that power. Consider what it would take to make those dreams a reality. If that task seems too daunting, start with just a portion of a dream.
What one thing could you do that would help you learn how to make life better? What’s a small accomplishment that would get positive momentum building in your favor?
What would you have to do? How could you do it?
Take at least a few moments every day to consider these questions. You’ll notice a difference almost immediately.
Once you start focusing on how to make life better, the means of making life better will start to reveal themselves. Life will be better simply because you’re looking for ways to make life better.
The other day, I learned a valuable lesson about the need to have confidence in music and in life.
The band I play in had just went through a tough rehearsal. We were supposed to play the next day, and to say we were struggling would be kind. We’d tried to learn a few new songs, and all but one were bad. Real bad.
We finally replaced a few of the harder songs with easier tunes, but our music was still pretty rough. When we started playing, I thought about some advice a piano teacher gave me years ago. I was nervous just before a recital and she said, “Steve, if you mess up, just keep going and no one will notice.”
I’m not sure she was being completely truthful, but her suggestion helped calm me down and helped me play better, I’m sure. Since then I’ve thought of her words many times.
So when we started playing the other day, I decided to play with confidence. I knew that if I played tentatively I would almost certainly mess up.
I don’t know if the other band members picked up on it, but I do know that we played better than we had at any time during practice.
I thought later how the music lesson also applies to life. Confidence is often the difference between success and failure. It’s like someone once said, “If you think you’re going to fail, or if you think you’re going to succeed, you’re right.”
So next time you get nervous about something, get in harmony with your optimistic side. Have confidence in music and in life. Even if you make a mistake, keep going. No one will notice.
I’m constantly amazed at the places that potential learning opportunities pop-up. I often drive down a country road near a Civil War battlefield. I usually find the rural scenery relatively relaxing.
One day, I happened to notice something that I had somehow missed on all my previous trips by the fields along the road. Right in the middle of one of the fields stood a tree. It was only about 25 or 30 feet tall, but I was nevertheless taken somewhat aback that a tree had somehow managed to grow right in the middle of the field.
When I took a closer look, I saw the secret to the tree’s survival. It had sprouted in the edge of a ditch, out of reach from plows, tractors and other equipment that would have ended it’s life if it was anywhere else.
It reminded me that there are times in life when we have to find a spot away from harmful distractions that keep us from growing and accomplishing our goals. If we’re where we supposed to be, we should develop an attitude of persistence while avoiding the people and things that would hold us back.
While the tree is not very big, I can tell that it has been around for at least 10 years of so. It grew nearly sideways early in it’s life but later headed skyward as it was meant to do.
Sometimes, we have to take a different route than originally planned, but if we keep trying, we’ll find a way to where we need to be. In time, our patience will be rewarded.
I’m not sure what kind of tree it is, but I know that it has made it through thunderstorms, drought and snow showers. It wouldn’t stand out in a forest, but it certainly stands out in the middle of the field.
If we find our mission in life, we’ll have the strength to carry it out. Power comes to those who know where they’re going.
Next time you feel a little pressure, remember that persistence, patience and power can help you grow despite your circumstances.
I just finished watching the USA women move into the semi-finals of the World Cup soccer tournament. In case you missed it, the United States team was behind until Abby Wambach scored a goal just before the game ended.
Earlier, it seemed like everything was going against the team, including several questionable calls. But the U.S. players ended up winning on penalty kicks when goalie Hope Solo made a great save and Ali Krieger made the winning kick.
I took away a few lessons from the game. I learned similar lessons from Landon Donavan last year.
The U.S. players kept playing even when it seemed like they were surely going to lose. Abby Wambach’s header into the goal came in time that was added to the end of the game because injuries earlier.
The second lesson is that sometimes you need to keep trying even if you fail the first few times.
U.S. player Megan Rapinoe had made a number of passes that had not found their mark, but her pass to Wambach was a thing of beauty. Rapinoe kicked it to the absolutely best spot for Wambach to score.
The third lesson was something I almost missed, have confidence.
I watched the replay about 10 times. On about the third, I noticed that Wambach raised her hand just before Rapinoe kicked the ball toward her.
Wambach wanted the ball to come to her, even though several players from Brazil were around. She wanted it, she got it and she tied the game because of it.
The next time you face an obstacle in your business or in life, have confidence, keep trying and never give up.
Don’t stop running.
That’s the lesson we can learn from Landon Donovan. As you likely know, Donovan was the player who scored the goal that kept the United States alive in the World Cup soccer tournament. You’ve probably seen the video of him booting the ball in after another player had missed.
What you might not realize is that Donovan had actually passed the ball to another player a few seconds earlier. After passing the ball, he could have slowed down and watched to see if the other players were going to score.
He didn’t. He kept running. As a result, when the ball bounced off the goal-keeper, Donovan was there to send the ball into the back of the net.
Donovan’s goal set off a wild celebration by the U.S. team and its fans. Instead of being eliminated, they won their group and get to play in the single-elimination part of the tournament.
Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl talks about how the U.S. team has a flair for drama and a whole lot of heart in an article about the match. He recaps the heroics and Donovan’s comments about the joy he feels now after playing poorly in the World Cup four years ago.
“I’m so glad it culminated in this way,” Donovan said. “It makes me believe in good from the world. And when you try to do things the right way, it’s good to see you get rewarded.”
So in business and in life, sometimes we need to keep running. Who knows how many people give up just before they find success? They get frustrated at the slightest failure and stop.
Instead, look at failures as learning opportunities. When something doesn’t go right, then you’ll know what not to do next time. Successful people learn from their mistakes.
So keep trying. Keep running. You never know when you’ll get the opportunity to reach your GOOAAAALLLLL!
Everyone in business is looking for a successful business plan. They realize that the old adage is true that failing to plan is planning to fail.
photo credit: centralasian
I’d like to suggest that before you adopt a business plan, first take a look at your values. Knowing what you believe will keep you from doing things that you’ll regret later.
And if you already have a business plan, being clear on your values will help you clarify and if needed refine it to fit your beliefs.
For example, most people are compassionate. When they see someone in need, they usually feel the urge to help.
Having a clear sense of your values, will convert that urge into action.
Some people think that compassion has no place in business. They believe caring for people won’t cut it in the cut-throat world of profit-making.
This is often magnified among network marketers who are taught to look on friends and family members as money-making prospects.
Here’s a suggestion that goes against the grain: go to great lengths to show how much you care for people. Compassion is not only proper, but required to run a successful business.
Gauge the success of your business, not by how much money you make, but by how much good you do and how many people you help.
Making the world, or at least your corner of it, a better place is the beginning of a successful business plan.
As 2010 gets started, I thought I’d pass on a goal setting tip I got from Chris Brogan‘s newsletter a few months ago (you can sign up for the newsletter here).
Brogan passed on an idea he got from Bre Pettis, an innovator and designer. You write down your “most audacious goal” on a big, white sheet of paper. Then you go backwards with ways that you can accomplish it.
Those ways become your goals. Brogan calls them “lighthouses” that will keep you on course. Think about potential obstacles between you and them. Then find a way around them.
photo credit: Indy Kethdy
This seems like a simple, but effective, method to reach your highest goals.
On a related note, Brogan’s newsletter also contained some interesting personal information about his blogging experience. He said he didn’t have 100 readers until he’d been writing for eight years. It took him 10 years to develop what he called “business value” for what he was doing.
Today, he’s one of the top bloggers on the web.
All that is evidence that you shouldn’t give up on your goals. Two of most successful network marketers I know didn’t start making serious income until they’d been in the profession for more than 12 years.
Imagine if they’d given up about seven, or nine, or even 11 years.
Set your goals.
Make your plan.
Stick with it.
(NOTE — This free e-book helped me get my business on track.)
I came across an interesting post the other day called “This is a Business, Not a Hobby.”The piece was written by Jim Kukral, who works with small businesses on web marketing. It cites a post on Copyblogger called “The Three Fatal Diseases that Kill Good Blogs.” Kukral’s article focuses on social media, email marketing, affiliate marketing and online public relations, but his point applies perfectly to network marketers who are trying to build their business using the Internet.
“We’re doing this to make money, or leads, or get publicity. Not for fun. Not for ‘friends.’ Until you flip that switch in your head where you understand this, you’re going to continue to find it very hard to find success on the Internet.”
Kukral talks about how some bloggers are still not making money even though some have shown that “blogging is in fact a great way to do business.” Despite this, some still treat it as a hobby, he said.
“Here’s why. Because ‘regular people’ are the people who start blogs. They’re not marketers. They’re not entrepreneurs. They are people who have a passion about something and they want to share that passion with the rest of the world without having a gatekeeper tell them they can’t.”
Similarly, most network marketers are “regular people” with little or no marketing experience. They have a passion to share their products or services and opportunity with other people.
Many network marketers promote their businesses with blogs. Kukral points out how things are changing for bloggers.
“We’re no longer bloggers anymore, we’re ‘publishers.’ The majority of people don’t start blogs anymore just to waste time. They want something out of it. It may not be money they want. It may be fame. Whatever it is, they want something for their effort, and that makes them a publisher.”
Think about that the next time you’re writing a post. Make it something worth publishing. Make it worthy of your business.
And in case you’re using other online methods to promote your business, Kukral has these thoughts about how people spoke ill of him when he started using his blog to make money.
“What happened to me in 2004 is the same thing that is happening now to social media. We’re all being told we shouldn’t try to make money with social media. It’s pure, they say. Leave it alone, you’ll ruin it.
“This is ALL a business, not a hobby.”
(NOTE — Jim Rohn, one of the great personal development philosophers of our time and one of my favorite motivational authors, died today. Below is one of his many articles that influenced me. It is reprinted in his honor.)
If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself. Leadership is the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills and opportunities you offer as an owner, as a manager, as a parent. I call leadership the great challenge of life.
What’s important in leadership is refining your skills. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they become effective. Here are some specifics:
1) Learn to be strong but not rude. It is an extra step you must take to become a powerful, capable leader with a wide range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It’s not even a good substitute.
2) Learn to be kind but not weak. We must not mistake kindness for weakness. Kindness isn’t weak. Kindness is a certain type of strength. We must be kind enough to tell somebody the truth. We must be kind enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not deal in delusion.
3) Learn to be bold but not a bully. It takes boldness to win the day. To build your influence, you’ve got to walk in front of your group. You’ve got to be willing to take the first arrow, tackle the first problem, discover the first sign of trouble.
4) You’ve got to learn to be humble, but not timid. You can’t get to the high life by being timid. Some people mistake timidity for humility. Humility is almost a God-like word. A sense of awe. A sense of wonder. An awareness of the human soul and spirit. An understanding that there is something unique about the human drama versus the rest of life. Humility is a grasp of the distance between us and the stars, yet having the feeling that we’re part of the stars. So humility is a virtue; but timidity is a disease. Timidity is an affliction. It can be cured, but it is a problem.
5) Be proud but not arrogant. It takes pride to win the day. It takes pride to build your ambition. It takes pride in community. It takes pride in cause, in accomplishment. But the key to becoming a good leader is being proud without being arrogant. In fact I believe the worst kind of arrogance is arrogance from ignorance. It’s when you don’t know that you don’t know. Now that kind of arrogance is intolerable. If someone is smart and arrogant, we can tolerate that. But if someone is ignorant and arrogant, that’s just too much to take.
6) Develop humor without folly. That’s important for a leader. In leadership, we learn that it’s okay to be witty, but not silly. It’s okay to be fun, but not foolish.
Lastly, deal in realities. Deal in truth. Save yourself the agony. Just accept life like it is. Life is unique. Some people call it tragic, but I’d like to think it’s unique. The whole drama of life is unique. It’s fascinating. And I’ve found that the skills that work well for one leader may not work at all for another. But the fundamental skills of leadership can be adapted to work well for just about everyone: at work, in the community and at home.
To Your Success,
(Reproduced with permission from Jim Rohn’s Weekly E-zine. To subscribe, go to www.JimRohn.com All contents Copyright © JimRohn.com except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide.)
Those who find network marketing success have learned the importance of serving other people.
The other day my wife had an experience with a local business which reminded me of the importance of customer service for any business, including network marketing. A few weeks ago, my wife was cleaning the carpet when our vacuum cleaner stopped working.
photo credit: reitveld
We have an older model Rainbow vacuum cleaner, which usually does a great job getting the dirt out of the carpets. But that day it stopped picking up anything.
My wife asked me to look at it. Since I know next to nothing about vacuum cleaners, I wasn’t surprised when I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
It was in the evening so we decided to wait until later to figure out what to do. We didn’t think about it again until the middle of the afternoon last Friday. After I took another look at it, reaffirming my lack of expertise in the matter, I suggested we take it to a repair shop in a nearby town.
My wife called the shop to find out how late they were open. A short while later she left with the vacuum cleaner.
In my mind, I was thinking we’d have to borrow or rent a replacement so we could get the carpet cleaned for a dinner party we’re having at our house next weekend. But about an hour later, my wife was back home with the repaired vacuum cleaner.
She said the folks at the shop looked at the vacuum cleaner immediately. After a few minutes, they figured out what was wrong and fixed it for a reasonable rate. They also sold her a new hose that we needed at a decent price.
All in all, they were nice, prompt and professional.
Guess who will be getting all our vacuum cleaner business from now on. And guess where we’ll suggest our friends go when they have similar needs.
Network marketers can learn a lesson from this experience. Too often we pounce on anyone we consider a prospect. And if we don’t think they’re a prospect we pay little or no attention to them.
Here’s the better plan: treat everyone the same way you’d want to be treated. Do this and the prospecting will take care of itself.
This mentoring program taught me to help everyone succeed.