How 2017 Can Be the Greatest Year of Your Life

The thrill of the Holidays are over. New Years resolutions have come and gone. The lure of the “new” is beginning to fade. You’re already failing in your new year commitments and 2017 isn’t turning out like you hoped. Is there anything you can do to change that really works? I have good news for you – the answer is an absolute, YES! This is how to make 2017 the greatest year of your life. Man posing in front of beautiful sunrise by the medieval house in rural countryside of Slovenia

I have failed at resolutions and goal-setting so many times it hurts. In fact, 92% of people who set goals do not achieve them. So don’t feel too bad.

But after years of studying human performance and personal change, I’ve finally found what works and it’s simple for you to implement.

3 Simple Things to Create Change in 2017

  1. You Must Have a Compelling Vision.

Many people think that a dream or a goal is good enough to accomplish what they want. But if that’s all you do, you will likely fail like the 92%. It’s not strong enough to keep you focused.

To help you succeed like the top 8%, you must have a vision. A vision is a compelling picture of the future. It’s what you will do, who you will be and what must happen in your life. It’s not up for negotiation. For a deeper dive on how to create a vision statement, read this article on How to Discover Your Vision.

People fail because they aren’t clear enough with their personal vision. If you are vague regarding your vision, everything else in your life will seem vague. The clearer your vision is, the greater the opportunity to accomplish it.

If you don’t believe you have the ability to take responsibility and create the world you want to live in, the world will create you in its image. A vision helps you be the victor of change not the victim.

2. Systems not Goals

Goals are important, but alone, they fail 92% of the time.

A goal is, “I want to run a marathon.” The system is to run 1 mile 5x a week the first week, 2 miles 5x the second week, 4 miles 5x the third week etc. You build the system to achieve your goal.  (more…)

Never, Ever Settle for Normal. Unless You’re Driftwood.

Can I encourage you to never do something? Don’t make peace with the status quo. Ever. And never settle for normal. It will be the death of you and everything you care about. Normal is what everyone wants you to do. Normal is what society forces us to do. Your life is worth extraordinary value, so live that way. Be wild. Do something crazy that creates amazing experiences and builds memories that last a lifetime. You’re unique, you’re gifted, and you may not be able to walk on water but it’s a lot more fun swimming in the Mediterranean than looking at pictures of it. (By the way – that picture is me jumping into the Mediterranean!)img_2891

You are a wonder of creation. Scientists say the very chances of you even existing are about one in 400 trillion. This means that there is no one like you. You are incredibly unique with gifts, talents, and answers for the people on this planet that only you can deliver. You cannot afford to be stuck in a rut.

“Each human being is unique, each with their own qualities, instincts, forms of pleasure, and desire for adventure. However, society always imposes on us a collective ways of behaving, and people never stop to wonder why they should behave like that. They just accept it, the way typists accepted the fact that the QWERTY keyboard was the best possible one. Have you ever met anyone is your entire life who asked why the hands of a clock should go in one particular direction and not the other?” ~ Paulo Cuelho

Deep Change vs. Slow Death

Leadership expert and author Robert Quinn says that we are in one of two places in life, the place of deep change or slow death. We are either changing or shriveling up on the inside.

This is in agreement with the 2nd law of thermodynamics which states that all things lead to entropy – decay and disorder. It’s a natural system. It’s really easy to get stuck. Stuck in our comfort zones, habits, normalcy, negativity and routine. We are either changing or dying, growing or decaying. It takes a strong, willful, and soulful choice to go against the flow and take a leap of faith into the land of the unknown. A phrase I love to describe this is, “Walking naked into the land of uncertainty.” Don’t worry, it’s not literal. Keep your clothes on. 🙂

Moving Our Family to Europe

I’ll preface this by saying that you probably don’t need to move, but you do need to change and do something different. Maybe something really big and completely out of the box. Get out of your comfort zone. Take risk, not simply for the sake of risk but out of the yearning to truly live for what matters most to you.

For my family that meant moving overseas, learning a new language and building an adventurous life filled with a calling, and the things and people we love. We lived in a wonderful community at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The beauty was indescribable and the weather was my favorite of any place in the world. We were there for 14 years. So many incredible friends and experiences that were simply magical. (more…)

You’re Dying on the Inside Because You Don’t Live out of a Personal Vision

If you don’t have a personal vision, You’re on the Path of Slow Death. Statistics show that less than 3% of people live out of any kind of person vision. This is a modern day catastrophe. If you are part of the 97% not living out of your vision, not only are you doing yourself a disservice, you are cheating those of us who need you to live in the fullness of your passions, talents and energies. It’s time to grow up, take responsibility and start living your visions now.photo_vision_binoculars-copy

The sad philosophy of a visionless life is: Ready…Fire…Aim. There is no target to aim for. Visionless people aren’t sure where they are going so any old target will do. This is the modern day dilemma.

WHY DON’T PEOPLE LIVE OUT OF A PERSONAL VISION?

Fear, lack of knowledge and distraction are all reasons at the top of the list to why visions don’t exist in our lives. They are real and we need to address them, but under no circumstance can we make peace with these excuses and live in any form of mediocrity.

#1 Fear. Fear is the great pretender. It pretends to keep us safe and out of harms way but it does the exact opposite. It causes us to cower when we are uncertain of our path. Worst of all, many times it keeps us from taking any risk whatsoever and so often the risk we need to take propels us into the life we’ve always desired.

#2 Lack of knowledge – Most of us don’t know how to find our vision, we’ve never been taught. We’ve gone along with the crowd and tried to play it safe. We get an hourly job, pay the bills, and hope something better comes along. People don’t know how to live out of vision because they don’t know their vision. They’ve never taken the time to go deep inside and uncover their buried treasure. It’s time to invest in yourself. Do whatever it takes to get your vision out from the inside. It might be difficult, birthing a new baby is rarely easy, but it’s the most beautiful thing to show the world when the process is over.

#3 Distraction – we are the “Generation of Distraction.” The latest research proves that on average, we are exposed to 63,000 words per day, we are distracted every 11 minutes, and we check our smartphones 110 times a day. When we are this disconnected, there is no way we can fulfill our dreams and live out any kind of vision. That’s a waste of an amazing life.

We are hardwired on a neurological level to come fully alive once we start living out of our visions and passions. What’s a cause so important to you that it keeps you up at night? What have you always longed to do that could make a huge impact in the lives of others? What kind of life would make you feel incredible fulfilled and satisfied? Once you are compelled by your visions at an emotional level, nothing will stop you from seeing those visions come to pass.

Think of some of your greatest heroes, people like Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Jesus, or Steve Jobs. Every single one of them had one thing in common: they were “cause-fueled.” They believed in something so compelling to them, they gave everything in their life to see if fulfilled. They lived out of a personal, compelling vision. When your “WHY” is big enough, the “how’s” in your life will line up.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

How Can I Live Out of My Personal Vision?

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Stop Short Changing Yourself and Create a Meaningful Life

5 things to do that make life beautiful

I’m wondering if you’re like many people I speak with who don’t have the kind of life they really want? What does it take to create a meaningful life? How do you focus on doing things that are important and meaningful to you?

According to a recent survey, only 33% of Americans feel happy, content and satisfied. I’m sure results are similar in Canada, Europe and other parts of the world.

photo_littleboy_beach copy

People feel trapped inside jobs they don’t like, too much time is spent on things they don’t care about, they aren’t living for what matters most, and they have almost lost hope that it will ever be any different. In short, they’ve thrown in the towel and have come to terms with being a ‘spoke in the wheel.’

Have you ever felt this way? First, I understand those thoughts can seem very real. But they are what I call, “victim speak.” Saying these kinds of words over and over is what gives negativity power in your life and makes you feel discouraged and hopeless. Victim speak occurs whenever you believe that someone or something is responsible for your unhappy state of affairs. For example, “I’m stuck in this awful job because I can’t get anyone else to hire me,” or, “I can never get ahead because I can barely bring in enough money to pay my bills,” “I can’t succeed because of the bad economy.”

There’s only 1 way to defeat this kind of negativity. Take your power back! Whenever you allow these thoughts into your mind, you give them power over your life and circumstances. Power to control what you think and who you are becoming. Taking your power back is acknowledging that although you may feel this way now, your have the power to reject those statements and do something IN THE PRESENT to create a more meaningful life. The kind of life that matters most to you.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned from the most successful people I know on how to create change NOW and have more meaning in your life:

(1) Cast a HUGE vision for your life and do 1 thing everyday that gets you closer to it. (more…)

4 Things I’ve Learned Without a CAR for 1 Year

IMG_1619 copy2As a family we did one of the craziest things on the planet 1 year ago. We moved our family to Barcelona, Spain. It’s truly been the greatest adventure of our lives! Because we chose to live in the center of the city, we also decided to depend solely on public transportation. That means no car after 20 years of marriage!
Now, let me assure you this has its ups and downs. There were a number of reasons we decided to do this. One, we had a limited amount of money and we didn’t want to spend it on a car. So, survival! We had no idea how long we would be here and this seemed like the right thing to do.

Two, we live right in the center of the city. Parking is a nightmare and so is driving. This is an old city so there are a ton of one-way streets everywhere you go. We chose simplicity over convenience.

Now, by no means am I saying you should give up your car. And, I’m not writing a book about, “Being free from the tyranny of driving and car payments.” I just thought it would interest you to know what we’ve learned and how this has changed us. In the process, maybe the things we’ve learned could make a difference in your life too.

  1. Your Health Gets WAY Better

In the U.S. I barely walked anywhere. We drove our cars (5 of them) from the garage to work, practice, and life. We always looked for the nearest parking spot at Coscto and Walmart. We were trying to cut out walking every chance we could get!

Without a car, we average 6-7 miles of walking per day. What a perk! I’m in the best shape of my life thanks to not having a car. I’ll obviously need a car again, but walking is one new habit I will take with me wherever I live.

  1. It’s A Good Thing to Depend on Others

 I am fiercely independent by nature. I’ve had to be while growing up an only child from a broken home who lived in a new town almost every year. As an adult I learned that depending on people is risky. They will let you down, stab you in the back, lie, cheat and steal. I’m guilty of doing that to others in my weakness as well.

All these reasons lead me to believe that you cannot really rely on other people. Until you don’t have a car. In a foreign land where we had very few relationships, we were forced to rely on the kindness of strangers.

You know what I learned? There are many people who are more than willing to go out of their way to help when you ask. They are gracious and loving and that realization has changed me. It’s shown me that it’s ok to ask for help. In fact we need to ask for help sometimes because we need each other. No one is an island.

  1. Your Connection with Your Family Deepens

Without a car, our family has had more time together. We take public transport and walk the kids to their practices. Yes, sometimes this takes 40 minutes one way, but we have had some of the best interactions and conversations we’ve had in years. IMG_8678 copy

There is no replacement for quality time with the people you love. We’ve learned to slow down, enjoy being with each other and we’ve made the most of our very long walks together.

  1. You Have More Peace

I don’t think I’d realized what a nut I’d become. Getting in my car to rush to this thing, talking on the phone the whole way there, and stressed out about my car payments. And then there was trying to sell cars that cost me money to get rid of. Ugh!

I was caught in the consumerism that raised me and I was steeped in the stress it brought to my life. I was disconnected. I wasn’t engaged as I should have been with my friends and family and I was shriveling up on the inside. I was becoming less of myself not more of who I wanted to be.

Getting rid of some ‘stuff,’ including my cars, has helped me re-center my life on what really matters. I’m able to enjoy the blessings God has brought to me and fall in love again with the people who are around me.

Not having a car this past year hasn’t been a burden, it’s been a gift. I’ve learned to live for the people and the values that really matter and I think I’ve added a few extra years to my life!

Most of you have cars, and you should! But perhaps you can apply some of these lessons in your life, right where it is. My hope is that you will take a deep breath, be fully engaged and completely present in the lives of those you love and care about, and you will be free to live for the things that matter most to you deep inside. You really can discover new freedoms when you do unconventional things.

 

 

 

Your Life Doesn’t Belong to You. Get it Back.

 

All our lives we are told what we can’t do and what we have to do. It’s time to focus on what you can do and what you want to do. I’m not talking about a hedonistic life that is ‘all about me.’ I’m talking about living the kind of life that is most who you are. A life that is aligned by your values – the things that are most important to you. photo_man_sad_beard copy

But we are slaves to the system. Our lives don’t look the way we want them to. Many of us have jobs we don’t care about. We are over our heads in debt with stuff that doesn’t satisfy, and we would be doing something different if we could. If others could look inside of our heads they would see that we are dissatisfied, often unhappy, stressed, frustrated, even angry.

And yet life continues to pass by.

A Harvard Business report said that job satisfaction was at a 23 year low. Young adults are refusing to grow up with 32.1% still living with their parents. Antidepressant use has surged almost 400 percent in the last 10 years and a report that just came out on August 4th said, People living in the U.S. are less happy than before the recession.

So who is in control?

“Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? ~ T. S. Eliot

Now, most people will say there are external reasons for this: not enough money, wages aren’t keeping up with inflation, we are stressed and leaning on games and gadgets, we are tired, we are scared, the world is an unsafe place, etc. And while these things may be true, I’m going to call B.S. on these reasons being responsible for our unhappiness and ultra-low satisfaction with life.

There’s only 1 primary reason people are feeling this way.

We are unhappy because we are not living for the things that deeply matter to us. We know it deep down inside and it haunts us. We aren’t living for our values and we don’t know what to do about it. In other words, these issues are internal not external.

Prospect Theory, formulated by Psychologists Daniel Kahneman of Princeton and Amos Tversky of Standford, proves that we make decisions mostly out of emotional and social pressures. These decisions are often flawed because we are rarely emotionally healthy and the decision is mostly about what we want in the short-term.  (more…)

Is Comfort Causing Slow Death in Your Life?

Comfort sounds like such a wonderful word, doesn’t it? I mean, who doesn’t want to sit in their favorite chair, wrapped in a down filled comforter, in front of a crackling fire while watching their favorite TV show? There is nothing wrong with comfort until comfort becomes a way of life. Sit in that chair for too long, and you’ve got a problem.

I want to see your leadership go to a completely different level and help you be a person of depth. So often, leadership is focused on what you are doing. Things like goal setting, vision statements, and productivity. The better question is what are you learning? How are you being stretched? What new experiences are you forcing yourself to engage in? In what ways are you breaking out of your comfort zone and engaging in learning a new skill, a new language, or visiting places you’ve never been with the people you care about? True leadership is about who you are and who are you becoming201H
Living in complacency and comfort can leave us in a place where our creativity, adventure and vision are completely wiped out. Instead of helping us to feel rejuvenated, it often has the opposite effect and causes stagnation. If I’m not learning, I’m dying. According to Robert Quinn in his book, Deep Change, we are only moving in 1 of 2 directions. We are either in the process of deep change or slow death.

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” — Abraham Maslow

The antidote to this is to create avenues in our lives where change is inevitable. In his book, Quinn says that, “one key to successful leadership is continuous personal change.  Personal change is a reflection of our inner  growth and empowerment.  Empowered leaders are the only ones who can induce real change.  They can forcefully communicate a level beyond telling.  By having the courage to change themselves, they model the behavior they are asking of others.” (more…)

Why Hard Things Can Be the Most Positive Things In Life

I started studying Positivity because of the problem I have with negativity. Notice I said, “have” not “had.” I’m a work in progress.

It’s rooted in many things: being a child of divorced parents, abuse, starting in a new school every year, and feeling like a complete loser most of my life – I could go on and on.IMG_8599

Those things are certainly negative. But one of the most positive things I ever did was to begin the journey of facing the pain and rejection of my childhood. I needed to accept responsibility for my life and work through my issues in the present so I could have the kind of future I desired. It helped the healing process begin and helped me grow. It was painful, it was hard, but it was incredibly positive. (more…)