How To Escape the Trap of Survival Mode

If you learn this one simple truth, you will move from Survival mode to “Thrival” mode. Survival mode will be something in your past, not your present or your future. You can finally start living your life the way you’ve always wanted but just didn’t have the tools to change. The secret to changing from Survival mode to “Thrival” mode is found in understanding your brain and the incredible power of small decisions. 

What Is Survival Mode?

For most of my life I’ve lived in survival mode and I never understood why. I felt like most people were against me and not for me. The only time they were for me is when they wanted something from me. And inevitably, someone would screw me over and my greatest fears would be confirmed. Then, the cycle would repeat itself.

Relationships weren’t the only areas where survival mode flourished. I was in survival mode in my job, with investments, and with my wife and children. I feared there wouldn’t be enough money to pay the bills, not enough time to spend together, at the end of the day I didn’t do enough to get my work done. There was never enough. I was always short-changed. In fact, if I was honest, I felt like I wasn’t enough and might never be.

BUT WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING?!

I finally discovered the truth: Our brains aren’t built to help us be happy or fulfilled, they are built to help us SURVIVE. That skill may work great for a hunter-gatherer, but it wasn’t helping me in the here and now.

The Two Parts of Your Brain

There are two parts to your brain: First, is the flight or fight response. The second is the part of the brain which understands how to help you THRIVE. It happens when you feel love, joy, connection, inspiration, hope, peace, or wonder.

No one enjoys feeling angry, stressed, frustrated, self-pity, fear, and a host of other negative emotions. But we’ve all learned to live with them. In fact, we’ve lived with them so long that when negativity isn’t a part of our lives, we feel like something is wrong. So, we go right back into flight or flight mode and the cycle continues creating more fear, stress, and anxiety.

Whenever we feel any kind of pain or emotional distress – whether it’s self-pity, for example, or guilt, or shame – we’re thrown, operationally, into a state of survival mode according to a Psychology Today article.

“Most people live this way since it’s the path of least resistance. They make unconscious decisions, based on habit and conditioning, and are at the mercy of their own minds. They assume that it’s just an inevitable part of life to get frustrated, stressed, sad, and angry—in other words, to live in a suffering state.” – Tony Robbins

So how do we CHANGE?

It’s time to kick Survival Mode out of 0ur lives and it comes down to taking control and making 4 different decisions:

  1. Commit that you will choose to be happy no matter what happens to you. This means that no matter the circumstance, you will choose to find the good in it. You will change your focus from fear and suffering to hope and prosperity. This means you will commit to enjoying life even when things don’t go your way. You have to become a master of spinning negativity into positivity.
  1. Fill your life with POSITIVITY not negativity. This has been a huge game changer for me. Did you know that 80% of the information you take in everyday is negative? This fuels the survival mode of your brain. It tells you there is a threat around every corner. There’s suspicion in every relationship and conspiracy in every decision you don’t like. DON’T GIVE NEGATIVITY POWER. Make a commitment to not let any negativity into your brain. Inevitably some will sneak in, but being vigilant and focused on positivity with immediately change how you feel and how you see the world.
  1. Make a MASSIVE investment in yourself. Start living a proactive life focused on being happy, positive, and the best version of yourself. Buy motivating books, enroll in an inspiring leadership course, get into a mastermind group. Set your focus on learning and growing in the areas that help you move to a place of health. Don’t settle for being a reactive, passive, negative human being. You have every resource within yourself to begin making change now.
  1. Remove yourself from toxic people and toxic environments. Sometimes we just need to learn how to put an end to things in our life that need to die. Reduce or eliminate your time from people that make you feel worse when you’re around them. If your stuck in a rut, you may need to make a massive change. Move across town, change the city you live in, or find different social circles.

Survival mode is only a temporary way of life. You arrived there because of specific decisions you have made that got you there and kept you there.

Thrival mode is about creating a thriving lifestyle filled with the positive things you want in life. They don’t come by accident, they come by intentions. As you begin to implement these simple changes, life moves out of the black and white into a beautiful explosion of color that changes who you are and what you see.

“Drop all the doubt, worry, stress, and anxiety that has been causing you to lose sleep at night. Decide to life your life looking forward, no backwards.” ~ Les Brown

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…)

How To Discover Your Vision

Clarifying your vision is one of the most powerful ways to bring immediate change to your life. But many people struggle to discover their vision. Follow this simple roadmap and you will be on your way to creating and living a vision focused on the most important things to you on the planet. photo_beauty_sky_parachute

When you live by your vision, everything changes. But without a vision, you’ll be stuck in the mire of boredom and mediocrity. Hope will dwindle, work will be monotonous, and relationships will be shallow. Don’t let that happen to you.

Creating Vision – Where to Start

The reason so few people live out of their vision is because they don’t know where to start. Vision begins with dreaming. Not ‘pie in the sky’ dreaming like, “I want 100 Ferrari’s and 10 vacation houses.” Things do nothing to motivate people to live their lives.

A real dream is about living for something that’s bigger than yourself. It’s your life’s purpose, your mission, the reason you were created. How are you going to change the world? What kind of legacy will you leave? What impact do you want to make in the lives of others?

I’m also a firm believer that discovering, and living your vision is a Spiritual Experience. What do I mean? There is something very special hidden inside your vision and when you discover this treasure, it changes you forever. That treasure is the reason you were created and put on this earth.

“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.” – Jonathan Swift

All Your Life You’ve Been Fighting Yourself

Here’s a scary reality: when you are not clear on your vision you are living against yourself. You’re living in opposition to who you really are and what you’re supposed to be doing with your one and only amazing life! (more…)

Anyone Can be a Visionary

It’s the time of year where everyone begins to think about what they want to accomplish in 2017. Better health, more finances, dream jobs, exquisite vacations, and spending meaningful time with family. But we live in a world where most people who think about a better 2017 won’t be able to accomplish what they desire. One of the main reasons for failing is because they don’t see themselves as visionaries. I have wonderful news for you, ANYONE CAN BE A VISIONARY and living that truth is the first step in the direction your success. photo_vision_eye

“The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world.” ~ Malcolm Gladwell

 

When you think of a visionary what comes to mind? Most people think of CEO’s who lead great companies or iconic leaders and inventors such as George Washington, Steve Jobs, or Anthony Robbins. When we put these kinds of people on pedestals as visionaries, then it’s impossible to see ourselves in that category.

The truth is we’ve all been visionaries in our lives. Think of a time when you had “an idea” about something you dreamed about but it didn’t exist. Maybe it was a degree, a career, a family, a home, a vacation or an article you want to write. And now that dream has become a reality. See, you are a visionary! You just need to start seeing yourself as one. The key to great vision is seeing something we desire in the future and to start making plans for it to become a reality. We have all done it and we can do it again.

One of my favorite visionaries is Thomas Edison. He saw what others didn’t see and had a vision that was so grandiose, others thought he was crazy. Who dreams about creating light out of darkness when light doesn’t exist?! It made no difference to him what others thought. There was an internal compass in his soul that burned in the direction of his vision. He saw the vision and he did small things everyday until that vision became a reality. This is why I wrote an article about the power of being an internally directed person versus and externally driven one. An internally directed person is a visionary and they and 10x more successful in life. (more…)

1% Change Proves that Results are about Thinking Small not Big

 

Leadership gurus say to live the kind of life you’ve always dreamed about, you have to make massive changes. THAT’S JUST NOT TRUE. The best way to make personal improvement is to create small wins, or 1% marginal gains. Finding tiny improvement in several areas of your life will yield big results that lead to sustained change and science proves it. photo_dandelion_small_wins

The first time I heard about 1% incremental change was the story about Sir David Brailsford and the British Cycling Team. The team couldn’t produce a rider able to win the Tour De France in its entire history. Brailsford felt that by improving small areas by 1%, Team Sky could produce a British cycler who could win the Tour de France in 5 years. He was wrong. In only 2 ½ years Sir Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012 and British riders have won the completion 3 times in the last 4 years. They’ve also accumulated a total of 16 gold medals in the last 2 Olympics.

How Did They Do It?

They made 1% improvements in areas you would think of such as nutrition, aerodynamics of the bike, and comfort of the seat. But what’s incredible about this story is that Brailsford produced 1% gains in areas others didn’t think about. Through research they found a pillow that provided 1% better sleep and traveled with it. They discovered the correct sleeping posture which produced another 1% sleeping gain. Then, someone found a massage gel that worked 1% more effectively, and a sanitizer that was 1% better at killing bacteria and preventing sickness. When you take all of these 1% gains and add them up, they deliver maximized benefits.

The simple idea of marginal gains is this: by making small incremental changes in your life, you can benefit from huge gains over time. The people who have discovered this hidden truth and applied it, are some of the most successful people in the world. You can be too.

The reason most people fail at achieving their goals is because they aren’t able to be consistent over time. They start with big plans and giant goals but they give up way too soon. This is why health clubs are filled with people in January and empty in March.

I learned an incredible truth from Robin Sharma, “Intention is the mother of mastery.” What you do everyday is more important than what you do once a month or once a year. Over time, you experience huge benefits and the compound effect begins to reward you.

Take a look at what you do everyday. Your actions dictate what is most important to you. Sure, you may say that you want to get into shape but when it comes right down to it, the bed is more comfortable than the run and the unhealthy food tastes better than the salad. What you do today is simply your life in miniature. Change your daily decisions and you will change your life.

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn

This is exactly why I have created a habit called, “Begin Well, End Well.” What you do the first 5 minutes of the day and the last 5 minutes of the day can create gigantic gains in your life when you stay consistent. Creating the kind of life you desire is a gradual process of improvement rather than knee-jerk, radical changes.

Creating 1% Marginal Gains Immediately

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A Life Filled with Purpose and Meaning Come from these 3 Things

 

How do we build lives of purpose and meaning? You and I have one life to live. There are no mulligans, do overs, or rewinds. Yesterday is gone and the only things that matter are in front of us. But most people leave their lives completely up to chance. They know very little about the most important principles that will help them live a purposeful, fulfilling life.

We don’t mean to live this way. We just don’t know what else to do. Sadly, I have lived this way for years. We don’t know how to be intentional about our lives and we don’t know what to focus on. Our default is a life ‘up for grabs’ to the highest bidder. So what’s the highest bidder? photo_lighthouse copy

Pain, busyness, and reactive living.

For some, just the thought of stopping to take an honest look is painful. We are disappointed with ourselves and we don’t like what we see. It reminds us of wasted time. Time we wanted to spend with those we love most, time doing the things that were in our heart but we neglected. We all get trapped in the disappointment of past failures and choose the path of avoidance. It’s just easier.

Our lives are filled with constant activity. We are overwhelmed by the swirl of must do’s, schedules, and phone calls. Our brains feel completely scrambled so we ignore our deeper needs and hope that somehow, they will just work themselves out.

The urgent clouds our mind so we run to our distractions.

We’ve all been there so don’t lose hope. I have GREAT NEWS for you. All of this has a remedy. Choosing to make a shift in 3 key areas will have profound impact in your life. You can a person that no longer leaves their life to chance and live for the moments and activities that define what is most important.

Missing first steps

Get this clearly in your mind: every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. The real question is, “Are you saying yes to what matters most?” Pain and regret come from saying yes to what doesn’t matter.

I will make you this promise: YOUR BEST IS YET TO COME. So let’s start making the changes that create the kind of life you really want to live. The first thing you have to focus on are your values.

Let me help you as much as I can in a blog post. When I do one on one coaching with clients, I take them through this process I’m about to share a with you. (more…)

Why You Should Apply the Michael Phelps Gold Medal Strategy to Your Life

Michael Phelps won 5 more Olympic Gold medals in Rio. He is the most decorated Olympic athlete ever with 23 gold medals and a total of 28 Olympic medals over 5 appearances. How did he do it? There are a few simple practices Michael used to make history and you can apply the very same tools to help you succeed in life. Phelps learned to develop Grit and Mental Toughness by engaging in 3 specific principles which gave him an edge above his competitors. photo_Olympic_medal

  1. Create Simple Routines that Lead You to Success

When you create powerful routines (habits) in your life, you will drastically increase your chances of success. Habits channel your focus on the things that matter. Over time, you will experience incredible success from the power of these small wins.

Besides his workout habits, Michael Phelps engages in specific routines every time he prepares to race. He arrives at the pool exactly 2 hours before the event for very specific stretching exercises that are always the same. After 30 minutes, Michael gets into the pool for 45 minutes of warm up drills. Then he changes from his warm-ups to his racing swimsuit.

In the starting block he performs the exact same routine. He stands behind the starting block 4 minutes before the race. When the announcer calls his name he steps on the block, and then off of the block. He then swings his arms 3 times, steps back up and assumes his starting position.

This is the same routine for every race.

  1. Train Your Brain Philosophy

The U.S. Olympic swimming team has a “train your brain philosophy.” This is why I teach on the power of rewiring your brain. You teach your brain what results you want to create and you’re able to deliver them time and time again. It’s about confidence, focus, and creating the results you want.

I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and you put the work and time into it. I think your mind really controls everything. ~ Michael Phelps

Phelps said when his goggles filled with water in the Beijing Olympics, he wouldn’t have won gold without mental strength. He knew exactly where he was and how many strokes he had left, all he had to do was count the strokes he rehearsed. He said, “Training your brain makes nerves a non-issue.”

  1. Focus on You

As a competitor, Michael Phelps is clear about what he wants. He is not focused on his nerves, what he didn’t do that morning, or any of the competitors. He is obsessively centered on getting the results that are important to him.

A great example of this was the 2012 Olympic semifinal race in London. Chad le Clos stood directly in front of Phelps before the race and stared him down. It was an obvious attempt by the South African to distract and intimidate Phelps. What le Clos didn’t realize was that he was making a fatal concentration error that would ultimately cost him a medal.

If you want to beat an opponent, you never focus on them. It fuels negativity and steals energy from resources you need to win. Focus on YOU and YOUR goals.

During the race le Clos even looked over at Phelps in the middle of the race, which is a huge performance “NO-NO” for swimmers that slows them down every time. Phelps never looked at le Close and even turned away from him before the finals.

In the end, Phelps won his 20th gold medal and le Close placed 4th, out of medal contention.

You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get. ~ Michael Phelps

 

You’re Failing Because of the Negative Coach in Your Brain

Why do you wake up some days and feel inspired, engaged and connected while other days you feel like every ounce of focus and determination has been drained from your body in your sleep? Is it just a mood swing or are their deeper things happening you are not aware of? You may even be listening to a negative coach in your mind you don’t even know exists. I’m going to show you how one simple change can drastically increase your self-belief and motivation levels every single day. photo_happy_chemicals

I started studying positivity and negativity after watching many years of youth sports. Here is what I discovered. There are some coaches who are amazing at getting the best out of their teams. They say the right things and motivate their players with purpose and positive affirmations. These types of coaches get incredible performance out of their teams. They win many games they should lose.

Then there are coaches who have very talented teams that should be winning most of their games. But they lose more than they should. Much of the time it’s not because of the talent of the players. It’s because of the negativity of the coach. They yell and say condemning things, and create stress and anxiety in their players. The result? The players shut down, they are unmotivated and even humiliated. Biologically, they can’t optimally perform at this point even if they wanted to.

The Negative Coach in Our Minds

This is very similar to what happens to each of us in life. Too many times, the negative coach in our minds is the predominant voice we hear and it wrecks our ability to stay motivated and engaged.

You need to pay very close attention to this if: (1) You are struggling with your vision and your life call, (2) You find it difficult to stay inspired and motivated (3) You really want to be a better leader, friend, spouse or parent but can’t seem to be consistent with your words and your love for others or (4) You are often fighting negative thoughts and emotions.

We need to get to the bottom of these issues if we want to change. You have to find the root and pull it out. The good news is that if you can change this one thing, you will see up to a 10X growth in many areas of your life. (more…)

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…)

You Can’t Change Because You Won’t Change

If you’re dreams are dying it could be because you don’t understand the power of what I’m about to tell you. What are the 5 most important things in your life? Family? Spirituality? Hope? Success? Integrity? Chances are you aren’t clear about what the 5 things are and even if you did, your behavior is proving they aren’t important to you. You know you need to change but you won’t. It’s true, you can’t change because you won’t change. You’re part of the 95% of people who have joined the ‘cult of average club.’ They are good people, nice people, but they are people who leave the most important things in their lives on the table. photo_life_man_son copy

One reason is that people don’t have a clue about the underlying forces that drive their behavior.  Most people refer to these as ‘values’ and they are some of the most important things to get clear in your life if you want to live a life filled with rhythm and purpose. Otherwise, you will regularly feel stressed, frustrated, and purposeless.

What’s happened to every single one of us, is that we have allowed certain behaviors to be implanted into our lives that aren’t important to us. Why? Because they’ve worked for us at one time. We may have derived a short-term pleasure from the behavior or we may have received certain accolades and attention for those behaviors. So we do them again and again, until they formed a habit. Here’s the problem, once they don’t work for us anymore, we  are still stuck in those behaviors because they have become automatic. They are fixed in our lives as a habit.

Here’s what Charles Duhigg says about it, author of the book: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. “A behavior becomes a habit, as it becomes automatic, it moves into the basal ganglia, which is one of the oldest structures in our brain and it’s near the center of our skull. And when things happen in the basal ganglia, it doesn’t feel like thought. That’s why a habit feels automatic, is because it’s happening in this part of your brain that for all intents and purposes, from what we think of as thinking, is completely exempt from that process.”

In other words, once a habit is formed, we often don’t even realize it’s there anymore. We still get the short-term reward for the habit, but it can often cause discouragement and anxiety in our life because it’s not really what we want to be doing.

I believe in the power of programming new habits so much, I radically changed my life. I knew that I was too locked into old patterns and desperately needed a change and a fresh start. So we got rid of everything in our lives, sold the cars, got out of debt, left what was familiar and moved to Barcelona, Spain.

It’s been the best thing I’ve done for myself and my family in the last 10 years and this decision is going to completely change the course of our lives. I’m sold out to the vision and so are my wife and kids. Every one of them will tell you, even in spite of the hard days, it’s been one of the most powerful things they’ve ever done. Now, you don’t have to move overseas, but you are going to have to do something radical in your life to get to where you want to go. Here’s why.

How Can I Change?

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