Small Numbers Add Up

July 26, 2010

I believe that the biggest events that happen in our lives occur as a result of a build up of small skills or tools that we use that add up. You don’t become a great writer the minute you are born- you have to read, write and study good writers and through consistent discipline and use of your skills, gradually you become comfortable with the art of words and knowing how to best communicate through this medium. When it comes to my bowling accomplishments, I’ve had to study, obtain coaching, execute the new skills on a consistent basis and simulate practice into real league and tournament bowling in order to achieve many of my goals.

It may not seem like it at the time, but the extra hour or two a day you put into something will become monumental years down the road. I concur with Jim Rohn’s thoughts during his 1999 weekend seminar where he states, “Do what you have to now because later leads to more satisfaction. Give your best to the few and you’ll be recognized to help many.”

I love reviewing and interviewing bands for a multitude of reasons. I feel like I can express myself to others and help people make better purchasing decisions with their money. I receive free music and get the chance to go to concerts as a result- but I would still find a way to support the music that I love (and continue to do so) even if I didn’t benefit from these perks. I’ve been able to met a wide variety of people through the years of my involvement with the scene- and I still keep in touch with a large number of them. They’ve become not just comrades in support of music- a lot of them I’m proud to call my friends and we’ve gotten to know each other on a deeper level.

So I want to encourage you to pursue your dreams even if they seem years in the distance. Time is going to pass anyways, so wouldn’t you rather get in the game and start taking the steps to achieve your dreams? If you’ve always wanted to go into a new career field and need the training, find someone already doing what you want to do, take them out to a meal and interview them. Get signed up for the classes, even if it’s online or through part-time night classes. Don’t be afraid to tell others about your dreams, they may be able to help you with resources or the right connection to take the learning curve down quickly.

Small numbers do add up. A little money put away each week in an interest bearing savings account or investment adds up. The 60 minutes a day with positive, uplifting reading material adds up. Audio learning in your car ride to and from work adds up. The continual hugs that you give each day to your partner and your children add up. The risk that you take to pursue a new hobby will add up. Passing on your knowledge and talent to others who show interest adds up. Take the chance and you’ll be surprised at the outcomes.


Awake Time and Passion

March 27, 2010

I’m reading an awesome time management book called The Other 8 Hours by Robert Pagliarini. The main premise of the book revolves around the idea that if you want to create new wealth and purpose, it’s not going to happen during your 8 hours of sleep time or your 8 hours at your main job. You’ll have to work on this passion during the 8 other hours of the day.

I love the section about LifeLeeches- 24 time and life suckers that you need to work upon to reclaim your life and get you on the path that you desire. I’m not going to go into all of them specifically- but I’m sure it would astonish you to know that many people spend 25-35% of their free time passively engrossed in the television- over the course of a lifetime. Realistically we live into our 70’s and 80’s, but the amount of time we have to pursue our own passion and create a life of purpose is roughly half of that- approximately 42 years.

We have a finite amount of time on this earth. We can make our own choices about what we want to do, who we want to become, where we want to live, what we want to see and the steps that we need to take to get there. It’s perfectly acceptable to find the right people, read the right books, and seek out the right courses to achieve and accomplish all that we imagine we want out of life.

Jim Rohn discusses this concept in one of his seminars- how people look into the future and think in terms of years versus actual number of times. If you get the chance to go on vacation once a year over the next 20 years- you only have 20 more vacations left in your lifetime, not 20 years. Grab the moment while you can and do everything that you can to achieve your dreams. Capture your ideas in any manner possible- with paper and pen, with voice recorders, through your cell phone, on your laptop- and explore these options when you have the time to brainstorm.

So if you need to get your finances in order, it’s fine to make sacrifices and seek out a second part-time job until you feel like you have everything under control. I also enjoy Robert’s concept of frictionless reciprocation. If there is a way to help family or friends when you are already doing an activity out- they can also help you out in return to maximize your time in other areas of your life.

I’m 120 pages in and think I will be returning to this book time and again for direct application to my life. I agree that you can’t spend the 8 hours away from work and sleep just letting the time pass idly by. Pull together your own mastermind or accountability group if you have to- just let the imagination fly, think about your passions and how you can move into accomplishing all of your dreams while living the full life you’ve always desired.

Where do I see my passion these days? Writing, reading, bowling, and the music business are all areas of big interest- along with adoption, therapy and mental health. I need to sit down and really evaluate my skill set to see where I want to take these interests over the next 3-5 years. I’m thankful for all the wonderful comments and how I’ve been able to help many through their day to day lives.

Until next time, keep reaching for the stars.

A Spring In Your Step

March 19, 2010

I love the smells, sights and sounds of spring coming into the air. Winters can be harsh where my family lives- and this year may not have been the snowiest on record, but it wasn’t without a fair share of coldness and treacherous days on the roads. Spring to me showcases rebirth, a renewal of thoughts and insights into the promise of the future.

I’ve been working on a number of new things in small increments. The easiest to work on at least a couple of times a day is reactivation of my Spanish language skills. I spent 2 years teaching the subject in high school and have had 5 years of education in the subject between high school and college. I feel confident in having conversations with others in the language and can watch programs without subtitles to pick up about 80% of what they are discussing. I want to pass this gift on to my children, especially my oldest daughter. She’s really been wanting to develop this and I think it’s important to give children the gifts of multiple languages as young as you can.

I remember a quote from a Jim Rohn seminar that talks about language and kids. They’ll learn as much as you are willing to teach them, if they have good teachers they can take in anything. Multiple languages allows you to expand your universe and I think develop great career benefits in terms of travel, culture and lifestyle. So I work daily to get my vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar in tact.

I’ve also been working on improving my public socialization skills. Naturally as a shy person, I don’t want to be out in large groups of people on a daily basis. I need to learn that people aren’t really worrying or thinking about me as much as I think they are. Once you lose that self-consciousness, I can be like a kid and have less care in the world. I think it’s better to put yourself out there and fail and learn than to never take the chance to have the experience at all.

I’m not getting any younger, and we all will see the time pass. Isn’t it better to venture out there and see all that you can see, be all that you can be, explore this great big, vast wide world that we live in and treasure? I’d rather take the risk and say I’ve done it than to be cautious and never experience all that I wanted to out of this life.

As we grow older I think we become more rigid in our ways. I think we need to take the time to have a little fun in our lives, much like children who are willing to put themselves out there and not have a care in the world what others think. Be playful, be creative, be daring and be bold sometimes. You never know what the reward may be in the long run.

So I have a spring in my step and a song in my heart. I wish the best for all of you as the seasons change.

From Motivation to Perspiration

January 25, 2010

When it comes to making changes in our lives, many of the experts discuss the fact that you need to change your inside before you see changes on the outside. Working on the mind has to be one component, but I believe without a definite plan of action and the ability to execute in smaller steps, you’ll be right back into your old habits.

Why do you think diets don’t work for most people? People change everything about what they eat, other than getting to route of any emotional issues tied around their food consumption. We are currently facing a similar issue within our household, especially with our youngest daughter. She wants to make all of these changes without consistently making the right choice in a crisis situation, always reverting back to what’s comfortable for her but what doesn’t work for our family. It all starts with motivation and the will to want to change- and yet that’s not going to be the simple cure all to make sustainable life change.

I wanted to involve myself with music from the time I was a young child. I first started around the age of 5-6 by learning to read sheet music and playing the organ that we had in our living room. I would take lessons after school from the music teacher. I learned chords from my father as well, as he used to play in a country music cover band growing up. For some reason though, I couldn’t advance beyond a certain stage and found that I liked talking about music and writing about music rather than being the one on the instrumentation.

From the time I was 16 onward then I put myself out there in terms of letting people know how much I wanted to interview bands, write reviews and express my opinions. I found people who were already doing what I was doing, they gave me a chance and I’ve been writing about bands ever since, two decades plus later. I grabbed opportunities when they were available. When I received the chance to become a co-editor for a couple of magazines, I took the risk and felt like I made even more connections within this business.

But I didn’t get there by wishing and hoping. I took action, even if it was a little bit each day. The more trust you gain, the more credibility you gain in the future. If you come through according to deadlines, writing material, interviewing people, being at shows, etc.- people will come to know you. I’ve learned that you have to take an interest in their wants, their goals, their desires before people will care about you.

So while I recommend giving yourself a chance to read and listen to experts like Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Mark Victor Hansen, Joe Vitale, Brian Tracy, Jack Canfield and a whole host of other self-help, personal development leaders- it’s worth nothing in the world if you don’t take action, even if it’s small steps, every day. Partner up if you have to when it comes to your personal goals, business goals, fitness goals, exercise goals, relationship goals, spiritual goals, etc. Write out how you envision your life to be from 10 years out and close it in to 30 day goals, then work on the steps you need to take to achieve these goals and go out and prosper!

Hear What You Want To Hear

January 8, 2010

Active listening. We are bombarded with so many conversations coming at us from multiple angles. In person, on the phone, through chat rooms, often with a radio or the television going on in the background. No wonder why the mind struggles to retain everything that is said, and if we aren’t able to catch the whole crux of what is said, we can certainly become frustrated when we should really ask for clarification.

In the car on the way to dropping my daughter off before bowling tonight, I asked a simple question that elicited a very negative response. “Do you want to come to a certain city?” immediately became a crying fest, because she thought she had no choice in the matter. I asked her if she heard what I said. She stated that I told her she was going with me bowling. The one word- bowling- threw her head into a tizzy. It didn’t matter that I asked a question that required her to process, think about and give a response to.

She immediately went for the negative, which then took me a few minutes to get her back into a neutral frame of mind.

How many times have you misinterpreted what a person said or asked of you? I remember a specific Jim Rohn audio program where he mentions the different responses you may get from someone if you subtle changed just one word- “What’s troubling you?” versus the impact of “What’s wrong with you?”. The first question appears to be more open and inviting, while the second question delivers an attack on a person’s character.

Think about how often in life you are willing to tune everything else out around you to maintain 100% focus on the listener in front of you or on the phone. Imagine how much more satisfying those relationships would be as you would be able to show how much you care because of the commitment to learning, sharing and growing. I’m sure we all enjoy talking about ourselves from time to time- but you would be amazed how many other things you can learn about life through listening.

I’ve become better as a person through observation and conversation. When I get to know a new person for the first time, I’m not afraid to ask them questions about their life, their hobbies, their relationships, their likes and dislikes- and I’m willing to sit back, listen, clarify and ask additional follow up questions. If unsure, it’s ok to paraphrase and summarize to make sure you heard the other person correctly.

So next time you want to improve your listening, study others who you believe are great listeners. Observe how they are around others- the eye contact they make, the leaning in to make sure the listener is being heard, the spacing between the participants, etc. It’s a skill that pays big dividends in the business world and I believe will improve your relationships within your friends and family.

Have a wonderful day, be kind to yourself and others, and be sure to catch other people in your world doing something good.

Success Leaves Clues…

December 8, 2009

I found out over the weekend one of my favorite personal development speakers Jim Rohn passed away. I discovered him through the work of Anthony Robbins and Jack Canfield. I would listen to some of his audio material like Take Charge of Your Life and The Challenge to Succeed through orders I made courtesy of Success magazine. He may not be with us any longer in physical form, but his information will live on forever.

A farm boy from Idaho who would make his fortune in his late 20’s and early 30’s, Jim Rohn made his money through sales with Herbalife, and then took his knowledge on the road and spent almost 40 years giving talks around the world about business philosophy and personal development. His insights were sharp and his information priceless. He would be forceful when need be and also deliver stories with the right amount of care and concern.

One of his many famous quotes is the title of this entry. He wanted people to understand that gaining success is not a mystery- if you really want something, you need to study the process, ask questions, get around the right people and then apply the knowledge that you gain. A lot of times he would use examples from the Bible and real life interactions to illustrate key points.

He’s the one that reminded me that you need to keep a journal and capture the ideas and thoughts that happen every day. Don’t trust your mind to remember all the short term and long term movements- ink it and keep it on you forever. That way you can look back and possibly take the seed of an idea and let it blossom into something that could multiply your income 2 times, 3 times or even 10 times your current income.

I recommend that readers go put Jim Rohn into a YouTube search engine and look at some of this man’s famous clips. Go to your local library and see if you can get some of his audio materials. If you like what you hear, go to the Success magazine store and see what you can purchase. I wish that I could make even a fraction of the impact that this man has made on lives around the world.

In other notes for the day, I’m really touched that my oldest daughter wants to get me a really cool Christmas present. I mentioned to her that another of my favorite personal development authors/ speakers will be doing a special workshop in 2010 in our local area and that I would like to attend. She asked my wife if she could borrow some money to get my Christmas present. When she asked how much, my daughter said- “about $500.” She said that I deserve the chance to see this speaker, and she realizes how much self-improvement and personal development matter to me.

Don’t worry- I wouldn’t expect my daughter to do this. I plan on gathering the money myself to attend this special one day workshop- but the thought does blow me away. 7 years before she wasn’t a part of our lives, and I’ve touched her enough to see that she wants my dreams to come true. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

What’s Your Challenge to Conquer Today?

December 3, 2009

I refuse to let problems get the best of me. It may be a simple semantic play on words, but I prefer to look at obstacles, roadblocks, setbacks and any of life’s little negatives as challenges. I’ve found through my lifetime that the more time I spend stewing and fuming about an issue, the more out of control and in proportion that same issue becomes- to the point where I want to run away or act like the challenge never existed.

Parenting definitely qualifies as a challenge with tremendous benefits. Seeing your children make good decisions based on your modeling. The times when they extend themselves without any regard for an immediate reward. The successes they make in school, at work, with friends, with family- it’s captivating to see your sons and daughters go through some of the same struggles as we did growing up. As much as I want to save and protect my children and have them live in a plastic bubble the rest of their lives- I can’t. My challenge with parenting is to maintain the balance between providing the proper guidance while letting them live their own lives.

My challenge with my writing is sometimes as easy as expressing myself accurately. I want to be honest with my opinions and accurate with my feelings. When it comes to critiquing music, I believe I have an obligation to put myself in the mind of a consumer and decide if it’s worth the money and energy to invest time in a band’s product. Yes the record companies provide a great service with all of the albums they send me- but I do believe we live in a time period where the amount of quality product does not equal the sheer numbers that exist from week to week. If you only have a finite amount of dollars to spend on your entertainment needs, how often would you seek out something new versus a tried and true veteran group that’s been there for you for decades?

For some people their challenge is just making it to the next day. Imagine the people who are struggling with chronic diseases or are homeless and wonder where they are going to receive their next meal or find a warm, safe place to sleep. If you think you are having a tough life, go take the time to visit people in a children’s hospital or the burn ward and maybe you’ll have a different outlook on your own experience. Challenge your mind and body in those days to look back at another time where you were able to overcome a setback you thought was impossible- and see if you can apply the strategies you learned to your current situation.

My challenge when it comes to personally developing relates to focus. There is so much I want to do, experience, share and be- that sometimes I become frozen with how to break tasks down and understand that you can’t achieve everything all at once. Mark Victor Hansen and Jim Rohn discuss in many of their books and audio material the fact that goals need different time lines- some things can be within your grasp in a month while others may take 10 or 20 years to come to fruition. I’m working more on setting daily, weekly and monthly targets to achieve the right balance in my professional and personal life dreams.

So let’s look into what your biggest challenge to conquer is today- and see if you can tackle that challenge with at least one or two steps forward every day. Write it out, mind map, brainstorm, partner up with someone who has a different skill set than you, seek out mentors from the business world- there’s always a way to get started if you are willing to go the extra mile. Challenges don’t solve themselves- people solve challenges.