June 27, 2016

"What", "How", & "Why": The Three Questions That Determine Your Success

Up until this point, I have focused many of my posts on the motivation necessary to take action towards your goals. This week, I want to take a different route and analyze the motivation behind your motivation. Confused? Let me explain what I mean.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, most of us have particular goals for our lives. Whether these goals are financial, personal, spiritual, or career-based, we have a picture in our minds of how we’d like our lives to pan out in the future. For those that choose to act on these dreams, something inside of you pushed you enough to take action. Some piece of your mind nagged at your conscious and said, “Do this! You want this, don’t you? Of course you do. You’ve dreamt about it. Now go and do it!” After much deliberating, going back and forth, and self-doubt, you finally acted on your dream. Whether it was to return to school and get your degree or to travel to all 50 states before your thirtieth birthday, you took that first step. And for that, you should be proud.

But I want to focus today’s post on the process of identifying your goals, setting them with determination, and working towards their completion. And I want to take the time to discuss the fuel that feeds your fire for success. In my own mind, I have developed three simple steps that explain how we accomplish this process.

Step One:  What?
This step is rather straight-forward. What is your dream? What is it that burns inside of you, itching to come out? Are you an artist who wishes to have a painting hanging in an art gallery? Do you dream of becoming a marine biologists and studying the lifeforms found in vast regions of the world? What is your dream?
With this step, don’t be vague. Don’t set goals like, “I want to be happy” or “I want to travel”. No, they won’t give you the motivation to get moving. Instead, you should ask, “What would make me happy? What situation do I envision when I think of myself as happy?” Instead of saying that you want to travel, ask, “Where do I want to travel? What locations do I most wish to experience in my life?”

Step Two:  How?
This step is where a majority of people give up, which is crazy when you stop and think about it. The “How” step requires you to actually take the time out of your day to create a plan of action. You must go from the idea of going back to college to actually researching tuitions rates, job placement history, academic standards, and funding availability. The “How” step will require that you apply to your top college choices, regardless of your fears of rejection or failure. Additionally, you must do more than wish to travel and you must take the step to set up a personal financial savings plan in order to put back enough money to make your dream trip.
 The “How” is rather simple, but it is the step that scares away the “Want-To’s” from the “Will-Do’s”. This is not the step where you finally build a successful business. No, this is the step where you build the foundation through research and networking. This step scares off many people because of fear, but if you truly want to succeed, it is necessary that you push through this fear and learn your “How”. Because without it, there is no progressing to the final step.

Step Three: Why?
If Step Two is the step that prohibits most people, Step Three is the step that most people skip. You may ask, “How can you skip a step towards your goal?” Because Step One and Two are required if you are to achieve your goals, while Step Three is not. You must identify what it is that you want, and you have to learn how to accomplish your goals. But your “Why” is not necessary. Only strongly suggested.
To go into more detail, the first two steps focus on outward exploration of success. The situations and goals that you perceive are a part of your external experience, physical goals that you have set and can reach through hard work and determination. But Step Three requires that you look inward. Through this step, you asked yourself, “Why do I want this dream?” If you wish to write a book, ask why you are striving for this. If you want to start a business, ask yourself why. Is it for financial freedom? Is it because you want to help others? Do you want to set a good example for your children? Is your “Why” to walk away from your job and spend more time with your spouse?
Every person has a different “Why”, and you will learn to use this “Why” differently than people that you know. But the reason this step is so important is because your “Why” will get you through the difficult times. When you are struggling to write your book, you must focus on your “Why” to get you through. When your business is on the brink of financial disaster and the bank is breathing down your neck, your “Why” will push you to work a little harder and make your next sale. When you’ve been working 70-hour weeks and you’re physically exhausted, your “Why” will help you push through one more day until you reach the weekend.
Another aspect of the “Why” step is the desire that fuels your work and how you answer that desire. If your actions stem from the wrong desires (materialism, vengeance, spite towards someone, etc…), you will never attain the happiness that can only be found by reaching the highest goals that you have set for your life. Your “Why” must be of quality purpose in order for your success to bring true fulfillment to your life.

This three-step process is so simple that it borders on the mundane. What do I want? How do I get it? Why do I want to accomplish this goal that I have set? Those three questions can have a drastic impact on your life if you let them, and while you do not have to answer all three questions to accomplish your goals, the third and final step will be the most important. So take these steps and apply them to whatever it is that you wish to find in your life. Regardless of your desires, use these steps to create a detailed plan of action, and finally take the first step.

Daniel Moffett

June 20, 2016

The Power of The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews

Recently, a friend of mine gifted The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success to me and my wife. I immediately picked it up and began reading, and the book captured me from the first few pages. Before I realized it, I had finished the book and was left to process a challenging and inquisitive book.

The seven decisions described by Andy Andrews are short, simplistic ideas that we have all heard in our lives, but he works these steps into a fictitious tale that is both riveting and intriguing from its early pages. Below are condenses versions of the seven decisions:

1. The buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future.
2. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others.
3. I am a person of action. I seize this moment. I choose now.
4. I have a decided heart. My destiny is assured.
5. Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit.
6. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself.
7. I will persist without exception.

Without diving into each decision, I want to discuss a few important points that Andy Andrews provides in his book. To begin, the first decision is one of the most important and also one of the most overlooked steps when striving for personal success. So many people tell themselves that they will work for a goal in their life, but then continue to blame their unfortunate situations or failures on other people. They make statements such as, “I wasn’t born into money” or “My business failed because of my co-founder. He/She didn’t work hard enough”. If they are afraid to break out of their comfort zone, they claim it is because of their childhood. Those afraid of emotional commitment blame past relationships.
Any large amount of success cannot be achieved if you are unable to take personal responsibility for your actions. Any circumstance you experience is a result of your actions and your decisions. If you did not get a promotion at work, do not blame your boss or the individual who received the promotion. If you are not able to finish your degree, don’t blame your job or your children. These are all results of your decisions, and there is no one to receive blame but yourself. This statement can be sobering for some people, but it’s important to accept your responsibilities before you attempt any significant goal.

Second, I wanted to discuss decisions #4 (I have a decided heart). In this book, this decision is explained as having complete and unwavering confidence in one’s ability to accomplish a goal. This confidence may be met with criticism. In fact, I will guarantee that any significant goal you set out to accomplish will face its fair share of people who doubt the end results. But Decision #4 is about holding true to the process and remaining confident in yourself and your work. There is no need to acknowledge the doubts, because in your heart you should know that what you have set out to do will come to fruition. It may take longer than you expected, but there should be no doubt in your mind that you will make it happen.
It is this resolve that separates the successful from the average. When we face challenges, many of us will simply say, “Well, this wasn’t for me. I wasn’t meant to accomplish this goal.” And from there, people settle for what they already have, and their goal is forgotten. Instead of starting their business, they go back to their “safe” job. Instead of running a marathon, they’ll blame their lack of work on an injury and go back to simply riding a stationary bike at the gym. These excuses are the foundation that an average life is built upon. The successful are those who push through these doubts and force themselves to accomplish their goals.

To close this blog post, I want to share a quote from The Traveler’s Gift that stuck with me from my own reading. Andrews states, “Poor is the man whose future depends on the opinions and permission of others”.
I found this statement so profound in that it confirms what I believe, which is that greatness is accomplished within our own minds. It does not require the confirmation of outside individuals. If you have a goal that you’ve set for yourself, whether publically or internally, I encourage you to ignore the outside voices in your pursuit of this goal. Do not seek the permission of your friends, family members, or coworkers to pursue your dream. Involve them in the process if you feel that is necessary, but do not rely on their approval to get the process started. It is your dream, not theirs. That means that your success relies on you. Your happiness is a product of your decisions, and by waiting for outside approval, you will remain on the sideline like so many others before you. Take the chance! Take action! And do it relentlessly until you reach your goal.

Daniel Moffett

June 6, 2016

Four Reasons Why Success is Better with a Team

For those of us who have set goals in our lives, achieving those goals can seem daunting at times. When our work piles up and we feel overwhelmed, it is easy to push our goals to the side and tell ourselves, "I'll do that tomorrow". When the kids seem out of control, staying up late to spend an hour on your work almost makes you laugh with hysteria. And when this work is tackled alone, without the help of a great team around you, accomplishing what you've set out to do can become an even bigger challenge.

Today's post will focus on four main reasons why you should strive to build a team around you while you strive for success. As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, your definition of success may vary greatly from your friends and family. It can range from monetary success to physical achievement. Your goal may be to travel to 10 different countries by your 30th birthday or to complete a marathon within the next 12 months. Whatever your goal, having the right team around you can make an enormous impact on not only your performance but also your mindset. Here are four important reasons why:

1. Motivation:

I want to start the topic of motivation with a quote from New York Times Bestselling author Jim Collins. In his book Good To Great, Collins writes, "Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life". I found this quote to be very moving and inspirational because of its profound implications for millions of people. When discussing the impact of great teams on personal success, I found this quote to be quite applicable. Having men and women around you on a daily basis that are filled with inspiration and commitment will left your standards for your life. Seeing others work hard for success will inevitably kick your inner drive in gear, and you will begin to develop the same habits and commit to the same level of excellence. If you and your team are working towards that marathon, they'll keep you committed for your run at 5:00 am and prevent you from saying, "No, I'll do it tomorrow". If your goal is to start a business, your team will make sure you stay focused on the task at hand instead of pursuing unproductive avenues.

Building the right team can be a challenge. You must seek those who inspire you and force you to work harder, and that can be a scary endeavor. But if you truly want to achieve that goal and have it create something lasting in your life, you must take this leap and work to bring together a great group of individuals.

2. A Collection of Knowledge

You may be an intelligent individual, but you cannot compete against four or five minds working together to complete a task. Every individual you meet brings new experiences, thoughts, and opinions to your team, and you should be open to the idea of integrating these ideas into your work. The knowledge available to you is truly limitless, and your goal as a team member should be to tap that knowledge and use it to the best of your ability to increase the team's performance.

I'm a strong believer in brainstorming with a team, as I've experienced tremendous results myself whenever I've brought my team together. The production process mirrors the reproduction of rabbits. Once an idea appears, the team takes it, churns it over in their minds for a brief moment, discusses it, and then suddenly two or three more ideas pop forward. And then two or three more appear out of nowhere. Before you know it, you are surrounded by new suggestions and ideas, all build upon each other and more efficient than the last.

3. Lighten the Load

Noble goals come with the need for tremendous amounts of work. Anything that is work achieving cannot be accomplished overnight, and that is why having a supportive and hardworking team can be such a wonderful asset. There will be times in your journey when you feel defeated, when the work piles up and you simply don't know how you will complete all of it on time. This is when you must turn to your team and ask for assistance. Delegate...That's a scary word for many who strive for success. Believe me when I say that I struggle with delegating some of my bigger tasks, but it's something that I'm working on and it's something that you must learn to do if you ever want to be successful with a team.

The benefits of sharing a workload are plenty. First, you alleviate your own stress levels and lighten the burden that rests on your shoulders. Second, if you properly delegate certain tasks to your team, you integrate them into your workflow process and allow them to acquire new and exciting skills they can use later on to further the group's cause. Finally, it is simply easier and more fun to work with others who are also passionate about the overall goal.

4. Team Success Outweighs Personal Success

Another quote that I've come to love reads, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together". I don't know the original creator of this quote, but it speaks volumes to the importance of teams. For those who have visions for their lives, who strive for a greater definition of success, it often feels as if you must Go! Go! Go! all of the time. Choose a goal, lay out of plan of action, and begin. There is no time to waste, right? Well, while this mindset will certainly produce results quickly, having a team built around you who will also work your plan of action will produce even greater results. The time it takes to reach the success may increase (in fact, I can almost guarantee that it will) but the victory you taste when you finally reach your end goal will be that much sweeter with the right people by your side.

Do not disregard the importance of a strong team. Find these individuals, bring them on board with whatever it is that you wish to accomplish, commit to excellence, and begin. You must hold yourself to as high a standard as you hold your team, and you must be patient. If you do this, you will see the rewards of having worked together as apposed to tackling your goals alone. Bringing success to others is far more importance than succeeding as an individual.

Daniel Moffett