October 31, 2016

15 Tony Robbins Quotes That Will Motivate You to Change Your Life

Tony Robbins has spent the last three decades changing the lives of millions of people around the world, speaking in more than 100 countries and authoring dozens of best-selling books. His life's work has been to help others improve numerous areas of their lives: business, relationships, health and wellness, financial, and others. His teachings have become a staple for anyone searching for personal development, and few who have ever taken the time to absorb Tony Robbins' wisdom have not gained from his words.

With so many years of life-coaching, Tony Robbins has provided countless quotes that can strike the heart of anyone searching for motivation, but I've compiled a list of the fifteen that I felt were most profound. These have been accumulated from his online webinars, public appearances, books, and speeches, and they include topics that range from overcoming fears to goal-setting.

Live life fully while you're here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You're going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don't try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.”

-Tony Robbins

"When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears."
- Tony Robbins

"Every problem is a gift - without problems, we would not grow."
- Tony Robbins

"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."
- Tony Robbins

"The path to success is to take massive, determined action."
- Tony Robbins

"It is your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny."
- Tony Robbins

"It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently."
- Tony Robbins

"People who fail focus on what they will have to go through: people who succeed focus on what it will feel like at the end."
- Tony Robbins

"It's not about the goal. It's about growing to become the person that can accomplish the goal."
- Tony Robbins

"You become what you do most of the time."
- Tony Robbins

"Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach."
- Tony Robbins

"A real decision is measured by the fact that you've taken a new action. If there's no actions, you haven't truly decided."
- Tony Robbins

"Many people say, "Well, I'd love to make a decision like that, but I'm not sure how I could change my life." They're paralyzed by the fear that they don't know exactly how to turn their dreams into reality. And as a result, they never make the decisions that could make their lives into the masterpieces they deserve to be."
- Tony Robbins

"No one ever achieved a goal by being interested in its achievement. One must be committed."
- Tony Robbins

"The only reason we don't have what we want is the reasons we create why we can't have them."
- Tony Robbins

Do you have a favorite Tony Robbins book? Have you attended a Tony Robbins seminar? Share your thoughts in the comment section below! I'd love to hear from you.

Daniel Moffett
Follow me on Twitter: @dmoffett2306

October 29, 2016

How to Juggle Thankfulness and an Internal Drive

For anyone who is focused on succeeding at the highest level, there can be moments in your journey where things seem to be moving slower than you anticipated. You put in hours of work, spend your mornings and your nights on specific projects, and dedicate yourself to the vision, but for whatever reason, you seem to come up short of hitting your goals. Progress is still being made, but the drive inside of you seems to burn for more.

There is no denying that some individuals are just wired for action. If you are this type of person, you understand the need for progress like few others do. Nothing ever seems good enough. There's always one more improvement that can be made. A fix that can enhance performance. This type of drive is great for entrepreneurs, creative minds, and big thinkers, and it should not be suppressed in any way.

That being said, this type of mentality can also easily lead to burnout. A constant yearning for success and improvement, without a sense of accomplishment and rest, can create an environment of exhaustion. There should be a balance between striving for greatness and appreciating the accomplishments you have already achieved.

Taking a step back to evaluate your journey can do wonders for your future. It allows you a chance to view your work from a distance, instead of always being in the midst of another project, spreadsheet, or meeting. Additionally, your newfound appreciation can give you a new outlook on future tasks by making you more aware of past lessons learned.

But for those who burn with that internal drive, what is the best way to balance your work with this appreciative outlook? How can you step back and enjoy your successes without losing the momentum you've created?

#1. Schedule Days Off:

This may seem like the biggest sin for anyone who is working to build a social platform for success, whether it's a business, expanding your career opportunities, or organizing a non-profit, but taking scheduled time off can do wonders for your mentality and your work ethic. When you step away from your project, you force yourself to stop focusing on a particular grain of sand so that you can see the whole beach. It may be hard at first, but train yourself to leave behind the project on particular days.

For example, as I work to build my business platform leading up to our website launch, I have the bad habit of becoming so focused on particular details that I overwhelm myself, my wife, and my co-founders with data. I'm worried about social media presence, website design, communicating with our product distributor, financials, marketing, and all of the little details that go into a business. In the end, I've learned that certain days require me to shut of that part of my personality and step away from the business, no matter how hard that might be for me. When I do this, it not only eases the stress for my co-founders and my wife, but I see these "problems" as minor speedbumps. They no longer appear so daunting.

#2. Make an "Achievement List":

An Achievement List is nothing more than a list of the goals that you've accomplished over the past 6-12 months that you are most proud of in regards to your work. If you're trying to make the Dean's List in college, than jot down the test you've received A's on or the classes that you've done well in. If your goal is to sell 15 cars in a calendar month, create an "Achievement List" that includes contacting a certain number of former clients or new prospects, as well as jotting down each car that you've sold.

Whatever your situation, spend 20-30 minutes creating this list. It will help put your prior year into perspective, which can be incredibly helpful in keeping your focus on how far you've come. That ultimate end goal may be motivating you forward, but it can also drain you if your road to success is still far away. Using a personal example, it took me nearly 7 years to finish my bachelor's degree, and during that time I struggled with motivation when I considered how many credits I still needed before I was finished. But when I looked back and saw how far I had come and how many classes I had already completed, it help me stay focused. Taking just a small amount of time each week to read over your Achievement List can refocus your thoughts and make you more appreciative of how much you've accomplished.

#3. Remember Your "Why":

In previous blog posts, I've harped on the importance of having the right "why" behind your actions. Why are you doing the things that you're doing? What drives your motivation? Is it the dream of money? Social status? Is it providing a higher quality of life for your family? Taking the time to evaluate your true "why" is important for anyone who hopes to accomplish great things, because your "why" will dictate your "how".

That being said, getting caught up in the grind can be challenging. You become so busy that you forget why you're working in the first place. If your "why" for building a business is so that you can work from home in order to spend more time with your spouse and children, remember to include them in the process. Step away from the business on occasion and spend quality family time together. Don't claim the business is for them and then neglect them while you work 7 days a week.

I've said this before and I will say it here again: Your "why" is the most important aspect of your success. If you know your true "why" and you are willing to put enough work behind it in order to see it through, you can accomplish anything.

I'm one that enjoys the work behind any big project. I love putting in the time to build new projects and see them to fruition. But I've had to learn how to appreciate the accomplishments that I've made over time, and in retrospect, that has made a huge difference in my outlook.

Dan Moffett
Follow me on Twitter: @dmoffett2306

October 27, 2016

YouTube Channels You Should Be Following for Motivation

The explosion of YouTube over the past 10+ years has enabled millions of people around the world to share ideas, thoughts, and their own creativity with the world with the click of a button. This amazing technology has brought us closer in some ways, and one of the most important is the medium by which we share motivation with each other.

It's no secret that human beings feed off of each other's emotions, actions, and words. YouTube has given us the opportunity to log in whenever we are in need of that connection, and then listen/watch other people share their stories with us instantly. We feed off of that connection, searching for our own interpretation and necessities with each mouse click.

If you are in need of a jolt today, or if you simply need motivation to take that next step, YouTube can be a great way to fire yourself up each morning. There are millions of videos available to you whenever you desire that are filled with motivational and inspiring messages. Videos to motivate you to work out, start a business, ask someone out on a date, or even travel the world. If you have a computer or a smartphone, these videos are available to you at any time.

Today, I want to share a few YouTube Channels that I've found to be incredibly motivational while I've worked towards my own goals. These channels focus primarily on personal development/motivational outlooks, but there are some videos that also hinge around business development as well. I hope that you find them as enjoyable as I do. Here they are:

#1. Mateusz M

This channel is one that I feel has the potential to be largely successful, but the page only creates new videos every 3-5 months. To date, it is compiled of only 22 videos, but each is incredibly powerful in its own unique spectrum. They include the widely popular videos "Why Do We Fall?" (48.5 million views), "Dream" (35.6 million views), and "Unbroken" (20.3 million views).

If you're searching for 4-6 minutes videos filled with inspirational quotes and ideas to help you get moving with passion, Mateusz M is a great channel to follow. I've used many of these videos during workouts or runs, but they can be used for just about any purpose.

#2. Motivation Grid

I discovered the Motivation Grid channel a few months ago, but I've quickly grown to love their videos. The combination of quality visuals with the inspirational messages/music has become a staple for me in my video selection. This page, similar to Mateusz M, had a habit of only posting a few videos per year, but lately they have shared more, reaching 12 already this year.

Some of my favorites from this channel include the videos "Stop Killing Time" (2.6 million views) and "Be Phenomenal" (21.7 million views), but there are a number of great choices from this channel. The videos from Motivation Grid have a great vision for motivating you to improve your overall quality of life, as well as your personal ventures of your career, business, physical health, etc...

#3. Gary Vaynerchuk

As a business owner, I've grown to love Gary Vaynerchuk's outlook on life and business. He comes across very rough, sometimes using foul language, but he has a no-nonsense approach to success, and it's an outlook that I think many people need to be exposed to on a regular basis. Gary Vaynerchuk has no problem calling you out on your excuses. He will tell you that you're being lazy when you decide to binge-watch Netflix instead of working on your goals. Some people don't appreciate his style, but I love the way in which he uses his passion to motivate.

As a social media guru, he's very active across YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram, and he's amassed more than 1,100 videos on his YouTube channel. Lucky for his viewers, he categorizes them into interviews, rants, keynote speeches, his DailyVee episodes, etc...Whatever you are in the mood for is available to you on his page. If you are an entrepreneur, or if you are looking for inspiration on a large scale, Gary Vaynerchuk is the place to start.

#4. RedFrost Motivation

RedFrost has been sharing motivational videos for some time now, but I feel that they're rather unknown in the YouTube world. With only 154,000+ followers and only six videos that have cracked the 1M+ views threshold, I think they deserve some recognition despite their lack of immense popularity.

RedFrost's videos are uplifting and the page is consistent in it's posting. They also share videos that cover a wide range of motivational topics, from a traditional "rags to riches" video to personal development and creating a long-term vision for success. This is a page that I hope will continue to put out great content in the future, because they are one of the strongest in their chosen field.

#5. Eric Thomas

The story of Dr. Eric Thomas is fascinating. Homeless at 16-years-old, he was alone and depressed, and he strongly contemplated committing suicide. Fast-forward 10+ years, Eric Thomas was graduating from Michigan State University with a PhD. in Communications, and has now become a world-renowned motivational speaker, a New York Times Best-Selling author, and a YouTube sensation. The video that propelled him to internet fame included the now-famous quote, "When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breath, then you'll be successful."

Dr. Thomas' weekly video channel TGIIM (Thank God It's Monday) aims to motivate people by opening their eyes to the possibilities available to them, regardless of their profession or career choice. He's all about opening your eyes to your personal level of greatness, and escaping the life that you have grown to hate. Mondays should not be the worst part of your week. If you have the passion to go after something that you love doing, you should be jumping out of bed on Monday morning, simply because you're excited about going to work.

And there you have it. These five YouTube pages are simply a handful of the hundreds of pages that are available to you for personal and life motivation. I'm not saying that these five will be the best for you, but I can promise you that the messages provided by these five pages can be a great foundation for you if you are truly dedicated to improving your life. So use them to spark your motivation, and get to work on your goals!

Do you have any YouTube channels that you feel could be included on this list? Comment below and share them!

Daniel Moffett
Follow me on Twitter: @dmoffett2306

October 24, 2016

Handling Doubts and Criticism

There is a certain nobility is creating a unique life for yourself, in recognizing your own skills and ideas and then taking action to develop them to their fullest potential. And while I am happy to say that I am working on this myself, their are a number of unfortunate circumstances that arise when a person chooses to differentiate themselves from the norm. The moment that you declare your intentions to achieve something great, you open yourself up to criticism. Your intentions are a signal to everyone around you that you have chosen a different path than them, and with those intentions come external ideas, opinions, and doubts.

I've always believed that anybody who has the desire to become highly successful must also possess two important traits. First, you must leave your ego at the door. Second, it is absolutely crucial that you develop thick skin. Both of these are necessary due to the simple fact that greatness cannot be achieved alone, which means that you will need the humility to ask for help, and greatness cannot be achieved if you are filled with self-doubt, which means you will have to block out any outside distractions.

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
― Aristotle

I recently came across a term in the book Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras called a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal, or BHAG. A BHAG is something that seems impossible to achieve, but it's a goal that you've set your sights on for the future. It will require years of hard work and preparation, numerous skills, a team of great people, and a little bit of luck. These types of goals are the long-shots, the "that'll never happen" idea, and the success stories that lazy people blame on "overnight successes".

Once you've identified your BHAG and you've announced it to the world, prepare to receive feedback, both good and bad. Certainly, you'll receive the congratulatory cheers from friends and family members. Your Facebook friends will like your announcement and comment their support. But once that moment of glory fades, people will begin to question your BHAG. They'll ask questions about how you will possibly see it through. They'll reference all of the people that have failed in the past (your cousin didn't finish school because he had a child/four businesses closed in town within the last year/nobody will buy enough of your product for you to make it long-term). These doubts can have a terrible effect on you and your BHAG.

What's most disturbing about the criticism that you will receive is that most of it will come from those closest to you. Your family members will be the first to cast doubt on your dream. This is because of two reasons: First, it's important to understand that their concern comes from a place of love. More times than not, your friends and family just want what is best for you, and that means that they are trying to help you avoid failing. Secondly, BHAG's are frightening to the average person. These types of goals are so unlikely to become successful that most people refuse to even try to accomplish them. They've settled for a life of average simply because it's the easy way to live, and they will pick at your dream and try to tell you why it won't work so that you will fall into the average lifestyle with them.

“Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks.”
― Shannon L. Alder

BHAG's require a certain level of commitment that most people are unable to provide. The mental state that you must put yourself in to accomplish these life-altering goals leaves no room for self-doubt, internal questioning, or wavering opinions. When you are approached with these doubts or criticisms from friends, family, coworkers, or strangers, it's important that you not take these opinion personally. Instead, use the knowledge that you have about your BHAG to counter their opinion. If they're concerned about you returning to college because of the costs or because of your work schedule, calmly explain to them how you will structure your classes. Describe any grants or scholarships that you've received, and explain the student loan program if necessary. If your parents don't believe that your business will be sustainable in the future, show them the research that you've done on the market regarding your product. Describe your marketing techniques.

I want to be clear about this paragraph: I'm not encouraging you to get into arguments with your close loved ones. On the contrary, I want you to AVOID arguments at all costs. Instead, use rationale and numbers to enforce your opinion and to ease their concerns. Always remember that if you've done your research properly, you probably know more about your BHAG than anyone else on the planet. Don't let an outside voice fill you will doubt.

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. If it is heeded in time, danger may be averted; if it is suppressed, a fatal distemper may develop."
― Winston S. Churchill

I want to finish this discussion with the acknowledgement that not all criticism is in bad taste. In fact, there is a balance that must be met between being confident in your ability to accomplish your BHAG and recognizing and absorbing constructive criticism. There will be times when it is necessary to head the advice of experienced individuals. Like I said when I began this piece, reaching the highest levels of success requires assistance. Don't be so closed-minded and arrogant that you don't see that assistance when it becomes available to you.

So how do you differentiate constructive criticism from destructive?

- For starters, you should ask yourself if the person providing the advice has your best interest in mind? Advice from those that will use you to benefit financially or socially should not be heeded.

- Once that is established, determine if the person providing the criticism is experienced in your chosen field. If they are, chances are that they've gone through a similar situation that you are experiencing, and their criticism might be justified.

Recognizing criticism can be difficult for anyone who is starting out on a difficult road to success. With instant communication available at our fingertips, we are often bombarded with ideas, opinions, news, and thoughts during every waking moment of our lives. The important thing to remember is that your BHAG belongs to you (and whoever you decide to bring along on the ride). Your hard work will determine if that goal becomes a reality, and during that time, you will most certainly receive criticism and doubts from outside sources. Lose your ego, absorb what is beneficial to you and your goal, and keep moving forward.

Do you have a story to share about how criticism has affected your own BHAG? Share in the comments below!

Daniel Moffett
Follow me on Twitter: @dmoffett2306

October 21, 2016

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by James Collins and Jerry Porras

As someone who is currently working to get my own business off the ground and running, I am constantly seeking the advice and wisdom of those who have spent years in the business world. Men and women who have started and operated successful companies, spent their lives studying and researching businesses around the world, and have been truly immersed in the world of entrepreneurship. Their knowledge is invaluable to me as I begin my journey as a business owner, and James Collins and Jerry Porras' book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies is one of the best business books that I have ever come across.

Built to Last is based off of a multi-year research project headed by Collins and Porras where the analyzed what they deemed "visionary" companies in correlation to a group of "comparison" companies. The visionary companies were ones that performed above their peers in almost every measurable factor, but also possessed a certain standard of quality for themselves and their employees. According to Collins/Porras, truly visionary companies meet these criteria:

1. Premiere institution in its industry
2. Widely admired
3. Made an indelible imprint on the world
4. Has multiple generations of CEO's
5. Been through multiple product or service cycles

What truly separates these visionary companies from their peers is a beautiful ability strive for and achieve the highest levels of success regardless of (#3) who their CEO is at the time and (#5) what the market desires/demands. These companies also have an internal list of what Collins/Porras call "core ideologies", or more simply stated as a list of core beliefs that the business never deviates from. These ideologies are not financially or goal driven. They are the fabric of the company and the "why" of the entire business.

I won't dive into every section of this book that I feel should be mentioned (this post would be 6 pages long), but for those of you that have your own business or are considering starting your own business, I wanted to hit on a few important points. First and foremost, the idea of Clock-Building compared to Time-Telling. When you are the leader of any business, the goal should be to create something that will transcend your leadership. Every new policy, product, service, or idea that you implement should help build the future of your business (your clock) in a way that it will continue to thrive (tick) long after you are gone. With this metaphor, a time-teller is someone who is a great leader and creates results while they are around, but once they leave the company, there is no structure in place to continue that success. They are simply time-tellers. Great leaders realize that their companies are the greatest creation they will ever develop, so the goal here is to be a clock-builder, not simply just a time-teller.

The second lesson that I took from this book was the idea of focusing on more than profits. The visionary companies studied in this book were obviously driven by success (you can't stay in business very long if you don't eventually turn a profit), but there was always an underlying pursuit of something more for these companies. Drug-manufacturer Merck believed in providing quality health products for every human being on the planet, and their actions solidified those beliefs, regardless of their financial returns. To prove this, Merck once gave the Mectizan, which cures river-blindness, to over 1 millions people in 3rd-world countries for free!

I wanted to share a quote regarding the belief in a higher purpose than simply profits. In this book, Collins writes, "Profit is like oxygen, food, water, and blood for the body. They are not the point of life, but without them, there is no life."

Here, we see the visionary companies' theology on profits and pursuing a higher purpose. They, like every other company, strive to be successful and profit as a business, but they do not operate solely for the purpose of profits. If you have your own business, this is a wonderful lesson to take forward as you start your journey.

Finally, I wanted to end my discussion on the topic of Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals, or BHAG's. Built to Last describe BHAG's as monumental objectives that seem nearly impossible from the onset, but create a sense of urgency within the business. To use an example, Boeing relied on the Air Force for 4/5 of its profits in 1952. Early in the company's history, they were solely focused on military aircraft, not commercial flight machinery. Due to the unreliable "hire-and-fire" military contracts, Boeing decided to take a risk and build the 707 aircraft. The cost of designing, building, testing, and manufacturing the 707 accumulated to more than 1/4 of Boeing's total net worth, a risk that in retrospect seems outrageous. As we all know, the 707 helped put Boeing into the world of commercial aircraft, and they haven't looked back since.

BHAG's are a tremendous tool for any business, regardless of size. They should be unattainable at your current state, which means that you and your business will be forced to grow if you hope to achieve your BHAG's. They should install a small amount of fear, but also rally your employees together as you move forward. Continuing off of the previous idea of "clock-building", Collins writes that the goal "should transcend any one leader". The BHAG should stimulates growth for your business for long periods of time (years), and they should also coincide with the core ideologies of your business, which we also discussed earlier.

This amazing lessons provided in this book cannot be condensed down into one blog post, and there are dozens of other wonderful ideas in its pages that I've failed to mention here. But what you should understand about this book whether you decide to read it or not is that becoming a visionary company is not for everyone. The handful of companies that were included in this study are some of the most renown, respected, and successful companies of all time, including the aforementioned Merck and Boeing, as well as Ford, Johnson & Johnson, HP, and more. If you desire to become a visionary company like these, that's great and I wish you nothing but success. But if you have your own business and your goal is to expand, but you don't wish to reach the level of these companies, the lessons in Built to Last as still as applicable to you as they are to these other companies. You can still set BHAG's. You can still focus on building a legacy that is about more than profits. And you can create a company that is driven to reach the highest levels of success.

If you're an entrepreneur, leave a comment below and share your story! I want to hear about your experiences.

Daniel Moffett
Follow me on Twitter: @dmoffett2306

October 19, 2016

Mentorship: Why You Should Seek Guidance Immediately

Attempting to accomplish something new in your life can be challenging. For more reasons than you can count, the idea of separating yourself from the masses and becoming great at something is difficult, scary, and would likely fill anyone with enough fear to stop them from taking action before they ever begin. This feeling of anxiety and uncertainty is only multiplied if you are attempting this feat alone. Without a system of support and accumulated knowledge around you, this monumental goal that you have set for yourself can seem impossible.

This is why you need to consider finding a mentor to help you on your journey, someone that has been where you want to be, accomplished what you have set out to accomplish, and can provide some insight and tips into how you can better reach your goal. Finding a mentor that is willing to share their thoughts can prove invaluable as you set out on your own journey, and there will be moments where their guidance will save you time, energy, money, and disappointment.

Let's begin with the most important question: "How do I find a mentor?"

Finding someone that is both willing and able to mentor you can be a challenge in itself. The first step is to surround yourself with successful people in your chosen field. If you want to start a business, find people that you know that have their own businesses and spend time with them in some shape or form. If you have a desire to design and build computer programs, seek out college professors that have spent time in those professions and ask them questions. Whatever it is that you want to do, the first step to finding a mentor is to surround yourself with as many people in that field as possible, because eventually their ideas, thoughts, and habits will rub off on you. You'll hear their stories. You'll learn their habits. And you will begin to discern which person you might like to have as a mentor going forward.

As you spend more and more time around them, try to keep a list of men or women that jump out at you as possible candidates for mentorship. Is there one person that you seem to connect with better than the others? Does a particular story resonate with you on a personal level? Or is there one individual who took the same path to success that you want to take? Write down their names and contact info if possible, and create a Top-10 list that you can keep for reference.

“True mentors don't make their mentees a clone of themselves.”
―Bernard Kelvin Cline

Once you have your list, the next step is to simply ask for guidance. Begin with the person on the top of your Top-10 list, and make sure that you go over what you will say to them before you actually say it. Don't improvise such an important conversation. You want to appear thankful for their prospective guidance, but you also don't want to appear childish or needy. The opportunity should be beneficial for both you and the mentor. The manner in which you approach them may be different for each possible candidate, depending upon their schedule, your relationship with them, and the manner in which you mean to meet with them for guidance. You may want to ask them face-to-face, or through email. How you do it is specific to your situation, but you must remember to come across as professional and thankful. They are doing you a favor by providing insight and knowledge, so make sure that you are genuine in your approach. This will prove beneficial as they consider your offer.

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” 
- William Arthur Ward

The important thing to remember about mentorship is that while they have been where you desire to be, the path may be different for you. As you begin your mentor/mentee relationship, your focus should be on absorbing as much wisdom and knowledge as you can, not so that you can copy this person's path, but so that when challenges arise on your own path, you are that much more prepared to tackle them because of your newfound knowledge and wisdom. A mistake that many people make (and it's one that I've made myself) is that they idolize an individual and envision themselves reaching the same level of success in the same manner, but it rarely happens the same way for everyone. The purpose of mentorship is not to copy that person's actions. It is to learn from their mistakes, acquire certain skills, and use those insights to carve out your own path to success.

I've experienced the influence of great leaders and mentors in my own career, and I made the mistake of assuming that I would reach the same success as my mentor. After nearly four years of learning underneath a former mentor, he left his position to take a new job that furthered his career, and as a young man with years of training underneath him, I assumed that I would be chosen for the now vacant position. My former boss had given me guidance and helpful tips on the position (and many other areas of life) for years, and I felt prepared to replace him. In my mind, I thought to myself  "I've learned from him, I know the position, and I'm qualified."  Of course, I was not chosen, and I had to deal with that defeat in my own way. I spent the following two years working in the financial field, but I never got over losing out on the opportunity to achieve the goal of replacing my mentor. As fate would have it, that position recently opened up for the second time in two years, and after going through the application process, I was chosen for the position last month.

“Leaders..should influence others..in such a way that it builds people up, encourages and edifies them so they can duplicate this attitude in others.”
― Bob Goshen

The point of my story is this: Finding a great mentor is difficult, but the benefits can be incredibly rewarding. I learned so much more from my former boss than simply how to succeed in that position. When I first met him, I was 20-years-old, and for nearly four years, he gave my advice on a number of incredibly important moments in my life, including marriage, having a son (he has three himself), and the bitter taste of defeat when I was not chosen for the job. The two of us have stayed in touch even after he was no longer my boss/mentor, and it's a friendship that I'm glad has developed. Your goal with mentorship should be to find someone that can be that guiding figure for you when you need assistance. Find someone that is successful in whatever field that you desire for, but also someone that possesses a deeper understanding of what makes a great individual. That is the kind of mentor that you should idolize.

Leave a comment below with a story about a great mentor that has influenced your own life! I'd love to hear from you.

Daniel Moffett

Follow me on Twitter: @dmoffett2306

October 17, 2016

Staying Focused in a World Full of Distractions

With advancements in technology, we've become incredibly efficient at multi-tasking and task-identification. We're more productive than we've ever been, and yet if you were to ask most people, chances are they would admit to being distracted on numerous occasions throughout their workday. Whether they work in an office, run a business from their home, or manage a production plant, the problem of becoming distracted on specific tasks can be challenging. When pressed for an answer, most people turn to the aforementioned technology. They download an app for their phone that has a schedule, or they set alarms to remind them to complete certain tasks on time.

But how much does this truly help? Will you remember to keep the schedule on your phone updated every day? Or will two weeks go by before you ever look at it, only to be overwhelmed with guilt before you delete the app entirely?

The problem is not our lack of tools to help maintain our focus. Our true problem is our inability to prioritize, organize, and maintain personal discipline in regards to certain tasks. When you become overwhelmed with numerous tasks, there are steps that you can take to help maintain both your focus and your sanity. As your coworkers, friends, and family pull at your time, it's important to use these steps to stay focused and avoid starting too many tasks at once. These are:

#1. Create a To-Do List:

A lot of people have moved away from create daily to-do lists for a number of reasons, but I still hold to the idea that they are great ways to set the tone for your day. By laying out the tasks that you'd most like to accomplish, you set your mind in the right state first thing in the morning. You prioritize your day, and you eliminate any tasks that you don't see as beneficial.

This can prove to be incredibly important as unexpected jobs pop up throughout your workday. When this happens, you can then decide of this new tasks is an emergency. If not, you run through your to-do lists and compare the new task and its priority with the tasks that you've set out to accomplish that day. If the new tasks is more pressing, work it in to your day by eliminating or postponing another tasks. The reason many people fail to grasp the importance of to-do lists is because they feel constricted by the jobs they've written down. If they don't accomplish everything that they've written on their sheet, they feel like they've failed. But a proper to-do list is simply a system of guidance for you to work with for your day. If you complete everything, that's great, but if you don't, it simply gives you an opportunity to analyze what created the time loss and why certain tasks were not completed.

#2: Think Long-Term

Regardless of what you do for a living, your days should not be viewed as eight hours of endless work. You shouldn't clock in, work until you're exhausted, and then leave without feeling as if you are contributing to a bigger goal. This is what average people do day-in and day-out, and they never experience a true sense of belonging or purpose with their work. To them, it is just a job that pays the bills.

Instead, you need to understand where you are heading with your job/business/career. There needs to be some type of long-term goal that pulls you forward and channels your work, because this will create a sense of purpose for your work and it will help you maintain focus on what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Picture long-term thinking as lighthouse and you are in a ship out at sea. That lighthouse should be your beacon as you try to reach land, and if you stay focused on reaching that lighthouse and nothing else, the things that once distracted you will no longer break your focus. The same holds true for your work. Create a plan of success that stems out 3-5 years, and then use that plan to dictate what tasks fill your day. If they contribute to the long-term plan, keep them. If they don't contribute, don't spend time on them.

#3. Schedule Time for Important Tasks

It is impossible to schedule every minute of your day, so you need to stay open to the fact that meetings will go longer than they should, people will call you with questions regarding certain projects, and that certain jobs will simply take longer than you imagined. That being said, it is vital that you set aside a block of time each day that you can use to focus on your productivity. Whether this time is scheduled in the office or at your house doesn't matter (for some of you, your workspace may be your home), but you must schedule it nonetheless. The timeframe of this window will vary for each person, too. For me, I like 60-90 minutes to work on various things, but you may only need 30-45 minutes, or you may need longer.

Use this time to tackle those "High Priority" tasks that have been pushed back time and time again. If you're having a problem with distribution in your business, use this time to send emails or make phone calls to get to the root of  the problem. If you are in college and have a research paper due in two days that you've been procrastinating on, use your scheduled time to get started on it. Whatever it is that you do, this time is your sanctuary. Shut the door, turn the cell phone off, tell your significant other that you need the time to yourself, and put in the work. Nothing else matters during this time. It's your time.

#4. Learn to say "No"

This is the most important lesson that you can learn regarding your productivity and focus. With so many distractions coming at us throughout the day, learn to say "no" to someone or something that might waste time is incredibly important. When you receive an email requesting a sales spreadsheet or if someone stops you in the hallway to set up a meeting, have the discipline to politely tell them that you can't at the moment. Tell them that you have an important job that must be finished, but you'd be happy to talk with them once it is completed. Say "no" but say it with class and humility.

Staying focused is not a result of one day's work. It comes from developing the habits that eliminate unnecessary work and help stimulate your creativity. Learn to say no when the time is right, schedule time to work on important tasks, and maintain a long-term vision of where you are heading with your work. If you do this consistently, you'll find that your distractions become less trying and less demanding. Keep the course and stay focused!

Daniel Moffett

Leave a comment below with  your tips for staying focused!

And follow me on Twitter: @dmoffett2306

October 14, 2016

Your Situation is a Reflection of Your Decisions

The single most important action that any one person can take in order to improve their life is to look themselves in the mirror and say with one-hundred percent honesty, "My life is the way that it is because of me". One simple sentence...Eleven words to change your life forever. If you can absorb that sentence and use it to take responsibility for your life, you can begin on the road to improving your personal, professional, and overall situation. Once you do this, you will begin to see things in a new light, where excuses become irrelevant and the only thing that truly matters is execution and results.

The biggest reason that so many people are living an average life is because of their willingness to use excuses to replace action. Far too many people would rather create a list of reasons as to why they did not achieve what they wanted instead of accepting the fact that their failures are because off their own actions. If you set out on a New Year's resolution to lose 30 pounds in the first 90 days of the year, but you only lose 10 or 15 pounds, the first thing that you should do is audit your actions. Most people will say things like, "It's difficult for me to lose weight because my parents were big and I've always been overweight" or "My best friend promised to be my workout partner but she/he skipped the gym more then he/she went. It's her fault". My question to you is this: Did you exercise as regularly as you said that you would? Was your diet meticulous and planned? If you really wanted to lose the weight, why didn't you make your friend go? Or instead, did you make sporadic trips through the nearest McDonald's/Starbucks? Did you put the kids to bed and then tell yourself, "I'm too tired to work out. I'll do it in the morning before the kids wake up for school", only to not do it in the morning?

Maybe your goal was different. Maybe you told yourself that this was the year that you were going to take your business to the next level and open a second location. But now 10 months have passed and you're stilling at square one. What most people will say when asked about their second store are things like, "The time is just not right" or "I've had a lot on my plate at home the past few months".

Let's use an even simpler example. I come from a small town where a majority of the people were born and raised in the town. Having spent most of my life there, I've met hundreds of people who cannot stand to live in that small town, yet you rarely see anyone leave. When you ask them why, you hear answers (excuses) like, "I don't have the money" or "Well, my kids have always gone to school here and I don't want to make them move" or "I don't think I could find another job somewhere else. What would I do?" Every one of those answers are nothing but fears manifesting themselves into excuses. The individuals providing them know that deep down, they have no true reason for staying. They are simply unwilling to look themselves in the face and admit that their lives are not where they want them to be because of the decisions that they've made at one point in their lives or another.

Everything about your life is due to you and nothing else. From the job that you have to where it is that you live is a result of the decisions that you've made in your life, and the sooner that you recognize and admit that, the sooner that you can improve upon your situation. If you're constantly broke because you're 28-years-old and are making slight above minimum wage, you should ask yourself why you have no skills that set you apart from every other minimum wage working employee. Why have you not made the decision to improve yourself so that you can earn a little more money and provide a better lifestyle for yourself and/or your family? It's not because of your who your parents were or because your freshman biology teacher gave you a failing grade (which you probably deserved, by the way).

If you had a child young, that's not an excuse to live the rest of your life barely getting by without setting a positive example for your child/children. It's easy to fall into the habit of saying, "I can't go to college" or "I need my parents/friends to watch my child when I work, so I can't move away". These are excuses. Spend the time to find a way to make things happen for your life. You've created the situation, and if you want things to improve, you have to make them improve. There are resources available for parents to help them transition to a new job or a new home. Set aside one day to go and learn about these resources, and use them to help get your new life started. Once you've established yourself, pay it forward by reaching out to someone else that you know that could use those same resources and help them escape the excuses that once plagued you.

This is a topic that I'm incredibly passionate about because I've experienced it firsthand and I know how powerful of an effect personal responsibility can have on your life once you understand its purpose. When I was seventeen-years-old, I skipped 43 days of my junior year of high school, a number of people that I was spending time with were either doing drugs or selling drugs, and I had been charged with illegal consumption of alcohol as a minor. Needless to say, being placed in handcuffs and put into the back of a police car was one of the lowest moments of my life. I felt like everything was crumbling around me, and it would have been easy for me to blame other people for my situation. I could have blamed my friends for skipping school with me. I could have blamed them for getting the police called on us that night. And I could have tried to place the blame on the police officers that arrested us.

But shortly after that night, I realized that my entire situation was my fault. Nobody made me skip school and nearly get expelled for truancy. Instead, I could have gone to class. Nobody forced me to drink with my friends that night. Instead, I could have gone home or chosen not to drink. These situations, these low moments in my life, were nobody's fault by my own, and once I made a commitment to improve my life, it was incredibly liberating. I suddenly had a purpose and a drive. During my senior year, I enrolled in 6 dual-credit college courses, passed them all with the help of my wife (who was my girlfriend at the time), and enrolled in a local community college after graduating high school with 18 college credits under my belt. I went on to join the Illinois Army National Guard, where I earned two Army Achievement Medals and was nominated for Soldier of the Year in 2012. I also landed a job as a bank teller, transitioned to become an assistant for a financial advisor with Raymond James Financial Services, eventually earned my college degree in English, and am now a business owner, proud father, and a full-time Unit Supply Sergeant with the National Guard.

All of these things were done with the help of dozens of family members, friends, and colleagues, but the entire process started shortly after the night I was arrested for underage drinking when I was seventeen-years-old. It started with a decision to place the blame on myself, to stop making excuses, and to recognize that my situation was a reflection of my own decisions. I had to look at myself and admit to myself that, "My life is the way that it is because of me". But I'll tell you this; I've never once regretted making that decision. I'm not proud of the person that I was when I was younger, but I will say that those experiences helped develop me into someone who now cannot wait to wake up each day and achieve something great.

Leave a comment below and share your story with me!

Daniel Moffett

Follow me on Twitter: @dmoffett2306

October 12, 2016

Patience: How Your Need for Results is Killing Your Success

Patience is a virtue. We've all heard these words of wisdom throughout our lives, but after years of repetition, they've failed to make a lasting impact on our daily habits. We live in a world of constant motion and communication, and that has created a sense of urgency that we feel should be applicable to all aspects of our lives, including our careers. This post applies particularly to the younger generation, who feel that they're ready for the workforce and don't want to start out in entry-level positions for the first 3-5 years of their post-college careers.

To be clear, when I write about having patience in a chosen field, I'm speaking from experience. I'm 26-years-old, recently graduated from college, and just left a job due in part to the time that it would have taken to progress through the ranks and reach a position that I felt would provide the opportunities I desired. The position I've transitioned into is a return for me to a military position I held a few years ago, and it is a chance for me to pursue other goals that I've set for my life outside of the military. These goals will take time to materialize, and it may be 5-10 years before I can check all of them off of my list, but I'm willing to put in the necessary work and wait the time in order to accomplish those goals. The transitioning of jobs is simply a step I can take to help provide financial and personal opportunities for me and my family while I pursue those dreams.

Getting back to patience, there are so many people who lack the ability to wait out the time it takes to create long-term, tangible success. Anything worth accomplishing cannot be achieved overnight. It cannot be achieved in a week or a month or even a year. Life-changing accomplishments (founding a non-profit for children, writing a best-selling book, becoming a physician, giving a keynote speech) are not singular moments in your life where something amazing happens. No, they are an accumulation of years of dedication, focus, hard work, and a little bit of luck. These moments have come to fruition because of detailed planning and continued execution. They are the results of early mornings, and evenings spent working while others were going out on the weekends or watching football. And they are the results of being patient in the pursuit of ones dreams.

With that being said, there is a certain level of balance that must be maintained as you continue your work. It's a balance between striving for success/new goals, and maintaining the patience to make those goals become a reality. It's a difficult line to ride, because to truly achieve the highest level of success, you have to be willing to push yourself farther, learn new skills, and adapt to changing environments in your field. At the same time, these kinds of changes can take time, and patience will play a large role in seeing these changes through to the fullest. It's not enough just to work all of the time; You also have to adapt and change what isn't working. And as you do this repeatedly, you will begin to see results. From there, be patient and continue to work and adapt.

I've experienced this myself regarding two of my life-long goals (publishing a book and starting a business). In regards to writing, I've wanted to become a published author since I was 12-years-old, and I can't remember a time since that age that I have not been writing. Since that time, I've completed three manuscripts that I felt were worthy of publishing, but each one has been rejected by every agent that I've submitted them to, and more times than not I have received no response. A few of the books that I've written have taken upwards of two years to complete, and that amount of time can weigh on you if you are not focused and determined. It would have been easy for me to simply say, "Publishing a book is nearly impossible. I've wasted two years on this book, and it's not good enough. I'll just quit". It's what most people do when confronted with a challenge on the road to their goals. But I've set to see this goal through, and I continue to write every day.

A lack of patience can prove incredibly damaging to you and your dreams. Here's an example: In 1999, an internal portal company called Excite (then a large player in internet platform operations) had the opportunity to purchase Google for a whopping $750,000. At the time, Google was a young start-up looking to ride the waves of the 1990's dotcom bubble, and Excite received the offer in order to provide Google with additional funds and platform availability. Amazingly, Excite refused the offer. As we all know, Google is now the largest internet information platform, has branched out into multiple technological fields of research and development, and is worth an estimated $180 billion. For those that are wondering, Excite lost a large mount of its share value after the dotcom bubble burst in the early 2000's and was eventually bought out by a competitor.

Why did I share this story? Because it shows a lack of patience on Excite's part in their inability to see Google ultimate worth and invest the time/money to see that worth through. If the CEO of Excite at the time had had the patience to develop Google into a large-spread internet operation, he could have helped build one of the largest and most successful companies in recent memory. Instead, he was too focused on the short-term to realize the potential that stood before him.

The same lesson holds true with you and your dreams. I know that there is something great that you are capable of completing, some major goal that you wanted to accomplish at one point in your life. But in order to make that dream a reality, you have to stay the course and remain patient. Do the work that's necessary, but be patient. Greatness takes time.

"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
Earl Nightingale

Daniel Moffett

Leave a comment below with your thoughts!
Follow me on Twitter: @dmoffett2306

October 10, 2016

Use Your Time Wisely: 5 Ways to Increase Your Productivity

It's no secret that people are busier today than they have been in recent history. Between work, commute times, children, email, and social media, we're being pulled in multiple directions every waking minute of our day, and it can quickly become overwhelming. When our focus is already stretched to the limit, the question of becoming more productive seems ludicrous. How could we possibly fit additional work into our day without losing our sanity?

The answer is that to rethink the way that we view our workload. I've compiled a list of five different ways that you can increase your output without overwhelming yourself each day.

#1: Focus on One Thing at a Time -

Because we've somehow replaced being productive with being busy, we think that we accomplish more throughout our day. Social convention now dictates that multitasking is the key to being productive, that working on two or three projects at once while also keeping up on email and reports means that you'll finish more at the end of your day. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but multiple studies have been conducted by major research institutions that repeatedly tear down the myth of multitasking. In fact, researchers at Stanford have found that people who multitask have difficulties "paying attention, recalling information, and switching from one job to another" (Forbes, 2014).

Instead, make a conscious effort to set aside different tasks as you focus on one thing at a time. If your email inbox has become atrociously full, stop working on everything else for 10-15 minutes and burn through a few dozens emails. If you boss has a stack of "to-do" files for you, put a spreadsheet on hold until lunch and work on the files instead. Small breaks like this can help alleviate stress, and you'll find that you accomplish more each day.

#2: Use Your Commute Time -

The average commute time in America is 25-30 minutes, which means that we spend an hour driving/riding a bus/taking a taxi each day travelling to and from work. This travel time is a great opportunity that many people are not using effectively, but I don't want you to use it on work-related tasks. You have 8-10 hours of work each day. Don't take another hour before and after work on email.

Instead, use your commute time to absorb new ideas. If you take a taxi or public transportation, you can read or listen to podcasts during your commute. It's a great way to expose yourself to new material while using otherwise lackluster time to your advantage. If you're driving, stream the podcasts or an audio book through the Bluetooth in your car radio. With enough discipline to not dive into work, you could also create a "To-do" list for your day, that way you're ready to hit the ground running when you arrive at work instead of spending 10-15 minutes prepping yourself for the tasks ahead.

#3: Wake Early/Stay Up Late -

I've been a believer in the idea of using mornings to become more productive for some time now, but I also understand that some people simply enjoy the nighttime more than they do the morning. Regardless of your preference, the principle remains the same. Spending just an hour each day, either in the morning or the evening, can dramatically increase the work you produce.

The key here is to remain focused, which means putting the phone down, shutting off the television, and working solely on whatever project it is that you've chosen to tackle. It can be as simple as reading a book you've had on your "To-Be-Read" pile for months or it can be something more ambitious. Whatever your tasks is, use that time solely for that purpose, and you'll be amazed at how much you finish in a week's time.

#4: Ask for Help -

For anyone who has an internal drive for success, it's easy to become the person who does everything. You want to impress your boss or show how capable you are of completing tasks in a timely manner, so you volunteer for five or six projects at once. In your mind, you've got everything under control, but in reality deadlines are quickly approaching and each day seems like a black hole where time disappears and you accomplish nothing.

Simply put, nobody can do everything, and sometimes the best course of action is to ask for help. Reach out to a colleague and offer to switch them workloads for the week. Not only is this a great team-building habit, but it will mix up your tasks and allow you to cross-train for a few days. You gain a better understanding of your coworkers job, and possibly even learn new things about your field.

#5: Have a Clear Vision

All the work you put in during a week's time will amount to absolutely nothing if you don't have a deep, clear understanding of what you are working for and where you plan on going in the future. This is the trap that millions of people fall into during their adult lives: They show up to work, put in 40-50 hours each week, and then go home, all the while complaining about how hard they work or how much they have to get done on Monday morning, and what they fail to realize is that they have no vision for their work. They're simply working to be working. This type of mindset creates no purpose and no drive.

So I challenge you to take time during your weekend and build a vision for what you'd like to accomplish with your work. And write it down! Write down physical, tangible goals that you want to accomplish in the future, and then set a timeline for those goals. Create a plan of action regarding how you will accomplish those goals. Once you do this, you'll find that the time you spend working has a purpose. There's a reason you do the things that you do, and your vision then becomes your motivation. It's an exhilarating sensation, and its one that I hope you enjoy to the fullest.


Daniel Moffett

Follow me on Twitter: @dmoffett2306

October 7, 2016

The Benefits of Adversity

Starting any new task can be a challenge, whether that task is weight loss, personal development, a career change, starting a business, or willing ourselves to experience new things. Whatever we choose to change in our lives, change is difficult and can come with a number of intimidating adventures. But what separate the average individual from someone who accomplishes their goals time and time again are the benefits of adversity.
On the face of it, experiencing adversity and difficulties can seem counterproductive when considering the road to success. We often idolize certain men or women because of the accomplishments that they’ve achieved, and we compare our own level of success, which is often much lower, with theirs and think, “They have had it so easy. Look at how quickly that person became Regional Supervisor” or “His business grew 60% in its first two years, while mine is barely profiting at all”. When we see these individuals who rocket to success, it’s not a measure of luck or serendipity. What it boils down to is how well you respond to adversity. If you are focused on succeeding at any level, you should have a detailed plan on how you will achieve those goals, but where you will see the greatest area of improvement is when things don’t go according to your plan. How will you respond? When you put in extra work for three months, but your sales numbers come up short for the quarter, what will you do to change your process for the future? If you’re working out day after day and dieting, but you’ve lost 4 pounds in a month, how are you going to respond moving forward?
Here’s why understanding adversity and how it improves your ability to adapt is crucial. Simply put, adversity is the great equalizer on the path to anywhere worth traveling, because everyone experiences some level of adversity. Regardless of the type or size of business that is started, the founder(s) were faced with financial, operational, or external challenges that forced them to either adapt or fail. When athletes at the highest level train for months and even years, they often experience injuries that can set them back or possibly ruin their careers, and they must make the decision to continue training or to call it quits. Adversity is impossible to ignore if you have set any meaningful goals in your life, and you’d be a fool to think that you can accomplish your goals without reaching a mishap or experiencing mistakes along the way. But here’s the good news: Once you understand it, adversity can be incredibly beneficial. And here are five reasons why:

#1: Learn New Skills
Adversity is wonderful because we often don’t see it coming. We consciously set goals, start working and making measurable progress, and then we’re blindsided by unfortunate news. This news may come in the form of financial woes for our business (as has happened with me), a difficult class you’re taking while working on your college degree that may derail your timeline for graduation, a poor performance on a half-marathon, or any number of instances. The point is, we are rarely fully prepared for adversity.
And this is where the winners are separated from the losers. Use this unfortunate circumstance to work harder, smarter, and more efficient. I’ve been forced to research news financial options for our business, all while learning the ins and outs of local and state-funded grants and loan programs. If you’re struggling with your classes, use that opportunity to get to know your professor on a more personal level and ask for assistance. Or join a group of people in your class and as for help. You might have similar interests and make new friends. Whatever your circumstance, adversity is not a wall of denial. Instead, it’s an opportunity for you to branch out of your comfort zone and acquire new knowledge and skills.

#2: Forces You to Reevaluate
An unexpected hurdle can be the perfect chance to step back and view your goal from afar. Too often, we get caught up in the “numbers”, or we’re so worried about the specific details, dates, and inner workings that we lose sight of our overall progress. It’s a slippery slope when this happens, because becoming too detail-oriented can actually decrease your productivity, thus quickening your descent towards failure. Adversity allows you to see everything from 10,000 instead of from 10 feet, giving you a clear vision to work with.
Experiencing a setback gives you this opportunity. You can look at what’s working for you, what isn’t working, and how you can better allocate your focus to create an overall collection of work that can help you overcame your obstacles.

#3: Encourages Cohesion and Teamwork
Any goal worth accomplishing requires a team of great people, and a failure or a setback is the perfect way for that team to come together and create viable solutions for the group. When my business reached a stopping point prior to our launch due to an unexpected financial crunch, I worked with my co-founders to discuss possible alternative options, and we came to a conclusive decision as a group. This is in stark contrast with one person making a decision because they feel their title gives them seniority. This hurts not only the team but the future of the project, because it puts one person’s perspective on a higher pedestal than others, which can create an internal divide for your team.
Adversity provides you a window of chance to work together on a project that affects the entire team. Brainstorm, pool ideas, be constructive, and make sure you work together to overcome whatever obstacle you are facing.

#4: Allows for New Opportunities
Often times, our attention can become so tunnel-visioned that we lose sight of the bigger picture. As I mentioned previously, small details tend to overrun our schedules and dominate our time, and we can become determined to see a specific idea through. When this happens, new chances can pass us by, and it’s not until we are denied our initial goal that we have the opportunity to appreciate them. For example, a close friend of my wife’s spent her entire childhood determined to become a surgeon. She spent middle school and high school focused entirely on grades, making sure to take the right classes and apply for scholarships that would allow her the chance to go to medical school. Once she finished her first three years of college, she realized that the costs of medical school was not sustainable for her, and instead of quitting, she refocused herself and change her career focus. She remained in the medical field and is now aiding patients in surgery recovery.
This young woman is a great example of how we must remain focused but also be open to new opportunities. Only be doing this can we take full advantage of adversity when it presents itself.

#5: Guarantees Growth
Finally, facing challenges in regards to your lofty goals means one of two things: First, you do all of the things I’ve mentioned in this post (reevaluate, develop new skills, recognize opportunities, and work as a team) to overcome these challenges. Or second, you close up shop and decide that the goal that you’ve set isn’t worth the hard work. Or in other words, you quit.
I’m reminded of a quote by Thomas Edison. He said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.” The work that it takes to push through the difficult times is what bridges the gap between “could have been” and “we did it”. This work forces you to grow as an individual. It’s just inevitable. If you can find it in yourself to put in that extra work, to find creative and ingenious ways to win, you come out of that situation with a deeper understanding of yourself and your work ethic. And in the end, it’s worth every minute.

Daniel Moffett

October 3, 2016

Lessons from the Military that Changed My Life

There are few decisions that you can make in your lifetime that will impact you the way that the decision to join the military will. There are dozens of reasons that a person may choose to join a branch of the military, and dozens more they may choose to either leave or remain in the military after their initial contract is complete. These are all personal choices, and I don’t pretend to have the answers for anyone other than myself. It’s difficult to broadly apply certain ideas to every individual who serves in the armed forces, simply because every individual is unique in their ideas and approaches to how and why their serve.
But one thing I am certain of is that the six years that I spent as a member of the Illinois Army National Guard taught me important life lessons that I will carry with me until the day that I die. These lessons were a product of great leaders, a strategic plan of success for myself and our unit, and an overall desire to serve as a part of the Army National Guard. During my six years, I came across men and women who impacted my life in a positive way and helped me develop my own understanding of my capabilities. These lessons were important for me not only in regards to my military career, but more importantly in regards to how I went forward in search of personal and professional success.

Lesson #1: You’re Only as Good as the Man/Women Standing Next to You –
The only way you will ever achieve any type of success sin the military is be accumulating a group of men and women who are willing to work together. In no other circumstance is the phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” more true than in the military. Every person who contributes to a mission must be on the same page as the person next to them, and only through cohesion can a mission be successful.
This translates beautifully to civilian success because nobody who has ever achieved something great has done it with lazy individuals around them. They have reached their goals because they’ve surround themselves with people who understand the overall vision and are willing to put in the work to see that vision through. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have the assemble a team of the best people, but it does mean that the people that work alongside you must be strong-willed and like-minded if you want to move together towards success.

Lesson #2: Stay Alert –
The full phrase that we used in the Army National Guard was “Stay alert, stay alive!” and it referred to moments in training or missions when we were in the field and needed to maintain awareness of our surroundings. Anything that seemed odd or out of place could have ultimately been dangerous for ourselves and the men/women around us, which meant that our eyes were constantly scanning for signs of trouble.
I love this lesson and how it applies to entrepreneurship. When you are building a business, your focus cannot remain on one aspect at a time. Instead, you have to maintain constant awareness of every key department within your operation, including merchandising, accounting, employee and customer feedback, and marketing. That’s not to say all of this needs to be tackled alone, but as CEO, your job is to juggle all of these items while scanning for signs of weakness or possible areas of improvement. You must be constantly alert to changes both internally and externally that can help or hinder the long-term success of your business. If you do not stay focused, your business will suffer because of it. Stay alert, stay alive.

Lesson #3: Performance is all that Matters -
One you put on the uniform, nothing else matters. Where you came from, your family name, how much money you have, or how you scored in high school all falls to the wayside when you become a soldier. The credentials that fill your resume carry little weight once you fall into formation and stand next to the men and women in your platoon. This is a very humbling experience, and some individuals struggle to make that kind of a transition. They are used to receiving recognition for past accomplishes, and they quickly realize that they are not special in the eyes of the military.
What carries weight is how you perform in regards to your fellow soldiers and your unit. The only questions that matter are “How are you contributing to the mission?” and “What results have you helped produce?”
This may seem rather cutthroat, but it’s not intended to be that way at all. In reality, it’s meant as a constant measure of performance for all soldiers, regardless of age, sex, race, or nationality. If you can create results as an individual and as part of a team, you will be successful.

Lesson #4: Self-Discipline
This is a rather obvious lesson provided by the military, but I wanted to discuss how it translates to the civilian world. The idea of self-discipline is the backbone of the military. From the moment you step off of the bus and arrive at basic training, you’re on your own in every way imaginable. This not like being at home where your parents wash your clothes or wake you up for school. This is not like college where there are advisors or professors to help you along the way if you stumble. Every waking moment of your life in the military rides on you understanding your role, preparing for that role, and then executing, and each of those responsibilities require self-discipline.
What the military provided for me was a larger vision of how I needed to conduct myself if I wanted to achieve something great. It made me realize that any form of success that I yearned for would be a product of the work that I put into my project. I was responsible for how far I excelled, and the work ethic that I put in would be a sub-product of my self-discipline. I needed to have the focus and determination to put in the work when others would not.

Lesson #5: Titles Do Not Make Leaders –
True leadership encompasses many ideas, lessons, and actions that can help an organization or group grow to their fullest potential. In the military, leadership is harder to identify and even more frustrating to reward. This is due to the fact that so many people view leadership as a reflection of a person’s title. They achieve a certain rank and they are suddenly thrust into a leadership role, despite the fact that the individual being promoted is not ready/properly equipped for leadership.
The lesson here is simple: Being a sergeant/staff sergeant (military) or a supervisor/manager (civilian) does not make you a leader, and it does just mean that others have to follow you. The worst mistake someone in a leadership role makes is assuming that because of their position, the people beneath them should instantly respect and follow them. On the contrary, true leadership is about leading from the front and producing results. Receiving a promotion does not mean that you can kick your feet up and rise the work of your subordinates. It means you have the opportunity to help others achieve the same level of success that you have achieved, and by doing that repeatedly, you ultimately fulfill your leadership role.

Lesson #6: Your Word Reflects Your Integrity -
The last lesson I have to offer talks about promises that you make to those around you. In the military, it’s common for one soldier to turn to another for help. Sometimes we’re overloaded with work and need another person to aid in our workload. When this happens, it’s easy to assure your coworker or boss that the work will be completed on time.
But far too often, that extra work gets pushed to the wayside and is replaced by the work we’ve already been assigned. We justify this by telling ourselves that our work is more important than someone else’s, and if they wanted it done on time, they should have just done it themselves, right?

But in the military, this mindset can lead to a lack of trust from your fellow soldiers. If you continue to drop the ball in regards to the promises that you’ve made, eventually people will stop turning to you for help and advice. Your word is a reflection of your integrity.