8 Things You Learn When You Hit Rock Bottom

I’m not going to say I have at anytime, hit rock bottom. Doing that seems to me as dangerous as praying for patience. Having had some low points in my life that felt like rock bottom, here are some things that I learned.
  1. It gives you empathy for those going through similar struggles.
  2. It gives you perspective that the only way to go is up.
  3. It clears your mind of the clutter and the noise that is preventing you from progressing.
  4. It helps you overcome the fear of action. (i.e. “What do I have to lose?”)
  5. It helps produce clarity to see what’s important.
  6. It helps to increase your resolve to change.
  7. It helps you realize things in your life you need to let go of.
  8. It humbles you.

J. K. Rowling said about her rock bottom moment, “I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Are there any other lessons you’d like to share?

Naked, Wet …and Getting an Education at “Shower University”

Shower UniversityFor more than a year now I haven’t had a commute. I don’t miss the commute, but recently I had a realization – a longing even, for something I did enjoy while commuting… listening to books. I used to read & listen, through an insane number of books and I loved it. Learning and growing is something core to my motivation. With no commute this last year, I have missed that aspect greatly.

In my own Ultimate Personal Success Plan, one of my goals is to read more, but I just have not found the time. No matter how much I finagle with my schedule, and no matter how early I got up, I just wasn’t been able to dedicate enough time. There is always something to fill the gap. That was until I created “Shower University,” oh yeah, things were changing now!

What I realized is that I have at least 30 minutes every day when I have down-time. This down-time was when I showered, got dressed, and groomed myself each day. I realized it was the perfect time to educate my mind, while my body was in autopilot. I came across the Water-Resistant iShower BT Shower Speaker and fell in LOVE WITH IT! It easily connects via Bluetooth to my phone, where I can stream all by Audible.com books. I also have a waterproof pad, similar to the Aqua Notes – Waterproof Notepad so I can jot down ideas or thoughts while I am learning.

The lesson in this is to look for efficiency in all you do and look for ways to be creative, or accomplish more in the “down times” of your day. Execution sometimes requires being creative with your time and resources. Learning and growing likewise might require creativity. So use your creativity to find time to learn and become a better leader. All great leaders are staunchly dedicated learners.

All great leaders are staunchly dedicated learners.” Tweet This!

Here are a few Audible.com offers I found. I’m a huge fan.

Special Offer – Get Your First 3 Months at Audible for $7.49/month!

Try Audible Now and Get A Free Audiobook Download with a 30 Day Trial. Choose from over 100,000 Titles.

Have you done anything to bring about more learning, growth, or greater execution in your life? Please share below.

Dream or Die, That’s Just How the World Turns

Dreams-Personal-LeadershipJim Valvano said, “Be a dreamer. If you don’t know how to dream, you’re dead.” No matter how you feel after the election, and no matter what comes out of the next few weeks; you must keep YOUR dream alive. Governments, kings, rulers, and bad relationships cannot kill your dream. They may dampen your spirits, crush your hopes, and cut into your nerves; but they cannot take away YOUR dream.

Norman Cousins stated, “People are never more insecure, than when they become obsessed with their fears at the expense of their dreams.” Many people have fears about the next 4 years. I have fears about the next 4 years. If we spend too much time worrying about those fears, and worrying about what we cannot control, we will be spending less time in making our dreams a reality.

Execute on your dreams, not your worries.” Tweet This!

Michael Phelps stated, “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” How many achievements have been accomplished in the last century that far surpasses the dreams of previous generations? If you dream, dream big, no …DREAM AUDACIOUS. Dreamers are the creators,, they never limit themselves to what is possible.

You may be dealing with a hard financial situation, stuck in a crappy job, struggling through a difficult relationship, or besieged with a painful health problem. Keep your dream alive! Your dream may be THAT THING, which pushes you through the pain, struggle and heartache.  Don’t let anyone tell you what is possible and what is not.

No matter how you feel today, Dream On, all is not lost; the future is ours to create.

Are You Brainwashed or Drinking Too Much Kool-Aid? Leadership Starts With You!

Brainwashing & Kool-aid Over the years I have belonged to various associations and groups. I been also been in many peer groups, hired consultants and coaches, used multitudes of products and vendors, and even worked for some crummy employers. The years of this have recently caused me much pondering. I keep wondering why a person would stay with certain employers, or industry associations, even vendors …to their own detriment?

I know of talented professionals that work for horrible organizations, yet they never leave ..they just suffer. I know individuals that are going in debt because they believe a certain industry association will “save” them. I also know employees that work at companies that suck the life out of them, yet they never leave.

I had to wonder, was this some sort of brainwashing? Not intentional (I hope), but psychology does play a part in sales tactics. As I dug deep and thought about past meetings, events, companies I have been with, and conversations with peers, I discovered a few things that consistently reappeared in the behaviors of these organizations. I do not profess to be a psychology expert, but I consulted with some professionals in that area, that have confirmed my thoughts.

1. Labeling – Labeling is very powerful technique. It can be used for good and can be used as manipulation. For example I have heard associations collecting money from their subscribers say, “we don’t allow whiners here,” or “we don’t accept lazy people.” They may even say, “This is not a get rich quick scheme, you will have to do a lot of work.” All these statements seem innocent, and may actually be true, but what they actually can do is create a false reality. The reality is that if you continue with this association that you must not be a whiner, you must not be lazy, and you are super smart, since you are not being fooled into buying a get rich quick scheme.

In doing some research on labeling I ran across this site, pertaining to religion, yet still applicable, “Labeling attempts to dehumanize persons so that dismissing them or their opinions is much easier. Choosing not to address someone individually who has doubted the toxic faith, the [individual] places a blanket negative label on all who would disagree…” Whether in an industry association or with a mediocre employer, be careful and watch for labeling techniques that put down “non-believers” and dehumanize your decision making abilities. When describing outsiders as “bad”, they may be tricking you into thinking that you are a “good performer,” therefore one continues drinking the kool-aid and writing a monthly check to that association; or punching in for work at that mediocre employer.

2. Exclusivity – “You are the best of the best.” “You are the top professionals in your industry.” “You are the cream of the crop.” I have heard business owners at association events and association leaders say these words. At one event I was at, I heard this coming from a business owner who’s gross revenue was under $500,000. There were about 250 other business owners in the audience that, for the most part, had businesses under $1 million. I did not see any of the CEO’s I am familiar with, that have $10 million, $40 million, $60 million, and $100 million companies in the exact same industry. So how could this group be the cream of the crop? Well because they are the ones writing a check and who drank the kool-aid for this association. They are self-validating and rationalizing their behavior because they do not want to accept that they may really be among a bunch of low-achievers and are wasting their money. Be careful of exclusivity creating a false reality that cannot be substantiated.

3. False Hope – “Our new goal is to be a $10 million organization in 3 years and no matter what, we will achieve it.” “I guarantee that you will triple your income in XX or you can have your money back.” Replace the goals or the amounts, edit the wording, and I am sure you have heard this at more than one employer, association, or even vendor. Another form of this, is seeing massive testimonials of inflated growth numbers. I was at an event that had these testimonials and as I looked at the pictures and names, I laughed because the majority were not even in the association any more, because they did not find value, and I knew they were struggling or were still a small company. I do like testimonials, I am a firm believer that you need them, but they should be current and relevant. Many testimonials or pep-talking managers, will use fanciful words and big promises to raise false hope, that is if you just stick around and work real hard, you will be a part of something special …and you will make lots of money. While it is possible to make a lot of money, especially with focused hard work, the road from where you are to that destination is never as easy as you think.

4. Ticklers – A tickler is something that provides just barely enough value, whether real or imagined, to keep you clocking in for work at that mediocre organization, or paying big sums of money to that industry association or vendor. Often that value add, is just a small thing to make you feel like you are now getting the value.  The truth was that with a little research and self-evaluation, the value really is probably not worth that much.

Most people need to fill that need – to belong to something. They worry that they are going to miss out on something. Don’t be a company that has to go in debt to pay money to a association providing false hope, at the detriment of your own company or its employees. Don’t sacrifice your personal success because the “CEO” of a long-time failing company suddenly has a vision, yet no way to achieve that vision.

Life is too short to waste. If you want to be a leader: practice personal leadership, set and achieve high goals, associate with successful people, execute religiously …and get to work. Leadership starts with you! Your success starts with you …and there are not many short-cuts in life.