December 13, 2018

Never Let Lack of Money or Talent Get in the Way of Progress

We are smarter than we think.

Most of us don’t take action because we feel that we are not good enough, smart enough, liked enough or lucky enough to be successful. This attitude manifests itself in all sorts of excuses not to start.

One Red Paperclip to a House

Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald bartered his way from a red paperclip to a house. Talk about not letting lack of money or talent get in the way of progress.

Now, Kyle owns his own company that takes ideas and turns them into interesting projects. This is the great thing about the Internet — the barrier to entry is pretty low and frankly, you really don’t need much talent to put up something interesting — like Red Paperclip’s idea for Self Employee of the Week/Month. Really, I could of thought of that :)!

Money Does Not Equal Success

It’s take little money to actually launch off on our dreams. Sure, if we want to own an airline, we might have a problem. In general, most of us can get enough money together if we prioritize what we truly want and don’t let money hold us back.

The 100 Dollar Startup

Chris Guillebeau’s book The 100 Dollar Startup is full of examples of people who started their own business for around $100.

My favorite is John Morefield who put out a sign at the Seattle farmers market that read “5-Cent Architecture Advice.” For the cost of a sign (and some creativity), this unemployed architect got significant buzz on CNN, NPR and BBC. All that exposure lead to John starting his own architecture firm and being a self-employed architect. See, a little creativity and a sign go a long way. I’m sure he has talent but sometimes talent can’t get you there without a little creativity and action.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Look at what you have: Do you really need that new TV or the latest gadget in the Sky Mall? Probably not. Be thankful for what you have and good things will eventually come.

  2. Figure out what we really need: Our needs are pretty basic. If we start to really think about what we really need to be happy, we would be surprised at how much extra cash that can open up.

  3. Save a little by spending a little less: Saving to eventually launch our ideas is a great way to focus on making it happen.

  4. Tap into a cross over strength: We all have strengths that can cross over into other areas. For example, good with people, then maybe you can be a tour guide.

  5. Offer genuine value: Five cents for architecture advice is a deal and a genuine value. Offer something good and people will eventually pay for it as long as they know, like and trust you.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Fear is a Noble Motivator When it’s the Spark that Ignites Action

Fear has been with us for a long, long time. It’s a primitive emotion that protects us from danger. Nowadays, most of the fears that trigger our fight or flight reaction are not life threatening at all.

As I mentioned in Stop Thinking so Much and Just Make it Happen!, we live in a relativity safe world where society has pretty much mitigated most life threatening situations but this primal fear still rules our lives.

Irrational Fears

Most of our fears are irrational in terms of life and death but real within ourselves. One fear that most people have is the fear of public speaking.

A full 74% of people fear speaking in public. They are literally scared to death to speak in front of a crowd. Clearly, that’s irrational since public speaking almost never leads to death (unless you are a revolutionary).

I Hate Needles

One thing that I’m afraid of is needles. I literary turn white when I have to give blood. This is a totally irrational fear but every time I need to give blood, I get anxious and dread the moment the needle pricks me.

I’m not even sure why. I think it has something to do with draining the lifeblood out of me, which I know won’t happen.

Motional Fear and Respect

A little fear is good since it keeps us humble and hungry to be our best. If we are totally fearless, then we can get sloppy and either perform poorly or get hurt.

Fear needs to be respected and used as a motivational force to ensure that we are prepared for whatever challenge we are taking on. Without respect, be it for our foe or the environment, we get cocky and satisfied — two dangerous states to be in.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Channel the fear to action: We can use fear to motivate us to get better if we understand why the fear exists.

  2. Know the odds: Humans have a hard time rationalizing the odds of an event happening. Understand the odds and your fears will diminish.

  3. Be respectful not fearful: Instead of being fearful, respect what causes you fear. That way, it will seem a little less scary.

  4. Face your fears in a safe place: A supportive environment is a great way to get over your fears since if you need help, it’s readily available.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Those who Endure Make Things Happen

Funding a project, starting a company or winning a contract can be as simple as having the will and determination to endure longer than your competition. The ability to endure reinforces the ability to start and be successful.

Think of being able to endure as “success breeds success” or “the will to keep at it” even when all may seem lost. Having that attitude will give us that little extra nudge to our ultimate success.

Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In

A little later on in this series, we will talk about not giving up and not giving in to the pressures to quit when you have already started.

For now, that same mantra can also be applied to starting a new endeavor because it’s by constantly tackling the tough challenges that we can start down the path to success.

It’s this desire to makes things happen that ultimately pushes us to start more and endure more by not giving up or giving in to our inner critics desire to stay in the status quo.

Without this “making it happen” drive, it’s so easy to quietly languish in our status quo where our inner critics have full control of our emotions, attitudes and desires.

When we make things happen our inner critics quiet down and we can start down the road to eventual success.

Making Things Happen

Making things happen does not always mean accomplishing big goals or tasks. It’s more about doing the little things that lead to completing the big things. By having the “make it happen” mindset, we not only make incremental progress but we also create other opportunities by getting more things done.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Take action right away: Don’t wait to take action. If possible, deal with issues as they come up.

  2. Get permission to follow up: A lot of making things happen is follow up. Always try to get permission to follow up on tasks. It makes it a lot easier to get stuff done.

  3. Respond with timelines: If you can’t get to something right away, at least commit to a timeline. Timelines are great ways to bound a problem and they also keep you accountable.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Learn to Appreciate the Simple More Than the Complex and Starting Becomes Easy

Complexity tends to make starting harder. The reason for this is simple. The more complex we make a project or task, the more energy required to overcome inertia to start.

Couple complexity with the status quo and we get a noxious cocktail of negativity that will thwart any chance of starting anything.

It’s when things get complex that excuses for not starting are easier to come up with. For example:

 

  • I’m so overwhelmed with what we have to do.

  • I’m not smart enough to figure this out.

  • There is so many moving parts, we will never be able to figure this out.

  • This concept is hard to explain. This may take a while.

 

All of these excuses are simply manifestations of complexity. Reduce complexity and they go away.

The Simple Solution is Usually the Best

Simplicity is elegant. Most all great products, inventions or writings are based on simple concepts that resonant.

By making things simple, we distill the goal, project or challenge into manageable small quanta’s of work. These small, simple work deliverables can then more easily be worked on and completed.

The More Moving Parts, the More That Can Break

Another benefit of simplicity is that it reduces the number of potential failure points. The more complex a system, project, concept or idea is, the more that can go wrong. This is really a probability game. If there is a certain probability that something will go wrong with one thing, then it gets multiplied the more complexity you add.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Distill, deconstruct and delineate: Break down any complexity into manageable small quanta’s of work. That way, it will be easier for others to grasp and complete.

  2. Rule of three: Most concepts can be broken down into three smaller concepts and so on. By breaking things down into groups of three, it will be easier to communicate and reconstruct.

  3. 30 second elevator pitch: Any concept should be able to be explained in 30 seconds or less. Practice, hone and refine your idea or concept until it’s compact and easy to understand.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Start Today. Waiting Until Tomorrow Will Not Make Things Any Easier

We talked a little about procrastination in the Stop thinking so much and just make it happen! aha. It’s a common problem to put off what you want to do today to some later date.

The classic dialog goes like this:

 

Friend: “I can’t wait to retire. Then I can travel, write more and finally do all the woodworking I want to do.”

Me: “Why don’t you start now?”

Friend: “I’m too busy with work and the kids and the PTA and the church group.”

Me: “I see but all those things make you really happy.”

Friend: “True but I’m so busy with work and the kids and fixing the house and …”

Me: “But you don’t seem happy. Why not adjust your life a little and be happy?”

Friend: “Well, I can’t because of my job, my kids, the PTA and the commute …”

Me: “Oh.”

 

Sound familiar?

I can’t tell you how many times I hear this and it makes me sad that people don’t do what makes them happy.

Now, I’m as much to blame for this as anyone. I had the exact same attitude until I learned a valuable lesson from my grandfather.

I Can’t Wait to Retire

My grandfather was a doctor. He worked hard. He put his time in and neglected all the other things he wanted to do (like lecture, go to lectures, travel, etc.).

When he retired, he tried in vain to do all the things he said he wanted to do. He even attend a few lectures but had trouble understanding and following the fast paced speakers. His health started to deteriorate and after a while, he stopped and never went back.

That’s sad since he was really looking forward to contributing and learning new things. The lesson is simple — don’t make excuses, make the time.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Wake up early: Don’t have enough time. Try waking up early to start your next project or life goal.

  2. Limit your day job: Define clear limits to your day job or better yet, schedule down time to read, walk, work out or pursue a hobby.

  3. Spend 15 minutes a day: It does not take much to make progress on a project. As little as 15 minutes of dedicated time a day will do wonders.

  4. Join a group or club: Sometimes peer pressure makes us want to get going. Go ahead and join a group or club that interests you.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Our Attitude Often Gets in the Way of Our Aptitude

Our negative attitudes about our skills puts us at a disadvantage. We sometimes don’t push ourselves because we feel we have to possess all the skills required before we can get anything done.

That’s simply not true.

Our aptitude for certain tasks needs to be developed but not at the expense of starting. In fact, the only way to really develop our skills is to push past our comfort zones and practice.

When we have this “can do” type of attitude, our aptitude will naturally follow.

This does not mean it will be easy or that we won’t fail. What it does mean is that we have to have the “try it” attitude as well as the “can do” attitude.

Some Skills Do Need Developing

Often, we do need basic training or skills development before we can do certain things. You certainly don’t want to fly a plan solo without the proper instruction.

That’s not what we are talking about here.

What this aha is saying is that once we have the basic skills, it’s up to us to move forward without hesitation and start doing.

Perfect is the Enemy of Good Enough

One attitude that I constantly run into is the perfection fallacy. I can’t tell you how many times I hear “I’m a perfectionist” or “It has to be perfect in order for me to consider it done.” Really. I don’t think so.

Let’s just dispel this right now.

Nothing will ever be perfect. It can’t be. It never will be. It’s impossible to even have that high a standard.

The perfection attitude is often a major reason why people don’t start — they just can’t let themselves release something that’s not “perfect.”

Sure, we can approach perfection but relying on achieving perfection is not a viable option. Just ask NASA. They have redundant system after redundant system because they know that perfection is impossible to obtain.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Call it beta: Beta is a great attitude to have. That means that you know it’s not done but want to release it anyway.

  2. Schedule iterations: Like beta, regular iterations will get you in the release mindset instead of the perfection mindset.

  3. Pick a date and stick to it: I like picking a release dates because it’s a focal point for “it’s time to ship.” Couple that with iterations and it’s easier to get over the perfection fallacy.

  4. Build in configuration and redundancy: A major part of the perfection fallacy deals with knowing all the knowns. You just can’t know everything up front. By building configuration and redundancy into your project, you can adjust when conditions change.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

The Courage to Finish is Trumped Only by the Audacity to Start

In order to finish, we have to start. That seems obvious. What’s not obvious or easy is starting down the path to finishing. In fact, the art of the start takes more energy, commitment and moxie than getting past the finish line.

Let me explain.

The Enemy of Starting

Inertia is the enemy of starting. We tend to want to stay in our present state even if we have the will to want to move in another direction. The energy to switch states is far more than just continuing down our present path. That’s the main reason starting is so hard — getting over the status quo inertia.

What feeds the status quo inertia equation is our inner critics. We have many inner critics that constantly sap our energy to change state. One such inner critic is failure.

Starting’s Nemesis

Failure is starting’s nemesis and one of our strongest inner critics. Failure puts so much doubt in our minds that generating enough energy to escape it’s galactic gravitational pull is almost as hard as escaping a black hole (well, maybe not that bad).

We feel this failure gravity anytime we attempt to start something new because our failure inner critic speaks up and makes us afraid to start.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Experiment with starting: Experiment with starting new things. Simple things like taking a class, writing 15 minutes a day or volunteering.

  2. Recruit a team: Starting inertia is best overcome with more energy. We can get more energy by recruiting a team to help us get going.

  3. Build momentum: Momentum is a powerful force that once built can help you escape failures gravitational pull. How do you think they launch space probes? They use planarity gravitational momentum to fling them on their way.

  4. Acknowledge the risks: One way to build both energy and momentum is to confront the risks of starting. This allows us to deal with the risks ahead of time which makes them less scary and requiring less energy to overcome.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Having the Will to Succeed Works Only if we Take Action

Big dreams. We all have them.

The will to be a successful author, business owner, singer, dancer or poet gives us motivation but without action, nothing will happen.

I’m sure by now you can see a recurring theme in these first aha’s — action is the only thing that gets us started.

It’s imperative that we have the will to want to succeed but that is not sufficient. Will alone does not make anything happen — determined action makes things happen.

Jumping From Will to Action

Our desires to be successful come from many places. Our families, society, friends, bosses or co-workers all contribute, in some way, to what we want to achieve. This can be a big problem if the will to succeed is not our own.

When our desires are the desires of others, we may think that our will is strong and that we can conquer the world.

Not so fast.

Our will needs to be our own. We need to know, deep in our gut, that we are committed and have the will to carry through to the end. This is the only way to endure struggles and hardships to be successful.

Even if the will is our own, it can be influenced by the people around us and prevent us from taking action.

Jumping from will to action requires us to search deep within ourselves to make completely sure that it’s our will, not the will of others, that is driving us.

Once we determine that, then we will have the confidence to take action.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Gut Check: Check your gut instinct. Is it telling you that this is what you want to do or are you being influenced by others?

  2. Incremental steps: Take a small step towards your goal. Nothing too scary — just enough to make some progress. How did it feel? Is your will still strong?

  3. Jump right in: Be bold and go for it. Jump right in and see what happens. That may be the best way to break free of whatever is holding you back.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Stop Thinking so Much and Just Make it Happen!

Constantly practicing is one way we avoid performing but probably the biggest barrier to making things happen is over thinking.

Over thinking is when we worry about all the things that could go wrong. Like practice, over thinking is a way to give ourselves excuses to not put ourselves on display. In essence, we over think our way out of taking the plunge to start.

Analysis Paralysis

Over thinking leads to analysis paralysis. This analysis paralysis stems from our deep seated desire to not make mistakes. This risk-adverse-status-quo-play-it-safe-do-what-I-know attitude had clear benefits when we were worried about eating the wrong berry or being eaten by a saber tooth tiger. Now that the life and limb risk is almost completely eliminated (no saber tooth tigers sightings in my neighborhood. Knock on wood!), we still have a deep seated fear that failure is some how catastrophic.

Second Place is the First Loser Mentality

We (meaning those of us in the U.S.) live in a society who only celebrates those who come in first. This mentality weighs heavily on a lot of us. In fact, the whole “loser” attitude severally reduces our quality of life because we compare ourselves to an unachievable ideal — always being first. This is not to say that thinking big is bad. Rather, the attitude we should take is there is always some luck involved in anything we start and we are not losers — just sometimes unfortunate.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Realize, luck is important: Hard work and determination are important but luck does play a role in success. In fact, the harder you work, the luckier you get.

  2. Play the odds: The more you do, the luckier you get. Play the odds by experimenting, failing, learning and repeating.

  3. Stop asking what if’s: Limit yourself to 3 what ifs’. That way, you can understand the risks of starting but can still move on.

  4. Parallel paths: Launch off on a couple of different things if you can’t make your mind up. Halt the one that are the least productive.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

We Win Half the Endurance Battle the Moment we Start

We have been exploring having the guts and courage to start over the last several aha’s and now we come to why that’s so important.

Starting fills our endurance reserves. It’s the fuel that will sustain us through all the struggles we will face. We’ll talk more about that later but for now, just remember that half the battle to completing a goal is won the moment we take the plunge and start.

Starting Gives us Confidence

Confidence is a big factor in goal completion. We demonstrate the confidence in our abilities by taking action. This action will almost always be rewarded with the encouragement and help from others who now know we are serious about completing our goals.

By starting, we show the world we have the skills, guts, courage and stamina to go the distance even if we might think we don’t. It goes back to what we talked about in We are Never Fully Ready, Fully Prepared, or Fully Funded … so Just Start! — it’s perfectly okay to fake it a little bit to boast our confidence to get going.

Commitment is a Powerful Tool

Demonstrating that we are committed to a cause gives us a tremendous boost in both creditability and confidence that our goals will be achieved.

For me, the moment myself and others decided to help make Bay to Breakers “Fun for Everyone”, was a turning point in the event. Sure, there were plenty of doubters that we could pull it off but the moment we committed to the effort was the moment we found both the strength and endurance to see it through.

That “Fun for Everyone” effort continues to this day and is a testament to the power of enduring by simply starting.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Gather support: The more support an effort has before starting, the more likely it will endure on.

  2. Publicly commit: Make the start of the effort or project as public as possible. That way, others can get involved and hold the effort accountable and together.

  3. Don’t take no for an answer: Overcome the urge to stand idlly by not taking no for an answer. Eliminating all the no’s or cannot’s will resolve them right when you start.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!