Get Over Yourself! Learn This Secret to Boost Your Confidence

So neat that Robert Pagliarini sent out this video today.  My friend and fellow OWL member, Sirena, and I were talking about this same topic recently.  How it's such a normal thing to put so much weight on other people's opinions - especially negative opinions - when in fact people don't really care.  It sounds harsh, but it's true and the truth will set you free.

Okay, okay - here's an example:

You've tentatively decided on a certain path that you want to explore in your life.  It's a bit different from the normal way of "doing life" - hmmm, an example may be that instead of going to school and living in a dorm, you want to do an internship program in Ireland and work toward your degree thru an online college.  Woohoo!  You're taking the road less traveled and all that jazz.  And then someone tells you you're making a bad decision and your enthusiasm goes south.  The self-doubt creeps in along with the life-debilitating thoughts such as, "Oh well, I guess dreams just don't come true."  And so we talk ourselves into changing the whole trajectory of our lives.  Meanwhile, where is this person who you have allowed to have so much power and authority in the decisions that shape your life?  As soon as they've given you their input - guess what?! - they've already forgotten about you.  They've moved on with their own lives and their own problems.

This is where "the truth will set you free" comes in.  Imagine - the next time you've decided on something that you believe is going to be a positive benefit in your life and somebody offers their not-too-encouraging opinion...imagine thinking that instead of allowing this person's words to take root in your mind and infect you with so much anxiety and doubt, you choose thoughts like this: "Hmm, I know this person says they care about me and to a certain extent that is true.  But this person has their own problems and their own cares and they care, but they don't REALLY care because it's not their responsibility to care about me.  It's mine.  So I'm going to do what I have to do."

Now, this does not mean to go thru life like you don't need help or advice from anybody.  If I believed that then I wouldn't be such a believer in personal development.  In personal development, we're basically seeking out and learning from other people's advice on how to live abundant lives - mentally, financially, emotionally, etc.  But the key in personal development is that we are always (hopefully) hearing advice from people who are QUALIFIED to give it.

For instance, if I want advice about how to create financial freedom in my life, I'm going to seek out the advice of David Bach (the author of Smart Women Finish Rich).  I'm not going to take financial advice from my broke co-worker, neighbor, friend, whoever.

Sometimes knowing when to accept or not to accept someone's advice is really difficult - especially when they really are smart, experienced people who we look up to.  When this is the case, take the time to get more information, write down your thoughts, pros and cons, etc so that when you make your decision, you know you're coming from a place of self-awareness instead of self-doubt.

To read Robert Pagliarini's article that goes with his vid, click here.

Your Life, Your Map - Part 4 (final segment)

"Be open to discoveries. Don't have too fixed a notion of the path, but rather have some idea of the kind of things that most appeal to you."

So here's the final part of Your Life, Your Map.  So far, this is what we've covered:

1. set a goal/point B
2. write it down
3. accept that you must reprogram the way you think
4. recognize the power of taking baby steps
5. work on yourself and your reality will rise to the level of the new you

This is the part where I know you might be waiting for me to explain exactly how to identify the specific steps you need to take in order to reach your goal.  After all, this post is about mapping out your life, right?  And aren't maps supposed to make the course from point A to point B perfectly clear?

The Greatest Lesson is to Learn Your Lesson

"Change before you have to." - Jack Welch

Recently, I asked a fellow personal development enthusiast to tell me what is the best book that he's ever read in the personal development field.  He told me Follow Your Heart by Andrew Matthews.  As corny as the cover and title of this book may seem, it's really good and it has taught me something that is probably one of the best things I've ever learned.     
Are you ready to hear it?!  Here it is:


I know, I know.  You know this already so where's the epiphany?  Well, there's another part to this principle that doesn't get as much attention.  And it is:


Here's an excerpt from the book to illustrate this fact:

We are continually being presented with lessons.  Unless we learn the lessons, we get to take them again...and again...and again. 

If we are miserable, it's likely we've missed a lesson.

We are not here to be punished.  We are here to be educated.  Every event has the potential to transform us, and disasters have the greatest potential to change our thinking.  ACT AS IF EVERY EVENT HAS A PURPOSE, AND YOUR LIFE WILL HAVE PURPOSE.  Figure out why you needed an experience, conquer it, and you won't need it again. 

Once we have learned the lesson, we move onto the next one.

What are some examples of this?  Well, you know your friend who always has the same relationship issues no matter how many times she finds someone new?  And the co-worker who keeps getting into debt?  And the relative who loses weight, gains it back, loses weight, then gains it back?  These are examples of people who are not recognizing the lesson that life is teaching them.  So every year they must repeat the same lesson again and again.

The thing is, at first when our lessons come to us, life is subtle about it - sending us little messages and nudges.  If we are living in consciousness and awareness, then we can pick up the lesson quickly, conquer it and thereby uplift our mindset and experience of life to a higher level as we move onto the next lesson.  But most of the time, we're not living in awareness.  We're too busy trying to make it through the day, trying to survive and keep our heads above water.  I think that moving into a place of awareness is like thinking "Hey, I've been treading water for a long time and my legs hurt.  I'm expending all this effort and I'm getting nowhere.  In fact, pretty soon I'm going to drown if I keep doing this.  Hmm, I should try something different.  I should swim!  Wow, now I feel like I'm making progress."
In other words, it's worth it to stop and think, "What is life trying to teach me right now in my life, in this moment?"  Life is always sending you a lesson.  Ever feel like the current year isn't too different from the year before?  That's a surefire clue that you haven't learned your lesson.

At first, the lesson, as I said, is subtle.  But if we're not awake to it, not only do we have to repeat that lesson over and over, but as time passes life stops tapping on our shoulder and starts whamming us over the head because our lack of receptivity is telling life that we need a huge, disastrous wake-up call in order to pay attention.  Think about it.  All of the big, messy parts in your life didn't just attack you out of the blue.  I'm sure if you look back, you could probably identify hundreds of little hints and clues signaling you that there was something you needed to learn...but didn't.

So carve out time - a minute, a day, a whole weekend even - and face your lesson.  How do we do this?  A good start is to ask yourself, what are you resisting in your life right now.  What are your fears?  Make this a regular self-examination practice and you'll be sailing thru the lessons that life gives you.  This is such an amazing thing to achieve when there are so many people out there who are still struggling with lessons that they simply refuse to learn.  You know these people.  They're the ones who never move on, who are always complaining about the same problems year after year, who are behaving like victims in their own lives.

Do you want next year to be better than this year?  Are you tired of dealing with the same issues, the same fears?  Decide to quit treading water in the same stupid spot and start swimming toward a better life.  Learn your lessons!

Attracting What You Want

Copying and pasting yet another insightful status update by Mike Klingler from

(step 1) Knowing what you want is KEY to attracting it. (step 2) Then create actionable steps (new habits) that align with what you want. (step 3) Identify "conflicting values" that create resistance (expressed by overwhelm, procrastination or self-sabotage). As you observe your conflicting values continue to ask, "OK, so what do I REALLY want?" Attracting what you want isn't a mysterious process. It's just "the road less traveled" [making empowering DECISIONS with on purpose].

OWL Assignment: Give your goals some respect!

Are your goals just floating around in your head?  Are they hiding in a notebook that you haven't looked at in years?

Designated a small journal (or whatever works for you) to keep your list of goals so that you can read it regularly, cross off goals upon completion and add more as you go along.

The REAL Secret to Success :)

There are alot of awesome personal development books out there and there's alot of not-so-great personal development books out there.  While you can never go wrong with the classics such as Think and Grow Rich, How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Magic of the Thinking Big...the newer stuff can be a game of hit and miss.  However, this book, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, is, in my opinion, deserving of the ranks of the classics.  Why?  I think that it is the missing key, the piece in the personal development puzzle that makes all of the information in the other books work

So what is the slight edge?  Here's an excerpt from the book:

“The Slight Edge is easy to do and it is easy not to do.  It is based on doing things that are easy, little disciplines, which, done consistently over time, add up to the biggest accomplishments.  The problem is that all those things that are easy to do are just as easy not to do. 

Why is something easy not to do?  Because if you don’t do it, it won’t kill you.  But that simple, seemingly insignificant error in judgement compounded over time, will destroy you, ruin your chances for success.”

slightedge My Love for the Slight Edge Philosophy (the book that makes every other personal development book work)

In a future post, I'll come up with some examples of this principle for you.  In the meantime, try examining your own life and see where you are letting the slight edge work for you...or against you.

Louis Zamperini: An American Hero

OWL Assignment #8: Clear out the mental cobwebs and hang-ups with this fresh idea

 Jason Fried: Why work doesn't happen at work
This is Jason Fried, co-author of Rework and co-founder of 37signals.  For this week's OWL assignment, click the link under this pic and watch the video of Jason's speech on why work doesn't happen at work.


WATCH HERE >> Jason Fried: Why work doesn't happen at work | Video on

Book Review: Rework

I just finished one of the most helpful books I've ever read about how to do business.  As you can see by the back cover, the ideas presented in this book go against the grain of traditional business practice - "underdo the competition" - say what!?

The reason why I paid attention to what Jason and David (the authors) have to say in this book is because their software product company, 37signals, is phenomenally successful as a result of staying true to these "radical" principles.  They do millions of dollars of profit every year and have only about 16 employees.

I like hearing other people's ideas about how to build a successful business, but I like it even more when I can see proof of the direct application and positive results of those ideas.

Here's some of my notes from the book:

  • Underdo the competition. It's tempting to give into the lure of more:  more features, more menu choices, more products, more employees, more everything.  "What?  That company has 10 features in their product?  Let's do 20!"  "Hey, that restaurant has 20 choices on their menu!  We gotta come up with 30!"  This is crazy.  Focus on quality, simplicity, and ease of use because that is what really matters.  All that other stuff wears off faster than you can blink so that in the end, you're not left with more, you're just left with stuff.  Yuck.
  • Say NO to the customer.  Be a good fit for the masses.  Don't try to appeal to the few.  This means saying "no" to customers when their requests don't fall in line with what your business is about.  Another point - you have to get crystal clear on what you stand for as a business in order to know where to set boundaries so that you know when to say no.  Trying to please everyone is a recipe for a company that stands for nothing.  The only requests that really matter are the ones you hear over and over.
  •  Workaholics create more problems than they solve.  This one is my favorite.  We live in a culture that makes heroes out of people who are willing to spend all day and night suffering away at their desks and computers.  The human brain is simply not designed to spend so many hours in a row concentrating on work.  Yes, we can and do force ourselves to buckle down with a task for hours on end.  However, unless you're some kind of super human, the quality of the work you produce this way is going to suffer and you wind up creating more problems than you solve.                                      
  • Jason and David of 37signals know that work doesn't happen at work.  They don't require any of their employees to come into the office and clock in hours at the desk.  All they care about is that the work gets done.  You can argue with this, but you'd be arguing with a company that does millions of dollars of profit every year with just a handful of employees.  Of course, the significant key in this is hiring the right people.
  • Go home in time for dinner, they say.  Catch your kid's soccer game.  Committing to leave the office on time forces you to focus and get the job done.  If you commit to leaving at say, 4 pm, you're not going to waste time chit-chatting with co-workers or whatever.  You're attitude will be, "Okay, I have this specific number of hours left.  I'm going to give this task my all, but I'm leaving at 4.  Period."  You don't have to feel guilty if you're going home and your co-workers are still toiling away at their computers.  You can be proud of yourself because you know how to set boundaries and spend your time productively.
There's alot more awesome, fresh ideas in the book.  These are just the 3 that really popped up for me because I've started applying them in my own business recently before I even heard of the book, and it's nice to find that I'm not alone.  ;) 

Make an "I can at least ..." List

What do you do when you just don't feel like doing what you're supposed to do?  Let's face it - you're going to have those days no matter how clear you get on your goals and what you want out of life.  It's so easy to slack off and lose momentum.

Not every day is going to be perfect and I hope you're not shooting for perfection anyway.  You're never going to get perfect, you can only and always get better.  You have to think progress not perfection!

So with that in mind, how can we make progress every single day?  Here's a tip that I got from an article by Robert Pagliarini that I've tried on a couple of areas in my life and it works.  Think "I can at least...".  This practice will save you on those days when you're feeling too tired, or stressed, or "blah" to do as much as you planned.

Here's an example:
Let's say you have a goal to save $5 every day because ultimately you want to have money specifically saved to invest in a mutual fund by the end of the year.  As easy as this sounds, you'll probably have days where that $5 disappeared on gas or emergency groceries or maybe you just blew it on candy.  Instead of feeling that you messed up for that day, do the next best thing instead.  In this case, you say, "Well, I can at least save $1 today."  And do that. 

This is about more than the "something is better than nothing" principle.  When you can't accept anything less than $5 a day and you miss it, you've not only sacrificed a day, you've sacrificed a precious bit of your momentum and you've made it that much easier to miss it again and again.  Before you know it, the year is gone and you've gotten nowhere because you've sabotaged your success with your need for perfection.  It's funny how obsessing over perfection so often leads to its exact opposite.  That $1 saves you.  It preserves your self-respect.  It's a symbol of your commitment to progress no matter what.

Now, before you say, "What's the big deal?  I can make up for missing a day by saving $10 tomorrow.  So it's ok if I don't do anything today."  The money in itself is not the point.  Your mindset is the point.  Really successful people know that their success is the result of the little things that they do every day.  They understand that this is how the magic of the compound effect works in their lives.  Success is not a result of what you do to make up for what you didn't do.

So, what's your back up plan?

Here's some ideas:
Goal: I exercise for 45 minutes a day
Back-up: I can at least exercise for 10 minutes today

Goal: Study Spanish for 1 hour every day
Back-up: I can at least study 10 words today

There is another awesome benefit about this principle.  When you think, "I can at least ..." and you do it, you'll find it easier to keep going and you'll find yourself on top of your game anyway.  For instance, if the thought of exercising for 45 minutes feels too daunting for you one day, but you get up to at least do 10 minutes, you're going to find after 10 minutes that you feel good enough to do the next 35!

Remember: Think progress not perfection.

6 Things You Must Start Doing Today to Stay Sane in an Insane World

Do a Life Experiment

"If nothing changes, then nothing changes."

"If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you always got.  And you'll keep feeling what you've always felt."

This weekend's OWL assignment comes from another tip from the Chris Guillebeau CD.  He tells a story about a guy who wasn't too happy with how complacent he was being with his life.  So one day, he decides to break out of his routine by visiting a nearby museum on his lunch break.  Then he started getting into photography.  When his company needed work done overseas, he took the opportunity and got to experience France for a few weeks.  The next time he had to go to France for work, he took his family.  Gradually he shifted his work until he was able to work for himself as a consultant.  Then, because they loved France so much, he moved there with his family.  This guy was able to change his entire life all because he decided to do something different one day and let that little "life experiment" open his eyes up to what else he could do outside of his usual routine.

This story really highlights how the decision to break out of our routine and make a conscious effort to do something that isn't normal behavior for us can initiate a snowball effect in our lives.  The man in the story (true story btw) basically wanted to make a life-change, but as you can imagine, based on his circumstances he couldn't just pick up and commit to anything drastic off the bat.  So he started with something small, then he allowed himself to follow a passion (photography).  These little experiments made him more comfortable with change so when there was an opportunity to work in Europe, he took it. Then getting familiar with living in a foreign country led him to consider the possibility of moving his family.  One thing led to another, but it all started with him deciding to do something out of the ordinary with his lunch break.

Even if you don't desire to dramatically change your life, it's still good to develop our sense of awareness so that we are not living our lives on auto-pilot mode.  Our brains love routine.  Your brain is perfectly happy seeing you live every year the same as last year.  And that's what we do even while we're wishing things could be different.  Einstein calls this the definition of insanity: doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.

You may feel like you're fooling yourself when you first try this experiment - you'll wonder how could something so insignificant contribute to any real change.  But even just breaking out of your routine even the tiniest bit will fire up parts of your brain that you've rarely used before.  Then all you have to do is keep that ball rolling and magic will start happening.

I can trace many of the significant events and opportunities in my life to one simple decision to do something different one day.

So your assignment is to pick something to do this week that breaks your routine and takes you out of your comfort zone a little bit and be open to where it leads you after that.

Thoughts on Fear

Fear is an interesting subject.  An enigma.  It can be your enemy or your ally - depending on how you use it.

We are born with only three fears - fear of falling, abandonment, and loud noises.  All other fears are learned.  Our brains accept whatever we believe - true or not - and makes sure that that belief is our experience of life.  So if we tell our brains, "Oh, I could never do (fill the blank).  I'm afraid because this bad thing will happen," then your brain will accept this belief - no questions asked - and it will make that your reality.  Even if it isn't true.

Now, how many times have you had to do something that you were afraid to do and discovered after doing it that your fears weren't based on anything real?  That there was nothing to be afraid of?  Can you recall that feeling you get after you accomplish something that used to be scary?  It feels like you've moved up a level in your experience of reality.  You've made a paradigm shift.

Our instinctive reaction when we feel fear is to run (mentally and physically) in the opposite direction of whatever it is we're afraid of.  And this is the reason why so many people are at a loss as to why they're not getting any closer to creating the life they want to live.  Because running away from your fears in synonymous with running away from your goals.

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