OWL Assignment #6: "Let others lead small lives, but not you."- Jim Rohn

Free Yourself from Discouragement

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant." 
- Robert Louis Stevenson

What is the source of frustration and discouragement?  In my humble opinion, I believe we experience discouragement when reality doesn't meet our expectations - when we're just not getting the results we want.

Results are good.  All our work is for results.  But if you're planting apple seeds one day and waking up the next morning expecting to pick fruit from the tree, you're in for nothing but frustration and discouragement.

What if, for one year, you forget about the results?  What if you just focused on planting as many seeds as you could every day?  Imagine how that would that change your whole attitude.  Feelings of discouragement would just melt away because you're not stressed out over whether or not reality is matching your expectations.  You're focused on the one thing that you have control over: planting seeds.  No seed is too small and sometimes even the seed that you thought fell where it couldn't grow can surprise you by sprouting up when you're not looking.  In fact, this is something that happens all the time.

Yes, there is a time to focus on results in order to evaluate and measure our activity.  The problem is we want to judge the results far too early.  Time must always be factored into the equation...and plenty of it!  That is why I suggested staying focused on planting seeds for a solid year - you accept the passing of time right off the bat.  Or better still, give it 18 months.  This is what's called the "J Curve" - the principle that it takes 18 months from the point in time that you set a significant goal to the point in time when your goal comes into full fruition.

This may seem like quite a challenge, but think about it.  18 months are going to pass anyway and wouldn't it be nice to let go of what's causing you so much discouragement?  We cannot always control our results, but we can control how many seeds we plant today.  Focus on the seeds and keep faith in the harvest that is coming to you.

Why do we do what we do - Part 2


I hope you enjoyed the vid of Chris Guillebeau below.  I put it up to help flesh out the last post about coming to grips on why we do what we do.  So what's the big deal anyway?  Why ask ourselves why we do what we do?

We have an innate need for approval.  We feel uneasy about doing anything even mildly significant unless there's someone around to give us that invisible permission slip that says "Yes, you can take a vacation to Moscow," or "Yes, you can pursue that business idea," or "Yes, you can do something different today."  And you know what?  Alot of people go through their whole lives unconsciously waiting for a permission slip that never comes.

We're constantly making choices based on other people's expectations and opinions of us.  This is an extremely sad and constricted way to live and it reminds me of something Jim Rohn said:  

"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan.  And guess what they have planned for you?  Not much."

So, if you've done the last OWL assignment, look at the answers you've written to "Why do we do what we do?"  Examine your thought process behind the choices that put you where you are today.  Are they your own choices that you've consciously made to stay in alignment with the path to your goals?  Are they in keeping with the life you want to live?  Or were they made out of fear of what other people would think?

"We don't have to live the way other people expect us to."  - Chris Guillebeau

Do yourself a favor: Write your own permission slips!!!

Chris Guillebeau - Fear and Permission

OWL Assignment #5: Why do we do what we do?

This week's OWL assignment is something I've learned recently from listening to a CD that I get with my subscription to SUCCESS magazine.  It featured a very interesting interview with online entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau (the guy in the pic). 

Chris has a popular blog (and book) called the Art of Non-Conformity through which he's basically pioneered a whole movement by challenging mass conformity to the status quo in favor of creating a more authentic, personal experience of life because, as Chris points out, "we don't need to live our lives the way other people expect us to." 

The insights Chris presents are refreshing.  He says he likes to do what he calls "self-interviews" to come up with meaningful, revealing answers to questions that help you identify your purpose and passion.  The question we're using for our OWL assignment today comes from Chris:

"Why do we do what we do?"

Sit down with a pencil and notepad and dig deep with this question!  Here's some sub-questions to help:
- why do I work at x?
- why do I want a degree in x?
- why do I have this goal to do x?
- why am I friends with x?

A Quick Post on Habits

I've watched many interviews of successful people and when they're asked what was the single most powerful factor or key to their success, they all pretty much say the same thing: that they've been more consistent than most people.

Consistency is everything.  But successful people aren't just consistent.  They are persistently consistent.  At first glance, this may sound redundant, but when you get into the challenge of being consistent at anything, you really start to feel just how persistence comes into play.

And this is where habits come in.  The dictionary defines habits as:
"an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street."
In short, it's really, really hard to be persistently consistent at anything unless you turn those things into habits.
Sure you can get stuff done through will power, but every human being has a limited supply of will power, so you cannot depend on will power in the long run.  Eventually it will run out and you'll fall into the dead end trap of waiting till you "feel like it."  We need good habits to carry us through.

So I have "bad" news and good news.  The "bad" news is that building a good habit can be really challenging.  The good news is that it takes only 21 days for your brain to accept and implement a new habit - a new, automatic mode of operation.  In other words, after 21 days, it won't hurt anymore!  

But there's one thing you need to remember.  21 days means 21 days straight.  No breaks.  Studies have shown that if you even take a day off from practicing your habit, you have to go back to the beginning and start from day 1 again.  Your brain knows you're cheating and won't settle for anything less than 21 "perfect" days.  

Successful people will tell you that you are only a few key habits away from living a successful life.  Now that's a pretty significant piece of information and I plan on taking it very seriously!!!

So, identify your "success habits" and let's get to work implementing one at a time.

Darren Hardy on the Power of Small Choices

OWL Assignment #4: Recondition

Hello!  I hope everyone is having a restful weekend.  We are moving on to the 4th OWL assignment.  In addition to our monthly meetings, I put up a little challenge every weekend to help us stay committed to the process of personal development.  This week's mini challenge comes from a post by one of my favorite personal development enthusiasts who I've fanned on facebook.  His name is Mike Klingler and his facebook updates are always awesome.  He really knows how to shed light on people's rusty thought patterns with short messages that you can really take action on.  Here's his post that I am using for our assignment today:
What we perceive as "hard" or "easy" is primarily conditioned. Similar to running up a hill... that's really hard if you're conditioned to sit behind a desk all day and nothing more... and quite easy if you're conditioned to run the hill. What is hard or easy is relative to what you're conditioned to believe is hard or easy. This means you can condition yourself to see anything as easy. As always, it's a choice.
-Mike Klingler via his facebook page update
Here's the challenge:
Make a list of all the things in your life that you are currently perceiving as "hard."  Now think: what can you do to condition yourself, your mind to see these things as easy?  Remember, it all starts with making the choice to do so.  
Here's some ideas:
- Support that choice with your thoughts and actions.  From now on, instead of thinking, "This is hard," think, "This is easy!"  
- Focus on what you want instead of what you don't want.
- Stop feeling like you have to wait for things to be a certain way before you can be happy.  Be happy now.
- It takes 21 days to create a habit.  Anything that is "hard" for you to do now can be put on automatic if you practice that one thing for 21 days straight!  (more on habit creating in next post)
Good luck and I'll be sending out info on the upcoming meeting very soon!

Your Life, Your Map - Part 3

So, we've accomplished four thing in this process so far.  We've...
1. set a goal/point B
2. wrote it down
3. accepted that we must reprogram the way we think
4. accepted the power of taking baby steps

Now, there's another ingredient you need to achieve your goals.  It's called THE MAGIC FACTOR.  I learned about the "magic factor" in a goal designing program by Darren Hardy, the publisher of SUCCESS magazine. It is hands-down the best thing I have ever learned in 23 years of being exposed to personal development material.

Out of everything and anything that I can write about goals, this is the most important.  If this is the only piece of information that you remember from this blog or any source of personal development information, you'll be more than good to go.

Are you ready for it?  Here it is...

YOU are what needs to be worked on, not your goal.

This is the most important personal-development distinction you can realize.  The issue is not IT (health, marriage, money, career, etc.), the issue is YOU.  IT will only be as great as you are.  If you work on IT, it will continue to elude you.  If you work on you, IT will rise to the level of the new you.   
 - Darren Hardy in Design Your Best Year Ever: A Proven Formula for Achieving Big Goals

Click here to read Your Life Your Map Part 4

Your Life, Your Map, the Quill is in Your Hands - Part 2

Alright, we've written down our goal in life and maybe we're feeling more than a bit uncomfortable.  It can be surprisingly scary - wanting what we want.  We feel nervous about giving ourselves permission to believe it's possible.


Because we fear the obstacles, the disappointment.  We don't want to risk hearing family or friends tell us we're being impractical or selfish.  We're afraid of the unknown, afraid we're out of our league.  Ouch.  Do you know what's happening?  Before our dream has even had chance to walk out the front door and take it's first breath of fresh air, we've shot it down...in cold blood!  Haha, well not in cold blood actually, because then we'd have to be 100% aware of what we were doing...and we weren't.  That's the scary part.  Our fear has skewed and dulled our power of awareness and we've shifted the trajectory of our whole life without a second thought. 

What is Success?

Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream, goal, or objective.

Success is...
Success is a journey, not a destination.
The journey IS the success!
It's a lifelong process - a continuum.

Your Life, Your Map - Part 1

Let's talk about MAPS! 

Do you have a map for your life?  And do you check it regularly?

It goes without saying - when you go traveling into unfamiliar territory and need to get from point A to point B, you must consult a map.  Without a map, you're lost, drifting, and missing out on all the stuff you want to see and do and experience!

The same thing applies to the journey that is your life!
Point A is where you are now.  Point B is your goal, where you want to get to.  The map of your life is the course you chart to take you from point A to point B.  However, before you can chart that course, you have to clearly define point B as much as you can at this present moment.  Most of us do have an idea of where we want to be in our lives, but sadly, it's usually a very vague idea.  Vague ideas don't make very good point B's.  Not at all.  They're like moving clouds - intangible and utterly impossible to pin down.  This is why so many people feel like they are not getting what they want out of their lives - because they never take the time to figure out exactly what it is they want in the first place!

OWL assignment #3: Stop Waiting for Permission: Do What You've Been Resisting

Hello!  We're moving onto the OWL assignment for week 3.

Without really realizing it, many of us live our lives waiting for permission.  Maybe this is a stubborn habit leftover from when we were kids and were trained to do as we were told for our own safety.  But it doesn't matter where this habit came from.  What matters is that we recognize that we're not kids anymore and it's time to drop the waiting game and give ourselves the permission to do what we want to do.  It's impossible to take 100% responsibility for your life unless you learn to do this.

So here's this weekend's assignment.  I've copied and pasted it from Robert Pagliarini's (the guy in the video) article that goes along with his video.  You can read the full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-pagliarini/do-what-you-want_b_831626.html?ref=fb&src=sp#sb=1052515,b=facebook

The following is from Robert Pagliarini's article.  See link above.

Get conscious. It's time to name names. List a goal or aspiration and write down next to it all of the people for whom you are secretly waiting approval. If you're having trouble, ask yourself this: who needs to tell me that I am old enough, young enough, experienced enough, smart enough, attractive enough, thin enough, funny enough, or creative enough? Maybe you've been waiting to get a boyfriend before you travel across Europe. Why can't you go alone? Whose permission are you seeking? What about dropping your current job and switching to a career that inspires you?

There are two truths. The first is that nobody will ever give you permission. The second is that you don't need anyone's permission. Success doesn't come to those who wait for it. Success doesn't even come to those who ask for it. Success comes to those who fight off the naysayers and push forward without a permission slip.

It can be incredibly scary (and life changing) once you realize it's up to you. Regardless of the story you sell yourself, it always has been up to you, and it always will be. What would happen if you woke up tomorrow and decided you didn't need anyone to give you permission? What's the first thing you would start? Really, it's not a trick question.

Are you too goal-oriented?

Sometimes our focus on goals needs to be put into perspective.


Because there is much more to goals than merely achieving them.

Jim Rohn said it best when he said that the real purpose of having goals is in what it makes of us to achieve them.

It's about who we are becoming in the journey.  It's not the destination that makes us bigger and better; it's the getting there.  Setting and achieving goals is always massively important because without a destination there can be no journey.  However, the real challenge you're facing is not whether or not you're going to hit a target.  The challenge is whether or not you can come to the realization that your focus should be on how confident you are that you're doing everything in your power to be a better person today than you were yesterday.

Approach your life from this frame of mind and you will virtually erase the anxiety you often feel about reaching your goals.  As leadership expert John Maxwell pointed out:

"Whereas goal-conscious people lock onto a destination, growth-conscious people focus on the journey.  They see the big picture, and they understand success comes through a process."

In other words, if all you can see is the goal, then everything that doesn't fall into line with your efforts toward that goal will only cause anxiety and frustration for you.  But if you balance that focus with a conscious awareness of your daily growth, then everything - the ups and downs, sun and rain, blessings and hardships - becomes learning experiences that directly expand your personal growth.  You become more.  Do this and reaching your goal is a done deal because...
"Success cannot be pursued.  Success is attracted to the person you become." - Jim Rohn

"But I don't like reading..."

"The book you don't read can't help you." - Jim Rohn

"Think not of what the book costs; think of what it will cost you if you don't read the book." - Jim Rohn

"The man who will not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read" - Mark Twain

OWL assignment #2: Brian Tracy on Fear of Failure

Hello, OWL team members! Today's assignment is more on the challenging side, but the bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward!! So, your 2nd weekly assignment is to watch this video and take a few minutes to do as he recommends. At our last meeting I recommended keeping a folder and notebook to keep all your OWL assignments and notes together. At our next meeting later this month, we can share our experience accomplishing these assignments, so don't fall behind! Attend to your dreams and let's move forward together!

p.s. If you haven't completed OWL assignment #1 yet, it was to listen to and take notes on this short video: http://thesecretowl.blogspot.com/2011/06/jack-canfield-success-principles.html
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