Did you achieve all that you wanted to in 2014? Or, were you left wanting more?
If 2015 goes the same as last year, will you be proud of what you accomplished?
As entrepreneurs and marketers, we always want to do more, have more, and be more. We sometimes think the solution is working longer hours doing more of the same. But more hours and higher efficiency only scales to a point. To execute on another level we must be both efficient AND effective.
If there’s something greater you’re striving to become, this article is for you. It lists the 8 life changing tips from my top mentors that can enable you to achieve more in 2015.
1) Create a Vision for Your Life
To achieve something great, you need to take control over how you run your personal and professional life. This means creating a purposeful vision for your life as well as a plan to accomplish your goals. If you don’t plan your life, someone else will make plans for you.
The Expert: Les Brown
My first mentor as an entrepreneur was Les Brown. His teaching helped me create a purposeful vision for my life. Les taught me that if you "help others achieve their dreams, you will achieve yours." This belief is the foundation of my agency, which every day is helping deserving brands get bigger by marketing better. The alignment of my profession with my passion and purpose has enabled me to love my life and my work.
Les says, “Most people fail in life, not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” [tweet this]
Are you working on your dreams or are you side-tracked by life’s distractions? If there’s something you want to do, start doing it now.
His programs may be dated, but they deliver a powerful message:
You don’t have to change your line of work to have a purposeful vision. Marketing and entrepreneurship is a great space to be in. But it’s what you do with your skills that leads to greatness. If you’re not working towards your goals, you may simply be trading your dreams for a weekly paycheck.
What’s your passion and purpose?
“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” – Seneca [tweet this]
2) Feed Your Mind
As Brendon Burchard says, “Only two things change your life. Either something new comes into your life, or something new comes from within.” [tweet this] In order for either of these things to happen, you need to constantly feed your mind with the right knowledge and ideas.
It’s been well documented that Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger (Buffett’s right hand man) are some of the best learning machines on earth. They each spend approximately 6 hours a day reading, thinking, and learning.
Don’t have 6 hours a day to learn? Don’t worry, I share that same reality. But there are changes we can make to feed our mind.
The Expert: Brian Tracy
Brian Tracy says, “It used to be that the main difference between people in our society was between those who 'have more' versus those who 'have less.' Today, however, the difference is between those who 'know more' and those who 'know less.’” [tweet this]
As one of the most popular business trainers in history, and the author of 65 books, Brian has learned (and taught) a lot in his life. He teaches that, “If what you're doing is not moving you towards your goals, then it's moving you away from your goals.” In order to do something great, you need the ability to figure things out. If you’re not willing to continuously learn and improve, how will you become the master of anything?
Brian Tracy explains the power of the Golden Hour and how it prepares your life for success.
If you’re putting off reading books until you’re wealthy and have plenty of time, you’ve got it backwards. [tweet this] We should trade social media, Youtube and Netflix for a few good books. I highly recommend:
- 1000 True Fans
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
- The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?
- Inbound Marketing
- The 4 Hour Workweek
I attribute 50% of the success in my life to what I’ve learned and 50% to what I’ve done with what I’ve learned. To stop learning is to stop growing. To stop growing in this economy is the fastest way to become obsolete.
3) Improve Your Health and Fitness
Caring for yourself is the highest priority in life. Your health is more important than your work and your family. If you don’t have your health, you can’t be of service to anyone.
Your health is all you’ve got.
Most of us sit at our desk nearly all day. We don’t take the time to develop great physical nor mental health. To be our best mentally, we must be physically fit as well. Your brain’s fitness is closely tied to your physical fitness. Proper diet and exercise help regulate hormone levels, deliver the proper nutrients to your brain, and relieves stress. Not to mention you’ll feel both more alert and more confident when you’re in great shape.
After I went from 0 kids to 3 in 9 months back in 2007, life has seemed to always have a distraction to keep me from staying fit. One of my top priorities in 2015 is getting my body to the best fitness I’ve had in a decade. I believe this will improve my energy and my PMA (positive mental attitude) about myself. I’m currently preparing for a two day mountain bike trip in Costa Rica.
The Expert: Tim Ferriss
Tim’s book is designed for the busy entrepreneur who cares about their health and fitness. The book explains how to have better health, more muscle, less fat, and better rest with health hacks he developed over a decade.
What’s even better is that Tim has tested every one of his tricks in varying quantities until he found the “minimum effective dose” (MED) that produces the best results. With Tim’s fitness protocol, you can achieve ridiculous fitness results with just 4 hours a month.
I’m currently just 4 weeks into my new 4 hour body, and I’ve already lost 8 pounds of fat (even over the holidays), 2.25 inches and 3.5% body fat. No joke. In addition to his slow-carb diet, I’m a new raving fan of kettlebells. I suggest you order Tim’s book and read his blog.
4) Practice Gratitude
If you’ve ever struggled with negative self talk or you’re highly critical of yourself, practicing gratitude can help. What is practicing gratitude? It’s the act of taking 5 minutes a day to take note of things you’re grateful for, fantastic things happening in your life, and remind yourself of the person you’re working to become.
The Experts: Lewis Howes and Tim Ferriss
Practicing gratitude produces a life changing attitude in mindset. A great way to practice gratitude is with the 5 Minute Journal (app or book). For an extra kick in the pants, I personally decided to start practicing gratitude publicly via my blog.
I’m personally only ten days into practicing gratitude. I already see value in the experience.
5) The Ultimate To-Do List
Everyone wants to get more done. Some focus on doing things fast. Others focus on doing things right. What matters most is doing the right things.
The Expert: Brendon Burchard
Brendon Burchard is a best selling author, passionate speaker, and trainer to solopreneurs. In his High Performance Academy, one of Brendon’s tools is his 1 page productivity planner. This 1 page daily planner enables you to focus on the projects that matter, interact and respond to others at the right time, and postpone distractions until after you’ve had a productive day.
Over the years I’ve used Basecamp, Asana, Redcube, Jira, and now Teamwork for managing my team’s projects and tasks. With such tools, you might think that I wouldn’t get any value from a daily planner. I tried it myself for three weeks and saw improvements, so I decided to roll it out to my full team. It turned out that everyone was spending more time in these task management apps than needed, plus our meetings discussing our projects were longer than they needed to be.
After adopting Brendon’s 1 page planner, we had shorter team huddles (often just 15 minutes) and everyone reduced the amount of time spent managing tasks in Teamwork. Our 1 page planner shows us what we need to do, and Teamwork has the instructions for how we need to do it.
One final point. Instead of doing this on paper where our distributed team would have no insight into what others are working on, we put our productivity planner in a shared Google Doc. Everyone can see each others tasks and we can notify each other of bottlenecks and blockers.
5.5) The Never-Do List
If you follow the advice in step 5, you’ll be focusing on the right activities for at least the first part of your day. But most people drift back into their normal habits once the phone rings or they check email. It’s been ingrained in us that these are activities that we must respond to quickly, and we end up trading our own priorities for the priorities of others.
What if instead of doing distracting tasks efficiently, we stopped doing them entirely?
The Expert: Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss’s best selling book, The 4 Hour Workweek, shows us how to reduce or eliminate the tasks that matter little and focus on the activities can change everything.
Friends who hear me talking about the 4 Hour Workweek seem to get the impression that it’s about lazily working just four hours a week. Obviously they’ve not read the book!
Tim enables people to cut their “overhead work” to 4 hours a week, so they can focus on their dreams. Tim gives practical examples of how to delegate, eliminate, and even ignore tasks that distract you. By limiting the decisions you have to make and outsourcing work that does not have to be done perfectly, you will have the thing you need most to get what you want: time!
As a direct result of the strategies inside the 4 Hour Workweek, I’ve set significantly higher personal and professional goals, grew my company 30% last year, and changed the way I work.
I now have a “Director of Operations” at my company who takes care of all of the *still important* tasks that I used to spend most of my day managing myself. I can now focus on the 3-4 tasks that matter most. Sure, I took a pay cut when I hired someone to take the work, but the progress I’ve been able to make as a result has been worth it. Ask yourself, how much time do you want to spend NOT doing the things that matter most?
6) Create Art
The old rules said that success came from following the rules, keeping your head down and not doing things that feel uncomfortable. In today’s economy, it’s better to be sorry than safe.
The industrial age taught us to work inside of our comfort zone and that doing what was safe would pay off. Today that’s a sure path to mediocrity. Today the payoff comes from doing what’s uncomfortable, what feels risky, and what might not work.
Today there’s an oversupply of vendors for almost every problem, giving customers more choice and power in who they buy from than ever. If you essentially copy what they’re doing without radical innovation, you won’t stand out.
At the same time, there’s a shortage of trust, relationships and delight. These are the elements of success in the new connection economy. Success today takes guts. It requires making something personal. It requires standing out while being outside of your comfort zone. It requires leadership, and a belief that if you do something special, customers will show up to follow you.
The Expert: Seth Godin
Seth Godin says something remarkable (lots of things, actually) in his book The Icarus Deception. He says, “If you use your money to buy advertising to promote average products for average people, soon you’ll run out of money. but if you use your money to make exceptional products, you won’t need to spend it on advertising, because your customers will connect to one another and bring you more.”
The value of our businesses today is based upon the level of trust and relationship we have with our customers, and how often we innovate. It used to be that you built a factory to get customers. Seth points out that “if your factory burns down but you have loyal customers, you’ll be fine. On the other hand, if you lose your customers, even your factory isn’t going to help you - Detroit is filled with empty factories.” [tweet this]
Today rather than focus on building a product, we must focus on building connections. Rather than promote ourselves to attract attention, we must be honest and vulnerable so as to attract trust. We no longer win by passing the test. We win by doing something new and standing out. Don’t focus on being seen. Focus on being missed if you’re not there. [tweet this]
Money used to be the primary driver of marketing. Now marketing is based upon connection, upon creating a story that resonates and spreads because it’s a story worth telling.
Today’s marketplace won’t pick you as the leader. You’ll have to pick yourself.
7) Give Back
Giving feels good. But it doesn’t stop there. Giving to others changes our mental and emotional state. When we focus on the needs of others, we push aside our ego, our emotions, and our stress. Our body releases healthy hormones into our system, leading to what’s known as the “helper’s high.”
If you want to improve your attitude, your relationships and your career, prioritize making a difference in the lives of the people around you. You’ll feel happier and you’ll become more liked and ultimately more successful.
The Expert: Jim Rohn
"Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.” - Jim Rohn. [tweet this] Jim also said that "Giving is better than receiving because giving starts the receiving process."
We live in the most prosperous times ever known to man. Regardless of your level of income or your personal politics, if you’re reading this post, you’re doing pretty well. But what are you doing to give back? If you don’t already contribute to a charity or cause, here are a few good ones:
More than just giving money, I suggest giving some of your time or sweat equity. When I was younger, I found immense reward in tutoring young kids that were less equipped than I was. Recently my company started Websites for Warriors, a program to help entrepreneurial veterans launch the next phase of their life after leaving active duty.
8) Take Action
Every idea, goal, plan, or dream is worthless unless backed by action. If you’re willing to hustle, you can make up for every weakness in your life and then some. Rather than use your weaknesses as a reason to delay getting started, use them as your reason to start earlier, fight harder, stay later, push further, and never be satisfied.
The Expert: Eric Thomas
If you’ve never heard Eric Thomas (ET) speak, you’ve been missing out. Eric reminds me that I’ll be remembered for what I do, not what I aim to do. When I’m off track, I read aloud these 10 short, simple, and powerful affirmations that all come from ET:
- “My future is created by what I do today, not tomorrow.”[tweet this]
- “Innovation is rewarded. Execution is worshiped.” [tweet this]
- “It may not be given to me. But if I’m ready to earn it, the universe is mine.” [tweet this]
- “I don't have as much time as I think I do. I’ve got to operate like there's a sense of urgency!” [tweet this]
- “I will work towards my goal every day! Even when I’m down and out! Even when I’m not feeling it, still do it!” [tweet this]
- “I won’t settle for another average day in my life.” [tweet this]
- “Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, or an hour, or a day, or even a year. But eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. But if I quit, it will last forever.” [tweet this]
- “Haters don’t really hate me. In fact they hate themselves because I’m a reflection of what they wish they could be.” [tweet this]
- “When I want to succeed as bad as I want to breathe, then I’ll be successful.” [tweet this]
- “I cannot afford to live in potential for the rest of my life. At some point, I have to unleash the potential and make my move.” [tweet this]
If you’re not pumped up right now, check that you have a pulse!
It’s time we get out of our comfort zones and achieve more than we ever thought possible.
Set a goal that stretches the limits. Create a plan of action to achieve it. Then get started.
Take your best shot at doing something remarkable and let the chips fall where they may. [tweet this]
Originally published Jan 14, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017