I have been so intrigued by successful people for most of my life. I’m not just talking about people that are wealthy. I’m talking about people that have their crap together, have successful marriages, good relationships with their kids, a thriving business, and an outlook that goes beyond the next 10 years.
I guess you could say I’ve even made it a study because it is so fascinating to me how some people can rise up from the ashes and become a huge success in life. What makes them different from the ones that aren’t? Most people look at successful people and assume (incorrectly in most instances) that they had it handed to them on a silver platter. What they aren’t seeing behind the scenes, is a life dedicated to self-mastery. If you’re curious what things you may need to implement or refine in your own life, here is a list of things you can start with today!
Did you know that the vast majority of people that graduate from high school and even college, never again pick up another book with the intent to learn? That blows my mind! We live in the greatest day and age where learning is available literally everywhere. I was recently making updates to this website and couldn’t figure out some of the html. Guess who I turned to? Google of course! The saddest part about the yers we spend in school isn’t just the vast amount of critical life skills we don’t learn but also that we don’t learn – HOW TO LEARN… (facepalm).
My incredible husband is a high school and college dropout and felt like learning just wasn’t “his thing”. It wasn’t about his ability to learn at all, it was about the way he learns. This man is a genius! I’m not just saying that because he is my husband. In 2000 when we first got married I remember him sitting at our computer and practicing typing with Mavis Beacon. Up to that point he had only ever done hard labor. His fingers didn’t move well and he had to train his brain how to even move them in the way you need to to be any kind of efficient at typing. Two years later we drove to Barnes & Noble and he bought a “Programming for Dummies” book. He had always been interested in computers but he grew up in a construction family. Programming and construction are light years apart in the skills it takes to be successful at them. While school couldn’t seem to teach him how to program, he was still determined to learn. Fast forward 20 years. He is a self-taught senior software engineer, can command a hefty six-figure income, and has recruiters contact him daily hoping he’ll give them the chance to work for their company. It isn’t just programming with him though – it’s medical research, real estate, construction, foreign languages… he is literally the epitome of what it means to be a life-long learner.
Learning in our day and age is so simple! We have access to libraries, books, podcasts, videos, and courses everywhere. If you are in a place where you feel stuck or ready to level up the best thing you can do is borrow someone else’s brain. Every one of us have been given different life experiences and it is a gift to learn from someone else without having to experience their trials.
Need some help finding something worth learning? Check out my favorite books, download my ebook, or you can even enroll in my course. There’s no reason why you can’t start forming the habit of being a lifelong learner right now!
Ooooh, I felt that cringe and I have to say I get it! Exercise is almost like a four letter word. Let me challenge your expectations for a second and see if we can reframe this arduous task into something that isn’t so abhorrent.
When most people think of exercise they imagine what we see splashed all over our screens. Someone getting changed into workout clothes, driving across town, entering a gym, feeling so friggin’ self-conscious for 30 minutes, trying to figure out what we’re even supposed to be “working out”, and then the next day feeling so sore that our determination falls through the floor, not to be revisited again until next New Year. Sound familiar?
How about this instead? Put down your phone, computer, or tv remote, you stand up, go outside, and walk for 20 minutes? Woah! Wait! That counts? Yes, it does! Exercise can look and feel completely different for everyone. The objective is to move your body. As you gain confidence in your movement and your body adjusts to being more active then you can pick up new things like rock climbing, hiking, biking, pilates…whatever speaks to you. Whatever you do DO NOT back yourself into a corner or shut yourself in a box that says the way someone else moves their body is the way you have to move yours.
Look, it’s no secret that exercise is an important aspect of feeling good. It has been proven that exercising helps us digest food better, sleep better, think more clearly, be happier, and feel better! Exercising regularly doesn’t benefit us in only those ways though – it will also help you gain confidence AND help you start trusting yourself that you can do hard things and be consistent. That in and of itself is worth the commitment to moving your body everyday.
My mom remarried when I was in grade school and we moved from the small 6000 people town I was born in, to a mighty Wyoming metropolis of 12,000 people (yes, I’m snickering). I was entering the 5th grade in a new school and by luck (or so I thought) all the popular girls thought my brother (a year older than us) was the best thing they’d ever laid eyes on. How do pre-teen girls get closer to their crush – why by befriending the little sister of course! I didn’t have any other prospective friends so I guess we used each other in turn. They for my connection, me for their being popular. We started growing up and none of them had my same outlook, morals, or upbringing and it became apparent that this wasn’t going to workout long-term. I had to find new friends! Freshman year seemed a great time to make the split — and I’m here to tell you that if a 14 year old girl can ditch the “popular” crowd as a freshman – ANYONE can choose new friends at any point in their life. Turns out it was worth it. Two years later we moved back to smaller, small town and I had to start over with new friends again (but that’s for another day).
It is not a state secret that you will inevitably become like those you spend the most time with. You will also attract into your life the people that hang out at the same places you do. Birds of a feather flock together. If you are surrounding yourself with negative, hopeless people it is nearly impossible to feel optimistic and believe that you can achieve more. If you’re hanging around broke people who have no desire to change their outcome, it’ll only be a matter of time until you start feeling their mental limitations as well. I remember a time when we were struggling a lot financially. We didn’t know any successful people at that time but we figured that if we started filling our minds with new thoughts and ideas (see item 1 above) surrounding money then we could eventually get ourselves out of our situation. In addition to filling our minds, we also spent time each week driving through more affluent neighborhoods to remind ourselves that something else really was possible and we could achieve it if we just kept working towards it. Now our circle of people consist of the top 5% income earners in the world. Be aware of the people who are influencing you ( including family, friends, co-workers, books, movies, music, and social media).
You may have heard me talk about this in other places but one of my favorite games is chess. I don’t know where I picked it up along the way but I love strategy in all forms and chess is one of them. When I was growing up the similarities between chess and life became apparent to me. For most people they become a pawn in someone else’s game of chess. It could be a student being pushed around by a teacher. It could be an employee being pushed around by a boss. It could even be someone being pushed around by a spouse or parent. Make no mistake, there are people in this world that would love for you to be a chess in their game. Do you know the role of a pawn in chess? They are the expendable players. They are used with an end in mind and it hurts the least when they are removed from the game because there are lots more of them and because they can only move in very limited ways. Are you seeing the similarity?
People who are successful are their own chess masters – they are not being moved around by anyone else. They are fully in control of their own game because at some point they realized that they didn’t want to be a pawn in someone else’s game. Their life and their goals became so important to them that they pulled the plug on the people that had been using them as a disposable pawn in their game.
I have always wanted to create something more in my life. I always knew I wanted something that allowed me to be in control of my life. More than anything else – that was my priority. Throughout the years I’ve had friends, family, and acquaintances think I was crazy in the goals I wanted to pursue, and also in thinking that I could actually change my situation in life. At one point I had to decide that other people’s disbelief, other people’s games, could either put out my flame or fuel my fire. I chose to let it fuel my belief in myself. Other people would love for you to be a pawn in their life. Everyday you can choose to allow it or not. Successful people are always focusing on what they want to create, not what someone else wants them to create.
“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Turns out it’s true. There is something magical that happens in the wee hours of the morning when the rest of the world is still sleeping. It almost feels like you’re able to get double the amount of things done in a few extra hours.
In 2015 we packed up our young family in a 25′ camper and roamed around the US for almost a year and a half. When we were traveling, we spent a couple months on the East Coast, and I have to say that having spent my whole life in the mountain time zone, I fell in love with the eastern time zone. Now for those that live in the east and have for a long time you may not be able to relate but coming from the west it was great to feel like I was up before everyone else. I had so much more time to get stuff done before everyone else was getting their day started. Being back in a home it’s easier to slip back into a later routine but I do recognize the value in getting up early! Even better… combine this step, with number 2 from above. Win-Win!
I cannot say enough about this one topic. I could talk about introspection and processing all day long. It is the most underutilized asset that every human on this planet possesses. Do you know what it is to stop after a conversation gone wrong and learn from it? Or from a decision that worked out beyond your wildest dreams and figured out why?
There are a million encounters that you have in a lifetime that you can learn and grow from. What lesson did you learn from that one really hard high school break up? What did you gain in hindsight from working that horrible job as a teenager? How did you grow from stepping away from that friendship of 10 years? How does your partner feel appreciated? How do YOU feel appreciated? What brings you joy in life? Remember that argument you had with your kid? What did you both gain from it? There are so many events, interactions, triumphs, and failures we can gain so much from if we would only stop, process, and take time for introspection.
I would say that the majority of people rush through life day-after-day and never stop to ponder their situation, the things they’ve learned during the week, the areas they need to improve upon, or how they can adjust their life to be more inline with what they’re trying to achieve. Time is our most precious commodity yet so many never take any for themselves. They “go and do” their whole life away. The challenge is to stop and clear our minds, focus our energy and our priorities, and process the events that have happened. A lot of people think that meditation is a voo-doo practice, but it’s really an opportunity to clear your mind and connect with God on a level that you can’t achieve when you’re busily rushing throughout the day. Find a time that works for you and get quiet. This is also a great time to implement the goal aspect of number 4 once you’ve been able to process priorities.