The great value in taking a moment to reflect on your day.

This fall I have helped coach my 11-year old son Magnus’ football team. The experience has been extremely rewarding. It’s fun to get back involved in tackle football and all that it teaches players about teamwork, strategy, execution, brotherhood, and eye makeup.

It is fascinating to see how much our team is improving every week. Several parents came up to me after our game on Saturday to tell me that they are impressed by how much the team has grown over our first 5 games.

A significant part of our improvement plan is watching game film. We film each game and then use a platform called Hudl to share it with the players. We break each play down Clint Eastwood-style, noting the good, the bad, and the ugly. #DoodaloodalooWaaWaaWaaaa

We call out the good plays, the great tackles, the key blocks, the great hustle that made a difference. But perhaps more importantly, we call out where players did the wrong things, and what they should do differently next time. Sharing the example and the recipe for correction is a huge part of the learning experience.

When I see how much learning and improvement comes from studying our team game film I find myself wanting to rewatch my days and see my opportunities to get better.

  • I would look for wasted time and missed opportunities.
  • I want to look for better alternatives to the decisions I made.
  • I would want to review the times I could have accomplished more and been more productive. That is a frequent concern of mine at the end of each day.
  • I would like to study the cause and effect of my actions.
  • I would like to find opportunities to grow and learn.
  • I would like to find more ways to connect with my kids, my wife, my coworkers, and friends.
  • I would like to see the hilarious things that happened around me that I missed.

The Problem

Unless you Truman Show yourself, you are never likely to have a full game film of your day. Plus, it would take a full day to watch. Which is as practical as getting a life-size tattoo of yourself on yourself.

Journaling

However, at the end of each day, you can reflect on your day. You can watch the game film of your day in your head. You can keep a journal to help you grow. You can write down what went well, what you learned, and what you would do differently next time. The writing itself will help reinforce the lessons. But revisiting the journal later will be like a self improvement book you wrote for yourself.

Key Takeaway

Take 5 minutes at the end of your day to review the game film of the day in your head. Quickly step through your events, interactions, accomplishments, and misses. Capture the key wins, learnings and observations in a journal or an app. Consider what you should do differently and your corrected or improved behavior. And make yourself a little better every day.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Become more focused and more productive by adding more pressure.

I recently moved into a new house. Moving is like putting your world into a blender. Or a tornado. Or a tornado full of blenders. You box up all of your belongings, move them into a foreign space, then you have to find spaces for everything in the new house. It creates chaos, disorganization and discomfort. It can be hard to know where to focus your efforts to make progress before a producer from the show Hoarders shows up on your front steps with a contract and and a pen.

Last Week

This past week I had a plan to help add focus to the chaos. I knew that Sunday night the Patriots were going to play Tom Brady and the Buccaneers for the first time since Brady left New England. #Boo

Under normal circumstances the game would have created a good opportunity for me to have some guys over to watch the game in the lower level of our new home. The problem was that the lower level was a high level disaster.

Despite the disaster, I invited some friends to come over for the game. #WAAZZZUP #ChillinHavinABud

Then I got to work. Like Daniel in a Karate Kid training montage.

I unpacked boxes, and put things in cabinets and drawers. I moved furniture. I organized the exercise room. I calibrated the downstairs refridgerator and filled it with a variety of beverages. (Ok, so my wife Dawn did that.) I set up the ping pong table, I mounted the downstairs TV and put the video game station together. I moved the piano into its new space. I organized the bar and pulled out the bottle opener. I made sure the downstairs bathroom was clean and ready. Then I stood in the middle of the basement and did The Crane Kick.

The result was that by Sunday night at 6:30 pm the lower level of our house was organized and ready for my friends. The false deadline gave me focus and motivation. It spurred me to action. And I checked a major to-do off my list.

You Can Too.

You can do the same thing. Invite guests over to force you to prepare your home. Sell a product, service, or event before it is ready. Then work like crazy to deliver it on time. Sign up for the race or competition to make yourself train. That pressure is great for you. It turns your electives into requirements. Which is where the magic happens.

Key Takeaway.

Force progress and growth by adding pressure to pressureless situations. It is a great way to create motivation and urgency. It’s a simple trick that makes you immensely more productive. And the rewards of the pressure often compound far into the future.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

If you want your pot to boil just keep the heat on.

Inc. Magazine is a great publication about entrepreneurship. I got a subscription to Inc. when I was in my early 20s. Every month I would devour the magazine. (To be clear, I did this with my mind, not my digestive system.)

From my readings I learned about every aspect of starting a business. I knew all the lingo. I knew the major influencers. I felt like I was part of the entrepreneurial tribe. I had everything I needed except my own business. Which is kind of like having everything a cowboy needs except the horse, ranch and loneliness.

I had been a subscriber to Inc. for nearly 2 decades before I became an actual entrepreneur when I opened The Weaponry, an advertising and idea agency. But when I did, I was well prepared. And it was well worth the wait.

Preparing

It’s natural to give a lot of time, thought, and energy to a dream. By dream I mean things like the following:

  • Starting your own business
  • Hiking the Appalachian Trail
  • Buying a vacation home
  • Epic travel
  • Running a marathon
  • Learning to play an instrument
  • Moving
  • A career change
  • Taking on a major hobby
  • Buying a motorcycle
  • Starting a club, group or society
  • Learning to dance properly
  • Writing a book
  • Streaking the Quad

Don’t get down on yourself for having a dream that you think about a lot but haven’t yet realized. Keep pouring your thoughts and energy into preparing for your dream to come true. Keep reading and studying. Learn all you can. Talk about it. Write your plans down. Know the next step you need to take to make it real.

The next steps could be saving money, finding resources, getting prices, or simply putting a date on the calendar. The key is to make directional progress instead of swirling. Because no one likes a swirly.

To boil a pot of water you have to light the burner, then just keep pouring on the heat. It won’t look like anything is happening for some time. But eventually, that water will boil. As long as you keep increasing the energy you invest in your goal and keep looking for the next step forward to take, you will make it happen.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney didn’t start his epic journey by opening Disney World. He started by reading comics. Then he made drawings. Then he made up stories and put on plays for friends. All of these are easy, small steps in the right direction. Make sure to keep taking your easy small steps. Eventually, they lead to your goals.

Key Takeaway

Set your goals. Then read, learn and prepare yourself. It may take months, years, or decades to get where you want to go. Be patient, but persistent. And keep the heat on. It’s how you make the pot boil.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

If you want something good to happen put a date on it.

There was a consistent theme in my week. I had several great interactions with friends, neighbors and business associates. Then, at the end of our call or in-person conversation, the other person said, ‘We really should…’

What followed the really should were things like:

  • Grab coffee.
  • Grab lunch.
  • Talk further.
  • Do this again.
  • Do this more often.
  • Have you over.
  • Plan a retreat.
  • Get together with our whole crew.
  • Not tell the police.

All of those comments were true. We should all do more things together. We should deepen our relationships with others. We should share more and learn and be inspired by each other more.

But in order to do that you can’t let the plans float. #NoFloaters You can’t simply lob a ‘We Should’ out there and think that anything will happen. As JFK said, things don’t just happen. They are made to happen.

Calendar It.

The next time someone floats a good plan your way, stick it on your calendar. Find a date as soon as you can and make it real. Find a time that works for you both that day. Or the next day at the latest.

Then the floating plan becomes a calendared plan. And calendared plans become real plans. It is the best way to make your shoulds, wishes and wants a reality.

Better yet, make your plans repeating events. This could mean you get together automatically every week, month, quarter, or year. Then enjoy the compounding effect of your interactions by making just one easy plan.

Me and my friend Troy Allen made a plan last week to get together in Columbus. And because it was on the calendar, we made it happen. (I know you were checking out Troy’s butt in the mirror.)

Key Takeaway

When a good plan is floated your way make it real by giving it a date. Put it on your calendar. Make it a scheduled event, not just a hypothetical occurrence. By turning your ‘we shoulds‘ into ‘we dids‘ you will live a fundamentally different and more rewarding life.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

** If you think we should make a plan together let’s get it on a calendar.

Are you maintaining or progressing?

As you put in your work this week recognize how much of what you are doing is maintenance. How much of your work is done just to remain where you are? Cleaning. Fixing. Taking out the trash. Paying rent. Trimming your nose hairs.

This is work. And it needs to be done. But it is doggy paddle type of work. It keeps your head above water, which keeps you alive. But it won’t get you on a box of Wheaties.

Progressing

The valuable work creates progress, growth and improvement. Things like learning. Reading. Studying. Experimenting. Asking yourself big questions. Expanding your skills, social circle, or comfort zone.

Key Takeaway

Dedicate more of your time to progress. It is where the magic happens. It is what makes life fun, exciting and fulfilling. Do it day after day. That compounding effect transforms you and enables you to become the best version of yourself. And better every day.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Who would you offer an open invitation to your time?

John D. Rockefeller was a super busy human. The oil tycoon and one-time richest rock on the block could not have been more in-demand. Yet, after meeting William Rainey Harper, Rockefeller so enjoyed their conversation, and was so inspired by Harper’s thinking that he offered him an open invitation to come talk to Rockefeller anytime he wanted.

To be granted Rockefeller’s All-Access pass Harper must have been quite a special guy. Indeed, Doogie Harper entered college at the age of 10, graduated at 14 and earned his PhD from Yale at 19. But you have to imagine that a person of Rockefeller’s wealth and experience met many smart and interesting cats.

This Begs 2 Questions:

  1. Do you have a person that you would offer an open invitation to come talk to you?

Or perhaps more importantly:

2. Who would you have to be to receive such an invitation?

Like one of those cooking shows where they prepared the final dish ahead of time, I have already spent some time thinking about the question. So here is my freshly baked answer:

To earn an open invitation to my time you need to meet the following criteria:

  1. Be kind. Friendliness is the ultimate ness.
  2. Offer wisdom. Having the wisdom of experience makes you a valuable resource. If you’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt and hat, then you bring great value to me.
  3. Be a problem solver. Can you help me think through the problems, shortcomings and challenges I face? And can you check out the hook while my DJ revolves it?
  4. Be super funny? Humor draws me to others. If you are super funny I may give you a pass on all the rest.
  5. Offer motivation. If you make me want to charge windmills I’ll make time for you.
  6. Be inspirational. We can never have too much.
  7. Intelligence. Show me a great way of thinking and you will improve my own.
  8. Be brave. Courage is contagious. But you don’t have to wear a mask or get a vaccine because of it.
  9. Be a gifted storyteller. A great storyteller is an entertainer. Like watching a TV show, movie or play, a storyteller helps fill your life with interesting and memorable tales.
  10. Be a great listener. Sometimes we just want someone to listen to us.
  11. Have a great perspective. A person that can help you see life, people, and challenges through an interesting lens, that is different than your own, offers additive value.
  12. Smell really good. I like people who smell good.

Key Takeaway

Think about the type of person that you would offer an open invitation to spend time with you. Then work hard to become that person. Not only will others enjoy your company, you will enjoy your own. Which is the most important measure of all.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

An easy technique to keep you from quitting or compromising.

It is often difficult not to give in to temptation. You get hungry, tired, bored or frustrated and feel like quitting. Or eating. Or doing something that trashy talk show producers love, but your family and your boss don’t. Lately, I have been employing a technique that helps a lot in those situations.

Instead of quitting or goofing off, or drinking that beverage that doesn’t align with my fitness goals, I hold off for just 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, all bets are off, and I can give in or give up.

But then a funny thing happens. (Not like a Dave Chappelle-funny thing. Or a football-to-the-groin funny thing. More like a funny-how-well-that-works type of thing.) After 10 minutes I usually feel differently. My moment of weakness has passed. I get a second wind. Or I have simply forgotten what I was whining about.

90% of the time the 10-minute delay technique works for me. Simply agreeing to delay giving in means that I often don’t give in at all. This has a compounding effect over time. By spending more time focussing on a task you gain more traction. And by keeping your commitments you achieve your goals.

Key Takeaway

When you feel like quitting or compromising your commitments, wait just 10-minutes. You’ll be surprised how often you don’t end up giving in. Add this purposeful delay to your personal weaponry. It is an easy technique to use to get much better results than willpower alone can provide.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

The secret to success summarized in just 11 words.

If you want to be successful in life there are no shortcuts. But there is a short formula for success that is easy to remember. Because it rhymes, like LeAnn and Buster.

Here it is:

Early to bed. Early to rise. Work like hell. And advertise.

-No One Really Knows Who Said It First

It’s a simple statement. Just 11 words. And 4 periods. Like a hockey game that goes into overtime. But it is dense in value.

Early to bed. It’s a reminder to get plenty of sleep. If you want to accomplish great things you’re going to need all the energy you can get. Your bed is your recharging station. So treat yourself the way you treat your smartphone, and make sure you get recharged to full power every night.

Early to rise. Getting up early is the best way to make the most of your day. Waking up early gives you bonus time to get more elective work in before the mandatories of the day. Remember, it is your elective activities (exercising, reading, studying, writing, practicing, preparing, volunteering, etc.) that separate you from the masses. By that, I mean the general population, not the church services.

Work like hell. Work creates value. The more you work the more value you create. The more value you create the more you are compensated. Note: the compensation goes far beyond money. Note Note: the compensation also includes money. #AwYeah!

And Advertise. To maximize your positive impact on the world people need to know you exist. You need to be top of mind. When you are top of mind more great things come your way. You need to share the word about your capabilities and willingness to help. Adverting helps people connect their dots to you. It helps others solve their problems with your help. Which makes you more valuable to the world.

Key Takeaway

Start each day early to accomplish as much as you can. Put in as much work as you can. Because we exchange work for gold (gold metals and medals, gold moments, gold relationships, etc.) Let people know who you are and how you can help them. Because the world is full of challenges that you can help overcome. Then get to bed early to rest up and get the most out of tomorrow too.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

To be your best always be wet clay.

Throughout your childhood, you are wet clay. Moldable, impressionable, flexible. Capable of becoming anything. Sometimes a mess. But always ready for change and improvement. And always ready for your big scene with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze.

Most people remain wet clay throughout their schooling. And into the beginning of their careers.

Then people separate into 2 groups.

  1. Those who dry and (James) harden. (Either they throw themselves into the kiln or are simply left out to dry.)
  2. Those who continue to evolve.

Key Takeaway

Don’t harden. Remain wet clay. Remember that you are not finished until you are dead, or give up. Keep growing, learning and improving. Keep working towards those goals you set when you still felt like wet clay. Because you are wet clay as long as you think you are.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

5 Motivational reads for the day after Labor Day.

The day after Labor Day is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s not because people stop wearing white pants. I love me some white jeans, and I usually break them out this week when everyone else’s white pants start smelling mothbally.

I love this day because it is the real start to the new year. When I first started school, Labor Day was the kickoff. The same was true for fall sports. Which makes now a natural time to start your own year.

Today, offices return to full strength after being down players throughout the summer. And from today until Thanksgiving, pumpkin spice joins the realm of gold, frankincense and myrrh the way Neil Young joined Crosby, Stills and Nash. (Side note: Did you know Neil Young is now married to Daryl Hannah? How weird is that?)

If you need a little motivation to kick off your best year ever here are a few timely reads I suggest checking out.

5 Motivational Post-Labor Day Reads

  1. Why September 3rd is the real New Year’s Day.
  2. Why September 6th is the most important day of the year.
  3. Right after Labor Day is the best time for all professionals to do this.
  4. Two questions to refocus your career every Labor Day.
  5. Why there has never been a better time to wear white.

Have a great day! Have a great year! And keep rocking those white pants.