This year resolve to take important new actions.

This is an exciting week for people who own calendars. Because we have flipped to a whole new set of 365 days. The new year brings on new hopes and dreams. It is full of opportunities. Most of us come into the new year, like Wayne Gretzky, with a bunch of new goals.

But the most important thing to do in the new year to convert those goals into reality is to take action.

A goal to lose weight is only a dream until you take action with your diet and exercise. A goal to start a business is worthless until you start talking to potential customers. A goal to travel is only a dream until you buy your ticket to ride. And a goal to write a book, screenplay, or fortune cookie is meaningless until you start typing on your keyboard. (Oh lord, why don’t we?)

The familiar phrase New Year, New You is missing a key ingredient. The complete saying should be:

New Year. New Action. New You.

The action is the active ingredient. It is the change agent. It is the inflection point. Don’t forget the new action. Action is the yeast that will make this year rise above all the rest. So here’s hoping you get a lot of action in 2023.

Key Takeaway

Goals don’t change you. Actions do. As you make plans for the new year go beyond the goals to the actions they require. Write down your new actions. Put them on your calendar. As you take action you will make progress toward your goal. A journey of 1000 miles doesn’t begin with writing down your goal. It begins with that first step.

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

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The first and most important lesson of the new year.

Happy 2023! The beginning of a new year is an exciting time. It’s full of hope, opportunity, and college football.

The exciting news is that today has the potential to be an inflection point in your life. Today could be the day when you stop doing something that was holding you back. Like smoking, overeating, or cheering for the Houston Texans. Or it could be the day you start doing something that will change you forever. Like exercising, working on a major life goal, or making better friends. (Or maybe you write a blog post that amazing people read, which makes them want to subscribe to that blog, and share it with other people…)

But there is a simple truth that you must understand about the promise of a new year:

The year doesn’t make you different. You make the year different.

A new year is not a change agent. It is simply a new blank sheet of paper on which you write your life story, morning glory. Yes, your story can and should get better, starting today. But you have to make that happen.

Here are 6 things you can do to make this year different.

  1. Adopt Your New identity. Decide that deep down in your innards you are the person you really want to be. It is the first and most effective step to becoming your ideal self. Don’t say that you want to be, or will someday be like your ideal. You are now! You are an exerciser, a reader, an entrepreneur, or a Liberace impersonator. And then prove it to yourself every day by living into that identity. #SweetCandleabra

2. Surround Yourself With Better People. The people you spend your time with have a powerful impact on you. They are either tow trucks that pull you forward or anchors that keep you in the same old spot. Find people who are already doing what you want to do. Spend as much time with them as you can. And soon you will take on their best traits, habits and actions. Like in Single White Female.

3. Create Better Habits Habits are everything. You are a product of your habits. If you are struggling with a habit there is something in your process that needs to be adjusted. Keep adjusting your process, cues, and timing until you find something that works for you. To become a master of creating your own great habits check out James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. The book is phenomenal. And it has nothing to do with tiny nuns.

4. Read More. Reading provides tools, ideas, tips, and tricks. Books are full of motivation, inspiration, and any kind of ation you are looking for. Through reading and learning, you’ll discover better ways to do everything. Reading enables us to suck the knowledge and experience out of the brains of rockstars who have already done what we want to do, only without being arrested.

5. Get Scared One of the greatest gifts we have is the scarcity of time. When you recognize how little time you have to accomplish all that you want to, it should scare the fecal matter out of you. Then 2 important things happen. First, you pick up the pace. You realize that you need to take action now, or soon it will be too late. Second, the scarcity of time inspires you to take care of your health. You recognize the value of exercise, weight control and healthy eating to maximize your time.

6. Set SMART Goals. Goals provide direction, inspiration and a scoreboard. Give yourself goals to help improve your life and happiness. Give yourself habit goals to improve your daily life. And declare achievement goals to help you accomplish those big things you always dreamed of doing. Make sure your goals are SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Based

Key Takeaway

You have 365 days to make this an amazing year. As JFK said, things do not happen. They are made to happen. Declare your ideal identity. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do. Constantly work on your habit creation and maintenance. Read great books and articles to acquire more tools and inspiration. Realize you are running out of time. And that this year is a gift. Act now to prevent regret later. Create clear goals related to your most important habits and achievements. Then work at them every day. And never stop. That’s how you make this year different.

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

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

I don’t recommend getting signatures on the digital version.

What a canceled flight can teach you about your New Year’s goals.

I have several friends who have had their flights delayed or canceled over the past few days. It’s a total bummer to land a starring role in The Airline That Stole Christmas. Brought to you by Southwest Airlines, the airline that won’t let you get away.

When your flight gets canceled you are forced to answer a very simple question:

Now, what do I do?

Goals vs Strategy

When you have travel plans, the destination is your goal. The flight you book is the strategy you choose to arrive at your goal. If your flight gets canceled it affects your strategy, not your goal. The key is to choose a new strategy.

You can book a different flight. You can drive. You can take a train, plane or automobile. You can ride in the back of a rental truck with a polka band from Kenosha. You can ride across the country on a scooter with a friend who is even dumber than you.

Plan B

This week, when my friends Stephanie and Taylor’s flights were canceled, they chose to drive instead. Sure, driving took longer than flying. But it got them to their destinations. Plus, when you drive you get unlimited peanuts, bigger drinks and nobody is trying to gerrymander your armrest.

Your Goals for 2023

As you prepare for a great new year in 2023 you should set exciting new goals to make this your best year yet. You should write the goals down. And you should create a strategy for achieving them.

However, if you are struggling to achieve your goals in 2023, remember the canceled flights. Let them serve as reminders to change your strategy, not your goal.

Key Takeaway

Your goal is your chosen destination. Your strategy is how you plan to get to your goal. When you struggle to make progress, adjust your strategy, not your goal. And remember, you can change your strategy as often as you need to until you find a plan that works.

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

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The first and most important goal to set for the new year.

We are 360 days into 2022. Which means the end of the year is near. For those who get the number of days in a year confused with the number of degrees in a circle, you may be thinking that tonight is New Year’s Eve. It is not.

However, within the next 5 days, we will ring in 2023. Which is exciting. It’s even more exciting to bust into the new year with a new set of annual goals. In fact, there is almost nothing more exciting than a new list of goals. Because those goals represent a new and better you. A you who is fitter, richer, happier, and maybe more sober or less cigarettey than the current you.

I am a huge fan of setting goals to become a better human. Setting goals has helped me Rumpelstiltskin my ambitions into accomplishments.

A few examples:

  • Goal setting is how I broke my high school, conference and state records in the discus.
  • Goal setting is how I became an entrepreneur and launched the advertising and idea agency The Weaponry. (Goal setting also helped my team launch our new agency website by the end of 2022. We haven’t announced it yet, but if you click the hyperlink above you will be the very first people to see it live.)
  • Goal setting is how I publish a new blog post at least 3 times every week.
  • Goal setting is how I wrote my first book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? And my second book The Culture Turnaround, with Jeff Hilimire.
  • Goal setting is why today my weight is within 1 pound of what I weighed when I graduated from high school.
  • Goal setting has enabled me to steadily increase my net worth.
  • Goal setting drives me to read a whole mess of new books every year.
  • Goal setting has kept me off the pole. (That and a lack of requests to actually see me on a pole.)

Goal #1

All of my successful goal setting has taught me that there is one goal that you should set first. A goal that will make it easier to achieve all of your other goals. Here it is:

Surround yourself with people who are already doing what you want to do.

There is nothing more valuable to achieving your goals than to spend time with others who have already achieved that goal, or who are fully committed to doing it now.

The gravitational pull of humans on other humans is very strong. And like a Peleton in a bike race, the group will pull the individual along. (Which also means that if everyone else is wearing spandex and doping, you are highly likely to too. Right Lance?)

  • The best chance to keep your fitness goals is to surround yourself with fit and health-committed friends.
  • The best way to write a book is to surround yourself with published authors. (And pens.)
  • The best way to get rich is to spend time with rich people.
  • The best way to become more positive is to hang out with other positive people.
  • The best way to become a better spouse and parent is to spend time with great spouses and parents.
  • The best way to get rid of tan lines is to hang out at a nudist colony.

Key Takeaway

Peer groups are like trains. You are highly likely to go where those around you are going. So when you set your goals, make sure you get on the right train. Surround yourself with the right people. People who are committed to going where you want to go. It is the most important step on your journey. And it is the key to arriving at your chosen destination on time.

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

To have a great year start with Planuary!

For many people, 2021 was a year they would rather forget. But not me. 2021 was a year that I would take extra Ginkgo Biloba to remember. I had a remarkable year. Here’s a quick summary:

Noteworthy Happenings From My 2021:

  • I sold 2 homes during the hottest real estate market in history.
  • I bought the home I spent more than 2 years looking for. (Which means the soundtrack in my head finally switched from U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, to Kenny Loggin’s This Is It!
  • I coached high school track and field for the first time. (My daughter Ava made it to state in the discus as a freshman. Which made me look good as a freshman coach.)
  • I helped coach my son Magnus’s 5th-grade tackle football team. (I specialized in coaching the boys on their volume and hypeitude.)
  • I planned my high school class reunion in Hanover, New Hampshire. (And there was almost no drama. But enough to keep it interesting.)
  • I traveled to Vermont, New Hampshire Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Ohio, Alabama, California, Texas, Minnesota, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Pennsylvania New York, Rhode Island, Tennesee, Massachusettes, Kentucky, Connecticut, Arkansas and Missouri.
  • The Weaponry, the advertising and ideas agency I launched in 2016 celebrated its 5th birthday. (I invited Marilyn Monroe to jump out of the cake but she didn’t return my calls.)
  • I bought 2 new cars. Because the old ones (10+ years old) asked for a rest.
  • I published my first book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?
  • My Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA Championship
  • The Atlanta Braves and my guy Austin Riley won the World Series.
  • And my man Tom Brady won yet another Super Bowl.
  • (The last 3 are just fun for me. I had nothing to do with any of them.)

How To Make Your 2022 Great.

Great years don’t just happen. They are made to happen. And it all starts with planning. That’s why I call January Planuary. Because now is the time to plan your great year ahead.

What makes a year great is up to you. But if you don’t know what makes a year great feel free to use my plan, and adjust it to suit your own goals.

The 10 Things I plan in January. (Or Planuary)

  1. Travel: Especially the Places I gotta See Before I Die type of travel.
  2. Things I want to learn: This includes stuff like music, language, how to perform standup comedy, how to perform crouch down comedy, taking a hunter’s safety course, CPR certification, or getting my motorcycle license.
  3. Books to read: I pick some important books to read each year. Or set a goal like reading a book per month. Or 3 books per month. Audiobooks count. And they are one of my great life hacks.
  4. Career goals: I pick new challenges, set new targets to hit, make a change, or start a new business.
  5. Life goals: Like writing a book, hiking the Appalachian Trail, coaching or volunteering
  6. Connections to make: I ask, Who do I want to meet next? If you haven’t planned this before try it. It could change your whole life.
  7. Reconnections to make: Like planning a class reunion, team reunion or a friend meetup.
  8. Making time for big progress: I block time for progress against my goals. Like writing every morning between 6 am and 7 am. Or time for exercise. Or beard grooming.
  9. Timelines: I determine when I will do the big stuff. And I create timelines and deadlines to bring the more complicated goals to life.
  10. Other: This could be anything. Except for the 9 things above. Because if it is one of the 9 things above you don’t need a 10th category.

Key Takeaway

Great years don’t just happen. You have to make the year great through your plans and actions. Now is the time to create the plans. Put dates on the calendar. Make your year look amazing in January. Then make your plan your reality by living into it all year long. Then look back on New Year’s Eve at all you experienced and accomplished. Do this year after year, and you will have created a great life.

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

If you like this idea and wonder if I have any more good ideas, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

8 great ways to overcome your setbacks.

Long-term success is hard. Partially because short-term success isn’t that hard. It’s easy to string together a couple of quick improvements when you start anything new. Because you start everything new at your lowest level. Which means the first few steps often offer quick wins, confidence, and rewards. You just follow the yellow brick road, and all the little people cheer you on and give you new shoes.

Things Get Harder

But then you run into a non-improvement event. Or the unthinkable: Deprovement. Then you take a few steps back. This is especially common when you have really great success right out of the gate. Because you set the bar higher than you have the capacity to clear with your early skills and experience. #childactors

It Happens To The Best Of Us

But setbacks also occur when you have loads of experience. Because what used to drive better and better results stops working. Frustration sets in. Your confidence takes a kick in the tenders. And there you are at the crossroads of success.

This is your movie moment. This is when too many people quit or give up. Which is the only way to truly fail. When you face such challenges, and challenges will be faced, here’s a recipe to move beyond the swirly-whirly swamp of stalled progress, and fulfill your personal legend.

8 great ways to overcome your setbacks.

  1. Short-term goals. Set easily achieved short-term goals that get you moving in the right direction again. Make some of them laughably easy. That way you will both meet your goals and laugh. #winwin
  2. Long-term vision. Remember the big picture. Your long-term goals will not be achieved in one straight push. Keeping the long-term perspective reminds you that this is just a chapter in your story. And adversity helps make every story better.
  3. Focus on the most impactful area of improvement. Find your one thing to focus on that will have the greatest impact. There are almost always small actions that have huge consequences. Find those actions and take them.
  4. Forget your failures. Don’t dwell on your failures. Move past them as quickly as possible. Nike Founder and CEO Phil Knight said, “The art of competing, I’d learned from track, was the art of forgetting. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past.”
  5. Identify with your successes. Remember that the successful you is the real you. The setbacks and stumbles are temporary and will soon be purged. Like Chris Gaines or Sasha Fierce.
  6. Take responsibility for your failures. Take complete ownership of your failures and shortcomings. By taking ownership of them, instead of blaming others or making excuses, you are taking full ownership of the solution too.
  7. Look at other areas of your life. Humans are complex machines. Often a disruption in one area of your life has an impact on other areas. Examine your sleep, your nutrition, your relationships, your other stresses, and your time commitments. Chances are that the challenges you are experiencing in one area of your life are having an impact on other areas of your life as well. Because the hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone.
  8. Believe in yourself. Have faith in your ability to identify the problem and make the necessary adjustments. Lead your own fan club. Because the person who thinks they can and the person who thinks they can’t are both right.

Key Takeaway

Setbacks are a key part of any great story. They force you to improve. Which ultimately makes you stronger, smarter, and more capable to face the next challenge. So embrace your challenges. Then go write your next great chapter.

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

How to move your most important initiatives down the track.

We all have big goals we want to achieve. However, the goal setting isn’t the hard part. It is not enough to know what you want to do. It’s what you do do that matters. In order to achieve your goals, you have to take action. A lot of action.

The good news is that to accomplish your most important goals you don’t need to make things happen in giant steps. You simply have to make steady progress. I find it useful to think of my most important initiatives as trains. The objective is simply to move the trains down the track.

The Process

1. Identify your trains.

Start by focusing on your 1 to 5 most important initiatives. Remember, 5 is the max. More than 5 dilutes your attention and your energy. This is why we don’t have the Jackson 6, or go around high six-ing each other.

2. Start each day with your list of trains.

They could be businesses you want to build, fitness goals, work projects, passion projects, volunteer efforts, or travel plans. In fact, your trains can be anything you want to do, make or accomplish. Heck, your train could be to catch drops of Jupiter or to meet Virginia.

3. Write down an action you can take that day to move each train down the track.

Determine the next step in the process that will help you make progress. Always be thinking about the next task to take on, like A-ha said.

4. Take that action.

Some actions will move you inches. Some will move you feet. Some will move you yards. And others will move you miles down the track. However, all actions, large or small, will get you closer to your goal.

Keep Moving

The key is to get your trains movings. Your biggest goals, hopes, and dreams are like locomotives. They are heavy, powerful, and hard to get going. Simply getting the wheels to start turning can feel like a monumental task. Especially if your goal is to build a monument.

But once your trains start moving it is easier to pick up speed, like Sandra Bullock. You will soon find yourself taking more and bigger actions faster. Before you know it you will have momentum on your side. Your actions become habits. And you will start ticking off tasks like the clicking and clacking of a train speeding down the track. (By ticking off I mean completing. Not making-mad, like my parents used to say to me.)

At the end of each day, check to see if you moved your trains down the track. The answer should be clear. You either took action or you didn’t. If you did take action, note whether you moved inches, feet, yards, or miles. Of course, these are meant to be symbolic relative measurements. They translate to small, medium, large and Neil Armstrong-sized steps forward.

If you take no action your train will remain in the station. But through consistent action, your trains will reach their destination. It’s as simple and certain as that.

Key Takeaway

Move your most important initiatives farther down the track every day. Small, consistent actions start the wheels turning. Then come bigger actions with bigger results. Which ultimately help you build momentum. A train with momentum is very hard to stop. A person with momentum is nearly impossible to stop. Make yourself that person.

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

30 Important questions to ask yourself at the end of the year.

We have finally come to the end of 2020. This year is certain to be a first-ballot inductee to the Year Hall of Fame. The unprecedented health, economic, political, racial, and social issues of 2020 have made this a year like no other.

Yet the adaptability, innovation, resilience and humanness revealed in 2020 have shown just how amazing humans really are. While cockroaches are known as the species that will survive anything, 2020 has proven that human survival skills are very well intact. Right Mr. Darwin?

Preparing For 2021

Now it’s time to prepare for a great 2021. Why prepare? Because great years, like great lives, don’t just happen. We make them happen.

A key element of living a great life is self-reflection. Asking yourself good questions is like conducting your own performance review. It’s a simple way to discover where you need to course correct, where your course is already correct, and where your corset could correct.

If you don’t know what questions to ask yourself, you’ve come to the right blog post. Here are 30 questions to ask yourself now to prepare to make 2021 your best year yet. For best results, write your answers down. In fact, I created a Google Doc that you can print or make a copy of right here.

30 Questions In A Particular Order.

1. Am I educating myself? Getting better starts with getting smarter. Continue to self-educate and your knowledge, abilities, and competitive advantages will grow like compound interest. 

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2. Am I exercising enough? Your body is your life vehicle. Regular exercise keeps it in top shape. Which will allow you to travel further, faster and over rougher terrain.

3. Am I giving enough to others? Shel Silverstein famously wrote about The Giving Tree. But there is also a magical Giving Boomerang (perhaps made of wood from the giving tree). Because when you give your time, talent and treasure to others, good things come back to you in even bigger and better ways.  

4. Am I disciplined enough? Discipline is what gets the job done. If you are not doing the things you’ve committed to, or if you are not avoiding the things you should avoid, check your discipline. Remember, you only need enough to create a habit. Then the habit takes over and discipline can be deployed towards something else.

5. Am I thinking big enough? The answer for 99% of us is no. Think Bigger. Think as big as you can. Think Elon Musk-y. Because bigger thoughts lead to bigger results. It costs the same amount to think big as it does to think small. But the return on your thinking investment is much different. You can always go bigger. #TWSS

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

6. Am I taking the actions that matter most? Not all actions are created equal. Remember the 80/20 rule. Find the small actions with the biggest rewards. There are a lot of actions that generate very little results. Simply taking the right kinds of action (interacting with the right people for example) can change your life. For proof see Sliding Doors or Run Lola Run.

7. Am I empathetic enough? Are you putting yourself in other people’s shoes? (Like Dr. Scholl’s) Are you really thinking about issues from someone else’s perspective? Want to make and keep more friends? Or develop more sales? Develop your empathy.

8. Am I providing more value than I am costing? This is the key to becoming a highly valuable and sought after human. Always give more than you take and you will remain in control of your destiny. As soon as that ratio flips you are no longer in the drivers seat. Sorry Charlie.

9. Am I getting better or getting worse? Check your trajectory. You are either headed up or down on every possible measure. The good news is that with all but some physical aging issues you can always improve your own angle through focused effort, commitment and mindset. 

10. Am I strengthening my network? Most people think far too little about the strength of their network. But take it from the mobile carriers, it is all about the strength of your network. Continue to develop and maintain meaningful relationships. Make as many genuine friendships as you can. When you do, your social, professional and political capital will continue to grow. Which opens you to more opportunities. Remember, opportunities are human things. 

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11. Am I valuable to know? Do you add value to others? Are you kind, helpful, or inspiring? Do you offer access and connections? Are you are great listener? Really think about the value you offer others. The more value you offer, the more people will seek you out. And you want to be sought after. 

12. Am I stretching myself? Growth occurs by stretching beyond your previous abilities. By stretching you expand and strengthen. If you are not stretching you are prone to atrophy and shrinkage. Nobody wants shrinkage. Just ask George Costanza.

13. Am I surprising people? Are you simply doing the things others come to expect of you? Or are you surprising them with new abilities and ambitions? Have you become predictable? Or are you endlessly interesting? Keep the surprises coming. 

14. Am I keeping my word? Trustworthiness is the bedrock of relationships, and the gateway to opportunity. Check your trustworthiness more often than once a year. Keeping your word is required on a daily basis. Like flossing and changing your undies.

15. Am I living into my vision for myself? You have aspirations. But simply having aspirations is not enough. You have to get yourself to the destination. You have to become the person you imagined, dragon. Do the doing, not just the dreaming. 

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Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

16. Am I noticing those who need me? We all have people who need us. Family, friends, clients, employees, community members. Do you see them? Do you notice what they need from you?  Do you notice what you have to give?

17. Am I being present? Be now. This is all you ever have.

18. Am I taking care of my health? Have you seen your doctor and dentist lately? Do you have a doctor and dentist? How about a mental health specialist? A chiropractor? Take care of yourself. Because everybody needs a body.

19. Am I eating well? You are what you eat. Literally. Be mindful of your personal building materials. It makes a difference. Because you don’t want to look like a Cheeto in your Speedo. 

20. Do I have a healthy way to destress? The world is an all-you-can-eat stress buffet. You need to have ways to rid yourself of the stress. Sleep, exercise and church are my go-to’s. Find your ways to destress best.

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21. Do I have enough human interaction? It is easy to become isolated from others, especially during a global pandemic. Humans are social creatures. We need a minimum of human interaction. Positive human interaction is often exactly what we need for comfort, belonging and perspective. During times of isolation, use technology to get your daily allowance of humans. Don’t use Chat Roulette.

22. Am I spending enough time in nature? Spending time in nature is great for re-grounding yourself. A little quiet time with Mama Nature provides peace and perspective you can’t get anywhere else.

23. Am I getting enough sleep? Sleep is the great reset button. It enables you to regenerate your best self. Take advantage of it. Get as much as you need. 

24. Am I finding joy in my work? Work fills half of your waking hours. Finding joy in work is finding joy in life. If you are not finding joy it is time for a change. A new approach, a new job, or a new career should be on the table.   

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25. Does my boss value me? An unfair amount of your happiness is tied to your relationship with your boss. If you have a boss that values you and treats you well you have won half the battle. If not, make a change. Life is too short for bad bosses. 

26. Am I living a story worth reading? You only get one shot at life. Make it great. make it a story worth telling, worth hearing and worth reading.  

27. Am I positively impacting others? At the end of our days the only thing that really matters is the impact we have on others. Focus on making a positive impact and you will live a great life.

28. Am I laughing enough? This is the easiest way to measure happiness. Laughter is more valuable than money. Spend more time with the people who make you laugh. They will make you feel most alive. 

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Are Reserved. All Lefts Are Outgoing. 

29. Am I making others laugh? We are drawn to people who make us laugh. Are you able to see the humor in life and share it with others? A humorous perspective is always a valuable resource. Especially during difficult times.

30. Am I investing enough in my most important relationship? Think of the one relationship that means more to you than any other. A spouse or significant other. A parent, child or sibling. A friend, partner or neighbor. Are you investing in that person as much as you should? Always give the most important people the most. 

31. Am I giving more than people expect? When you offer up 30 questions do you actually give 31? It’s not that hard to do. Overdeliver. People remember.

Key Takeaway

Self improvement starts with asking yourself good questions. You are a work in progress. Knowing what you should work on is how you make the progress.

*If you know someone who would benefit from these questions, please share this with them.

Here is the link to the Google Doc with the 31 questions.

Happy New Year! 2021 Is going to be great! No Question.

Why a midweek crisis is so good for you.

I have a confession to make. I love Mondays. I dislike the term Hump Day. And I have disdain for the term Finally Friday. Although I dig the song by George Jones. Wait, I think that was 4 confessions.

Your Week Is Your Life

I believe that your workweek is not something to survive. It is your life. In fact, 71% of your time is non-weekend. Which means the workweek is not your enemy. It is your greatest asset. If you dread Mondays and finally feel good again on Fridays, you are doing it wrong. Bang a gong. Now it’s time to get it on.

Rethinking The Week

Think about each week as if it was your entire life. Start Mondays like a youngster. State your goals and plans for the week. Then get to work. If you accomplish your goals by Friday you can enjoy a happy retirement. Which in this case, is your weekend.

Monday

I have been using this simple life-week construct for most of my life. There are 3 keys to making this construct work. The first is a clear Monday plan. Knowing what you want to accomplish during your week is key to keeping you focused and progressing.

The importance of Monday is no surprise. Although in my perfect life-week construct I actually start the plan on Sunday night. Which is probably a bit like planning your life while you are still in the womb. Like Womba Thurman. Or Mr. Wombastic.

Work Like Boots

The 2nd key is putting in the work. You have to put in the focused effort to make strong progress towards your goals. Without putting in the focused work you are simply wishing for success. And if wishes were fishes we would all have a fry.

The Wednesday Breakdown

However, the third key to this approach is not so obvious. If you think of your week like your entire life, then Wednesday is not the day to celebrate getting over the humpty-hump. Wednesday is the day to have your midweek crisis.

Having a midweek crisis means having a legit concern that you are not where you thought you would be at the midpoint of the week. This will cause you to closely re-evaluate your plan for the rest of the week. It will force you to make important adjustments in your priorities and productivity. The crisis and refocusing will help make sure you reach the end of your week with the type of progress and accomplishment you set out to have.

The Go In Goals

Your goals are your guides. You can’t just set them and forget them. You must check in with them often. They should guide your daily and hourly actions. They must drive your priorities. They tell you what you must sacrifice and what your non-negotiables are. So set your goals every Monday (or Sunday night). Then every Wednesday you must refocus on what is most important in order to hit your targets by Fri-yay.

Key Takeaway 

If you want to be more productive every week, start thinking of your week like your entire life. Set your goals at the start of the week. Have a serious evaluation of your progress on Wednesday. Refocus your efforts. Use your time. And achieve all that you set out to. Your life is built week by week. Don’t let another one slip by waiting for Friday.

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

A better approach to the first day on the job.

Do you remember the first day of your career? I do. It was weird. On the first day of my advertising career I got shown to a mostly empty cubicle, was handed a schedule of my departmental orientations, and was mostly abandoned. The 2 highlights of the day were that I was taken out to lunch by a handful of other creatives at the agency, and that I didn’t get fired.

The Weaponry

Two decades later when I launched my own advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, I wanted to do things differently. I wanted something more profound to happen on the first day. And I wanted it to be OSHA compliant.

This Week

We had an exciting new employee start at The Weaponry this week. She is significant in that she is the first member of our team who started with us right out of college, without prior advertising or marketing experience.

After talking with the new team member for an hour about what we do and who we do it for and why we do it the way we do it, and Mountain Dew and the Dewey Decimal system, we gave her The Weaponry’s unique first day assignment.

The Assignment

The assignment for our new team members is to spend 1 hour writing. Even if you are not a writer.

First: We ask that you spend 30 minutes writing down your career goals and aspirations. We want you to think about the journey you are on and all that you want to accomplish. We ask that you think big, be specific and paint a clear picture of what success looks like to you.

Second: We ask you to write down your goals, aspirations and expectations for the upcoming year. We want to know what you want to know and how you expect to grow. We want you to think about how the first year fits within the Elon-Musky career you just wrote about.

Sharing

We ask our team members to share their goals for the first year. It helps us understand what they are expecting to get out of the year. It ensures that they will get the support and knowledge they most want over the next 365 days.

However

The Career Goals Overview is private. That is just for the new team member. We want our teammates to feel as if they can think really big. We want them to set gonzo goals without judgements. We want them to start their careers with the end in mind, so that they can clearly understand how the next step in their career can help them make progress towards their ultimate goals.

We also acknowledge that their career goals may not involve us. Or even working in our industry. I am Ok with that.

Direction

This exercise helps create career clarity, direction and calibration. It will help them refocus when they lose their way, or stall. It will provide guidance when making decisions about the opportunities that come their way. And It will help them prioritize long term goals over short term rewards. Plus, the writing exercise will make for a cool scene when a movie is made about their amazing career. Note to the director: I want my role to be played by Morgan Freeman or Awkwafina.

Key Takeaway

We all have the ability to positively influence those we interact with. As a business leader, coach, parent or teacher you can have a profound impact on the lives of those you have the privilege to lead and guide. Take that opportunity seriously. Look for ways you can have a positive, long lasting influence. Because at the end of your career and the end of your days, the only thing that really matters is the impact you had on others.

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