So, get started already…

September 19, 2022

Today’s inspirational graphic is a great reminder that perseverance is an important part of success…

Quitting never leads to success. I would also submit that Wayne Gretzky’s quote is even more important – “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

One can have regrets for having given up their pursuit of a goal, but at least they tried. The remorse that one feels when they reflect on not even having tried is much greater. Almost or not quite are better mental places to be than coulda, woulda, shoulda.  One can learn from a failed attempt, but one can only lament not trying at all.

So take today’s quote to heart AFTER you take the the most important step and get started. Success is not going to reach out an find you. You must pursue it.

So, get started already!

Try imagining success…

August 22, 2022

As this graphic points out, we are oft limited by our own imaginations.

If you imagine failure instead of success, you will probably achieve what you have imagined.

I have written many times about how professional athletes, especially golfer, use a technique called visualization to rehearse and “see” a successful shot before they actually executing it. I suspect than none who use this technique imagine themselves dubbing the shot or hitting a “duck hook” instead of the perfect drive. Many amateurs, on the other hand approach their shots with disaster in mind and  achieve that imagined result more often than not.

Limits are barriers to further progress or success. Sometimes there are very real limits, governed by things that cannot be changed, no matter how hard or long one may try. Much of time, however, the limits that you “see” are self-imposed figments of your own imagination.

Resolve to imagine success instead of failure and most “barriers” become just challenges for which you can imagine a solution. See yourself overcoming those challenges instead of being stopped by them.

There was a story on the national news recently about a man who was born with no arms and only stubby little legs. The story was not about the powered wheelchair that he uses to move around the house, but about him driving a car for the last 15 years. Think for a moment about how many obstacles he had to overcome to achieve that. Put some of your own challenges up against that and you might see how small they really are. With the help of some very inventive people who specialize in modifying cars for the disabled, he was able to realize his vision of driving himself around.

For most of us, who are not so severely handicapped, we can find help in overcoming life’s challenges by enlisting the help of a very imaginative God who will find ways for us to persevere and overcome life’s challenges. Sometimes God changes the destination and outcome rather than helping us achieve some imagined goal, but He always helps us see how to be happy with where we end up.

So, starting out this week, don’t waste time imagining limits for yourself. Rather, visualize the success that you hope to achieve and set out to realize that vision. Reinforce that vision of success by soliciting God’s help. If you believe in God there are no limits. Believe that instead of imagining limits.

Don’t wait…Do it now…

March 12, 2021

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed shared this bit of advice – “You’re only here for a short visit.  Don’t worry; don’t hurry.  And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”  (Walter Hagen) [ED. – Walter Hagen was the Jack Nicolas or Tiger Woods of golf in the early part of the Twentieth Century.]

It is really a shame that so many do not realize and heed the advice that Hagen was giving in that quote until they are in their senior years (me included). When we are younger we tend to get all wrapped up in our ideas that a “successful” life entails being focused upon success in our jobs and earning more and more money, so that we can buy more and more things. Eventually we realize that things are not really that important and that our relationships are what really matters. Unfortunately, many men tend to realize that after it is too late to enjoy some of life’s best moments – moments and memories of our children growing up that we miss because, “daddy had to work and couldn’t be here”.

It is hard to smell the flowers along the way when your attention is totally focused upon getting that next deal or promotion. The phrase “it’s lonely at the top” was probably coined as much for the belated realization of all that was sacrificed on the way there as anything. It’s lonely because they ignored those important relationships and let time with spouses, children and friends slip away.  

It is critically important to constantly evaluate why you are working, more so than to focus upon how hard you are working. You may think that you are working to give your family more and more things, when all they really want is more and more of your time and attention. There may be little that you can do to reduce the amount of time that you must focus upon your job; however, you can prioritize how you spend your time away from the job and that should be focused upon your family and friends.

So, take Hagen’s advice – slow down and stop to smell the flowers along the way. Accumulate good memories of time spent with family and friends with the same fervor as you try to accumulate money and possessions. “I’ll get to that tomorrow” is not a valid strategy. Tomorrow may never come and how sad it would be that you missed today, too.

Don’t wait. Do it now.

Be the person that you would like to be…

March 13, 2017

I attended a very good real estate training session last week, put on my Steve Woodruff of The Woodruff Group. Steve is a well-known in the real estate world as a great motivational speaker and trainer. I came away with enough sayings from that session to last me a long time here, especially when I combine them with things that I get from Jack Freed in his blog Jack’s Winning Words.

One of the first good quotes from Steve was this one – “How would the person that I would like to be do what I’m about to do?” Some might try to substitute the little phrase WWJD“What would Jesus do?”, but I submit that doing so abstracts the process too much. These are our decisions to make and it is up to us to make them. Perhaps a better way to phrase that last saying might be to ask yourself, “What would a person who follows the teachings of Jesus do?” That at least brings us full-circle back to thinking about the person that we’d like to be – a person who follows the teachings of Jesus.

Bringing up thinking leads us to a little quote from Jack’s blog –

“Many problems in life are caused because we act without thinking or because we think without acting.”  (Unknown)

How often do we see an injustice or someone in need and just pass the situation by, thinking that we don’t have time for that right now?  That leads to the second quote from Jack’s blog –

“How soon, not now, becomes never!” – Martin Luther

Perhaps the situation is one that requires that you break away a bit from the norm and gopredjuices against the stream of what appears to be commonly accepted practice. That requires courage and a strong belief that what you are about to do is the right thing, the thing that the person that you wish to be would do. Steve had a great quote for that –

“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity.” – Rollo May

It takes courage to stand up for the person being bullied. It takes courage to befriend the person in your class who is “different”. It takes courage to stop hiding in the closet and come out and live the life that you were born to live. It takes courage to admit that you need help and seek it. It takes courage to stand on the opposite side of the police line and courageprotest the treatment of people of color or ethnicity. It takes courage to stand up and say that I will not be treated like an object anymore or take any more of your abuse. It takes courage to decide that you are not going to continue to “go along to get along” anymore. Be the person that you would like to be and act now, before “not now” becomes never in your life.

Many people like to play the role of the victim. They are constantly complaining about what others have done to them or done that holds them back. Steve had a great quote for that, too.

Do not complain about what you permit – Anon

I found a great follow-on to that quote – No one can “walk all over you” unless you lay down and let them. – Maria Moore

The point to both quotes is that you control what happens to you – the situations that you life-choicesget yourself into and the reactions that you have to them. Ask yourself how the person that you would like to be would act and react in those situations. Would that person show courage or cowardice? Would that person act without thinking or think about it without acting and perhaps let not now become never?

A great way to start off this week is to take a moment before you dive into your normal workday life and think about another short series of quotes from Steve Woodruff –

Success is a choice not a circumstance – make the choice and act upon it

Take Responsibility – It’s your life and no one else can live it for you and make the decisions for you unless you lay down and let then walk over you

Attack your Fears – Fears, uncertainty and doubts are just temporary roadblocks that life throws up in front of us. Do not let them stop you. Attacked them, overcome them and move on.

Invent your Future – Become that person that you would like to be and you will have the life that you’ve dreamed of living.

Have a great week ahead.


You’ll never feel completely ready, so just start…

November 28, 2016

I recently read a great article titled Successful People Start Before They Feel Ready by motivational author and speaker, James Clear. I won’t spoil it for you by revealing the opening, but the gist of the whole thing is not to get too hung up on being ready to take on something new, whether it be a job, an entrepreneurial  opportunity or a new relationship. Just get started.

In my real estate work, I’m under the Real Estate One company brokerage. Real Estate One is a great company for training and developing new real estate agents. The office that I work out of in Milford runs classes for people looking to get their real estate agent licenses several times a year and it always full. A harsh reality in the real estate business is that more than half (maybe as high as 60-70%) of the people who get through the course and get their license will not last a full year in the business. One reason is that they get into it with totally out of line expectations about how much and how fast they can earn and how much they will have to work. I know that the local manager counsels everyone who wants to join our office out of those classes about what they should realistically expect, but many chose to ignore that advice and are gone within their first year.

One of the biggest roadblocks to success for these ”newbie” agents is their feeling that restless sleepthey don’t know enough to handle customer situations. They quite correctly surmise that the training that was required to pass the real estate licensing test is pretty much useless for the day-to-day job of actually being a Realtor®. Real Estate One does provide them with additional training (marketing classes and in-office training on the details of the real estate process); however, they quickly see that there is a ton more to know and the fear of not knowing everything becomes a major roadblock to even trying. Some never overcome that fear and drop out because no business came to them and they were afraid to go after any new business. They feared looking like a fool in front of customers, instead of developing the ability to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out”, as they really learned the business.

Life in general is really like that, too. We’re never going to have enough time to know all that we think we need to know or to get as ready as we feel we need to be, whether it is going into the first day on a new job or going out on a first date. Most of us just don’t feel comfortable because we don’t understand the unknowns – we think that we’re not ready.

The advice that Clear give in his article is that successful people jump in anyway; ready or not. They jump in with those fears still in place, but they also jump in with a sense of jump-inadventure and the self confidence that they will be able to tackle any challenges that come along. If they fail, they fail; and they are OK with that because they will view it as a learning experience. The examples that Clear uses also show that they don’t let temporary setbacks stop them. They find a way to recover and move ahead. Some successful people have said later in life, “I was too dumb to know that it couldn’t be done, so I just did it.” They weren’t dumb; they just weren’t afraid to just get started.

Even in situations like asking for a date, feelings of not being ready can creep in and stop someone in their tracks. Maybe you feel like you don’t have enough money for a date or perhaps that you don’t have nice enough clothes. Maybe it’s concern that you don’t have someplace special planned to go or something special in mind to do. Maybe you lay there awake and night wandering what you would talk about in a date. What would you say about yourself? What would you say to him/her? You think that you’re not ready. Don’t live the rest of your live with a bad cases of the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s about that person that you missed your opportunity just with because you felt like you weren’t ready. Just get started.

problem-solverInstead of focusing upon the things that you don’t know and the things you fear that someone may ask of you, focus instead of doing the best that you can, being as honest as you can and being unafraid of saying, ”I don’t know, but I know how to find out.” Just get started and take the rest as it comes. Successful people tend to be good problem solvers, but the problems that need to be solved, in order to reach success, will never occur, if you don’t get started.

I’ve posted here a few times about effective strategies and techniques for problem solving, so review a few of those posts.  Expecting that problems will occur and being mentally ready to go into problem solving mode is perhaps the best way to get prepared. Many successful people might even tell you that the real adrenaline rushes that came with success came from meeting challenges and solving problems along the way. starting

I know that it’s Monday and you had a long weekend. You haven’t had time to get as prepared as you would like; but, be successful today, this week and this year. Get started.

How are things working out for you?

March 9, 2015

“Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.” ― John Wooden

John WoodenJohn Wooden was one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. Nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” as head coach at UCLA he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including an unprecedented seven in a row. Wooden was a master motivator as well as a masterful coach.

There are those who spend a good part of their life lamenting how things have turned out, as if they are somehow the target of some huge plot or the unfortunate recipient of inordinate amounts of bad luck. Others accept the cards that they are dealt and see if they can still make a winning hand out of them. The former embrace failure by finding a way to blame it all on someone or something else; the latter use failures as teachable moments in their lives from which they can learn and get better.

How do you approach life? Do you let temporary setbacks get you down or do they gloomy guyserve to motivate you to try harder the next time? Do you wallow in self-pity or marvel at how far you got or what you achieved before you were set back? Do you learn from those mistakes or failures or just cry about them? Are you about to give up on your dreams and goals? Wooden had a thought about that, too.  Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.

As one might expect, great athletic coaches often excel because they teach their players great advice for life; and that advice also helps their teams achieve great things. Often facing new daythe best advice is really almost intuitive, but we need someone to pull it out of the clutter of day-to-day living and hold it up in front of us over and over again. That’s what coach Wooden did for his teams. He was a simple, straightforward man who demanded the same things from his athletes. While others called him a wizard; he often took pains to deny that label and instead kept pointing back to the things that he believed in and taught his players. He lived by one of his own quotes – “if you’re true to yourself you’re going to be true to everyone else.” John Wooden was true to himself and to his players. He asked them to just give him their best and they did.

So, as we start a new week; is it time for you to reassess how things are working out for you and whether you are doing the best that you can with how things are working out? Are you giving it your best? Have you given up on your dreams or are they still out woman catching starthere behind that cloud that has temporarily darkened your sky? Are you being true to yourself or are you giving up on yourself?  It’s never too late to step back, reassess the situation and become even more resolute that you will achieve your dream. It’s time to summon up that little extra bit of courage, that spark of hope that keeps you going and fan it back into a flame. A final John Wooden quote might help get you going – Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.

Have courage…persevere and make the best of things. It will all work out.

Don’t fear success…

February 16, 2015

“Most people we encounter fear success, not failure” – Brian Buffini – from a post on Inman News.

Brian is founder and chairman of Buffini & Company, a life coaching company. It seems counter intuitive that people might fear success more than failure, but Brian went on to make some points about people not doing what they know they need to do afraidin order to be successful. It’s not necessarily that they are lazy or don’t want to succeed, but rather that success to them actually represents the great unknown in a world of failures that they’ve come to know and embrace. For some it’s a matter of not having anyone to hold them accountable for achieving the things that they claim that they want to achieve; which is, of course, where a life coach comes in handy.

As perverse as it sounds, people who fear success might go into situations expecting failure and welcome it as the outcome because they’ve become comfortable with failure. They take the attitude of, “I know I won’t win”, at the start, so the end is pre-ordained and is usually the outcome. That allows them to wallow in the misery that eeorethey had anticipated to begin with. Do you know people like that? They are the eeores of life. Perhaps, in their cases they have attached this tail of constant woe and failure to their own backsides with an emotional pushpin, sort of like eeore’s tail is attached to his rear.

(Ed. – for those unfamiliar with eeore, click here for more on this Disney character in the Winnie the Pooh stories.)

As we start a new week, are you setting off in search of victories and success or do you begin the week sure that it will bring nothing but five more days of failure?  Do not fear success and do not embrace failure as your fate in life.  Rather look at your successes as grand new adventures, taking you places that you’ve never been before. After all, you’ve seen enough of failure, so there must be a better view from somewhere else.

Success can come in many forms from the many experiences that we might have in everyday life. We might start a successful new relationship with someone by simply saying “Hi, how are you” to them, instead of lowering your heading and hurrying by them. You might have a satisfying success during the week by offering to help someonecaregiver with something. It could be something small; like holding a door open for a person behind you that has their hands full or combing the hair of someone no longer able to care for their self. Maybe success will come in the form of making a great presentation at work or doing really well on a test at school. When those successes occur, embrace them and get used to how they make you feel. That good feeling can be yours more often if you approach everything with success in mind, instead of the fear (or expectation) of failure.

Remember the childhood story of the Little Train that Could. He didn’t succeed by littel train that couldapproaching the hill saying, “I know I can’t, I know I can’t.” You need to approach the ups and down in your life with the same philosophy as that little train – “I think I can, I think I can.” After a while that will change to, “I know I can, I know I can” and then a reassuring reflection of “I knew I could, I knew I could.”  I’ve written here before about believing in yourself – see First Believe in Yourself. If you can get there, then you will not fear success, you will expect it of yourself. See; I knew you could, I knew you could.

Have a great and successful week ahead.

The will to succeed…

February 2, 2015

“Winning isn’t everything, Charlie Brown.”  “That’s true, but losing isn’t anything.”  (Linus and Charlie philosophizing) – As seen on the blog Jack’s Winning Words.

I guess it’s no surprise to see quotes about winning and losing the day after the Super Bowl. I watched the first half of that game, but couldn’t stay up for the rest, which apparently turned out to be a very good game. But, in any game like that someone or some team will football helmetemerge the “winner” and the other side will be labeled the “loser.” That’s too bad, since both teams gave it their all and in the process provided some great entertainment for millions of people.

Jack went on to write in his blog – Vince Lombardi didn’t say, “Winning is the only thing!”  He said, “The will to win is the only thing.”  So much emphasis these days is placed on winning or losing in sports or just in the everyday events of life.  Today’s “Vince” might say, “The main thing is the will to succeed!” …and that can happen in winning and also in losing.

That is so true. I have written here before about the benefits of learning from your mistakes or losses in life. In fact, learning how to deal with losses and how to learn and get better from them is one of life’s most important lessons; which, unfortunately, many never learn. Certainly you don’t see the losers cheering and celebrating in their locker room with Champagne. Instead you quite often see bowed heads and tears. As a temporary display of disappointment that is understandable; however, it should not be allowed to descend into attitudes of failure. The effort it took to get to that big game by both teams was and is commendable and should be recognized by everyone, including the players who were not on the winning team. Both teams had and have the will to succeed and that makes everyone on both teams winners.

Do you have the will to win? In everyday life that “will” might manifest itsingle momself in the drive to get up and go to the gym every morning before work (or after work) or it might be the discipline to get that homework done before watching TV or playing a video game. Sometimes it’s just the will not to be beaten down by the trials that life hands you. When I think of the everyday winners that I’ve met or heard about, I think of the many single moms raising a family by themselves and wonder at their will to win, not for themselves so much as for their children.  I also think of the caregivers, especially those caring for a loved one who can no longer even recognize them, but who have the will to continue trying to make their lives safe, secure and as caregiver“normal” as can be. And then there are those who leave the safety and security of this country to travel to foreign lands to help the children there find a place to live and to learn. They have a will to win in the face of overwhelming odds that will carry them through the trials that they face

Most of us will never be on a team in the Super Bowl or chose to take on the challenges of a missionary caregiver; but many will have the opportunity to provide care and comfort to aging parents or perhaps take on the challenges involved in providing foster care for children in need. Some never get to go to foreign lands to help, but work tirelessly here to be able to send things that will help make life better for children there. Whatever the level caregiver handsof service to others that we take on, it is important to have that will to succeed. Sometimes that means taking the time to quietly ask for help in a moment of prayer. There could be no better coach for your team than the One who will answer those prayers. We’re all winners when we play on that team.

Have a great week ahead. Be successful. Help is just a prayer away.

Feel the burn of success…

September 11, 2014

“Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it.  Plan more than you can do, then do it.”  (Joe Paterno). From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

I was glad to see Jack make this post of a quote by Joe Paterno because too many people have been avoiding anything to do with Joe Paterno since the child abuse scandal broke out about his long-time assistant coach. I don’t want to comment upon that here at all; but I do want to expand on the quote from Joe.

woman catching starThis quote is a nice follow-up to my last post, which was about stretching yourself to go for your dreams (read See it and be it). In most cases that may initially seem like you are biting off more than you can chew. I guess if it didn’t feel that way, it wouldn’t be called a “stretch” would it? And, in order to achieve it, you will need to plan more than it seems that your can do. Then to get there, you will need to do what you have planned. Somehow it all falls into place; doesn’t it?

So, what logically comes next? No, it’s not instant success and reward. There is no magic in the equation for success just lots of hard work. Another great football coach had his to say about that –

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. – Vince Lombardi

Great coaches, whether in sports, business or life in general, tend to boil things down to simple, straightforward little phrases that make a lot of sense and inspire action. These aren’t just the “lunks” in the gym telling you to “feel the at the gymburn”; these are the leaders who help you understand that felling that burn is the only way to get to the next level and beyond; the only way to achieve your goals.

The “burn” that comes from success is not just about exercise and your muscles; it’s about putting in that extra effort, going that extra mile, studying that extra hour; doing what others are not willing to do to achieve the goal that you have set for yourself. The “burn” that you will feel when you’ve done what was necessary to achieve success burns your soul and it is something that only you will be aware of and understand. Once you’ve experienced it; it can become addictive. It’s not just the feeling of success at having reached that new level; it’s the good feeling that you get during the process. It is realizing how alive and in control you feel as you go through what you must to get to that new level.

A well-respected phycologist named Abraham Maslow reflected on this in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”. Maslow postulated that once you get past all of the things that motivate people out of their need to survive and be loved and accepted they will eventually reach a state of mind that he called self-actualization, in which that are chasing goalfocused upon things which are self-gratifying. That is what the “burn” of reaching for your dream of success can become – a self-gratifying and self-motivating energy that you can feed upon.
So, as you commit yourself to achieving your dream and do what you must do to get there, “feel the burn” that comes with success. Feel good about putting in that extra effort. Feel good about taking that extra class. Feel good about staying to make those extra charts for your presentation. Feel good about being the last one out of the building, because you put in that extra effort. Feel the burn of success. Let it warm you a bit, but then move on to the next thing that you need to do to reach your goal.

Once you reach your goal; once you have climbed the mountain that was before you; you may discover that you look out reaching goalfrom that peak and see another mountain far off in the distance that is even higher and even more challenging.
Congratulations! You’ve just discovered your next goal. Take a moment to savor this victory; then take a deep breath, visualize yourself at the top of that new mountain and start to feel the exhilarating burn from your next challenge. Nothing in life will make you feel more alive than the pain of the next struggle for success.

Feel the burn of success!

Snatch victory from the jaws of defeat…

July 10, 2014

From the Jack’s Winning word blog for today comes this tidbit – “I’m the best failure you’ve ever seen.”  (Matt Paxton)  Matt, a recovering alcoholic and gambler, a social loser, got an idea while cleaning his grandma’s basement.  She didn’t just give him money; she gave him a job.  That’s how Clutter Cleaners began.  He hires ex-cons (who need a job) to clean out basements, garages, you name it.

Now, obviously you needn’t become a failure to be successful; however, did you ever notice how many really famous and successful people embrace failure as a path to success. Here are some good quotes from  some of them:

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. – Bill Cosby

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. – Dale Carnegie

man winning racePerhaps the underlying message is not that you should strive not to fail (that would be an impossible goal anyway), but rather that you should use your failures as a learning experience and find a way to build a positive base for success from them. Hopefully, when you have an “Oh, Crap” moment of failure, you don’t just say “let me try that again”; it’s better to think about a different way to try that again and to keep trying until you get it right.

So, get out there today and start failing your way to success. Just remember to keep your desire to succeed stronger than your fear of failure.