Don’t Let the Dictionary Define Your Success


When I was in college my friends and I would go out to parties. Each of us had a different idea of a successful evening. For some, it was to find a new girl to share a bed with. For others, it was to test how much alcohol it was possible to drink in an evening. A few wanted to dance. Another wanted to show off. I was satisfied if I could hang out with friends and maybe even get a girl to notice me. We all were looking for success.

What is success?

When you define it for someone else, it is easy to see. My father was a doctor, my grandfather was a doctor, my great-grandfather was a doctor, now that’s success, right? So often your success is defined by a world that doesn’t even know you. Why would you allow a stranger to define your goals? Who are you trying to impress? The worst possible scenario is to become incredibly successful at someone else’s dream.

Webster’s dictionary defines success as:

  • the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame

  • the correct or desired result of an attempt

Those could be two very different things.

Lets look at the first.

What is wealth? Depends on where in the world you live. Sometimes we feel wealthy but moving to a new community will quickly make you desire more. There is always someone with more than you.

What about fame? How famous do you need to be? Well known in your community or around the world? Is it possible that at some point more fame doesn’t bring more joy? Maybe, but that depends on your objective.

How about respect? Men seem to be more preoccupied with respect than women, but both  have a desire for it. There is a basic respect that we expect from our family, friends and colleagues. After that, it gets more complicated. Doing things you don’t enjoy to get the respect of someone you don’t like, can quickly bring you down a road you don’t want to travel.

What about that second definition?

“the correct or desired result of an attempt”

Obviously this too can lead you the wrong way if you are attempting the wrong thing. However, when you take the time to set goals that are truly yours you can succeed and be happy about it.

Here are 3 tips to be successful at whatever you choose:

#1. Forget what others say.

Only you can do what is right for you. It’s OK to seek counsel. It’s great to find people who have done what you want to. At the end of the day though, it has to be what you want. No one can make that decision for you.

#2. Attempt the right thing

Once you know what success is to you, it will become clear what you need to attempt. Your chances of success are much higher when its your goal.

#3. Define a desired result

Most things are not all or nothing. Many times what we learn is valuable. Sometimes just getting that experience and finding what doesn’t work, is success. No matter what, keep moving forward.

What is success to you? Let me know in the comments. Thank you so much for reading. If you like this, share it. Having you as a reader is my success!

Why You Should Never Retire, nor Want To


As I do many mornings, I went to look at the pool behind my English school. I expected to see clean clear water as usual, but today was different. There was a bird lying in the pool, and it was still moving.  I removed the bird and placed it on the ground. The poor thing was twitching but was still alive.

I knew this was the end for that bird and it made me think. Is that our lives? We attempt to fly and sometimes we do. Eventually we fail and live out our last days lying in a pool. It was a little depressing but I had to go on with my day.

After an hour of work I returned to check on my terminally ill feathered acquaintance. Fully expecting that the movement would have stopped, I was shocked to see the bird was gone! I searched the area and there was no sign of it. It had flown again, and taken my depressing life metaphor with it.

People talk about retirement as if it is the ultimate goal.

Sit by the pool or the beach. Play golf. Drink wine. The faster we can arrive at this state of inactivity the better, or so we think. But what if there is no retirement? Maybe there’s more to our older days than just rest. Maybe we can still fly again.

Whether you are “retiring” soon or not, here are a few ideas to keep you soaring all through your later years.

#1. Don’t retire

The goal for many shouldn’t be to stop working, but to remove the need to work. When your retirement account is funded, your kids are grown and your house is paid for, work doesn’t have to end. What better time to work for joy and work to make a difference. This doesn’t mean that you have to keep a nine to five all your life, but find something you love and do it to the end. Charles Schulz, the creator of the comic strip the Peanuts, died the day before his final comic strip ran.

#2. Take advantage of this high income time

Unlike in your earlier years, you are now wiser and more experienced. Many find that their 50’s are the highest earning years of their careers. You have been through it. You have learned. You have grown. You aren’t concerned with following the path of others. You may have more value to the marketplace than ever before.

#3. Don’t be afraid to start something new

Colonel Sanders didn’t franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62 years old. It’s never too late to make your impact on the world. Just because you haven’t done it yet, does not mean that you can’t. Maybe a new project, a new goal or a new dream is exactly what you are being called to do.

So feel free to jump in the pool sometimes. However, unlike my bird buddy, you won’t need help getting out. Plan to make your golden years golden. It’s never too late to fly.

What would your work look like if you know longer had bills? Let me know in the comments. If you like this, share it. Thanks for reading. Take flight, the sky is waiting.

Are You Giving Stress Too Much Influence?


Worrying was an important evolutionary tool. Wondering if there is a saber toothed tiger behind the bush helped our ancestors survive. But at what point does worrying hurt us? How can we turn worrying into “productive thinking”?

I have worried about many things. The slightest health scare can make me think I have a disease. One unhappy client leads to thinking that they all may leave. A little turbulence on the plane could be a deadly plane destroying hurricane! But is there really anything to gain from these worries? Not usually, and that’s why we need productive thinking.

Turning your worries into productive thinking can free your mind up to do what you need it for.

Here are a few tips to turn worrying into productive thinking:

#1.Let you thoughts take you forward and not back

Being in deep thought about a difficult subject is not a bad thing. We have to take time to think. However, you must pay close attention to where your thoughts are taking you. Are you focusing on progress? Are you looking for solutions? After thinking for some time, are you closer to overcoming the problem? Just beginning to find a solution can help you feel better.

#2.Decide if you can control it

Not everything is worth your deep thought or worthy of productive thinking. You have to be honest about whether something is truly under your control now. This doesn’t mean stressing about something that was in your control in the past. Maybe you failed in the past and that’s why you are here. But there are many things under your control this moment. If you don’t take ownership of them immediately, they can become things in the past that you are worried about.

#3. If possible, give yourself deadlines for action

OK, so you need to take action. Be cautious of paralysis by analysis. You will use all the time that you give yourself. Simply putting a deadline on finding a solution will help you tremendously. Put at plan of action together with a specific time. When you reach the end of that time, you need to be in a new place. Maybe that means you have solved the problem or not, but you can’t be in the same place that you started.

#4. If necessary, let it go.

What happens if you have no control? What happens if you set a deadline again and again, but you still aren’t solving your issue. Sometimes it’s just time to let it go (words my toddler daughter know too well). You cannot fix everything, nor do you have to. Many times the best thing to do is to accept that this problem isn’t going away. Perhaps it is necessary to stop thinking about it and move on. Be clear on what you can let go of. Perhaps accepting that you just can’t and don’t want to solve it at this moment will allow you to take the issue out of your mind.

Stress can cause so many problems but it doesn’t have to. Be intentional now and take control of your life. When have you overcome your worries? How did you do it? Thanks for reading. If you like this, I’d be grateful if you shared it. If not, don’t worry, you’re still awesome in my eyes.

Trust Your Team Members and Grow Your Business

Chicken Trust

Last week while passing a construction project near my home, I noticed a worker leaving wearing his backpack. A security guard lifted the bottom of his backpack a few times. After he was sure that the worker had not stolen any tools, he was allowed to leave.

Is this the kind of trust we have in today’s business? Someone can work for you all day long but we still check their bag.

Trust is the tool and you could be the one stealing it. The culture we create as an owner or manager is important. Not everyone is trustworthy but many are. There is always a leap of faith that any business must make to progress. Anyone who has started a business knows that feeling of hiring the first team member.

Trust isn’t easy but it’s a must.

Here’s a few tips to help you grow your own ability to believe in others:

#1. Delegate

Marketing expert Seth Godin said on his blog. “Yesterday, thousands of people got married. Just about every one of these weddings went beautifully. Amazingly you weren’t there, on site, making sure everything was perfect.” It’s hard to give up control, but we’ll never grow trust until we try. People can get things done without you. I am just like you, I want to be a part of everything. I don’t have to be, and neither do you.

#2. What’s the worst that could happen?

This is an important question to ask. You can set up your systems in a way that the downside is small, even if trust is broken. For example, author and time maximization expert Tim Ferris say that if a solution can be found for under $100, he lets his team solve it without asking him. This trust frees up his time significantly.

#3. Build trust over time

As people show that you can trust them with the small things,  trust increases. Many will rise to the challenge if given more responsibility. If they fail with the small things, then it’s reasonable if you have your doubts.

#4. Trust but document

Make sure you have procedures in place to document the trust you have given. Be very clear about your expectations. The better you are at documenting what you are trusting to someone, the easy it is for them to live up to your expectations.

Trust is essential for any relationship. Without trust there is no relationship. Will it be perfect? No. Will you get burned? Probably, but not most of the time. Take the chance, trust your team members. Many of you are where you are today because someone trusted you.

“It’s amazing how someone’s IQ seems to double as soon as you give them responsibility and indicate that you trust them” -Tim Ferris

What could you do tomorrow to show your team members that you trust them? Why do you fear trusting someone? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading. I trusted you to read this far, and you did! I also trust you to share this, but only if you like it.

What Are the Reasons that You’re Not Succeeding?


35 years ago, motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, had this to say:

“I used to have that long list of reasons why I wasn’t doing well. To explain, you’ve got to explain right, otherwise you’re going to look bad. I used to have this funny list called, reasons for not looking good.”

His list included, the government, taxes, prices, the weather, traffic, his car, the manufacturers, the company, company policy, the training program, negatives relatives, cynical neighbors, “they’re just selfish looking out for themselves, won’t loan you money”, the economy, the community…

Later he had a conversation with a wiser friend who told him:

“Jim just out of curiosity, how come you haven’t done well up until now?”

“Excellent question,” thought Rohn, “well so I won’t look too bad, I’ll go through my list.”

After recounting the whole list, his friend replied:

“Mr. Rohn, big problem with your list… you ain’t on it.”

So what about your list? Are you on it? Almost every single thing on Rohn’s list is still on many lists today. The world has changed a lot in 35 years, but are we really that different? It all still comes down to responsibility.

Finding the person responsible for most of our problems is simple. Go to the bathroom and look right above the sink. Every time I encounter a problem in my life, I like to consult him first. “What did you do this time?”, I think, as I examine the face in the mirror.

It couldn’t be easier to blame someone else than it is today. The internet is filled with excuses. But what about when it’s time to be accountable?

Here’s a few tips to help you take full responsibility.

#1. Choose your path

Don’t live someone else’s life. When you follow your own path you are not only happier but you have only yourself to blame for the results. 48 Days To the Work You Love author Dan Miller reminds that, “You have the potential to get to the top of the ladder, only to find it is leaning against the wrong building.”

#2. Accept your wins

Whether you win or lose, own it. Many times we have success, only to feel that we got lucky. Obviously we have to accept our failures but part of the joy of personal responsibility is accepting our success. You succeeded because you worked, celebrate your wins, learn from your losses and keep moving forward.

#3. Don’t fear responsibility

Mark Twain famously said, “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” It’s a little scary to take responsibility, but when we do, we find that most of the things we fear don’t happen. “He suffers more than necessary, who suffers before it is necessary,” Stoic philosopher Seneca.

This is just the start. What else can you do to accept full responsibility? Let me know in the comments. Share this if you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.

New Month Resolutions, Achieving Goals All Year Long

Hapy New Month

That hope, that excitement, that energy for change doesn’t have to go away. You can achieve what you planned to this year, and you can do it while enjoying your progress and celebrating all year long. All you need is New Month Resolutions.

New year’s resolutions are almost forgotten this time of the year.

Those beautiful new running shoes have some mud on them. That diet is harder to stick with thanks to your busy schedule. That language you are learning just has too many conjugations of that verb. Sometimes hitting this point makes you want to give up.

Nothing worth doing is easy. There is no large task that can be achieved in one day. Some people may seem like an overnight success but that’s because no one saw them working hard for years to get there.

Here’s a quick action plan to help you grow each new month and achieve more than you ever have before:

#1. Celebrate the new month:

Every year you have not one, but twelve chances to start over. Don’t worry if last month wasn’t perfect, this month will be better. This will be your best month yet. Embrace you enthusiasm. Feel the excitement that is a new opportunity to grow.

#2. Make new month resolutions:

Before the month begins, take some time to reflect on what you want to accomplish. This way, when the first arrives, you can hit the ground running (or walking or saving or dieting or speaking). Be intentional about what you will get done. Make a plan of action. The moment you write something down you have strengthened your commitment to achieving it. Let your plan be the boss. Let your enthusiasm carry you over the challenges.

#3. Don’t underestimate yourself:

A month is really not that long. Thinking of goals as a whole year challenge can be daunting. 31 days can go by fast. When you make that commitment to change, stick to it. Time will fly whether you want it to or not, you might as well use each day to grow. You will find that the progress will make you happier.

#4. Be specific:

Don’t just say, “I’ll go to the gym more”. Set a number, let’s say you want to work out 4 times a week. In a month with 31 days, that is only about 18 workouts. What gets measured gets managed. I personally like to use an app called GoalTracker, but most goal tracking apps will do. It’s fun to check off my workouts as soon as they are done. It even recalculates how many workouts you need if you miss one. Follow your own statistics and enjoy rooting for team “you”.

#5. Be realistic but don’t be afraid to dream:

Make sure that what you are trying to accomplish is not going to be impossible. The goal to save a million dollars by next month is probably going to be hard unless you have done a lot to prepare. But there is an amount you could save. Look at your income, plan your expenses. What can you do this month to leave a little extra cash in your pocket? Dream big though. Don’t sell yourself short. Even hitting 75% of your goal could be a huge increase.

#6. Don’t forget the big picture:

Successful people plan long term. Make sure to have a vision of where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. Obviously things will change but with these visions it will be easier to figure out how this month can move you towards you ultimate goal.

You will never see this month again. Hold your own little ceremony. Make a special dinner or whatever you do to celebrate. Reflect on the month that past and prepare for the one to come. Keep you spirits high and don’t be afraid to fail. This could be your best month ever (at least until next month).

What New Month Resolutions will you make? Let me know in the comments. If you like this post please share it. Thank you so much for reading. My new month resolution is a success because you are here. HAPPY NEW MONTH!!!!



I GOT to go there vs. I GET to go there


Years ago when I was managing a restaurant a customer came in and looked a little serious. I asked how she was doing, fully intending to listen to her response but also expecting the usual, “fine”. To my surprise she was very honest.

The customer replied, “Not so good”.

“What’s wrong?”, I asked.

“I gotta go back to work after lunch”, she answered.

There it is, that phrase, “I gotta”. What does that mean exactly. Are you obligated to do things? Do you really have to go to work? Do you really have to pick up your kids? Do you really have to go home to your waiting spouse? Or walk the dog? Make dinner?

The words you use are powerful. They change the way you feel about your life. One letter can make a huge difference. “I got to go to work today” becomes “I get to go to work today” Many times we forget about the opportunities we have. Being able to go to work. Being able to support our families and put food on the table. Sometimes we take this for granted.

How blessed we are to get to go home to a spouse waiting for us. We are not alone. How great that we get to pick up our kids from school. These valuable moments pass fast. How great that not only can we walk but we get to walk with one of the greatest walking partners in the world. If we took on every task like a dog takes on a walk, we would all be happier and more productive. How wonderful it is to be able to make dinner. Food in a working refrigerator, lights in a warm kitchen, gas on the stove. Not to mention a break from the day to just sit and eat!

So back to the restaurant. It was my turn to reply. “At least you have a job to go back to”, I blurted out, not rudely but clearly making my point. Her expression immediately changed. She looked up at me sincerely and smiled. “Thanks”, she said, “I feel better already.”

Such a simple change. When we see our obligations as opportunities we can appreciate the gifts we have been given.

Here are a few tips to help you change your “got” to “get”

#1. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Maybe the person you are talking to doesn’t have the “problems” you have. Maybe they wish they did. When you complain about hiring a caterer for your wedding, do you notice that the person you’re talking to just broke up with her serious boyfriend after 7 years because he never proposed? Be considerate of how your listener feels.

#2. Be careful of the language you use

When you say I “have to” or “got to”, how does that make you feel. Those words rob you of your control. Everyone wants to feels that they have power over their lives. perception is reality and a person who feels helpless can very quickly become that. Or you can turn it around.

#3. Find your blessings

Of course there are situations in which we really are obligated to do. But there is almost always a silver lining. Even going to the Department of Motor Vehicles can have a positive out look. Yes I have to wait an hour for no apparent reason whatsoever, or so it seems. But how would my life be if I didn’t have a car? How many hours would I lose? Maybe it’s better that we need a license to drive. I don’t want to drive on the same road as my 10 year old daughter.

What kind of things do you “get” to do that other don’t seem to appreciate? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading, if you liked this share it please. I’m glad I get to be a part of your day, make it awesome!