Get Your Free eBook

GET IT NOW! Rory Vaden eBook

Sign up to receive my Daily Discipline blog posts via e-mail and get a copy of my popular e-mini book of quotes FREE.

Get a free Rory Vaden e-book!

Search Results for: intention

10/24/08 – Intention

One of the sisters to self-discipline is intention. If discipline is the action of doing things you don’t want to do then intention is the conscious thought that immediately precedes discipline. Most people do not live life with intention and as a result only have a sputtering chance at ever being disciplined on demand.

We are creatures of habit and what’s more important than knowing that we are creatures of habit is realizing that the habits that rule our lives are executed subconsciously. Do you realize that you probably dry yourself off with a towel almost exactly the same way every single day? Do you realize that you drive the exact same way to work every single day? Let’s cut deeper… do you realize that your interaction with loved ones almost definitely follows the same repetitive cycle? Did you know that you spend your money in almost a perfect pattern in which unless intentionally changed you are hopelessly bound to experience the same level of financial security for the rest of your life? (Or lack of security)

Many of the problems we encounter in our lives have nothing to do with the problems themselves. IE the other person involved in the bad relationship, or the financial tragedy that seems so “un lucky”. Because the one thing that is in common with all of the problems you encounter is…YOU. In my case, me.  And actually most of our “problems” aren’t the real problem. Most of our “problems” are actually just the bi-products or manifestations of an internal lack of intention.

We’ve all had that experience where we’re driving home from work and suddenly we arrive home without having any idea how we got there. The same is true with most people’s lives; most of us wake up one day not really understanding how we got to where we are. That’s because just like we were on autopilot about choosing which turns to make driving on the way home, many times we’re on autopilot about choosing which turns to make in deciding on how to live our life.

However, for many parts of our lives our habits are survival mechanisms; they allow us to complete things quickly without requiring much focus. The problem is that some of the things we haven’t been focusing on are REALLY important. You can change this all by simply being INTENTIONAL about how you live your life. What areas of your life are “broken”? By acknowledging the areas that are broken you are already adding intention to your life. Because you are consciously looking toward a solution.

Of course the key is to not focus on the problem but rather to be INTENTIONAL about seeking a solution. And then INTENTIONAL about taking action. The action part is where intention is transformed into discipline.

 

 

Become Successful Faster

Become successful faster

“How do I become successful faster?”

It’s a common question people have. Especially if they’re just starting out in a new industry or pursuing a new dream.

The intention behind the question is usually very pure and humble and coachable.

But the answer is more simple than most people want to hear and so it sometimes gets overlooked.

For years I’ve wondered if this truth transcended across multiple industries and different professions.

Now via Southwestern Consulting having worked with more than 8,000 teams in 40 different countries, I’m convinced that it is.

The way to become successful faster is to master the fundamentals sooner.

That’s it.

That’s really all there is.

See, when we’re first learning something, we are enamored by the excitement of it all and we want to believe there is some secret.

We hope there is a magic trick that we need to discover.

Sometimes we even idolize industry legends thinking that they must have a set of strategies that are only shared among elite secret circles.

But that’s not how it is.

Really.

The reality is that almost every job, dream, business, or venture has a handful of fundamentals.

These fundamentals can usually be explained in a matter of minutes.

But they usually take a matter of years to master.

You have to master the fundamentals.

You have to be brilliant at the basics.

You have to be committed to the critical success factors.

Sometimes new people wish there was more to it and so they waste time looking for the shortcut.

And sometimes experienced people forget how critical the fundamentals are and they get lured by the “shininess” of chasing something new. Often only to lose valuable momentum and later end up having to be humbled back to the basics.

The shortest path to success is to master the fundamentals sooner.

Even if you’re not convinced that it is; do it anyways and then once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, then you can worry about innovating and experimenting.

But the longer you wait to embrace the fundamentals…

The more you spend time looking for the easy way…

The deeper you become convicted that there is a shortcut…

The longer it will ultimately take you to become successful.

As Zig Ziglar used to say, there is no shortcut to success; you have to take the stairs.

How to Never be Tired Again

tired

How often do you say “I’m so tired!”?

Or how often do you hear other people say it?

 

True legitimate fatigue can be dangerous and destructive to businesses, teams, relationships, and certainly our physical health.

So I’m a fan of and a big believer in sleep.

And I consider it an important matter of self-discipline to consistently pursue a full night’s rest.

With a newborn- that has been an especially fun challenge in recent times. 🙂

But there is a big difference between not getting enough sleep and being tired.

 

Discouragement and distraction can even masquerade in our lives as “being tired,” serving as a justifiable excuse for the self sabotaging behavior of us not taking action.

This past weekend, I was in Napa with my wife’s personal Southwestern Consulting coaching organization called Dream Team.

I was sitting next to one of our amazing coaches, Angie Moss ,who recently adopted her twin grandkids and moved into a new house.

Yet in spite of reliving the early parenting years that she’s already been through before, she continues to be one of our top coaches in terms of production, client satisfaction, and especially attitude.

I asked her how she does it and she said:

“I never allow myself to say ‘I’m tired.’ I’ve figured out that the amount of energy I have is more about what I decide to be true than it is the byproduct of anything else. I can say ‘I’m sleepy’ because that may be true. But I do not allow myself to ever say ‘I’m tired’ because usually that is just my brain trying to talk me out of doing work that needs to be done. I find that if I tell myself ‘I’m tired’ then I act tired. But if I tell myself ‘I’m energized’ then somehow the energy is always there.”

Powerful!

And such an important insight.

What Angie was commenting on is actually a natural part of the neuroscience of our brain.

The human brain isn’t programmed for success; it’s programmed for survival.

And survival is all about conserving energy.

So your brain is designed to govern you in a way that conserves your short term energy.

And delivering the signal throughout your body of ‘I’m tired’ is one of its primary mechanisms for doing that.

In that way, ‘I’m tired’ is much more often a defense mechanism for a lazy mind than it is a biological truth about the human body.

Which reminds me of something that Navy Seal Joe once said to me and AJ, “the human body can take damn near anything; it’s the mind that needs conditioning.”

He was explaining that in the context of how in BUDS training, the Navy Seals complete superhuman physical challenges despite operating on extraordinary sleep deprivation.

I remember Navy Seal Joe also mentioning something along the lines of “when your body says ‘I’m tired’ or ‘I quit’ or ‘I physically can’t take anymore’, it’s at that moment that you’ve reached about 10% of what your body is truly capable of.”

Why does your mind tell you to quit so long before you really are at your max?

Simple.

Because your mind is trained to do one thing: conserve energy.

But success requires expending energy, making difficult decisions and taking action.

Success requires the intention of new choices, new behaviors, and new habits.

Success requires re-establishing new mental boundaries for what we’re capable of that are far beyond our initial expectations.

Success requires us rising above challenges, overcoming obstacles and destroying our own self-limiting governors that are designed to simply keep us comfortable.

Perhaps one of the greatest self-limiters of all, is the quiet indulgence of “I’m tired.”

How to Break Free From the Addiction of Distraction

Distraction

Priority Dilution is the new procrastination.

Priority Dilution is fascinating because it affects the chronic overachievers, the do-gooders, the check-listers, the task-masters, the movers and shakers, and all the people you wouldn’t normally think to be procrastinators.

It’s unlike regular procrastination in that it has nothing to do with being lazy or apathetic or disengaged.

But it is the same net result as a classic procrastination in that we leave the office at the end of the day with our most significant priorities left incomplete because we’ve allowed our attention to shift to less important but perhaps more seemingly urgent tasks.

This person’s life is characterized as a constant state of interruption.

Why do we do that?

Why do we allow ourselves to get distracted?

Why do we allow ourselves to get interrupted?

Why do we put off the things that are significant and that will matter in the long term for things that are more short term?

Is it because we’re somehow inept or not smart enough or not motivated enough?

Perhaps.

But there may be more to it than that…

As we’ve learned more about the neuroscience of the brain we now know that the brain sends signals telling our body how to operate through the release of predominately only a handful of chemicals.

One of those chemicals, the pleasure releasing drug, is called dopamine.

Under brain scan we suspect that dopamine is released whenever a task is completed, an email is deleted, or something is crossed off our to-do list.

Which means that we get a little “hit” of dopamine making us “feel” good.

We “feel” successful.

We “feel” productive.

Which explains why you may have at some point completed a task that wasn’t on your to-do list, but you then added it to your to-do list just so you could cross it off!

(In some ways not too dissimilar from the illogical behavior exhibited by anyone who becomes addicted to a foreign substance that gives them a dopamine release.)

But in this way, the neuroscience of our brain is working against us.

Because it’s leading us to be focused on completing the largest volume of tasks – each time we do making us “feel” good or productive.

But ultra-performers know that success is no longer related to the volume of the tasks you complete; but rather to the significance of them.

In other words, it doesn’t matter that we got ten things done if they are all trivial compared to the one most significant thing that we needed to get done.

The world’s most productive people would intentionally choose to get the one significant things done instead of the ten small things.

How do you measure significance?

That is the subject of our book Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Time (free 1 hr training here). The essence of which is spending time on things today that produce more time or results tomorrow.

But your brain – in a weird way – is working against you because, left to its own devices, it’s going to pull you in the direction of completing the most number of tasks rather than completing the few significant ones.

In essence making you susceptible to perpetual Priority Dilution.

So how do we change that?

Through a simple 3 step process:

1. Consciousness – Being made aware of the dynamic goes a long way in helping you to move in the right direction.

2. Discipline – You decide you’re going to operate a different way and you intentionally start to make different choices than you made yesterday.

3. Accountability – You create structures around yourself that help reinforce this new way of thinking. This is why Southwestern Consulting predominantly focuses on coaching; we believe working with someone 1-on-1 over an extended period of time is the best way to actually create sustainable behavioral change. Exploring the idea of getting your own coach is a great way to do that (request a free call).

 

At the end of the day you have to realize that your brain isn’t programmed for success; your brain is programmed for survival.

You are naturally designed in a way for survival first.

Survival means to conserve energy.

Survival means to do what is easiest.

Survival tends to push us to do what feels good in the short term.

But you were also designed in a way to have the power of choice.

And the power of choice gives you the chance to opt for success instead of survival.

You can overwrite the original program.

You can program yourself for success.

Success means expending energy to learn and execute a better way.

Success means to take the path less traveled by.

Success means to make disciplined choices now knowing that they create greater benefits later on.

So in that way you aren’t just programmed for survival.

You can program yourself for success instead.

You can program yourself for greatness.

You can decide to have a different life.

7 Critical Components of a Powerful Morning Routine 

morning

One of the most important habits of developing consistent high performance in your life is to put your self-esteem into your work habits rather than your production.

The reason is because we want our confidence tied to things that we can control rather than things we can’t.

Production often fluctuates up and down but our effort, work ethic, and intensity needs to always be consistent.

The decision to embrace this philosophy can be something that you demonstrate in the first few moments of every day.

I first learned the power of a morning routine from my time in college working in The Southwestern Advantage summer program.

They taught us to have and focus on a “mini-victories list” every single morning.

To this day, I follow a regimented routine every single morning that includes many of those original habits I developed selling door to door in the summer:

 

Gratitude – The very first thing I do when the alarm goes off is immediately start saying “thank you”. I thank God for as many specific blessings as I can possibly come up with in those first few moments. In addition to being a powerful way to start the day, it also keeps my mind from being occupied with negative thoughts about how tired I might be or what I have to do that day.

 

Scripture – For me it is a very intentional choice that the first input into my brain each day be scripture. Not email. Not Twitter. Not news. Scripture. Not only does it help charge my soul for the day, it is also an external representation of an internal decision to prioritize my spiritual walk and relationship with God above all else. After reading scripture I pray. It’s an important discipline. (Tip: Timothy Keller’s book Prayer taught me to focus on reading each individual word slowly and one at a time instead of speeding through sentences.)

 

Affirmations – Over the years I have amassed several lists of different affirmations. Some speak to the person I want to be, some speak to the company we want Southwestern Consulting to be, and some are very specific to reprogramming my brain about certain fears, current limiting beliefs that I have or new habits I’m focused on developing. I read those next.

Goals – I’ve always then spent a few minutes reviewing my short and long term goals. What has been very powerful for me in the last couple years is that I read my wife’s goals first. And when I know of them, I read specific goals of my business partners as well before I read mine. This is another discipline that I practice to try and cultivate more selflessness in my life. It’s important because I’m embarrassed and ashamed to admit that absent an intentional decision to think about other people, I unfortunately naturally default to thinking mostly of just myself.

Schedule – I spend a few moments reviewing my schedule and making sure I’m consciously aware of everything that is supposed to happen that day. A great piece of advice that I’ve been trying to practice that I learned from profiling a Multiplier for the Procrastinate on Purpose book is to “throw everything off my calendar and make it fight to earn its way back on.”

Exercise – This is another habit I learned directly from Southwestern, which is to do something physical first thing in the morning every single day! Even if it’s only a few push-ups, sit-ups, or weightless squats, it’s a major victory to do even some small physical activity. And you should never underestimate the power of consistency in your life; literally a few minutes of exercise every day does wonders for helping you maintain your physical state.

Vitamins – Taking vitamins and veggies is not something I particularly enjoy; but I do it every single day. Because staying healthy requires discipline and it’s a choice I want to consistently make first thing in the morning. My body is something I choose to protect and preserve and supplements are an important part of the routine. As mama always said “enjoying it isn’t a requirement of doing it.”

Making it through this entire list (including a 20 min workout routine) takes me about 45 minutes.

(In full disclosure, there is one other step to this routine that I’ve been doing the last couple years that I left out since it’s not ubiquitous to everyone: I also write 1 little inspirational social media post each day on Instagram that I also share to Facebook and Twitter. It takes about 7 minutes a day but I find that writing a little each day adds up tremendously over time. Those little thoughts often later get expanded into blog posts, which then many blog posts get put together to become a book, which is then made into keynotes, virtual trainings , and coaching modules.

Part of the power of this routine is programming your brain for success each day.

Another part of the power of this routine is preparing yourself to have a positive attitude each day.

But perhaps the most powerful part of this routine is that it helps you start “winning” right away.

Because all of these things are things that you can control.

And all of these things are mini-victories.

They are demonstrations of discipline that happen every morning.

They are resolutions that I will not let my life happen by accident but by design.

I will not be confused about where I’m going; I will be clear.

And I will not lose to the natural voices of fatigue, negativity, and distraction in my head; I will silence them.

This process helps remind me of how much I’ve been given, why my life counts, and who I am focused on serving.

You don’t have to follow this exact process, but I would highly recommend that you and your coach create some process – and that you follow it relentlessly.

Because success is never owned; it’s only rented – and the rent is due every day.

One Way to Not Lose Friends – But Why We Often Do

friends

Its unfortunate that we often judge other people by their actions but judge ourselves by our intentions.

When other people mess up it’s easy and natural for us to point out their mistakes, highlight them, and use them as evidence for why they aren’t capable or worthy of our praise.

Yet when we mess up, it’s easy and natural for us to defend ourselves by trying to explain and articulate to other people what we really meant to say or what we were really trying to do.

The reason we do that is not because we’re bad people. We do it because we simply have access to the information of knowing what our intentions are and we often don’t know the explicit intentions of others.

We know that the way it came out was not what we really meant to say and that it sounded much worse than we actually think or feel.

We know  that the way other people interpreted our behavior isn’t an accurate reflection of what we were really trying to do.

We  know that because it is us.

But a lot of times we don’t know what another person’s intentions were.

And so all we have to go on is our immediate interpretation of their actions.

Many times though, that is a shame. Because it causes us to assume the worst about people when there is perhaps another viable and reasonable explanation.

It’s a shame when we allow ourselves to get angry at others, misinterpret others, or distrust others without exploring what was really going on.

Too often it causes us to lose friends that we never should’ve lost.

Perhaps that is why there is so much wisdom to the phase, “’tis better to seek to understand than to be understood.”

Seek to understand..

It gives us a chance for reasonable explanation.

It gives us a chance for clear representation.

It gives us a chance for possible reconciliation.

Because we spend time exploring what someone’s actual intentions were.

The valuable technique here is to learn to generously give people “the benefit of the doubt.”

To assume the best in people and not the worst.

To believe there is some explanation and not an intention to do evil.

Especially with the vast majority of the people we know and are around every day, they generally have good intentions.

There are relatively few people who are ruthlessly evil, completely self-serving or deliberately sabotaging.

But there is a lot of room for misinterpretation and miscommunication.

That is just because there are so many unique ways to look at a topic, event, or idea from a different point of view.

But just because someone has a different point of view doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give them the benefit of the doubt.

If anything, it’s cause to embrace and explore what their view point is so that we can learn from it.

With ourselves though, we can be more strict and demanding. We can push ourselves to be more considerate of how other people might interpret what we do or say.

We can look beyond just our intentions and challenge ourselves to make sure that there is less room for misinterpretation of our actions.

We already know that we have the best of intentions and so we can strive to make sure that we take action in a way that it is most likely to be viewed as positive.

We can help try to save people from having to question our intentions.

So, if anything, perhaps we should flip things around from the natural way we sometimes live.

Instead of judging others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions…

Maybe we should generally give other people the benefit of the doubt by assuming they have good intentions, yet push ourselves to deliberately consider how we will affect others through our actions.