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What’s More Powerful than Inspiration?

inspiration

I love inspiration.

I love to inspire.

I love to be inspired.

There is nothing quite as fun as working when you have an inspiring reason to be working for.

Yet successful people know that inspiration is a luxury; not a necessity.

You don’t have to feel inspired in order to do great work.

You can just do great work.

You don’t have to be inspired in order to act.

You can just act.

You don’t have to be inspired in order do.

You can just do.

Inspiration is great.

Inspiration is wonderful.

Inspiration is something that you hopefully find.

But if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you can’t work and do great things in the meantime.

Because there is something that is more powerful than inspiration.

Discipline.

Discipline shows up on bad days as well as good days.

Discipline shows after you just had a “loss” as well as after you just had a “win.”

Discipline is what you can run on when you don’t feel like running.

Yes, discipline is more reliable than inspiration.

Discipline is more steadfast than inspiration.

Discipline is more consistent than inspiration.

And the unexpected truth about discipline is that when you focus on being disciplined, inspiration often eventually shows up.

It’s like Southwestern taught me when I was in college “if you act enthusiastic you will become enthusiastic.” It’s similar that if you work as if you were inspired you will eventually become inspired.”

But if you focus on inspiration, you may or may not be disciplined.

And if you wait around for inspiration to show up, you may never get started.

Discipline keeps you going inevitably, perpetually, and habitually.

Inspiration keeps you going only conveniently.

So be inspired.

Inspire others.

And seek inspiration.

Just don’t wait for it before you show up and go to work.

All you need is discipline for that.

6 Characteristics of a Great Life Purpose Statement

purpose

People often struggle with articulating their life’s purpose.

A single unifying statement that helps clarify for them what they want their life to have counted for at the end of their days.

In a recent podcast interview with one of my business partners at Southwestern Consulting, Steve Reiner, he and our coaching client were talking through the process they used to help our client identify his purpose.

It’s become one of Steve’s specialties and he laid out 6 characteristics of what make a great life purpose statement that I thought were fantastic:

1. Useful – It should talk about your relationship with other people. Specifically it should address how you will serve and help others beyond just yourself.

2. Universal – It should apply to every area of your life and it should set a mode of operating for you that carries over into both your personal and professional life.

3. Aspirational – It should speak to the person you want to become and the impact you want to have. Almost as if it were a projection of your future self.

4. Formidable – It should be a challenge to achieve and be something that will require you to work and operate at your very best levels.

5. Controllable – It should be something in your power and that relies on you. For example you can’t have a life purpose to make someone happy because that is outside your control. You could say to dedicate your life to providing certain things for someone.

6. Inspirational – It should be something that when you read it, it breathes life into you and causes you to feel compelled to take immediate action.

If you’re interested in learning more about our coaching process and how we might work with you one on one to create your life purpose statement click here.

5 Signs You Know The Underdog Might Win

Underdog

March Madness is upon us. The most exciting time of the year for college basketball and my favorite sporting event.

It’s my favorite because I love the underdog.

I always cheer for the underdog.

I love to see an upset.

I love to see someone defy the odds and make their dreams come true.

Don’t you?

Normally I don’t make the time to watch all the games but with a 1-week old newborn who wakes up every hour, wants to be held if he’s going to fall asleep, and still has his nights and his days switched around, I’ve had an unusual chance to keep up with what’s going on with the NCAA tournament since it’s on in the background.

And I’ve been reminded of what it takes for an underdog to win.

It’s not a lucky burst of unlikely scoring. It’s not the emergence of unsung talent that suddenly shines. It’s not a barrage of trick plays that no one has ever seen before.

Quite the contrary, you know there is a chance the underdog might win when you see these 5 things.

1. They make their free throws – They take advantage of the easy opportunities that are given to them.

2. They don’t turn the ball over – They protect themselves from making costly mistakes.

3. They rebound the basketball – They do the hard work of out scrapping their opponents.

4. They play consistent defense – No matter the score they keep their composure and don’t let themselves unravel

5. They move the ball on offense – They play like a team, pass the ball and are patient to take good shots.

In other words, what it takes to pull off an upset…

What it takes to win as an underdog…

What it takes to accomplish what no one would ever think possible for you…

Is to be brilliant at the basics.

To be a master of executing the fundamentals.

To be disciplined under the most extreme circumstances.

If you do those things, then anyone has a chance to win.

Maybe we all have something to learn from watching the underdog.

Why Competition is Over Rated

Competition

You don’t have to beat other people to dominate in business. 

There doesn’t have to be a loser in order for you to be a winner. 

And the business world today, seems to be rewarding those who have more of a selfless focus on serving than those who have a relentless focus on competing. 

Those getting ahead seem to have more of an intrinsic drive to improve than an extrinsic drive to defeat. 

Success in business today doesn’t really allow time to be concerned about how you rank compared to other people. 

Because in order to survive and compete in this fast moving generation, you need every extra ounce of that energy focused on how to improve your customer experience. 

You have to have more of your creative capacities going into innovating and less going into comparing. 

It’s not about finding ways to defeat your competition; it’s about finding ways to serve your customers. 

The speed of communication, the speed of technology and a growing overall climate of customers becoming accustomed to having their needs and preferences hyper-tailored to, means that we need every resource possible focused on keeping up with and surpassing their expectations. 

If we do that we’re more likely to win. If we don’t we might be in trouble. 

Many of the industries that have experienced disruption have resulted from the traditionally stable providers benchmarking against their competitors more so than thinking about how to better solve the customers problem. 

That line of thinking encourages the status quo inside an industry and opens the door for those outside the industry to come in and find a better way. 

It’s as if innovation is sometimes forced to come in from outside an industry when the age old players inside the industry are squabbling for market share instead of obsessing over customer needs. 

AirBNB, Uber, digital cameras and Netflix were all created from players outside an industry. 

When it could’ve been hotels, taxi companies, Kodak and Blockbuster that figured out a smarter way to serve customer interests. 

The point is that when we focus on beating other people, we might risk missing out on something more valuable. 

When we focus on serving other people we activate our senses. We come alive. We invent. We innovate. And we combine time tested principles with modern tools to find a smarter and better way to solve customers problems. 

The same is true of personal success. 

Our success is irrespective of what is being accomplished or not accomplished by those around us. 

Our success is measured by how we perform compared to ourselves. How we perform compared to our potential. And most importantly how we perform compared to our capacity to best serve those around us. 

We are only trying to beat who we were yesterday. 

We are only trying to crush the way we’ve always done it. 

We are only trying to compete with the best possible ways to get ourselves and our clients to the next level.

Don’t just work hard. Do the hard work.

work

Working hard is not the key to success; it’s merely the price of admission. 

Hard work alone isn’t enough to bring you everything you want. 

Because if you’re working hard at the wrong things then they won’t take you to where you want to go. 

You have to work hard at the right things if you want to achieve your desired destination. 

Which introduces a second element to the equation. 

Because not only do you have to work hard, you also have to work hard at the right things. 

So what are the right things?

 Actually it’s usually pretty simple to identify them. 

Typically the right things, the best things, the most significant things you can do to achieve your goal are often the things you know need to be done but you most don’t want to do. 

They are the things that nobody likes to do. 

If you’re trying to build muscle, it means doing pull ups or leg day. 

If you’re trying to lose weight, it means cutting your alcohol, carbs, or sugar intake. 

If you’re in sales, it is prospecting. 

If you’re trying to get out of debt, it’s making and following a budget.  

In other words, it’s not enough to just work hard.  

You have to do the hard work. 

You have to do the things you don’t want to do. 

You have to do the things that other people aren’t willing to do. 

You have to do the things that you know are good for you, but they are hard. 

You don’t do them because the goal is to make life as hard as possible. 

Quite the contrary, you do them because they ultimately make life easier.

But that path is predicated on the unpopular truth that the shortest most guaranteed path to a more productive life is to do the hardest parts of things as soon as possible!

You don’t just work hard. You do the hard work. 

And if you that… 

If you work hard…

And you also do the hard work…

Then you will start to find that eventually things get easier and easier. 

The End of Ego

EGOEvery human is a compilation and expression of every person they’ve ever met.

We are shaped by one another.

We are connected to one another.

We are powered by one another.

Every thing that we do is enabled by someone else having done something before us that paved our way.

Every thing that we think has been informed by all the ideas and educations developed by our predecessors.

Every tool that we use was improved upon by generation after generation who came before us.

It thereby stands to reason that none of us can take sole credit for anything that we’ve done.

None of us are entirely individually responsible for any level of success we may have had.

None of us are so great that we created anything all on our own.

Therefore none of us should really boast.

Because no success happens in a vacuum.

And there is no such thing as “self-made.”

We are completely and utterly reliant and dependent upon those around us to achieve what we achieve.

Arrogance then is not an expression of confidence but of ignorance.

And ego is not only an expression of lack of awareness but also of ungratefulness.

If there is anything we have to be proud of, it’s the fact that we live in an amazing world, full of amazing people, who have created amazing things all around us usually through little to no fault of our own.