Blog Post Cover Picture with lightbulb, day planner, and a team at work.

If I ever find my eyes wandering aimlessly over my computer for more than five minutes, I know something is wrong. That’s when I tell myself: create, define, act.

Deeper Magic

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who wanted to know how I fit so much in. A partial answer is that I use the Full Focus Planner. Over the last several years of use, that continues to be a big reason. I schedule everything meticulously. 

(If you want to see exactly how I use the planner,  I walk you through every page right here).

But there’s another truth at work. Deeper magic, if you will. I mean deeper magic much in the same way C.S. Lewis does in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. In the book, after Aslan’s death and resurrection, the lion is explaining to Susan and Lucy how he was able to come back to life. He explains that in many ways, the witch was right. The circumstances dictated that a sacrifice be made. The witch, operating under the belief of how ‘magic’ works in the world knew that the laws had to be accounted for.

But, Aslan explains, there is deeper magic at work. Something that the witch knows nothing about. She doesn’t know about it, because it was created before her. The laws of deeper magic were in place long before the witch arrived on the scene. The magic that the witch knew about (the laws of the universe) were satisfied and yet, a deeper magic freed Aslan from the curse of death.

The Full Focus Planner is great. There’s a reason I’ve used it for the last three years and will continue to use it, but tools are only as good as those using them.

If all I own is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. Blog Post Cover Picture with lightbulb, day planner, and a team at work.

If I have a security system but never turn it on, it will fail to protect my home and family when it’s needed.

Having a planner and failing to use it isn’t any better than not having a planner at all.

Wandering Aimlessly

Over the last several years of using the planner, I’ve noticed that I’m still ineffective at times. To remedy this, I had to set up a new ritual that helped me get back on track.

I noticed that at certain moments of the day, I’d lose efficiency and productivity. This wasn’t failure based on exhaustion or overwork. Instead, it was because I lacked a proper plan. I knew I had things to do, but didn’t know how to go about doing them. Instead, I’d spend time looking at social media, scouring the depths of YouTube, or looking for new dad jokes.

None of which will help me reach my goals.

To change the drift, I created the ritual to create, define, act whenever I feel myself veering off course.

That mantra has helped me get back on track with my goals, accomplish meaningful and significant tasks, and free my mind to focus on my work.

Now, telling myself to create, define, act is more than a mantra, it is a call to arms. A battle cry that gets my body moving. It breaks me free from the monotony of mindless action and issues a challenge to my mind. It is a call to greatness.

I drift when I fail to have a plan. As has often been said, I was then planning on failing.

Whether you use the Full Focus Planner or some other calendar management system, the idea behind create, plan, act can help you too.

Create. Plan. Act.

Create

The first idea is to create. Create a goal. Vision. System. Plan. For me, this means to actually get into the planner and start to outline tasks. I drift when I don’t open my planner and put things into timeslots. My life drifts off course when I don’t intentionally plan my steps. Work fails to get done when I fail to put significance on my time.

Step one is always to create the plan. If you notice that you are having trouble focusing, begin to ask questions of insight: Do I know what I’m working on? What’s next? Who do I need to connect with? What is most important to me? How can I make progress?

Creating your plan of action is what breaks you free from drift. By creating a plan you free your mind up to focus on what it sees in front of you. When you create your goals, you connect the logic of your brain with the emotions of your heart and are inspired to take action.

Plan

Once your goals are created, write down the steps to the plan. This can honestly be as simple as first I will…, then I will… For me, it follows this system of progression:

1.) What are my larger goals for the quarter?

2.) What steps did I take to accomplish those goals last week?

3.) As a follow-up, what goals do I need to accomplish this week?

4.) Which of those goals can I accomplish (or make progress on) today?

First, you create your system and belief for success. Write down your goals and visualize your success. Then, write down the plan to accomplish those goals.

Only one step left!

Act

The final step is to act. I’ve discovered that this usually ends up being the easiest step. The irony is that before I began this planning phase, that was the one thing I couldn’t do. The acting was hard because I didn’t have a plan. By creating the vision and building the plan, I gave myself the freedom to act appropriately.

I can cure my aimlessly drifting in just a few minutes by following the simple plan to create, plan, and act. By following this formula, I bring clarity to my projects and eliminate brain fog, confusion, and misguided wastes of time that prohibit me from reaching my goals. Wherever you’re and, and whatever you’re working on, just remember to create your goals, make your plan, and then act with intention.

Need help? Reach out and see if coaching is right for you.

Blog Post Title: Clarity Breeds Confidence

Recently, I had to engage in a bit of self-talk. Long hours. Early mornings. Late nights. A move to a new city. It was catching up with me. I was e-x-h-a-u-s-t-e-d.

That meant the minor task I had to accomplish was becoming a major headache. With all the finesse and grace of an accomplished dancer, I spun around that task and successfully avoided it for hours.

Eventually, as I was sitting on the couch looking for yet another distraction, I finally came to my senses.

Justin!?! What are you thinking? You know you need to do this. If you lack motivation, you lack the vision. Why does this matter to you so much?

Clarity Breeds Confidence

At that moment, I acknowledged I lacked the clear motivation of why this task mattered. I verbally began to recite whatever came to mind as to why the task mattered.

  • Your family is counting on you.
    Blog Post Title: Clarity Breeds Confidence
  • Accomplishing this will provide income to your family.
  • It builds trust and respect.
  • I want to provide for those I love.

On and on the list grew. Before I knew it, I had expressed over twenty different reasons I needed to complete the task.

What happened?

It was done in less than an hour.

Clarity breeds confidence. If we lack the motivation to complete something, it’s often because we lack the vision of why it matters in the first place.

When we remind ourselves what makes a task important, we harness the motivation (and more importantly, discipline) to get it done.

Pulled 1,000 Different Directions

Many of us are pulled in a thousand different directions every day. Our spouse needs affection. The kids want our attention. Our boss wants a report. A parent needs our perspective. Our friend needs advice. The side-hustle needs grinding.

Whatever it is, you know what it’s like to be pulled in a thousand different directions.

When struggling, recite: Confidence breeds clarity. The more clear our goals, the more action we are willing (and able to take). 

By gaining clarity on why something matters, you’ll breed the confidence to figure out how.

That’s one big difference between high-achievers and regular performers. High-achievers spend a significant amount of time engaging in the end vision of their journey and then plan intentionally.

Because clarity breeds confidence. Struggling like I was? Spend time there and experience a breakthrough.

3 Tips for Transformational Teamwork

Transformational Teamwork

As we emerge from quarantine and are reopening, our customers are facing problems. There are some new ones we can anticipate, some old ones that we can continue to meet, and there will be new ones we never see coming.

The victors will be those that adapt and overcome. Ulysses Grant, who hated the war life, once gave the philosophy that made him successful, despite his disdain for his occupation: “The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can and keep moving on.” 

For our businesses, it might read something like: “Find the problem your customers have. Create a solution as quickly as possible. Implement your answer as best as you know how. Adapt. Repeat. Overcome.”  Ulysses S. Grant

Together, Lincoln and Grant practice what I have come to call transformational teamwork. They built the vision and strategy, shared it with their team, and the tirelessly executed the plan. Transformational teams practice three key characteristics in all they do.

Clear Goals and Directions

The first requirement for transformational teams is to have clear goals and directions. Lincoln and Grant made their vision abundantly clear. For Lincoln, it was freedom for slaves and preservation of the Union. Grant implemented this through the term “unconditional surrender.” In fact, Grant would be known by this phrase so much that for a time people that U.S. Grant’s initials stood for “Unconditional Surrender.” The goal was clear: until the south abolishes slavery and lays down its arms without thought of picking them up again, the war has not been won.

We know the goals and directions we have for our businesses. As entrepreneurs, owners, or key stakeholders, we know why we get up every morning. We know what we’re chasing and the dream we are trying to accomplish. What about your employees or others around you? Can they articulate it clearly? Do they know, like Grant know how to implement the plan to achieve the goal?

Effective Communication

The second piece required for transformational teams is effective communication. It is not enough to know the goals and directions we must communicate that information with our team. During seasons of stress, conflict, or failure, communication is often the first thing to go. Legacy Leaders know how important clear, concise, and effective communication is.

Effective communicate is done regularly. It seeks two-way feedback and establishes rules and norms. Clear Communication talks about not just what and how, but also why. It honors others, builds bridges, minimizes conflict, and restores relationships.

In times of stress or setback, good communication is often the first thing to go. People resort to perspective and bias. To preconceived notions about the way the world works. To overcome this, clear communication is a must. Anytime there is poor communication, issue an apology, and own your mistake. 3 Tips for Transformational Teamwork

As tension mounts, humility and the ability to ask for forgiveness keeps the team united and focused on what really matters. Create a culture of open dialogue, feedback, humility, and reconciliation and watch your transformational team thrive.

360-Coaching

The final component of Transformative Teamwork is what I call 360-Coaching. More than normal feedback and assessment performance reviews, it is focused on real-time, growth-oriented feedback. Instead of backward reflection, instill future-focused development opportunities.

The official definition of coaching from the International Coaching Federation is this: “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

360-Coaching takes the whole person and seeks to develop them. Employers who care about both their employee’s productivity and their outside life, inspire confidence, instill loyalty, and extend grace. This is important because as much as we may pretend that our outside life doesn’t affect our work, that just isn’t the case.

Offering real-time feedback circumvents a chance for negative experiences or poor performance while opening up communication lines.

When high-performing leaders set clear goals, keep an open communication, and coach the whole person, a transformative team is born. A transformative team can conquer an obstacle and overcome any hardship.

 

This is an excerpt and adaptation of a business development seminar. To read additional excerpts, you can find part one here and part two here. To watch the presentation, go here.

Building With Purpose Online Conference

There are tremendous benefits to thinking big in life, business, and goals. Mitch Matthews reminds us that in his interview for the Building With Purpose Conference. He was our featured speaker, and he didn’t disappoint.

There are loads of good takeaways from his presentation, but start by checking out this clip below:

Building With Purpose

This excerpt is a part of the FREE online conference I’m hosting called Building With Purpose. This course will help you pivot during this time of social distancing and working from home.

For many of us, it’s a new experience. These experts will help you gain clarity and momentum and experience success.

To sign up for the conference, go here.

Registration is completely free and is currently open.

Building With Purpose Online ConferenceIn this conference, we hear from leading experts in:

  • Coaching
  • Business Consulting
  • Human Resources
  • Finance
  • Digital Marketing
  • And more

If you’re interested in starting or growing a business or even just wondering how to maximize your time and what to do next, enroll in the free conference.

To follow up, I’m offering all attendees a complimentary session.

To redeem your session, go here.

Dreaming Big

Mitch reminds us of the importance of continued growth. He reminds us that small, gradual improvements lead to big change. You conquer your fear by going just outside of your comfort zone, challenging yourself, rising to the occasion, and repeating that. Day in, day out.

Ready for more? Here are three ways for you to take action immediately.

1.) Don’t be afraid to experiment

This is pure gold from Mitch, and something I remind my clients of consistently. We experiment, with 100% effort, ways to grow. Sometimes our business plan limits creativity instead of inspiring action. Find ways to experiment with growth and see what new exciting opportunities open up. Did you fail? That’s okay, great scientists know that success only comes from good experiments. Pick yourself up and try again.

2.) Enjoy the surprises along the way.

Mitch’s story about the growth of his podcast is inspiring. What started out as an experiment is now literally transforming millions of lives around the world. The joy he had as he told the story reminds us all to enjoy life’s surprises when they happen. Even in our current climate, the world is full of wonder and joy if we’re looking for it.

3.) Spend time dreaming big … then dream bigger!

Our success is only capped by our imagination. The bigger we dream, the more we invest in our future, the more success we will have. Even if you’re just starting out, don’t dream of touching dozens, hundreds, or thousands of lives. Start by expecting (and planning) on touching millions and see where your mind takes you.

Building With Purpose Online Conference

Whatever you get out of life will be in direct proportion to your ability to push through fear.

That’s the feeling I was left with after I interviewed Kathleen Ries-Jubenville for the Building With Purpose Conference.

Building With Purpose

This excerpt is a part of the FREE online conference I’m hosting called Building With Purpose. This course will help you pivot during this time of social distancing and working from home.

For many of us, it’s a new experience. These experts will help you gain clarity and momentum and experience success.

To sign up for the conference, go here.

Registration is completely free and is currently open.

Building With Purpose Online ConferenceIn this conference, we hear from leading experts in:

  • Coaching
  • Business Consulting
  • Human Resources
  • Finance
  • Digital Marketing
  • And more

If you’re interested in starting or growing a business or even just wondering how to maximize your time and what to do next, enroll in the free conference.

To follow up, I’m offering all attendees a complimentary session.

To redeem your session, go here.

Push Through Fear

The ability to push through fear is a difficult character trait to master. In many ways, we’ve been taught to play it safe and minimize risk. We’re told to blend in with the crowd, be normal, and aim for average. The only problem is that you were made for so much more than average.

High achievers and elite performers have all had to learn this skill, and it’s part of the wisdom that Kathleen brings. She gives us great insight into how we can push through fear, and I encourage you to watch her whole presentation.

Here now, are three takeaways and insights I have.

1.) Faith and fear cannot coexist

Because faith and fear cannot coexist, we must pick one. If I’m afraid, it’s a sign that I don’t have faith. Faith in God, my business plan, or my abilities. A lack of faith means limited thinking and small engagement. Choose faith and bold, courageous action.

2.) Lean into the discomfort

Small, actionable steps that applied every day lead to big results. We don’t have to build Rome in a day or eat the elephant in one bite (as the old sayings go). Instead, we choose this day to do one bold, daring thing. When you multiply that over 365 days a year, amazing progress happens.

3.) Find ways to reward yourself.

This can sound coutner-intuitive but it is absolutely vital for continued success. Rewarding ourselves for a job well done psychologically rewires our brain to seek out more pleasure: meaning we get more done. I regularly push my clients to set up meaningful and significant rewards as one key cornerstone to success.

 

How are you currently pushing through fear? Leave your action plan in the comments below!