Impossible to stop growing

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I’m walking along the streets of New York City right now and saw this skyscraper currently in being built.

I am marveled at how new construction can continue in one of the most crowded cities in the world; but this sight sends a wonderful message that regardless of where you are in life – maturity in age, profession, relationships, whatever…you can still make time for change, you can still grow, you can still build upon, you can still tear down and recreate.

If you’re thinking you’re too past your prime in starting a business, leaving your job, trying for different position, taking on a hobby, breaking up a comfortable but toxic relationship, starting a new and better one, reinvigorating your existing ones…I believe it’s just a mental prison with unlocked doors where you can leave at any time, and living in fear instead of love and the courage that comes with it.

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When meaningful change can truly take place

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change” – Carl R. Rogers

When I’m trying to enact growth or recompose myself i.e. losing body fat, gaining muscle, building a new company, changing my practices, reorganizing my priorities, etc. – I need to:

Stop beating myself up about why I keep failing to change. I fail because I am human and make mistakes – I am not God and shouldn’t expect results as if I am my Father. I fail because I have limited knowledge – which is to be expected, like a baby will falter 100% of the time when learning how to walk. I fail because sometimes, it’s not what I’m supposed to be doing.
Stop being impatient. I am causing undue stress on the process. Sometimes there are not shortcuts. I need to enjoy the journey and not just focus on the destination.

Understand that frustration is a matter of expectation. Yes – make well-thought out goals and take realistic steps toward change, but understand that sometimes your goals won’t be achieved; that sometimes, God has an even better plan for you than your limited knowledge wants. Most of your life’s greatest moments are unplanned – I guarantee it. 

So if the future is uncontrollable to a certain degree, and there is an unknown that you can never predict…why not focus on what you can control? 

Learn to really accept yourself as you are – warts and all. Be present in your circumstances – be they good or bad. And remind yourself that you are enough. 
I am far from perfect in doing these things (do as I say, not as I do lol!), but I can tell you that I can go much further when my gas tank is full =)

Love yourself. 

Do it right from the start – My morning habit

Your effectiveness – in your business and personal life – is sooooo much better when you optimize the beginning of whatever you’re doing.

When you start your day, what daily habits can you implement to ensure that no matter what happens, your day ends in success?

For me, since the beginning of the year I’ve followed this ritual:

  1. Wake up at 4a-5a in the morning. This is the best time for me to have quiet and focus. I do not check my phone for any messages.
  2. Prayer. It usually goes like this: “God – please help me hear what you want to tell me. And please give me the strengthen to follow your will. And if I don’t do anything else, I want to love you more and get to know you better. And You are sovereign, in control, and always provide – I have nothing to worry about. And please help me put You first and throughout everything.”
  3. Walk/Feed the dogs. I have 3 chihuahuas (my wife is a dog fanatic, and the only reason why we have 3 is because in Irvine it’s illegal to have 4 or more lol) that I take out to the park across the street. While this isn’t my favorite thing to do at first, I get to move my muscles before I sit down to work; the cold morning air is invigoriating; and the sunrise is beautiful. Doing this and feeding them feels like making my bed (and I can’t do that while wifey is sleeping, so this is the alternate), and that’s another win I can add to the tally.
  4. Read the daily Bible devotional from Marketplace Leaders. Once a day, I get an email from this site that takes a Bible passage and dissects/explains it as it relates to our everyday struggles as a Christian businessperson, marketer, salesperson, and overall worker. It’s helped me remember that doing God’s work doesn’t happen only on Sundays, as a pastor, at a soup kitchen, on the mission field, and off work hours. Jesus did more miracles and called more people to Him in the workplace – where we spend most/all of our time; and that whatever we do for work, it’s a form of worship if we do it with the right mindset.
  5. Journal. Yep, I write there AND I write here. I use DayOne to share my confidential thoughts/challenges/wins, jot down unrefined ideas, clarify my thoughts, and document memories. This is where I brain dump, and clear the space my head for good/positive/helpful thoughts to pour in.
  6. Drink water & brew green tea. It’s universally accepted that drinking a cup of cold water will jump-start your body and prime yourself for burning calories; and green tea is my preferred method of caffeination.
  7. Meditate. Over the years I’ve failed at meditating for long periods of time; I’d give up after a few days and a few minutes. During those times, I didn’t use the relevant method for me; I didn’t have the right mindset; I didn’t have sustainable expectations; I wasn’t mature enough; I didn’t have enough BS in my life to benefit from it; and I guess I didn’t hear it nagging at me enough times until now.  I have the Headspace app downloaded on my phone and do the “Take 10” guided sessions, and they have been incredible for me. I’m now on my 3rd go-round and have increased my meditation time to 15 minutes a day. I hear from Tim Ferriss and others that 20 minutes is where the real benefits kick in, and I’m excited to get there after this rotation.
  8. Read. I feel the most fulfilled when I am reading, learning, and growing. It’s the body version of the personal finance principle “investing in yourself first.” I’m currently reading Tim Ferriss’ “Tools of Titans” (the main inspiration for this post); John Eldreadge’s “Moving Mountains” (a gift from a great friend and amazing online businessperson Dean Soto); Tony Robbins’ “Money Master the Game;” Bob Fifer’s “Double Your Profits: In Six Months” (recommended by Fransmart CEO Dan Rowe); and Brendan Moynihan’s “What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars.”
  9. Blog (if inspired).

I don’t succeed every day (I miss 1-2 of these items about once or twice a week) and I don’t follow these habits on the weekend (I sleep in; I do love being lazy, too). But whenever I get this checklist done, I feel primed and have better control over my decisions. I get the most important things done first and don’t get seduced by social media, text messages, and emails that will eat me alive…and somehow get done anyway =)

I envision my day as a big empty bucket on a beach full of sand and rocks. When you sand – the small, trivial things – to the top of the bucket, you make no room for rocks – the most important things. But if you decide to fill the bucket with rocks first, you will still be able to pour sand after, through the openings that rocks leave.

It’s interesting – When I started this post, I didn’t expect to write this much; and I didn’t think that I’d want to write another “Do It Right From The Start” post. It might even become a series.

Goes to show that you don’t need to know all the details sometimes. Just take action.

I’m interested in learning how others set themselves up for a successful day. Please share!