Sunday, January 26, 2014

Build Momentum by Leaning Into It
Written by Jack Canfield

One of the common ways we block success is by refusing to take action on a project or opportunity until we can see the entire pathway from start to finish. We are afraid to start, because the outcome is uncertain. While we plan, think, research, and analyze, the opportunity slips away.

Highly successful people take a different approach. They just lean into it – they open themselves to opportunities and become willing to do what it takes to pursue opportunities further – without any expectations. They say “yes” to opportunities, take the first step … and then find out along the way if they want to keep going.

Stop Worrying About the “How”

When we are presented with opportunities or envision big goals, one question that stops us dead in our tracks is “But how will I do it?” Even if we can picture the goal and get excited about the end result, our minds quickly start doubting our ability to turn our dreams into reality.

For example, you may picture yourself as a best-selling author, but then a little voice in your head reminds you that you don’t know the first thing about writing a book, that odds are stacked against you getting a publishing contract, that you have never marketed a book before, and dozens of other pieces of proof that you don’t know how to achieve your goal.

The beauty of just leaning into it is that it creates momentum. Taking even one step forward broadcasts your intent to the world. The universe responds by sending the opportunities, resources and people who can help you just at the right time for you to benefit the most from them.

Just leaning into it becomes a process of co-creating with the universe. Become willing to explore the unknown, and trust that the answers and resources you need will appear. All you need to do is keep taking the logical next steps. The journey will take you where you want to go … or even someplace better.

Roadblocks or Redirection?

In The Success Principles, I share the story of a singer named Jana Stanfield. After several years working in Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue her dream of becoming a songwriter and recording artist, she concluded that trying to get a record deal was like pounding her head against a wall. She could try forever without any guarantee of success.

What Jana later realized is that when you lean into it, roadblocks are put into your path to force you onto a different path – a path that may be truer to your real purpose. She learned that even when you can’t move forward, you can turn right or left, but you have to keep moving.

By continuing to take the next logical steps, Jana found herself singing at churches. Responding to audiences’ requests for her songs on a CD, she hired an engineer to record 10 of her songs. The first time she offered her songs for sale after a church service, she made more money than she had earned that entire week in her job. She was fulfilling her purpose in her own unique way.

Today, her company produces more than 50 motivational concerts each year around the world. She started her own recording company, and her songs have been recorded by singers such as Reba McEntire and Andy Williams, as well as featured on Oprah, 20/20 and Entertainment Tonight.

Feel the Fear, but Act Anyway

As you move forward, you will have to confront your fears. Fear is natural. Most people let fear stop them from taking the necessary steps to achieve their dreams. Successful people, on the other hand, feel the fear but don’t let it stop them.

Some people will do anything to avoid feeling fear. It’s understandable – fear is uncomfortable. But most of the good stuff in life requires taking a risk, and the truth is that taking a risk means that it might not work out.

Successful people are willing to take a leap of faith, even if they are afraid. They know that if you don’t act, opportunity will pass you by. As former attorney general and U.S. senator Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” I also truly believe that if a goal isn’t a little bit scary, or if it doesn’t create a bit of fear within you, it’s probably not worth doing. So many people stop because “they are scared.” I say, feel that feeling, and get excited because feeling that fear means you are on to something good!

Look at your list of goals for the year. Which have you been ignoring because you fear the risk you’ll have to take to make that dream come true? Which have you been ignoring because you simply don’t know where to start? As you consider these goals, ask yourself what you can do to simply lean into it – what are the logical first steps that you can take to begin exploring making these dreams a reality? Acknowledge your fear, and lean into it anyway. Small steps will help to build confidence and dissipate your fear, while also creating momentum to attract the resources you need to achieve your biggest goals.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul©Inspirational Books)© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com/.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Beat the "Shiny Object" Syndrome
Written by Jack Canfield

Variety is the spice of life. But if you – like me – view the world as an exciting buffet of opportunities to learn, try and create new things, you know that variety can be dangerous.

The problem is that it’s easy to get distracted from the goals and commitments you’ve already made. Rather than seeing things through to completion, you abandon the goals and projects you’ve already started to chase after whatever new thing has just caught your eye.

I call this “shiny object” syndrome, and it has derailed the success of many people who could be very successful – if they only could maintain their focus long enough to complete a goal.

If you frequently abandon commitments in favor of new interests and projects, here are five techniques I’ve found helpful in evaluating new opportunities.
  • Postpone Your Decision. It’s easy to get swept away with excitement when you stumble across something new and exciting. Try waiting a few days before making a final decision about whether or not to commit to the new opportunity. During this self-imposed cooling-off period, you’ll probably find that your enthusiasm wanes and you’re better able to evaluate whether this new opportunity will move you closer to your goal.

    During your waiting period, make a list of all things you could possibly do with your time, including both the new opportunity and your existing commitments. Ask yourself where you would schedule time for the new activity or project. You’ll quickly see that there’s not enough time for everything you want to achieve, and you’ll see exactly what you would have to give up to squeeze the new opportunity into your schedule.
  • Use Review Board. I’m constantly coming up with new projects that I want to do, as well as fielding exciting joint venture proposals from colleagues. Rather than making the executive decision to take on a new project and then delegating the work to my staff, I now seek my team’s buy-in first. If they say that taking on a potential new project would require sacrificing a more important existing goal, the idea is put on hold.

    If you don’t have a staff or co-workers, create your own review board. Ask people you trust and who understand your goals for input before you commit to taking on any new projects or work.
  • Inner Board of Advisors. Create an imaginary group of mentors that you can turn to for advice. Simply create some quiet time, close your eyes and ask your board for advice about the opportunity you are considering. Your inner board of advisors can include anyone – alive or deceased, famous or not, people you’ve met and people you’ve only read about. Mine includes author and activist Helen Keller, as well as President John F. Kennedy. Although both are deceased, I get very distinct guidance when I ask for their help and open up to their wisdom.
  • Forced Choice Technique. Write a list of all of the things you want to do. Then prioritize your list using a forced comparison. With this technique, you compare items one at a time, from the top of the list to the bottom. Start by asking which you would rather do – item 1 or item 2. Take the winner and compare it to the next item on the list. Then compare that winner – let’s say it is item 3 – and compare it to item 4. Once you’ve done a forced comparison with all items on the list, you’ll have identified your number-one priority.

    Now go back to remaining items on your list, and start the forced comparison process again with the first two items. Repeat the entire process until you have prioritized the entire list of activities. This will help you gauge the importance of the new activity or project you are considering in comparison with everything else you have already committed to.

    Finally, ask yourself the following two questions: “What is the most effective use of my time now?” and “What’s the most important thing to do today?” This will help you maintain focus in a sea of choices.
  • Muscle Testing. Your body never lies. So when in doubt about your enthusiasm for the fun opportunity you just discovered, simply ask your body for its input. The easiest way is to use the standing body lean. With this process, you stand and ask your body to show you a “yes.” After a few seconds, your body will start to lean forward or backward. Then ask your body to show you a “no,” at which point it should lean the opposite direction. Once you’ve calibrated yourself, ask your body whether you should act on the opportunity. The answer you receive in the form of a simple lean will reveal what truly is in your best interest.
Maintaining the focus you need to complete goals can be difficult when the world offers so many exciting things to learn, do and experience. Use these 5 tips to ensure that any new opportunities you choose to pursue will support, rather than detract, from your existing commitments. By resisting the adrenaline rush that comes from starting something new, you’ll find it easier to complete more of what you start – delivering a sense of accomplishment that’s hard to beat.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul©Inspirational Books)© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com/.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

From Making a Living to Creating a Lifestyle
Written by Jim Rohn

After having struggled for so long, it took a shift in attitude for my family and me when success started to happen. When I started making a little extra money at age 25, my mentor Earl Shoaff taught me to let it serve as a new inspiration for lifestyle. Take my family to dinner after I'd had two or three pretty good weeks and it looked like it was going to continue. I would say, "Today we get to order from only the left hand side of the menu—we don't have to look at the right hand side.” It didn't cost much, just a little extra. But you can't believe the effect on the family. Wow—that these are new days.

It's called changing your life as well as changing your skills when earning more money. It's best to invest some of that early money in lifestyle. Go to the movies. Go to the concerts. My parents said don't miss anything. Don't miss the play, the music, the songs, the performances, the movie—whatever is happening.

When I started making some extra money I opened up an account for my wife and I called it the "No Questions Asked Account.” I said, "Here is the checkbook for a new account, and it's called No Questions Asked. I'll just keep putting money in there and you spend it for whatever you wish.” It was life changing. It wasn't a fortune. But she didn't have to ask for money any more. I could sense that it was a little embarrassing at times when she had to ask me for money. I thought, that's not good, so the first time I get a chance, here's what I'm going to do. And sure enough, I did it. The "No Questions Asked Account.” You can't believe what that did. It was absolutely amazing.

With that little extra money, work at creating lifestyle. Social friendships, church, community, country. All those things that make a composite of our overall life. Start furnishing that with new vigor, vitality, money, whatever it takes to expand your life into what I call the good life as well as economics.

When I discovered those kinds of concepts at age 25, you can imagine it was hard for me to sleep nights that first year. I got so excited about changing everything. And one discipline leads to another. One change leads to another. Feeling good about yourself and starting to make the turn to do something you've never done before, then it starts to work, wow, and then you get excited about changing other areas of your life as well.

Now after you have made your fortune, the money might not seem as big a deal. Fortunately you can then create even more powerful opportunities, in particular, opportunities for benevolence, philanthropy and giving.

Now I'm certainly not saying to focus only on external pleasures and rewards. Your relationships, health and spirituality are all of more consequence.

But in the beginning, when the rewards of your hard work begin paying off, make sure and treat yourself and those closest to you to a new world of lifestyle and celebrations.

Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2014. As a world-renowned author and success expert, Jim Rohn touched millions of lives during his 46-year career as a motivational speaker and messenger of positive life change. For more information on Jim and his popular personal achievement resources or to subscribe to the weekly Jim Rohn Newsletter, visit www.JimRohn.com.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are You Living Your Passion?
Written by Jack Canfield

If you want to be fulfilled, happy, content, and experience inner peace and ultimate fulfillment, it’s critical that you discover your purpose. Without a purpose as the compass to guide you, your goals and action plans may not ultimately fulfill you.

I believe that each of us is born with a life purpose. Identifying, acknowledging, and honoring this purpose is perhaps the most important action successful people take. They take the time to understand what they’re here to do – and then they pursue that with passion and enthusiasm.

For some of us, our purpose is obvious and clear. We’re born with a set of talents and through persistent practice, we develop our talents into skills.

My children are prime examples. It was clear from the moment they got on the planet what they were interested in. One son wanted to draw all the time, and he is now in the art world. Another son was always tapping out rhythms on paint cans and dishes, and he’s now in the music world, along with one of his brothers. My daughter is in the literary world, and my stepson is definitely in the business world. They had natural talents that were clear indicators for what they ended up ultimately being passionate about.

For some people, though, it’s not as easy to identify a passion. Alternatively, you may enjoy what you do, but on deeper exploration, discover that you’re passionate about something altogether different than what you do. There are two processes that I’ve found to be extremely helpful in discovering – and living – your passion.

The Life Purpose Exercise
The Success Principles describes a simple process that can help you identify your passion in as little as 10 minutes.

The process involves answering three questions:
  1. “What are two qualities I most love expressing in life?” For me, it would be love and joy.
  2. “What are two ways I most love expressing those qualities?” For me, it’s inspiring people with stories like the Chicken Soup books and empowering people through my live trainings, home study courses, books, DVDs and teleseminars.
  3. “What would the world look like if it were perfect right now, according to me?” For me, it would be that everyone was living their highest vision in the context of love and joy.
Once you have answers to all three questions, you can combine them into a single statement. My life purpose is to inspire and empower people to live their highest vision in the context of love and joy, and for the highest good of all concerned.

To identify ways that you can live your passion, ask yourself this additional question: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how actively am I living this passion, or how actively am I living this purpose?”

If your answer is anything less than a 10, ask yourself, “What would I have to do to make it a 10?” The answers that you come up with are the action steps you need to take so that you can begin living your passions on a day-to-day level.

The Passion Test
Developed by Chris and Janet Attwood, the passion test is a simple, yet elegant, process. You start by filling in the blank 15 times for the following statement: “When my life is ideal, I am ___.” The word(s) you choose to fill in the blank must be a verb.

When Janet took me through the process, my statements looked like this:
  • My life is ideal when I’m being of service to massive numbers of people.
  • My life is ideal when I’m helping people with their vision.
  • My life is ideal when I’m speaking to large groups.
  • My life is ideal when I’m being part of a spiritual leaders network.
  • My life is ideal when I’m creating a core group of ongoing trainers who feel identified with my organization.
Once you’ve created 15 statements, you identify the top 5 choices. To do this, you compare statements #1 and #2 to identify which is most important. Take the winner of that comparison and decide whether it’s more or less important than statement #3. Then take the winner of that comparison, and decide whether it’s more or less important than statement #4, and so on until you’ve identified the passion that is most meaningful to you. Repeat the process with the remaining 14 statements to identify your second choice. Then repeat the process until you’ve pinpointed your top 5 passions.

Next, create markers for each of your top five passions, so that you can look at your life and easily tell whether you are living that passion. For me, a marker would be “When I’m helping people live their vision I’m giving at least 20 workshops a year for at least 10,000 people total, and at each event, people are coming up afterwards and saying, ‘You’ve really empowered me to live my vision.’”

One you know what your passions are and how your life will look when you are living it, you can create action plans to turn your dreams into reality.

To learn more about this process, I highly recommend the Attwoods’ book, The Passion Test.

Just Lean Into It
Once you identify your passion, you don’t need to overhaul your life completely and all at once. Instead, follow Success Principles #24 and “Lean into it.” Start living your passion, and stay in tune to the feedback you’re receiving and how you’re feeling. Adjust how you’re living your passion, until you feel that you’re living in bliss.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul©Inspirational Books)© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com/.