How to achieve your dreams

How to achieve your dreams

Statistically speaking, most people have consistent dreams for accomplishments they’d like to achieve, over and over, year after year, but they never pursue those dreams. They never take action on the things they really want in life.

Most people settle for a comfortable, okay, good life, not an extraordinary one. Which means, that most people never experience feeling truly fulfilled. Most people aren’t sucking the juice out of life they are taking a sip.

Why do you think this statistically true? Why are 70% of Americans living lives they are kind of, sometimes, inspired by?

The most basic answer to that question is this: Most people don’t believe they can have what they want. Not believing messes up the whole pathway to achieving what they dream about. There are a few reasons why this happens:

  1. Most people are conditioned at a young age to believe that you can’t “have it all”. Some people even learn that if they do want it all they’re greedy. It’s the “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” principle.
  2. Most people are surrounded by people that are living comfortable, decent, average lives. They start to shape what’s possible for them by what’s possible for others. Their own bar in life then gets determined by the people closest to them.
  3. Most people relate to their future from their now. They look at what they want and if it’s a far cry from what they have they often decide it’s too hard. Or maybe they go after their dream for a while but when they fail a few times they decide they aren’t good enough and settle instead.

We all deeply desire to achieve what we want in all areas of our lives. Problem is, most people squash their own desires because of the three points above.

This means, YOU are the only thing in the way of you not realizing your dreams! Bottom: If you don’t believe you can, you won’t take action. It’s that simple.

So how do you cultivate your belief muscle? How do you go from not believing in yourself to believing?

How to achieve your dreams

Honor your little voice. Everyone has a little voice in their head. Some call it the Universe. Some call it their authentic self. Some call it their higher consciousness. Some call it God. If you listen, you’ll hear your little voice speaking to you. It’s always directing you to what you want and need to do.

Honor that voice. If you don’t, you’ll create resistance against what you authentically, instinctively want and know is right for you. Think of your relationship to your inner voice like an elastic band. The more you pull away, the more resistance you create. Not honoring what you authentically want is a recipe for struggling to feel fulfilled and at peace with your life.

Incremental progress. Set small goals for yourself that are easy for you to achieve. If you want to lose 30 lbs for instance, focus on what you need to do in week one, such as: Buy workout clothes, a gym membership and go to the gym once. When you accomplish something simple acknowledge yourself for making progress. Accomplishment precedes accomplishment. Start small and you’ll gain momentum to keep going.

Own your failures. In anything you’re trying to achieve you will likely fail in some way. It’s more likely that’ll you’ll experience failure than not (especially when going after giant dreams). So, if you want to achieve a big dream you have to make friends with failure. The simplest way, is to use failure as a metric. When you fail you’ll learn what not to do and that will get you closer to what you need to do to produce the outcome you want.

Learn from each failure and you’re good. Anytime you fail ask yourself: What do I need to do next time to achieve the outcome I want?

Surround yourself with growth environments and people. You are strongly influenced by the people and environments you put yourself in. You will unconsciously take on their behaviors and set your bar to their level. Instead, set your bar by people you admire. Model their behaviors. And bring other people to your level if they have a low bar for themselves.

Obsess about your passions. Sometimes you’ll decide you need to lay a dream to rest because you realize it isn’t for you anymore. That’s fine and part of the process. It comes with growth. But, there will be dreams you have and things you want that speak to you and don’t go away! Listen to what these are. They point to your passions and the gifts you have to share with the world.

When you discover what you love, want to learn more about, excel at, and want to share with others, get obsessed. You’ll start to see more pathways opening up that you need to follow. There’s a brain region that allows you to key into aspects of your physical environment that you decide your passionate about learning more about.

Willingness to work for the dream for the sake of the dream. You have to want the dream so bad that you want to work for the dream even when you can’t see how to get there or if you ever will. That’s the kind of attitude it takes to get there. The good news is, if you have this kind of mindset you will eventually get there. It’s predictable. If you take action and you’re strategic you’ll inevitably win!

Personally, I’m grateful and blessed to have learned very early on in life of the personal power I carry and that I am able to make my wildest dreams come true. This has come with much struggle and adversity. But through it all, most importantly, I’ve learned that there is no way else to live but to go after your dreams. Life sparkles when you do. And who doesn’t want to wake up every day to a life that sparkles and a feeling of deep fulfillment and gratitude?

How to fail at almost everything and still win big

Most people don’t want to fail. That’s because society conditions us to see failure as bad and something to avoid. This is not the case. Failure is not bad. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good either.

I’m certainly not urging you to go fail. But what I am urging you to do is be realistic. You can’t avoid failure.

Failure is inevitable. You can’t escape it. Think of it more as a law you can’t dispute, like gravity. Or like the wind or rain. Failure happens even if you try and avoid it there are so many variables in life you can’t control.

When you think of failure as good or bad this is the subjective filter you your circumstances through. So you decide what you want failure to mean and how you want to relate to it.

How to fail at almost everything and still win big

You can’t avoid failure, and you shouldn’t try. This doesn’t mean you should take giant risks. You still want to try and mitigate major failures, because anytime you fail in a massive way, your brain captures the moment, stores it and will do everything in its power to have you not suffer the experience again.

So, here are my five rules for how to fail at almost everything and still win big…

how to fail at almost everything and still win big

Rule #1: Fail small

You want to fail small. Focus on incremental progress. The actions you take in pursuit of the major goals you’re out to achieve in life should be at the edge of what’s comfortable for you. Think: Expansion. Think: Growth.

Small failures won’t stop you. In many cases they will propel you forward into the next action. This is because if you’re willing to assess and learn from your failures, and the insights you gain from them, you will get closer to success. You start to see what to do from learning what not to do.

Which, brings me to my next rule for failing like a master…

Rule #2: Use every failure as a learning opportunity

Reshape your entire context of failure so you view it as a feedback mechanism to your progress. When you fail, all there is to do is look at what led to the failure. Then estimate what you need to succeed, and put that in for next time.

When you fail, you want to stop and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What outcome did I not achieve that I wanted to?
  2. Why? What action or structure was I missing? Speculate.
  3. What am I putting in place to improve the outcome next time.
  4. What valuable learning can I celebrate from this failure?

Sometimes a failure means you’re going the wrong way and you need to change your entire strategy. Sometimes a failure means you need to learn something new.

A failure can mean you’re very close and now you know the last thing you need to do to win.

When you look at failure as a way to assess your progress, you can look at what action led to the failure, and what you can do to improve as you continue to pursue your goal.

Rule #3: Depersonalize your failure

When you fail, step back and evaluate the circumstances. Take yourself out of the equation for a moment and look at the actions that led to the failure.

One of the biggest errors most people make when they fail at something is they personalize their failure with thoughts and language such as: “I failed”. Instead, focus on the failure as being a breakdown around the actions you took. You didn’t fail, an action you took failed. Sometimes it can be that you failed to insert a specific action.

For instance, let’s say you were in a long term relationship with someone you invested years with and considered marrying. One day the other person ends the relationship. You start to lament and think about all the things you did wrong and how you are a failure in relationships. You start to personalize the situation.

Instead of making the failure about you, depersonalize it. Look at the facts. What failed was the relationship, not you. And maybe you encouraged the relationship to fail, but it’s only because there were actions you took (or failed to take) that led to the breakdown. Your actions caused the failure, not you.

If you are having trouble wrapping your head around this, it helps to think of a baby learning to walk. If that baby stumbles and falls, is that baby a failure? No. The baby failed to walk. The baby isn’t an entire failure. It’s learning to achieve a complex task that it has never done before. You’re no different.

Rule#4: Bring empathy to the situation

Most people are really hard on themselves. I’ve learned this from coaching hundreds of people, and from listening to my own mental chatter. And this usually gets worse when we fail.

If you get mad at yourself when you fail it helps to remember to bring empathy to the situation. I learned this from the Dalai Lama.

When you start blaming and getting angry at yourself, step back and take a moment to relate to your situations with love, with kindness with self-compassion. Looking at yourself as a baby. A baby can do no wrong. Self kindness gives you energy strength and the will to keep going.

Healing comes through forgiving yourself, and being kind to yourself. Seeing what you did as something not to repeat. Or something to learn and grow from.

Negative self talk and blaming yourself is a choice. It’s something you need to train out of yourself. When you fail, go be by yourself, get quiet, love yourself.

Rule #5: Write a failure story

For cataclysmic failures you have trouble overcoming, use this trick I learned from Robert Steven Kaplan. He’s the former Senior Associate Dean and Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, and currently the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

When you have trouble getting over a failure write a failure story. Here is how: Write a short story about your failure that gets all your thoughts out on paper. Write about why you suck, why you’re a failure, and use intense emotions when you write it. Then, read the story to someone out loud. Eventually, as you read it, it becomes silly to you. It loses the emotional weight. (This might take a couple of repeated readings out loud.)

You will start to pull your emotions out of the failure, and see it as just a silly thing you can overcome.

I recommend doing this only when you have a lot of trouble overcoming a failure. You know, one that gnaws at you, and that you can’t let go.

Remember: A failure is only a failure if you see it as one. Let me repeat that: A failure is only a failure if you see it as one.

Your life is just a series of events. You’re born you take actions. The actions you take produce certain results and then get you closer or farther from where you want to go.

This thing called “failure” is a concept you were conditioned to believe in. In the world we live in, there’s an agreement of what success looks like. What’s not that is failure. So failure is really a belief you have about something that’s happened. And beliefs can be changed.

leadership

If you breathe air, you’re a leader

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If you are a living breathing human being, you are a leader. This is regardless of whether you see yourself as one or not.

You are the leader of your own life. The actions you take on a daily basis matter. They shape your future.

And, you’re a leader to those around you. There are people who look up to you and see you as a leader whether you think they do or not. So take a moment to consider the role you play in all your communities – in your home, at work, in your neighborhood.

Leadership is about ownership. It’s about being responsible for who you are in the world with yourself and with others.

It’s about being a leader first in your own life.  This means, being responsible for the state of your physical health, your finances, and making sure you’re passionate about your career and the way you contribute your time to the world. And also, it’s about how you treat yourself and everyone else you encounter.

If you’re willing to accept that you are a leader and then look at the areas of your life where initiative has been lacking, you’ll immediately see new actions to take to breakthrough where you’ve been stuck recently in life.

When you take those actions you’ll step into your greatness and start to see what’s really possible.

Consider all the areas of life where you feel powerless right now. Think about those things that are stressing you out. Then ask yourself: Where haven’t I been responsible? You might be surprised at what you discover.

Where can you bring the quality of LEADERSHIP to your life today?

And, what does leadership look like to you? It likely includes qualities of:

  • Proactiveness. Taking action now, not waiting for things to happen.
  • Resilience. Standing up for something you believe in and being okay with standing alone if you have to.
  • Compassion. Being able to understand and empathize with others.
  • Responsibility. A willingness to show initiative and be 100% accountable all the time.
  • Gratitude. The greatest leaders are those that appreciate others and express it. They lift people up and turn other people into leaders.

Think of a leader you admire. What qualities do they possess?

Be like that person today. Bring leadership into your life this week and watch what magnificent results you produce.

How to be a better listener…and listen like your life depends on it

Are you a good listener?

Do you listen like your life depends on it?

Being a master listener comes with some crazy benefits. Here are three:

  • Active listening has people think you’re awesome. It’s one of the most effective ways to be a people magnet. When you truly listen to people they feel appreciated. It fills a deep need all people have to be understood. People like to be around people that hear them. It makes them feel good.how to be a better listener
  • Active listening gives you leverage. When you understand people you can use your knowledge to speak to what they need, and also get what you want.
  • Active listening makes you smarter. The fastest way to expand your emotional IQ skills and to get unstuck when dealing with common life challenges, is to listen. It’s a simple way to boost your success in all areas of life.

So, let me ask you again: Are you a good listener?

Find out now by doing a quick listening audit on yourself, against the most common listening pitfalls listed below. Then read on to learn four simple tips you can use today to be a better listener.

The six most common listening pitfalls

We’re all guilty of them each pitfall from time to time, though you will find that you identify most with one. Which listening style is dominant for you?:

#1: The Anxious Listener

When you’re in conversation, do you find yourself overly concerned with how you’re doing? Do you wonder: What does the other person really think of me? Or, What should I say now to sound intelligent?

When you’re caught up in thoughts of how you’re being perceived it takes you out of the conversation. It becomes about you not the topic you are discussing or what’s going on with the other person.

#2: The Analyzer

Do you approach most conversations with an intention to critique and provide your expertise to the other person, to solve what they are dealing with? Are you always looking to offer advice?

As the Analyzer you’re more interested in diagnosing or playing the role of therapis than you are of listening. If you take a “here’s what you should do approach” to your conversations without being asked for this kind of input, you might be an Analyzer.

#3: The “I’m not listening but I sure look like I am” listener

The easiest way to spot this type of listener is from noticing their emphasized body language. Expressive eyes. Excessive smiling and exaggerated nods of the head.

If this is you, you make a real effort to show you’re engaged in your conversations. Though, in many cases you’ve got a hidden agenda. You unconsciously drive the conversation in a specific direction.

This listening style is classic in the media where interviewers are trying to get the right answers in a short amount of time and look genuinely interest for the camera, but are preoccupied with the internal dialog in their head.

#4: The Ego-Centered Listener

This listening style is best illustrated with an example:

Person A says: “I’m so frustrated I woke up with a cold today. I’ve been coughing all morning and my nose is stuffed!”

Person B says: “You know what, I’m getting a cold too. It’s no fun. I’m going to have a tea to make myself feel better. I hate being sick.”

This type of listener always responds with their experience of what is going on. They don’t listen or empathize with the person they are speaking to. They tend to always direct the conversation back to themselves.

#5: The Too-Active Listener

Have you ever had the experience of being fully committed to listening to someone and you’re so focused on listening, that you find yourself not listening?

This often happens when people learn to be better listeners and they focus on all the things they should be doing – making eye contact, nodding their head, paraphrasing – and lose their ability to just be. To do the one thing they are supposed to do.

#6: The “wait did you say something?” Listener

Are you constant multi-tasker? When people speak to you, do you stop what you’re doing and give them your undivided attention? Or, do you maintain conversations while you’re focused on other activities and barely notice you’re talking to someone else.

This type of listener often messes up simple instructions or interrupts the person they are talking to mid-sentence with a “wait, what did you just say?” or “I missed that”.

What it feels like to truly listen…

Listening is not a passive skill as many people think it is. On the contrary, it’s highly active. In fact, if you’re listening properly, you might feel tired after a deep conversation. It takes energy, attention and focus to listen like a master.

It also requires throwing out any agenda you have when you listen. Forgetting about yourself and being fully engaged in the experience of the person you are talking to.

When you truly listen you lose yourself. You find yourself in a dance of conversation where you no longer think. It’s similar to the feeling of playing a piece of music on a instrument that you’ve learned to play without the music, or following a dance routine you’ve learned, without thinking about the steps.

If you want to be a better listener here are four simple steps you can immediately to increase your effectiveness:

Four pro listening tips

Step 1: Amplify your interest

Listen like you care about the topic you’re conversing about even when you don’t. Make an effort to take a deep interest in the person you’re speaking to. If you don’t care initially, this will easily dissipate when you bring your full attention to the conversation. Find something in what the are saying that is of interest. Engage with them and explore the topic.

How to listen like a proStep 2: Let go of your internal dialogue

Listening like an expert requires you let go of what you want to say when it pops into your mind. Walk into your conversations without an agenda.

Stop driving the conversations.  Really listening means giving up what you want to say over and over (and over!) so you can hear what the other person has to say. 

Step 3: Respeak

Respeak is a technique of periodically saying back what you just heard to the person who just said it to you. It’s effective because:

  1. It allows you to ensure you got the correct message.
  2. It shows them that you heard them.
  3. You hear the message again and then you know what to say back to those people.
  4. This is extra effective when you are in a stressful or heated conversation.

Step 4: Learn how to read and use body language

Sometimes your body language sends the wrong message. Learning body language helps to express your engagement and like of the person you’re speaking to. It also helps you interpret what other people are saying to you beyond the words coming from their mouth.

Try the techniques above. They are foolproof ways to steer clear of the common listening pitfalls.

You’ll be shocked what can occur when you start to deeply listen to people. You will  feel what they feel. You’ll start to get caught up in experiences with them. And you’ll learn about the people in your life profoundly.

People will feel heard by you, and they will feel understood and be grateful that someone is finally listening to them. They will want to be around you more. They will tell others how incredible you are and you’re likeability will expand.

CLICK HERE: Watch a video tutorial on the four steps of active listening, led by ALC founder Kay Walker

How to believe in yourself

Some people are better than others at believing in themselves. But we all have moments where we think: “I can’t do this”, or, “what I want is not for me”.

Believing in yourself is the first step in changing anything in your life. It’s a necessary component for success.

Ultimately, your belief in you is what dictates what you have and who you become in life.

So, here is what you need to know about belief so you can believe in yourself and get back to believing in yourself in moments where you lose it.

How to believe in yourself

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Somewhere in you’re past you learned that you weren’t good enough. It’s something we all learn. We go from thinking we are invisible to having an instance or instances where we get we’re not perfect.

Knowing this is what has us doubt ourselves and our ability. Some people do this more than others.

It’s important you train yourself to recognize how awesome you are. It’ll dictate what you accomplish in life and who you are with other people. When you believe in yourself you become ultra powerful, regardless of the noise that sometimes goes on in your head.

When you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll waiver on making choices because you’re not settled in who you are. If you continue to live like this you will never get the vastness of your greatness.

You need to focus on loving yourself. Sounds cheesy perhaps, but if you learn to love yourself you will start to get really clear on everything in life. Believing in yourself will become easy.

Here’s how to build your “I believe in myself” muscle:

  1. Create an Awesome You list. Develop a list of all the qualities you have that you love about yourself and moments where you’ve accomplished things in the past you are proud of. Provide evidence of your greatness. Every day you need to read your list. Use it especially when you aren’t feeling confident. This might help you: Gain confident on demand
  2. Mirror work. It’s uncomfortable but it’s the most effective way to become better with you. Spend 5 minutes in the morning looking at yourself in the mirror and speaking to yourself. Tell yourself you are awesome. Get to know the person in the mirror. Get to love them. It’s tough but if you’re willing to conquer your initial feelings about the process, you’ll soon learn that this is one of the most effective ways of getting you to a more confident place. It will also translate to massive results in all area of your life. Basically, when you are really good with you and love yourself, life works.
  3. Stop putting yourself down when you make a choice on something and it doesn’t play out as you intended. Stop relating to yourself as “good” or “bad”.  Instead, start looking at everything you do as effective or ineffective. When you take an action that is ineffective consider why it didn’t work and develop a structure moving forward to avoid this in future. There’s no such thing as failure. You’re not bad. Whatever action you took didn’t work. It’s important you stop combining the two.

Sometimes you need to tell the negative voice in your head to “shut-up”. Really. When your thoughts don’t serve you say to yourself “thanks for sharing” and move on.

And this goes for everyone: stop being so damn hard on yourself! You’re awesome. You’re human and not perfect. We’re all works in progress at different stages.

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