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2 Decisions You Have to Make Everyday
by On May 13, 2009

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Every single day, and I mean literally everyday, there are some decisions that you have to make. Actually, we are all required to make them regardless of our professional position in life. I am going to discuss two of these decisions from a list of seven that I have discovered. When we make these decisions, we have to choose either/or. There is no third option to pick from and there is no such thing as not deciding. Here are two of the decisions that I am talking about.

Decisions 1 – Life or Death

One of the decisions that you must make is a daily decision between growth and death. Whether you realize it or not, every single day, you are choosing to grow as a person or you are choosing to allow death to happen. This is a choice you make in every area of our life.

In our physical life, specifically with our bodies, we start the dying process the minute that we’re born. The difference between children and adults in this sense is that children are simply growing at a faster rate than they are dying and as adults that process reverses itself. Physically if we don’t consciously choose things that will help us grow, like good nutrition, exercise and meditation, we are unconsciously allowing ourselves to die.

Another example of this decision is found in your financial life. If you put money in a non-interest bearing account or (under your mattress) it will shrink. Inflation will cause the value of that money to decrease.

On a daily basis you must choose between growth and death and there is not a third option.

Decisions 2 – The Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Regret

The other decision that we all have to make every single day is what kind of pain we want. We make a daily decision between the pain of discipline and the pain of regret.

A mentor of mine early on in my career counseled me that there are two kinds of pain. There is the pain of discipline which weighs ounces and that helps you grow stronger and then there is the pain of regret which ways tons and injures you. When you choose the pain of discipline you do not have to deal with the pain of regret. If you choose not to be disciplined in your health, your business, your finances you are, unconsciously further down the road, choosing a path that you will not be pleased with and experience the pain of regret.

Daily you either choose the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.

You might think this is a little harsh. I’m either growing or I’m dying. I’m either inflicting pain one way or inflicting pain another way. I don’t mean to be militaristic about this, but sometimes we need a wake up call because we are making these choices whether we realize them or not.

What do you do with this information?

Well, starting today, in the areas that are important to you, make the decision that will move you in the right direction. Does that mean get to the gym when you don’t feel like it? Maybe. Does that mean make the cold calls when you don’t feel like it? Perhaps. Does it mean bringing your lunch from home instead of going out to eat so you can save for retirement? Maybe it does. Whatever it means for you, make those decisions starting today. Tomorrow do it again. The next day do it again and so on and so on.

I know it sounds simple folks, but the decisions that we make ultimately become our actions. Your actions become your habit. Your habit will become your character and ultimately it is your character that determines your destiny. I hope this has made you think and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Be Free!

Roger Seip
Instructor

A Lesson from Ug the Hunter – Success Leaves Clues
by On May 12, 2009

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Lost in the mists of time before civilization existed, even before Zig Ziglar, there was a man named Ug. Ug was a mighty hunter and leader of his tribe. Ug was also one of the first great inventors.

Ug developed the first stone knife to make killing and preparing the meat easier. He invented the bow to fire a small spear from a great distance, making it easier to hunt many fast, hard-to catch animals. Ug became known as the greatest hunter of his tribe, and he shared his secrets with other hunters in his tribe and because of this Ug’s tribe grew large and strong.

Now, other hunters from other tribes soon noticed that the people of Ug’s tribe were better fed, stronger, happier. They soon found out about Ug’s skills, and they admired his hunting prowess, and they wanted the security that it brought for themselves. So, they went to Ug and offered to trade many skins of animals if he would teach them how to hunt more effectively.

Ug could see how sharing his knowledge could help his tribe and help other tribes, as well, so he planned a great gathering where, for a price, other hunters could come and learn how to bring more meat to their people. But, to be allowed to attend this meeting, a hunter would have to bring 30 skins, the number that a hardworking hunter might gather between moons. Many hunters decided that this was just too much to ask and decided not to attend the gathering, but a few hunters set out gathering the skins they needed.

When the time came for Ug’s get-together, he had a few hardy souls who came together around the fire to learn Ug’s secrets for successful hunting. In the years to come, the tribes whose hunters used Ug’s methods and tools became as great and strong as Ug’s tribe and became valuable allies. They quickly overtook the smaller, slower, weaker tribes and pushed them out of their land. In years to come, when they were old men sitting around the campfire, they would look back on Ug’s gathering with fondness for it changed lives forever.

That was the first seminar, and Ug is the father of the self-improvement business. Okay, that’s a fascinating piece of history, but what’s the point?  Consider this.

Ug knew something about hunting, he had proven his success and he was willing to share it with others. By sharing it, he was able to amass great wealth for his tribe, and, in so doing, he also created great wealth in many other tribes. The smart hunters understood that they could continue doing things the old way, which, by the way, was working okay, or they could take advantage of the knowledge that Ug had about doing things a much better way. They figured that his success could be duplicated if they just followed his teaching, and they were right.

Untold centuries later, nothing has really changed. The old saying is success leaves clues, and that simply means that smart hunters or smart businesspeople learn from the success of others even more than they learn from their own mistakes. It’s just an easier, better way of doing business.

So, think about this, and think about what areas in your business and your life could benefit from the success of others, and then I challenge you to gather your skins and go follow the clues that lead to greater success. Invest in books and audio programs and workshops and seminars where you can learn the methods and tools that will bring you greater achievement in your business and in your life.

Be Free!

This article was written by David Denis owner of http://www.rocksolidwriting.com

David is a freelance writer for hire offering article writing, sales letters, training manuals, speech writing, seo content, sales writing, blog articles, copy-writing service, sales scripts and business name ideas.

To learn more, or request a quote visit http://www.rocksolidwriting.com/freelance-writer-quote

4 Barriers to Growth and How to Overcome Them
by On April 8, 2009

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If you are reading or listening to this, I would guess that it is because you have a strong desire to improve the quality of your life and to grow.  It is amazing to me how in our quests to grow how often we seem to get stopped.  It makes us wonder what is wrong with us.  

Well you know what I find out that when we get stopped or block in our quests for growth it is usually not the result of a character flaw nearly as much as it is the result of one of what I call the Four Emotional Barriers to Growth. Pay attention and see if you can spot these because I will show you how you can overcome them.

Number 1 – An Unwillingness to Take 100% Responsibility

The first emotional barrier to our growth that we all have to deal with is what we will call an unwillingness to take 100% responsibility. We all shy away from stepping up and saying yes I am 100% responsible for the quality of my life.

The way that you can spot this barrier is if you find yourself blaming external circumstances. For instance, other people, parts of your environment, your birth order, whatever it might be that is not you taking responsibility. If you are blaming external circumstances you are witnessing a manifestation of the unwillingness to take 100 percent responsibility.

Number 2 – An Unwillingness to Look Foolish

We all come hard-wired with a desire to look good to our peers which often manifests itself in this barrier to our growth.

The way that you will spot this barrier is if you have ever found yourself talking a good game but not being able to back it up.  You are then experiencing an unwillingness to look foolish. It is a barrier. We all have to overcome it.

Number 3 – An Unwillingness to Take Massive Action

A lot of times the things that we need to do to improve the quality of our life and grow require us to step up and take a lot of action.

If you ever find yourself making excuses, rest assured that you are dealing with an unwillingness to take massive action. It is a barrier and it needs to be overcome.

Number 4 – Starting with an Incorrect Premise

We have beliefs about how the world works that either have never been true or maybe they were true a long time ago but they are not true anymore. One of my favorite examples of this is the whole idea of do not talk to strangers. Listen that is great advice is you are a six year old kid. It is very bad advice if you are a manager or a sales professional.

Those four barriers are the ones that we have to deal with. There is nothing wrong with you for having to deal with them. We all have to deal with them.

Once you have identified a barrier to growth, how do you overcome it? 

  1. Notice It
    It is a good idea to go, “You know what yeah I just realized I am dealing with an unwillingness to look foolish. Yeah I am finding myself making excuses when I really should be stepping up and taking action.” Notice it. That is step number one. You cannot get out of a prison that you do not know you are in.
  2. Forgive Yourself
    It is easy for us to beat ourselves up when we realize that we are just dealing with a barrier to growth. But if you will forgive yourself for it and understand that it is just part of life it makes it much easier to get passed it quickly.  Once you have noticed it accept it and have forgiven yourself….
  3. Stop It 
    Stop doing that. It is like the guy that goes to the doctor whacking himself on the head with a hammer and the doctor asks what is wrong. He says it hurts when I hit myself with the hammer. And the doctor says stop hitting yourself with the hammer.

You have the power. Take control. Make the decisions that will move you in the right direction. Do it daily. I hope these last few minutes have made you think.

Be Free!

Roger Seip
Instructor

Event + Response = Outcome
by On April 7, 2009

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Event + Response = Outcome. It seems like a simple formula doesn’t it? I guess it is-however, the complexities of how this “simple” formula affects your life are significant!

You’ve probably heard it said, “life is 10% what your given and 90% what you make of it.” Maybe you don’t agree with the percentages-maybe I don’t either-but I think most of us agree that the outcomes that we receive are determined not only by the circumstances we find ourselves in but also by how we react to those circumstances. Therefore, Event + Response = Outcome. 

On an intellectual level, most people agree with this formula. Unfortunately, when in the midst of many “events” we loose sight of the fact that our response will highly affect our outcome.

I can identify with this feeling – I had a number of significant events in 2007 – I went through not hitting many of my professional goals, moving across the country, dealing with fertility issues and healing from vocal cord surgery, to name a few. In my opinion, those are pretty significant issues.

However, the event itself definitely did NOT equal the outcome. I can not deny that my response to the issue had a huge impact on the outcome I experienced. Honestly, no matter how I shake it down, when I look at the formula, I have to say that the outcome I experienced was more affected by my RESPONSE than by the EVENT itself. I am not stating that my response changed the physical reality I was facing, but I strongly argue that my response to that reality completely affected the experience I was going through. Let me share a couple of examples.

I remember dropping an ice cream cone on the ground-I had two choices of reaction. #1-I could be completely annoyed that I had spilled and frown about it. I could even get angry at the person who scooped the ice cream for poorly piling the scoop on the cone. Or #2-I could smile, apologize to the workers for making a mess, and move on. I feel certain that, had I chosen option one, I would have been tense inside. I probably would have forgone my ice cream all together and had a slight argument with the people around me. I can describe this experience because I’ve chosen this option before. In this moment, I chose option #2-I ended up laughing with the people around me, feeling relaxed inside, and actually got a free ice cream cone! The OUTCOME is completely different, but the EVENT itself was identical. What’s the difference? My REACTION.

The ice cream is easy-it seems easier to control our reaction when the event itself is relatively insignificant. How about more serious events in life? Well, last year was full of those, too. Fertility issues are a bit more substantial than ice cream. However, I have to admit that the formula still holds true-my response highly affects the outcome. I could be bitter about the event and my outcome would be a childless, ticked off existence. Or I could choose to react differently-I could react thankfully-thankful that we are able to build our family by adopting two beautiful twins! We don’t know them yet, but my reaction of love and excitement massively affects the outcome-a family of four Simpsons by the end of the year!

You, too, can choose your reactions. You may not always be able to choose your events, but you can still highly affect your outcomes-choose wisely!

Be Free!

Leah Simpson

Instructor

Creating a Vision with a Dream Board
by On March 9, 2009

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What kind of a vision do you have for your life? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In ten? What about when you’re 70 or 80?

These are great questions because they get you thinking BIG, looking beyond the present moment into the future. And most importantly, it forces you to think about what YOU want your life to look like.

The busyness of this world makes it dangerously simple to just move along a predetermined path. I’ll say that again. The busyness of this world makes it dangerously simple to just move along a predetermined path. And the problem with a PREDETERMINED path is that IT IS NOT necessarily YOU.

You may currently be doing the college path, pursuing a career track, conforming to religious rituals, following a family plan, adhering to an exercise routine, or any one of a number of other paths. AND NONE OF THESE PATHS ARE BAD.

All I’m encouraging you to do is to make it your own. Make sure that you made some sort of past decision to be where you are in your career, in your health, in your relationships, in your spiritual development, etc. If you’re looking at these areas of your life and thinking “this is not how I drew it up,” that’s OK. As I said earlier, your future is nothing but an empty space waiting to be filled…a blank slate if you will. And the decisions you make TODAY, because today is all you ever have, is what ultimately determines your future.

Exercise is a great example of this. The minute you begin to exercise, your heart becomes more efficient, your arteries widen, lowering your blood pressure; and more capillaries are created, which allows more oxygen to be delivered, which gives you more energy.

Just as exercising today leads to a different quality of life tomorrow, so to do all the other decisions you make today. And just as sticking with exercise over a prolonged period of time will lead to many more long-term benefits and a better quality of life, so does your persevering in the decisions you make lead to a long-term better future and a higher quality of life.

The law of reaping what you sow is a fact of life. And the reality is, whether you realize it or not, you’re always sowing the seeds of tomorrow. The key is to consciously decide on the actions you take, and having a clear vision will help clarify which actions are necessary to create the future you desire.

It is in making decisions and sticking with them that you become a co-creator of your life. The key to creating the future you want is making your actions purposeful, meaning that you do everything for a reason, to become the person you want to become. And the only way you can make your actions purposeful is knowing exactly what you hope to become and having a clear vision of what you want your future to look like. And one of the best ways to clarify your vision is to create a dream board.

What is a dream board?

It’s simply a collage of pictures of what you want your future to look like that generates emotion and elicits deep feeling. It creates a spark of life, gets you excited, motivates you to take action, and keeps your mind in tune to the world around you as to how you can create it.

Dreaming is not simply child’s play. Dreaming and believing are the first steps in creating anything. Think about it…would we ever have put a man on the moon if we never had dreamed it was possible? The same is true of your life. Whatever you wish to achieve, you must first see it and believe it on the inside before you can ever achieve it on the outside. That’s why creating a vision is the first step in creating the future you desire.

The cool thing about your vision is that you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to create it. You only have to focus on the “what”, and the “how to” will present itself along the way. A Greater Mind will present the opportunities, as It always does, when you’re ready to see and receive it. I wish you the best in creating your future.

Be Free!

David Meyers
COO

The Key to Financial Freedom – Your Financial Pyramid
by On February 10, 2009

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The idea of financial freedom is so fascinating to me. What does it take to achieve financial freedom? I ask you, quickly, write down how much money you would need to make in a year to feel financially free?

That’s usually a pretty tough exercise for people. In my observations, many of the most financially enslaved people I know are those that make the most money.

My husband’s a financial planner and he tells me people assume that if you make more money, the problems disappear, and that’s patently false.

So, what is the basis of financial freedom? Well, I’ll go back to the definition of freedom itself. We define freedom, as does the dictionary, as the capacity to exercise choice. This might sound crazy, but I’ll ask you to consider that true financial freedom comes from a choice; a choice not to be controlled by money. This will first come from a decision rather than any specific amount of money. I found this to be true in my own life.

The year I made the most money was the same year I felt the most stressed about finances. The next year, my income was cut in half; however, at the beginning of that year, I decided I was going to be financially free. Now, I’m not suggesting that I was never concerned about finances or that I never thought about money because I did. However, I also knew that I was fine. My choice was to trust that I would be just fine, and guess what? I was. However, there is also a pyramid theory to help you determine what amount of money and savings will help most people feel financially stable.

The financial pyramid itself came from a financial planner who mentored one of our company’s founders on what is foundational to achieve financial freedom? The basis of the theory is understanding your AME, which is your Average Monthly Expenses. Most people just add up their bills and think that that determines their expenses, but this method leaves out a lot of money that we spend.

So, if you would like to know how much money you actually spend on a monthly basis (AME), take your income from last year and subtract how much you saved last year, then divide that number by 12. Once you’ve determined your AME, you can work on building the six levels of the pyramid. The base of the six levels is where you would first go should you hit financial hardship and because the layers will be deep, you will feel very little stress if you choose to.

1.  The base of the pyramid is 1½ to two times your AME sitting in a checking account. This allows you to have money to pay your bills.

2.  The second level of the pyramid is two to three times your AME in an interest-bearing savings account or money market account.

3.  The third level of the pyramid is three to nine times your AME also in an interest-bearing account.

When you have these levels of your pyramid completely filled, you’ll be able to live off your savings for a full year without even dipping into any of your long-term savings.

4.  While you’re building these base three levels of savings, you’re consistently putting 10 to 20 percent of your income into long-term investments. This is the fourth level of the pyramid, and, as Napoleon Hill says in his audio program and bookThink and Grow Rich“, this is the key to financial freedom.

5.  The fifth level of the pyramid is saving for big purchases; a car, a boat, an addition to your house, a trip, whatever larger purchases you plan to make.

6.  On the top of the pyramid, that’s simply to spend. Spend it as you like it. Maybe you buy yourself presents; maybe you buy others presents; maybe you just give the money away to charity.

Even with this pyramid of financial freedom fully filled, you may not feel truly financially free because that freedom will only come with your choice to be free. So, most importantly, I encourage you to make the choice. Exercise your freedom to be financially free. You’ll be really thankful. I hoped you’ve enjoyed this four minutes of freedom.

Be Free!

Leah Simpson
Instructor

Finding Money – Your Latte Factor
by On February 9, 2009

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My father always impressed on me the importance of investing. For years I have known the great power of compound interest and yet have not fully taken advantage of its awesome potential. Let’s face it, life is expensive. Sometimes there is money to save and other times bills eat it up.

Just recently I was reminded of how simple and amazing putting aside a few dollars a week can really add up. But where do you come up with the money?  Times are tough man, the economy is slow, profits are down, income is a roller coaster ride for many.

Every week, you spend money on necessary things like food and clothes, getting from point A to point B. Then you have the little things – a bag of chips here, a coffee there, an array of choices and flavors and sizes to satisfy every need.  It’s those little things we spend money on, almost unconsciously, every day that represent an opportunity to find money to invest.  Some call it the “Latte Factor“.

What if you took the money  you spend on coffee or snacks, $2 here, $4 there and invested it? Can you imagine what that might mean to you in the future? I think the reason most people don’t think about it is they truly have no idea just how the numbers multiply. It’s amazing! If you took $10 per week and invested it at a 10% rate of return for twenty years, you would wind up with almost $33,000. If you stretch it to forty years, your looking at over $253,000, over a quarter of a million dollars! And that’s just $10 a week…forty dollars a month essentially. It’s really not much when you think about it. Heck, give up cable and your there!

Let’s say you can do even better than that and spare a few lattes, etc. each week and save twenty bucks. When you take that $20 savings and invest it in the same scenario above, check out these results: just over $65,000 in 20 years and over $506,000 in 40 years. Over a half million dollars! It’s pretty exciting, and definitely something anyone can do. Once you take the first step, you’ll be hooked.  If someone paid you $506,000 to give up your daily cup of coffee would you do it?  I know I would jump on that offer!  Could you switch from bottled water to tap water for the same amount of cash?

Keep track of EVERYTHING you spend money on and you will notice the small things you could substitue or eliminate to “find” money to save for your future.

So here’s the challenge, over the next week, if you are not already doing this, designate a fixed amount of cash you will spend for your weekly expenses. Factor in the usual money for lunches, snacks, transportation, entertainment, etc. Put that amount of money in your wallet on Monday and see if you can make it until the weekend, with ten or twenty dollars leftover. It’s not necessary to change your lifestyle or make huge sacrifices. Pay yourself what you normally would during the week. The key is to be more conscious of the little things you spend money on. At the end of the week, put the cash in envelope to invest.

Then, ask yourself, “was that difficult?” Perhaps it was easier than you thought. Do it again the following week. I’ll bet it is slightly easier. And the week after that. And the week after… You might find you could do a few dollars more. No matter what the amount is, get in the habit of doing something on a regular basis.

Get started now and you’ll stay fit both physically and financially, and most importantly…

Be Free!

Ken Budka
Speaker

PS – If you want to see the magic of the numbers and experiment with different amounts, interest rates, and time lines, check out: http://www.finishrich.com/free_resources/fr_lattefactor.php where you can utilize a basic amortization calculator and see your results.

The 3 Purposes of Goal Setting
by On January 7, 2009

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What can transform a monotonous task into inspired service? A mundane job into a passionate career? What separates the man who is laying brick from the one building a cathedral? Purpose. Purpose which is the reason for which something is done or created. Purpose can also differentiate a quota from a goal. You’ve probably heard the 5 points of an effective goal. It must be:

1. Meaningful to You
2. The Right Size
3. Specific and Measurable with a Due Date
4. Written Down
5. Reviewed

Review our Goal Setting Worksheet to put these 5 characteristics into practice.

If you knew these 5 points and didn’t understand the purpose of goal setting then there is a chance that you could be setting goals that are more similar to a quota or it will feel like a chore when you are setting your goals. These are reasons why we are discussing the 3 Purposes of Goal Setting. By better understanding the reason behind setting your goals, the more likely you are to

a.) set goals
b.) be excited about those goals and
c.) hit those goals.

The three purposes are simple. A goal gives you Direction, Focus and Urgency. Let me explain what each means.

1. A Goal Gives You Direction

This moves you from a generality to a specific. It’s the difference between saying you “like the mountains” versus setting the goal of “going to Yellowstone”. It’s the difference between saying “I want to make more money” versus setting the goal to “increase your income by 15%” or “make $200,000”. It is the difference between saying “I wish I knew how to create my own website” versus setting the goal of “going to a seminar on website creation”. This direction points you to a specific place and tells you where you are heading. You can always change that direction later if you choose but this way you are moving forward.

2. Goals give You Focus

If you lived in Florida and said that you wanted to go to Yellowstone you would know what direction you needed to move to get there but without focus you have a high chance of wasting time and energy. For example, if you started driving in the direction of Yellowstone and you didn’t have a map or an agenda of where you might stay along the way or detailed directions figured out then you would probably get lost.

By having a good goal you are focused on what needs to be done in order to hit your goal. It helps to crystallize your goal into manageable bite-sized pieces. So, if the direction of your goal is to increase your income by 15% then your focus could be to lay out what your quarterly, monthly, and weekly activity will be along the way. Then when you are in that month, you will know what to focus on. This also gives you little victories along the journey.

One of my goals this year was to race in a triathlon. And what I learned was that by keeping my focus on each event of swimming, biking, and running during that specific portion of the race it allowed me to not get discouraged that I still had over 100 miles to go or that I had 8 hours left and I was already tired. I wasn’t thinking about the run while I was in the water. I know that makes sense in a physical world example but even if your goal was to increase your income by 15%, focusing would keep you from thinking about the sales calls you are going to make tomorrow while you are writing a proposal today. The focus will keep your mind on today’s lecture in the website class and not on the lecture that happened last week.

3. Goals Give You Urgency

If there were no deadline to this goal then we might not ever get around to it. Creating urgency gets us moving. It tells us how much intensity we must have when we move. If we were still planning the trip to Yellowstone we would ask ourselves “which season do we want to be there?” and then keep asking more specific questions to narrow down the time to exactly when you are going to leave your house to when you expect to arrive in Yellowstone and then when do you plan on leaving and getting back home. If your goal is to increase your income by 15% then what is the timeline that you are talking about. Is it over a calendar year or is it over a one-month timeframe?

When you set a real goal that has an end date you can use that urgency to get you up in the morning. You can use the urgency to push you harder on the days that you don’t “feel” like going towards your goal. Knowing how urgent the issue is also serves you because it let’s you know when you can take a day off for rest.

Absorb these 3 purposes into your next goal setting session and watch how much more fun the process can be. You will see that goals are here to SERVE you, not for you to serve your goals. Keep that straight and you will BE FREE.

Tom Weber
VP of Sales

When Preparation Meets Opportunity
by On January 6, 2009

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People often remark, “I was in the right place at the right time,” but very rarely can all the credit simply go to timing. I’m not suggesting that being in the right place at the right time has no value because clearly it does. You do need to be at the right place but what makes any given moment the right time is more than just luck. The right time is also created by a lot of preparation.

A woman I know had always secretly wanted an agent to help her acquire acting jobs and although she spent countless hours rehearsing monologues and scenes for various performances, she missed the deadline to audition in front of a prominent agent. However, her boyfriend had an audition spot and she accompanied him for support. As they sat in the room in front of the talent agent, my friend watched with envy as others went through their audition pieces. When her boyfriend finished his audition, the agent turned to my friend and asked her are you here to audition too? Without hesitation, my friend replied, “You know I’d love to.” She stood up, flipped through her mental rolodex of monologue options, selected a favorite and performed. In fact, not only did she perform; she secured an agent.

You could say that she was just at the right place at the right time and that would be accurate. Clearly she wouldn’t have an agent if she didn’t happen to be in that audition room. However, she could have very easily been in the exact same place and without preparation she wouldn’t have been able to win over the agent. If she hadn’t spent a lot of hours rehearsing, she would have had to answer the question “Are you here to audition too?” with a resounding, “You know I’d love to but I just don’t have anything prepared right now.” In essence, the effort that she’d put forth has met with a great break and that combination of preparation and opportunity almost always creates dynamite results.

So don’t just sit around waiting for the right time; prepare yourself, plan your success and when you find yourself in a fortunate situation, you’ll be prepared to capitalize.

How do you know what to plan? Well, there are two approaches you can take to prepare.

  1. First, my suggestion is that you ask yourself the question, “What would be the luckiest situation I could find myself in?” Maybe it’s on the plane next to a leader in your industry, or at a dinner next to the president of your company. Perhaps it is being invited to share a few words to wrap up a volunteer activity. Whatever the situation is, picture yourself engaged in that opportunity.Now ask yourself, “What would I want to be ready to say, ask or do?” Prepare yourself. If you find yourself with that opportunity, you’ll be thankful for your preparation. Let’s be honest; you may never have the chance to chew the ear of the leader of the free world so would this preparation help you? Even if you don’t find yourself in that exact situation, you’ll be more confident and you’ll be better prepared for many other opportunities. 
  2.  Second, simply do your best at the things that matter the most to you. When you’re passionate about something, you’ll be amazed by the number of circumstances you will find yourself in that allow you to make a difference in that area. The better you work to be prepared, the more likely you’ll be proud of your ability to seize an opportunity.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this four minutes of freedom.

Be Free!

Leah Simpson
Instructor

CIA Model of Stress Reduction
by On December 9, 2008

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A saying that you’ve probably heard a lot in business, in sports, and human performance in general is controlling the controllable. What does that actually mean? I wanted to take this concept of controlling the controllable, which is actually really good advice by the way, and take it out of the realm of being a cliché and into the realm of something that we can actually do.

In our workshops we’ll use something called the CIA Model to help students gain understanding of this concept and reduce stress in their own lives. It’s pretty easy to understand this model so here’s the short form.

CIA stands for Control Influence Accept. All of the circumstances and situations that we find ourselves in will fall into one of these three categories. I am going to discuss them in reverse order.

Accept
There is an enormous number of things in our world that we simply need to accept. Weather, traffic patterns, scores and outcomes of games that we’re not actually playing in. One of the best things that we can do for our own peace of mind is that when there’s something that we need to accept, is really just to accept it not waste any injury trying to change it.

Influence
The second category are things that we influence. The two big things that fall into this are your immediate environment, your car, your workplace, your home, and other people that you deal with. Listen, we do not have control over our kids, our colleagues, etc, but we do have influence over them, and one of the best things that you can do for your own growth is that in circumstances where you have influence to actually exercise that influence will dramatically boost your self-esteem.

Control
Now we come to the category of things we can control. We’re here to talk about controlling the controllable. Well, guess what, folks? I’ve found that there’s really only one thing on the list of things that we can control. It’s your decisions.

That’s right, your decisions about your life are the only thing that we actually have direct control over. When you realize this, it becomes kind of confronting and kind of liberating all at the same time. What do you do with this information, that the only thing that I have control over are the decisions that I make?

  1. Stop trying to control things that you have no control over. Amazing to me how much energy people waste trying to control things that they maybe have influence over, but in many cases should just accept. I’ll also say that when it comes to things that you have zero influence over, I wouldn’t spend much time talking or complaining about them. It’s simply a drain on your energy. Are you catching yourself trying to control things that you really should just accept? Notice that, and I would change your mind on that.
  2. When you realize that the only thing you have control over is your decisions, take responsibility for that decision-making process. I’m not saying to blame yourself when things turn out poorly. I am saying it takes responsibility for the decision that you make. That’s when you start controlling the controllables and seeing the results that you really want to see.

I don’t play a whole lot of poker, but one thing that I have heard is that winning at cards, specifically poker, has a small amount to do with the cards that you are dealt, and it has a huge amount to do with how you make decisions and play the cards that you’re dealt. Same thing goes for your life. Life truly is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how you react.

I hope that you have enjoyed learning about controlling the controllables.

Be Free!

Roger Seip
Instructor