Be Audacious. Be Bold. Be Loud.

You want to be audacious.

You want to be bold.

You want to live a life of intention.

I’ve studied courageous leaders both young and old. The dreamers of dreams, the music makers. They all have one thing in common.

They speak confidently about their future. They steer their life in the direction they want to go. They don’t ask for your permission. They don’t stop to ask you for directions. They tell you where they are headed and then make it happen.

So, I have advice for you.

Tell everyone you know.

Shout it from the mountaintops.

Be bold. Be audacious. Chase your dreams and live the life you have always imagined.

We are what we repeatedly do.

we-are-what-we-repeatedly-do

According to the StrengthsQuest assessment, I am a Maximizer. I’m not one who has the patience to work with things, organizations, or people who need to be brought up from the bottom. I don’t excel in bringing things from below average to average.

I am always empowered when I can work with a person or an idea that is already good and making it great. This is why my job is perfect for me. I work and facilitate with great people. People who are changing the world through acts of greatness. However, I have started to realize that greatness is not what the people in my life want.

They want something more than greatness, something more than the status quo. I understand completely, because I feel the same way. I first thought perfection was what I desired, but that’s a poor plan. Perfection is unattainable, so if I strive for perfection I will fail every single time.

I have decided I am looking for excellence in my life. If the quote from Aristotle is true, then excellence is not an act but a habit. It is something we work on every single day. It is a lifetime of commitment towards living an inspired life. It is waking up early to wake hard, hustling towards our dreams, and being intentional with our relationships.

If excellence is a habit, then greatness is an act. We can achieve greatness innately or even on accident. Making a 97% on a test: greatness. Making a 97% in a class: excellence. Giving a one-time large donation: greatness. Giving consistently over a lifetime: excellence.

If excellence truly is habitual, then we need to start creating healthy habits. Start gaining control of the small things in your life. Be intentional to show up on time, listen to others, and spend time with people who matter. Do all of the little things right, and excellence can be eventually achieved.

Big dreamers need to do the small things. Work hard. Persevere. Keep your word, and do it every single day.

The Two Easiest Ways to Work and Make Money From Home

I am now a small business owner. A lifestyle entrepreneur, if you will. I travel around the world and facilitate leadership and team-building activities. On days when I am not traveling, I work at the house and spend time with my family. I make more money in two days than I did in an entire month at the University. I genuinely love what I do, and I wake up happy every day.

I tell you all this because I want you to be able to do the same thing. I know you have a passion or dream inside of you waiting to burst from the seams. I know you would like to travel and have the flexibility that people like me have, and you can do it too. I am going to give you the two secrets that helped me get to where I am today.

1. Don’t quit your job – Whaaa??? How am I supposed to do all of those awesome things while working 9-5? I’ll tell you how…you wake up early and hustle. You spend your free hours not watching TV but writing your book. You save money and store it away to have an emergency fund for when you start you business.

I worked part-time with my dream job for over four years before I quit my full-time job. I had built up a clientele, used up all of my extra vacation time, and spent my own money on building the business before I actually dove in head first.

It is hard to run your own business, and it is hard to have two jobs. It is very hard, however, when you quit your job and have no money to pay the bills or feed the kids. If you feel like quitting your job, do yourself a favor and read Quitter by Jon Acuff first to make sure you are ready.

2. Hustle – We have been told our whole lives that we can do whatever we want in this world. If you want to be a doctor, be a doctor. If you want to be an astronaut, be an astronaut. I support this 100%, and I would encourage you to follow your dreams and Live Your List. However, I feel as if we haven’t been told the most important part of chasing our dreams: You must work very, very hard.

Do you want everyone to believe in your dreams? Wake up at 5 a.m. and work on them. Put in the effort to be successful. People see successful individuals and assume that it is easy to get to work from home. They don’t see the hours and hours of effort put in behind the scene. I have worked harder as the CEO of Paradigm Shift than I ever have at any other job (including being the Easter Bunny at the mall).

Those are the two secrets. Don’t quit your job and hustle. I stole these from Jon Acuff who probably stole them from other successful people, but the principles remain the same.

What have you been hustling on recently? What things can you do to be successful at your day job while waiting for your dream job?

Do This Every Night Before Bed To Improve Tomorrow

Sleep is glorious. I try to get 7-8 hours of beauty rest a night so I won’t scare the neighbors in the morning. I value this time…so much so that I make sure to do something every night so I can get in bed earlier the next day. I make a to-do list for tomorrow.

I go to bed with my mind at ease knowing that I have a plan for the next day. In the morning I wake up with my daily goals and action steps already written out, which gives me a great framework to start the day. I know what every day steps I need to take to achieve my dreams. Try it out and let me know how it works for you!

What things do you do to make sure your tomorrow is going to be productive? Have you ever tried compiling your to-do list in the evening?

What Happens When You Chase Your Dreams

When you first start chasing your dreams the majority of your days will consist of planning, hard work, and dedication. Then you have days like I had today. I spent all day training the counselors for the Northeastern Oklahoma Girl Scouts Camp. I brought two Paradigm Shift consultants to assist me with the activities. I facilitated and played all day long with participants who were eager to learn with me. I was truly Living My List.

Every day I spent researching, reading, planning, and developing my skills led up to this moment. When you start chasing your dreams you will work hard and you will reap the rewards. Start following your passion today. Start working hard to live the best life you can and Live Your List every day…you will never regret it.

6 Things You Can Do Every Day To Save Time So You Can Follow Your Dreams

We all want to achieve our dreams, but it seems so hard to find the time during our everyday tasks and responsibilities. I have collected six things I try to do every day to simplify my life so I can chase my dreams.

1. Declutter your life and get organized.

A recent study found that car owners spend so much time looking for their keys that it adds up to over 16 days over their lifetime. I would venture that we spend even more time looking for our cell phones. That probably doesn’t even hold a candle to how much time we spend looking for documents in our desks.

Cluttered lives lead to complex lives. Take a few days and clean out your closet, desk drawers, kitchen, and garage. We are hoarders by nature, and if we are not careful things will start to pile up. It is hard to find the letter you are looking for if it is under a stack of junk.

Place your keys, wallet, purse, and phones in the exact same spot every time. Don’t waste any more time looking for something you use every single day. Get organized and know (not just guess) where all of your stuff belongs. Once you get organized, stay organized.

2. Perfect your daily routines.

Some of us lead very hectic and unpredictable lives, however most people follow roughly the same routine every day. We wake up, get dressed for the day, cook breakfast, get the kids ready, commute to work, work, come home, get dinner ready, eat, relax, get ready for bed, repeat.

If that sounds roughly familiar to you, I have great news. You can simplify your life by mastering this routine. Take some time to schedule out your day. Sit down with your spouse and kids and see what necessary steps you need to take to become more efficient. Assign roles to each family member, look into ways you are wasting time, and eliminate unnecessary tasks.

3. Plan ahead.

I don’t know if you are like me, but I eat several times a day pretty much every day of the year. I eat so often, in fact, that some people would assume I needed it to survive or something. Since I eat so regularly, I can save tons of time by planning out my meals at the beginning of the week.

Spend one evening of the week looking over your food inventory (a fancy way of saying “stuff in the fridge”) and decide what you:

  1. Are going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next week.
  2. Need to buy when you go shopping.
  3. Are going to do about your really dirty fridge.

If you are really spunky, you can prepare/cook most of your meals for the week ahead of time. If you plan ahead with your meals you can spend your evenings doing things that matter instead of deciding what you eat.

4. Figure out what you like, and do that.

I read a recent blog post that suggested that to simplify your life, you should clean out your closet and leave only your favorite shirt, pants, and shoes. One of each. Now that you know what you like, buy several variations of those clothes so that you are always comfortable in what you are wearing.

I don’t know if you should go to this extreme, but I appreciate the sentiment. Successful people consistently know what they like and use only these things. They have their favorite pen, computer, clothes, phones, etc. Once you know what you like you can simplify your life by not having as many decisions to make every day.

5. Go to bed early, and wake up early.

This one is self-explanatory. If you want to achieve your dreams, you should get your rest and wake up before everyone else. You’d be amazed about the things you can accomplish from 5-7 am.

6. Become an expert.

It blows my mind that there are people who use a computer every single day and do not know how to efficiently use the technology. Same goes with phones, software programs, and internet browsers. Take some time to learn the tools you use on a daily basis. A mechanic would never use tools they didn’t know how to operate, and you shouldn’t either.

These are just tips that I have picked up along the way. They help me, but I know that these aren’t the only processes to save time. Do you have any tips for those of us who are trying to achieve our dreams? What processes do you use to simplify your life?

The Downsides of Living Your List and Chasing Your Dreams

Let’s be honest, I ooze positivity, encouragement, and rainbows. If you ever met my mom, you know I was born that way. I have often gotten mad at her for being too positive when I wanted her to give me a straight and honest answer. Some say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but I think a branch of her positivity tree fell off and hit me in the head. I tend to only write positive blog posts, but this time I want to share with you the downsides of the Live Your List philosophy and chasing your dreams.

1. It’s not for the lazy. 

If you want to chase your dreams and live an inspired life…you must work hard. You can’t write the bestseller that lives inside you if you are not willing to get up early and write. You can’t run a marathon without training for months, if not years. I think our generation has been told that we can achieve anything we want, but somewhere along the way, no one told us that it requires a substantial amount of hard work.

2. You start from the bottom. 

Chances are that you were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth. If you were, you need to go ask your mother some questions…that’s strange. Truth is, most of us do not have trusts funds that allow us to travel the world, start new businesses, or attend Ivy League colleges. It is amidst humbling beginnings that true greatness can be found. Embrace your roots and move forward with confidence.

3.  You have to lean on others, even when they stink. 

We want to believe that we can do it alone. We see the accolades thrown towards Bill Gates, Brad Pitt, or JK Rowling and think they did it on their own. That is utter rubbish…you can not achieve your dreams without others. If you want to Live Your List, you must rely on others to catapult you to success. Sometimes we have to lean on people that don’t have our best interests at heart…just know that it is temporary, and eventually you will find those who support you whole-heartedly.

4. It includes a bunch of work you hate. 

I don’t like fixing computer issues, folding brochures, or scheduling travel…but if I want to become an international facilitator and speaker, I must do those things now. I spend about 90% of my time doing things that other people can do so I can have the chance to do the things only I can do later. Along the journey I will pass off these responsibilities to others who are excellent at the things I can’t do. Until that point all of this extra responsibility is on me…and I am happy to do it.

5. You will fall down as much as you leap forward. 

I recently wrote my Top 10 Moments at NSU, sharing stories about my tenure at my alma mater. Throughout the list I spoke of achievements, milestones, and great times. I mostly left out the hard times, in large parts because it would be a terrible blog post. When we see highlight reels of athletes, they don’t show the times on the bench or in the recovery room. If you want to achieve your dreams and Live Your List you will fail, but the perseverance will pay off.

“We live in a culture that overvalues 15 minutes of fame and undervalues a lifetime of faithfulness.” – Mark Batterson

What downsides have you discovered about Living Your List or chasing your dreams? Did I leave anything off of the list above? Please comment below.

Be So Excited You Eat Invisible Cereal

I’ve had a long week. It has been great, but things haven’t gone exactly how I imagined, and I called my Brag Buddy Jerrod Murr to talk about things. When you follow your dreams it can get tiring, life can become challenging, and your goals can seem miles away. As I talked to Murr about my dreams, he infused me with positivity and we started to get excited. Even during the hard times, there should still be times when you get so excited chasing your dreams that get excited.

Get so Excited you eat invisible cerealBe so excited about your goals that you too eat invisible cereal. Have this level of enthusiasm. What are you excited about today?

 

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

Dr. Seuss is a certified genius in my opinion. The man was a literary wordsmith…and Oh, The Places You’ll Go is the pièce de résistance of his wonderful catalogue. I was recently asked to present a keynote address to a group of students and we talked about moving mountains. We started reading this famous book, and if you aren’t familiar with Oh, The Places You’ll Go, here is an excellent version of the book…

I think Dr. Seuss was on to something…we all have mountains we want to move. Some of us have huge mountains we want to move: going to college, getting married, getting a promotion, landing that new account. Our personal mountains are those Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals that are standing in our way…the thing we really want to accomplish in life.

Where are you going?? What mountain are you going to move?? You should write that down. Actually, do it right now! Take out a pen and write that goal down. This is something you should see and review everyday.

So, now that you know your goal, how do you move that mountain? How do you get to the places you are going? These 5 steps will help you move your mountain!

Step 1 – Use your resources:

You are amazing! You are achieving great things, and some of you are doing so on your own. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You are reaching great heights. But, if we rely on each other, if we ask someone for help, we will go just a tad bit further. These resources are the little bit of difference that helps us move mountains. Maybe it is a school counselor, a spouse, a minister or a trusted friend. Whoever is your resource, use them!

Step 2 – Choose your resources wisely:

There are people out there who are not helping you move mountains, not helping you achieve your goals. They might tell you what to do and then do something else. They may even tell you what to do and never even want you to achieve your goals. These people might even seem like they have your best intentions at heart, so be wise and know the difference. Like the book says:

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

Step 3 – Shout from the Mountain Tops:

One of the best ways to move mountains it to tell everyone you know about your goal. “This is what I am doing! This is the life I am going to live.” Tell everyone you know what your future plans are. “I am going to attend OU and be a physical therapist.” “I am going to go to college and become a nurse.” Most people will encourage you, help you, and hold you accountable to your goals if you shout them from the mountaintop.

No, Really! Shout Out Your Goal! Do it right now…stand on your desk and shout out to the mountain you are going to move! People might think you are crazy, but they will know your goal.

Step 4 – Celebrate Small Successes:

To get to the places you will go you must celebrate the small victories in your life. We all love a little encouragement from time to time, do we not? Check out this video.

People will applaud your big victories, they will celebrate you when you move mountains. Rightfully so too, you deserve the recognition, you moved a mountain for crying out loud. How many times in our life do we get exulted for the small successes? How often do we do a celebration dance after completing our to-do list?? YESSS! I totally put a cover sheet on my TPS report!!!!

These small victories are not as exciting as accomplishing our huge goals, but they are necessary to complete our vision. I find it is utterly important to take a few seconds to celebrate my small victories…to do my own little ping-pong dance…to keep me motivated to move my mountain.

Step 5 – Never, Ever, Ever, Give In: 

Winston Churchill’s famous speech inspired an entire country, even an entire world to keep fighting. This speech was a pivotal moment when the United Kingdom was doomed for disaster and defeat…a moment when the whole world was changed by one man’s speech. Never, ever, ever, give in. When someone leaves you, never, ever, ever give in. When you lose all hope, never, ever, ever give in. When life is harder than you could ever imagine…never, ever, ever give in.  If you truly want to move mountains (and you 98 3/4% guaranteed), you must never, ever, ever give in.

You can do this. You can move your mountain. So…

be your name be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

What mountain are you trying to move? How can I help you move that mountain?