blog

When They Tell You You Can’t, Do It Anyway

They will tell you that you can't move mountains. They will say that you can't cross seas.

That you can't dig deep and realize your own seeds of greatness and plant them to become better.

They tell you all of this because they love living in their comfort zone.

And because you want to do something, they lash out and criticize you.

But that's just their insecurities talking.
Do you.

Find what makes you passionate and do you. And do it because they said you couldn't.

blog

I Dare You.

dare you to be great
It’s so much easier in life to be average. To not rock the boat and to toe the line.  It’s so much easier falling into a routine with everyone else.  Falling into the norm.  Doing exactly what your parents, not you, want you to be in life.

Yea, ok.  No.  I have always been someone who wanted and did the opposite of others.  I didn’t follow the crowd in school.  I never really had a ton of friends.  Just like-minded people on the fringes like me who always did their own thing.  Sure, there were times where I wanted to be popular.  But that quickly subsided when I figured that high school was very temporary and we actually had to be something productive in life afterward.

I knew early on that I was destined to be something bigger than just another kid graduating and joining the workforce.  I joined the military knowing I wanted to be the best Logistician and Soldier I could be.  Sometimes I fell short and others I excelled, having retired after 23 successful years. During that time I fell into depression and grew very pessimistic.  But one thing that kept me going was that phrase:  I Dare You To Be Great.  I often told myself this.  I dare you to do good on this promotion board.  I dare you to do your absolute best on this deployment day in and day out.  I dare you to give your best leading these soldiers.  Every single day that was my mission:  to be great just that one single day. Like I said, some days I was great and some days I fell short.  But I always dared myself and gave the best I could.

It’s something that all of us can do.  It’s not a gift given to the rich, privileged, or gifted.  Each one of us has the “greatness gene” dormant inside of us.  Each one of us has the willpower to be everything we imagined. We just need to follow these simple steps:

 

Believe in Yourself

Set Your Goals

Accept and Take Action

Acknowledge and Repeat

In the coming weeks, I will be elaborating more on these four principles in a new way titled the Becoming Better Project. My goal is to assist one hundred people in realizing their fullest potential. The plan will be to build a community of people from all walks of life who just want to become better.  And it’s free.  All I want is your time and commitment to want the best for you and others on the same path.

Will you commit?  Drop me a comment below or send me an email with Becoming Better in the subject line letting me know you want to be apart of this.

 

-alv

blog

Pay Attention To What’s In Front Of You

I will be the first to admit that I am completely wired to the internet.  Building a brand here at Living The Dream has had me constantly on the world wide web working on it.  But that has like anything come at a cost.  What cost you ask?

Time.  Now that I am here in Saudi Arabia (you didn’t know?) working and living I am thousands of miles from my family.  And the eight hour time difference doesn’t help either!

See, time is a commodity in my world.  The time I take to interact with people is engagement that pays off in the long run.  But what about the people physically there with me in the same space?

That time is more important than anything else.  Honestly.  Be mindful of being present in the moment and fully engaged with who has chosen to spend their time with you.  Even if it’s not in the presence of another, make sure you do it whether on Skype, Google Hangout, etc.

Listen to them speak and watch the emotions in their face. Actively listen and pay attention to their words.  Show them that you value their time and what they are saying.

I am going to make an effort to be more engaged this month, this year, and this lifetime. Will you?

-alv

 

blog

How Saying No Will Make Your Dreams Come True

How many times do you use the word no a day?

No.  Say it with me.  No.  Why am I asking you to repeat that word?  Because many of us really don’t know the power of the word no.

See, when you are a child you are taught to say no to many things.  Say no to drugs.  Say no to strangers.  Say no if you don’t want something. Say no if you don’t feel comfortable with something or someone.  We were taught to just say no.

Then we grow up and your parents begin to say no to you a lot, but you are supposed to say yes to things they want for you.  Say yes to taking all the classes they want you to.  Say yes to the clothes they want you to wear. Say yes to who they think you should date.  Say yes to the college and the major they want you to take.  Hell, you are basically saying yes to their broken dreams that they didn’t fulfill.

Then you get out in the workforce and are told that you don’t say no out here.  That you should never tell your Boss no for any reason.  You do what you have to do no matter what to get the job done.  You are told that no is a career killer. Basically, they would rather you sacrifice your soul than to tell them no.

Want to know how many times I told people no in my military career?  A lot. Maybe that’s why I am not in the military anymore!  Oh well. Honestly, I believe in the power of the word no.  I believe that the word frees you up from doing things that you otherwise would neve find yourself doing.

See, Steve Jobs believed that by saying No to a lot of things it helped you to be focused on a few.  Really focusing on what you want to do in life.  Not what your parents or friends want you to do.  Focusing on what matters.

See, I said no to a lot of bad ideas in my life. Even when I was looking for a job after I retired I said no to jobs I didn’t want to do.  I wasn’t being picky.  I just wanted something better.   Only by saying no to the norm is how you will get further in life.  And you will probably lose some friends.  Maybe even some love ones.  But if they truly believe and care for you hearing no won’t turn them away from you.

Hearing no will hopefully show them that you are strong in your convictions and know what you want in life.  That you want to be in charge of your life decisions. Because saying yes to everyone else and saying no to what you want will get you nowhere.

What’s important to you?  What makes you jump out of bed in the morning?  What fuels your every waking moment?  Those are the things that you should always say yes to.  Until those are accomplished, everything else should be told no.  Because if you really want them you will stay focus on only these things.

You want to be a better person and live a fulfilling life right?  You have to say no to things that will take away from that.  You have to say no to people who think they know what’s best for you.  Sure, listen to people’s advice.  But if you feel in your gut that you are being led the wrong way, say no.

The whole reason for your existence is to be the best person you can possibly in your lifetime. You should want to achieve everything that you wanted as a kid.

I am not saying that you will be another Steve Jobs.  Who wants to be?  I would imagine that he would want you to be better than him in whatever you decide to be.

But he would definitely want you to say the word no more.

-alv

 

What are you going to say no to today that you have been putting off?

 

 

blog

Stop Setting Yourself On Fire For Others

We are all guilty of it.  We meet someone and we subconsciously become obsessed with them. I am not just talking about someone you are romantically interested in. That goes for platonic relationships, too. As humans, we have an insane yearning to be liked and accepted by others.

Think about it. You gave your all to a person who left you at the moment you needed them the most. In your most vulnerable state they ran. You set yourself on fire to keep their love near you. Instead of staying they ran when the flames got too hot.

They ran from your love.  From your commitment to them.  From everything, you gave to them.  And while it was going on you had no idea because you were blinded by the flames.

By that time, you were burning out of control and couldn’t understand what was happening around you. You couldn’t see that they moved on. And by that time you couldn’t react to the situation.

Not you? How about your “friends”? Take a look. Which ones are there for you at your worst?  Which one always makes every conversation about them when it shouldn’t be?

Who calls you only when they need something? Who asks all of you, but won’t answer the phone when you need them the most.  When they ask for you to help, you are all in and blindly at that.

Still not you?  Ok, let’s look at the workplace. Yes, even here you are burning out of control. Now I hear you already, “But I have to do what my Boss says”. That’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about watching out for yourself and  not being taken advantage of.

I’m talking about you not staying late for hours while the slackers go home. Telling you they would stay and help but they had plans already. Be productive, but don’t get burned alive. Be a team member, but don’t get abused and misused.

Listen, my intention for this post was not to bring up old wounds. I didn’t write this to hurt any feelings or get you down.  I wrote this to wake you up and see that you are on fire for all the wrong damn reasons. You are burning yourself out pleasing people who don’t care about you or don’t value your time.  Who are selfish and just not good damn people.

I want you to extinguish those flames, but keep the spark alive. Keep the spark burning to stoke your ambition. Keep it burning for those who deserve and need your help.  And if you see someone else on fire, help them out. They  have no idea what’s happening and you probably just made a new friend.

-alv

 

 

 

blog

How Believing In Myself Landed Me A Dream Job

Believe in me

(photo courtesy of Motivation Block)

For many years, I didn’t believe in myself.  Sure, I talked the talk.  Said the right things that I thought people wanted to hear.  Made empty promises and left many things undone.  Why?

I simply did not believe in my life and what I stood for anymore.  It was a dark time and I knew that it had consumed a good amount of my life. And those around me probably had no idea how unhappy I was.  I didn’t want to harm myself mind you.  I just didn’t have the grit in me to change.  I became complacent and just existed like an empty vessel.

 I felt stuck in a career that was stifling my creativity.  And when I reached out to people who I thought were my friends, that didn’t’ help at all.  They told me I was just in a rut and I would get out of it.  They told me I had a great thing going and to hang in there.

When I expressed that I wanted to leave the military and do something else, that’s when a lot of people’s true colors began to show.  I heard things like, “What else do you know how to do?” and “You’re a soldier, this all you know.”  Now that was a big wake up call.

And it hurt big time.  People who I admired and held in high regard hurt me to my soul.  And in the past I would have agreed and stayed.  But this time I didn’t.  I told myself that my happiness was more important than their friendship and whether they believed in me or not.  I had to take a chance and the time was now.

Yes, I was scared out of my mind.  I had a wife and three daughters that depended on me.  They didn’t understand the change no matter how I tried to explain it to them.  But I told myself silently the same thing every day and every night: I believe in you.  I said it so much that I felt the words calm myself in the face of adversity.  And believing in myself is the reason why I am in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia now.

Believing in myself has helped me to become a Program Manager for a multi-million dollar aviation corporation that I now work for.  Believing in myself has me sitting in my villa in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia still pinching myself about this opportunity.

I am not saying any of this to brag.  I am only sharing my story to show you that it can happen.  I am not telling you to follow my route.  I am telling you that the dream that you have can be achieved.  You know the one that you are scared to tell anyone about.  Afraid that they will laugh at you or just won’t understand.  You can do it.

I believe in you.  I believe in your dreams.  I just need you to know start to believe in yourself.  Stop wasting your time doing things you don’t have a desire for.

What have you got to lose?

-alv

P.S. I know there is someone out there who can benefit from hearing this.  Please share it with at least one person who is struggling with this right now. Thank you.

blog

The One Trick To Push Your Personal Development Through The Roof


We all want to become better at this thing called life.  To continuously improve and move closer towards greatness.  But a lot of times we have no rhyme or reason how we go about it pursuing it.  Well, I learned early on that one way works.  Not just for myself, but for many others.  It’s all about your daily routine.

What do you do day in and day out that keeps you on track?  Really think about it.  Do you wake up at a certain time?  For me, I try to make sure I do the same thing and start the same way each day.  I read some inspirational quotes, go over my affirmations and check my glucose levels.

Then I devote at least ten minutes to reading something that enriches my mind and then I soak it all in.  I write down in a moleskin what I took away from the reading and limit it to one page.  Why?  Because it really makes me think about what I read and how it affects me.

Then I grab a sheet of paper and get to work on my list for the day.  I use the Ivy Lee Method to keep me on track and focused on what I want to accomplish for that particular day. I try to do all of this within the first two hours of waking up.  Then I start on my day job.  Everything is a process, but I learned that if you have a routine, it makes things a lot easier and productive.  But all of this helps to increase your personal development, tremendously.

You see, becoming better is all about doing small things, with a routine, day in and day out. It’s called Kaizen.  It means improvement in Japanese.  It’s the art of doing small things each day to become better. This way it allows you to concentrate on the tasks for the day and grow at the same time.

This is my routine, but I didn’t write it so you could use it yourself.  I want you to think long and hard and work to build your own.  Something that you can cater to your life and put to good use.  Give it a try.  What have you got to lose?  You have everything to gain.

What does your daily routine look like?  Comment below and let me know.

P.S.  If you liked this post, please share it with a friend  who you who think needs to see this.   Thanks.

blog

You Are Responsible For You

  
You are responsible for you.  Disagree?  Yes, I know those of us who are parents are responsible for our children.  Those of us who take care of younger family members or our parents are responsible for them.  But strip all of that way for a moment.
Don’t think about your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, family, etc.  Only think about yourself.  This is not being selfish.  This is being completely and honestly real.  I am not telling you to be selfish, but I am telling you all of this for a reason.  Stay with me.

Why do you I say that you are only responsible for you?  Because when you peel all the layers back it’s the very essence of our existence.  Living this world as one man or woman.  Going through life fighting to carve out your piece of the pie.

We find friends who are doing similar things as us and latch on to them.  We meet a girl or guy and we devote our every waking moment to making them happy.  All of that is fine.  I have done the same.  But what you don’t want to do is lose your identity.

And that is what happens a lot of times.  We forget to live for ourselves and only live for others.  We forget our number one thing in life:  to make something out of ourselves.  Whatever that looks like for you, you forget it.  And I believe that is a problem.

How can you be there and take responsibility of everyone else when you won’t do it for yourself?  When you take care of yourself you have more energy to take care of others.  When you take the responsibility firmly in your hands to make the best of your life, you can help others do the same.

That’s what being responsible is about. Other people can help you, but ultimately you have to put in the work.  You have to sacrifice your time and be away from others.  You have to stay up late at night and burn the midnight oil to get what you want.

You can’t blame your mother or father if they weren’t there for you.  You can’t blame your teacher for not having faith in you or not helping you.  You can’t blame your supervisor not promoting you because you are not showing the initiative that you were born with.

You are responsible for you.  Take care of that first.  Then you can take better care of your children.  Better care of your spouse.  Better care of your other responsibilities.  Because you took care of you first.  Be responsible for you.

-alv

What are you going to take responsibility for today?  This weekend?

blog

5 Tips To Get Yourself Aligned With The Right People

aligned with the right people
Have you every had a car that pulled to the left or right every time you drove it?  No matter what you did it wouldn’t stay straight.  As tight as you held the steering wheel, it felt like the car had a mind of its own.So you take it to a car shop and they fix the problem.  They get the car back in alignment.  You took it to the right people and had them correct the problem.  You may not have even known them, but you sought them out for their skills.

This is what we need to do in our personal lives.  We are all over the place sometimes.  Trying to do so much with no direction.  That is why we are all over the road of life.  We need to get our life aligned with the right people.  Here are five tips to help you get on the right track.

  1. Figure out what you want.  What do you want to accomplish the most in the near future?  What ignites the spark inside of you?  What has you up at night and keeps butterflies in your stomach?  Got it?

2. Find the people to get you there.  It may be a certain teacher that everyone calls unapproachable.  Someone who seems smarter than the entire school.  It may be the Vice President of you company who everyone says doesn’t talk to anyone lower than a manager.  It may be a famous person that is where you want to be already.  It really doesn’t matter who it is.  Just someone ahead of you already that can help you in your journey.  Found someone? Now the hard part.  Well, for some at least.

3. Approach them right now.  That’s right.  Don’t think, just do it.  Go to that teacher’s office and knock on the door.  Talk to the V.P’s secretary and get on his calendar for that day.  Better yet, shoot him an email (not a cheesy one) and ask for five minutes of his or her time.  Send an email to that famous person and reach out sincerely.  Tell them you need a couple of minutes on the phone or Skype to ask them some questions.  They can only say no.  But many will say yes.

4.  Act on their advice.  They will say yes, but many don’t appreciate them sincerely.  Many are coming to them only asking for something material.  Not for advice and knowledge and wisdom.  You are validating them and they will help you.  Trust me.  I do it all the time.  I reach out to people and a lot of them say no.  But I only need a one or two to say yes.  And when they do, they open up completely to me.  And what they tell me I act on.  Because telling them, doesn’t do anything for people.  Walking the walk and applying the knowledge shows them that you were serious.  Acting on what they told you gets you ahead.

5. Show gratitude and give back.  Show them that what they told you has helped you get into the right frame of mind.  And if it didn’t help, tell them why but what you did instead.  This helps create a relationship that neither one of you knew was forming.  Tell them you appreciate all that they did for you and tell others.  Hell, show others and spread the knowledge to those who are out of alignment and don’t even know it.

Now you are in your right place and fully aligned.  You are headed straight down the road.  You have also gained some possible relationships along the way.  But don’t stop there.  This is a “rinse and repeat” type of thing.  You are going to have to keep doing this to stay on the right track.  You have to seek out other people and build new relationships while solidifying the other ones.

And some people will reach out for you to help in their alignment. Help them out so that we all can travel down the road of success.

Who are you going to contact this weekend or next week to get you better aligned?  Comment below and tell me about it. 

-alv

P.S. If you liked this, please share it on your favorite social media site.  Thanks in advance!

blog

Failure Is Not The Word You Should Be Worried About

Failure Is Not The Word You Should Be Worried About

For a time in the military I thought it was fear that was keeping me from advancing to the peak of the military ranks.  Was I ready for more responsibility beyond leading troops? Would I fail at the task?

No, it wasn’t that.  I enjoyed helping shape some of America’s best and brightest in the ways of military tactics and resupply.  So what was it?  What kept me in a proverbial cocoon?  Safe from the outside world, but longing to start anew.

Complacency.  That’s right.  Someone who was so used to continually advancing up the ranks got comfortable.  Too comfortable in a safe position.  A safe job and paycheck. Scared to fail.

But that was the wrong way to think about things.  See, failure honestly is all psychological. Failing is going to happen in life.  We should fail and learn from the mistakes.  But we can’t call ourselves a failure and stay that way.

We are more worried about how we will be perceived if we fail.  And that’s understandable, but not acceptable.  How I look right now is not what I would be worried about. Failing is inevitable, but complacency is not.

I would be more worried about being in the same spot next year having not made any traction on my goals. That I haven’t achieved something and moved on to the next thing on my list.

See complacency will do that to you.  It will tell you that you are fine  exactly where you are. That we are only taking a break to figure out our next move.  We have accomplished a lot and we are just waiting for others to catch up.

Try again.  That excuse is not going to work.  Because complacency will rob you of your creativity.  You livelihood.  No, you need to look complacent behaviors in the face and tell them that they are not welcome.

See we have talked about this before on this blog.  Brainstorming ideas.  Coming up with priorities and then setting clear goals.  But a lot of times looking at this list can bring that supposed emotion of fear again.  And that’s ok.

But we are not going to be complacent.  Remember when I talked about the Lee Method?  Well, it doesn’t only apply to work.  Take your top six goals and apply that method to your life goals.  Write me back and let me know if it worked for you, too.  I have no doubt that it will if you are honest with yourself.

We are going to break the curse, though.  We are not going to be here in the same spot next year.  We will have moved on to a new position or job. We will have started our own side business or became an entrepreneur. The possibilities are endless.

But your life is not.  We have to start living like we have only one life. Not another one to come back to and finish everything we didn’t the first time.  Live this one.

What is your why?  Knowing why you want to succeed will make you channel that energy that you feel and use it to get started again.

So no more talking.  Let’s work on doing.  No more complacency.  Let’s work on accomplishing our dreams.

And yes, I snapped out of it.  I finally got the job I wanted, started this blog and am now retiring.  My focus is this blog and helping all of you.

What have you been complacent on and are ready to accomplish today?

-alv