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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.

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How Optimism Is One Of The Keys To Success

gary vaynerchuk and optimism

(Gary Vaynerchuck on the DailyVee)

Life is tough, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I have lived through some dark times and moments where I didn’t know I would survive. And I am not talking about on a deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan. I am talking about everyday life before and after the military. Up until a few years ago, I was a very pessimistic person. I felt like everyone was conspiring against me. You know what I am talking about. The victim mentality. Where instead of thinking of ways to see the silver lining to problems, I was retreating to the dark and “woe is me” comfort of thinking and dealing with things.

And it was comfortable and I was content. Sure, on the surface I complained about things, but deep down I felt safe in my misery. Safe in the way that I had to put no effort into complaining and being not trying to achieve anything. But I was wrong. I put in some hard work, but I was mostly mentally.  Believe it or not, it’s hard work being miserable. It’s also hard work being positive and being spent everyday achieving your dreams. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have the latter. Wouldn’t you?

I mean, think about it, both of them take a considerable amount of effort to do: complaining and doing. But by doing you are actually getting what you want. Do you want that new job? Don’t go into it think that someone has more experience than you and is going to get it. Do you want to finish that degree? Don’t go into thinking of the amount of classes that you have to take. Think about walking across that stage and using it later in life. But you can’t do any of that if you aren’t starting with the right attitude.

When I realized that I needed to first start with the right attitude, my outlook on life completely changed for the better. I took my own dreams into account and set about conquering them. By being optimistic myself, it automatically impacted my world around me. My family, friends, coworkers, and soldiers who worked for me were directly affected by my new disposition.
I used optimism to finish out two decades of service. I used optimism when I didn’t know when I didn’t know where I was going work next. I think my optimism helped to keep my options open and my mind clear of what I wanted out of life. It paid off in the end and I am way ahead of where I thought I would ever be.

Now in my new profession, I live by pushing optimism out in the forefront. I wake up with gratitude for a new day and for the rest of the 86,400 seconds I work hard to keeping it positive. Like, Gary Vaynerchuk says above, “If you lack optimism, it’s game over.”

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You Are Worthy

you are worthy simply because you exist.
The world is not fair.  Some people get all the breaks in life.  I will never amount to anything.  Why am I even here?  Sound familiar?  Any of it?
Each of you reading this today can identify with these sentences.  At some point in your life, you will say one of them or something similar.  You will feel like no matter what you say or do, you can’t get any further in life.

Ok.  Well, I don’t agree with you. I know that the entire world is not fair, but mine is.  My world is everything around me that I can affect.  I don’t care about the chaos going on around me. You know why?  Because I know my worth and you should, too.

You are worthy simply because you exist.

Yes, it’s just that simple.  There is honestly no difference between you and the next person.  Especially a celebrity.  Well, at least, one thing: they realized their worth earlier than you.  That’s it. They knew that they had someone to offer the world and they knew they could do it.

That’s what being worthy is about.  Recognizing that you were born this way and that you can do and be anything you put your mind to. I know there are some skeptics out there.  People who say that this is all lies and everyone is not born with the same advantages.

But I am telling you the truth.  There will be tough times and obstacles. There will be times that you feel like quitting and giving up.  But you can’t do that.  Too many people do in life already.  Be different.

Be different and believe in yourself. Be different and know you are something special created by the cosmos to be exceptional.  Be different and ACTUALLY believe these words and act upon them.  Don’t pay lip service to your worthiness.  Use it as fuel and realize your potential is beyond imagination.

No one is better than you.  No one wants it more than you.  So now prove it to yourself.  Prove that these words aren’t falling on death ears.  It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth having  ever was.  

-alv

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Don’t Waste Any Opportunties 

the time is n.o.w.

 

When are you going to start working on your dreams?

I know you want to be the best version of you.  I know you want to make life easier for you and your loved ones.  You want to help those people in your community who are less fortunate.  You made the necessary plans and have them tucked away for when the time is right.

And when is that? When is the time ever right for anything?  The Wright Brothers didn’t wait until someone came along to perfect their plane.  They devised a rudimentary machine and set about trying to get it to fly.  They didn’t wait until someone showed them how to do it.  They just did it.  Yes, it didn’t work the first couple of times. But all it took was one time.  That one time changed the entire course of history for how we all travelled around the world.

When I knew that I wanted to leave the military, I didn’t wait.  I put in my retirement orders and began working on the foundation for my family’s new civilian life.  And as solid as I thought my plan was it still had holes in it. But you know I still too the leap of faith.

 Steve Harvey’s recent video below after a taping of Family Feud has gone viral.  In it he talks about jumping (doing it now) and not waiting.  Check it out.

http://youtu.be/NZmsDA1JVHw 

Great, huh?  See we all have a parachute (our dreams) and many of us hold onto it for years.  And like he said, some people never even open theirs.  In fact, many people go to their grave with them still strapped to their backs.  No, I am not trying to scare you, but you have to have a sense of urgency and jump. Jump into your destiny because there is no other perfect time to do so.

N.O.W. stands for No Opportunity Wasted.  We don’t have the time to sit around and let others realize your dreams and implement them.  We don’t have time for others to criticize us and tell us that it will never work.  Today right now at this very moment is the time.  There is no better opportunity.

Les Brown, the motivation speaker talks about you laying in your death bed and the end of your life.  Surround all around you are the Ghosts of Missed and Past Opportunities. They are standing above you and they are angry.  Angry that you didn’t take at least one of them and go for it.  They are angry at you that they now how to go to the grave with you.  Missed opportunities.

Now I don’t know what it is that you want to accomplish.  I don’t know your dreams.  And honestly, I don’t need to. Stop whatever you are doing and start on one of your goals.  No excuses.  Just stop and come back to this blog if you have to.  Bookmark if you want, but go and realize your dreams.  Take the first step closer to your legacy.  Remember, no opportunity wasted.

Live your Dreams.

-alv

What’s one goal that you would start today right now at this very moment?

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How Getting Through Today Is One of The Keys To Success

 

Go through today; quit tomorrow living the dream

I don’t know about you, but there are days that I don’t want to do anything.  Well, anything productive that is.  Where I feel like my schedule is too full and I don’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish it all.

And a lot of times it is easier to just give up and crawl back in the bed.  Pulling the covers over our head and shutting the world out.  But let’s not mistake getting rest with avoiding things that are important.  Avoiding today is not going to solve anything.   The right thing to do is to get through today.

Let’s not worry about tomorrow.  Just today.  24 hours. That’s our focus.  But how can you work on anything when your day starts out not how you wanted it to.  You are already running late or thinking about what type of traffic you have to fight through.  I know from experience that it’s a terrible feeling to start your day this way.

So let’s stop it now and I am going to help you.  If you are at home and reading this, let’s take five minutes to get into the right frame of mind.  I like using what’s called.  Affirmations are things that people say to us or we say to ourselves that provide emotional support and encouragement.  They are positive motivational words that help to quickly get you in the right frame of mind.

Here are some of my favorite ones that I use daily:

“You are enough.”

“I believe in you.”

“Remember why you started.”

“Luck is the preparation meeting the moment of opportunity.”

“Let your faith in yourself be bigger than your fear.”

There are many more, but these are just a few that I say to myself each morning.  Now I want you to say these or other ones you find to yourself now.  Don’t just speak the words.  Put some meaning behind them.  Really feel what you are saying and focus on the words to solicit a real impact on your day.

Next, close your eyes and envision how you want your day to play out.  Get very detailed on what the end of the day looks like.  By doing this you already know the outcome.  You already know the steps you need to take to have it all play out.  Visualizing your day this way can have lasting effects on not just your mood but how productive you are on anything you do for the entire day.

Look,  I am not saying that it’s not going to still be a challenging day.  You still may have some hiccups and setbacks, but you can manage them better.  You are in the right frame of mind and ready to deal with whatever comes your way.

Don’t think ahead to the things you have to accomplish tomorrow.  Only focus on today.  Taking each day one at a time is one of the keys to success.  Discipline and focus are two others.

 I know you we have talked about discipline in the past.  You know what needs to be done and how to go about it.  We talked about stepping back and refocusing when the situation warranted it and how it can help you stay mindful of what you need to accomplish.

So the only thing to do now is seize the day.  Get dressed.  Get ready. Stay focused and disciplined in everything you do.  Refocus when you need to.  Don’t think farther than these 24 hours.  Only concentrate on these 86,400 seconds that you have to become that much better today.

Like Soledad O’Brien recently said at a conference, “Go through today.  You can always quit tomorrow.”

What steps are you going to take to get through today?  Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

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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.

General Information

What Is Greatness And Do You Have It In You?

I want you to close your eyes for a minute. Now I want you to picture someone you really admire. Maybe it is a famous speaker, an artist, an athlete, or a world leader. Now think of the first word that comes to mind about this person.
More than likely the word that may have come to mind was greatness. And though they may be fantastic at their chosen craft, I would caution in using the word greatness. Only because it may elevate this person to such a state that you feel the need to idolize them. The very definition leads one to believe the mythical divide between us:

Greatness can be referred to individuals who possess a natural ability to be better than all others. The concept carries the implication that the particular person or object when compared to others of a similar type, has a clear advantage over others.

See, I admire a great many people and look to use what they have accomplished in my own life. I see them as hard workers and individuals who never let go of their dreams. They worked through difficulties to rise to a prominent position in their chosen profession.
But I caution to use the word greatness only because I don’t want people to believe that it is out of their reach. That they can’t work and fight hard to accomplish all they desire. Will Smith said it best when he said:

“Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive (etc) that only the special among us will ever taste. It is something that truly exists in all of us”

I truly believe that. Greatness is not something that is only in certain families’ genetic makeup. Greatness is not exclusive to any one set of people. Greatness is inside of all of us. It resides inside every inch of your body. In every vein, muscle, bone, and cartilage. In your very soul.

It’s alright to admire someone and all that they have accomplished. But don’t dare place them higher than you so they block the sun from shining on you just the same. Greatness is upon you. What are you waiting for?

-alv

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How Defining Your Why Gives You Purpose 

2015-10-11 22.56.13

Why do you get up every morning?  Why do you go to work?  Why do you go to school?  Why do you do anything?  Because it’s expected of you, right?  Because you don’t want to let your boss down or your parents for that matter?  But honestly those are all reasons for someone else.  Not necessarily at all for yourself.

See, many of you are getting up every morning for no other purpose but to maintain employment.  Or to keep attendance in school.  But are you really doing it because you are happy and want to be there?

Now I know there is someone out there right now mad and ready to stop reading this post. But hear me out.  There are some people who know their purpose and are steadfast in their convictions and will.  And that’s great, but I am talking  to everyone who has lost their way or need to get back on the right path.

And to those who are on the right path, keep reading because you may need to pass this on to your friends who aren’t.  Don’t believe me?  Well,  statistically Forbes did a poll and found that 52.3% of American workers are unhappy at work.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of people.  I don’t know the number for people in other countries, but I imagined that it would be fairly close. (If you do please comment below after reading and let me know). So why are people unhappy?  Why have you forgotten the very reason you are doing the things you do?  It’s rather simple.

You don’t have or forgotten your WHY.  

In the beginning, you wanted to work where you are now because that was the traditional thing to do.  You went to school because your parents told you to.  You got that degree because everyone else did.  But why are you following the path already traveled?

If you tell me that you are doing it because you want to be the first person in your family to graduate, then I applaud you.  That’s a why and it’s being done for you. Because you want to do it.  If you tell me that you are doing this job because it is the gateway to another and even better one, then I believe in you.

If you tell me that you are doing this because you have to take care of your family, then I understand.  That you are doing it because you have a plan with a timeline and you know where you will end up, then I respect that.  You have a why.  You know that it will not be fun all the time, but you are grounded and happy in your pursuit of greatness.

Just please don’t settle for being a  cookie cutter version of anyone in this world.  I know because for a long time I was.  One of the hardest decisions in my life was  to leave the military.  It was a tough weekend when I decided to do it.  I was leaving two decades of the only thing that I have ever known.  But I knew that deep inside my spark had dimmed and I knew I was destined for something else.

Sure, my wife thought I was crazy.  (She still does mind you.) But I am clearer on my why now.  Now I know my former colleagues will say that they are serving for their family and I totally understand and commend them for it.  But there will come a time when that career will end, priorities shift and a new why will have to be established.

My family is my true why now.  The legacy that I want to leave them is my why.   Living The Dream is my why.  And something I told myself a year ago still rings true as my why.  I said that a year from now if my words have just changed one life, then I am successful. 

You are my why.

-alv

What is your why? Comment below and let me know.  

P.S. If you liked this, please share with your friends through email and social media.  Someone needs to hear this today.  Thank you.