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

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.”

blog

Success vs Failure

  
Time and time again I see this come up. Comparing ourselves to others and feeling let down.  Why? Why would you compare your life to others?  No two lives are the same.

Even if we live in the same house our successes and failures will never be the same.  Be steadfast in your convictions.  Remember your goals and why you are doing them.

Stop comparing yourself to others and do the damn work.  Do what is necessary to create your definition of success. And by the way, success is inevitable.  You just have to choose when you want to have it in your life.

-alv

blog

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?

blog

What Do You Deserve In Life?

What exactly in life do you think you deserve?  A big house?  A nice job?  A beautiful spouse on your arm?  What if I told you that you honestly don’t deserve any of it.  Not one bit.  Not if you don’t work for it.

Many of us, not all, have someone been raised with a sense of entitlement.  As if because we were born, the world owes you any and everything that you want and desire.  That because of the work that our parents or ancestors have done we someone is entitled to a pass over hard hips, turmoil, trials and tribulation.

I want to tell you that if you feel that way and you are reading this blog you are in the wrong place.  My blog is not for you.  Though I love having followers and talking with you all, I can’t deal with those who feel that particular.  I don’t do entitlement.

Well, let me take that back.  I don’t care for people who have a sense of entitlement and have done nothing to warrant it.  I do, however, feel that we are all entitled to achieve our dreams.  We are entitled to be always striving for greatness.

But do you deserve it?  I say yes and can say it with conviction.  I know you deserve to not struggle your whole life with money, weight, or self-esteem.  I know you deserve to come out on top as much as possible.

But you and only you can get you there.  Only you can get what you deserve.  You can have all the right mentors, friends, coaches, etc. But if you don’t put in the work, it will never work for you.

We don’t simply deserve something because we are living and breathing on this planet earth.  Every specimen on this planet has to work hard for what they deserve. Why would you be any different?  Really.

Time is of the essence.  We don’t have to debate what you think about the subject.   Stop telling me your hustling.  Stop being everywhere but on the journey to fulfilling your dreams. It’s time to do work.

Have at it.

 

-alv

 

 

 

 

blog

Why You Need To Be Anchored In Your Dreams

As children, we are told that our dreams are important. Our parents tell us that if we work hard and study that they can come true. And at that age, we feel like anything is possible.

So what happened? Many will say that life happened. I understand that, but I will also say that it sounds like an excuse. See, somewhere between our youth and adulthood society told us that it wasn’t acceptable to dream anymore.

Don’t believe me? When someone is daydreaming what do people say about them? That they have their heads in the clouds right? That they can’t take anything serious and that they will never amount to anything. We both know that is not true, though.

These people didn’t succumb to society’s wishes. They knew their creative mind needed to flourish so they kept dreaming. They didn’t listen to the naysayers. They started with a dream and held onto it. They guarded the dream and nurtured it despite what anyone told them.

Sure they heard the doubters tell them to grow up and that dreaming was for children. But they didn’t listen. They slowly began to anchor their dreams to themselves. They wrapped the chain of the anchor tightly around their body and firmly pressed the anchor to their chest. Each time they heard negativity, they held onto the anchor a little tighter.

Even when they conquered one dream and moved to another, they held on to that anchor. And that’s what we all need to do. We need to think long and hard about what we really want out of life. Once you know, dream about yourself already having achieved these dreams. Capture that picture. Cement it in your mind

Attach it to your anchor and press it firmly to your chest. Wrap the chain around you and don’t let anything take it away from you. See, this is how you realize that you have grit inside of you. This is when you realize that you must grind to achieve your heart’s desires.

This is when perseverance and determination are manifested in your life and you realize that you have the power to win. You have to believe in yourself and your dreams when others don’t.

This is how you are going to get through all the tough times. Through all the days when you feel like quitting. When you are presented with a path of obstacles, you are going to hold on to that anchor and push through.

When the waters of uncertainty and despair start to creep up, use that anchor to weather the rough seas.

Anchor down, my friend.

-alv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blog

How Negativity and Adversity Are Your Best Allies To Living A Better Life

 

 

adversity and negativity are really our allies

How do you view negativity situations and adversity? 

You know the world would be a pretty boring place if we all looked and acted the same.  It would also be equally boring if we were all handed things without putting any effort into obtaining thing.

In the real world you and I both know that nothing is easy.  Nothing is given to us for free either.  You have to claw, fight, scrape, kick, and push your way to the life you want. From birth, we are surrounded by people who play a significant role in helping you realize and fulfill your dreams.

But you learn quickly in your interactions with other kids that negativity is part of the human makeup.  That there will be many who don’t want you to succeed at an early age.  And you have to quickly learn who has your best interests in mind all the time.

If that’s no one, that’s ok too. Because there are people out there rooting for you. You just haven’t met them yet. And something that you won’t believe, but negativity really is your friend.  Now, I know you are sitting there wondering what the hell I am talking about.  But hear me out.

Negativity can be used as fuel.  Think about it.  People who talk about other people are actually helping you.  They are pointing out your so called flaws.  They are allowing you to prioritize how you go about addressing these supposed flaws.

But remember that negativity is really masked insecurity.  The other person is really insecure about themselves and try to project that on you.  I say use that negative energy for the good.  Use it as an ally in this instance to make yourself better. Here’s why.

They told you that you wouldn’t graduate school and have a better life. They told you didn’t have the experience to start your own business.  They told you that if you started a blog no one would read it.  They told you that no matter what you do, you will never amount to anything.

I don’t know about you, but that fires me up.  Because I know that adversity is right behind negativity.  They are best friends and come hand and hand.  And I know that in the end both of them will make me a changed man after I am finished.

Look at adversity as really what it is: an opportunity to grow. And see negativity really as positivity. A chance for you to work through some tough times and show others and yourself that you have the grit to get through it all

See don’t look at the experience with negativity and adversity as being a bad one.  The minute you do you have already lost.  Plain and simple.

Look at it as a positive.  They told you that you couldn’t do something and now you show them.  Embrace adversity and negativity and allow them to be the fuel on your journey to greatness.

-alv

What has happened recently that you thought was negative, but could be the opposite? 

 

 

 

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.