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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

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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? 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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 

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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.