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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

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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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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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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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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.

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4 Tips That Will Help You Become Your True Self

(courtesy of RedFrost Motivation)

 Do you know who you are?

There is someone out there right now who is feeling less than themselves.  There are a number of people out there who are just existing and getting by.  Caught in the rat race of life. They are getting by, but not happy where they are. More importantly who they are.

So what do they do?  Besides feeling hopeless and full of self-pity. What do they do need to do?

1. Figure out what you want.  Do you want to go to school? Be an entrepreneur? Be a school teacher?  The first step is figuring out what exactly do you want to be in  life.  I don’t know what makes you passionate.  What keeps you up at night and always in your thoughts during the day?

2.  Write and plan it out. Seeing things in black and white does something to the mind.  It gives an unofficial contract and gets many people fired up and ready. But you have to plan it out and figure out the steps needed to achieve your dreams.

3. Visualize it.  Sit down and close your eyes.  Take a few minutes and visualize yourself living this life already.  Who is there  with you? Who can you see that contributed to your success and is right there with you? I want you to  take the time and really see it as clearly as possible.

4. Take physical action and do it.  That’s right.  You know what you want.  You planned it out and you visualized it.  You know the details.  Now time to act on it!  You now know what it takes to be an entrepreneur, so get to work.

You wrote your plan out to get that college degree.  So it’s time to apply and get it into school.  No fear. I know you are nervous.  That’s understandable.  But we are not going to let fear take over our desire for a better life.

This is our lifeline to living an actual life not an existence.  No living organism on this planet is just existing.  Everything is living life to the fullest. With a plan and a vision of something greater that what they currently are.

  So are you ready?

If you liked this please comment, like, and share with others. Don’t be shy.  Share it on social media or email it to a friend who needs it.  

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9/11- We Remember, But We Have To Do Better

911

(photo courtesy of Sean Geraghty)

Remember. Everyone remembers where they were when the first plane hit. Everyone remembers their reaction. Must have been an accident. Remember when the second one hit? Something is wrong. Are we being attacked?

That is was immediately came into my mind. And from that day on, my life was completely changed. Everyone’s life was. But that’s not the point of me writing this.

I want you to remember on September 12th when our differences didn’t matter anymore. No one cared what color you were. No one cared what language you spoke. No one cared about your sexuality. We were all American. That’s all that matter.

Now? I don’t even recognize us. You don’t either. We are a country divided by color, gender, and ideology. We have carved out strongholds for our “kind” and retreat to them for a sense of security.

We wish to impose our beliefs on others without adhering to our own Constitution. And if you don’t believe as I do? Then you are unAmerican and a traitor.

It’s got to stop. But it will take each and every one of us. It will take all of us to acknowledge our mistakes and to take action to not repeat them. I know, I am probably just dreaming.

But that’s how things start. With a dream.

Remember the fallen. But remember that we dishonor their memory by our conduct of late. We have got to do better.

-alv

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How Your Attitude Effects Your Growth


Attitude determines altitude

Your mom always told you about your bad attitude as a child, huh?  Mine used to tell me that a bad attitude will stunt your growth.  Luckily I listened because I am over six feet tall now!

But is the old wise saying even true?  I would say yes.  Think about it this scenario:  You just had an argument with someone and minutes later you are still reeling from it.  You are thinking the worse derogatory thoughts imaginable about that person.  You are festering in a bad aura and can’t think about anything else.  Practically seeing red.

Now it’s been ten minutes or so and you finally calm down and allow the anger to subside.  But what have you gained?  Nothing.  But you have lost six hundred seconds of productive time.  The time you could of spend achieving something worthwhile besides a bad attitude.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying that you must go through life never being angry.  That’s ridiculous. What I am saying is the more you stay in the positive zone, the more you will achieve.  Yes, you will learn through pain, anger, and despair.  But the quicker you get out of those zones and into the positive side, the faster you will see growth.

See, when you fail at something you feel beaten down and have a solemn attitude.  If you wallow there, you will continue to stay at the same level.  But if you take the necessary time to learn from the mistake and then apply it, you quickly move out of your current position to a better one.  A lot of times it’s a vertical position and not lateral. Ultimately placing you above where you just were and at a heightened sense of awareness.

Make a conscious effort to go into work, school, or just start your day with a good attitude.  Make an effort to smile and speak to people.  Help out a friend at work and get them a coffee on the way in.  See how much it changes their attitude and how more productive they become.

You will indeed grow and add points to your overall character and reputation amongst your colleagues. Like the picture suggests, having the right attitude will have you soaring above the clouds quickly.

What are you consciously going to do today to make sure you start  the day with the right attitude?

-alv

General Information

Isn’t It Time To Get In Focus?

Focus

We are rattled. Off kilter. Unfocused. Something threw us off our balance and we can’t get back on track.

You know why?  Because we won’t take the time to reset ourselves. To get back into our right position in life

We need to stop everything and get back in focus. Think about a photographer. Before he takes that picture he pauses for a second to get his shot into focus.

We need to do the same in our lives. We need to stop hopping out of bed rushing to our job. We need to know what our focus is for that day.

Write down what you want to accomplish, but do it the night before you go to bed. Then sleep. Wake up the next day and visualize your goals and focus your tasks for the day. Then execute with clarity.

When things start to get hectic get up and take a five minute break. Walk away from the chaos and refocus on what’s a priority to you right now. Focus on your breathing and quieting your mind.

Then step back into the environment and handle your business and the tasks at hand.

See, stepping away from the situation or simply focusing on your wellbeing for a couple of seconds helps you immensely. Trust me I know. I have had to do it a couple of times.

There have been times in the military I have been presented with tough decisions. But I always took a moment to focus on my state of mind and cleared it. Only then was I able to make a sound and right decision.

We all could use sometime to refocus our thinking to achieve positive growth in our personal lives.

What do you need to refocus your efforts on?  Comment below and let me know.

-alv