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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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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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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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Are You Sabotaging Your Own Success?

It is said that an average human being can have between 25,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day.  Imagine how many of those are negative thoughts.  How many times you are subconsciously telling yourself that you can’t accomplish this.  You can’t do that.  It will never work.

I had a difficult background, filled with no concrete role model and a lot of figuring out things on my own.  I am honestly not unlike many other kids who had to fend for themselves during their adolescents. Sure, I had my father and step-mother, but there was not a lot of child rearing and teaching lessons. 

I had to fend for myself.  I didn’t hear a lot of “great job” and other accolades.  It was as if I was expected to achieve greatness and success with no blueprint or example to go off of.  Saying it was tough would be an understatement.

My attitude and outlook became very pessimistic and I was depressed.   This went on for the first ten years of my military career. But when I finally got fed up with living a mediocre existence, I changed.  It honestly took seeing other people happy and enjoying their life.  What’s the difference between me and them?

They didn’t wallow in self-pity.  They worked hard and enjoyed the process, keeping their goals in the front of their mind.  The progressed past me in rank and responbility.  All because they had the right attitude.  That of perseverance.  

See, I had a bright future with a good career.  I just let the dark clouds and obstacles get in the way. When I mapped out my plan it made it easier to seek out people who could aid me in my journey.  My biggest problem is I compared my life with theirs.  My happiness to theirs.  Bad idea.  Success is ultimately an individual thing.  I need to do the physical and mental work to achieve it.  Only I would get the emotional high of achievement when it was done.  

The last ten years of my career flew by when I changed.  But I remember it like it was yesterday because I was happy.  I got out of a marriage that I wasn’t fully invested in and have a wonderful family now.  And when the military wasn’t fun anymore, I retired.  Best decision ever because I found my first love again:  writing.  

Surround yourself with the right people.  People who have no negative thoughts prevalent in their mind.  You ever walked into a room and there was someone else there, but they weren’t in a good mood?  You can feel the tension and bad aura.  You just want to leave the room so it doesn’t rub on you.  

Map out what needs to be done.  Share it with those closest to you, but you do the work.  You climb the damn obstacles.  And be optimistic in the pursuit of your greatness.  I am rooting for you.  

-alv