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

Pay Attention To What’s In Front Of You

I will be the first to admit that I am completely wired to the internet.  Building a brand here at Living The Dream has had me constantly on the world wide web working on it.  But that has like anything come at a cost.  What cost you ask?

Time.  Now that I am here in Saudi Arabia (you didn’t know?) working and living I am thousands of miles from my family.  And the eight hour time difference doesn’t help either!

See, time is a commodity in my world.  The time I take to interact with people is engagement that pays off in the long run.  But what about the people physically there with me in the same space?

That time is more important than anything else.  Honestly.  Be mindful of being present in the moment and fully engaged with who has chosen to spend their time with you.  Even if it’s not in the presence of another, make sure you do it whether on Skype, Google Hangout, etc.

Listen to them speak and watch the emotions in their face. Actively listen and pay attention to their words.  Show them that you value their time and what they are saying.

I am going to make an effort to be more engaged this month, this year, and this lifetime. Will you?

-alv

 

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

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.

 

 

 

 

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

How Saying No Will Make Your Dreams Come True

How many times do you use the word no a day?

No.  Say it with me.  No.  Why am I asking you to repeat that word?  Because many of us really don’t know the power of the word no.

See, when you are a child you are taught to say no to many things.  Say no to drugs.  Say no to strangers.  Say no if you don’t want something. Say no if you don’t feel comfortable with something or someone.  We were taught to just say no.

Then we grow up and your parents begin to say no to you a lot, but you are supposed to say yes to things they want for you.  Say yes to taking all the classes they want you to.  Say yes to the clothes they want you to wear. Say yes to who they think you should date.  Say yes to the college and the major they want you to take.  Hell, you are basically saying yes to their broken dreams that they didn’t fulfill.

Then you get out in the workforce and are told that you don’t say no out here.  That you should never tell your Boss no for any reason.  You do what you have to do no matter what to get the job done.  You are told that no is a career killer. Basically, they would rather you sacrifice your soul than to tell them no.

Want to know how many times I told people no in my military career?  A lot. Maybe that’s why I am not in the military anymore!  Oh well. Honestly, I believe in the power of the word no.  I believe that the word frees you up from doing things that you otherwise would neve find yourself doing.

See, Steve Jobs believed that by saying No to a lot of things it helped you to be focused on a few.  Really focusing on what you want to do in life.  Not what your parents or friends want you to do.  Focusing on what matters.

See, I said no to a lot of bad ideas in my life. Even when I was looking for a job after I retired I said no to jobs I didn’t want to do.  I wasn’t being picky.  I just wanted something better.   Only by saying no to the norm is how you will get further in life.  And you will probably lose some friends.  Maybe even some love ones.  But if they truly believe and care for you hearing no won’t turn them away from you.

Hearing no will hopefully show them that you are strong in your convictions and know what you want in life.  That you want to be in charge of your life decisions. Because saying yes to everyone else and saying no to what you want will get you nowhere.

What’s important to you?  What makes you jump out of bed in the morning?  What fuels your every waking moment?  Those are the things that you should always say yes to.  Until those are accomplished, everything else should be told no.  Because if you really want them you will stay focus on only these things.

You want to be a better person and live a fulfilling life right?  You have to say no to things that will take away from that.  You have to say no to people who think they know what’s best for you.  Sure, listen to people’s advice.  But if you feel in your gut that you are being led the wrong way, say no.

The whole reason for your existence is to be the best person you can possibly in your lifetime. You should want to achieve everything that you wanted as a kid.

I am not saying that you will be another Steve Jobs.  Who wants to be?  I would imagine that he would want you to be better than him in whatever you decide to be.

But he would definitely want you to say the word no more.

-alv

 

What are you going to say no to today that you have been putting off?

 

 

blog

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.

blog

We Don’t Control A Lot, But These Three Things We Do

3 Things We Control

Early last week I did an interview for a podcast called The Creative Soul Lab hosted by a wonderful woman named Shari D. Teigman. I first met her online in a Facebook group  for online creatives. We hit it off quickly and she has a great spirit  about her. The first conversation we had, she asked me to be on her podcast!

Yea, I was stunned, but I worked up the nerves and went on.  I must tell you, I totally forgot Shari and I was recording a show.  Why?  Because she calmed my fear of doing something like this for the first time.  See, I was very unsure of myself.  Sure, I have given classes and briefing to some very powerful military leaders.  But this was my voice and story that could be heard all over the world at any given time!

Normally I am writing you all and helping you work through your problems. This time, I had the problem.  All I could see was me bombing and Shari never putting it out.  But that very morning, I did my daily reading and I came across this quote in the picture above and here below by Jack Canfield:

You have control over three things in your life:   the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take (your behavior).  

That quote was right on time!  My problem was that I didn’t see it in my mind that we were going to have a great interview. That I was going to be totally comfortable and talk about things that I hadn’t shared publicly.  I allowed a few seconds of self-doubt to come in and almost sabotage my day and what turned out to be a fantastic interview and conversation.

Man, am I glad that I saw that quote that morning.  It put me back on my  path.  The path of thinking the right thoughts to get me in the correct frame of mind.  Only then could I truly visualize what success looked like.

And when I knew what it looked like I could then adjust my behavior and take the correct action.  Sounds simple, right?  It is. Things will still take some time to work through.  But it’s easier with the right frame of mind.

Look, I am human like everyone else.  I will never pretend to have it all together.  I need work, too.  But these things are not impossible to do.  So let’s make a deal to work through this together.  If you get stuck then leave me a comment and I will get back to you quickly.  We will work it out together.

Also when the show with  Shari Teigman and I comes out I will post a link.  I think you all will really love it.  Have a great week and remember, we don’t control a lot, but  these three things we do.   Have a fantastic week!

If you enjoyed this post, please Like and Share it with your family and friends.