W.I.N.

maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: Be Patient

In today’s world it seems like everyone is looking for the hack, the shortcut to achieve their goal. No, this is not a rant about the “new generation”. I see people from every generation who are looking for the shortcut. 

"There is no royal road to anything. One thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures."

Josiah Gilbert Holland

There may be short cuts, but they usually lead to short term results. If you want long-term success you have to commit to doing the work over the long-term. You need to keep reading, questioning, researching, experimenting, and adjusting in an ongoing cycle to determine what works best for you.  It still comes down to the fact that you have to be willing to do the work. 

"Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment."

Stephen Covey

If you think of the work, and it is work, as an investment it is easier to be patient and understand it is a long-term project with the interest compounding over time. The key is small incremental improvements every day in your health, your knowledge, your wisdom, and / or your relationships, whatever the areas of your life where you would like to grow and improve. 

What’s Important Now? Be patient. Do the work every day to invest in yourself.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Do what works for you. 

Read all the literature about the best time to get up, the best way to eat and the best routines to be most productive. Read about the routines of the highly successful people. Listen to the interviews with the productivity experts. 

Then, put it all through the filter of your life and determine what works best for you. You may do your most creative work early in the morning. Or, you may do your most creative work in the evening. 

You may get your best thinking and creative work done in a quiet space in your home, or while walking or sitting in nature. Or, you may get your best thinking and creative work done sitting in a coffee shop listening to music on your noise cancelling headphone, or even sitting on an airplane if you travel a lot.

You may get you best workouts in if you workout first thing in the morning when you get up. Or, you may get your best workouts in if you do it midday or on the way home from work. 

You might like to read in a quiet location, or you might like to read with music in the background. You may not like to read and instead you prefer to listen to audio books. 

There are volumes of diets and eating rituals, all which claim to be backed by research and science. Find one that works for you and your lifestyle. Find a way of eating that you can make a ritual, a way of life, not something short term. 

Be very cautious of people who tell you their way is the best way and the only way. My way is simply my way. It is what works best for me, and it may not work for you. If you are struggling with your productivity ritual because you are trying to be productive with someone else’s routine, then maybe you need to step back and figure out what works best for you. 

Make sure to read the information on sleep and ensure that the ritual you develop is not going to negatively impact the quality and quantity of the sleep you get. 

What’s Important Now? Do the research. Take the basics of eat, move, sleep, think and learn, then experiment and find what works best for you. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Two kinds of people.

"My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition."

Indira Gandhi

In last week’s W.I.N. Wednesday postI talked about striving to be Your Best, not The Best. As I read this quote from Indira Gandhi it struck me that people who do the work are striving to be their best, while those who take the credit for work others have done are caught up trying to be The Best. 

We have all seen that dynamic in groups and organizations where there is someone who wants to take the credit for work others have done, or ideas others came up with. This often creates frustration and resentment in the people who are actually doing the work, which has the potential to negatively impact the level of productivity and the quality of the work. However, as Harry S. Truman pointed out, “It is amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit.” 

In the Dare to Be Great leadership workshopI also share Seth Godin’s philosophy, “Take the blame and give away the credit.” Do the work. If the project is unsuccessful or there are issues with the team not meeting deadlines, stand up and take the blame. When the project, or initiative is successful, give away the credit. And give the credit in all directions - up, down, and sideways. Give credit to your boss for the courage, leadership and support to approve the proposal. Give credit to your peers who helped move the project forward, helped do the work, or provided support and resources. Give the credit to the people you lead who did the work and made the effort a success. 

What’s Important Now? Doing the work, taking the blame and giving away the credit will create, model and inspire a culture of people striving to be their best.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man.

In my Dare to Be Great leadership workshops I challenge the participants to “Be Your Best, Not The Best”.  I explain that in any group or team if you are striving to be The Best you see co-workers and teammates as competition for the title of 'The Best'. As a result you will tend to withhold information and resources from them and not give them credit for work they have done or ideas that came from them. 

If however, you are striving to be Your Best, to continually be the best version of yourself, you will see your co-workers and teammates as collaborators on your group journey to achieving excellence and you will share information, resources and praise with them so you can all achieve your mission.

In that part of the course I share the following quote from Ernest Hemmingway:

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self."

Striving to be The Best requires continually trying to out perform others, gain more accolades and awards than others, make more money than others, have more stuff than others and gain more favor from your boss, your co-workers and your customers. If you cannot do more or achieve more then you will put others down and seek to diminish their accomplishments. People who are trying to be superior to their fellow man create a great deal of tension and discord in companies and communities. 

Striving to be Your Best requires a commitment to always be a little better tomorrow than you are today. This means that every day you need to do something in the area of personal growth and development to expand your knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities. This is a continual journey of personal and professional growth.  Part of this journey is investing in others and mentoring others who are on their own journey to being Their Best. 

What’s Important Now? Strive to continually be your best, the best version of yourself that you can be. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: You made the choice, now Act As If.

In last week’s post I talked about the fact that others can make you a target, but only you can choose to be a victim. The question that often comes up then is, “Ok. I am going to choose not to be a victim. Now what? How do I move forward?” Good questions. A good place to start is by Acting As If, which I wrote about last year.

In Principles of Psychology (published in 1890), William James, who some describe as the father of modern psychology, wrote about the importance of ‘acting as if’. James said, “If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.”

Philosopher, self help author and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer echoes these sentiments when he encouraged and challenged people with these words:

“Imagine your ideal self. Your greatest most magnificent version of yourself. Then imagine how that ideal version of you would be thinking and acting at this moment. Act as if you are that person.”

In his book The Power of Positive Deviance, Jerry Sternin reminds us that it's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than to think your way into a new way of acting.

And in his powerful book Resilience Eric Greitens (Rhodes Scholar, humanitarian, former Navy Seal) gives his friend who is battling PTSD this advice:

“Remember these three words: Identity, Action and Feelings.

If you want to feel differently, act differently.”

Richard Wiseman, a Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, covers the wide body of research which supports this philosophy in his book The As If Principle: The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life. 

So.

What qualities are you striving for?

Who do you want to become?

How do you want to feel?

How would the ideal version of you be thinking and acting?

What’s Important Now? Act As If and act your way into a new way of thinking and feeling.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: It's a choice.

“Others can make you a target, only you can choose to be a victim.”

Gavin de Becker

In your life you will encounter people who will make you a target. A target of violence, hatred, injustice, discrimination, bullying and abuse. 

While being a target is not something you choose, you do get to choose whether or not you are a victim. Being a victim is a mindset. When you choose to be a victim you remain stuck. You get caught up in the blame game. You give power to the person(s) who targeted you and you allow them to continue to control you and your life.

When you choose not to play the victim you set yourself free to move forward, to live, to grow and to continue moving forward. When you choose not to play the victim you take back your power, your control and your life. You set yourself free from the person and the act. 

Is this easy? No. It takes work and it take conscious effort. 

Is it worth the work? Absolutely. 

Some of you reading this right now are thinking, “Brian, you don’t understand. In my situation I am the victim.” While I may not understand all the specifics of your situation, I do understand you have a choice and as long as you hang on to being a victim, that is your choice and you will remain stuck.

There are countless people who have been targets of torture, rape, extreme violence, racism, discrimination, bullying, abuse and other atrocities who have chosen not to be a victim. They have learned from their experience, grown from their experience and moved forward in their lives. The key for all of them was when they realized they had a choice and they chose not to be, or to no longer be a victim. If they can make this choice, so can you. 

What’s Important Now? Being a target is part of life. Being a victim in a choice. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Study, Strive, Learn, Be and Grow

Study successful people, people who have accomplished what you are striving to achieve. Study the habits and rituals they have developed to help them be productive. Study how they think, what they read, and whom they listen to. Study their work ethic and their commitment to learning. Study how they seek to be of service to others. Study how they deal with setbacks and obstacles. Study how they deal with the skeptics, cynics and critics.

Strive for more. Strive for better. Strive to be a little better every day. Strive to learn. Strive to continually be a better version of yourself. Strive to be your best, not the best. Strive to be of service to others and to a cause greater than yourself. Strive to set a positive example for others. Strive for significance.

Learn from your successes. Learn from your failures. Learn from your experiences, both good and bad. Learn from the challenges and obstacles. Learn from others. Learn from great books. Learn from self-reflection. Learn by talking less and listening more. Learn by asking more questions and better questions of yourself and others.

Be authentic. Be humble. Be a man or woman of integrity. Be of service. Be yourself. 

If you do all these things you will grow. The more you learn, the more you realize how little you do know and this will help you to continue to grow. The more you grow the better equipped you are to lead, to follow and to be of service.

What’s Important Now? Study, Strive, Learn, Be and Grow

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: I haven't put in the time.

I have become a big fan of Impact Theory (www.impacttheory.com) where every week Tom Bilyeu (the cofounder of Quest Nutrition) interviews thought leaders and people who are making an impact in the world in a variety of ways. His final question in every interview is, “What is the impact you want to have on the world?”

I strive to listen to one interview from Impact Theory or Health Theory (same website) every day as part of my personal growth and development. I like Tom Bilyeu’s interviewing style and I always learn a great deal from his guests. 

One of my go to podcasts is Finding Mastery with Sports Psychologist Michael Gervais. Like Impact Theory I really like Gervais’ interviewing style and like Impact Theory he has some amazing guests on his show. 

A while back I listened to an interview Michael Gervais did with Tom Bilyeu to get a little deeper background and insights into Tom Bilyeu. During the interview Gervais asked Bilyeu about a topic Bilyeu had an interest in. I really liked Bilyeu’s answer and explanation. He said, “I don’t know enough about it to answer the question. I haven’t put in the time to fully understand that.” He went on to explain that “I haven’t put in the time” was a shift from the thinking earlier in his life that he was “not smart enough to learn that”.

Bilyeu is a huge advocate of the Growth Mindset based on Carol Dweck’s research on Fixed and Growth mindsets and of Grit based on Angela Lee Duckworth’s research into that area. 

So, what is the point of all this? We all have a set amount of time, focus and energy. You get to decide how to use that time and where to focus your studies and energy.  Just because you have an ‘interest’ in an area does not mean you are willing, or have to be willing, to commit the time and energy to learn about that topic at a deep level, and that is perfectly fine. There is a difference between your interests and your passions and priorities.  

You need to decide what is important to you in life, and who you want to become through the way you live your life. Once you gain that clarity on your true priorities, which requires a lot of work, then you can determine where to invest your focus, time and energy. 

What’s Important Now? Determine what is truly important in your life. Determine who you want to become. Accept that you can learn if you are willing to spend the time and energy. Do the hard work.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Judge Tenderly

“Judge tenderly, if you must. There is usually a side you have not heard, a story you know nothing about, and a battle waged that you are not having to fight.”

Traci Lea LaRussa

It is easy to judge and label others. Based on one brief interaction in traffic, in a store, in the lineup at the bank or in a restaurant we judge and label people as jerks, assholes, ignorant, entitled, self centred, rude, lazy or a bad parent.

Those same people may very well be judging you based on your reaction, your attitude towards them, your body language or the scowl on your face.

What you do not know based on those brief snippets in time is the full story and the true person. You have no idea what they are dealing with at that moment, or in their life. You have no idea how much physical or emotional pain they are in, what loss they have recently suffered, the fact they are sleep deprived because they have a full time job to pay the bills and a second full time job looking after a dying spouse or child or aging parents. 

You have no idea if they have just lost their job, their life savings, their home or access to their children in an ugly divorce. You have no idea if they just lost a loved one to cancer. You have no idea if they are a first responder, medical professional or military veteran dealing with PTSD. 

I know I have judged and labeled. I know on my bad days others have judged and labelled me. 

I have heard Brene Brown and a number of others say they strive to live by the belief that people are doing the best they can. In that moment people are doing the best they can with the tools they have and the challenges they are facing. 

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If you embrace the “They are doing the best they can.” philosophy you will be willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. When you are willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, and it is not always easy, it will change the way you react and respond. That change in you may just change the entire interaction with that person. Even if it does not change the interaction it will change how you feel in the moment and how you feel as you move on with your day. Feeling empathy will impact you far differently than feeling scorn, disgust or anger.

What’s Important Now? Give people the benefit of the doubt. Believe they are doing the best they can

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: 3 Underlying Principles

There are three fundamental life principles that underlie the W.I.N.? Philosophy:

  1. Embrace the Suck.

  2. Look for the Good.

  3. Dare to Be Great.

1. Embrace the Suck

The Suck Factor is going to hit you a number of times in your life. As Jason Schecterle says, “Life is going to try to kick your ass every day.” You will have a bad boss, toxic employees, and probably at least one job you hate. You will be the target of angry and hurtful words, as well as acts of aggression, violence, and discrimination. You will lose loved ones. You will suffer physical and emotional pain. The Suck Factor is just part of life. How you respond to the Suck Factor however, is a choice. If you let the suck embrace you, you will become angry, bitter, resentful, hateful, cynical and a whining sniveling malcontent. You will embrace and play the victim role in your life. 

If you chose to Embrace the Suck, Look for the Good and Dare to be Great you can grow and be strengthened by the struggles and the journey.

2. Look for the Good

Humans are hardwired through evolution for negativity; to constantly be on the lookout for danger. At one point in evolution it kept us alive. Today it can make us angry, frustrated and depressed. The media teaches us to focus on the bad, the violence, the injustices (real and perceived), the crime, the disasters and the suffering. They play an endless loop of the same crap to make sure you get the message that the world is bad, people are bad and you should feel bad. 

You can buy into that or you can restrict the news you watch and Look for the Good. Look for the good in the challenges, the obstacle, and the people. When you look for the good you can be strengthen by challenges, difficulties hardships and suffering. Let me be clear. There are dangers and dangerous people in the world. Environmental awareness and preparation are good things. Constant negativity and paranoia are not.

3. Dare to Be Great

This is about punching mediocrity in the mouth and engaging in the pursuit of excellence. It is striving to be a little bit better today than you were yesterday. This means that every day you have to engage in personal growth activities. You need to read, listen to podcasts or audio books, watch an educational webinar, watch a TED talk, watch an interview on ImpactTheory.com, or talk to someone who will challenge the way you think. It is important to understand that greatness / mastery / excellence is a dynamic process and not an end state. As soon as you start thinking you are great or have achieved mastery you will stop doing the work and your slide to mediocrity will begin. 

What’s Important Now? Embrace the Suck, Look for the Good and Dare to Be Great.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: The Most Courageous Act

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

Coco Chanel

Read that quote a couple of times. Mull it over, reflect on what it means to you. 

When I read it it caused me to pause and think about what it meant. 

To me it is a caution against getting caught up in “group think”. 

It is about having the courage to speak up and disagree at a meeting or in a conversation.. 

It is about speaking up for what is right when it is not what is popular.

It is about the willingness to say No, or vote No. 

It is about addressing topics in your writings, your training or your presentations that may be contrary to popular or long held beliefs or historic ways of doing things and may upset some people.

You need to always be willing to explain why you believe what you do. What experiences information, research, evidence and knowledge are guiding your thinking. 

It is about accepting the fact that not everyone will agree with you and some will get vicious in their opposition and attacks on you because of your courage to, “think for yourself. Aloud.”

In my presentations I share the definition of courage from Jack Colwell and Chip Huth. They define courage this way, “To act for what is right, at risk to self, when members of your social group do not agree with the act.” I believe the risk here is generally not a physical risk. It is the risk we will upset others, we will get labeled, we will get shunned, we will get talked about behind our backs, or others will lash out at us. 

You also need to be open minded and continually reading, listening, learning and challenging your own beliefs. You need to have the courage and humility to say, “I was wrong.” and to change your thoughts and beliefs based on solid research and evidence to the contrary. 

Be respectful of others who think for themselves aloud. If you think differently, then engage in a respectful dialogue to learn about the other person’s position and rationale. 

What’s Important Now? Be courageous. Think for yourself. Aloud. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Time

We all have the same amount of time in a day - 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds. The question is, “How are you using that time?"

You can spend time or you can invest time. 

You can try to find the time (and usually don’t) or you can make the time. 

You can waste time and kill time or you can put your time to good use.

The reality with time is that once it is gone you can never get it back. 

What’s Important Now? Be more intentional with your time. Use it and invest it well. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: They got lucky.

“They got lucky.” I hear that a lot from people talking about other people’s success. For some reason they want to attribute luck as the major factor for someone else’s success in business, in sports, in their careers and in life. 

Does luck play a factor? Sure. You can never take luck out of the equation. When you study those people whose success is sustained over time, luck played a very small role in their success. 

What you don’t see is all the work that went into creating their “lucky break”. You usually only see the end result of all their efforts - the success. 

When you go to see live theatre, a concert or a movie what you see is the end product of a lot of hard work. Each of the actors or musicians has committed a significant part of their life practicing their craft so they had the opportunity just to audition. Once selected for that role they then spent hundreds of hours practicing and rehearsing for that performance. The same is true for the writers and composers, the choreographers, the directors and the people who do the sound and lighting. 

When you watch a professional sporting event you are seeing the end product of thousands of hours of purposeful and dedicated practice that was required just to create the opportunity for the athletes and coaches to make that team and then the countless hours of physical and mental practice every day to hone their craft and prepare them for that game. If you are watching it on TV you are also missing all the work that went in to preparing for the broadcast by the play by play announcer, analyst, sideline reporter and production crew. You are also not seeing all the work by the production crew during the event to bring you a high quality production. 

In his book Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones James Clear says, "Until you work as hard as those you admire, don’t explain away their success as luck.”

When my mom was still alive and people used to tell her how lucky my two sons were to have successful businesses in a tough market and down economy she used to say, “You are right and the harder they work the luckier they get.”

What’s Important Now? Study those you admire and learn about their struggles, failures, processes, strategies, mindset, habits and work ethic. Then, do the work.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Don't become small

When you make the commitment to the pursuit of personal excellence and express your willingness to do the hard work necessary and your willingness to Dare to Be Great, there will be a bunch of people there to cheer you on. There will also be a few people who will be lined up to tell you all the reasons you will not be successful in your journey. 

It is easy to assume that the people who are expressing their support for you will continue to do so during your life long journey in the pursuit of excellence and will be there to pick you up when you stumble and fall and there to celebrate with you all the successes, big and small, along the way.  

The reality is that as you rise, the group of supporters will likely begin to shrink. Some who expressed support at the start of your journey may slowly start to fade away or even turn on you. Some will even seem to take greater pleasure in your stumbles and failures than in your successes. 

When this happens accept it as part of the journey, Embrace the Suck, and keep striving for excellence. Continue to be willing to Dare to Be Great, understanding that greatness is a journey and not an end state. 

We all have our own crap and our own baggage we carry with us. Sometimes when you begin to rise higher, others will begin to feel inadequate and insecure. They will begin to compare what you have accomplished with what they have failed to accomplish. They will realize that while you are living into your potential, they are not. While you have embraced the path of hard work in the pursuit of excellence, they have chosen to embrace the easy path of mediocrity. While you have chosen to overcome challenges, obstacles and tragedy, they have chosen not to. While you have chosen the path of the victor that have chosen to embrace the role of the victim.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”

Marianne Williamson

While you have chosen to face your deepest fear, they are still paralyzed by it. Be cautious of shrinking so they will feel better about themselves. 

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.”

Marianne Williamson

There will be a small group who will be with you throughout the entire journey because their love and support is unconditional. Embrace this group.

What’s Important Now? Do not become small for people who refuse to grow.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: The dangerous lure of social comparison

“You can’t be envious and happy at the same time. People who pay too much attention to social comparisons find themselves chronically vulnerable, threatened, and insecure.”

Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness

This is the challenge and caution for all of us, especially at this time of year. Too often people make New Years Resolutions based on social comparisons. 

Those social comparisons can come from spending too much time on social media and making the assumption that all the smiling faces, great restaurants, exotic vacations and apparent perfect lives are the norm for the people posting. 

I spend little to no time on social media but it strikes me that people tend to post the good moments and events in their life, some of which are fleeting. It is rare that people post about their financial struggles and massive credit card debt. It is rare that people post about the struggles in their relationships at home and at work. It is rare that people post about the promotion they did not get because they had not done the work to make themselves the best candidate. It rare that people post about their mistakes and their failures. It is rare that people post about the poor performance review they got at work because they have embraced mediocrity and have just been showing up and going through the motions at work.  It is rare that people post the pictures of themselves after they put back all the weight when they went off the fad diet. 

It is easy to assume that all the people in the magazines and adds and in the movies with the perfect bodies and the perfect smiles always look that way. Most do not. Pick up a fitness magazine for men and look at the supplement adds with the before and after pictures of some of the body builder types. The reality is that the before picture is how they look most of the year and the after picture is how they look for the competitions and the add photos. 

If you are getting back into working out be cautious of comparing yourself to others at the gym. Comparing yourself to the super fit people can be discouraging because of the gap between you and them. Looking for people who are more overweight or less fit than you might allow you to try and convince yourself that you are not in that bad of shape after all, but will do nothing to get your butt in gear and do the work. 

Learn from others. Find out what they did to get to where they are at. Dig deep to figure out what systems they put in place and understand the true level of commitment they displayed over the long haul to get to where they are at. 

Study others, learn from others, but stop comparing yourself to them and stop trying to be them. Put what you learn through the filter to best determine what is of value to you and what is not. Take action on what you are learning and keep learning.

What’s Important Now? Focus on you. Be honest with where you are at and make the commitment to show up every day, do the work, and strive to continually be the best version of yourself that you can. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: only you can move the needle.

Recently I listened to a podcast interview with Mike Erwin, co-author of the book Leader Yourself First, which I was reading at the time. The book is about the power of solitude for leaders to help them in four key areas - clarity, creativity, emotional balance and moral courage. During the interview one of the things Erwin said was, “Others can challenge you; only you can move the needle.” 

What I take away from that is that you need to do the work. You need to do the hard work to lead yourself first, so you can best lead others. You need to do the introspection and the reflection. You need to do the reading, ask the questions and find the ways to connect the dots. 

In an interview with Michael Gervais on his Finding Mastery podcast Annabel Anderson, 5 time World Champion in the sport of stand up paddling, and an amazing story of dedication, commitment to excellence, resilience and someone who has developed an uncanny ability to Embrace the Suck and look for the good said, “You need to fall in love with the boring. You’ve got to love doing the work because the highs are so momentary and they can be so few and far between that unless you love the boring and the mundane on a daily basis you better go find something else that you do like.”

In the book Atomic Habits author James Clear suggests that you strive to get just 1% better every day and shows how the compounded benefits of this small daily improvements are significant over time. He also says, “Forget about goals, focus on systems instead.” He goes on to explain that goals are about the results you want to achieve and systems are about the processes that lead to those results. Without solid systems and processes, and a willingness to do the work you will likely fall short of your goal.

In his book Chasing Excellence Ben Bergeron, a hugely successful Crossfit coach who has helped some of the top Crossfit athletes in the world continually improve their performance, stresses the importance of focusing on effort and process and the commitment to constantly delivering the best that you are capable of. 

What is the point of all this? Well, it is January 2, 2019. A time when many people are once again starting on their journey to achieve their New Years Resolutions. The research suggests most will give up on those resolutions before the end of the month. Why? I believe it is because they are focused on the goal, not the process. They have failed to put the systems in place to help them be successful in redesigning their life. Their Why is vague, uninspiring and likely based on someone else’s agenda. And, they have not fallen in love with the boring, the mundane, the work day in and day out that will allow them to be successful. 

Lasting change takes time, it takes work, it takes commitment. Lasting change requires a system and a dedication to effort and process. It also requires you to have a powerful, personal Why. Be very clear on why it is important to you (not why it is important to anyone else) to do the work, embrace the new lifestyle and create new, more desirable habits. If you have a clear, personal and powerful Why, then in the down moments, the times you feel like quitting, your Why will help get you through. 

When I reflect on my life, it becomes clear to me that the things I have stuck with and been successful at I had a strong personal Why, I developed a system (some I am still tweaking and improving), I knew it was going to take a lot of work over a long time and so I embraced the effort and the process. The things I did not stick with, the things I failed to follow through on, and there have been a lot of them over the years, were missing those critical elements. 

What’s Important Now? Start with your Why. Be clear on your identity, who you want to become. Develop a system. Embrace effort and process. Make a commitment to small incremental improvements every day. Celebrate the small wins on the long journey. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: You Must Be Very Proud

When I talk to people I have not seen in a while they usually ask how my two sons Jesse and Cody are doing. After I tell them about Jesse’s two Vine Arts boutique wine stores, his cocktail bar Proof, his restaurant Donna Mac and his online barware and glassware business 5th and Vermouth and Cody’s three restaurants, Native Tongues, Two Penny and Calcutta Cricket Club, they usually comment, “Wow. That is a tough business to be in these days.”, and ask how the businesses are doing. When I tell them about the success, the awards and the accolades they usually reply, “You must be very proud.”

I am proud. I am happy that the businesses are all successful but, that is not what makes me proud. 

I am proud of the fact they are willing to step up and pursue their dreams. I am proud that they were willing to take the risks that come with owning your own business. I am proud of all the hard work they continue to put in to build the businesses. I am proud that they understand the importance of continuing to innovate and improve to provide a better experience for their customers. I am proud of the maturity they have shown over the years. I am proud of the fact they are willing to have courageous conversations and make the tough leadership decisions. I am proud of how they treat their staff. I am proud that while they are always working to improve their current businesses they are also asking, “What’s the next challenge.” I am proud that they continue to make time for their significant others, friends and family. I am proud of their growth mindsets. I am proud of their humility over the years as they asked questions and sought help, advice and guidance from mentors and people who have experience and knowledge they did not. I am proud of their commitment to learn, grow and push themselves to continually expand their comfort zones. I am proud of the fact they continue to strive for excellence understanding that in the striving sometimes you will fail and when you do fail it is an opportunity to learn and to grow. 

I am excited about their success. I am proud of the effort that creates the opportunity for their success. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Pay Attention Please - Part 2

Last week’s post addressed a number of areas where I asked you to please pay attention during your holiday air travels. After that post a friend who is a commercial airline pilot sent me the following message with four important points I missed in the original post:

Amen, Brian! And thank you, thank you, thank you for this PSA!

I might add:

  1. Pay attention to the flow of traffic in the airport. Don't be "that guy" who rapidly stops or changes direction in the middle of the flow, and balls everything up;

  2. Either walk, or check your texts, but please don't do both and jam up the flow of traffic with your slow, meandering walk that looks like a drunk driver swerving across all lanes;

  3. And please, pay attention to the people around you! Especially when you're all bunched up in the security queue, or outside on the curb in the loading zone--the "non-sterile" side of the airport is the softest target.

  4. In light of me kicking three drunks off the airplane last night:  Pay attention to the amount of drinking your fellow passengers are doing in the bar before flight. You don't want to be trapped in a metal tube with an angry drunk! Say something to airline personnel if you have a concern that someone might be drunk. 

As I reflected on these very important additions I came up with a few more items to add to the Pay Attention list:

  • Pay attention to the inflight instructions from the pilot. They are responsible for the aircraft and everyone on board. If they ask you to stay in your seat with your seatbelt fastened, plan pay attention. That means they are expecting turbulence and want you, and everyone else on the plane to be safe. If they ask the flight attendants to take their seats mid flight it means they are expecting severe turbulence.

  • Pay attention to the directions from the flight attendants. They are there for your safety and the safety of everyone on board. When they ask you to put your phone and other devices into airplane mode, put up your tray table, stow your carryon bags and fasten your seatbelt there is a reason so please pay attention. And no, you are not special and exempt from the rules. 

  • Pay attention to your kids, where they are and what they are doing. I know you think they are angels, they are really cute and you love them dearly. Other travellers however, may not share your sentiments when they trip over your kids or have to swerve around your kids as they are trying to get to their gate to catch a flight.

  • Pay attention when you book your flights to the amount of time between connecting flights. 30 minutes is rarely enough time to deplane and get to your next gate before boarding closes (which is 10 minutes before departure). It requires that your flight is on time, or early, and that your next gate is directly beside the gate you arrive at. There are too many things that can cause flight delays, especially in the winter months. If you are flying through the hub airports for the airlines, which you almost always are, they are large, major airports and your arrival and departure gates will inevitably be in separate terminals and at the opposite ends of the airport.

  • Pay attention to the weight restrictions for carryon bags. The fact that you cannot lift the bag to put it in an overhead bin is a clue it is too heavy and should have been checked.

  • Pay attention to which boarding group you are in.

  • Pay attention to announcements at the gate where the gate agents offer to check your carryon bags through to your final destination at no charge (especially if you are in one of the last groups to board the plane). I know it adds to the cost of the flight to pay to check bags, unless you are flying Southwest, and that is why you chose to carry on everything you are taking with you. When they check your bag(s) for free at the gate it saves you the hassle of trying to find overhead bin space, which usually does not exist for the last one or two groups to board the plan. It also saves you the hassle of hauling that bag, or bags, on multiple fights and through airports. It may add a few minutes at the end of your trip while you wait for your bag, but it might save you a lot of hassle and headaches during the trip.

  • If you join the Nexus, Trusted Traveller or TSA Pre-Approved program pay attention to the information on what you can leave on your person and what you can leave in your bag. It defeats the purpose if you are holding up the line taking off your light jacket, belt and shoes and taking your computer and other items out of your bag when you do not have to. Pay attention to any nuances at the airport security as some smaller airports have slightly different systems.

  • Pay attention to the information that is widely available as to what you can take in your carryon bag and what you cannot. Pay attention to the size of liquids you can take and how they need to be packaged and displayed. Pay attention to what you have to take out of your carryon bag at security and put in a bin.

  • Pay attention to what is in your carryon bag. If it has been a while since you travelled or other people have used that back pack, or you used it to go hiking or camping make sure you throughly search the bag. That folding knife from your last hike, that ammunition from your trip to the range or that bear spray from your camping trip may get you in a lot of trouble at security.

  • Pay attention to the list of food and items you cannot take through Customs.

  • Pay attention to what you need to declare to Customs going to another country or coming back home from your trip. Follow the rules and do no lie to the Customs officers. They are good people doing a very difficult job. The rules are in place for a reason. 

I know this seems like a lot of things to pay attention to. It is. Air travel has gotten significantly more complicated over the years. Paying attention will help take some of the stress, hassle and headaches out of the trip. It will also help to help prevent avoidable delays and enhance the chances of you getting to your destination on time and in a frame of mind that will allow you to enjoy the purpose of your travel.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Pay Attention. Please.

This is a busy time of year for air travel. If you are traveling on a commercial airline to visit family or to head to a warm destination to get away from the cold and snow here are some things you need to pay attention to.

Whether you fly once in your life, once a year or once a week pay attention to the safety briefing. Research shows that people who stop talking with the person beside them, put down their book, stop watching the movie on their iPad and actually pay attention to the safety briefing every time they fly perform better in the case of an emergency.

Pay attention to where the emergency exits are and mentally rehearse how many seats you need to touch going forward and backward to get to the closest emergency exit. In a crash you may find the cabin of the plane in complete darkness and if you have not counted rows you will have no idea where the closest exits are. On a flight this year a flight attendant saw me counting rows and she came over after the safety briefing and shared a story a passenger on a flight two weeks prior had told her.  He had been on a plane that crashed. He said, “I never counted seats and the plane was in complete darkness following the crash. I had no idea where the closest exit was felt panic setting in. I did manage to get off safely and that is the last time I will ever get on a plane without counting seats.”

Pay attention to the demonstration explaining that in the event of a sudden change of cabin pressure oxygen masks will drop down from the ceiling compartments above you. After placing the mask on and tightening by pulling on the straps, you need to tug on the tubing to start the flow of oxygen. Jackie Pflug shared the story of being on a plane that was hijacked. During the gunfight between the Egyptian Air Marshals and the hijackers, which the Air Marshals lost, the skin of the aircraft was punctured by a number of bullets. The plane began to plummet and lose cabin pressure. The oxygen masks dropped down and Jackie puts hers on. She said she was suffocating as she was not getting any oxygen. The man beside her reached up and pulled on her tubing to start the flow of oxygen. Jackie said prior to that flight she never paid attention to the safety briefings.

Pay attention to the explanation that in the event of a water landing regarding whether there are inflatable life jackets on board or whether you need to use the seat cushion as a personal flotation device. If there are life jackets make sure you know where yours is located and mentally rehearse accessing it (some are under your seat, some are under the centre console). For all the skeptics who believe a water landing is a crash where everyone is going to die, then read the story of US Airways Flight 1549 on January 15, 2009. Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles executed a controlled water landing on the Hudson River and everyone got off that plane alive.

Pay attention to the seatbelt demonstration, especially the part about how to undo the seatbelt. I know, you fasten and undo your seatbelt in your car every day. You know how to undo a seatbelt. Yes you do. But, the seatbelt on a plane has a lever, not a button to undo it. It is easy to undo, when you know how, when there is not the stress of an emergency. What about when your life, or the lives of others depends on it? I was on a flight recently where a young woman who looked to be late 20’s or early 30’s was travelling with a friend. It was her first ever flight. During the safety briefing the two of them were busy talking and not paying attention. About 30 minutes into the flight she decided she wanted to take her jacket off. She couldn’t figure out how to undo the seatbelt. After about 5 minutes of trying she gave up and managed to shrug her way out of her jacket with the seatbelt still done up. About 5 minutes before the plane landed she finally asked her friend how to undo the seatbelt. Funny story, unless there had been an emergency, in which case she may have cost herself and other passengers their lives.

Pay attention to your backpack and bags as you go down the aisle to your seat. People should not have to protect their faces from your bags as you struggle to get down the aisle.

Pay attention to your seat number before you get on the plane and when you get into your seat. Know where you are sitting and make sure to sit in your assigned seat.

Pay attention to the information the gate agent announces regarding regular size roller boards not fitting in the overhead bins. Getting a green tag and gate checking your bag will prevent a lot of hassles on the plane when you bag does not fit into the overhead bins.

Pay attention to the restrictions on how many items you can take onto a plane. Two means two. Not two plus a suit bag, and a big shopping bag, and, well you get the point.

Pay attention to the advice to get to the airport At Least two hours before your flight.

Pay attention to the monitors throughout the airport in case your gate changes.

Pay attention to the announcements in the boarding area in case your gate changes. 

What’s Important Now? Pay Attention. Please.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: There is no going back.

“You could leave life right now, let that determine what you do and say and think.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

The fact you could leave life right now is the reality for all of us. Our life could end for a variety of reasons at any time. This is not something most people think about or reflect on until they get on in years, are fighting a terminal illness or have a near death experience.

Reflect on how you lived the last week or even just the last 24 hours. Think about how you spent your time and how you treated people. Would you be content if you knew you were going to die very soon, or would you have regrets and wish you could roll back the clock?

None of us can roll back the clock. Time is not something you can get back. Once you spend time, you cannot get a refund. Words are not something you can take back. The hurt caused by how you treated someone is not something you can take back.

You can apologize. You can tell someone how sorry you are for what you did or said. You can seek to do better in the future. But, you cannot go back in time and get a do over.

What’s Important Now? Let Marcus Aurelius’ philosophy guide you in your thoughts, actions and deeds.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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