Do What Needs to Be Done When it Needs to Be Done

An elderly carpenter was due to retire. He told his employer of his plans to leave the business. His employer was sad to see him go. For many years, the carpenter had been his most loyal and diligent worker. Always producing outstanding work.

Before the employer granted his request, he asked for one last favor. Build one more house. The carpenter agreed though his heart was not in it. This became clear when construction began. He took shortcuts and used inferior materials. His focus was on getting the job done not on getting it done to the best of his ability.

When the house was completed, the employer came to inspect the work. He said nothing while looking around. When he was done he handed the keys to the carpenter and said, “This is your house, it’s my gift to you.”

The carpenter was shocked and embarrassed. Shocked by the generosity of his soon to be former employer. Embarrassed because he knew he had done a poor job. A job way below his usual standard.

He kept thinking “If only I had known, I would have made sure that everything was done right.”

There are going to be days when you’re working on your craft that you’ll be tempted, just like the carpenter was, to cut corners. To avoid doing what needs to be done for one reason or another. Train yourself to fight that temptation with every fiber of your being.

Always do what needs to be done. Your work says nothing about the people who observe it or receive it. It however, says everything about you and your standards, values, and beliefs. Your work will always sell you up or sell you out.

The universe does not set standards. It does not ask you, with the dawning of each new day, to do what needs to be done. It will accept whatever you offer it. However, it does so with a catch. The rewards it gives in return are solely based on the standards you have set for yourself.

You, and only you, can raise your standards to ensure that what needs to be done gets done and gets done when it needs to be done. Doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done means you’ll always be prepared. As Whitney M. Young Jr. said, “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”

This present moment is all that you have. Do what needs to be done. As Steve Maraboli said, “The value of a moment is immeasurable. The power of just ONE moment can propel you to success and happiness or chain you to failure and misery.”

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42 Powerful Reminders for All Women from The Sisterhood

In celebration of Women’s Day here are 42 powerful reminders to the sisterhood from the sisterhood.

9. “I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say ‘yes, women can._” ~ Dilma Rousseff-2

2. “You are the one that possesses the keys to your being. You carry the passport to your own happiness.” ~ Diane von Furstenberg

3. “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations can never effect a reform.” ~ Susan B. Anthony

4. “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” ~ Malala Yousafzai

5. “Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” ~ Golda Meir

6. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” ~ Rosa Parks

7. “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” ~ Amelia Earhart

8. “You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.” ~ Shonda Rhimes

9. “I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say ‘yes, women can._” ~ Dilma Rousseff

10. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” ~ Alice Walker

11. “If you think taking care of yourself is selfish, change your mind. If you don’t, you’re simply ducking your responsibilities.” ~ Ann Richards

12. “One of the secrets to staying young is to always do things you don’t know how to do, to keep learning.” ~ Ruth Reichl

13. “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ~ Maya Angelou

14. “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” ~ Madeleine Albright

15. “Don’t take too much credit for your children — or too much blame!” ~ Debora Spar

16. “Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

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18. “I choose to make the rest of my life the best of my life.” ~ Louise Hay

19. “Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper.” ~ Julia Child

20. “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” ~ Coco Chanel

21. “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” ~ Ayn Rand

22. “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” ~ Mother Teresa

23. “Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.” ~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg

24. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ~ Nora Ephron

25. “Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change” ~Iyanla Vanzant

26. “A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence.” ~ Sonia Sotomayor

27. “Doubt is a killer. You just have to know who you are and what you stand for.” ~ Jennifer Lopez

28. “When you feel copied, remember that people can only go where you have already been, they have no idea where you are going next.” ~ Liz Lange

29. “Hold your head and your standards high even as people or circumstances try to pull you down.” ~ Tory Johnson

30. “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.” ~ Brene Brown

31. “If you’re someone people count on, particularly in difficult moments, that’s a sign of a life lived honorably.” ~ Rachel Maddow

32. “When you embrace your difference, your DNA, your look or heritage or religion or your unusual name, that’s when you start to shine.” – Bethenny Frankel

33. “If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” ~ Margaret Thatcher

34. “The challenge is not to be perfect…it’s to be whole.” ~ Jane Fonda

35. “Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.” ~ Anne Lamott

36. “There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.” ~ Indira Gandhi

37. “All careers go up and down like friendships, like marriages, like anything else, and you can’t bat a thousand all the time.” ~ Julie Andrews

38. “Cherish forever what makes you unique, cuz you’re really a yawn if it goes.” ~ Bette Midler

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40. “No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow. ” ~ Alice Walker

41. “You will be wounded many times in your life. You’ll make mistakes. Some people will call them failures but I have learned that failure is really God’s way of saying, “Excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction.” It’s just an experience, just an experience.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

42. “In every crisis there is a message. Crises are nature’s way of forcing change — breaking down old structures, shaking loose negative habits so that something new and better can take their place.” ~ Susan L. Taylor

Thanks for reading!

Share this post with every woman you know so that you may remind her of the power that lies within her.

How to Create Powerful Life-Changing Intentions

T.S. Eliot said, “The journey, Not the destination matters.” 

Intentions are how you want to feel as you journey towards creating your goals regardless of current circumstance or future outcome.

Intentions are the why behind the goal.

When we know why, we can prepare as Oprah said, for the only things we can ever prepare for – What might happen and for how we respond to what has happened. This is key, for as Napoleon Hill said, One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.” 

Following are the steps to creating powerful life-changing intentions.

1. Identifying

Start by identifying each of the various roles in your life and the values you hold most dear.  

2. Reflecting

“If I speak of myself in different ways, that is because I look at myself in different ways.” ~Michel de Montaigne

Reflect on what feeling you want to experience in each of those roles as per your values. Guide your reflection by asking yourself how would the person you would like to be in the future, do the things you would like to do in the present in the role you have identified.

Be clear and be specific. For example, if one of your roles is being a parent, don’t just say you intend to be a good parent. That’s too broad. What specifically do you associate with being a good parent that you want to manifest in that role? Is it patience, empathy, understanding, consistency, etc.

3. Visualizing

“Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.” ~ Cherie Carter-Scott

Visualize what your life would look like if you were actively living the intentions you have identified. This activates the power of visualization which helps to manifest desired outcomes.

Remember how Jim Carrey revealed to Oprah that he wrote himself a post-dated check for $10 million for acting services rendered just so that he could feel better during a tough period in his life? That is the power of visualization.

If you can see what your working towards and believe that it can be yours and attach that vision and feeling to hard work then you can get it.

4. Writing

“A word after a word after a word is power.”~ Margaret Atwood

Write your intentions down. Writing engages the subconscious mind and programs it to begin to work towards making your intentions a reality. It also allows you to look back, reflect, and celebrate. As Anaïs Nin said, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” 

  • Write down your intentions in the present tense – Use “I am …” or “My intention is …” or “I now …” etc. Don’t start with “I will …” or “I am going to …”
  • State your intention in the positive, not in the negative – “I am joyfully nourishing my body every day and speaking kindly to myself to build a healthy body and mind” as opposed to  “I am not fat.”
  • Your intentions should include not just the ‘what’ but also the ‘how.’ In the above example, the ‘what’ is build a healthy body and mind and the ‘how’ is nourishing my body every day and speaking kindly to myself.
  • Your intention should include the state in which you will be in as your intentions manifest. This could be a state of joy, ease, peace, happiness, calm, etc.
  • Keep them short – the longer the intention the more you tend to get lost in your mind.

5. Action

“An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” ~Arnold Glasow

Intentions must be supported by action. Intentions allow you to dream but dreamers must also be doers.

Make a list of all the things you can actively do every day to support the manifestation of your intentions.

If your intention is to lose weight, what activities would support this? Making smarter food choices, eliminating junk food options, or creating an exercise routine? Whatever you choose, you must commit to doing it.

So unlike intentions where you are encouraged to dream big, the actions that support your intentions should be small so they create no resistance and can be done consistently until they are done automatically.

6. Ritualizing – Forming the habit

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.” ―Aristotle

For your intentions to take hold, they must be repeated daily. This will not come naturally unless you make it a habit. The key to forming effective habits is to make them part of your daily routine. Routines help establish discipline which you should view as a form of training and not punishment. Discipline is the bridge between intentions and accomplishments.

Intentions set your thoughts and actions for the day so they should be stated first thing in the morning and the best way to ensure you do so is by adding them to your morning routine. Morning is also when your energy is the highest and your mind the clearest.

If you do not have a morning routine, establish one immediately. Don’t just get up to get up. Get up with a purpose.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

  • The intention setting process must be rooted in authenticity. Don’t copy someone else’s’ intentions or allow anyone to tell you what your intentions should be. Your intentions create your reality, never someone else’s or vice versa.
  • Your intentions must promote your well-being and the well-being of others. They should also not attempt to manipulate or control the actions of others or their behavior.
  • Don’t rush the process. It will take time to create powerful intentions for your life so be prepared to dedicate quality time to the process. Also be prepared to do it more than once as you may need to edit your intention as you get a better understanding of yourself and what you want for your life.
  • Chances are high that you will come up with multiple intentions so you must learn to prioritize them. Five should be the maximum but if you feel overwhelmed then drop to three.
  • Intentions can vary in duration. The can be immediate, short-term or life-long intentions based on what you need at the time. This can help you prioritize them.
  • Intentions can be used for all areas of your life.

Thanks for choosing to read this post! If this post resonates with you, show it some love by clicking the like button below so others can find it too.

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5 Things That Are Sabotaging Your Growth Mindset

Have you ever wondered how people who have less skill and talent achieve more than those who do? It boils down to mindset.

Mindset matters, as success begins in the mind and not out on the playing field. As Napoleon Hill said, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

Carol Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and a leading researcher in the field of motivation says that when it comes to mindset, a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset is what one should adopt if they wish to fulfill their potential.

She says “In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”

Those who adopt this belief toward life are said to reach higher levels of achievement because they embrace challenges as opposed to avoiding them. They persist in the face of obstacles instead of giving up. They see their efforts, both successful and unsuccessful, as the path to mastery as opposed to being a waste of time because it gives them the opportunity to learn and keep learning.

When it comes to negative criticism, those with a growth mindset never avoid it. They see it as an opportunity to advance towards their goals so they seek it out.

In addition, since they know that qualities such as character, skill, talent, creative ability and intelligence can be developed, they are never afraid to celebrate the success of others in those areas.

How do people with growth mindsets sabotage their potential? They do the following:

1. They surround themselves with people with a fixed mindset

Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

People do not rise to low expectations.

If you insist on spending the majority of your time with people who do not challenge you to be more, their beliefs will rub off on you. Yes, you can change them but the effort will be too much and you will eventually give in to them.

2. They fail to practice

Practice makes improvement. Improvement creates achievement. Achievement cements belief.

If you believe that the qualities you have can be developed then you must work on developing them. The only way to do this is to develop the habit of consistent and intentional practice. This is where you learn not just to do things, but also to do things well.

3. They lack patience

“To lose patience is to lose the battle,” said Mahatma Gandhi.

Success will never show up overnight. Patience allows you to work on developing your potential and to eventually enjoy, the fruits of your labor.

Make sure it’s onboard for your journey.

4. They feel that they are undeserving of better

Many feel that the mistakes of the past disqualify them from enjoying a brighter future. So even if they adopt a growth mindset, they do not give 100% of their effort and dedication to its development.

Never forget this. No mistake defines who you are regardless of how large or how recent that mistake was. Learn the lesson they teach and keep moving forward.

5. They hate who they are as they work on becoming who they want to be

“When there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.” ~ African Proverb

When you choose to work on yourself, it should not come from a place of lack because you cannot hate yourself or beat yourself up into a better version of yourself. Regardless of what positive mindset you adopt. Your mind, forever working to keep you safe, will latch on to that negatvity and magnify it.

Thanks for choosing to read this post! If this post resonates with you, show it some love by clicking the like button below so others can find it too.

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Start Your Day With Intention and Win The Day

Many people wake up just to get up.

They don’t get up to have a great day or to do something great. They don’t get up to feel something great or even be something great. They simply wake up because it’s a new day and the alarm has gone off.

The first hour of the day is the most important hour you shall encounter for it determines how the rest of your day will play out. It is where we make the first impression on our mind’s of what we want for ourselves and for that day.

What we do is not dictated by our bodies but by the mind. Our bodies simply carry out the mind’s bidding. When left to its own devices, the majority of the mind’s self-talk is negative. Negative self-talk creates negative thinking which in turn, creates negative outcomes.

Each and every day, therefore, must be approached with crystal clear specific intention as our intentions create our reality.

New York Times Best Selling author Gary Zukav says that intention is “the quality of consciousness that you bring to a deed or words. It’s an energy. It’s your reason for speaking. It’s your motivation that creates consequences. It’s the why beneath the why,” and as the philosopher and poet Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

Intentions clarify and give you focus. They allow the universe to conspire in your favor because it knows exactly what you seek. Intentions also help you measure the success of each day and live fully in the present without fear of the future.

As Wayne Dyer said, “Everything that is created in the universe is here already. We are not really creators as much as we are re-combiners of everything. All of us have the capacity to attract to ourselves what seems to be missing in our lives.”

Intentions should not be confused with goals. Goals are what you are working towards. They are rooted in the future. Intentions, on the other hand, are the state in which you choose to be in as you work towards your goal regardless of what is going on around you. They are rooted in the present.

Intentions are linked to your thinking whereas goals as linked to your actions. Very rarely does action change thinking as action is created by thought. As Steve Maraboli said, “Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” 

We are all equipped with the equal ability to be exceptional. Greatness is denied to no one. It is in all of us.  However, you must be intentional to be great and it must start the moment you open your eyes in the morning for that is when the mind is most impressionable.

Determine how you want to be as you journey through your life. Write it down so it takes root in your subconscious and repeat it daily. Don’t attach yourself to the outcome of your intention(s) for that is to invite doubt into the mix. State your intention(s) with the unquestionable belief that they will work out as they should.

Today is the first day of a new month. Don’t sit back and wait for it to be a great month. That is not how it works. Make it a great month by starting each and every day with a specific intention(s) for how you want to be that day.

“Every journey begins with the first step of articulating the intention, and then becoming the intention.” ~ Bryant McGill

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29 Commitments that Will Change Your Life

As we make and keep commitments, even small commitments, we begin to establish an inner integrity that gives us the awareness of self-control and the courage and strength to accept more of the responsibility for our own lives. By making and keeping promises to ourselves and others, little by little, our honor becomes greater than our moods. ~ Stephen Covey

  1. Commit to approaching challenges as a skill to be learned and not a talent to be naturally possessed.
  2. Commit to being consistent and unreasonable in pursuit of what makes you better than who you were yesterday as the little things you do every day will always trump the big things you do once in a while.
  3. Commit to assuming success by killing the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve your goals.
  4. Commit your energy to using and building your strengths, not to being consumed by your weaknesses.
  5. Commit to focusing on your character, not your reputation.
  6. Commit to focusing on your blessings, not your misfortunes.
  7. Commit to treating love as a very big word as “being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage,” and courage makes you unstoppable
  8. Commit to learning who you are and always presenting your authentic self as “No man, for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”
  9. Commit to confirming what you know by teaching others and to not being afraid to relearn what you thought you knew when presented with evidence to the contrary.
  10. Commit to expressing gratitude for the little things you always overlook.
  11. Commit to stop pushing (being forced to do) and start being pulled (being inspired to do).
  12. Commit to admitting when you’re wrong.
  13. Commit to being extra kind for these are challenging times.
  14. Commit to treating your body as a temple and fueling it accordingly more often than not.
  15. Commit to exercising consistently as you were designed for movement and to neglect to do so is to insult your creator.
  16. Commit to minimizing/eliminating distractive elements.
  17. Commit to accumulating experiences over stuff.
  18. Commit to looking up every now and again.
  19. Commit to being present and to looking back with decreasing frequency.
  20. Commit to starting small and keeping it simple.
  21. Commit to focusing on the important before the urgent.
  22. Commit to stop craving attention and start inspiring curiosity.
  23. Commit to exploring one interest for 30 days.
  24. Commit to taking responsibility, not finding fault.
  25. Commit to the knowledge that you’ve got enough.
  26. Commit to patience as it is a superpower.
  27. Commit to forgiveness because it allows you to heal and to move on.
  28. Commit to never ever… ever … ever stop learning.
  29. Commit to repetition as repetition is the key to mastery.
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6 Ways to Make a Lasting Dent in Your Personal World

1. Stop Being Reasonable

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Success does not occur naturally. Yes, some form of “natural talent” may exist but talent is just a starting point. DO NOT be deceived by it.

Genius is much less about genetics and much more about mindset. Start believing new things about yourself. Change your perspective on your ability. Make everything a skill instead of a talent.

Lesson: The dedicated unreasonable man achieves the unthinkable.

2. Stop Avoiding your Fears

“What we resist persists. What we look at disappears.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

When you avoid fear, you maintain and magnify it. Fear isn’t real. Fear isn’t what’s actually happening. It’s just your reaction to it.

Nothing rises indefinitely. Fear, if you face it, will soon begin to subside the more you expose yourself to it.

Lesson: The only way out is through.

3. Stop Pursuing Perfection

Perfection is not the art of getting things right but of procrastination.

The pursuit of perfection is standing between you and your goals. You only know when you do because action always brings clarity.

So don’t just consume knowledge, hoarding it for the perfect moment. Use what you’ve consumed. Create something with your knowledge. Execute. Execute. Execute.

Lesson: Execution trumps knowledge.

4. Stop waiting for Passion to give you Permission to Start

“Passion is not a trait that exists in advance. It comes with mastery and is cultivated over time.” ~ Cal Newport

Waiting for the stars to align and for passion to strike is a sure sign you’re a perfectionist and perfectionists never take action.

Passion green lights nothing and guarantees even less. When you wait for permission, you squander your most precious resource: time.

Lesson: “Don’t wait for passion to lead you somewhere you’re not. Start by bringing passion to the place where you are.” ~ John Ortberg

5. Build Habits not Goals

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Will Durant

Habits are foundational and goals are simply challenging.

Once the challenge is conquered we tend to move on and in short measure, cast any benefits accrued, to the wayside.

Decide what habits will improve the quality of your life and be deliberate, methodical and unreasonable in their pursuit.

Lesson: If you want to change just one day in your life, set a goal. If you want to change your whole life, build a habit.

6. Be Grateful

“The greedy person lives in a perpetual state of inadequacy.” ~ Charlie Ambler

Learn to craft your own definition of success. To actively focus on all the good things that you have in your life and receive with gratitude the high’s and low’s that are part of the human experience.

If for nothing else, but to compensate for the brains’ natural tendency to focus on threats, worries, and the negative aspects of life.

Lesson: Gratitude is essential for contentment.

Thanks for choosing to read this post! If this post resonates with you, show it some love by clicking the like button below so others can find it too.

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Luck is Something You Make by Building These 3 Habits

Sir James Dyson. A British inventor, industrial designer and founder of the Dyson company is a billionaire to the tune of 4.5 billion (USD) according to Forbes.

It took him 5,126 failed prototypes and his savings over 15 years to get there.

Theodor Seuss Geisel. The beloved author better known as Dr. Seuss is the ninth-best-selling fiction author of all time according to Wikipedia.

It took him 27 rejections from publishers and more than 60 books to get that title.

We envy those who have. We label their achievements the result of luck. Luck they have been given or stumbled upon. Forgetting that this is not how luck works.

Luck is something you make.

Those who have mastered the art of making luck are masters of the following three habits.

They Take More Chances

Luck is defined as the moment when preparation meets opportunity.

Those opportunities though, rarely announce themselves in personalized, sized to fit, make you feel or soft and glowing inside moments.

The opportunities that set the stage for you to become lucky always appears in the form of the scary, the unknown, the uncomfortable and the challenging. Like a conversation with a stranger or a project that forces you to learn new skills.

Those opportunities scare more than they comfort and must be faced with boldness or they will surely be missed. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it and a whole lot of luck.

So take more chances. Pay attention to when the volume of fear rises within you. Qualify its origin. If it stems from your comfort zone then do what it says you cannot do because you’ll never get anything, do anything or go anywhere if you let fear keep you in your comfort zone.

They Are More Active

Luck craves those people who have built a bias for action. It seeks them out at every turn much to the envy of those who have chosen to view life as a spectator sport.

Luck is not made by those who have the best seat in the house but by those who passed on the opportunity to sit and spectate altogether. Those who chose to dive in and do and keep doing because they know that the more you do the more opportunities they get to make luck.

Luck, just like inspiration, must find you in the midst of activity. Nothing changes if you stay put. So stop talking about what you want and what you wish to happen and go make it happen and let luck find you there.

They Show Up More Often

In the “The Slight Edge,” author Jeff Olson points out a rule that stands behind all successes. “You simply cannot do something regularly and fail. You cannot practice and not get better.”  To which I add you cannot keep showing up and luck fail to find you.

Luck takes no reservations and keeps no external schedule. It’s there for those who keep showing up regardless of how they feel or whether or not inspiration or motivation showed up to back them up.

It’s there for those who refuse to take no for an answer and refuse to quit until the work of the day is done.

So keep showing up for luck does not come with an option to hold based on what you did yesterday or the day before if you fail to show up today.

Luck has always been yours for the making and now you know how. Remember though that knowledge can only get you so far. Action always rules the day.

Thanks for choosing to read this post! If this post resonates with you, show it some love by clicking the like button below so others can find it too.

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If You Are Going Through Hell Chances Are You’ve Been Playing With Fire

It’s a privilege to think that when things go wrong in our lives it is not because of our actions but because of some other cosmic force.

I’ve been writing for over two years now. I write mainly about personal development and self-improvement. Not because it’s an 11 billion dollar industry but because when I started paying attention to the world and how I was living in it I found some glaring inconsistencies between my actions and my thoughts.

When your actions start to make a liar out of your thoughts, it’s time for some deep introspection.

You know that quote that says “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” That’s not my experience.

When you love what you do there’s a whole lot of work and then some because you’re invested in the outcome and subsequent impact. There’s no cutting corners or passing the buck.

Maybe the quote is more about how you feel about the work you’re doing rather than the work itself.

I love what I am currently working on. It makes me as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning. Last week, I chose to allow this excitement to interrupt my usual sleep routine on a couple of days. Big mistake.

There is no better you without sleep.

My reward for playing fast and loose with the great benefits of sleep was a hellish week.

Amongst other things, sleep makes you resilient. Since my resilience tanks were running on near empty, when life did what life is designed to do – interrupt – I reacted not as my old self would have but not as my better self either.

Resilience has long been confused with something you build by persevering and enduring. Turns out it’s something you build by “trying really hard, then stopping, recovering, and then trying again” writes Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan in an HBR article titled Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure.

You need that resilience when facing individuals or events that have the potential to set you off course.

Events have no meaning until meaning is applied to them. Therefore your perception of an event matters more than the event itself. When you are sleep deprived though, everything that goes wrong seems like a colossal clusterfuck. You perceive hell everywhere you look and turn. The bigger you make negative events seem the more difficult it is to get over them.

You can’t pour from an empty cup. Cliché but true.

When you’re sleep deprived, everything calls for extra. You need extra energy to work, to be creative and just to merely exist. You need extra effort to work out. You need extra discipline to eat right. Your extra is coming from empty so you go from doing to not doing. Activity to inactivity.

Inactivity, when there should be activity has a steep price tag.

I was going through hell but it was entirely my own doing. I had been playing with fire.

How Much Sleep Do You Need

How much sleep do you need? That’s not for me to tell you. There’s what science says and there’s what your body says it needs. What your body needs should win every time.

You must figure it out for yourself. Do not attempt to copy the sleep schedule of that person you think is doing so well in life on only three hours of sleep. To each his own. You need as much sleep as you need.

Dr. Christopher Winter offers the following tips to help you figure out how much you sleep you need.

  • How long does it take you to fall asleep? We usually consider a normal sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep) to be about 15-20 minutes. If you are asleep before your head hits the pillow, you might not be sleeping enough. If it takes you an hour or more to fall asleep, you might be trying to sleep too much.
  • Do you awaken during the night? There are many serious sleep conditions that can disrupt sleep, but trying to sleep too much can be equally problematic to sleep continuity.
  • Do you frequently wake up before your alarm? Even if you go back to sleep, it might be your brain’s way of telling you that it’s gotten what it needs in terms of sleep. Try starting your day when you first wake up instead of continuing to snooze.
  • Finally, and most importantly, how do you feel during the day? Are you sleepy? Try to ignore feelings of fatigue or low body energy and instead focus on how likely are you to fall asleep sitting and reading or working after lunch. If you feel driven to sleep, you might need more sleep. If not, your sleep might be perfect, even if you are only sleeping seven hours.

“Sleep deprivation is not a badge of honor. Forgoing sleep is like borrowing from a loan shark. Sure you get those extra hours right now to cover for your overly-optimistic estimation, but at what price? The shark will be back, and if you can’t pay, he’ll break your creativity, morale, and good-mannered nature as virtue twigs.” ~ David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH)

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725,000 Pounds per Square Inch

It takes 725,000 pounds per square inch of pressure to create a diamond.

At the starting line, we are all chunks of coal. We all have the potential to turn into diamonds.

However, in order to do that we must be willing to work and subject ourselves to a force that resists comfort, challenges preconceived notions and breaks us from the inside out.

All our difficulties, problems and challenges, represent that force.

That force never arrives alone. It is always accompanied by choice. The choice to see it as burdensome, meaningless and purposeless, or to view it as an opportunity. An opportunity to learn, grow, improve or adjust. An opportunity, if taken, that undoutedbly leaves us stronger than we were before.

Every time you go out and do something tough. Every time you withstand the force meant to break you. Every time you view your problems as opportunities and say “what can I learn from this situation.” Your good gets exposed to great. If you stay the course, your great gets exposed to greater still.

“Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.” ―Malcolm Forbes

Your problems are opportunities designed to get you to be who you are destined to be. The bigger the problem, the greater the opportunity.

Your life is a duplication of your consciousness. Don’t sentence yourself to a lifetime of mediocrity, fear and self-doubt. Recondition your thinking. Empower your problems to build you up and prepare you for what comes next.

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