Tag Archives | grow

Make Your Future Bigger Than Your Past

In one of my earlier posts, I discussed the differences between what author and Stanford professor Carolyn Dweck describes as a fixed mindset verses a growth mindset.

In a fixed mindset, people believe that talent and intelligence are fixed traits. They spend their time documenting and defending their brains and talent instead of developing them, creating an urgency to prove themselves over and over. By contrast, in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Seeing themselves as a work in progress, growth mindset people tend to embrace feedback and accept failure as a learning opportunity.

Regardless of our mindset, I believe most people want to grow because growth is at the core of everything in our lives that gives us a feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment, and purpose.

What does “personal growth” mean? How do you define it? If you asked even the most successful people, few could provide a clear, cogent response.

Here are some great descriptions, gathered from some of my favorite authors. Which one of these resonates the most with you?

“Growth is a result of bad habits dropped, wrong priorities changed, and new ways of thinking embraced.” (John Maxwell)

“People who grow consistently are those who embrace the tension between where they are and where they ought to be.” (John Gardiner)

“You will never change anything in your life unless you change something you do daily.” (John Maxwell)

“In order to do more, I’ve got to be more.” (Jim Rohn)

“When your memories exceed your dreams, you’ve stopped growing.” (Andy Stanley)

And finally, here’s my favorite description, from author, business strategist and entrepreneur coach Dan Sullivan:

“Growth is always striving to make your future bigger than your past.”

look to the future | rangga aditya armien via stocksnap.io

I love this simple but compelling description. Think about what it means to “make your future bigger than your past.” It’s simple, but not always easy, especially as you grow older. Yet consider the implications of continuously enlarging your future. When you commit yourself to a lifestyle of making your future bigger than your past:

You’re living intentionally. That is, you’re constantly in pursuit of something bigger, better, and more purposeful.
You’re adding value–to yourself, and, more importantly, to others.
Your focus is forward, not neutral or backward.
You are often at the edge of your comfort zone, which is where life really happens.
You engage your imagination. You think BIG.
You’re not afraid to fail.
You are continuously challenged.

If these ideas arouse your interest in pursuing personal growth, I urge you to read Dan Sullivan‘s classic, The Laws of Lifetime Growth: Always Make Your Future Bigger Than Your Past. Each of the ten laws described in this insightful book are like mirrors you can use to reflect your behavior so you can see if it’s supporting or undermining your growth.

While no one wants to reach the end of their lives and experience regret, the truth is, many will. That’s why developing the daily habit of pursuing intentional growth–making your future bigger than your past–is the key to a productive, legacy-producing life.

Question: What is one thing you could start doing today that could make your future bigger than your past?

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Change Your Smile… Change Your Life

Recently, I came across a 2011 Ted Talk by Ron Gutman called The Hidden Impact of Smiling, he shares some fascinating research on this most basic human expression. Consider these findings:

  • A 30-year University of California study found that, by measuring the length of students’ smiles in a 1950’s high school yearbook, they could predict the duration of their marriages as well as how well they would score in standardized tests of happiness and self fulfillment.
  • A 2010 Wayne State University study of pre-1950’s Major League Baseball cards found that players who smiled in their photo lived an average of eight years longer than those who didn’t smile.
  • According to British researchers, smiling produces the same neurological stimulation as receiving up to $16 lbs sterling in cash. (approximately $25,000).
  • The simple act of smiling has been found to measurably reduce the amount of stress-producing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline while increasing brain-enhancing endorphins.

Last spring, in an article titled Smiling for Dollars in Dealer Magazine, automotive marketing expert Jim Boldebook described a study conducted by a psychology professor at a university in upstate New York involving three Albany, NY auto dealerships. The study focused exclusively on exploring what the professor termed the “smile factor” of sales consultants in influencing transactions. The results revealed that the sales consultants who smiled the most had a 20% higher conversion rate and 10% higher average gross profit per transaction than those who smiled the least.

While it’s self evident that smiling is associated with happiness and a greater sense of well being, this research goes much further; namely, that smiling more means living longer, having stronger relationships — even earning more income.

So how’s your “smile IQ?”

via MOMcircle

For example, of the sixteen-plus hours you spend awake every day, how much of that time do you spend smiling? When you approach a stranger walking down the street, do you wait for them to smile first before smiling back, or do you initiate the exchange of smiles? Does it matter?

If you believe even half of Gutman’s findings, it not only matters, it has life-changing potential.

Based on these surprising facts, what would it mean to the quality of your life if you smiled more frequently? Here’s a challenge: Change your smile… Change your life. Take ten minutes every day during the next week to intentionally focus on smiling, wherever you are — even if you’re alone (researchers have found that smiling enhances your mood). Then let me know how it goes!

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11 Reasons to Do More Than What is Expected

The most successful people I know share many common qualities of character and life experience, one of which is the impact of mentors in shaping their careers… and their lives.

Tommy Gibbs, a highly respected automotive consultant, trainer, and friend, recently shared one of the most valuable lessons he ever learned from his former business partner. The lesson, simply stated, is Do More.

“He taught me the importance of always doing more than is necessary, more than is fair,” Tommy recalls. “It’s simple: when in doubt as to whether you’ve given enough, give some more.”

Becoming a Mentor image via Keith McMean

Below are Tommy’s 11 traits of leaders who do more. Whoever the people are in your life whom you influence — who look to you for wisdom and guidance — share with them this simple mantra, Do More:

1. They do more than they know is necessary.

2. They do more than they know is fair.

3. They do more because it’s the right thing to do.

4. They do more not expecting anything in return.

5. They do more even when they know it still may not save the day.

6. They do more even when they know it may not save the customer.

7. They do more because they know it’s a teaching moment.

8.They do more because they don’t want to leave this earth owing anything.

9. They do more because they can.

10. They do more because they see the big picture.

11. They do more because if not them, who? Maybe you!

Here’s my challenge: Think of one area of your life where you can do more than what is expected. Maybe it’s a home project this weekend, a customer you’re working with, a community service initiative, or a personal goal you’re pursing. Whatever it is, commit to doing a little more. Let me know how it goes!

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10 Keys to Living Long and Finishing Strong

Live | iStockPhoto

At 105 years old, Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira is currently shooting his 60th film, O Velho do Restelo (The Old Man from the Restelo) in Europe.

Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden, who died in 2010 at age 99, authored more than ten books after he quit coaching. His most prolific work, when he produced his best selling books, took place between age 90 and 94.

Elliot Carter, at 103 years of age, is still actively composing music. Among his achievements, Carter has two Pulitzer prizes for his second and third string quartets in 1960 and 1973. He still wakes up each morning excited by the prospect of writing something new.

What has made these men so durable, achieving more at a stage in life most people never reach? Certainly genetics play a part: They were blessed with some fairly (or some might say unfairly) potent DNA. But if you interviewed those closest to them, you’ll discover an approach to life that values purpose, passion, and taking risks over playing it safe, according to author and researcher Nicholas Boothman.

Boothman shares some fascinating research from Germany’s Max Planck Institute which theorizes that, every sixteen years, the average life span increases by approximately one year, and there’s no biological or microevolutionary reason to believe this trend won’t continue. In fact, actuaries in Germany forecast that a child born in 2015 will live to be 105.

But they won’t — which, according to Boothman, can be reduced to what he calls “the top 10 facts of life” — a list of keys that explain why most people fall well short of living to their potential:

1) Your self talk can kill you.
2) Like all energy systems, humans come with only two settings: grow or decay. We only come alive when we grow and step out of our comfort zone.
3) The more control you have over your life, the longer you live.
4) People who blame others die sooner than those who take responsibility.
5) Lifestyle is the #1 cause of premature death.
6) Your horizons are obscured by your habits.
7) People who don’t actively socialize are three times more likely to die of medical illness than those who do.
8) Your postal code has more influence than your genetic code when it comes to your health and longevity.
9) Humans enjoy their happiest moments when they are looking forward to novel experiences where the outcome is uncertain.
10) People who live long, meaningful lives have equal measures of people, purpose, projects, and passion in their lives.

To put it simply, your self-talk, your lifestyle, where you live and your willingness to take risks will dictate the years in your life — and the life in your years — more than any other factors.

Which of these habits do you identify with the most? Which ones challenge you? Do you agree with all of them? Why or why not? I’d love to get your feedback.

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