Focusing on Focus – How to Be Best at Things

I find that in life I become good at things that I focus my time and resources on and that I’m not so good at things that I don’t focus my time and resources on. This is something that sounds obvious, but for some reason I’ve had to relearn this concept several times over throughout live. There are so many things that I want to do and be good at but the fact of the matter is that I don’t have time and resources to focus on them all, let alone, be good at them all. So, how do we know what to focus on and what to not focus on? That’s what I’m going to talk about in this episode.

I really struggle with focus. My struggle mostly comes in two different ways. For one, I focus on the wrong things, which are things that really aren’t that important to me. You know those squirrel moments when you get distracted by something shiny and entertaining. “Oh look, my friend just bought a new toy and I’d sure like to have a new toy like that.” Those squirrel moments seem to get me all the time and take my focus away from the things that matter most to me. Also, when I do get focused on something, I’m really bad about finding balance in life. It seems like when it comes to focus, I’m all or nothing. I either have a lot of focus in a particular area of life or I have no focus. I’m not very good at juggling a lot of different things. When I’m focused on sometime like training for a triathlon, or competing in a diet competition, or when it’s hunting season, I’m really focused on that particular thing but then I don’t focus enough time on other important things like paying attention to relationships, my faith, and my personal finances. I know focus means focus, but it seems like sometimes I over focus and this could hurt me in other areas of life that are important to me.

What you focus on is completely up to you and therefore what you become best at is completely up to you. The great thing about the freedom that we enjoy is that we get to decide what we spend time on. We get to decide what we’re good at and what we do with our time and resources. So, why does it seem like we’re “too busy” all the time to do the things that we want to do? There are many things that I love doing that I would like to do more of. Things like hunting, fishing, cycling, hiking, making stuff, and the list goes on and on, and this is where I get into trouble. For what I will call a season of my life, I’ll be more focused on one area of my life. For example, during the fall, it’s hunting season. I spend several weekends tromping around the woods, looking like Elmer Fud, looking for a volunteer for dinner. I think it’s fun to pursue the things in life that I enjoy doing, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, for me, when I’m hunting so much, I often loose sight of the other things that are going on in my life. Like relationships that are very important to me. Recently, when I was in a competition to lose weight, I was really focused on losing weight. I was working out in the mornings and in the evenings, I was prepping food, and different thoughts about how I was doing weight wise were constantly on my mind. Many of my conversations with other people involved something about how I was working on losing weight. During this time, sure, I was successful at losing weight, but I was failing at other areas of life. I was so focused on losing weight that I lost focus on other things that are also important to me. This was one of the more recent times that I relearned how much focus affect my life.

Just as a quick exercise, let’s break down the daily time spent on various things for a typical person. You only have so much time in the day. If you live on earth, you have 24 hours in a day. And if you’re like most people you likely sleep for 7ish hours of that. Leaving you 17 hours to do with what you please. When you wake up in the morning, if it’s a typical week, you’re likely going to go to a job. It might take someone 30 minutes to get ready for work and then it might take a person 30 minutes to get to work. Then you take a lunch break in the middle of the day, and this could burn up between 30 minutes to an hour. So, when we add this all up work is going to take somewhere between 10 hours of your day between getting ready and getting home if you work a full-time job. So, this leaves you 7 hours which sounds like a lot but then we spend time to eat breakfast, dinner, do the dishes, go water the lawn, and if you have kids the list is endless of the stuff that you have to do. So, how much time do you have left after you whittle down your 7 hours? Hardly any. That means you really don’t have a lot of time to focus on things that you really want to focus on. If you don’t have a lot of time, then it becomes even more important to prioritize the things that you want to do. Often times, I catch myself wasting my time by doing things that I know aren’t really that important to me. Then why do I do them? Because I’m not paying attention to what I’m allowing to sneak into my life. We need to be intentional about what we spend our time doing if we want to best utilize our time and if we want to be good at certain things. There are things that I want to be the best I can be at, and if I want this to actually happen, then I need to be intentional about making time to do those things.

When you stop and count there are so many areas in life that require your attention. Let’s look at some of the big ones. The first area is human relationships. When it comes to relationships you have your spouse, your kids, other family members, like parents, siblings, cousins, etc. There are also friend relationships like weekend friends, church friends, work friends, and hobby friends. There are lots of relationships that you have. If you want these relationships to grow and thrive, that takes your time and your focus. Do you have time to focus on growing all of your relationships to their full potential? No, unless you don’t have anything to do and you only know one person on the face of the planet. This is obviously not you because this is obviously not anyone. We all know several people and we have busy lives.

Let’s look at another area of your life, work and career. If you’re working, then work is a huge part of your life and it’s sucking up a big chunk of your time and energy. Work is important because your work is where you gain the financial means to live the lifestyle that you want to live. Your work will allow you to help your kids get through college. Your work will help you save up for retirement so you can someday be able to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. We can see that work is important for various reasons so we should continue to do work.

Our faith is also a very important part of life. For those of us who have a faith and believe in something, it’s important for us to spend time learning and growing within our faith. Like any other area of life, this takes focus.

Another area of life is our finances. If you live in any advanced society you need money as a medium of exchange and you need money to pay for these things that all of us seem to accumulate, called bills. The better we are at our finances the more options we will have available to us in different areas of life. What I mean by this is, if we can afford to spend more, then we can go to a nicer restaurant, afford a nicer car, buy a nicer home, or retire earlier to have more free time. Finances are an important part of life just like many other areas of life that require our focus.

The list can go on and on about the different areas of life that require our focus. Just think of what just a few more of those are. Cleaning the house, weeding your yard, taking the kids to school, paying your taxes, and of course, hobbies. There are so many things that can take our focus away!

So, how do we know what areas of life we want to focus on in order to be best at? That’s a great question. I think the only reasonable answer is that, it’s totally up to you. You get to decide if you’re going to spend time with your kids and be a great parent or if you’re going to spend time at your job and have a great career. Are you going to focus time on your finances and create a rock-solid financial foundation for you and your family or are going to spend no time on your finances and find yourself living paycheck to paycheck and on the brink of financial disaster?

Is there such thing as a balanced life? I’d like to say that you should strive for balance in life. But, what does this even mean? Does it mean that we give a little attention to a lot of different things? If this is the case then we’re not really going to be best at anything, we’re just going to be ok. I don’t know about you but I don’t really want to be just ok when it comes to being a good husband to my wife. I want to be better than ok. This means that I need to spend more time being a better husband if it’s something that I want to be better at. I think aspects of having a balanced life could be a good thing, but I don’t think this is really realistic. I’m sure if I ask people to prioritize different areas of their live then they would say something like faith comes first, family comes in a close second, and work comes in a distant third, and so on. But the truth of the matter is that we spend a whole bunch more time working for money during the week than we do working on our faith. Many of us only get into church a couple times a month and yet say that faith is one of the most important parts of our lives. When we look at how much time we spend on things each week, is this really the case? Are we spending time on the things that we actually want to be best at?

So how do I stay focused on the things that I want to stay focused on? I think the best way to do this is to decide on paper on purpose what it is that I want to be focused on. This means setting goals and creating a plan to achieve those goals in different parts of my life. By writing it down and having it in a place that I can constantly review, this will help me to redirect my attention back towards the plan when I veer off the plan. This will help me to not focus too much time on squirrels and will also help me not to too deep into focus on something while missing other important areas of life. That way I can have the amount of balance that I want to have. I can prioritize different areas of life and make sure that I’m spending adequate time in those areas.

Our focus can be a difficult thing to mast sometimes. If we want to reach our goals, we must be intentional about where we focus your time and resources. If we want to be successful in many different areas in life, we must be careful not to put too much focus in one area of life and not enough in another area of life. If you’re like me and need help staying focused create a plan on paper for reaching your goals and reviewing it regularly. This will help you keep important areas of your life prioritized.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Thanks for reading it!

How to Make Your Own Luck

I love to be lucky and I consider myself a lucky person. There are countless times in my life where something has really good has happened to me that made me think, “I am so lucky”. But, what is luck? Is it something that we can make more of? Well, I believe that we can make more luck in our lives and that is what this episode is going to be about.

What if you were so lucky that you just happened to land the job of your dreams? What if you were so lucky that you acquired an impressive amount of wealth? What if you were so lucky that you married the person that was way out of your league? What if I told you that you could create your own luck? That would sound great, right?

Who doesn’t like to be lucky? No one! We all like to be lucky. I’ll take any amount of luck that I can get! I think there’s a way to bring even more luck in our lives, or, at least, build a life that makes it seem like we have more luck. What if luck was simply a word that some people use to describe other people who are intentional about reaching their goals? What if you realized that you didn’t need luck to get what you wanted but instead you simply needed a plan and to take action on that plan? Would your world be different if you knew that you could have just about anything that you want to have, not because you were lucky, but because you were intentional about getting it?

A very successful CFO once told me that if you want to be successful you have to work hard so that whenever an opportunity presents itself, you’ll be ready to seize it. If you’re sitting on a couch at home doing nothing important, how are you going to achieve anything? If you’re out there busting your tail, getting things done, meeting people, and developing new skills, of course you’re going to be presented with opportunities. So, with this idea that we can make our own success, in a way we also make our own luck. If becoming successful is equal to being lucky and we know by making plans and taking action, that we can become successful, then by that same principal, we can become lucky.

There is a quote that’s been attributed to different people over the years and has different variations. The gist of the quote goes like this, “I’m a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I have.” Isn’t this true! Haven’t you found this to be true in your own life? When you’ve worked hard, were you not rewarded for your hard work?

Let’s look at a scenario that demonstrates how we can confuse success for luck.

A guy named Sam is working very hard at his job. He has been with his employer for seven years now. He’s always on time, he helps his co-workers, he has a great attitude, and he’s very knowledgeable when it comes to his job.

One day, Sam’s boss announces that he’s going to retire. Upper management needs to find a replacement for Sam’s boss and upper management decides that Sam is man for the job. Sam is great with people, he knows how to do most of the jobs in the department because he’s been there for a good amount of time and he’s always been open to learning new things. Some of Sam’s coworkers are a little miffed at Sam because they’ve been with the company longer than Sam. However, these other workers never took the time to learn other jobs within the department, they were the types that did the bare minimum to get their jobs done. They never really helped anyone else in the department, because they figured they weren’t getting paid to do someone else’s job. Sam is really happy about his promotion. This promotion came with a nice raise that Sam and his family will really enjoy. When others congratulate Sam for his big promotion, Sam just says, “Oh, I just got lucky.” But, did luck really have anything to do with it? Do you think that the upper management who chose Sam to take over his boss’s job based their decision on luck? Do you think they just flipped a coin to see who would take over the boss’s job? No, they chose Sam simply because they thought he was the best person for the job and no other reason.

So, a person might argue “Well, Sam was lucky to have gotten the job with the company in the first place.” My response to that would be, “So, did Sam’s employer just opened a phone book and randomly picked a name to hire someone for Sam’s job?” No, that’s not what happened at all. Sam went and interviewed with the company and the company hired Sam based off his prior work experience, his former education, and the responses from the references that Sam had listed on his resume. Sam put forth effort in order to get hired by that company.

We can see that Sam’s promotion was not luck, it was earned. We can also see that Sam getting hired on by the company was not luck, it was earned. So, a person might then argue “Well, the United States is a great country, it’s the land of opportunity, and Sam was just lucky to be born here.” But, we have to ask ourselves, “Is that really luck?” I don’t think it is. Sam’s great grandfather sold everything he had in Ireland in order pay for the trip over to the United States. When his great grandfather got to the US, he had less than a dollar to his name. From there he worked and worked and worked so that he could provide for a family. That family had a family, which had a family, which had a family, which Sam was a part of. Sam didn’t get to the US by luck, but by the huge price that was paid by his family members.

As we’ve dived deeper into Sam’s situation, we can see that there really was no luck involved with any aspect of how he got to where he is. Really, it was a series of smart decisions that required a lot of hard work. Why is it then that so many of us are convinced that becoming successful in life is all about being lucky, when luck has absolutely nothing to do with it? Often times, when we see someone who has been very successful, we like to say, “Oh, they just got lucky.” But really this isn’t the case. Again, it’s all about making the right decisions and working hard. In every case that I can think of where someone might be considered lucky, I can break down the scenario, and can pinpoint an action or several actions that was/were taken for that person to get to where they are. Think of my prior example of winning the lottery. Winning the lottery would require luck, right? Wrong. Actually, it doesn’t require luck, it requires buying a lottery ticket. Without buying a lottery ticket, then you’re not even going to have a chance to win the lottery. The same idea is true with the guy on the couch. If a guy never gets off the couch to go out and look for job then he’s probably not going to find a job, let alone his dream job. But, what if that same guy gets off the couch, get’s the education he needs for his dream job, applies at 10 different companies, gets hired, starts doing a job that he doesn’t want to do but knows that eventually that job can get him to the job that he does want. Then after 2 years, he gets promoted to the job that he’s really been wanting. It took him time, dedication, and a lot of hard work, but guess what? He eventually got his dream job! Did luck have anything to do with it? Absolutely not! When good things happen to us, it’s not that we were lucky. When bad things happen to us, it’s not about being unlucky. Most of the time, it’s about decisions we make, actions we take, and the outcomes that are produced due to those actions. Do good things and good results will come. Do bad things and bad results will come. It’s that simple.

My friends, you can make your own luck! You do this by taking action towards your goals, by creating a plan and working on that plan. The grass isn’t greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you give it what it needs to grow well. I really do find that the harder I work, the more luck I get. It’s the same for you in your life. If you have a vision for what you want your life to look like, it’s not luck that is going to get you there. It’s you.

How to Lose Weight

Hey guys! In this post I’m going to talk about my recent experience with weight loss, the basic weight loss principles that have helped me, and also tricks that I’ve been using to shed the pounds. First, I want to let you guys know that I’m not a weight loss expert. But I want to share some things with you guys that have helped me lose weight. This subject is something that I’m really interested in right now because for the last couple years I haven’t been really paying attention to what I was eating and how often I was exercising. I was focused on other areas of life and during this time, I gained some unwanted weight. I would say that I’ve been a fairly slender person most of my life. However, over the last couple years I’ve gotten a little pudgy, I would have considered myself skinny-fat. What I mean by skinny-fat is that I’ve never been someone who put on a lot of muscle mass. I’ve always been good at cardio type exercises and endurance training because it’s just the body type that I’ve had. Having this body type has helped me to “hide” body fat pretty easily because I haven’t really been a big bulky type of person. When I gain fat it’s usually around my mid-section. Recently, I noticed that I had gained more weight than I would like to admit. My wife who is a personal trainer and who has studied nutrition, measured my body fat percentage by the pinching method. This can be a pretty uncomfortable way to calculate your bodyfat percentage but in my opinion getting pinched can be one of the most accurate ways to measure body fat. I knew that I was the fattest that I’ve ever been and sure enough the fat pinch measurement proved it. I was over 21% body fat, which is very high for me. Just two years ago I was around 16%. Seeing that my body fat percentage was so high was an eye opener. It really woke me up and gave me the sense that I needed to do something about it.

Just last month, in January, the company that I work for put on a biggest loser challenge that started, from the time of this recording, about 6 and a half weeks ago. Knowing that I was the fattest that I have ever been I thought it would be a good idea to enter the challenge as a motivator to help me lose weight. So far, in the last 6 weeks or so, I’ve been able to lose about 15 pounds. I know that’s not a lot of weight to some people, but I’ve been able to really tell that I’ve lost weight, and it has felt like a significant amount to me.  I hope to lose even more before the challenge ends in about 5 weeks from now. At the end of the challenge I’ll have my wife do another body fat percentage measurement to see how much overall bodyfat that I lost.

So, lets jump into the things that I’ve learned over the last couple months that have helped me burn off the pounds. The biggest key to fat loss is regularly having a  calorie deficit. What this means is that you burn more calories during the day than you consume. One way of thinking about it is calories out versus calories in. The latest fad diet doesn’t really matter. The only way any weight loss/fat loss diet is going to work is if you have a calorie deficit. If you have more calories come in from consuming food than went out your body from expending energy, then it’s simple, your body is going to store those extra calories as fat. On the other hand, if your body burns more calories than you consumed, then your body will need to burn fat in order to make up for the lack of consumed calories.

Let’s consider for a moment the burning calories part of that equation for a second. Your body burns calories just being alive. There’s a fancy term for this called resting metabolic rate. Each person is going to burn a different number of calories per day depending on a whole bunch of factors like muscle mass, age, sex, and many other factors. Not only is each person going to burn a different number of calories, but the rate at which a person’s body burns calories can change over time. I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds on this, because my goal is to keep things simple. For me, I’m guessing that I burn somewhere around 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day just being alive, not including any type of exercise. Just to make the numbers easy let’s say that I burn 2,000 calories a day.

Ok, now let’s look at the other part of the calorie deficit equation, the amount of calories in. Calories in refers to how many calories a person consumes during the day. In other words, how much they ate. If you eat a lot of high calorie food, then obviously you’re taking on a lot of calories. If you only eat a few low-calorie items during the day, then your calorie intake is going to be very low.

Now let’s combine the two calorie deficit pieces to look at the equation together. To go back to my previous example that my natural rate of calories that I burn each day is around 2,000. This means that if I only consume around 1,800 calories then I’m going to have a deficit of 200 calories, which means that I will burn a little bit of body fat at the end of the day. If my body burns 2000 calories and I consume 2,200 calories, then I’m going to add to my body fat. Now I know some of you out there who have studied nutrition and exercising extensively are probably saying to yourself right now that “it’s not that simple.” But for me, it is. I know that if I consume less calories than I burn, then I’m going to lose weight I might know all the science behind it, but the fact remains. The greater the calorie deficit you have on a daily basis the more you’re going to burn.

Here are the tricks that I’ve used to help me lower my calorie intake.

  1. The first trick is that I eliminated about 90% of the junk food that was eating. While I was at work, I would often eat cookies, candy, donuts, and any other goodies that I could get my hands on. I also has several bad eating habits that I had to kick. One was eating a bunch of junk food when I got home from work. I usually get home from work around 5:30pm and the first thing I would do is start digging in our snack cupboard and eat chips, cookies, granola bars or whatever else I could find. Then I would eat a good size dinner after an hour or so. Another eating habit that I had to kick was eating a full bag of buttery popcorn late at night. When I started dieting and trying to lose weight for the biggest loser competition, I looked to see how many calories were in a bag of popcorn and it was over 500! That’s a lot considering that’s about a quarter of what I need during the day. I was simply eating the popcorn as a snack and it was adding a lot of calories to my daily calorie count. Cleaning up my eating habits was the first thing I did because it was easy to do, I just say no. However, I did say that I illuminated 90% of my junk food eating, not 100%. Occasionally, I still eat something sweet or have a small bag of “healthy” popcorn. Eating clean has eliminated a lot of unnecessary calories that I was consuming.
  2. The second trick to lower calorie intake that I’ve been implementing is eating a lot of vegetables. Almost every week since starting the biggest loser challenge, I’ve been cutting up different veggies like celery, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, and other veggies and putting them in a large Tupperware bowl. That way I can eat them throughout the week as a snack. When I get hungry around that 10am time or that 3pm time I eat a few veggies to kill my appetite. One of the hardest times for me to control my food cravings is just before dinner time. Some nights I feel like I can eat just about any quantity of food. Dinner time is definitely the time of day that I feel the hungriest. To keep myself from eating too many calories I’ll start dinner off with a large salad or eat a bunch of plain celery and cucumber. I don’t put any dressing on the celery or cucumber because I’m basically just eating it to be a filler. After I fill up on veggie appetizers, then I’ll eat my main course for dinner, and after eating all the veggies I don’t feel as hungry and therefore don’t eat as much of the main course, which helps me to minimize my calorie intake. So, overall, more veggies and less other stuff is likely going to help you lower your daily calorie intake.
  3. The final trick that I’ve learned during my dieting is being comfortable feeling hungry. For me, I almost always feel hungry. And through this process recently I’ve had to come to the reality that it’s ok to feel hungry. I feel like I could eat all the time, but that doesn’t mean that I need to eat all the time. If I ate as much as I felt like it, I would weigh twice as much as I do and my body fat percentage would be through the roof. While I’ve been on my diet feeling hungry has become a common occurrence. I think this is just because my brain knows that I’m trying to diet and that I’m losing body fat. It’s funny, the times that it seems like I want something sweet is just after I tell myself I’m going to start eating healthier. It’s like my brain is trying to override me dieting. Just because you are craving food or sugar doesn’t mean that you need to eat it. Like I said, if I ate every time something sounds good, I would be eating all the time, and eating all the time isn’t healthy or sustainable.

Ok, we’ve looked at the tricks that I’ve used to lower my calorie intake. Now, lets look at how I increased calorie expenditure to use more energy and burn more fat throughout the week.

  1. The first thing that I did that was a big change for me is I started swimming 3 times a week for about and hour each time. This was just lap swimming at the local YMCA. Nothing special, just waking up early, hitting the pool, getting in some laps, and then starting my day just like usual. I’m guessing that during each swim I would burn about 400 to 500 calories. This basically increased my daily calorie burn from around 2000 to around 2400.
  2. The next thing that I did was started doing more cardio at the gym, way more cardio at the gym. For me, my goal is to lose as much weight as possible, because that’s what the biggest loser competition is based off of. Now, if it was based off losing body fat percentage and not body weight percentage, then I would be doing a lot more lifting with my work out, simply because by building more muscle your body can burn more calories and therefore burn more body fat. Currently, I’m doing about 3 1-hour workouts of cardio in the gym and 1 workout of weightlifting. Later in the year, I’m basically going to switch this around to doing 3 weightlifting workouts a week and 1 1-hour cardio workouts. Again, I’m doing much more cardio right now compared to weightlifting to lose body weight. Later in the year, when I want to put more muscle on, I’m going to start doing more weightlifting and a lot less cardio. Now, doing a lot of cardio at the gym can be pretty boring, so what I suggest doing is switching it up. I’m not one of those types of people that can just sit on the bike for and hour or do the elliptical for an hour. So, what I did when I first started focusing on doing a lot of cardio is, I started using the elliptical for 15 minutes, then I jumped on the stationary bike for 15 minutes, and I have slowly built up time on those pieces of equipment. I’ve also started using the rowing machine to switch things up even more. So, during the week, when I go to the gym to do a cardio workout, I’ll do a total of somewhere between 30 minutes to and hour and 15 minutes of a mix of elliptical, stationary bike, and/or rowing machine. Usually about 2 out of 3 nights per week that I do cardio at the gym, I’ll workout for about an hour. I’m going to try and start bumping that up as my respiratory system starts to get stronger, that way I can keep challenging myself. I’m guessing that during an hour-long workout of using elliptical and bike I’m burning somewhere around 500 to maybe 600 calories depending on the workout intensity.

So, lets put all of this together. The trick to losing weight is having a calorie deficit. It doesn’t matter which fad diet you’re doing – what matters is that you regularly have a calorie deficit. Which, as we’ve learned means burning more calories through energy expenditure than calories that we are consuming through eating. If you want to cut weight fast, do a lot of cardio, and clean up your eating habits along with eating more vegetables. If you’re focused on cutting body fat and not general weight, then implement more weightlifting into your workouts. If you want to cut bodyweight do more cardio and only a little weightlifting. The simple idea of doing more cardio to help me burn more calories, which will expedite my fat loss, makes sense to me. So, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and what has been working for me. I hope these weight loss tips have been helpful for you and that they help you to reach some of your health goals.

Turning Your Thoughts Into Reality

Have you realized yet that the things that you think about eventually come to pass? Your thoughts are an incredible force that shapes your life. I know this sounds almost whimsical, but it’s true. There have been several times in my life where I thought of certain things and eventually those things became real in my life. Consider this idea just on a small scale. Maybe during the day you think about what sounds good for dinner, “Hmm… getting some teriyaki chicken for dinner sounds good.” So, then while you’re out running errands you pick up some teriyaki chicken that you later eat for dinner. First, you thought about it. Then, you created an opportunity to do it. Then, you followed through on the opportunity. Then finally, you ate teriyaki chicken for dinner. Your initial thought of what to have for dinner became a reality. This is just a small, simple example, but this same concept happens in all areas of your life – where you work, who you marry, what your hobbies will be. Your thoughts dictate your life and the circumstances that you find yourself in. Your thoughts determine your health, wealth, and happiness.

This is how I believe that this whole thought to reality process works. We have a thought in our mind. It’s something that we desire to do or something that we want to have. If we want whatever it is that we’re thinking about bad enough, we’ll work to get it. That means the next step after thinking about something is taking action towards getting it. If that thing we’re thinking about is something small, like getting a glass of water, then we’ll simply do that action of getting a glass of water. If the thing that we’re thinking about is difficult to get, we’ll think of a plan to get to that thing, and then we’ll take action on that plan.

A really great book that talks about this thought to reality concept is the book As A Man Thinketh by James Allen. This book is a classic and was written back in 1902. Its principals have stood the test of time because they are true. One of the first statements that the book make’s is “As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them.” What the author is saying here is that acts originate from your thoughts and this points to the importance of thinking about the future and the things that you want to do and the person that you want to become.

Back in my college days I had a dream of someday getting a specific motorcycle. I even put a picture of this of motorcycle that I wanted up on my wall in my dorm room. At the time, buying this motorcycle was way out of reality for me. I was a broke college kid with hardly any savings to speak of so there was no way of buying this motorcycle at the time. About 8 years later I found the picture of the motorcycle that I had hung on my dorm room wall and realized that the almost exact motorcycle was sitting in my garage. It took time but eventually I was able to get that motorcycle. Buying that motorcycle was a thought that I had carried around in the back of my mind for years and years and eventually I made that thought become a reality.

Here’s another example of how my thoughts created my reality. Many years ago, when I worked in construction industry, I was thinking a lot about what it would be like to work in the finance industry. I found that I really enjoyed finance, I enjoyed budgeting, and learning about how investments worked. There came a time in my life where I needed to look for better opportunities in employment and in stead of looking in the construction industry, where most of my experience was, guess where I looked? In the finance industry. My desire of working in the finance industry caused me to think about different opportunities within that line of work and eventually I found myself working in the financial industry doing something that I love doing. My thoughts eventually defined where I worked. I become someone who was working in the finance industry, which was what I was thinking about.

I realized recently that sometimes the things that others have done before us can affect our life in the present and future. As an example, think about if while you were growing up your parents were terrible with money. You grew up watching your parents make terrible money choices. They bought nice new cars that they really couldn’t afford. They went on expensive trips that were put on credit cards. They never contributed to a retirement because they were always trying to pay off bills from all of the stuff that they were always buying. OK, so you have this example of how money is done through watching your parents. You might think that your parents’ example with money is how things are supposed to be. Let’s say you’ve been living by the example that your parents set. The reason you’re living that way is because it’s what you know. It’s what you’ve seen demonstrated. The experience of watching how your parents’ handled money has shaped the way you think about money. Your thought process, when it comes to money, revolves around the idea that you just need enough money to pay your bills at the end of the month and the rest you get to blow. So, what happens? Well, that’s how you live life, being terrible with money because that’s all you know and all you’re thinking about when it comes to money. But guess what? You hear a guy on the radio one night talking about a different way to do money. He says have an emergency fund, pay off debt, save for retirement, and all of a sudden, this whole new world of how to do money enters your thoughts. You start to think of how you can save up for an emergency plan, how you can pay off your credit cards, how you can start saving for retirement. All these things start to happen in your life just because your way of thinking changed. You learned something new and the new thing changed your world by changing how you think about one single aspect of life.

Your thoughts are powerful things and I believe that they are even more powerful than we realize. In the book As A Man Thinketh, author James Allen goes on to say, “As a being of Power, Intelligence, and Love, and the lord of his own thoughts, man holds the key to every situation, and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he wills.” This is saying that we can make ourselves in the person that we want to be. So, ask yourself, who do you want to be? Do you want to be someone who is generous? Do you want to be someone who is kind? Do you want to be someone who is hard working? You can have any kind of characteristic that you want, but first you have to think it and your thoughts will become your reality. If my thoughts dictate the circumstances in my life and they dictate the kind of person that I’ll be, then wouldn’t I want to think about the things that I want to do them most and the person that I want to be the most? The answer to that questions is an obvious yes! This is the reason that I think it’s so important to write down your goals in a place where you will see them often. This way, you can be intentional about thinking about your goals and the type of person that you want to be. I believe that thinking about these things regularly will help you to work towards them regularly and if you’re working towards them, then eventually, you’ll make your goals a reality.

Using Small Actions Every Day to Win Big In Life with Jose Gonzalez

In this episode I had the pleasure of talking with my friend Jose Gonzalez about the book The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson. In our conversation we discuss what the slight edge is and how you can use it to reach your goals. This is one of the most motivating books I’ve ever read. I’m so thankful that Jose shared this book with me. If you get a chance, I highly recommend reading this book. I know that it will inspire you just like it did for me.

Here are a few topics that we discuss:
1. What the slight edge is.
2. How it can reshape your life.
3. Why it’s important to make the slight edge a habit.
4. How attitude plays into the slight edge and to your overall success in life.
5. 3 steps to reach your dreams.

Bodybuilding with Joe and Nina Evans

In this episode, I get opportunity to talk to Joe and Nina Evans about bodybuilding and the recipes to achieve success in life. Joe and Nina are a husband and wife couple who, in my opinion, are winning in life and they demonstrate this by achieving very big goals. My first conversation is with Joe who is a former wrestling champion. Joe talks to us about his experience with preparing to compete in bodybuilding and how that compares to what it took to be a wrestling champion. He shares some really helpful strategies for reaching success in any area of life. After talking with Joe we jump right into my conversation with Nina. She shares her experience with competing in Bikini competitions and also shares some really great insight to what it takes to choose to reach your goals.

Here are just a couple of the many great lines that came out of this episode.
“If an individual want’s it bad enough, they’ll find a way to do it.” – Joe Evans
“Nothing is a have to, it’s a choose to. What do you choose to do for you?” – Nina Evans

3D Exercising with Natalie Harris

Natalie Harris is Personal Trainer and Exercise Physiologist who works with people to help them achieve their physical goals. In this episode, Natalie talks with me about functional training and 3D exercising. She helps us to understand that the benefits of exercising go much further than just helping us physically. As she points out, exercising can also help us to grow mentally and spiritually. If you’re someone who is seeking growth in your life, this is a great episode to listen to.

Natalie and her friend Irina Whittlesey have recently started their own blog and podcast called The Versatile Athlete. These are two very educated individuals that have an incredible wealth of knowledge to share and are quite fun to listen to. On their blog and podcast Natalie and Irina will debunk fitness myths and provide new and exciting ways to doing fitness and viewing health. I’m really looking forward to hearing and reading the content that they come up with.

If you would like to learn more about hiring Natalie as a personal trainer she can be reached at Pro-Motion Functional Fitness in Yakima Washington. The office phone number there is (509) 452-4187.

Natalie Nobbs

Achieving Maximum Performance with Dary Reed

Dary Reed is a Personal Effectiveness Coach and the founder of Assets LLC. His goal is “to help individuals operate in a culture of high performance by teaching intrinsic behavioral skills that direct ones path to elevated levels of success.” Dary shared a tremendous amount of success wisdom with me and I felt very fortunate to have him on the show. If you’re someone who wants to achieve your maximum performance in whatever you’re doing, this podcast episode is for you!

Here are just a few of the nuggets of wisdom that Dary shares:

  • “Once you can say that ‘failure is my leverage for effectiveness’ and truly believe that in your heart, then failure doesn’t frighten you anymore.”
  • “When I learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, when I embrace the suck, however you want to phrase it, you know, that’s really where I learn and where I grow.”
  • “Everything of high level quality is practiced, drilled, and rehearsed, which is discipline”
  • “Discipline establishes patterns and patterns establish effectiveness. You can’t have random effectiveness.”
  • “You don’t learn on the mountain tops, you learn down in the valleys.”

Dary’s words of wisdom in this podcast will help you:

  • Learn how fear destroys our success and how to overcome it.
  • Learn the importance of discipline while achieving success in your life.
  • Embrace the tough parts of your life as a way to learn, grow, and become better than you were yesterday.
  • Become a better leader both in business and in life.
  • Learn how to achieve on a whole new level.

Dary’s Contact Information: 

Talking CrossFit with Irina Whittlesey

Hey guys! I recently had the privilege of interviewing Irina Whittlesey, a CrossFit coach, to talk about the benefits of CrossFit. As a special side note, Irina has her own podcast and blog called The Versatile Athlete. Irina told me about the many benefits that CrossFit offers and how it is different from having a regular gym membership. If you’ve ever considered CrossFit here are some of the benefits we discuss:
1. Strength: Become physically and mentally strong.
2. Endurance: Go harder – last longer.
3. Motivation: The coaches and other participants cheer you on.
4. Coaching: Have a knowledgeable person guiding you all they way.
5. Premade Workout Plans: Workout of the Day (WOD) is different everyday.
6. Nutrition: CrossFit gyms may also provide nutrition coaching.
7. Weight Loss: Getting lean and mean? CrossFit can do that for you.
8. Community: Make friends and take the CrossFit journey together.
9. Accomplish: Reach goals that you didn’t think you could.

Hop Valley CrossFit in Yakima Washington is owned and operated by Robb & Jenn Paul. Hear their story and learn more here: hopvalleycrossfit.com

 

Special Notes: Some CrossFit gyms may offer a free class as a way to let people try it out. CrossFit gyms typically have a monthly membership fee with a minimum commitment period. Contact your local CrossFit gym to learn more about their pricing structure and what they offer.

Decluttering Your Life

  1. There are several benefits of decluttering such as reducing clutter stress, being more productive, having more time to do what we want, and keeping more of your money.
  2. Prioritize the things you need to declutter. Start with the most important areas of your life.
  3. Get rid the things you don’t use or won’t use often. Organize the things that you want to keep.
  4. Make thoughtful purchases in the future. Don’t allow yourself to re-clutter your life!

Hey guys! What are the benefits of decluttering your life? What does decluttering look like and how do we do it? These are the questions that I am going to answer in this blog post.

We live a very blessed life. We have access to so many things and sometimes we fill our lives with too many of these things. Every once in a while we need to stop and assess the stuff that we’ve allowed in our lives and see what we can take out in order to make more room for things that matter. This means that sometimes in life, less is more. The less we fill our lives with junk the more time, money, and better health we’ll have. When we have more time, money, and better health we can focus more on doing the things that we really want to do and the things that will help us to reach our goals. Decluttering can be thought of as a type of investing. The time we invest into decluttering is going to be rewarded by the many benefits that decluttering offers. Also, by being intentional about avoiding clutter we can avoid the negative side effects that clutter has on our lives.

I can think of at least 3 main areas of life that we can declutter: things, time, and finances. Let’s take a look at how decluttering can be beneficial in these different areas.

Benefits of decluttering:

  1. Decluttering gives you more space and less stress. When I have a cluttered space the clutter makes the space feel cramped. I’m not someone who is claustrophobic but I would definitely say that I much rather be in a room that is clean and organized than a room that is jam packed full of stuff. A room full of stuff (like the current condition of my messy basement) makes me feel uncomfortable and adds more stress to my life. Decluttering can make you feel less stressed. Recently I walked into my garage that I’m moving into and I have tools that need to be cleaned, boxes of stuff that needs to be organized, shelves stacked with things that need to be organized, and I tell you what, I didn’t even know where to start. I asked myself, “Should I start cleaning tools, organizing shelves, or do one of the other millions things with all of this stuff?” I felt a little overwhelmed by all the stuff and it was easy to see that all this stuff was adding to my stress.
  2. Another benefit is that decluttering can help you to be more productive which ultimately can save you time. Think of a workstation area, maybe at work, maybe in your garage, maybe in a craft room, or maybe in your home office. If your work space is clean and organized than it’s going to be easier to find things and to get things done. This is going to make you much more productive.
  3. Having less stuff saves you money. When you spend less money buying stuff that you don’t need you have more money to put towards your goals like saving for retirement, your child’s education, or your down payment on your next home. Also, by not having as much stuff you’re not going to spend as much money maintaining things. The fact is that owning stuff costs money. Is that something that you thought of when you purchased the last big tick item? If you’re like me, probably not. I was just focused on how bad I wanted it. So, keep that in mind the next time you’re on the fence about buying something. Is it something that you’re willing to pay to maintain and store?

The benefits from decluttering go on and on. We can clearly see through these examples that decluttering has obvious benefits. The next question I want to answer is “How do we be intentional about decluttering and make sure that we’re not cluttering our lives even more in the future?”

Prioritize: The first step to decluttering is to prioritize. It’s impossible to declutter every aspect of your life all at the same time so you need to prioritize the areas that are going to make the most impact and benefit you the most. In the area of things, what things in your life need the most attention? Has your cluttered garage been weighing on you? Do you really need to clean your home office so you can be more productive which will allow you to spend more time with the family? What priorities do you have in the area of finances? Do you have a credit card that you don’t use but is still open? What things can you declutter that will give you more time to do the things you want?

Organize: The second step to decluttering is organizing. Organizing is the nemesis of clutter. The more organized you are the less effect clutter is going to have on you.

The first step of organizing in any aspect of your life is to get rid of the stuff that you’re not using. If you have a bunch of stuff that you don’t even use anymore then it’s time to get rid of it. In regards to your finances, do you have a reoccurring charge for a membership that you’re not using anymore? Then it’s time to get rid of it. Are you spending time doing something that doesn’t bring you or your family happiness that you can stop doing? It’s time to get rid of it. Eliminate anything and everything you can. Sell it, give it away, recycle it, or throw it in the garbage. It’s time to clean up and declutter your life. Let’s look at what organizing looks like in different aspects of your life.

Organizing your stuff: After you’ve rid yourself of the stuff that you don’t use anymore its time to organize what’s left. Make the things you use most often the easiest to access. Store the things that you don’t use often somewhere out of the way. The idea is to keep your space clean but at the same time you want your stuff easy to find when you need it. Get the family involved when you can so that everyone knows where stuff is and so that everyone has time spent keeping the house clean and organized. That way they’ll appreciate it more.

Organizing your time: Decluttering your time can be difficult. If you’re like me you sometimes probably feel like you say yes to way too many things and before you know it, you feel too busy to do anything. That seems silly to say but that’s the way it feels at times. I’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t do more than 3 big things at a time outside of your family time. This means, for example, that if you work full time that would be one, if you also volunteer throughout the week that would be two, if you have a big project a home that you’re working on that would be three. Life will be filled full of the little things but when it comes to the big stuff don’t overextend yourself.

Organizing your wealth: This is where it actually pays to be organized. Have a garage sale to turn that stuff into cash. A garage sale or selling your stuff on Craigslist can be a great way to both declutter and put more money in your bank account. Garage sales can be a painful but a good learning experience which is that stuff usually goes down in value. Like, way down. Buying a bunch of stuff is going to get you nowhere but broke. Another way to organize your wealth is to use autopay if you can. For example, using autopay to pay your electric bill, or your internet bill, or your mortgage can save you time each month.  Also, I recommend setting up auto-contributions to your investment accounts. The less time I have to spend keeping up on my finances the better in my mind and using some autopay and auto-contribute features is one way I can make sure I’m reaching my wealth building goals. Another money saving anti-clutter technique is to rent instead of buy. For example, if you need a specific tool for a home project consider renting it or borrowing it from a friend in lieu of buying it. This could save you a lot of money. For more peace of mind and to reduce the risk of financial fraud you should considering closing bank and credit accounts that you don’t use anymore. If you have several checking accounts or savings accounts I recommend consolidating them. I have only one checking account and one savings account. These two accounts are the only bank accounts that I have open for myself. I have seen people that have checking accounts at 3 different banks. This is absurd to me and I have no idea how they keep all of their accounts straight.

Minimize: The final step to decluttering is to minimize the stuff that you put in your life by being very selective about what you allow in your life. To help you avoid re-cluttering your life be intentional about not allowing more unnecessary stuff in your life. When you’re surfing Amazon next time, before you hit the “Add to Cart” button, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” You probably don’t. Remember, a dollar saved is a dollar earned. The more you save now from not buying junk allows you to keep more of your money and reach your financial goals faster.