Category Archives: Hero

One Day To Live, The Immaterrial and an Exercise of a Lifetime

It’s great to hear that you have your “dream” list of goals and material “toys”. It’s pretty exciting to think about the big house you will own and the 4 high performance or luxury cars, maybe even that ridiculous 135 ft yacht, etc. And, there is no reason you shouldn’t have that list. But, there is a different list…

Do me (and you) a FAVOR right now. Consider for a moment, what you would do if you found out you had only ONE day to live. Do you have any idea how you’d spend it? And, here’s the kicker, with WHO would you spend those last precious hours and minutes?

You see, as unfortunate a scenario as that might be, it takes the often muddied waters of our priorities and values and bring them to the fore with pristine clarity. The fact is, your dream mansion would be worthless, your luxury cars or yacht would all have no redeeming value as you said your final goodbyes.

My guess is this; upon finding out you had only A SINGLE DAY TO LIVE, you’d be immediately reaching out to the one’s you love the most. You’d be sharing your deepest feelings of gratitude for their love and friendship and support over the years.

In short you’d dive into LOVE and GRATITUDE. Love for all those who’ve supported you throughout the years and gratitude for the opportunities and relationships that enriched your life.

One day to live would mean
No BullSh*t….  No wasted time
No fake gestures… little to no concern about what other people think

One day to live would mean:
Focusing on the people you love. Sharing your most meaningful thoughts and ideas.
You’d probably identify some regrets and missed opportunities for time squandered—for losing focus on what was truly important in your life. You’d probably even do some last minute mending of fences and going out of your way to reconcile— to leave this world in peace.

The Reward?
If you have truly processed this mental exercise for all that it’s worth you will have a great idea of WHO and WHAT is most important to you and WHY

Create that list now. Who are the people? What are they experiences and why are they meaningful. Have there been opportunities lost? What are they, can you re-write the outcome. It all begins with clarity.

So you think you are too busy to watch this video? What a joke!

I know, you’re a VERY BUSY person…. Really, I know, you are “super busy” and don’t have enough time to watch a video that is almost an hour long yet has the information and insight that is very likely to transform your life.

I get it… sort of.

Guess what my friend, BUSY is just another form of LAZY.

I just heard you say, “WHAT!?” “Did he just call me lazy?”

Listen, if you’re too busy then what you’re really saying is your just too LAZY to identify the most important things in your life. There is a great “Law” of efficiency that Brian Tracy talks about (he’s funny that way because so many things are “Laws” and he has what seems to be about 100 different laws). Having said that, the man is spot on.

The Law of Forced Efficiency states, “You never have enough time to do everything, but you ALWAYS have enough time to accomplish the most important things.”

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Steve Jobs, Synchronicity, Connecting the Dots & Trust


UPDATE!!!

This post was originally written in early 2008 and was updated after he had his liver transplant in 2009. In light of Mr. Jobs passing, this YouTube video of his commencement address has gone viral – (10Million hits later). We originally shared this video when it was in the low 6 figures. I felt it was important to bring this back to the TOP of the POST pile.

If you haven’t seen this video, it’s extremely worthwhile and the words below are designed to challenge your personal reflection.

Recall Aristotle’s famous quote: “Wisdom is an equal measure of Experience plus Reflection.

E + R = W

ENJOY!

Stanford Commencement Address 2005.
Mr. Steven Jobs; Monster-Entrepreneur, Apple & Pixar CEO, Super-Hero Extraordinaire

“Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.” ~Kierkegaard

Every time I see this speech I’m awed by the number of gems Steve shares. I find it interesting to overlay these anecdotes against the backdrop of my personal experiences. His tales of opportunity, following his heart, continuous learning, failure, humility, and of course, mortality are both profound and inspiring.

However, I ask you, “How unique are they?” Just how rare are these “coincidences?”

The question I encourage you to ask is, “where are the parallels?” Surely you recognize you don’t have to be CEO of a couple fortune 500 companies to notice that, ultimately, the song remains the same; that these synchronistic events happen daily for everyone. The real question is not, “how rare is this?” But rather, “How aware am I to the events and all the possibilities?”

Think about it. One day Jobs is walking eight miles to eat at a Hare Krishna Temple – the next, he’s revolutionizing the computing industry. A slight exaggeration perhaps. However, the point is not to be lost, those were two very real “stations” in his life separated only by awareness, purity of intent and of course time.

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Guest Post: This is where the story really begins…

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” ~T.S. Eliot

It was a beautiful spring day, the sun was out, the birds were singing, squirrels were playing in the yard, and I Brian Webb a recent college graduate was deciding my future. I was at home in Maysville, Kentucky discussing what I should do with my life and what endeavors I should partake. The decisions were made that I should move to Cincinnati and live with my father and work in the IT field with his company as a mentor/internship. With my education, it was believed that I can move up to management. With that decided, I drove back to Lexington content on my decision.

“Life tends to happen when you are making plans.” I arrived at my apartment in Lexington, Kentucky and decided to lay down on the couch to take a nap. However, I couldn’t sleep, I had a strange headache coming on stronger and stronger. Bam! Bam! BAM!!! Felt like a nail was being driven in the back of my skull. The pain was excruciating! So, painful in fact that I got sick and passed out.

My brother came rushing to my side and called 911. The ambulance delivers me to the ER in a coma. End of story.

Now, this is where the adventure really begins…. Continue reading

Write Your Own Obituary; The Best Advice Nobody Ever Gave Me

picture-5You might consider this the ultimate “begin with the end in mind” exercise and, really, it falls perfectly in line with one’s attempt to create their ideal future – their success.

Rest assured, there isn’t a greater ‘end’ to consider than YOUR END- (your death/departure from this planet).

So, if it’s helpful to ‘begin with the end in mind’ for goals and projects you can bet it’s pretty darn valuable for your life.

For those who haven’t heard the story there is a terrific anecdote about Dr. Alfred Nobel. What you may not know is that while today everyone hears his name “Nobel” and thinks “Peace Prize” originally, this was far from the case.

In fact, turns out that in 1888 a French paper erroneously proclaimed “The merchant of death is now dead.” The story went on to explain that the man who invented and patented dynamite (his original claim to fame) and a faster, cheaper, quicker way to kill people died in a fatal explosion. As you might expect, a very alive and able Dr. Nobel read this account of his death and its merciless headline and was mortified by the prospect that his lifetime work and his legacy would be relegated and labeled synonymous with death and destruction. This was not the legacy the good doctor had in mind.

Turns out, after reading his own obituary he instantly knew he had to redefine just what his life was to mean; what he was to represent and how he wanted to be remembered.

Drum roll please…
So, here’s a couple KEY questions for YOU to answer…

What do you want your life to represent?

How would you like to be remembered?

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When there is no “Why?” 9 Lessons in Achievement from a “Crazy” Man

man-on-wire-2

Brilliant. astounding, outstanding and remarkable

There aren’t enough superlatives for MAN ON WIRE!

Things have been a little busy lately – and wanting to get to this “review’ / post since I saw this movie well over a month ago! Man on Wire is incredibly entertaining movie and not just for the never-to-be-repeated, remarkable feat itself (tight-rope, in this case wire-walking from one World Trade Center tower to the other) but, also, for its direction, production, and original footage.

I happened to see this movie (wifee’s recommendation) just before the Academy Awards (no surprise it won for best documentary).  The story features Phillipe Petit and his mission to realize his life’s dream of walking a tight rope between the two world trade towers. The brilliance from a production standpoint is the reenactment is interspersed with some fantastic original footage.  But, what makes the movie truly so powerful and riveting is the UNDERLYING THEME.

We are all walking a tight rope.

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Ten Great Life Lessons from a Legend; Coach John Wooden

Success is the peace of mind which is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you made the effort to become the best at what you are capable of becoming.”

~ John Wooden

jwoodencoachsite-233x300

Whether you like basketball or even know what a basketball is — chances are you will love this man! At 98, John Wooden is still regarded a quick wit and sage to many players, coaches and friends seek his friendship and counsel. To give you a little flavor, this from the same article referenced above.

“When asked about the keys to successful aging, Coach was quick to respond: stay busy, stay active, enjoy every day like it is your masterpiece, have some variety and try to learn something new every day,” Castel said. “One of Coach’s famous quotes, ‘When I am through learning, then I am through,’ illustrates his lifelong commitment to learning.

“Make everyday your masterpiece!?” I almost let the brilliance of that comment escape me. It sounds too cliché, right? “Make everyday your masterpiece.” Wow! That is super powerful. If I could only possess that type of presence, that type of awareness – to make each encounter, each moment of each day a masterpiece. In order for each day to be a masterpiece, each moment would have to be a masterpiece. By definition that is what a masterpiece is right? All pieces/component parts masterfully interwoven to produce magnificence? I ask you, just what affect would that have on my life’s outcome?
And, “Lifelong commitment to learning.” Sound familiar? Continue reading

Phelps, Phun & Consequences

michael phelps

“Youth is wasted on the young.”
~ George Bernard Shaw

With all the excitement about Michael Phelps in the media recently, I felt it was a good time to jump in, but not necessarily pile on. If, for some reason you haven’t heard, Phelps was photographed with his face half-way down a water pipe (bong), less than ideal if you’ve just brought back a record eight Gold medals for your country and you have endorsements that total into the multi-millions.

My take on this is fairly straightforward – one very stupid decision. Having said that, the general public has absolutely no idea how tightly wound this kid has been since a very young age. Just try to imagine the patience, discipline and focus he’s had to practice and endure for not just a few years, but the majority of his young life! He is only 23. And, while I absolutely think it was a grave mistake, I’m hopeful we all recognize he is a young man. Young people make mistakes and then hopefully learn from them.

Try to imagine you are 23 years old and on the cover of every magazine from TIME to PEOPLE – you’re a national celebrity, yet, you just want to relate to your peers WITHOUT all the hype. You want to fit-in and be like the others, without the celebrity. My guess is that was his desire in that social/party type atmosphere. Sure, the way he went about it was less than ideal, but his intentions were innocent. He certainly didn’t set out to let people down, tarnish the image of a country, or jeopardize endorsements or a swimming career.

Talent will get you to the top, but it’s character that will keep you there.”
~ John Wooden

To me, this is where his story actually becomes interesting. Continue reading

Walt Disney, Me and a Few C’s

walt disney portrait

“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.” ~ Walt Disney

Walter Elias Disney. Now there was a man who deserved a “Sir” before his name if ever there was one. A legend. Certainly, an incredible SUCCESS by anyone’s definition. You would be hard pressed to find a man who’s vision and inspiration has positively touched more lives. At this very moment, kids are skipping around and smiling the grandest of smiles because of his vision; to create “the happiest place on earth”, Disneyland.

What seemingly everyone forgets is, much like our first HERO President Lincoln, his road to such heights was extremely difficult. He had a multitude of opportunities to quit. I found it hard to believe Continue reading

So, YOU Want To Be Successful? Here’s a thought… Define It!

Words of wisdom all around
but no one ever seems to listen
They talk about their plans on the paper
Building up from the pavement
mm hm
there’re shadows from the scrapers on the pavement
mm hm
It’s enough to make me sigh
but that don’t seem like it would make it feel better
The words are all around
but the words are only sounds
and no one ever seems to listen
~ Jack Johnson “Traffic in the Sky”

Do you have a definition of success?
I’ve taught hundreds of students for over five years. Every time I ask this simple question: “Who wants to be successful?” every single person raises his hand. At this point, I actually have inverted the question to simply be, “who does NOT want to be successful.” Just to verify that not a single person will raise their hand. Obviously, it is unanimous, EVERYONE WANTS TO BE SUCCESSFUL. This of course is where the “fun” begins…

Then, I ask them to define success.

Can you say deer in the headlights… pretty much a room full of blank stares. The students kind of squirm in their seats, perhaps a little concerned I might pin them down and actually ask them for their definition.

Wild isn’t it? Throughout the years, I’ve discovered that only about 3% of my students actually have a working definition of success.

You may have noticed this too? Everyone wants to be successful, yet, how many have defined it?

There seems to be lots of people searching high and low for “answers”- for “shortcuts” to this elusive “success.” You’ve seen the headlines and the advertisements, no doubt:

“Be Outrageously Happy in Three Easy Steps”
“Seven Secrets to Riches”
“Be the Success You’ve Always Dreamed Of”

The crazy thing is . . . if you ask them what “success” truly is they – just like 97 percent of my students — would probably be at a loss for words.

Try it sometime. Ask someone to define “success” for you. You’ll probably be received with a blank stare. If not, you’ll get some vague definition that sounds something like:

“Success is waking up with a smile on my face.”
“Success is knowing that someone loves me.”

Now, this brings me to the question of the day: How in the world can YOU hit a target when YOU can’t see it . . . or worse yet, does not even exist?

Creating your personal definition of success

Welcome to Exercise #1. You guessed it! Time for you to write out your definition of success!

Think about it. It seems only logical that the first step to success is to at least to resolve in your mind what exactly success is. What it ought to look and feel like! You must first have a definition for it if you plan to attain it!

Ideally, your definition of success should be no longer than two or three sentences. In fact, the shorter the definition, the better. One time I asked a person to give me his personal definition of success. He gave me a description a mile long. “Success,” he said, “is when I’m happy, my dog is fed and when my girlfriend is happy and we have a lot of money and no financial worries.”
what!? – why not just add when the cat is sleeping and the baby isn’t crying!

I could probably fill several posts here on success theory alone. However, for now, what is most important is to identify an acceptable definition – one that has stood the test of time. Here, humbly submitted for your consideration is the one I teach in every class…

SUCCESS = CREATING YOUR IDEAL FUTURE.

Be sure to leave comments and share your thoughts. Really looking forward to some quality success definitions posted here. Let’s see it!

cheers!

~ Mitch W. Steel