Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to maximize your success by mastering your environment

Environments control our mindsets, and our mindsets are the filters we see the world through. 70% of the results you get in life are a result of these environments. (This is one of the reasons that live events are such powerful ways to change your life.)

Want to see the power of an environment? Go into an Apple store. When you step into an Apple store, it's a controlled environment. Everything you see and sense is experienced as a touchpoint of the Apple corporation. From the dress of the employees to the ways the products are arranged, there's a buzz just being there. You feel like you're in the most technologically advanced place on Earth. It's no wonder Apple is one of the world's most successful companies.

Sports is another great example. When you're watching your favorite team play live at a stadium, that's also a controlled environment. You can feel the energy and feed off of it. Isn't it so easy to feel energized by that?
That's what PRO U is about - helping you to create an environment where, by default, the lifestyle you want can happen. What if you could create an environment where your success happens by default? That's what we do for people. That's what happened at MME9 this last weekend.

If you were a PRO member at the event, share it. Write about it. Blog about it. Don't hold it in for yourself. Share your thoughts. Here's some places you can share:

-On the PRO Facebook page.
-On this article (reply below.)
-On your own blog.

There's three places. Make it a goal to find 10 places you'll share about it. By doing that, you'll establish this cycle of creation for yourself and help re-create the feeling of being there. That's how you keep the feeling alive from the event. The longer you can do that, the more powerful the event can be for you.
Jim Bunch said "if you want to change your life, you must change your environment." Delegate your success to your environment. With a positive, uplifting environment that encourages you to do more and to be more, your chances of accomplishing big things are SO much higher. Your willpower won't always be there, but your environment is there 24/7. You can shape your environment to be something that always pushes you forward - through surrounding yourself with positive and similarly minded people who want you to succeed. And nobody does that like the PRO community.

If you're always in a space where you feel encouraged to get more done, you're going to get more done. It will happen naturally. Make the effort to give yourself that environment through the PRO community, and your business will become a team effort towards a common goal. Life will feel like a playground, not a battle. That's how lives change for the better.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Do you catch the waves in your life?

I've been out on the West Coast the past couple of weeks on a "working vacation". Jim Bunch, at the BASE event a few weeks ago, talks about how we can get into that creative mode by being in a foreign environment that inspires us. (I've basically lived with Jim these past couple of weeks, so I have seen this in action myself.) Being in a different space and not having my normal routine like I do at home has changed a few things. Here, I get less sleep but feel just as energized (if not more so). I don't drink coffee. (I NEVER thought I'd say that!) And the way Jim explained this to me was to tell me that I was living now from the heart, as opposed to the head.

I've been doing a lot of surfing the past couple of weeks. Surfing is a GREAT metaphor for life. Picture the ocean as the environment you're in, and the waves that come at you as opportunities. They can move you forward powerfully if you're in the right position. But if you're in the wrong position, you'll miss out entirely - and they might even wipe you out hard!  

I challenge you to put yourself in a different environment this week. Pick one where you're not reminded about your normal responsibilities and to-do lists. Take a notepad and see what comes out of you in that new place. You'll create the space you need to get the results you want in your life IF you do it with that intention. Try it this week, and find a new environment that helps you get into your zone in ways your regular surroundings can't.

We must understand that over 50% of the results we get in our lives come from our environment. This means that if we want to change our results we HAVE to change our environment. New environments help put us in the mental space to do more.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Get out of “crisis mode” (and stay out longer) with one simple trick

Sometimes the unconventional path is the one you have to take to get to the end result you want. If you think of success as a destination, there are many paths to get there. If you don't have a precise destination in mind, any path will get you there. For example, you don't get in your car just to "drive around". You get in it to go somewhere.

When you're working on something that is outside of your expertise, it can be a helpless feeling. (If you're new to PRO, you probably know this feeling.) What should I be doing, and in what order? What do I focus on? Entrepreneurs face this all the time. It never goes away. The skill that you're going to learn is how to navigate through those times. It's like an airplane going to its destination that runs into rough weather, and must react and adapt on the fly to make it. It's those little moments that separate the professionals from the amateurs.

When you are faced with a daunting decision or challenge that's way outside your comfort zone, how do you respond? Learning how to make the right decisions in these situations is a critical skill as an entrepreneur. As you deal with these situations more and more, you become better at them. Because of that, they start to happen less. That's how you become more efficient over time at doing work that pays, rather than getting caught in crisis mode all the time.

I had one of these moments yesterday. At first, it had me in a tailspin. I felt like there were a hundred different things that I needed to do. It lasted a few moments, and it felt like a freefall. But in that moment it hit me: I made a decision to have a quick little workout to clear my mind. It's something I know about myself that helps me take control of situations like that. When I find myself in a moment like this, the best thing to do is to clear your mind. For me, that means a quick walk or bike ride. Maybe a 10 minute workout like yesterday. It's so simple - just step away. (Ideally, this will involve some physical exercise, as it releases dopamine - a natural antidepressant.)

That's what happened yesterday. Today I looked in the mirror and said, "I'm going to give myself an unfair advantage." I'm going to do the same thing and clear my head again. I didn't feel like I "needed it" today, because I wasn't facing one of those freefall situations. But I did it anyway. I went for a quick jog with Victor around my block. And on this jog, the same thing happened as yesterday - all of a sudden my day fell into place again. I saw my day line up in order and got total clarity on what to do in what order. It wasn't that I had a lack of clarity before I did this, but it wasn't on the same level that it ended up being after the jog.
Sometimes we make things way more complicated than they really are. We stop trusting ourselves to make the right decisions. We can fix this easily and take just 10 or 15 minutes to clear our minds. These things may not be exciting - heck, I don't usually feel like doing these things before I do them. But I know they're good for my clarity and to work more efficiently. And I didn't get here in 8 years as an entrepreneur by allowing my feelings to dictate what I do or don't do.

We're almost to the halfway mark of 2012. Check in with yourself: how's this year going? Where are you at? For me, in the last six months of 2004, it was an absolute breakout period. If you haven't had a breakout period this year, understand this - you're way closer to it than you think. The moments of clarity we give ourselves make breakouts possible. It's often the crises that make us take those moments, but it doesn't have to be that way. We can make the choice to give ourselves those moments even when we don't "need" them to solve some critical situation.

Whatever the biggest problems you are facing right now, understand that the solutions are right there in front of you. Take a moment and stop trying to figure everything out yourself. The answers are waiting to be discovered. And the solution almost never looks like it's the solution at first. Hang in there, and it will eventually reveal itself to you.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Don’t fix problems – create solutions

An entrepreneur is someone who assumes above average risk for above average gain. It's no different than being a professional athlete or artist. Entrepreneurs create things of value for the marketplace. Another trait entrepreneurs share is that they like to solve problems and fix things. Gary Gilbert, one of my first mentors at Midas, removed emblems from cars at the age of 13 and painted the car over (it was the thing to do back then.) My son Milo has run lemonade stands before. By fulfilling a need or solving a problem, entrepreneurs get remunerated for that service.

But sometimes, solving a problem is counterproductive. Because when you're trying to solve every problem you can, solving a problem is seen as an opportunity. That perspective is dangerous to have all the time, because when you're constantly trying to repair situations, you're in that reactive mode. Problem fixing mode is very easy to get stuck in. More opportunity exists in creating things that aren't there than by solving things that are there and need fixing.

In order to create value, you have to create something that didn't exist before. If you're always working on the problems that come up, you're not creating anything - you're responding to existing situations. The law of the universe states that you'll magnify what you focus on in your life. This means that focusing on what's wrong with your business is a guaranteed way to stay stuck. If you're always fixing, you're never creating. You can't be in repair mode and creation mode at the same time.

When you create something of value, you're always starting from scratch. At the end of the day, the difference between what you create and what you consume is how productive you were that day. Make sure you're putting in as much time in creative, 'working on your business' mode as you are in problem solving 'fixing your business' mode.

You can be busy all day long and not get anything productive done. It's very easy to get trapped in the inertia of being busy. We've got to recognize as entrepreneurs that effort and results are not always directly correlated. In some cases, working longer and harder doesn't get more done. If you find yourself jumping into the trenches every day without ever measuring the results your efforts are producing, you may eventually think you're in the wrong business. But what it's really about is that you're working it the wrong way.

If you focus on your problems, you exacerbate your problems. I'll give you an example of this that happened to me just this morning. I'm laying down some new grass along my backyard fence. I've laid down seed for my new patch of grass 4 times so far, but my bulldog Victor has acquired a taste for digging up fresh seed. If I just lay down the seed again, he'll just dig it up again. So laying down the seed is making myself busy, but it won't get me any results in the end. (Busy, not productive.) For me, training Victor not to dig up the grass is the real way to solve this problem. And it has nothing to do with laying the grass. Sometimes the solution to a problem is totally different than what you think it is.

Training a dog not to dig up a garden instead of seeding it again fixes the root problem and will yield the desired result of a full yard of grass. It's a productive solution instead of just getting busier to fix the problem. In this case, you have to think outside the box and realize the solution has nothing to do with the problem itself. And I had to ask myself: how many times am I going to yell at the dog? Nothing's going to change if I do that.

Today, look at the part of your business that you're not getting the results you want from. Focus on creating a solution that eliminates the problem instead of trying to fix the problem. Myself, I'm going to look for mentorship online about how I can train Victor not to go into my garden and rip up my grass seed. I'll look for toys he can play with that will take his mind off of the grass. I'll look to create a solution rather than fixing the problem. They may sound like the same thing, but they're not - one is proactive, and one is reactive. One is me being productive, and one is me being busy. Which one will you be today?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Microwaves Versus Gratitude

The New York Times headline a couple of weeks back is that the average American family had a higher net worth 20 years ago than they do today. That means that the average household was worth more in 1990 than it is today. In 2010, it was $78,000. In 2007, it was $133,000. Times are tighter now, and it's harder to finance a business today than it was 5 years ago. Everyone I talk to is working twice as hard to make the same (or less) money.

I have a ritual I do every morning. (I'll go into more detail on my personal lifestyle tomorrow on the JK Mastermind.) I go onto my front porch, get the paper, have a cup of coffee, and read it. I skim it; I don't read cover to cover. I read the business and sports sections. I do the crossword sometimes (only on Mondays and Tuesdays when it's the easiest!) That's my routine. I'm sure you have one too.

I saw my neighbor walk outside a couple of weeks back and we struck up a conversation. He's a builder of custom houses. He started to tell me about the housing industry and how it's been tough for the past couple of years. He's always looking for an opportunity to fulfill a want or need - he's an entrepreneur, but in the traditional sense. He invented this little hood that makes microwave ventilators work better. He sells those to people who want to make their oven/microwave setup more efficient. He wants a bigger part of his industry of 20 million microwaves sold every year. He's expanding production into China and has sold units in 48 states. And he asked for my help.

Here I am, about half this guy's age, and he asked me to help him market his product. I'm living in one of his homes. And I realized: how lucky am I that I get to sit on my porch at 9:30 in the morning and look forward to a day doing what I'm absolutely passionate about? I get to do what I love. I get paid to do what I love. How many people get to live like that? And I ALMOST took today for granted. Almost. Because although what I do in a morning is routine for me, it's no less of a blessing to be able to live this way.

Traditional entrepreneurs have to work their asses off in ways that we as online entrepreneurs don't. My neighbor had to go through years of patents and manufacturing troubles just to get to this point, and he's nowhere near breaking a profit. I don't know if I would have had the passion to go through all of that for so long like a "traditional" entrepreneur has to do (like my neighbor) to make his dreams happen. (How can you be passionate about microwave hoods anyway?) We as online entrepreneurs are so lucky to have the opportunities we have. I'm so grateful to be doing what I love.

We've got to get clear on what we're looking to accomplish today. If we go into today reactive, we'll end the day with that haunting feeling of not getting what we wanted to get done. If you let your day drive your actions, it will throw things at you that you just have to get done - and what you wanted to do will be sitting on the sidelines all day. You have to set the tone for your day before it does it for you. We can't just react to what comes our way if we want to create an incredible lifestyle.

Figure out what you want today - don't wait to let it figure it out for you - and go GET IT.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What If You Had a 100% Success Rate?

What if I told you there’s a method of operation that guarantees a 100% success rate each time you apply yourself to a project?

This message is about a simple mode of “behaving” that guarantees a 100% success rate. It’s about one of the ways we take action to achieve desired results. Really, it’s a success lesson I learned from my Uncle Julius.

My Uncle Julius was the oldest of my father’s 14 brothers and sisters working our family farm in Canada. He was a metal smith. And he was very good at what he did. Imagine a leathery-skinned farmer in the workshop wearing no safety glasses other than his own pair of bi-focals. No other filtering mask than his own beard. A true ‘salt of the earth’ figure.

As Uncle Julius was the welder on the farm, I remember hearing his disc saw sawing through metal. I can still hear his plasma torch cutting through steel. His torch blazing through a rusty beam that would be sent to the scrap yard. I remember looking over his shoulder in amazement at the distinctly bright blue blaze of a welding rod, thinking how cool it would be to melt two pieces of metal together.

What struck me most about Uncle Julius, the real lesson here, was the immense amount of pride he took in his work. If he cut a piece of metal, he would hold it up to the sun and scrutinize it. To make sure the cut was straight. If he welded metal, he would chip the slag away, put his glasses on, and lean in silently, inspecting his own work, and making sure the weld was strong and secure.

When he eventually took me through my metal education, showing me how to use a TIG welder, MIG welder, and plasma torch, he used the same approach. Every time he showed me through a step, he’d take a step back and inspect the weld and the seam. Like he was gazing at a captivating piece of art. His art.

And he kept saying over and over, “Jay, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

It’s this message that has come to be my most profound “method of operation.” Uncle Julius taught me to “behold” my work, to fall in love with my labor, and to throw my whole being into the job the first time around.

So how can I guarantee your 100% success rate with this lesson? It’s not actually by “doing it right.” Perfectionism can be debilitating and a hindrance to your progress. Instead, this is how you refine your approach:

Ask yourself, “Did I do my very best?”

The passion for your work and the love for your craft will help you achieve that edge necessary to assemble one win after the next.

Here’s what I mean...

When you let go of being perfect (or waiting for perfect conditions) in exchange for doing your absolute best, regardless how “good at it” you think you are, there’s a compounding effect. First, you achieve consecutive “wins,” because you decide what brings you the most pleasure, not someone else. Secondly, you create a standard that nothing can trump. No outside input will get in your way when measured against your personally excellent standard. Finally, mistakes don’t even enter the picture here. You may make a mistake, but when you start a project fully conscious that you’re out to do your best--nothing more, nothing less--you’ll only have to make that mistake once. And you’ll be okay with whatever the outcome.

And now you have a sneak peek into my brain and behavior... I believe that when you start out saying to yourself, “I do my best; I give it my all; I am in love with my craft,” every good thing comes your way. You allow yourself to tap into 100% of your own potential. You guarantee your own 100% success rate. You are the judge and the only person you cannot fool.

Take this moment to make the decision to do your best in everything you do. You will sleep better than you can imagine.

Let me know how this message sits with you by leaving a comment below!


Jay Kubassek