When Life Gives You Lemons…

This post is by Jim Nelson of LiveWorkDream.com.

As trite as it may sound, when life throws lemons at you the best thing you can do really is to make lemonade. I suggest adding sugar, and enjoying every last sip.

We were living the entrepreneurial dream. In 1998 my wife and I escaped the rat race and left lucrative Silicon Valley jobs to start our own home-based graphic design firm in the rural coastal town of Eureka, CA. By 2006 we had grown our business to include Fortune 500 clients, expanded into a 3700 sq. ft. Victorian home office, developed an online storefront, and outfitted a full-service large format graphic production studio. We were making good money and enjoying the success we had built for ourselves. Then our dog got cancer.

Jerry and us

The author and his wife with their dog Jerry on the road in South Carolina

Jerry was our Chief Fun Officer. He kept us sane during the endless hours we worked, and he was always there for us when the stress of dealing with clients, color correction, inventory, and overhead got to be too much. It was our turn to pay him back for his years of dedication and selfless service. After proceeding with an amputation to remove the tumor growing in his shoulder, and being given a prognosis of four to six months, we took a serious look at our situation and wondered what we might do to make the most of the remaining time we had together.

Our little venture was at a point where we seriously needed to hire sales and production help. We were in debt up to our elbows and over our heads in work. The last ten years had flown by as we slaved away. We had always dreamed of traveling the country, and we knew Jerry was always up for an adventure. So we quickly made plans to sell the business, our home, and nearly everything we owned.

I created our Live Work Dream blog initially as a marketing tool to promote the sale of our ideal live/work opportunity. In a matter of months we were training the new owner and waiting to hit the road in our new fifth wheel trailer. Although doctors told us Jerry had only a few months to live, we spent the next two years exploring the country together as a pack. From the Badlands to the Mississppi headwaters, from the Atlantic coast in Maine to the Gulf of Mexico, Jerry taught us to make the most out of life.

Along the way, we investigated potential business opportunities while searching for land where Jerry could spend his final days. Our furry zen master didn’t quite make it to see the Colorado mountain home we call Jerry’s Acres. But he inspired the business that turned out to be right under our noses the whole time. We continue to maintain the largest online community for three legged dogs from the road when we head south for the winter every year with our new three legged dog Wyatt.

I share this story not to brag, but rather to encourage anyone with a dream to follow it, and to offer hope for anyone facing adversity. Our bittersweet journey with Jerry is just one example of how to make lemonade. Hopefully the following ideas I learned as my life changed course ‚Äì for the better ‚Äì might help others who feel like they’re being buried alive in lemons.

How to Follow Your Dreams

Make a plan

Figure out what you want and determine the steps required to get it. Write down a detailed plan of attack with action items, budget considerations and deadlines. Make a dream board complete with pictures, news clippings and other items reminding you of your goal.

Forget about stuff

Stop focusing on money. Focus on your passion instead. By releasing your attachment to material possessions, you can more freely work toward the end instead of the means.

Think from the end

As personal growth expert and self help guru Dr. Wayne Dyer suggests, see yourself where you want to be. If you want something, envision yourself already having it. See it, breathe it, feel it. Above all, Believe it.

Stop “shoulding” on yourself

“I should be making more money.” “I should have what I want by now.” “I should have done things differently.” These are detrimental thoughts that will only keep you from reaching your goal. Instead, focus on your intention and reframe your thoughts to be more positive.

“When you realize there is nothing lacking the whole world belongs to you.” -Lao Tzu

Change your perception about stability

Don’t fall for the false security of societal norms, and pay no attention to those who may think you’re crazy. Realize you have the power within yourself to succeed at whatever you wish. When overwhelmed with thoughts of “what if” forget what and tell if to take a hike.

Never underestimate the power of coincidence

Coincidences are the universe telling you to pay attention. Ask yourself what they mean, and follow their lead. Example: When we decided to buy a trailer, we realized we would need a new truck. Within a week we were hit by a red light runner who totalled our small pickup. The time had clearly come to buy that Dodge Ram we’d been eyeing.

Seek inspiration

Get to know others who have done what you want to do. In addition to reading a few books that inspired us, we took our research a step further. We contacted and spent time with the author of one, a 70-year-old man who had recently completed his second solo trip around the world by motorcycle. His inspiration helped us believe in our adventure and our friendship continues today.

Don’t forget to smell the roses

Above all, be present. Be aware. Take the time away from chasing your dream to consider one of the most important lessons we learned from Jerry: that every day is a great day, no matter what life throws your way.

Jim Nelson and his wife Rene are freelance creatives and writers who blog about the lifestyle they have designed for themselves at LiveWorkDream.com. Jerry’s legacy lives on in the Tripawds three legged dog blogs and canine cancer discussion forums.

How to Harmonize Your Work/Life Balance

This post is by Jesse Langley.

Maintaining a healthy balance between your work and personal life can be difficult. Modern office workers can have an especially tough time with this because work can often occupy a sort of no man’s land between the two.

When you begin taking work home with you, the line between recreation and work begins to blur. Taking occasional breaks from the laptop and the television can actually improve your work performance and help keep you sane.

Unplug more often

It’s easy to lose track of how much time you’re spending online. We typically spend a large chunk of our day in front of the computer only to get home and fire up the laptop again.

The next thing you know, the evening has flown by and you’ve spent most of your day at a computer. Facebook newsfeeds, CNN, and BBC apps giving you updates on your iPad while you’re working on your laptop can easily take over your free time.

Setting aside some technology-free time can help you detox from the constant barrage of email and social media status updates.

When we’re not careful, heavy social media use could be impacting us in other ways as well. The tendency to tweet and post Facebook status updates constantly often causes us to be less than perfectly thoughtful about how and what we’re communicating.

Researchers suspect that heavy texting can change the way that some high school students process and deliver information when engaging in writing assignments. Communicating only through brief tweets and status updates may result in more difficulty expressing complex thoughts and ideas when writing.

What to do with your new-found free time

As I began to take more work home, my personal recreational activities started to suffer. I had previously been a heavy reader and always ran at least three times a week. But as I spent more time with my laptop and iPad, I read and ran with less regularity until finally I was doing neither.

But more time spent working doesn’t always equal better work efficiency. Stepping away from your desk and going out for a brisk run does more than simply burn calories and keep you in shape. Exercise elevates endorphins in the brain and enhances a sense of well-being and positive outlook on life. This can translate into better work performance and task execution.

Reading works in several ways to benefit your work life as well. In addition to being a great way to discover new ideas and perspectives, reading also doesn’t turn the reader into a passive recipient of information like watching television tends to do. Reading a good book is often the exact opposite of our multi-tasking methods of modern work. Being able to focus on one thing completely is relaxing and rejuvenating. Reading frequently helps me get back to developing thoughts more thoroughly and working with fewer distractions when I get back to work.

Schedule your reading and exercise breaks

If you don’t make a point of scheduling time for your exercise and reading you’re likely to procrastinate or end up skipping it entirely. Be sure to start slow and ratchet things up as you get into a good routine. Exercise at least three times a week if you can manage it. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

The same goes for reading. It doesn’t matter as much what you read, just that you’re reading. It doesn’t have to be highbrow literature to be beneficial. Try to find an hour a day to read. Once you’ve incorporated an exercise and reading routine into your daily activities you’ll likely feel that your life is a little better balanced.

Jesse Langley lives near Chicago. He divides his time among work, writing and family life. He has a keen interest in blogging and social media and is an advocate for online training he also writes for www.professionalintern.com.

How to Make Time for What Really Matters to You

This post is by Ali Luke of AliVentures.

Do you ever wish you had just a bit more time for yourself?

Perhaps you’ve got a project you’d love to finish. It could be anything— writing your novel, creating a website, designing a Flash game, making a rug—so long as it’s important to you.

The problem is, whenever life gets busy, your project gets shunted aside—and at the rate you’re going, it looks like you’re never going to finish.

Or maybe you have a particular hobby or interest: surfing, golf, knitting, video games, fencing, cooking … something that you really enjoy. You just never seem to have time for it.

What can you do?

Realize that it’s important

Your big project or much-loved hobby might seem unimportant. After all, you’ve got work, chores, family, friends, commitments…

Plus, the folks around you might not get what it is you want to do. I’m a writer, and trust me, I know that sitting down to write several thousand words a day is not most people’s idea of a good time!

However frivolous, geeky, weird, or dull your project or hobby might seem to other people, it still matters to you.

It’s important.

You have the right to do what you love for at least a few hours each week.

And you’ll find that when you do make time for what really, truly matters to you, you’ll be a happier person. If you get just a couple of hours at the weekend to relax with your knitting or to focus on your new website, you’ll have more energy for the rest of your life.

So, how exactly do you go about finding the time?

Join a course or group

When you belong to a course or group that meets regularly, you’re almost certainly going to find the time. A fixed appointment in your diary is much easier to keep than a vague commitment to “play golf sometime this month.”

A course with teaching, assignments and deadlines can be a great way to take things to the next level—plus it helps show your family and friends that you’re serious.

A group of like-minded people, whether locally or online, can be incredibly encouraging. Simply being around others who value writing/cooking/games etc. is motivating – and members of the group may well help keep you accountable.

Find your best time of day

Some projects require a lot of concentration and energy: anything creative, for instance (like writing, designing, composing) or anything that’s quite academic (like studying for a new qualification).

If you’re working on a project like that, it’s crucial to find a time of day when you’re naturally focused and energized. For me, it’s mornings: I try to do the bulk of my writing between 8am and 11am. For you, it could be early evening, or late at night when the rest of the household are asleep.

Even with an “easy” hobby, you’ll want to find a time of day that works well. You might need space to spread out your art materials on the kitchen table (not ideal if your partner is trying to cook) or you might need quiet (not ideal if your kids are running around screaming).

Deliberately set aside time

Don’t wait for free time to suddenly appear: it won’t. Your life is already full—even if some of the things filling it are “watching TV” and “surfing the net”. You might need to cut something out in order to make more time for what you really want to do.

One of the easiest—and most powerful—ways to find time is to deliberately set it aside. This is easiest when you look a week or two ahead in your diary: you’ve probably got a free evening next week or a few hours at the weekend that you could spend on your project or hobby.

If you don’t set the time aside, you’re just going to fill up your life with all the usual things. So grab your diary now, and look for just two hours this week that you could spend on you.

It’s not selfish, and it’s definitely not pointless.

And you never know what two hours this week could lead to…

Ali Luke used to commit a couple of hours a week to her writing—and now she makes her living as a writer and writing coach. If you’d like to finally get your blog going or write that novel you’ve been daydreaming about, check out her free mini-ebook How to Find Time for Your Writing.

Domestic Organization for Work-from-home Parents

Recently, I was mentioned in a blog post about home management and blogging. I left a fairly long comment on the post which and I thought some of what I shared might be of interest for the FeelGooder audience.

I’ve recently had my third child, L, arrive home from the hospital, so my wife and I are in the thick of family life. But of course I need to stay on top of work as well—and when you work from home, the lines can get a little blurry.

Here are my tips for working toward the work-life balance when your a parent with young children, and you work from home.

Set your priorities

For me, striking a balance is about working out what you want in your life, then structuring your life around that. It sounds simple, but it doesn’t always come easily for me. I’m not a particularly organized person, and I’m certainly not naturally “domestic.” But I do think we should at least identify what we want from life, and doing what is in our own control to achieve those goals.

Be willing to negotiate with yourself

I’m constantly negotiating with myself, on a personal level, as I look at my priorities and work out how I’m going to achieve them. This can be a real struggle at times—as I say, I’m not particularly “domestic” and there are 101 things I’d rather do than clean the bathroom! But all the same, I value hygiene and want be responsible for keeping my house (my family’s biggest asset) in order. So I constantly wrestle with myself to do those things I don’t particularly want to do.

At times, this negotiation has meant writing lists, setting daily tasks to complete, asking others to keep me accountable, and so on.

Be willing to negotiate with others

For me, living in a family requires us to work as a team. While we’re no “poster couple,” my wife and I are both reasonable people, and while we have our fair share of spats over who’s going to do the dishes, we’ve semi-regularly negotiated who does what in the house.

This has changed as our lives have changed. In the early days, V worked full-time, and quite long hours, so in addition to my part-time jobs, blogging, and studies, I structured my days so I did more of the domestic stuff. From memory, for quite a while we had a bit of a “roster” system—we were newly married and needed a bit more structure in that area of our lives. Some jobs we took turns on (cleaning bathrooms, dishes, groceries and so on), but others we did consistently (I vacuumed, she dusted, for example).

Blogging happened in between everything else that was going on.

Over the last nine years of marriage, our life’s changed. Today we have three kids aged five and under, including a three-week old, so we’re in a new phase—something we’ve had to negotiate and work hard on. My wife is on maternity leave and isn’t working, which also changes the mix. This week, I’ve cooked every night, she squeezed in a visit to the super market, I’ve looked after the kids from 7-9am each day while she’s had a sleep-in, she’s doen the night feeds, I’ve done the night settling … life’s different!

Outsource what you can

Over time, we’ve “outsourced” different tasks. Really, this has been the result of our priorities as well as our resources. We want to achieve, experience, and do certain things, and to be honest, right now it doesn’t all quite fit in.

  • As we have the resources to do so, we have someone come in for an hour every week or two to help with some cleaning.
  • I’ve brought in some help into my business to lighten my load so I can spend more time with family.
  • We probably get take out every couple of weeks.

All of these things help us achieve what we want to do with our lives. There have been times when we haven’t been able to afford them; at others, we’ve wrestled with guilt over some of it; at others, we’ve come to terms with the fact that by having someone help in a certain area, we’re better able to do things that we consider higher priorities.

I know that everyone’s family and home life is different, but hopefully these ideas give a picture of how we make things work—or attempt to! The reality is that, of course, it doesn’t always work. I have days when I’m lazy, distracted, or unfocused and need to pull myself into line (or need some accountability around that).

There have been times where it’s all just worked smoothly, without much negotiation, but at others, I’ve had to put systems in place (schedules, rosters, lists, etc.) to help me keep on track. I find that even a week or two of following a routine is sometimes enough to snap me back to a good rhythm. After that, I can let the formal systems go, and move on.

I do know that works for me: to sit down and work out your priorities, and from that plan a weekly or monthly schedule to help you move towards those goals. In time, you might find a new more natural rhythm.

This is how I do it, but we can all use advice on striking a balance. How do you manage work and home priorities? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments.

6 Reasons Why You’ll Never Succeed

This guest post is by Tom Ewer of Leaving Work Behind.

It has probably crossed your mind on more than one occasion that it is much easier to spend money than to make it. Success and failure share the same relationship. It’s just so damn easy to fail. That is why “success” is coveted by many, but achieved by few.

You define your own success—it is an entirely subjective concept. If your idea of success is to start reading one blog post a day, then you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself right now. However, for the purposes of this list, we will consider success to be achieving what I call your Endgame.

So, without further ado, this is what is holding you back.

1. You don’t try

This is the cold-blooded killer of success. If you’re applying yourself in entirely the wrong fashion, at least you are applying yourself in some way. If you simply don’t try, then you will never succeed.

A lot of people defeat themselves before they have even begun. There is a prevailing mindset amongst the majority that success is ultimately unachievable, as if those who are successful just got lucky. Fortunately for us, luck isn’t that prevalent—but neither is hard work or persistence—and that is why many people never get to where they want to be.

2. You’re not productive

You might think that you are, but you may be fooling yourself. Merriam-Webster defines productivity as being “effective in bringing about”. In the context of this article, productivity equals being effective in bringing about success. When you consider your actions, are they all truly geared towards your success? If not, then your productivity is not what it could be. Every time you start a task, you need to ask yourself if it is taking you one step closer to success.

3. You don’t know what you want

You may be able to tell me that you want a million dollars in your bank account, but you would be fooling yourself. You ultimately want to be successful (by your own definition) because you think it will make you happier. Money can facilitate happiness, but it does not in itself create happiness. You should be thinking about what makes you happy, not what you think makes you happy.

In order to generate long-lasting motivation, you need to truly know why you are trying so damned hard. And take it from me; it is not because you want a million dollars sitting in your bank account.

4. You give up too easily

There is one screamingly obvious reason why not all people achieve their desired level of success: a lack of patience. This has become even more prevalent in the internet age—if instant success doesn’t land in your lap then it clearly will never come.

Successfully negotiating the path to success requires an enormous amount of patience. In order to have sufficient reserves of this highly valuable quality, you need to know where you are going. Which leads us to…

5. You don’t know where you are going

You might have a clear definition of your planned success, but do you have any idea how to get there? Again, simply saying “I want a million dollars in my bank account and I am going to get there by being an awesome internet marketer” is not the true answer to the question.

Can you provide me with a step by step plan as to how you intend to achieve success? If not, then you do not know how to get there, and you will likely fail. You need a plan.

6. You work hard … and fail

Rarely is success so easily avoided than by endeavor being spread far and wide. Success requires a concentrated effort. If your efforts are diluted across various projects, or various obligations, your chances of success are greatly diminished. You can work yourself into the ground and achieve very little.

Before you consider anything else, you need to have a better understanding of what commitment you are prepared to invest in your success. It may not be easy at first to comprehend how much you will need to commit in order to reach your goal, but it will become clear in time. One thing is certain, if you commit 100% of what is required, but that 100% is divided over numerous projects, you are still likely to fail.

What else blocks the path to success?

Now it’s over to you. What do you think? I have given you six stumbling blocks that lie on the path to success. What others have you experienced?

Tom Ewer is the owner of Leaving Work Behind, a growing community of likeminded people with a unifying goal – to create scalable and sustainable online incomes. He aims to leave his career in property development just as soon as his online pursuits can support him. If you enjoyed this article, then be sure to sign up to Tom’s RSS feed.

One Simple Factor to Reduce Stress and Increase Productivity

This post is by Kirsten Simmons of  Personalized Productivity.

Let’s think through your day.  When you arrive at your desk, what’s the first thing you see?

Is it the pile of paper comprising three weeks worth of files that you’ve put off sorting into their alphabetical hanging files?

Is it the 100+ emails that would only take a moment or two to reply to, but that you haven’t had the motivation to dive into?

Image courtesy aliwest44, licensed under Creative Commons

Is it the blank sheet of paper where you were supposed to write today’s to-do list before you wrapped up yesterday, but you were so relieved to just get to the end of the day that you forgot all about it?

What do you feel when you see that pile of files, that overflowing inbox or that blank sheet of paper?  If you’re like most people the response is guilt, frustration, or even a muted resignation.  Because despite your best intentions, you’ve failed yet again to maintain even the most basic organization or productivity system.  You’re just an utter failure.

Hold it right there!  Think for a minute and tell me, where did you get those systems from?  Did you make them up, or was it from a book or article trumpeting the ease of this or that system for skyrocketing your productivity and getting your life back on track?  How could that person—who’s writing that book without ever even meeting you—how could they possibly know that this system will be right for you?

They couldn’t.  And not only do they have a minimal chance of selecting the correct system for you, there’s a very high probability that their personality is such that their system will never work for you.

Let’s think through your day again.  What if you arrived at your desk and found nothing there that shouldn’t have been there?  What if your e-mail inbox had just a few messages that had come in overnight?  What if you sat down knowing exactly what you were going to do and how you were going to do it?

Would you feel better?  Would your stress be lower?  Would your productivity increase?

When it comes to productivity and organization, there are four important personality types.  Each type has distinct preferences for organizing their physical space, managing their time and optimizing their productivity.  And yet over 99% of productivity books and products are written by one type—the one that naturally gravitates toward “traditional” organization strategies like alphabetical filing and schedules planned to the quarter hour block.

Discovering your productivity personality and creating a system that works with your brain frees you from the stress and frustration of trying to maintain your old system.  Your new one will come naturally, will scale to your work load and adapt as you move into new projects.

Let me tell you a bit about the types and give you some tips to get you started right now. There is no reason to ever feel like a failure when it comes to productivity again.

The Fantastical

If you’re a Fantastical, you’re a creative problem solver who thrives on variety and originality.  You’ve been known to become so engrossed in your projects that you forget appointments, meetings or even meals!  The biggest key in a Fantastical organization system is space—you have to see all the components of a project in front of you, so structure your office space accordingly.  Shelves above your desk are a great way to do that, but don’t fall into the trap of using them for binders!  Put your project piles there instead so you can see everything you need to.

The Environmental

If you’re an Environmental, you’re the person that everyone around you depends on.  Your warmth and caring shines through in everything you do, and you worry when anyone is feeling sick or uncomfortable.  As such, you’re constantly shifting your schedule and your priorities to help out someone in need, and it drives those around you crazy!  Instead of trying to conform to someone else’s quarter hour schedules, plan out your day in blocks of at least two hours.  That gives you time to work on what needs doing while still stopping to lend a hand if someone needs you.

The Analytical

If you’re an Analytical, you’re motivated and goal oriented.  You rely on facts and figures rather than emotion, and you’re great at seeing the big picture.  Your most effective productivity strategy is learning how to focus your time on high value tasks while delegating the rest to assistants or others on your team.  Your goals will be achieved when everyone around you plays to their strengths, so make sure you know what those strengths are and do your best to see that the work gets divided accordingly.

The Structural

If you’re a Structural, then congratulations, organization comes naturally to you!  You’re the one everyone turns to when something needs to be planned, and when brainstorming your first action is to start making a list.  You’re most comfortable in a routine, and you can become overwhelmed by interruptions or unexpected increases in workload.  The good news is that there are a LOT of systems out there for you to choose from, so take a look at what you’re doing now and ask how it could possibly break.  Then do some experimenting and find ways to streamline your systems and routines to handle unexpected situations.

Once you’ve identified your productivity personality and altered your systems to fit, you’ll find that your day flows easier, your stress is reduced and all the time you spent struggling to maintain someone else’s system is suddenly free for whatever you’d like.

Kirsten started researching personality and productivity out of curiosity one day last October, and before she knew it she had a business on her hands! Are you interested in learning more about your type?  Come visit Personalized Productivity to take our free quiz to determine your primary type and get customized advice to begin building your system.

Embracing the Journey

This post is by Peter G. James Sinclair.

With readers now from 150 nations currently visiting my blog, and subscribers being added daily, my first online video/audio/text course called Self Development Mastermind on sale, ebooks created, along with my Daily Motivational Memo ready to launch, plus a whole lot of exciting personal development materials in production—just after deciding six months ago to truly pursue my passion—all I can say is, “I’m excited.”

With my articles being picked up by blogs with huge readership, even landing a mention in The New York Times, I am bursting with creativity and energy. Early every morning I jump out of bed into the darkness, and take myself to one of a number of my favorite cafes here on the Gold Coast to “create magnificence”—as I call it.

I have a burning desire to make a difference in the lives of people in Peru, China, Kazakhstan, and beyond through the power of my Motivational Memo blog.

The world is so full of negative reports, details of disasters and horrifying events that it is in desperate need of my message of hope, faith and the understanding that for every storm there is a rainbow.

But it hasn’t always been this way

I was born long before the Internet, and yet in my twenties I developed a global vision. However, I never really knew how that would ultimately play out in my life.

Every morning I would take a map of the world and begin to pray for each and every nation of this world, their leaders and for their people.

But life has a habit of taking you to places at times where you didn’t intend going.

One of those places was a period of six months where my young family and I didn’t own a motorcar, and I decided to take on a part-time job of packing shelves in my local supermarket. This involved either getting up very early in the morning some days, or at the other end of the day working very late into the night when the store was free of customers.

This was a period in my life where I found myself between opportunities and I decided to enjoy the journey. Not once did I complain—though at times it was tough (especially when it came to having to ride my pushbike in the rain). For during this time I hung on to the global vision that had been imbedded in my heart years before.

So there I was—a “global shelf packer” dreaming of my next bestseller (which actually happened after this period when I was handed my first $100,000 check for my first ever self-published book). All I could think of was how one day my words would impact millions of people around the world.

So how did I choose to enjoy this period of my life?

Well here are just a few things I did:

  • I chose to be the best shelf packer in the store. Products that I placed on the shelves were placed with a spirit of excellence attached.
  • I chose to have the best shelf packer attitude out of all the shelf packers combined. I smiled a lot.
  • While others kept complaining about the “unreasonable” managers—and they were—I kept my mouth closed.
  • While others laughed at me as I gathered up all the cheap bread late at night—and hopped on my pushbike laden with a discounted bready bundle, I ignored the jeers, because I knew what reception I was going to receive from my young family the very next morning. My children started to call me Father Christmas because of all the goodies that I delivered, and my wife loved me for capturing the incredible savings.
  • While I packed shelves I kept dreaming of my future as a global motivational influencer, and a leader in my field of passion. There’s nothing better than dreaming while you’re wide awake.
  • During my time as a shelf packer I filled my days studying and pursuing my passions—refining my skill as a writer and spending my time associating with mentors, both dead and alive, in my chosen field. This was where I spent hours locked away in the basement of a local university library poring over the writings of men like Ralph Waldo Emerson, amongst others.

So what of the future?

I will continue to write life changing material, until I reach every single nation of the world through the power of the blog and the Internet and whatever technology hands us in the years to come.

I won’t stop until I reach the very ends of the earth with a message that inspires and encourages men, women, and children to pursue their passion, dream huge dreams, and fulfill all that they have been created to become—all because I have been transformed from a shelf packer into a global blogger.

This is my mission. This is my commission. What’s yours?

Peter G. James Sinclair is in the ‘heart to heart’ resuscitation business and inspires, motivates and equips others to be all that they’ve been created to become. Receive your free copy of his latest eBook Personal Success Blueprint at http://www.motivationalmemo.com and add him on Twitter @PeterGJSinclair today!

The Defining Qualities of a Winner

This guest post is by Peter G. James Sinclair of motivationalmemo.com.

‘Winners hate losing, but are willing to lose in order to get better.’
—Robert Kiyosaki

Everyone loves a winner. But in order to win, experience has taught me that it may require a combination of both a series of wins and losses in order to achieve an ultimate victory.

It’s not what you go through that makes the difference. It’s what you learn along the way and what you become in the process—a winner.

But what are the defining qualities of a winner? Here are just four that particularly stand out to me:


Without a burning desire to achieve or obtain, there is no light and no warmth generated in a life.

To have a goal or a dream with a deadline is the very thing that will create the “fire of desire.” It’s the burn that will create the yearn.

A life filled with desire will jump out of bed in the morning ready to go, will work relentlessly throughout the day, and even burn the candle long into the night.

For a well-placed desire is the motivation, or as I say the “motor-vation” that will drive you towards your win.

Desire is the spark, the flame, the ignition, the energy, the propulsion and the characteristic of a winner and their winning ways.


Ongoing education is crucial for the winner who doesn’t want to be a “one-win-wonder.” By continuing to partake of the information that builds them as winners they will go from one victory to the next.

Life is a long distance race, and not just a 100-meter sprint.

Each time I have ever embarked into a new business arena, my first and foremost task has been to educate myself.

When I embarked upon writing a musical I studied musicals and those who wrote them throughout the past century. When I decided to self publish my books I studied publishing and marketing. When I started a web design company I surrounded myself with a team of smart people and took notes furiously. When I decided to make money from blogging I hired a blogging coach.

The information gained set me up for a win each and every time.


It’s one thing though to be informed. In this day and age we are often in fact suffering from information overload. It can actually paralyze you if you let it.

What is required and demonstrated by the winner is the ability to assimilate what they have learned and put it into action.

The power is in the application of your new-found knowledge, and not just the knowledge alone.

Personally, I have always understood something far better by doing rather than just listening or watching. Another way I have learned things at a deeper level has been to then teach others what I had just learned. Through the years I have acted as a business/life coach for many—at first for free, and now for payment.

I am always surprised at how “smart” I have become. The fact is though, that as you teach others—or even prepare and deliver a speech, both of which I am now paid to do—your own thoughts and understanding of the subject matter is crystallized in your own mind.


I learned the power of repetition when I studied the piano from the age of six through to 18, with only a six-month break when I was 14.

The drill of playing scales, arpeggios and the discipline of the theoretical study of music clearly demonstrated to me of the value of repetition.

The direct result was that I was transformed over time from being a mediocre piano student into one who composed and performed his own songs, recorded five professional recordings and wrote both the music and lyrics for my own stage musical.

In sales I learned to become a professional salesperson through repetition of the sales process. In writing I learned to become a professional writer through repetition, and aligned with that repetition was the repetitive actions of editing, refining, evaluation and improvement.

These are the defining qualities of a winner. Can you add more to this list?

Peter G. James Sinclair is in the “heart to heart” resuscitation business and inspires, motivates and equips others to be all that they’ve been created to become. Receive your free copy of his latest eBook Personal Success Blueprint at http://www.motivationalmemo.com and add him on Twitter @PeterGJSinclair – today!

7 Ways to Keep a New Habit

This post is by Benny Hsu of Get Busy Living.

Have you ever tried to keep a new habit only for you to stop a week or a month later? It happens to all of us.

Don’t worry—you always get another chance to start again. The next time you want to start new habits in your life, try a different approach for success.

Here are some tips to help you to keep your new habits.

1. Know why you’re doing this

Having a strong reason why you are doing something is stronger than how you will do it. Knowing why will keep you focused when you’re tempted to quit. Let me give you an example.

If there is a board ten feet long on the floor and I tell you to walk on it, will you? Of course. If I put that board connecting the top of two buildings 40 stories up, will you cross it? Most likely not. Now if your child was on the other roof and it was on fire, would you walk across? You bet you would.

The situation stayed the same but your reason for going across was the motivator. It’s what drives you.

This is why many New Year’s resolutions fail so quickly. There’s not a meaningful reason for the change. It’s just something you feel like you should be doing.

Really know why you are making this habit and want to keep it. The ones who succeed in making new habits and keeping them are the ones that have a deep reason to change. Find yours.

2. Mark an X on your calendar

When working towards making positive changes, one way to keep you going is to chart your progress. Sometimes the physical progress is harder to see because the changes are gradual. You may need a way to visually see that you are making progress.

When I was training for my first half marathon, I printed out the training calendar and put an X after each day I trained. Once I started, it was rewarding to see so many Xs and to know how far I’d progressed. I wanted to keep those X’s going. I didn’t want a blank box.

At the end of a month, I couldn’t believe how many days of running I’d actually accomplished. Seeing it motivated me to keep the momentum going.

3. Don’t break the habit

Of course that seems obvious, but it’s more than that. You don’t want to do perform your habit for two weeks and then stop for two weeks and then decide to try again. Why?

When you consistently do something with regularity it keeps the momentum going. Doing it everyday keeps you in the routine. Once you stop for a period of time it’s harder to get that rhythm again.

Make an effort to stay consistent each day. Remember slow and steady wins the race.

4. Blog about it

Instead of being accountable to just one person, take it one step further if you have a blog and post your goals on there! You’ll get encouragement but also you’ll also have report to them.

Pat Flynn recently finished a 60 day workout program with amazing results. He said one of his biggest motivations was the people checking in on his progress. He didn’t want to let them down.

5. Don’t punish yourself for falling off the wagon for one day

Earlier, I said don’t break the habit. However we are are human and good habits are not easy to keep. If you skip a day or fall off the wagon, don’t think it’s the end of the world and you’re a failure.

Look at the big picture of how you’re doing. If you are doing something for a whole month like exercising or eating healthy and have one day where you feel lazy or eat a whole pizza, don’t be too hard on yourself.

If you’re trying to cut out soda but you had one at a friend’s house, it’s okay. One day won’t ruin everything.

Focus again starting tomorrow. You’re trying to incorporate this habit into a lifetime change so you’ll have plenty of time to stay on track.

6. Get money involved

Money is always a motivating factor for most people. Here’s one way to do it.

If you want to start a new habit of reading 30 pages of non-fiction a day, four days out of the week for a month, find a friend or relative you can trust and give that person $100 at the beginning of the month.

That person will give you $25 back every week you complete your goal of reading. If you fail to complete it, the person keeps $25. If you complete a week, you get $25 back. Keep going till the end of the month.

Don’t make the amount too extravagant, but don’t make it too small, either. If you do, you won’t care if you don’t have it. Also, make sure you’re honest with your results. Lying about it defeats the whole purpose.

7. Reward yourself

Set a time frame for rewarding yourself throughout the process, not just at the end. You should reward yourself because keeping a habit isn’t easy.

At the end of your set time, say a week or two, if you’ve been doing a great job sticking to your habit, reward yourself with something you want. A day at the spa. A trip to a baseball game. A shopping trip. It’s completely up to you.

Then at the end of a longer timeframe—say a month—give yourself a bigger reward, like a small vacation. If you’ve made it that far, you truly deserve it.

Keep that habit

Studies have shown that it takes three weeks to form a good habit. Take the list above and find the ones that will best motivate you to continue. Developing better habits will lead you to more success and happiness in your life.

Benny Hsu blogs at Get Busy Living where he’s inspiring others to live a remarkable life, explore ways to help people get unstuck and find what excites them everyday. You can also follow him Twitter @Benny_Hsu.

How to Right-Size Your Life

Seize the opportunity! Leave no stone unturned! These have been my mantras for the past three years as I’ve built my social media presence as a fitness expert.

“Opportunities are rare and may not come again,” I would tell myself after someone asked me to collaborate on a project. This would cause me to immediately say yes—to just about anything, really. It was about getting exposure, of course, but it was also brand new to me, and fascinating, and fun, and cool, and … you get the idea.

I realize I’m one of the lucky ones. I make a decent income from social media—enough that my family has some breathing room and we can actually afford to take vacations again. My social media career has also helped my “real” business—my Pilates studio—which has gotten more local press (which means more clients) because of the presence I have online. I am thankful every day for what I’ve built and thankful that people have responded to it so well.

But boy was I burned out

There is always a tipping point, and for me the last straw was when I agreed to take a Director of Social Media job. Here was an opportunity to show the world all I had learned, plus it paid really well. I actually think I did a decent job growing the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers for the client, as well as catching the attention of some stores who later started carrying the product and working some connections for press coverage.

It was definitely working. But my brain was goo. On top of running a studio and a blog, it was just too much. I had to pull back.

Right-sizing my life

The big life lesson that I learned here is that I was given opportunities that I didn’t seek out. I wasn’t looking for a social media job when it was offered to me, but it was so cool I wanted to try it. There were other opportunities like this that I was also saying yes to. But they weren’t in the direction I truly wanted to go.

I’m going to get all “woo woo” on you for a second, so bear with me. I’m in my 40s now and I’ve learned (and relearned) that if you don’t follow your heart, you’re not going to be happy. Yes, you need to make a living, but there are scads of ways to do that and still follow your heart.

Let’s face it: anything you put out there in social media is completely in your control. All you have is your time (hours and hours of time), so why would you spend it creating a persona or going in a direction that isn’t you? You’ll only be a big pile of goo like I was.

I realized my error(s) and started to divest a lot of stuff. I’ve pared my life down to my studio, my blog, and FeelGooder, and I’m feeling out some writing projects that I want to pursue. I’m looking forward to seeing how my career develops and I’m also looking forward to going home tonight and relaxing with my family. Boy will that feel good.

Have you ever had to right-size your life? How did you do it?