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Reinvent Yourself

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Piggy Bank Moments

They are the defining moments in your life that have huge significance. They are turning points, transitions and our forks in the road. At the time, you may not have noticed the change. Only looking back did you see the hard turn to the left or right. Subtle changes, a little at a time, brought you to this moment. Once you arrive here there is no turning back, and that is good. 

She sat down on her living room floor, the movers had just collected all of her furniture and prepared her for the move. All that remained was for her to broom sweep the small apartment she was moving out of. She took a moment to look around and reflect, all of the great memories created in her little space. The conversations that took place within these walls, the business deals that were closed here, the relationships forged  -- all amazing memories. But it was time to move on.

She held one cherished item back from the movers, her piggy bank. Savings tapped out, she emptied the contents onto the carpet, the room void of furniture. She counted out $127. After paying the movers, that is all she had left. Sure, she had support from family, friends and others closest to her if she needed it, but she wouldn't need their support. Not this time. She wanted to prove to herself that she could do this financially on her own. She would accept all the moral support and encouragement she was given, but making the financial part work was her goal.

Although scared beyond words, she collected the money, put it back into the piggy bank, and sat there for several minutes collecting her thoughts, cherishing each of the memories that came to her. She could feel the tears on her cheek. They were not tears of sadness, but rather, a show of excited, scared, anticipation of what was to come.

She made her way to the door and closed it behind her, knowing that she would never be back. She has since moved her life forward, never backward,  nor for a moment second guessing her potential.

What are the piggy banks moments that have helped to define your life? Know that as you make transitions in your life, it's ok to feel afraid. If there is no fear, there is no risk. Without risk, no reward. Stepping out of your comfort zone is supposed to be scary. Looking back, to see these moments, is so wonderful. As you look over your shoulder at your piggy bank moments, feel proud of all that you have accomplished. Sometimes, rewards do not come quickly, but they will come. Be patient with yourself, allow yourself to be scared, but don't deny yourself the opportunity to move forward with your life. Your adventure awaits.

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How to Set Your Bar Higher

We live in a "I want it now" society, so I figure the best way to start my story is at the end, with the moral. So here it is: Go big or go home. I'm 35 words into writing this piece and hopefully I haven't lost too many of you out there. I know you're busy, but work with me, and if I still have your interest, continue to read. If you glean nothing from this post other than my moral, I feel as though I have touched your life in some way. But don't sell yourself short, you've gone this far, take it to the next level before an email comes in, the phone rings again, you are tagged in a post and notified or someone demands a LinkedIN connection. Let's start our precursor to the moral with a short history lesson.

Setting the bar higher is not for the faint of heart, but then again, who aspires to be average?

It was November of 2014, and I was working hard conjuring up ways to advance my writing business. I came across a Tweet from a woman with a link to her Huffington Post column. As I read through the column I thought about how fortunate it was that this woman had access to an incredibly powerful publication like HuffPost. Intrigued and interested in finding out how I might be able to have the same opportunity, I asked her about how she made this happen. She said, "I reached out to Arianna Huffington." My first thought was, how could it be that easy? And then I considered the other options. I could write the editorial department, get shoved around to 3 or 4 editors, submit a piece or two, track down everyone again, follow up and eventually get put on the back burner. Or option two, I could email Arianna directly and see if she had any interest. I selected option two. About a week later I received a response from the co-founder and editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington, directly, "We'd love to feature your voice on Huffington Post." I can't say for sure exactly how many people have read my column over the past 7 months and 30 posts later, (probably between 10,000 and 100 gazillion readers) but I do know that it has opened more doors for me than would have been the case without the added exposure.

Are you trying to merge onto the superhighway of life in a 1972 Ford Pinto?

Who is your Arianna Huffington, and why have you not reached out to her yet? (Author's note: Let's make a deal, feel free to insert any excuse you want to right here and I will feel free to ignore any excuse you offer.) People, here's the issue, we are either too afraid to go big, or feel we don't carry the clout to make "going big" a part of our agenda. Velvet off the sledgehammer now, cut the crap, we are all small potatoes until we consciously make a decision to move beyond that type of small thinking. The only way to accomplish our dreams is get out of our old thinking and get into some dream duds. Bathe in the richness of our huge ideas. Make reality out of the things that other people only wish they could achieve.

Fortunately, I have an opportunity to speak to people all over the country. I find a common theme is the thread that ties many of my diverse audiences together. In the form of a question, here it is:

How can I go beyond where I am now? It's one thing to believe it, but how can I actually do it? My answer is simple, set the bar higher, here's how:

Think beyond you. Look at the impact that your dreams and big thinking have on everyone around you. If you actually pulled off what you dreamed of how amazing would life be for those around you. If you dreamed of opening a restaurant, think about the positive impact on the surrounding neighborhood and the people you would be feeding everyday. If you are an app developer, look at the all of the lives you would be touching if your app was in the hands of thousands or millions of people. As a writer, I imagined the impact I would have on everyone that would be reading my motivational and inspirational posts.

Forget what is impossible. Take the words "I can't," out of your vocabulary. My dad used to say to me, "Dougie, if anyone else has accomplished it, you can too." I will go one step beyond and say, even if no one has done it, we live in an age where ANYTHING is possible. Since starting my career as a mobile DJ, I have watched technology change my business from records, to cassette tapes, to CD's, to mp3's to instant downloads and music streaming. What once was only possible in a cargo van (DJ transportation in 1984) is now possible with a SmartCar.

Don't just try to get on a different road, get in a different vehicle. Are you trying to merge onto the superhighway of life in a 1972 Ford Pinto? Do an analysis of where you are in life and take a good hard look if the vehicle will get you to retirement and happily ever after. If not, keep in mind it is never too late. A 48, just a couple of short years ago, my career did a 180 degree spin and I have been loving every minute of my professional speaking, writing, training and podcasting life.

Keep gratitude in your heart and know what you do really matters. When you love what you do and you love the people you do it with, life takes on a whole different meaning, and it will come back to you ten fold. Over the past year, I have had an opportunity to interview a host of people on my podcast, each of which has a special place in my heart and in my life. People like Charles Sidi, Stephie Rockwell, Tim Fargo, Ted Coine, Carlota Zimmerman, Jeremy Watkin and several others that have made a huge impact on me. All of their interviews can be found here.

Once you set the bar higher, you start expect more from yourself, others will expect more from you as well. Setting the bar higher is not for the faint of heart, but then again, who aspires to be average? So go big or go home. Push yourself past average and get into the greatness zone. Life becomes much more interesting when you think beyond yourself, forget about what is impossible, you reach for your dreams and you do it with gratitude in your heart. I can't wait to hear about your happily ever after moments.

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Practical Advice to Reinvent Yourself

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pixabay.com 

The only thing constant is change. We are challenged, almost daily, by the conflict of push and pull. We want to make good decisions for ourselves and our families. When it comes to decisions, we often get stuck in a rut and make choices out of habit. The route we take to work, the cereal we buy at the grocery store, how many times we hit the snooze button in the morning. Habits are hard to break and they are certainly what keeps us in our comfort zone. Why else would anyone keep a bad hairstyle from the 1980s? Even worse, why would we ever stay in a job that is taking us nowhere or stay in stagnant relationship that provides little nourishment for our soul? There is, however, a solution in every problem, but we need to be willing to look for it. Big challenges require big vision and bigger change. Enter stage right, the reinvention.

It actually isn’t dramatic at all, and it usually comes with no fanfare, no grand entrance and very little hype. But is does come with a bunch of emotion, worry, and self-doubt. When you are in reinvention mode, it feels great and scary all at the same time. You’re free, you’re refreshed, you are loving life and you are scared. The difference between the old you and the new you can be put into motion by the simple turning of a figurative switch. Make a decision and get to it. Once the decision is made, being overworked becomes being overjoyed. Don’t tell yourself you can’t make the change because change is “complicated.” It doesn’t have to be complicated. Put on your big boy briefs and get to work. Stop settling and start moving. Yes, I am talking to you.

You need to decide that it is time for a change. Focus on a perfect world of I can do it.

What will that catalyst be? It might me waking up one day to discover that you have finally had enough. It might be an enlightening conversation with a friend, coworker or relative. In any case, it will require a decision and then action. First, the decision. You need to decide that it is time for a change. For just a moment, set aside the fear that says “you can’t” and focus on a perfect world of “I can.” Second, take action. I have a very close friend that talks about a principle of a flywheel. Flywheels can be difficult to get started and require a lot of upfront energy to get into action, but once they are moving they chugalug with very little effort.

So let’s get to it. I did it and so can you. Too old to reinvent? Think again, I was almost 50 years old when I started my reinvention, well over 20 years in another world, coming from an entirely different industry, different market and different mindset. So how did I do it? I made a decision, just as you will too. But you will need to make up your own mind, I can’t do that for you.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
— Buddha

Here are the practical steps to reinvention:

Be willing to accept change in your life. Change is not a four letter word. Allow it to enter your life and your decisions. Don’t let the fear of change hold you back.

Burn the boats. Once you make a decision, keep moving forward and do not stop until you win. Ryan Estis, a successful consultant, keynote speaker and friend talks about the idea of burning the boats. Do not allow for a Plan B. There should be no retreat, no surrender and no choice BUT to win. If you have no boat to go back to, you have no choice but to move forward.

Visualize the new you. Say it into existence. Make plans and talk about the new you. It may require a bit of “fake it until you make it” attitude, but I can assure you it works like a champ. In my own personal experience, before I had written the first word of my book, I was an author. Sure, it took 20 weeks of writing, another 10 weeks of editing, a boatload of design and plenty of patience after uttering those words the first time but, “I’m an author.” became my reality.

Develop a step by step action plan. Your best bet is to make a plan and spell it out, step by step. If you don’t know how to do it, follow someone else who has gone before you. Don’t have a relationship with anyone that has gone before you? Make that your first step. I had no clue about the steps I needed to complete in order to become a professional speaker or author, but I knew the right people to ask. It’s incredible what you will discover when you open your mouth and start asking questions.

Seek out support. Disconnect from naysayers. Feed your brain with good, and move away from bad. Seek out the people currently in your life that provide positive energy. For me, I have an amazing network of cheerleaders that regularly boost my energy, bring me back up if I feel down, and keep my head in the right place. Under no circumstance should you align yourself with anyone that will allow you to get away with “average” or second place results. Right now, you need to be pumped up. See my post, 24 Seconds That Can Change Your Life.

Be willing to fail. Don’t let a temporary setback keep you down for good. Remember, you’ve burned the boats, you have no way to get back. I can assure you, you will hit roadblocks and detours along the way and at times you will want to climb under your covers and wait it out. Do not retreat. You got this.

Enjoy life and all it has to offer. There are many years of happiness in front of you and if you take off the rear view mirror and stop looking backwards you will see all that life has to offer. Life is best played with a positive attitude, a huge smile and a soul filled with love.

I would love to hear about your reinvention. Tell me about the new you, the old you went down with the boats. xo

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