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7 Guidelines to Make Success Inevitable

2016 goals success doug sandler.png

What does the little voice inside your head tell you about your future? Many times, it will not be just one voice, it will be an entire choir of voices. The key to success is knowing that you are able to conduct the choir. It is you that is in control of the voices, and not the voices that are in control of you. If you treat the concept of success (as defined by you) as inevitable, success will be achieved by you. Become conscious of the inner voice and aware that it is constantly chattering. What is being said is of paramount importance, make sure is it positive, uplifting and constructive. The conversations you have with yourself should be encouraging you, as if success was inevitable. Here are 7 guidelines for proceeding:

Stop looking back - The past is just that, the past. Nothing you do will change what you have already done, so there is no sense in second guessing or worrying about how your got on the path you are on right now. You chose the path and it has gotten you exactly where you are today. Delight in the knowledge you are here and have learned valuable lessons because of the choices you have made. If you have a tendency to look over your shoulder (figuratively, of course), you can lose focus on all of the amazingness that is in front of you. Continue your amazing journey. It is uniquely yours. Your future depends on the decisions you make moving forward, not the regrets from your past. Let yesterday's lessons make for successful planning for your future.

One key to success is knowing that you are able to conduct the choir of voices in your head.

Focus your attention on what lies ahead - Have you ever tried riding a bicycle backward? It's a very challenging task. Not only is it difficult,  but it looks and feels so unnatural. When focusing forward, however, with your head up, it is much easier to keep your balance and to keep an eye on your goals.  The year ahead will be incredible if you believe it will be incredible. It will require you to make an effort and not only set goals, but put in place, actionable steps to help you reach your goals. Allow yourself some space to make things happen. While looking forward is essential for success, even with blinders on it is important to stop every once in a while to check your progress, evaluate your goals and make adjustments. 

When you come to the fork in the road, give weighted consideration to the road less traveled - The road less traveled is traveled less for a reason and far more satisfying than moving along with the masses. Make your life an adventure, filled with excitement. More adventure and excitement does not necessarily equate to more risk. But even if it did come with elevated risk, would you be willing to risk stepping outside your comfort zone to achieve some amazing results? Taking the road less traveled will result in uncommon rewards. 

The best way to predict the future is to create it.
— Peter Drucker

Stop listening to those who have not traveled your journey - It is easy to be critical when you are directing from an armchair. Most of your critics will be armchair critics who have never endured what you have experienced. Those critics have not been in your shoes nor are they on your path. Instead of listening to their opinions, listen to the words of those that have traveled your journey. As human beings, by nature, we have a tendency to want to please others. Hold yourself accountable only to you and do not let their recordings play in your head. Life is not a popularity contest and there will be as many opinions as there are decisions to make. Do what is best for you and keep in mind that the best response to the sour thinkers is your success. Success is so sweet.

Do not run from change, embrace it -  The only constant in life is change. Once you begin to accept change in your life, stress, anxiety and pressure will be greatly reduced. Accepting change does not mean you need to accept everything that comes along, but you should learn to live life with a greater feeling of flexibility, an understanding the nothing is permanent, and an openness to opportunity when it is presented to you. Although your habits and routines will be tested as you begin the process of changing, it is okay, since the results will be personal growth, professional improvement and and a bigger vision for your future.

When you wake with passion, you work with passion.

Live life with passion - Anything worth doing, is worth doing with passion. When you wake with passion, you work with passion. Over the course of my career, especially early on,  I spent too much time focused on the financial rewards of working hard. For most of that time, I was working to make a living, not a life. I was able to buy stuff as a result, thinking it would make me happy. The more stuff I obtained, the more stuff I wanted and it soon became an endless cycle of desire, greed and unsatisfying results. I was clearly not happy. Once I started to understand the role passion plays in determining success, it became clear to me success was more about finding my passion and not filling a bank account, filling a garage or filling a closet. As my passion evolved, goals and dreams became clearer and I became more financially successful as a result. Start with passion and do what you love. Stick with it and you will be very happy with the results as well.

Don't be so hard on yourself - As you begin to set goals, develop a plan of action, and to work your plan, give yourself some slack. Happiness, positivity and a good attitude can be quickly sabotaged when you are too hard on yourself. Give everything you do your best effort and know that if you fall short of your goals, you simply need to reset your goals and go after them again. You are the only critic you need to answer to, so the six inches between your ears should be protected and precious space. You will get far more from yourself if you are encouraging, accepting and loving and less critical of every move you make.

This past year, 2015 has been a great one for me, but also very bittersweet. Professionally, my book, Nice Guys Finish First launched in February and by the end of March hit #1 on Amazon's charts. It continues to do very well and has been a dream come true for me. My Nice Guy community (blog readers and podcast listeners) continues to grow and I am proud to say that 2015 has brought 2,500 weekly readers to my website, a new crop of readers through my Huffington Post channel, over 20,000 Twitter followers, 5,000 LinkedIn connections and well over 20,000 downloads to my Nice Guys on Business podcast (thanks to my partner Strickland Bonner).  Those of you that know me personally, know my dreams came true when, in August,  I married my best friend and the world's most beautiful woman Danielle. This past year my daughter Rachel graduated from James Madison University and I look forward to seeing her dreams come true as she continues her music studies. My son Adam (yes that's right, Adam Sandler)  continues his studies in graphic design as college sophomore. Sadly, 2015 marks the year I lost my step-father of 43 years, Marty Finstein. Marty was the man of steel with the tin box. I am blessed to have my mother in my life and we miss him very much. I am grateful to have so much love in my life and know that 2016 will continue to put me on a direct path towards success. I welcome you to join me on this path. It is open to Nice Guys everywhere. By now, you have to realize nice guys finish first.

Nice Guys Finish First
By Doug Sandler



A Challenge Worth Taking

You’ve heard the expression, “Live life to the fullest,” many times before. But I would challenge you to first work on another area of your life. My challenge to you is this -- Be present as you go through life, love harder, care more and notice what is going on around you. Live this life with an acute awareness of how much you can and do affect those around you. Also, have a deeper understanding of how others affect your life as well. It will be much easier for you to live a fuller life if you start by living a more aware life. Live your life on purpose. We are put on earth for a limited period of time. Spend your time giving everything you’ve got. Do not hold back your feelings. Take notice of what is going on around you.

It will be much easier for you to live a fuller life if you start by living a more aware life.

Within the last week or so I was given information about three people that were taken prematurely from this life. While I did not know them well, I knew all three well enough to know that they were good, hard working, honest and genuine people. The first was the spouse of an event planner in the DC area. At 36, while jogging, he had a heart attack and died leaving behind a wife and two young children. I have been told that in his phone he kept a record of names of people he met and the ways in which he could provide assistance or help create a positive influence in their life.

The second person was a high school classmate of mine that built an incredible cleaning business while still in high school and retired very early in life. Since retiring he spent many years donating a generous amount of time and money helping sick children feel better. He built a second “career” as Batman, complete with an exotic Batmobile (a converted Lamborghini), going to hospitals, centers and homes and making dreams come true. One night last week while heading home from western Maryland his Batmobile broke down, and while trying to make a repair was struck and killed along the highway.

You never know how much time you have in this life. Make the most of it!

The third person I knew a bit more closely. He worked in the events industry, setting up and staffing milestone events like weddings and bar mitzvahs. His sense of humor and his wit were sharp and while he would often “pretend” to be overworked, he loved what he did for a living and thought very highly of others in the industry as well. During the workweek he provided support for recovering addicts and would always be available for a laugh, smile or conversation. A friend, concerned that she had not heard from him in many days alerted authorities and he was found in his apartment. The cause of his death is under investigation.

Three wonderful, giving, extraordinary people that lived amazing lives filled with love, care and blessings. We can all be better at doing more for others, caring more for those around us and being more aware of how we affect others. The people you have in your life right now need to know how much you mean to them. Don’t hold back or fear that you are being too “soft” or emotional. They need to know that you love them, will support them and will be there for them if ever needed.

Be present. Love and care for others with all you’ve got.

The alternative is to spend life with your head down, stuck in a cell phone, distracted by an email, pulled away by an urgent phone call or otherwise wanting to be anywhere other than where you are at the present moment. Give yourself permission to laugh a bit louder at joke you just heard, smile just a bit wider at the next person you meet (even if you don’t know them) and leave your cell phone in the car when you are having lunch with a friend or coworker.

You never know how much time you have in this life. Make the most of it, be present and love and care for others with all you’ve got. I can promise you one thing, it will make everyone, including you, feel great.

Nice Guys Finish First
By Doug Sandler



10 Ways to Avoid Quitting on Your Goals and Dreams

Photo credit Pixabay.com

Photo credit Pixabay.com

Success is not always achieved by the fastest, the smartest, the richest or even to the most capable people out there. Life has taught me success goes to anyone that simply doesn’t quit. Stay on the path made by others before you or make your own path, it doesn't matter. Action will help you achieve your goals. Inaction is a dream crusher. Action moves you forward, and although it may seem obvious that doing something is better than doing nothing, many people choose the latter. And it’s not because people are lazy. For many, getting out of the starting gate is a challenge. Maybe they have the belief that a dream is just that, a dream, and while it would be great to achieve it, it’s not a realistic expectation. For some, quitting comes as a result of losing interest. For others, they halt in their tracks when the temporary pain of sacrifice outweighs the potential pleasure achieved by reaching their target.

In order to hit a target, you’ve got to have a target.

If success comes by simply not quitting, what is the reason for the disconnect and why is it that so many people give up on their goals and get out of the game? Looking back to countless projects that I’ve started over the years but not finished, businesses I’ve brought to life and seen consequently die, and plans I have built only to watch them crumble, the overwhelming majority of the time I have not achieved my goal was because I gave up, nothing more.

Here is a list of 10 ways to avoid quitting on your goals and dreams.

  1. Rule one. In order to hit a target, you’ve got to have a target. If you are not big on goal setting, I can completely relate, but it’s a critical step for a couple of reasons. First, setting goals will help you visualize where you want to be and second, if you don’t set goals, how will you know when you get there? The only way for you to get what you want out of life is to set goals. Don’t like writing lists? Draw a picture. One of my goals is to speak at a TED Talk conference. On my bathroom mirror is a stick figure drawing of me, delivering my 18 minute speech, wearing a little beige microphone, standing on a round, red carpet.

  2. Set realistic expectations. If your goal is to run a marathon, but you have never run in your life, give yourself time to train. You’ve got to build up to 26.2 miles. Many people quit because they have an unrealistic expectation of how quickly they want to reach their goal. Keep in mind, while you are working on reaching your target, life is going on all around you. Give yourself time to reach the summit.

  3. Big goals need to be made into bite size nuggets. Once you’ve set your goals, take it a step further and break them down into daily tasks. When I started writing my my book, the idea of writing 200 plus pages of a business book seemed way too challenging. However, writing 10 pages a week for twenty weeks didn’t seem to scare me as much. For me, however, I wanted to make sure “book writing” got onto my daily to-do list, so the idea of writing 300 words a day was totally realistic.

  4. Be prepared for the roadblocks. There will be traffic tickets, office projects, fights with your partner, visits to the ER, calls from school and a thousand one other obstacles that will get in your way. Don’t fall prey to excusitis. Know that life is going to come down hard on you as soon as you set your goals. Be prepared, don’t quit, keep moving.

  5. Set a realistic date for your goals. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it's the same with your goals. Many people give up on their goals and dreams when they don’t achieve them overnight. Set a realistic date, be as specific as possible and look at it everyday. As you start to close in on the date, make a push to reach your goal. Get excited when you see the finish line and work hard to make it happen.

  6. Make sure you can measure your progress. When I first started following my website analytics, I became very focused on the numbers. More traffic driven to my website equaled more inquiries, more shares on social media and more services sold. Instead of feeling like all of my website traffic goals were locked into just one overall number (total visits), I was instead able to measure things like unique visitors, shares on specific social media channels, comments made and more. Although I may not achieve my total visits goal every day, I am usually able to find a victory in one of the analytics I use. Measurable progress is a must.

  7. Reward yourself along the way. I do like a good party. Small celebrations will prevent me from quitting. Even if I have a particularly rough setback, I will find a reason to celebrate. Keeping your head in the game is the cause for celebration and you must not allow yourself to get into a negative funk. Negativity will squash your dreams faster than the Grinch’s run through Whoville.

  8. Watch what happens along the way. As you move forward, great things will happen. As you stay the course and start to build momentum, you will receive much needed support that others could write off as luck. Speaker, author and successful businessman Brian Tracy says of luck, “I found luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active, show up more often.”

  9. Make yourself accountable to someone. Do not remain silent about your goals. If you want to achieve more and avoid quitting on your dreams, have someone close to you hold you accountable. One rule about accountability - No wimps! It is critical that you find someone that will not let you off the hook so easily when you falter.

  10. Own it. Speak it into existence. When you talk about your goals and dreams, don’t talk about what you are going to do, talk about what you are doing to make it happen. Less wishing, more doing. Want to be an author? First, start writing. Second, when someone asks you what you do, tell them proudly, you are a writer.

Life has taught me success goes to anyone that simply doesn’t quit

Make 2015 the year that you not only start to reach for all of your dreams, but also the year you decided not to give up on your dreams. It is never too late to get want you want out of life, never too late to be the best you can be, never too late to be successful and never too late to change.

My first book, published by Motivational Press is scheduled to be released first quarter 2015. I am available to speak to your company about how to build lifelong relationships with your customers and providing exemplary customer service. My blog also appears in Huffington Post. Please share my post on your favorite form of social media.