Posts Tagged ‘success’

No time? Try this

January 7, 2010

According to SUCCESS magazine – the average American worker spends 46 minutes a day commuting to and from work.  That’s 199 hours – 25 eight-hour days, each year.  Find a way to work from home and you just found 1 full extra month a year. 

What could you do with a full uninterrupted month?  Write that book, fish, travel, take a course, build your back-yard deck or immerse in reflection at a monastery.

Beautiful Mess

November 23, 2009

I just read the book titled Beautiful Mess.  You might recognize the singers of the song by that name – and the authors of this book – Diamond Rio.  In just hearing I Believe, Meet Me in the Middle or One More Day it’s easy to assume the group enjoying the fruits of their success.  And we tend to think that “success” brings trouble-free lives, complete with meaningful work, easy financial rewards and fulfilling relationships.  Beautiful Mess reminds us that what we as observers see as “success” comes with all the usual challenges of life. 

The group members share their physical, emotional and spiritual hardships and the pain of mistakes that cannot be corrected.  They also remind us that fame and fortune are typically preceded by persistence and hard work that ultimately open the door to the “lucky breaks” seen by others. 

If you love country music you’ll enjoy this behind the scenes look at this repeated CMA winner of the Vocal Group of the Year.

Fake Success?

November 17, 2009

Last week a Palm Springs, CA man who was never in the military was charged with wearing the Navy’s highest honor.  Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles say 39-year-old Steven Burton was photographed wearing the Navy Cross along with the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and other medals.

This guy made his grand entrance at his high school reunion.  I guess being a bank teller wasn’t the image he wanted to share with his former classmates.  Unfortunately for Burton, another classmate was a real Navy commander and after a few questions decided to contact the FBI.  Authorities say Burton could face up to a year in federal prison if convicted.

Are we really caught up in that much pressure to appear “successful?”  Is it embarrassing to be a faithful and happy family man who drives a UPS truck, or grows organic vegetables, or works on an assembly line?  Or a woman who has chosen to be a stay-at-home mom rather than climb the corporate ladder?  Would being a marriage counselor or a grade-school teacher be viewed as adequate success? 

What parts of our lives do we want our old classmates to know about?  Are good health, spiritual vitality and loving relationships enough to be proud of as a life well lived? 

For years I have borrowed this definition of success:  “Success = the progressive realization of worthwhile goals.”  That allows success for a college sophomore who is learning to learn, or for the person who chooses to teach reading in the ghetto, or for the artist who create beautiful works, or for the individual who delivers the mail – and a smile. 

Stories of faking success are not new.  Frank Abagnale, Jr. (inspiration for the movie Catch Me if You Can) successfully impersonated an airline pilot, a doctor, a prison inspector and a lawyer – and passed $2.5 million in fake bills – all before he was 21 years old.  In the movie, the pursuing FBI agent observed that “sometimes it’s easier living the lie.”  I suspect that’s true for many people.

Does your definition of success match where you are in life?  Or do you find it necessary to fake success at your high school reunion?  If you could write your life as a movie script, what changes would you make?

Success too early?

November 13, 2009

What happens if you hit your dream too early?  For years I’ve watched this phenomenon play out in 21-yr-old NFL players who sabotage their early success.  The stories of drug abuse and personal failure as child actors become adults are legend.  Most lottery winners destroy their unexpected success within three years.  Last year I spoke at the White House to a group of mostly 30-somethings who knew they would be moved out with the next administration.  Where do you go after having had a White House assignment so early in your career?  

Wednesday night Taylor Swift described her emotions upon winning the CMA Entertainer of the Year – that industry’s highest honor.  She said she was dumbfounded at winning the award of her dreams at only 19 years old.  She added that she always likes a challenge and she wasn’t sure now what new challenge she would be working toward. 

Is it a good thing or a curse to “win” too early in life?  Is success sweeter if it comes only after years of hard work?  Are you ready to handle success? 

Cervantes said, “The road is better than the inn.”  In my own experience I know I’ve frequently enjoyed the challenge of success more than the end result I had in mind. 

Have you ever seen a dog that actually catches a car?   While the chasing seemed to be a thrilling adventure, reaching it usually produces a state of “What now?”  It seems that attaining success often confuses people as well.


Read and Succeed

July 10, 2009

If there is one thing to which I could attribute any success I’ve had it would have to be the reading I have done.  I never tire of absorbing the wisdom of the ages that is so readily available.  And I have become more and more aware of how little reading of great books and listening to great messages people who continue to struggle have typically done.  Every week I talk to people who see no opportunities and struggle in many areas of their lives. When I ask the titles of the last six books they’ve read, they often look at me with a blank stare. 

The wealth of information readily available is astounding.  You can become an “expert” in nearly any area in 30 days if you simply read 3 books on that topic.  You’ll bypass 98% of the population in knowledge on that particular topic.

I just received a link to the first three chapters of my friend Mark Victor Hansen’s newest book – Cash in a Flash.  Mark is a gentle and generous spirit who shares readily about the mind set and actions that lead to success.  In Cash in a Flash he provides a formula for success:

Success = a focused mind + a determined heart + a team of focused, determined people

Even if you are a solopreneur you can still have a team of people around you.  Create your own mastermind group, Eagles Club or whatever you want to call it.  Don’t miss the power of like minds. 

Here are the first three chapters of Cash in a Flash

And if you want my personal recommended reading list, here it is:  Dan’s Reading List

“Successful Failure?”

February 9, 2009

Dan, I would like to hear more of your thoughts on failure.  Since most of us who are trying to live a life with “No More Mondays” are probably going to fail several times, what does a “successful failure” look like?  How much should we risk in pursuit of our dreams?  As you often say, we must not be paralyzed by our fear of failure but I doubt you would suggest that we risk our marriages, health, homes, etc. while seeking to reach our goals.  What do you think is the right balance in this area?  Thanks, Eric

Great question Eric.  And I believe there really are “successful failures” in business.  That is not an oxymoron. Napoleon Hill once said: “Failure seems to be nature’s plan for preparing us for great responsibilities.”

So part of the issue is – Do you want to do something great – in any area?  If you are content with mediocrity in your life, then you will try to protect yourself from any failure.   Just recognize the trade-off.  

But here’s an important distinction:  It’s not just what you do in a job or your business that will identify you as a success or a failure.

  • Not having “date nights” or saying “I love you” daily will put your marriage at risk of failure.
  • Spending 65 hours a week at your job will put your emotional well-being at risk of failure.
  • Eating Twinkies and Big Macs and not exercising will put your health at risk of failure.
  • Financing a car or paying more than the equivalent of one month’s income in cash will put your financial health at risk of failure.
  • Spending less than an hour a day on spiritual and personal development sets you up for the risk of failure.
  • Expecting a company to continue giving you a paycheck puts you at risk of failure.

These are ways people set themselves up for “failure” totally aside from whether they pursue a No More Mondays work option.  The counterpart to this is, if you are successful in all the areas mentioned above, then “failure” in a business venture is not crippling.  It is simply one area in which to readjust and start again.  I’ve heard that Richard Branson will not invest in any company unless the person in charge has failed at least twice.  I’m convinced that had I not had a major failure in business a few years ago – leaving me with a $430,000 loss – that I would have continued with an unrealistic view of my golden touch.  I think I needed that experience to open my eyes – not to make me cynical, but to help me create a more solid business structure going forward.

I’m also totally convinced that someone who commits suicide upon losing a job or business had neglected excellence and success in the more important areas of life.  Having rich deposits in relationships, spiritual well-being, health and social connections act as a buffer in carrying you through any temporary business failure.  Whether you have a job, volunteer your time or start the next Microsoft – none of these alone will determine the success of your life. 

So here’s what I recommend for risking in a No More Mondays work option:

  • Take responsibility for where you are – whether good or bad.
  • Continue making deposits of success in the physical, spiritual, personal development, and relationship areas of your life.
  • Pursue work that engages your passions as well as your abilities.
  • Weigh the financial requirements very carefully.  Personally, I have seven different areas of revenue generation in my small business.  That way if one “fails” it’s not devastating. 
  • Recognize that a temporary financial loss does not need to be the end of your business venture. It’s probably just a wake-up call, helping you to readjust for bigger successes in the future. Make the adjustment and know that you are now closer to ultimate success.

So Eric, recognize that many people “risk failure in their marriages, health, homes, etc.” while desperately trying to hang on to a “real job.”  Identifying your passion, creating a careful plan of action, and moving into a No More Mondays work venture may be the very thing to reduce risk and increase your opportunity for true success.  Thanks for asking.


“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs,

even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor

spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live

in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

                                      Theodore Roosevelt