When You’re 18. Again.

I’ve been asked to speak to a couple hundred high school seniors tomorrow morning with the requested subject matter along the lines of “What Can You Expect From Here On Out?” Good question, right?

I sat in that exact gymnasium 35 years ago and wondered the same thing. We’ve all been there. Some of us attended college, others jumped right into the marketplace or joined the service. It can be an exciting time, but also a daunting stage of life.

I hope to give them a sense of confidence and freedom as they move on from their friendly confines.

I’m curious… what would YOU want to tell your 18 year-old self, knowing what you now know? What bit of advice or encouragement would you give? Please leave a Comment below … I just might steal your material. 

Wish me luck. (140 words)

Graduates: The Danger of Playing it Safe

What are you going to do with your one and only life?

You get one shot. It’s gonna fly by…just ask your parents.

How you decide to spend your life starts today. And, every day. I implore you to make a life, not just a living.

Truth is, your work takes up most of your time. Thus, you’ll need to ask yourself, “Am I excited about my day ahead? Do my gifts and passions line up with what I’m producing?”

If not, stop. Not necessarily cold turkey, but start planning an exit and find or create a new endeavor.

You might disappoint or worry your parents. Others may roll their eyes. But, this is YOUR life, not theirs.

The regrets of the aged are opportunities missed, ventures not attempted. Your mistakes and failures? You won’t even remember them. Trust me.

Go create your future and never (ever!) play it safe. (139 words)

My Go-To Productivity Tools

As a multiple business owner and entrepreneur who’s always on the go, I need tools that keep me organized, efficient and productive. (At least to the best of their ability!) I’m often asked how I keep track of all my endeavors. My short answer? Smoke and mirrors.

Truth is, I’ve learned to leverage the tools really smart folks created and designed for people like you and me that have lots of irons in the fire…which is nearly everyone, right?

“You cannot mandate productivity; you must provide the tools to let people become their best.” – Steve Jobs

Tools are only as good as your commitment and consistency in using them. A membership to a health club doesn’t get you in shape if you don’t enter the door. (See last tool on the list)

I use these tools daily and am confident they will help you become more productive: (133 words…if you stop now)

Evernote – This is my digital notebook where I write, collect information (website links, articles, photographs, voice memos, etc.), jot down ideas and more.

Trello – It’s my visual (I like to see stuff) way of managing projects and doubles as a to-do list. Bye-bye sticky notes!

Slack – Best. App. Ever. If you’re collaborating on a project with a few others, and you hate email threads…this is for you. My sons and I use it for Empyres every day.

Overcast – I encouraged you to enter the world of podcasts here a while back. I listen to two or three each day and night with this app.

Dashlane – Because you forget your passwords, too. Stop wasting time searching…your passwords are all here.

Snap Fitness – My energy level, clarity of thought and creativity are directly related to my fitness regimen. Don’t skimp on this. Ever.

Any tools/apps that you utilize that we should know about? Please share them with us!

Stop Setting Goals!

Probably won’t see that on a bumper sticker or fridge magnet, eh?

Goals aren’t inherently bad, but they can dishearten us. We languish in a state of “not quite there, yet” until we reach it. And then what…another goal? Most of our time is spent striving and very little time celebrating.

Only 8% follow through on their New Year’s resolution. Time for Plan B.

Rather than resolutions or goals, focus on the short term. Like, daily! Because life continually ebbs and flows, it’s difficult to chart future outcomes.

Make daily choices (a.k.a. Plan B) which prepare you for small wins and opportunities along the way.

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day. – Jim Rohn

Abandon your lofty goal of losing 20 pounds and embrace the daily discipline of eating healthier and exercising. Not easy, but much more effective.

Before you know it, you’ll begin to wade into the waters of success. Honest. (140 words)

Bonus Examples:

Goal: Get out of debt

Daily Discipline: Track/Change spending habits, create budget

Goal: Find a better job

Daily Discipline: hone your skills, ask for feedback

Goal: Deepen relationships

Daily Discipline: Put others before self

A Year of Imperfection

Nailed it! Lots of hiccups, knockdowns and failures littered my 2015 landscape, and planning to make even more mistakes in 2016.

Perfection breeds inaction for most of us. Maybe it’s time you lowered the bar and got in the game.

  • Start that diet…even if you don’t stick with it
  • Ask for a raise…even though it’s a long shot
  • Begin a book…even if you don’t finish it
  • Ask for forgiveness…even if it won’t be granted
  • Give to charity…even if money’s tight
  • Pray…even if God feels distant
  • Publish that blog post…even if it’s not your best work (gulp)

I’m embarking on a new endeavor (details to come) with two of my best friends in 2016. It could be the next big thing…or, a colossal failure. Either way, we’re getting off our duffs and into the ring.

Here’s to an even more imperfect 2016…who’s with me? (140 words)