Be Selfish To Be Selfless

April 8th, 2015

You’re health is in your hands, period. You’re solely accountable for…YOU. You’re responsible for your quality of life now and in the future. In this crazy, fast paced world where many things are out of your control, your health IS in your control. And you have to be selfish. Yes I said it. You have to be selfish and take care of yourself first (put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then help someone).

To start, make time for yourself. How many times have you said this…“After this week when things settle down I’ll start working out”, “When this quarter is over things will slow down at work, then I’ll start taking care of myself”, “I’ll start taking care of me once I prove myself”. I see/hear this every day at work, people prioritizing the company over their health; Current data suggests that nearly 70% of employees are NOT engaged at work. I’m confident that your company wants an engaged and energized employee and one way for that to happen is for you to be engaged in yourself, first.

And when you do take care of yourself first, everything else falls into place. Your focus becomes your health. Eat healthier food and exercise more to send the signal to the world that you are a priority in your life. Show your family that taking care of yourself first is the most important thing you can do. Do what you need to do to live a happy, energized and engaged life!

Start by:

  • Workout in the MORNINGS, this will be YOUR time, no one can take it away. “But I’m not a morning person”, start being a morning person! Trust me; I’ve worked with a lot of people that have simply shifted to being morning people. Afternoons are too easy for you to skip. When you exercise in the morning you are starting the furnace and burning calories all day! Get your butt out of bed and see the sunrise! Your day will go so much better!
  • Find an exercise you ENJOY. Not everyone enjoys the same things. When you like the exercise, you’ll continue to wake up and engage in it.
    Three tips for achieving your Fitness goal;
  • Imagine what it is you want to achieve with your fitness. Take the time to visualize yourself achieving the goal.
  • Inscribe your fitness goal on paper. Studies show that a physically written goal on paper is more likely to be achieved than a goal that is recorded electronically, in your computer or in your phone.
  • Inspect your written fitness goal daily. Seeing your written goal daily will help you subconsciously work towards achieving that goal.

Are Your Goals Big Enough?

March 26th, 2015

Nolan, my youngest, was about 4 years old and playing basketball outside on one of those adjustable basketball hoops one day. He asked me to adjust the hoop so that it was all the way to the top. I told him there was no way he would be able to shoot the ball that high and maybe we should just move it up one notch. He refused, of course, and so I moved it all the way up. As I walked away and shook my head, I heard “Yes!”. I turned around and watched as Nolan made several baskets on this very tall hoop.

Who was I to tell Nolan how high (big) his goal should be? Goals are personal and need to be right for you and no one else. The question is, how do you know if a goal is big enough to get you excited, but not so big that you lose enthusiasm in trying to achieve it? Here are few simple questions you can ask yourself to ensure your goal is big enough:

  • Can you imagine yourself (your team) achieving the goal?
  • When you get out of bed in the morning and go to bed at night are you excited and motivated by the goal?
  • Do you plan your days and weeks around your goal?
  • Is your goal a priority in your life?
  • Do you think about your goal a lot? All the time?
  • If you can answer yes to these questions then your goal is big enough and you’re on your way to success!

In the late 1980’s, and before he was famous, actor and comedian Jim Carrey had a goal of making $10 million by Thanksgiving 1995 – a very big goal! Carrey wrote himself a check for $10 million and kept it in his wallet as a visible reminder of what he wanted to achieve. Every time he looked in his wallet and saw what little money he had, he’d see the check for $10 million; it was a constant visible reminder of his goal. He had a vision and a written goal that was exciting to him and he knew exactly what he wanted to do to achieve the goal: entertain people. Amazingly, Carrey did achieve his written goal by committing to the movie Mask the sequel for $10 million in March of 1995!

That’s a BIG goal, earning $10 million. And like Nolan, Carrey believed in himself and it didn’t matter what others thought, he knew he would succeed because he had a purpose which led him to be focused on his goal. What if he had written a check to himself for $200? Being focused on a goal will keep you moving toward that goal. Being passionate about a goal will give you the drive to smash through any obstacles that stand in your way.

Three tips for achieving your BIG goal;

  • Imagine what it is you want to achieve. Take the time to visualize yourself achieving the goal.
  • Inscribe your goal on paper. Studies show that a physically written goal on paper is more likely to be achieved than a goal that is recorded electronically, in your computer or on your phone.
  • Inspect your written goal daily. Seeing your written goal daily will help you subconsciously work towards achieving that goal.

Be a Leader of One, So You Can be a Leader of Many

March 8th, 2015

Effective leadership starts with leading one person…you. How can you lead people and teams successfully if you can’t lead yourself? And how do you focus on yourself in order to become a great leader? It’s actually easy to do but very few people do it. All you need is 60 minutes, pen and paper and three simple steps to guide you: Imagine your goals, Inscribe your goals and finally, Inspect your goals.

First, you need to imagine your goals; simply take time to visualize what it is you want to achieve in the next 12 months. I’m confident you spend many hours (80-100?) business planning for your companies and businesses. However, how many hours do you spend planning for YOUR next 12 months? How many hours do you think about where you’re going in life, where you want to be in 12 months, how you can make a difference in the world? I’m not just talking about business here; this should be focused on YOU and your personal goals.

Once you’ve imagined your future and set direction for your life, then inscribe your goals! Write them down. Write them on a piece of paper or a napkin. Simple, right? Research suggests that only 3% of us actually write down our goals.

Finally, inspect your goals! Look at them daily. When you see your written goals you naturally strive to achieve those goals. Your daily routine begins to incorporate actions that move you toward achieving those written and visible goals. Take heed in what The Roadrunner said in the book, Can’t Catch Me Coyote; “Keeping a written goal visible makes it come alive – it breathes life into your goal.”

Sound too simple? Many leaders, presidents, athletes and authors have done just this. They’ve spent time imagining what they want to achieve, inscribing it to form a contract with themselves, and then inspecting their written goals daily which allows them to focus on what they’ve decided was important to them, personally.

    Three tips for success:

  • Physically write your goals down somewhere, research suggests that the act of actually writing your goals on paper, versus typing them on your computer, significantly improves your success of achieving the goal.
  • Focus on one or two goals, no more.
  • Keep your inscribed goals somewhere that you’ll see them every day. The bathroom mirror is a great place: if you brush your teeth at least twice a day, then you’ll see your goals at least twice a day.

Make Your Priorities “Stick”

February 18th, 2013

Priorities in your life are no different than goals.   A priority is simply an area of focus, an objective you’d like to work towards, a GOAL.   Unfortunately, priorities seem to come and go quickly now-a-days.   One day you set a priority to focus on your health, however soon you get bored, tired, sore, and quit.   So then you shift your priority to work and getting that next promotion, however you get passed up for the job and soon quit trying.   Those failures lead you to a priority of spiritual enrichment because you’ve lost focus on family while you were exercising and working too much so now you need to “re-ground” yourself.   Soon, back to the health and work goals, the cycle continues.  The circle of priorities goes round and round, always changing and never “sticking” around long enough to make a real difference in your life.   Priorities shouldn’t shift on a dime.   Priorities are priorities because you’ve taken the time to think about what it is you want to achieve, where it is you want to go.   Priorities are the beacon that guides you to what you have chosen to be your goals!

We are what we see.   Priorities should be embedded into every choice you make every day.   Haley Sherman had a priority, she wrote it down and kept it in front of her every day; when you do that, it breathes, it comes alive.   Haley wrote me a note recently regarding this priority:

This first goal was to run a 10K by the end of 2012.  I chose a cause that was important to me: The Strong Legs Run for Children’s Health Care of Atlanta.  I ran the TOT trot (One mile fun run) when I was around 6 or 7 and I ran the 5K (my first) last November so I wanted to raise my goal to the next level and do the 10K.  I unfortunately caught a cold shortly before the race so I was not able to train adequately and I started training one week before the race.  In my mind I kept saying, “I know I can run the 5K so I will just do that”.  Even up until the morning of the race I was flipping between the 5K and the 10K.  Then it suddenly hit me.  My goal was to do the 10K and there is no reason or EXCUSE why I couldn’t do the 10K.  I had written it down and kept it visible and that is what I was going to do no matter what my time was or if I had to crawl across the finish line.   That morning I RAN 6.2 miles in 1 hour and 14 minutes!!  I also RAN a 10K on Thanksgiving Day with the goal to beat my time and finished in 1 hour and 11 minutes!!  Even if it was only 3 minutes, I beat my time!!  And now my husband and I are signed up for a half-marathon on March 17.  This was all because I didn’t just day dream about my goal, I wrote it down and kept it visible!  I held myself accountable to it and it feels amazing to achieve it!

Whether you want to run a 5k, 10k, coach your daughters baseball team or create a plan for a promotion, to make it a priority and to make it stick, you have to write it down and look at it every day, twice.  Visualize your goals, Write your goals down and keep your goals Visible and they will be so.

V.W.V

Neil

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See Less, Accomplish More!

January 14th, 2013
eye 172/365

eye 172/365 (Photo credit: attila acs)

The word “focus” is overused.   We’re all told to focus on this and focus on that to move ahead or accomplish our goals.   But what does it really mean to “focus”?   If you’re “focused” on something, well what does that look like?

Life has changed and in order for us to move forward and accomplish goals we need focus. Life is cluttered, crowded, crazy busy and our work, family, e-mail, texting, Twitter, and Facebook just adds to this fanatical pace.   Life is leading us more than we’re leading our life.

Truly focusing on a goal allows you to narrow your field of vision and create intense energy around a goal.   Imagine how focused baseball players are when they can actually see the rotation of the baseball flying 95 mph at them, they have to intensely focus on just that baseball, nothing else.  For basketball players to sink free throws at the end of a tight game in the middle of screaming crowds that are doing anything possible to distract them, they have to focus on just that hoop, nothing else.    Being focused on goals means eliminating what’s not important and aligning your energy to what is.

So how do you focus?   Here’s the two-step secret of very successful people and teams; Write your goals down and keep them visible.

Ask yourself these two questions.  If you can answer yes to both, then you’re focused.

1)      Are your goals written down? Not on a file in your computer, is it written down on paper?  3% of us write down our goals…those 3% are very successful, why?   Because they’re focused.   A written goal helps you focus on what you want to and it eliminates your attention to the noise that can get in your way.  We have a great format for writing down your goals, click here.

2)      Can you visibly see your goals every day? Displaying your goals visibly (so you can see them every day) eliminates the need for complicated action steps, processes, and procedures involving your written goals.  Place your goals on the mirror in your bathroom, in a frame on your dresser, desk or refrigerator.   Seeing your visible goals daily makes you focus.

It’s been said that “To accomplish more sometimes you need to see less.”   See less so you can focus on what is truly important to you and you’ll accomplish more than you ever thought possible!

What are you going to do to improve your focus in 2013?  Let us know in the comments below!

Happy goal-writing!

Neil

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Balance and Focus in 2013!

December 23rd, 2012

Balance

Balance (Photo credit: kmakice)

I have one question:  Are you happy with what you achieved in 2012?   And I’m not just talking about your job.   Are you happy with what you achieved in areas other than your work goals?    Have you been exercising like you resolved to at the beginning of 2012?   Have you been eating healthier?  Did you get your annual physical?   Have you started those 529 plans for your children?  Did you take two family vacations this year?  Did you make time to help coach one of your child’s sports teams?  Have you found that church that inspires you?

These are examples of the “other” areas of life, outside of work, and if you’re not thinking about these then YOU ARE OUT OF BALANCE and you’re going to fall!   Having goals isn’t just about your work, it’s about the critical six areas of your life:

1.     Health & Fitness
2.     Family
3.     Personal
4.     Work & School
5.     Financial
6.     Spiritual

When you’re balanced EVERYTHING IMPROVES. You’ll have more energy because you will be focused on what it is YOU want to achieve in life, not just work!  Vow to make a change in 2013 by concentrating on being BALANCED AND FOCUSED.   It’s imperative that you spend time on all six areas.   If you’re not happy, you are not balanced, so make a change!

Good News:   Resources for helping you achieve this balance are now on our website and available for download!    Just go here  http://www.neilrockgroup.com/goal_cards.php and choose the one that works for you.  Then visualize what you want to accomplish, write down your goals on the form and keep them visible to you every day.   NOW is the time to do this…not next month.

Also, thanks for all the great feedback about our 2012 videos and for the incredible success stories that many of you have shared with us…great work and congratulations!   Be on the lookout, we will be cranking up the short videos again soon.   The focus will be Inspirational Quotes for the Month, Success Stories, and Motivational Messages.   Stay tuned for the first video coming in January.   Until then…Visualize your goals, Write your goals down (get the forms here) and keep them Visible!  Good luck!

Visit our website for:
The library of videos
Free downloadable forms for your goals
Blog posts
Our book
Motivational framed quotes
The goal card and frames
And other great tools!

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Will you reach your goals in 2012?

July 1st, 2012

Carl Sandburg wrote, “Nothing happens unless first a dream”.  Now is the time to truly commit to your personal and professional goals for 2012.   We are half-way through 2012.  Take inventory of your 2012 goals, what are you on track to achieve and where are you falling short?  Imagine it’s December 31st 2012, what have you achieved in your six areas on the goals form?

This week, like Albert Einstein, spend two hours in a comfortable chair to just think, VISUALIZE your future, determine where you want to go….hey if it worked for him…

Once your vision of what you’ll achieve in 2012 is clear, commit it to paper.  Use the goals form to WRITE down all of your one-year goals in the six areas of your life.

Lastly, keep your 2012 goals somewhere where they are VISIBLE.  You need to see them often!   Use a frame and insert your new 2012 goals, place your goals on a nightstand where you’ll see them in the morning and the evening or on your dresser, desk or refrigerator.   Seeing your goals daily will constantly remind you of the direction in which you’re headed….it’s a daily reminder of what it is you’d like to achieve.

Heed the advice of the Roadrunner in Can’t Catch Me Coyote… “Keeping a written goal visible makes it come alive – it breathes life into your goal.”

ACTION:

  • Reflect on what you have already achieved in 2012.
  • Take time to think, visualize what it is you’d like to achieve by December 31, 2012.
  • (if you haven’t already) Write down your 2012 goals on the one-year form, put it in a frame and keep it somewhere so you see it every day!

See Your Goals…Achieve Your Dreams!

V.W.V.!   Neil

Get on the right track!

April 24th, 2012
Track & field

Track & field (Photo credit: Boston Public Library)

Recently, our weekly Rock Report video relayed the story of Colby, a very successful high school distance runner who set some very high goals.  You can check it out here:  Rock Report

After publishing that Rock Report, I got the following email from Colby’s Dad, someone who had attended one of my workshops, years earlier.

After listening to your talk many moons ago, I took the information home and instructed Aubrey and Colby how to include it into the pursuit of their goals. I think some people have the ability to utilize certain info better than others but we obviously hit upon something that was a powerful catalyst for their eventual success.

I don’t thank you often enough for your role in the success they both achieved on the track. Your advice was instrumental in them achieving their goals.

For Colby’s senior outdoor track season, his goal became more time oriented, rather than record oriented. He wanted to run 4:08.00. So he wrote down 4:08 in black magic marker on a big piece of athletic tape. He stuck it on the dashboard of his car. Every time he drove that car, you couldn’t help but see it. He drove it to school every day. He also posted the goal all around the house. Then as you said, the week after he won the Ohio outdoor State mile championship, he travelled to NYC to run the Jim Ryun Dream Mile in NYC against America’s top milers. The top 12 milers in America were invited to participate. Jim Ryun was the starter!

When the time flashed on the huge scoreboard at the Randall Island Stadium, I could not believe my eyes. He had run 4:07.9. As with the indoor season, it looked as if he was going to run out of opportunities to accomplish this goal.  But in the end he wasn’t going to be denied. It surely wasn’t coincidence. His success was attributable to talent, hard work and without a doubt employing the concepts and techniques he learned about from you.

He was also aware of how successful his older sister, Aubrey, was utilizing your techniques. That was a powerful motivator for him seeing how it worked like magic for her.

Running for the University of Oregon was his goal since junior high. He was not aware, however how fast you really needed to be to be recruited by the Ducks. By the end of his Junior year, he was fast but not even close to the Oregon standard. He has a naive confidence that worked well in this situation because he wasn’t concerned. He did know what it was going to take. 1) He would need to not only qualify for indoor nationals in the mile, but he would need to make All-American (top 6 in USA). 2) He would need to run under 4:10 indoors (hence, he needed to break the All-Time Ohio record to do that).   A Tall Order but he wrote it all down, posted it everywhere, wrote it on every page in his school assignment book as he considered these his most important assignments!

Amazingly, he then did make All-American by placing 3rd at the Indoor National Meet. That earned him All-American. He ran under 4:10 and broke the All-Time indoor record a week later. He caught Oregon’s eye and they began the recruiting process. Outdoors he almost won the National Mile Title (lost by a second), earning All-American again and then coupled with the 4:07.9 in NYC and an All-American USATF Jr National 1500 finish in Des Moines, was offered a scholarship to run for his dream school.

All those things I just listed were on signs all around our house. But the cool thing is that a year before this all happened, those goals that were posted in cars, on refrigerators, on bathroom sink mirrors and all around the house were initially such stretch goals that many people upon seeing them, believed them to be unrealistic.

Thanks for being such an integral part in our children’s success.

Please do as Colby did: Visualize your goals, Write them down, and keep them visible.   You will achieve unimaginable results!   Next time we will examine the tremendous results achieved by big sister, Aubrey, by utilizing these same techniques.

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Get on your Bike and Ride!

March 29th, 2012
London bicycle courier, Oxford Street

Photo credit: Wikipedia

You’re an entrepreneur.  You run the ship.   You make the decisions (most of them).   Your office is your car and your business is your territory.  You don’t work in a cubicle and you don’t have to beat the VP of sales into the office in the morning or stay until they leave…this is YOUR business!   Your success solely depends on how you lead the ship to its destination.

So why do you feel overwhelmed, always behind, like there’s never enough time in the day? Growing your business can take its toll and leave you little time for you and your life, rarely getting to enjoy the subtle little things that pass before you every day.

Is your life in balance?   Are you as focused on other areas of life as you are with business?  Of course we have goals for our business but what about other important areas of our life?   Our business/career is only one of six critical areas for us to have established goals.

When’s the last time you coached your child’s sports team or volunteered at a school?   Are you saving for retirement or funding your children’s 529s for college?   What about your spiritual beliefs, are you working towards a better understanding?   Are you eating well and exercising for energy all day? Are you taking time to work on your own personal goals?  Are you planning a date night with your spouse or significant other?

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving,” said Albert Einstein.    To keep your balance you must keep moving ahead in life, not just work.   Living a balanced life virtually eliminates that feeling of being suffocated; it helps you rest easy at night knowing that every day you’re working toward your life’s goals and not just business goals.   You’ll be energized when you wake in the morning knowing that the day ahead is aligned with your priorities in life and not just work.   And guess what?   You’ll be more productive with your business because life is in balance and your bike is moving straight ahead without a wobble.

Agree?  Great, the good news is balance is very simple…so simple that all you have to do is visualize what it is you want to accomplish, write it down and keep it visible to you every day.   You read it right; Visualize your goals, Write them down and keep them Visible - V.W.V.

Take time for yourself, really shutdown and be alone in a quiet place for a few hours.   Visualize what your life will look like in the critical six areas (Family, Financial, Career/School, Health & Fitness, Personal, and Spiritual) one year from today.  Once you have a clear vision, then simply write it down and keep it somewhere so that you see it every day.  When you see your goals every day you instinctively work towards achieving them.  You’re constantly reminded of what it is you’d like to achieve; where it is your going.  Visible goals eliminate the need for complicated actions steps, processes and procedures involving your written goal.

Now get on your bike and ride!  And don’t forget, enjoy the view!

V.W.V.   Neil

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Victorious warriors win first, then go to war.

March 26th, 2012
Cover of "Art of War"

Cover of The Art of War

In a quote that supports my principle for life, Sun Tzu wrote, “Victorious warriors win first then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war then seek to win.”  This is from the book The Art of War by Sun Tzu and was written two and a half thousand years ago. Sun Tzu’s thirteen chapters, specifically written about success on the battlefield, caught the eye of Ho Lu, King of Wu, who successfully used these strategies to win in war. Since then, Tzu’s work has become required reading for militaries worldwide. Granted, this quote is from a different time period and was used by the military, so the question becomes, “How can this 2,500 year old quote help me in my life today, in 2012?”

Let me translate: Win first then go to war = imagine your success, then go get it. See what it is you want first and then proceed to accomplish it. Plan your success and then succeed. Visualize what it is you want to accomplish and then go accomplish it. By “winning first” you’ve set the table for success by creating a blueprint in your mind that will lead you to your goal and see your success materialize. The “defeated warriors” didn’t have a plan, map or direction–they just went to war. In life we need to live by the same principle that was taught 25,000 years ago: Successful people win first then go to work, while unsuccessful people go to work then seek to win (the word “work” referring to working towards any goal and not specifically “work”, meaning your job).

We too must plan our success just as warriors were taught centuries ago. In our jobs, at home with our families, in our finances, etc. it’s necessary to have a plan for what it is you want to accomplish in the critical six areas of life; family, finances, personal, health & fitness, career/school, and spiritual. Know where you’re going and what it is you’re working toward. Make sure you have plenty of good reasons for accomplishing your goals so when you hit obstacles, you continue toward the target without hesitation. Without a will to succeed, you become unfocused, lazy and have a lack direction which could lead to challenges that become hard to overcome. Having goals and a direction builds discipline every day as you become more aware that everything you do is critical to your chosen goal.

Sun Tzu was a brilliant war strategist that wrote about how to be successful on the battlefield. He knew every situation that an army could be in and how to prepare for success. Use his brilliance as a guide for your life. Have a life you’ve always imagined, but first, imagine it!

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"Victorious warriors win first then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war, then seek to win." Sun Tzu

"The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life." Robert Browning

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." Albert Einstein
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