This morning I came across a quick design I did for fun last year. Thought I would share for fun being I have yet to give my definition of Live Life :: Love Life as I promised last month.
Two simple statements… Live Life.. and Love Life.
I will be divulging my passion for these words in an upcoming post. But first I want to hear what power and emotion you may put behind these words.
Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts however brief or in depth they may be. Im curious and excited to hear what you have to say!!
What an amazing word! At a glance this small word may appear to be an insignificant combination of the second and fifth letter in our english alphabet, but combined these letters bare a world of meaningfulness, an intense source of significance even. Believe it or not, but this word has kept me up at night. This word excites me and gives me strength moving forward. Imagine that… out of all the letter combinations running through my mind throughout the day, these two simple letters can at times hold more weight then any other word in my mind. Coupled with other words, these two letters can move mountains.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” ~Mahatma Gandhi
According to thefreedictionary.com the dominant definition of the word be is:
- To exist in actuality; have life or reality.
Put simply to be is to live! This is how writers like William Shakespeare are able to put such weight on this simple word, like in the famous line from his playHamlet:
“To be, or not to be” ~William Shakespeare’s Hamlet Act3 Scene1
So why am I putting so much emphasis on this one word you may ask. Well to know me, you must know that I choose the words that I focus on very carefully. I choose words and thoughts that will move me forward to my current goals and ultimately towards the best version of myself, and this word in my mind give me ownership over my abilities, actions and my direction. The constant use of this word means to set the solid foundation and expectations of what my life consists of, and to settle for anything less would be unacceptable. To be is to not just be alive; but to live life to its fullest, and to love the life we’ve been blessed with. To accept anything less than this best version of myself, is to fall short of Being me!
I always get so excited around this time of year. I am filled with such gratitude as I reflect on the year that has just passed! Its like looking at a beautiful painting with such awe inspiring contrast. Every year has its deep deep shadows and its nearly exploding highlights. Each year has its own blistering vibrance and tack sharp detail that can evoke such a wide gammit of emotions! With running a business of my own its almost like being able to observe the beauty of two perfectly imperfect masterpieces that I have created in the most recent of 365 days.
With that being said, this time of year is also the time to reflect and take note of the years “failures” and successes. And over the last few months I have been doing just that, addressing the highs and lows of my personal business and life, and tweeking my plans and strategies going into 2012. With my planning I have come across 10 keys that I will be using to ensure the New Year will be raising the bar in a big way, not only in my business but in the businesses in which I assist as well.
If your an Entreprenuer or Business owner of sorts I think these tips and strategies will help you make a big bang in 2012 as well.
- Set Goals!
Alright I know this one is a bit obvious, but you would be suprised at how many people fail to set Real Measurable Goals that actually have a chance at being obtained. Most everyone sets goals going into the New Year, but most are so vague that they are often lost by the end of January.
- Make sure you Goal has a specific deadline and details so that you can evaluate progress as you move into the year.
- Find ways to hold yourself accountable to your goals, or if your not that great at keeping yourself in check yet seek out a friend to take on the task.
- Be flexible. At times there are going to be things that may take priority over your goal (ex. Health bills come up when your working on building your savings). Don’t beat yourself up over things you cant change. Simply re-evaluate your goal and current situation and go from there
- Reward yourself when youve made large strides toward the completion of your goal. Recognition feels good, even when its from yourself.
- If you run or own a business I hope you are utilizing the wonderful social media tools we have at our disposal these days. We are blessed with so much FREE marketing its a wonder why everyone hasn’t jumped in to take full advantage of it yet.
- Don’t forget to socialize with others in your same field/industry. Of course its important to connect and communicate with your current and potential clients, but when connecting with a wider peer group in your industry it opens an array of new doors you may have never thought possible.
- Here’s a brief list of the most popular Social Media platforms that I would suggest going into 2012
- Where as my last tip was more focused on online socializing, this is more so on in person networking. having an online presence is extremely important these days, but nothing beats a warm smile and a friendly handshake to build a solid professional relationship.
- Get out there and build powerful relationships in your field with peers and potential clients.
- Attend Networking Groups, Fundraisers, and other meetups in your area (Or out of your area if your looking to expand) and share your gift with others.
4. Plan Ahead
- This is huge, often times we get so busy with the hectic schedule coming up over the next few weeks or months that we forget to work on the big picture. Then what happens is we work our way through the busy months and when we lift our head its a empty calendar that we have to create from scratch all over again.
- With my position I’m a man of MANY hats, I run all aspects of my Studio as well as consult and assist with a Charity and a Coaching/Speaking business of a great friend of mine Jon Vroman. Just the other day Jon and I were laughing at the fact that a decent amount of the work we are doing right now, wont even yield a return until 2013 or beyond. That’s one of the many things I love about Jon is he see’s things at an aerial view and sees the full picture, and because of that he has the comfort of not having to worry if the business is going to be running next year.
- Plan ahead, because as they say “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail”.
5. Bring value to those around you
- Its amazing how many businesses are all about take take take. This is the kind of mentality that will loose clients and followers in a heart beat.
- Part of my job is to work on developing a following for particular brands. To come up with strategies to gain raving fans and build a loyal following. The easiest way to do this is add an insane amount of value to peoples lives. And here’s the magic words… do it for free!
- I’ll illustrate this idea with an example from earlier this year. With my design and creative position I invest in training programs for the year so that I can keep up with latest trends and technology, as well as of course continue to learn in new and exciting areas. For the last couple years I have been using an excellent training program that I was very pleased with and have renewed each year, until around September when I found a new training group that not only offers similar training for a yearly rate like the previous but also has 4 or 5 weekly FREE podcast and training sessions on various topics that relate to what I do. Needless to say I’ve switched over to the new training program, and here’s the kicker… It costs a considerable amount more then the last training. However I am extremely happy with not only the content that I pay for, but also the content that I have access to for free!
6. Embrace New Ideas and Trends
- One of the wonders of today is how fast everything is changing. Think about the internet, which has only been around for about 20 years! Just a few years ago we were using dial up (makes me cringe to say those words haha). Now days were surfing the web at lightning speeds, just about everyone nowadays has the internet in there CELL PHONE!!
- Far to often we find ourselves avoiding change, where as instead we should be embracing new ideas and trends. This is something I did in 2011 with facebook fan pages. Who knew that you could make money by designing a page for facebook and then post related content on the page! I would have missed out on this extraordinary opportunity if I hadn’t been open to new ideas.
7. Stay on top of your Health
- This is a big one that I am attacking going into 2012. Just 5 months ago I was living in Virginia Beach eating delicious organic foods and being aware of what I was putting into my body. Unfortunately Ive let that slip a bit moving back to Michigan. Just today I had Taco Bell for lunch and if you’ve ever been on a detox diet and went back to eating fast food or anything like that then you know the effects improper food has on your body.
- Its very difficult to reach your goals if your energy and health goes out the window.
- Eat Healthy, Exercise, and get enough sleep to restore your levels to run on all cylinders the next day.
8. Create your success
- Be Proactive in your approach to the New Year. You cant sit there and expect success to fall in your lap. A topic that Ive spoke on before is “The Law of Attraction”, and how the idea that if you just want something hard enough it will magically happen or appear. Bull Sh*t! You can practice your wishful thinking all you want, but your still going to have to go out and create the success your looking for. My point is dont sit around waiting for your success to bump into you at the market, go out there and grab that success by the balls and make it your… I digress.
9. Challenge yourself
- This is at the top of my list of things that keep me up at night when thinking about 2012! I am so excited about the challenges that I have already put in place going into 2012 as well as those that will come up along the way.
- Take time to push yourself out of your comfort zone this year. Take that big leap in your business that you have been afraid of. Go get that client you have been telling everyone you will talk to one day. Learn that new skill. Whatever it may be just push yourself past your comfort level and watch yourself grow.
10. Live Life and Love Life
- Live life to it absolute fullest!
- We were built to be able to experience all that this world has to offer, take advantage of it! Live your life at full volume!
- Love the life you were blessed with!
- No matter what your situation, understand that you live an extraordinary life. Embrace the adversity that comes into your life and just know that its making your story unique to you!
I hope this helps as you move into the New Year.
Happy New Year
Isn’t it funny how some of the best inspiration can come from the most peculiar places. You could be in the drive through or waiting in line at the market and all of a sudden that award winning “ah-ha” moment hits you like a 17′ U-Haul truck. You pick your self up off the ground and check the seat of your pants making sure they weren’t soiled in the act of this spontaneous moment of genius. When Inspiration hits, it hits hard and its a beautiful thing.
As human beings we love meaningful conversation! This is a truth I think we can all agree upon. I, personally, strive to surround myself with a peer group that will indulge this sweet tooth, and when this occurs I light up like a Christmas tree! One of my favorite topics to discuss is, the way we perceive the world and the occurrences that we come upon each and every day. Life is full of ups and downs, but its how we choose to respond thats the key to our happiness and fulfillment.
Im known for being an extremely positive individual. Its who I am, and I’ve often told people I can find the gift in just about any situation that is presented. With this being said, I must explain that I don’t just ignore the negatives that we all encounter through this journey we know as life. To dismiss these encounters is to only experience a portion of life, because it is only when we embrace negativity and adversity and overcome it that we can move forward towards our goals, dreams and ultimately the best-version-of-ourselves. The keyword however is embrace, not empower or dwell upon.
“Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power” ~Shirley MacLaine
This has been a reoccurring subject lately, specifically in two very powerful conversations with two very good friends of mine. The first was with a friend and client of mine Kris Mathis (KrisMathis.com) an outstanding speaker and author out of my hometown of Grand Rapids Michigan. The other was with my pastor, mentor and dear friend Trent Booth (LifeWalk Church). This topic of conversation is a common occurrence throughout my circle of friends and influence, but what I found to be interesting was the subject of the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne that was brought up in both conversations. If your unfamiliar with the book its discusses the idea of the “Law of Attraction”, being if you think about anything hard enough and picture it happening it will happen to you.
Before I dive into the thoughts of my recent discussions, realize I do believe this book brings up some valid points, however I also feel it is one sided. And although I don’t entirely agree with all the view points stated throughout the book I do believe in the idea of your thoughts largely impacting your life, and the idea of choosing what you think about wisely, which I’ve discussed in recent blog posts.
Going back to my conversations this last week, the topic that was brought up was the idea of adversity and negativity and how we react to it. This is one of the issues we had with the book, is the fact that its focused on nothing but the positive, and if we just think positive thoughts we can have anything we want as if we found some genii to grant our every wish. The positives are great, and you should absolutely put emphasis on them, but as I stated above, to dismiss any negativity or adversity would be ignorance. Any goal or dream worth having is going to have adversity along the way. The bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacle! To just sit in front of such adversity and pretend it doesn’t exist would never get you towards your goal. And this is one of the main reasons why people fail to hit their dreams, is because of resources like “The Secret” sugar coating the truth and not allowing people to realize that there are going to be obstacles along the way. In fact we are shaped with this sort of thought process from the time we were young kids. Its true you can be anything you want to be, but what we leave out is that it takes perseverance to accomplish their dreams. Its as if we feel we will scare kids out of their dreams, so rather than empowering them with the tools they need to encounter these hurtles we provide the “yellow brick road” version.
“Adversity tests us from time to time and it is inevitable that this testing continues during life” ~Walter Annenberg
I agree that we should focus on the positives, but thats not to say we refuse to shine light on the negatives as well. We need resources that will send the message that adversity will show up at different levels along our journey. And even more important than that is when it does show up that we don’t try to ignore it or sweep it under the rug, but instead we embrace it with open arms, knowing that its all part of the process. The reality is we need the adversity, it makes the dream worth having. It molds us into the persons we need to be to accomplish the goals we set out to hit. It allows us to stand at the finish line and look back knowing it wasn’t easy, and thats what made it worth it.
“A man is insensible to the relish of prosperity until he has tasted adversity” ~Rosalind Russell
Live Life :: Love Life
So I admit I’ve been slacking severely in my blogging lately. I could try and blame it on being busy in other areas of my life, and that “I just haven’t had the time to write”. But the truth of the matter is I’ve been lazy… not much more I can say than that. Its as my pastor often says “You have time for what you make time for”. This is very true in all areas of our life, think about how often we try and sell our friends, family, colleagues and even ourselves at times, that we are to busy to do this or that. Many times we push tasks or events to the side that are an integral part of our life, tasks that if done would help us feel more fulfilled and lead us to the Best-version-of-ourselves, but instead we fill this time with useless wastes of time and “filth” like Facebook and tv.
So I caught my self today, doing something that I know most of us have been guilty of in the past. I was out on the beach chillaxin, as us beach boys like to say, but instead of enjoying the spectacular beauty around me, I was on my blackberry feeding my unfortunate Facebook addiction. When I finally pried my attention away from my screen of useless status updates, I looked to the sky and seen an amazingly surreal like picture of a perfectly molded cloud highlighted by the suns rays, who still energetic despite their 93 million mile journey they’ve just sustained (Thats 150 million kilometers for those outside the states), were shining through the particles in the sky causing visible rays of golden light as if God him self was playing a game of hide and seek behind this Cumulous mass. It was at this moment that I realized that, had I kept meaninglessly feeding my attention into my phone I would have missed this absolutely stunning event that was occurring whether I was present at the moment or not. Moments later the clouds moved along down the shoreline, testing other beach goers attentions Im sure, and I was left to sit on the beach and ponder this idea of how more often then not we remove ourselves from the present whether intentionally or unintentionally.
“Present-moment living, getting in touch with your now, is at the heart of effective living. When you think about it, there really is no other moment you can live. Now is all there is, and the future is just another present moment to live when it arrives.” ~Wayne Dyer
Think about how often we remove ourselves from the present moment. How often are you in a conversation with someone and your mind begins to drift into thoughts of what would, could or should. How many times have you heard someone say “Im sorry I didn’t catch that, could you say it again”. Or even worse how many times have you seen someone in the middle of a conversation pull out their phone to check a text that just came in? Maybe you’ve done this in the past, I know I have unfortunately. One of the new commons in Restaurants is to see a table of unengaged teens all having their own mini conversations on their Droids, Iphones and blackberries. The only conversation that happens between them is the brief exclamations of what one of their friends just tweeted or posted on Facebook. Other times it may be that you were completely disengaged from the entire day. Have you ever sat down for the evening and tried to recollect the days happenings and came to a blank, as if the day had hardly existed at all.
We far to often disconnect ourselves from the present, in order to either chase after an idea that something technology wise is in desperate need of our energy and attention, or it could be that we’ve spent the day worrying about something in the past, or dreading something in the future. Its strange actually, they have done numerous studies to prove that our emotional state of mind and stress levels of when we are worrying about or dreading something that has happened or may happen, is the same as when the situation actually happens. So that means that each time we are thinking about that situation, emotionally we are either reliving it, or living it over and over before it has even happened. Now obviously this isn’t to say that you should go through life without a plan, or to never think about what has or will happen. My point is to be present with life around you and don’t let your mind draw you away from the beauty of life, whether it be the scenery or even the conversations and people around you.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God’s gift, that’s why we call it the present” ~Joan Rivers
Life is much more fulfilling when living in the present. Like the sound Ben Stein’s famous monotoned role call from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off… Are you living in the present, or is life calling out your name?
Live Life :: Love Life
I admit it!! I forget to listen to my own advice at times. Sometimes we get so caught up in our personal circumstances that we forget that we may already have the answers/solutions were looking for. In my opinion, I feel that if we were to remove ourselves from most of the biggest struggles we have in life and look at them from a distance we would realize that the situation itself isn’t too overwhelming at all. Chances are we are just giving too much energy to the wrong side of the situation, or it could be that we shouldn’t be giving the situation energy at all. I have found that one of the best ways to pry our attention away from the struggles in our mind and life is to switch our focus and energy over to a state of gratitude! Its very difficult to focus on anything negative when your mind is overwhelmed with grateful thoughts!
“When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears” ~Anthony Robbins
Tonight… I am full of gratitude!!! Regardless of what ever circumstances you may be facing right now, realize you live a wonderful and blessed life!! Be sure to take time to bask in all you have to be grateful for.
Live Life :: Love Life