Do You Have the Courage to Act?

“Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his ideas, to take a calculated risk, and to act.” – Dr. Maxwell Maltz

It is fascinating to see how some people can take what they are given in life and go on to become ultra successful while others with the same opportunities never seem to achieve very much at all. And then there are stories of people who overcome great adversity to accomplish great things while those with every resource available to them just squander every chance they get.

I think it is fair to say that most people dream of being successful in their lives and it is true that “success” can mean vastly different things to different people. For some it can mean amassing lots of wealth and material possessions, for others it can mean living a flamboyant lifestyle, while for others it can mean achieving academic greatness, fame or the cult of celebrity.

But the only important consideration here today is what does success mean to you? How do you measure success in your life? Are you as successful as you would like to be? And, if not, what are you going to do about it? One thing is certain and it is that it is never too late to change your life around from the life you have now to the one you want to have tomorrow. Even if you have spent years walking down the wrong path there is no reason why you can’t turn around and get on the path you want to be on.

Sometimes all that you need to turn your life around is the courage to act on your ideas. Maybe now is the time to re-examine those yearnings you have always had but have never got around do doing anything about. Often there is an element of risk in following your ideas but rarely in life do we find reward without risk. The calculated risk means that from the outset you accept that things may go wrong in your plans and that you come up with strategies to deal with the unexpected. We can also be too easily prepared to allow others to make our decisions for us. We put too much store in our friends and family who tell us things like: “Oh that is such a stupid idea…you could never do that?”

Invest In People

“No man becomes rich unless he enriches others” – Andrew Carnegie

You cannot withdraw on a relationship you have never made a deposit in. Start investing in people because they have value. Many times when you make investments in relationships without expecting anything in return they want to give you a higher return in value. You end up getting more than you give in the first place.

Good investors have to give before they receive and most of the time they end up receiving more than they invested. Their overall portfolio has a greater gain than what they have given, even when some of their investments have yet to or never will pay off.

It may seem strange to think of relationships with others in terms of an investment but that is exactly what it is. You are investing your time, your knowledge and your life-experiences in others and in the process you hope to enrich the life of that person along the way. But there is more to it than that because that person also has knowledge and life-experiences to share. By investing your time in that person, you too will be enriched by the interaction.

Building relationships in this manner takes time and effort but the rewards are worth it because these are the very building blocks of solid and life-long friendships. And in a world where the superficial and the meaningless are increasingly taking hold it is important to have solid relationships with people worth investing in.

Now as much as you may want to enrich others you will find that there are many people in life who don’t want to put the time and effort into building a relationship with you, and try as hard as you might, you are most unlikely to succeed in reaching out to these people.

Instead try and find someone who shares your life goals, your ideals or who has a similar set of morals as you do. So many people go into a relationship with the attitude of “what can this person do for me?” but this is the wrong attitude. Seek to enrich others and do so willingly and enthusiastically without the expectation of compensation or reward for yourself. By adding value to the lives of others you will be adding value to your own life in equal or greater measure.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” – Johann von Goethe

Actually starting a project can often be one of the hardest parts of getting the entire thing done. I am willing to bet that you will sometimes have one of those ‘lightbulb’ moments where an amazingly good idea just suddenly pops into your head as if from nowhere. And I would further bet that if you gave it any serious thought at all then most of those thoughts consisted of finding reasons why you could not possibly do whatever it was that you had just thought of.

Sometimes you find that some months or years down the line another person has had exactly the same thought you had all that time ago but that they have gone on to change their lives by actually putting it into action. When this happens you are left holding your head in your hands and lamenting: “But that should have been me!”

So if you have a great idea that you have not acted upon or a dream for changing your life that you have been unwilling to put into action then what are you waiting for? Nobody is going to fulfill your dreams for you and only you can put them into action. Yes it can be scary taking action because you are going into uncharted waters but it will be an adventure and it could change your life.

You owe it to yourself to at least give yourself the opportunity to fulfill your dreams. Be bold and put your dreams into action and be prepared to experience the genius, power and magic within you. Yes it can be hard to start, especially when you are already telling yourself all sorts of reasons why it will not work, but at least give it a go. Just getting started creates a momentum of its own and you will find that many of the fears you had for not taking action simply disappear as you discover that the power of “I can” unleashes its own magic which overpowers the fears of “I can’t.”

Follow your dreams and stop giving yourself reasons not to do so because you will never experience the power and magic which lies within you unless you actually take action and start.

You’re Not Running for Office

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those that matter, don’t mind and those that mind don’t matter.” – Theodor Seuss Geisel

Politicians will say anything to get elected and I’m sure they would do all of it if they could but there is a reason most of them never do. What pleases you displeases someone else and vice versa. This is the main reason why politicians, as a whole, are not thought of as very honest people.

One of the biggest mistakes early on in my business was trying to make everyone happy. I was allowing others to make every decision and this lead to me having no identity. A true leader is someone people can look at and know where they stand. They are like trees, willing to bend in the wind but with their roots firmly planted deep in the ground.

Focus on being everything to someone. Narrow down your focus like a single beam of light and it will start a small fire. The key here is being true to yourself in everything you do because that way you will always stay grounded in reality. If you try to do something you don’t feel is right just to please someone else then you are not being true to yourself and unless you are true to yourself you cannot be true to anybody else.

No matter what you do in life, you will never be able to bring the whole world along with you but you will be able to reach out and touch the hearts and minds of those people who share your core values. It is for this reason that you owe it to yourself and to those who believe in you to be who you are and to say how you feel.

Far too many of us feel we have to be the person we feel others want us to be and, as a result, we end up making our lives miserable. Also when you have the courage to be yourself life becomes so much easier because you have given yourself the freedom to be the person you really are. And those that matter will thank you for it.

Why Smiles and Kindness Matter

“Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness and small obligations, given habitually, are what win and preserve the heart and secure comfort.” – Humphry Davy

It is tempting to look upon our lives in terms of great achievements, milestones reached or heroic efforts to secure some lofty goal or ideal. However in reality life is just not like that. Yes there will be the occasional really big moment here and there but our lives are really made up of a long series of seemingly inconsequential events. Yet it is these moments which make up the majority of our lives so we should pay them more attention.

Taking the time to smile, to say “please” and “thank-you” and to be polite to others might be little things but they are also things which serve to brighten up the lives of others and you can do this at absolutely no personal cost to yourself.

I found another example which illustrated how it is the smaller and less significant events in our lives which can be more important than we give them credit for when I read a newspaper report titled: “The top five regrets of the dying” and I was struck at how ordinary the things on that list were. The top five regrets were as follows:

1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself and not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish I had let myself be happier.

These regrets are all very telling especially the first one. Your life is your own and nobody else’s so it follows that you should be true to yourself. There is a huge difference in being true to yourself while respecting the lives of others around you and in living a life you think that others expect of you. If you can do this while getting the little things right then not only will you be a happier person but others around you will think better of you too. The little things in life really do matter but sometimes in our fast-paced world we can lose sight of that fact.

Conquering fear

What really keeps you from living your dreams?

What problem is most dominant in peoples lives?

The answer is: FEAR!

People live every day in fear. Fear of losing their wealth, fear of losing their loved ones, fear of making the wrong decisions, fear of being themselves, fear of growing up, fear of making a commitment. The list goes on and on.

The leading cause of people not fulfilling their dreams is NOT the fear of failure – it’s the fear of success! The fear of actually accomplishing what they set out to do. The fear of living life to the fullest may have paralyzed you. This will cause you to never really try in your business, or if you do try, to sabotage your efforts so you never have to face your fear of success.

Most people live their lives in the grip of this fear and they aren’t even aware that it has control over them! The fear is the one thing that can turn your dreams of financial freedom, loving relationships, and a fulfilling and significant life into a pattern of habits including procrastination, self-sabotage and other bad habits.

Fear is the dominate problem in your life today. The two questions you need to answer to conquer your fear are:

Which fear has the most control over your behavior? Is it the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of success, or is it all of them?

How do I interrupt the bad habits that I have developed as a means of protection from this fear? How do I interrupt the programming I have within me?

These are the two most significant questions when it comes to overcoming your fears. If you can answer these two questions, your life will forever change!

The reality of fear is that it is human and is a part of life. It’s not going to go away. Some fear is even healthy! It is a gift given to you to keep you safe and bring you closer to your creator.

Every person is born with three instinctive fears. These are: fear of falling, fear of loud noises, and fear of abandonment. These three fears were given to you to help you monitor what is going on around you. Think about it; it is fear that gives you the adrenaline rush that makes you escape from a situation that is really, truly unsafe. It also gives you the same rush that causes you to fight to win.

Faith is born in fear. God knew in His infinite wisdom that fear is what would drive His people back to Him. Although sometimes it is only in times of extreme fear that we look to God and choose Him. Take a look at your own life and think about the times you looked to God for His power and wisdom. Those were probably times of extreme fear. True faith is born from fear!

So what caused the gift of fear to be the number one problem in society today? Why do people let fear control their actions, beliefs and lives? The answer is the difference between reacting to fear and acting in fear. It has everything to do with your belief system.

Children typically react instinctively to fear, which is appropriate behavior at this age. Most adults don’t make the distinction between reacting to fear, as when they were a child, and acting with their intellect when dealing with fear.

People react instinctively to fear by either denying it or running away from it. They miss the power that comes from acting with their intellect, never allowing the fear to become the gift it was intended to be. Learn to act with your intellect by exposing your true fears and the beliefs they represent and free yourself so you can move on with all you are meant to do, have and become!

Effective Listening

All too often we are far more enthusiastic about talking than we are listening. Yet it is so vital if we are to communicate effectively. Most break downs in relationships are caused because people talk at each other without really making contact. Unless someone hears what has been said including the subtext the words have little value.

When we are actively listened to we feel valued and are far more likely to engage in negotiation and compromise. Listening is about far more than words. Watching facial expression and body language is often a far more accurate barometer than the words that are being used. Nice things being said where the smile doesn’t reach the eyes is an obvious example.

To be an effective listener it is vital that you listen actively.

10 tips to becoming a more effective listener

Make eye contact.

Read the body language of the talker. Are they relaxed, anxious, angry? Extremes are easy to recognize but often the message is much more subtle

Mirror the talker’s body language- subtly, a gentle dance rather than a caricature.

Show that you are listening, nod, make appropriate responses

Ask relevant questions, ask them to clarify if you are not clear about their meaning

Summarize: so what you are saying is……….

Use open ended questions, the who, what, where, when,

Be careful of the tone of your voice when you respond or ask questions. It is all to easy to come across as judgmental or as an interrogator from the Spanish Inquisition

Use empathy. Acknowledge difficulties, but be careful not to fall into the trap of going into anecdotes from your experience. ” I sense that you are finding this rather difficult” rather than “Oh I know, it happened to me but mine was bigger, more difficult etc”

Take a real interest, if you are simply going through the motions the lack of sincerity will be obvious to others. Leave your ego behind, concentrate on the other person.

7 Characteristics of leaders

How often have you heard the comment, “He or she is a born leader?” There are certain characteristics found in some people that seem to naturally put them in a position where they’re looked up to as a leader.

Whether in fact a person is born a leader or develops skills and abilities to become a leader is open for debate. There are some clear characteristics that are found in good leaders. These qualities can be developed or may be naturally part of their personality. Let us explore them further.

Seven Personal Qualities Found In A Good Leader

1. A good leader has an exemplary character. It is of utmost importance that a leader is trustworthy to lead others. A leader needs to be trusted and be known to live their life with honestly and integrity. A good leader “walks the talk” and in doing so earns the right to have responsibility for others. True authority is born from respect for the good character and trustworthiness of the person who leads.

2. A good leader is enthusiastic about their work or cause and also about their role as leader. People will respond more openly to a person of passion and dedication. Leaders need to be able to be a source of inspiration, and be a motivator towards the required action or cause. Although the responsibilities and roles of a leader may be different, the leader needs to be seen to be part of the team working towards the goal. This kind of leader will not be afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty.

3. A good leader is confident. In order to lead and set direction a leader needs to appear confident as a person and in the leadership role. Such a person inspires confidence in others and draws out the trust and best efforts of the team to complete the task well. A leader who conveys confidence towards the proposed objective inspires the best effort from team members.

4. A leader also needs to function in an orderly and purposeful manner in situations of uncertainty. People look to the leader during times of uncertainty and unfamiliarity and find reassurance and security when the leader portrays confidence and a positive demeanor.

5. Good leaders are tolerant of ambiguity and remain calm, composed and steadfast to the main purpose. Storms, emotions, and crises come and go and a good leader takes these as part of the journey and keeps a cool head.

6. A good leader as well as keeping the main goal in focus is able to think analytically. Not only does a good leader view a situation as a whole, but is able to break it down into sub parts for closer inspection. Not only is the goal in view but a good leader can break it down into manageable steps and make progress towards it.

7. A good leader is committed to excellence. Second best does not lead to success. The good leader not only maintains high standards, but also is proactive in raising the bar in order to achieve excellence in all areas.

These seven personal characteristics are foundational to good leadership. Some characteristics may be more naturally present in the personality of a leader. However, each of these characteristics can also be developed and strengthened. A good leader whether they naturally possess these qualities or not, will be diligent to consistently develop and strengthen them in their leadership role.

You become what surrounds you

The key to life is to be around the people who will empower you to reach the next level in life! In order to exceed your present reach, you need to be around people who will help you stretch a little farther. The secret to a productive mastermind team is for you to surround yourself with people who you can always learn from. A sign of a very intelligent person is to be smart enough to realize that you need to learn from others who can contribute to your WHY in life.

As you know, my ultimate outcome is to develop the #1 traffic generating company in the world. Each and every day I strive to immerse myself in material and people who will enable me to achieve our corporate mission.

As you look at your own mission in life, you need to ask yourself a very honest/straightforward question ….”Is my personal development engine in Forward, Neutral or Reverse?” The answer is very simple. All that you need to do is to write down the top 10 people you regularly associate with. As you review the list, realize that you will become an exact duplicate of those 10 people — financially, spiritually, physically and psychologically. Once again, be honest with yourself. If you are not 110% happy about what you see yourself becoming due to your present relationships, you need to take ACTION immediately! Make a decision to develop a mastermind TEAM! Unfortunately, 95% of people will never take the action needed in order to become part of a mastermind team. They will continue to live their lives and wonder WHAT HAPPENED to their LIVES and all of their DREAMS. You need to stop whining and begin working on yourself to become part of a Mastermind Team!

I am proud to say that each and every day I associate with people who are either at my level of enthusiasm, excitement and intelligence or even more so than I am, which is the key to a personally productive mastermind team. You need to be a part of a group of people who make you want to exceed your present reach. Be honest with yourself and know that you need to change your associations in order to achieve your God-given dreams! You will be amazed by the results. Your life will SOAR like an EAGLE to the ends of the earth if you change your associations!

Find your WHY & FLY!

Today is my 36th birthday. Send me a birthday tweet @justinledvina or leave a comment below. Thanks a million!

Take action as a leader not position.

People respond to good leadership! Period! It is in all aspects of our lives, not just business. A mother is a leader in her home; a son may be leader of a team sport or a daughter the leader of the debate team. A group relies on the person in charge to actually lead them to success. A true leader is highly ethical, honest and respected.

In our society we have leaders and followers. Are we born to one or the other? No! Can you hone your leadership skills? Absolutely!

The leaders that I admire seem to have all of these in place:

a) They think BIG! They don’t put a ceiling in place. Instead, no limit is set as to how big or how much better something can be.

b) The goals are firmly set in place and the eye does not come off of it.

c) They make known to all involved the final product that they are all going for, example, if you sell widgets, it takes x number of widgets to be affluent, or you want to win that football game and ultimately the title. Know what you’re going for.

d) They can get compliance to orders.

e) When goals are met they set new goals or raise the bar.

People will follow your lead willingly if you are honest, ethical, if you are consistent and treat them with respect. Rewarding someone when a job is well done is always appreciated. A good leader will also off load someone who consistently hinders the group who is just not a team player.

You can improve your own self- respect and become an inspiration to others. How great is that!