Saturday mornings were a special treat for me when I was growing up. That’s because they meant two things: no school and cartoons. Today’s youth can’t relate in this age of always-on self-serve entertainment. But back in the day we didn’t have instant access to everything. If there was a show we liked, we had […]
Resolutions, goals, objectives… Whatever you call them, a new year is the time when you make them. If you’re like me, you probably feel like there are a million things you want to do and you want to do them all now.
Unless the new year has endowed you with the ability to grow extra arms or create shadow clones, you have to decide what to do and what NOT to do.
I know the feeling.
I felt pulled in a thousand different directions until I learned one question I can ask myself at any time to get my goals into FOCUS.
“What one thing can I do right now that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?”
-Gary Keller, author of The ONE Thing
Asking this question helps me bring possibilities into focus and I can instantly tell the difference between “yes” and “no or not now” activities.
There are a lot of things I’d like to accomplish this year: earn “best seller” status with my book, grow my business income, and get my house tidy. But asking this “focus” question led me to the “one thing” I will strive to accomplish in 2018.
My “one thing” is to learn how to consistently get greater than $110 in profit for every $100 I spend on Facebook advertising. Once I learn this skill, every time I run ads I’ll make all my money back plus a little extra. That means I’ll effectively be advertising my business for FREE. Actually, I’ll be getting PAID to advertise.
More importantly, however, I’ll be getting paid to add paying customers to my email list. Learning this skill is like learning how to print your own money. Getting paid to get customers makes a lot of other things easier or unnecessary. If I want more money, just get more customers. If I want my book to be a bestseller, figure out how many customers I need and go get ‘em.
So now when I’m faced with the hottest new platform, technique, or gadget, all I have to do is ask myself “is this going to help me consistently earn $110 for every $100 I spend in Facebook ads?” If the answer is “no” then it’s a distraction and I automatically know it’s something I don’t need to be doing—at least not right now.
Use this “focus” question for yourself and come up with your own “one thing”.
If you decide your “one thing” is to learn Facebook advertising, then check out this FREE tutorial written by my friends at MLSP. Also, if you want to spy on me and see how I’m implementing my Facebook ad strategy, like my page on Facebook and then sign up for my email list. As a FREE gift for joining, I’ll give you a 3-Day video course that will help you find your “Do-Everything-You-Want” superpower.
A new year brings new possibilities. We make resolutions, set goals, and look forward with anticipation. But sometimes, we’re just grateful to get the old year behind us. I certainly had my share of loss and grief in 2017 and I summarized it in my year-in-review post.
But as we leave another year behind us, some events just don’t seem to stay behind with it. Instead of shrinking and disappearing in our rearview mirror, they remain in full view—magnified even.
Certain events—especially the more emotionally uncomfortable ones—remain in our thoughts. We wonder how things might have been different. If only we could change things…
So you try to stay busy and you distract yourself—for awhile. Eventually the thoughts return.
And people who mean well may try to help. They say things like “at least…”, or “could be worse”. They mean well, but it doesn’t help.
No, to really move past these difficult memories takes two things: acceptance and perspective.
Distraction, denial, and minimizing are all forms of resistance. Whatever you resist, you strengthen. Think about it: you do “resistance training” to get stronger muscles. With that in mind, is it any surprise that these uncomfortable thoughts don’t go away when we resist them?
As difficult as it may be, the first step is to accept that whatever happened in the past has happened. You have to accept that you can’t change it. And you have to accept that you feel however you feel about it. But most importantly, you have to accept yourself.
A very powerful way to get past uncomfortable emotions is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). This method is also known as “Tapping”.
To me, one of the most powerful aspects of EFT is the way it teaches you to make positive affirmations. The phrases are usually setup like “Even though I [fill in the blank with the uncomfortable feeling or experience], I deeply love and accept myself.”
On the surface, this might seem like a negative affirmation. In the first part of the phrase, you admit the emotion you’re struggling with. Many other positive affirmation techniques teach you to say a phrase to affirm how you want to feel instead. If you’ve been taught this, EFT may seem counterintuitive.
But instead of resisting your feelings, this technique allows you to put yourself into the role of a non-judgmental observer. You notice how you feel, and you accept yourself anyway.
As you accept your reality and your feelings, you will begin to gain perspective. You will notice that something positive can come out of even the most difficult losses. Most often those gains will be in the area of your personal development.
The one man in history who probably lost more than anyone else said:
But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Job 23:10 NASB
Job understood that just like gold is refined by fire, people are refined by difficult or “trying” circumstances. This is the kind of positive thinking that helps put challenging times into perspective.
When I went through my own “refiner’s fire” in the form of my second divorce, I replayed all the events over in my head until I was sick of it—and then I went over it some more. A symbol that helped me get through it is the symbol of The Phoenix. Eventually I realized that no matter how hot the “fire” gets—and even if I’m reduced to ash—instead of being destroyed, I will be reborn.
I also discovered that the year I was born is associated with the “Metal” element in the Chinese Zodiac. In traditional Chinese medicine, the biggest life lesson for Metal people is “letting go”. Therefore grief is the governing emotion for Metals. Just like actual metal goes into a furnace to be refined, Metal people become spiritually enlightened by learning to release and surrender in times of loss.
That discovery served to reinforce the knowledge that no matter how “hot” it gets, or how uncomfortable it may feel, I can handle it.
So as I move forward into the new year, I have the perspective that the difficult experiences I’ve had in that past played a positive role in shaping who I am today. I also accept the fact that while I am grateful for those gains, I will do everything in my power to never go through it again—cuz it sucked.
You see, having a positive attitude about suffering doesn’t mean putting on a smile and pretending that everything is all sunshine and daffodils. It means fully acknowledging the “suck” of the situation while understanding you’re made out of stuff that not only can handle the heat, but is made better by it.
Finally, just like I found the symbol of The Phoenix and my superpower of resilience, I can help you find your own superpower. Just follow the link, enter your email address, and get my FREE 3-day video course. I’ll walk you step-by-step through the process of identifying your unique superpower.
As we enter 2018 I am really excited about things ahead. Big things are on the horizon for my life and for my business and I can’t wait to share them with you. But before we move forward, I felt it would be good to take a moment and reflect on the year past and appreciate just how much happened these past 12 months.
In 2017 I accomplished a big life goal by publishing my first book, The Beast Code: 4 Simple Keys to Unlock Motivation That Lasts So You Can Finally Dominate Your Side Hustle. It was an unbelievably proud moment for me.
I felt it fitting to dedicate my book to my mother, known affectionately by most as “Nina” when the book launched on April 2.
Although I hadn’t told her, somehow my mother knew.
On the morning the book launched on Kindle, I got a message from my niece in Georgia. She was visiting my mom at the nursing home where she resided and wanted to let me know what happened on this particular morning.
Good morning Uncle Chris! I hope all is well with the family.
While I was visiting Nina, and trying to get her to use her words ( she’s been doing a lot of mm hmm, and uh uh, lately),she sat straight up in bed, eyes wide open and said “I need paper”.
But her nurse came in the room to giver her her medicine (crushed in applesauce) and her eye drops. That took a good 15 min so I figured she had forgotten about needing paper.
But shortly after the nurse left she sat up again and said “I need some paper.” So I asked “why do you need paper Nina?” as I scurried around the room trying to find paper, a pen, and something for her to bear down on. She mumbled a few things, but at the end of her mumbling I made out “to Julius”.
So I asked if she was writing to you and she said “uh huh”. Then she started furiously writing on her paper (with eyes closed mind you) and in a faint soft voice she was saying what she was writing. I heard her say “I’ve been praying for you that God is with you……..”
I couldn’t make out anything else, but I thought that was so sweet and we went on to talk about you, Valerie, and the boys. Just thought you would appreciate that. Have a great spring break with the boys!
Then she sent me this picture:
I never got to see what was on that paper. From what my niece told me, it was illegible anyway.
But I got the message—loud and clear. Somehow my mother knew about my book dedication and she answered.
I don’t think I need to tell you how touched I was and how special that moment was for me. I will always treasure it.
Losses And Gains
Just a few months after I launched my book, I said goodbye to my mother as she decided to take her rest after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
I traveled to Georgia to be with her as she showed signs she was nearing the end. I am grateful for the chance to tell her how much she inspired me to become the person I am today. I miss her, but I know she is at peace.
My mother was not the only loss I would encounter in 2017. I also had to say goodbye to my brother, Terrance Coleman (Ted).
Ted was the oldest of four sons of our dad, Ronald L. Austin. I did not know him well. I only saw him in person twice in my life—once when I was a teenager and the second time at our dad’s funeral. Below is a picture taken during the time of the funeral. Ted is on my right.
Saying goodbye to Ted was bittersweet. I wish I could have had more time with him and I thought I would—he was only 50. However, I now have the opportunity to get to know him through his legacy—my niece, Taniya. She’s seated on my right.
She was excited to learn about my book and being a writer herself, would like to publish her own book one day. I’m so proud of her!
Although the year had its share of sorrows, it brought joy as well.
2017 brought a milestone birthday for my wife, Valerie, and we celebrated with a Pink, Purple, and Magenta blowout! It was magnificent! We had pictures on the purple carpet, purple cake, and we got dressed up in our magenta best. We took over a vacation rental and made a weekend of it.
With so much loss in 2017, it was nice to have celebration as well.
Reading And Writing
I challenged myself to read 150 books in 2017 and I exceeded the goal with 167. It felt good to set a goal and achieve it. This year, I will focus on implementing what I learned from all that reading.
2017 was also a good year for my Facebook fan page. I crossed the 10,000 fan mark! If you’re a fan, thank you very much because I owe it all to you. If you’re not a fan, what are you waiting for? Go on over to my page and give it a like! Expect to see more content there as well.
Finally, last year I posted a total of 19 times to this blog. This year, I intend to post at least four times per month. I am really excited about what I have to share with you this coming year and I suggest you stay tuned for it.
2017 was a year of accomplishment, joy, loss, and celebration. I’m looking forward to 2018 being even better.