I will no longer be updating Success Evolution as I have chosen to move in a new direction. Personally this blog doesn’t serve me anymore. It has too much of a back-office feel. While the journey of success still interests me, the blogging of success alone does not. You can now follow me at my new blog, Infinite Transition.

I’ll be leaving this blog up for archive purposes only, however, it will no longer be updated. I want to thank everyone that read the posts on this blog and shared them. I look forward to sharing more and deeper content on my new blog. Thank you!

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I’m proud to say it… I survived Insanity!

No, not mental insanity, a workout program. For those who aren’t aware, Insanity is an intense workout program developed by fitness instructor Shaun T. It was described at the time of its release as the hardest workout ever created. Its designed for you to develop a better body in 60 days. I first became aware of Insanity one night when I was bored watching infomercials (Beachbody is known for advertising their products that way) and I came across theirs. I’m familiar with Beachbody programs as I’ve had an experience with Turbo Jam before. The first thing that interested me is that no weights were needed. While I have nothing against weight training, I also am not interested in purchasing a gym membership just to have access to them either. Plus, like any other Beachbody program, I just needed a room with lots of space, a TV and DVD player. I got the program back in May and interesting enough, it sat for 6 months. I would watch some of the videos to get an idea of what I would be doing but I never started it. That changed one day when I got a job that required me to be in a car for 8 hours. I found myself getting tired within the first hour of my shift. Needless to say that wasn’t a good thing being that I was not only a hazard to others on the road but also to myself. I knew right there I had to increase my energy level. That day, I made a decision to start the program at the beginning of the week. It started becoming real to me when I set out the DVDs, posted the calender up and prepped all the necessary paperwork needed.

The Journey Begins

Me before I started INSANITY

The following Monday, I got dressed for the workout, got my water and prepared to start. The first thing Shaun T has you do is the “fit test.” It’s designed to track your progress every two weeks but for the first day, it’s to see where you stand. The first fit test was extremely hard. So hard, I threw up at the end of it. I couldn’t even finish the ending stretch. My sister, a former Big Ten Division-I athlete, told me to “be careful” with the workouts and never over-extend myself. The second workout was also tough and a pain to get through. I did finish it and felt like I was throwing up but didn’t. I did have to sit down for nearly 10 minutes before I could move though. I spent the rest of the week, falling through each of the workouts with similar feelings to the first and second days. Week two was much better as I was able to push more and do more than just keep up. I even worked out Thanksgiving Day (it just so happened I started through the stretch of the holidays). When I took my second fit test, my results were much better than my first and I didn’t have another sickness episode.

Hitting Walls and Pushing Through

By the fourth week, my knees started to give out. The intense workouts started to catch up to me and I knew it. I’m an athletic person, I got the build and the activity level but I was never an athlete. This entire process was very new to me. The good news is that in-between the 9 weeks of pounding your body, there is a recovery week. It came right when I needed it and I took that entire week very easy.

Next week started month 2 of the workouts and the Christmas week (it was an off day so I didn’t workout like Thanksgiving). It started with a fit test, which my results improved, and a new routine of workouts. After the fit test, I worked out that same day and it felt like week 1 all over again. Falling through the workouts. This time, I was able to push through and work harder. During that particular week, I was asked to watch my friends house as they were out of town for Christmas and take care of their cats. I still found a way to workout, even while pushing the cats out of the way and doing it on my laptop (try going from a 42″ to a 15″ screen). Unfortunately, I also strained my tricep that week but I didn’t let that stop me. I kept pushing and getting my workouts and fit tests in, as I always got better). Much like week 4, my knees started to give out the last week of the program. This time, I knew how to treat that and I kept giving all my energy in the workouts. When I finished my last workout and fit test, I was excited!

Fit test results from beginning to end

Reflection

Beachbody’s key branding statement is, “Decide. Commit. Succeed,” and that’s exactly what I did. I committed to something greater than me, for me, to bring about the best possible body possible. Aside from creating a better physical frame, I also learned a number of other lessons and increased some of the skills I already had. After 2 months, I enhanced my outlook on life and I’m ready to share it with everyone. Here are some of the lessons I got out of the Insanity experience:

Completed INSANITY Calendar

Don’t Let Anything Get In Your Way

I don’t care if it’s a broken down car, bad day at work or school, a fight with family/friends, etc., don’t let that deter you from your goal. Your commitment isn’t just about words but about the actions you take daily toward your goals you’ve set. I’ve talked about a bad day not effecting you unless you allow it to. That will be key in completing any goal or task that you set. If I can fight through 4 cats getting in my way from working out and still get the body I want, you can get through whatever excuse you’re telling yourself.

Always Do Your Best

There are many times where I phoned in a workout but I came back the next day and kept going. Usually that next day I killed the workout. The cool thing about Insanity is that it’s not about keeping up or besting the workout, it’s about doing the most to get your body to the point you want it. In everyday life, sometimes we phone in our efforts but we always get back in and go at it the next day. As long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other you’ll be fine.

Keep The Ultimate Goal In Mind

Why did you commit to that goal? What was that milestone result you wanted? Whether it was for business or a personal decision that goal will keep you moving to the direction you want. When I started working out, it was to help keep me awake on the road. Even when work slowed down and I wasn’t working, I still kept doing it because I wanted to feel a certain way. I wanted more energy and develop a body I never had before. That goal, kept me moving even when I had my lazy episodes. Make sure that goal you have stays at the forefront of your mind. If it helps to make it an urgent goal, go for it. In the words of Shaun T, dig deeper.

Project It Forward

If I can create a better body in 60 days, what else can I do with that level of committment? That became a key question I asked myself. It was certainly an adventure that taught me more about myself than anything else I’ve done before. I’m so happy I had this experience and what it taught me. I feel it helped me break some of my old habits I had in the past. At this point, there’s only one thing to do. Keep it moving and keep moving forward.

Where’s My Shirt Shaun T!?

What great things have you committed to that changed your life? What new habits did it help you form? Please share and give feedback.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve had a case of writers block and never was inspired to write anything but after a very lengthy conversation the other night, I think I found exactly what I was looking for.

When I’m in the mood (which is usually), I go out to an open mic night at one of the local bars. Being a musician I tend to look for opportunities to express my artistic side. This open mic has a featured artist which gets a little more time to perform. That night, one of  my friends I haven’t seen in awhile was the feature so went up there to see and support her. Usually when you go to open mics, it’s a crap shoot of talent who’s there. That particular night, everyone was amazing! Everyone was super talented on the level of the feature and it was one of those nights where I wish every night could be like that. One particular person who came through was an activist and spoken word poet who called himself Jus Rhyme. Jus Rhyme was on a tour he called the Segregated City Tour, visiting the most segregated cities in the country (unfortunately, Detroit certainly holds one of those titles) bringing awareness to the issue. I was very intrigued by his tour as he came from Los Angeles. After I performed my set, he enjoyed hearing my saxophone playing so much he asked me to perform with him during his set in the open mic and I gladly accepted. I totally loved the energy he brought during his performance.

After the performance, I talked to Jus Rhyme about his home and found out he was heavily involved in the Occupy Movement in LA and Oakland. He then asked me if he we could talk about it more and exchange my ideas on camera for his tour and I gladly accepted. We talked about many things from the occupy movement to money, success, spirituality, social issues, etc. While those recorded conversations were amazing, it was the conversation afterward, not recorded, that inspired this blog. We got into a conversation about his tour and touring with him and I mentioned to him I feel there’s too much pointless competition in the music world. “Co-operative Economics,” he said to me. “You are not my competition, you are my co-operation.” That was a profound statement to me because I’ve believed that for a long time now. He mentioned he has a hard time getting his regular band to tour with him because they don’t understand that. When he mentioned that, I started to think about how that showed up in other areas like in business and this one was easy… Gary Vaynerchuk! His whole business approach is that exact thing with the “Thank You Economy.” People think that he can do that because he has money but that’s why he has money. He learned (early) that it’s not just about listening to your customers but also caring about them. By doing that, you actually create a community that interacts with you (and each other) getting them involved. This allows you to go the extra mile and do things for them like sending them signed jerseys from their favorite football players and other acts that help to create repeat business. It was one of the most profound conversations Jus Rhyme and I had that night and we had some good ones. Naturally, I stayed in contact with him through facebook and twitter.

Outlook For The New Year

I sat on this post for a few weeks because I wasn’t quite sure how to transition through this story but with the new year comes new energy and new inspiration. The thought of co-operative economics has been running through my head for weeks now and I thought about how we can implement it into our lives. As I thought about it, I realized the solutions are actually quite simple. “How simple,” you say? Well, read on…

Thoughts

What goes through your head everyday? While you can’t monitor every thought every second of the day, the general repeating thoughts are the ones that you need to be concerned about. This means that the first thing that needs to change to bring about a change is changing you. Thoughts are a very good place to start. There was a pattern that many successful people and spiritual teachers talk about. Thoughts become beliefs which become actions which determine your results which create your habits (I may have switched two of them around but you get the point). You can chart it like this: Thoughts->Beliefs->Actions->Results->Habits. This means that everything that’s in your life has been created by YOU. In essence, you are responsible for everything that has come in your life at this moment. If you want that to change, you have to make a conscious effort to do so. We have to leave things like blame behind and start taking responsibility for our own lives. In the movie Thrive, Deepak Chopra says that if we want to have a different experience we have to start telling a different story to ourselves and to other people. Your thoughts are a good place to start. Just to throw this out there; Since it’s the new year, everyone loves to talk about the dreaded new year’s resolutions. I quit making resolutions years ago because if something is that important in life. I have to address it right away, not wait until January to attempt to change it. That’s a good example of what I’m talking about.

Community

This one requires much more action. Our communities have to be in a state of communication before we can co-create together. A general thought is, “I can’t just go around to the average person in my community and ask them to change,” and that’s true. This is where you need to seek out like-minded people. There are tons of people who want to create a co-operative community within everything but you have to find them. One of the ways I’ve found those people is through networking events. There are only a handful I go to because of what they believe in and I support that mission. Just remember that whenever and wherever you go to meet and network that you take the time to learn about people. Take time to learn about them, their community, background, beliefs and other areas of their lives. You may find you have the same things in common. Accept and respect everything about that person and what they share. Don’t focus on the negatives. While you may not necessarily like everything about them, you have to respect it. This is the only way you can create a bond with them. Only then can you start coming up with solutions and executing them. Another place you can connect with great minds is at an Ignite! or a TEDx event. Those events are all about what’s happening in your community right now and how you can get involved. Community is a big one for me because I feel with the state of the world, this is desperately needed at this point in time. I could definitely go into more but I’ll leave this for later.

I could write more but I want to open this up for discussion. I really want people to contribute to this and help create the world they want to live in. We can no longer rely on institutions to give us the world we want. It’s up to us. I know what everyone is saying about 2012 but it doesn’t have to be the age of Armageddon.  It can be an age of golden harmony. As Foster Gamble said in the movie Thrive, we have what it takes to thrive. Let’s make it happen!

How can you contribute to a co-0perative economic system? What issues need to be solved and actions taken to help create our world? Please share your thoughts!

This comes from my friend Nikki Little. Nikki just recently got married (Congratulations to you!) and took her honeymoon in Costa Rica. During her trip she experienced a way of life that touched her tremendously and she decided to share it. When I read the post, I felt it fit perfectly with the theme to my blog and asked her if I could repost it. She was happy to oblige. Enjoy!

Pura vida (pure life) – The signature Costa Rican phrase

I just returned from seven blissful days of honeymooning in Costa Rica. I had never been to Costa Rica before, and I quickly learned why people rave about this country. The scenery is breathtaking, the activities are limitless and the people are beyond kind. Costa Ricans have done an incredible job of using tourism as an economical driving force while still preserving the country’s beauty and natural resources.

Aside from loving that I had the opportunity to speak Spanish for an entire week, there are several other aspects of the country and its people that I love. As I started reflecting on all those things, I realized there are several ways people can apply the Costa Rican way of life to their own lives and businesses. So, here are some suggestions based on what I learned during my time in Costa Rica:

1. Be kind and helpful. This seems like such a no-brainer, yet too many people lack these simple attributes. Simple isn’t always easy, but as Chris Brogan states in his Salt and Pepper Simplicity post, “The more places in our life and our business where we can season with salt and pepper, the better life becomes.”

The natives we met in Costa Rica were some of the nicest and most helpful people I have ever met. Everyone greeted us with a smile and was willing and happy to answer any questions we had. Our trip was amazing from the second we set foot in Costa Rica until we left seven days later, largely because the people we encountered and interacted with were so pleasant. It set the bar high for trips to other countries.

Key takeaway – Whether you’re interacting with friends, coworkers, family, strangers or clients/customers, be kind and helpful. You always end up benefiting in the end when your intentions are genuine and meant to provide help to others.

2. Go above and beyond with customer service – The customer service talk has centered on the opportunities that social media creates for quite some time now, but nothing can trump excellent in-person customer service. A few examples from Costa Rica:

  1. A few minutes after we checked into the room at the first resort we stayed at, the manager at the front desk called our room to make sure we were happy with everything. Completely unexpected, yet very much appreciated.
  2. The restaurant servers were excellent. They didn’t hover or constantly interrupt conversations, but our coffee cups and water glasses were never empty and plates were promptly removed once we were done eating. Servers were always smiling. If you’ve ever had a horrible experience with a server at a restaurant (or, if you’re like me and spent several years as a restaurant server), you appreciate top-notch service at restaurants because it makes the overall dining experience that much better.
  3. When we checked into the hotel we were staying at the night before we left to fly back home, someone called from our travel agency to ask how our trip had been and if there was anything else they could do for us. Again, a pleasant surprise.

Key takeaway – In business, it’s all about making your customers and clients happy. Sure, people will still buy from companies who don’t provide the best customer service, but it’s very likely they’ll share their disappointment in how they were treated. I will highly recommend Costa Rica as a place to visit to anyone I know because the people there treated us so well and genuinely cared about us having a great experience in their country.

3. Care about the environment and make efforts to sustain it – I was really impressed with how much Costa Ricans cared about the environment and preserving their country’s resources. Many hotels worldwide now encourage people to not get new sheets and towels every day unless absolutely necessary. But the hotels we stayed at during our trip (Hotel Parador, Arenal Kioro and The Marriott in San Jose) have implemented several initiatives related to improving and sustaining the environment. They also do a great job of marketing their eco-friendly initiatives through signs around the hotel, brochures in the rooms and their websites.

We took two different hiking tours through the rainforest, and both our guides talked about how Costa Ricans value the wildlife, plants and trees that live in the rainforest. We were allowed to take pictures of the animals they pointed out, but they insisted upon not using flash on the camera and not getting close to the animals in order to not disrupt or bother them (more for the sake of not interrupting their daily lives than the risk of us getting hurt, although they of course warned about the dangers of getting too close to animals like snakes and poisonous frogs!). It was obvious that while tourism is important to this country and it’s what pays the tour guides’ bills, they cared most about preserving Costa Rica’s natural resources.

Key takeaway – Care about the environment and make efforts to sustain it. Simple efforts like turning off lights, recycling paper at your office and recycling unwanted household items versus throwing them in the trash can go a long way. Here’s a good article about surprising ways to recycle everyday items.

4. Show a genuine interest when having conversations with others – As with number one, this seems like common sense. But, since so many people are addicted to their phones and constantly check email and social networks, it’s not as easy as it used to be to get someone’s full attention when talking to them. I have been guilty of looking at my phone while talking to someone (MAL loves to call me out on this, as he should), and I’m very conscious about not doing that anymore because I hate when it happens to me. It’s not too much to ask someone you’re talking with to pay attention, ask questions and show an interest in the conversation, now is it?

Once they realized I spoke Spanish beyond the typical phrases most non-fluent speakers know, every single native person asked me where I learned Spanish. They inquired about my time spent studying abroad in Chile and complimented me on how well I spoke. I could tell they were genuinely interested in knowing how I learned their language, and it was great to have such interesting conversations with taxi drivers, tour guides and hotel personnel.

Key takeaway – Don’t act like you’re off in “I’d rather be somewhere else” land or totally bored when you’re having a conversation with someone else. Even if the topic doesn’t completely intrigue you or you don’t agree with what the person is saying, show respect and at least pay attention to what he/she is saying.

This is really crucial when it comes to having a positive relationship with coworkers and clients/customers. Think about it from a business perspective – Would you do business with someone who acts like they could care less about what you have to say, or someone who is constantly distracted and can’t even focus on a brief conversation? Those red flags would definitely make me think twice if I were in a new business meeting with someone who acted like that.

Also, make sure you ask about others’ lives more than you talk about your own.

If you’d like to learn more about Nikki, feel free to check out her blog “Essential Elements.” Hope you enjoyed the read!

I had a wonderful life experience this Labor Day weekend (hope you all had a wonderful holiday). My brother invited me to play paintball for the first time this weekend and even offered to pay for me (how nice) so naturally, I took him up on it. My sister and her boyfriend also came along so we had a fun group. We showed up at a wonderful large outdoor facility. We loaded up with all the rental equipment necessary and went to orientation for newcomers. After that we divided into teams and headed off to play what would be the first of eventually 5 games. Being that it was my first time being involved in this activity and it being so new, I was surprisingly not nervous. For those who’ve never been paintballing, you may have friends who have. They tell you all these scary stories about how the paintballs hurt so much and how they leave welts. Well the stories are really cheap horror stories used to scare first timers. Yes the balls sting and they might leave welts but trust me, once you have the adrenaline running through you, you barely feel anything (I got more battle wounds from all the mosquitoes flying around). Well yes, I did get shot up a bit. The first two games I didn’t do well at all. It was a city-like setting and I was out quickly both games. Between the change over from games, I spoke to a lady who ran her own business from home and we got into a discussion about being entrepreneurship. It was a great side discussion between games and really made me feel like I was doing to right thing pursuing that (but that’s another story. I’m digressing). Anyway, back to the game. My brother sat this one out because his gun was having trouble so it was three members of our group. The game was a capture the flag scenario where you had to take the flag to the other team’s base and hang it. When the game started it was an all out battle. Running for cover and firing back while staying hidden. I ended up being the last person on my team to be taken out and with under 30 seconds left in the round. After that game, I realized something about myself. More like something I remembered but had forgotten due to going through the blandness of life.

I’m a fierce competitor!

I really want to win. I was being challenged by something that was so much fun and competitive by design, it was begging for me to win at it. I remember that I had a fighting spirit that I had to suppress when I was working a traditional job. I remember I enjoyed being challenged because it forced me to learn and grow. I loved competition. I wasn’t afraid of it like I had been telling myself for years. It was great energy to rediscover within me. It was like a blazing fire and I wanted to bask in it. And we did! The next game was played from a stealth perspective. Same capture the flag, just different approach. This time, we stayed silent and we ended up winning. It was a great feeling to have.

The next game was much like the first, except that it was in an open area with a building in the middle that you could enter. We played 7 on 7. By this time, I had learned a little about the game, how my equipment worked, and how to utilize the terrain to my advantage so when the game started, I knew exactly what to do. Not only did I survive that game, I took out 3 people in the process. Not bad for a first time player. After that game, we all decided we were tired as it was a very hot and humid day, so we decided to pack it in and go home.

On the drive home, I thought back about my fun experience with paintball. It was so new and so exciting, it brought out some of the vigor in life I had forgotten about but it also helped me remember some critical lessons. In life, all things are relative and this is no exception. Here are some of the lessons I remembered:

Have A Solid Plan

It’s no secret that when my team won, we had a plan. We had a great idea, we executed it and won because of it. The games we lost there was little or no real plan at all. Any successful person, business or corporation has a plan. It was thought out, researched and took time to complete. It was also ever changing as they understood that things in life are always changing (go figure). Are there people who have succeeded without a plan? Yes there are but they’re a very rare exception. To this day I’ve only met one. If you need some type of structure or direction, you might want to develop a plan.

Have A Great Team

Much like the plan, a great team is totally necessary for any success. A great team is one that communicates and shares with each other. They are always in support of each other and are always looking for ways to improve. It’s hard to say much more about this one.

Be Aware, Pay Attention and Be Present

It was impossible during the games to not be present. The moment you stopped paying attention you were taken advantage of. You always had to be aware of your surroundings and how to use them. In life, being aware has a lot to do with success. Opportunities come and go all the time. Sometimes, they come in major batches. In order to recognize them, you have to be present in life. This is a step that many people forget about and it’s critical.

Always Learn, Always Grow

Paintball was a very new experience for me. I thought I could use some of my tactics from laser tag but I found very quickly that didn’t work, nor did mimicking first-person shooter video games. As the games progressed, I learned was worked for me and what didn’t work (pay attention). I was constantly learning new tactics and tools to use for myself. All of these things helped me have the final game I had by taking out 3 of the 7 opponents on the other team. In life, you need to know what works for you and what doesn’t. Learning that will help you make the decisions you need on your journey toward success.

Have Fun

This might seem like a silly thing to put down there but it’s not. Did I forget how to have fun? I kinda have. I forgot about how to be an explorer. How to expose myself to new, exciting things. The journey to success at any level, needs to be fun. Enjoy the journey and the experiences that comes along with it.  With all the glum things around you, why not have fun? Hell, you deserve it! Make it fun!

You can be sure, that I’ll be doing this again soon. I’ll probably be getting my own paintball equipment soon and going with my brother and maybe an extended group next time. It was a true worthwhile experience.

What experience(s) have you had that helped you in a situation or helped you remember something? What did you learn from it? Please share your experiences!

As many might have known, yesterday was Social Media Day. Mashable sponsored many social media meetups in various cities around the world and Detroit was no exception. There were more than 15,000 parties going on around the world and apparently, Detroit had the second largest SMDay party. The party was held down at Sound Board in Motor City Casino (ironically, the same place as Ignite Detroit) and was a blast. The whole point of SMDay is to get people offline and to meet in person. We spend a ton of time online, connecting with people, following people on Twitter and various other social media sites that we rarely get a chance to meet them in person. Last night was a great opportunity to put faces with names (or Twitter handles if that’s your thing).

Last night was a great networking event. I saw many people I knew, re-connected with some amazing people and even finally met a few folks I’ve been meaning to meet for months now.  One of the highlights was inviting my drummer from Rare Standard down and having him re-connect with various people he knew. Through his introductions I got a chance to expand my network and connect with more amazing people. It was a very pleasant experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

As I reflect back on that evening, it got me thinking about more ways to create momentum. Social Media Day was a huge inspiration to me and that energy needs to be shared with the world. Here are some more tips on how to create and keep momentum:

Start Where You Are/Be Present

I put this first purposely because while it may not seem like a step, it’s a very important realization. We may not always be where we want to be but that’s ok. Where you are now is perfect in this moment. If you’re in a transition, great. If you’re soul-searching, great. If you’re a manager at some large company, great. A fortune 500 CEO, great. The point is use where you are as a launching platform. You can always create where you want to as long as you’re present. You may not know exactly what you want now, but if you stay present (keep your antennas up) you will find it. If you’re always focused on the future, you can miss what’s right in front of you.

Get Active/Get Energized

Whether it’s in your community, in your business or in your personal life, get active. One of the things I learned from Tony Robbins is that emotion comes from motion. If you understand the word “emotion,” it literally is just energy in motion. You have to have what Tony calls that juice for life. In other words, find something that energizes you. One of the things that energizes me is networking. I enjoy meeting new people and finding out how I can help them. Speaking of which…

Meet New People

New people bring new energy. Everyone has a story to tell, everyone has information to share and everyone has something to offer. You can learn so much from everyone you meet. What to do and even what not to do. New people also bring new opportunities which is why it’s important to be present. One thing to note is that people come in all different packages. Just be sure that the people you meet are people you want in your life. It is important that the people in your life are positive as that energy rubs off.

Be Vulnerable

This may be a surprise to some people but yes, this does create momentum. It forces you to face many fears (really, pick one). It also forces you to be open and present as you go through changes. Vulnerability is very unfamiliar territory. You step out on the skinny branch and go against your old habits and your beliefs which challenges your ego. The ego may have gotten you to where you are now but if you want to go further you have to relinquish your ego’s grip. Vulnerability does just that.

Take Small Steps And Celebrate Small Victories

You can only create momentum one step at a time and keep it that same way but one step is all you need to start. As long as you put one foot in front of the other and continuing to do that, you create a positive force that you can continue to build on. When I began running, it was one of the toughest things I’ve ever decided to do. My closest friends and family know that I can’t stand running for the sake of running. That’s not my idea of exercise as I’m mainly a cardio junkie but as I started running, it got easier. I even found a way to go 6 miles with my first run. Talk about a big step. When I got home, I was extremely proud of myself because I faced something I truly hated with a passion (You want to talk about being vulnerable, THAT’S vulnerability and a massive momentum builder!). The second time I went out was much easier and I went nearly twice as far. I celebrated that big time because of what I did. I’m not suggesting you go on a big run or train to run a marathon as that was a huge step for me but it did create momentum. Even if you start with something simple like doing the dishes, use it to your advantage especially if you normally don’t do it. And don’t forget to celebrate!

Never Underestimate The Power Of Social Media

Obviously I’d be putting this in because of Social Media Day but not necessarily. If used correctly, social media can be used as a great support system. I’m part of groups that help people with blogs, career advice, job seekers, small business and professionals, spiritual energy work, etc., and all of these are filled with people willing to help one another. Even when I post links to my blog, I gain feedback. In the past week and a half, I’ve been called an inspiration by a few people. I would’ve never imagined that I could be an inspiration to anyone but deep within, I always wanted to be. You can say whatever negative things you want about social media but bottom line, you have a choice of how to use it and it can be a place of great positive energy.

Feel free to share more momentum building tips and stories. I’d love to hear them.

Between this post and the last post, I’ve let a lot of time go by. Lots has happened in that span between the experience at Ignite Detroit and now. I’ve moved back in with my parents, quit my job and turned my focus toward myself. Naturally, I caught a ton of flack from my parents about that having  just moved back in with them. Regardless, I felt it was time I stopped doing things just for other people’s approval. My heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

I was working for a work-at-home company and we were doing sales for one of their new clients, whose name I will leave out (even out of the little respect I have for them. Even if I gave a hint, that’s too much). The job started out OK with training but when we actually got onto the floor, I found out just how great training really was. I noticed that no one was there for me when I needed help and when I made a mistake, i got beat up and bashed for things. I wasn’t allowed to screw up and it was more frustrating than anything. The longer it went on, I got depressed and my health started deteriorating. Aside from that, my roommates and I were dealing with a terrible landlord who was basically stealing money from us. It compounded the stress even more. All my dreams, ideas, plans and goals were at the back of my mind due to my depression. Everything about my entrepreneurial side went to the trash because I was just trying to stay sane at that point. I got off track with my gratitude diary and my meditation. It got to a point that I started praying for something else.

I found comfort in reading a few other blogs. Many of them had to do with transitioning into a new chapter in life. A few of them also talked about how to quit your job and do it right. One of my personal favs is a blog by The Boomerang Kid. She’s gone through the process of quitting a few times and has good reason for doing so. Her stories were so inspiring to me that it helped me and gave me the courage to do the same. Ironically, at the same time I decided to make that decision, our landlord decided he wanted to evict us. You might wonder where I’m going with this.

A day before we received the eviction notice, I took a friend’s passion test seminar. If you aren’t familiar with the passion test, it was designed by Chris and Janet Attwood to help people figure out their passions and make decisions based on those passions. We tend to believe we know what our passions but we don’t realize that our wants and needs change on a day to day basis. The key saying they Chris and Janet have is, “Whenever you are faced with a decision, a choice or an opportunity, always choose in favor of your passions.” That hit me pretty hard because I was never taught to do that. It was refreshing because it was basically telling me to be true to myself. As I went through the passion test, it was very emotional for me. I had to find myself digging deep into myself to really pull out answers. No one had ever asked me what I wanted out of life like this! I was on the verge of crying many times it was that heavy. Once I figured out my top 5 passions, I was pretty surprised. One of my major passions in life is music. Would you believe that wasn’t the top passion? It was, however, creating an environment for creativity. The second passion was creating a peaceful space with perfect energy. #3 was music. When I looked at it that way, the eviction was a gift. How can I create if I’m living under a stressful environment? I decided at that moment after the passion test to follow my passions (my heart) and ONLY that.

So that’s that. I moved back home, quit my job and actually decided to break from my sister as my business partner. At this point, I’m on my own quest in entrepreneurship and as far as I’m concerned, I’ll get it.

So after that long story I’m pretty sure you’re wondering, “What the hell does that have to do with momentum!?” Well, everything. Each time you go through a life changing event, you create momentum towards something. I decided to create momentum toward a peaceful environment that encourages creativity filled with music, success empowerment lessons and traveling (which were my last two passions). This transition (and any transition) involves another set of disciplines. These disciplines will sustain and also create energy toward your desired outcome. Here are a few tips that will help you create and sustain momentum on your journey:

Be Very Clear On What It Is You Want In Your Life

If there’s anything I’ve learned from every mentor, every spiritual guide, every leader, all of them will tell you to get very clear on the things you want in your life. This means every goal, plan, marker, etc., will need to be clarified. You want this to be as specific as possible, even as particular as how someone says something or an exact phrase. Yes, it’s that important!

Ignore Well Intentioned Advice

There’s a difference between advice to help you be a better person and advice to make sure that you don’t get hurt. The latter  is what I mean by well-intentioned advice and it is not a thin line but a very broad one. These are people like family and friends who are constantly giving you advice about what “they” would do in your situation. They’re always making sure you won’t get hurt or why you shouldn’t do something because it’s too hard or because you could fail. They want you to stick to the things you know. While these people might be right, their advice is also very flawed. For starters, they’re telling you to accept mediocrity. By staying inside what you know, you don’t grow and that makes life dull (in my humble opinion). The biggest issue with well-intentioned advice I’ve found is that it’s fear-based. The advice that these people are giving to you is actually the fear they have for themselves. In other words, the well-intentioners are pushing their fears onto you. Be very careful with these people. In the beginning they aren’t easy to recognize.

Do Something Everyday Towards Achievement

While you may not know exactly how you’re going to do something, still get up and go out. The more you explore, research, network and expand, the better the chance you have finding something that you want to do. Even if you’re not sure exactly what you want, as long as you’re clear on what you want in your life, The Universe will be more apt to placing it in your life.

“Whenever you’re faced with a decision, choice, or opportunity, always choose in favor of your passions” ~ Chris and Janet Attwood

 What are some of the ways you create and sustain momentum?

I just came back from Ignite Detroit and I’m super excited and pumped up. The event was absolutely amazing and very energetic. Why?

Well to give you a little background, Ignite is a speaking forum event that began in Seattle and has slowly made it’s way around the country. It features various speakers from all walks of life and they give a speech. Some are hilarious, others are quite serious. They have 5 minutes featuring 20 PowerPoint-like slides that switch every 15 seconds so it really keeps the speaker alert. This was the second year for the Ignite event in Detroit… and I almost didn’t go.

I recently started a job working from home and during the beginning of training, the power at the house was cut off (late bills, that sort of thing). Naturally, I panicked and immediately decided to run to my parents house to continue training. It wasn’t a pretty drive but I did manage to get there and get back into training. I later talked to my trainer and she told me it was best to go get my computer so that I can start taking calls. So I ran back home and packed up my computer. While, I was at home, I decided on a whim that even though I was having a sour day, I think it would be a great idea to go to Ignite. I planned it already, so why not? I packed some clothes, ran back to my parents’ place and finished training to get on the phones. It was an interesting first time on the phone but I did make a sale (Yes!). I proceeded to get dressed, and head down to Ignite Detroit. I entered the event, had some free food, connected with some of the local business owners and sat down to experience the event… and then the magic happened.

Did I ever experience an event! There were 15 speakers that night and for some reason, they all seemed to be speaking directly to me. There were various topics like “how to learn how to fail,” to “doing the impossible,” to “starting something new right now,” even “creating from your sexual energy!” All of these speakers had something to offer and they all said something within their presentations that touched me in a very special way. Every speaker said something that had relevance to something I’m going through in my life. Whether it’s my business, my music or my job, it was relevant all the way around. There were breaks between groups of speakers so I went to speak and connect with a number of them and they were as nice as they were professional. They gave me their cards and we were even able to discuss and exchange ideas. After the event, they held an after party in another room, so I decided to stick around. Even more magic happened there. I networked more, opened up more and created more of a sense of community but the highlight to that evening, were two people I spoke with. We had a very in-depth conversation about various different topics but one mainly dealing with how to impact massive change in our communities. The gentleman used Egypt as an example of how using a movement of energy can help change the situation. We all agreed that we have to come together to have a common understanding that we are the same at all levels. It was a wonderful conversation and I got their contact information as well. After that, I said my goodbyes and left for the night.

I connected with so many people that night and I will be, over the course of the next few days, contacting folks and connecting with them via Twitter, Facebook and possibly, LinkedIn. On my way home, I realized that I really LOVE networking! It was not what I was going there to do but it ended up paying off.

So why did I start my post with a story about my day? Because it actually ended up setting the tone for the evening. My bad beginning of the day actually encouraged me to go to Ignite Detroit. Had I not had that day, I’m not sure I would’ve gone. Also, this entire day and evening, ended up teaching me various lessons that I learned. Some came from Ignite, others before it. Here are some of them:

A Bad Day Is A Bad Day If You Allow It To Be

As my day went on, I let the events of earlier fall away. This allowed me to go into Ignite with a clear, open mind and an open heart. I was able to learn new things and receive some wonderful advice that I will now carry with me and can now share with others. The reality is that I made a choice to let go the earlier events. I choose to be open, attentive and energetic and it allowed me to experience a phenomenal event. Had I allowed those events to bother me, I might not have attended and then possibly kicked myself for it later. Think about that the next time you’re having a bad day. In the end, you are what you think about.

Put Yourself Out There

Despite the common belief of, “no one wants to see me,” there are those that do. Someone wants to see you. Someone wants to hear you. Someone wants to know who you are. Someone is interested in your voice. Someone cares about your beliefs. You have more power than you think you do but if no one sees you, your power is worthless. Get out, network, communicate with people and you’ll discover a world of opportunities. On that note…

Learn to Communicate, Network and Build Relationships

I never understood the power of networking and community building until that night.  Everyone has something to offer and share. If you learn how to communicate effectively, people will open up to you and offer their assistance. With that knowledge, you can also help them out. Share information. Learn about people and their lives and businesses. You’ll be surprised at how much you have to offer them, whether directly or indirectly. Everyone is always looking to expand. Help them to do so and they’ll help you too

Have An Open-Hand Attitude

As you give, so shall you receive. By allowing me to be attentive, I was able to share my ideas and energy with the presenters and many of the other people I networked with. Never close yourself off to ideas. The one thing you miss could be the one you need.

Use Public Tools

One of the presenters talked about this. He was able to defeat a billion dollar company by posting the issue on his blog and getting it reposted on other people’s blogs. Not long after that, he received all kinds of help from law firms around the world. He even got interviewed by a number of newspapers including the New York Times. Eventually the company backed off. How did he do it? He used his blog as a platform. Don’t be afraid of using public resources as a viable way of communication. Most people think that Twitter is one of the most mindless tools ever. In reality, they’re scared of it because it moves so fast. Most people are also scared of blogs but another presenter used blogs to bring international awareness to people back in his home. The point is, these tools are a way of gaining attention and creating movements. Especially if you have something you are doing for a community or a movement, you owe it not just to other people but to yourself to get this information public where it can be seen. If it can’t be seen, it’s dead.

Have you ever attended an event like Ignite or Tedx? What was your experience like? What did you learn from it? How did you share the information you learned from those events?

It has been said we are creatures of habit. Everyday, you can look around you and see the things that you have created through your habits. It’s also said that old habits die hard. Depending on who you talk to, that’s very debatable. So how do you create new habits and release old ones? There was a study done years ago that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. With me being in-between jobs, developing a new business, running a band and feeling a bit down, I figured why not try it out?

Almost a week ago, I started a daily diary for myself called “The Daily Gratuity.” Why? One of the tactics used by Tony Robbins (and various others) is that to help you get moving physically, mentally and emotionally is to develop an attitude of gratitude. So everyday, preferably in the morning, I sit down, open my journal, write the day’s date and what I’m grateful for. Has it helped me? So far after 6 days, I do feel a bit different. I’ve noticed that after I do my gratuity writing, I feel more energized to do something. I’ll work on my biz, music or whatever. It’s also brought more of a focus on me and pulled me away from the outside world. Like I’m centered. I’ve noticed that if I can’t focus on my tasks and my energy, I don’t accomplish anything. I’ve also noticed that I feel obligated to write these down. Almost like there’s a Universal calling for me to give thanks everyday. It’s certainly helped me feel better and has increased a call to action from me. Aside from meditation, this as been a really amazing thing so far. I know it’s only been 6 days but it has helped me so far. I’ll do a follow up after 21 days.

If you’re going to create a new habit in your life, make it a constructive one. Developing an attitude of gratitude is one that makes you open and ready to receive more information to help you through your life. If you’d like to develop an attitude of gratitude but you aren’t sure where to start here are some tips that have helped me:

1) Write Everything Down

During the meetings with my spiritual adviser, she would try to get me to write everything down and for the longest time I didn’t do it. After going through a major life shift, I started to do it and realized that I could look at what I wrote down, analyze really work on it and own it. Writing things down allows you to release the energy within you and puts it out into the Universe. Since everything is cyclical in the Universe, gratuity comes back as well.

2) Start Simple

Not sure what to write? Start with the simplest thing you can think of. Something like, “I’m thankful I woke up this morning,” or, “I’m thankful the sun is shining.” Simple and to the point to get you started Once you start writing simple things, more and more things will come out. It will get you moving, writing and feeling better. You’ll also begin to notice that as you write more, you have more than you think you do.

3) Leave Out Negativity!!

This is extremely important! This diary is about YOU not other people. The point of this is to draw attention away from the outside world and more toward yourself. Putting in a directed comment about getting away from this person or that person is bad energy and sending that out to the Universe will result in that coming back to you.

4) Start Early

I try to do my diary entry at the beginning of my day. It’s a great tone setter and reflects throughout the day. After that, you can carry that energy with you and it’ll show.

 

What say you? What are you grateful for?

Hello folks! My name is Timothy Gay. I’m 25 years old. I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan and currently reside in Royal Oak, Michigan, which is a suburb of Detroit. I am a musician, a new business owner and currently in the middle of a transition not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

I created this blog to document my journey to success and the lessons I learned and are learning along the way. It’s also a way to help others hold me accountable for the things I do and say. I know I’m putting myself out there to the world but if I’m going to put myself out there, I might as well offer helpful and useful information along the way

Being a new business owner and an emerging musician in the Metro Detroit area, there is so much to learn and to share. I’d love to be able to share information that can be relevant to assist other peoples lives. I will try to update this blog daily, every other day, weekly, or whenever I feel there is wonderful information to share. Looking forward to sharing with the world my energy and my wisdom. Until then…

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