Monday, February 10, 2020

Two Simple Steps to Always Keeping Your Word

Being a person who stands by their word seems pretty basic right? In essence, if you say you're going to do something, you need to deliver the goodies. Since this is so basic, I thought we'd start here...being the first post of this blog and all.

First confession of this blog right out of the gate. I am terrible at this. Like really, REALLY, awful. I can't tell you how many times I've said something to my wife, and months later, she's still waiting for it to get done. I've actually done this so many times that she doesn't even believe me when I say I'm going to accomplish my next great plan.

Whether you're a husband or a wife, that's a scary place to be with your spouse.

It's not that we don't have good intentions when we say we're going to get the garage cleaned up, start a side business, get out of debt, or spend more time at home. Honestly, I think we all have good intentions to do what we say. The problem is that in some ways, when we deliver these proclamations, we're really just trying to pump ourselves up to do the work that's necessary.

So, if you want to be a man or woman of your word, every single time, try these two simple steps.

Promise Less

I know this is going to be a hard habit to break, but if we want to get out of our over promising and under delivering, the first step is clear. Stop saying what you're "gonna" do. Remember, we were all taught as kids that actions speak louder than words. So, instead of saying "you're gonna", just do it, and let the results happen.

Have a Plan before you Give your Word

This goes back to the idea of pumping ourselves up to do what we say. Be diligent and make a plan for how you're going to get your business off the ground before you announce to your wife that you'll be debt free in 6 months. The words in the previous statement sound great, but without daily action and real results, they just lead to disappointment, then ultimately, distrust.

This is something that I'm working on as well, starting today. Let's commit to one month of no promises, and instead put that energy into real action toward our goals. I wonder how much further we would all be on the pursuit of our goals if we just worked and didn't talk about the work.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

What if Social Media wasn't free?

You and I both know that social media networks will always be free to register an account. I mean really, who would pay money to sign up to use a service where they read angry messages or have the ability to be criticized by people they don't even know? This article isn't about advocating for TikTok, Facebook, or Twitter to start charging every user a month fee.

Today, I'm challenging you to change your mindset about your use of the social media platforms. This is a thought I had a few weeks back, and it's my hope that it changes the way I use social media going forward. Hopefully, it will do the same for you.

Imagine that every one of your followers on each platform had to pay a monthly fee of $10 to follow and get access to your posts. How do you suppose that would change your content?

For me, I know what would happen to mine. I would instantly begin posting at least once per day on every social platform. If each of my 62 Instagram followers are paying me $10 per month, the very least that they deserve is a post per day, right?

In addition, the content posted would be much more niche and way more informative. It doesn't matter whether your content is more geared toward information or entertainment, because both play very well on social media. The point is that if you have someone paying money to access your account, you would want to triple down on providing as much value to each of your subscribers as possible. After all, they are providing you with value (income) by paying for access to your posts.

OK, so this was all hypothetical, right? You and I both know that the social media platforms earn money through advertising, so they're never going to charge us to have an account. However, I hope you caught the point of this post. People don't follow you if you're just posting random crap. They follow for a very specific reason, and the more niche (I hate that word, and I don't even know why) you become, the more dedicated of a follower you will have.

Here's a fun exercise for this weekend that will help you evaluate your content. Go to Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, or whatever other social sites you use. Look at your last 9 posts on each site and ask yourself two questions.

  • Would you pay $10 per month to read what you posted?
  • How could you restructure your post to provide more value to the people reading it?
By the way, the answer to the first question for probably all of us is going to be a resounding 'NO'. That's definitely the answer I got by looking at my posts. That's OK though, because the first step to any change is to acknowledge that there is a problem, or that you could be doing better, in the first place.

Think about what you really want to share about your life experiences. Do you want to teach people a skill you have? Are you just looking to document your life? (By the way, the documenting approach is super powerful if you go about it the right way. I did this with my training for a half-marathon in 2017, and was amazed at all the positive feedback I received.)

Take your followers on a journey. Tell them a great story that they are bound to get very invested in. Never pretend to know more about a topic than you actually do - that's one way to not only lose the respect of others, but you'll also be called out by someone who does know about the topic. 

One of the most important pieces of advice I've received was from GaryVee. Recently, he said to treat every follower like they're the only one. I've got to admit, I do a terrible job at this. Many times, I'm amazed I have any followers at all. Who would want to be updated on all my random nonsense?

Engage with your followers and take an interest in what they're doing too. Reach out and message them (something I don't do enough of), and be authentic when you do. Show a genuine interest in each person who follows you, and you'll be surprised at how many more people show up for your content.

This was a fun story to write, but the truth is, I don't currently do any of this. I'm going to work at this for a month, and on the first Friday of February, I'll write a complimentary piece to this one detailing what has changed.

Friday, January 24, 2020

For Massive Improvement, Force Yourself to Take Daily Action

When is the last time you achieved one of your big goals - something you really had to work for? For me, it was completing the 2017 Glass City Half Marathon. In just 3 months, I went from not being a runner at all, to finishing a half marathon in just over 2 hours.

When you have a big goal, you have to put in the work toward it every day, whether you like it or not. There is an old saying that says "find something you love to do, and you'll never work another day in your life". I heard that all the time from my Dad growing up. It's a nice thought, but there is a fundamental problem with it - there is no truth to that statement.

Whatever you're trying to achieve, there will be work involved. The bigger the goal, the harder that you're going to have to work. Even if you really love what you're doing, there are going to be certain parts of it (or even days) that you just don't feel like working on your goal. In those times, it will most definitely feel like work.

The fastest way to improvement

When your goal gets hard (and it will), the fastest way to improvement is to power through. From my experience in training for the half marathon, the biggest gains were earned on the days when I didn't feel like running. That's because there is a certain satisfaction in knowing that you pushed through and got it done, even when you didn't feel like it. 

You proved to yourself that you can accomplish hard tasks, even when you didn't want to work at all. It's a mental victory, and those are far more important than the physical victories.

Whatever you're trying to accomplish in life, make it a goal - force yourself if you have to - to take specific action toward that goal every day.

For example, this is probably the 97th time I've restarted this blog. Typically, I will write for about 2-4 days, and then just quit. In fact, the last time I restarted, I wrote a welcome post and then apparently just quit. I want to write, but don't know what to say. Instead of writing until I figure it out, I've given up.

Forcing yourself to take action will turn it into a habit. So, until the end of September, I'm going to write a blog post every single day. At that time, I'll re-evaluate to see if that's still the frequency that I want to post, but until then, I'll be taking that action every single day. It's the only way the writing will every improve.

I challenge you to figure out what your goals are, and then find a way to take action on them every single day. 

Let me know in the comments what you're going to be working on. I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

How do you know when it's time to move on?

For the last several years, I've been debating 'retiring' from soccer, both refereeing and coaching. I began officiating soccer when I was 15 years old, and it was my first job. I loved going out to the park and refereeing the little kids. It was cool when they all looked up to me, but that was a long, long time ago. Twenty-five years to be exact. I am 40 years old now.

More recently, I found myself asking the question "What am I doing here?" during high school soccer matches. I particularly remember my last match in 2017. I was doing a girls game at Evergreen High School in Metamora, Ohio and we were in the middle of nowhere. It was a peaceful night in a low-level, end of the season contest. I had a lot of time to think, and the entire match I just kept asking myself the same question...

What am I doing here?

It didn't help that my marriage was at that time falling apart. Soccer season always seemed to put a strain on our home life, but this season there seemed to be something more to it. Weeks prior, while my wife was in New York City visiting her brother, a match that I had been working (because I stayed home to make that money) got so out of control that the Assistant Athletic Director escorted me and my partner to our cars.

I asked the question all weekend...What the hell am I doing here? Instead of having fun in New York City, I decided to stay home to get harassed on a soccer field for 7 matches. In hindsight, it was really stupid.

This past June, I decided to quit refereeing once and for all (with the exception of a few payday tournaments here and there). I remember the exact moment that it hit me that this would be my last match - that my referee career was finally coming to an end.

I stuck around after the match to take this picture for the ' the picture to read my caption from June 3rd. I haven't officiated a match since.

I was working a match at the Total Sports Rossford Dome, and as I'm in the center, I just had this overwhelming feeling that I can't do this anymore. Twenty minutes into the match, and I couldn't wait until it was over. I was losing focus during the match because all I could think about was...

This has to be it. I have to be done after this game.

So, how do you know when it's time to move on?

It's different for everyone, but I think it starts by getting inside your own head and coming up with an honest answer to the question "What am I doing here?". If your answer is "I don't know" or "I hate doing this", it's probably time to move on. Don't wait another 2-3 years like I did to make the decision. Life's too short to be miserable doing something you don't enjoy.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Become an Asset in a World of Liabilities

I watched a video recently from Grant Cardone speaking about this idea of becoming an asset. Since viewing that video, I can't get this idea out of my head.

You're surrounded everyday by people that you would consider to be a liability, and so am I. Heck, if we're being honest, we know that many times we are in fact the liability - even though we don't like to admit that. For our purposes, let's say that a liability is someone who isn't pulling their weight, whether that be in a team, business, or relationship setting. In essence, they aren't doing as much as they should be.

To become an asset means to go above and beyond what is expected of you. It doesn't mean to suck up or be a kiss-ass, it just means to do more than others expect of you. With society seemingly lowering the bar each day, expectations aren't all that high to begin with. Yet many of us (myself included) don't perform beyond them on a consistent basis.

So whatever it is that you do, make sure you do it with excellence. That's how you become an asset. When I began coaching kids soccer at the Washington Local Soccer Club in 2007, one way I became an asset was to volunteer for everything. I had run my own league previously, and knew how important it is to have good volunteers around.

I helped run a week-long camp that the travel team was putting on when the rest of the volunteer coaches sat around and watched. I helped build goals when I saw Tom, the League President, doing it all by himself.

By the end of my first season in the Spring of 2007, I was the most well-known coach in the division. By the end of the Fall season, I was promoted to Head Coach of the travel organization (same one that I helped with the Spring camp 6 months earlier).

It doesn't always take a lot of hard work to become an asset. You just need to be willing to consistently show up and do what others won't.

To see the Grant Cardone video on Instagram that inspired today's post, click here.