FOCUS. DISTRACTION. PURPOSE.

As I write this blog post, it’s 5:20 am and I’m sitting here on a cruise ship, waiting for the gym to open. This is a My Little Pony themed ship mind you….it’s for my kids and during the day I’m surrounded by people with their families, friends and loved ones. It’s a beautiful sight for the most part. However, being a cruise, there are, of course copious amounts of alcohol being consumed and right smack dab in the middle of the ship is a Casino, for those who haven’t quite figured out how to waste ALL of their money yet. Don’t get me wrong, the beauty of the cruise far outweighs the negative images of drunk gamblers, but it’s fairly clear to see that many of these folks are drowning their desperation in alcohol, excess food and gambling. I can see this because they don’t even look happy while eating and drinking. This is normal for them. This cruise may be an attempt to escape their everyday life, but as the saying goes, “wherever you go, there you are.”

This leads me to a few concepts that I have come across on the nature of fulfillment and success that have stuck with me over the years. Success is fairly easy because it leaves clues. Millionaires and billionaires are common today. Their blueprints are there for anyone to look at should they wish to. What is less common is someone who is truly happy and walks around with a sense of fulfillment. Just look how many rich people consume drugs and alcohol to numb themselves from the problems of life that money cannot fix. The issue I think comes down to focus. The word focus, has been on my mind as of late. Over the last seven months I’ve become more focused- laser focused even, on achieving certain things in my life. But I have also tried to pay attention to exactly what I am focussing on, or what the story is that I’m telling myself about what is happening. Energy flows where focus goes. When I decided that I was focused on returning to the bodybuilding stage, I had to make sure I was focusing on the right things, the right people and the right lessons to achieve what I wanted. I had to sacrifice the distractions in my life. I stopped drinking completely. I gave up trying to help certain people because I was allowing my energy to be sucked away. My focus became a set of disciplines and that became strength. Mostly, I had to analyze what I was focusing on and whether or not I was focusing on my problems or my outcomes.

BE OUTCOME FOCUSED

I believe firmly that whatever you focus on you find. If you’re looking for problems with someone, you will find them. I also believe that most people focus on the things they DO NOT WANT rather than what their desired outcome is. If you are a problem focused individual, this may be a good example of the conversations in your head; “There’s never enough money. See, people can’t be trusted! I have to do everything myself. I never get what I want because I’m not special. I’ll never be rich. I can’t overcome this problem. I’ll never find someone to love. I deserve to be alone.” When these thoughts are running through your head, it’s important to remember that you are focussing on your problems rather than what you really want. I realize it’s easy to focus on the problems because life seems to be a series of obstacles that stand in the way of what we want. However, if that’s true, it would be just as easy to see problems as normal and not things that need to dominate your mind space.

IMPORTANCE OF FOCUS
When thinking about how important focus truly is, it would serve us well to remember that energy, if focused can do seemingly impossible things. A simple ray of light from the sun, if focused through a shot glass can produce extreme heat and fire. Think about this when looking to set fire to an endeavor in your life. Likewise, some of the best investors and businessmen in the world offer similar advice; the best investment you can make is to focus on on thing you’re good at, and put all your effort into that one thing. “Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket”, as Andrew Carnegie put it. Diversification is often overrated. Focus is more effective. Nothing is as powerful as concentrated human effort.

ELIMINATING DISTRACTION
As important as focussed effort is, it cannot occur without first identifying your purpose and desires and then subsequently eliminating all distractions that do not fall in line with achieving that purpose. A burning desire is fine, but if you are distracted by television, social media, gossip, the news, family that doesn’t support you, friends that are toxic…whatever the distraction is it must be eliminated. That sounds harsh, but I stand by those words. Focus and distraction cannot co-exist. My distractions were the news, drinking, eating out too often and finding fault with things and people that I had no control over. Refining my philosophy helped eliminate the distractions in my life.

So the steps here are: 1. Identify your chief desire or purpose in life.
2. Get so focussed on achieving that desire that the people you need in your life will be attracted to you and help you achieve it. (The point is not that you have to go the road alone, but rather the RIGHT PEOPLE will come into your life when you are focussed.)

PIG- HEADED DETERMINATION

One of the concepts that stuck with me from a great book, The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes was that of Pig Headed determination. What he is really talking about is perseverance at all costs, but he highlights that others will see you as pig-headed when you set out on your journey. And….that’s okay! That’s what it takes sometimes to get what you really want. Note: this does not give anyone permission to be mean or violate the rights of others. Pig-headed determination simply implies that nothing or no one will deter you from arriving at your destination in life. No one can truly be successful without others, so being pig- headed does not in anyway imply that you should be abrasive or rude, rather it suggests never being distracted while finding harmony with others and working together to achieve your burning desire.

PURPOSE

This is the hardest concept for most people to nail down. The Stoics believe that our purpose is to live in accordance with nature. They also believed that our primary job as humans is to be “good people.” I agree with the latter more than the former. As humans, we have always defied nature. Although I understand that by referencing nature, the Stoics are suggesting that we don’t waste time on things outside our control– nature. While this is true, I would suggest that too many philosophies have taken nature to mean that we shouldn’t try to alter our environment and change our external circumstances. I couldn’t disagree more. Humans were never intended to fly, yet millions do in airplanes daily. The human desire to achieve more and defy nature and genetics is what makes us human. We get to choose. We don’t have to follow nature. If it’s cold, we don’t have to fly south. We can wear a coat and turn on the heater.

So the idea of purpose really comes down to answering three questions in my opinion:
What can you do exceptionally well, if not be among the best in the world at?
How can your work help others so that more may prosper from your existence in the world? (Fulfillment)
How much value can you offer others and how much do you demand from the marketplace for your services?
Once you have answered these questions, you have found your purpose. And here’s the thing; although your work may change throughout your life, the truth is your purpose is to do the work at hand the best you possibly can. That’s all. It’s not complicated. Do the work the best you can. If the work doesn’t suit you, change it. But, don’t blame the work for your lack of effort. If your job is to sweep the floor, do it the best you can. That’s your purpose in the moment.

I hope this helps anyone looking to hone in on an endeavor in life. My goal in writing all articles is as much to help others as to remind myself of truths I have discovered in my own life. In other words, I write to remind myself of my own advice as much as any other reason. So, in closing please remember.
-Focus on what your want and keep your mind off of what you don’t want.
-Identify and eliminate all distractions that are keeping you from achieving what you want. It may help to make a DO NOT DO list. Like, do not watch TV after 9pm, do not eat sugar….whatever you know is harming you.
-Ask questions to discover your purpose so that you may align yourself with a plan to achieve your desire.
-Never forget that the ultimate goal is to always grow and then give beyond yourself because fulfillment comes from growth and giving.

In health,

Sean

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Don’t Major in Minor Things

“I can’t get no satisfaction.”- The Rolling Stones

There is an area of my life where I am not satisfied. It’s true! Call me insatiable. Call me ungrateful. Call me whatever you like, just don’t call me comfortable, because I’m not. This area of my life nags at me for attention. It keeps me up at night. It forces my mind to work overtime on how to quash this unease. This dissatisfaction in my life has forced me to question why I have not paid more attention to it before. The answer I have arrived at is the purpose for this article.

The reason I believe that many experience dissatisfaction, sadness and a feeling of lack in their lives is because they focus on things that don’t matter rather than designing a life. In other words, if life was a university, they are majoring in minor things. Many are well versed in sports statistics, celebrity gossip, the new flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and so on. I’d liken this type of trivia to pouring trash into your mind. The mind’s capacity for knowledge is so great, yet we fill it with information and stories that keep us from achieving our true potential. I think we are guilty of this to a certain degree. Why? I would suggest the answer lies in our human desire to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. Trivia is fun, it’s exciting, it’s good in conversation. However, the pleasure gained from it is fleeting.

Disciplined thought and action on the other hand, will lead to long term pleasure and avoidance of many day to day pains that plague us. However, it’s not sexy. Talking about your disciplined routines and life goals at a party or family event will likely get you awkward stares, and rolling eyes. Thus, we go back to majoring in minor things–to avoid the social pain we might face. We all have the desire to be liked by others and our ability to do so determines a great deal of success. However, in our desire to be liked by others, the danger of being distracted by things that don’t matter becomes very real.

If you are not where you would like to be physically, financially, emotionally, it’s because you are not making that area of your life a priority–A MUST, if you will. You always get your MUSTS in life. You find a way to make them happen. But, if you are focusing on other areas instead, you are essentially HOPING for change without making those areas a priority above all else. So, be careful what information you pour into you mind. Choose you majors well and take massive action be sure that you are getting what you determine you MUST have. If it must happen, you will find a way. I have decided to refocus attention on those areas I believe are lacking. I hope you find the will to do the same.

In health,

Sean

7 Qualities of a Leader

Everyone wants to make more money, but few are willing to take on the responsibilities and execute the duties associated with bringing more value to the marketplace. Value is really what we are talking about when we talk about money. Now, everyone has value. As a person, a husband, a wife, you name it. But in terms of income, value to the marketplace is what determines your pay. Sure, you may be able to fool or scam some people short term and make a bunch of cash, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time as the saying goes. Eventually, the laws of compensation will catch up with everyone and everything in this universe. That said, here are the Seven Qualities that will ensure your income rises regardless of the economic climate. They just also happen to be the Seven Qualities of Leaders.

    1. VISION—To ensure more income for yourself and to be a great leader, you must have the capacity to see what is not yet there. You must have vision. You must tap into creativity—the energy source that brings life to all new things. Yes, you must see things as they are, but not worse than what they are. THEN, you must have vision for what could be better. After that, massive action is necessary to see your vision become a reality.
    2. COURAGE—This, in my opinion, is the most important trait to have. Without courage, nothing happens. Fear will always cloud your thinking and get in the way of your success. An example of courage in the marketplace is making cold calls to prospects or asking existing clients for referrals. That takes courage. Simply showing up to work and going through the motions takes no courage. In other words, to utilize courage, you must be willing to be uncomfortable—that’s the only way you can grow. All growth comes from a period of discomfort, and making more money requires doing what others are not willing to do.
    3. INTEGRITY—No one will follow a person without integrity for a sustained period of time. Being a person of ethics and values—having a code and living by it—will cause others to trust you and trust your judgment because they believe that you have their best interest at heart. This matters a great deal in every relationship, including those in the marketplace.
    4. HUMILITY—Having a modest view of your own importance as it relates to others is vital for any leader. Of course you are important, but no more important than anyone else as far as they are concerned. Understand that everyone is the star of his or her own movie! You are merely the cameo appearance. So, if you want to succeed in being a leader and making increased income, check your ego at the door. If others see you as being a person who lacks the humility to accept the importance of others, you may do well, but it will not last. People like to follow others they respect. And employers love to pay respectable people more.
    5. STRATEGIC PLANNING—This quality is so needed today, I could write hundreds of pages about the subject. The bottom line here is that the tactical work of doing the job as it is required and the strategic work of planning the future work that must be done for increased levels of success are two very, very different things. Most believe that by showing up and doing the job as required is enough to be compensated more (because there exist so many people who can’t even do that!). The truth, however, is very different. The truth is that in today’s marketplace, strategic planning is required to ensure that you become irreplaceable. Look at great leaders in history—they all had the capacity for strategic planning: Disney, Jobs, Washington, Churchill, Marshall, and Khan—all of these people were incredible planners and that’s why their names will be cemented in history.
    6. FOCUS ON STRENGTHS AND USING THEM—Great leaders focus on their own strengths as well as the strengths of others and plan a way to best employ those strengths. In other words, they don’t complain that “everyone around here is stupid” or “I’m the only one who really works hard.” Those are limiting beliefs that will ensure you never get to where you want to be. Those who focus on the tools they have and how they can possibly be used to accomplish a goal will usually figure out a way to get it done, even if they are lacking a certain tool or trait. This is due to the fact that they are more mindful than those who only see faults in others.
    7. FOCUS ON RESULTS—At the end of the day, RESULTS RULE. PERIOD. END OF STORY! If workplace morale is down, month over month or year over year revenues are down, or there exists an exponential increase in the costs associated with doing business or some other massive problem, you must figure out what is not working right. What needs to be optimized? What needs to be innovated? Who do you need around you to accomplish your goal? Who is not a right fit? What must happen to make your world incredible both at work and outside of it? Results rule. Do not keep going down the same road because you’re used to it. What if a giant tree or sinkhole was blocking the road? Would you still consider the route? Of course not. A great leader would formulate a new plan of action and then implement it to get the desired result. Change your approach until the result you want is reached.

 

There they are: seven qualities of a leader. Remember though, it’s not enough to understand something intellectually. You must embody it. You must live it and keep on living it so that others will follow you and help you achieve your desires!

Focus on the Details!

Be Detail Oriented
We live in a world where the culture tells us to focus on the big picture. “Don’t get bogged down in the details”, they say. “Don’t let yourself be victim to analysis paralysis- take action now.” Sure, this stuff sounds nice and certainly there are people who overthink much of their lives and never reach a level of satisfaction they are happy with. However, I believe being detail oriented is vital to thriving in our culture today. Too much focus on only the big picture leaves out the fact that all pictures are made up of tiny little details. All paintings are comprised of hundreds of brush strokes. All photos are made up of thousands of pixels. See, it’s the details that make up the Big Picture that we are told to focus on. So, this year I would like you to resolve to pay attention to the details, because everything relies on them.
Another word for details, in my opinion, should be fundamentals. Another synonym would be foundations. If we begin to see details as fundamentals or foundations for building something bigger, our focus becomes doing the best we possible can in the here and now, so that our future can be great. We should all be focused on the future, but the best way to do so is to make the most of the here and now. To play full out everyday. There’s an old saying, “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” I love to tell my staff this because it’s another way of saying that details matter. It’s the details that customers are willing to pay for. All luxury brands, hotels, resorts, theme parks and auto manufacturers focus on the details. They know the importance of detailed work. When your car is thoroughly cleaned by a professional, it’s called getting it detailed. Often, the very beauty of something lies in the details. So while they may seem boring, stupid and monotonous, details matter. They matter a great deal.
It’s unfortunate being detail focused is not valued more in the culture. Products are brought to market with major flaws and lack of attention to detail just so they can be first. Students come out of school without being able to utilize the language, spelling and grammar needed to communicate. As an employer, I cannot begin to tell you how many applications I see with poor grammar, misspellings and run on sentences. If a prospective employee cannot pay enough attention to detail to proofread an application, what am I, as an employer supposed to deduce as to how much value they can bring to the organization? I see so many businesses start and then fail quickly because there wasn’t enough attention to detail in the operations, management and systems from the outset. In fact, I would argue that most failures in business and otherwise occur because of many different details that were overlooked. Often, the exact details that were overlooked are unknown, which is why failure is not a great teacher in my opinion. Someone could have failed for five different reasons, but they believe it is only one, so they try again and fail again. More attention to detail from the outset could have prevented it.
Focussing on the details is really just another way of preparing for success. Before we go on a trip, what do most of us do? We make a list of details- things we might need for the trip. Confirming reservations, calling ahead, packing the right things, packing enough snacks and water, brining the right shoes- all of these actions are detail focused and they are vital. Being detail focused also applies to physical health. I believe the worst health and training advice comes in the from of being Big Picture focused. “Only take in so many calories a day.” “Walk at least 10,000 steps daily.” “Be active for 30 minutes for four days a week for good health.” If you hear someone preaching this, run the other way quickly. Details matter! What types of foods and calories? How fast should I be walking? Should I only be walking? What does being active mean? Should I only do cardio? Should I lift weights? Should I eat carbs? Should I avoid fat? The details underlying the answers to these questions are what is going to get you in incredible shape and health. Generalities are not enough for you this year. From health, to wealth to wisdom, get focused on the details and you will begin to see incredible results. I promise.

In health,

Sean

Beating the Winter Blues

Beating Back Winter Blues With Heavy Metal

If there is anything I have learned, it’s the time between Halloween and New Years Eve can be a devastating time of the year for many people. The stress of the Holidays, the sugary sweets, the financial burden of buying others presents and especially the lack of vitamin D from sunlight- all of which can lead to negative emotional and physical states. I’ve always joked that if only we could skip the Holidays, there would be no need for New Years Resolutions because most of those resolutions are to fix what went wrong during the holidays. So, let this year be different. “How?”, you ask. Well, let me suggest that between now and the New Years, you make an effort to train your body like you’ve never done before. We will call this “heavy metal therapy”. The reason for that is because this holidays we are going to use the iron, (weights) in a way that drives us into the New Year with incredible momentum, strength and endurance.

Now, for this heavy metal therapy to be effective, it is important to remember that old habits must be broken. It was old habits that got us in the predicament we are now, therefore, we are going to start off by skipping the treadmill altogether. In fact, all of our cardio is going to be interval training with body weight or weights. We are going to focus instead on big, heavy lifts that stimulate muscle growth, burn fat and cause our bodies to produce more hormones that keep up feeling young and healthy. The main lifts we are going to incorporate to our weekly training us as follows:

-Deadlifts (rack pulls if you lower back doesn’t allow deadlifts)
-Bench press (seated machine or hammer strength press if shoulder injuries are present)
-Squat (leg press is lower back has problems)
-Pull ups (assisted if necessary)
-Dumbbell shoulder press

These movements incorporate many muscle groups to execute the lift properly. This will elevate your metabolism and begin to train

So here’s the plan; we are going to do each of these exercises twice a week throughout the winter months. The rep range is going to be between 5 and 8 reps (after proper warm up). Each repetition should feel somewhat heavy. You get to pick whatever accessory exercises you like, such as bicep curls, leg extensions, planks and shoulder later raise, but the focus is going to be these Big Lifts. Each workout should consist of 5 sets of these main exercises. Be sure to hit each twice a week for throughout winter, allowing the extra Holiday food to fuel your strength gains. Also, try to track the progression in weights week after week. You should find yourself mastering these lifts the more you do them and also begin to notice significant strength gains and hypertrophy in your muscles. Finish off every workout with 15 minutes of interval training(30 seconds on, 30 seconds off) with the following:

-farmers walks
-burpees
-jump rope
-push up to plank movements
-medicine ball clean and jerks.
-kettle bell swings

Last, try to get as much sunlight as possible so that your body can manufacture Vitamin D. Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, is a very real thing that occurs when people suffer a lack of Vitamin D in their diets as well as lack of sunlight during the winter months. Too little Vitamin D can cause a variety of issues including, depression, compromised immune function, joint pain, asthma, decreased cognition and even increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. I personally supplement 5,000 IU of Vitamin D an K2 daily during the winter to ensure my body is operating properly. If you live in an area that still receives direct sunlight during the winter, get outside!

So there it is- an out of the box, heavy metal recipe to beat back the winter blues. Let’s change what the Holidays mean for our bodies this year. It doesn’t have to be a winter of discontent to quote Charles Dickens. Rather, it can be a time when you really learn about your body and what it is capable of doing. Your New Years Resolutions don’t need to be actions to repair yourself from the Holidays, but rather to propel your new self into the New Year. Happy Holidays from my family to yours!   We are eternally grateful for you and family. From our family to yours,
Happy, Healthy, Heavy Holidays!

Be Future-Focused

Some scholars and philosophers suggest that paying too much attention to the future is what causes most of the stress and anxiety in humans. There are entire schools of thought that preach we must be “present”-focused to have a high quality of life. While I do agree that anxiety is giving too much importance on future events and that we should all be grateful for what we have and can enjoy in the present, I strongly disagree with these schools that say we must be focused solely on the present. I believe the lack of a compelling future is what causes most people anxiety and stress. In other words, worry comes from a lack of hope and not paying enough attention to the future. From my experience and the experience of many of my successful, happy friends and mentors, the biggest commonality between them is that they are constantly focused on the future. They are designing their life and taking massive action so that their future is brighter and more compelling than today.

This is not to say these fulfilled people are not grateful for what they currently have, they are. These people enjoy every moment of life. I know some people so enthusiastic and so animated that you can feel their energy permeating the space around them. These people are able to suck the marrow out of life because they are enjoying the present, but are always mindful and preparing for the future. This type of preparation takes an incredible amount of discipline. However, that discipline allows them to use the stress of the future to design and build an incredible life. Throughout history, those who have been incredible successful in any area of life—marriage, business, health, money—they all have understood the power of anticipation. If you are pulled towards future, mindful of what may be in store, you can prepare yourself and your loved ones.

Being future focused is like laying the concrete foundation for a building. Preparations must be made for the future building so that it can last. The engineers and builders are taking massive actions so that their creation will last throughout the years. Let me suggest to you this is like your life. You are the engineer and the builder. Prepare for the future; design a future life that is so compelling, you can’t help but smile. Then, take MORE action than necessary to ensure that what you design will come to fruition. Yes, be mindful and grateful towards the present, but be future-focused. After all, the present will be the past in a moment. Being focused on the future will give you the ultimate fulfillment.

Blueprint for an Incredible Workplace and Business

What follows are the notes I delivered to my staff. I think they are worth sharing and I’d like to give people some insight into my life as and entrepreneur and owner. If you can learn something as a staff member, manager or partner, I’ve done my job. For my clients, I’d like to even give you all a behind the scenes sneak peak of the philosophies that go into the business.

Fitness System meetings are anything but normal. I take pride in that. I don’t want there to be anything normal about us as a company. I want us to be remarkable. Incredible. Outstanding. Therefore, here are the notes from the last meeting. Follow these principles and we will all thrive and have an incredible workplace and life!

A. Outcome: It’s imperative that all associates know and work toward achieving their desired outcome every single day, every single shift. Outcome based work will yield immense results, while focusing on trivialities will destroy morale. (Example: Clean toilets = incredible environment. So cleaning the toilet is done with the outcome of providing an incredible experience.)

B. Focus: Most people focus on their problems and what is wrong. They focus on themselves and their own needs. I would suggest that focusing on how to deliver more value to others will give everyone a greater sense of accomplishment and well being.

C. Values and Adding Value: What are your values as a person? What is your personal philosophy? What are you doing to add value to others? WE DON’T GET PAID FOR OUR TIME. WE GET PAID FOR THE VALUE WE PROVIDE TO THE MARKETPLACE.

D. 3 Triads That Drive Everything in Life and Business:

1. Character, Positive Attitude and Willingness to Learn—These are the 3 traits of an excellent coworker

2. State Story and Strategy—The story you tell yourself about your job, your coworkers and your clients along with the physical state you bring to work and the strategies you employ will determine how successful and fulfilled you are.

3. Confidence Energy and Enthusiasm—All three are necessary to provide MAKE-YOU-HAPPY CUSTOMER SERVICE.

All of the above require all three parts of the triad to work. Without one, they are a two-legged stool. With all three triads working, you will be living in an incredible state and have and incredible work experience and life. You will also be adding incredible value to everyone around you.

E. Operating by the Golden Rule Principle: Who you are and what you do to provide the value to your coworkers, managers and customers that you wish they would reciprocate to you. “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” Don’t expect your co-workers to perform if you are not willing to step up for them.

F. What Destroys a Workplace: Negativity, Gossip, Focusing on Problems, Lack of Harmony, Lack of Discipline among ALL staff, AND ABOVE ALL—not getting enough leverage on yourself to make sure you do what you say you will do. In other words, what are the consequences for not achieving something? Those with massive leverage accomplish a great deal.

“The path of least resistance makes all rivers and most men crooked.” Most take the easy road. These choices lead to a lack of self-discipline that begins to destroy a person’s humanity.

Words to Know:

Entropy: a lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder. All businesses, relationships and people will naturally turn to disorder and chaos unless there is deliberate action to avoid it.

Habituation: the diminishing of a physiological or emotional response to a frequently repeated stimulus. Whatever we do repeatedly we get used to and we get bored or tired of. This is true for most people in a workplace, a relationship or even with something like driving a car. Habituation causes us to stop paying close attention to things and allow entropy to ensue.