Eat at the Diner of Your Thoughts

You ever have that challenge staring you in the face and you can’t seem to see it any other way? Problems are many, solutions are few.

Impending doom sets in.

Our thoughts have a way of owning us. Our thoughts drive our actions and even the intentions for those actions. At times, you may feel powerless over them. In all likelihood, we are.
All the great thinkers in history carried with them the great ability to separate, or have a seemingly out of body experience with their thoughts. A freedom to look at their challenge from the outside, free of tension, anxiety, and pressures of the moment.
This isn’t easy to do.
But that doesn’t make it impossible, does it?

Would you eat at the diner of your own thoughts?

Let me set the scene…
You’re standing outside…probably in the rain. It’s always in the rain isn’t it? Not a downpour, but a gentle, annoying, cool, but not cold drizzle.
The rain is context for making it a little harder to see things completely clearly. If this moment in life were the weather, the forecast would be a gray dreary rain settling in for the foreseeable future.

Do you see him standing outside? What is he looking at?

He sees this lonely soul, nestled cozily into a booth at one of those 24/7 diners, caressing a luke-warm cup of black coffee. You know this kind of diner, the kind with the quintessential neon [OPEN] sign in the front door. The coffee is just ok, but at least it’s warm…and the pie is taunting you.

Do you see him?

He’s there, lost in thought, or maybe buried in a world of problems, regrets and uncertainty. More than anything he’s looking for one of two things.
  1. Answers
  2. Courage

Who is this person?

It’s me. Both actually, are me.

I’m the guy standing out in the rain, and the guy in the restaurant represents my thoughts.
This odd exercise and viewpoint helps me see what can’t be observed otherwise. It provides separation from the dangerous feedback loop of my own thoughts.

You ever have a friend ask you for advice?

I sure have. Many times. The answers come rolling off my tongue rapid fire, like tennis balls from one of those sick American Gladiators guns. Man those were awesome! Bang Bang Bang. Idea, idea, idea. Each a solution.
Point is, it’s not MY problem when my friend asks for advice. It’s my friends’, therefore my answers carry zero weight or anxiety. It’s not my life. I’m simply providing direction and logic.
This is the answer.

Separation.

If you can’t dine at the restaurant of your own thoughts, you can’t change the angle of looking at your challenge, or opportunity for that matter. See it for exactly what it is, but never more than it is. I think my friend Tony Robbins said that. [digital fist bump Tony]
ACTION ITEM: 
In solitude (a walk, a quiet room, a flight) I don’t care where, get alone and outside yourself. Joe Rogan says, “be the super hero of your own movie. What would he do?” Play it out and be the hero!
If nothing else, sit quietly in the diner and enjoy a slice of pie.
This too shall pass.

Power of Pattern Interrupt

Patterns.

Every day, you get up at 6am.

Every day, you show up at  to the office at 7:59am, and leave at 4:59pm (yup, one minute early!) STICK IT TO THE MAN!

Every day, you eat the same thing for lunch.

Every meeting…is in the same office.

Every day, you drive the same exact way to work, and the same exact way home.

Every night at precisely 6:30pm, you sink deeper into the couch…zoning out.

Deep in Pattern.

STUCK. BORED.

Keep in mind. None of what I’m outlining above constitutes laziness. It may, but it very well may not. There are many motivated people doing the same thing every day… but in pursuit, not experiencing major changes in results.

It’s time to pattern interrupt.

I have this wonderful obligation, partly, this is my job. Travel, is one pattern interrupt. I Live in Iowa, but travel to: NYC, travel to San Diego, off to Dallas, then Florida. Now Las Vegas and then San Francisco. Doesn’t really matter where. As Jimmy Buffett says, “Changes in latitude, changes in attitude.”

Each is a new opportunity, and not necessarily a business opportunity (although that usually exists on the surface). It’s an opportunity for pattern interrupt. New scenery. New faces to meet. New points of view to engage and debate.

Put quite simply, a new (or newer) look at the world around us. Or at least a new way to see it. If you’ve ever flown, think about the freedom you feel looking out seat 14A. Peering down 10,000 feet as the plane roars toward the clouds. The people become specks. Cars become micro machines. Buildings are well thought out LEGO configurations. Suddenly you can see EVERYTHING. The prism of God’s creation right in front of you.

NEWSFLASH, you don’t need to spend $1,000 on a plane ticket to Europe to pattern interrupt.

  • You can go for a long walk, when you pattern is to sit down after breakfast or dinner.
  • Ask your boss if you can work “remotely” for the afternoon. Same work, fresh location. Fresh perspective.
  • Instead of eating lunch alone like most days, engage a long-time friend for some thoughtful discussion.
  • Chose writing in a journal for 20 minutes for a break between binge watching episodes of Ozark
  • You can venture to a Starbucks, or a Panera to people watch, and literally THINK.
  • If you live in Dallas, hit up Austin for the weekend. Talk to a stranger

I literally started writing this from a Panera, because I needed some new scenery to explore this thought. Nothing major, but yet, still different from the island in my kitchen (where much of the magic happens ;-).

How can you think about pattern interrupt today?

The holidays provide a built-in [pattern interrupt] scenario. Many of us will have a day, or days, and maybe even a couple of weeks off.

Yes, please take your foot off the gas…but not too far, lest losing all the stream and momentum built up over 2017. See where you fall into pattern ruts, and where you can build in “interruptions” to your 2018.

Merry Christmas!

 

Pay Attention to your Intentional Day

Be intentional with your time. Be very intentional with your energy.

In doing so, happiness and fulfillment are sure to follow.

What is an intentional day? It’s the name I gave to a day complete with all the things that make me better. Scripted from morning to evening. Encompassing all aspects: from diet, to where I spend my time, who I spend it with, to what I consume.

Thriving. Intentional Days —> Lead to Thriving

It is the one word I’d choose to describe how I feel when I’m being 100% intentional. 

Here’s a peek into my intentional day. I’d invite you to craft your own.

When I’m feeling really great and I’m at my peak performance, I do the following:

  1. Rise Early. 6am preferably..sometimes earlier. Awake fully rested. Like a toddler ready to tackle his presents on Christmas day. More on how I get here at the end of my intentional day, because one fuels the next.
  2. Time to think/strategize my day. If I don’t get control of my day early, someone else is guaranteed to take it back by 7:30 or 8am.
  3. Exercise. Usually for me in the morning this is a combination of push ups, pull ups, some abs and air squats at home. If in the evening, I’m running or shooting hoops to get the heart moving. Growing up the basketball gym was my sanctuary. It still is when I need time to think.
  4. Food = Fuel. I like to start my day with a smoothie. Ingredients: frozen strawberries and blueberries, a splash of milk, organic honey greek yogurt (probiotic), a scoop of peanut butter, about 20g of protein powder, and a pile of spinach. Good for my gut. Good for me. Great source of energy. I’d also add here I drink 8 glasses of water. It’s amazing how much better the body (and brain) operates when hydrated.
  5. Inspiration – Every morning I try to consume at least 15-20 minutes of content before heading out the door. YouTube is my go-to. Simple, free, and thousands of options. Inspiration is like bathing. It needs to be done frequently to be effective. Every day. Monday – Friday to get my mind in the right place and in a position of gratitude.
  6. Notecard of Targets –  To-do lists steaming 20+ items lack focus and instead pile on the trivial. I try to never leave the house without 3-5 MUST MOVE items on my list. So that if I did nothing else for the day…I’d accomplished something that was vital. Key here is separating the trivial from the vital.
  7. Lunch = Salad. When I’m eating well, I’m making a salad. Greens, some protein, sprouts, peppers, etc. Not to bore you. Why salad? I know it is fuel and it’s great for me. All the energy I need to get through the afternoon and most importantly no crash.
  8. Day at Work – I can simply sum this up as collaboration. I thrive being with people. Vetting new ideas, tackling challenges, presenting solutions. Too much solitude and I get a little gray and maybe a tab grumpy. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in getting alone to think…just not for hours on end.
  9. Pick up my son from daycare. Always a terrific bookend to my day. Good days are made that much better.  Bad days, I get a dose of what’s really important. The 3-year old in my backseat doesn’t care about the unruly client or lost pitch.
  10. Evening Reading – Daily goal is to knock out 20-30 pages. Done every day, week, month…I can consume 20+ books a year.  I’ll admit this ebbs and flows greatly with travel time and other needs, but this is all about “Intention” and using daily [slight edge principles] to tackle bigger objectives. Small efforts, magnified with consistency over time —> yield big results.
  11. Evening Meditation – It may be an understatement that I have a very active mind. My hamster wheel spins even at the thought of an idea. I must eliminate the noise.  My most intentional days end with 30+ minutes of silence and stretching. Clearing my mind of any fears, stresses, anxieties, thoughts and ending with gratitude.  When done sequentially, I sleep better (deep sleep), I’m sharper, wittier, funnier (my own opinion), and my memory feels much deeper. If you’re looking for more detail on the HOW, here is a post I wrote a while back.  20 Minutes of Silence.

That’s it. 11 items.

When done with intention and executed with frequency, I am no doubt my Best Self.

I would even bet my better half could tell you when I’m on point…and when I’m failing to execute my intentions.

ACTION ITEM: You’ve got to know (and write down) what really makes you operate at peak levels. Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually. There is a pattern. Use mine as a starting point or guide, but know every one reading this has their own operating system. Find what works. <— Do that!

 

Personal Value & Personality Flaws

I have a personality flaw.

Ok, let me be honest with the church here…I have many. That said, one I’m noticing more and more is the connection of my business and personal life, based on RESULTS. Join me, if you will, on this flow of consciousness

If the business is good and successful, life is good. Life is great! But this can also lead to an over-inflated sense of SELF. Not the direction I’m looking for.

If the business isn’t going the way I want it to (how could such a thing happen?!?!?), I reflect it personally. Beating myself up over every detail. As you can probably understand, this event, or ebb and flow, happens many times over the days, weeks, and years. I’m only starting to rationalize with it more now after reflecting back.

I figured I write so often about personal improvement, mindset, and strategies to be more successful, I didn’t want the audience thinking I’m without fault or flaw. It’s probably just the opposite.

But the internet isn’t a place for that really is it?

The social sharing world of today is “filtered” – literally. I’m great. We’re great. Look at where we are!! We see only the 5% of what people want us to see.

Well, here’s where I am, and it comes from a position of vulnerability.

There is so much happening to the world largely out of my control. I need to get better at not letting it impact my day-to-day, and week-to-week attitude. Good or bad. Control what can be controlled.  The rest…just happens.

Our society is in a speed it up, speed it up race. Same goes for results. Get in, or get out…and even when you’re in, it is only “what have you done for me lately,” get in. Then you’re —–> OUT.

<Insert Suggestions from the audience>  How does one get better at this?

Here’s what I can say. I’m getting more in tune with loving THE PROCESS. Nick Saban preaches it daily with his Alabama football program. Here is a terrific excerpt from a Business Insider article,

 “The players would concentrate only on winning those seconds, take a rest between plays, then do it all over again. There would be no focus at all on the scoreboard or on the end results.”

This Business Insider video on the Samurai Process is a wonderful follow up to Saban’s focus on the process.

It’s working every rep, every drill, finishing every practice in athletics. It’s about the every day efforts leading up to the collective wins in mass. Doing the work with championship consistency and letting the results speak for themselves.

My thought on this is simple. If all I (or anyone) ever focused on is the final result, the end feeling will be extremely empty. Even if the wins largely outweigh the losses. I liken it to having an endless appetite and no meal will fill the emptiness that exists. Just keep eating.

No matter what, when you’re wired like I am, no amount of winning will never be enough, and losses all suck. Really really suck. There is a massive lack of appreciation there.

This is not where happiness and thriving live.

The greats. The pros. The all-timers. All were in love with the process. It’s the only thing keeping them from quitting, when the results inevitably don’t go their way, or the flip side…when they’ve been to the mountain top, and still search for more.

ACTION ITEM: This one’s on me. I’m working on my mindset. I’m working on loosening the connection. Work in progress.

Thanks for listening.

Saving Money Vs. Buying Time

Last week I was listening to Ryan Daniel Moran’s Freedom Fast Lane podcast while working out. I’m a newer listener, but was drawn in by the guest, the Shark, Robert Herjavec. Link to episode here. The episode is ALL about growth in business!

It was a terrific show, and as with most things, there was one key takeaway that truly STUCK OUT. Mine was the following quote from Robert…maybe 2/3 of the way through the show.

“Poor people, try to save money…Rich People, try to BUY TIME”

I’d like you to read this a time or twelve. I’m not kidding. Think about it. I think I rewound the episode 4x, just to brand these words into my brain.

Look past the obvious. Of course, Robert isn’t saying you should never save. Everything I’ve ever read from multiple financial experts says you should have 3-6 months of living expenses saved for “just-in-case” scenarios. Maybe 12 if you’re extremely conservative.

Focus on the second part. Rich people, try to BUY TIME.

How do they do that? What else does time imply, and how do you BUY IT?

Time = Freedom

How does one “purchase” freedom? Here is a short list.

If you’ve really got the bug, I’d also dive head first into The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich Tim Ferriss explains “Buying Time” in his book as T.M.I – Target Monthly Income.  What cashflow is needed to “free” yourself from the day-to-day through management of a business. To me, this is the essence of “Buying Time.”

This may not be for everyone, and that is 100% O.K. If it is for you, and you’re really serious about this mission…

Get used to doing what I’m doing, and ask yourself this question.

Are you trying to SAVE MONEY, or are you trying to BUY TIME?

Happy Holidays!

Quest for Pragmatism

What are you searching for?

Are you looking for an answer?

I believe everyone is looking for something! Human existence revolves around finding progress somewhere in our life. The human mind doesn’t allow anyone to remain stagnant, or satisfied…for that matter. Our 2,000+ year old brain is always searching. We used to search for food, now we search to solve problems.

You may be searching for: better physical shape, searching to quit a habit, a bigger income, a MUCH bigger income, more freedom at the office, a better relationship, another job entirely, a better business, and the list goes on forever.

Here’s the thing…I’m looking too. Every day!

Insert pragmatism. The answer to what we’re all looking for is simple. It ALWAYS is. The reason it’s simple, there is nearly a 100% chance, what you’re looking to do or solve for, someone else has already done it.

That said, the effort may not be EASY, but that doesn’t change the answer does it?

Answers are simple. Action tends to be the hard part.

Here is a rundown, a short list, of what millions are looking for at this very moment…and pragmatic answers to each challenge.

  1. Lose Weight – stop eating shit and get to a gym 4-5x a week. Simple
  2. Quit Smoking – Commit to NOT lighting the next cigarette. Simple. Yet millions have proven…not easy.
  3. A New Job – Get serious about letting people know your value and get committed on finding something new, or somewhere new. AKA – commit and try. Simple.
  4. More Money – Get a second Job. Whoa… you mean more work?  Answer is simple isn’t it?
  5. More Money at my “current” job – tell your boss. What do you want, and how do you intend to deliver the value to cash the check back to your employer?  I’d also associate a timeline. Raises NEVER come at the expense of the employer. Not an employer planning to stay in business.

Just because you don’t like the answer, or it isn’t comfortable, doesn’t mean the answer gets to change. Feelings take a back seat to a truly pragmatic view. It’s commitment and RESULTS we’re after.

Less think. More do.

I learned this practice a great deal from previous owners I worked for (thank you if you’re reading this) and most recently from my partners.

If you’re not getting what you want, in anything, you MUST change it…or suffer the consequences. The consequences will likely hurt much more in the long run if you delay.

Lastly, the pragmatic and the popular don’t often coincide. I feel as though they’re almost opposite sides of a magnet pushing against one another resisting connection.

As I continue to read, listen to, and digest the best and brightest leaders, entrepreneurs and thinkers of yesterday and today, most, if not ALL are ruthlessly pragmatic.

Read: The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

Reflective. Simple. Authentic. Action-oriented.

ACTION ITEM: A shift toward the pragmatic. Simple answers…not easily achieved. In the end, it is up to you. It always has been. Maybe you just needed to cut through the bullshit.

 

I’m Baaaaaack

For those of you asking…where did you go?

Here I am. Back on the blog.

I took a few months off to evaluate the direction of a few things in my life and this blog was one of them. To be completely candid with any of you readers, I wanted to know if it would be missed. Spending 50+ hours a week running a national media agency, trying to be a good dad & husband, time with friends, etc. All hours need to be evaluated.

Again, would the blog be missed?

If it wasn’t, or no one brought it up in 90 days, I knew a couple things. One of them was I wasn’t really impacting the lives of my tribe. In all reality, there wasn’t really a tribe if there was no appetite for consuming the content. Removing emotion from these findings was going to be key.  My Ego wanted the work to continue, but we all know Ego can be quite the adversary.

Secondly, I needed to recommit. Commit to continued ideation and thought sharing. Commit to pushing myself into new thoughts/ideas/strategies. Commit to sharing the ideas and impacting lives of my readers. In the end, that’s what it is about. Impact. Even if it is just one person.

I have this fear deeply ingrained in our office culture. We are a tight knit group, and If we part ways with a team member, or visa versa, my biggest fear is the following day…everyone moves on. They’re not missed. You need a team, a culture, a product that if removed…there is a void.  Otherwise, you didn’t have anything to begin with and the end is near.

On another related topic, I had a friend tell me I should start A Keen Mind podcast. Can you imagine listening to episodes of my boyish voice?!? Still evaluating that idea. To be totally honest…I’m really in love with it, because i think my talents are better suited for audio and storytelling than writing. That, and one of my favorite “jobs” would be sports talk radio host. Why not do it on my won, with the format I choose?

I actually considered turning the primary driver of the blog into podcast form. However, as I’ve said before in learnings from Derek Sivers (founder of CD Baby), if it isn’t a “HELL YES”, then the answer is “No.” I’m still evaluating.

PS – If any of you have strong feelings on this topic, please share honestly with me. Good or bad.

In the downtime I also took the time to consume some new content. A couple pieces specifically impacting my current mindset are:

  • As a Man Thinketh (audiobook) – 55 minutes of simple, yet, deep thinking
  • The Joe Rogan Experience – This guy’s commitment to his show, his craft, and the litany of guests/topics is energizing. I’m listening every morning to 5-10 minutes. Here is a link to some of his simple genius
  • All things Chris Sacca. If you don’t know who he is, get introduced on this Tim Ferriss Show episode.

Trusted old partners I continue to consume on a daily basis are still in play. Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferris, we haven’t met yet (YET!), but you continue to mentor and mold my day-to-day thoughts and actions. I also continue to listen to Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph about 1-2x per week as well.

A phrase you’ll hear me use around the office frequently with our team is “PLAY OFFENSE” – take the fight to the enemy. That’s what I’m here to do with A Keen Mind.

Play offense.

~Zac

 

Living Life’s Contradictions

I believe, life is meant to be lived on both sides of the coin, not the extremely narrow margin on the rim…never tipping one way, or the other.

For goodness sakes…please try BOTH. Now!

How could one day, I act one way, and then, a short time later, be on the entire other side of the spectrum? Because I believe life is about managing both sides of a situation, learning from it, growing as a person, and living as a contradiction the entire time.

My life is one big contradiction.

Some people have a BIG problem with this. Like it was once written: a person can only stand for one thing, or act only one way for their entire life. I know what that sounds like…BORING.

Curious as to what I’m thinking about?  Here are the contradictions I’m living at this very moment.

  1. Money – I’m traditionally a very frugal person. I’m an investor, a saver, playing the long game. However, how do you know how many turns on this earth you get? None of us know. That being said, every so often I’ll spend money like a teenager with my first paycheck in hand. New Jeans – Yup.  New Sneakers – yup. New Johnston and Murphy – why not.  Anything else I can find in that 24 hr period. Contradiction. Yin and Yang. Stretch and reflex. Contradiction.
  2. Work-Life Balance – I’m not about finding 50/50 balance in the often talked about, seldom lived, zen world of “work-life balance”. I think “balance” is whatever makes a person happy. For me, that’s a few weeks in a row of being really into work. I mean INTO it, thinking about it in the morning, on the weekends, at night, etc. Studying it. Burying myself in the business and thinking about it. I love it. Conversely, a couple times a year I love just unplugging for a few days to clear the body and brain. No connection. No pitches or P&Ls. Stretch and Reflex. Contradiction. Balance so it seems, for me.
  3. Management – I’ve always believed a leader must lead from the front, and yet, can’t ever be afraid to jump in and “push the broom” so the saying goes. Alternatively, spend too much time in the details or “pushing the broom” and others can’t grow. Challenges in delegating show themselves like a bad skin rash. Contradiction…do both!  When and where it makes sense. Many aren’t comfortable with this grey advice.  I’m sorry. It’s reality. If there was a leadership equations for the 100’s of personalities out there, we’d of figured it out by now.
  4. Tortoise and Hare – There are places in my life I can think very long term and exercise tremendous patience. There are MANY others where I’m consistently impatient (ask my better half)…like REALLY impatient. Focusing every day on what can be moved, improved or accomplished now. Many small wins, compounded over time (Slight Edge Principles) is how the game is won. Consistently balancing the tight-wire of when to push, and when to pause and let be. Contradiction.  Be patient but also be ready to SPEED UP!!! FASTER FASTER.
  5. Time – I believe in investing in others. Investing in their hopes, dreams, causes, and helping think through troubles. Knowing that somewhere in the world, the good deed will come back my way and bear fruit because I’ve sure needed the help! Somehow. Someway.  Alternatively, and admittedly so (The Right Selfish), I can get very selfish with my time. Focusing much of my energy internally to audit my thoughts, feelings, and current path in life. It is a “Give and Keep” tug of war. Contradiction.

I believe humans need and thrive in some element of change and/or newness. Stay status quo and insurmountable boredom takes over. Ask any client who has fired an agency because, “they’re happy, but wanted to see something new” – that’s called losing!

Structure is good, but boredom is without a doubt the enemy of Thriving. Thriving is the key to happiness. This is why I live the contradiction. Balancing what works or normal on one hand, while not being afraid to cut ties and try something entirely opposite on the other. Why not?

That is balance for me.

It might not work for you or anyone else for that matter.  But that’s the point.

Find your balance.

ACTION ITEM: Find and embrace your contradictions. Balance ensues and you’ll grow in the process.

What Story Are You Committed To?

What story are you committed to telling yourself?

You know, the one about why you are exactly where you are today.  Maybe a better ask is understanding the question,”How did I end up here?”

  • Whose fault is that?
  • Who do you have to thank?
  • What stands, or stood in your way?

I’d like to tell you a story about a guy I know

He grew up in a pretty small town, fewer than 5,000 people. A place many would consider the “middle of no where.” As if that wasn’t enough, he grew up across the street from a prison with 1,500+ criminal offenders. Not exactly the place you think about for the “perfect childhood”or the playground across the street.

His parents worked very hard. His Mom commuted about 40 minutes each way to work for the government. Its a job she started early in her 20’s and one she would retire doing 35+ years later. Imagine 30+ years of that commute. Every day. No easy outs.

His Dad was a school teacher. Not exactly raking in the Benjamins and splashing 100’s on the table during vacations. That said, for the first 10-12 years of this child’s life his dad worked 5-6 days a week to supplement his family’s income in addition to his career as a teacher.  Doing the math, his Dad worked 70 hours a week or more.

As he grew up he was a good student, but never a genius. Maybe a bit of a daydreamer, and more than anything he loved doodling during class.

He went off to college and eventually into the real world of working, but not before interning for nine months. Nine months of working (for free) and didn’t earn one penny of income while in school. What a bad break to not make a single dollar.

He started working the day after college graduation making $24,000/yr. Doesn’t sound like much…

I wonder what ever happened to him…with a story like this?

Maybe you’d like another version?

I grew up in small town (Anamosa, IA) in the middle of no where, across the street from a prison (Anamosa State Penitentiary). It’s a really beautiful structure if you ever get the chance to see it. It resembles a castle, or you could swear it was used as the backdrop in Shawshank Redemption. My parents live there to this day and we have 24/7 surveillance and security. Even a couple snipers. Pretty tough to beat, unless you’re the president.

My parents worked so hard to give my sister and I the childhood we had. We were so rich with opportunity. Anything we wanted to try, they made available as a result of their hard work and dedication. I’m sure we heard no from time to time, but I don’t remember it.

My Dad worked those two jobs for all those years because he was unreasonable in the pursuit of giving my Mom, my sister and I a life we could make the most of. He sold the drywall business when we got to be a little older and when he hit 55, he retired as well. What a dream come true!

My Mom worked for 35+ years and is also retired. She earned every bit of it. If she wasn’t working, she was shuffling one of us two kids around somewhere, and I can’t ever remember her complaining about it for a second. Even when we were brats (maybe too often).

I was never the smartest guy in school, and I’m still not, but I continue to learn. Most importantly I’m learning to ask better questions. I also continue to sketch and doodle because that’s partially what I do for a career. I think it’s safe to say that part will never leave me.

I’m extremely thankful for my internship experience having worked those nine months for free because that experience got me my first real job and that first adult paycheck. That’s when things got real and I really started learning what business and selling was really about. Looking back, I made every penny back, and then some.

Long story long. My story isn’t worthy of a 10 minute local news piece, but that’s not the point. The point is all about mindset. I will always be a guy from a small town, and I’m also not afraid to walk the streets of Manhattan to compete for opportunity.

Are you without?  Is life happening to you?

Or, are you Grateful?

ACTION ITEM: Everyone is living out the story they’re committed to this very moment. Your story —->Your Life

What’s happening in your life today, is a direct result of mindset, and the story you’re committed to.

Change your story, change the outcomes!

Happy. Relatively Speaking

Are you happy?

Am I happy? I’m not sure, to be completely honest.

Maybe it’s too hard to define. What is “happy” anyway?
Can you show me your number on a happiness meter?

I’m learning happy is a really “easy to use” description for what we think want to feel. Maybe it’s what we think we NEED to feel.  It’s also entirely ambiguous.

What is happy?  To me it’s as simple as a smile.

Webster tells us it is feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. Pleasure sounds good. I like pleasure. More pleasure please (and thank you)!

Contentment…sounds like, just “happy” enough.  One could also call this boredom.

Boredom is a DANGEROUS word. Happy may be as well.

You’re probably asking, “Well, if I’m not happy, what am I Zac?”  The answer is simple. You’re UN-happy.

All jokes aside, I think people are looking for or using the wrong definition in search of their emotions.

The goal for saying you’re happy is what?  To shun the world from what’s really going on in your head?  Maybe.

Maybe you just want to be happy…but being happy means what? Instead what if you looked at the HOW that drew your emotions to be felt at this higher level of being and feeling?
I think people (myself included) need to be in search of FLOURISHING instead of happiness.

What is the main difference of Happy vs. Flourishing?

Contentment (Happy) vs. Developing & Thriving (Flourishing)

Human beings need challenge. We need that “spark” to set our bellies on fire with determination and vigor. Life is so much easier enjoyed when it’s lived in a flourishing state.
Show me someone who is trying to be “Happy” and I may find someone who is just bored enough. Think of all the people we’ve seen with seemingly everything they’d ever need at their fingertips. They should be “Happy”, but they’re not. Why? Because they have NO CHALLENGES to conquer.

Contrast this to someone you know who is “Flourishing” in their life.  What do they look like?

  • Energized
  • Deeply Engaged
  • Challenged
  • Tenacious
  • Passionate
  • Focused
  • Driven
  • Succeeding
  • Growing

Growing through the engagement of learning or taking on adversity. Growing and making progress. Thriving!

ACTION ITEM: Stop looking for happiness. It’s vague.

Start flourishing!