Find Your Confidence Triggers

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If you’ve ever done any reading on the topic of triggers or behavior, you’ll note that most often times the word “trigger” is linked directly to negative thoughts or actions.  Negative triggers may cause a person to:

  • Light up a cigarette
  • Grab an alcoholic drink
  • Cause panic or fear
  • Lose our temper
  • Devour an entire tub of ice cream

Whether you know it or won’t admit it, we all have negative triggers in our lives and we live them out daily.  I had many triggers (built up over time) that caused my brain to want chewing tobacco. I’m not proud of it, but I broke them down and got rid of them.

But what about the other side of the trigger?

The positivity triggers that put you at your highest level of confidence? Tony Robbins calls this level of confidence being in a “peak state”. Your peak state is the place where all is right, you’re in a flow, confidence is high, and you’re in full-on CRUSH MODE.

Why do you want to get here?

The answer should be obvious.  It’s where you are at your best.  You’re the most intelligent, the funniest, the most witty, the sharpest, the most confident, and the best version of you is on FULL display.  Arthur Ashe described it best and most simply.

Loose body, tight mind

Can you be in a peak state all of the time? No. You  simply can’t. Tight body, tight mind is much more prevalent today. This state is labeled: ANXIETY. This is what we want to avoid. That’s exactly why you need to identify the positivity triggers to bring you back when you’re struggling or when you’re anxious.

Think of a great scorer in basketball.

The game started and they missed their first 3-4 shots.  What is the single most important thing they can do in game to adjust?

Get to the free throw line immediately. Why? Many reasons really.

  1. Its an unobstructed view of the basket.  No defense = easier chance of conversion.
  2. All great scorers and free throw shooters have a rhythm or cadence at the line to prepare for the foul shots.  This cadence allows them to get back into flow immediately.
  3. Most important. Great shooters need to see the ball go in. They need the confidence boost. It only takes one bucket to drop as a shooter to know the rest of them are ALL going in.

I’m a much better basketball player (or at least I was) than I am a golfer.  But they’re not that much different.  What does a struggling golfer attempt to find first when they’re lost with their swing? Tempo. They’re not trying to hit a 230 yd three iron with a 5 yd draw.  They have a wedge in hand and they’re exclusively focused on a couple mechanics and tempo, tempo, tempo. Finding confidence in the swing.

So how can this look in our daily lives?

I can only speak for me and give you insight into a few of my positivity triggers.  Side note – a couple of them may sound a bit weird (I don’t care).  Find something that works…for YOU!

  1. Clothing – There is a shirt maker in Richmond, VA I love called Ledbury (Ledbury.com).  They make limited run dress shirts and their slim fit sizing fits me nearly perfectly (15.5″ neck of course if you’re thinking of gifting me one).  One may argue they’re a touch expensive, but expense is rather relative when I think of all the money I’ve made wearing these shirts.  Why do I love them?  Because they make me look good (sorry, I’m a vain person) and feel good. My confidence levels flow at a high level because I’m not worried or focused on what I’m wearing.  Big meeting, speaking engagement, pitch, guess what I’m wearing?  Ledbury.
  2. Soap – Call me crazy, but hear me out first.  Have you ever stayed in a really nice hotel and used a great (and likely scented) soap?  If yes, how did you feel coming out of that shower?  AWESOME.  Guess what I’ve done? I buy more of it and keep it handy for a BIG day or special occasions.  Once again.  How do you think I feel?  Awesome.  This isn’t a smell thing, its a state thing.  A personal favorite I picked up from W Hotels is Bliss Lemon and Sage 
  3. Morning Videos – Almost every day of the working week (Monday through Friday) I start my day at home with a locked in mindset on success. Where do I go? Youtube.  I make it a point every morning to reset my mind on my goals and a successful mindset.  If you want the specifics, I’ll watch videos from: Tony Robbins, Steve Jobs, Eric Thomas, Brendon Burchard, Robert Kiyosoki, stoic philosophy and the list goes on.  Motivation is fleeting and I believe the mind needs to be fed just as the body needs nutrition.  News flash folks, the morning news isn’t nutritious brain food.
  4. Personal Audio/Video – I keep a few files saved when I need a reminder just how abundant my life is with my wife and son. There are 3-4 very personal videos and audio files I have saved on my phone that I listen to when I’m faced with a tough scenario, business decision, or life throws me a curve ball.  A coupe of them bring tears to my eyes almost immediately and I find that’s about all a grown man needs to get back to center.  No problem to big. No scenario too daunting. I have all that I need.
  5. 10 Minute Meditation – If you’ve followed the blog you know my growing embrace for the Eastern practice of meditation. Ten minutes of alone time and some practiced breathing can reset my mind, body, nervous system and overall well being.

I truly hope these ideas help you. I hope you become aware of what makes you the happiest and most confident version of yourself. Pay attention to what may work for others, but know you are unique.

It has to work for YOU.  That’s all that matters.

ACTION ITEM: Spend the next few days surrounding yourself with a list of positive triggers. I know you’ll be much closer to achieving what’s in front of you when you consistently operate at the highest level.

31 Days of Challenging Questions: Day 16

DAY 16: Am I meditating enough?

Day 16

ACTION ITEM: I never thought I’d write this post.  EVER.  However, after taking up meditation I can tell you I’m a more relaxed, happier, alert, creative, witty, person.  This fall I read Dan Harris’ book 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story and I agree with him 100%.  Try it.  Just five minutes.  See what it does for your life.

20 Minutes of Silence Changed My Life

Late in 2013 I had a life-altering experience.

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I tried mediation for the first time.  First, I’d like to tell you exactly why I did it.

  • I was stressed out
  • Anxious/nervous frequently
  • I couldn’t shut my mind off at night to sleep
  • I couldn’t get a good night sleep
  • I felt worn down and tired
  • I wasn’t thinking as quickly and clearly as I needed to be
  • I clearly wasn’t being myself

If you’re feeling any of these currently, and want to change your life I believe meditation is the solution.  I’m now going to tell you exactly how I do it, as my process is a bit of a hybrid of what you may read elsewhere.

7 Keen Steps to Meditation

  1. Get Alone – I retreat down to my basement to a room that functions as my office from time to time.  The floor is carpeted and extremely comfy.  I close the door and begin my process.
  2. Shut Off The World – The only thing I take with me is my phone (which may sound counterproductive)  but it is turned to airplane mode so I can receive no calls or texts.
  3. Close Your Eyes – This will be challenging for some.  It was extremely challenging for me in the beginning.  The goal is to keep my eyes closed for the entire 20 minutes of meditation.
  4. Turn On the Noise – I use an app called Relax Melodies.  You can find it on the App Store for iPhone.  I turn on the sounds of: the ocean, a piano, a fire, etc.  It varies a little from time to time.  I’d also like to note I wear headphones at the time to tune out any other sound.  This helps me get a tremendous amount of focus and I set a timer for 20 or 25 minutes.
  5. Breathe – After reading a great deal about mediation this is something I crafted slightly on my own.  I start every setting with my legs crossed in standard meditation position.  I breathe in as much as I possibly can through my nose, until my lungs and stomach feel completely full.  I then slowly release the breath through pursed lips (like you would exhale through a straw) and count.  I try to get the count to 20 or 30 with each breath.
  6. Stretch – This is my unique rendition.  As I breathe I added in a stretching routine.  I did some basic research on the most beneficial stress relieving stretches.  A great deal of my routine involves loosening up my hamstrings, neck and back (where I carry my stress).
  7. Positive Talk/Prayer – I also use my 20 minutes of alone time to be thankful and reinforce my thoughts with positive talk.  This too is a unique wrinkle I’ve added to my routine.  It may or may not be for you.  I believe the more my mind is reinforced, the better performance I can expect from my own abilities.

So, how would I have described mediation before I started: weird, hippy, liberal, tree-hugger, yoga pants, eastern practice, etc.  But, after seeing Russell Simmons thoughts on mediation, and knowing Phil Jackson is a student of the practice I had to give it a try.  They seem to be pretty successful (insane understatement)!

Russell Simmons via Twitter (@UncleRUSH)

Russell Simmons via Twitter (@UncleRUSH)

ACTION ITEM: I hope you at least give mediation a try.  My life is measurably better because I adopted this ancient practice and I believe yours can be too.

 

 

 

 

 

Halftime Adjustments for 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 3.50.20 PM We’re about a week away from June 30, which is also the halfway mark of 2014.

Pretty hard to believe isn’t it?  

It’s almost time for the 4th of July and it’s a really great time for reflection.  If you haven’t gone back and looked at your 2014 goals, now is the time.  Every all-time great coach understood the art of making halftime adjustments to win.  This should be no different for you or I. I’m a glass half full kind of guy, and there is half of the year left to achieve my goals.  If you don’t have goals written down, do it soon!  You have the rest of 2014 to achieve them. Good goals follow the acronym S.M.A.R.T.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results-Focused
  • Timely

In order to help the audience, I’m going to share with you some of my personal goals and precisely where I stand.  Although I may not share with you the exact number (for personal privacy reasons), I will tell you what I’m doing about each of them.

  1. Debt Reduction Goal – My wife and I had the goal to have zero debt (with the exception of our house) by August 1, 2014.  I can tell you we will accomplish this goal by the beginning of July.  This feels fantastic!  It provides a tremendous amount of freedom and flexibility for us to attack all that life has to offer without fear.
  2. Savings Goal – Along with our debt reduction goal, we have a goal to maintain growth in our savings to hopefully build a house some day.  I can tell you we’re about 70% along the way to our goal today.  Maintaining our current plans should put us in a position to achieve the goal by September or October of 2014.
  3. Vacation Goal (Unplug Time) – Our goal was to take a great vacation before the baby arrives in August.  Beth and I spent five days in San Francisco this spring and it was AWESOME.  At the end of this post, there are a few quick pics to document our visit.  We relaxed, walked a TON, and enjoyed each other’s company without phone calls, emails, and interruption.  I highly encourage you to do this in 2014 if you haven’t already.
  4. Income Goal – I have a goal to increase my income 35% in 2014.  I thought about this a great deal a few months back and I’ve had to reevaluate where I’m spending my time and who I’m spending it with.  I had NO chance of hitting my target.  I will tell you I got angry with myself and had to reflect on what I was doing to positively impact this goal.  I can tell you I’ve seen a great deal of change after a serious self evaluation and I’m excited to see where 2014 ends up.  More to come on this at year-end!
  5. Volunteer Goal – I set a goal to volunteer three times in 2014 at places where I’ve never done ANYTHING for in the past.  This would cause me to get uncomfortable, meet new people, and help with others.  This next statement is extremely selfish, but it is the truth.  When I volunteer, I feel really great afterwards.  I need to get my ass in gear on this one.  I’ve got six months left to make good on this promise.
  6. Daily Focus/Meditation Goal – This year I committed to spending a focused amount of time daily clearing my mind and more recently practicing meditation.  It’s something I picked up early in 2014 and something I’ve fallen in love with.  The goal is to spend 20 to 30 minutes focused on relaxation and transforming my thoughts.  The challenge in this goal is the word DAILY.  I’m going to work harder on the daily focus of this goal because I can literally feel the results in my efforts when I remain diligent in the process.

I hope you enjoyed my look at a few of the goals I’m attacking in 2014.  I hope this will give you the energy and excitement you need to tackle your goals.  It’s extremely helpful for me to share these goals publicly for accountability.

ACTION ITEM: Take a moment to review your 2014 goals.  If you don’t have them, work some time into your schedule to get them written down.  Next, it’s truthful reflection time.  What’s keeping you from attaining the goal?  Lastly, here is a link to Tony Robbins goal setting workbook.  It’s fantastic.

San Fran Pics:

Zac & Beth visit Google World Headquarters

Zac & Beth visit Google World Headquarters

San Francisco Selfie

San Francisco Selfie

View from our patio

View from our patio

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge