046: Reflect on your growth

It's easy to focus all your energy at your targets of where you want to go.
It's easy to compare yourself to others and feel small.
But too much time on each of those is toxic to your mind.

From time to time, you need to reflect on your growth.

Look at where you were 3 months ago...
6 months ago...
2 years ago...
5 years ago... 

Look at the progress you have made in your life personally and professionally...

When you can do that, you start to see how much you really have grown and changed. 

And that comparison is not toxic to your mind, but instead motivating to help you continue growth. 

045: The problem with saving money

There are tons of books and thought leaders out today who preach the idea of saving money at all costs. 

That the way to get ahead is to spend less, and save more. 

And for someone who is an employee on a fixed salary, this is probably a good course of action. 

But the problem is that this mindset is actually negative for the entrepreneur.

For years I operated from this place of saving every dollar that I could. 
I was afraid to spend money to hire people, or invest in myself. 

And unknown to me at the time, this was stunting my growth. 

You see, frugality in business is driven from a place of scarcity. 
In scarcity, you are saying "If I spend this money, we will run out."

And while frugality is good for the employee, it's toxic for the entrepreneur.

Instead, you must shift your mindset to one of an investor.

"If I INVEST this money, it will generate more." 

That subtle change in mindset of how you look at your money can drastically change your life and business. 

Frugality is for the employee.
Investing is for the entrepreneur. 

044: Where to invest your money

As I started becoming an adult, I became committed to this idea of learning how to invest properly. I studied books on investing, RothIRA's, 401ks, and all those fun things.

Yet all of this studying and reading was pretty pointless...
Because I didn't have much money to save. 

And so despite reading book after book on money, it didn't seem to help me grow at all. And I would just save a little each year.

Then something changed over the past two years...

Instead of investing that money into RothIRA's...

I invested in myself.

I hired a mentor for training. 
I invested in programs to level up my mindsets and skillsets.
I purchased tickets to live events.

And my ROI on these investments? 

24.9% increase on my income 

Thats more than any stock could have brought me.

I'm not saying you shouldn't buy stocks or invest in RothIRA's to protect your cash. 

But what I am saying is that FIRST you should invest in yourself.
Into developing yourself as a stronger person.

Because you will give yourself a strong ROI than any stock ever will.

And once you have invested so much in yourself that you have extra cash, then start putting that into tax deferred investments. 

043: Your bank account reflects value

Look at your bank accounts... both personal and business.
What do you see? 

At first glance, this may just look like a number.
But in reality it is much more.

You see, the amount of money in your bank accounts is not some lucky thing that you willed into existence.

The amount of money in your bank accounts is a reflection of value. 

When you create value in the world, people pay you money in return. 
And so if you are not happy with your bank accounts, don't ask "How can I make more money?"

Instead, ask "How can I create more value, for more people, more frequently?"

Because if you are not happy with your bank accounts, then consider that you are not as good at solving problems as you had once thought.

And if you are not happy with your bank accounts...

Then it's time to level up.

If you want to solve more problems, to create more value, to make more money...

Then you need to improve your skill sets, mindsets and systems to be able to do that. 

042: Invest in your people

There is this famous business book called the E-Myth that most entrepreneurs have read. It has a lot of great concepts, but there is one concept that gets taken too far.

The E-Myth shares the concept that your business should become so systematized that you can swap out a person and easily train someone new into this role. 

This concept is great, and is very true for business.
But many entrepreneurs interpret this the wrong way...

Because they build a business where they can replace a person easily, they stop valuing their team. 

They get into the mindset of "Well I can just hire someone new if they leave."

And so they treat their team like crap, and don't invest at all in developing their team members.

I'm sure this wasn't Michael Gerbers intent when he wrote the book, but I see this attitude among so many entrepreneurs. 

They treat their people as replaceable things. 

And sure, you can run a business this way, but consider something different...

Your people are assets that you can develop.

Instead of just hiring them as a cog in a machine, you can train and develop them. You can promote them to new roles that are harder to replace. 

And when you invest into them, they will give you their heart and soul in their work instead of just showing up for a paycheck.

Just because a role is replaceable doesn't mean the person is.
Invest in your people. Grow them into assets. 

041: Small Daily Wins

Up until about a year ago in my life, I was always aiming big. 
My beliefs and stories about life told me that I was going to make it big and build huge businesses by making big bold risky moves... 

And so I was constantly searching, looking for that next move that would solve all my problems.
And I constantly would make 180's in my plans and business because I believed that is what would help me hit my goals.

Well... after 10 years of the entrepreneurship game and not seeing any huge successes, I had to come to terms that "swinging big" wasn't working for me. 

Instead, I had to learn to play a new game.

Small DAILY wins... 

I've come to realize over the past year that getting the results that I want in life is not a result of making some big bold move...

It's a result of deciding what I want, and working toward it every single day.

That sounds simple, and it is.

Every day, I wake up at 5:30. 
Every day, I work on improving my skill sets and mindsets.
And every day, I take steps toward my goal. 

As a result, 2018 is set to be the highest income year I have ever had.
It wasn't from swinging big.
It was from focusing on small wins every single day. 

040: Teach what you learn

Everyday, I write these short daily articles.
You may think they are for you, but the truth is they are for me.

You see, every time you teach something, it reinforces the concepts and ideas in your own head.

If you just read, read, read... well you won't retain much.

But if you read, and then teach. Then that reinforces the concepts. 

So everyday, as I study new content, I write these posts.
And everyday, the content I study is further reinforced in my head.

Teach what you learn. 
Others will gain, but so will you. 

039: Don't overcomplicate

There is a trend I see across many of the early stage entrepreneurs that I speak with. 

They like to focus on the systems, the apps, the tools...

They spend all their time trying to figure out this perfect process for their business... while in reality their business is just getting off the ground.

Instead they should be focused on more customers. 

When you are just starting out, systems can be a distraction. 

While you need systems to scale...
You don't need them until you are ready to scale.

So much time is wasted by entrepreneurs for creating SOP's that are only used one or two times...

Instead, start with training others on processes in a rough and dirty way. Record a video, or train them live.
Either option takes 1/4th the time.

And when you find that you are doing a process over, and over, and over again. 

Then build a system. 

But don't build your systems too early.
Build your system when it hurts, and the current way of doing things is broken. 

038: Meditation creates expansion

You hear about meditation all the time, and the wonderful benefits of it.
Yet most people struggle to actually commit to it.
They struggle to see the immediate benefits, or keep the habit.

Well, today marks 11 months of daily meditation for me. I'm consistent and hardly ever miss a day. 

And the benefits are incredible.

Reduced anxiety.
Increased consciousness and awareness. 
Clarity of my thoughts.

Those sound like fuzzy benefits, but when you experience them they are life changing.

Years ago, I would have a busy day at work. Curve balls would be thrown at me and I would end up in complete panic and anxiety by the end of the day.

Today, I sit down at work, I execute on what I know needs to be done. Curve balls are occasionally thrown at me. I see them, I am aware of them, and I react accordingly. 

But I'm not stressed, I don't get easily overwhelmed. 

Meditation expands me. 
It expands what I am capable of.
And it expands who I am.

If you are struggling to commit to the habit, just do it for 90 days. You will be amazed at how it changes you. 

037: Gather Data. Make Decisions. Move forward. Repeat.

Gather Data. Make Decisions. Move Forward. Repeat.

This is the simple process of growth in any area of our life. 

If we want to hit a business target, we must gather data around where we are, and where we want to go. (Ex. new marketing or delivery systems)

But eventually we have to make a decision to execute on the data we have been gathering.

The data is never perfect, but it is only but making the decision to execute that we can gather real world data as we attempt to move forward.

When we sit in the "Gather data" stage forever, we never make forward progress. We just keep gathering "theoretical data".

When we make a decision, we choose to execute.

And when we execute, our data goes from "theoretical" to "practical".

And that data is far more powerful.

So don't spend your life gathering "theoretical data"
Gather enough, then make a decision.
It is only then that you can move forward. 

036: Create Frameworks

For a majority of my life, I found joy in creating everything I did from scratch.

A new business concept, brainstorm from scratch.
A strategy for a client, brainstorm from scratch. 
A new design or brand, brainstorm from scratch. 

Yet over time, I realize that this was actually limiting. 

When you try to start from scratch every time, you are making life harder on yourself.

Instead, you can build and create within "frameworks"

For example, when I started doing Linkedin outreach campaigns, I created every campaign custom and from scratch.

But quickly I learned that was silly and that certain frameworks worked almost every time.

Over time I created 7 unique frameworks that we use at Lead Cookie for our customer strategy. In 95% of cases, we can fit our clients into these frameworks.


It took time to discover and build these frameworks, but now that they are in place I am able to have someone else on my team create strategies and simply operate within our proven frameworks.

Stop building from scratch. 
Build within frameworks. 
It will massively increase your output. 

035: Schedule yourself first

At the time of writing this, my calendar appears to be 100% booked out for the next two weeks. 

Literally, no one can schedule sales calls or check-in calls with me because I am booked up. 

At first, this may seem overwhelming and crazy. It's certainly far more meetings than I would like.

But for me't is acceptable for one simple reason...

I limit the hours I am available for calls everyday. 

I don't take calls before 12:30.
And I have time blocks chunked out throughout my week to focus on heads down work. 

You see, I put my schedule first, and then I let people book calls with me in the windows that I allow them to. 

This ensures that I have time to do my routines every morning.
This ensures that I get out of the office on time every day.
This ensures that I have time to create and build and work on my business.

Too many people just give people a blank slate calendar to book anytime. 
They let other people prioritize their calendars.

But you must schedule yourself first.
You must prioritize time for you first.
Because when you can work on you, then you show up and can deliver more to others. 

Don't feel guilty about putting yourself first. It's essential for growth. 

034: How do you "budget" your time?

Over the past 5 years, I got relentless with my finances. 

My wife and I track every dollar we spend.
And our net worth every month. 

This helps keep us conscious of our financial status and make better decisions to improve it. 

Yet i've never put much thought into "budgeting" my time. 

Recently I was listening to some content from Russ Perry where he shared the biggest shift he made to increase his productivity was to treat his time like spending money.

When I spend money, I look at it in a few ways?

Is this money an investment that is going to bring me more time or money in the future?
Is this money going to bring me happiness and satisfaction?

You can quickly realize how you could apply those same questions toward how you spend your time.

Will this time investment generate more money or time in the future?
Will this time investment bring me happiness?

But the key takeaway is this... 

For years I didn't manage my finances with a system, and they were terrible. 
And for years I didn't manage my time.

So what would be possible if you do treat your time like a budget? 

033: Expansion as purpose

For years, I've struggled to figure out and understand my purpose. 

For a while, it was all about me.
And then for a while, it was all about others. 

But neither purpose alone seemed to drive me. 

And then this idea was planted in my head that "Expansion is your purpose"

And when you look at purpose through that lens, things start to change.

I grow in all areas of life to expand myself as an individual.
And I grow in the work I do to expand the impact that I create on others.

It's not about intrinsic or external motivations.
It's about expanding and becoming more today than you were yesterday. 

I'm in process of launching a new business, and this time I intend to go big. I intend to build a $100M+ company.

I don't do this because I need the money, or because I need to employ that many people. 

I do this because it's about challenging myself to grow and expand. To prove to myself that I can do it.

To force myself to grow into a greater man today than I was yesterday.

Consider that expansion is your purpose, and you will find that almost any other purpose you have had fits within that frame.

Expansion simply encourages you to keep growing. 

032: Self Sabatoge

The other day, I was working on my financial models and plans for 2019. 

While I was doing this, I had a number in my head for what I wanted to make in take home income in 2019.

But as I started working on the plans to achieve that, I began to self-sabatoge... 

I looked at that number and said "Woah, no that's too much."
Or "That's unrealistic to have that much growth in one year."
Or "I don't know how I would actually make that much."

And all of these stories got into my head, and I dropped my number... 

But then while consuming some content on wealth creation, I was probed with a different question. 

"What would have to be true for me to make $##,### in 2019?" 

That is a very different question. 

You see at first, I was exploring my goals based on the limitations of my current reality. And so I was scared to think big.

But this question makes you think different. It forces you to figure out what would have to happen for you to earn that level of income. 

It forces you to think bigger than your current reality. 
And once you think bigger, then you can take the first steps into creating that reality. 

031: Achievement starts with certainty

If you want to achieve something, you must first become certain in yourself.
If you don't believe you can do it, then you will never do it. 
If you don't have the confidence that you can succeed, you will never succeed.

First, get your head straight. 
Get clear on what you want. 

Second, get the stories out of the way.
Figure out what stories you are telling yourself about why you can't achieve what you are striving for, and clear those off our plate.

Third, create from a place of confidence and certainty.
You know what you want.
You have cleared away the stories stopping you from achieving it.

You now have confidence and certainty.

And from this place, you can create anything. 

030: You perform under constraints

Whenever I am taking a long weekend from work and I have only a 3 or a 4 day work week, I find myself amazed at my productivity. Somehow, in 3 days, I can accomplish the work that I usually get done in 5. 

The simple reason is that I have no other choice. 

I am going to be traveling or on a plane for the next 48 hours, so I must complete everything before I leave or my business will be stalled during those 48 hours.

As Tim Ferris described in the 4-Hour Work week, this is Parkinson's Law. 
Your work will expand to the amount of time you give it.

So if you want to work less, simply start giving yourself constraints.

Constrain yourself to a time window to launch a new project.
Constrain yourself to leaving the office at no later than 5 every day.
Constrain yourself to actually taking a real lunch break everyday.

It's easy to let work consume you, and to spend hours working away.

But if you simply give yourself a time constraint, you will perform the same or better quality of work in less time. 

So give yourself constraints. You will perform better under them. 

029: Let your emotions free

Have you ever said something or done something from a place where you were heated with emotions? 

You were fired up in the moment, and let it fly.
Yet later you found yourself in regret for the actions you took or things you said. 

When we operate from this place of heavy emotion, it's hard to make good decisions. Emotion can cloud our judgement. 

So there is a simple process to make better decisions.

First, identify when you are being triggered by a strong emotion.

Second, hold yourself calm in that moment and minimize action. 

Third, in private, let your emotions fly. Use a journal, talk into a voice memo, or even just talk it out loud while you are driving. 

The goal here is to say or scream all of the things you really want to say so that those emotions are out of your head. 

Keep going, until nothing is left to be said.

From there, you have cleared the plate of emotions, and you can operate from a place of much more clarity. 

028: Plateaus

As we work to grow ourselves in any area of life, we are going to hit plateaus. 

Points in business where our growth stagnates. 
In our health where our body stagnates.
Or even in our relationships or personal hobbies. 

Recently I read a post by Seth Godin on this that was massively impactful for me. 

He brought up that these plateaus are not bad. 

Typically they happen when we keep doing the same actions, but eventually we hit the maximum output we can get from the same input. 

But we are comfortable doing the same inputs, so we just stabilize there and get content. 

This isn't bad, because this plateau gives us a place to rest. 

But the problem is when we get complacent in the plateau. 
We just keep doing the same inputs, and stop growing. 

When we hit a plateau, doing more of the same input won't get you a new output. 

You must change your inputs, and change your actions. 
That is the path to rising again. 
And you will rise until you hit that next plateau...
And then you will do it all over again. 

027: Longer focus = Greater Results

Recently I was listening to Russ Perry of Design Pickle when he was sharing a simple concept on success.

“The longer you focus on something, the greater the results.”

This sounds obvious, and simple, yet for many entrepreneurs, this is actually quite a problem. 

For me, I know it was a problem.

Prior to Lead Cookie, I was all over the place. The 4 years prior to Lead Cookie, I proceeded to start and stop countless different business models and offers.

And right as I started to get traction on something, I would shift my focus to something else.

As I look back at those shifts, I realize how each time, I was on the edge of a success. 

If I had just stayed focused a bit longer, I would have seen a massive increase in results. 

But I lacked focus.

And so each time I pivoted directions, I would start over from scratch.
I would burn down what I had built, and start over.

What I needed was not a better idea…
What I needed was to stay focused. 

Lead Cookie almost died at 6 months out. I almost repeated the pattern again.

But I caught myself, I stayed focused and as a result it is a $50k+ per month business today.

The longer you stay focused, the greater the results.