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The Value of Deadlines

March 15th, 2010

For some reason I never seem to get my taxes done early. I get them done and I get them done on time, but I never seem to do them early.

It seems easy enough. I have it all on the computer. I just select “Tax Report” and print. Then I give it to my accountant. It’s easy. But I never do it until the deadline approaches.

Most people are this way. Deadlines prompt us to avoid postponing the things we need to get done. Life if full of actions to take, opportunities to capitalize on, and things begging for our attention. We have to prioritize and one of the ways we do that is to deal with the most urgent things first.

Deadlines and expiration dates create urgency. I’ve even imposed artificial deadlines for myself in an effort to keep myself motivated on a task, but I’ve found that legitimate deadlines are far more effective.

For example, I’m helping to coordinate an amazing event this fall where superstar speaker Garrison Wynn will be revealing how he earns seven figures every year as a professional speaker and how he has helped lots of regular men and women to do the same thing. The event is going to be lots of fun and will obviously change some lives. We’ve already sold far more seats than we expected for an even this far out but I’ve also had dozens of people call me to tell me they were coming, but they still haven’t registered.

Well, guess what? There is a deadline approaching! It was scheduled for today but I realized this is the week of spring break, so I pushed back as far as I could, but this is a legitimate deadline, not something I have control over.

You will still be able to register after this week, so don’t panic if you miss this deadline, but by registering now you can pay out over six equal monthly installments which makes it quite affordable. After this week we are less than six months from the event and so we obviously can’t offer the six month pay option, but you’ll still be able to attend until all the seats are sold.

As we get closer there will be other deadlines and when they approach I expect that it will prompt more people to take action. Some people feel like deadlines are a form of manipulation, but our purpose in life is to accomplish our goals, whatever goals you have set for yourself. If you find ways to inspire yourself or can be around others who keep you motivated to achieve more, there is nothing wrong with this.

You can use deadlines in your own business if you think about it. Coupons usually have expiation dates just to keep people from putting things off. The idea is to push yourself (or your customers) to take action.

Don’t allow yourself to put off things that you know are going to benefit you. If you are interested in learning how the speaking business works and how you can join in on making a good living doing something you love and making a real difference in the lives of your audiences, check out http://TheRealTruthAboutSpeaking.com

Next week we will be posting a list of some of the bonuses we have lined up for everyone who attends including some amazing assessment tools to help you discover the hidden talents and insights you currently posses that others are willing to pay big dollars to hear you share. And every one of you has these insights.

Visit http://TheRealTruthAboutSpeaking.com right now to learn more.

Getting Things Done, Goal Setting, Marketing, productivity

Discipline

February 1st, 2010

I was at a party recently and bumped into Daniel Garcia, a long-time friend of mine. He was demonstrating something quite impressive to a group of fans and they asked him “How do get to be that good”. In his usual modest way he said, “You just do it. You just do it over and over”.

And it’s true. In the ten plus years that I’ve known Daniel I have never seen him without a deck of cards in his hand or in his back pocket. Daniel is amazingly disciplined in his approach to magic. Of course he loves what he does and that probably makes it easier. But I knew Daniel when his hands got burned.

If you ever get the chance to talk to Daniel, ask him about this. You can still see the scars on his hands. The scabs were so thick he couldn’t bend his fingers and when the skin finally grew back it was so tight and stretched over his fingers that his doctors told him he would not be able to manipulate cards again.

But Daniel practiced anyway. He practiced because he loves magic. But he practiced past that. He practiced when it was boring and he practiced even when it was painful. He practiced when every coin palm stretched the skin on his fingers to the point of pain. He practiced when holding a deck of cards caused him to wince. He practiced when he wanted to, and he practiced when he DIDN’T want to. He practiced with discipline.

You just do it. You just do it over and over.

I work out because I’ve discovered this is what disciplined people do. I’ve also discovered that disciplined people have other character traits that rise from their discipline. They tend to be wealthier, healthier, and have more manageable lives.

This is not just a guess on my part. Thomas Stanly (author of “The Millionaire Next Door“) found a similar correlation that he describes in another of his books, “The Millionaire Mind“. Stanley writes “The majority of millionaires exercise regularly…those with net worths of $10 million or more had the highest incidence of regular exercise.” He goes on to speculate why this might be true but admits that whatever the reason for this correlation, he had met “very few self-made millionaires who are lethargic or even noticeably overweight”.

So there is a correlation between fitness and wealth, but I don’t think that fitness causes wealth or that being wealthy makes you more likely to work out. Instead, I believe that both of these traits are the result of discipline. Disciplined people love cheesecake just as much as everyone else, but they control their behavior in the face of temptation. Disciplined people love the comfort of a warm bed just as much as everyone else, but they choose to leave the comfort and travel to the gym or the track. Disciplined people have things they want to buy and own just like everyone else, but they limit their spending to less than they earn and they invest a pre-determined amount. Disciplined people can be sidetracked and unfocused just like anyone else, but they work to stay on-task while they practice, train, study, and learn.

These disciplined actions pay dividends over the long term. They pay dividends of fitness and health. They pay dividends of financial security. They pay dividends of expertise and skill and talent.

These disciplined actions permeate other areas of a person’s life. As you become more disciplined in one area, it is much easier, and sometimes almost automatic, that you become more disciplined in other areas of your life. When Daniel Garcia and I were recently able to break away from the crowds that seem to gather and follow him, we were able to talk in private for a few minutes. We spoke about how disciplined he has to be in other areas of his life as well.

“Man, I love talking about magic. I could sit here at this party all night long talking magic with these guys. But I have a phone call with a guy in England that’s scheduled for 8:30 tomorrow morning and I have to be awake and ready to go”. And his life is filled with these scheduled calls, lectures, talks and appearances with greater and greater frequency.

He confided in me that “I seriously sometimes need to set a timer when I get on MySpace or Facebook because I just love talking to all my peeps. Those sites let me connect with a lot of people really quickly, but I can get sucked into that real fast, too.” The more disciplined you are, the more talent you develop, the more fans you generate, the more in-demand you become, and the more disciplined you need to be. Your success is only limited by your capacity to be disciplined.

The good news is that discipline is not something you are born with. By nature we all tend to seek the path of least resistance. This is normal and usually a good thing. But we are also forward-looking beings and by imagining the future we are able to shape it as we want. Discipline is simply a matter of looking forward and thinking about tomorrow and next week and next year.

When I worked as a teacher I systematically saved 20% of my income, which was very difficult to do on a teacher’s salary. Today, the money that I saved during my 8 years as a teacher is less than 10% of my net worth but the discipline that I developed in the process of saving that money is what enabled me to accumulate the other 90% of what I own. Said another way, the discipline to save and invest was far more valuable than the money earned through the saving and investing.

In fact, I’ve come to understand that the discipline just might be the most important character trait I strive to develop since it allows for all the others to shine. A loyal spouse is a disciplined person. A prolific writer is a disciplined writer. A healthy person is a disciplined eater and mover.

And a disciplined person is not one who suffers or deprives themselves. Just the opposite is true. A disciplined person knows that the path to wealth is not an overnight journey, but a long, steady progression of steps. The path to excellence is not a week of late night jam sessions, but rather a steady progression of regular practice. The path to fitness is not losing 30 pounds in two weeks, but rather a healthy, steady progression. Slow and steady is how we gain weight and it is how we lose it. Debt creeps up on us and it takes time to beat it back down. Lethargy steals a night from us as we stare at the television, but the next day we can decide to rehearse instead.

Discipline is like a muscle or a skill. It must be practiced and exercised in order for it to develop and get stronger. The more you work toward your goals, the easier they all become. Work, not just for the goal itself, not just for the immediate benefit that will come from your success, but for who you will become in the process of attaining that goal.

You will become a person of discipline and it will reflect in all areas of your life.

Getting Things Done, productivity

Forget Success – Embrace FAILURE!

July 12th, 2009

The video below just might be the most inspiring, fear-inducing, and truthful five minutes you’ll experience this year. It’s not me. I get scared just watching the video. That’s one of the things I love most about it. Plus, it’s just REALLY COOL!

Since I was a young pre-teen I’ve trained in the martial arts and for as long as I can remember I’ve always been the first to volunteer when it came time to spar, fight, or be the guy that the instructor uses to demonstrate a new technique.

When a visiting black belt comes to the school where I train Jiu-jitsu I’m always willing to roll with him no matter his size or experience. One day someone in class asked me “Aren’t you scared?”

“Sometimes”

“Do you really think you can take that guy?” he then asked.

“I hope not” I replied, “because every time I lose I learn at least two things. I not only learn a new technique that can be used to win, but I learn about a weakness in my own defense”.

Too often we strive so hard for success that we develop a fear and loathing of failure, when in fact, failure is one of the most important secrets to success!

For the past three months I’ve been studying a video of Danny MacAskill that many of you might have seen already on YouTube. If not, here’s a link to this incredible video.

Danny MacAskill – Inspired Bicycles

When we watch sporting events and we see the thrill of victory.

But we almost never get to see all the pain, and sweat, and frustration, and perserverence, and failure that it takes to get to game day. We never get to see it because it is tedious, and scary, and intimidating, and emotionally draining. We never get to see it because it is very time consuming and boring and repetitive. And because victory often starts before 5 AM when many of us are still asleep.

Watch this video and bookmark it. Study the first 1:20 because you get a glimpse of what Danny puts in to become the talent than he has. You still can’t see all the broken bones, all the stitches, all the scraped knees and elbows. You only get to see a few of the bicycles he’s destroyed in his quest for excellence.

Pause the video at 3:05 and notice the path that he’s worn up the side of that huge oak tree. How many hours do you think you have to spend rolling a soft rubber tire to wear down a groove in the side of an oak tree? How many broken bones, bent wheels, and blows to the chin between the time he thought up this particular stunt and the time it was videoed?

We’ll probably never know. All we know is the result of his efforts and they take less than 4 seconds from the time he approaches the tree. But what an amazing four seconds.

I don’t aspire to become a great bicyclist, or even a world-class martial artist. But in the things that are important to me I have allowed myself permission to fail. I have allowed myself permission to get out, scrape my knees, and fall down in front of people I care about. For the things that are important to me I have given myself permission to expose myself to ridicule. I have accepted that failure is almost surely part of the path, but it is not, and will not be my final destination.

What are you going to do today that scares you? Whatever it is, I give you permission to fail while trying as long as you get up and try again after you fall.

Embracing Fear, Getting Things Done, productivity, Success

Discipline is…what?

March 30th, 2009

We all know that we are supposed to eat more raw vegetables and less fatty, starchy, sugary food. We know we are supposed to exercise more and watch television less. We know we are supposed to save and invest more of our money than we do.

Why don’t we do what we KNOW we are “supposed” to do?

The answer is simple but it is NOT what you think, and it’s not what everyone has been telling you either. The answer to all self-discipline is simply a matter of shortening the time gap between the price you pay and the benefits you receive.

I go into this in a lot of detail in a talk I give called “Explode Your Productivity”. The idea is that life is made up of lots of little choices and trade offs. I can eat dessert now and gain an extra ounce of weight, which is hardly noticeable. Even better, I can exercise it off tomorrow at the gym.

The reward for eating dessert is big and immediate (delicious chocolate cheesecake, YUM!), and the cost is small and far into the future (I MIGHT be a few OUNCES heavier the next time I weigh). It is further mitigated by the rationalization (read that last word as “lie”) that we will eat less tomorrow to make up for dessert today, or we will spend an extra hour on the treadmill. Of course we know when we tell ourselves these lies that neither will happen because we don’t have the self-discipline to choose a fruit cup instead of a piece of cheesecake, let alone walk an hour on a treadmill.

Besides, the treadmill is where I hang all my clothes.

So what is the answer? Here it is: The secret to all self-discipline…Shorten the gap between the cost and the reward. And to do that, you have to choose different costs, and different rewards.

Almost every morning of the year I wake up and either do resistance training (weights) or cardio-vascular exercise. I usually get up before 5 AM to start this regimen but there are MANY mornings when I wish to sleep late instead.

Self-Discipline is having the ability to consistently have your body do what your mind knows is best. Because if your body gets to decide it usually makes poor decisions.

After talking to hundreds of people who work out every day, year after year, I’ve discovered that they don’t go to the gym in order to lose weight or even to have a healthy heart, although these are both nice fringe benefits. No, the people who make fitness a part of their daily lifestyle do so because they have shortened (consciously or unconsciously) the gap between the struggle of getting out of a warm bed and putting their body through purposeful stress and the reward they get for that sacrifice.

They work out because they have learned to enjoy their time at the gym. They do it because they love the smell of the spring flowers on their morning run. They do it because it is a time to bond with their spouse who goes with them, or their friends that they meet there. They do it because of some reward that is IMMEDIATE and it becomes a pattern.

What gets me up every morning two hours before the sun comes up? I tell myself that I am proud to be disciplined. I know that discipline brings success and happiness and I want to be disciplined. So as I lay in bed thinking about whether to get up and work out or sleep in “just this once”, I ask “What would a disciplined person do?”  Nike commercials run through my head (I have marked 12 as favorites on my YouTube account).

We are not BORN disciplined. We become disciplined based on the decisions we make every single day. Every time we order a meal. Every morning when we wake up. Every evening as we decide to sit in front of the television for three hours or to read a book instead, or work on that writing project we’ve been thinking about for years.

Learn to love the process for what it is; an opportunity to demonstrate your self-discipline.

And for the record, my last post promised you some insights into some changes I’m in the process of making in my business. I’m looking forward to sharing those changes with you within the next two weeks. For a sneak preview until then, please feel free to visit:

http://julianspeaks.com
http://libraryrat.com
http://julianfranklin.com

You’ll get a pretty good idea of where things are going, but we’ll get very specific with my next update. If you want to keep more current with daily updates, feel free to connect with me on the following social media sites. I accept all connection requests FROM SUBSCRIBERS. Tell me you are a subscriber and I will accept the connection, otherwise I won’t unless I know you.

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productivity