Mental Mechanics: Self-Investment

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

– Rumi

One of the greatest benefits of being human is our innate ability to want to improve. We want a better today than we had yesterday. We crave success, progress, and a better life. We all want a better world, right? If nothing else, we want to change the world to make it better for ourselves and those we care about. It is easy to look at the world as a whole, making it seem overwhelming and unchangeable. One of life’s hardest lessons to learn is that we can only ever truly change ourselves. The great news is that when we create a better version of ourselves, we impact others as well. I truly believe that one person, who has strived to be at their absolute best, can impact the world in significant ways. Look at Mother Theresa, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or Abraham Lincoln. These are standard examples of individuals who constantly tried to better themselves, and in the process, impacted the world. When we are productive, positive, proactive, and passionate, others take notice. Remember, like attracts like. People will want to be near you, to learn from you, and to replicate your growth.

Others will strive to have the same type of experience, changing their lives as well. If your growth assists in changing those within your corner of the world, and they follow your lead to do the same, the world itself changes. Take time today to explore your own situation. Are you living in a manner that allows you to be your best self? Do you have a clear picture of what your best self even looks like? What can you do today to help you move toward being that person? The world is a big place but imagine what it would look like if we all focused on making our part of it better. Why not start on your part today?

Mental Mechanics: Tips to Manage These Uncertain Times

Well, this is certainly new and unexpected. How could we have ever expected the current global situation? Life is usually pretty straightforward and easy. We tend to make it harder than it has to be. I have more experience with helping individuals deal with unimaginable adversities than I could have ever imagined. There are some basic things to consider. If we keep a calm head, do the simple things right, and look out for one another, we can get through all of this together…

Don’t Panic – No matter what is happening around us, staying calm is an important thing to remember in any moment of extreme adversity. It allows us to act accordingly and not react purely from emotion. 

Leave Ego Out of It – Unless we can approach this pandemic as an opportunity to understand ourselves and our journey a bit better, our egos will take over and limit our ability to move forward. None of us is as good as ALL of us.  

Practice Basic Hygiene – Right now, this virus is mostly lifestyle based. It isn’t in the air or the water. Practicing basic hygiene (washing hands, not touching our faces, isolating ourselves from others) is a key to managing it. It seems funny to tell adults to wash there hands, but I know I am guilty of not doing it as well as I should.

Be a Good Human – Again, this seems like a no brainer. However, when we face adversity, we tend to narrow our focus to only ourselves. Now more than ever, it will pay huge dividends to just be a good person and to help others in any way we can. We will all need one another before this is over.

Don’t Get Caught in Narratives – Getting caught up in false narratives is something we do exceptionally well. This is especially true during times like this. The ‘What ifs’ tend to pull our attention away from objective truths. Be aware of your thinking, and the stories you are allowing yourself to tell. 

Eat Well/Stay Active – Self Care is critical to making it through adverse times. We tend to focus so much on what is going on externally that we overlook our own well being. Remember, stress impacts our immune system, which is the last thing we need right now. 

Avoid Crowds – It sucks that sports were canceled and that we can’t go to the movies or our favorite restaurants. I can’t sugarcoat that fact. This situation is bigger than celebrities, or sports…this can potentially impact the future of our species. We just need to use common sense and remember that this will be temporary if we do the right things.

Don’t Panic-Yeah…It is THAT important. We can do this if we do it together.

With Much Love and Well Wishes

Mark

Mental Mechanics: Live YOUR life

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

– Steve Jobs

If you’re wondering how to make your life better, you are not alone. I cannot remember ever working with an individual who wasn’t. As humans, we are success-driven organisms. We constantly strive to be better versions of ourselves. We also know that success is best served among friends and teammates, who share in the glory and accomplishment. We need others to assist us in this journey, but we must be careful. Sometimes we get caught in someone else’s journey, whether it is in a relationship or job, and we lose sight of our own. I am not saying to be selfish, although focusing on yourself from time to time can be extremely powerful. I am a big believer in selfless leadership and service. In fact, it is a core tenant of my business. I believe that by giving to others, we are only helping ourselves. We just need to also remember that we cannot give our best, if we are living as less than our best self. Take time today to explore your own situation. Are you living the life you want? Do you share your success with others, and share in their successes? Are you living in a way that will help you to become your best, or are you living someone else’s life? What can you do, today, that will allow you to become a better version of yourself? Be proactive, pursue those things that will make you better, and focus your efforts on becoming a better version of yourself. When you find the right opportunity, the one that will take you to a whole new level of life success, you want to be able to fully commit to it. Begin making it happen today.

Mental Mechanics: A New Year, A New Chance to Grow

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

– Oprah Winfrey

A Very Personal Note for the New Year… Happy New Year (and New Decade) everyone!! The 2010s were a time filled with self-exploration and growth. It was the perfect carnival ride of ups and downs, twists and turns. Each extreme up and down brought me to a better place in life. It was indeed a decade I can never forget. From helping tens of thousands of wounded, ill, and injured Service members find a new path in life to living a dream in Major League Baseball. I have been blessed beyond measure. 

Most recently, 2019 was an incredible year but wasn’t without challenges.While there have been so many amazing things (family, friends, success in business, and even a World Series Championship), I also faced many of the same challenging moments as most other humans. I have lost family members, had business stressors, had people I care about to leave my life, and I experienced personal health issues. Throughout these experiences, I remain mindful and extremely grateful. Each piece of this puzzle came together to reveal a beautiful image. 

I am dedicated to keeping this mindset into the new decade. I want to love as much, and as deeply as I can. I want to learn something new every day. I want to continue my daily meditation practice and live in each moment. I wish to acknowledge and learn from the challenges but focus on the beautiful parts of life. Mostly, I want to continue impacting as many lives as possible. 

I challenge each of you to do the same. Make 2020 a year of growth and personal celebration. Above all, make it a year of helping others do the same. 

I will be providing tips and tools to do just that each month. A new theme will be available that builds a personal and actionable plan for excellence. Make sure to check my Social Media outlets, as well as blogs on my website. I get to travel to some incredible places, with some pretty special people, so expect a few surprises along the way. 

Let’s work together to make this our best year yet.

Mental Mechanics: Life is a Game of Chances

“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.”

– Mark Twain

Taking chances in life can be scary, period. But, if we ever want to achieve the life we have always dreamed of, we undoubtedly have to take constructive, calculated chances. As you look back on your life to this point, are there times that you wish you’d been a little more daring, a bit more trusting of your abilities, and less cautious in the chances you took? Many of the individuals that I work with say that if they ‘had it all to do over again,’ they would have been more courageous, settled for less, and taken more risks. Many times we know what it is we want, but we still don’t go after it because of the perceived gamble involved. We over-estimate the likelihood of something going wrong and tend to ‘catastrophize’ about what ‘might’ happen, imagining a worst-case scenario. We focus on the potential of loss, more than any potential for gain. The benefits of taking an educated, calculated chance are many. It can: open us up to new challenges and opportunities, require us to learn and grow, empower us to establish new limits in our thinking, give us clear understandings of what we want, and help us break free from our average way of living. Take time today to explore your own situation. How do you approach taking chances? Is there something you have been avoiding, because you were afraid of the potential “What ifs?” involved? How will this avoidance affect your life one year from now? What would you go for, today, if you were to be more courageous? It is necessary to take chances to achieve anything significant in life. You will never know what you are capable of until you try something you’ve never done. Go for it!

Mental Mechanics: A Dream Week

“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”

-Jesse Owens

Something special happened to me this week. I fulfilled a childhood dream. I ran onto the field after Game 7 of the World Series; I celebrated with a group of individuals that motivate me every day, I lifted a World Championship trophy in champagne-soaked clothing. I also rode in a victory parade for around 1M people. Not bad for a boy from a town of about 1500 people. This amazing week was the result of a lifetime of having concrete goals, working hard, sticking to it when things get tough, and staying grateful along the way. If you want something, dream big, but make sure you are focusing on each step along the way. On to the next incredible dream…

Mental Mechanics: Embrace the Journey

“The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for.” 

  –     Louis L’Amour

One thing I know for sure is that we all have dreams. We all have an idea of a better life situation and a vision of things we hope to accomplish. Life is full of opportunities, and we are hard-wired to seek them out and try to succeed. We live in a forward-looking, goal-pursuing, results-focused society. We are living in a box-checking culture, one where results are easier to measure and evaluate than the processes we use to get there. It would seem as though the best way to reach a desired result would be to place intense focus it, keep driving toward it and judge progress by how closely we continuously are. While this may get us closer to our outcome, this approach is far from optimal and opens the door for challenges.

One of the biggest challenges we often face is focusing too much on receiving happiness from the outcome, and missing out on the glories that we can experience on the journey. If we focus our attention and effort less on the results and more on the processes and techniques we use to move forward, we will learn faster, become more successful, and be happier with the outcome. Focusing on process will let us fully engage with the present and experience it more completely, which helps us to truly experience life. I love to hike, and I have learned that each time I figure out how to work around a boulder, or climb over a downed tree, it makes it easier to approach the next one. By learning along the way, and focusing fully on the trail itself, it feels that much sweeter to make it to the summit. Take time today to explore a big goal that you are working toward. Are you focusing more on achieving this goal, or on the journey itself? What can you learn from your journey that will allow you to be successful, not just with this goal, but with other areas of your life as well? We have only partial control over whether we reach a specific external goal. However, we have complete control over the processes we use and our reactions to the journey. We are in control of the level of effort we give, the amount of focus we have, and the resilience we show when things get tough. This is your life; make it look the way you think it should. Dream big, work hard and enjoy the many lessons along the way.

Mental Mechanics: Create the Life You Want

“If you don’t make the time to work on creating the life you want, you’re eventually going to be forced to spend A LOT of time dealing with a life you don’t want.”

–  Kevin Ngo

We all want to do, be and have great things. We want a life full of love, success, financial freedom, memorable experiences, and happiness. Yet far too often we simply aren’t creating the results we want. One thing that we, as humans, are really good at is blaming our lack of progress on outside forces.  In actuality, it is simply up to us to create the type of life we want. We all have the ability to make this happen, but we need to understand what it takes, and how to do it. There is not magic formula for success, but there are a number of common practices that the most successful people share. The first is having a clear vision of what your ideal life looks like. Experts support the idea that creating a clear, compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving it. We have all heard success stories that support this. Another important factor in creating the life we want is the ability to focus on what is most important. Life is full of distractions, trying to pull our attention away from what matters most. By keeping the clear vision of what we want, and focusing on the process of getting there, we can learn to minimize those distractors. Learning to live in the present moment will also allow us to keep our focus on what matters most. By always looking ahead, or holding on to what is behind us, we will most likely miss out on current experiences that help us move toward our ideal life. Take time today to explore your own situation. Do you have a clear vision of what your ideal life looks like? Are you focusing on the process of getting there? Do you allow distractions to keep you from reaching your goals? What can you do, today, to help you get to where you want to be tomorrow? Our success in life lies squarely on our shoulders. We definitely need the support of others along the way, but they cannot do it for us. They can help us set up the canvas, and give us input on which colors to use, but we have to paint the picture. Get started on your masterpiece today.

Mental Mechanics: Facing Adversity

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person that walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.”  

–  Haruki Murakami

We all face adversity, in one form or another, every day. That is part of the human experience. This “storm” can present itself in any size, from the alarm clock not working; to traffic that makes us late, to a serious illness. In the moment that storm can feel never-ending, and can consume our energy and focus. Trying to avoid it is a wasted venture. It is as much a part of our lives as air, or sunlight. Some days we see more of it than others, but the one guarantee is that we will see it. How we choose to deal with adversity, when it does happen, will determine our levels of success. I have worked with thousands of individuals on managing adversity. I have noticed some commonalities in how the ones who are most successful choose to experience adversities-both big and small. The most successful understand that adversity is a normal part of the journey, and that it does not have to end it. They find ways to manage, or even leverage those moments. As one client said, ‘These past few weeks of rain have been really tough, but I know my garden will grow stronger as a result.’ These individuals also focus on the things they can control, letting go of those things that they can’t. The only thing we can ever really control is ourselves. If we can’t control something that we are facing, we can always control our reaction to it. Take time today to explore your situation. Are you currently facing a “storm” that seems overwhelming? What aspects of it can you control? How can you control your reactions to what is happening? What aspects of this situation can make you better? Be proactive in handling adversity, learn as much as you can from it, and apply those lessons to your life. It can truly be whatever you decide to make it. You will have periods of sunshine, and periods of rain, but you must be willing to keep traveling on this journey no matter the weather.

Mental Mechanics: The Power of Choice

“At any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”

 –  Abraham Maslow

Many things shape the quality of our lives? One, in particular, gives us the power to change everything, every day? I am a big believer in the power of choice. It is one of the most basic abilities that we possess, as humans, and lies at the very core of everything we do…and don’t do. Even when we can’t control what is coming at us, we can choose to control our response. In any Psychology 101 class, we learn that we do things to either avoid pain or gain pleasure. That is our choice. I’ve had the privilege of working with an incredibly diverse group of people, from professional athletes to leaders of industry, to members of our Military. The one thing that consistently makes them successful is the power of the choices they make. Success is a result of making good choices; good choices are made as a result of experience, in most cases. We must begin looking at both our victories, as well as our defeats, as opportunities to learn. We can use that knowledge to grow. Take time today to explore your own situation. How often do you think about the choices that you have made? Are you currently facing a situation that is demanding a significant choice? What have you experienced in the past that will allow you to make the right decision? How will your life be affected by the choices you could make? What would happen if you chose to remain where you are, and do nothing? No one ever made the winning play, by standing on the sidelines where it is safe. Everything you have ever accomplished has been the result of the choices you have made. Don’t be afraid to move forward toward the life you want.

It is important to remember that taking risks may be a necessary step in actively pursuing personal success. Try reframing your thinking, to view risk as an opportunity to succeed, rather than a path to failure. Your life will ultimately become what you decide to make it. Get a clear picture, create a workable plan, and allow yourself to succeed.