Surround Yourself Within Your Vision

My Vision

If you have seen my Instagram post from today, you will know that I am writing this post from James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

You may think that I am travelling; however, that assumption would be incorrect. I am not here as a traveller, but instead, I am at the airport as a visionary.

You see, my vision for the future is to travel the world as a writer and speaker. Where do people need to go to travel the world? THE AIRPORT!

I have purposefully planted myself within the realm of the destination that I have for my life. I am at the airport. Sure, I don’t have a ticket YET, but one day I will. As I sit at a cafe, next to the “Domestic & International Flights” departure gates, I am consumed and engulfed within the environment and context of my future. This is where I want to be. No…this is where I WILL BE.

 

Why?

For the most part, I write my articles for this website at a local Starbucks. I love Starbucks coffee, and enjoy the environment. But, I don’t want to simply consume my environment. Instead, I want my environment to WORK FOR ME.

I can attest that as I sit here, and write at the airport, I have a feeling of excitement within my spirit – and yeah, as I said, I don’t even have a ticket anywhere! The excitement is because this setting…my goal…my dream…is activating the confidence and belief that I have for my future. My goal of travelling the world is becoming more real…like I can actually reach out my hand and touch it.

I am convinced that when you place yourself in the environment of your goals and aspirations, the excitement of the moment will inspire you to reach new levels.

Sure, I could still write the same articles at Starbucks, and probably get the same hits and views, but Starbucks doesn’t fuel my spirit like the airport can. The airport is a tangible representation of my vision. My vision is possible. Check that…my vision is my destiny.

Airport!

Jim Carrey

I love the story of Jim Carrey and how he took a piece of his vision and applied it to his current situation.

As a struggling comedian/actor in the late 1980’s, living out of his van in Los Angeles, Jim wrote himself a cheque for “acting services rendered” for the amount of $10 million dollars, and placed it in his wallet. He even dated the cheque for a specific time in the future. By doing this, he gave himself a deadline. For the next few years, whenever he opened his wallet, he saw the cheque. Although he was broke and homeless at the time, whenever he saw the cheque, a passion was refuelled and ignited on the inside to accomplish his vision. As fate would have it, within weeks of his deadline, he received a $10 million cheque for acting services rendered for the movie Dumb and Dumber.

By placing a cheque in his wallet, Jim Carrey was activating his vision. Instead of just dreaming about being a rich movie star, he took an extra step, and gave himself something tangible and real to remind himself of where he would be. Jim Carrey made his vision real before it was real.

Here is a short clip of Jim Carrey on the Oprah Winfrey show telling his story.

 

Application/Challenge

I remember a few years back, I had a vision to teach at two different schools near my house. Instead of just wishing that one day I would be hired, my wife and I would go to the school, park in the staff parking lot, and walk around the perimeter of the property (after school hours, of course).

I remember as I was walking around the perimeter of the school, I could feel my vision becoming activated. Even though at the time, I was employed at a different school in a different district, the simple act of placing myself within the environment of my vision, like the airport today, gave me an inspiration and excitement for my vision that nothing else could or would equal. Guess what? Within a five-year period, both schools hired me to be a part of their teaching staffs.

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Is there a particular university that you want to be enrolled in? Then I challenge you to go the university! Sit in the cafeteria. Walk around the bookstore. Walk around campus. Place yourself in the environment already, before it’s  even “real”.

Is there a particular job you want? Like me, go there, walk around the property, and make it REAL to you, instead of a far-off wish.

Do you want a 90 average in school? Like Jim Carrey, write yourself a visual of the future. Go on a computer, and begin to draft a report card that you envision for yourself, full of high 90’s in difficult courses; then place it somewhere that you will be reminded of it often.

Whatever your goal or vision, begin to surround yourself with tangible evidence that you can see, feel, and touch right now, today! Your vision will become activated in ways you never saw or felt possible.

Get better.

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Be True To You & Your Inner Circle

Be True To You

There have been many different studies based on the life regrets of dying people. Over and over again, however, no matter the study, there is one regret that is consistently near or at the top of each list, and that is: “I wish I would have lived a life true to myself, and not the life expected of me by others.”

This article then, is simply an encouragement and plan for you to chase YOUR dreams, and live YOUR purpose and vision, so that you may reach YOUR destiny.

For you to live true to you, it is absolutely essential to cultivate the biggest factor in living a life of no regrets; and that is…

Your Environment

I have learned that the environment you CHOOSE to place yourself in is the single biggest factor in whether or not you will accomplish the dreams and goals you have for your life.

Your environment is the circle of people that you choose to spend the most time with. Essentially, your environment is your INNER CIRCLE of family and friends.

For you to live true to yourself, it is essential that your inner circle be comprised of people that share the same values and beliefs as you.  When those in your inner circle share the same values and beliefs, they will understand YOU. They will understand your goals and dreams. As a result, they will lift you up and encourage you, instead of distracting you or tearing you down.

Your Inner Circle

Here are some thoughts on selecting and evaluating your inner circle:

  • The bigger your dreams, the smaller your circle. Let’s get this out of the way right now: if you have HUGE dreams, I guarantee you will need to immediately remove some people from your inner circle. Why? Because when you have huge dreams, fewer people will be accepting and understanding of those dreams. You will make people uncomfortable. However, when you have mediocre dreams, you don’t have to be as selective because most people can accept and welcome mediocrity much easier than they can excellence or greatness. When people chase excellence, mediocre people get scared and intimidated, and respond by tearing you down. If you have heard people say, “You can’t do that” or “That’s impossible”, please, do yourself a favour and begin to remove those people from your inner circle. Today. I have heard it said that sheep flock together, while a lion walks alone. Be very selective!

 

  • Have a  common GOAL and VISION. Just like how a championship level sports team will be made of people who share the same goal and vision, your inner circle needs to be modelled the same way. As a teacher, nothing discourages me more than watching a student with ‘A-Level’ aspirations allow a peer with ‘D-level’ aspirations into their inner circle. Why? Because PEOPLE GENERALLY FALL TO THE LOWEST LEVEL OF EXPECTATIONS ALLOWED BY THEIR ENVIRONMENT. That means the student with ‘D-level’ aspirations will drag the ‘A-student’ to their level, instead of the other way. Sadly, in time, the ‘A-student’ will no longer resemble a person with high aspirations. Instead, they will begin to be late, make excuses, do just enough to get by, and hide from challenges – the student with high aspirations will no longer be distinguishable from the lower level. It’s a sad story.

 

  • Never allow ‘outer circle’ people to creep into your inner circle. In the example above, where a student with ‘A-level’ aspirations was dragged down to the lowest level of their environment; there is a simple solution to avoid the pitfalls of a mediocre environment: STOP SPENDING SO MUCH TIME WITH THAT PERSON!! If you are unable to completely cut a ‘D-level’ person out of your life, because they are a close family member or life-long friend, simply begin the process of moving them into your outer circle. Slowly but surely, begin to spend less and less time with that person, until their expectations of you are no longer significant. They may say that you are dreaming too big or working too hard, but it wont matter because they will be out of your inner circle. Instead, those in your circle will be encouraging you to keep working and chasing your dreams.

Conclusion

Evaluate your inner circle immediately. If you have a gut feeling that someone shouldn’t be there, that’s an excellent sign that they shouldn’t, and you should begin the process of removing them right away.

You might be thinking to yourself, “What if I hurt their feelings?” I say back to that, WHAT IF YOU MISS YOUR DESTINY? Is it worth it? Well according to study after study, living for others is not worth the price. I challenge you, don’t live a life of regret. Stop living for others and begin living a life true to you. It may hurt today, but I promise, you will be celebrating tomorrow.

“Life’s too short to spend it trying to keep others happy. You can’t please everyone. To fulfill your destiny, stay true to your heart.”

Get Better.

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Trust The Process

No, this isn’t a Philadelphia 76ers fan page. However, there is a lot of wisdom in Philly’s mantra: Trust The Process. In basketball terms, it means being patient, to allow your young stars to develop, and instead of focusing on today’s results, focus on the process of daily learning and growth, and eventually, success, in terms of wins and championships, will be a reality.

What’s notable though, is that the wisdom and results of trusting the process can be applied to everyone, in any walk of life – not just athletes on a professional basketball team.

I will now explain how I have applied the process very recently, and how you too, can apply this tool to get better as well. Let’s go…

The Process Applied

As a basketball coach, I had the opportunity this past week to apply the principle of trusting the process very directly, much like the Philadelphia 76ers would. Let me warn you though…THE PROCESS REQUIRES PATIENCE! AND…A LOT OF IT! If you are not willing to be patient, trusting the process will not work for you. Much like the children’s story of The Tortoise and The Hare, slow and steady will win the race.

Anyway, I help coach a varsity basketball team. As a trained instructor for PGC Basketball, one of the top basketball education programs on the planet, I am acutely aware of team culture and environmental dynamics.

Most athletes on my team were determined to be a part of league play. Being in the league though, wouldn’t be trusting the process; it would be focusing on the results. Champions are more concerned with the details of the daily grind than winning or getting the promotion. I am more interested in being a champion than a participant.

League play, at this point in time, would be too difficult for my team. The majority of the roster is composed of inexperienced athletes who are just now being exposed to the game. The process, instead of challenging teams who have played for years, would mean organizing exhibition games with other teams who are more at our level. Exhibition games aren’t very glamorous, but are needed for OUR PROCESS. Exhibition games take patience. At the other side of patience though, is a process that will eventually translate into far greater success than being results oriented ever would.

The Process And You

I remember being a high school student and having the goal of getting 90% in math. It never happened. Not once in four years. Why? I truly believe it was because I wasn’t process-oriented. Instead, I was results-driven. I wanted the result of 90% – nothing wrong with that goal. But instead of focusing on the 90% grade, I should have focused on the daily process of earning 90%. My daily process should have included asking questions, working hard in class, and studying every night at home. If my process would have matched my vision, the 90% would have been earned.

Here are some other examples:

  • While the promotion at work would be fantastic, focus on the daily process that will eventually get you there. This might mean arriving early and staying late. It could mean taking extra courses. It could mean be more sociable to your boss and coworkers. Write down the process that will translate into a job promotion. Don’t just focus on the promotion itself. The process is far more important.
  • Getting accepted into the university of your dreams is an awesome goal. Plan the daily process that will get you there. You will probably need to volunteer, study every night, ask questions, avoid parties, and get a lot of sleep.
  • Quitting an addiction would be life-changing. Instead of focusing on the destination of actually quitting, focus on the daily process that will bring you there. Be in the moment. You will need to avoid triggers at all costs, have accountability partners, a strong support system, and get inspiration from those who have already won the battle.

Trusting the process includes having an incredible focus on the MOMENT. Enjoy where you are NOW. Enjoy the journey…and always be patient. Those who are impatient will have the same misfortune as the hare, and will not live up to their potential. Those who are patient and are willing to trust the process, like the tortoise, will accomplish more than expected.

The Challenge

We all like instant results. But instant results are often less than what could have happened if we would have been patient and trusted the process. Like my 90% in math, identify an area where you are results-driven. Use this week to develop a process-driven plan that if followed, could achieve your desired result.

I have learned that the most successful people work hard every day, and enjoy the process and journey more than the destination. The process will catapult you to a destination that being results-focused never could. The process is like flying in a jet, while being results-oriented is like riding a bike. It will take longer to learn to fly and pay for a jet, but like the tortoise, you will eventually win the race.

Get better.

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The Importance of Self-Care

The Crash

I was flying high – tonnes of energy, happy, positive, loving life, fulfilling my purpose – then, BANG! In perfect harmony, like a well choreographed dance, my mind and body joined forces and yelled, “STOP!”

Without announcement, like a bolt of lightning, I became weak, dizzy, irritable, frustrated, and angry, all in one glorious ten-second frame. My mind and body began to shut down. Since I wasn’t taking breaks, it was like my brain said, “Okay, Jon. Since you’re not stopping to rest, I am going to make the decision for you!”

My “crash” happened on Thursday, November 1st.

As I battled an intense amount of guilt, I made the decision to use the next four days to take care of myself – “self-care”. My journey would no longer be about others. Instead, like a spoiled child, my thoughts, emotions, and energy would be entirely focused on my needs, fulfillment, and enjoyment. Hesitant at first, I have to say, I am loving the journey so far…

My “Self-Care” Journey

Self-care is all about doing things for you – planning and experiencing events that bring YOU joy. As a highly motivated person, thinking about “ME” was difficult, as I like to accomplish goals and tasks, and inspire others to achieve excellence. Nevertheless, I have noticed that self-care is easier to pursue once you accept its value and begin the journey. I will use my journey as an example for you…

Friday, November 2nd

I booked a room at a local hotel next to my favourite shopping mall. For those that don’t know me, I am a “sneaker head”. I love sneakers – particularly Air Jordan’s. I treated myself to not one, but two pairs of retro Jordan’s. Oh yeah, I also ate out three times. I despise cooking. I love convenience!

Yes, Friday cost money. I have learned however, that investing in yourself from time-to-time will keep you happy and healthy. I would rather spend to maintain my mental and physical health, than not to spend, and have medical bills later on.

Saturday, November 3rd

I’m at a hotel, so I slept in! During the work week, I generally wake up around 5AM, then journal and workout. I DIDN’T DO ANY OF THOSE TODAY! In fact, I purposefully left my workout clothes and journal at home. Instead, I laid in bed and rested, then rested some more. I didn’t checkout of the hotel until noon.

When I arrived back home, I watched WWE and YouTube videos. I cuddled my dogs. My schoolwork is still in my backpack. Untouched.

Sunday, November 4th

I love to write. I have committed to write weekly blogs every Sunday morning. Writing is part of my self-care. WHERE I am writing, however, is a little different than normal.

I usually write at a local Starbucks, not too far from my house. This morning, however, I am writing at Tim Horton’s in Morris, Manitoba. Why? When I am done writing, I will continue three hours down the highway to Fargo, North Dakota, where I will watch the Packers vs. Patriots game at Buffalo Wild Wings.

I will wake up tomorrow at my hotel, and spend the day resting and driving, all the while relaxing, and not thinking of work or tasks that need to get finished.

I will go back to work Tuesday morning, no doubt, feeling refreshed and energized to serve, and give my best once again.

What I Have Learned

Self-care is extremely valuable. I will now plan self-care as a part of my daily routine. I will use weekends to relax and shut my brain off. I will plan extended vacations where I can refuel and recharge.

If I wish to give my best to others, my tank needs to be full. I have learned that I cannot give what I don’t have. I have committed my life to bring and give infectious energy, while encouraging and inspiring others. I cannot give energy to others, if I don’t have energy myself.

Challenge

Take a rest. I am committed to spending at least ONE HOUR PER DAY just for me – doing something that I enjoy, that will build me up, and give me energy. I will no longer let my mind and body shut down, and tell me to rest. I am going to take my control back, and take better care of myself.

I challenge you to do the same. If you are feeling overwhelmed and overworked, like me, spend at least 1 hour of your day being “selfish”, living for you. If necessary, say “no” to somebody, and say “yes” to you. Enjoy your life. Take care of yourself.

Get Better.

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Mental Fitness Plan

Mental fitness is an incredibly important factor for living a full and productive life. If you are not mentally fit, you will not have the inner strength to battle stress, depression, sadness, and anger. Just like how a physically fit person has a strong immune system that is able to stave off infection and disease, a mentally fit person is able overcome problems, issues, stress, and tension.

Many people practice a physical fitness plan. Weight training, running, stretching, eating well, avoiding recreational drugs, and getting a good night’s sleep are all important factors when considering a plan to create and maintain a healthy physical body.

But what about mental fitness? Do you have a plan? You should…

Components Of A Mental Fitness Plan

Treat the mental fitness plan as you would your workout routine or meal plan- with absolute precision. When you go to the gym or prepare a meal, you know the EXACT process ahead of time – what exercises will be completed, with how many sets, and how many reps too! When you prepare a meal, you not only know the ingredients, but you know how much to add, when to add it, and how long to cook the recipe for.

Treat EVERYDAY like a workout day for your mind and mental health. The more you train, the more fit you will become.

1. Inspirational Videos/Books/Quotes – 10 Minutes/Day

Surround yourself with inspiration.

Mentally fit people spend time every day energizing their mind. Energy comes from inspiration. My favourite YouTube channel is Goalcast. I watch Goalcast videos at least 5 times a week to re-energize and prime my mind. When I watch inspirational videos, I can’t help but feel better. Of course there are many other inspirational channels out there, but I do encourage you to check out Goalcast.

If you spend time on Instagram, search for motivational pages and people to follow. Sometimes all you need is a quick pick-me-up, and an inspiring quote can do just that.

Inspiration is contagious. When you start reading, watching, and surrounding yourself with inspiration, you will never know how you lived without it.

2. Daily Affirmations – “I am Statements” – 3/Day

Who do you want to be? Strong? Popular? Brave? Wealthy? Happy?

Mentally fit people fearlessly state every day who they are, even if in reality, they aren’t that person YET. In fact, the key to an awesome ” I am statement” is to proclaim things that aren’t “real” yet.

For example, if you are battling depression, your I am statement could be: ” I am confident, content, joyful, and happy at school, work, and in all of my relationships. I am a conqueror. I am gifted.”

Although the depressed person probably doesn’t see those attributes in them, it is necessary to proclaim them as if they already were. When you proudly proclaim who you are, you are training your mind subconsciously to achieve your vision.

Every day I proclaim that I am impactful with my words, actions, and conversations. I also proclaim that I am awake, energetic, and healthy.

Place your I am statements in high-traffic areas where you can see them and be reminded often – like your mirror, phone, bedroom, office, desk, and all over your house. When you speak them, speak them with BOLDNESS and CONFIDENCE.

3. Practice Gratitude – 3/Day

Mentally fit people are thankful for who they are and what they have. They don’t preoccupy their thoughts and minds wishing for what they want and focusing on what they don’t have. Mentally fit people don’t compare themselves with others either. When you negatively compare yourself with another person, you aren’t thankful…you’re resentful.

If you haven’t read my post on the importance of gratitude, I strongly suggest you do so.

Quickly stated here, I challenge you to speak (preferably upon waking) at least three things that you are thankful for every day. It is key to realize that you NEED TO BE THANKFUL FOR THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE. For example, this morning, I wrote that I am thankful for my Keurig, my dogs, and that the Milwaukee Brewers forced a game 7 in the NLCS.

Gratitude doesn’t need to be winning the lottery or a job promotion. Mentally fit people are thankful for the little things.

 

Challenge

Physically fit people train their bodies with intense workouts and strict nutrition plans. Mentally fit people train their minds with a daily dose of inspiration, I am statements, and gratitude.

I challenge you to live the Mental Fitness Plan this week. You probably spend at least 30 minutes of your day getting ready in the morning, working on your “outer self.” Why not spend 15 minutes working on your “inner self”?

Get Better!

 

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