Optimize Your Life

Episode #1: How to Focus Your Mind to Create the Life You Love

Show notes:

Hello everybody! I am so excited to finally be doing this podcast for you. I’ve been thinking about doing this for quite a long time. But as you know life gets in the way. So I am finally happy to be able to come here and share with you all the things that I’ve been itching to share with you. I’ve spent two and a half years putting all this amazing information together for a book that I recently published, which was really about burnout. But then I thought about what’s really on the other side of that, and that, as I see it is optimization.

And so I thought, how cool would it be to just create an entire podcast dedicated to teaching all the skills and strategies that I’ve come across to really help you optimize all aspects of your life. So here we finally are.

Now 2020 turned out to be massively different from what anyone had expected. Can you think back to last January and the goals that you had last year? Chances are that you got knocked off course due to the curve balls life threw at you. Who didn’t, right? But now it’s your chance to start over. We’re in a brand new year. And yes, the pandemic is still here, but we’ve had some time to adjust and recalibrate. So today, I’m going to share with you how you can make 2021 amazing, no matter what.

When we think about this new year in front of us, there are so many things that we could be doing and of course there are so many reasons why we may not want to do them or get to them just because. As we said, life does end up getting in the way. So I want you to think ahead.

Imagine you are now in December of 2021. It’s the end of the year and you’ve had an opportunity to reflect and look back at the entire year that’s passed by. You might even close your eyes to do this exercise. Just imagine that you’re at this point.

  • What does life look like for you?
  • What have you achieved in 2021?
  • How is life different now?
  • How do you feel about it?
  • What are you proud of?
  • And what regrets do you have?

Once you come up with some answers to these questions, then I’d like you to think about what you’ve gathered from that information. You have an opportunity to sit down and write out some goals for yourself.

And that’s step two. Once you have that clarity, once you understand what is important for you to achieve, how you want to end this year on this high note, then you want to sit down and write out what are some of the goals that you have.

Whether you are a basketball fan or not, I think you’ll appreciate Michael Jordan, who according to the NBA is “The greatest basketball player of all time.” A tall order, if you ask me.

So how do you go from being an ordinary human being to being extraordinary? It all comes down to your mindset and goal setting. Here’s an excerpt from Michael’s book, “I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on the Pursuit of Excellence”.

He says:
“I approach everything step by step….I had always set short-term goals. As I look back, each one of the steps or successes led to the next one. When I got cut from the varsity team as a sophomore in high school, I learned something. I knew I never wanted to feel that bad again….So I set a goal of becoming a starter on the varsity. That’s what I focused on all summer. When I worked on my game, that’s what I thought about. When it happened, I set another goal, a reasonable, manageable goal that I could realistically achieve if I worked hard enough….I guess I approached it with the end in mind. I knew exactly where I wanted to go, and I focused on getting there. As I reached those goals, they built on one another. I gained a little confidence every time I came through.
…If [your goal is to become a doctor]…and you’re getting Cs in biology then the first thing you have to do is get Bs in biology and then As. You have to perfect the first step and then move on to chemistry or physics.
Take those small steps. Otherwise you’re opening yourself up to all kinds of frustration. Where would your confidence come from if the only measure of success was being a doctor? If you tried as hard as you could and didn’t become a doctor, would that mean your whole life was a failure? Of course not.
All those steps are like pieces of a puzzle. They all come together to form a picture….Not everyone is going to be the greatest….But you can still be considered a success….Step by step, I can’t see any other way of accomplishing anything.”

Isn’t that so good? When you really listen to how his mind works, I mean–it just blows my mind when I see the accomplishments that he’s been able to create in the world and to know that it really just comes down to aligning your mind and creating these goals and to take it step by step. I mean, it is really just a formula. You really can accomplish so much in this world. It’s mind boggling.

I’ll give you an example from my life. As I mentioned, I’ve been wanting to create this podcast now for quite a while and I decided that I’m going to do all my prep work at the end of 2020 and get rolling right off the bat in early days of 2021 so that when I finish this year, I can really be proud of the 52 episodes that I’ve put out into the world. And yes, I’ve actually mapped out all the things that I want to share with you because I want it to be something that I have no excuses around, that I am already planned and prepared for.

And, by the way, whenever you create a goal, if you really want to set yourself up for success, you’re going to need to sit down and really plan and structure and schedule and really think of all the steps that you need to take. You’re not always going to know the right way to do things and that’s really not that important. It’s just that it gets you started. You want to have enough momentum to get off the ground.

Typically, what we see is that when you start moving forward with whatever your goal is, whatever you try doesn’t always work and then you find another way. So don’t get too caught up on how you’re going to achieve this goal, but more so on what you want to achieve and really why is it important for you right now? It might be an important goal for you in your lifetime, but why in 2021? So get clear on that.

I love talking about goals, especially at the beginning of a year because this is the time where we get to turn over that new leaf and start afresh. And, you know, with COVID so many things have gone astray. It’s like the V8 commercial. I don’t know if you guys remember that, but there was a commercial for this vegetable juice where people were walking around lopsided. And as a result of drinking this juice, it would straighten them up. And the tagline was, “Get your diet straight with V8.” I think I have that right. In any case, really think about what it is that you want to create and how is less important. You’ll get to it.

What I like to do is just get a little bit organized and what that means is I have to know when am I going to do it. So you want to break down your goals into these little manageable tasks and that’s going to help you know what you need to do. A lot of times, when people don’t have that organization, they become overwhelmed and they get stuck and then never actually take off. They never launch. And I don’t want that for you.

I want you to have real clarity about what you want to create this year. Break that down into specific goals. And when I say specific, it has to be something that isn’t this vague notion, something like, “I want to lose weight.” A lot of times, people have New Year’s resolutions and weight is something that they are focused on. So, if that’s you, how will you know that you have achieved that goal? If you say, “I’m going to lose weight” and you lose one ounce, that’s essentially accomplishing that goal. But this is not very specific, so you have to say “I want to lose 5 pounds” or “I want to lose 10 pounds.” Be really specific about what it is that you’re going for.

Then you want to talk about what your plan is. How are you going to do what it is that you’re setting yourself out to do? And when are you going to do that? If it’s a weight loss goal, obviously we need to be able to change the way that we eat. We need to move our bodies. There are certain things that we have to omit and certain things that maybe we have to add. Think about what those things are, when you’re going to do it, how you’re going to do it. Let’s say you need a plan when you’re going to the grocery store, or a plan for making your weekly meals.

Many of us are trying to figure out more than just our weight. We’re trying to figure out how to create things in the world. You might have a side hustle, be trying to maybe get promoted at your job, or learn a new skill. There are so many things that you could be working on. And I want you to really think about this from a holistic point of view. What are all the things that you would like given the fact that you have 2020 to reflect back on?

Think about: what was the thing that most disappointed you about last year? Something that you really wanted to accomplish but didn’t get to? That is going to be so important for you to consider when you are moving forward with your goals and aspirations for this coming year. You don’t want to repeat 2020.

Now we have some clarity. We have some goals hopefully. Now I want you to think about what are you going to do next? It’s important whenever you have a goal to break it down into some simple milestones, your to-do list perhaps–so that you are clear what are you going to do today vs what are you might do tomorrow. Everyday you should have something to focus on that’s going to bring you closer to that end goal, the end result that you want to create at the end of this year.

So for me with regards to my podcast it means that I need to do some research ahead of time about what I’m going to talk about. I have to write things down. I have to organize my schedule and I have to set time aside for when I’m going to sit down and actually record these episodes. That’s how I’m going to be able to stay consistent with this goal week after week.

For you, whatever it is that you are trying to create, whatever results you’re trying to have for yourself, think about what specific milestones you can latch onto that are going to provide you with the same kind of clarity and focus that you need. The reason I say this is an important third step for you is because when you’re not organized in this way, when you haven’t written things down, when you haven’t scheduled them in advance, what happens is you get distracted so easily. And this happens to all of us all of the time.

We have to be so incredibly intentional and mindful about what’s happening because it’s like the waves of ocean that sweep up whatever is there. So if you’re not anchored to the ground, you are going to get swept up by things like notifications, your children, by phone calls, cars driving by, a television show. Sometimes, you know, I’ll get an email from Netflix, for example, that says, “We’ve added a show to your queue that is based on something that you’ve watched that we think you might like.” And you know, I’m sure you also have gotten those kinds of emails. If you have this tendency to check your inbox and you do it all throughout the day randomly, you’re not focusing in on what you’re going to do for your goal. You’re not setting it in advance that you’re going to focus in on your goal, say, between the hours of 9 and 11. It’s easy to fill up all of your time with these little things and then look back at the end of your day and not have accomplished much. And I really really want to highlight this because it’s so important for us to learn to hyper-focus. You have to learn to be so intentional, so mindful, and so much of this and what we’re going to be talking about in the year to come is about being in that optimal zone of performance. And so much of that, what you can lend of yourself to that process is your mindset and so we’re to spend a lot of time talking about that.

In the meantime, let’s recap what we talked about today, which was how to really get you to a place where you are living and creating that life that you love, you have to be intentional and really focus your mind. Here are the three steps that you need to take:

Step 1: Really visualize where you want to be. What does that end result look like? Get a clear picture in your mind’s eye.
Step 2: Now take a step back. Create those really specific, measurable goals that you can work towards, and
Step 3: Break those down and have little items that you can focus on. Be very specific about when you’re going to do them. Schedule them. Eliminate those distractions so that you’re not going all over the place with your attention, so that you can really focus and get it done.

All right, so now, if you found this helpful and you’re looking for something that’s going to really help you implement all the nitty-gritty when it comes to goal-setting, I’ve actually created an entire course on goal setting and I want to share with you. It’s called “Get in the Driver’s Seat.” If you want to check it out, go to www.AcademyForHighAchievers.com and check out the course “Get in the Driver’s Seat” and I’ll see you next time. Have a wonderful rest of your week. Take care.


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