Putting first things first is all about learning to manage ourselves to a higher level. When you put first things first you are working by priorities and not allowing interruptions to knock you off course.
We all struggle with the same dilemma. We are caught between the urgent and the important.
Urgent items are things that need your immediate attention, such as a ringing phone, your phone beeping with notifications, people interrupting you, etc,
Important items have to deal with results. Important items drive you to your values, goals, and overall mission.
Author Peter Drucker says, “Effective people don’t solve problems - they pursue opportunities. They feed opportunities and starve problems.”
It’s not that effective people don’t have urgent things pop up, they just think in advance and act preventatively so they keep that number down.
What can you do to put first things first? Here are a couple ideas:
Begin with the end in mind means knowing what your goal or desired outcome is in advance. Knowing this helps remind you of where you are and what steps you should take next.
I’m sure you know people that are always busy. They frantically run around all day, but at the end of the day, get very little accomplished. Beginning with the end in mind can fix this challenge because you have a clear vision of where you want to end up.
When you take the time to set a goal, and you review that goal daily, you are going to take more actions towards the completion of that goal. If you don't know what the desired outcome is, you probably won't take the same purposeful actions.
Yogi Berra asked this profound question, "If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?"
This happens when a beginner student goes to the Black Belt Spectacular for the first time. They see what’s possible and others achieving this huge goal. They see the end result and now they know what path they should follow.
That one event will drive the beginner to attend class consistently, even when they don't feel like going. Then the student progresses through the ranks, and eventually achieves their goal.
Are your goals clearly laid out in each area of life?
How frequently do you review your goals so you don't confuse activity with accomplishment?
What actions can you take on a daily or weekly basis to help you achieve those goals?
Being proactive means you are responsible for your own life. You are responsible for the achievement of your own goals, dreams, and aspirations. Proactive people don’t wait around for things to happen. They go out and make things happen!
In other words, don’t wait - create!
A proactive approach to achieving a goal would be listing out everything you need to do in advance, actions you need to take, people you need to talk with, etc. Listing out potential roadblocks that might derail you in advance and thinking of how you will handle them is a great way to stay on track and remain in that proactive mindset.
Most people tend to be highly reactive to things that are out of their control. This can cause stress and enormous amounts of frustration.
If this becomes habit, it can affect sleep patterns, cause health problems, and damage relationships.
Being proactive means we focus on the solution, not the problem. When you focus on the solution to a problem, you become more optimistic, hopeful, and you feel much better.
Joe Torre, Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player and manager accredits a lot of his success to his ability to focus on only what he could control. He never let outside factors affect his attitude or thought patterns.
Proactive people stack the deck in their favor. They surround themselves with positive, encouraging people, and not naysayers. Naysayers can be like crabs in a bucket. None of them ever get out because they keep pulling each other down.
Proactive people do things to keep them feeling positive and optimistic. They exercise regularly, are constantly learning, reading and growing. By doing this consistently, they feel better about themselves and their ability to deal with challenges when they come up.
Proactive people still make mistakes, but when they do they handle the mistake in a proactive way. They acknowledge it, correct it, and learn from it.
Are you proactive or reactive most of the time?
What can you do starting today to become more proactive?
Remember, the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement!
We all know a person in our lives that cannot stop talking about their problems, challenges, injuries, health concerns, relationship troubles, and much more. They come in and immediately put the focus on them and their tale of woe.
Be honest…do you like being around these people? I’m sure some of them are good friends and you want to help them out. You want to be a good person and listen to them, be a shoulder to cry on, and possibly even offer suggestions.
Does that ever help? More than likely, the answer is no! In my experience, this gives them the green light to complain more, sulk more, and put all their troubles on your lap.
What if that person accepted 100% responsibility for the position they are in. What if they accepted they are in a tough spot, whether it was their fault or not, and decided they are going to make the best of it with a great attitude.
Mike Smith was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons from 2008 to 2014. In his book, “You Win in the Locker Room First”, he talks about installing a NO COMPLAINING POLICY.
Smith says people that complain are energy vampires and will drag a team down. Be careful who you surround yourself with because they may influence your attitude in a bad way and make it difficult for you to achieve your goals.
Nelson Mandela was arrested and put in prison for 27 years. Did you ever hear him complain while serving his sentence or after he got out? The answer is NO! When asked what he was doing while serving out his sentence, he said he was preparing. WOW! What a philosophy!
Perhaps your challenge involves talking to someone to come up with a solution. Great! Have that conversation that focuses on the solution and not bitching about the problem. Trust me, people are much more willing to help a positive person that wants to come up with a solution instead of a person that wants you to hear that worn out, tired country song about everything that is going wrong in your life.
Complaining drains energy. Solutions enhance energy and get people thinking creatively. Focus on the positives and make great things happen!
It’s common in life to have some problems or challenges. Sometimes injuries occur, car breaks down, finances are tight, etc.
Most people immediately start crying the blues and telling every that will listen (whether they want to or not) about their troubles.
In my opinion, that is a great way to get others to start running from you when you get near them.
In his book Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink, a former Navy Seal, would tell his subordinates “good” when they came to him with a problem. Initially they would look at him like he is crazy, but then he would explain.
When you say “good”, you are putting yourself in a positive state versus a negative one. But more than just that, you are now going to view the situation differently.
Now you can get creative and find a solution. You can get resourceful and find a new way.
Tony Robbins says, “It’s never a matter of your resources, it’s always a matter of your resourcefulness.”
Now you have the chance to go back and figure out what went wrong and learn from it so it never happens again. The past can be a great teacher. It can teach you what to do again in the future, and in some cases, it can teach you what never to do again.
The question is, do you stop for a moment to look back and see what you have learned?
A problem or challenging situation may simply give you the chance to get mentally tougher and accept defeat. And when you do that, you realize it’s never just a loss, it’s always a lesson.
None of us can control what is going to happen, although it would be nice. But we have complete control over how we respond to what happens. When we respond with the right attitude, we can make the best of it, and move on.
Thank you for being a part of the Elite Force family!
When working towards a goal there are always certain tasks that are hard to do. It might getting outside to run or going to class when you are supposed to. It could be getting up earlier to read, study, and plan your day out.
For kids, it might be getting your homework done on time or preparing for a big project that is almost due.
Goal achievement is hard work! We never want to confuse simply being busy with accomplishing important tasks.
Most people “major in minor things”. They are busy all day long doing tasks that have no real value or get them closer to the goals they have set for themselves. Or they procrastinate doing the important things because they know they will be difficult. Don’t let this be you!
The golden rule in business is, “I must do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.”
What are your top goals? What do you need to do every day to move you closer to achieving them?
Constantly evaluate your tasks and plan for the day. Are there tasks that could be delegated to someone else? Is what I am doing right now important or am I procrastinating doing something more valuable?
These are tough questions to ask but they separate winners from whiners!!!
Here are a few tips to having very productive days that are filled with progress:
1. Do the hardest things first! When you tackle the toughest tasks early then you will feel great about yourself and you have the rest of the day to look forward to doing more enjoyable things.
2. Have an A-B-C task list. Rate your tasks for the day A-B-C and do all the “A” tasks first. Never do a “B” task when an “A” task is unfinished and you can work on it.
3. Celebrate successful days. Reward yourself for making good choices and doing hard work. Make the reward fitting to the day you have had or the jobs you completed. Rewards are fun so never forget them!!!
What separates great martial artists from mediocre ones? Is it talent? Is it athleticism? Sure, all of those things play a part but the real difference between someone who is okay and someone who is outstanding is there discipline, determination, and drive!
They are willing to stretch themselves and push beyond what’s comfortable. Great Black Belts show up on a consistent basis ready to give their very best at any given moment.
I love the quote, “The more we grind – the more we shine!” The more we grind it out, push ourselves, and stretch it, the more we grow.
When is a rubber band useful? Only when it is stretched. In many ways, people are the same way. For us to reach our true potential we need to constantly stretch ourselves.
Author Alan Cohen, author and contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series says, “To grow, you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny.”
In the dojo that could mean learning a new skill, like BJJ or Hyper. It could mean training with someone who really challenges you. Successful people get comfortable at being uncomfortable!
Wednesday mornings are a big day of training for the EFMA staff. We do an hour of sparring followed by a very intense Spartan workout. A typical workout consists of running, burpees, squats, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, and more. It’s intense, challenging, and will take your fitness to a completely different level!
Sensei Melissa and some of our EFMA members are about to run the Keys 100 race again, which is a 100-mile team relay race from Key Largo to Key West. They will each be logging 5-6 runs in one day, in the hot summer sun.
Are they being stretched? I would say so!
Richard Branson is one of the wealthiest men in the world. What most people don’t know about Richard is how many times he has failed in his career. He tried 14 different companies that failed. He tried to make it in the burger business, wedding dress business, and even tried to compete with the New York Lottery. He failed.
Despite all his “failures”, he is still one of the richest people in the world. So, is he a failure? Of course not! What he was doing was stretching himself, stretching his team, and stretching his brand.
So, he failed a few times. Did he fail his way to billions? You could say so!
What can you do to stretch yourself? Are you stuck in a comfort zone right now?
Elite Force Team LHP is stretching itself with our new expansion plans. We are taking over the space next door and growing the school from 3,300 square feet to 5,000 square feet. We will be adding a full-time Elite Force BJJ program and Re-Birth Fitness will be launching a daytime Yoga program as well.
The moral here is stretch yourself. You are capable of more than you think you are.
Train hard and be your best. The best is yet to come!
There really is no secret to success. It’s quite simple when you think about it. Show up. Work hard. Measure your progress. Adjust as necessary. Repeat.
When you look at it on paper, it looks simple. But is it? Not really!
I hear a popular term around a lot. People complain about the “daily grind”. They have to get up, go to work, deal with a bunch of crap, listen to an annoying boss (hopefully our instructors at Elite Force don’t say that :), go to the gym, make dinner, and go to bed. Then they have to do it again and again and again.
Sounds exciting and fulfilling, right?
I think of the “daily grind” as something a bit different. GRIND stands for: Get Ready…It’s a New Day!
Mark Cuban said in an interview with YAHOO, “Success is not a straight line, you have to grind it out.” When I heard that, something in my thick skull clicked.
Do you think of your days and weeks as mundane and boring? Are your goals exciting and igniting that fire in your belly?
Tony Robbins says, “People aren’t lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.”
When you have inspiring goals, you WANT to get up early. You WANT to bust your ass every day. You WANT to stay up late and burn the midnight oil.
I see students at Elite Force get that martial arts bug. They went from saying they don’t have time to train two times per week to finding time to attend 4-5 times per week. What happened? Did they find the magic formula to add more hours in the day and days in the week?
No. The found a goal, like Black Belt, that inspires them to find the time to get to class so they can make progress. Progress is the magic pill for happiness. We are all happiest when we are seeing progress in our goals. When we move forward with our fitness, health, finances, business goals, and family goals, we are excited to show up the next day and move the ball forward again.
That is the GRIND mindset. Get Ready…it’s a New Day!
Get on your GRIND today!
Thank you for being a part of the Elite Force family!
My wife left me. My dog died. My truck broke down. I am under paid. My boss hates me, and it’s raining outside.
Sounds like the lyrics to an old country song, doesn’t it?
But I am willing to bet that you know a few people that talk like this all the time. They walk in to a room with that negative look on their face. They are angry at the world and it is NEVER their fault.
These people actually brighten the room when they leave! I’m sure deep down they are great people, but they let their negative outlook dampen their day and the day of those around them.
Well, I am going to say it. It’s complete BS!
I know many of you are thinking of a very colorful expression that should not be said around kids. It’s really not the BS that you are thinking of. It’s their BS!
BS meaning…Belief Systems. It’s their Belief Systems that is the real problem. We know those people that think everything happens to them. They have bad luck. They never get the breaks, the promotion, or the accolades.
They get angry when others are doing well, seeing gains, making progress, and moving forward in life.
They feel helpless and think there is nothing they can do to change their life or circumstances. They are the victim and it’s everyone else’s fault.
So how does a person change their BS? It all starts with your attitude. When you start to understand that it’s your outlook and your attitude that makes the difference, you are then on the road to success and happiness.
Tony Robbins says, “Nothing has meaning except for the meaning you give it.” You might see people around you on the climb. They are losing weight, training hard, getting better, and inspiring others. You might say, “It’s easy for them because…(insert some BS excuse here!”) :)
Or you could view it differently. You could say, “Good for them. If they can do it, it’s possible for me too. If it’s to be…it’s up to me!”
When you ask yourself questions, you will get great answers to those questions. What questions are you asking yourself?
Why did this have to happen to me? Why can’t I catch a break? Why is this so hard?
Or you could ask yourself some empowering questions, such as…
What can I learn from this? What is the opportunity here? How can I make the best of this?
Occasionally, you may get an injury. Many times, people say they can’t train. I would encourage you to view it differently. OK, your knee hurts. You can still work your in close boxing on the wall. You can still do upper body strength training. You can still practice your weapons.
It’s not what you can’t do. It’s what you can do!
Want to improve your attitude? Start with this book: Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude
It is one of the best books on attitude I have ever read. Put the right information and inspiration in your mind, and you will change your BS.
What else can you do?
Want a better, more fulfilling life? Change your BS!
Thank you for being a part of the Elite Force family!
ACTION TNT APRIL: Action Creates Motivation
By Shihan Craig Haley, Elite Force Martial Arts
This is one of the most powerful messages ever. Most people have an idea of what they want. Some people are vague but have a general direction, which is not the recipe for success. Others have very clearly defined goals and action plans. Those people will flourish because they have taken the right steps and have clarity.
Clarity is power!
However, we all have those days when we wake up and are dragging. We wake up tired, didn’t sleep well, and overall are just feeling lazy. On those days, it would be a lot easier to sit on the couch or go back to bed.
Here’s the problem...many people will do just that!
Action creates motivation! When you take action first, the energy and emotion always follows. Tony Robbins says, “A body in motion will intensify your emotion.” Many times, people don’t feel like coming to class, but once they get there they are so glad they did. And after class they feel like a million bucks!
So sometimes when you are considering blowing off a class or a workout, think about how you are going to feel after the class and that will get you to go in the first place.
Think about when J.K. Rowling was writing her first Harry Potter book…
Her bills were piling up. She had a baby girl to take care of. She had to face cold rainy winters in Edinburgh...and we can go to the beach every day!
She was in a constant battle with depression. She had no guarantee that anyone would even read her book, let alone have thousands of dollars in pre-orders for it.
Despite all of this, somehow, she managed to spend 5 years writing consistently.
I have never regretted the workout I did do, but I sure have regretted the workout I didn’t do that I was supposed do.
So, the next time you are feeling lazy and unmotivated, take action! Do the workout! Go for a run. Start reading the book. Do something and know that when you do you are building momentum and creating an unstoppable energy force that will lead you to success! Action TNT – Today, not tomorrow!