2010 has been a great year. Just before 2010, a friend of mine gave me inspiration to think “BIG.” I vow to never sell myself short and to work with a purpose. I continue to receive mentoring from top executives, friends, and classmates from the MBA program.
There are two ways of learning, which is to read and explore. This year I have read several books to enhance my business acumen and learn new skill sets.
- Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time– Keith Ferrazzi, Tahl Raz
- The Minto Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing, Thinking, & Problem Solving
- The McKinsey Mind: Understanding and Implementing the Problem-Solving Tools and Management Techniques of the World’s Top Strategic Consulting Firm by Ethan Rasiel, Ph.D., Paul N. Friga
- The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World - Walter Kiechel
- The McKinsey Engagement: A Powerful Toolkit For More Efficient and Effective Team Problem Solving
- by Ph.D., Paul N. Friga
- Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution: Solving the One Business Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier by Gary Harpst
- Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership by William R Torbert
- Corps Business: The 30 Management Principles of the U.S. Marines by David H. Freedman
- The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change
- Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, Revised and Updated – James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones
- Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion – Gary Vaynerchuk
- Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies – Jim Collins, Jerry I. Porras
- Merge Ahead: Mastering the Five Enduring Trends of Artful M&A (Future of Business Series) – Gerald Adolph, Justin Pettit, Michael Sisk
- On the Professions of Management - Peter Drucker
Here is one of my favorite stories I pass on to all my friends….
The Parable of The Mexican Fisherman And The Investment Banker
An American investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.
The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the Mexican how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.” The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican fisherman replied he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos: I have a full and busy life, senor.”
The investment banker scoffed, “I am an Ivy League MBA, and I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats until eventually you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution.”
Then he added, “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City where you would run your growing enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”
“But what then?” asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You could make millions.”
“Millions, senor? Then what?”
To which the investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
Why do I love this story? This story has taught me what money is about and not what it’s about. After hearing about this story I look to find a much more meaningful balance with work, my family, and friends. The simple pleasures in life is often overlooked! We are quick to chase that “American Dream” that many people are working very hard to do so but when will it be about YOU? Life is all about being happy and fulfilling. Money is dispensable but your relationships and priceless moments is what you will cherish.
Motivation is short term action.. Inspiration is life changing actions!
Lately I’ve been hearing many people around me seeking motivation for a change in their life. Motivation is a positive way to be productive, but yet sometimes with plenty of motivation we may achieve short term goals, but we are losing sight of the long term. Inspiration is life changing… it is seeing our desires, dreams, passion, and purpose in our lives.
I’ve read many motivational books and quotes. I’ve attended many seminars and had the opportunity to be around plenty of motivational leaders. Yes, it is a blessing, but it only takes one or very few inspirational people to change your life.
What are differences between motivation and inspiration:
When I was in the Marine Corps, my Staff Sergeant would always try to “motivate” our platoon. Sometimes it can be manipulative and nonproductive such as we are not doing a good job today, today let’s work together as a team so we can achieve our goal! Sounds motivating right! It will accomplish short term goals but never the long term. Motivation leaves us short sighted. This motivational statement can go against us, what if we don’t accomplish our goal, and then what? Perhaps punishment? It may light some fire in our shoes, but it is not inspirational.
A remember a day in Iraq that forever inspired me. It was February 2003, right before the invasion of Iraq. Our unit was waiting killing time in Kuwait. There were countless hours of gas drills, digging sandbags, gas drills, and digging sandbags again. I don’t know any Marine who likes to dig sand bags but my Platoon Sergeant at the time stated, “What do we look forward to today? Digging more sandbags right Marines? We let me tell you all, this sandbag your digging is for a greater purpose! It can possibly save your life or another Marine!” WOW! That changed my whole perception to do work for a purpose, not because we have to do it. My Platoon Sergeant inspired me!
Another inspirational moment was several weeks ago in my Executive MBA class, my instuctor was teaching us how to be great leaders. We are to lead as a Strategist, working towards a greater purpose and to understand those we lead by tapping into their own passions and leading them to accomplish it. My professor has impacted me that my dream in life is to inspire people around me, for long term sustainment and for personal growth. It is now my vision to influence others and create a positive effect on people around me.
That is the difference between motivation and inspiration.
Inspiration begins with your lifestyle:
When I was personal training in college, many people would approach me for training sessions seeking to lose weight for the summer. I would ask them what “motivated” you to start a fitness program. Some of their statements would be: I want to tone up, I want to lose six inches off my waist, I want to drop 20 lbs. I would often respond, let me give you a different perspective, how would you feel if you were able to run with your children again, how would it feel if you were to able to compete in a basketball league, how would it feel by leading a healthy fit lifestyle, what impacts can you have for those around you?? That is inspiration!! I am inspired by other fitness enthusiast who promotes positive change around them.
The bottom line is this: Inspiration involves your spirit! It is your dreams and the long life you will live. Don’t be short sighted but take actions for a purpose that will impact others in a positive way. As for business leaders, inspiration will not only make you more profitable, but it will also improve your employee retention and increase productivity. Your workers will have loyalty to you, the company, and its customers. I am happy to be surrounded by inspirational people. I hope by reading this, you will be inspired to impact people’s lives around you. Be a part of people’s journey and help them reach their destination.
I am a volunteer mentor to newly discharged veterans who are a entering the workforce or academic life (civilian life). Additionally, I have my own arsenal of mentors. Some are colleagues, fitness enthusiast, business, education, and life. I believe every person is unique in their own way. In life we have needs and wants. We seek security, love, and a positive environment to grow physically, emotionally, intellectually, mentally, and socially. If your fortunate, you may find one mentor who will help you grow in all aspects, but I recommend having more than one.
We all choose our mentors based on our own outlook and vision. I believe a great mentor is someone who supports risk taking and who can help spark your creativity. A mentor should not give you the answers but help you discover them on your own. They should also be the primary source to search for knowledge and self discovery. Mentors should first ask, “What is your passion? A mentor should assist others to set goals, realistic ones, and help them develop emotional intelligence.
As a mentor, a part of their mission should develop love and respect for themselves! That is where it all begins! From there you learn to love others and the environment around you. I provide mentorship because it is an opportunity for me to grow and self discover. I embrace the love of education, positive thinking, and creating new opportunities. Along their journey, I share my passions, dreams, aspirations, and projects to let them know I am also a student just like you. I extend my hand to guide them and they extend their hand back to me.
The human mind needs the body to perform action. Without the body what can the mind perceive?
Many people are dreamers like myself. I imagine running 100 mile distances, swimming 5-10 miles, biking over 200 miles.. but can my body achieve it?? I am sure with the proper training and timing it can. It is one of my life goals. I imagine it and test my body day by day inching my way past each destination before embarking on another journey.
We all heard the mantra Fitness is 10% physical 90% mental. I agree with that statement and I always keep that mind when doing an intense workout to break through that wall and fight that little voice inside me that is telling me to quit.
If you read the book “Mind Power” by John Kehoe he talks about an experiment that visualization can produce the same results as physical practice.
The first group practiced shooting free throws for an hour each day. The second group visualized shooting free throws daily. The third group didn’t play basketball or think about basketball. After 30 days, all the players in all three groups took another free throw skill test. The players in the group that had practiced daily improved by 24 percent. The players in the group that hadn’t done anything didn’t test as well as they had the first time (no big surprise). The players in the third group, those who had ONLY visualized, improved by 23 percent, nearly as much as those who had physically practiced!
This is the power of the mind.
The mind is a very powerful TOOL. You have visualize what you want. You have to visualize small and large dividends and create a strategy to overcome them. Sounds complicated? Perhaps for some it maybe easy to visualize and to put it down on paper. Just like the experiment, action needs to be taken. I can not visualize myself running a 100 miles without physically training myself for it. The body can achieve what your mind perceives.. until you test yourself it just a pretty quote to post on your facebook wall or twitter .
Use your mind and use your body.. anything is possible if you have perseverance.
Note: I am not a pro athlete, nor am I someone with spectacular times and physical achievements. I simply put philosophy into my own practice and challenge myself for self growth. I don’t intend to be a motivational speaker.. I write to document what goes through my mind and use it for reflection. I am ordinary person just like yourself and I know what I am currently capable of.. but I can’t settle for what I have done, I want to keep seeing what I am made of.. and by doing that it has enhanced my personal and professional life.
- I’m nobody special. Let’s be perfectly clear…I don’t like to run. I don’t like to swim. I don’t like to bike. I do this to raise money for the children of soldiers killed in combat. David Goggins
How do you expect to grow as a human being without testing your limits and breaking through your comfort zone. There are many things in life we don’t want to do but we have to do it.
I admire the Navy Seal David Goggins who runs ultra marathons and competes in endurance challenges to raise money for fallen soldier’s children to go to college. He constantly state he hates running, biking, and the hours he puts into training but he has a purpose and a mission. He is not only contributing to a great cause but he is testing his physical and MENTAL capabilities. Fitness is 10% physical 90% mental.
His next and probably last race is the Race Across America on June 9th. By hating it and doing it he grows. Growing by testing your mind to go where it doesn’t want to go. He is the real deal! Many people view him as a machine, non human being, that is born to do things that he does. You know what, he is an ordinary person just like you and me put on this earth to do extraordinary things. He has found the balance of being a Navy Seal and working towards his mission and purpose. We can learn a lot from this man!
Your purpose is whatever YOU chose it to be! You don’t have to run ultra-marathons to break through those barriers. Sometimes people aspire be a professional but hate the burden of academics (trust me I’m in your shoes right now) but we have to do it. The barriers you face are your uncomfortable zone. Testing your mind and body is great conditioning for success! Support this great man! He inspires me in many ways!
Climb to Mount Everest.
On May, 1953 two teams were committed to climb Mount Everest. The first team was Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans and the second team consisted of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. May 26, Tom and Charles accomplished climbing only 300 feet away from the summit. It was an accomplishment that no other human was able to accomplish, but why stop at 300 feet? History stated it would be too dangerous with low oxygen supply to reach the summit.
The next team left on May 29 and Hillary and Norgay set to to climb the mountain and reach the summit. Sir Edmund Hillary had a mental imagery in his mind before climbing that mountain. He had a feeling that he would give everything he had and he was sure that his team was going to reach the top. He believes that is someone is going to start a challenge and they are not completely confident they are going to succeed, then why bother starting it. He believes, it is better to start something that you are not sure you can do. When you overcome and defeat those obstacles the satisfaction is much greater! It takes a lot of concentration!
Sir Edmund Hillary had mental imagery since he was young. He was a dreamer and most of them was adventurous dreams. He would take long walks and find himself dreaming. He created the mental imagery and condition himself at early age.
His story motivated me and it made me look more into Mental Imagery. Plato describes Phantasmata as we call today as a mental image. When some desirable object is not actually present to our senses, exerting its pull on us directly, our motivation to strive to obtain it is driven by our awareness of its (memory or fantasy) image.
Learning from Sir Edmund Hilliary’s story inspired me that it is ok to be a dreamer. It is suggest to paint a mental image of your dream (what you want to accomplish) and accept the challenge to overcome it. Without a mental image I will not have the direction.
Whether I am in long drive or a long boring run, I let my mind wander and dream of impossible accomplishments. I see and feel myself living that dream. I paint a mental image and then I create a visual road map, drawing the checkpoints and risks I have to overcome to live that dream. Until this day, all the small and large accomplishments I have was having a mental image seeing myself and feeling my soul in that image. I live it before I encounter it. I have a beautiful image in my mind and one day I will have the opportunity to live it.
“So as long as a person is capable of self-renewal, they are a living being.” -Henri Frederic Amiel
As long as you are living you are capable of self renewal. As I analyze this quote, I believe everyone is capable, but are you willing and able to re-new yourself? I’m in the evolution process to transition myself into the professional world. I find myself going through boot camp again, re-learning many things I’ve learned and opening my mind to learning from others. One of the main traits I am re-learning is Discipline. Sometimes discipline doesn’t doesn’t last, well neither does bathing, therefore it is recommended daily.
If you read the book by Jim Collins- From good to GREAT..there are characteristics that make a great leader.. my favorite of those characteristics and it’s the embodiment of my service in the Marines is Discipline..Jim Collins quoted, “RINSE THE COTTAGE CHEESE.”
Rinse that cottage cheese means taking that small step to lead you to something better. One small step to add to the other small steps to create a consistent program for achievement and progress. Create a plan and stick to it.
Jim Collins likes to explain his principles through a story and life experiences.. He featured “Dave Scott” who won the Ironman Tri-athalon six times. Scott would ride his bike 75 miles, swim 20,000 meters, and run 17 miles – on average, every single day. He believed a low fat, high carbohydrate diet will give him that extra edge. Here is an example of Dave Scott rinsing that cottage cheese to achieve victory.
Most of the answers in Jim Collin’s book From Good To Great is founded on the principle of discipline to do whatever it takes to become the best within carefully selected arenas and then seek continual improvements from there.. Sounds easy, but not that easy.
I want you to think about your surrounding culture, whether it’s work, at home, with your friends, or colleagues. Think about the culture of discipline that surrounds you. Where do you want to learn and grow? I chose the Marines when I was 17 years old to establish my foundation for discipline to create a lifetime of success. Not everyone desires to serve in the military, but it was an organization that washes out the “cottage cheese” as a culture.
So here are some tips and guidelines to ask yourself (Jim Collins):
What does it take to create a culture of discipline? Can you be your own Dave Scott in your world. He is a superstar and a champion, but in your world, what do you need to do to make yourself a superstar? Lets start by planning and creating a road map (Post coming soon) for yourself or organization to develop a guideline for you to follow.
- Take a single mind focus to your cause… What are you passionate about? Are you the best in the world your in?
- Commitment to yourself and to your system.. each person and organizations have different systems of doing things. Many are alike but the system is different. Take the differences of the Army and Marines.. many people view them the same. They both serve the same cause and purpose but have different systems.
- Entrepreneurial freedom for that system… In business success is measured by revenue (just one aspect).. if life success is measured by impact! Being entrepreneurial means taking actions into your own hands and creating your own results.
What will Discipline produce?
- disciplined people- in organizations it’s about getting the right people on the bus and getting the wrong ones off. Think about it.. the right people are invaluable to becoming great. Chose the right people to enter your world and inspire others to be disciplined.
- A disciplined mind- being consistent, doing what is right, creating a plan, and following through.
- Disciplined actions- The result of disciplined people engaging in disciplined thinking is disciplined action. In the Marines, we recruited and molded them to become discipline. With the discipline, they created the culture and the mindset. With the the mindset caused great actions. As a result, the Marine Corps is one of the most powerful conventional force in this world.
Jim Collins: Built to Last. Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.
Jim Collins: From Good to Great. Why companies make the leap.. and others don’t.
Read that quote.. and read it again…
I ask myself, how did I get to where I am in this point in my life? How did achieve the honors, awards, championships, and success throughout my short 26 years. Many of you will agree it is motivation, perseverance, commitment, etc.. But, I believe I am mentally tough..
Mental toughness how do you get it? My way may not work.. there are many ways to achieve it..
Before I get into how to be mentally tough, let me give you a background info on myself. Growing up I was never athletic, I often picked on, and couldn’t run down the block for my life. When I was in high school, I never thought I would ever play sports, I wasn’t physically strong, or athletically inclined. I do believe I was becoming mentally tough (I wasn’t there yet) Through hard work and dedication, I pushed through my limitations, I sneaked into the gym, when I wasn’t suppose to be there.. I ran in the 95 degree heat when no one else was running. In the end I achieved all league honors– not the best, but it was an achievement.. that started my journey.. Along the way, I joined the Marines, I competed in muay thai, natural bodybuilding, multi-disciplinary races, and marathons. Not once did I win 1st place..
But there is a life lesson along each achievement, whether I just finish a race, or place 3rd in a bodybuilding show.. I learned to be mentally tough.. I remember when my wrestling coach told me, develop the habit of running in the mornings.. not in the afternoon, but the early morning when nobody was awake.. I asked, why? He said, it’s a challenge to wake up in the morning to run because, nobody wants to do it.. It’s a challenge to get out of bed, to lace on those shoes and run miles.. It was a lesson that YOU are getting up when you don’t want to get up. Once you develop that habit, when life knocks you down.. YOU WILL GET UP!
Are you born with mental toughness?? I don’t think anyone is born with it, but I am a firm believer through physical training, proper mindset, and high level of maturity you can develop mental toughness. But you have to challenge yourself and overcome it.
David Goggins always ask himself everyday, “Have I broken through a limitation?” He is one man I admire who is mentally tough. To qualify for the Badwater (google it) he had to run a 100 mile race- there was a local race where he ran over 100 miles within 24 hours in a one mile track- TALK ABOUT MENTAL TOUGHNESS!
Another example is Lance Armstrong by defeating cancer. He quotes, “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” When reporters asked him what sports enhancement is he taking, he responds, “I’m on my bike 6-8 hours a day, what are you on.”
I admire great champion bodybuilders, it takes a lot of mental toughness to diet, have a training program, eat, sleep, train in a regime.. You wonder why they do it? I remember going through the difficult journey of bodybuilding, when I arrived in competition, I already knew I was a WINNER. I trained so hard, for it, I want to be nothing less than a CHAMPION. Despite not winning, I placed 3rd. I was happy because from that day on, I became mentally tough.
So mental toughness.. it isn’t just applied to sports and fitness.. It can be applied to life.. Think of the situation your in, are you struggling? are you trying to excel? are you trying to move ahead? In order to take yourself to the next level you need to be Mentally Tough.. and I believe we all have it within ourselves, but unless you take on challenges and break through limitations, it will never be unleashed.. it requires conditioning!!
HAVE YOU BROKEN THROUGH A LIMITATION TODAY?
Two years ago I signed up for Universe Weekend to challenge myself against the top fitness models from around the world. It was remarkable and unforgettable journey as one of my good friends volunteered to train me for that event. I am very grateful until today as training with him has taught me values I will carry onto life. The level of commitment was extremely high and he demanded nothing but excellence and my best effort. Everything was planned out from my daily tasks, training, scheduling, and including my budgeting for food and supplements. After a few months training for this event, my bodyfat dropped to an all time low of 4%.
I had the opportunity to be graced in front of hundreds of people in attendance and thousands watching live over a webcast. The competition was exciting, backstage was much more fun than I expected. We shared stories, jokes, and laughed about how we can not wait to eat pizza after this show. Many people projected me to place top 5, but I ended up placing 25th overall. I was not disappointed in the results as I felt I was in the best shape of my life. I never thought I could ever accomplishing such a journey but I am proud and never looked back.
As I reflect three years ago on the grueling journey trying to be a fitness model, I learned emotional intelligence to be competitive and most of all committed. The journey as a fitness model was endless as I apply the same principles into my current goals today.
Fitness Universe 2007- I placed top 25 over 150 competitors from around the world. I did not win first place, but in my world I was a champion. The journey was remarkable as it taught me discipline, self confidence, trust (trusting my trainer and myself), commitment, and competition (to compete against the best).