January 18th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

4 Unconventional Steps Extremely Successful People Take in Life

4 Unconventional Steps Extremely Successful People Take in Life

All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.  And the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

Over the years, Angel and I have had the privilege of working with dozens of extremely successful people.  The key thing that separates them from the crowd is their unwavering self-discipline to actually get the right things done.

I’m betting you have stuff you want to do — stuff you know you should be doing.  But it doesn’t get done.  Why?  You need to go from dreaming to doing… but it’s difficult to get going.

You want to excel more at work, get better grades, learn a new skill, get those six-pack abs, or spend more quality time with your family… but it’s not happening.  Instead you just procrastinate.

So what can help get you going when you’re not motivated to achieve your longer-term goals?  What’s the secret?

Angel and I have observed a simple four-step process repeated consistently in the habits and routines of the most successful people we know.

The first step, believe it or not, is dreaming.  We’re all pretty good at that — but it’s only part of the process.  In fact, if you do it wrong it can actually make things worse.  Here’s how to do it right…

1.  Dream (But Don’t Stop There)

Everything starts with a dream.  But if that’s all you do, you’re in serious trouble. Keep reading →

January 14th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

12 Ways to Turn Your Wounds into Wisdom and Strength

12 Ways to Turn Your Wounds into Wisdom and Strength

“Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.”
―Bob Dylan

At some point, you will come to realize that living the good life involves some amount of necessary pain, and that there are more flavors of pain than ice cream and coffee combined…

There’s the little empty pain of leaving something behind ‒ graduating, taking the next step, walking out of a familiar, safe situation and into the excitement of the unknown.  There’s the giant, whirling pain of life upsetting all of your big plans and expectations.  There’s the little sharp pains of making a mistake, and the more obscure aches of success, when it doesn’t make you feel as good as you thought it would.  There are the vicious, backstabbing pains of betrayal.  The sweet little pains of finding others who are worthy of your time, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life as they grow and learn.  There’s the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend or lover and help them face their problems.

And on the best of days, there are the subtle, tingling pains you feel throughout your body when you realize that you’re standing in a moment of sweet perfection, an instant of great achievement, or happiness, or laughter, which at the same time cannot possibly last ‒ and yet will remain with you for the rest of your life.

Everyone is down on pain, and when we experience it we usually say we’re having a bad day, because we forget something important about what we’re going through: Pain is for the living – for those of us who still have the chance of a lifetime.  Only the dead don’t feel it, because their time is already up.

So with this in mind, here are twelve smart ways to turn all your daily wounds into wisdom and strength:

  1. Admit to your emotional pain, so you can deal with it and heal. – Emotional pain is less dramatic than physical pain, at least from the outside looking in, but it is more common and also more difficult to bear than broken bones.  The frequent attempt to conceal emotional pain increases the burden.  Don’t do this to yourself.  Sure, it is easier to say, “My leg is aching” than to say, “My heart is broken,” but that doesn’t mean your heart needs less self-care then your leg.  If fact, the exact opposite is true. Keep reading →

January 11th, 2015 - by: Angel Chernoff

25 Ways to Stop Feeling Overworked and Overwhelmed

25 Simple Ways to Avoid the Trap of Overwhelm

by Tess Marshall

The best time to relax and regroup is when you don’t have time for it.

There seems to be an outbreak of overwhelm on this planet.  Everyone believes they have to be busy, on the internet, and on the go every second.

When you feel overworked and overwhelmed, stop and listen to the stories you’re telling yourself about your time, your work, and your life.  In order to change your feelings, you have to change your thoughts.  You could say that your problem with overwhelm is all in your head!

We forget that life happens in the moment.  Nothing else is real.  We only have to live in the now and work on one thing at a time.

Overwhelm doesn’t exist.  It’s an illusion – a story we tell ourselves that offers us an excuse to get out of what we don’t want to do or don’t think we can do.

But we can choose to live our lives one choice and moment at a time.  If you’ve been feeling overworked and overwhelmed lately, the tips below are for you.

  1. Begin each day by doing your most difficult task first.  Set your timer for 30 minutes and begin.  Usually that’s all it takes to get going.  Work until time is up.  You’ll feel less distraction and fear.  You’ll have progress to celebrate.  And with momentum behind you, you’ll be ready to take the next step forward.
  2. Be proactive and get organized.  Clear unnecessary clutter.  Eliminate all but the essential that gives you value.  Organization isn’t about perfection; it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money and improving your overall quality of life.  And be sure to take 15 minutes at the end of your day to clear off your desk; then list your three most important tasks for the following day. Keep reading →

January 7th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

10 Things Self-Loving People Do Differently

10 Things Self-Loving People Do Differently

The most powerful relationship you will ever have
is the relationship with yourself.

You can be the most amazing human being in the world and everyone sees rays of light, love and genius when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that external admiration doesn’t matter one bit.  I know because I used to look at people who were successful and happy, and wonder, “What’s their secret?  Why can’t I be that way?”

After a long struggle of dealing with failures, addictions, and self-loathing, I educated myself and came to realize that the reason I couldn’t be happy like the people I envied was that I didn’t love myself the way they loved themselves.

For me, shifting from self-loathing to self-love has been profoundly healing.  Now I see happy, successful people and I smile, knowing that their lives are products of a series of decisions that support their well-being.

Truth be told, every second you spend doubting your worth, and every moment you use to criticize yourself, is a tragic loss – a fresh moment of your life thrown away.  And it’s not like you have forever either, so don’t waste any more of your seconds; don’t throw even one more of your moments away.  Today is the best day to start loving yourself.  Here are ten things self-loving people do differently:

1.  They tell themselves they’re good enough.

This might seem overly simplistic, but it’s absolutely vital.  Tell yourself, “I am ENOUGH!” anytime you begin to feel like your aren’t.  Because sometimes the hardest part of the journey is simply believing you’re worthy of the trip.  And you Keep reading →

January 4th, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

12 Little Habits that Stole Your Happiness Last Year

12 Little Habits that Stole Your Happiness Last Year

This is a new year.  A new beginning.  And things will change.

Are you tired of dealing with the same type of headaches and heartaches over and over and over again?

Seriously, it’s time to purge some bad habits as we begin a New Year.  It’s time to learn from your mistakes rather than be conquered by them, and let your errors be of commission rather than omission.

Remember, you ultimately become what you repeatedly do.  If your habits aren’t helping you, they’re hurting you.  Here are 12 common examples of the latter that stole happiness from hundreds of our coaching clients last year:

  1. Sticking exclusively with what you already know. – When you stop learning you stop living a meaningful life.  This is the truth.  Life’s richness does not come from always residing within familiar and comfortable territory.  It’s when you venture out, away from the familiar, that you grow stronger and more capable.  You must hold tightly to your core values while at the same time opening your heart and mind to new ideas, feelings and experiences.  Your own perspective will become clearer when you look at things from different angles.  Find ways to provide a healthy challenge to your current understanding of life, and you will discover and experience far more of life’s magic in the year ahead. Keep reading →

January 1st, 2015 - by: Marc Chernoff

15 Ways to Live a Year with No Regrets

15 Ways to Live a Year with No Regrets

It’s a choice.  To be positive and free, or to be imprisoned by your own negativity.  To live in the past, or to be hopeful about the present.

With 2014 now behind us, I’m sitting here on the eighth anniversary of a dear family member’s passing, thinking about the last conversation I had with her.  With a soft, weak voice she told me her only regret was that she didn’t appreciate every year with the same passion and purpose that she had in the final two years of her life, after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  “I’ve accomplished so much recently,” she told me.  “If I had only known, I would have started sooner.”

Her words have been a pulsing wake-up call to me ever since.  And today, I hope they help change your perspective too.

As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are: “It might have been.”

So with a New Year upon you, realize that you have a priceless opportunity!  Forget the past year.  Forget your age and what could’ve or should’ve been.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  At the end of it, let there be no excuses, no explanations and no regrets.

Here are 15 great ideas to get you to December 31st, 2015 with a smile on your face and a sense of accomplishment in your heart…

  1. Be the leader of your own journey. – There are far too many capable people who don’t pursue their dreams and goals because they let their fears, or others, talk them out of it.  They give up before they even try and simply let life’s river flow them downstream.  Choose to be stronger than that.  Choose to swim upstream when you have to.  Choose to do the things in life that move you.  Let others lead small lives.  Let others argue over small things.  Let others cry over small wounds.  Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands.  But not YOU.
  2. Embrace uncertainty. – Sometimes what you don’t want is exactly what you need.  Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.  Some of the most incredible chapters in your life won’t have a title you feel comfortable with until much later. Keep reading →

December 28th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

20 Quick Reads that Will Change the Way You Live, Love and Work

20 Quick Reads that Will Change the Way You Live, Love and Work

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
―Oscar Wilde

Based on a recommendation from an old friend, who also happens to be a psychologist and a successful entrepreneur, I read John Maxwell’s book Failing Forward this past week.  It was an interesting self-improvement book all the way through, but the one section that really caught my attention was about a social experiment based on research by G.R. Stephenson.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Four monkeys were placed in a room that had a tall pole in the center.  Suspended from the top of that pole was a bunch of bananas.  One of the hungry monkeys started climbing the pole to get something to eat, but just as she reached out to grab a banana, she was sprayed with a torrent of cold water from a hose.  Squealing, she scampered back down the pole and abandoned her attempt to feed herself.  Each of the other three monkeys made similar attempts and each one was drenched with cold water.  After making several attempts, they all finally gave up.

The researchers then removed the water hose and one of the monkeys from the room and replaced her with a new monkey.  As the newcomer began to climb the pole, the other three grabbed her and pulled her down to the ground.  After trying to climb the pole several times and being dragged down by the others, she finally gave up and never attempted to climb the pole again.

The researchers continued to replace the original monkeys, one by one, and each time a new monkey was brought in the others would drag her down before she could reach the bananas.  In a short time, the room was filled with four monkeys who had never received a cold hosing.  None of them would climb the pole or allow other monkeys to climb the pole, and not one of them knew why.”

Now, if it were possible to ask those monkeys why they wouldn’t climb the pole, or allow any other monkey to climb the pole, I bet they would say something like, “I don’t know.  That’s just how things are done around here.”

Does that sound at all familiar to you?  Do you ever catch yourself thinking about the difficult endeavors in life that you’re too scared to try, not because each task is impossible, but because you’ve never mindfully evaluated if there was a smarter way of achieving them?  How has social conditioning, old rumored problems, or just your own negative thinking about what is and isn’t possible for you held you back?

No doubt, one of the greatest challenges in life is being your best in a world that’s trying to keep you in line with everyone else.  And sometimes it really is our own thoughts that hold us back more than anything.

So with this in mind, it’s time to read or re-read our twenty most popular posts (based on the number of reader views, shares and comments) from this past year.  If you give them a chance, each one of these posts has the power to help free your mind and get you back on track to living at your maximum potential.

  1. 20 Things to Remember When You Think You’re Not Good Enough – Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is simply believing you’re worthy of the trip.  Sometimes the pressure coming from peers, family, work, and society in general is enough to make us feel completely broken inside.  If we don’t have the “right” job, relationship, lifestyle, and so forth, by a certain age or time-frame, we assume we’re just “not good enough.”  But that’s simply not true. Keep reading →

December 21st, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

27 Simple Things to Start Doing for Your Happiness

27 Simple Things to Start Doing for Your Happiness

It only takes one person to make you happy and change your life: YOU.

I am endlessly fascinated by the link between the way we choose to live our lives and the happiness we enjoy on a daily basis.  There are choices that you make every day, some of which seem completely unrelated to your happiness, that dramatically impact the way you feel mentally and physically.

Over the years, through our coaching practice and premium course, Angel and I have literally spoken to thousands of people who are struggling to find happiness in their lives.  And what we’ve found is that it usually isn’t what you have, where you are, or what you’ve been through that makes you happy or unhappy, it’s how you think about it all and what you do with it.

In our day-to-day lives it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees and completely overlook some of the small, simple things that can disproportionally affect our levels of happiness and general fulfillment in life.

Luckily, you don’t have to figure it out all by yourself.  Angel and I have spent the better part of a decade working one-on-one with our coaching clients and finding the right habits and behaviors that support sustained happiness.  Below, I take a quick look at some of the more actionable tips that can be easily worked into your daily routine.

Reminder:  Have you checked out our book?  We just released a new bundle pack for “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently” which includes our eBook, audio book, paperback and bonus material on sale for a big discount.  Click here to check it out!

  1. Start learning to be more human again. – Gadgets are great, but they can get in the way if you aren’t careful.  Control them so they don’t control you.  In other words, put down the phone.  Don’t avoid eye contact.  Don’t hide behind a screen.  Ask about people’s stories.  Listen.  And smile together.
  2. Start filtering out the noise in your life. – Be careful about who you give the microphone and stage to in your life.  Don’t just listen to the loudest voice.  Listen to the truest one. Keep reading →

December 17th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

8 Ways to Free Your Mind and Take Back Control of Your Life

8 Ways to Free Your Mind and Take Back Control of Your Life

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery,
none but ourselves can free our minds!
―Bob Marley

Since we were born, our minds have been gradually programmed by our surroundings and by society at large.  As we grow, evolve and awaken to this reality, we learn that it is in our best interests to uninstall some of this programming and take back control of our minds.

What are we taking control back from, specifically?  Well, in part, the immense amount of cultural, societal and institutional brainwashing that has greatly influenced who we are and how we view ourselves and our abilities.

For example, despite what you may have heard… You don’t need to be a person who requires everyone to approve of them.  Your relationships don’t need to model modern day sitcoms.  Your daily energy doesn’t need to be directed by mindless drama, which is often stirred just to distract you from your deeper purpose and passions.

You can clear yourself of this corrupt thinking and reclaim your sanity and effectiveness.

But it’s hard, because distractions are everywhere, pulling at us and creating needless points of focus meant to disempower us.  They drive us into compulsive consumerism and egotism, rather than meaningful connections and emotional freedom.

So today, it’s time to flip the switch.  It’s time to free your mind and take back control of your life.  Here are eight smart ways to start doing just that:

  1. Be selective about the media you consume. – Marketers all across the world are tracking your patterns, buying your personal information and studying your online and offline habits in order to funnel you into purchasing products from the companies that hire them.  If you are inclined to cave, and make impulsive, unhealthy purchases – like greasy fast food – they are aware of this, even to the exact percentage of likelihood that you will make this impulse buy.  They push ads upon you until your willpower gets weak.  This is just one form of mind control being practiced publicly every day.  It’s manipulative and it was created to be.  You have to take back control from these mega-corporations by making strong-willed, healthy decisions that support YOUR best interests.  Buy things that benefit you and those you love, not things that benefit big companies that don’t care about you. Keep reading →

December 14th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

7 Rituals You Should Steal from Extremely Creative People

7 Rituals You Should Steal from Extremely Creative People

“Creativity is just connecting things.  When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it; they just saw something and connected the dots.  It seemed obvious to them after a while.”
―Steve Jobs

Over the years, through our coaching practice and premium course, Angel and I have spoken with dozens of entrepreneurs, artists, and creative types about their unique rituals and routines.  The really nice thing is that we often learn just as much from our clients as they do from us.  They tell us about some of the most incredibly creative ideas and projects imaginable, and we teach them how to fine-tune the process of getting from where they are to where they want to be.  A good coach/client relationship is truly a win-win.

Today, I want to share seven of the most common rituals we’ve seen repeated by the most creative people we’ve worked with.

It’s often said that creativity can’t be contained.  That creative inspiration and ideas arise suddenly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we need them most.  And while that may be true for a specific idea, when you look at the broader picture, you realize that sustained creativity – having lots of creative ideas over time – doesn’t come from a flash of brilliance or a single moment of inspiration.  It comes from a consistent set of rituals that serve as the bedrock for getting remarkable things done.

1.  Engage deeply in meaningful pursuits.

Marcus Aurelius once said, “Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?”

One of our coaching clients brought this quote to my attention about a decade ago.  Today I have it pinned to the bulletin board in my office.  It stops me from squandering my most precious resource: my time.

Creativity as both a lifestyle and a profession is a daring adventure, and a truly Keep reading →