July 6th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

12 Quiet Rituals of Enormously Successful Humans

12 Quiet Rituals of Enormously Successful Humans

May your actions speak louder than your words.  May your life preach louder than your lips.  May your success be your noise in the end.

The result of enormous success is often pretty noisy – lots of people talking, writing and sharing stories about it.  The actual process of achieving enormous success, on the other hand, is far more discreet.  But it’s this process that happens quietly, behind-the-scenes, that makes all the difference in the world.

Marc and I are fortunate enough to know a number of enormously successful human beings.  Regardless of lifestyle, industry or profession, they all share many of the same quiet rituals.  And that’s precisely what I want to discuss with you today.

Building upon our recent video blog post on success, here are twelve things the most successful people we know do quietly and diligently:

1.  They have calm, consistent morning routines.

Too many books and courses on personal success act like we’re robots, and completely overlook the enormous power of our emotions.  The less frenzied emotions we have at the start of the day, the less we will have all day.  Because when we start the day in a calm, mindful state, it’s easy to focus and get the right things done.

But when we wake up and stress is already upon us – phones ringing, emails and texts dinging, fire alarms going off – you spend the whole day reacting, instead of being proactive.  This means you’re not in the driver’s seat working on your priorities – the things that drive success – you’re simply responding to what gets thrown at you, whether it’s important or not.

Try to have the first hour of your day vary as little as possible.  A trusted routine can be extremely effective in helping you feel in control and non-reactive, which reduces anxiety and stress, and therefore makes you more mindful and competent.  The bottom line is that how you start the day has an enormous effect on your overall effectiveness. Keep reading →

July 2nd, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

23 Things People Who Love Their Lives Are Doing Differently

23 Things People Who Love Their Lives Are Doing Differently

You know you’re on the right track in life when you become uninterested in looking back, and eager to take the next step.

Angel and I have worked with thousands of coaching clients over the years.  Together, they have given us incredible insight into what the average human being needs to do to go from “loathing” to “loving” their life.  And, of course, we’ve successfully helped the vast majority of them gradually get from point A to point B.

What most of these people never suspected is that they would have to learn how to do lots of little things differently.  Because the truth is, there are specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world that we all have to master before we can awaken to a simpler, happier, more fulfilling life – a life worth loving.  And that’s precisely what this post is all about.

No matter what part of life’s path you’re traveling on, the list below will always be applicable.  These are simple, positive habits that thousands of people who have learned to love their lives, now live by.  Here’s what they do differently…

  1. They flow with life, not against it. – When everything in life seems to be going wrong, mostly it’s meant to go wrong so that you may outgrow the things you need to outgrow.  Keep this in mind.  Life may wreck your plans when your plans are about to wreck you.  For everything you’ve lost, you’ve gained something else.  You don’t have to accept it; it’s just easier if you do.  When you try to control too much, you enjoy too little.  Sometimes you simply need to take a deep breath and appreciate what is.
  2. They let go of self-defeating thoughts. – Breath by breath, let go of fear, expectation, anger, regret and frustration.  Let go of the need for approval too.  You don’t need any of it.  The world is as we are inside.  What we think, we see, and we ultimately become.  So choose your thoughts wisely.  Think how you want to live. Keep reading →

June 29th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

16 Things You Shouldn’t Have to Justify to Anyone Else

16 Things You Shouldn’t Have to Justify to Anyone Else

Don’t change so someone will like you.  Be yourself and the right ones will love the real you.

Will the people in your life always support your decisions?  No, they won’t.  But you need to remember that life is not about justifying yourself; it’s about creating yourself.   Your life is yours alone.  Others can try to persuade you, but they can’t decide for you.  They can walk with you, but not in your shoes.  So make sure the path you decide to walk aligns with your own intuition and desires, and don’t be scared to walk alone and pave your own path when you know it’s the right thing to do.

Make this your lifelong motto: “I respectfully do not care.”  Say it to anyone who passes judgment on something you strongly believe in or something that makes you who you are.  People will inevitable judge you at some point anyway, and that’s OK.  You affected their life; don’t let them affect yours.

And when you need a quick reminder or a dose of encouragement, refer to this list of things you shouldn’t have to justify to anyone else:

  1. Why you’re putting yourself first. – During a 2011 television interview, Michelle Obama was asked if she thought it was at all selfish that she has openly admitted to making herself her first priority, to which the First Lady replied, “No, not at all.  It’s practical…. a lot of times we just slip pretty low on our own priority list because we’re so busy caring for everyone else.  And one of the things that I want to model for my children is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others.”  Spot on advice if you ask me!  There are only a few people in this world who will stay 100% true to you, and YOU should be one of them.  Prioritize your own needs into your daily to-do’s.
  2. The need to express your emotions. – Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional.  There’s no reason to be ashamed for feeling something or acting out on it if it’s real to you.  It’s a sign that you have a big heart, and that you aren’t afraid to let others know it.  Showing your emotions is a sign of human strength.  The people who judge you for being human, and not being modest, emotionless, and “in line,” are the ones who need to apologize. Keep reading →

June 25th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

25 Things People in Healthy Relationships Don’t Do

25 Things People in Healthy Relationships Don’t Do

Healthy relationships don’t just happen; they take time, patience and two people who truly want to work together to create something meaningful.

What does it take to create and nurture a healthy relationship?  That’s a question Angel and I get asked by readers and coaching clients on a daily basis.  After a decade of coaching individuals and couples and researching how people build healthy, lasting relationships, we have learned a lot about what it takes.

Whether you’re working to improve your marriage, a dating relationship, or a friendship, there are lots of little things you can do to keep your relationship on track.  And since we’ve recently covered some of these healthy relationship strategies here and here, today I want to take a look at the flipside – what people in healthy relationships don’t do:

  1. They don’t rush the present state of their relationships to get to better times ahead. – The thing about obsessing about a happy ending is that you forget to enjoy the journey along the way.  Right now is life… don’t miss it!  You need to enjoy the company you care to keep, today, while you’re still guaranteed a chance to do so.
  2. They don’t expect their relationships to solve all their problems. – While a healthy relationship can certainly bring joy, it’s not anyone else’s job to fill in your empty inner space.  That’s your job and yours alone; and until you accept responsibility for your emptiness, pain, or boredom, problems will inevitably ensue and persist in the relationship. Keep reading →

June 22nd, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

12 Common Lies Mentally Strong People Don’t Believe

12 Lies Mentally Strong People Don’t Believe

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
―Albert Camus

We live in turbulent times.  There are fewer guarantees and more uncertainties these days.  Thankfully this also means there are lots of opportunities to be had.  And if you and I are to overcome the obstacles in our way and seize the opportunities, we’re going to need strong minds.

Mental strength means you understand how to manage your emotions, adjust your thinking, and choose to take positive action, despite your circumstances.  It’s knowing deep down that every little struggle is progress.  And if you really want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds.  Every step forward will be tough, but will feel better than anything else you can imagine.  You will ultimately come to realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path.  And it’s worth your while.

Being willing to walk this path of resistance is what mental strength is all about.  And it’s something Angel and I cover extensively here on our blog, in our book, and with our coaching clients on a daily basis.  Why?  Because 90% of our problems as rational human beings are the byproduct of learned mental weakness.  In other words, over time we’ve heard a succession of lies from other people about what we need and what we don’t need – about what we can and can’t do – about what is and isn’t possible for us – and we subconsciously believed every word.

What’s worse?  We now tell some of these lies to ourselves and we live by them every day.

Which means it’s time for us to unlearn these lies for the sake of our own mental strength:

  1. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. – We all have an idea in our heads about how things are supposed to be, and sadly this is what often messes us up the most.  Realize this.  Expect less and learn more.  Let go and let life grow you – let it test you.  You won’t always understand it and that’s OK.  Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.  And then just when you think it can’t get any better, it does.  Mentally strong people are appreciative of the obstacles in their path because they know the obstacles are necessary stepping-stones.  So keep going, keep growing, and someday you will be able to describe your entire life in just one sentence: “It didn’t go as planned, and that’s OK.” Keep reading →

June 18th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

15 Toxic Thoughts You Need to Drop For a Better Life

15 Things to Stop Saying to Yourself

It is ultimately only our own thoughts that hurt us.

Wait, what did you just say to yourself?

Were they the empowering, encouraging words you would speak to a friend?  Or were they the belittling remarks you would shout to an enemy if you had no heart?  Or the negative remarks about life you might utter if you had no faith?

All day long you speak silently to yourself, and a part of you believes every word.  So stay mindful, and meditate on this question:

“What do I need to stop thinking and saying to myself?”

Here are fifteen toxic thoughts to ban from your self-talk:

  1. “It’s too late.” – No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change and become an improved version of yourself.  Peace, strength and understanding will come to you when you manage to tune out the noisy judgments of others, in an effort to better hear the soft and steady hum of your own inner strength.  And once you hear it, you will realize that it’s not too late to be what you might have been.
  2. “If only I was stronger, smarter, more attractive, etc.” – The absolute worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.  It’s always better to be true to yourself, and risk incurring the ridicule of others, rather than trying to live a lie, only to incur your own self-contempt.  Remember, almost everything that happens to you is a direct reflection of what you believe about yourself.  You can’t possibly outperform your level of self-esteem.  You can’t draw from yourself more than you think you are worth. Keep reading →

June 15th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

16 Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

16 Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and twice as capable as you have ever imagined.

When you add up nearly a decade worth of online conversations with our community of readers, the live events we’ve hosted in support of our book, and thousands of one-on-one coaching sessions with clients, Marc and I have a lot of experience when it comes to helping people find and resolve the pain points that have been holding them back.  But I am still frequently surprised by the interesting ways people frame questions about their challenges.

Last night a reader named Karla sent me an email that caught my attention, simply because the subject of her email was: “Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do” (An interesting title for an article, I thought.)

Part of Karla’s email read:  “I love your book.  It has helped me get through some seriously tough times.  But even though I’ve made progress, I often struggle with emotional weakness.  I persistently resist what I know I need to do for myself.  So I was wondering, what do emotionally strong people NOT do?  The reason I ask is that I’ve spent a lot of time implementing positive habits in my life, but I haven’t really focused on removing any (parallel) bad habits.”

There are a million ways to answer this question (especially as it relates to Karla’s unique life situation), but since emotional weakness is something all of us struggle with at times, I figured I’d take a stab at answering Karla’s question in a general sense, for all of us.

Here are some things emotionally strong people don’t do:

  1. They don’t let negativity and drama get the best of them. – Your brain is a radio transmitter.  It broadcasts thoughts, directions and vibrations into your life – you get to choose the station it’s tuned to.  Emotionally strong people understand this and tune out negativity to make room for positivity.  Be wise enough to follow in their footsteps.  Walk away from the nonsense around you.  Focus on the positives, and soon the negatives will be harder to see.
  2. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves. – Emotionally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them.  Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life, work on changing what can be changed, and keep in mind that life isn’t always easy or fair.  In the end, happiness is not the absence of problems, but simply the ability to deal well with them.  So look at what you have, instead of what you have lost.  Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left. Keep reading →

June 11th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

20 Hard Things You Need to Do to Be Happy

20 Hard Things You Need to Do to Be Happy

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

You have to do hard things to be happy in life.  The things no one else is doing.  The things that frighten you.  The things others can’t do for you.  The things that make you question how much longer you can hold on and push forward.

Why?

Because those are the things that define you.  Those are the things that make the difference between existing and living – between knowing the path and walking the path – between a life of mediocrity and a life filled with happiness and success.

Of course, the hard things are often the easiest things to avoid.  To procrastinate.  To make excuses.  To pretend like they somehow don’t apply to you and your life situation.

But reality always rears its head in the end.  And the truth about how ordinary people achieve immense happiness and incredible feats of success is that they step out of their comfort zones and do the hard things that their more educated, affluent and qualified counterparts don’t have the courage, drive or determination to do.

So for your own sake, start doing the hard things TODAY.  I guarantee, you will be blown away at just how remarkable you really are and just how amazing life can be.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. You need to take small chances every day. – It’s the best way to face any problem, crush every fear and overcome life’s greatest challenges.  And you get just about as many chances in life as you’re willing to take.  So never let your fear decide your future.  Take small chances every day, one step at a time.  Some will work out and some won’t.  But good choices or bad, if you never take these chances, someone else will build your life for you.  And you don’t want that.
  2. You need to worry less about what other people think of you. – A beautiful life is about spending your time passionately, being happy with who you are inside, and not worrying about everyone’s petty judgments.  If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for everyone’s approval.  You don’t need anyone’s approval to be happy or to follow your heart. Keep reading →

June 8th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

29 Signs You’re Doing Just Fine (Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It)

29 Signs You’re Doing Just Fine (Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It)

Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to keep things in perspective and deal with them.

We all have days, weeks, months and – for some – even years of feeling anxious and uncertain.  It’s a vague feeling you can’t quite put your finger on.  From the outside, people think you have it all together, but they can’t see what’s going on in your head.  Emptiness fills your thoughts and emotions all too often, nagging at you throughout the day.  You set goals but they never satisfy your ego.  You always feel a day late and a buck short.  The search can seem almost endless.

And a question continues to spin in your mind:  “Why can’t I just be happy?”

The good news is you don’t have to live like this.  There is a better way to view the world that will lead to what you seek.  The first step, though, is to stop searching.  You will never find happiness by continually looking for it in another time and place.  When you focus on the lack of something in your life, what you want will always elude you.

Angel and I often tell our coaching clients they’re doing so much better than they give themselves credit for.  Most of us are so busy trying to make something big happen, we forget to pause and appreciate all our little victories.

Rather than dwelling on what’s missing in your life, start looking at what you have.  This isn’t just about material possessions; it’s about all the goodness in your life.  When you focus on the abundance you already have, the negative feelings that come from lacking something else gradually fade from your conscious.  Living isn’t an easy thing to do, but it can be enjoyable when you start to see the good instead of focusing on the bad.

Having trouble seeing the goodness?  Here’s a list of things you have to smile about – some obvious signs you’re doing just fine in life:

  1. You have the freedom to live your life the way you want to live it. – If you often worry about what you’re going to do with your life – your career, your family, the next step, etc., be grateful.  All details aside, this means you have ambition, passion, drive, and the freedom to make your own decisions.
  2. You are courageously walking your own path. – When people argue with you and challenge your decisions, remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.  You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if some people disagree. Keep reading →

June 4th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

4 Things You Must Give Up to Move Forward

4 Things You Must Give Up to Move Forward

“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.”
―Elvis Presley

Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak or wrong in any way.  Sometimes it simply means you’re strong enough and smart enough to let go and move forward with your life.

And that’s precisely what we discuss in today’s video blog…

Video Blog Post:

Give Up to Move Forward (video transcript):

1.  First and foremost, give up the excuses you keep reciting to yourself.

Because all the excuses and explanations in the world won’t do you any good.  They won’t add any value to your life or improve the quality of it by even the slightest margin.  To fulfill your calling and get where you wish to go in life requires more than just thinking and talking.  These feats require focused and sustained action.  And the good news is, you’re perfectly capable of taking whatever action is necessary.  You just have to choose to actually do it.

No one else can succeed for you on your behalf.  The life you live is the life you build for yourself.  There are so many possibilities to choose from, and so many opportunities for you to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.  Now is the moment to actually step forward.

Sooner or later, one way or the other, you will come to realize that it’s not what you lose along the way that counts; it’s what you do with what you still have.  When you let go of the past, forgive what needs forgiving, and move forward, you in no way change the past, you change the future. Keep reading →