Can Making Mistakes Enhance One’s Success?

Recent studies have shown that over the past decade a majority of emerging adults continue to suffer from poor financial literacy, a growing trend that shows few signs for improvement. In order for young and emerging adults to be properly prepared to grow, adapt, be successful, and financially independent in this century of uncertainty, there must be a concerted effort now to incorporate personal development into their education and consciousness. It should come as no surprise that most are ill-prepared to become financially independent as the majority of their parents and teachers also lack the needed knowledge to impart this crucial financial information. Beyond the financial information many have missed out on, personal development for many emerging adults has also been hindered because they were taught to only ask, “how” and not, “why.” This has resulted in a world of “how” for them — “Just tell me how to get the job” or “how to make money” or “how to do this and I will just do it.” The “how” approach to thinking epitomizes status quo! There is no creativity in how.

As I have mentioned in several of my blogs, unfortunately young and emerging adults today have not been encouraged to ask “why”, which has affected their personal development. Many changes over the years have conspired to cripple our youths’ ability to think theoretically. Specifically, standardized testing and lack of foundational education (financial, self-esteem, time-management, etc.) by teachers and parents, along with society in general, have established that the only approach to thinking that’s necessary is a practical approach.

As a result, most practically minded young and emerging adults have simply become programmed to avoid mistakes or refrain from trying something new in their pursuits to “just get it done.” They are rarely encouraged to think creatively in new and different ways—“outside the box.”  One teacher explained to Alina Tugend, author of the New York Times article, “The Roles of Mistakes in the Classroom,” that young children have become “victims of excellence.” In her book, Better By Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong, Tugend shares some enlightening research on the crucial role parents play in how their children learn and what messages they take away about mistakes. Not only did these adults do a disservice to this generation by unintentionally failing to disclose needed financial information, but these parents also fostered a fear of making mistakes within their children.

The generational backlash from the parents in being overprotective of their children was created by their own laissez faire, hands off, “latch key” upbringing. Consequently, swearing years later that “they’d do better with their own children,” this older generation has ruthlessly hovered over their children’s experiences and problems in an attempt to shelter them from life’s pains and struggles. In reality, the major outcome of their overprotective behavior has been the crippling of their child’s ability to develop tools for handling and managing life’s inherent struggles. Therein lies the irony: the biggest mistake these parents have made is the mistake of not teaching their kids that it is okay to make mistakes!

Today, these “Helicopter Parents” find themselves in financial and personal turmoil, largely due to a lack of financial knowledge and planning created by their own teachers and parents before them. These challenges were largely created by the current economic and social changes brought on by a new era of technological globalization. Is it any wonder why young and emerging adults are choosing to question and challenge the unsustainable lifestyles they were raised to believe they’d inherit in light of the societal shifts created by rapid technological advances and a constant state of change and urgency?

Young and emerging adults have been perceived as possessing “high-maintenance” and “entitled” attitudes by the very generations (Boomers and Xers) that have raised them to believe that they could get whatever they wanted. According to Bruce Tulgan, author of Not Everyone Gets A Trophy: How to Manage Generation Y, employers in today’s workplace believe that young adults are now harder to recruit, retain, and motivate than previous generations who entered the workforce before them. Tulgan adds, “They walk in the door day one with very high expectations. They walk into the workplace thinking they know more than they know, and they don’t want to pay their dues and climb the ladder.”

When I was a young adult growing up in the 1970s, life was always fair—winners received trophies and losers gained important insights from their mistakes. Mistakes allow people to look at new challenges in different ways and then draw their own conclusions from the lessons learned. To break the cycle of crippling entitlement, “Helicopter Parents” would raise more empowered adults if they stopped teaching their children that they can’t make it in life without them, or that they are too helpless to figure things out on their own. It’s time for these parents to let go and let their children live life on their own terms.

In my new book, Demystifying Success: Success Tools and Secrets They Don’t Teach You in High School, I endeavor to fill in the educational gaps for young and emerging adults (and their “Helicopter Parents”) by proactively educating them not to be afraid to ask “why”. My goal is for young adults to seek theoretically-driven outcomes that foster creativity and empower them to continually find new or improved ways to produce their desired results—while not letting fear get the best of them. I believe that if you have a group of young, confident adults who are not afraid to ask “why” because they are either not worried about  the response they are going to get back or that somebody will think they are stupid by asking “why,” they will be much more likely to be successful in their lives.

“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” ~ John Burroughs

I invite you to ask me questions here at Larry@LarryMJacobson.com if you are an admitted “Helicopter Parent” who is either afraid to let go or not sure how to—or if you are the child of one of these parents who wants to find ways to help your parent let go of you. I also invite young and emerging adults to inquire further about the “power of why”, as well as my T.I.M.E. (Timing, Intentions, Motivation and Empowerment) Model toward growing your future success.

 

Demystifying the Obvious

As a young adult growing up between the ages of 16 and 25, you are the first generation to grow up in the 21st century amidst the advent of a new technological era that actually allows you to carry out the majority of your consumer-related transactions and access unlimited amounts of information and resources from your SmartPhone, computer or tablet device from virtually anywhere in the world.  Yet, despite all of the major advancements and perceived conveniences created by these new technologies, recent studies have revealed that many of you Emerging Adults still have no idea how to create wealth or procure jobs because your parents, teachers or universities never provided you with the ability to balance a checkbook, or acquire skills to perform a job.

According to a recent CNN article, multi-Grammy Award winning singer, Dionne Warwick, just filed for bankruptcy, citing more than $10 million in tax debt dating back to 1991. Warwick, 72, was one of the most recognizable pop voices of the 1960s, winning 5 Grammys throughout her 50-year career. Unfortunately, now she is down to her last $1,000 in cash and only owns furniture and clothing worth $1,500. At the time of her bankruptcy filing, Warwick claimed that her financial chaos was due to several consecutive years (the late ‘80s through the mid-‘90s) of negligent and gross financial mismanagement.

Like Warwick, so many adults between the ages of 40-60 continue to foolishly believe that money matters and career decisions take care of themselves. If you recall the financial crisis of 2008, ignorance was not bliss, as many of your generation have now either personally experienced or known someone close to you whose parents have lost their jobs (due to downsizing or outsourcing), could not afford to send you or your friends to college due to unforeseen financial hardship, or, even worse, had to lose their homes or apartments due to unprecedented bank foreclosures. Have I got your attention? Does this make you a little more nervous or concerned? Good! If not, it should.

Recent studies have shown that over the past decade a majority of Emerging Adults continue to suffer from poor financial literacy, a trend that shows few signs of improvement.  In my upcoming book, Growing Success: A Young Adult’s Guide to Achieving Personal and Financial Success, I provide Emerging Adults, like you, with the needed educational concepts, techniques, and tools in order to help you address the lack of financial education and personal development that many of you are not receiving in high schools and/or colleges and universities today. These are the very same skill sets that will enable you to make decisions that will positively impact your overall personal and financial success for years to come.

Many of you are probably returning from your college spring break this week, and some of you may also be close to graduating or landing your first real job in this century of uncertainty. So now is the perfect time to start asking yourself, “What do I want to do with my life?”, “How can I create and manifest the life that I really want to live?”,  “Who will I choose to surround myself with that will support my intentions?”, and others like these.  Once you begin to answer these important questions, you can then start taking the necessary steps to begin to make things really happen!

I have often believed that one’s ability to truly create wealth and find a job that truly sparks and inspires one’s passion is the single greatest road to success. As I have shared before, there should be at least one of three reasons why you should consider pursuing an ideal job:

1. Quality of Life – Find a job that allows you to live in a location where you can thrive. Identify a job that lets you live the life you want surrounded by the people who support and admire you.

2. Challenge Yourself – Pursue a job or career where the work will challenge or motivate you, while also allowing you to grow from your experiences, and

3. Financial Reward – I intentionally listed this pursuit last. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for finding a career path that rewards you for all your hard work and efforts, but I just don’t believe that money should be the sole driving force for why you choose to pursue a job or career. Money should be viewed as opportunity, your financial means for continuing to pursue your passions. I honestly believe that if you follow your true passion, the money will definitely follow.

You can no longer rely on others to fix your problems or create your opportunities.

It is imperative that you not blindly follow in the footsteps of the generations before you.

You must begin developing new ways to succeed on your own terms so you can begin to make better decisions earlier in your life that will positively impact your future personal and financial success.

I am confident that if you take the time and find the courage to educate yourself now so you can learn and incorporate good financial habits from an early age (e.g. reading books and articles, attending webinars, etc.,), you will enhance your odds for growing your success.

Keep Your Life Simple. Fill It with Knowledge, not Stuff

The other day I received a somewhat panicked phone call from a close friend. She asked if I wouldn’t mind providing her son who is graduating from college in May with some sound personal and financial advice before he leaves his so-called “bubble” (e.g., his college campus). She has been reading my blogs lately, and she is very concerned that her son did not acquire the necessary tools and resources needed to pursue his desired outcomes during his college years. Even more so, she is concerned about his capacity to succeed and live a happy life as a result.

My friend is not wrong. I am continuously mystified by the lack of attention, detail and pride many people have nowadays for their jobs and lives. I read a great quote from Warren Buffett recently that said, “The most important thing to invest in is yourself. Very few people get the horsepower out of their life that they possess. Just imagine you’re 16 and I was going to give you any car you wanted-but with only one catch: it’s the only car you’ll get, has to last you the rest of your life. How would you treat it?”

We are all living in the greatest technological era, where information is more available and abundant than ever. So why, for a country that prides itself on its technological and educational advances, are so many of these adults in such financial chaos? I believe it is because most adults were never taught from an early age to educate themselves financially, and now, as a result, they suffer from what I like to call financial obesity: one’s obsessive and self-sabotaging need to constantly overspend and remain financially unhealthy. Like the overweight, these unaware adults spend money in the same way unhappy and unhealthy people eat.

Back in the 1960s, cigarette companies were forced to start placing health warnings on cigarette packaging in order to intentionally inform the public of the risks and unhealthy consequences that could result from smoking. Yet, despite the medical evidence, people continue to ignore the health risks and smoke anyway.

Consider today your financial health warning: failure to educate yourself on the potentially devastating effects caused by financial obesity may impact your future financial well-being. I already know that, despite my repeated warnings, several of you will continue to take financial risks that will ultimately sabotage your greatest asset: YOU!

In order to avoid the very pitfalls and repetitive patterns associated with financial obesity, as young and emerging adults between the ages of 16-25, you need to begin asking yourself now, “Who am I really?” If you are a graduating college senior and you still cannot answer this question, all hope is not lost! Like Warren Buffett said, YOU are your own greatest asset! Not your car, your great looks, your G.P.A., your parents, or family name. None of these are as valuable as YOU are, including your opportunity to choose right here and right now to start making smart, probable choices that align well with your core values and desired future outcomes.

In my upcoming book, Growing Success: A Young Adult’s Guide to Personal and Financial Success, I spend a lot of time proactively educating young and emerging adults on not only the importance of financial education, but also on the important concepts, resources, and tools, such as my T.I.M.E. model (Timing, Intentions, Motivation and Empowerment), to help high school and college students enhance their knowledge and confidence in the areas of personal finance, decision-making, and most importantly, personal development before they graduate so they can properly build their personal and financial success.

So, here is the advice that I gave my friend’s son the other night: Keep your life simple. Fill it with knowledge, not stuff. Your ability to write and communicate well with others, especially potential employers, is essential. Make sure that you take some courses on speaking and writing (text messages and emails do not count as writing). That way, you will be prepared for any potential opportunity that may arise. Toastmasters International or Dale Carnegie training courses can provide you with speaking experience and also, simultaneously, support you with becoming more comfortable when you speak in front of others. My additional advice included the suggestion to seek out role models that you can start emulating. Figure out what they do, and how they got that way. Understand why you admire them and why you would select them as role models for you. The sooner you figure out “who you really are,” the sooner you will become a great subject matter expert of your own life.

“We make such messes in this life, both accidently and on purpose. But wiping the surface clean doesn’t really make anything any neater. It just masks what is below. It’s only when you really dig deep, go underground, that you can see who you are really are.” ~ Sarah Dessen

My simple suggestion for those of you who are in a similar position as my friend’s son and getting ready to graduate from college: do not follow the generations before you that unknowingly or foolishly compromised, blamed others, or enabled themselves to make bad decisions either out of laziness or pure ignorance. You can be different! Start surrounding yourself with positive people today, those who you can learn from and who can help you get where you want to go.

You have just received your first “financial health warning,” one that is intended to help you grow your success.

How to Co-Exist with Emotional Parasites—A Cultural Epidemic

A lot of my blog readers have been reaching out to me and asking me to further explain my definition of “emotional parasites.” They ask me how they can identify who these potentially disruptive people are. The more important question they should be asking is how and why they are so harmful to one’s success.

How does one identify and protect oneself from these so-called predators? Like colds or viruses, people tend to attract these types of “parasites” (e.g. emotional vampires) when their self-esteem or emotional guards are down. Like a magnet, we tend to attract those individuals that seem more than willing to aid in our self-loathing rather than challenge us to get out of our own way. The boggled and debauched, as I liked to call them, are unhealthy, dysfunctional people that often intentionally or unknowingly manipulate or use others for their own personal entertainment or distraction. These people tend to deflect their own negative self-worth rather than deal with their own self-sabotaging issues. They often pretend to be concerned or supportive of an unsuspecting victim’s uncertain or negative circumstance, but, in reality, they silently gain satisfaction and enjoyment by disclaiming and intentionally diminishing the success, spirit or character of their unsuspecting target.

To make matters worse, these emotional parasites will even go as far as making their victims feel guilty, and even responsible for their needs, playing on their guilt or misguided loyalties. I cannot begin to tell you how emotionally debilitating these cowardly people can be. They rarely own their own crap. They rarely apologize when wrong, and most importantly, they rarely respect YOUR needs, goals or requests unless it somehow benefits their own short-term purposes.

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” ~ Paulo Coehlo

Like anything important in your life, you always need to weigh the pros and cons. This especially holds true regarding the people you choose to include in your life. As I said earlier, the emotional parasites often tend to strike when you are most susceptible so I want to share three different scenarios that I have experienced that may make you more aware in the future:

1. The Bait and Switch – Unfortunately, there are individuals you will come across that have become master manipulators.  They study you and learn very quickly how to make you feel comfortable in their presence. They often tell you what you want to hear, pretend to like the things you like, or worse, create a false sense of security so that you take their bait. The only problem is…their actions are not sustainable over time because they are not being authentic to who they are. They are simply trying to get you to befriend them or, even worse, fall in love with them. NEWS FLASH: These manipulators have an agenda! So, you need to put their words on mute and study their actions. If you ask them questions and they become defensive, clearly you have unearthed a chink in their deceptive armor.  If this uncomfortable moment occurs, do not apologize; just continue to trust your instincts, keep your eyes open and be aware of any future inconsistencies.

2. Dismissive of needs – Recently, I witnessed a good friend of mine who reached out to a group of so-called friends requesting space and time to re-collect his thoughts while going through his tunnel of transformation. In the past, my friend had hit some tough times and these same so-called friends gleefully cheered him on by supporting his bad decisions and choices simply because it fueled their own unfulfilled needs. Yet, when my friend finally figured out that his choices were no longer productive in helping him find his success, he decided once again to reach out to these same so-called friends for support and understanding. Lo and behold, some actually became irate and dismissive with him because he changed his mind about how he had been leading his life—the same life they had been cheering him on with because it fulfilled their needs, not his.

3. Defensiveness (yeah, but you did this…) The last red flag that I would like to bring to your attention is a parasite’s failure to apologize.  Have you ever noticed when you call someone out on something you did not like, rather than receiving a simple apology from that person, you get a defensive response? It is almost like they are pissed off that you called them out on their agenda. In any healthy relationship, there are going to be times when you intentionally or unintentionally do something that upsets or hurts the other person. At this time, the correct response is to own and acknowledge your actions and not use it as yet another opportunity to point out an additional flaw or weakness because someone made you feel uncomfortable.

At the end of the day, an emotional parasite is simply projecting their fears. A successful person learns to manage their fears, as well as their relationships. As I share in my upcoming book, Growing Success: A Young Adult’s Guide to Achieving Personal and Financial Success, there are several reasons why successful people learn how to protect and cultivate healthy relationships and, at the same time, navigate around unhealthy people in order to achieve their desired outcomes.

I am hoping that the information and clarification I have provided in this post will allow you to recognize the warning signs early so that you can continue to grow your success.

Tunnel of Transition

“When someone says ‘you’ve changed,’ it simply means you’ve stopped living your life their way.” This is an interesting quote that I read this week, and it got me thinking about life shifts and transformations. One of the hardest yet most enlightening moments in a person’s life is when they finally decide to leave their unhealthy comfort zone and change the things in their lives that are no longer working.

In one of my recent blogs, I shared that my “a-ha moment” and my personal transformation toward success started with a simple question, “So, how is that life working for you?” As I have explained in that post, this was a simple question that really required me to be honest with myself and address those things in my life that were no longer supporting my desired probable outcomes for success. No excuses and no blame necessary; just me agreeing to take complete ownership of my life, right at that moment.

What I quickly came to realize was that I was no longer pursuing my passions and goals, but instead found myself surrounded by unhealthy people (e.g., emotional parasites) that did not support me and who did not have my best interests at heart. I recognized that I was simply making excuses as to why my life went off course, while at the same time continuing to enable my own bad decisions rather than deal with my immediate despair. Let’s face it: I had a bad case of mood-poisoning.

When I first began to write my upcoming book, Growing Success: A Young Adult’s Guide to Personal and Financial Success, I had to ask myself a lot of difficult questions. It forced me to reflect on how and, more importantly, why I allowed myself to feel this way. Once I began to own the decisions and mistakes I had made, I started to re-claim my life. I soon began to realize that the awakening (e.g., the realization) phase of the transformation process was relatively simple. Through my own heightened awareness, I started to identify my bad behaviors including the negative programming and emotions I was feeling and projecting, as well as the re-alignment of my goals and probable outcomes. I did this by letting go of the people who had been unhealthy influences in my life and about my goals… It was exciting and reinvigorating. I was starting to become stronger as I felt things shifting. Then, as if I was running a marathon, I hit the wall. It was my tunnel of transition.

I define this “tunnel” as that uncomfortable phase of the transformation that resides between awakening and the new paradigm (e.g., the shift). And just like traveling through a real tunnel, at times it can feel claustrophobic. The darkness and uncertainty often trigger the anxious feelings you may get when you start to feel overwhelmed, especially when you begin questioning all the negative behaviors and obstacles you will have to overcome in order to break out of your current unhealthy comfort zone.

Despite these feelings of anxiety, I can assure you it is worth your efforts. As you enter your “tunnel,” you will need to remind yourself that you have chosen this new path for a reason; “your old life didn’t work anymore.”  If you choose to be patient, focused and disciplined, the discomfort you are likely to encounter on your personal transformation will result in your desired probable outcome of achieving success.

I am extremely fortunate that I did not allow fear and uncertainty to derail me from my new life. I had to persist until I found the light at the end of my tunnel. As a result, I was able to figure out how to re-align my future goals with my desired outcomes. I felt compelled to share the necessary steps you will most likely need to take if you choose to do this for yourself through these blog posts and in my upcoming book.

I hope I can inspire you as well to commit to growing your own future success.

Have Nerds Become the New Cool in the 21st Century?

I was recently lecturing to a class of students at Indiana University when it suddenly dawned on me: are Nerds really becoming the new cool for the 21st Century? During my lecture, I kept referring to one’s need to be self-aware, which I believe is crucial for enhancing one’s chances for success.

Unlike “Cools”, Nerds tend to be more authentic to themselves. They are not as concerned about what people think. They are more focused on how they choose to present themselves to others. Their intelligence and skills (e.g. abilities), not their fashion, dictate their identities.

Nerds pay attention to the details! They are not afraid to ask “why”. In fact, Nerds thrive on understandingthe why and occupy themselves with challenging the status quo, especially if something no longer makes sense, or even worse, becomes obsolete. “Cools” are way too concerned about “how” something will be perceived or “how” they will continue to “keep up with the Jones.” As a result, the “Cools” waste a lot of unnecessary energy trying to impress others, or even worse, trying to attract superficial professional and personal relationships that they cannot cultivate because they are constantly trying to maintain or improve their status or image instead of learning about the new things Nerds are already plugged into.

Nerds, on the other hand, attract like-minded people and choose to participate in groups and clubs because of common goals and a shared purpose. As a result, Nerds inspire and support each others’ successes.  They seek deeper meaning and connection with others, while at the same time, growing their network of potential employers, employees and business partners.

Nerds commit, they plan, and quite often execute their visions and goals, which is why so-many “Nerds” continue to attain such success within this new century of uncertainty.  They succeed because they choose to plan and thrive to be distinct. In his book, What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack asks why only 3% of all the Harvard MBAs make ten times as much as the remaining 97% combined. From his research he surmised that having clear, written goals for the future and creating plans to accomplish them was truly the underlying formula for their success.

In 1979, interviewers spoke with new graduates from the Harvard’s MBA Program and concluded:

  • 84% had no specific goals at all
  • 13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
  • 3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them

In 1989, interviewers once again spoke with Harvard MBA graduates and:

  • The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all.
  • Even more staggering – the three percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.

In my upcoming book, Growing Success: A Young Adult’s Guide for Achieving Personal and Financial Success, I discuss several tools and models that address planning and goal-setting, as well as awareness and good decision-making, which are imperative for enhancing one’s probable outcomes for success.

Look around and take notice! Nerds HAVE become the new cool. Just ask Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj, the cast of the hit television series, The Big Bang Theory. The cast and writers have made being nerdy cool.

So the next time you find yourself sitting next to a so-called “Nerd” in class, you better befriend him or her quickly because there is going to be a good chance that in next 10-20 years they will become your star employee, partner or BOSS.

As for me, I simply choose to embrace my inner “Cool Nerd” and continue to dedicate my time to helping you grow your success.

So How’s That Life Working For You?

For anyone who has truly accomplished something important in his or her life, each person had to realize early on that ongoing success was something that did not come automatically, but rather something that had to be earned through a lot of tough commitments and hard work.

It is my personal experience that the true definition between a victor and a victim is simply one’s ability to own one’s mistakes and/or personal obstacles. Rather than acknowledging bad habits, decisions or mistakes, victims blame others for their lack of success and accomplishments. I am sure you have come across these self-loathing individuals that choose to blame the world rather than own their own crap, haven’t you?

I call these unfortunate people “the boggled and debauched” because they prefer to deflect their own negative self-worth issues by simply disclaiming others’ points of view, as well as intentionally diminish the success or character of others rather than deal with their own self-sabotaging issues. Unfortunately, unhealthy dysfunctional people often act as emotional parasites by either intentionally or unknowingly manipulating or using others for their own personal entertainment or distraction. In my upcoming book, Growing Success: A Young Adult’s Guide to Achieving Personal and Financial Success, I share a story about a frog and a scorpion and one’s ongoing need to be aware of others’ intentions despite inconsistent actions and words.

Luckily, successful people become acutely aware of unhealthy individual’s intentions, and as a result, ultimately learn how to engage and maneuver around them in order to protect themselves from potentially sabotaging outcomes.

In addition, successful people do not enable or make excuses for their own failures or bad behavior, but rather learn and grow from them. Recently I read a great anonymous quote, “Sometimes I win, sometimes I learn, everyone should replace the word loser with learner.”

As a life-long learner, my personal transformation for success started with a simple question that I had to look in the mirror and ask myself, “So, how is that life working for you?” A simple question that required no excuses, no blame, but simply a need to be honest with myself and my own fears. Yet despite its simplicity, this one question can elude and prevent the boggled and debauched from getting out of their own way and taking an honest look at themselves because it is easier for some to continue to live in denial and remain in their unhealthy comfort zone rather than accept their own shortcomings and disappointments.

If you are someone that finds yourself stuck or incapable of owning your own crap, STOP! Use this same unhealthy energy to become accountable for your own fears, decisions and outcomes. OWN IT!

If you want to be successful, take the time to look at yourself in the mirror, eye to eye, and ask yourself, “So how is that life working for you?”

Choose to finally be honest with yourself and ask yourself what steps can be pursued that will finally allow you to create your desired goals and passions.

What additional educational pursuits and/or authentic relationships are currently available to you that will help you achieve probable outcomes simply because you asked yourself an overdue question?

Most importantly, it’s time to stop projecting an unproductive victim mentality and the emotional use of others.

Right here, right now: it’s time to commit to fixing the problem, and not the blame. Start growing your future success now.

International Bestseller: Ready, Aim, Captivate!

Last June, I decided to leave my comfort zone. I moved away from Los Angeles and a twenty-two year career in the music industry to pursue a passion, my dream. In 1996, I sat down to write an email to President Bill Clinton in which I expressed my concerns about what I perceived to be the core subjects and skills that should be taught in every high school in America: Personal Finance, Time Management, Self-Esteem and Goal Setting. I can still remember the joy and disappointment when I received a letter back from the President thanking me for taking the time to share my thoughts and concerns. Then the letter proceeded to outline some of the educational issues that he planned to introduce as part of his administration’s ‘Goals 2000: Educate America Act’. Unfortunately, my concerns were never addressed. When our economy fell on the brink of disaster (2008), I came to the realization and asked myself: if I didn’t do something to help educate young adults and adults of ages, who would? I didn’t really see anyone in particular reaching out to this group specifically and making an effort to help them avoid repeating what we were experiencing financially as a nation.

In 2009, I remembered my suggestions to President Clinton and I set out to write a book that I wished someone would have written for me when I was fifteen years old that encompassed the core subjects I had mentioned in my letter to the President. I wanted to write a book that would inspire young adults to follow their own goals in order to make decisions that would positively impact their overall financial and personal success. I really wanted to teach young adults as a pioneer and inspirational guide to raise their awareness and empower them to identify probable outcomes in order to achieve their desired goals. After two years, the result of my efforts and vision was Growing Success: A Young Adult’s Guide to Achieving Personal and Financial Success, a book designed to give young adults ages 16 to 25 the needed educational concepts and tools to be successful in all areas of their lives. I finished the manuscript and then set out to build my platform to support those who would read it. I became a speaker, focusing mostly on colleges and universities, and I’m excited to get the book manuscript into the hands of a publisher this year.

Captivate_front_cover-200x300This past August, Viki Winterton, Publisher of the highly successful Ready, Aim book series, approached me and asked to interview me for her fourth book, Ready, Aim, Captivate!: Put Magic in Your Message and a Fortune in Your Future. Viki became aware of my work with young adults and she asked me to share how I became involved with my Growing Success platform. I explained that my message was to communicate and reach young adults on their own terms so I could share my information in a way that they wanted to hear it. During the last two years, I have lectured at universities and conferences. I began sharing a lot of my ideas, which I am looking to manifest into a lifelong career and movement.

I was honored to be included as a contributing author alongside Deepak Chopra, Jim Stovall, Suzi Pomerantz, and several other impressive authors and coaches as they share their messages of inspiration, health, happiness and other important ingredients for success.

I am very pleased to now be a #1 International Bestselling Author, because I said “yes” to an amazing opportunity, which I often encourage doing as part of my T.I.M.E. model for success.

If you are interested in getting a copy of this exciting new best-selling book for yourself or someone you know who might benefit from it, you can find more information at http://bit.ly/VEM9OD.

Turning Your Crumbs into a Meal

Have you found yourself in a rut lately? Are you starting to doubt yourself? This is exactly the time you want to start looking for ways to turn your crumbs into a meal! You may not believe this, but there are always a variety of avenues for you to explore to avoid continuously finding yourself getting trapped by the same old things over and over that prevent you from moving forward.

So why do most people doubt themselves? Do you blame your parents, teachers or friends for modeling the way, or do you simply continue to enable yourself by avoiding your own reality that most likely began at an early age?

Think about it: most young children are born inquisitive, yet most young adults simply conform. As far back as I can remember I never conformed. I always tried to explore new avenues to challenge myself. Some were successful; others were not, but it did not stop me from moving forward.

I recently read an anonymous quote on the Internet that said, “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” I could not agree more. Your attitude toward yourself and your life goals is monumental for determining how quickly you will succeed in accomplishing your desired outcomes.

True success takes time! There is no such thing as an overnight success. Most people who set out to accomplish what they truly want to do start from an early age. They make strong commitments to put in the time and effort to learn and overcome negative obstacles because they truly believe in what they are doing. If you are not like those that learned early, you should not feel discouraged because you can still accomplish all your goals later in life. You simply need more time to learn from your prior experiences and then make the choice to re-focus and create the needed discipline to finally commit to pursuing your true desired passions and successful outcomes.

For example, it took me years to become a successful investor and trader. I had to painstakingly learn the basics, study the patterns, understand my mistakes, develop my trading disciplines, and learn to trust my instincts. I also had to discipline myself not to simply give up and throw in the towel just because things did not happen quickly enough or they did not always turn out the way that I expected them to.

Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, was 52 years old in 1954 when he joined McDonald’s. He then went on to build it into the most successful fast food operation in the world. Prior to McDonald’s, Kroc sold multi-mixers. When he received a request from the McDonalds’ brothers way back then to purchase 8 multi-mixers, Kroc saw an opportunity to turn crumbs into a meal. Harland “Colonel” Sanders also started his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise after turning 50. Both men had a strong desire to follow their passion, despite the obstacles they may have encountered along the way because they believed in what they wanted to accomplish.

In my upcoming book, Growing Success: A Young Adult’s Guide to Achieving Personal and Financial Success, I talk about how one’s positive attitude and discipline are paramount to achieving great success in life. How one handles both their successes and failures determines how quickly one is able to reach their goals. When things don’t always go my way, I often tell myself, “People don’t reject me; they do me a favor!”

The next time you start to doubt yourself, take that moment to give yourself the proper attitude adjustment by asking yourself, “Is this current path or outcome really working for me?” Take the time to really become aware of all potential opportunities that lie ahead so you can align and implement your talents and skills toward accomplishing your true successful outcomes.

Start considering yourself fortunate that you are now one of the lucky people who can turn their crumbs into a meal and continue to grow your success.

Surround Yourself with Success

Protecting yourself in terms of your success is largely determined not only by your thoughts and emotions, but also by people you choose to surround yourself with.  In fact, there is a strong connection between all three of these. Have you ever noticed that you tend to attract certain types of people into your life when you feel happy or sad? Short-term or long-term relationships based on how you perceive yourself at that time?

Not only does surrounding yourself with the right people matter toward your overall confidence and self-esteem, but these same people can actually impact your overall ability to make good decisions, which could probably lead to successful outcomes.

In my upcoming book, Growing Success: A Young Adult’s Guide to Achieving Personal and Financial Success, I draw attention to the concept of building strong personal relationships based on similar core values. There is a reason why we categorize others in our lives as loved ones, friends or acquaintances. Don’t get me wrong, all of these people serve a very specific purpose in our lives (which I discuss in more detail in the book), but you really need to learn how to differentiate and cultivate the right relationships from an early age, while at the same time quickly recognize and distance yourself from the bad ones. I call this life lesson protecting the castle, or one’s ability to protect oneself from those individuals that can negatively impact you.

Negative relationships often cause us to emotionally shutdown. As a result, we tend to draw all of our conclusions and decisions based on our thoughts only as opposed to including our emotions or how we feel about things. Young children often grow up and lose their ability to “feel” things instinctively. As young adults, they then tend to get in their own way and excuse or ignore their feelings for less rational thoughts. I liken this dilemma to a bigger concept I call the “why” versus the “how”, which I discuss in earlier blogs.

Unfortunately, most adults lose the ability to trust their own instincts (e.g. feelings). They tend to rely more on their own thoughts and get deeper into their own heads. As a result, they begin projecting or forecasting outcomes or responses based on what they perceive others might think. These thoughts are often never grounded in any form of reality, sort of like anticipating a fire when there really isn’t any smoke. This type of unhealthy programmed thinking often leads to fear or, even worse, self-fulfilling prophecies (e.g. outcomes).

To help others get back in touch with their own instincts and emotions, I often recommend the following exercise to help get them out of their own way, or more specifically, out of their own heads. This exercise should be repeated daily for 45 consecutive days.

EXERCISE

During each session, choose a quiet, uninterrupted place where you can sit down and reflect upon your own feelings for as long as it takes. This is “not” a thinking exercise. This is all about re-acquainting yourself with long-lost feelings, while also re-engaging and trusting your own instincts (e.g. raw emotions), especially whenever you contemplate making decisions or allow others to draw upon your personal energy and space.

Reflect and handwrite these 5 different emotions you are currently feeling at that time in a notebook. Do NOT over think this exercise. Just simply write down the first five emotions that immediately come to mind. For example, “I feel happy today because ………………”

Take your time and write out each of these five separate emotions (good, bad, etc.). Then briefly describe why you are feeling that way. The purpose of the exercise is to really help you get back in touch with how and why you are feeling a certain way before you endeavor to make any type of decision or, even worse, project a potential outcome based on any future conversations, encounters or confrontations with other people that haven’t happened yet. Unfounded projections are merely fears with no basis.

Fear is often the number one cause of failure that prevents you from achieving your desired success and outcomes.

To quote the Chinese Taoist Philosopher, Lao Tzu: “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

In the future, before you choose to attract or surround yourself with others, ask yourself one simple question, “What value does this person bring to my life?” In other words, does this person support your relationships? Does this person support your goals? Does he or she provide you with any emotional support and/or friendship, or does this person simply drain your energy like an emotional vampire?

Letting go is not the same as giving up; it’s okay to let people go as you enter into this New Year. I suggest that you at least consider re-categorizing each person’s status (acquaintance, friend or loved one).

Surround yourself in 2013 with the people that will definitely provide you with mutually beneficial energy and the ones who will continue to grow your success.