Categories
Daily

8. From Overweight to In shape: Self-Influence

From 2007 until 2015 I was over-weight, to the tune of 40 lbs too heavy.

Years of poor decisions built up until I had reached the weight limit in the Marine Corps and in 2009 I deployed to Afghanistan as a near overweight person.

While my weight never overpowered me while training up to go, I never really spent the time to shrug it off. Instead, I had decided that partying was more important.

After 8 months in country, you would think that I would have lost weight from the 115 degree heat, or what little bit of exercise that I did.

Well, I hadn’t.

That is until right at the very end.

I made the decision to do “just a little” bit of working out.

You see, I’m not a person who likes to work out. Its OK, but I would far rather do something than run in place or lift the same weights a million times. Such as hiking or in the case of when I was a young adult, skateboarding.

However, about two months before leaving country I started going back to the gym. Nothing crazy just a little bit of treadmill and light weights.

Three weeks past, and not a single pound dropped off. It wasn’t really my intent to lose weight, just get a bit “healthier” so I stuck with it.

One day I woke up and something was different.

For some reason, something felt different. I was laying in bed and started touching my waist. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but it felt like all of a sudden I had lost some weight.

I didn’t think too much of it, so I went about my day and went to get the mediocre British breakfast served. (I was on a British base in Afghanistan).

“Hey did you lose weight?” – A friend asked.

“Yeah, I guess I did.” – Replied

People apparently could notice.

I went to bed overweight, and woke up skinnier.

For some people when they work out the results are immediate. They can track the pounds that they lose and gain momentum. For me, it apparently fell off.

Throughout the remainder of the day I continued to receive the “did you lose weight?” question.

Upon leaving Afghanistan I had finally lost weight that had been on my body for years.

But the weight crept back on

By 2015 weight had returned to my body. Even though I had been a part time farmer, the weight had returned. So I decided to try something different.

I woke up early. Meditated and did light exercise.

And that’s all it took.

Within three months I lost 40 lbs.

It just took a bit of consistency. Nothing crazy. No “maxing out”. “No cross fit.” Just good ol fashioned body weight exercises in my office.

By the end of 3 months, my body was built like a machine. I went from 6 pullups to 20 pullups (the Marine Corps physical fitness test maximum count). I had six pack abs.

I was as light as I had been since 7th grade.

All it took was a little consistency.

Consistency and showing up has results. It takes just a bit of time, its not immediate. But if you consistently apply yourself you’ll get results.

I share this story with you because if you happen to be a little out of shape, you can get into shape quickly. I know many other people within a very, very, short amount of time they managed to shape their bodies and achieve their goals.

There’s nothing special about me in this regard. Just like anyone else my weight fluctuates when I decide that healthy eating and exercise aren’t that important to me.

In particular, its when I decide that I don’t need to get up early.

If you’re a bit out of shape, don’t kill yourself, just do a little working out.

Oh, and you’ll earn just a wee bit of influence from yourself throughout the process.

Categories
Daily

7. Chaos Sleeps In

If you want to get important work done in your life, you have to wake up early.

For some people this is a gut punch, but its true. Everything that is difficult to get done in our lives throughout the day can be accomplished between the hours of 3am to 8am.

Do you want to become healthy? Do you want to become a writer? Or better plan for the day?

Its real simple. Get up early.

Chaos stays up late and wakes up when it feels comfortable

Everything in your life that is a distraction wants to visit you between the hours of 8am to 3am.

Throughout the day there are gremlins that want to eat your time.

  • Friends who have nothing better to do than hang out.
  • Telemarketers trying to get you on the phone.
  • Children full of energy and joy.
  • Even beautiful spouses who love to interrupt by being so helpful.

While all fun and helpful, they’re productivity killers for long concentration work.

But what about in the evenings? Surely you can write your book in the evenings. What about….

  • Friends that want you to go out in the evenings
  • All those Netflix TV series you haven’t watched yet.
  • Or the last few levels of that video game you like.

These will cap your day off leaving you with no time to get those important things done.

What should you be doing?

Nearly everyone fails to get done something they know they either want to get done, or what they should get done. For some reason, nearly all of these things, can be performed between the hours of 3am and 8am.

  • Need to exercise to earn being healthy?
  • Prepare for the day?
  • Read the books that bring you life?
  • Meditate on intentionally living?
  • Write your own book?
  • Send those needed business emails?
  • Learn to fish?

I personally lost 40 lbs within 3 months of of waking up early and performing light exercise for 30-45 minutes.

I have written thousands of pages in books.

Getting up early is hard, but it earns you life.

The reason to get up early is because it provides you with a window of opportunity that is completely closed to others. If you want growth, you need to push your boundaries of comfort. Those who don’t do that, allow themselves to stay up too late, and wake up when their body feels comfortable.

This is about forming a habit of commitment. Commitment is difficult, it requires intent, and it yields you the long term rewards associated with it.

How to wake up early

Waking early is really simple to say, it just requires follow up. Here are the steps I’ve used to help get me out of bed early.

  • Cultivate a burning desire to get certain things done, that aren’t getting done. (Reading, writing, exercising, etc)
  • State openly the commitment to getting up early.
  • Create an intentional schedule for the early morning.
  • Set your alarm for 4am.
  • Go to bed by 9:30pm.
  • Get up out of bed immediately at 4am and walk into another room.
  • Do this for at least 45 days.

Lastly, waking up early is about influence. Yourself and others.

Being able to wake up early and get done what needs to get done, makes you a leader. It makes you an influencer of yourself. In order to influence other people to be productive, you have to be productive.

If you want other people to get an urge to be healthy, you have to gain the urge to become healthy.

People need you to wake up early, so they can leave you alone while you intentionally build a life that can help them. Everyday is battle to be won and it starts with winning with yourself. If you can influence yourself, you can influence others. Remember, the world needs people who have great capacity, so they can see further and shepherd the way.

That should be you.

Categories
Daily

5. Leadership Academy: A Fresh Idea

The U.S. is missing land steward leaders and I want to fix it.

Throughout my travels visiting farms and working with “permaculture entrepreneurs” it has become clear to me just how inwardly focused the mass culture has become. Not only is narcissism rampant, its often rewarded.

As a result, instead of “those-who-grow” growing communities and the earth, they sow destruction.

In order for these eco-doers to obtain their ideals, they need to look outward

Have you ever seen a person work their passion so intensely that they shut out others? Have you seen people lose relationships, miss growth opportunities, and fail to reach their potential because of their “passion?”

Steve the farmer started from the dirt up. At the ripe age of 30, he was living in a tent outside an old lady’s home. Yet he was productive. Within 4 years, having left the tent behind he began renting a house on 5 acres and built a successful farmers market and local sprout business.

If you visited his home, he will give you grand tours of his farm and sprout room he produces and delivers sprouts locally.

During this time, people became attracted to Steve because of his work ethic, quality crops, and extreme passion for growing and healthy food. Steve, always friendly at the markets, is quite the person to visit with.

If you visited Steve at the market you might see a new friendly face working with him.

“This is my girlfriend” – Steve would say.

Over the years Steve became very fond of a few girls, yet for each relationship, at least one that he married, they never worked out.

There has been many workers that worked with Steve. Things always start out great and motivational, but there was always something, in the end.

With everyone one of these relationship failures there was at least 1 reason. But there was something that Steve couldn’t piece between them all. He failed to see the common denominator. Steve.

Steve is responsible for his relationships. All of them.

Steve’s problems were not the outside party that was setting his wife off in a legal dispute, or that his fiancee was “abusive”, it was the fact Steve could not rise to the occasion to make himself available for his partners.

He distances himself from people who start to become unproductive. Why they’re unproductive, Steve, like many, have no consideration for, even though the efforts of others are crucial for his stability and survival.

Steve’s a doer, not a leader.

A Leadership Academy for the next generation

The many experiences and stories I have interacted with over the years, compels me to create a Leadership Academy.

This leadership academy (currently named the Sanctuary Leadership Academy) will take the next generation of people, teach them how to tend land, produce their own basic resources, and turn them into leaders who use influence for action.

Upon completion of the academy the students will be connected with mentor leaders who will put them into opportunities for them to lead.

Through the mentor’s guidance and their own faculties these newly minted leaders will take on responsibility far beyond what their peers, elders or parents might think possible.

This Leadership Academy will not only be transformational for the student, but for the communities they are deployed to.

Categories
Daily

4. Winning Arguments With Force

While those practicing influence ought to avoid arguments in general, if you want to “win” an argument, don’t try winning it with force. In fact, even if you win, you lose.

Think about the negative energy arguments bring

You see, when you have some level of connection with a person, the two of you share similar energies and it creates a reciprocity. This is why arguments are particularly troublesome for those who are actively trying to influence people to adopt an idea. If you have an energy of “fight” and “win”, it automatically creates an opposing “fight” and “win” energy in the another person. Unless the other person is consciously resisting this urge, really, they have no choice but to join you.

Most arguments the participants “argue” for their idea to be adopted. The other person attempts to resist the adoption of the argument by stating facts, feelings, and opinions that either support their argument or remove support for their “opponents”.

When explanations turn to using force chaos ensues

When force is applied trying to get someone to adopt an idea this is where influence completely breaks down. At this moment in time, the person whom ought to be influenced, knows without a doubt that their best interests are not at heart.

Their mind shuts down new information from the person, because its likely harmful, and has only two choices.

  1. Rise to the occasion to combat.
  2. To yield.

The person who uses force is hoping for #2, but their best bet for influencing is actually to lose with #1.

Why is it better to lose than to win?

If a person yields to force, they will embody every negative emotion which will expose itself in enumerable ways.

They’ll avoid your presence.

They’ll work against you.

They’ll ignore what you say.

How will you influence someone who you can’t find, won’t communicate with you, and conspires against you?

Don’t use force, especially to win something as silly as an argument.

Categories
Daily

3. Knowing Your Place

People can lead and influence others without knowing that is what they’re doing. I’ve nicknamed this “the unconscious leader.” The unconscious leader, generally is a person who has drive in a particular direction that has caught the attention of others. Through the natural processes of making friends this leader opens up space for others to interact with the drive that they have.

Because the unconscious leader, does not know that they are “leading” their abilities to maximize those around them is limited. Others can even come into conflict with their in-the-moment personal desires.

A Critical Situation Was Born

In 2002, I started a band named “A Critical Situation” with friends in high school. Because I had a drive to create music, friends around me, who had no desire to play, began picking up instruments. Kyle picked up the bass, Jon picked up guitar, and Chris played the drums. Magically, one day, a band was formed.

Little did I know how much frustration was going to follow by not intentionally leading this band.

Kyle didn’t want to play an instrument, he just wanted to hang out with us so his playing never improved.

Jon really was a better frontman and singer than guitarist.

And Chris had the worst rhythm and stamina. He needed intentional practice.

Worst of all, I really wanted to create music not necessarily perfect the craft of playing music.

Ignoring our inability to play musical instruments, it took two years to get “A Critical Situation” into a well ordered machine.

What the band needed was stepping back, getting intentional, and reordering everyone.

Instead of unconsciously bringing my friends into this music, fixing the band required getting rid of those not committed to improvement. Our friend Mark, who was already practicing and playing bass, became our bass player.

James another friend of ours, who was already a guitarist stepped in to replace Jon allowing him to become the frontman.

An Chris got the practice that he needed.

A Critical Situation became the punk rock master piece that I had envisioned two years before. What made the band possible was becoming conscious about decisions and choices.

Leaders don’t have to know they are leading.

At the time, I never considered why any of my friends wanted to play music. I assumed they were like me, but if they were they would have started a band before I did. I know now, they wanted to play music because I created a vision for our punk band and put everything I had into making that vision a reality.

Every time there was a new problem, we needed new gear, something would break, music didn’t work out, I’d step in to fix it. The band, and making good music, became a mild obsession of mine.

Even in this moment now, it is difficult to see the band outside of what were my own desires.

However, it was the vision of what could be and my determination to make it so, that drove my friends to help me create the band.

I began my life as an unconscious leader.

In the end, it took another 12 years before I finally understood why I have attracted people. That is when I became conscious.

Categories
Daily

2. Hazel, Green Eggs and Bacon

Below is a real story of everyday leadership. Its not glamorous. Its full of mistakes. But yet, it shows the results of being persistent and patient.

Hazel, the spunky three year old, decided that she no longer liked to eat eggs, even though she still wanted to raise chickens. One day she just up and decided “I don’t like them.”

This presented a problem for mom and dad as they wanted their child to eat more and grow strong, while using a plentiful resource.

One day, dad decided that this was going to be last time that Hazel avoided eating her eggs.

So Dad Took a Stand

“You’re not going to leave this breakfast table until you have eaten at least one spoonful of your eggs.”

Hazel, often the more emoting kind of child, began crying.

And thus began an hour long negotiations on eating eggs.

Lecturing a child almost never works to motivate. I say almost, because it appears that sometimes they give in and do what you want them mostly to stop hearing you lecture.

In this case mom and dad, mostly dad tried to lecture.

“This is why we call you skinny mini. You are skipping out on eating your eggs. If you eat your eggs you will be stronger.”

Hazel at this point decided to again cry and put her heard on the table, determined not to eat one spoonful of eggs.

It Turns Out Lecturing Doesn’t Work

Mom decided she was going to try and motivate.

“If you eat that spoonful of eggs, you can have this bacon.”

For just a moment, this looked like it might work. Hazel lifted her head said “I like bacon” and looked on to being given the bacon.

“You can have the bacon after eating the eggs.”

Nope. That didn’t work. Hazel returned to pouting and crying. So much so that Hazel worked herself up into gagging her food from earlier. Not a pretty picture.

Motivation Gets Momentum But its Not Always Enough

As dad sat and watched mom something began brewing inside. He decided that this whole situation was more than he could handle.

“OK, this is ridiculous. Eat your eggs, now. Its one spoonful, you need to grow up. When you get older you”ll have to deal with significantly more difficult situations than this. You used to eat eggs, so cut the game and do it.”

Again with the intense lecturing, something Hazel did not want to hear. So mom piped back in with a sweet voice.

“If you eat your eggs, you’ll be done. Can’t you eat just one little spoonful? Remember green eggs and ham? He didn’t want to eat his eggs too, and eventually he decided he’d try them and liked them!”

Hazel seemed to respond positively to the familiar story she knew well. But she didn’t take one step towards eating those eggs.

Ever hear of Good Cop – Bad Cop? It doesn’t work at the breakfast table.

You see, one of Hazel’s biggest three year old behaviors is resistance of control. If she wants to go where you’re going, then she’ll take it. If she, in that moment, has no desire for it, she is very resistant to giving in. In this moment, it was clear, she just does not want eggs.

“Go get me Green Eggs and Ham.” Dad said to mom.

Mom returned promptly with the Dr. Seuss book.

“Do you want me to read you Green Eggs and Ham?” Dad asked to Hazel.

She excitedly nodded yes and scooted in for a read.

Dad read through the book enthusiastically to build connection with his daughter, so she might “listen to reason” in the next round of negotiations.

Building connection brings people close enough to listen.

Hazel beamed with joy after being read the book “Green Eggs and Ham.” Dad decided to try something different rather than to get the child to eat that spoonful of eggs.

“Do you want scrambled eggs with Ketchup?”

“Yes! Yes!”

It would appear that Hazel would consider eating eggs after all, now that it wasn’t the dull eggs that had been sitting on her plate for 40 minutes.

“Will you eat them if I make them?” Dad started building commitment to eat the eggs.

“Yes I will!” Hazel replied.

Commitment is enough to get people moving.

Dad was influenced. He believed that Hazel would eat the eggs so long as he made them scrambled, and they had ketchup on it.

To build further commitment dad added.

“Hey go get the ketchup.”

“Ok!!!!” Hazel yelled out as she excitedly hopped up and went to the fridge.

The eggs were cooked. Hazel topped them with ketchup. Having felt that everything was in order dad walked away. After returning he inspected the plate to see if all the eggs had been eaten, or just maybe half. One look at the spoon told all.

Don’t walk away until you’ve seen actual progress. And then await a little longer.

“Hey! There are no eggs eaten here. You said that you would eat your eggs with ketchup. Here, eat at least this.”

Dad split the eggs into two sides of the plate.

Hazel agreed and started eating them. Dad, again, felt that everything was in the bag so he walked away. Upon returning, and inspecting yet another issue had come up.

Instead of eating them, she was putting them in her mouth, chewing them up, (possibly to eat just the ketchup) and spitting them out back on the plate.

“Hey!!! That’s not right, you need to actually eat them. Here eat these.” Dad put egg on the spoon and handed it to Hazel.

“Now don’t go spitting these out. Actually eat them.” Dad watched and was content with what he saw.

“Ok only a few more spoonfuls.”

Hazel complied and ate a few more.

Victory.

Persistence wins because “what works” is rarely just one thing, especially when influencing a tough character.

Hazel did eat that bacon…

Categories
Daily

1. Practice and Performance

We all ought to perform more rather than just practice.

We practice when we do an action when no one is looking. So we do everything multiple times “until its perfect”.

We perform when we do an action and others are watching us do it. Because people are watching, in real time, we know that we have to get it as best as possible in the moment.

We would like to think that there is a real distinction between practice and performance, but unfortunately that’s not true. The truth is, our entire life is performance.

Those who practice are perfectionists that don’t deliver.

Those who perform do what they say that they do.