Your Mindset is the Key to Your Success

Your Mindset is the Key to Your Success

Just a friendly reminder.

On the totem pole of priorities in achieving personal success, action ranks number three.

Conversations rank number two.

Mindset ranks number one.

And mindset isn’t about developing a will of steel.

It’s about looking at a person, event, or circumstance, which are inherently neutral, and saying, “I don’t know how, but this is going to work out in my favor. I don’t know why, but this is good.”

And when you do that, the universe responds in kind. It’s the mirror principle.

Want to work on your mindset?

Then watch this video via Quazi Johir:

4 Books I’m Reading Right Now

4 Books I’m Reading Right Now

How much reading do you do?

What books are you reading right now that are making a difference for you?

As with Ryan Holiday and Ayodeji Awosika, I take the stance that reading is important work. It’s like a job. A non-negotiable. Something you must do as a creative or creator, whether it’s to find inspiration, improve your writing, generate ideas, or discover worthy and applicable strategies and tactics for life and business.

I don’t think it’s necessary to read one book at a time, or even feel obligated to finish a book you’ve started (though I generally do). If a book isn’t quite what I expected, I tend to skim most of it instead of trying to comb through it word for word. There are some books I almost gave up on that got good in the middle or towards the end, contrary to what I’ve heard some gurus say.

Reading is where – more than anything else – inspiration happens for me. And that makes it a worthy addition to my life. Some say they don’t read, and I think that’s fine too. What I do know is that reading develops the tenacity and persistence required to be successful in any area of life, just as learning an instrument does.

Here’s what I’m reading right now:

1. The Road Less Stupid by Keith J. Cunningham

Ever notice how the quality of questions you ask guide your life?

This is obviously true in every area of life, but where The Road Less Stupid shines is specifically in entrepreneurship. And there isn’t a shortage of powerful questions here.

And just in case you’re tempted to go and buy books by the likes of Tony Robbins and Peter Drucker (because they are masters at self-diagnosis), it’s clear Cunningham took inspiration from the greats while forming the many, many questions posed in this book.

Even if you’ve been reading about entrepreneurship for a long time, you’re bound to have some “aha” moments while digging into this resource.

If there’s a downside, it’s the sheer length of the book. This is an advantage as much as it is a disadvantage, I suppose, but if I’m looking to apply what I learn from a book, its length seems to factor heavily into application.

By the end of a book like Launch by Jeff Walker, my head was swimming. I lost the steps to the method by the time I had made it through the word salad that was supposed to offer more clarity and direction for the reader.

I have been keeping notes on The Road Less Stupid, and I’m nearly 50% of the way through, but I’m afraid it will be one of those books who will only ever be applied piecemeal by me – never holistically.

Check out this book (affiliate link)

2. Reality Transurfing. Steps I-V by Vadim Zeland

Okay, so is there any merit to the Law of Attraction? We’ve all heard about Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, maybe even took it a step further with Abraham-Hicks. But is Law of Attraction real? How does it work anyway?

Well, turns out The Secret is kind of like the watered down, easy to understand, kindergarten version of the Law of Attraction. Reality Transurfing is a detailed guide to the nuances and subtleties that make it work. And it is heavily intellectual.

Reader be forewarned – this is a tome if there ever was one. It’s not some rehash of The Secret, or any of its bandwagon proponents. It’s the advanced, bootcamp guide to reality and how you can shift to different lifelines (thus transurfing).

Whether you read it, believe it, or apply it is entirely up to you. It struck me as interesting after watching numerous Quazi Johir videos, which is why I picked it up for myself.

Check out this book (affiliate link)

3. Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? by Seth Godin

Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? is a compilation of some of his best blog posts from 2006 to 2012. And again, it’s a tome if there ever was one.

For me, it’s essential reading because I’ve been thinking about compiling my blog posts and turning them into a book as well. My book wouldn’t be quite as cogent as Godin’s book, I think, because sometimes I talk specifically to musicians rather than more broadly to creatives and creators. But I don’t necessarily think that should stop me. Anyway, for me, this is like going to school on how to craft a book that, in a way, is all over the place.

What I like about Whatcha Gonna Do is that many of the blog posts are short and easy to consumed. They are all self-contained thoughts that fit nicely into the broader theme of the book.

Of course, every thought has the potential to be life-changing, which is one of the things many people have found to be so challenging about reading Godin’s blog.

Check out this book (affiliate link)

4. Magnetic Micro-Books by Nate Fancher

I got connected to Nate Fancher on Twitter, and I couldn’t possibly call that an accident. Here’s someone who obviously had a direct line to my current struggles in entrepreneurship and life (because he’s been there), and his book, Magnetic Micro-Books expresses it well.

The idea immediately resonated with me, because I have produced a few of my own micro-books and they have sold reasonably well, while helping me gain broader access to my target audience.

But I can see that Magnetic Micro-Books would be taking it a few big steps forward. Just from reading the opening chapters, I’m clear that I have some serious soul searching to do, and some deeper questions to gain clarity on.

I don’t have any feedback on whether the method works, as I’m just getting started with this book. But suffice it to say, I’m looking for an open block in my schedule to work through the key questions presented in this book.

Check out this book

Final Thoughts

Do you have any book recommendations? What books have you read that have made a difference for you?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

For more inspiration, be sure to sign up for my email list.

How to Crush Your 2021 Goals

How to Crush Your 2021 Goals

Once you’ve set your goals, you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to accomplish them.

In this guide, I share multiple steps you can take to ensure that what matters gets done in 2021.

But think of it like a buffet. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Here’s what to do to ensure you make monumental progress this year.

Determine Your Focus(es)

After over three decades on this planet, I am only now beginning to recognize that I am not a monomaniac. I admire those who are, as well as their accomplishments.

I, on the other hand, thrive on multitasking and engaging in several projects simultaneously. I’ve tried doing it the other way, and to my surprise, it left me feeling sad.

So, do what feels right for you. But make sure you have a focus (or multiple focuses, as the case might be). If you don’t, you will start many projects but finish none.

Get into the publishing habit and you will win 2021.

Work Backwards

Take a moment and envision everything you’d love to accomplish in 2021. Then, begin to work backwards and figure out what actions you need to take today to bring about that result.

I remember sharing this with a showing agent who had never heard of this approach before. It kind of blew her mind.

Although crude, it’s that old saying:

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Although I forget the source, apparently actor Will Smith’s secret to success is biting off more than he can chew, and chewing until it’s digested.

There are little things you can do today to work towards desired outcomes. Start making time for them. Put them in your schedule. And be realistic about the amount of time and effort it’s going to take.

Which brings me to…

Schedule it in

If you don’t schedule it in, it doesn’t exist!

Don’t leave things floating around in your mind. Ideas should be captured. Goals should be written down. Priorities should be scheduled.

Don’t leave things floating around in your mind. Ideas should be captured. Goals should be written down. Priorities should be scheduled. Click To Tweet

In 2019, I earned my location and time independence. But in 2020, I quickly discovered that having nothing in my calendar was kind of sad.

If I had something in my calendar to look forward to, I felt happier overall.

Bottom line – your goals will not take care of themselves. Document them, organize them, review them, and most importantly, schedule them in.

Ask for Help

As noted, I thrive on a full schedule with a variety of projects. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t menial, time sucking tasks I’d rather hand off.

These include:

  • Proofreading, editing, formatting, and scheduling posts in WordPress
  • My podcast – editing, show notes and transcriptions, uploading MP3s to Amazon S3, lead magnets, formatting, scheduling in WordPress, syndication, and distribution
  • Keeping websites up to date, including SEO

If these tasks were off my plate, I’d be able to focus more on the creative aspects of what I do and spend more time generating business.

I’m preaching at myself more than anyone else. Getting help and hiring can be hard, but that shouldn’t stop you from speculating on possibilities for collaboration.

Systemize

Whether in your creative or business efforts, if your work isn’t systemized, you’re basically flying by the seat of your pants. Another term for this is “total chaos.”

If your projects are small and manageable, and you find your work fulfilling, and you intend to keep things that way, then perhaps there is no value in systemization. Otherwise, there is.

I’ve written a helpful post on how to create systems on a creative, so if you’ve never done this before, and don’t know how, it’s worth a peek.

But whether it’s organizing your schedule, using a scheduling tool (like Calendly) to book your meetings, automating your social media posting, or otherwise, you can benefit a great deal from simple, basic systems that tame the chaos.

You can do a lot with a tool like Zapier. I’ve known about this tool for a long time, but I’m just beginning to recognize the possibilities.

At times, it may seem as though there’s nothing more uncreative than making systems but trust me when I say anyone with ambition will benefit from them.

Embrace Minimum Viable

In an earlier post, I shared about how minimum viable products can help you overcome perfectionism.

Personally, when I don’t insist on perfection, I seem to make more progress faster.

For example, when building a new website, it would be easy to fuss over the logo, fonts, color scheme, placement of elements, and so on.

But if you just start blocking everything in and worry about the finer details later, you’d be able to bring your website to market faster.

And in most cases, that is more advantageous to you, since the website could be up working for you, helping you get traffic, leads, business, and so on, sooner.

Start with wireframes or low-resolution versions of your product and start getting feedback right away. Add the icing later, after you’ve generated interest in your creation.

Follow Inspiring, Knowledgeable People

Curate your social media feeds. Start muting those who add no value to you and instead start listening to – and interacting with – those who inspire you.

If you humble yourself, you will quickly discover there’s always more to learn. And when you follow inspiring people, it will change the way you think. You will become a possibility thinker!

The late Dr. Schuller has a book called Move Ahead with Possibility Thinking. And while it rooted in Biblical ideas, regardless of your faith or persuasion, it’s worth a read. If I’m not mistaken, David J. Schwartz talked about it in The Magic of Thinking Big (affiliate link) as well.

You will know when you’re thinking big because your ideas will seem uncomfortable, but they will also actively excite you beyond measure.

You will know when you’re thinking big because your ideas will seem uncomfortable, but they will also actively excite you beyond measure. Click To Tweet

Unsubscribe

Is inbox zero just a dream? Do you find your inbox get cluttered overnight?

There’s a good chance you’re subscribed to too many newsletters and email lists.

I recently heard SuperFastBusiness founder James Schramko say that even if you get someone to handle your email for you, chances are they won’t do it perfectly.

Suggesting that email is your responsibility, and you should be the one to handle it!

But make sure your process is clear and simple. Know which emails to respond to, which to delete, and which to unsubscribe from.

(By the way, I used to believe in putting some emails in another category – later. The problem is I never get around to them. Perhaps later should not be a category.)

If you do this, your inbox will become much quieter and more manageable.

Eliminate

You will not crush your goals in 2021 by adding more to your to-do list or schedule. Ruthlessly eliminate anything that’s not in complete alignment with your focus or focuses.

Ruthlessly eliminate anything that’s not in complete alignment with your focus or focuses. Click To Tweet

Many entrepreneurs, like Quazi Johir, say they set out to accomplish three to five things per day, ignoring all else. Of course, knowing which three to five things to focus on is critical!

Do you find yourself trying to finish 10 to 20 things per day? Maybe it’s time to prioritize your list and make time for the few key things that will move the needle on your career or business.

Spend Less Time Watching the News (Unless it’s Part of Your Job)

Whether we like to admit it or not, 2020 is the year many of us spent glued to the tube.

And even if it wasn’t the tube, it was Flipboard, or YouTube, or Facebook. We kept an eye on the headlines, worried about what might happen next.

I don’t think 2021 is going to be any different. It will probably get worse before it gets better.

You should stay up to date, but not to the detriment of your mental and emotional health, which always ends up impacting your physical health too. Think of it this way – if you can’t sleep because of your worries, your physical health is already suffering.

Many people will say 2020 was a year unlike any other (because it’s a theme that’s been repeated in the media), but when you take a cold, hard look at the facts, it was a year much like any other. So, all that worrying was for nothing.

If you want to crush your goals, focus on them instead!

Follow Your Heart

When goal setting is a slog…

Planning seems like a chore…

And being in action only leads to frustration…

Remember ONE thing – your heart has the answers.

If something does not inspire you, motivate you, or excite you, it could be of some benefit, but it probably won’t yield huge results.

Now, I’m not talking about exercise or other habits that you may not want to do but benefit you anyway.

I’m talking about your projects and focuses. If they don’t make you want to jump out of bed every morning, they should at least prompt you to conscious and deliberate action. Otherwise, you’re off course and should reconsider.

Final Thoughts

Setting goals is great. But you must put some action behind them if you want to reach them.

Thinking, reflecting, and planning are all critical to your success. But all things being equal, action always carries more benefit. So, this year, develop a bias towards action!

All things being equal, action always carries more benefit. So, this year, develop a bias towards action! Click To Tweet

What are you doing to ensure you reach your 2021 goals?

Let me know in the comments.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.

Get your copy of The Music Entrepreneur Code.

3 Ways to Stop Frustration & Keep Growing Your Business

3 Ways to Stop Frustration & Keep Growing Your Business

I earned my degree in Frustration and Disappointment at the School of Hard Knocks.

So, for all those times frustration starts to rear its ugly head, I’ve begun developing a set of tools to stop frustration in its tracks so I can keep growing as a creative and creator.

Because growth doesn’t seem to happen when you’re caught in the pendulum of frustration. So, more action rarely if ever solves the issue at hand.

It’s your mindset that needs to shift. It doesn’t always take much to produce that shift but depending on how deeply embedded you are in the frustration cycle it may take something.

Here are several tools you will find useful in dealing with frustration.

1. Review Your Data

Frustration generally occurs when something we’re doing doesn’t seem to be working. But under the guise of productivity and hustle, we tend to bite off more than we can chew.

And no creative or creator likes to be told they are biting off more than they can chew. Ever.

But let’s look at the facts. You’re probably wasting more time on scanning the news, social media, games, and other distractions than you even realize.

It’s fine to have planned time for little diversions in your day. I think it’s important to get up from your desk, walk around, go to the bathroom, have something to eat, meditate, read, and so on.

But if a lot of your time is going towards tasks that don’t move the needle on your project, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that you’re getting nowhere, and therefore frustrated.

And some of the reasons we end up tending towards those low value tasks is because we’re bored, tired (you need rest and sleep to perform at your best), worried, and so forth.

So, I’d suggest reviewing your data. If you’re just getting started, you may not have months or years’ worth of data, but that’s okay.

If, for example, you’ve been blogging on Medium for a few weeks, you can probably see that a few of your stories are getting more traffic than most. And that means you should do more of what’s working, instead of wasting time on what isn’t.

The point is this:

No matter what your project is, there are tasks in your day that deliver disproportionate results. You’ve got to focus on those. Review your data for actionable insights.

No matter what your project is, there are tasks in your day that deliver disproportionate results. You’ve got to focus on those. Click To Tweet

2. Take a Break

Resting. Relaxing. Chilling. Sleeping. Taking a break.

These are all four-letter words among creators and creatives.

Yet, it has been my experience that there is immense value in taking a break, long or short. I recently shared about my two weeks in Vernon as well as the lessons I learned while spending time resting, reading, thinking, and reflecting.

Ask business coach Quazi Johir. He will echo these sentiments.

Before leaving for Vernon, I was in a major frustration cycle. There was no growth in my business and everything I was doing wasn’t working. More actions weren’t resulting in desired outcomes.

By the time I returned, I saw that my email list was growing again. I also started making more affiliate sales and my books started selling too. All without lifting a finger. I made no changes to my business whatsoever.

I’m not here to tell you that it’s all about positive thinking. That some magical force will come to your aid if you focus on how you’re feeling.

But if you understand the mirror principle, you know that your internal world is always reflected in your outer world. It’s as if wearing yellow glasses. The entire world will appear yellow until you take the glasses off.

Meaning – if you focus on negative, you will only see more negative.

If you focus on negative, you will only see more negative. Click To Tweet

It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s important to take a break occasionally. By doing so, you can stop frustration dead in its tracks.

3. Have Fun

I don’t know anyone who starts a project hoping it will turn into a grind. But for better or for worse, big projects can easily become that.

Whether it’s writing a book, recording an album of music, working on a collection of paintings or otherwise.

It can be frustrating when things don’t go as planned, when they take longer than expected, when they don’t produce desired outcomes, and so forth.

Some of this will naturally fall away as you work on more and more projects. You’ll begin to expect the little twists and turns that inevitably show up.

But I rarely go into any major undertaking expecting that everything will go smoothly anymore.

I’ve found that while you’re busy chopping the carrots, the water in the saucepan overflows.

In other words, while you’re engaged in your projects, something else will go wrong – your health, your relationships, your finances, or something else. It seems to happen like clockwork.

You’ve still got to trust that you’re on the best path to completion, because chances are, you are. It’s just that the road you’re on, as with every other road, has obstacles.

Regardless of what you’re facing, if you want to get out of a frustration cycle, get back to the joy of creating. If there is no joy in it, you probably won’t make much progress. But if you start having more fun, things will come together as if by magic.

If you want to get out of a frustration cycle, get back to the joy of creating. Click To Tweet

Frustration, Final Thoughts

If you’re feeling frustrated, you don’t want to stay there. Which isn’t to say you should try to counteract it by force either.

You’ve got to learn to let go. Sometimes that’s the only way to get out of the swing of a pendulum.

Also remember – you may not be able to get out of a frustration cycle instantly. It may take some time. So, try to exercise patience.

Did you find this helpful? How do you cope with frustration?

Let me know in the comments below.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.

Get your copy of The Music Entrepreneur Code.