Tag Archives: success

The Best Version of You (Update) | My 3rd Book

I have officially signed with Xlibris Publishing (The same Publisher I used for my 1st book, Crematory.) My new book is called:

The Best Version of You

Although the book is in the (publishing) production phase, it still could be 1-3 months before it is available. This process usually takes some time, due to the attention to detail aspect.

Note: The official cover will be released at a later date.

The Best Version of You is a Self-Help book designed to introduce new skills and concepts for anyone to use when theyโ€™re: facing adversity, feeling lost, out of focus, wanting to make changes in their life, or simply wanting to update themselves. We update our phones, our computers, and software but honestlyโ€”when is the last time we updated ourselves?

Own your happiness.

Books, currently available:

People Don’t Notice as Much as You Think They Do | Negative Self Image

Be honest: how many times have you thought to yourself, I look like a fool right now and people are laughing at me? If you’re anything like most of the people on this planet, this has probably happened to you at least 5-6 times. As much as we don’t like to admit, we are way too hard on ourselves (Negative Self Image) and we put words in other people’s mouths. (Mind Reading)

“They’re laughing at my shirt.”

“My coworkers think I’m an idiot.”

“The panel probably noticed when I accidentally used the wrong word during my interview.”

“Nobody trips over their own feet while working.”

These are just some of the examples of things people say to themselves. For some reason, people have a tendency to gravitate toward negative aspects of themselves. At least, what they believe to be negative.

Focus on what matters.

The truth is, 80% of the things you’re stressing or worrying about, other people don’t even notice. Why? Because they’re too busy stressing and worrying about themselves. People are not perfect. They’ve never been perfect and they never will be. Yet, our comparison trap leads us to believe they’re perfect and we’re insufficient. In fact, everything about us is subpar.

[Read more about the comparison trap in my upcoming book: The Best Version of You.]

“Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.” — Les Brown

Here are 3 things to help calibrate your thinking:

  1. Stop stressing. People honestly don’t notice when you say something wrong or trip over your own feet. If they do, that’s ok — they’ll eventually do the same thing.
  2. Stop overthinking and mind reading. Unless you have evidence to support your concern, stop overthinking and mind reading. For example: “John, I heard what you said and you sounded ridiculous.” Did they actually say that or do you think they said it? Information changes the situation. Ask yourself: What information do I have and what am I missing? Assumptions do not = reality.
  3. Focus on what matters. What people think of you should have no impact on your goals, daily activities, beliefs, and life in general. Worrying about other people is a waste of your valuable time. It serves no purpose and will simply elevate your stress. (You will catastrophize.) Focusing on what will create winning streaks is how you will take your life to the next level. Small things are the secret. Do the little things every single day.
What evidence do you have?

No matter how hard it gets, you have to keep moving forward. People are not thinking about you as much as you think — they’re honestly not. The more time you spend on trying to please them, the less time you’ll have to work on yourself.

Self Discipline vs Self Destruction

Self Discipline: Focus on yourself and ignore external noise.

Self Destruction: Focus on other people and listen/accept external and internal noise.

Social Media is Not Free

Social media has come a long way over the last 10+ years and it is an excellent way for us to connect with new people and reconnect with old friends. Especially because platform’s like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are free, right?

What if I told you they’re not free, would you disagree?

The fact is: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and even YouTube are technically free. However, if something is taking your time, it is actually costing you something. Usually, it is costing you valuable time that can be allocated toward more important things.

The Pew Research Center recently conducted an interesting survey about Social Media Use in 2018. I recommend you take some time to read about their findings: http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/

Pew Research Center

If the average person visits these sites each day, it makes you wonder: what are they not doing while navigating these sites? Obviously, we can’t make any assumptions about anyone because the “Information changes the situation” principle always applies. But we do know that what people do with their time always has a cost to it. Everyone has 2 choices when it comes to time and money:

  1. Be a producer
  2. Be a consumer

Unless people are operating an online business, chances are — they are a consumer while scrolling through the lives of other people on their timeline. It is perfectly normal and acceptable to be both. However, figuring out how to balance this can take some time. Meaning, you should probably spend more time on things that produce income for you, not Facebook and other people.

What can you do moving forward? Figure out how much time you want to spend on social media, when you want to spend that time, and what you want to spend the time on. For example: instead of watching YouTube videos about dancing cats, try finding self-help YouTube channels that can educate you on taking your life to the next level.

I also recommend turning off ALL of your smartphone notifications. Those notifications literally rob your attention every time they alarm, flash, or vibrate. Is a Facebook comment really worth you stopping what you’re doing? Try to train yourself to check your smartphone when you’re ready, not when Facebook or Twitter says you’re ready.

Don’t Apologize for Your Originality

Regardless if people disagree with your lifestyle, your hobbies, your likes, your dislikes, your character, and even if your personality — don’t you dare apologize for your originality. It doesn’t matter if you’re: a man, a woman, weird, popular, religious, an atheist, white, black, straight, LGBTQ, a hard worker, a lazy individual, short, or tall — you are unique.

Not a single human on this planet has the exact same thumbprint as you. They might be close but they’ll never be exactly like you.

That means you’re incredibly special. Yes, there will be days where you might question yourself and your purpose. You might have to make necessary changes and updates, depending on where you’re at in your life. However, those are usually just external things.

Stop letting the world stick a finger in your face and determine your value. You are a brilliant creation. This is your story and you need to be the only one that continues to write it.

Preparing for Life After the Military

In May of 2019, I will retire from the military. This will be the conclusion to a very important chapter of my life that started on 30 July, 1997.

3 uniforms during this journey. BDUs will always be my favorite.

This journey has been an amazing experience, specifically due to the people I’ve had the honor of serving with. Without these people, my experiences would not be the same and more than likely, I would forget about them.

McClain High School – Greenfield, Ohio

I joined the U.S. Army at the age of 18 and if I’m being honest, I was very naive about the real world. I grew up in a very small community so my perception of the world was very limited. I always remind myself: where you came from is extremely important but it doesn’t have anything to do with where you’re going.

I would love to list all the courses I attended during my 20+ years but I don’t want to bore people with the names of 50-60 courses. Instead, I will focus on the 2 courses that had a major impact in my life:

  1. SHARP Foundation Course
  2. Master Resilience Trainer (MRT)

Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC): Due to completing the SHARP Foundation Course, I eventually became the SARC for my Brigade, along with my role as a Victim Advocate (VA). I also perform advocacy for my Contingent SARN Advocate position (non-military). I’ve been working in this field for approximately 8 years. Equality is incredibly important to me and I hope to pass on this passion to my children.

2013 – Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month (SAAPM)

Master Resilience Trainer (MRT): Without question, this is the best course I’ve ever completed. Because of this course (certification) I’ve had the pleasure of certifying over 150 Resilience Trainer Assistants (RTA).

2015 – RTA Course

This training is a huge contributing factor to how I managed to turn my life around. I can’t wait to share some new processes that I created for my upcoming book: The Best Version of You. It will be finished in 2018 and will be my 3rd book. This will be my first Self Help book.

In conclusion: I want to thank everyone that has helped me along this journey. I never deployed to support Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) so to some people, my 20+ years might not mean very much. I believed that for almost 10 years.

But that’s not true. As a leader, my job was to take care of people regardless of the location. Therefore, I still contributed to the Army’s mission. I do not regret anything about my career because everything contributed to the person I am today. For that, I love the military and I will truly miss it and the amazing people.

People Hire You | Not Your Resume

Spending most of your time preparing your resume does not compensate for your lack of social skills. A company wants you to tell them why you’re the best qualified person for the position, not read about it. Your bio does not illustrate your value, you do. Plus, companies buy paper, they don’t hire it. They hire you.

Is your resume important? Absolutely. It is a quick way for employers to categorize people they believe have the potential to fulfill the vacancy.

“This young lady has a history of public speaking, that is a plus for what we’re looking for.” (They will still require evidence of this skill.)

“This man hasn’t worked in over five months, this makes me question his work ethic so we’ll cross him off the list.” (Even if this not true, the perception tells a different story and the company is not willing to waste their time.)

You definitely want to make sure you annotate accurate information that can tell your story, without you being present. Remember, this is just the introduction. You must be prepared to verbally convey the next couple of chapters of your story during the interview process. “Sir, let me tell you about the course I facilitated for thirty-five people.”

Your social skills are the number one selling point for you during the interview process. If you annotate something on your resume and you’re not prepared to talk about it, why did you annotate it? If an employer asks you, “I see you were employed at XYZ company for five months. Can you tell me why you decided to leave that company after a short period of time?”

This is not an opportunity for you to say, “They didn’t see my full potential and I just couldn’t work for a company that doesn’t show me respect.” When you reference negativity to justify leaving a former position, you are telling this company you will do the same thing if you’re not happy with the environment, there. This will usually eliminate any possibility of you being hired for the position.

You need to learn how to respond to all forms of questions. In the same scenario, this would be a better response, “I really enjoyed working for that company but I was presented with an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.” Even if you were not happy in the position, there’s no reason to introduce it into the conversation. Employers want to know you’re professional and capable of adapting to adversity. Why? Because they are focused on the future of the company. When you’re not able to adapt to adversity, you don’t grow. When you don’t grow, the company you work for does not grow, either.

“Bob, your resume referenced that you have facilitated several courses for the ABC company. Can you tell us about your experience as a facilitator and how you prepare yourself?” (This is an opportunity for you to sell yourself.)

“Yes, being a facilitator is a passion of mine. I have been doing it for ten years and I feel that I’m very good at it. I could have easily stopped learning how to be an effective facilitator after completing my training. However, I have continued to sharpen my skills by reading, listening to, and watching videos on how to become a better facilitator. I recognize that how I led a course in 2017 might not be the most productive way to lead the same course in 2018. Why? People change and in order for me to be effective, I have to change with them.”

“Regardless of how many times I’ve led a particular course, I always prepare my notes, video presentations, PowerPoint slides, and breakout sessions at least two to three weeks out so I have plenty of time to rehearse. Money is time, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. If they are attending one of my courses, they deserve to get the best training possible.”

To some, this might be overselling yourself. Be honest though, would you rather undersell yourself? How is this company going to recognize your potential if you’re not telling them enough information? This example demonstrated you’re able to think outside of the box and you’re constantly adapting to change. This tells the interviewer, “I can adapt to whatever direction this company is going.”

It is also very important for you to make eye contact with the person asking you questions. Eye contact helps convey authenticity. If you’re not able to look at your potential employer, how can this company trust you’ll be able to look at its customers? Plus, looking away demonstrates self doubt and possible deception. Employers that are skilled in non-verbal cues will easily pick up on this.

Verbal-and-non-verbal-communication-during-job-interviews

Other Examples:

Leaning back in your chair – “I want out of this interview as fast as possible.”

Shifting your feet toward the exit – Again, “I want out of this room.”

Covering your mouth when you speak – “I’m not sure about my answer or I’m probably lying to you about my previous work history.”

Rubbing the back of your neck – “I’m uncomfortable with this question or topic.”

Crossing your arms across your chest – “I am guarding myself because I’m uncomfortable with my environment, I’m being deceitful, or I am arrogant and you’re wasting my time with these particular questions.”

Bottom line: Companies are looking for people that can produce results. Annotating your qualifications in a Microsoft Word document is only a small percentage of you landing a job. Double-down on your social skills and rehearse as much as possible. I can’t even count how many times people have told me, “I’m not good at speaking in front of people. I get too nervous and don’t know what to do.”

My response, “Do you actually get out and try it?”

“No, I’m not good at it.”

“That’s why you’re not good at it.”

People forget that nothing beats experience. You can read all day about how to do something but until you apply what you’ve learned via action, you’ll never be good at it. Steve Jobs was terrible at public speaking in his earlier years. But people forget about that because they just remember how skilled he was before he passed away. He could have landed any job he wanted based on his social skills. It takes patience and consistent action.

Good luck.

Your Past is your Advantage

Most of us want to be the person we needed as a child. By doing so, it helps us cope with the things we struggled with during a particular chapter in our life. It doesn’t erase it but does effectively use the pain as an instrument for change.

What you need to remind yourself: If the people in your life would have been what you wanted them to be, you would not be the person you are, today.

“I wish you would have been a better friend/sibling/parent.”

“I needed your help, and you weren’t there for me.”

“Why didn’t you warn me about life’s major obstacles?”

Don’t allow your mind to be your personal prison.

What you need to understand: Your past set you on a course for your present and your future. Meaning, your past is your advantage and you must learn to use it strategically. You can’t change the past but you can certainly write your future.

“History is being read but it’s also being written by people with imagination.”

– Les Brown

“Your absence helped me grow and begin to understand how to operate, independently.”

“Yes, I wish you would have been there to teach me; however, I learned a valuable skill that will set me up for success.”

“By not warning me, I developed situational awareness and now understand how to mitigate risks.”

Pay it forward.

Learning how to strategically use your past to your advantage, will ultimately set you up to win. Instead of running from your past, you must learn to embrace the skills and experience it facilitated.

Your perspective is the key. How you look at things, will always change the game.

How do you see the world?

Be honest with yourself: How do you see the world? Do you see the world through your eyes or do you see the world through the filter society has constructed for you?

How you see the world: Seeing the world through your eyes allows you to produce an opinion or interpretation based on your values. This is the: Eyesight vs Mindsight battle.

  1. Eyesight: Judging according to appearances. She is pretty. That car looks brand new. This building is huge. He is very tall.
  2. Mindsight: How you interpret what you see. She is pretty but doesn’t look very happy. I wonder if she is struggling with this class? That car looks brand new, I bet the owner takes extra care in all the little details that the average person doesn’t consider.

Example of how this works:

Friend 1: “Wow look, this conference is offering free food.”

Friend 2: “Yeah but look at that line.”

Friend 1: “Free food is worth it, though.”

Friend 2: “Nah, that line is way too long for me.”

Friend 1 was focused on the fact that the conference had free food. He wasn’t worried about the line, especially since it was free. Friend 2 had tunnel vision on the line of people and not the food. It makes you wonder, what else holds back Friend 2 based on his filter?

How you see the world through the filter society has constructed for you: We are a visual society, especially due to social media and advertisements. Social media will tell you, You should look like this woman. What they’re not telling you: someone took 50+ photos of her and used software to enhance her features. Now, she looks amazing. You think to yourself, She looks great and I don’t. What am I doing wrong?

How many filters are used to produce this image?

Social media, advertisements, the media, and people in general are programming us to see the world through filters. Why be authentic when there’s an app for that?

They are also programming you to conform to stereotypes. “We don’t like this particular group. Therefore, if you want to be like us, you need to share the same beliefs.” What happens next? When you see the particular group, you turn on the filter that’s been programmed. (A filter that you agreed to.)

Slow down and appreciate what’s real and not what you believe to be real.

At the end of the day, you are responsible for how you see the world. Before you judge, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What information do I have to support my judgement, based on what they eyes are seeing? Information changes the situation.
  2. Am I making assumptions?
  3. Am I fighting confirmation bias?
  4. Is this my opinion or am I judging him/her based on the filters I’ve adopted?
  5. Am I being authentic?
  6. Am I jealous or envious?

Are you a Resilient Person or an Energy Drainer?

How do you respond to adversity? Are you a Resilient person or an Energy Drainer?

Are you Resilient or an Energy Drainer?

Resilient People: Are capable of bouncing back, in the face of adversity. When life is not going as planned, they make adjustments and keep moving forward. Quitting, is not an option.

Resilient people have the ability to push themselves way beyond their breaking point.

Resiliency, is a skill. It requires hours, days, months, and sometimes, years of experience before it is achievable. Make no mistake, being resilient doesn’t mean you are invincible. Everything still has a breaking point. You must learn how to identify when you are approaching that phase.

Resilient people understand how to deal with their FEAR.

  • F – Face
  • E – Everything
  • A – And
  • R – Rise

Energy Drainers: Are toxic people that focus on one thing – negativity. They are incapable of seeing the positive side of their situation. They blame other people for their circumstances.

Energy Drainers only focus on what can go wrong.

They refuse to take ownership of their problems because in their eyes, they’ve done nothing wrong. “This is your fault, not mine.” Little do they realize, when they’re pointing one finger, three are pointing back at them.

Fear is a huge contributing factor to their attitude and negativity. They do the exact opposite of Resilient People.

  • F – Forget
  • E – Everything
  • A – And
  • R – Run

Moving forward, how will you respond to adversity? Which method of FEAR will determine your response?

“You cannot climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.”

– Arnold Schwarzenegger