vigorground

Functional Training Centre

99 LESSONS TO INVIGORATE YOUR LIFE

Every now and again I get this uncontrollable feeling inside of me where I just have to sit down and write an article like this.

I can’t explain it.

I believe part of it is because it’s time to write this to myself.

You see I read around 2 books a week and have for over 5 years now (before it was one a week for 6 years), I’m in multiple masterminds and attend at least a dozen seminars a year (either speaking, learning, or both).

All of this for the pursuit of expansion, the pursuit of becoming a better human being in all areas of my life; I call this Eternal Expansion which I learned from one of my coaches Garrett J. White.

That’s a lot of information. As we all know, information means nothing without application.

And information + application = transformation (or at least wisdom, which ends up turning into transformation somewhere down the line).

[^^^ write that formula down, as it will serve you well if you follow it in life.]

I don’t remember and apply everything, far from it. But I take note and do the things that most resonate with me.

Many times I fall down on my face, I get back up, I forget and stop to do things that would be good for myself and others, I mess up, I make it right, I repeat it.

This is called learning. This is called life.

I’d say that I’ve done more dumb shit in my life than just about anyone. Most of it was because I was taking action and trying to discover who I am, what I want and what I’m capable of (today, I see this as a good thing while for awhile I beat myself up about it).

But through it all I stay aware, or should I say, I surround myself with mentors and coaches that keep me aware (when I don’t do it myself).

Awareness precedes change.

So here I am, keeping myself aware and sharing with you some lessons that can change your life.

Cliché?

Maybe. But it doesn’t mean it’s not true. Just know that it won’t happen if you don’t apply these consistently over time so it is not just what you do but who you become!

The only thing that matters is that we are growing and expanding and that we’re ruthlessly committed to getting better (not just saying it but showing it with effort) – so rather than me “telling” you this, I’m sharing it with you as I’m on this journey with you.

Why?

Because a real coach is like a guide, helping you discover and see places within you (that you haven’t acknowledged). Like an amazing café that you walk by every day but never notice and go in even though it may be an amazing experience you’d enjoy and want to make a habit. Or a skill-set that you have forgot about and loved doing but the “Should’s” of your society, environment, culture, community made you feel like it was wrong and made you fear it– so you never explored it further (knowing deep down you love it).

So a coach guides you and walks with you side-by-side through your journey, sometimes jumping ahead to lead you, sometimes going behind to push you, but most of the time standing by your side.

So think of this as me coaching you, standing by your side and making you aware of some lessons that can change your life.

We’re on this journey together.

And remember, these are in no particular order and more or less spewing out of me; some are shorter, some are longer, but they all matter. I’ve learned these lessons through trial and error, pain, struggles, mentors and coaches, and everything in between.

The thing I remind myself every morning is that the moment you forget you are a student, is the moment you cease being a master. I will continue to learn the lessons that I share through living them…

#1.

Be real and tell the truth. First tell the truth to yourself about yourself. Then tell the truth about yourself to others. Only after that tell the truth about others to them!

There is nothing as painful….and yet as liberating as getting real with yourself. To know that you can stand in the truth, no matter what it is and commit to changing where you are – is powerful beyond measure.

No more anxiety of hiding things, telling lies, or giving “reasons” of why something can’t be, the false-ego trying to protect itself from being vulnerable, open. The people you love knowing that whatever it is that you do or say, that they can rest assured that you’re real, raw, honest and committed to expanding.

I shot this video a while back after I went to Warrior Week and although facing the truth was one of the hardest things in my life, it was the best thing I could have ever done.

** This is an ongoing process to tell the truth in all areas of your life, not a one-time thing. Make it a value, a non-negotiable!

#2.

If you really want to be the best version of yourself always, always, always take 100% responsibility for anything that happens to you.

When you take responsibility, you step into your power as you acknowledge that you can change your reality.

Will shit happen that you can’t control? Of course.

But when you take responsibility you also determine that you can respond however you choose and not have the attitude of “oh, this was the hand I was dealt.”

#3.

Fall in love with the process. Fall in love with your work. Part of meaning in life is connected to what you do to create. Your work (in whatever it is you want to achieve).

If you constantly attach happiness to “when I get there” you’ll always feel the gap of where you are and where you want to be. Yes, you should set goals but then you should also remind yourself what you have done!

If you don’t do that you’re always chasing the next goal and not enjoying the process of what you’re creating. There’s so much pressure that you put on yourself when you’re always chasing the elusive “end goal”, while there is excitement with the challenge of mastering what you do, with creating, with being in love with the process.

If you every get stressed out about being stuck, watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

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#4.

Don’t confuse activity with achievement and progress. Being busy doesn’t mean making progress.

Matter of fact, I realized time and effort don’t equal results.

Results equal results.

Look at the reality of your life and it will tell you whether you need to change something.

Results don’t lie.

#5.

Contribution is one of the highest forms of fulfillment.

Give. Every day.

Create. Give some more.

Then give some more. And then create some more.

When you’re down, when you’re hurt, when you feel like there is no way out. Create and give – it will help you heal.

It’s been one of the things that have helped me come out from the darkest parts of my life.

#6.

We miss so many things every day because we’re stressed about the pains of the past and anxious about the worries of the future.

The uncertainty of what’s to come.

Yet life is lived here, now. That’s really all there is. When tomorrow comes it will be…..today.

I remind myself with a big Buddha tattoo on my forearm, for Buddha reminds me that “do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”               

What reminds you to be present?   

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#7.

What stands between you and your goals and desires in life is behavior.

I’ll even get geeky with it and give you a formula:

YOU ➔  CHOICE (decision) + BEHAVIOR (action) + HABIT (repeated action) + COMPOUNDED = ACHIEVING GOALS!

It’s that simple. And that hard.

Something I recommend is to take on LESS and do it consistently before taking on more.                                   

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#8.

Live below your means. Avoid all debt – most things, if you can’t pay in full, don’t buy it (there are exceptions of investments and business ventures you believe in and are willing to hustle your balls of to make them happen). Let your thrill be in accomplishments, not in the toys you can suddenly afford on credit.

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In the above case I did get a loan and invested in my dream/vision of buying a building that has Vigor Ground in it, along with physical therapy, recovery room, Fit Bar cafe and other complimentary businesses that help people transform (not to mention other tenants).

This is “good debt”, as it generates incomes, rather than “bad debt” of buying more cars, things, or even a personal home (which is an expense with no income).

#9.

Put aside a healthy pile of “[email protected]*k You” money so you can walk away from any situation you don’t like, and know you’ll survive (Best: Put a year’s worth of cash into a safe deposit box. Don’t invest it. Cash; in twenties and hundreds).

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#10.

The professional lives in the present.

The amateur spends his time in the past and future. He permits himself to fear and hope.  

The professional has taught himself to banish these distractions.

This is a skill-set.

It goes for personal happiness and work success. I’ve said it before and you’ll probably see me say it again.

** just to let you know – I’m in no way present all the time and pretending like I have mastered it. What I can say is that improving this has changed my life

#11.

When you stress out and life gets crazy, remember it will all be over soon anyways (life is short).

My friend has a tattoo on his fingers that says “This. Too. Shall. Pass.”

So whenever times are hard, remember it will pass. Whenever times are great, they shall pass too, so enjoy them and appreciate them to the fullest.

#12.

Pursue goals that aren’t about the money: love, mastery in something you enjoy (if this is your skill in your work, cool – that’s what it is for me), education, etc.

When you do that you’ll be able to work longer, more engaged, with more gusto, which will lead to more success in your field.

#13.

I learned this from Steven Pressfield….

I clearly realize my life in two parts – one part before I turned “pro”, the second one after I turned pro.

I didn’t change after I turned pro, nor did I achieve some enlightenment. I’m the same person I always was, I still have weaknesses, faults and I’m far from perfect. But things are different since I turned pro….

….my life is not dominated by fear and resistance anymore (or should I say nearly as much). Before, we live in a state of denial and we deny the voices inside of us that lead us to our purpose, our calling. That fear and resistance makes us deny who we really are.

We’re running from our fear into an addiction or a shadow career (and may times pretend that it’s “good enough” while living a life of quiet desperation)

What changes when we turn pro is we stop running.

Be brave, my heart [wrote the poet and mercenary Archolcus]. Plant your feet and square your shoulders to the enemy. Meet him among the man-killing spears. Hold your ground.

When we turn pro, we stop running from our fears. We turn around and we face them.

For me, I turned pro and shed much of my past when I stepped into Warrior Week.

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#14.

Fix what you break and watch your patna’s back!

#15.

Stop making excuses! It doesn’t matter how much “the system” or your parents or whoever else messed up your head. You’re old enough to rewrite your story and make a change. Nothing will change until you do. It’s an “inside job”

#16.

To touch on what I said above. No matter what you say you want, if you’ve got an underlying subconscious belief that it’s going to cause you pain or it’s not available to you, you either:

  1. Won’t let yourself have it, or
  2. You will let yourself have it, but you’ll be real messed up about it. And then you’ll go off and lose it anyway.

So in this scenario:

Conscious mind: I want to lose 25 pounds

Subconscious mind: People aren’t safe, I’ll get hurt, I must build a shield to protect myself.

Body: A fortress of fat.

Or….

Conscious mind: I want to travel the world

Subconscious mind: Fun = irresponsible = I won’t be loved

Passport: Blank

This means that the most important thing you can do it inquire about your subconscious beliefs and explore how they got there. Then it’s time to question whether they serve you. If not, let them go and suspend disbelief to give space to something better.

So, do your beliefs serve your vision and dreams?

#17.

Travel and hang out in odd places before spending money on houses and cars. Buy time, use it. Live before you settle down (maybe we should never truly settle down…who says so?)

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#18.

Read a lot. “About what Luka?”

About things you want to get better at.

About revelations from people that had/have wisdom.

About mistakes people have made so you don’t have to repeat them.

About training, nutrition, mindset, lifestyle.

About marketing, persuasion, sales, influence.

Things to spark your imagination and creativity.

Fiction for fun and to help you write better.

And….whatever else.

Remember, don’t believe everything you read but also don’t just read everything you believe. Keep an open mind.

Then…..drum roll…..APPLY what you have learned.

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#19.

To transform your body, first find the most important reason why you actually want to do that. You MUST give your goals gravity and not some surface answer about looking good in your jeans (although that may get you started, it won’t keep you going when times get tough).

Build confidence to rekindle the relationship with your significant other?

So you can be around for your kids because the doctor said you will have to go on medications because of blood pressure and weight?

Because you want to set an example for your family since kids hear what you’re saying but they trust what they see you do and right now you’re not setting a good example?

Gaining back control of your life as everything feels like it’s out of control and it starts with yourself and your body?

Once you attached some gravity to your goals then take it one step at a time.

Taking on too many changes and habits at once will lead you to failure and frustration.

Taking on 3 or more habits at once has a 5% success rate.

Changing 2 habits at once has a 35% success rate.

And taking on ONE habit at a time the success rate is over 80%.

If you have failed taking on too much in the past then scale it down and make it “too easy” and then build on that. As you feel more successful, take on more. This is how we get incredible transformation over the span of 12 months.

The above example goes for anything you want to achieve in life!

#20.

There are times in your life when you’ll have opportunities to grow (in business, relationships, your body, etc.) and it will feel like “too much to take on”; you can go two ways – back off and retreat or you can…

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Leverage your relationships and stay accountable to people you love, respect, and don’t want to let down at any cost. It has worked for me and continues to.

#21.

Challenge your belief systems. It’s better to realize you’ve been wrong all along than be stubborn and hold on to a story that is holding you back from becoming your  best.

Here’s a 5-step process that will help….

1. Become aware of what your stories are

You’re the author of your life – not your parents, not society, not your partner, not your friends, and not the bullies that called you worthless in junior high – and the sooner you decide to write yourself a better script, the sooner you get to live a more awesome life.

But first you have to let go of the stories that are holding you back. Most of the time we’re so used to them we don’t even know they exist and we’ll fight to hold on to them to the death. Listen to sentences that begin with:

I always…

I never….

I can’t …

I should…

I suck at ….

One day…

I’m trying to..

Start paying attention. What are your favorite self-sabotaging stories? What do you hear yourself say and think over and over that it has become who you are (or rather who you think you are)? Bust yourself in your own tired old broken records right now so you can set about rewriting your stories.

2. Become aware of what you’re gaining from your stories

We pretty much don’t ever do anything that we don’t benefit from in some way, be it in a healthy way or an unhealthy way. If you’re creating something shitty in your life because of a dopey story, there’s definitely something about it that you’re getting off on.

Let’s say your story is that you can’t make money. By staying broke, you get to be right. You get to be the victim, which makes you dependent on other people and gets you attention. Other people will offer to pay and you don’t have to take responsibility. You get to give up before you start and avoid possible failure. If things in life fall far below the mediocre scale, you get to blame other people and circumstances instead of taking risks to change it because you can’t afford to take risks.

This is one example, but it could be about how you stink at relationships (which gets you your freedom), or how you have sucky genetics and can’t lose weight (which gives you permission to eat whatever and annihilate Netflix), or whatever else the story is.

We don’t realize it, but we’re making the perks we get from perpetuating our stories more important than getting the things we really want because it’s familiar territory, it’s what we’re comfortable with and we’re scared to let it go. If we’ve been victimized since childhood, we trick ourselves to believe it’s who we really are as adults in order to continue reaping “the rewards.” It’s how we survived as kids, but it doesn’t serve us anymore so we need to get rid of it or we’ll just keep creating more of it.

Once you identify the false benefits you’re reaping from holding onto your stories, you can start the process of letting them go and replace them with new empowered ones that serve the adult you.

3. Get rid of your stories

Once you know what the beast looks like, you can slay it. Take your list of “can’ts” and “shoulds” and “I nevers”, etc. and write it all in a journal, and really feel what you’re getting from these old limiting beliefs. For example – “I feel special, safe, and cared for, I get to live with my parents and never get a job.”

Make a list of these false rewards.

Really push yourself to get them all onto the page.

Now look at your list of false rewards for what they really are: scared little parts of yourself acting out. Thank them for trying to protect you and for keeping you company, but tell them it’s time to run along now and, well, fuck off.

Then, replace the feelings you got from these false rewards with the feelings of joy and power and excitement that stepping into who you truly are and who you’re now becoming will bring.

Keep envisioning (or even better, writing down) what it looks and feels like to have the real, adult you replace your old childhood story. Feel it. Get excited by it. Then make a decision that you’re ready to change and take positive action in the direction you want to go.

**if you want more detail on how to do this, hit me up.

4. Make a shift

Once you’ve gotten clear on your story and done the work above, take action. If you were once depressed but have decided to let it go, stop listening to melancholy music, stop talking about how crappy you feel, stop pretending like putting on your bathrobe counts as getting dressed. Instead focus on the good and do the things you love to do – make an effort instead of collapsing into the familiar feeling of being depressed.

Become aware that that you’ve gotten into habits and you must switch them around. Behave the way a person who isn’t depressed behaves, dress how they dress, hang out with people they’d hang out with, do the things they do (or whatever the change is that you want to make).

But remember…

Going out into the world and trying, but yet deep down still believing that you’re ruled by your past circumstances, is like forgiving someone but still hoping they trip and bust their ass and hurt themselves.

5. Get out of your routine

Talk to strangers, wear something different, go to a new lunch spot than usual, make dinner for someone you wanna connect with and get to know better (or a group), go to a movie on Tuesday at 3pm, walk taller, notice 5 amazing things you’ve never noticed about the are you live in, your belief, your Mom and Pops. Do things that pull you out of your routine and you’ll be amazed by the new realities that were there all along that suddenly present themselves.

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That was bit of a longer lesson but let’s be real here. If you don’t change your beliefs and stories, no amount of information will help.

If you read through that and feel like it’s “fufu” (I used to think that too), then you may consider that it’s something you need to do.

#22.

Clouds and Dirt.

I heard this from Gary Vaynerchuk and it struck me as something I’ve been living but never knew what to call it. Since it’s too good to change I’ll just borrow the Clouds and Dirt from him.

Listen to what this means and why it’s important to you…

Most people are surprised why they get average results when in reality they are (at best) average at what they do. Most people play and live in “the middle,” they focus on irrelevant things, the wrong stuff.

And when you do that, two things happen…

  1. You hit a glass ceiling of success and then hit a plateau
  2. You get stuck in the two (wrong) extremes: you get too romantic and neglect the skills it takes to execute and get to the next level, or you get tied up in minutiae and lose sight of the big vision.

Where success lies is in another two extremes:

The clouds – the high-end philosophy/vision you believe in.

And..

The dirt – the low-down subject matter expertise (the how to) that allows you to execute it!

Know the philosophy, know the details, and ignore everything else in the middle.

Gary Vee
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Everyone has their own idea of clouds and dirt. The key is to understand the “why” that is up in the clouds and then be crazy (I’d call it obsessively) proficient at the “how” down in the dirt.

Start pushing both those boundaries, pushing the limits on your philosophies and digging deeper into your craft. That’s how you succeed, that’s how you win!

#23.

Learn how to cook, man (and woman) has lost the skill and it should be something everyone knows how to do.

The food tastes better, you know what you’re eating, it brings people together and you’ll be healthier and happier for it.

While you’re at it watch this…

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#24.

Say “I love you” often and without self-consciousness.

#25.

Be like bamboo.

I like things in life that are easy for me to remember and connect lessons to. This has been one of the most profound and that I always look to in life….

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The 7 lessons from the Japanese forest:

1. Bend but do not break. Be flexible yet firmly rooted.

One of the most impressive things about bamboo is how it sways with even the slightest breeze. This gentle sway is a sign of humility. Their foundation is solid even though bamboo moves harmoniously with the wind, never fighting against it. Even the strongest winds tire out but the bamboo stays standing. This is one of the secrets to success whether we look at business, training or every other aspect of life.

2.Remember: What looks weak is strong.

Bamboo is not large by any means compared to other, much larger trees in the forest. It may not be impressive at all at first sight but it endures cold winters and extremely hot summers and is sometimes the only one left after a Typhoon. We must be careful to not underestimate others or ourselves based on notions of what is weak and what is strong. You may not be from the biggest company or have graduated from the best school, or you may be from a small country, with less than 2-million population (umm, Slovenia like me), but like bamboo, stand tall, believe in your strengths and know you are as strong as you need to be.

3. Be always ready.

Unlike other types of wood, which take a good deal of processing and finishing, bamboo needs little of that. As the great aikido master Kensho Furuya says:

“The warrior, like bamboo, is ever ready for action.”

In whatever professional activity, through training and practice, you can develop in you a way, a state, of being ever ready.

4. Unleash your power to spring back.

The important image of snow-covered bamboo represents the ability to spring back after adversity. In winter, the heavy snow bends the bamboo back and back until one day the snow becomes too heavy, begins to fall, and the bamboo snaps back up tall again, brushing aside the snow. The bamboo in the end has the power to spring back and say, “I will not be defeated.”

5. Find wisdom in emptiness.

In order to learn, it is said that the first step is to empty ourselves of preconceived notions. One cannot fill a cup that is already full. The hollow inside of bamboo stems reminds us that we are often too full of our own conclusions and ourselves. We have no space for anything else. To receive knowledge from nature and people we have to be open to that which is new and different. When you empty your mind of your prejudices, pride, and fear, you become open to new possibilities.

6. Commit to (continuous) growth.

Bamboo plants are amongst the fastest-growing in the world. It does not matter who you are – or where you are today – you have amazing potential for growth. I’ve spoken of kaizen before (continuous improvement that is more stead and incremental, at Vigor Ground we say get 1% better every day), where big leaps and bounds are not necessary. Yet even with a commitment to continuous learning and improvement, our growth – like the growth of bamboo – can be quite remarkable when we look back and look at what and where we used to be. Even though bamboo grows rapidly if you watch it day to day you wont notice its growth. Even when you are making progress you may not notice it from day to day. How fast or slow is not always the concern, only that we’re moving forward. You may have seasons when growth accelerates and some that are slower, just like bamboo (grows faster in the rainy season), yet with sustained effort you’re always growing.  Do not be discouraged by your perception of lack of growth, if you’re not giving up you’re growing.

7. Express usefulness through simplicity.

Aikido master Kensho Furuya says, “The bamboo in its simplicity expresses its usefulness.” Man should do the same.

Indeed, we spend a lot of our time trying to show how smart we are, perhaps to convince others – and ourselves – that we are worthy of their attention and praise. Often we complicate the simple to impress and we fail to simplify the complex out of the fear that others may already know what we know. Life and work are complicated enough without us trying to sound smart and make things more complicated.

I keep coming back to the above 7 lessons and to remind me I have bamboo all over my apartment and now gym office too. When you see bamboo I hope it reminds you of these.

#26.

HOPING.

Is a TERRIBLE body, life, business or _____ (insert whatever else) plan.

You “hope” you’ll get lean and strong and healthy?

You “hope” your relationship gets better?

You “hope” you’’ turn your life around?

You “hope” to spend more time with your kids?

You “hope” clients buy? 


You “hope” the business grows? 


You “hope” the marketing works? 


You “hope” people find out about you?

HOPE in business (or anything else) is as logical as trying to fly a plane with no wings.

You need a path and a plan. And you need to do the damn work!

#27.

I’ve been in martial arts most of my life and I encourage everyone to learn some basic self-defense. The first thing a mugger does to a mark is knock them down – most people can’t handle any jolsting at all, and they freeze. The simple confidence of knowing what your options are – and where the “soft targets” are on the attacker – can save your life (or not get you robbed). 

If you think it won’t happen to you, just ask around your community/friends to find out how everyday people are dealing with crazy things such as getting robbed. One of my coaches was in a situation just this past week!

Better to be prepared and confident, than to have no skill-sets and be caught like a deer in headlights.

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With my boxing coach Tigran, and with my brother in Brazil practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with some of the best in the world.

#28.

You want it, you take it, and you pay the price. There is no thing as free lunch.

If you haven’t achieved something (yet) it because of the unwillingness to pay the price and do what is required.

#29.

Optimize your life and make it personal.

Have you ever stopped to write out what makes you happy? As in, when you’re doing this activity, you are happy. Or better – when you are with this person, you are happy.

Why not be aware of these markers and then optimize your life around them?

So fill this out.

I am happy when…                                  I am happy when I’m with….

1. ___________________________                      1. ______________________________

2. ___________________________                      2. _______________________________

3. ___________________________                      3. _______________________________

4. ___________________________                      4. _________________________________

5. ___________________________                      5. _________________________________

Feel free to ad a lot more lines.

But more importantly, pay attention to these activities and these people, and do more of them. Ignore the rest!

#30.

If you’re in the service business strongly consider (this a nice way of saying do it!) the “51% solution.”

I learned this from Danny Meyer and I believe it goes for all service businesses.

It’s all about how you make the customer feel. You must make them feel that you’re on their side.

Your business strategy should be built around both great service, which would be defined as the technical delivery of the service, and “enlightened hospitality”, which is how the delivery of that service makes the person feel.

The future lies in the culture and experience companies create for their clients.

And to create this hospitable culture, businesses must hire the right people. You can teach technical skills but it’s much, much, much harder to train your team emotionally.

The key is to hire “51 percenters” – a team with a high “hospitality quotient (HQ)” whose skills are 49 percent technical and 51 percent emotional.

That’s far from saying that you shouldn’t focus on competence and skill. At Vigor Ground we do more continuing education than just about any gym in the country and I would dare to say world because I value the knowledge to continue improving to help our clients. Just know that if someone is 100% on the technical side of things it would give him 49 out of the 100 points on the scale. That’s how important HQ is!

The emotional skills that are required to create a high HQ are:

  1. optimism and kindness
  2. curiosity about learning
  3. an exceptional work ethic
  4. a high degree of empathy, and
  5. self-awareness and integrity.

I’ll share an analogy that made this hit home for me….

Imagine if every business were a lightbulb and that for each light-bulb the primary goal was to attract the most moths possible. Now what if you learned that 49 percent of the reason moths were attracted to the bulb was for the quality of it’s light (brightness being the task of the bulb) and that 51 percent of the attraction was the warmth projected by the bulb (heat being connected with the feeling of the bulb). It’s remarkable to me how many businesses shine brightly when it comes to acing the tasks but put out the warmth of a cool fluorescent light.

That’s how a highly technical and highly skilled gym (or any other businesses for that matter) can attract far fewer loyal fans than a place with some less skill but a lot of soul!

For me when it comes to business, I want to be overcome with moths and our team must be like a scintillating string of one-hundred-watt light bulbs, whose product is the sum of 51% feeling and 49% task.

#31.

My favorite approach to changing your nutrition or any other lifestyle factor that helps you improve how you look, feel, and perform; is by breaking down your goals into a set of skills and then those skills into a set of daily and weekly practices.

Below you’ll see an example by Precision Nutrition which I love for its simplicity.

The key then is to individualize the approach on how to get those habits done daily and consistently. This is where the coach helps by having a toolbox of skills, methods and tactics to support, guide and coach the client.

What’s great about this is that you can break ANY goal in any area of your life down into this structure.

Whenever you have a goal break it down into skills and practices components and it will help you see what you must do to achieve it and then focus on the process and behaviors on the daily rather than focusing on the outcomes.

#32.

Apply Positive Focus into your life to constantly grow and learn lessons from negative (and positive events).

I watch this video from Jocko Willink called “Good” almost every morning, it’s worth the 2 minutes of your time, trust me….

Remember that…

What you focus on expands.

What you focus on you feel.

What you focus on grows.

So, if you’re thinking about a negative event that happened then how are you going to move forward or learn a lesson from it? You can’t.

To add a tool to what he’s talking about I’ll share the philosophy of “Positive Focus” with you. It’s easy to remember because you can rhyme it through these four words: What, Why, Lesson, Apply.

You take an event that happened and you run it through the sequence:

  1. What happened?
  2. Why was it positive?
  3. What lesson did you learn?
  4. How does that apply to your body, being balance, and business?

So for example:

What happened? I didn’t finish my project on time.

Why is it positive? Because I’ve realized I go into it without enough preparation.

Lesson learned? Spend more time preparing.

How does that apply to…

Body – Don’t leave your nutrition to chance, prepare your meals when you have trouble staying on track

Being – Blockout a time for meditation and reflection, don’t leave it to chance; your mindfulness must be trained like anything else

Balance – Create an experience for your date night or book an experience with friends, make it deliberate rather than reactive

Business – Be intentional with your content creation, research and then map it out for maximal effectiveness.

With this approach you took something that may have been negative and learned from it, took something GOOD from it. I did this daily for almost 6 months when I first discovered it. So much so that my once negative things happens I now almost automatically switch to finding out what was good about it and how I can learn from it.

I’d have you consider doing the same.

#33.

During the Steel Mace certification at Vigor Ground after completing the graduation workout with a record amount of rounds, someone asked me how do I push so hard.

My answer..

I’ve learned to talk to myself instead of listening to myself.

If I listen to myself I hear all the negative thoughts, all the complaints, all the fears, all the doubts, & all the reasons why I shouldn’t be able I finish or push as hard.

But if I talk to myself I can feed myself with the words & encouragement I need to do whatever it takes in any given area of my life.

I have different slogans, quotes, and taglines I repeat (you can ask our coaches about how I yell “Land of Legends” during workouts).

How about you? Are you talking to yourself or listening to yourself?

(Believing) Negative thoughts are the nails that build a prison of failure.     

BUT when it comes to others…

Talk Less. Listen More.

In most conversations, people who speak the most often benefit the least, and vice versa.

Why is this?

Let’s list some of the most obvious reasons why:

You may gain valuable insight and information, knowledge empowers you to make better decisions, you won’t speak out without all of the facts, people will appreciate being listened to and understood….

This list could go on…..but here’s some valuable tips to improve your listening skills:

  1. Realize it’s not about you – Rather than focusing on what you’re going to say, shift your focus to what is being said.
  2. Listen to others outside your sphere of influence – Anyone from an intern to an assistant can add value if you take the time to listen.
  3. Focus on opportunity – Great listeners listen to both the message & the story behind it. Listening & discovery go hand in hand.
  4. Look for non verbal cues – Facial expressions, body language, and other actions or inactions can say just as much if not more than verbal communication.
  5. Recognize others – One of the most important yet overlooked aspects of listening is recognizing the positive contributions of others.

Great talkers are everywhere, but great listeners and leaders are few and far between.

#34.

You know what gets in the way of just about everything you want in life?

Fear.

The root cause of busyness, stress, procrastination, and living below your potential; is fear.

In my life I’ve built a lot of things up from fear, anger, and having something to prove. That “me against the world” type of mentality. But with that success more fears emerged. People think the more successful you become the less fear you have.

But actually you often become more fearful.

You don’t want to lose what you’ve built.

More people are looking to you and so you feel more pressure.

You feel like you have more to prove and more to lose.

The success is greater, and so the fall is greater if you fail, and too often the fear of failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that leads to failure.

Living that way has taught me that working from fear is one thing that keeps people from their destiny.

So what’s the solution?

Love.

Before you go saying this is some “fufu” advice, hear me out.

Love is the antidote to the fear, busyness, and stress you feel.

Do not fear failing.

Do not fear losing clients.

Do not fear that you won’t be successful.

Do not fear that things won’t go your way.

Instead do everything with love & you will cast out fear, flow instead of stress, and you’ll create MORE success. Think about it, a master, a craftsman thinks about building his work from love and because he does, fear loses its power; and he’s able to do his best work.

With anything in life, focus on the love you have of building it rather than the fear of losing it.

  • Love the struggle because it makes you appreciate your accomplishments.
  • Love the challenge because they make you stronger.
  • Love competition because they make you better.
  • Love negative people because they make you positive.
  • Love those who have hurt you because they yeah you forgiveness.
  • Love fear because it makes you courageous

When I work from that place I create better, more meaningful things. And I enjoy doing it more. Choose love my friends…

#35.

If what you have done for the past 3 years hasn’t worked for you, then change what you’re doing or the next 3 years will be one long boring re-run of the same bullshit.

#36.

To be athletic you have to run, jump, and throw stuff. 

Lifting is important but if that’s all you ever do you can’t really say you train like an athlete or are truly athletic. Athletes run and jump…as all humans should forever maintain the ability to do with some level of proficiency.

Doing explosive movements keeps you young.

#37.

When you were a kid and played video games, did you love the part where you started a new game and created a character?

I certainly did, that was one my favorite parts. Picking weapons, best attributes, skills, even the dopest outfit.

As I’ve gotten older I stopped playing video games and replaced them with obsessive study and working on helping others change their body, mind, and businesses too.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love customizing characters anymore. It’s just that today they’re real people, our clients, especially when they’re kids that are in their prime for “customization.”

One of my missions is to help build their character traits around a love of fitness, wellbeing, activity, ane fun. Also perseverance, grit, resilience & kindness (among others).

Is that easy to do? Nope. But it IS crucial if you want maximum impact.

I don’t have kids of my own yet but I do find myself in a “Uncle Luka” role with many kids that I love & care about.

The most important thing to recognize in any situation where you’re trying to influence & lead is…

It starts with YOU.

Whether we like it or not, building a love of fitness & wellbeing in children begins with us.

Kids are sponges that absorb every attitude, approach, behavior & response. If they see Mom and Dad glued to the TV and phone all night – they’ll assume that’s normal and do just that. If parents are hiking, active, working out & eating healthy, the chances of the kids following that throughout their life is very high.

“If we’re not leading by example then we’re not leading at all”

Parents are the most important influencers in kids lives, but they’re superheroes only for a few short years so it’s crucial to start as early.

Right from day one (which, if you haven’t started yet, is TODAY!), lead the way, find the time & show your kids that being healthy is very important for us all.

Show & tell (talk to them WHY it’s important).

The dopest thing about this is that once you’ve taken control of your own path, your kids will imitate you without any additional work. Double whammy.

#38.

Be where you said you’d be, when you said you’d be there, ready to do what you said you’d do.

#39.

My life changed the moment I realized that it doesn’t matter what my title is, my impact and what I get out of life will be dependent on the effort I put in, the consistency, how I treat people, how I show up for myself and others – and NOT wait for a title so that then I will put in maximal effort.

Work gives meaning to our lives. It influences our self worth and the way we perceive our place under the sun.

Being great at what you do isn’t just something you do for the organization you work for – it’s a gift you give yourself.

Being spectacularly great at work promotes personal respect, excitement and just makes your life a lot more interesting.

Good things happen to people who do good things.

And when you bring your highest talents and deepest devotion to the work you do, what you are really doing is setting yourself up for a richer, happier and more fulfilling experience of living.

 How do you feel when you’ve given your best, had fun with your teammates and gone the extra mile for clients?

How do you feel when you brought more heart to what you do for a living?

It feels pretty good doesn’t it?

And you don’t need the biggest title to do the best job. 

This brings me to the words of one of my heroes Dr. Martin Luther King: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the streets even as Michelangelo painted, or as Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

So be a fucking rock star at work today (and every day). Walk onto the stage of this day and play your heart out. Give the performance of your life. Wow your audience and get them cheering for you. Be the Biggie Smalls of coaching. Be the Jay-Z of sports performance. Be the Nas of youth mentorship.

#40.

Keep a note in your pocket. On one side write out all your goals (short and long term) and on the other side write out 10 things that make you happy (things that you do by yourself that make you happy).

Whenever you get anxiety, pull out that piece of paper and either do something that takes you towards your goals or something that makes you happy.

Doing this can really change your life! You just have to do it.. 

“Action alleviates anxiety….but only 100% of the time”

#41.

Stop arguing. Has it EVER got you ahead and convinced the other person you are right? 

Then go and read Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends And Influence People.”

If you’ve already read it, then re-read it.

#42.

Fear makes people leave behind their dreams, vision and everything that could be for a life of quiet desperation.

What I’ve found is that to take action towards what you truly want you MUST…

Value Courage Over Security

Repeated surveys have shown that most people value “security” over just about everything else in their lives. People will put up with jobs that they hate, marriages that make them miserable, and habits that are killing them (think “comfort food”) simply to feel more secure.

To conquer fear, you must consciously dethrone “security” as the thing that you value most in your life and replace it with the active virtue of “courage.” You must decide, once and for all, that it’s more important for you to have the courage to do what you must to succeed, rather than to cling to the things that make you feel safe.

All the things people think are “secure” are bullshit. Security is in your hands, with your actions and the responsibility II take; not someone else’s. 
The most insecure shit in the world is when you search for the feeling of security rather than pursuing your vision/calling with courage.

#43.

Believe in someone. Some people can’t believe in themselves until someone believes in them first.

#44.

Humble & Hungry.

Two words that characterize a team that is always improving and growing are “humble” and “hungry.” Whether you are a team trying to become a winner or you have achieved the pinnacle of success, it’s important to remember the following:

Be Humble
—————

  • Don’t think you know it all. See yourself as a lifelong learner who is always seeking ways to learn, grow and improve
  • See everyone, including your competition, as teachers and learn from everyone
  • Be open to new ideas and strategies to take your work and team to the next level
  • When people tell you that you’re great, don’t let it go to your head (and when they tell you that you ain’t shit, don’t let that go to your head either).
  • Live with humility because the minute you think you have arrived at the door of greatness it will get shut in your face.
  • Remember that today’s headlines are tomorrow’s fish wrap

Be Hungry
—————

  • Seek out new ideas, new strategies, and new ways to push yourself and your team out of your comfort zone.
  • Be willing to pay the price that greatness requires. Don’t be average. Strive to be great.
  • Become the hardest working team you know.
  • Love the process and you’ll love what the process produces.
  • Make your life and work a quest for excellence. Every day ask how can I be better today than I was yesterday.
  • Don’t rest on past laurels. Make your next work your best work.

It NEVER ends. As Kobe Bryant said “the work is the dream”

#45.

To build a winning team it’s essential to build a culture of caring. To build a culture of caring you must be a leader who cares. When you care, you will inspire others to care. Find ways to extend yourself to others and serve them.

Write a note.

Make a call.

Go out of your way to serve someone.

Go beyond the expected.
————————————

People know you care when you go out of your way to show them they matter. A smile, an encouraging word, an extra 5 minutes of time, solving a problem, listening to a team member, sacrificing for a friend, or helping a teammate through a challenging time.

Never underestimate the importance of making time to make someone feel special.

Then, when you develop a reputation for caring and others expect more from you, you continue to deliver more than they expect. With each caring act you are saying…

I am here to love you and serve you.”

…and when this happens, you attract more love and success.

Caring is the ultimate team building strategy. People make it complicated but it’s simple:

1️. Care about the work you do.

2️.  Surround yourself with people who care.

3️. Show your team you care about them.

4️. Build a team that cares about one another.

5️. Together show your clients/customers/students/patients/fans that you are about them.

When we make caring a strategy and create a culture of caring, we stand out and create success that lasts.

We’re not perfect but every day we’re committed to this. I see so many businesses lose sight of this because of _______ (insert the best strategy someone is selling right now).

#46.

Practice “Movement Hygiene.” 

If you want to have healthy joints, get rid of aches and pains, improve  performance and prevent injury, then spending 5-10 mins a day moving deliberately as a ritual will change your life.

It may seem like it’s not much but as they say: “Small hinges swing big doors,” and the daily practice will add up.

Go ahead, do it for 30 days and prove me wrong.

To help out here’s 33 mobility exercises you can pick from…

#47.

Pain in life is inevitable. Life is nothing if not change. 

The only way to conquer a thing is to confront it. If your pain still haunts you, it is likely because you continue to avoid it.

Training is a great metaphor. The body gets stronger with incremental increases in stress and strain. In time you learn to love the pain of training. Why can’t
you see life the same?

See your pain differently, own it fully, see what you can learn from it, open yourself up to more of the lessons pain can teach and realize that exposure is the only thing that makes us less fearful.

No one ever became less fearful by avoiding their fears.

#48.

You should do something physical every day.  

Humans are made to move. You should do something physical every day for at least thirty minutes. This could be strength training, conditioning, mobility work, whatever.

Marketing guys advised us all long ago that you should always tell people that they can get in great shape with minimal training time.

You can’t.

Everybody can find 15-30 minutes to spare if they look hard enough.

Besides, like Henry Rollins said…

“Training is the best antidepressant there is.”

You can simply start with bodyweight exercises at home. Here are 99 to choose from and get after it (even if just for 10 minutes)….

#49.

Never “grow up”.

Be more childlike, curious, playful, explorative, unconditionally loving,…

#50.

Whatever it is you do and want to succeed in. Be so good they can’t ignore you.

#51.

My outlook on life is primarily optimistic and as a result, my expectations for myself and others tend to be unrealistic.

But hear me out…

Over the course of time, I’ve learned the important things in life usually take longer than we expect and cost more than we anticipate. That is especially true when it comes to personal growth.

So what do I do to compensate?

I multiply by 2️ (or 3!).

If I think something will take an hour to do, I plan for at least 2. If I think it will take a week to get done, I’ll allot it two. If I think it will take $2,000 to fund, I’ll put aside $4,000.

Two isn’t a magic number, it just seems to work from life experience. I’ve found that multiplying everything by two infuses realism into my optimism.

Most people are impatient and it’s natural to desire things to come quick and easy. Including personal growth. Reality is there is no “1 click buy” for that, and the secret isn’t really to want more or want it faster. It’s to put more time and attention into what you have and what you can do NOW.

Give three times the effort and energy to growing yourself.

And allow yourself to grow slowly and with deep roots. When you have deep roots you’ll stand through life’s hardest storms.

“You only live once. But if you work it right, once is enough.”

Fred Allen

#52.

Don’t become “small” so someone can feel better. They aren’t going to change anyway. Become “big” and inspire people to be more!

#53.

Everyone is looking for a leader, stand up and lead. 

You don’t need the title “leader” or permission to lead. You must take action, that is it. And then keep taking it. Lead by example, lead with your actions. 

Some great advice I got from Martin Rooney years ago was that to be a leader, strive to be the coach you always dreamed you would have.

#54.

Don’t talk about other people, go out be great and have them talk about you.

#55.

Environment is everything. 

Who you’re around, what you eat, what you read, what you watch and listen to, the places you visit, …they all shape you.

We choose our environments and then our environments shape us. 

Are your environments helping you become the person you want to become? If not change them. 

Start by removing people that bring you down and are energy vampires from your life. 

#56.

What’s better – finding out that everything is ok (you got an A) or learning something?

Most people just want things to be ok. The system has put the fear of getting a “C” in us. The entire point of our lives isn’t to learn anything, it’s to get an A.

Is it any wonder that the virtues of thirst and curiosity disappear?

What if you opted in to a different path, the path of always learning?

Hot wash is a process of continuous improvement that’s often used by the armed forces to debrief and see how they can learn from mistakes. In my fitness and business coaching programs we use the walk and talk, positive focus, etc (asking “what’s the lesson learned?” from setbacks). At the end of every exercise, everyone engages in an ego free discussion of what could go better and how we can apply this lesson to all areas of our life.

This is hard to do in a room filled with people who’d rather get an A. So the requirement is that the room is filled with people that would rather learn and get better instead.

Thirst.

If your intent is to get better, connect, make your “art” – if the goal is to learn something and make it a part of the way you live – then “hot wash” is obvious.

“I’m curious”, is a completely different way to engage than “is everything okay?”

Because everything is rarely ok.

And the more you do in life you realize that hoping for ok is one of the worst strategies, period.

Learning, taking action, creating, failing, learning….and repeating the cycle – that’s a way to live.

P.S. The people that only want to get an A and then fail usually end up not showing up at all – because they’d rather get nothing than to get less than an A and learn (fixed mindset).

This is from my journal and something I believe I wrote down after reading through Seth Godin’s work.

#57.

Pursuing perfection DOES matter (in a world full of mediocrity). 

It’s a core value I call “chasing the unicorn.” Might never catch it but the process, the journey, and the experience are what make life enjoyable and help you become your best.

#58.

Your life isn’t just one kind of story. It’s not simply a romance or a tragedy or a comedy. Your story will have elements of death and rebirth, rivalry and revenge, temptation and sacrifice, discovery and deliverance, envy and love, and it will have all these things not just one time, but many times over.

I believe it makes sense to think about your life in terms of a quest. What’s a quest? It’s a journey with meaning. It’s not a treasure hunt with X marks the spot and reaching the spot is what matters. On a quest we discover the true nature of what we’re after only by going on the journey.

You find out the purpose of your life by living your life.

You give meaning to your quest by what you do and say and suffer. The challenges you face and the choices you make create the meaning of your story. The harms, dangers, temptations, and distractions that confront you are obstacles, yes, but it’s only by wrestling with those obstacles that your purpose can be understood.

Rilke put this well:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

#59.

From Aubrey Marcus

There is a reason they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before assisting others. If you are exhausted, depleted, tired, worn out, or dead, you are going to have nothing to give when the world asks.

Work on yourself first, be the type of person with strength and love and wealth and courage in abundance, and then focus on sharing what you have gained. It always starts with you.

#60.

In the words of Young Jeezy:

Scared money don’t make no money!

There are no statues built for those who lived lives of mediocrity, and on the tomb of NO heroes will you find the words: “He played it safe.”

And if you’re asking yourself when is the time to kick shit in gear?

This may help you…..

#61.

If you don’t shape your environment, it will shape you.

Unlike the common prescriptions of self-improvement – such as willpower and changing your attitude, which often are met against a negative and defeating environment – when your purposely shape your environment, you can make quantum leaps in your development. If you choose it, you can proactively place yourself into situations that demand ten times or a hundred times more than you’ve ever dealt with before.

How?

You adapt to your new environment.

Crafting highly demanding situations and then mindfully adapting to those situations is the key to success.

Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

It’s actually remarkable how quickly you can adapt from one environment to the next. Human beings are highly adaptive. For instance, Viktor Frankl reflected on his experience in a Nazi concentration camp sleeping “comfortably” next to nine other people on a small bed. In Mans Search for Meaning says “Yes, a person can get used to anything, just don’t ask us how.”

Rather than adapting to a negative environment, as the majority is doing, you can adapt to whatever environment you choose.

Purposely shape your environment to lead you to your goals and what you want. Remember that physically, psychologically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, your nurture is far superior to your “nature.”

Since you’re responsible for your nurture, you can guide who you will become.

#62.

It’s only fair to warn you. Once you make a commitment to building something purposeful and fucking amazing, you can be sure of certain things happening.

First, some people will doubt you, others will ridicule you, some may even attack your ideas. 

If you’re really pushing for something big, you’re certain to have haters.

  1. Don’t be worried about the doubters, cynics, or haters. 
  2. Be worried if you don’t have any.

And know this: The haters don’t really hate you. They hate themselves because they don’t have the guts to do what you’re doing.

 What they’re really saying is “I’m afraid”. And they’re especially afraid of the people who are not afraid (or act in spite of it). Don’t hold any malice against these people as they don’t have any malice for you. They believe they know what’s in your best interest and they’re protecting you from bad things that happen to those that ignore the “system.”

The people who buy that story live their lives in fear. Don’t buy that story.

Fear based decisions produce fear-based results. This is the moment to be BOLD. Don’t wait for someone to appoint you, make the first move.

 It’s not about being discovered, either, the world has discovered millions of stars only to be forgotten in weeks. It’s about discovering yourself.

 Those who discover themselves are the ones the world remembers.

Don’t be 1 of the millions who coasts through life and dies with their genius inside you. If you hoard it, it withers away, when you share it, it grows stronger.

But the universe won’t give you the next assignment until you’re overqualified for the 1 you’re doing now.

Please, stop playing small and step into your greatness. Too many are waiting for their fears to leave so they can act. So they never do.

Achiever aren’t fearless, we know there will be fears, just act in spite of them – and because of them.

Be bold, daring, and imaginative, because the world needs your genius. 

#63.

Learn to ask for things you want. People are not mind readers. Whether its in a relationship or in business, you are responsible for your success and happiness. No one is going to magically figure out what you want. Ask for it and make a strong case – usually you’ll be floored by the response.

#64.

You will treat people better when you talk to them without judgement. This may be one of the hardest things to do in life but strive to be better at it daily. 

And read Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” and “Daring Greatly”. I’m making it mandatory!

#65.

DONE is best.

Doing doesn’t really mean much, as it’s not done. You may be “doing” a whole bunch of things but haven’t completed any of them.

Follow through, finish something you’ve been wanting to finish – today.

#66.

A flock of birds carve a graceful “V” across the breaking day. One bird leads, another follows, another takes the lead, in an endless synchronized support system, much like the peloton professional cyclists.

Scientists say this is 70% more efficient than flying solo. If a bird falls out of formation, it feels the wind resistance and rejoins the flock. If one falls behind, others stay until it can fly again. No bird gets left behind.

It’s an extraordinary organizational dynamic.

It’s the same with great teams…

When people work hard and work hard for their brother and sister (teammate) you’ll have success because you get contribution.

This resonated with me studying the legendary coach Phil Jackson as he called it “Group Mind” and it was the basis of his coaching career.

No matter how amazing one player was, if they’re out of sync psychologically with everyone else, they won’t achieve championship status.

It’s the struggle every leader faces…How to get members of the team who are driven by the quest for individual glory themselves over to the group effort.

This quote from Rudyard Kipling says it best (and also the name of my previous consulting company):

For the Strength of the Pack is the Wolf,
and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack

I’ve realized that this is not only the key to long term growth and success of any team but also enjoying the process and being fulfilled by doing great work with people you care for and would go to battle with!

Remember…

“It is better to have a thousand enemies outside the tent that one inside it.”

Arab proverb

I was talking with a friend and we talked about how people don’t buy “leadership” “team building” or “culture” courses much because it’s not sexy and you can’t usually see “quick ROI.”

But I’d have you consider this is one of THE most important things in your organization/team.

What you focus on grows. Focus on your team, culture, leadership and maybe you’ll be able to stop investing in quick fixes.

#67.

Flip them.

Flip them fast.

What am I talking about? The tire?

No! I’m talking about the stories that are holding you back.

Every year I directly talk to thousands of people face to face and tens of thousands through seminars, webinars, videos, etc.

So many talk about their failures, their previous life challenges and obstacles.

Coming from a family with few resources.

Being judged, persecuted, made fun of for their looks, beliefs, how they dress, being broke and _______ (insert anything that’s ever hurt you).

Being surrounded by people that “ruined them.”

How their family was messed up.

I get it. I’ve been that person that told myself a story to keep me small, hold me back, had me in victim mode.

Grew up in Yugoslavia during socialism, moved around a lot when I was younger (country to country). Grew up without my Pops around from age 11. Started in organized crime from the age of 13. Broke, cheated, divorced, hurt, crushed, failed a thousand times over and over.

But your “shit” isn’t who you are.

Who you are is who you have decided to be by the actions that you take.

It’s not until I realized that NONE of those challenges defined me and made me who I am and I stopped blaming my circumstances – that I could actually change and become who I want to.

Most people take this route….

Feeling ➔Action ➔ Identity

They have feelings (anger, hurt, disappointment…) around their past which then drives actions from a place that is not powerful, and that creates their identity.

Instead, FLIP IT AROUND…

Identity ➔ Action ➔ Feelings


CHOOSE who you want to become and then take action in line with the identity you want to create (regardless of how you feel), which will then lead to a feeling; one that you want.

One thing is for certain, if you choose to identify your life with the shitty parts of your past and make the same decisions, you’re going to go around in circles and get the same results.

When you complain you just attract others that complain.

Act different and you will attract different.

If anything choose the “chip on your shoulder” as fuel and understand that your scars are your power and the foundation you build on; from where you were to where you want to be.

Can’t change what happened to you but you can change meaning and story. Is it empowering you?

If not, flip it.

It’s never too late to make different choices. Who do you want to become?

You aren’t who you were, unless you choose to be.

#68.

This week I’ve had a couple more conversations with friends who are working on finding their passion. I shared this with them and hope you may consider a different perspective rather than just “looking for passion”…

“Passion” has its roots in the Latin word pati, which means. “to suffer or endure.” Therefore the root of passion is suffering.

This is a far cry from the way we casually toss around the world in our day-to-day conversations. Instead of asking “What would bring me enjoyment?” which is how many people think about following their passion, maybe we should instead ask:

“What work am I willing to suffer for today?”

Great work requires suffering for something beyond yourself. It’s created when you bend your life around a mission and spend yourself on something worthy of your best effort.

What is your worthwhile cause? 

#69.

Every single day is Day One for me.

I imagine that every accomplishment I’ve ever had, every mistake I’ve made, every good and bad thing I’ve ever done has been wiped clean and I get to start fresh today building myself into the type of person I want to be.

All I need to focus on is what I accomplish today and ensuring that it’s in line with the person I want to be.

While in Miami I spoke with Jay Ferruggia’s Mastermind about how to live your leadership values. It’s a process with three steps:

  1. Identify a key value.
  2. Clearly define what that value means.
  3. Operationalize that value by turning into an action-oriented question you answer each day.

I have more values but these are the six leadership values that drive my life on a daily basis:

1️. IMPACT – What have I don’t today to recognize someone else’s leadership?
2️. COURAGE – What did I do today that I wanted to avoid?
3️. EMPOWERMENT – What did I do today to move someone else closer to a goal?
4️. GROWTH – What did I do today to get better?
5️. CLASS – When did I elevate instead of escalate today?
6️. SELF-RESPECT – What did I do today to be good to myself?

The key 🔑 is to ask yourself those questions throughout the day so that they bring the values and action to the forefront of your mind (rather than reflecting on whether you did it later on) – I have a phone reminder throughout the day.

This concept is based on the Zeigarnik Effect and the Question-Behavior Effect (QBE) which notes that you’re more likely to remember an incomplete task than you are a task you’ve already completed.

In other words, things you haven’t done assume a more prominent position in your consciousness than those you have.

Determine your values clearly then ask yourself action based questions and commit to answering them…

Every. Damn. Day.

Then check in with me after a year.

#70.

Please yourself first. But be a good friend at all times, even if it means sacrifice. Make giving up something to help someone else a good thing in your life… so it is your choice to do so, because it pleases you.

#71.

Lead by example.

Walk the talk.

This means if you haven’t walked it, you need to shut up more.

#72.

Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times.

Remember that the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

Blessed are the curious for they will have adventures.

#73.

There’s a number of times in my life I refused help – that may have saved my career, life, business, relationships – only because I thought it might make me look bad.

A wise mentor then shared something powerful with me…

“The need to save face keeps a lot of people from asking for the help they need. When you’re in deep you can save face, or you can save your ass, but you don’t get to do both. Choose wisely.”

It’s courage that defines leaders, not confidence. Courage is a commitment to taking action when there is a possibility of loss.

Sometimes the potential loss is something tangible: money, a job, or an opportunity. More often than not the potential loss that keeps us from acting is really a perceived loss: a loss of face. Losing face means respect in the eye of the OTHERS. But here’s the truth…

If we keep hesitating to act because of concerns about what others think of us, our perception of and respect for ourselves will continually erode.

Only through demonstrating courage each day – not to others, but to yourself – will you start to recognize that the positive self-worth generated from daily acts of courage far outweighs any reputation losses from your failures.

Sure, people who only see you rarely may think less of you in the moment of failure (which is sadly who we seem to pay attention to, too much), but people who matter and interact with you regularly will see constant demonstrations of courage – a constant willingness to try something despite of loss.

They will see you are committed to growth, to challenge, and to focusing more on what you can learn and achieve than what others think of you.

What will stick with them is not the outcomes of your attempts but the commitment you have to your own values.

So here’s what I’ve figured out, the quality of my life is really found to depend on how often I’m willing to ask myself…

“Am I capable of five seconds of extraordinary courage right now?”

#74.

Minimizing spinal compression is a good idea.

After years of training it’s not the best idea to continue squatting and deadlifting heavy weights multiple times per week.

Limit it to one day or two at the very most.

This is coming from someone that has played professional sports, lifted hard two and a half decades, had a serious back injury and studies back pain and performance for over a decade.

You can train hard AND smart. You’ll thank me in twenty years.

#75.

Making the decision to do what you’re called to do is scary.

We have so many “should’s” we hold on to based on what we’re told and what others want us to do, what society says we should do.

But the only things that matter are those we MUST do.

It is here, standing at the crossroads of Should and Must, that we feel the enormous reality of our fears, and this is the moment when many of us decide against following our intuition, turning away from that place where nothing is guaranteed, nothing is known, and everything is possible.

We each have unique potential that was given to us at birth, but whether or not we cultivate it is entirely up to us. In its purest sense, Must is why we are here to begin with, and choosing it is the journey of our lives.

We unconsciously imprison ourselves to avoid our most primal fears. We choose Should because choosing Must is terrifying, incomprehensible.

And yet there’s nothing worse than living a life of should, a life of quiet desperation.

Choose must and remember the wise words of Joseph Campbell…

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path”

What’s your Must?

#76.

Optimism and strength are born from letting go of the idea that we are more likely to fail than we are to succeed.

Look at the evidence: your success rate on surviving and moving forward is 100 percent.

Every piece of evidence in your past points to the fact that you will have a future. If you’re still here reading this, you can’t identify a single challenge in your life that you didn’t survive.

Optimism comes from recognizing that having almost broken before does not make it more likely you will break next time. You’re not plastic or glass – where each crack or bend brings the inevitable collapse closer – you’re muscle, where being torn down means growing back stronger.

Sometimes the things that bring you closer to breaking are in fact the things that one day will keep you from breaking.

You have dealt with every single problem you have ever faced because you’re still here. You may not be pleased with how you dealt with the problems and you may have acquired some scars along the way, but you’ve dealt with them all.

Acknowledge the support, love, friendship, and greater powers that helped, but never diminish the role of your own strength and perseverance.

Everything happens for a reason? Yes, and YOU’RE the reason. You’ve been the reason every time and the strength that gotten you this far has not diminished, even if it sometimes feels like it.

Never forget the battles you have fought and won: they are evidence of your past successes, and a case for what you can accomplish in the future.

#77.

Be a go-giver. Give because it helps someone, because it feels good, because it will inspire others to do the same. Don’t give and expect anything in return, that’s not true charity.

#78.

Not everyone will like you. You need to be ok with that. 

Whether you’re rich or poor, you’ll get judged.

Whether you’re skinny or fat, you’ll get judged.

Whether you are complacent or give your full effort, you’ll get judged.

Whether you are ________ or ________ (fill in the blank with whatever), you’ll get judged.

Either way some people will persecute, judge and hate on you.

So then why not be yourself and go after everything you want?!

#79.

I want you to practice practice.

“Huh Luka, what are you talking about?!”

Listen, you must practice the art of practicing.

Let me explain. When people practice, they think of themselves as practicing how to do something. What if instead you think of yourself as learning how to practice something?

If you learn how to do something – make a specific meal, change a tire, shoot a great photograph, create a workout, edit a video – then you’ve learned how to do one thing. When you have learned how to practice you have learned how to do anything.

It is only through practice that we attain excellence in any skill-set we do. And perhaps the greatest skill we can learn is the skill of practice itself. I’ve shared many things that go into good practice: finding a model (someone to emulate), thinking about identity (“who do I want to become?”), forming the right habits. The point I want to impress on you is:

You can practice more than you can imagine.

You know that we can practice games and sports and instruments. But we can also practice, for example, gratitude. A daily practice of writing down things we’re grateful for will, in time, make us grateful people (in my experience, it also helps with making you happier).

We can practice self-examination and self-reflection. Seneca recommended going back over each days actions before going to bed. He said that you should ask yourself: “What evils have you cured yourself of today? What vices have you fought? In what sense are you better? …Once my wife has fallen asleep, I examine my entire day and measure what I have done and said. I hide nothing from myself.”

We can practice compassion. We can practice courage. We can practice communication and speaking with confidence. We can practice of being a good son, brother, father, husband. We can practice our vocation.

People who don’t understand this often come up with the conclusion that they “are” a certain way. When they fail or succeed they think, “I am strong” or “I am stupid”, “I’m lazy” or I’m fat” or “I’m funny”. By coming to the conclusion that they “are” a certain way they fix their identity to the present and the past, and they often look to the future with fear, anxiety and worry.

Those who practice practice use their experience to inform who they can be. “That happened so next time I should _____” or “If that happens again I’ll ________”  or “That was great, and to get even better, next time I should practice……”

Resilience is not about bouncing back but about moving through. Learning how to practice is essential in moving through, because it’s the discipline of practice itself that allows you to take what happens to you, integrate it into your experience, and then act again. The more you see that life can be practiced, the more resilient you will become.

Mic drop. And thank Eric Greitens for this insight that resonated with me so much.

#80.

So often the treasure you’re looking for is hidden in the work you’re avoiding.

#81.

Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and beautiful at the end.

And when it comes to change and challenges, remember the formula…

The magnitude of the challenge x the intensity of your attack = your rate of growth

#82.

My friend in college never seemed to have a problem with dating. He was always surrounded by extraordinary women – smart, funny, beautiful.

Majority of my high school and college years I was quite shy when it came to asking women out. I asked him once how he managed, and he shrugged and gave me the same answer those of us intimidated by dating have heard again and again.

“Confidence my friend. Confidence is sexy.”

I tried to wrap my head around it but it never rang completely true to me. Now I believe I know why.

Confidence can be faked, and too often slips into cockiness or arrogance.

On the other hand when you do something that has a chance of rejection it doesn’t require confidence, it requires COURAGE.

Confidence is many times acting like something doesn’t scare you. Courage is DOING something that DOES scare you.

You can have confidence without action, but courage is only demonstrated THROUGH action.

Leaders are always scared. They simply don’t let fear lead to inaction. The challenges that scare us can be as benign as asking someone out or as profound as facing a cancer diagnosis.

Regardless of where on that spectrum our fear falls, its courage that allows us to act in the face of those fears.

Courage takes practice and embedding it into your life daily provides you with evidence you can face even larger challenges.

Don’t wait until you need courage to discover how much you have: develop it every day so you understand the depth of your capacity. For that you need a tool – the right daily questions.

Here are three of mine:

  1. “What did I try today that might not work, but I tried it anyway?”
  2. “What did I do today that I wanted to avoided and/or scared me?”
  3. “What did I do today that I’m proud of myself for trying?”

Ask and answer at least one of those questions daily and build your courage.

#83.

When you stress out, remember it doesn’t really matter as it will all soon be over anyways (life is short).

#84.

Leave things better than you found them.

I learned this lesson from my Dad and then later reminded by the values of the All Black rugby team.

One of the best things you can understand in your life is leaving things better than you find them.

What this means is—no matter what situation, place, job, relationship or team you are in or on —you leave that place better than you found it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re going to move on, it doesn’t matter if you were hurt or done wrong, it doesn’t matter if you got all that you deserved. Leaving things better than you found them is a value and when you live that way, you’ll build more and better skill-sets, better relationships, be more fulfilled, and, ultimately you’ll be more successful.

#85.

Communication is one of the most (if not THE  most) important skills in life and business.

In high school while learning about the war we dug pretty deep into the life of Winston Churchill . While there were many deep insights, but if there was one thing to remember about him it should be that what made him so effective was his power to communicate.  I didn’t understand that at the time.  Growing up I had always heard about the importance of hard work, honesty and other things, but never communication.

Yet now, decades later, I’ve begun to understand what he meant. From being involved in organized crime groups, to being a team captain in basketball, being married young and then divorced, leading teams in different companies and programs, coaching thousands of fitness as well as business clients, and now also mentoring underprivileged youth; communication (or lack of) has either been a big part of the reason for success or failure in each of those parts of my life.

I’ve said it before, life is a team sport. We’re always working with people to achieve goals that favor each individual (at least that’s what I strive for – the good of all) and without great communication, relationships can’t grow and teams can’t work together to win. Period.

The communication that wins is the kind of communication that conveys respect, compassion, sincerity, develops leadership potential, creates a culture where people experience being safe to express themselves, and trust is embedded in every conversation.

This takes empathic listening (amongst other things).

Stephen Covey says it perfectly:

“Listening with the intent to understand. I mean seeking to understand, to really understand. It’s an entirely different paradigm. Empathic listening gets inside another person’s frame of reference. You look out through it, you see the world the way they see the world, you understand their paradigm, and you understand how they feel.

In empathic listening, you listen with your ears, but you also, and more importantly, listen with your eyes and heart. You listen for feeling, for meaning. You listen for behavior. You listen with your right brain as well as your left. You sense, you intuit, you feel. You’re dealing with the reality inside another person’s head and heart. You’re listening to understand. You’re focused on receiving the deep communication of another human soul.”

There’s more benefits than just this but here are the five main ones:

  1. Builds trust and respect,
  2. enables the person to release their emotions,
  3. reduces tensions,
  4. encourages the surfacing of information, and
  5. creates a safe environment that is conducive to collaborative problem solving.

Studies have shown that the teams that perform the best have an environment of psychological safety where they can bring conflict knowing that it will be heard and it’s a safe space to share, criticize, solve problems and move forward (together). A place with psychological safety doesn’t happen with empathic listening and great communication.

Bottomline: Listening is one of the most important communication skills that we can acquire because it’s the primary way that we develop relationships, understand others, and build trust.

Here are some of my favorite books on developing communication skills. Just remember, whatever you learn you MUST apply and continue to reflect on your results from application, learn and keep improving.

Communication is a skill and like any other skill, has to be practiced deliberately. The more you practice with intent the better you become.

You can never, ever, ever be too good at communication and improving it will be a game changer in your personal and professional life.

#86.

The different colors of happiness.

Something I read from Eric Greitens stuck out at me. He says that there are three primary forms of happiness: the happiness of pleasure, the happiness of grace, and the happiness of excellence.

He compares them to the primary colors: the basis on which the entire spectrum is created.

The happiness of pleasure is largely sensory.

A hike in the mountains….

The smell of air after it rains…

Having a laugh with your friends…

It’s a good meal when you’re hungry…

Waking up warm and cozy in your bed….

It can be the big things but so many times it’s being present for the

The happiness of grace is gratitude.

It’s looking over to see the love of your life sleeping next to you and whispering, “thank you.”

It’s taking inventory of what you do have. It’s when you speak to something greater than yourself, expressing humility and awe.

It’s why I’d have you consider starting your day with writing out 3-5 people, experiences, and things you’re grateful for. Start the day with gratitude rather than anxiety.

And then there is the happiness of excellence. The kind of happiness that comes from the pursuit of something great. Not the moment you arrive at the top of the mountain and raise your fists in victory, but the process of falling in love with the hike.

It is meaningful work. It is flow. It is the purpose that sears identity and builds character and channels our energy toward something greater than the insatiable, daily pursuit of our fleeting desires.

Just as removing one of the primary colors would make many others impossible (without yellow, you could not have any shade of green) without any one of these happiness-es, it is almost impossible to thrive.

One cannot replace another. They are all necessary. But we try anyway….

To eat or drink in excess, for example — the happiness of pleasure — is common when the happiness of excellence isn’t being pursued. But it is not, and will never be, the solution.

Lots and lots of pizza and/or red will never make blue. Pleasures will never make you whole.

The happiness of excellence is the work of emotional resilience. It’s the highest ranking on Maslow’s hierarchy. It is often avoided because its uncomfortable as [email protected]*k, and there’s no instant gratification.

There’s no contact high during your first days of training to get in the best shape of your life, or whether it’s starting to write because you have something to share with the world. But over time, you develop your skill. You begin to imagine what you could accomplish. You fall in love with the process.

Though all three of the happiness-es are different, they are all shaped by context. Someone who has gone without food for three days is more attuned to the happiness of pleasure than people who consider meals and shelter givens.

Likewise, those who have never dove in deep with the power and pleasure of working toward something fueled not by the short sparks of passion but rather deep resolve and the pursuit of greatness, do not know that on the other side of effort, struggle and obstacles – there is profound reward.

May people are colorblind to the joys of life missing this part of the foundation.

You want to be a small business owner but are not willing to put in the hours, be exposed to failure and taking on the responsibility of leading a team. You want to be a world class coach but only want to coach a couple of hours a day and think investing in learning and studying from other coaches is “expensive.” You want to become an author but have no desire to develop the discipline it takes to sit down and write for four hours a day for years on end. We want to be legends and geniuses and masters, but care little to develop the discipline it would require to log our 10,000+ hours – so to say.

Happiness is also the peace of mind that comes from knowing we are becoming who we want and need to be. That’s what we receive from pursuing the happiness of excellence: not accomplishment, but identity. A sense of self that we carry into everything else in our lives. A technicolor pigment that makes the entire spectrum come alive.

What about people you may ask. Your family, kids, friends, mentors, team, etc. They’re part of all of the colors and one of the things in life we cannot do without – other people, connection, and love. Our tribes. People can create pleasure in our life, they can challenge us and help us improve and become more excellent, and we can create more happiness through appreciating and being grateful for the amazing people that make our lives better.

We do things with people, for people, and because of people. Without the people we care about in our lives, few things matter at all.

Just remember, people can also cause you pain, take you away from excellence, and create an environment that makes you unhappier. Choose who you surround yourself wisely.

#87.

Don’t confuse activity with achievement and progress. 

Being busy doesn’t mean making progress. 

I realized effort doesn’t always equal results. Results equal results. Results don’t like, if it’s not working, investigate, and find a new way.

One of my favorite questions: “How’s that working for you?” 

#88.

Gratitude is an antidote to misery.

#89.

Champions are about….

I read this somewhere, wrote it down in my journal and am now getting it laminated on cards for myself and my team. For someone that has experienced championships and living up to potential, as well as losses and performing below potential; and knowing the power of a team and what it takes to be a champion – this is a something I read daily. If you’re part of a team or lead a team (let’s be real, we’re all part of many teams in life: family, work, organizations, sports, etc.), maybe it resonates with you as much as it did with me.

  • Champions are about getting in and getting up….not giving in and giving up.
  • Champions are about pulling together….not pulling apart
  • Champions are about sacrificing for others…not creating for themselves.
  • Champions are about team results…not who gets the results.
  • Champions are about finding solutions….not placing blame.
  • Champions are about building one another up….not tearing one another down.
  • Champions are about playing the team way every day not…not their way.
  • Champions are about the end results…not their result.
  • Champions are about doing what it takes…and not just taking what they can get.
  • Champions are about being prepared….not just being ready.
  • Champions are about competition…not putting on a performance.
  • Champions are about fighting for the team…not fighting with the team.
  • Champions are about consistency…and not about doing it one time.
  • Champions are about respecting their opponent…but fearing no one.
  • Champions are about execution…not about doing their own thing.
  • Champions are about doing the little things…not seeing those things as too little.
  • Champions don’t get down in adversity…they get involved in the solution.
  • Champions are about giving energy to their team…not sucking energy out of their team.
  • Champions are about raising their team’s emotion…not about hijacking their emotions.
  • Champions are all about winning….and have no time for “number” players.
  • Champions are about one agenda…not their agenda.
  • Champions are about doing their very best every single time….and not just doing their best when it’s convenient.

Simply put: champions think “we” and will not accept the thought process of “me.”

P.S. I believe you must commit to becoming your very best individually so that you can elevate your team, contribute your best, and with it challenge others to be their best; so that you become champions together.

#90.

I’ve talked about how important values are to your life business. Here’s something that most may not share with you..

The fundamental challenge with value-based decision making: it often results in short term losses and even unhappiness.

Often the option consistent with your values is not the one that brings the biggest rewards or avoids the most consequences. It may not allow you to get what you want, avoid embarrassment, or maintain a relationship.

However, the option most consistent with your values is the one you are glad you chose five years in the future.

Make every decision in life imagining how you would like to tell the story of that decision to a group of people you respect five years from now and a lot of the noise and confusion about why you should do falls away.

I’ll speak from a lot of experience. Acting in a way that is inconsistent with your values takes an intellectual and emotional toll.

It’s not something you forget, and while losses suffered as a result of value-based-decisions tend to alleviate over time (you get another job, you are forgiven by someone who was hurt by your decision, you start another relationship), the regret you feel over failing to live up to the person you hope to be rarely goes away. The feeling of disappointment can haunt you.

If you haven’t clearly identified the values you want to drive you and taken the time to define them, what criteria HAVE you been using to make the decisions all these years?

For most it’s… “Which option has the fewest negative consequences right now?”

That criteria leads to inconsistent decision making that lacks courage and integrity. Make a new approach based on living in line with your own clearly identified and defined personal values.

Remember…

What separates great leaders from good leaders is this:

“Good leaders live their values every time an opportunity presents itself. Great leaders create opportunities to live their values.”

#91.

There are four (4) thieves of productivity.

  1. Inability to say no to inconsequential tasks.
  2. Avoiding uncomfortable situations
  3. Poor health and fitness
  4. Socializing/working with bad influences and negative environments

Circle, well, or choose the one you’re most guilty of. Now brainstorm three ideas to eliminate this vice from your life.

  1. _____________________________
  2. _____________________________
  3. _____________________________

#92.

You’re going to do crazy and dumb stuff occasionally (for some like myself…more than occasionally).

Embrace it and know that you’ll have a good story to tell. Learn from it, forgive yourself, and just make sure it doesn’t become a common thing in your life.

#93.

Change the words you use. Words that threaten success: Might, maybe, can’t, won’t, if, just….catch yourself saying them and replace them with words that make success possible.

Yes, actions matter more than words but words drive our intentions, feelings and thus create our actions.

The All Blacks Rugby team, one of the worlds most winningest sports teams have a  saying….

“Sing your world into existence.”

They use words in the form of aphorisms that drive culture.

No one is bigger than the team. Leave the jersey better than you found it. It’s an honor, not a job. Work harder than an ex-All Black. Sweep the sheds.….to list a few.

Meaning, rituals, stories, heroes, are all bound together by a common, sacred language. Bound together by words.

Daniel Kahneman writes in Thinking, Fast and Slow about the power of our stories  to change and shape our lives, often in ways in which we are not aware. Remember, stories don’t need to be true to be real.

True or not, stories are the way we understand life and our place in it. We are “meaning making machines”, interpreting and reinterpreting a sequence of events into a narrative form.

The stories we tell with words still sing our world into existence.

Words start revolutions. Create your own language that drives positive actions. Use words that start a revolution on the inside that creates evolution on the outside.

#94.

Spend less time on Facebook and other social media and spend it with real people creating great memories and enjoying life, being present.

#95.

Success-lists vs. to-do lists.

To-do lists are overrated. They often cause us to major in the minor things. Instead learn to write success-lists.

Let’s work on this right now….

What’s on your plate tomorrow? Write down a 10 item to-do list.

1. _______________________

2. _______________________

3. _______________________

4. _______________________

5. _______________________

6. _______________________

7. _______________________

8. _______________________

9. _______________________

10. ______________________

Now circle two most important tasks. This is your success list.

  1. ___________________
  2. ___________________

I think of this in terms of “whispers” and “screams”. Whispers are busy work and things you’re doing that aren’t moving the dial in your life and business forward. Screams are the right things to do for you to make an impact.

#96.

This is from my friend Aubrey Marcus…

I love this quote, but it’s misleading if not understood.

Eventually the amount of work becomes the same.

It becomes a choice. But that comes after years of experience with emotional control.

How do you gain years of experience with emotional control?

Well, the same way you get years of experience in the gym. Practice.

Put yourself under the right amount of stress, and work on responding the best you can. Keep practicing. And know that happiness, more often than not, IS a choice. But that choice may not be available until you have trained yourself for years. Maybe decades. I know that has been the case for me, and I’m still working on it.

#97.

Are you doing Difficult-difficult, or difficult-easy?

Difficult-easy is the stuff you do that feels hard, but at least it’s familiar.

Like grinding away at a job you hate.

Making everyone else happy but yourself.

Going on diet after diet, trying so hard to make it work.

Crushing yourself in the gym. (And then getting injured.)

Difficult-easy is Sisyphus rolling the rock up the hill. Over and over.

Difficult-easy takes a lot of effort, but it’s pointless and doesn’t get you closer to your goals. You don’t really go anywhere or learn anything – and easy to fall into.

On the other hand…

Difficult-difficult is the stuff that’s truly challenging.

Like….letting go.

Or being vulnerable.

Asking for help.

Trying something new.

Stepping outside your comfort zone & taking a leap into the unknown.

Difficult-difficult is the stuff most of us avoid… because it’s where true growth lies.

It isn’t just being tough on yourself. In fact, if you’re used to pointing out all your screw ups to yourself, forgiving yourself could be your difficult-difficult task.

If you’re used to “doing it all”, doing what really matters (or doing less… or doing nothing) could be your difficult-difficult task.

It doesn’t have to be this huge thing.It could be as small as saying “no”. (Or “yes”).

But the easiest way to find what is truly difficult-difficult for you is to answer these questions

  1. What have you been avoiding?
  2. What freaks you out to even think about?
  3. What is YOUR Opposite Day? Like, your real Opposite Day?

Now you have some clues. What has helped me in many ways is surrounding myself with people that ask me these tough questions and challenge me to pursue difficult difficult.

❗️Find out what your difficult-difficult is and take the leap!

#98.

You want to know what your purpose is. I can’t tell you. I can tell you that, whatever it is, you’ll have to work for it.

Your purpose will not be found; it will be forged.

What people experience as revelation is often a result of their resolve.

#99.

Resistance is the intractable foe of all people and the death of most aspiring coaches, entrepreneurs, writers, and ______ (insert your dream).

How many of you reading this right now intend, “one day”, start doing what you know is your path? Start a business? Become a coach? Write a book?

“One day” is your resistance.

It’s also the unrelenting for anyone wanting to achieve anything substantial in this life.

Rather than “The Force Be With You”, it’s “The Force Be Against You” anytime you try to achieve something positive. The self-sabotaging force we all seem to have.

The person that dreams of starting a great business, losing weight, breaking away from corporate boredom to serve a greater cause, all struggle with this.

Actually the rule of thumb is…

The more important a call to action is to our souls evolution, the more resistance we feel toward pursuing it.”

Steven Pressfield

Resistance means you’re doing something worthwhile.

Step one is facing it and know what you’re facing.

Then the next step is harder than you ever thought because it’s easier than you think.

BY STARTING.

There’s no magic in the answer but there’s magic in the start.

Wonderful things happen when you just do it.

Mysterious things happen. Ideas pop up from nowhere. Happy accident occur. People appear in your life at the very right time. It’s a beautiful thing.

But starting involved that dreaded “W” word…

WORK.

All great things eventually require work. Damn it, right?

You can dream about getting around it. But – how’s that working for you? I’m talking to YOU right now. You – the one reading this. How’s it working out? Really?

Face it. Start. Do the work. And don’t stop.

Each person is destined to do something specific that only they can do. Follow your inner voice; just do it. If you don’t, you’re not only hurting yourself, you’re hurting others by not helping to enrich our world. By not sharing your gift.

Do it and don’t quit no matter what. The resistance is a compass.

Vigor Ground Fitness and Performance in itself is the constant creation that is the fight against the resistance; it’s my life’s work  and the product of “slaying the dragon” every day.

The resistance never goes away, you just learn to make the fight a part of daily life. You choose to play this epic game called life every day and face the dragon (resistance) because you know on the other side of that fight, that resistance, is a greater version of you – the version that fulfills their full potential.

And since my definition of success mirrors John Wooden’s who said…

“True success is attained only through the satisfaction of knowing you did everything within the limits of your ability to become the very best that you are capable of being.”

And…

“Happiness is in many things. It’s in love. It’s in sharing. But most of all, it’s in being at peace with yourself knowing that you are making the effort, the full effort, to do what is right.”

So if every day you put your best effort into the things that matter, your family and relationships, your work, your mastery of craft, your team, your leadership, your health,… then you will be successful. You ARE successful.

The truth is the only person that can answer whether you did that or not is looking back at you in the mirror.

#99.5.

Fitness doesn’t cost you time, it buys you time (and life)!

I saved this for last and made it a .5 because it’s fitting as an extra lesson (which I realized I had a lot of written down over the years) that I believe in so much that most of my life has been dedicated to helping people change their bodies, and themselves through the vehicle of fitness.

While I believe there is physical fitness and strength, there’s also mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness and strength. To be whole we must work on and develop all of them.

Just like there is lifting weights to get stronger, there’s also mental “weightlifting” that helps you build your mental strength, change belief systems to ones that serve you, help you build resilience, etc.

And there’s also emotional training; where you work to control your emotions so they don’t control you, while also learning to be vulnerable and empathetic so you can better connect with people and understand others better.

So it’s about training each one of these that will help you create your best self.

What I’ve found and studies have shown is that the foundation of it all is physical capacity as it builds endurance, promotes mental and emotional recovery. As a  matter of fact studies published in the book “On Mental Toughness” by the Harvard Business Review confirm this and provide a visual with the pyramid at the bottom with Physical Capacity as the foundation of high performers in business and life.

#99.9.

Yeah, I can do that with the numbers since it’s my post.

The importance of nutrition to how you look, feel, perform, and the overall quality of life is so important that I feel like I’m doing a disservice by just “mentioning” it. It’s also why I share so much content around it including doing live seminars at Vigor Ground Fitness and Performance frequently (and recording them – check them out on my YouTube channel).

Not all is as it seems when it comes to nutrition and my goal has always been to simplify the complex and make is easier for you to implement actionable changes into your daily life with less stress, and more results.

If you want to dive deep(er) and learn more about nutrition, I wrote a blog post that covers a LOT. It’s quite a bit of a read but I promise it will give you more insight than you’ve ever had around what will help you create a sustainable nutrition change that’s not overwhelming and help you achieve life-long results. Read it…

Detox From Diets: The Truth About Why Diets Fail And What To Do About It

This year, if you improve your nutrition and lifestyle, it will change your life. Period. It’s worth the effort.

“What Now Luka?”

After reading all of this, or just some of it, you may have found a lesson that resonates and you got a certain feeling reading it because you:

  1. Believe the lesson but aren’t applying it.
  2. Believe the lesson and are applying it some of the time – but know you must apply it more consistently and for longer periods of time to achieve your goals.

Either way, I challenge you to take at least one action from reading this. Do it now, even if it’s just the “next step.” Nothing changes if nothing changes and just reading through something and getting an insight without taking-action, well, is knowledge unapplied.

My Pops always said: “If you can read but don’t, isn’t it just as bad if not worse than if you can’t read!

If you know better, do better.

Let me know what you’ll take-action on that will change your year, I’d love to hear it. And remember what Tony says…

“If you want the secret to happiness, I can give it to you in one word: progress.”

Tony Robbins

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