Tag Archives: chris brady

The Locus of Focus

This content was taken from the book Rascal, by Chris Brady.

These are busy times in which we live. Electronic media and technology have invaded nearly every aspect of our lives in the name of convenience. Many couples are each working jobs. Then there are the children, activities at church, chores around the house, banking and errands and obligatory parties and gatherings. Who among us hasn’t felt the pressure of the hustle and bustle of our modern way of living?

It seems as if “busyness” has infected us all. None of us in immune. It calls to mind the quote from Henry David Thoreau who wrote: “It is not enough to be busy, so too are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” I have always liked this quote, because it cuts directly to the heart of the matter. Author Marshall Goldsmith states, “It is time to stop dreaming of a time when you won’t be busy.”

Apparently, being busy is just part of life. It has probably always been this way since the days when gathering fire wood, hunting, and preparing meals consumed all of one’s time. But busyness is no excuse for lack of performance, or more importantly, lack of living an authentic, purposeful, significant life. We simply must find a way to cut through it all and make our days count.

Who hasn’t tried some sort of time management tool? Who hasn’t struggled to live according to one’s priorities? It all makes much more sense when we sit through the lecture series or read the brochures, but when it comes to truly living these principles, things seem to go awry.

Rascals, however, find a way. They understand their priorities and find a way to align their actions accordingly. There are several factors that play into this. As we have already discussed, one way is to have a clear and definite purpose in mind.

In the Bible we are told of three wise men traveling from the east around the time of the birth of Jesus. It is thought by historians that these men were likely from the land of Persia. A quick glance at the map shows many geographic obstacles between the heart of Persia and tiny Judea. We are told that these men traveled across these difficult and hazardous lands by following a bright star shining in the sky. This star provided a point of navigation to keep them on track no matter what challenges they encountered below; be it bandits, rivers, mountains, deserts, or jealous kings. In similar fashion, Rascals navigate through the pressures of their lives by progressing toward something solid and clean on their horizon. No matter what is encountered, a true Rascal can follow his own path if guided by a star in his future sky. Looking up is the best way to pass through things that can bring you down. It’s when your focus is bigger than your obstacles that you can make progress.

quote pic 9

Having clear and energizing goals is another major tactic to avoid the trap of busyness. Goals should be exciting, stretching, and specific. If they don’t exert a power to perform, then they are not believable enough, not specific enough, or not short-term enough.

Goals make prioritization easy. One can simply ask, “Will this help me get closer to my goal?” If not, it shouldn’t be done. Notice how difficult this becomes if there is no goal. But with a goal, once can look at anything and everything that comes along and determine, “Does this fit?” and “What’s important next?”

This is all critical because the enemy of great is “good.” There are literally millions of good things out there we could be doing with our time. There are pass-times and hobbies and people and places to visit, things to explore and activities with which to become involved. Any of these things may be fine on their own. However, if we do not learn to distinguish between great and good, we will waste countless hours doing good things while missing out on the great. Focus is so important, and if we have a clearly defined goal, making decisions about what is good and what is great to do next becomes easier in light of that goal.

There is another concept that we will call ‘pruning.’ This is something a Rascal does every time he feels the press of too many things or activities around him. Somehow he has allowed too many commitments, interests, or distractions into his life. The only prudent thing to do at this point is to make adjustments, deciding that some things simply have to go. Which activities are not central to achieving the goal? Which are not directly in line with life’s purpose? Which can wait until later? As hard as it may be, one has to get good at saying ‘no’ to a lot of good things in order to preserve space for the great things. In other words, a Rascal is slow to allow anyone to complicate his life.

It should be clear at this point that Rascals who achieve the most are the best at focusing upon what is most important in terms of their goals and overall purpose. They keep themselves free of the distractions of lesser things and ensure that their busyness is about something meaningful and in line with their larger purpose.

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

How to Become a Mentor of Mentors

In their book Launching a Leadership Revolution, authors Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward wrote about the five levels of influence, teaching that understanding each is an important skill for great leaders. These levels include:

1. Learning
2. Performing
3. Leading
4. Developing leaders
5. Developing leaders who develop leaders

Great mentoring is all about levels four and five. Brady and Woodward said, “When we wrote the book, we didn’t know it would become a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller. We didn’t know that many thousands of people would embrace it and use it to build companies that build leaders. But we did know that leadership is only level 3, and that even more important than leadership is developing leaders.”

CB and OW quoteIn short, the greatest mentors don’t mentor only those they work with directly. Rather, they think of the people their mentees will mentor and even those who will be mentored
four or five generations ahead, and they help their mentees become the type of mentors who can become great mentors of mentors.

For example, consider how this works in a family setting. Some people focus on their career as the center point of life. Ask most people what they do in life, and they’ll say they’re a doctor, attorney, accountant, businessperson, engineer, or some other profession.

Sometimes, in contrast, we meet people who answer the same question by saying, “I’m a dad,” “I’m a father to three great children,” or “I’m a wife and mother.” While this cheeky answer frequently indicates that the person has given a lot of thought to his or her life purpose and priorities, the truth is that there is an even better way.

On one level, we can focus on our work life as the center of our purpose.

At a higher level, we can make our marriage and parental relationships the top priority.

At an even better level, we can be the kind of parents who wisely and consciously raise our grandkids—even when our own kids are just little. This means thinking through what we’re really doing as parents. Are we just career people who happen to have kids? Hopefully not.

Likewise, are we spouses and parents raising kids to be confident, contributing adults? This is a good step.

Or are we, above all, future grandparents who are raising our kids to be fantastic parents who themselves will raise their children in a way that positively influences several generations to come? Those who see their role in such far-reaching generational terms will approach their marriage and parenting in a purposeful way.

The same applies to business mentoring. If we mentor only the people with whom we work directly, we won’t be as helpful to them as if we see our role as one of mentoring them to be great mentors of mentors.

(This excerpt was taken from the Life Essentials Series book, Mentoring Matters. Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

Winners Play Hurt

The following excerpt was taken directly from Chris Brady’s book, Rascal:

Health is a gift we often take for granted until it is compromised. When sick or ill, we hark back to the healthful days with longing; yearning to feel better again and regain our former vitality. None of us is going to be healthy forever. All will experience sickness and debilitation, to different degrees, to be sure. And to be clear, there are significant, debilitating illnesses which will quite literally take a Rascal out of his game for a period, and in extreme cases, permanently. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a good attitude in the midst of the toil and realize that for a vast majority of afflictions, we will simply have to tough it out and press through it. Truth be told, many of the great achievements throughout the ages have been done by Rascals who simply had to tough it out through sickness, pain, discomfort, or whatever. When all else fails, toughness alone can be a powerful weapon to keep one in the field.

There is an interesting concept I’ve discovered by watching champions of all kinds: winners learn to play hurt. Everyone experiences sickness and pain, heartache and hurt feelings, brokenness and despair. Pestilence, hunger, disease, sickness, and injury have plagued humanity since the fall. These facts are true for rich and poor alike. The famous, lucky, beautiful and gifted all suffer as do the obscure, unlucky, ugly and average. In fact, in light of that truth, these superficial labels start to lose their power to classify people. In the end, we are all living under the same set of human conditions where pain, suffering, and setbacks are just a way of life.

Rascals understand these rules of the game and learn to press on regardless. In a literal illustration, top level professional athletes learn to continue the season with wrapped injuries and pain-killers. Sitting in chill tubs or massage rooms after the games, they work through the pain to ready their bodies to perform again. Most sports are played by athletes with injuries and damaged bodies.

quote pic 11

I will never forget a particular National Football League game in Texas years ago. The Dallas Cowboys were aiming to make it to Super Bowl XXVIII and playing a late season game at home against the New York Giants. Home field advantage for the playoffs was on the line and the Giants were giving the Cowboys a rough time of it. It looked bleak for the Cowboys when in the second quarter, star running back Emmitt Smith went down hard on the frozen surface and separated his left shoulder. The pain was evident in his face. Smith went off the field drooping his shoulder and wincing. Surprisingly, though, Smith came back into the game. He ran the ball again and got tackled hard. Slow to get up, Smith made his way back to the huddle for another play. Smith ran the ball or caught passes again, and again, and again. Each time it appeared it was all he could do just to get back up. Somehow, though, Emmitt Smith managed to carry the ball just one more time. Said Smith years afterward, “I’m in the huddle saying to myself, ‘No pain, no pain,’ I’m just talking to myself, ‘no pain,’ and tears are rolling out of my eyes, I’m trying to convince myself there’s no pain, but I was feeling all the pain!” Teammate Michael Irving said of Smith’s resilient play that day, “He stood up and played, I mean he just played and played and played. I’ve never seen a performance like that!” The statistics say it all. That afternoon, Emmitt Smith had the ball for 42 of the Cowboys’ 70 offensive plays, with 32 runs for 170 yards and 10 catches for 62 more. The Cowboys defeated the New York Giants that day, securing home field advantage for a playoff run that would indeed see them win the Super Bowl.

The converse of this type of performance might be called “loser’s limp.” We’ve probably all seen it before: a defensive football player gets beat on a play, gives chase to the offensive player carrying the ball toward the end-zone, then upon seeing that the chase is futile, pulls up with a feigned injury as an excuse.

In life, people can choose to either play hurt or adopt a loser’s limp. A loser’s limp involves finding some excuse, any excuse, to explain away the lack of success. It’s as if these people are searching for an explanation good enough to get them off the hook. And in fact, when it comes to choosing not to succeed, any excuse will do. It is one thing to make excuses for lack of performance to others, and that is bad enough. But the saddest excuse is the one a person sells to himself. Unfortunately, many will work very hard to convince others of the excuse they have chosen to adopt for themselves. The only problem is that any excuse they have for not accomplishing something has already been used by somebody else as the very reason for accomplishing it! The difference is whether or not someone is willing to play hurt!

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

What Greatness Requires

“Everyone wants to be great, until it’s time to do what greatness requires.” – Joshua Metcalf

According to Chris Brady, there is a process and a path to greatness. In this article, Brady uncovers the secrets to skillful living and how to achieve a great life.

What Greatness Requires – by Chris Brady

If you’re going to do what greatness requires, you’re going to have to become great in order to EARN what greatness delivers. For example: if you are going to do great financially, you probably have to be great as a man first. True greatness requires greatness.

The problem is that most people’s lives are a mess. There is something called skillful living and in Life, we teach about skillful living through our products. Think about it, how many people do you see that you can honestly say are living skillfully?

Skillful living requires consistent, productive, daily habits, and greatness requires skillful living. To break it down even further, daily habits require two components:

  1. The right inputs
  2. Time

By applying the right inputs over time, you will be able to manufacture an awesome life!

It all seems so obvious, yet so few people actually do it. Why? Because most people underestimate the power of positive habits multiplied by time, and conversely, most people also underestimate the destructive power of negative habits over time. 

The inputs:

  1. Read– What do you read on a daily basis that’s designed to make you better?
    • There’s positive stuff that you should be reading on a consistent daily basis to the point where you have to fall in love with it. Then there’s stuff you should stop reading that doesn’t help you at all.
    • Tune down the negative and tone up the positive.
  2. Listen – What do you listen to on a daily basis?
  3. Associate – Who do you hang around with?
    • It may take you hanging out with better crowds in order to put you in a better position in your life.
  4. Self-talk – what do you tell yourself?
    • You should have an affirmation statement that you can run through your mind all the time.
  5. What do you watch?
    • On TV, social media, or You Tube- It may not be negative, but it may not be positive either.
    • Just because technology can make something easy to watch, doesn’t mean you should watch it.
    • Do you actively block stuff out and refuse to let it come through your eyes?
  6. What do you visualize?
    • What kind of future do you run in front of your mind?
    • What is the vision that you see- the picture in your mind’s eye of what your life will be like one day?
    • What kind of person do you want to become?

quote pic 2

Once you’ve changed and identified your inputs, multiply them by time and you will achieve a great life. Remember, time is a currency. You should spend it carefully and intentionally.

“When you begin to take your life seriously, you will also start taking time seriously. Those who don’t take time seriously aren’t very serious about their lives.”

Skillful living depends on the wise deployment of time, and time can also be helpful in choosing the right inputs. Stop reading for a moment and grab a piece of paper and a pen and answer this question in 7 categories of your life:

20 years from now, what will you wish you had done today?

In your health…

In your family…

In your soul/spirit…

In your finances…

Personally…

Professionally…

For others…

Create a picture of the best you. The things 20 years from now you will wish you had done today will represent the best you. You can’t stop bad choices and habits; you can only replace them with productive choices and habits. So, replace destructive stuff with productive stuff.

“You will always be thankful for the gifts your present self sends forward through time to your future self. And you will always be sick with regret when you don’t.”

If you want the life that greatness brings, you have to be willing to do the things that greatness requires. Greatness requires skillful living; skillful living requires consistently, productive, daily habits; and consistently, productive, daily habits require the right inputs, consistently applied over time.

The way to do that is to have a longer view: Look backwards from 20 years at you today and picture that 20 year (plus) you cheering you on. What would that guy say if he could come back right now? Would he come back and smack you? Or come back and thank you?

Lastly, it ultimately comes down to hunger. Most of the habits are not hard to do; they’re just easier not to do. Greatness requires hunger; and if you’ve got hunger, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

Bring Your Story to Life

The message of this video is that you are the author of your story, you are the protagonist in the movie of your life, and you can still write yourself into a masterpiece! Switch to “narrator mode,” and make it magnificent!

Enjoy!

Sincerely,

Chris Brady

Life Leadership’s “You, Inc.” Financial Hierarchy or Pyramid

Proper Financial Fitness begins with mastering the Defense, Offense, and Playing Field of money.  For the many satisfied customers (click here and scroll down for textual, audio, and video testimonials) of Life’s Financial Fitness suite of products and services, this is exactly what they have discovered and put to good use.

But there IS more.

Just what do you do with the money once you stop being scammed as a victim of debt and start to instead enjoy the thrill ride of having extra money at the end of the month?  Where do you put it? How do you go about determining which investments might be right for you?

In this quick video shot several months ago in the hot Florida sun, I try to give a quick fly-by of how we present the answers to these questions in our new addition to the series: the Beyond Financial Fitness program.  It covers the concept of the “You, Inc. Hierarchy” or Pyramid of priority for your money.

I hope you enjoy the video, and more importantly, that you find the information useful!

God bless!

Chris Brady

The information presented on this blog and in any of its videos is for general educational purposes only, and provides information the authors believe to be accurate on the subject matter covered.  It is presented here with the understanding that neither the authors nor the publisher are providing advice for any particular portfolio or for any individual’s particular situation, or rendering investment advice or other professional services such as legal or accounting advice.  If expert advice in areas that include investment, legal, and accounting are needed, please seek a competent professional’s services.

This publication may make reference to performance data collected over various periods of time.  Remember that past results do not guarantee future performance.  Performance data, as well as laws and regulations, change over time, which could affect the applicability of the information presented on this blog and its videos.  Any data presented herein is used merely to illustrate the underlying principles.

This blog and its videos are not to serve as the basis for any financial decision or as a recommendation of any specific investment.

No warranty is made with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein, and both the authors and the publisher specifically disclaim any responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this blog and its videos.

How to Master the Skill of Not Quitting

chris-brady-quoteChris Brady gave a talk recently that laid the foundation for a basic skill that all leaders must learn if they wish to succeed at anything; it’s the skill of Not Quitting.

Brady states, “If a person can master the skill of not quitting, they will ‘make it’ in any endeavor they pursue in life.”

Orrin Woodward has a similar mantra to define this concept: Start Starting and Quit Quitting! Woodward states: “The biggest breakthroughs occur when a person refuses to quit notwithstanding the present dismal results. Persistence in a just cause through numerous failures builds character and determines whether a person joins the ranks of perpetual winners or perpetual quitters in life.”

To further this discussion, I am going to borrow a parable taken directly from Chris Brady’s leadership blog, which is a perfect parallel to introduce the subject: How to Master the Skill of Not Quitting.

There is an old story about a fisherman who believes he has died and gone to Heaven as he catches one perfect 2 lb trout after another.  As he sets his fly and hooks into yet one more, he can’t fathom his good fortune.  The sky is blue, the weather ideal, the fish biting like he’s never before experienced, and everything is absolutely perfect.  It is not long, however, before the realization dawns on him that he is not in Heaven at all.  Instead, as the boredom and the pointlessness settle in on him, he realizes he’s actually in Hell.

It’s hard to describe just how hard this little parable hit me the first time I heard it.  In one moment it erased all my whiny complaints about how difficult and elusive success seems to be.  The trout fisherman in Hell story is so extreme, so seemingly ridiculous, that we are confronted with a strange and brutal fact: we may hate opposition and struggle, but it is critical for our mental health.  Without the struggle, we would feel no joy in victory.

To transcribe and somewhat summarize Brady’s words, here is the basic premise, taken directly from his talk:

The truth is, we think we want everything to be roses and sunshine all of the time; we think that we want to cast our line and catch a trophy trout every single time; we think we want our life to be smooth and easy. And we try to do all of these things to eliminate obstacles and pain from our lives. We recoil from stress and calamity, thinking that somehow we should avoid it. However, what we think we want and what we actually need are two very different things. What we actually need is resistance, obstacles, and challenges, in order to appreciate the triumph.

“Adversity is the canvas upon which you paint your greatness.” – Chris Brady

Not quitting in the face of adversity is actually a skill; the ability to persevere against all odds is a skill; and quitting is a natural temptation for any worthwhile endeavor you’ll ever pursue. You’ll be tempted to quit any business you ever start and any relationship you ever find yourself in. So how do we protect ourselves from the temptation to quit? First, it’s important to define the different types of quits in order to develop awareness for ourselves.

Here are the 3 different types of quits to be mindful of:i-quit

  • The temper tantrum quit
    • The dramatic: “That’s it; I’ve had it; I’m done!!”
  • The slow fade quit
    • You slowly let your light go down to a dim and you just back off slowly.
    • You don’t admit to yourself that you’re quitting, but you’re backing off.
    • You start to make little compromises that start to stack up.
  • The just for now quit
    • Just until the kids get done with hockey season…
    • Just until after the holidays…

So now that we’ve identified the different types of quits, on a deeper level it’s even more important to be cognizant of the reasons that make you feel like quitting. Here are just a few:

  • You get to a point where you feel like you can’t do it anymore.
  • Someone else quit and it influences your decision.
    • Don’t let their decision undo your decision when your decision to start didn’t even involve them.
  • Justification (I gave it my best shot)
  • I’m not as successful as I thought I’d be by now.
    • You may have started with an unrealistic expectation of what you could do and/or an over-confident expectation of what you were capable of in the beginning.
  • I’ve invested so much already.
  • It’s harder than I thought.
    • It may be because you don’t come from a language of excellence. Excellence is always harder than you thought!
  • Criticism (Someone made fun of me)
  • Someone hurt my feelings OR I’ve been wronged.
    • These are usually little tiny rubs that start to stack up in your head about people. Somehow your rights are being violated and you get offended and your feelings get hurt (different than criticism).
  • I came across some negative and now I have doubts.

Have you ever succumbed to one of these reasons for quitting? I know I have. So we dig deeper…

Brady identifies three phases of mastery: ignorance, immersion, and intelligence. To paraphrase, he says that in order to protect yourself from the temptation to quit in the face of adversity, you have to learn how to personally manage yourself in the immersion phase.

Think about it, once you get immersed in something, that’s when you start to get hit with reality. He shares the example of marriage; in the ignorance phase you are excited and everything is bliss. You don’t see all of the potential calamities that are about to arise. But, immersion is different. It can be overwhelming; it can become unsettling and complex. And it’s how you manage yourself in the complexity and pressure that will determine how far you make it. Further, he says that the secret to maximizing your success in the immersion stage is to stay in touch with the wonder of your discovery.

Unfortunately, the direct result of what happens when you don’t have proper personal management is……….quitting. And it’s a travesty.

The travesty of quitting:

  • You pull yourself out of the immersion stage and you put yourself back into some new ignorant stage, thereby surrendering any of the value, progress, and distance you made through the previous immersion stage. Essentially, you have to start over new somewhere else.
  • Quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
  • Quitting starts a pattern in your life that gets hard to stop. Naturally, people follow down the same path with the same patterns in everything they start to do. The loss of time after quitting in the immersion step is never redeemable. You can’t get that time back. When you quit something, you’ve lost your investment.

“The key to long term success is to cultivate and keep alive that sense of wonder at the immersion step. If you can master that, you can master your craft.” – Chris Brady

Here are 9 practical steps Brady gives that you can do to prevent yourself from quitting (or to quit quitting, as Orrin Woodward describes):

  1. When you’re feeling down, when your tank is low, take positive action immediately!
  2. Listen to informational reinforcements (audios)
  3. Refresh the “deep” dreams (cause, purpose, and legacy)
  4. Envision your future – you only get what you picture.
  5. Don’t fall for the false illusion of unknown alternatives.
  6. Get around other leaders.
    • You don’t just need informational reinforcements, you need relational reinforcements!
  7. Focus only upon what you can control and disregard all the rest.
  8. Know how to repair yourself.
    • In times of being down, sometimes you need to get around people because people charge you up, others of you may need to get away from people because people drain you. You need to know which one you are.
  9. When you need to repair yourself, postpone all decisions. Allow yourself to not make decisions when you’re tired, sick, hungry, or frustrated, no matter how impending the decision is or what the deadline is. Don’t make any decisions until you’ve resurfaced as yourself once again.

There you have it. Learn to develop the skill of Not Quitting by applying some of Brady’s advice and you will be on your way to achieving success in every venture that you ever pursue.

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)