Personal Development: A Significant Life Demands It

Clint Fix LIFE

In 2004 I realized that the lifestyle I was leading would eventually lead to permanent health problems or even premature death. I was obese and had been for as long as I could remember. With the help of a stack of books on nutrition and exercise and some friends who were in excellent shape, I began a journey to overhaul my health. I set some goals and began the painstaking process of losing weight the healthy way (after trying out the crash diet thing.) Over the course of a few years I lost 85lbs and dropped my body fat to less than 10%. I achieved my goals. I thought I had it all under control. For a few years I thought I was “maintaining,” but in reality, I was slowly packing the pounds back on. I was still working out, but less consistently. I was still eating right…most of the time. By the time I realized what was happening my body fat percentage was peaking over 15% and I had packed on enough fat that I no longer fit in my clothes. What happened to me? The same thing that happens to us all in every area of our lives. I tried to coast on my past efforts. I didn’t have the next goal set. I wasn’t focused on moving forward. As a result I slacked in my effort and in my education on the subject. In the end, I learned a very important lesson:

If you’re not moving forward, you are going backwards.

There is no maintaining. Momentum may carry you forward for a time, but you will inevitably slip backwards. Discipline is not a choice; either we discipline ourselves now or outside forces will discipline us later. If I hadn’t done the hard work of disciplining myself with regards to my health, eventually I would have lost the freedom to eat certain foods and may have been forced to take certain medications. I use the example of my weight loss journey, but the principle is the same in every part of life. It’s my experience that if we aren’t continually focused on the hard work of improving ourselves in the most important facets of our lives, life is eventually going to get much harder.

To live a significant and successful life, I believe there are a handful of areas where it’s valuable to engage in a program to help us continually learn and grow so that we don’t slip backwards:

Faith
Relationships (marriage, parenting, and friendship)
Finances
Fitness
Leadership (people skills, conflict resolution, vision, etc)
Freedom (history and economics)

Obviously there are many other areas that you may want to work on, but the areas listed will impact every area of your life. There are many different avenues for getting education in these areas so I’ll highlight some principles and questions which I recommend that you use to weigh the different programs that are available.

1. Do the people that are teaching have the results that you want in the area in which they are teaching?

Anybody can spout theories, but if you want to get better in a certain area, find someone who has results in that area.

2. Are they currently active in the area they are teaching or are they speaking on past results?

This is an important question, especially for areas like leadership and finances. Just because someone did something once a decade ago doesn’t mean that it’s applicable right now and in this economy.

3. Is the information and teaching packaged in a format that makes engaging with it easy?

While a college course or a leadership institute may have fantastic information, usually the format requires large blocks of dedicated time which is a hindrance to most. Look for programs which allow you to plug into the information in the cracks of wasted time that we all have throughout the day: while commuting in the car, working out, cleaning the house, etc. Audio learning is is one of my favorite formats because you can listen to it repeatedly and cement it in your mind. Humans learn best through small bits of information repeated over time.

4. Does the program give you access to one-on-one coaching from someone that has the results you’re looking for?

We are all very good at deceiving ourselves. Having an outside perceptive to lovingly point out blind spots and help us correct our thinking is a non-negotiable if you want to lead a significant life. All the greatest people throughout history had mentors. Even one of the best basketball players ever, Michael Jordan, had a basketball coach.

5. Does the program have a community that you can associate with?

Building relationships with people who are on a similar journey is critical for your success. The encouragement and accountability of a community can be the difference between success and failure in any self-improvement journey.

6. Is it continuous?

One-off seminars and classroom teaching has its place, but neither one will create the consistency needed for changing the habits that are holding us back. Look for a program that is on-going. Most of us have been taught the things we need to do, but we forget easily. We need continuous reminders. On-going training programs should not only teach new information, but remind us of the things we’ve forgotten.

Obviously there are other factors to take into account, but this should narrow the choices considerably. The program that I personally plug into is the one crafted by a company called LIFE. It was founded in 2011 by Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, Tim Marks, Bill Lewis, George Guzzardo, Claude Hamilton, and Dan Hawkins. Check out some of the LIFE reviews and testimonials.

Making the decision to embark on a good personal development program will change your life. Most people are trying to coast on their knowledge from formal schooling, much like I tried to coast in my health after achieving my goal. We know how that turned out. If you want to stand out from the crowd plug into a program with a specific intent to continue learning and getting better.

God Bless,

Clint Fix

Personal Development: A Significant Life Demands It

Are You Sure That You Want to Work for Someone Else?

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” We’ve all heard this question, or perhaps even asked it numerous times, but have you ever considered what the question is asking? Typically, the question is really asking, “What do you want to do for a job?” A large portion of our society automatically assumes that you should pick something you want to do, go to college to learn how to do what you’ve picked, then go get a job in your chosen field.

To question this wisdom is near heresy, but that’s what I’m doing to do. Why? Because the results from the “go to school, get good grades, get a safe, secure job” advice are in, and they don’t look good.

Before I dive into the meat of the post, here’s a quick disclaimer: I am not against employment. There are many important roles. My reason for posting this post is to (hopefully) put a crack in the conventional wisdom that, whether consciously or unconsciously, seeks to push our youth into college and employment. This post is aimed at those that DO NOT have a passion for their job, which seems to be the vast majority of people.

An Employee’s Lifestyle

Since most people don’t think that there is any alternative to working until retirement/death, they never even question how much of their life that they are spending to make a buck. The reality is that most people spend a tremendous amount of their life doing something that they really don’t have a passion for just to make some money.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey, the average employed American spends just over nine hours a day working and commuting, followed by sleeping at just under eight hours. Check out the graphic below to see how the average employed American’s spends their time.

American Time Use Survey
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Credit: Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

The normal retirement age in the U.S. is 67. To be conservative, let’s assume that the normal person starts working full-time at 22 years of age. That’s 45 years! Based on the above time study, that means that the average employee will, assuming a 5 day work week, spend 107,640 hours working, 125,651 hours sleeping, and 96,725 hours doing essential things like grooming, cleaning, eating, grocery shopping, etc, which leaves just 64,184 hours of leisure (or time with your kids/family) left. Here’s how it breaks down:

Average Employee Time Use

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to work the best hours of the best years of my life for a paycheck, especially when the paycheck is rather weak.

The BLS also publishes median incomes by age. What you’ll see here is that for all that work, the effort does not pay off at the end.

Income Over Age

Graphs like that make me wonder why retirement was ever called the golden years. It looks to me like they’re the tin-foil years at best.

Seeing information like this really just confirms the feeling of hopelessness that most of the working populous feels; the feeling of not being able to get ahead.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be your reality. There are many ways out. The principles to follow that will get you onto the correct path are as simple as asking the question I started this post with in a different manner. Instead of picking our ‘Do’ first, we need to define the lifestyle that we want to have. How much of that leisure/family time do you want? How would you like your income to be at 35? 55? 75? Ask yourself, “What do I want my lifestyle to be like?” The next part is to find someone that has the lifestyle that you’d like. This step is perhaps the hardest, but is worth the effort. The last step is simply to ‘do’ what the person from the previous step coaches you to do. The best thing I’ve found to help people through all three steps is LIFE.

You will most likely find that to get results that are far different than the picture painted above, the coaching you’ll receive will have a foundation in three very important principles of wealth creation:

  1. Delayed Gratification
  2. Long Term Vision
  3. Utilization of the power of compounding

If you follow those principles, find the right mentors and do the work required, you will live a life that most will never experience. You DO NOT have to work for someone else the rest of your life. You DO NOT have to work until you die to make ends meet. Freedom is yours for the taking.

You have the power to define your lifestyle, so start today!

God Bless,

Clint Fix

Are You Sure That You Want to Work for Someone Else?

My Experience with LIFE’s Mental Fitness Challenge

I decided to do a detailed review of the Mental Fitness Challenge put out by LIFE.

I’ll highlight each part of the MFC (in no particular order) and give my thoughts. If you’re taking the Mental Fitness Challenge, I’d love to hear your feedback on it so far. As I get feedback, I’ll incorporate it into my review.

The Mental Fitness Challenge is a success system designed around the 13 Resolutions as laid out in Orrin Woodward’s book, Resolved – 13 Resolutions for LIFE. The 13 resolutions, broken down into three categories are,

Private Achievements

1. I resolve to discover my God-given purpose.

2. I resolved to choose character over reputation anytime they conflict.

3. I resolve to have an attitude of gratitude.

4. I resolve to align my conscious (ant) with my subconscious (elephant) mind towards my vision.

Public Achievements

5. I resolve to develop and implement a game plan in each area of my life.

6. I resolve to keep score in the game of life.

7. I resolve to develop the art and science of friendship.

8. I resolve to develop financial intelligence.

Leadership Achievements

9. I resolve to develop the art and science of leadership.

10. I resolve to develop the art and science of conflict resolution.

11. I resolve to develop systems thinking.

12. I resolve to develop Adversity Quotient.

13. I resolve to leave a legacy by fulfilling my purpose and vision through living the 13 Resolutions.

Each week focus is put on one of the resolutions starting with the first and finally making it through all 13. Check out my review of Resolved: 13 Resolutions for LIFE.

The Components of the Mental Fitness Challenge

Self-Assessment Test

The self-assessment test included in the MFC is composed of 130 questions (10 for each resolution) in random order where you rank yourself between 1 and 10 (10 – totally describes me, 1 – doesn’t describe me at all). The results are then plotted on a circular graph. An anonymous test result is shown below:

Continue reading “My Experience with LIFE’s Mental Fitness Challenge”

My Experience with LIFE’s Mental Fitness Challenge

Review: The Lens Effect by Orrin Woodward

The lens through which you view the world has a massive impact on the level of success you will achieve. Orrin Woodward, who recently won the Top Leadership Website of 2011 from the Independent Association of Businesses, dissects this idea in detail on a recent LIFE business CD from the Launching a Leadership Revolution (LLR) series called, “The Lens Effect.” I love listening to the LLR series CDs because they always challenge my thinking and inspire me to grow personally and professionally.

Orrin describes four different lenses through which people choose to see life. The first is the Victim Lens. Someone who piers through the victim lens will usually comment on their results in life with statements like, “no one’s helping me,” or “If I had that then I could be successful too'” or “if only this or that didn’t happen to me,” etc. The victim will always blame and pass off responsibility for their results in life to an outside force, surrendering all power to change as a result.

The next lens, the Follower Lens, while better than the victim lens, will still usually keep people back from the greatness that lies within them. The follower always wants to fit in. They go the way that the crowd goes, inevitably getting the same results as the crowd. If you want something different than what the average person gets, you’ll have to do something that the average person isn’t doing.

The third lens is the Performer Lens. This lens is much better than the first two, but still comes with its downfalls. The performer lives by the mantra, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” They will get the work done. Unfortunately the performer is always thinking, “Whatever it takes, I will do it!” They may do some great work, but it will rarely make a large impact or leave a legacy.

To leave a legacy and make a large impact, the fourth lens, a Leadership Lens, is required. The leader doesn’t think in terms of I or me, but in terms of we and us. Leaders understand that it will take a team of interdependent people, not just themselves to make a lasting difference.

Everybody has the ability to choose which lens they wear. Changing your lens requires a few areas of internal change first. Orrin describes the three changes necessary to develop a leadership lens in a way that I could never do in a review here. Make sure to grab the CD and study it! It will help you grow into the leader that you’re meant to be!

God Bless,

Clint

P.S.: Check out my review of Orrin Woodward’s incredible new book, Resolved: 13 Resolutions for LIFE

Review: The Lens Effect by Orrin Woodward

Orrin Woodward – Resolved to Make a Difference in Life

Orrin Woodward knocked the ball out of the park with his most recent book, RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE.  I picked it up with high expectations stemming from him and Chris Brady‘s New York Times best selling book, Launching a Leadership Revolution, and to put it simply: this is Orrin’s best work yet. Edit 5/7/2012: Now it’s available as part of a Mental Fitness Challenge (MFC). The MFC walks you through each of the 13 resolutions step by step, gives you a self-assessment test to see how you are doing in each of the resolutions and gets you connected to a community of people through Challenge Groups that will encourage you and become your accountability partners along the journey. This is the most powerful self-development program I’ve ever seen. Check out some testimonials of people that have gone through it: Mental Fitness Challenge Testimonials.

I am definitely not alone in the praise for RESOLVED. Oliver DeMille, founder of George Wythe University and author of A Thomas Jefferson Education recently added RESOLVED to his top 5 reading list for the holiday break saying, “If you are going to get one book for the holidays, this is it. I have never read a better book on leadership than this one.”  I definitely agree and the timing of its release couldn’t be more perfect.

I have to warn you, though. Orrin did not write RESOLVED as a feel good leadership book. It is a book that sets the bar for character based leadership and as such, it will hurt to read. It will reveal your inadequacies. Fortunately, it doesn’t just leave you hanging without a plan for growth and change. Orrin clearly lays out 13 resolutions garnered from leaders like George Washington, Jonathan Edwards, and Benjamin Franklin that, if followed, will develop the character and work ethic needed to succeed in nearly any area of life.

I can’t think of a better book to read as we approach the new year. Many people are starting to think about what they want to accomplish next year. They are coming up with their new years resolutions. My recommendation would be to read RESOLVED, and start the new year off right with a set of resolutions that will change your life forever.

Here are some links to other fantastic reviews for RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE by Orrin Woodward:

Randy Gage – Prosperity Blog

Oliver DeMille – Review and email to Orrin

For background and a bio on Orrin Woodward and his business, LIFE, check out the links below:

The Center for Social Leadership – Social Leader Spotlight – Orrin Woodward

The Goal of LIFE: Making a Difference in a Different Way

God Bless,

Clint Fix

Orrin Woodward – Resolved to Make a Difference in Life