Episode 105: The Future Lies Ahead

Do you ever wish you could let go of the past and reach your future potential? In this episode Jimmy shares three proven hacks he uses daily to stay focused and motivated to realize his bigger future!

Episode Keys

  • The functions of your brain and how the preoccupation of the past steals your future creativity.
  • How to change your day to maximize your probability for success.
  • Jimmy’s favorite tool for removing his past failures and keeping his mind on the future.
  • Why it is vital you have your goals written in a manner that pictures you accomplishing them.
  • Committing yourself to excellence each day increases your likelihood of success in life.

Podcast Transcript

Good morning! I got to tell you, this has been one of those weeks that’s been a bit of a challenge for our family and for me personally, but you know, you just got to find a way to move forward. Hey, this is Jimmy Williams with Live A Life By Design, your Monday morning moments of motivation to help you live a bigger, better, and bolder you. So many people have emailed and sent in messages to us asking about, “You know, I just can’t shake off the past year. What do I do?” Or, “My life has been so disrupted, I can’t find the new normal.” You know, I’ve got today to share with you three hacks that I utilize daily. These are things that are simple and you’ll go, “Why I knew that,” or “I know how to do that.” The problem is you didn’t implement, so I’m going to share with you today three very powerful hacks.

But before I do, let’s talk a little bit about what’s causing these feelings of disruption, what’s causing the feelings of failure… You know, you can’t seem to find footing solid enough to move forward. Well, some of these most dangerous thoughts that limit your future progress are simply those from your past. You know, what can you do about yesterday? Nothing! I cannot change yesterday. It’s gone and it’s in the history books. The best course of action is to shake off the outcomes, actions, thoughts of yesterday, and live in the present while focusing on your goals for the future. Today I’ve said I’m going to share with you these three hacks. These are three of my favorite – I’m going to call them “mental hacks” – there’s several different types of bodily hacks I’m guessing. These are my three favorite mental hacks for letting go of the past to accomplish greatness in my future. Now, you know, you’re going to say “greatness” but what is greatness? I got to tell you, greatness to me is you becoming a better person tomorrow than you were today. It doesn’t simply mean wealth in terms of money. It means wealth in terms of friendships, family, it may mean yourself, that you believe in yourself and you’re comfortable within your own skin to move forward. It means a lifetime of learning, reading the good books, filling your mind with the pure, positive, and powerful messages of today to fuel you toward a bigger future. So these three hacks – again, not that difficult – but what you need to do is work on the habit of changing the way you start your day. And, I want to close with how you end your day to help build your bigger future.

So, let’s get started. Hack number one… This is so easy, but it may be difficult for you if you don’t have goals written down. Now, a goal to me is something that is written down and meets what’s called the SMARTER framework. That’s S-M-A-R-T-E-R framework. We actually did a podcast on this several months ago, but the SMARTER framework gives a time-bound, attainable, exciting description to each of the goals in your life by the different domains in your life. So, the hack number one that I use every day is I review my future goals first thing in the morning. You know, this is as simple as I said, but it’s so powerful that many of us fail to perform it. Create your morning ritual that provides you just a few minutes each day to review your goals for your future. So, what is this doing for you? What this is planting in your mind… You’ve heard the old phrase, “If I can conceive and believe, I can achieve.” What you’re doing is painting in your mind that goal in a very solid, vivid picture so your brain can begin to work on it becoming reality. I don’t mean to sit down and review your ten-year goals, I just want you to focus on your goals for the next few days or couple of weeks, for example. Your short-term next actions to get that one year goal or that three-month goal and accomplish it. This places a sense of urgency in your mind and when your mind is working on creating a reality of your thoughts, it can’t be retrieving your past to critique. It is so busy bringing about those big goals you have in your life to make you the better person you wish to be – to give you a better income than you’re currently experiencing, to make you more knowledgeable, more wise, so that you may be a leader in your industry.

In his New York Times bestselling book “The Compound Effect” Darren Hardy instills in his readers the mindset of momentum – or as he calls it, “Big Mo” – in life. It takes time, energy, and commitment to create a forward momentum. But once you have it, life seems to take less energy and effort to keep it going. So one method of creating and keeping forward momentum is to think about and strive for your bigger future. You may think you aren’t making progress on your first day of striving for the future, but I promise you the seeds you are planting in your brand will reap a bumper crop of positivity and energy so you may realize your goals and dreams. So, my first hack is simply this: review my goals every day first thing in the morning.

Hack number two: devote myself to doing something excellent today. What I think is most important in this matter is that if we’re focusing on doing something excellent, we don’t get bogged down in the easy, trivial matters of the day. You know what I’m talking about, that busy work that everyone says, “Oh my goodness I had such a busy day.” And you look at the value they created that day, and it is nonexistent or very minimal. In my full focus planner, I write my big three goals or tasks for the day and place in the number one space something that is excellent and challenging. Now, when I add that conjunction “and” on there, don’t just think it’s excellent, I want something that’s going to challenge me to be bigger and better. Well why would I do this? First, it helps me immediately gain focus. That’s what we lack first thing in the morning. You know, we’re a little groggy. Perhaps, as my co-host Lori says, hadn’t had that coffee for the day, can’t get my mind opened up, still got some cobwebs in there from my sleep. This is a way that you can really get your brain kickstarted, get that jump on the day with that challenging first item of the day that you’re going to perform.

And second, if you complete a challenging task at the start of your day, the rest of your day is far less daunting. I have heard many statements like, “Eat the elephant one bite at a time,” or, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one single step.” Well one quote I most often restate when people ask me how to get started and complete a task they don’t particularly enjoy, I tell them to read a book by Brian Tracy titled “Eat That Frog”. Now, disregarding the title, I got to be honest with you, the book is a great, great read. The premise of the book is to, quote, “eat a frog” every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. Sounds outlandish, doesn’t it? However, the approach is not novel and it is very effective. By garnering all of your mental ability and focus to tackle your most difficult and perhaps unsavory task of the day first thing in the morning, you have set yourself free the remainder of your day to tackle anything that may be thrown at you.

It’s no surprise to you listening to this podcast that one of my favorite bands from back in the 70s, and only until last year or a couple years ago, no longer perform, due to age and the loss of one of their members… The name of the band is Rush and Neil Peart, the drummer of Rush, was also the lyricist for the band, and quite a student of astronomy and philosophy. I picked up a couple of statements from him that I use to this day. Now, I know what you’re saying. He is a philosopher, but it’s a rock and roll philosopher maybe, progressive rock anyway. He provided us this wonderful quote to guide us in this process of devoting ourselves to doing something excellent. He says, “Ask yourself this question every morning” -and this is what I do, I specifically ask this question – “What is the most excellent thing I can do today?” It’s that simple. What you’re doing is framing in your mind the approach to doing something excellent, but not just excellent, the most excellent thing I can do today. That just gives me chills thinking about that now.

One important environmental aspect I employ is to give myself a noise-free, negative-free space in the mornings. When everything from the world is knocking at your brain’s door for your attention, you must find a way to not answer. Don’t allow your cellphone to become your first contact in the morning. Immediately upon wakening, be conscious of the fact that you are in control of your day, not the social media world. And whatever habit you may have developed where you use your cellphone perhaps as your alarm clock, I get that. I would encourage you to get your cellphone and leave it in another room at night and allow you to get a smaller clock just to put on the edge of your nightstand that has nothing to do with technology. I actually have a Philips daylight clock, so I set the time for this to wake me and it doesn’t have an audible alarm that I use, it has a light. So it mimics the sun rising at the time I set it. Now think about what I just did. I controlled the daytime in my life by using this particular alarm clock. It’s the greatest thing I have bought in many years. It doesn’t also wake my wife so much, since she’s on the other side of the bed, with a loud noise, or in my case on the iPhone, I used to have songs that would wake me in the morning. And hey, if you haven’t awakened yourself to Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train, boy I got to tell you, you missed out on a great start to the day. So, the point I’m making with this is focusing and dedicating yourself to do what is most excellent in your day so that you can bring to the world the greatest value you may contribute as well as bring yourself that confidence that you have tackled, or “eaten that frog” at the first part of the day. The rest of the day is going to be a glorious time for you.

So, devote yourself to doing something excellent today. Now, this isn’t just a five-days-a-week thing where you do it at work. I want you to think about what can you do that’s excellent while at home or on vacation. If that most excellent thing could be your own vacation, take a hike up a mountaintop that has been challenging for you in the past and try to get to the top at a quicker time, for example.

When I’m in Arizona – I’ve got a good friend out in the Phoenix, Arizona area – I like to hike Camelback Mountain. You can climb to the top and watch the signs that you have along the pathway there, stuff like “Watch for rattlesnakes”, but anyway, I digress for a moment. But as I’m climbing to the top – and I start early in the day. Out there, I want to start about 5 a.m. because they don’t observe daylight savings time and it gets hot rather quickly in the summer. So I start that pathway and I am up that hill as quickly as I can, but when I get almost to the top, I hit a wall. It seems like every time, I have to stop and take a rest, and I said this last trip out there a couple years ago, I was going to make it to the top nonstop. I am going to take myself from the bottom to the top without even taking a water break. I’ve got my water with me, I can take a drink without even stopping. The key thing was to beat my previous time. This was my most excellent thing to do today. Now, what do you think I did when I reached the top of Camelback Mountain, and I looked at that beautiful valley, picturesque below me, as I looked over Phoenix, Gilbert, Scottsdale… You can see all around you for miles. And if it’s a non-cloudy day, which most of them aren’t cloudy out there in the desert, it is a beautiful sight to behold.

But once I reached that pinnacle, I know now that the rest of my day, as I’m walking back down the mountain, is going to be a very simple task. Things are going to be within my control. I have taken on and conquered the most excellent thing I wanted to do that day. Now, I said what I wanted to do, but to check it off on my planner to say, “I climbed Camelback at the same or less time than I did previously,” that is a goal won for the day.

So, the third hack – and probably, if you’ve listened to this podcast very much at all, have heard me mention this to almost ad nauseam, but I cannot tell you how much this hack helps me on a daily basis. Consider this my, if you will, my old school social media. Hack number three is I journal about my wins from the day. I actually do this in the evening, or sometimes I’ll even add additional comments that morning while I’m getting ready for my day from the previous day. But before I lie down for the day I always leave my wins, trials, defeats, et cetera, in the pages of my journal. This essentially frees my mind from storing the information to be brought up during the time I wish to rejuvenate myself in my sleep. There is nothing I could gain from fretting over a failed moment during my day. I can learn from these instances, but I can’t change the one that has passed. Time is finite. I can’t create more, but I can maximize my effectiveness in the hours I have been given.

This past week I was reminded how fleeting life can be. My wife was involved in a horrific car accident that could have been far more perilous than I realized. When I received the call from my mother in law, who was also in the car with her, my wife and her health was paramount to me, and her survival even more so. My heartbeat doubled time, and I took a deep breath. I then asked those important questions to determine in my mind the status of the situation and what was simply going to be my next stop. I tell you this story only because it is critical and hopefully it will instill in you the time we have on this planet is limited and we shouldn’t spend it frivolously worrying about yesterday. I went to get her personal effects out of her car the next day, from the accident. As I looked closely at the automobile and the safety equipment, in other words, I’m talking about those air bags, the seat belts, the impact cushioning of the body of that vehicle. My wife will survive with only a broken thoracic vertebra and some whiplash and some other things, but the point I’m making is, the safety she had around her allowed her to take on a dangerous situation where someone pulled in front of her while she was driving down the highway.

Now, the same thing can be thought of as safety measures with these three hacks I’m providing you today. What I am doing those is, your body is not a car, I am placing around it the safety features to protect something most important to you, and that is your confidence. Without confidence, we cannot conquer our daily challenges. Without confidence, we cannot seize the opportunities that arise before us. Without confidence, I cannot see my future and take advantage of it. You must have confidence. These three hacks will help build in you the confidence you need to live your bigger future. Live for the day and make for yourself the future you want. Don’t allow the world to blow the ship of your life in the direction you do not wish to go.

One of my favorite quotes of my mentor Jim Rohn: “It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind, that determines which way we will go.” Well, my question to you today, have you set your, quote, “sails” to plot a course for the future you wish to see and experience for yourself, or are you simply finding that your merely engaged in the waves of disruption, and your life is just going to be whatever the world does with it? Today is a new day. Implement these three hacks and make it happen where you realize your full potential. These three simple hacks, practiced every day, will guide you to realize in your future goals, instead of remembering your past failures.

Hack number one: review your goals every day, and if you don’t have them, it goes unsaid to write down your goals at least for this year. If they’re short-term, write those down. Hack number two: devote yourself to doing something excellent first thing in your day. And hack number three: journal about your wins from the day and leave the past behind you.

The challenge for this week for each of you is to adopt these three hacks in your daily life or implement your own changes that will give you the edge you need to accomplish the life you desire. Go ahead, greatness is just a goal away.

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