Category Archives: Blog

Getting To Know You, Yourself and You – Life Purpose And Goals

Who Are You?

Tonight I’m going with my 25 year old son to see the classic rock band, The Who, still doing live shows after all these years.   Their music and message is timeless, enjoyed by me back in the 70’s (yes young folks, there was life back then), and by my son now.   Their famous song “Who Are You”, made mainstream popular by the CSI TV Series, asks the question we all have, but don’t always have a satisfactory answer for.  You should listen to the song here before reading further, to get the full huge dramatic effect of this post:

Listen to the challenge of the song now bouncing around in your brain: “Tell me, Who Are You?  ‘Cause I really Wanna Know!”.  Have you spent time thinking about this question and your personal answer, or have you just listened to and gone along with parents, family, friends, teachers, people you look up to, and other authority figures?  You come to your own personal definition of success and getting it is what makes you truly happy, happiness that overflows from you and has a positive effect on everyone around you and the world.

Answering Who You Are

If you do a good job of answering this question, and keep answering it as a continuum throughout your life and you grow and change, your passion for pursuing vocational and entrepreneurial opportunities, desire to bring about positive social change, and to pass it onto others, will grow and grow.  That growth will cause your happiness and personal fulfillment to grow as well.  To help you organize your thoughts and bring it into being in your life, you can start with these four steps, which are derived from the classic book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, which I also encourage you to read and study carefully:

  1. Definite Major Purpose: Perform self-examination and discovery, then write your their true purpose in life, with specifically what you want to achieve short and long term. Then read it daily to cultivate a burning desire to achieve that purpose based on your passion and vision of who you want to become.
  2. Positive Mental Attitude: Deliberately decide daily to create and cultivate a positive mental attitude that leads to happiness.
  3. Written Plan of Action: Quantify your definite major purpose by writing down life, vocational and entrepreneurial goals that are specific, timed, achievable, measurable, and prioritized, then creating an action plan to achieve those goals.
  4. Mastermind Alliance: share your definite major purpose with one or more trusted friends who want to support you in reaching your goals, and then meet regularly to compare notes and support each other.

If you put some thought into the above questions, write down your thoughts – the written word in your own handwriting solidifies your thinking – you will be further ahead in playing the game of life.  Remember there is no rehearsal.  This is it.

So off I go to the concert to enjoy the music and ponder the question again for myself – always changing, as I listen to The Who perform “Who Are You?” live.  Good Fun.

 

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Sharing Life Purpose, Vocational Goals, and Entrepreneurship

UBC Finance Club logo                        CFA Society Vancouver

This week I was honoured to attend the annual University of British Columbia (UBC) Finance Club annual wine and cheese event presented by the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Society Vancouver.  The goal of the annual event is to connect students with finance industry professionals to help students learn about what a career in the finance industry entails, and the club did a stellar job creating a great environment for this to happen.  You can find out more about how the club helps students on the UBC Finance Club Website and by visiting and liking the UBC Finance Club Facebook Page.

At the event, the buzz in the room was energizing and uplifting, with a group of enthusiastic young people from the student community, who eagerly listened to stories from industry professionals like myself about our experiences on the job, in business and personally, with topics ranging from what our daily activities look like, and thoughts about personal investments, both financial and developmental. From my position in the IT Department at Vancity Credit Union, I shared about the finance industry from the perspective of the co-operative business model and information technology.

Life Purpose and Goals – Getting to Know Yourself

I invited the students I spoke with to discuss their own educational direction, aspirations, hopes and dreams for their future, and was impressed with many of their personal attributes, including their savvy in the financial space, their passion for pursuing opportunities in the industry, and desire to bring about positive social change using financial tools. I encouraged them to solidify their great thinking and bring it into being in their lives using these four steps, which are derived from the classic book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill:

  1. Definite Major Purpose: Perform self-examination and discovery, then write your their true purpose in life, with specifically what you want to achieve short and long term. Then read it daily to cultivate a burning desire to achieve that purpose based on your passion and vision of who you want to become.
  2. Positive Mental Attitude: Deliberately decide daily to create and cultivate a positive mental attitude that leads to happiness.
  3. Written Plan of Action: Quantify your definite major purpose by writing down life, vocational and entrepreneurial goals that are specific, timed, achievable, measurable, and prioritized, then creating an action plan to achieve those goals.
  4. Mastermind Alliance: share your definite major purpose with one or more trusted friends who want to support you in reaching your goals, and then meet regularly to compare notes and support each other.

Happiness?? Unrealistic in this Modern World??

Ok, I hear you thinking, “why the heck I need to decide to be happy all the time? Life is difficult and I need to be realistic. I will get happier automatically as I achieve my goals.” Well, this is the way I thought for many, many years, and nothing changed, until I began following the steps above. I found out that happiness comes from inside me, and it is a decision that I make inside me. If I allow circumstances to dictate whether I’m happy or not, I am allowing outside forces to to control how I react to ever situation that comes along. From past experience I found that brought me only misery and despair. Instead of becoming more happy from the success I did have, I actually became less happy. Even though this principle is mostly contrary to popular thinking, it has been scientifically proven that happiness leads to success, not the other way around. Psychologist and researcher Shawn Achor says:
“We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but could we be thinking about things backwards?”

Dr. Achor explores this question in this fast-moving and very funny TED talk, where he argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive:

Another excellent resource I use to cultivate happiness in my life is http://www.livehappy.com/, founded by entrepreneur, best selling author, and personal happiness coach Jeff Olson, . His best selling book and community called The Slight Edge, with its message that making small constructive decisions every single day is the key to a world of personal success, has helped millions of people live the life they’ve always dreamed of.

Are You Entrepreneurial?

One definition of entrepreneurship is “the process of designing a new business, i.e. a startup company offering a product, process or service”.  I asked the students if they see starting a business in the future; most I talked to said they would like to get a job first to get some experience, and then the idea of their own business is a definite possibility. But entrepreneurship doesn’t need to be venturing out and starting something brand new right away. Cultivating personal entrepreneurship is a fantastic way to grow and cultivate an attitude of innovation and constant improvement, which will add value if you’re in a job or your own business. And by starting your own small business with the intent to make a profit, you enjoy all the tax benefits that are accorded to any size of corporation. Personally I have started many businesses, and have always had one going on the side to sharpen my innovation skills to be more valuable to my employer, and there have been a couple of times where I was on my own and had to use that innovation to get going.

The entrepreneurial business model I have landed on in the past few years is that of “relationship marketing”, that is the process of building relationships with people, helping them define their true needs, then offering them a product that may help them meet those needs, if that’s what they want. Relationship marketing when grown into a network also allows people to create their own entrepreneurial network to help reach their own goals, thereby improving their personal lives. The resulting business becomes a Social Enterprise, defined as “an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being”. This is the mission I am on, and is why in my LinkedIn profile I add the title “Social Entrepreneur” in addition to being an employee of a wonderful organization which is also a Social Enterprise. Feel free to connect with me on Linkedin if you like.

So do you aspire to be an employee or entrepreneur or a combination?  Only you can answer that very personal question for yourself with lots of learning and introspection.  To help you get started, one of the clearest descriptions I’ve seen of the differences between being an employee or an entrepreneur is given in this video by Robert Kiyosaki, best selling author of Rich Dad Poor Dad:

Applied Entrepreneurship – A Live Event

Some colleagues of mine and I are passionate about supporting young people in their life journeys, so we are sponsoring an evening event in the near future called “Applied Entrepreneurship”, with some great training by industry thought leaders on topics including:

  • Why happiness is a prerequisite to success, not a by product, and how to get more happy in advance of success
  • The contrast between being an employee or an entrepreneur/investor
  • How to be an entrepreneur to add value to your job or school life
  • How to create and blend a small business into your rhythm of your life at school or work – it IS possible
  • The personal tax advantages of a small business

There will be nothing offered for sale at this event – it will be just pure great content and learning, with some great giveaways and a special free gift just for attending. If you would like to be sent an invitation to Applied Entrepreneurship, enter your name and email below.

Let’s Continue Discussing and Keep in Touch

Feel free to leave a reply with your comments or questions and I will respond.  If you got value from this blog and would like more, enter your name and email below and you will be added to my list to be notified of future blog posts in addition to being added to the invitation list for the Applied Entrepreneurship event.

Creating Your Success: Are You A “Not Others”?

Many people, myself included for many years, think that success in reaching any goal in life is achieved by some mysterious (cue twilight zone theme) sequence of uncontrollable events that happen to some but “not others”. For years and years I thought of myself as one of the “not others”.

Then I discovered that success is really available to those who want it badly enough to think about it, plan it, then execute that plan.  There is no secret except consistency in sticking to your plan, AND getting back on it if you fall off.  So many people just beat themselves up as a failure and quit if they miss a day.  I know.  I did.  But don’t do it.  Be consistent in getting back on the plan.

Entrepreneur and success coach Marie Forleo says “Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently. ”

She gives some great tips for staying consistent in this video: http://bit.ly/1hXNNsN

If you got value from this post, I’d love to hear your thoughts about your own experiences and how they compare to mine. And if you want to hear more of this kind of stuff, feel free to enter your name and email in the boxes below.

Posturing and Managing the Energy – Don’t Be Pushy!

pushy salesperson Pushy tag cloud

Have you ever had someone approach you this way about a product or service?  Sure, we all have.  How did it make you feel?  Do any of the words in the collage above apply?   Why is it that when we are treated this way and we hate it and want to run away, that we turn around in our home business and do the asame thing?

When sharing your home business with people, these are two of the most important aspects of coming across as a successful professional that people will be attracted to and want to join:

  1. Posturing
  2. Managing the Energy in the Conversation

If you don’t apply these two crucial concepts to your interaction, you will come across as a snivelling, desperate, needy, pushy salesperson, which instead of convincing the prospect to look at your product and opportunity, will do just the opposite. Your prospect will either say “no thank you, I’m not interested” right away, or worse yet they will say, sure send me the information just to get rid of you. Then they will go silent in all of your followups by phone, text and email, and you will have wasted your time. However, remembering that there are billions of people on this planet to talk to, if you are genuinely willing to let the prospect go by being postured and managing the energy (WARNING: they will feel it if you’re not genuine!), they will be subsconciously thinking “This person is different than all the others that have badgered me about these deals. Maybe there really is something different about this one, and I might miss out if I don’t look into it. I’d better at least take a look at what they’re offering”. Then their subsoncious mind will direct them to take a genuine look at your opportunity.
One of my great mentors, Ray Higdon, has a couple of great short and sweet podcasts that elaborate on these two concepts that separate the successful professionals from the struggling amateurs.
Posturing
Ray’s podcast Acceptance and Approval http://rayhigdonpodcast.com/acceptance-and-approval/ talks gaining posture with your prospects by growing out of your need to seek acceptance and approval in your conversations. True innate posture is only gained eventually as you apply this concept and fill up your pipeline with so many people such that
Manage the energy of the interaction – if the prospect pulls away in the conversation, you pull away too – otherwise you come across as a desperate, pushy salesperson, which drives the prospect away.
For example:
Prospect: “I have to think about it”
Network Marketing Amateur: “Well, what do you gotta think about?
Network Marketing Pro: “Absolutely! No problem! Take your time, because we invest a lot of time training you, and I want to make sure this is a fit for you, I want to make sure you’re not just dippin’ your toe in the water, and I want to make sure this is something you’re ready to rock with before we invest a whole lot of time training you.
Manage Energy When They Say They Want to Think About It: http://rayhigdonpodcast.com/they-say-they-want-to-think-about-it/

I love hearing all your comments, so please comment below, and feel free to drop me an email at mike@michaelrbarnes.com if you have specific questions.

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Journeying Toward My “More” On The Leading Edge

leading edge

   [lēd]

  1. AERON. the front edge of a propeller blade or airfoil
  2. ☆ a position of leadership, as in cultural or technological advances
Webster’s New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio.

 

The path to an abundant and prosperous life is so different than I thought. Even the personal, internalized meaning of the words has shifted so much for me.

The back in the mid 90’s. I had a close relationship with the Creator, a great job doing something I liked, with a loving wife and young family, a music hobby that I really liked (I still have them all now too). Life was pretty good. It was darn better than just ok. I had pretty much everything that any ambitious young guy could want. So why was I dissatisfied? I didn’t know. It just wasn’t enough. I wanted to be more, affect more, influence more, have more abundance, more prosperity, more to give cause I realized just having is boring and empty. I have always been a giving person who liked helping others, and I did a lot of giving without expectation of reciprocity, although never having articulated or formalized it as such. I just liked helping people. But I realized that I wasn’t going to get the “more” bits by staying in my job – it was never going to get me to the financial place where I could have any kind of significant effect.

As I was thinking about the above again this week, the Eagles song “Already Gone” came to mind, with these lines of the lyrics that have always jumped out at me every time I’ve listened to it:

You can see the stars and still not see the light (that’s right)
So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key

Yeah I know that the song was really about the relational difficulties and power struggles that were occurring in the band during that time and that often sadly seem to accompany huge success.

But the personal power of the lyrical snippet above comes from the meaning I attribute to it as I overlay it into my own paradigm and situation, as I did (and still do). It’s significant and handy that the following version of the song is from 1995, which marks the start of my journey to discover my “more”.


So now that adequate preparation has been made, the plutonium has been loaded to fuel the flux capacitor, let’s turn the time circuits on and go back to 1995…


Back in 1995 when I realized I wanted “more”, so I did the only logical thing possible: I quit my job of 10 years one day without telling my wife (not recommended – I can feel all you wives out there smiling as you read this), and came home all excited, telling her I was going to start a business.  She has since forgiven me for the “not telling her” part, with my promise that I would NEVER do that again. 🙂

So began a long, arduous quest for my “more” that included doing contract work, starting two dot com businesses, and several more “regular jobs”.  My approach was that I used to think that thoughts didn’t matter, that my world within, my life within had no effect on my external world, and that I couldn’t control the thoughts that came anyway – “I’m having a bad day”, and so on.

For years and years in my quest for “more” I lived being negative on the inside and positive on the outside using willpower to keep going. But I was desperately miserable for so many years, and made no significant progress that I finally said to my past self “How’s that been workin’ for ya?”. “Not so great!” I finally replied to my past self. I was ready for a change I suppose, although I don’t remember thinking that (remember I thought my thoughts didn’t matter?).

Then I was introduced to a Network Marketing business in early 2011. So finally realizing that I’m really a wannabe lazy networker and don’t want the 24×7 grind and responsibility of a traditional business, I joined. I also realized at that time, in order to get that “more”, I needed to become “more” and change my thinking from negative to positive, . So I started working on myself, read a bunch of books on personal development, worked on actually applying them to my life with some success, but still not consistent, persistent and tenacious enough. I still felt like I needed even “more” to become “more” (is this theme getting tedious?). That’s when I was introduced to a six month intensive mindset course call the Master Key Mastermind Alliance (MKMMA – say that three times fast), and I dove in.  You can check it out at this link:
http://masterkeymarkj.com/master-key-master-mind-alliance/

Now Back to the Future.

I am now over four months into the MKMMA course, and we have been learning to create new habits, change thought processes from a negative bias to a positive bias, and in particular from this week’s lesson, the road to true abundance has been driven home to me once again, in pondering this paragraph from The Master Key System Part 18:

25. It is clear, therefore, that thoughts of abundance will respond only to similar thoughts; the wealth of the individual is seen to be what he inherently is. Affluence within is found to be the secret of attraction for affluence without. The ability to produce is found to be the real source of wealth of the individual. It is for this reason that he who has his heart in his work is certain to meet with unbounded success. He will give and continually give; and the more he gives, the more he will receive.

From this I have learned that gratitude is a cause, not an effect. I used to think, if I want to get to my “more”, I can’t sit around with my arms folded waiting for good stuff to come to me and then I will be grateful and then I will give. I need to be grateful now and give now (the cause), and abundance will come when the time is right and in the form that is right for me (the effect), according to God’s timing and perfect plan for my life.

Even more profound than deciding to go find my “more” is discovering that “more” is not a tangible thing, or a destination, it’s the proverbial journey. Sounds cliche until it’s internalized and working to drive me along every day, setting the goal each day to live that day as if it is my last, living by these words from Og Mandino’s Scroll V from The Greatest Salesman in the World:

“This day I will make the best day of my life. This day I will drink every minute to its full. I will savor its taste and give thanks. I will maketh every hour count and each minute I will trade only for something of value.”

So who do I want to be? Still figuring it out, which is ok, because it’s about the journey. One way to illustrate is the song Life’s Been Good by Joe Walsh.  It has always been a favourite of mine, not because of the reckless lifestyle it portrays, but because of his individuality and definiteness of purpose, which I covet for myself, not the “living in hotels and tearing out the walls” part, though it makes for a fun song.

If you found this post entertaining, thought provoking, annoying, or have any reaction at all other than complete yawning boredom (you can also tell me that I bore you tho), I’d love to hear your thoughts about your own experiences and how they compare to mine. And if you want to hear more of this kind of stuff, feel free to subscribe to my list below.

The wisdom of self affirmation from “The Magic of Believing”

Image
I’m reading “The Magic of Believing” by Claude M. Bristol, and it is mind changing, which means it is life changing.  One excellent point in the book is to control your thinking using positive affirmations.  Here is one example from the book:
Affirmations to repeat to yourself 10 or 20 times before doing something that is difficult for you, such as making cold calls:
I am strong, I am happy, I am convincing, I am friendly, everything is fine, <add your personalized ones> (The Magic of Believing p89).
 
Repeating these affirmations really works!  In a recent audio I listened to, life coach and motivational speaker Rex Crain has a fellow from the audience come up and repeat 10 times to himself that he’s no good, in many different ways.  Then Rex had the fellow had him try to resist him pushing his arm down.  Rex easily pushed it down.  Then he had the fellow affirm himself 10 times, and Rex could no longer push his arm down.  Hence we become stronger physically and mentally by what we say to ourselves.
—————————————————————————————————
Here’s another one:
“Many people become confused and frustrated because they allow themselves to be influenced by negative thoughts of others – this is a weakness of many salesmen – when they absorb too much if what the prospect says about his reasons for not doing something such as buying. Repetition of negative thoughts will discourage even the most powerful if continued long enough” (The Magic of Believing p94)This is a powerful statement. I used to let other people’s opinions have a huge effect on my own belief, but now I am working to change that, so that I am in control of what I believe.  I still want to be open to change, but it will be me who evaluates and decides to make the change, not at the whim of others who give me what often turn out to be completely unsubstantiated opinions when analyzed.