Last week, I posted a blog about my experiment with my new diet creation that I’ve named The Cowboy Diet. An idea of a meal plan that consists of strong coffee, beef jerky, beef, and beans. One week in, I’m finding it a plan that I can follow.  Every morning, I start my day at 5:00 am, but I can’t bring myself to drink coffee yet. I usually drink some salt water and lime and go to the barn. When I come in after morning chores, I make 20oz of strong coffee with a little heavy cream. It’s amazing, but this keeps me satiated until at least noon.  At lunchtime, I usually have two smoked beef sticks and a couple pieces of jerky. I find this to be the most difficult part because I really like jerky. I could eat an entire bag, but I keep myself to a couple pieces. Finding the right jerky has been a challenge. My all-time favorite it Cowboy Ken’s but it’s not easily found. A close runner-up comes from a local butcher, but when I can’t get it, I settle for Old Trapper. After the beef sticks and jerky, it’s about 45 grams of protein.  My largest meal of the day is my evening meal. In preparation for the week, I made a big pot of beans and have been eating on them all week because this meal always consists of beef and beans. On Monday of this week, we had hamburgers as a family. I added my beans and felt full. That’s the great part of the beans, between the fiber and the protein they keep me full. I don’t think I’ve discovered anything new, but this week at least, it’s working for me.  As a special bonus, here’s the recipe I used for this week’s beans. They’re good so check them out and tell me what you think. 

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 can (16 ounces) butter beans, drained
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pork and beans
  • 1 can (15-1/4 ounces) lima beans, rinsed and drained
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Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day. Jim Rohn
On Monday, I posted a blog about how much harder it gets to work on yourself when the work begins to pay off. In that post, I mentioned the simple disciplines that I practiced daily and allowed me to have my best year ever but have somehow stopped doing. As I look at my calendar for 2018, it’s starting pretty empty because of the work that I’ve failed to do. In fact, it was a look at my calendar that led me to try the Self Journal. If you’ve paid any attention to social media this year, you’ve no doubt noticed that the rage of 2017 is the Bullet Journal. Everyone has been talking about it. Everyone seems to be releasing their own. After a workshop one day, a participant asked if I had heard of the Best Self Journal. When I told her that I hadn’t, she showed me hers, and I was hooked. In a nutshell, The Self Journal is a bullet journal created for a 13 week time period designed around seven principles. These principles help bring those simple disciplines that I’ve been neglecting to my attention and bring back the focus that I need to get myself back on track and kill my goals. They Are:

Craft Your Goals Into A 13 Week Roadmap

This was, for me, the hardest part. I have a lot of goals, but breaking them down into 13-week stretches was challenging. By doing the exercise, however, I found daily and weekly targets that I had to hit in order to reach them.

Zero Based Calendar

This principle equates to scheduling every minute of every day. Early last year, I started drafting how I wanted my day to go every day in a notebook. It was my own private schedule that I would lay out every morning. The interesting thing that came from this was that it actually started to play out that way. Using the schedule listed in the journal, I’ve kept this practice and it has allowed me to focus on doing what I can when I can.

Prioritized, Proactive, and Productive

This principle suggests actually scheduling the highest priorities of every day first and then filling rest of the day’s activities around them. This has been a killer for me. When I talk about those simple disciplines, other activities push them out, but what gets scheduled, gets done and this is a key making sure what’s getting done are the most important things every day.

Flexibility & Freedom

I don’t schedule my weekends. The fact that the journal comes updated, I’m not locked into wasting pages. It also allows me to start or stop whenever I want to. This is a gift.

Tracking & Reflection

There is a built-in habit tracker that allows you to set activity goals every week and then track your progress. Because I want to read, write and workout more consistently, this tracker has been my way of holding myself accountable.

Bookend Your Day With Positive Psychology

It’s amazing how much better I feel when I begin and end every day by listing three things that I’m grateful for. Gratitude is a powerful emotion anyway, and using it to start and end my day with it helps keep me grounded and centered.

Consistency

I’ve written, spoken and used the phrase consistency trumps talent so many times that my kids are tired of hearing it, but the Self Journal, is, right now my key to being consistent with the simple disciplines that will determine my success. The interesting thing is that you don’t have to buy the fancy Self Journal to use these principles, but I found that investing the $32 that it costs was a reminder to me that I have to use it. So far, I’m loving my results. Try one for yourself and let me know what you think.]]>

It seems so outrageous to think that 2018 is less than a month away. It feels like yesterday when we were watching with great shame as Clemson was shutting out Ohio State in the semifinals but here we are, standing on the doorstep of another new year. As I’m looking ahead and making my plans, I find myself looking back on 2017 and realizing that I had a really solid year; we bought our dream home, we’ve spent a lot of time together in the barn, and I’ve spent most of the year speaking and training. By all measures, it was a successful year that was made possible by finishing 2016 strong. My hopes aren’t as high for 2018 because Jim Rohn forgot to tell me something. In December of 2014, I somehow found a Jim Rohn seminar on YouTube that sort of changed my outlook and changed my course. There were two key concepts that I took from that seminar that had a real impact on my life. The first one was the success is nothing more than a few simple habits practiced every day and the second one was to work harder on myself than I do at my job. Both of this made sense and I started to immediately apply them. I became obsessed with reading. I wrote every day, kept a detailed journal and never missed a workout.  These simple habits paid off in really big ways. 2015 was a solid year that led to a stronger 2016 and 2017 has been my best year yet, but there was a second part to that message that Jim Rohn forgot to tell us; the more successful we become, the harder it is to work on ourselves.  Just about every success that I’ve had in 2017 came to me because of the work I put into myself; all of the simple habits that I practiced every day. But the more successful I became, the less time I found to practice those habits. I haven’t read as many books this year. I haven’t written as many blog posts and I haven’t been to the gym as consistently. I was too busy doing well to practice the habits that allowed me to do so well. I stopped working harder on myself than I was at my job.  Looking ahead at 2018, I know that if I’m going to continue to improve and top my best year, I have to get back to those simple habits. I’m working right now to develop my annual plan and it’s heavy on small habits. I’m setting some big goals but I’m focusing on the small things that will make it happen and I’m working on the tools I need to get there. As you look your plan, I’m hopeful that you’ll keep in mind that Jim Rohn was right, we have to work harder on ourselves than we do on our jobs but keep in mind, it’s going to get harder when all of that hard work pays off. ]]>

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a reading list. So long, in fact, that it’s hard to narrow one list for a month, but that’s the job I have before me. With winter coming and days getting shorter, there will be more time for reading and this is a pretty good list to fill those hours. 

The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Oscar-nominated movie is the most pirated movie of all time. It set records for profanity and is at time brilliant and at others just plain vulgar. The book that the movie was based on is similar in many respects, only much better.  The story of how Jordan Belfort built his empire is just plain riveting. There are plenty of lessons to be gleaned for anyone with big ambitions, from how to launder money and select the best drugs. Or better stated, how illegal activity and drugs and kill success no matter how much money you have. It’s a fascinating read that I can’t recommend enough   

The Way Of The Wolf

As soon as I finished The Wolf of Wall Street I was determined to read Jordan Belfort’s Sales Training book and I wasn’t disappointed. This is the story of the strategies and tactics Belfort used to become The Wolf. Heavily based on the science of Neuro Linguistic Programming, The Way of the Wolf breaks down how to influence others to action both in person and on the phone but embracing one of the fundamental facts of life; that people who like people like themselves. It is a powerful read full of practical advice and entertaining as hell to read. If you check it out, you will not be   

Pivot

Anyone who has ever looked at their life and said to themselves, there has to be more to life than this, must read this book. Jenny Blake has lived an interesting life and pivoted into and out of several careers. The true benefit of this book is being able to use her experience to avoid many of the pitfalls of career transition.  The most powerful part of the book is Blake’s outline for a one year vision. Because I try to start every year with a plan, this really appealed to me and I learned a few things that will make mine for 208 even stronger.    December is a tough month for reading. Yes, it’s cold and dark but it’s also festive and filled with parties. For this reason, I think three books is enough. Enjoy the books and drop me a line to let me know what you think. ]]>

You probably wouldn’t know it to look at me, but since I was a young kid, I’ve dreamed of being a cowboy. Not the John Wayne, western movie type of cowboy, but the open range, cow working, trail driving cowboy. This fascination has led me to read, research and investigate just about every part of their lifestyle. One part, in particular, has really stuck out to me and that’s the cowboy diet.  If you look at old photographs of the real cowboys from the last part of the 19th century, you will be hard-pressed to find a plump cowboy. I’m sure there are a lot of reasons for this, including the fact that they had to work really hard every day and therefore burning a lot of what they ate off before it could settle as fat, but their diet, I’m convinced played a large part in keeping them in good shape and modern science is backing me up. If you look at some of the most popular nutritional concepts of the last five years; Intermittent Fasting, High Protein, Low/Slow Carbs, and more whole food, the cowboy diet seems to fit right in line.  Some of you might be wondering why this would be a topic for this blog, but the issue is really high performance. As a person that spends a lot of time on the road and a lot of time being “on”, I’m constantly looking for new ways to get the edge. With my love of cowboy culture and red meat, I think that this is a concept worth pursuing.  Research has led to the belief that cowboys ate mostly one large meal, at the end of the day. They started most days with a light breakfast featuring strong coffee, followed by a light afternoon meal consisting of whatever they could carry in their saddlebags, and when the work was done, a heavy, meat-rich meal with the one staple of every chuckwagon; beans. This isn’t sexy, but could it be effective? I’m going to give it a shot and keep you posted on my results. My plan will be as follows:

Breakfast

4 cups of strong coffee with heavy cream.

Lunch

Beef jerky, almonds, and smoked meat sticks.

Dinner

Beef of some kind (preferably steak), beans and biscuits.  Obviously, there will be some variations of this but noticeably missing are sugars, fruits, and other starches. The only possible carbs will come at dinner with beans and a biscuit after a hard days work. The great thing is that this is a diet that can be found virtually everywhere even when I’m on the road. It just requires a lot of water and a little thought.  I would invite you to join me in this experiment and see if we don’t all end up looking like Gary Cooper before we’re done.   ]]>

In the last year, I’ve learned a powerful truth that has become a godsend to me. Having spent countless hours watching people in airports, engaged in hundreds of conversations and led dozens of seminars, the one truth that I’ve finally found is that when communicating with people, it’s not enough to treat people as you want to be treated, in our hyperconnected world, we must treat people as THEY want to be treated.  Think about all of the communication conflicts that we see in the world. Blunt people treat people bluntly. Long winded people go on and on. Emotional people love to talk about their emotions. We never see ourselves as the problem in any communication conflict because we’re treating others exactly as we would like to be treated and that’s the problem. it is, after all, human nature to assume that other people are like us and if we’re not bothered by someone being abrupt, or chatty, or driven by our feelings, we assume that others aren’t either and because we don’t adapt ourselves to the situation, our message goes unheard. When we instead try to understand others and observe the way others like to communicate, we increase the likelihood that our message will be received because we can deliver our message in such a way that it appeals to our listeners. Doing this becomes our secret weapon for being heard and minimizing conflicts.  It has come as a great shock to me that the majority of the people who walk through the doors of our communication seminars were sent there by someone else. Nearly 80% of the time, the people I’m working with have been told that they’re too blunt and need to learn to communicate with more tact. The funny thing is that most of these folks don’t see anything wrong with the way they’re communicating. To them, there isn’t a lot of time for chit-chat and rapport building. They need to just get the facts out an move on.  When they’re dealing with other people just like they, this is no big deal. They appreciate the fact that their communication partner doesn’t mince words and values time. The problem arises when they communicate with people who aren’t like they are;  people who don’t feel valued unless they other person takes the time to talk with them. When one person prefers bullet points and the other prefers a conversational style, conflict will always arise and one person will be called blunt.  The only way around this situation is to adapt our styles to the people with whom we’re speaking and treat others the way they want to be treated. This means when we talk with the bullet point person, we’re going to just state the facts and we’re not going to ramble. When we’re dealing with talkers, we’re going to slow down, ask more questions and give fewer orders. We’re going to mind hack our relationships and interactions by following their style rather than our own and when we do, our message will be received. It’s a powerful truth that works like magic. ]]>

Since the beginning of this blog, I’ve been pretty upfront that I write about the (many) mistakes I make and the near constant searching for solutions to my problems. This strategy has left me with nearly endless ideas for content as I am constantly trying to overcome challenges and correct mistakes that I’ve made and when I offer advice, it comes from a sincere place of someone who has walked the road of disappointment and went looking for answers. Over the last month, however, this site has been nearly dead and blogs have hit a screeching halt. Not because I suddenly became perfect, far from it, but because my imperfections became too many. Despite doing my best to write, I am at my core a speaker. It’s what I enjoy the most and do the best.  For the last few months, I’ve engaged in contact training with a national seminar company and I’ve been busy. In the last month, incredibly so. Between speaking, traveling and preparing to speak and travel, a lot of my good habits slipped by the wayside and this includes writing.  During this time of extreme chaos when everything is falling apart, I’ve learned a few things worth sharing. They include:

Shame Is A Useless Emotion

The first week that I didn’t put out a newsletter, I felt pretty awful about it. The shame of not coming through on a commitment almost froze me. In fact, it did and it kept me from coming back to it. I think that there is very real place in the world for remorse and when we let people down, we should feel something about it, but shame is a different animal and it can keep us from being our very best. Getting words on screen today is helping understand just how much time I’ve wasted to this useless emotion.

Doing What You Love Isn’t Easy

One of the things that have been most difficult for me to grasp is that doing what I love isn’t easy. I love to speak and I love to train. I would do it all day for free, but doing it comes with drawbacks. Five cities in five days. Six hours of training followed by four-hour drives to another hotel. Doing what we love isn’t easy and somethings slide sometimes. I’ve learned that it’s ok, as long as I pick it back up. Letting it slide came with some shame, but knowing that when I pick it up, I’ll be stronger than before gives me hope. 

What Got Me Here, Won’t Keep Me Here

The reason I started writing blog posts, to begin with, was two-fold. I had something to say, and I wanted to build an audience. I still have a lot to say, and I still want to build an audience, I just have to manage myself to get it all done. I came into this with a high level of energy and discipline. It’s been tested and it needs to improve. The good news is that knowing that is the first step towards solving the problem. I had the skills to get here, but if I want to stay, I have to keep growing and getting better, and that’s the challenge I’m working on today. From the beginning, I’ve been upfront that I write to solve my own problems. Finding some success has given me a whole new set of more interesting problems to work out, now I just have to grow into the skills to write about them.    ]]>

If you’ve watched one series of Ohio State Football this year, you’ve no doubt noticed that the offense is having some struggles. After getting embarrassed by Oklahoma, all of the Buckeyes faults have been exposed and I see an average season ahead of them for one reason; they don’t play to their strength. I understand that not everyone is a rabid Ohio State fan so let me assure you that I have a point here. The Ohio State University Buckeyes are a running team. They’re built for dominating the line of scrimmage and picking up yards on the ground. They feature two excellent young running backs and a quarterback with talented legs but a questionable arm. When they line up and run straight ahead, there are few teams in the country that can compete with them. Until they get cute and try throwing the ball around, trying to take advantage of their speed and pick up big chunks of yardage on single plays. Then they’re a below average unit that’s easily defended. Their strength is running the ball but they don’t always play to it. In this misfortune, they’re just like a lot of people I know in business who also do not play to their strengths. Who instead of grinding out what they’re good at, try to get cute and improve what they don’t do nearly as well. For Ohio State, this is the recipe for an average season, for the rest of us, it leads to an average life. Just like the Buckeyes have been going into games with a plan that doesn’t allow them to do what they’re great at, a lot of people I know start every day with a poor game plan that puts them in a similar situation. I know speakers who are frustrated because they aren’t speaking and writers who are frustrated because they aren’t writing. They fill their day with work that takes away from their ability to focus on what they’re great at and almost like Ohio State trying to throw deep on first down, they end up behind. Contrast this with Alabama. The nation’s number one team knows who they are and what they do well. There’s nothing cute or fancy, they just show up and work at doing the things that make them great. It doesn’t take a great fan to see the difference. The first step to being great is knowing what you’re great at. The second step is doing it and the third step is the hardest of all; to stop doing what you’re just good at and get back to step two. In order for Ohio State to salvage this football season, they’re going to have to get back to running the football. If we’re going to break the bonds of average in our lives, we’re going to have to get back to doing what makes us great. Until we do, like my favorite team in Columbus, we’ll have to live with disappointment.]]>