CLIFF NOTES: THE SCHOOL OF GREATNESS

A great read to kick off the New Year!  I first heard Lewis Howes on Michael Hyatt‘s podcast and was turned on by  his very enlightened and empowered perspective in their conversation.  After reading his book, I can see a lot of Landmark influence and how his time alongside many speakers and coaches have played a part.  There are some great takeaways and reminders here, so these are a few of my favorite cliff notes from each of his Chapters! CREATE A VISION We all know the power of vision but I enjoyed the addition of having a “Personal Principles Declaration” (PPD).  You are declaring to yourself that this list of five principles is what you stand for and live by.  I think this is great – it’s just like a mission statement for a company that they use as a guidepost for their actions.  Create your PPD of 5 Statements that you want to be true about you for yourself and your world and draw from them, especially when in a pickle! TURN ADVERSITY INTO ADVANTAGE In times of adversity, embrace the challenge and move TOWARD the adversity, making it part of your success story.  Prepare yourself for these moments – they will happen!  First you have your vision, then you run into obstacles. We all know that perseverance o’er adversity is all-important – but this book goes so far as to suggest a “Hidden Advantage to Adversity.”  And so, you should embrace adversity.  The hardships you face in life can be seen as opportunities.  Marcus Aurelius says “the impediment to action advances action.  What stands in the way becomes the way.”  Ryan Holiday, the author of a book “The Obstacle is the Way” writes that there is “one thing that all great men and women have in common.  Like oxygen to a fire, obstacles became fuel for that which was their ambition.  Nothing could stop them, they were impossible to discourage or contain.  Every impediment served to make the inferno within them burn with greater ferocity.”  The real greats don’t worry about the adversity – it’s inevitable, it’s not the end.  This dose of reality is simply used as as challenge: to learn a new “language,” to channel their energy into their true path, to adjust their vision from fantasy into plan. EXERCISE: HOW TO EMBRACE THE ADVERSITY Adversity naturally feels like failure, but in reality, failure is simply feedback.  And feedback gives you the opportunity to look at what’s not working and figure out how to make it work.  Everyone fails.  Highly successful people fail at even greater scales.  Understand this and fall in love with failure.  Thomas Edison endured 10,000 failures before he made the lightbulb.  And so, the next time you encounter external or internal adversity, do the following:
  1. Be Aware of the Adversity
  2. Write it Down or Share It
  3. Acknowledge Yourself
  4. Express Your Gratitude
  5. Reconnect To Your Vision and Take Action
CULTIVATE A CHAMPION’S MINDSET Champions have an unwavering belief and visualization practice.  The purpose of visualization is to see the results you want to create before they actually happen.  Lewis talks about how he practiced it in his professional football career by walking the field and visualizing in the locker room.  He then carried it into writing this book and visualized himself at book signings, etc. VISUALIZATION EXERCISE: Create a clear space w/ zero distraction.  Allow yourself to be relaxed and calm, breathing (2 counts in, 1 count hold, 3 counts out).  Visualize whatever you want to see as complete.  If your vision is to have a relationship with your soul mate, visualize yourself holding that person, both of you smiling, and being whole and complete in that moment.  Dive completely into it: the smells, tastes, sounds, and feels.  The key is to see it as complete and feel the energy of the achievement.  Do this every morning and before tackling a big opportunity. DEVELOP HUSTLE MASTER YOUR BODY PRACTICE POSITIVE HABITS We all know that positive habits practiced over long periods are where it’s at.  There is a reward for positive habits and a price for bad habits.  Figure out the habits that serve you. I loved the 28-Day Morning Routine Challenge he listed in the exercises of this Chapter.  I agree with the power of the morning routine and I accepted this challenge.  The idea is simply that before checking email or phone or doing any work, that you do something that is for you to set the tone for your day:
  • Spend time free-writing/ journaling
  • Make a to-do list for the day, creating top priorities
  • Workout, stretch, do yoga
  • Pray, practice visualization
These are mine, but your routine is made up of your habits that will propel you forward in achieving your dreams. BUILD A WINNING TEAM No one gets there alone.  We all know that having a team of positive mentors, peers, and relationships is everything.  We can draw from our mentors and peers, we can leverage our teams, and we can network from our relationships.  What I learned from what he said about team is that as a leader of a team, you are actually there to serve your team.  Ask yourself, “How can I be of service to every member of my team and set them up to win as best as possible?”  This doesn’t translate to coddling, but means that if anyone needs to talk about anything, you’re there to listen, and that they are set up with what they need to be successful in their position and their role. I can relate to Lewis saying that he used to try to do everything on his own when people would “let him down” and he thought he’d go through life solo proving others wrong.  This ended up emotionally  draining, stressful, and lonely.  It wasn’t until he began allowing others to support his dreams and him that his life started to come to him with ease.  If you’re struggling in this area, you might need to adjust your mindset or find a whole new team altogether.  Surround yourself with greatness: you will never outperform your inner circle.  If you want to achieve outer success, improve your inner circle. A valuable exercise to me from this Chapter was the Three Lists to Freedom, gleaned from Chris Ducker, the author of Virtual Freedom, a book that teaches people how to work with virtual staff. The exercise goes like this: Create 3 columns headlined:
  • Things you don’t like doing (things you procrastinate on: replying to social media messages, emailing, bookkeeping)
  • Things you can’t do (a lack of experience or skill deems that this be passed off to someone else)
  • Things you shouldn’t do (things that are a waste of time and take you away from what you should be doing) Fill in all the things that fit in these categories relating to your business or your lifestyle.  Prepare these lists every 90 days.  This becomes a roadmap to working with your team.  Think of all the things in your personal life that you can add to this as well.
I bought this book for my brother and am glad I finished it up before it was too long overdue at the library haha!  If you enjoyed these snippets, I encourage you to grab a copy because there is a lot that I didn’t include – these are just the parts that spoke to me at this time in my life.  I’m excited for the Personal Principles Declaration, Morning Routine, & Winning Team!

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