By Casey Grey
"You are who you surround yourself with."
You may have heard this before. Perhaps multiple times. Perhaps so many times that it's becoming annoying and you just tune it out.
But have you really internalized it?
Have you really dug in to see if this is true. Look at the people you hang out with most. What is the average income? What are their personal habits like? What is most important to them? How do they treat people? How do they treat their spouses (or are they single)? How do they treat themselves? What is the average weight? What do they eat?
Are you similar?
When I was 19 I remember a co-worker saying "It's not my fault! I'm a product of my environment!"
At the time, I thought it was funny. In reality there was a lot of truth behind this statement. In the context it was said though, it was a way of not taking responsibility. A way of relinquishing control.
When I used this line on my girlfriend at the time, she quickly put me in my place. She knew this was a cop out and that I was smarter than that... So I married her :)
There is only one race... The human race.
We all look up at the same moon and the same sun.
We were born on the same planet.
We are all trying to figure out the same thing... "What's my purpose? Why am I here?"
Remember that next time you have a misunderstanding with somebody. Chances are you would be acting and thinking the same way if you had the life experiences the other person had.
Although we have different life experiences, we are all having the same experience... The human experience.
First I need to start by saying this post was inspired by Tim Ferriss' Podcast Episode with Derek Sivers. It was a repost on Tim's part but perfect timing for myself. It definitely got the wheels turning and had me questioning what I do and why I do it.
There are two schools of thought out there:
So which one is best?
I believe it depends. Like most things in life, there are many factors at play and people have different reasons for doing what they do.
For example, let's start with my business. More specifically, the types of projects we do. We say yes to everything that either requires a general contractor or carpentry skills. That's a rule I have set (we're not going to say yes to a plumbing repair). Yes, the small projects are often a pain because they take up a substantial amount of time based on the financial reward but there are other reasons for us to say yes right now.
First, it keeps our team busy. The large projects never line up perfectly and if delays happen it is good to have something in our back pocket to make sure the guys stay busy and get paid. Second, you never know what a small project will lead to. Even if we can't do it it is another person we can help and refer to somebody else if required. It's one more opportunity to create a raving fan. Third, it helps with cash flow within the business. At the end of the day the business has bills to pay so the money needs to keep flowing.
In the future will this change? Absolutely! The plans are already in motion. Larger projects are coming our way and partnerships are being formed. Soon we'll be saying no much more than we say yes to. We'll get to the point where we can shift to "say no unless it's a HELL YES!"
And that's the key. I believe we need to work up to saying no. Especially in business. If you want experience in a certain area, say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. No matter how small or mundane it is. Once that foundation is built and the opportunities continue to come, you can then begin to pick and choose.
I don't believe it's one or the other. I believe it's one and then the other.
In other parts of my life, I'm applying the "say no unless it's a HELL YES!" option already. Actually I'm applying this in parts of the business as well. We get approached all the time to be a part of events. Our go to answer for this is "no". It really has to be intriguing for us to be a part of it, meaning it has to be a HELL YES!
In my personal life, it's the same thing. There's always something going on. Unless it's family related it's typically "no" unless it's a HELL YES!
At the end of the day it's important to have rules for your decision making. But it's also important to review those rules every once in a while and see how they're working for you. As we grow and evolve, we change. Our businesses change. Our relationships change. The economy changes. Our needs change.
That's life! It's always changing. Nature is never the same and that's what makes it beautiful.
We often talk about teachers we have had in the past. We typically remember the great teachers and the not-so-great teachers. I definitely remember the great teachers in my life. I also know there will be many more in the future.
What about the flip side though? As a teacher, what do you think they remember? I'm guessing it's the same. They remember the great students and they remember the students who perhaps tested them more than they would have liked (to put it lightly).
I've started taking piano lessons at the same time as my son and yesterday was another lesson. I started off the lesson by saying "I have not been a good student. I did not do everything you asked me to do."
She responded with, "you would have to do much more than that to be a bad student." Which is likely true. I'm sure she has plenty of interesting students come through there. Especially kids who do not want to be there.
That being said, I don't want to just be a good student. I want to be a great student. What makes a great student?
That last one important. I believe that every great teacher wants their students to surpass them. It's what they live for. They want to train the best. They are proud of it!
You and I have had many bad teachers in the past. But perhaps it was not always the teacher. Maybe the student was not showing up.
Teachers can only teach students who want to learn.
I don't get sick very often but when I do it's always when my sleep has been lacking.
So why do I continue to push the boundaries? I'm not feeling 100% right now and I still got up early. Why?
Because I have lots to do of course! But is that a good reason? Am I really performing optimally? Would I be further ahead if I just gave my body the rest it needs?
The body is smart. If I'm not giving it what it needs, it will do whatever it can to get it. If it's sleep, eventually the body says "alright, you're not going to rest, I'll force you to rest!" Actually, before that it gives little signs but it's up to me to pick up on them and take action.
I know I'm not the only one who does this. And I have a feeling it's not only around sleep.
Everyday humans make bad health choices. We eat garbage that harms our bodies. We watch things that poison our minds. We hang out with people who steal our energy. We sit down for hours on end. We know we should not be doing these things but we do them anyways.
Why is it so hard to make good decisions for ourselves?
For myself, the first step to making better decisions is better sleep.
I like to believe that life is a marathon although I have a feeling that when we get to the end it's going to feel like it was a sprint.
It's a tricky thing to navigate. I want to go through my days playing the long game but at the same time there's so much I want to do and experience in my short time on earth. Learn from the past, plan for the future and live today.
So how do I accomplish this?
Perhaps it's about clarity. What do I really want? How do I want to feel? Why?
Perhaps I should be thinking about what people would say about me at my eulogy. That is a powerful exercise if you really think about it. None of us know how long we're going to live. Does that mean we should live each day as if it were our last?
I would say yes but what happens when you wake the next day? You need to continue onwards. You need to make sure you did not spend all your money the day before, for example. And if you did you'll need a plan to make it back. I believe it means you should go through each day treating people the way you want to be remembered.
People may not remember what you did for them but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Come to think about it, perhaps life is just a bunch of mini sprints... Then again, it depends on who you are. I like the excitement of a sprint and then the need to rest after whereas you may like the consistency of a determination required for a marathon. In either case you train, train, train, train, train and then you race.
What are you doing to train for your race?
I’m not sure what your home feels like but my home is:
It’s a place where I feel good in jogging pants or when my wife and I are dressed up to have a nice evening out.
This is exactly how we feel at Fairmont Chateau Montebello as well. Thank you to everybody who works here. You all make it special for my family and I.
There’s something about this place. It does not matter what the occasion is, what we’re wearing or what we’re doing. We always feel good here. We always feel welcome. We like to think it’s our own cottage (which we do not need to maintain).
Feeling is everything. If you could make people feel a certain way, what would it be? How would you do it? What would they need?
What if you own a business? What if this was the focus of your business? To make people “feel” a certain way. What would you do differently? What would you stop doing? What would you add? How would you know you succeeded?
What about yourself? How do you want to feel? What do you need to do in order to feel that way? What do you need to stop doing?
Everything we do in life is done because we want to feel a certain way.
Commitment is a powerful thing.
If you’re truly committed, nothing will stop you.
If you’re not committed, it’s obvious.
Commit to what you know you need to do and watch your life change before your eyes.
Bottlenecks can be a good thing if you need to slow down the flow. There's a reason for them. In business, however, this can really hinder the success of a company.
I've come to realize that as the owner of a business, I can be a major bottleneck. The growth and success is dependant upon my mindset. If I feel like I have to do everything, the business will only grow so much. I only have so many hours in a day. There's only so much I can do.
So what's the key?
Delegate (and trust).
My partner and I put a lot of time into bringing the right people onto the team. We have hired them for a reason. Let's give them the opportunity to shine. They can handle the pressure.
Diamonds are formed from extreme pressure.
And when they need support, my partner and I are here for them. At the end of the day we're all working towards the same goal. As a team.
What comes first? The Routine or the Habit?
Another thought provoking conversation with Alex Kazam this morning.
I am of the mind that a routine needs to be created and committed to in order for the habit to be created. Alex is of the mind that the habit comes first and a routine is created after the commitment is proven.
In either case, we all have routines and habits. Some serve us and some do not.
I believe the most important routines are what we do first thing in the morning and what we do last thing at night. Set your day up to win and end the day on a high note! There's way too many things that can happen throughout the day to through your off your game. The beginning and end are the only things we have control over.
How are you taking control of your day?
Are you allowing yourself to create habits that serve you?
Is your environment supporting the "good" habits and removing the "bad" habits?"
If you're doing something that's not serving you, perhaps it's time to create a new habit or routine. Perhaps it's time for something new. Something different.
You know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, right?