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Recently I posted an Instagram Reel on Brandon and my approach to setting goals on an annual business and what that process looks like. I had some people ask about it, so I wanted to give some more content to readers. To preface, we don't just set annual goals, we look at these different aspects monthly, weekly and in a lot of instances, on a daily basis. I do understand that setting goals at the New Year is cliché, but for us, over the past 10+ years, it has been a paramount reflection exercise. Also a disclaimer: our approach may not work for you, this is what works for us. I am merely sharing our strategy and mindset.
Every New Years Eve, Brandon and I sit down and have a quality conversation and self analyze our previous year's goals. We look at which goals were wins for us and which provide an opportunity to grow or reset. We are a bit old school with this, but we physically write out our goals on paper and color coordinate it. We do that so that we can post our goals on our vision board. This puts our goals out in front of us and serves as a daily reminder.
Now, we work to set goals for the next year. We always start first with writing down our personal vision and mission. This is critical, so that we can align our goals with what we are ultimately looking to create. We set specific goals in 10 areas. In each area, we set 1-3 subgoals. We look at:
Regardless of what areas you may choose to set goals within, write them down. We believe it is important to internalize your commitments. I frequently share that change is inevitable, but growth is optional. We encourage people not to mindlessly let a year pass by, but get strategic and systematic about what you are looking to accomplish.
“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own."
-Mark Victor Hansen
We wish you and your family an abundant New Year.
Brandon & Amanda Wood
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The predominant thought amongst many immature individuals who are success-driven in their given field, is that ultimate success will require them to be cutthroat and emotionally detached from those around them. This couldn't be farther from the truth. It is possible to hold high standards for yourself and others while still treating people with the respect that they deserve. This is much easier for us to wrap our minds around when we understand that while people do have unequal value in the marketplace (i.e. education, experiences, etc...), we are all of equal value has human beings.
Think about the last time you felt anger or hatred towards someone. This occurred because internally you were dehumanizing them. You likely boiled them down to a certain set of actions they took or things that they said. You then established a story in your mind about who they were and came to the conclusion that they were internally "bad." Humans can only feel real hatred of people they are dehumanizing in their heads. It is when we are reminded of the full humanness of someone that the hatred fades away and empathy begins to pour in.
Empathy does not mean agreeing with everyone or their actions. And just because we are empathetic towards others does not mean that people won't cast judgements on us...no matter how unfair they may seem. The only way to avoid shade is to never go outside. Don't let other people's shade prevent you from stepping into your destiny.
As important as identifying what you want to accomplish is determining WHO you want to be. When you know who you want to be, the path to what you want to accomplish becomes much more clear. We believe that if you are acting out of your true self, and leading from the heart, you will create a much bigger impact on the world around you. This is the way to living a fulfilling life, regardless of what you are called to do.
So while we all crave success in our endeavors (whatever that definition means to you), HOW we arrive at those destinations in life and the way that we treat people along the way are just as important. Set boundaries, establish your standards, but always remember to lead with empathy.
Brandon & Amanda
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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Growing up, I had this perception that either your a success or your a failure. I spent my childhood pursuing avenues/ ventures that I was good at and really avoiding what I was not good at. This is human nature. Failure, however, is necessary for growth. Every failure is an opportunity to get better and grow, especially if you are learning and implementing feedback.
So where does this 'failure is fatal' mentality in our culture stem from? I believe it stems from an unwillingness to change; to shift the paradigm and implement corrective measures. It is easier to remain stuck sometimes than it is to pivot and change.
The reality is this: failure teaches you in ways success cannot. It shapes you as a person and makes you more resilient. Failure also teaches responsibility. We become more responsible and aware of our actions and begin to understand the order of consequences.
Inc. Magazine wrote an article, "7 Powerful Ways to Turn Every Failure Into Success," and I remember reading this article years back in a time when I needed a 'check-up from the neck up.' I wanted to introduce to you the 7 strategies and how I've implemented them over the past 5-6 years:
1. Mistakes are not a problem, but not taking the opportunity to learn from them is.
*SELF REFLECTION has been key here. Not to beat myself up or over-analyze, but to implement better systems and to reset.
2. Be careful how you talk to yourself, because you are listening.
*AFFIRMATIONS are a must! One thing that I recommend to people that I mentor is to record 'I am' statements in your own voice and play them to yourself on a daily basis. Literally speak what you want into existence.
3. It's far better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing perfectly.
*I stay in ACTION MODE. I believe that an idle mind and body is the breeding ground for negativity and chronic stagnation. I'd rather do something then do nothing at all.
4. We are products of our past, but we don't have to let our mistakes define us.
*Get COUNSELING. There is a lot of stigma around 'counseling,' but to be completely honest, you cannot do it on your own. I believe you can't help others if you don't first help yourself.
5. The enemy of success is fear of failure.
*CHALLENGE YOURSELF. I'm super competitive by nature and the only way I know to conquer fear is by stretching your comfort zone. Do something, ANYTHING on a day to day basis that challenges you. How can you get 1% better today?
6. Consistent action creates consistent results.
*BOOKENDS have changed my life. You can't control what happens everyday, but you can put structure into your morning and evening routines that will set you up for better success day in snd day out. I truly believe that people that fail to plan, plan to fail. PERIOD. You are a product of your habits and systems of implementation.
7. You can't do it alone--and you don't have to.
*ACCOUNTABILITY keeps it fresh. Whether it is a gym partner or a mentor, having systems of accountability is key. Brandon and I always say that will power is not on will call. Let's face it, it is easy to make excuses to ourselves. We need people to back us up through successes and through failures.
Recently I heard that it is not about becoming the best version of yourself, it is about loving and learning through every version of yourself, so that you can have a journey of growth. Let that sink in. That journey is going to be filled with successes and failures, setbacks and comebacks, positive and negative, but it is ultimately your journey. It is an opportunity to grow into the next version of yourself and still appreciate the last version.
Thanks for reading!
Amanda & Brandon
Photo Credit: nationalgeographic.com
Life doesn't care about the validity or righteousness of your excuses...life is going to continue to move forward regardless of what happens to you. There will be some days on your journey where this statement will ring true more than most. From the seasons of the year to the stock market, life is all about ebbs and flows. The trick for most people is knowing the proper way to react when they are in an ebb or flow. Unfortunately we find that many times people do the exact opposite of what they should do when they are in one of these seasons of life.
Most people make decisions based upon the whims of their emotions in the moment instead of gaining perspective and properly disseminating the correct move to make. Therefore they have a tendency to stop doing the things that were helping them to gain positive traction and now begin to coast when they are on the peaks, and make brash irrational life altering changes when they are in the valleys. Some of the best advice we ever received from our mentors was to never make major decisions when we were on a peak or in a valley in our lives. The practical application of this, however, is easier said than done. So what are things that you can do to help you gain perspective?
1. Think - This is easier said than done. Most people don't take the time to critically think because it's hard. It is important though that you mentally and physically slow down for a moment and critically think through all of the ways that you can proceed forward. This will allow you to see all of your options so you can determine the best path to take.
2. Gain outside perspective from people with the results you want - 'The results you want' is a big key component to that statement. It is easy to gain advice from people who have an emotional tie to us, but it is more important to seek advice from the individual who has the results that we want because they have most likely gone through similar peaks and valleys on their journey.
3. Take action - It's easy to use strategy as a disguise for non-action. Don't allow yourself to indulge too long in the feeling of how great it is going to be. Instead, once you have a plan it's now time to get into the action mode. It's action that makes us intensely happy. It's the pursuit of a worthwhile dream or goal that brings us joy. As General George S. Patton once said: "A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."
Throughout your life there will be many peaks and valleys that you will go through, but this is also what makes the journey of life so worth it. Without the peaks our valleys would cause life to be and arduous existence, but without the valleys our peaks would not be as special as they are. Whether you find yourself living on "Cloud 9" or stuck in a rut, remember that these are all part of what makes life as beautiful as it is. Then utilize the 3 steps outlined above so that you can move forward in the most efficient manner and create the life that you are looking for.
Brandon & Amanda
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In September, our baby girl turns one. We are fortunate to be able to spend every day with her and have been blessed to see her hit milestones throughout this past year. We wanted to write a post in honor of her first year. There's a quote by Paulo Coelho, "A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires." It got us reflecting on how much insight, and frankly foresight, we've developed over the past year. This is 12 life lessons we've observed for these 12 months we've been blessed with this special little lady in our life.
Life Lessons From a One Year Old
Honestly I could go on and on, but I'll just stop here. Becoming a parent, has helped us grow mentally, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Truth is, we need her just as much as she needs us. We are lifelong team in each other's growth. We believe we are destined for greatness!
“Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.” –Lady Bird Johnson
Thanks for being part of our life,
Brandon & Amanda
Happy Birthday, Precious Jade!
Love, Dad & Mom
Photo Credit: wellworthcowork.com
"Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we're all in this together."
I've struggled for a LONG time with thinking I had to be perfect. I consistently beat myself up over not achieving a certain result which caused a lot of unwanted stress and worry. To be honest, I never really cared what anyone thought of me; no one could be harder on me, than myself. Perfectionism is defined by setting excessively high, and often unattainable, standards that can be accompanied by an overcritical self evaluation or evaluation of others. In a world that is highly accessible, it is so easy to get this idea of what a 'perfect image' looks like and to get hyper-critical when you don't fit into that mold. This could be in your health, weight, business, marriage, parenting, you name it. I've struggled with comparisons in all of the above. It is a bit difficult for me to be this vulnerable with our readers, but I want to talk about some areas of perfectionism that I've struggled with and how I've learned to have grace with myself.
My biggest pitiful as a 'recovering perfectionist' was that I was highly critical of myself. I would beat myself up for the littlest things and then I would go down the 'rabbit hole' of self deprivation. I've caused a lot of unnecessary stress in my life due to setting unrealistic expectations of myself and beating myself up when I fell short. These expectations of what a person should accomplish in a day were unrealistic for two people to accomplish in one day. Another downfall I've had is what psychologists that have studied perfectionism refer to as an "all-or-nothing' approach. It was very much this '100% or nothing' mentality, to be completely frank, that became an exhausting way to approach life for me. I've also struggled with things having to be done a specific way. As long as something is out of place, it would not be acceptable. Because of that, I found it hard to allow people to do things for me. It would then cause an extreme amount of anxiety when I found it hard to delegate. Lastly, I've had a significant fear of failing. I never felt good enough and I always caused myself internal animosity. Clearly I had a lot growing to do.
Thankfully, I wanted to change. As a wife, I've learned that I am enough and I am loved even amidst my imperfections. As an entrepreneur, I've realized failure is necessary to learn and grow. As a mom, I've learned how to 'drum to my own beat' and how to do what's best for the family. As a former athlete, I've learned to appreciate the fitness journey. But the biggest mindset shift was learning to have grace with myself. I stopped comparing myself with this unrealistic version I was creating and to started seeing myself as worthy as I am. I instead started focusing on what my husband and I call 'winning our day' and started focusing on controlling what I could control.
I'd like to share a few tips that have worked for me in overcoming unhealthy perfectionism:
Tip 1: I've learned to set 'priority lists' instead of 'to-do lists.' I had this unhealthy habit of setting these ridiculous 'to-do lists' that nobody in their right mind would be able to get done. Instead, I learned to set priorities of what needs to be done today verses what needs to happen this week.
Tip2: I don't read, listen or participate in anything that is detrimental to my self image. Comparison killed my self-image, so I just decided not to play that game. I've trained myself to be very intentional about what I put into my mind.
Tip 3: I focus on positive self- talk. I've said a lot of mean things to myself over the years. I have worked on, and continue to work on, positive affirmations and meaningful self talk. It has made a big difference.
Tip 4: I got really comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is HUGE. I'm a firm believer in doing something that scares you on a day to day basis. I am constantly looking for ways to grow my capacity and tackle those daily wins.
Starting to come to grips with being an imperfectionist has meant I've had to really work on shifting the paradigm mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well as implementing on new programming. Brandon and I wholeheartedly believe in progression over perfection and enjoying the journey. I hope all of you, like me, can get to the point of appreciating the process of becoming the best version of yourself. Ask yourself: "Am I better today than I was yesterday?"
Enjoy the journey,
Amanda (Brandon approved 😀)
Photo Credit: forbes.com
If there ever was a time when people needed to be able to see the world with fresh eyes, and to approach things in a new way, it’s right now. As people roll off of a semi-isolation, many with a new awakening to the injustices that are happening in the world around them, it’s time to start anew. So where does one begin? The following outlines simple steps that we have used over the years to help us reset in times which we felt like we needed it:
Take the time to sit and THINK about (and write down) what is important to you and what you need to prioritize to amplify your time doing those important things.
Now we just lost the vast majority of you right here. Most people don’t invest the time to sit and think about these things because IT’S HARD. Intentionality requires more energy than most people are willing to give so they never even get past this first step. They would rather just go with the flow because in the moment it seems easier, and heck it’s what everyone else is doing, but it comes at a steep price…your desired future. There is a reason that when people on their death beds are interviewed they regret most the things that they DID NOT do, not the things that they may have done wrong. Take the time to figure these things out and gain clarity for yourself.
Start with a blank slate and build your day hour by hour to align with the activities in the last step that you determined you need to prioritize.
Irregardless of what your days look like currently, start fresh and begin to place the activities hour by hour into your schedule that you need to focus on to move towards your long-term goals. Also, don’t forget to schedule in simple activities like, getting ready for work, eating, sleeping, etc… TIP: Sometimes you need to change your environment to be more productive doing an activity. Have problems reading on our couch because you get drowsy? Try sitting at a table or going to a coffee shop. Find ways to change your surroundings if your current one detracts from your productivity. The goal isn’t to just do an activity, it’s to do it with PURPOSE. Will this require you to wake up earlier? Maybe. Will this mean that you will have less time spent aimlessly scrolling through social media or Netflix? Most likely. Will this begin to move the needle towards you living the life you desire? Absolutely.
TAKE ACTION and begin implementing your new daily schedule.
All the successful people that we have ever met have a propensity for action. It’s important that you don’t take any more time than you need to get moving. The longer you wait the harder it will become to implement your new schedule. WARNING: Whenever we start anything new there is an excitement and initial inertia that is created from it. But be warned, it is going to take longer than you think and require more of you than you’d like, to generate the results that you want. It’s the combined ingredients of intentionality and consistency fermented over time that creates MASSIVE results. Don’t be the person who is continually pushing the gas pedal to the floor and then slamming on the breaks with their activity. This is both physically and emotionally exhausting and NEVER creates long term success.
We truly believe that you can create whatever life you want to create for yourself and your family. We hope that these tips will help you in hitting the reset button in your life so you can either get started on, or go about accelerating the path to making that happen.
Brandon & Amanda
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I've always been a fan of the Ellen show and after every show she ends it with: "Be kind to one another." I believe, at times, we need that reminder. We live in a world that creates a culture based on self interest. One that is rooted in selfishness and self-centeredness. Being kind has to be intentional. I believe that focusing on being more kind will and can improve all of your relationships. Here are some questions that I ask myself to reflect on if I am truly showing kindness in my life on a daily basis:
1. What have I done today to lift myself up?
Kindness is often defined as compassion, consideration, being non-judgemental and having generosity. Kindness, we believe, starts with being kind to yourself. This is difficult for many, myself included, especially if you struggle with perfectionism. Learning to love yourself first will allow you to more deeply love and respect others as well. Forgiving yourself, taking care of yourself, speaking positive to yourself and respecting yourself, are ways that I learned how to better love myself so that I can serve others. When you learn to give yourself grace, it helps you to be more genuine with others.
2. What have I done today to serve someone?
If you ever read the book, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, he discusses 'Acts of service,' which is one of the five love languages. Doing good for others feels good. Giving without expectation and going above & beyond are some of the best ways to exemplify kindness. One of the best ways to show love is through actions and not just through words. Servitude, kindness and love all go hand-in-hand.
3. Have I lived the 'Golden Rule' today?
We all know the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. If I want respect, I got to give respect first. The kinder we are towards others, the better we feel. Learning to practice more empathy is one of the greatest ways to live out the 'Golden Rule.' Being able to be objective and see other's viewpoints allows you to gain perspective.
4. How have I improved my quality of life and the quality of life of others around me today?
There are actually a number of scientific benefits associated with the way we treat others. Kindness improves your quality of life. Being kind to others boosts your serotonin (feel-good chemical) levels, increases oxytocin ('the love' hormone) levels and decreases stress and anxiety. Kindness is actually contagious. The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain can improve mood and also encourage others to "pay it forward." This means one good deed can create a ripple effect that can positively impact a countless number of people.
The world needs a solid dose of kindness. My hope in writing this was to encourage a compliment, a random act of kindness or maybe even encouragement. Intentionally set a goal to be kinder to others. Kindness is a virtue:
'A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.'
So be kind to one another...
Brandon & Amanda
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We've been having a lot of conversations with people that we mentor and partner with lately on how many of us have suddenly been granted the gift of time. Many people are working from home, the dynamics of their work situation has changed, commute times are a thing of the past and we aren't hustling and bustling between activities and errands like we used to. The question is- are we using our time productively?
"To fully thrive, we must not only eliminate the stressors but also actively seek joyful, loving, fulfilling lives that stimulate growth processes."
For us, we've been busier than ever. We are grateful for business growth and a full schedule, an opportunity to work on some projects at our house and the most important, the time to invest into our family. This might not be the situation for everyone, and we are empathetic to that. We are incredibly grateful for essential workers, military, human services and especially healthcare workers that serve on the front line. Our hope, however, is to provide some thought process and insight to thrive in this uneasy time.
Here are some simple things that we've been focused in on, not just during the COVID-19 pandemic, but really, this is the way we conduct our life so that we can thrive:
We hope this helps to provide a little light in a vast sea of negativity. We want to help people really be responsive to what's going on in the world around us, but also learn to put better systems in place to maintain a rhythm of successful habits and promote productivity.
Brandon & Amanda
Photo Credit: clipart-library.com
We all either currently have them or have had them at some point in our lives. It’s those things that we do to try to compensate for something that is really the root cause of our ailments. It could be ignorance, fear, or maybe it’s just pure laziness, but either way, we consistently fail to address the one thing (or multiple things) that if changed, would change everything. This looks like telling ourselves we should take a nap or need more sleep at night when really it’s the fact that we have a poor diet and fail to exercise that is really causing us to be groggy (ouch that hit home). So instead of cutting out the sweets or alcoholic beverages so we justify that we work hard and deserve these “treats” in our lives and then wonder why we have low energy. Or we tell ourselves that we are too busy (or ironically too tired) to work-out and there is just no way that we can find the time. “I mean where will I fit it in? My schedule is already packed!” Maybe it’s avoiding making that one call or attending that one networking event because of (insert justifiable excuse).
We believe the problem with this type of thinking is obvious to all of us, so why do we continue to indulge in it? Because something called confirmation bias kicks in. Confirmation bias is all of the reasonings that we identify to justify a decision that we have made AFTER we have made it. So we decide that we are going to go down a certain track (usually the path of LEAST resistance) and then our brain searches for all of the things that it possibly can find to build a case for us to justify taking that path.
So how do we avoid this type of behavior and stop continually falling into this trap? The answer is simple and fairly obvious when we step back and look at it. First, we identify someone who has in life the things that we want and then we work to gain access to their thought process. Having a mentor who is further down the same or similar road that you want to go down is key. Next we need to develop an accountability system with that person to make sure that we stay on track. Why does having a workout partner work so much better than going by yourself to the gym everyday? Because you stay accountable to one another, keep each other focused, and push one another to succeed. If it works in the gym why wouldn’t if work in other areas of your life? The fact of the matter is, IT DOES. It just takes intentionality to identify a person who is where you want to be, convince them to mentor you, and then stay accountable to them long after the initial excitement of doing something new wears off.
Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to the band aids. Don’t allow yourself to get in a confirmation bias loop. Choose to maximize your potential by maximizing your day…day after day after day. If one person can do it, you can do it.
We believe in you,
Brandon & Amanda