Break this Habit and Transform Your Life

ArenaThere is this little habit that we have.  It is such a subtle habit that a lot of times we don’t even notice that it is there.  We practice this daily in all kinds of circumstances and situations.  We practice it with ourselves, our relationships, and our businesses.
Unfortunately, this little habit is not helpful to our lives.  At best, this habit is detrimental to our enjoyment of life, and at worst it is totally destructive to our success and destiny.  However, this habit makes us comfortable and helps us cope with daily situations that don’t turn out the way we desire.
Therefore, we cling tightly to this habit and have a hard time letting go, even though deep down most of us know that we need to break free.  So what is this sneaky little habit?
This habit is “criticism.”  I know this may not sound like the typical habits that we talk about.  However, it is a habit.  It is a learned behavior that we practice on a regular basis without even thinking about it.


“It is not the critic who counts… The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. – Teddy Roosevelt


 

Here is a list of some of the things we criticize;

  • Ourselves
  • Ideas
  • Other people
  • Politicians
  • Employees
  • Bosses
  • Circumstances

Criticism is destructive because it focuses on the negative and the obstacles rather than the positive and the opportunities. Life is full of opportunities, but we will miss them if we are focused on the negative.
Criticism fosters a victim mindset that traps us in our current circumstances.  Criticism infiltrates the story in our head about the actions that people take and the things that happen around us.  This negative story quickly turns us from an victor to a victim.  And, a victim, has no power to transform their life and circumstances.
When we break the habit of criticism, we open the door for a different story to play in our our heads.  This positive story that views even the challenges of life as opportunities, gives us the power and passion to be a victor.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=”#smallbusiness #smallbiz”]Criticism traps us in our circumstances and holds us back from taking action.[/inlinetweet]


 

Here are 6 steps to breaking the habit of criticism.

  1. Replace criticism with appreciation
  2. Have someone close to you hold you accountable
  3. Choose to speak positively
  4. Surround yourself with positive people
  5. Say 10 positive things about people each day
  6. Say thank you

When you leave the critic in the stands and move down into the arena you will be amazed at how fulfilling life can be.  You can break this habit and change your life.  I know you can do it.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=”#appreciation”]Take a small step today and tell 5 people thank you.[/inlinetweet]


 

How do you keep criticism from controlling your tongue?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

  • Brian

6 Keys to Growing Your Business AND Your Marriage

Brian and VictoriaAs I talk with clients, friends and family members who are business owners, there is one struggle that I hear often.  How do you balance the demands of work and family.  We all face this.  We are passionate about our businesses and we love our families.  Both our businesses and our families make demands of us.  These competing demands often strain our most valuable earthly relationship, our marriage.
I have a confession to make.  In this post I am not really going to talk about growing your business.  I have written plenty of posts about that.  Today I am writing about marriage.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=””]You can have all the business success in the world, but if your marriage is falling a part at home, it will feel very empty.[/inlinetweet]


So how do we have a healthy balance?  How do we grow not only our business, but our marriage too?  In this post I am going to share with you some of the things that have helped me grow a business and have a great marriage.

6 Keys to Growing a Business AND Your Marriage

  • Create a Work Schedule With Your Spouse – Years ago Victoria and I figured out that most of the struggle about how much I worked, came from differing expectations.  Therefore, we created a practice of coming up with my work schedule together.  Then if I needed to work outside of those hours, I consulted with her before I made any commitments.
  • Invest Time and Money in Both Your Business and Your Marriage – You invest lots of time and money to grow your business.  Make sure you are doing the same thing for your marriage.  Go out on dates, take time away together, read a marriage book, attend a marriage conference, or get some counseling.  If your marriage is not growing, it will be dying.  As soon as you stop investing in your marriage, it begins to die.
  • Communicate With Your Spouse About Your Business – Talk with your spouse about what is happening in your business and how it is affecting you.  Your business is a significant area of your life.  If you don’t talk about it with your spouse, you are missing out on living that part of life together.
  • Involve Your Spouse in the Business – When your business is successful, it benefits your family.  View the business as a team effort.  Even if your spouse does not work for the business, there are many small ways that they can be involved and contribute.  Make sure you give that opportunity.
  • Be All In – Practice being fully engaged with whatever you are doing at the moment.  When you are working on your business, give it your best. When you are on a date with your wife, give her your best.  Turn off the cell phone and focus on your spouse.  Many times with struggle in our marriage, because we are so distracted that we never fully engage.
  • REMEMBER – Your Business is to Serve Your Life and Family Not the Other Way Around – This is the key.  Keep your priorities in line.  If your life and family are existing to serve your business, then it is time to make a change.  Take a step back, examine what is really important and set some boundaries.

Having a great marriage takes courage, intentional investment and hard work, but the rewards are great.  Start by taking a small step.  Discuss these keys with your spouse and see what he/she has to say.  You will learn and lot and be well on your way to growing your business and having a great marriage.

What things have your learned about growing a business and having a great marriage?

Share your thoughts in the comments

 
-Brian
 

Do You Believe in Abundance? (Part 2)

(This is an excerpt from a book I am working on about creating a positive impact business)

Photo Credit - Karim Ghantous

Photo Credit – Karim Ghantous


When we view the world with an abundance mindset we are able to give and make a positive impact because we don’t have to hold so tightly to what we already have.  We know that the same skills, talents and abilities that we used to create the wealth we have will open doors for us in the future.  This opens us up the amazing rhythm of creating and releasing.  It is in this rhythm that we are able to truly enjoy the life that we have.  The scarcity mindset strips the enjoyment out of everything.  We then live our lives out of fear of loss rather than hope for the future.
We don’t have to live that way.  Take a few moments today to observe the world around you.  There are so many things that we take for granted every day that are in such abundant supply.  Sure, sometimes things change and for a season there is scarcity, but there is always an abundance of something.  Consider the air that we breathe, the grass we walk on, the trees that surround us, the beauty of a mountain stream, the warmth of coffee with a friend, the laughter of children, the food on our plates, or the heat of the sun.  There is abundance all around us.  We choose how we view the world.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=”#thankfulness”]When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears. ― Anthony Robbins[/inlinetweet]


It is easy to choose an abundant world view when we are in a season of visible, personal abundance.  But we will all experience seasons of scarcity in some area of our lives.  When this happens the struggle will be to overcome and not fall back into a scarcity mindset of the world.  For me this season was during the economic shift of the Great Recession in 2008-2009.  During that season, the business for my design-build remodeling company dried up.  I had borrowed and spent a lot of money to build the staff, facilities, equipment and business systems necessary for the company to grow and instead the sales fell off.  We needed sales to pay the bills and we quickly found ourselves in a season of financial scarcity that resulted in corporate and personal bankruptcy.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=”#abundance”]When you experience a significant struggle with scarcity, you fall back into a belief systems that is governed by scarcity rather than abundance.[/inlinetweet]


The difficult part is that to break free from a season of scarcity and rebuild from a struggle like that you need the abundant mindset.  The very thing you need is the hardest to believe.  When your world comes crashing down, you feel like there will never be opportunities again.  For me, it has taken small steps over years to return to an abundant world view.  Many times I have had to take action based on the belief in abundance, even when I didn’t feel like it.  I had to choose to give and bless others even when I was afraid that what I had, might be all I ever got again.
But slowly, with action, the belief in abundance has returned.  And, as it has, my eyes have been opened more and more to the many opportunities around me.  The same can be true for you!

How have you overcome seasons of scarcity?

Share your thoughts in the comments

 

  • Brian

Do You Believe in Abundance? (Part 1)

Photo Credit - Alice Popkorn

Photo Credit – Alice Popkorn


(The Following is an excerpt from the book I am working on about creating a positive impact business)

The rising tide lifts all the boats – John F. Kennedy

How do you view the world in which you live and do business?  Your perspective on that world and the opportunities that it contains will determine how you respond to it.  AND, your response to it will determine the results you receive.
 


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=”#smallbiz #abundance”]If we want to make giving a cornerstone of our business philosophy and make a positive impact, then we must have an abundance mindset.[/inlinetweet]


However, many times the opposite belief, a scarcity mindset, rules in our heads.  We will never accomplish our destiny with a scarcity mindset.


Merriam-Webster defines scarcity as, “a very small supply: the state of being scarce.”


Scarcity is also seen in the economic principle that says that if you spend money on one thing you can’t spend it on something else.  You have a finite supply of money and therefore saying yes to one thing means saying know to something else.  While this is a good principle to live by for personal budgeting, it is a destructive way to approach business.
Ultimately, it is true that there is a finite limit to the money and resources in the world.  However, that limit is so great that it is of no consequence.  Therefore, we live in a world of abundance, and we need to approach life and business from that perspective.  For all practical purposes there is no limit to the opportunities we can seize, the relationships we can enjoy, or the money we can make.


Merriam-Webster defines abundance as, “a large amount of something: and abundant amount of something.”


See the difference?  The scarcity world view says that there is a small supply of the things that I need.  Therefore, I hoard and hold on tightly to what I have for fear that there might not be any more in the future.  This view strangles opportunities and destroys relationships.  It puts me in a defensive positon of protecting what I have rather than an offensive position of moving forward and creating more wealth.

People with a scarcity mentality tend to see everything in terms of win-lose. There is only so much; and if someone else has it, that means there will be less for me. The more principle-centered we become, the more we develop an abundance mentality, the more we are genuinely happy for the successes, well-being, achievements, recognition, and good fortune of other people. We believe their success adds to…rather than detracts from…our lives.” –  Stephen R. Covey

What Holds You Back From Believing in Abundance?

Share your thoughts in the comments

-Brian

Simple Steps to Overcoming the "Overwhelmed Feeling"

Photo Credit - Uncle Ariel

Photo Credit – Uncle Ariel


Are their days that you feel overwhelmed?  Days when the demands push in from all sides.  Demands come from clients, employees, vendors, children and spouses.  Then, add to that, financial and business challenges, and the weight can be crushing.
We all face times when the struggle is great, the demands are intense, the obstacles huge, and hope is weak.  These times present you with tremendous opportunity.  You have the opportunity to grow stronger, develop new skills, gain influence with your team, open new doors for your business, and change the course of your life.  The only question is… How will you respond?


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=”#smallbusiness”]How you respond in moments of struggle will define your leadership and open the pathway to success.[/inlinetweet]


 
Unfortunately we often respond to this question with a self-inflicted judgment of “Just get over it.”  We tell ourselves to “suck it up and move on.”  While the goal of moving on is admirable, suppressing our struggle and acting like it doesn’t exist, will never lead to victory.   We need to acknowledge our struggle and then take concrete action to to deal with our situation and the emotions that accompany it.
For years I dealt with feeling overwhelmed by just working harder.  This led to frustration with those around me who didn’t seem to be working hard enough.  It was not productive or beneficial to me, my business, my family or my team.  I had to learn a different way, and you can too.

Here are a few simple actions you can take when you are feeling overwhelmed.

  • Stop – Take a moment to lift your head and step back from the situation.  I often like to take a short walk.
  • Prioritize – Often we are overwhelmed my things that are really not that important
  • Say No!You may be working to meet someone else’s expectation
  • Delegate – You may actually have to much work to do.  Give something to someone else.
  • Do Something Fun – Give your mind a break from the struggle and enjoy yourself.
  • Share with a friend – Keeping everything in just makes it worst.  We were made for relationship.
  • Journal – Write down your emotions thoughts and struggle.  Getting them on paper seems to relieve the pressure
  • Move Forward – Strength and courage will increase as you take small steps

Keep going! You can do this.  The world needs what only you can offer.  You make a difference with your life and your business.  However, you can’t do it all.  Use these simple steps to keep your work load in balance and your attitude positive.

What steps do you take to overcome overwhelmed feelings?

Share your thoughts in the comments below

-Brian

Do You Feel Like Giving Up?

Photo Credit - Max Ross

Photo Credit – Max Ross


Are you feeling discouraged? Had a difficult day?  Are you in need of some encouragement?  This post might not be for everyone.  But, I believe it is for someone.  There is someone who needs to hear this today.  Maybe it is you.
There are times in life, relationships, and business when it is just down right hard.  Just getting up is difficult, and moving forward seems impossible.  You feel overwhelmed by the obstacles in your way, and you aren’t sure that you have the strength to fight.

  • Maybe you just lost that large contract you thought you had…
  • Maybe a key employee left…
  • Maybe your equipment broke down…
  • Maybe your worker’s comp audit turned up a big bill…

Business is full of challenges and obstacles.  I know what it is like.  I have been there.  Honestly, even now, I get discouraged.  I work hard writing to help people and some days I wonder if anyone is listening.
In the midst of all of that discouragement and struggle I only have one thing to say…
Don’t give up! You may have to make changes and hard decisions.  But, don’t give up on your dreams.
The work you do is significant.  The world needs you and what your business has to offer.  Your community is a better place because you are present.  Your clients need the goods and services you offer.  You need the opportunity to live out your passion.  Your family and friends are blessed by the lifestyle your business provides.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=”#smallbusiness #encouragement “]You can do it! Keep going.  Take small steps when big steps are difficult.  Don’t let the challenges get the best of you.[/inlinetweet]


 
There is one key to being able to keep going… Relational support.  You need a group of family, friends and colleagues that you can share with and will encourage you to keep going.  If you make yourself an island you are going to sink.  Work to put this support in place while life is good.  Otherwise, when the challenges come it is often too late.

King Solomon Said, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

Who in your life helps you keep going?

Tell them “Thank You” in the comments below

-Brian
I have started two Small Business Revival communities to help you connect with other business owners and encourage one another.  Click on the links below to visit.

Small Business Revival on Facebook

Small Business Revival on Google +

The Key to Living the Life you Want

In todays culture the competition for our time, energy, attention, money, skills and abilities is endless.  The demands come from family, friends, clients, employees, vendors, business partners, and most of all ourselves.  It is very easy to find ourselves overloaded, overwhelmed, out of time and energy and living well beyond healthy limits.

Photo Credit - *_Abhi_*

Photo Credit – *_Abhi_*


We even find ourselves stretched thin by good things.  In America we have many opportunities.  We have sports, recreational activities, extracurricular activities for our children, church activities, limitless valuable information, and even Facebook.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=”#Leadership #purposedrivenlife”]An overload of good stuff is still an overload, and that robs us of our enjoyment of everything.[/inlinetweet]


For someone like me, my ideas are endless.  I have always joked that if I was dropped on a deserted island with shelter, and all the food that I needed, within a few hours I would have enough projects to keep me busy for years.  Are you like that too?
There is one simple action you can take in your life to set yourself free from this “rat race”… Learn to say “NO!”
Why is saying “NO” so difficult?  We want to say “yes.”  We want people to like us.  We want to meet their expectations.  We want to take advantage of our opportunities.  We don’t want to waste time.  We want to be good at what we do.  We say “yes” for many reasons that don’t relate to our “one thing.”  If we are going to live a fulfilling life, here is the key. Clearly define our “one thing” and then say “yes” and “NO” based on that purpose.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=”#leadership #purposedrivenlife”]Saying “yes” is easy.  It is saying “NO” that usually derails our efforts to live our lives on purpose.[/inlinetweet]


Here are 5 steps to help you say “NO.”

  • Start by saying “NO” to yourself – Not every idea needs to be acted on at this time.
  • Hit the pause button – When you are asked to do something, don’t answer right away.  Ask for time to think about your decision and give them your answer later.
  • Set predetermined limits – Decide in advance how you are going to spend your time.  Then, when you receive a request you have a framework to help you make a good decision.
  • Practice saying “NO” to little things – If this is really difficult for you, say “NO” to something small and incidental.  Then you can work up to saying “NO” in more difficult situations.
  • Be aware of distractions – Sometimes the things we need to say “NO” to, are little distractions like email, Facebook, or other busy work.  These things can take a huge amount of productive time away from us.

Remember that every time you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something else.  We all have a finite amount of time.  We want to choose to invest that time where it matters most.

What strategies do you use to help you say “NO?”

Leave your thoughts in the comments below

-Brian
I have started two Small Business Revival communities to help you connect with other business owners and encourage one another.  Click on the links below to visit.

Small Business Revival on Facebook

Small Business Revival on Google +

5 Keys to Making Sure Your Family Doesn't Resent Your Business

Lender Bagel Family Photo Credit - Carl Lender

Lender Bagel Family
Photo Credit – Carl Lender


As entrepreneurs and small business owners, the desire to care and provide for our families motivates us.  It is the reason that we do what we do.  We build our businesses so we can have a lifestyle of freedom that allows us to invest time and money in the relationships that matter the most…    Namely our families.
 

The pitfalls on the road to this goal are obvious.

  • Overwork as our business takes our best time and energy
  • Deadline driven projects that keep us away from our families
  • Emails and phone calls from clients that interrupt our family time
  • Pushing family members to work in roles they don’t enjoy
  • Financial challenges
  • And the list goes on and on and on….

The results are destructive.

  • Spouses who complain that we are never home
  • Children that resent the business
  • Missed commitments that erode trust in relationships
  • Unstable finances.

Here are 5 Keys to Making Sure Your Family Doesn’t Resent Your Business

 

  1. Discuss time boundaries with your family and honor them – Victoria and I came to an agreement about what my work hours would be.  If I needed to work or meet a client outside of that time we agreed to discus it before I made a commitment.  This provided stability for her.
  2. Don’t force family members to do work they don’t enjoy – If a family member works in the business, make sure they are doing something they enjoy.  They may have to “fill a hole” for a short time, but don’t let them stay there.
  3. Take time off when you have the opportunity – Every business has intense seasons that demand a lot from us and our families.  Make sure when things are slower, you take some time to rest and invest in your family.
  4. Be careful about endangering the families finances – There is already enough risk to the family because of having your personal income tied to the business.  Be careful about making financial and legal commitments that put the family at risk.  I made this mistake early on and when our business failed it forced personal bankruptcy for both Victoria and I.
  5. Make sure you love what you do – If you enjoy your work in the business, you will be much happier. This will make life better for your family.  Dissatisfaction has a way of coming home and affecting those closest to us.

Starting and running your own business gives us an incredible opportunity to have the life and family relationships we really desire.  Lead with strength and courage, say “no” to those things that would destroy your family, and reap the benefits of a blessed business AND a blessed family.

What steps do you take to make sure your family doesn’t resent your business?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

  • Brian

I have started two Small Business Revival communities to help you connect with other business owners and encourage one another.  Click on the links below to visit.

Small Business Revival on Facebook

Small Business Revival on Google +

Getting Rid of "I Should Have…"

Photo Credit - Colm Britton

Photo Credit – Colm Britton


There is one very destructive mental habit that will prevent you from having success.  It is this little phrase “I should have.”  All of us use it.  We think it and speak it every time we have a regret over something we have done or a mistake we have made.
But what is the result of this little phrase?  Does it really solve anything?  Does it help us “get it right the next time?’ “Do we use it’s partner in crime, ‘I wish I had…’?”
I would propose that this little phrase results only in guilt, a bad attitude and accomplishes nothing productive.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@BrianMininger” suffix=””]”I should have,” is a nasty little phrase that we can ban from our vocabulary[/inlinetweet]


Why is this phrase such a problem? It is not empowering. It doesn’t not give us the hope for a different action in the future.  It just lays on the guilt for the past.
For most of us the use of this little phrase is a habit that we learned a long time ago. It has been passed on to us by many generations of parents who used it with their children.

  • “You should have put away your plate.”
  • “You should have done your homework.”
  • “You should have cleaned your room.”
  • “You should have gotten better grades.”
  • “You should have taken that shot.”

Does all of this sound familiar?  I know I have done this with my own children.  Somehow guilt seems to get better results… In the short term.  But, in the long term it is defeating and takes away our motivation.
So how do we break this habit?  I believe we start by becoming aware of how much we use this phrase.  Then we need to replace this in our vocabulary.
Here are some empowering substitutions.

  • “I am thankful for…”
  • “I regret that I…”
  • “Next time I will…”
  • “Please forgive me for…”
  • “I am not proud of the fact that I…”
  • “I have learned that…”
  • “I am changing…”
  • “In the future I will…”
  • “I would appreciate it if you would…”
  • “I prefer that you…”
  • “What can we learn from…”

All of these phrases take give us the power to make a different choice in the future.  They acknowledge our failures (Because none of us are perfect) and give us hope for a different outcome in the future.
All of us need more hope.  There is enough discouragement already in the world.  Let us rise above together and remove this guilt and replace it with Hope.  There is no place for “I should have” in the fulfillment of your destiny.

What are some phrases that you would suggest for replacing “I should have…”?

Share your thoughts in the comments below

-Brian

9 Steps to Overcoming Obstacles

Photo Credit - U.S. Navy

Photo Credit – U.S. Navy


No matter what you are trying to accomplish, obstacles are a part of life.  Whether it is a little obstacles like a slow driver, lost keys or spilled coffee or the big obstacles like a family crisis or financial challenges, learning to overcome is critical for your success.
How do you respond to obstacles?  Do you get frustrated, discouraged, and blame others?  Or do you find a way around, over or through the mountain standing in your way?
I will be honest, I don’t like obstacles.  For years, if I was showing frustration about a situation, Victoria would ask me, “is your goal getting blocked?”  I knew what that meant.  My response to an obstacle was a bad attitude.  I am thankful that she was willing to challenge me and make me aware of what was going on.
Frustration and a bad attitude does not result in successfully overcoming obstacles.  If you want to overcome obstacles you must first address what is going on inside.  Without a frank evaluation of your personal attitude you will never be able to develop a strategy or plan for overcoming the obstacles in your life. Once you have corrected your attitude you are positioned for success.
Photo Credit - Celestine Chua

Photo Credit – Celestine Chua

9 Steps to overcoming obstacles

 

  1. Step back and take a breath – The first step is to STOP!  Many times we beat our heads against an obstacle and don’t back up enough to see what the true issue is.
  2. Clarify where you want to go – Maybe the obstacle doesn’t matter. Think about where you really want to go.  Maybe there is a totally different path to get there.
  3. Identify the obstacle – Many times it takes some digging to identify the true obstacle.  Dig a little deeper and make sure you are solving the true issue not just a superficial annoyance.
  4. Develop a plan – Victory requires a strategy.  Think through your experience, resources and abilities and plan how you will use them to overcome the obstacle.
  5. Get input from others – No good plan is created in isolation.  You need the experience, wisdom, and different perspectives of others.  They will help you see possibilities that you miss.
  6. Execute the plan –  The best plan will fail without action.  You will encounter fear.  Don’t run from it! Be courageous and take action anyway.
  7. Evaluate the results – Your first plan may not succeed.  That is ok. Gather information from the results. The only failure is a failure to learn.
  8. Improve your plan – Take what you are learning and improve your plan.
  9. Celebrate your victory – When you finally have success, make sure you celebrate.  Everyone likes a reward, and this will help you stay motivated the next time you face an obstacle.

May you be part of the courageous few who rise up, face obstacles and overcome them and fulfill their destiny.  Otherwise you will find yourself a part of the discouraged crowd blaming someone else for the obstacles in your life.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=””]Some of the greatest challenges in life steer us toward our greatest victories[/inlinetweet]

Have you ever faced an obstacle?  What wisdom can you share about overcoming?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

-Brian