‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning’- Psalm 30:5.
Life deals us tough blows. We lose jobs. Family members pass away. Relationships end. Just when you think things are going well, *boom* something happens. It comes out of left field. Health issues. Money troubles. It happens to all of us no matter how successful or accomplished we are, it will happen. It is a guarantee. But it’s not what happens to you, it’s always about how you respond.
Dance In The Ashes
When I lost my job, I danced with joy. A long time ago, when I worked at a former employer, I knew my days were numbered. I was younger then, a little naïve, and not used to office politics. I thought everybody liked me and that people were professional. I learned the hard way that’s not always true. When I was let go, I was shocked. Mainly because I hadn’t done anything wrong or dishonest. But I found myself unemployed. However, when I went to church that weekend, something happened. I found myself overcome with joy because I knew that God had something better for me. I knew that wasn’t the end. It is so important to always remember the positive in any situation. If we are to overcome the battles and circumstances in life, the first step is a deep resolute belief that you will survive. That this is temporary and only a set back and not a road block.
Execute The Plan
All battles are not created equal. Some battles you win in a week. Some will take you a lifetime. And truthfully, some you will lose. Regardless of the outcome, a plan of attack is vital. The best time to plan is immediately after you dealt your hardest hit. You step back, wipe off your chin, look your obstacle square in the eye and come back stronger than ever. But you can’t swing wildly. You find a quiet space, meditate, and map out your path to victory: Who can I reach out to for advice? What are my options? What resources do I need? What resources do I currently have? What is the expected timetable? Regardless of the question and subsequent answer, you must determine which way you will go. Also develop alternatives. What you can do if the first route is unsuccessful. Is there another way to get it done? Do I need to stick to the original plan but change a few things? The answer to our questions are always answered by a ‘who’ or a ‘what’. Who it is that can help you, or what you need to do.
Time alone doesn’t heal all wounds. Only once we accept the past and come to grips with what has happened can the healing process begin. And time can wear us down. When your illness is still here years later, it wears you down. When your children are still running wild, it wears you down. When your business is still not profitable, it wears you down. But as much as it wears you down, you must bounce back. You can’t allow negative thoughts to destroy you. You must have the mindset of either I will conquer this foe or I will die trying. It is a zero-sum game. When passion burns deep inside your belly, don’t let the obstacles you encounter extinguish the flame.
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Sometimes you have to look life square in the eyes and say: No matter what happens, I'm going to live the life I deserve. You have to look at your obstacles, situation, or circumstance and call it for what it is. I've done that. I've taken a look at my blog; my business; personal and professional life. Some people call it growth, and others call it maturity. I call it real. One of the most damaging things we can do is live according to others expectations or views of us. If it doesn't line up with who you truly are, it is a waste of time, or worse yet, a detriment to your happiness and success.
Who Am I?
This is a fundamental question we should ask ourselves. It sounds simple, but can be quite complex. Are you outgoing or are you more reserved? Does it depend on the environment? Do I procrastinate, make excuses or not follow up on what I said I would do? Am I happy, unhappy or unfulfilled? Do I wake up every day miserable about going to work knowing that I want to do something else? We must do this evaluation and I suggest writing it down on paper. Be brutally honest. Your perfect flaws and all. Without knowing who we are, the pathway to improvement is impossible.
Who Do I want To Be?
Just as important is determining who we want to be. Do I want to start a band? Do I want to travel? Do I want to spend more time with my children? Is there a business idea deep in my soul that I have to bring to world? Do I want to be more punctual? Am I in need of a good laugh? There is a road between who we are and who we want to become. That road goes by many names: Determination, Perseverance, and Will Power are just a few of them. In order to really be who you are, it takes guts.
Once you are determined to be who you are, it will come natural! You can 'breathe in your own skin' as the saying goes. I truly believe who we are is God given, inspired and destined to fruition. I believe that the majority of our disappointment comes from being unsatisfied with where we currently are in life, but unsure, unwilling or scared to move closer to our true selves. I believe in YOU because I believe that you can do anything when your mind is put to it, and truthfully dedicate yourself. Life isn't about what happens, it's about what YOU make happen.
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Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. It all starts and begins in the mind. Success isn’t built over night. It happens gradually, thoughtfully, and patiently. But somewhere along the road a setback will undoubtedly happen. It’s the natural progression of life. Then you will wonder if you are doing something wrong, and probably start to second guess yourself. If you are trying something new for the first time or even something you do every day, when something goes wrong remind yourself: I got this.
Passion Leads You To The Right Answer
The reason I’m such an advocate for following your passion is because it is something that is God given and instructed. You really don’t have a choice. Whatever comes natural and you fully enjoy is that passion. As you nurture and walk in it, you’ll discover ways to grow and to get better. The challenges will undoubtedly come, but deep down somewhere you have the answer. Now, don’t expect to be a guru or some type of savant, but you have the answer. The answer may be taking time to evaluate where you went wrong. The answer may be taking an honest assessment of your weaknesses and working with others who can help you overcome it. You can’t expect to know everything, but there is always a person or a resource who can help you when feeling a little lost.
Know A Roadblock From A Dead End
We all run into roadblocks. They distract us from our purpose and delay us. They come in many forms: A lost contract; a dishonest employee; a failed product launch. They can also appear as: procrastination; doubt; worry. These are roadblocks and they are temporary. Imagine being on a highway and there is heavy construction ahead. Traffic slows to a halt. As you look down to your clock, you become agitated and wonder how long it will take. You know that eventually you will get through, but you’re concerned about how long it will take and when you will get there. Success is the same way. Somewhere along this journey, this will happen to you. The key though is recognizing that the traffic jam will eventually pass.
Confidence is everything. If you are doing something unfamiliar, begin with the confidence that at a minimum you will learn. If things are going haywire with something you do all the time, have patience that it will get better. Doubting that you can overcome will only delay you. The answer is always tucked away somewhere in the universe. Just remember: You got this.
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As we move from Spring into Summer, it’s a perfect time to look at ourselves and what we enjoy doing. Maybe you have a vacation planned with the family or road trip that you’re taking. Maybe you’re going to take some time off work and just chill out and be you. No matter what the plans are, let’s look at some ideas to make your summer sizzle!
Do Something New
Variety has been called the spice of life. When we look back on our lives many years from now, you will most likely have regrets about what you didn’t do more than what you did. This is because most of us play it safe and stick to the script. This summer, find at least 1 new activity to try. It can a new sport, hobby, or place to visit. It could be an extension of something you already do. Like to play golf? Take a weekend golf trip with some friends. Just moved into a new town? Check out some networking events and get to know people. Or do something bold. I’ve always said that I would never bungee jump, but I’m adding this to my list of things to try. Maybe not this summer, but eventually! Regardless, take a moment to let each day sink in and have its own reward and adventure. The summer (especially here in Atlanta) is hot. We then use that as an excuse to not go outside. And then it gets cold in the winter and we’re wishing for it to warm back up again. Instead of staying indoors, go somewhere with some shade! Put on a hat, sunglasses, sun block and enjoy the outdoors. Unplug. Leave the cell phone at home, take the kids to the park, and just ‘be’. Just sit and look at the scenery. Life passes us by if we don’t cherish every moment.
Invest In Y.OU.
The summer is also a great time to spend working towards your passion. This is a time when many people will travel, spend time out of town, and generally take time off work. For many businesses, profits will slow down during this time because the customer base isn’t as steady. Unless you own a beach front hotel, shopping mall or movie theatre, you probably see some type of traffic reduction. This is a perfect opportunity to spend time on what you truly want to do in life. If you find yourself with more free time, what better thing to do than research, prepare, and focus on your passion? If you take some days off from work, use at least 1 day doing this. Look online, download some productivity apps, take a trip to the library (Yes, they still exist), anything that gets you in the right frame of mind. Whatever you can do now that you can’t do later in the year when you don’t have time to think. Go on your back porch, grab a cold beverage, and read something interesting. Allow yourself to relax, dream and contemplate what you want to accomplish. Summer is a great time to relax and unwind, but make sure you spend time on you as well.
Summer is more than bathing suits, barbecues, and brews, it’s a time to try new experiences and to expand your mind. We all need some time to have fun and to enjoy ourselves, as well as investing in our future. So, when a few months from now, when you’re back busy at work, and a slight chill in the air, you’ll be refreshed, recharged and ready to elevate your life to another level!
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You can have victory in everything that you set out to accomplish. Most people will read that sentence, nod their heads in agreement and continue reading this blog. Let it sink in. Then, think about the statement. I can have victory in everything that I set out to accomplish? Take a moment and let the statement recharge you after a temporary setback. I can have victory in everything that I set out to accomplish! Ok, now that we're on the same page, lets get some work done.
Victory isn't a destination or place arrival point. It is a measure of degrees. Think about the statement: 'Man, it is HOT in here'! If the thermostat reads 98 degrees, then that is sweltering hot. But if it reads 50 degrees, you'll be as chilly as an eskimo's nose. Now, if you inch it up by 2 degrees every 15 minutes, you'll notice it gets warmer and warmer, and eventually you'll feel the sensation of warm, hot, and extreme heat. Victory is the same way. Say you start a car wash business. The first taste of victory is just getting started with a bucket, soap, sponge, and towel. It's estimated that approximately 40% of people want to start their own businesses. But only about 12% of American's are entrepreneurs, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. That means you beat out over 25% of all people just by getting started! You can have victory in everything that you set out to accomplish.
Now that you've gotten started, you need to dream and to dream big. I'm talking hall of fame, worldwide, global, they will put you on a stamp big! Take that dream, put it on your vision board and hold onto it. Now tell yourself. That although that is your goal, whether you get there or not, it does not define your happiness and success. Every year only one team wins the championship. Facebook, Google, Coca-Cola are leaders in their respective industries. During your journey to victory, you will undoubtedly look at the top companies or people in your field and wonder how or if you will ever get there. Use this as motivation and not discouragement. Work, persistence and time will ultimately pay off. But numbers, sales, likes or mentions don't define victory. If your brother lets you wash his car this week, that's one customer. If him and your neighbor call you back next week, you've increased sales by 100%. True, it's not exactly a bustling machine of business, but its progress. Winning is earned step by step and appreciating the 'little' but significant victories along the way. You can have victory in everything that you set out to accomplish.
On this journey to victory, there is something we often overlook. It's not how many widgets you sell or the amount of people who come to your shows. True victory is when you can look at what you've done and be proud of it. Something that you can reflect on 20 years later in joy. Something that you can think of all the people you impacted and the results. When I think about the various jobs and positions that I've had, the most joyful moments are the people I worked with and the people I work for: The customer. If you own a business, yes, you ultimately work to turn a profit and enjoy the fruit of your labor. Along they way however, you work with people who make you laugh, share jokes with, come up with innovative ideas. You have the customer everyone wanted to avoid, and the one that everybody loved. Your car wash may have expanded into neighboring states, and eventually into a franchise. Or perhaps, it only stayed locally and something you did on the weekends. One driveway at a time. But, to the teenagers who rode to prom in the car you just washed, the smiles on their faces was priceless. The young executive who came to you every week for a night on the town, eventually settled down and he went from washing a hot rod to a minivan. And the woman who lost her husband, but still wanted to live and to get out of the house, well, you washed her car for free because her wisdom was more than money could by. You can have victory in everything that you set out to accomplish.
No matter how much you suppress or ignore it, your passion is inside of you. There is not one person who has lived without one. Are we all destined to be entrepreneurs, hero's and presidents? No. But that is also not the passion of everyone. Some people legitimately want to be remembered in history as the best ever and top of their industry. If that is you, then be prepared to work incomprehensibly hard, make difficult sacrifices, and be prepared to fail much more often than you will succeed. When we draw our last breath on the planet, we should be able to look at what we've accomplished and the people that we love and be proud of both. That is real victory. And you can have victory in everything that you set out to accomplish.
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Building an empire isn't easy. Rome wasn't built in a day. As your faithful motivation success ninja, there have been times that I've found myself overwhelmed with the vision given to me. What blog should I write? Who should I interview? What does my website need to look like? And on and on it goes. And that is how it can be when you're on your way to success. We all like to smile and tell people how great our business, passion, new diet or relationship is going. When the reality is, you're dog tired from being up all night working on spreadsheets, haven't been to or even driven by the gym lately, and you just broke up with your girlfriend, but don't want to tell anyone yet. Stress happens. It's real. But you can be defeat it.
Step Back & Breathe
If you're feeling a little stressed, try this exercises with me. Put down the tablet, phone, or whatever device you are reading me on. Turn down all distractions. You may have to go to a room where there is complete silence (even if it's the bathroom!). Quiet your mind. Don't think about anything at all. Just breathe in and out. Deep breaths. And...just...be. It may take 30 seconds for you to feel calm or at peace. Maybe it takes minutes, just do you. See, part of the problem with stress is that we run faster when we feel stressed when, in reality, we need to slow down. Think about it: If you are in a marathon race and you start to feel a little bit tired, do you slow down some to conserve energy or would you run faster? Slowing down and breathing is a good thing. It provides your mind with clarity. You get to de-clutter and quiet all those toxic thoughts.
Focus & Strategize
Now that your mind is clear you have to focus on what is most important. Ask yourself what is the top priority and work from there. If you are writing a term paper: Do you need to complete your research now, or just get started with an outline of the subject? You may be massively behind at work: Create a quick list of what needs to be done, in priority, and strike them off as you complete. You and your significant other don't seem to be understanding one another: What one thing can you do to show them you love them? Gained 10 pounds and yet your were supposed to lose 5? Create a meal plan and exercise schedule for next week. No matter the situation, focus and strategize. Don't fall into the trap of 'More, Faster, and Now'. More action will actually leave you feel even more stressed. Faster action will eventually lead to you feeling overwhelmed. And acting right now can set you back if you are going in the wrong direction or with no direction.
Stress Is A Self-Imposed Prison
No one puts stress on you, we do it to ourselves. A situation happens, we feel that either we can't do anything about it or that we are the ones who caused it. We then feel hopeless, aimless and sometimes afraid. This can lead to inaction, doubt, and worry. And even after we go through all of those emotions: The situation still exists. Only, we've clouded our minds with stress which doesn't allow us to focus on the solution. Life happens. And quite frankly, stress happens. But how you react to both is your key to victory and success. Understand that things will undoubtedly come in between where you are and your ultimate destination and vision. Expect that there will be setbacks. But don't let it stop you, focus on what you can do, not what you can't. Because you already have the solution, as well as the victory.
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At KP Jonez, we supply with you with the resources you need to live the life you deserve. You deserve happiness. You deserve success. You deserve to follow your passion. You deserve to have all of your needs and desires met. With this in mind, if you are going to find success, you have to define success. Ask yourself these questions:
-What makes me happy?
-What is truly most important to me? Family? Fame? Fortune? Or something else?
-Will having a lot of money make me feel better?
-Will having less money take stress away?
-Do I love who I currently am?
-Do I show love and appreciation for those around me?
-Is my passion my passion or is it something I feel like I'm supposed to do?
-Do I live for others or do I live for myself?
-If I die without completing my mission, how would I feel?
-Can I explain my passion without discussing financial gain?
-Do I want success just to prove the haters and doubters wrong?
-What challenge am I facing that is meant to make me better, stronger or wiser?
-What am I putting off, that I must complete before I truly feel successful?
Don't let anyone fool you. Success comes at the end of a road filled with hard work, perseverance, failure, doubt, timing, set backs and ultimately arrival. How many times have you stopped and then started again, only to stop again? Have you lost faith? Have you given up? But do you still have breath in your lungs? A dream in your heart? Those two are enough to get you back in the game. But it's up to you to stick to it, and to hold on until it happens. There are no overnight success stories. Your day is coming soon, but you need to know what success actually means to you.
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Who you surround yourself with is vital to your success. Show me a person's closest friends and I can predict what their life is like. Do your friends party, hang out every weekend, and constantly come home at 4am? So do you. Do your friends spend every waking moment with an Xbox controller in one hand and a slurpee in the other? So do you. How you choose to spend your time and the activities that you do are up to you. However, when you are on the road to true and sustainable success, you have to evaluate whether your team is a hindrance or help.
Are They For Me Or Against Me?
At first you, you think 'Of course my friends are for me, that's why we are friends!', but that isn't always true. Here is how you know if they are for you or not: Actively seek out your goals. True friends are supportive. True friends understand when you can't go out because you're working on your passion. True friends may even ask how they can help. The crabs in a bucket mentality is that none of them can escape because they pull each other down. Friends can be that way. Ask yourself this: When I talk about my dreams, do they listen or do they say I can't do it?
Find People Who Are Where You Want To Be
The next predictor of success is who mentors and inspires you. No one can do it on their own. You need someone who is already there, who can help guide you. They may not be a 'friend' you grew up with, but they can be someone you talk to who gives you guidance, instruction, and wisdom they have attained through the years. If you are building a business, it's critical to get to know someone with a successful business that they grew themselves. And you have to meet with them in person or communicate via email or the phone regularly. That way you can soak up their knowledge like a sponge. Use a networking service like MeetUp to surround yourself with like-minded individuals and let them become your new circle of influence.
Worker Bees, Not Turtles
This the hardest part of the circle: Shaking off those who can seriously derail your future. You know who they are. It's that person who continuously engages in destructive behavior. You love them and you want to support them through their struggles, but they keep doing it and have no interest in changing. Also your inner circle needs to be comprised of those who can enhance and bring your vision to life. Especially if you are creating a business, any type of band or musical aspirations or something where you need worker bees, you can't work with lazy, unresponsive, irresponsible people. This all starts with YOU, because you can't expect more out of people than what you contribute.
Who's In Your Circle?
Take a look around you. Who do you text everyday? Who is on your team helping you towards your passion? Who mentors you? Who believes in you and supports your dream? Those people should be in your inner circle. If your inner circle is a little weak, actively seek those who can enhance it. If you have to walk away from bad influences do it and do it now. Your dream can't wait. It's been activated and now you have to carry out the mission. Don't let negativity and irresponsible people drag you down in the bucket with them.
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'I'm Sorry'. A very simple sentence, yet so powerful. This short phrase has the ability to heal, support and mend the most delicate of all situations. You forgot about your anniversary? 'I'm sorry'. Late to the meeting? 'I'm sorry'. It's simple but can be hard to say. Sometimes it's pride and sometimes its the genuine belief that you weren't even wrong! Regardless of the facts, the words 'I'm sorry' can usually fix the situation when appropriate. But what happens when the person you need to forgive is yourself?
We all fall short, but it often happens that we don't disappoint those close to us or who love us, but ourselves. You're driven. You're motivated. You live with passion. But at the same time you procrastinate. You binge watch Netflix instead of finishing that business plan. You mess up the sales pitch with an important investor. And then what happens? You beat yourself up. You then give into negative thoughts that it will always be like this. That you will never accomplish your goal. Or even worse: You become apathetic. Your dream is in the back of your mind and instead of following it you ignore the gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach and live day-to-day like everything is ok. But you know deep-down that it isn't.
Forgiveness Is Key
That's why forgiving yourself is critical. It's often said that forgiveness isn't about the other person, but about yourself. Because harboring bitterness only holds you back from growth and the other person isn't really affected at all. Forgiving yourself works both ways. You not only release internal bitterness but you allow yourself to move forward from failure. The first step to greatness is learning from failure. You won't become a gazillionaire from the original draft of your first product, service, or idea. It will be tweaked. You will add something or change something. You will look back and wonder what you were thinking about! But along the process you will fail or mess up with something. It is unavoidable. And necessary and normal. If you can't forgive yourself and move on, you will never reach your ultimate destination.
Do it. And do it now.
Don't delay forgiveness. And don't underestimate its power. Take a deep breath. Say out loud all that you've done wrong. Literally confess from your soul....Breathe in...And now, say 'I forgive you, it's ok'. Easy Peezy! Don't let a few set back define you. Just know that failure happens to all of us. The ones who make it though, are those who can forgive themselves and move forward.
It's February 1st. You made New Years resolutions. Lose weight. Save money. Stop smoking. The reality is, you've gained 10 pounds, spent money, and are smoking as you read this. I get it. I really do. You feel like a failure. You feel like you've let yourself down. How in the world did it come to this? You had such great intentions, and now they just seem like pipe dreams. The truth is, right now is a key time. Now is the time for action. Now is your greatest ally.
We all have the best of intentions when we start something new. We're motivated. We're excited. The world is our oyster baby and we're ready to go! Then your big 'but' gets in the way. 'I want to go to the gym but it's too cold.'
'I will stop smoking but I have to just finish this last pack.' Where is the zeal when you have to do something you don't want to do? We buckle to the pressure, put it off another day and before you know it you look up and the whole month of January has passed you by and you're no longer even pursuing your goal, let alone thinking about it.
Getting The Band Back Together
So what do we do now? I suggest this: Fughetaboutit!! Don't let your internal pressure drive you insane! Think of it this way: If 10 years from now, you have $1MM in the bank, a sexy body, a calm mind, or whatever your resolution is, would you really care if you started in January or not? Would you really look back and say 'Man, I accomplished my goal but I'm super bummed out that I started February 2017 and not January!' No, you wouldn't. You wouldn't care. You would be so happy that you achieved something, rather than being obsessed with a meaningless timeline. Erase the negativity from your mind and just start over as if nothing ever happened.
The Power Of Focus
I believe there are a number of reasons why people don't reach their goals. Sometimes it is an unrealistic target, sometimes it is a lack of effort or understanding on what to do. But more often than not, it's because of focus. When we first start out we know precisely 'Why' we are doing it. We can feel, breathe, and taste why we must do it. But while we are going through the actual process of what needs to be done, it doesn't feel the same. Waking up at 5am, wiping the crust out of your eyes and then driving to the gym doesn't have the same feel as writing on a piece of paper that you will lose 10 pounds. You have send yourself text reminders, look at your vision board, pray and meditate. Whatever it takes to be reminded and then focus on the task at hand. Only then will you see success
It's Closer Than You Think
Success isn't a destination. Its a way of thinking and living. It's when you feel fulfilled, happy and grateful no matter what the circumstances. But it starts by being able to forgive yourself, and start over when you don't get it right. Don't give a 'reason'. These are better know as 'excuses'. It happened. Acknowledge it. Now get back to work!