How to Free Your Mind and Your Life from Mediocrity

by | Jun 22, 2015 | Impact & Results, Productivity

kick mediocrity in the buttMake the right decisions, and you can expect to win about 60% of the time.

Nick Binger, a WSOP champion and winner of over $2,000,000 in tournament prize money, was addressing a room of poker players who wanted to learn his winning secrets.

He then started to laugh as he asked us:

“If you’re winning 60% of the time, how often does it feel like you’re losing?”

For most of us, it will feel like we’re losing 90% of the time. And, we’ll remember the losses far more vividly than we’ll remember the wins.

The thought of failing 40% of the time is scarier than the appeal of winning 60% of the time.

We’re taught to play it safe.

But, think of it this way:

You have ten product or business ideas. Here’s what happens:

  • Four of them fail.
  • Three of them do ok,
  • Two do really well,
  • And one takes off and turns into an iconic brand of today like Apple, Netflix, Nike or Starbucks.

You are probably pretty darn pleased, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not how most of us think.

We protect ourselves from loss more than we pursue a big pay day.

Now, to be clear, I am not advocating gambling. I just think poker is an interesting illustration of the point I want to make.

The only way to win big in poker is to bet big when the odds are in your favour. Occasionally you have the ‘nuts’ –  the absolute best possible hand in a situation, but that doesn’t happen very often.

You can’t just sit there and wait for the nuts. You’ll never win on the side lines AND it costs you money to just sit there. There are mandatory bets you have to pay so you will lose money doing nothing.

Because you’ll watch your chip stack dwindle just sitting there, most players get comfortable taking action even when conditions aren’t perfect. You try to create opportunities.

If only the price of playing it safe in our own lives was so obvious we may not be so reserved in what we do.

poker lessons for businessImagine if someone took $12 – $15 out of your bank account every hour you didn’t seize an opportunity that is in front of you. I bet you’d be a lot more motivated to create the life you’re excited about and go after your dreams.

I didn’t look at it that way when I quit my job in 2008 and set out for a life of entrepreneurship. I just knew I had to do something different. In fact, if I had looked at the price I was paying in lost time and lost opportunities by staying, I would have left sooner.

I craved freedom. I longed to be able to make decisions and try new things. I wanted to be able to help others and have a significant impact in the world, or at least in the community I was in. I spent all my weekend and evenings trying to generate an income from some other source. I made progress, but never enough to come even close to feeling comfortable leaving a six figure salary.

Eventually, after a particularly disheartening meeting with the President of the company, the day arrived where I just couldn’t stay any longer. I knew in an instant that I had to leave. Another job wasn’t the solution. I just needed to leave.

I don’t know if it was my tone of voice or the fact that he just knew it was coming, but when I called my husband to tell him I had to quit he just said ‘Ok we’ll figure it out.’ We were living off my income at the time. The fact that he didn’t try to talk me out of it and believed in me gave me tremendous comfort.

We didn’t know it at the time, but we were forcing ourselves to succeed by leaping with no back up plan. This had to work.

It’s not enough to do your best.

“Just do your best” could possibly be the worst sentiment out there.

Sometimes your best isn’t good enough. Sometimes your best is not going to work. Telling yourself ‘oh I will just do my best’ is letting yourself off the hook.

That’s fine for a morning run … but when it comes to create success and momentum … it’s not enough.

You have to do whatever it takes.

George Bernard Shaw has been quoted as saying “Doing what needs to be done may not make you happy but it will make you great.” It’s basically what I talked about in ‘If All You’re Doing is Enjoying Yourself‘. The funny part is achievement actually makes you happy.

Few people commit to that level of effort though.

That’s why most people find themselves feeling comfortable with mediocrity. They do the same things everyone else around them does, complain about the same things, feel like there is never enough time and seek more ‘balance’. That’s ok for some people, but it’s not ok for me. I want more from my life.

It wasn’t easy leaving my job to set out on my own. There were very few easy days in the first two years. It felt like I was rolling a giant boulder up the side of a hill most of the time. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to keep pushing. When I convinced my husband to leave his job and join me – it was a little more fun because I wasn’t doing it alone anymore – but it wasn’t any easier. Nobody really understood what we were doing, or why. Friends didn’t understand that we had serious financial limitations and seemed annoyed when we had to say no to going out, attending weddings and pretty much anything that would cost us money. My Grandpa, a serial entrepreneur himself, kept asking me if I made any money yet. He really wanted me to get a new job. He was really worried about what we would do.

It wasn’t easy but, it was the best decision of my life.

Taking such a big risk on myself, going all-in like I did, created enormous belief in myself. I heard Philip McKernan say something like ‘You can think as big as you want but if you don’t believe big you’ll never succeed’. I am not sure I really had the belief before I left, but leaving and making it work, bit by bit, created a ton of belief.

We are all ordinary people, but it’s possible to do extraordinary things and live extraordinary lives.

Look around – you’ll see examples of people living cool lives – doing things differently than the norm and loving it. The ‘grind’ is optional. You have a choice. The first step is to believing that YOU can choose to live another way and that you’re worth an ‘all-in’ bet.

After that, it’s a little trickier, but asking some good questions will help.

When I quit my job I had to generate income fast. My husband and I did that in two ways.

1. Raising significant amount of money in order to grow our real estate portfolio – specifically with rent to own deals and houses with suites.

2. Turning our free real estate investing newsletter into a training and education company.

We also cut our expenses dramatically.

Figuring out how to do all of this was a little more difficult. Thankfully as a gift right after I quit my job, my parents signed me up for some business mentoring with Keith J. Cunningham. He asked a lot of great questions and there were 7 questions I found helped me the most making the transition and anytime I feel stuck. A few of them I modified over the years to suit my personal approach, and a few are directly from him.

To kick mediocrity to the curb and create a cool success story out of your life, sit down with pen and paper and write the answers to these 7 questions:

  1. Where would I like to be 1 year from today – what do I want my typical day to look like?
    The ideal typical day is how my husband and I approach decisions – we like to focus on creating the average day in our life. Whenever it comes to an important decision we ask ‘is this moving us closer or further away from our ideal typical day?‘ I never wanted to open up a brick and mortar type business because one thing I want in my life is location freedom. As I write this, I am sitting in a condo we have in Whistler, BC. I can work from anywhere – and that was one of the most important elements of my typical day.
  2. Why I am not there now? (list all the reasons)
    The thinking that got you to where you are today is not going to get you where you want to go. What have you NOT done or thought yet that you need to?
  3. What am I assuming to be true, but if it weren’t true, it would change my approach and my thinking?
    We all make assumptions. My biggest one back in 2008 was that I didn’t have enough real estate investing experience to teach others or even to raise the kind of money we wanted to raise. This question opened my eyes to that barrier and helped me put a lot of perspective around the education and experience we did have, and who we were very well equipped to help.
  4. What trade offs and sacrifices are required to make progress toward achieving my goal?
    Everything has a price. If you’re not willing to pay it – you won’t get what you want. This question doesn’t say what are you willing to do – it says what trade offs are required.
  5. What activity or skill must I excel at to achieve my goal?
    This is usually the very thing you don’t want to do. In coaching real estate investors to raise money I found that most people will spend dozens of hours avoiding having face to face conversations with people. Unfortunately for them, the primary critical driversthing that will raise money is networking and meeting people face to face to discuss their business.
  6. What are the things I will measure?
    Keith Cunningham calls them critical drivers. These are the things that DRIVE your business – both sales and expenses. The number of new leads and how many leads convert to clients would be a driver of sales. For me, the number of hours I spend on ‘marketing’ makes a big impact on my revenue. The more time I spend writing emails, creating products and promotions, giving talks, speaking on podcasts and webinars and creating awesome content, has a direct result in how much money I generate in the next three months. The key for a business like mine is to measure what activities generate the best results, because not all activities are the same. You have to figure what drives your business and what you’ll measure to know whether you’re heading the right direction each month.
  7. If your friend asked you for advice to achieve the same goal, what advice would you give them?
    When I am stuck, I ask myself this question. If I am avoiding something because I’m afraid of something, this question usually puts that right in front of my face so I can’t ignore it. We all have fears but you have to move forward anyway.

You can have what you want in your life. The question isn’t whether you can, or can’t.

The question is: what are you willing to do to get it?

What will it cost in terms of time, energy and money to get what you want? Are you willing to push all your chips into the center and go all-in on yourself? The big difference between your life and poker is that in poker your chips are probably a non-renewable resource. In life, your energy is renewable. Push yourself hard – do whatever it takes. If you don’t get there today, have a good dinner and a great sleep, and pick up where you left off tomorrow.

Grant Cardone wrote a hard hitting book called The 10x Rule. He says that your success depends on your ability to increase your efforts – not your excuses. Don’t adjust your target, adjust your action!

If you really want something great in your life, commit to doing whatever it takes. Your life doesn’t have to be mediocre. A great life is available to you – go get it!

Other Impact & Influence Articles You Might Enjoy:

>> If All You’re Doing is Enjoying Yourself

>> 7 Time Sucking Mistakes You’re Probably Making

>> Who am I to Make a Difference?




Image 1: © Ambro10 | 
Image 2: © Hugo Felix |
Image 3: © Emil Durov |

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