Thursday, December 7, 2017

Unmet Expectations

Today I was turned down for a role I had been interviewing for. The interview process took 2 months to complete. I have never prepared more or tried harder for an interview than this one. Ironically, it's the first job I've ever applied for that turned me down.

So, what now?

Getting turned down for something you've prepared for and worked hard to achieve is never fun. But like any other situation, its all about how you respond to it. I could spend the rest of the day, rest of the week, heck, at this point, the rest of the year upset about my "wasted time" and lack of success getting to a new position. OR I could realize that this whole process was already a win since I started it. I learned a lot along the way and am better for it. If i knew the outcome before starting, would I do it again? Absolutely. Now I take the experience I've gained and apply it to my current ventures.

As most of you know, I've been working hard on trading in the Forex market and building that skill and income stream to the point where it can pay me full time. And I will keep doing that. Just because you're progressing in one area, doesn't mean you should say no to other opportunities that come your way.

Always stay focused, stay positive. Keep growing, learning, and asking questions along the way. Setbacks are sometimes the best lessons if you choose to stop and learn from them.

If you have a setback or a missed expectation. Take a minute to see what you've learned and gained from that. It will definitely change your perspective and keep you progressing towards the goals you have set and the life you've dreamed of.

Much love.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Just One of Those Winning Days...

Today was one of those days. One of those days that started out just like any other day. But it found its way ending like a milestone. Most of you should know that I've been working non stop to learn how to trade the Forex market (Forex = Foreign Exchange for those of you who didn't know.). This whole journey has had its fair share of frustrations, late nights, and expensive lessons. I've been spending most of my free time for the past couple months, learning all the different strategies, marking up charts, and staring at my computer screen watching video after video.

Today I finally broke through. Today I took my $100 trading account and doubled it. Now, that is not necessarily normal or expected returns, but it's like my work finally paid off. I had a great day and all my lessons I've truly learned from and finally implemented. I look forward to seeing duplicated returns on my account and reaching my goals of leaving my job by the end of 2018 due to my income in Forex. The plan is to create an income stream that matches what I currently make and then free my time to pursue my passions. One of which, is music.

Today, feeling so proud and confident after my successful trading, I locked myself in my room and sang my heart out. Damn did it feel good! Because I sang from a place of confidence, from a place of success, I sang so well. I honestly cannot remember a time where it felt so good to sing. And, unless my roommates want to vouch for/against me, its probably the best I've EVER sang.

And because success comes in packages, I had an old roommate text me tonight and talk to me about a business venture we are working on together. The conversation turned to him sending me a first mix of a song he recorded recently. The song just happened to be a song we wrote together while we both lived in the same state, under the same roof. It was amazing to hear something I had the tiniest part creating be sent to me almost a year after we wrote it, on the EXACT day I start to taste some success in the vehicle I've chosen to set me free to play music. It's almost as if the universe is telling me my dreams will happen.

And that's what I want to tell you tonight. Work hard and never quit. Dream big and never lose sight of what you've dreamed. Know WHY you're doing what you're doing. Chances are you have much more untapped potential in you than you realize. Please do yourself and the world a favor. Don't hold back. Live to your fullest potential. If you determine that you will taste your dreams despite any circumstances, opposition, or obstacle YOU WILL taste them. It may not be the day after you decide. Chances are it won't be super quick. Things take time. Build your dream a brick at a time. Before you know it, you'll be standing on top of a mountain that you built and crafted to your own specifications. The only one truly stopping you from doing it is YOU.

Drop me a comment on here or on Facebook and tell me what your dreams are. Tell me what your plan is to get there. If you're not comfortable posting them publicly, send them to me in a message. I'd love to hear what amazing things you've dreamed up for your life and do what I can to help get you there.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bad Days. Or Are They?

As most of you know, I’ve recently started trading in the Forex market. Like any new endeavor, there are ups and there are downs. Last night I knew a big move was setting up and had started so i stayed up late to trade it. Things were going pretty well until there was an unexpected reversal of the market. I held thinking it was just retracemrnt instead of taking my profit and going to bed. I continued to hold until my profits were now losses and my account was draining. I froze in hope thinking things will come back down. They didn’t. I fell asleep with losses when i easily shouldnhave had some nice profits. 

This is a bad day for a trader. Any day you lose money is a bad day. On top of it i had a friend supposed to meet me at my house at 9:00 am. My phone died and i missed my meeting and my alarm. It has not been the best start to the day. 😂

I’ve found over the years, that there is always a valuable lesson to be learned in every mistake. Sometimes so valuable you could only learn them from a mistake so I tend to try to dig in these situations and see what i can find. In no particular order, here are the things I learned today: 

-Don’t trade when you’re tired. This one is pretty dumb. People say it all the time. But I had to learn it for myself. 

-Don’t be greedy. Take your profit when it’s there. There’s always another trade. 

-Don’t be afraid to cut your losses. When you clearly see the market has reversed, close the trade and rise it in th different direction. 

-Learning is a process. I’m reminded back to when I started at the job I’m currently at. I started out taking phone calls helping customers. Some days i wanted to quit my calls were so bad. I remember days leaving here hating my job, hating what i was doing not feeling successful. But i stick with it. And i got promoted to a trainer. And I’m currently interviewing to move to our Instructional Design team. I’ll be able to learn a new skill set to help me move out of the 9-5 I so desperately loathe. But all of this didn’t happen overnight. It took hours and days of consistent working at it. If i stay consistent and engaged, I will learn and reach my goals. 

-I am growing more than i give myself credit for. In the last example, I kept going because I HAD to in order to pay my bills. Now I’m CHOOSING to go forward to not only pay my bills but to unlock the life I know I’m built for. 

So hang in there. Bad days are part of the journey. Sometimes the bad days are the most meaningful and impactful days you have in the process. Next time you have a bad day, don’t run away from it. Lean in and learn from it so you never have to tase that type of bad day again. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Vacationing Done Right

As I was driving home today from my vacation to New Orleans, I was thinking how I could not just share my experiences I had but actually bring value to my readers. So I decided to write not just about my trip but why my trip was a success and how you can incorporate that into your next vacation and into your normal routine. So, here it goes.

I’ve been fortunate enough to take several trips this year. I’ve been to Florida twice, New Orleans twice, Chattanooga several times to visit the aquarium and once for a white water rafting trip. I’ve been back home to Wisconsin for my mom’s surprise 50th birthday party. I’ve taken weekend trips to nearby waterfalls and hiking destinations. All of that is just this year alone. I set a goal at the beginning of the year to take a trip or at least leave town once a month. I am on track to meet that goal.

I’ve had trips that were true vacations. What I mean by that is I came home refreshed and inspired. I mean that’s the whole point of a vacation right? To disconnect from your normal day to day and change it up. To break up your routine and change your scenery. So that when you come back to your life, your job, your house, you can see it with a fresh perspective and keep moving forward on your goals and ambitions.

On the other hand, I’ve had trips that couldn’t have been further from a true vacation. There was a strict agenda. I was in a rush. I came home more stressed and exhausted than before I left. I tried to pack in so many activities and still “accomplish” things while I was supposed to be disconnected from work and accomplishing.

In a culture that celebrates hustling, grinding, and running your way to tasting your version of the American Dream, we are taught to over work ourselves in promises of a trade off for a better tomorrow. And while I subscribe to that thought process, I think that train of thought is incomplete. To push and push forever isn’t sustainable. Yes, you can probably push more than you think you can. We all have deeper reservoirs of determination that we have yet to discover. But even with those, you need to take time to recharge for yourself.

This trip I’m returning from as I type this was to New Orleans, specifically the French Quarter. Ever since I was introduced to this beautiful part of a city, I’ve fallen in love. I can’t pinpoint any one thing about it that makes it special for me. Maybe it’s the beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Maybe it’s the pop up bands and parades you can find on random street corners. Maybe it’s the art daily displayed at Jackson square. Maybe it’s the street performers and magicians. Maybe it’s the beauty of an older time where bartering was still a way of life that you can still taste in the French Market. Maybe it’s the beautiful architecture that is so full of life and history. Maybe it’s the stories of people who live there currently and in the past I learn more about each time I return. Whatever it is, everytime I leave completely refreshed, inspired, and wishing I could lose one more day wandering those streets.

Needless to say, this was a successful vacation. Now, let’s go over a quick couple points of what makes a vacation successful to me and then I’ll let you get back to scrolling Facebook or preparing for your next vacation.

1. Take your time. There is nothing that ruins the vibe of a vacation quicker than constantly being in a rush. Remember you’re on vacation. Enjoy the secenery. Let yourself taste the culture, the atmosphere or vibe of whatever city you’re in.

2. Budget time for unexpected adventure. Some of the best memories I have, and some of the most incredible vacations have come from this point. The whole point of a vacation is to get away from all the strict grind and schedules right? Plan the things you want to do or see, but just as important is planning for the unexpected.

3. Appreciate the beauty. This is something I try to do every day but especially on vacation. You’re typically in a new place, whether that be a new location in your city or a whole new city altogether. Appreciate the little things. The statues. The people. The buildings. Nature. All of it. Don’t just drink in the specific destination, drink in the journey.

4. Learn something. Again, this is another one I try to apply daily but on vacation I try to focus on this one too. Think of it like a mental souvenir. Take something back with you that makes you a better person.

Hopefully that gives you a couple things to incorporate into your next vacation or “recharge” day you take for yourself. Here’s a picture of me, my brother, and my cousin who’s basically my other brother in front of the cathedral overlooking Jackson Square in the French Quarter. Happy Travels!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Where Do I Go From Here?

I've written about my journey before, but tonight I decided I'm ready to share some more. Where better place to start a story than in the beginning? I grew up in a Christian home. I only knew a little of a world other than the world of my childhood. The world where I was home schooled and the small church groups I would go to when we left the house a couple times a week. I knew no other possible reality than the one I was presented with day in and day out for the majority of my first 20 years of life.

It's funny looking back how almost every person in those circles vilified asking questions. If someone challenged how something was done or tried to understand the "why" behind the behavior they were instantly demonized and thrown out as a heretic for having an original or different idea. Even the ones who mostly agreed with each other found nuances of things to disagree on. And like the good Christian i was raised to be, I pointed the finger and agreed.

Maybe it was my youth pastor who seemed to care more about building his brand and creating fun videos than actually answering the questions we had. Maybe it was the militant requirement to be at church every time the doors were open combined with the implied fear that we were going to let God down if we missed a single service. Maybe it was the friends I played music with who swore but still showed love, sometimes more love than the people who policed it. Maybe it was when I blindly followed what at the time I thought to be God across the country to do great things because he "needed" me to, and things didn't pan out like I had imagined. Maybe it was getting thrown out of a leadership position in ministry because I refused to let friends be falsely accused behind their back. (For the record, I handled that situation poorly, but never once was I talked to politely or given feedback or instruction, maybe it was then too.) Maybe it was getting shunned for believing something different, something bigger. Maybe it was when I was manipulated and physically taken advantage of by someone who I trusted as a leader and "guru". Whenever "the moment" was, I'm not sure. Maybe it was a collection of all these moments and more, but at some point, the whole thing broke.

At some point in the past year or so, I turned my back on religion. It was too broken, too corrupt. Things misunderstood and manufactured to control people and not inspire and encourage them. The whole system I grew up in that taught me unconditional love is the most powerful thing in existence (which I still believe) but then laid out all these conditions for people to receive it...

I've been able to tell myself for about a year now. I've been able to tell a couple  friends where I'm truly at for a few months. But I'm honestly just ready to say it, "I'm not a Christian anymore." Which has been a really rough road. That was all I had ever known. It has been ridiculously scary taking this journey and jumping out into the world daring to see it differently. All while dealing with the conditioning that meant choosing to look at the world and people differently was going to damn me and them to hell forever.

So where does that leave me now? That's been the hard question I realized today. My zeal for "God" fueled me in everything I did. When I didn't have tangible progress, I told myself its OK, the pain, the sacrifice is worth it, because it's for God and he needs me. Without that, days where I fail and learn are much harder. I no longer have a blanket statement of ignorant belief to cover my failure and actions.

I'm left OBSESSED with building great things. This crazy journey to "create an empire for God" has left me trying to just create an empire. And I'm sure I will one day. I can't remember the first time I left a job or town or circle of friends to pursue the next dream or opportunity. But I can remember that almost every time I make a move, people have told me something along the lines of "Don't forget about me when you're rich and famous." It's interesting to me that almost everyone I knew, saw that in me far before I saw it in myself.

Maybe destiny, the universe, God, has a crazy plan for me to build an empire after all. Haha, who knows? All I know is that I have to move forward. This post, is my way of washing my hands of the past. Not the lessons. Not the memories. Just my attachment to the past.

To those who have been here through the transition, and loved me unconditionally. To those who have spent hours listening to me talk my way through this. To those who graciously offered me advice and gave me the safe space to think differently without judgment, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I owe coming out on the other side of this alive to you all.

To those who said I would never succeed, who left me when I needed you, who took from me when I had nothing left to give. Thank you too. Thank you for the lessons along the way. I know without each one of you I wouldn't be half the man I am. My strength wouldn't be what it is without you. So, no hard feelings. You didn't know you were playing the role you were meant to play. But damn, did you play it well.

What I've learned in the past few years is that life is a journey. Things don't stay the same. The only constant is change. So enjoy and spend every minute you get, every day. Invest in yourself. Invest in your life. Invest in those around you. Create better things. Don't complain about the shit. Learn from it and do something about it. I guess that's were I'm headed from here.

I'm SO excited to see what happens next.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Celebrate the Wins

Sometimes you have to take a step back and celebrate your wins. It's been several years since I started on a journey to become all I can be and taste the depth of what life can offer. If you rewind 4 years, I was traveling across the country with a friend in a car that never should have left town. No job. No money. No way of going forward, but somehow we did. If you rewind 3 years I had convinced my brother and his family to move to Nashville, and now all of us were broke and living place to place with friends.

Rewind just 2 years and everything was falling apart. I had just gotten fired for the first time. I was politely asked to leave the homeless ministry i was a leader in. My choices and actions had gotten me to the point where just about everyone I had once called a friend, now wanted nothing to do with me. At this point i was waking up at 4:30 am to walk an hour to the bus stop. I would ride the bus for 2 hours to work where I arrived a few minutes late most days due to the bus. And then I would attempt to make cold calls to businesses selling them our product. I doubt my life has ever tasted the depths of darkness like it did in those times.

Now, lets rewind a year. I just got promoted to my current position joining the training team at the company I work for due to my outstanding performance taking calls. I now owned a car for the first time in about 3 or 4 years. The car I owned was the first brand new car I had ever owned. I had an apartment with a friend and no longer needed to couch surf place to place. The relationship with my brother and his family was starting to be repaired. Things were turning around.

Fast forward to today. I've just had, what felt like in the moment, one of the hardest weeks of my life. I haven't been sleeping well. I've been working nights which means I haven't been able to see friends and family like I'm used to doing and I found myself fighting depression on a level that I have not felt since before I started this whole journey.

But let me paint you (and myself) a true picture of where my life is at and headed. I laid out several goals for myself at the beginning of the year and am on track to making most of them. The small things like buying a bed or buying the MacBook I'm currently typing this on, to the big things of doubling my income from last year and being intentional to read and work out. I set a goal to leave town and travel once a month for the year and I am on track to hit that goal as well. I have over $1,000 set aside waiting to find something to invest it in. I've started an online business that I just laid out some goals for myself today. I have a group of friends who see me like family and would do anything for me. My relationship with my brother and his family is basically repaired. I live in an amazing big house where people come over and have great times filled with food and laughter.

And here's the kicker. I'm just getting started. Yes, I had a rough week. That is very real. You're going to have rough weeks. It's just part of life. You have the choice to take that rough week and turn it into a month or 6 months or a year if you choose to stay there. Or you can choose to step back and celebrate yourself and the wins you have. Remember, happiness is really only a perspective away.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Expectation = Reality

I was talking with a friend tonight about the progress he's made in his life over the last year and a phrase he said sent my mind into a flurry of thoughts. The phrase he said was, "All the stuff that controlled me was who I was never created to be." All the stuff that controlled me. Hmm, that really got me thinking. If humans are as powerful as I think they are, do things really control us? Can other external forces actually FORCE us to do anything more than what we give them power or permission to do? I believe the answer to that question is no. And let me explain why.

I've heard people blame their circumstances on "bad luck", "demons", "curses", etc. I don't buy it. I used to haha. Boy did i used to. There was a time I was spending so much effort on trying to stop the bad stuff that I didn't really have time or expectation to create the good. The more I go on, the more I am convinced we live in the reality we create.

You expect bad things because you think you're possessed, cursed, haunted, whatever, those things will happen. I know because I've lived it. There was a time in my life where I was thrown around my bedroom pretty consistently by "demons" I was convinced were after me. As soon as I stopped focusing on defeating the darkness, it stopped. And it hasn't ever come back since. What we believe in, what we perceive, has life. Has power.

Now lets take the overly spiritual aspect out of this for a second. You all know someone who never has things go right for them, who always has crisis after crisis after crisis. Now, flip the coin. You know that person who always has everything go right for them. Promotions, friends, opportunities. It's like they wake up every day and life is just easy for them. C'mon you know who I'm talking about.

Now, I believe both of those people create their reality whether they understand it or not. And those who do understand the power of creating their reality, succeed. And now, before you go all up in arms about me saying that I believe people just think their way into anything, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying your belief system, how you perceive and view the world and yourself, determines what you will see and experience. And those beliefs determine your thoughts. Your thoughts will determine your actions. And ultimately your actions will determine your results.

Don't believe me? That's ok. I challenge you. Find the thing that doesn't work in your life. Find the wall you can't cross. And I want you to BELIEVE differently about it. Not just hold a thought in your head for 10 seconds once to prove me wrong, but truly BELIEVE a different story and see how things change. It may not happen over night. It may take months. But I'm telling you, things WILL change. As I've believed differently about myself and about the world, things have changed for me quickly and drastically.

I constantly find things about the world and about myself that I believe a "less than" version of. And when I identify it, I change my belief. The more I do it the easier it is. Anyways, I hope this helps you. I hope it challenges you to think differently than you have been thinking and believe differently. Ultimately leaving you with a different result.