The heart of Choose to Win is about the small choices we make daily. The reality is we make our choices, but we don’t get to determine the consequences of our choices. Once the choice is made, the consequences are set in motion.
The good news is that most of the time we can predict what the consequences of our choices are likely to be, and we can change our direction by making new choices! This book is about showing how you can take control of your life, one small choice at a time, so that success, significance, and legacy are predictable outcomes.
“You can’t determine your future, but you can determine your habits, and your habits will determine your future. Your habits are choices .” Go ahead, choose to win; after all, the choice is yours!
CHOICE 1: The mental input, what you choose to think about, determines everything about how you live.
In NASCAR, the drivers go around the track at over 180 miles per hour. That is so fast that their eyes have to be focused on where they want the car to go. At that speed, if they look at the wall, their hands will make an involuntary micro-adjustment to follow their eyes and they will hit the wall.
Isn’t it true that we go through life telling ourselves, “Don’t eat the cheesecake, don’t sit around all day, don’t worry about that,” and what we end up doing is eating the cheesecake, sitting on the couch all afternoon, and complaining to our friends about a problem we have no control over? We need to be solution focused, not problem centered. This can only happen when we choose to feed our minds the right things.
Choosing the right input isn’t complicated. All you have to do is ask yourself this simple question: Is what I am
- viewing on the internet (social media, etc.),
- listening to,
- watching on TV,
- discussing with a friend, coworker, or family member, and
- saying to myself in self-talk,
bringing me closer to achieving my desires, creating more hope that I can achieve my desires, and adding to what I need to develop with grit?
CHOICE 2: The spiritual principles and values you choose to live by either limit or unleash your potential
Character, integrity, principles, and values are spiritual qualities
You can’t do a good deal with a bad guy.
On paper the math may work and the physical components may make sense; but if the deal is with a “bad guy,” then it is only a matter of time before spiritual corruption destroys the deal, and when the deal craters, it is simply the natural result of poor choices regarding character, integrity, and dozens of other spiritual character qualities.
The good news is, you can do a good deal with a good guy! Tom writes,
“When I was sixteen years old, I applied for my first “real” job: selling shoes at the Athlete’s Foot in the mall. As I was filling out the job application, I went to Dad to get his help. “Dad, what do I put in the experience section? I have none.” He smiled at me and said, “Son, you have sixteen years of experience working on discipline, a good attitude, hustle, character, and integrity, just to name a few. Write that down.”
I got that job!”
Are you choosing to work on the most important things first? Our physical abilities diminish with age. Skills and knowledge required to thrive in our world today are changing rapidly. The reason we stay in good shape and constantly develop our skills and knowledge is to maximize the impact of our Qualities of Success. Our priority is to develop who we are first. Who we are, being the right kind of people with good principles and values, allows us to make right choices and good decisions
CHOICE 3: Your physical body is your engine. How persistent and consistent you are in fueling your body will impact your performance in every area of your life.
Persistent consistency, or PC, as we like to say, is the Ziglar definition of a good work ethic. You can apply PC to every area of your life and get results. This is especially true in the physical area of your life.
Your body is incredibly important, and you need to understand the difference between what it wants and what it needs. The bottom line is your body acts much like a spoiled two-year-old. It wants maximum gratification with minimum pain and expense. “Give me what I want right now! And just bring it to me!” What your body needs, though, is enough good sleep, the right kind of nutrition, and the right amount of exercise.
You have a choice to make. Are you going to take orders from a two-year-old, or are you going to choose to win by building a high-performing, dream-achieving body and enjoy the best physical health possible? After all, every bite you take, every minute you exercise (or don’t), and how much sleep you get is a choice
Every now and then things happen beyond your control when it comes to how much time you have to sleep and exercise, but we have far more control over these things than we realize. Now is the day you take ownership of your physical self and use PC to transform your life.
CHOICE 4: The family choices you make will set the example and influence you want to be for your loved ones.
Making good small choices on a daily basis sets in motion a legacy of transformation. It’s important that we teach our kids to do what is right. It’s even more important that we do what is right because “what is caught is more powerful than what is taught.”
When we lead by example with what we do and with what we say, our influence is multiplied.
Step 1: Identify the Bad Family Habits You Have
What bad family habits are limiting the depth of your relationships with your family members
Step 2: Identify the Good Family Habits You Need
What input can you purposefully put into your mind, and what actions can you take that will strengthen the qualities you want to develop in yourself that will allow you to have the influence and example you need to achieve your desires, dreams, and goals faster (for example, education, online courses, positive relationships, such as mentors or coaches, books, podcasts, self-talk, actions you can take, and prioritizing time)?
Step 3: Choose to Replace a Bad Family Habit with a Good Family Habit
Pick a bad habit you want to replace with a good habit. Start small and build up. The key is starting and sticking with it! Each week you build on the same change from the previous week and/or replace another bad habit with a good habit.
CHOICE 5: Making wise financial choices inspires your hope and builds your dreams.
You have a choice to make right now. Are you going to plan your financial life on purpose in the context of your dream, in the context of everything you want to be, do, and have? Or are you going to let your financial life just “happen” and hope for the best?
There is a lot at stake when you don’t choose to manage your financial life intentionally.
Do the dream, not the disaster!
Let’s dream a little! Answer the following questions:
- If money were no object, what would you do?
- If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- Imagine living in your dream house. What style of house? Where is it? What makes it uniquely yours?
- If you could bless someone or a charity with a financial gift, who would it be? What would you give them, and how would it help them?
Are you ready to start working on your dream? Here are four keys you can use to start identifying and creating your dreams right now.
1. Start before you feel ready.
Get your pen out and write down in your journal the dreams you have. It’s okay if you aren’t sure; the key is to just start! You can add to this later.
2. Break big dreams into smaller steps.
Example: If your dream is to have a paid-for house and you owe $100,000 on the house, start by breaking it into smaller steps. How much extra can you pay off each month? How can you earn a little bit more or save a little bit more?
3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
You need to learn or do in order to accomplish your dream. A big dream should make you feel uncomfortable. Embrace it and move toward it!
4. Speak and envision your dream into life.
Make a mental movie of you in the middle of your dream. In your journal write down the dream that you want to work on—write it out big and bold.
Now write the movie scene description of you in the middle of your dream—lots of detail and lots of emotional and sensory words.
Example: If your dream is to own your dream home, write a movie-scene script of what you see in your home as you walk from room to room. Include all five senses: what are you seeing, smelling, feeling, hearing, and tasting?
CHOICE 6: Taking personal time gives us the creative energy we need to excel in everything we choose to be and do.
Being and staying motivated are key to your success. No matter what your natural disposition is—either generally positive or skeptical, outgoing or introverted—having “pep in your step” allows you to get more done and be more creative in the process.
Good news: taking personal time and creating the habits that give us energy and a more positive outlook are choices all of us can make.
Gooder news: When we choose to create habits that give us personal energy, they multiply all the other good habits we are creating.
Tackling life’s challenges requires positive creative energy, and positive creative energy requires the right habits. We must have habits that fuel and refuel us daily so that when life knocks us down, we are ready.
Imagine taking a short walk in a park. On this walk you are listening to the playlist you created that includes your self-talk affirmation recording. You pause to take a cool drink from your water bottle and you reflect on three things you are grateful for. You pull out your stretch band and do sixty seconds of exercise. Before you start walking again, you text a friend that you were thinking about them and that you love them. As you head back to the office, you begin to daydream about how things will be in a year. Wow! In this short walk you improved your personal life and energy nine different ways.
CHOICE 7: Career choices resulting in true performance require the right attitude, effort, and skill.
Performance, doing a job well, is a combination of attitude, effort, and skill.
Attitude x Effort x Skill = Performance, A x E x S = P
Attitude is the way you think or feel about someone or something. What is your attitude toward your work? Your customer? Your teammates? It’s easy to recognize good attitudes and bad attitudes. Attitudes either bring energy or deplete energy. Nothing moves a relationship or an opportunity faster than attitude. You might have walked out of restaurants because of bad attitudes (rude, being ignored), and you might have waited for more than an hour in restaurants just to be served because of great attitudes.
Effort is hustle and smarts. Giving 100 percent effort not only means you are working hard and fully focused, but you are also working smart, executing a good plan that is well thought out
Skill is the ability to do something well. Great skill comes after learning, training, repetition, and practice. In order to maximize your economic engine, you need great skill, no matter what you choose to do. Professionals understand this and are constantly learning, training, and developing their personal and professional skills.
Intentionally start with attitude and then move to effort and then skill. Great coaches know this. A great attitude drives effort and skill. For some reason, this sequence is ignored in most businesses and academic institutions. Think about it. Almost every business starts training new hires on their skills first, then they give them work to do (effort), and then when performance is lagging they give them negative attitude incentives. No wonder so few in the marketplace have the ownership mentality.