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Tommy baker momentum 1% rule

44 Undeniable Ways to Build Momentum, Get Off The Sidelines and 10X Your Results

By | Entrepreneurship, Lists
Reading Time: 11 minutes

44 Undeniable Ways to Build Momentum, Get Off The Sidelines and 10X Your Results

Momentum, we’ve all felt it.

When we have it, we’re on top of the world —laser focused, on fire and getting our most important work done on the regular with less friction. We’re experiencing more peak emotional states and all of life seems to come together with more flow, fun and peace.

But how often do we actually live in this place? For myself and my clients —we aim to manufacture and create these periods of momentum as much as possible.

Here’s what I’ve experienced:

Many people wait for an external reason to feel in momentum, but don’t do what the masters do: they create momentum every single day. Instead of waiting, hoping and praying for something to happen —they make it happen.

In this post, I wanted to share the 44 ways I’ve found to build insane levels of momentum, get off the sidelines and create internal levels of fulfillment —with the achievement to match.

1. Do it now —every moment you wait is one where fear takes a grip on your dreams.

Waiting on the bold decision you know you must make and giving in to fear, doubt and uncertainty is a surefire way to drain all of your momentum. What are you waiting for?

2. Visualize yourself in 3 years and nothing has changed. Take yourself through your day —how does that feel?

This technique is one of my favorites to create urgency and use future regret today. Be intentional and take yourself through every moment of the day.

3. Take yourself one year from today and you’ve had the best year of your life. What is the one thing you had to do?

On the flip side, part of momentum is being pulled by what we do want. Often, we attempt to stack 19 bold moves when all we needed was the catalyst to create the domino effect we’ve been waiting for.

4. Break your vision into the next quarter —set 90 day targets that are vivid, specific and measurable.

It’s hard to create momentum when you can’t see your targets. I’m all about big visions —but then chunk those down to the next 90 days for higher levels of urgency. We do this in The Integration Experience audio training.

5. Dream big, start small. Break everything down to the 1% in front of you and create progress.

Once you have your 90 day targets —identify the core processes and action steps to bring these to life. Smaller is better as complication leads to avoidance. This system is detailed in The 1% Rule.

Tommy baker momentum the 1% rule6. Get off the couch, stop consuming —and start creating.

You won’t create momentum binge watching Netflix for the third straight day. You won’t create momentum watching a 24 year old live out his dreams on the field of play. Consuming the right information can be powerful —but what are you creating? Do more of that.

7. Fall in love with structure, routine and discipline. These create freedom —and the peace of mind of knowing you’re on track.

The more you can stack your day with your high priority actions, set ruthless boundaries and double down on your discipline —the more freedom you’ll have.

8. You don’t need another ‘system’ or ‘hack’ for getting your important work done: you need to make it a non-negotiable commitment.

People are obsessed with productivity systems —but they miss out on the most important part: tapping into their why. When you do this, you’ll never need motivation again.

9. Be willing to execute on your vision regardless of thoughts, feelings, emotions and moods —otherwise, you’ll lose.

The amateur waits to feel like it to move their dreams and desires forward. Unfortunately, this will never last and create powerful results. The professional executes regardless…knowing this creates the feelings most are sitting on the sidelines waiting for.

10. Passion, enthusiasm and positive energy are incredible —but without skill acquisition, you’re just another talker.

These ingredients are the launchpad to get started, but they’re not enough. Tons of people get excited, then do nothing. There are many people living purposefully who are still stuck. Identify the core skillsets you’ll need to amplify your value to the marketplace.

11. Own the first hour of your day and stay on Airplane Mode. Don’t stop until your “ONE” thing is done.

If you’re not willing to do this —you’ve already lost. Your attention is your most prized asset: own it, nourish it and protect it with everything you’ve got.

Tommy baker 1% rule12. Take non-emotional inventory of your life —look at the data and treat it as a scoreboard of where you find yourself today. What are you gonna do about it?

The first step of transformation is getting clear about where you are —without emotions. Why? Because emotions create narratives that aren’t always based on data and facts. Get clear and be willing to own where you are…even if it sucks.

13. Stop telling yourself you don’t have time —this is scarcity thinking and a terrible place to operate from.

Tons of people discuss financial abundance mindsets, and yet operate in complete time scarcity. Creating from this place means you’re always scattered and never grounded.

14. You can give value, but if you’re not willing to openly receive —you won’t be compensated at your worth.

Trust me, I’m a relentless giver. What I realized was giving without receiving leaves you broke, exhausted and wondering why it’s not working. Be open to receive and own your worth.

15. Stop doing $12/hour tasks in your business —unless you want to drain energy for the important work.

For my solopreneurs, business owners and entrepreneurs: quit it. You’re doing the work because you can…which is a terrible framework to operate from. If you’re doing all the remedial work in your business, you’re going to wake up hating it one day —there is too much talent available for cheap for you to keep doing this.

16. Stop waiting to feel ‘ready.’ You won’t ever feel ready to invest in yourself, launch the platform or hire your first employee.

You’re not where you want to be in your business because you haven’t made the key here. You aren’t where you want to be in your growth and results, because you’re unwilling to invest in yourself. Stop waiting! Momentum is bred from owning a powerful challenge in our lives.

17. Create ruthless levels of urgency and compress your goals by 75%. Urgency drives focus and focus drives execution.

If you think it’s going to take a year, guess what? It’s going to take a year —or you may never do it. Your current capacity and mindset are extending your goals and targets out because fear is winning. Compress the timeframe and start today.

18. Stop hanging out with people who gave up on their dreams telling you to do the same.

You know you’re in the wrong tribe when you declare your dreams and desires and they call you crazy, lost, to “get real” and stop playing around. Find a new tribe and never look back.

19. ‘Hustle’ is overrated —if you do it right, you can create a day’s worth of production before noon every single day.

If you’re working 16 hours a day, you’re doing it wrong. I love the enthusiasm behind intensity, and I’m someone who seems to hustle. But there’s a difference between hustle for the sake of hustle and purposeful work. I teach a system where before Noon you can create a week’s worth of growth and results.

Tommy baker resist average academy20. Free time is not freedom, and open space on a calendar leads to mindless priorities. Fill your day with what matters.

“But Tommy, I’m a free bird, a free spirit…I started my business to have complete control of my calendar.” This is why you’re stuck: free time is not freedom. Free time is anxiety, stress, scrolling social media and focusing on how much distance you have between where you are now and your big targets. Until one day, you quit.

21. On that note, if it’s not on your calendar —it doesn’t matter to you. Schedule it and commit.

Not much else to say here. I always get pushback on this —from people who tell me they don’t need a calendar. Again…this is why you’re not maximizing your potential and spending all of your time and energy on useless busywork.

22. Celebrate 7 wins every single day. Focus on your growth instead of how far you’ve got to go.

I don’t care if you had the hardest day of the month: find the wins. This trains your awareness to focus on what’s working instead of the challenges. Pull out your journal every day and identify the places you stepped into your courage and owned your value.

23. Make fast decisions —based on who you’re becoming. Indecision is a dreamkiller and leads to paralysis analysis.

If you want to kill your momentum, obsess over research, paralysis analysis and overthinking. You already know what to do…now do it. Start with the small things that are consuming your mental real estate —and build your muscle to make fast, powerful decisions and deal with the consequences.

24. Ship before you’re ready. Launch before it’s done. Say what needs to be said —do it now. Or else you’ll live in regret.

Newsflash: you will never feel ready to make a bold move. It will never feel like the perfect time. Instead, create these by stepping into it now.

25. Stop creating problems you haven’t earned the right to have. You don’t need to figure out how to ‘scale’ —you need a sale.

“But Tommy, I want to make sure I have a strategy too monetize.” WTF!? Someone once told me this about a YouTube project and commitment —yet hadn’t made two videos. They were stuck in a problem they frankly hadn’t earned the right to have —which is common. Earn your challenges…in this case, they had to ship 100 videos.

26. Your worst case scenarios are bullshit. There is ALWAYS another dead end job waiting for you.

Stop clinging on to the things that are causing you pain —simply because they’re known. There’s always a crappy job with a boss you hate, a toxic relationship, an environment you can’t wait to escape from. Fall in love with the unknown and honor your desires.

27. On that note, fear is your compass. What terrifies you is exactly what you should pursue.

Fear, resistance and doubt are all feedback mechanisms to let you know you must take the next step.

28. No one is going to discover you. Oprah isn’t going to build your career. Are you willing to discover yourself?

Our culture’s obsession with the overnight success and being discovered on Starbucks is killing so many people’s ambitions and willingness to execute. No one’s going to discover you. Oprah is done building careers. And when you look closely enough: you realize overnight successes took a decade of consistency.

Tommy baker resist average29. There are no shortcuts to mastery. 10,000 hours are 10,000 hours. Want it, or don’t even start.

Your obsession with shortcuts is why you’re not succeeding. Everyone can get started. Anyone can sign up for a marathon,  launch a business and declare their book. But what happens next? There is no substitute for reps, reps and more reps.

30. If you’re not willing to put money on the line, you don’t want it bad enough. Plain and simple.

It’s not the money itself —it’s what the money does: command our attention, focus, and priorities. You better be putting something on the line.

31. No decision happens in a vacuum. By saying “yes” to a crappy opportunity, client or relationship —you say no to the life changing ones.

You said yes to the client that’s completely out of alignment —you’re saying no to someone who is. Trust me, every time I go against my instinct on this…I beat myself up later. Once you have clarity on your North Star vision, make decisions in 100% alignment with serving it.

32. If you were serious about your goals, there would be real world proof of you moving forward on them every single day.

Just being honest here: this is a wake-up call for the talkers. There’s way too many people talking a big game, yet doing nothing and wondering why they can’t seem to create momentum.

33. Distraction is usually an avoidance mechanism for the pain of untapped potential —the average American watches 34 hours a week of TV.

The 34-hour number is astonishing —that’s a full time job going to distraction. I’m not saying don’t consume entertainment —but don’t become a slave to it. Social media, like anything…is a tool. You can use it to grow, or stay stuck. When you seek distraction, be aware of what’s really  happening.

34. “I’ve spent a lot of time on this” is a terrible excuse to keep going. Sometimes quitting is the best option.

You hate law school, yet stay with it because you’ve invested a ton of time. You hate your current job, but choose to keep going because it’s been 5 years. Are you serious? This is a terrible way to stay anchored and wake up a life we can’t wait to escape from.

35. Your ability to manage your emotional resilience will dictate your capacity to grow and expand.

All change is emotional. Leaving the safe havens of your comfort zone means you’ll be brushing up with your emotional edges —learn to navigate these. Consider this a crucial practice on the path to your biggest dreams.

36. If you think success means eradicating problems, you’re in the wrong game. The most successful have bigger and bolder problems to be challenged with.

The bigger you grow, the bigger problems you’ll have: this is the game of life. Whats separates the intern from the CEO is the level of problems they deal with —as Dean Graziosi said on the podcast: seek bigger problems.

37. On that note, a comfortable life is one where there’s no pending challenge on the horizon that you’re being pulled by. This is when life becomes grey and dull.

There is nothing worse than being shackled by the comfortable life with no exciting challenge on the horizon. This is the hardest place to create from, and where momentum feels like a pipe dream.

38. As you grow and achieve results, you need MORE accountability —not less. Your blind spots get smaller as you succeed…but 10X more costly.

“Tommy, I’m all good now.” If you say this after you’ve experienced growth and success —you’re going to lose. The master understands their blind spots get smaller (and thus, harder to see) as they grow. At the same time, they become more costly.

39. Death is the greatest motivator and focuser on the planet. If you’re lacking urgency, go to your cemetery and soak in the energy.

It shocks me how many are unwilling to face this beautiful part of our existence. Death wakes you up and compels you and I to drop the bullshit excuses in the way. It reminds us what really matters.

Tommy baker momentum40. On that note, don’t wait for a crisis to compel you to change. It’s a great place to transform from —but also the most painful.

The on-your-knees moment is a great place to change from, but don’t wait for. Refer back to #2 on this list to visualize yourself in a place of crisis —and choose something new today.

41. Do it now, do it now, do it now! Move cross country. Take a chance. Pack the family in the RV. Book the trip. There may not be another chance. There may never be tomorrow.

Please, please, please —do it now. The adventure you want to take, the podcast you want to launch —the conversation with your children you want to have. Be willing to live courageously even when it doesn’t make sense. It’s your time…right here, right now.

42. Lower the bar on gratitude. You do realize you have the ability to see, to feel, to experience the gift of life —and your ‘problems’ are what others would write a BLANK check for.

Your heart is beating. You’re able to take the next breath. You can likely walk, see, touch and experience this incredible life. You likely live in a country where you can express yourself. Momentum comes from a deep place of gratitude —always start here.

43. If you’re not tapping into your vision once a day, it doesn’t matter enough to you.

If you have time for Instagram —I hope you have time for your dreams. Even for 5 minutes a day: tap into the future vision of your life. The experience, the feelings, what surrounds you. This becomes your compass to guide you through the day.

44. There is no loss in going for it. Be willing to dare and the world will open up the doors you can’t see right now. But it won’t happen when you have one foot in and one foot out.

When you have 4 escape plans —you’re not all in. When you have Plan B’s and C’s and D’s…you’re one step away from quitting and moving on. Be willing to put everything on the line. You will never regret playing full tilt. You will never look back thinking you went after your desires with too much intensity. It’s time to triple down, cut off the escape plans —and go all in on you.

44 Undeniable Ways to Build Momentum, Get Off The Sidelines and 10X Your Results

Well, there you have it: some of my biggest ways to create momentum and take ownership of our lives. Because you are here to thrive and create the life of your dreams: whatever that means for you.

Remember: putting yourself out there on the path of growth will demand tremendous courage —but that’s exactly what we’re here for.

Which one connected with you? Comment, share and like this post if it resonated with you!

Tommy baker resist average

Making, Marketing and Managing: How To Own Your Day

By | Entrepreneurship, Masterclass
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Making, Marketing and Managing: How To Own Your Day

The alarm clock buzzes —you’re praying it’s not real. You wake up and the phone resembles a Christmas tree of notifications: pings, whistles, and pop-ups galore.

Hello, cortisol. You quickly check email to ensure there are no massive fires —and instantly feel overwhelmed. Another day, another challenge for you as an entrepreneur or high performer. Predictably, starting the day this way will lead to scattered results, exhaustion and a heavy dose of burnout.

But it doesn’t have to. In this post, Making, Marketing and Managing: How to Own Your Day —I’m going to share one of my favorite concepts in regards to setting your day up for fulfillment and powerful results. As a side note, I did not invent this, I originally heard this from James Altucher —but is a framework I’ve been using for years and have taught my clients.

Although this post will focus on entrepreneurs (or those aspiring to be) —it could apply to nearly everyone who wants to take control back of their time, maximize their productivity and move the needle forward in both life and business.

Before we dig in, let’s examine why this matters and the cost of not implementing it.

Cognitive Load and Early Mornings

The research is clear: willpower is highest in the morning —and so is our cognitive and physical energy. We’ve (hopefully) spent the evening recharging and recovering, as well as digesting the prior day’s experience and releasing any pressing anxiety.

Most people will feel and perform their best in the morning —which is why it’s crucial to know what to focus on. Daniel Pink’s book When is a fascinating read about the importance of aligning our most important work with our highest cognitive load. In fact, he detailed research in hospitals where one is most likely to have surgery complications in the afternoon, or the “trough” of our cognitive energy.

So, what does this mean for you and why should you care?

Too often in a world of morning routines and power hours, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: people wasting their greatest mental and physical capacity on the least important tasks. In other words, if you’re getting fired up to check email and Instagram —you’re doing it wrong.

This is where the making, marketing, and managing system comes in. Before we dive into the specifics —let’s take a moment to define these:

Making

Making is whatever you do creatively —you could make content, brainstorm a strategic plan, a blog post, the vision for the next quarter or work on your craft. Typically, making requires the highest cognitive load of the three M’s and is done first to maximize quality output and set the tone for a fulfilled day.

For example: if you’re a writer, making may be to write 1,000 words when your energy is the highest —otherwise, it may not get done.

Marketing

Marketing, as a business owner and entrepreneur —is anything related to lead generation, traffic, attracting potential clients and guiding customers through the sales process. This is a vast world but think of activities designed to bring in current or future revenue to your business.

For example: if you’re an entrepreneur, you may spend the middle part of your day strategically planning and launching a marketing campaign.

Managing

Last, managing is the simple act of organization, processes, and systems to build the foundation for your business. It’s the busywork that isn’t urgent —but still has to be done. This includes things like email, calendar updates, invoicing, etc.

For example: as a business owner, you may spend the tail end of the day closing open loops and finishing off tasks such as email, scheduling and urgent but unimportant work.

Now —wouldn’t it make sense to start the day with the activity that not only requires the highest cognitive load but also differentiates you in the marketplace to produce quality output and results? I certainly think so.

But in coaching thousands of people, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: they tend to scatter themselves too thin and leave the scraps for their most important work. Caught in a cycle of being busy, they have a lot to do —but don’t get the most important work done.

Predictably, this leads to a lack of results and fulfillment. It can lead to closing up shop or thinking you’re not capable. If you’re reading this…I don’t want this for you. The fact you’re here means you’re meant for something bold and powerful —and I want you to stand out in the marketplace.

Let’s dive into each of these and the best practices for how to set them up to own your day. Along the way, I’ll be sharing my personal routine(s) to give you ideas on what to do with yours.

making marketing managingEarly Morning: Making, Making, Making

Neil Gaiman delivered one of the best commencement speeches of all time in 2012 to the University of the Arts. Summed up three words, his core theme was simple —yet powerful:

Make good art.

From the speech itself, he expands:

“And remember that whatever discipline you are in, whether you are a musician or a photographer, a fine artist or a cartoonist, a writer, a dancer, a designer, whatever you do you have one thing that’s unique. You have the ability to make art. Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art.”

It’s a powerful reminder of the work we do. Now, you may be saying: “Tommy…I’m not creative, nor do I make art” —both of which are untrue. If you’re an entrepreneur, you are making art every day. Maybe your art looks different than mine, or Neil’s: it doesn’t matter.

The early mornings are for making your art. Again —this is the work which is important and fulfilling, and usually not urgent. Your art could be mapping out your digital course, or create the copywriting for a sales page —or brainstorm the vision of the company for the next quarter.

For me, my making time is all about writing. Because I’ve identified it’s a skill I want to improve it, it makes my business better —and it makes me feel fulfilled and on purpose, it has to happen. Every single day.

How To Maximize Your Making Time

Making is less about the quantity of the time spent and more about the quality: your level of focus, boundaries and discipline in doing your work. This is when preparation and choosing the right environment are crucial to your success.

Here are a few ways to maximize your making time:

Prepare in advance. Set the stage for when and where you’re going to do your making work —otherwise, it won’t happen. Make it as easy as possible.

Choose the right environment. The best makers have specific environments where they do their best work. Don’t take this lightly: environment plays a huge factor in your success here.

Set a tangible metric or target. I prefer the minimum threshold target —for example, as a writer I choose 1,000 words as my target when I’m writing a book or longer form blogs and essays such as this.

Create ruthless boundaries. Last, set yourself up for success with boundaries: disconnect from the world, tell your assistant and clients you’re unavailable and don’t let any outside noise derail you.

Using this process, you’ll feel fulfilled knowing you did the most important and creatively fulfilling first and set the tone for your day.

Middle Of the Day: Marketing, Sales and Cash

With your creative work done, now you’ll shift your focus towards the marketing of your business. Ideally, this is done when your cognitive load and willpower are still high —because this will require your creativity.

Marketing is a vast field, but these are the revenue-generating, traffic-creating, trib-building actions that really move the needle to grow your business. This could be anything from mapping out your next funnel, reviewing metrics and pivoting on a campaign —or moving the sales process along.

Again, the key here is to ensure these activities are connected to either growing your exposure to people that don’t know who you are or moving those who know you into the next stage of your pipeline.

What this looks like for your business is different, but during the marketing portion of my day I may be editing a sales letter, sending out an email newsletter, reviewing paid traffic, brainstorming and implementing new campaigns or even doing a live video on Facebook to galvanize my audience.

Often, small business owners don’t focus on this until they realize they need revenue —and it’s too late. By spending chunks of focused time on marketing every day, you’ll be cultivating a crucial skill for getting your message out into the world.

As Academy guest Dean Graziosi has said: marketing is oxygen —when you don’t have it, it’s too late.

How To Maximize Your Marketing Time

You’re fired up to market, you’re ready to go —now what? It’s easy to fall into a trap of “random” marketing…which leads to random results. Here’s how to maximize your marketing time:

Review the bigger picture. Look at your targets, where you’re going this year and quarter —and ensure you’re in alignment. What are the non-negotiable marketing projects that must be done?

Break down each part of the project. Launching a new lead generation funnel can seem daunting, right? There’s the up-front work: creating ads and assets, then there’s the fulfillment piece of landing pages and copywriting and finally, the systems and infrastructure. Break each part down and attack these step by step during your marketing time.

Fastest path to cash. As an entrepreneur, you’re going to experience ebbs and flows of cash flow…on the regular. Especially when you’re starting out. One of the keys I always focus on in marketing is what I call FPC: the fastest path to cash. What can you insert during your marketing that collapses the time to getting paid, while still working on your bigger picture projects?

You know you’re doing marketing right when you’re growing your audience, your email list, the platform you’re using —and converting more people to create more revenue and sales. Simple, I know…but many people have no system and don’t dedicate portions of their day to real marketing efforts.

Now that you’ve completed your marketing phase, it’s time to finish with managing your life and business to close out a successful, productive day.

making marketing managingEnd Of the Day: Managing and Closing Open Loops

You’ve done the creative work that drives you and makes your brand, product or service unmistakable. You’ve done the marketing work to get your work out into the world and produce cash flow.

Now what? You’ll finish your day closing open loops with small to medium tasks that are urgent, yet not crucially important (unless too much time passes.) These are email, communication, meetings, social media, etc.

If you have team members, they’ve likely been doing some of this work along the way —but if not, now is your chance to close as many loops as you can and make all the decisions that tend to come with managing.

How To Maximize Your Managing Time

Even though managing comes last, there are ways to ensure you’re maximizing your time, making clear decisions —and setting yourself up for success the next day to repeat the cycle we’ve detailed above.

Chunk out your email responses. The average worker checks their email 88 times a day —leading to scattered focus and terrible results. Instead, batch this time out and commit to checking 5 times or less in your day.

Use an auto-responder during the day. No one ever built an enduring business by getting great at email. Communicate with people to set expectations —when I’m writing a book, I set up an auto-responder to let people know I won’t be responding back anytime soon.

Make quick decisions to ensure clarity. Indecision is a dreamkiller and stops momentum, even with the little things. In your managing time, make fast decisions and move on.

Set a cut-off time when done is done. Because managing can become a habit hole, set strict boundaries so you don’t bring your work home with you.

Own Your Day, Own Your Life

Here’s the truth: your ability to prioritize, create and manage your time as an entrepreneur, freelancer, small business owner or even an employee will dictate your ability to create momentum, results and financial opportunities.

Don’t take this lightly: we all have 168 hours in a week —and by using this system, you’ll get more done in less time.

Isn’t that why we’re here? When I coach and train entrepreneurs, I see this is often not the case and they’re always overwhelmed.

Personally, I often do a day’s worth of creative work, marketing efforts and managing before 2PM every day. It’s not always easy, but if you’re committed —you’ll get it done. Because the alternative is you lose momentum, you make zero progress and your dreams don’t come to life.

What did you get out of this and what are you committed to doing? Post to comments and tag me on social media!

Resources, Notes & More

Below you can find several resources mentioned or quoted directly in the post above to help deepen your understanding of the making, marketing and managing method.

James Altucher Online. Note: I couldn’t find a specific post where he mentions this, but I’m convinced I heard it from him first. https://jamesaltucher.com/

Willpower is a finite resource.
https://www.mcmaster.ca/opr/html/opr/media/main/NewsReleases/Exercisestudy.htm

Larks, owls and third birds.

When: Larks, Owls, and ‘Third Birds’

When: Hospital of Doom

When: Hospital of Doom

Neil Gaiman: Keynote Address 2012
https://www.uarts.edu/neil-gaiman-keynote-address-2012

Cal Newport, Deep Work on the Academy posdcast. Ep. 94 | Master Your Craft and Embrace Deep Work with Cal Newport

Tommy Baker Resist Average

Are You Surviving, Comfortable or Thriving?

By | Advice, Entrepreneurship
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Are You Surviving, Comfortable or Thriving?

After being in the trenches coaching thousands of people to get clear, focused and build momentum in their lives —I’ve noticed there are three possible stages you can find yourself in at any given moment: survival, comfort or thriving.

And in each of these stages, you’re going to have completely different mindsets, obstacles and ways of operating in your life. The problem, however —is each stage requires a specific prescription to breakthrough (or, if you’re thriving…to not lose your momentum.)

In this post, you’re going to discover which stage you’re currently in, what the key markers of being in it are from an internal and external view —and what you can do to make sure you break free.

Because you’re not meant to simply survive life, or be in a stage of comfort. You’re here to thrive and make sure you get to the end of this experience with a smile on your face —knowing you truly lived. Because when you’re thriving, life opens up for you and will provide a level of meaning and fulfillment that can’t be matched.

And you and I are designed to be in that place.

The Survival Stage

The markers of being in a survival stage are glaring: endless alarms, putting out fires and always in a frantic state of overwhelm. The feeling of burnout has become your new normal — and there never seems to be enough.

There’s never enough time, certainly not enough money or resources —and some of the dialogue happening here is short-sighted: “trying” to make it through the day, or at best, the current week so you can finally take a moment to exhale.

In survival, finances come and go and never last: there is always a drama designed to pull you back down. For example, you may have had tons of urgency to bring in money to make your monthly bills, when somehow you come across a larger sum of cash you didn’t previously have.

In survival, you’re attracting chaos: this is when an unexpected medical bill comes, or something seemingly “out of nowhere.”

Survival is exhausting, debilitating and makes you question yourself all the time. It leaves you scattered, some times broken and wondering if you’re ever going to make it out.

In survival, thinking about a big vision or setting targets and goals can actually do more harm than good: because you’re not in a state of being able to truly expand your mind. In one of my books, I call this the Homeless Paradox: you and I can pull up to our nearest street corner and tell someone in need the best wisdom on the planet —and it won’t strike a chord. Why? Because they’re thinking about their next sandwich and how they’re going to make it through the evening storm.

But it’s not all bad news: survival creates tremendous urgency (which comfort doesn’t) and can be a catalyst to get out once and for all.

survival, comfort, thrivingHow to Get Out of Survival

So, how do you get out? In survival mode, you must take a moment to examine the tremendous cost and pain being in this stage is causing you. Because often, it has become people’s identitythey don’t even feel comfortable in any other place, even if they say they want to get out of survival.

Step 1: Examine the cost of your life of being in survival: the exhaustion, stress and never feeling like it’s enough.

Step 2: Use Reverse Visualization (a technique I shared in the Leap Of Your Life) to amplify the future pain of regret to do something now.

Step 3: Set extremely short term goals (30 days or less) —and make incremental wins. Make them so small, yet important. This is how you’re going to build momentum.

Step 4: Train yourself away from scarcity thinking at least once a day. Practice habits of abundance, create a short morning routine —any space and time for “you” is helping you shift from scarcity to abundance. Stop saying you don’t have enough and remember: your circumstances are not who you are.

Because if you persist long enough with these steps, you’ll rise above the insanity of survival and come face to face with your next stage: the comfortable life.

Let’s examine what that looks and feels like.

The Comfortable Stage

“Things are…uh, good.”
“I’m fine. Everything is OK.”
“We should be grateful for what we have.”

Facepalm. This is often the language of a comfortable life: you’re no longer in a state of endless survival, and the 24/7 drama has been replaced by a feeling of comfort. Make no mistake, this is where around 75% of people are —and often wind up spending their entire lives in this place.

Now, if this is what you desire and what you authentically want: more power to you. Own it, and don’t waste your energy aspiring for more. But often, comfortable is not too comfortable. When we examine this stage a little closer —we see a ton of discomfort.

Specifically, in this stage —there’s something missing. The enthusiasm and life force for life has waned. Things seem dull, lacking color. There is nothing pulling you on the horizon, and if it does —it only lasts a little while. You’re finding yourself “stuck” but not knowing what to do. In this stage, lacking clarity, momentum and enthusiasm for something bigger and bolder is the status quo. You’re lacking a meaningful and purposeful challenge for your life.

The comfortable stage is by far the hardest to leave. Because you don’t have the buzzing alarms of survival —it’s hard to create urgency and focus for the next level. You’ve achieved a little bit —and because of this, you now have something to lose. Making bold decisions and taking on risks here seems irresponsible because of this. Especially because you’ve experienced survival —and never want to go back.

As I showed above with the language, “good”, “fine” and “OK” are markers of a comfortable life. Often, the technique of fake gratitude is used here: you talk yourself into saying you should be grateful, but deep down it doesn’t feel right. Something’s off and missing. In your quiet moments, you’re desperate for something new.

survival comfort thrivingHow to Get Out of Comfort

In my work with clients, this is often the stage they find themselves in. Long ago, I stopped working with clients in survival: I do deep and transformative work, and those in survival usually can’t grasp the concepts and mindsets required because of the endless urgency and lack of space.

If you’re in the comfortable stage, here’s how you can get out:

Step 1: Get radically honest and transparent about your life. Take inventory and allow the real feelings to come out.

Step 2: Examine the cost of not moving forward —and staying down this path. Again, the tool of Reverse Visualization is a great way to leverage future regret to make a decision right here, right now.

Step 3: Take on a mighty mission or challenge. In comfort, you’re able to think in bigger time horizons than survival: this is where setting aggressive, meaningful targets is crucial to leave your comfort zone. Find something that drives you…and scares you at the same time.

Step 4: Seek guidance and help from a mentor or coach. Again, leaving comfort is difficult —and going it alone may work for a little while…until it doesn’t. I’ve seen this play out many, may times: find a mentor, coach or program that won’t let you slide back into mediocrity and playing small.

Remember: comfort isn’t quite so comfortable.

Do you really want to spend your life in this stage —with no deeper purpose and meaning? Because the pain of untapped potential leads to destructive habits in your life.

The comfortable life loves to watch others play out their dreams on the television sets, the sports arenas and the Hollywood films. Because deep down, those in comfort know they’re meant for something bigger —but they’re stuck.

The next best thing is to watch someone else do it, but it never lasts. After the thrill of the football game is over —you’re left with yourself.

The Thriving Stage

The holy grail. The thriving stage is where you and I are designed to be: living this experience of life full tilt, full of incredible moments of meaning, purpose, inspiration and stepping into our highest selves.

Make no mistake: this is the life everyone deeply desires. It’s when you’re off the sidelines chasing impossible dreams…and making them real. It’s when you’re seeking the challenge — instead of it coming to find you. It’s when you push yourself every single day: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Thriving doesn’t mean things are easy —you don’t want things to be easy. You want to be challenged, to brush up against your emotional edges and create transformation. In this stage, you think bold and big: setting 10-year visions is easy, and you tap deep into the rituals of morning routines, creating space, working on your skills and finding new ways to maximize every moment.

Does being in thriving mean you let loose and do nothing? Not at all. Because in a thriving stage, your desire to grow is much bigger than your desire to stay comfortable. In a state of thriving, you’ve achieved a baseline of results but also know there’s plenty more in the tank.

survival comfort thrivingWhat Does Thriving Look and Feel Like?

When you’re thriving physically, no challenge is too big. You seek to push your body to new limits, in different ways —maybe it’s tackling a big race, the adventure of a mountain or even a deep yoga and spiritual practice.

When you’re thrving in your purpose and business, you’ve moved from selfish desires to selfless endeavors. Now, it’s not only about you: it’s about impact, service and touching lives. You’re pulled by what Tony Robbins calls a ‘magnificent obsession’ —a vivid picture of the future you can touch and feel.

When you’re thriving in your relationships, you’re constantly pouring into them. Your intimate relationship is connected and on fire, and people are always asking you for advice. You have a powerful social circle of inspired people who hold you to your greatest self. Most importantly, you have an incredible and inspired relationship with the person in the mirror.

Once you’ve experienced a state of thriving, you never want to retreat back to comfort —or worse, survival. But no matter where you find yourself today: we’ve all experienced thriving, which means you can get it back. When I surveyed my audience in a live webinar about what it feels like to thrive, they said:

Freedom, flow, presence, growth, fun, play, relax, abundance, energy, enthusiasm, intention and power.

You deserve to be in a state of thriving, but it’s not going to magically happen. It’s going to be a state of life of your choosing and creating. Every single day, you must start again. When you’re thriving, you love this challenge —it’s become who you are.

One Shift To Get To The Next Level

During this post, we went through the three common stages of life. This has been the best way for me to teach and help people identify where they currently find themselves…and what to do about it.

Make sure you identify which stage you’re in and at least one action step you can complete in the next 24 hours to create momentum towards the next stage. Or, if you’re thriving —to ensure you stay there and never retreat.

The Leap Of Your Life is Nearly Out!

If this post connected with you, then my brand new book, The Leap of Your Life: How to Redefine Risk, Quit Waiting For ‘Someday,’ and Live Boldly is definitely for you. This book is designed to get you clear on your next bold decision, stop putting your dreams off —and live in a state of thriving.

You can grab it now on Amazon or Barnes & Noble today and make sure you never, ever wake up with a sinking feeling of regret.

naveen jain tommy baker

5 Lessons Learned From Billionaire Naveen Jain

By | Entrepreneurship, Lists
Reading Time: 5 minutes

These lessons were extracted from a conversation we had with Naveen Jain on the Resist Average Academy podcast, which you can access through the link above.

5 Lessons Learned From Billionaire Naveen Jain

There’s a certain weight that comes with the “b” in billionaire —and recently I had the pleasure of spending 40 minutes with one of them. Naveen Jain is a serial entrepreneur, moonshot thinker and all-around genius of creation. I first saw and met Naveen at Thrive, an annual event put on by Cole Hatter —and a few months later we hosted him on the Academy.

I wanted to share some of the key lessons I learned from this time with him because what I learned went above and beyond the words he said. During the conversation, he was enthusiastic, present and used empowering language. He spoke of solving the world’s most messy problems —including healthcare, our shrinking resources and even traveling to the moon and beyond.

There is no doubt this time spent with him opened my world. I recognized the places I’m limiting myself, and how the greatest thinkers of all time are obsessed with possibility and wonder. It reminded me to tap into my inner child —and to look up in a world where everyone looks down at digital devices.

Here are the 5 lessons I learned from billionaire Naveen Jain you can start applying to your life and business today.

Lesson 1: Energy Creates Value

“Naveen! Are you there?”

“Tommy, Tommy, I’m here! Ready”.

The first lesson I learned from Naveen was about raw enthusiasm and energy for life. Because here’s the truth: my platform is small, and Naveen has been featured on the biggest media outlets in the world. He has all the cash he needs and is one of the most successful entrepreneurs and visionaries on the planet.

And yet, here he is radiating enthusiasm for an interview he’s likely done over and over. Make no mistake: our energy and enthusiasm for our mission and life will dictate the level of value we’re able to create. Because, as I’ve said on the Resist Average Academy Podcast: big dreams require big energy.

Waking up to a mundane corporate gig to do the minimum work required doesn’t require a ton of energy. Aimlessly drifting through life doesn’t require much energy. But building a life around a mighty mission is going to require physical, mental and emotional bandwidth to endure long term.

ACTION STEP: What is your level of energy and enthusiasm for your current life and purpose, and what can you do to level it up?

 

Lesson 2: Never Lose Your Curiosity

Naveen told me a story about being raptured by the moon as a young child —knowing he wanted to go there. But the moon is only the first stop: his curiosity wants to take him to bigger and bolder places.

Curiosity, then, is the spark required to bring our vision to life. Naveen’s work all comes from being obsessively curious: about space, exploration, education, health care and much, much more. You and I don’t need to find our curiosity: it is our natural state. However, as we’ve grown up most of us have lost the unquenchable thirst of curiosity we used to have as other people told us to “get real”.

When this happens, we become less enthusiastic about our lives and we shun a part of ourselves that has always been with us. Often in interviews, people will ask me about finding their purpose. The place I start is simple: pull at the strings of what already makes you curious, and everything will change.

“The day you stop being intellectually curious is the day you die.”

ACTION STEP: What is one topic, interest or activity you used to be deeply curious about and lost?

 

Lesson 3: Billionaires Think Differently

The number one difference between someone like you and I and Naveen Jain is about one thing only: the way we see the world and think about it. Because this determines everything else.

What I learned from our riveting conversation was simply how differently he thinks —especially about challenges and adversity. Even someone who’s primed in positive psychology would struggle with the sheer optimism Naveen brings to the table. For example, he sees every industry crisis as a real-world opportunity to step in a deliver value. When someone tells him “no” —he truly believes he’s closer to a bolder yes.

When we’re looking to create results, we tend to focus on the external: tactics, mechanics and strategy. Instead, we should be focusing on the deep level thinking we’re bringing to the table: this will impact everything we do. And if it’s off, or small-minded —there’s no amount of tactics capable of overcoming this type of thinking.

For most people I coach and train in life and business, their biggest issue has nothing to do with knowledge and everything to do with the way they’re currently thinking about those mechanics. Once we create transformation in their thinking, everything changes.

“If we believe something is impossible, then it becomes impossible to achieve.”

ACTION STEP: A recent time you were thinking small was _____ and the results were _____. How could you have changed your thinking for a better result?

 

Lesson 4: Language Represents Belief

What if?
Imagine.
Possibility.

Early on during our conversation, I noticed the use of his language and how it always came from an empowering place. He must have said imagine 9 times in the first 10 minutes.

I’ve always been fascinated by language, as it pulls the curtains back on our deeply held beliefs and worldview. For example, in my programs and coaching —we specifically don’t use words like “try” “maybe” “I guess” or anything else which may be deemed disempowering or vague.

Here’s why: your spoken word is a creative declaration to the world around you. If you can’t own this inherent part of our reality —it represents a misalignment. A belief is not serving you, or you’re thinking you’re not capable.

You can tell very quickly if someone has confidence based on the language they’re using. As a student of NLP, I’ve recognized the importance of our language: the words we choose, the tone we inflect and body language. Collectively, these determine how we see the world and our place in it.

ACTION STEP: Examine your language for the next 24 hours and identify 3 words you can delete or shift.

 

Lesson 5: If They Don’t Call You Crazy, You’re Doing It Wrong

Have you ever had a bold idea, knowing it was right for you, got excited and told someone close to you —and they shot you down immediately?

We’ve all been there, and it’s why we must be incredibly careful about who we’re seeking feedback from. Because sometimes the people closest to us can shoot down our dreams the quickest. To me, the greatest tragedy is having a spark of enthusiasm over a creative idea, business or endeavor…only to watch it fade when declared to someone else.

This is where the last lesson learned from Naveen Jain comes in: if people don’t call you crazy, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re out there living your best life and pushing the throttle on growth, people will doubt you. If you’re shipping a message near and dear to your heart, the critics will come. Make no mistake, this is part of the game.

“Find something you’re willing to die for and live for it.”

ACTION STEP: Take inventory of your inner circle. Do they support and expand you or contract you?

 

5 Lessons Learned From Billionaire Naveen Jain

So, there you have it. A short conversation led to a complete perspective shift —and I wanted to share these lessons with you to ensure you apply them in your own life and business. If you’re here, it’s because you’re meant for something big and bold, and the pain of untapped potential is something you want no part of.

Which of these lessons connected with you? I’d love to hear it!

tommy baker leap of your life

How To Take The Leap Of Your Life

By | Books, Entrepreneurship, News
Reading Time: 9 minutes

How To Take The Leap Of Your Life

This is not working.

Waiting, hoping and wishing ‘someday’ it’s all going to happen for you. The reason I know it’s not working is simple: I’ve been exactly where you are, and it left me nowhere except: stuck, alone and frustrated. Now I am consistently in conversations with those who feel they same.

And yet, nothing changes —except for one crucial thing: they start to lose their belief in themselves of bringing their deepest desires to life.

Today’s post is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Leap of Your Life: How to Redefine Risk, Quit Waiting For ‘Someday,’ and Live Boldly.

The portion included is part of the introduction, and I couldn’t be more excited to share this with you. If you’re ready to pre-order and claim massive bonuses, head over to LeapOfYourLife.com and grab yours today. You can also simply head to Amazon or Barnes & Noble here.

I wrote this book for you. The person out there who hears the whispers come during the quiet pockets of life and knows there’s something greater for you. You know it’s in there, somewhere…but you’re stuck. And the Leap Of Your Life is designed to give you permission.

Because if you give yourself permission, you’ll never be the same.

leap of your life tommy baker

The Leap Of Your Life Introduction

What are you waiting for?

There’s a leap in your life you’ve been putting off, and it’s killing you. Maybe not literally, but it’s killing your spirit. It’s killing your belief, your enthusiasm and the thrill of this one experience we call life. It’s killing your energy, vitality and hope for the future. When those are gone, you might as well be the walking dead.

It’s draining your life force, and every day you put it off, you’re reminded of how it hasn’t happened for you yet. And now you’re questioning if it ever will.

The consequences of not taking your leap are real, and they stare back at you every morning in the mirror. They’re reflected in bank statements. They’re felt in your body language during time with the people you love. They’re wrapped on long exhales as you aim to keep it all together.

The consequences of not taking your leap are real, and they stare back at you every morning in the mirror.

But worst of all, they’re reflected in this tireless voice in the back of your head that won’t shut up, asking:

“Is this it? Is this all that’s meant for me?”

Now, does this mean I’m certain your life isn’t working? No, not at all. Our lives can be working, and we can still have a leap we know we must take. Sometimes, this can be the most precarious circumstance of all: we have everything we’ve been told we should want, yet something is still missing.

And I’m here to tell you what’s missing is the leap of your life. But before we get into it all, let’s define what a leap is.

leap of your life tommy bakerThe Leap Of Your Life Ingredients

You may be wondering: what exactly constitutes a leap? You may be thinking it’s abandoning western life and moving to an ashram in the Himalayas, quitting your accounting gig, launching the new app or parachuting out of a perfectly good airplane at 15,000 feet.

While all of those sound like fun to me and could be leaps, they don’t have to be yours.

Sometimes, the leap we have to take seems inconsequential to others and yet leads to a bold moment of no return: reaching out to a recruiter with the hopes of transitioning out of our job, having the tough conversation with our partner, launching the side hustle or finally clicking record and spreading a message with the world.

What matters, then is not necessarily the magnitude of the leap. It’s simply that it matters to you, and includes the following:

You feel a pull. You can’t explain it, but you feel pulled towards your leap. Much like a magnetic charge, you can try to avoid it, but it comes back stronger than ever.

There’s a decision. Your leap involves a decision you’ve been putting off and will require you to make a bold one.

The stakes are high. Your leap There are real consequences to not making it. There’s also endless possibility by stepping into it.

There’s an element of risk. Your leap has degree of risk, and for now you’ve chosen to play it ‘safe’ at the expense of your own fulfillment.

Not doing it will hurt more than doing it. Lastly, even though you haven’t taken your leap yet – not doing so hurts more than any consequence or perceived failure of taking it.

So, again what are you waiting for?

Because if you’re here, I already know you’re waiting for something.

Every day you put it off, a part of you withers away, knowing your dreams are on hold as you attempt to live someone else’s life. (I use the word attempt deliberately, because no matter how hard we try, it’ll never quite pan out.)

leap of your life tommy baker

Playing It Safe Means a Lifetime of Regret

As we begin this adventure, I want you to treat it as such. I’m going to take a wild guess you’ve read books with similar themes, but you haven’t read this one. Finishing the leap of your life will drive you towards a decision, which won’t only be shared between you and me.

There are a few reasons why you may be here right now, and I’m going to tell you why you should stick around:

First, you feel a calling for something bolder and bigger for your life — and you believe it may be possible, but you’re finding yourself stuck.

Second, you know if you continue on the same path you’re on today, you’re going to look back and feel the sinking feeling of regret.

Third, you’re tired of playing everyone else’s game. For too long, you’ve done what others told you to do and ignored a part of you that knew without question what was right.

Lastly, there’s a voice whispering to you during the silent pockets of life slowly begging you to put yourself on the line and do it now.

This voice comes to you when the intensity of life has slowed down. When it can no longer be drowned out in noise, bills and an unrelenting breaking news cycle, it comes to you. Sometimes it whispers on those long car rides where you’re running on auto-pilot and have the ability to (truly) think.

During those early mornings right before the chaos of the inbox hits. Or when you’re in those in between moments on the airplane and the perspective of being at 37,000 feet invites some deeper questions.

As long as you fit one, two or all of those descriptions — you’ve come to the right place.

By the end of our time together, one of two things will happen:

You’ll think everything I said sounded nice, but you won’t make the commitment I’m daring you to make — so this may as well be a video game. Except there’s no fantasy lands, and I’m not nearly as entertaining.

Or, you’ll have the spark, the insight, the push required to create something so powerful, the current version of yourself can’t imagine it. You’ll be brought to your knees (except this time, in a is-this-really-happening way.)

You’ll finally take the Leap of Your Life and you’ll never be the same.

But I’ve Already Taken a Leap…Is This For Me?

You may be saying to yourself: but I’ve already taken the leap. You launched your business, you moved cross country, you took the big chance. This can’t be for you, right?

Wrong. The fastest way to slide back to mediocrity is to believe life and business are about one leap. The truth is: life and business are a series of leaps and micro leaps as you continue to expand on your journey. Most assume if they already did a leap, they’ll be better prepared for the next one, right?

What I’ve found is the opposite: with making bold choices in the past, they can feel just as stuck and in fear about their next leap. Often, those with something to lose are less likely to take a leap: taking a chance is easy when you don’t have much to lose, but what about when things are working (to a certain degree)?

In working with countless thought leaders, industry trailblazers, and entrepreneurs who have made bold decisions in the past, I’ve noticed they need a constant reminder and push towards their next leap.

Otherwise, they slide back to mediocrity, the passion and challenge they once had fizzles and what once felt like a riveting life – has now vanished and become mechanical.

leap of your life tommy bakerThe Greatest Risk (Is Not Taking One)

Starting your own business is risky.

Moving cross country with no plan is risky.

Asking him or her out before you’re ready is risky.

Taking a bold chance on your dreams is risky.

Right?

But what if we’re wrong – what if the real risk is putting our dreams on hold, placing them under a box labeled ‘someday’?

We’ve been told to play it safe, to stay in line – and to not dream too big, or else we may fail. Follow the secure path, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded. Not only will you be rewarded with the markers of success, we’ll take care of you.

Since those around you have also bought into this narrative, they’ll support you. You’ll fit in, and your life’s path will be etched in certainty.

And yet, so often –we find ourselves on someone else’s path, living someone else’s dream, to live up to the expectations (and approval) of others. We trade in our calling for our ceiling, our purpose for a paycheck, and our enthusiasm for exhaustion.

You wake up one day, only to realize you’re in the wrong movie wondering how the hell you got there.

Our inability to tolerate even the smallest of risks, has led us to live an unfulfilled life. The illusion of security has drained our life force. The calling you felt deep within you started as a wildfire and is now nothing but ashes. What once a 6-lane open highway of possibility has now become a cemetery where dreams go to die.

Our inability to tolerate even the smallest of risks, has led us to live an unfulfilled life

Reading the leap of your life book will challenge you to have an open mind, no matter if you consider yourself a brazen risk taker with an entrepreneurial mindset, or your definition of risk is passing someone on the right-hand side of your local freeway at a brisk 66 MPH.

The problem with our perception of risk is simple: we don’t take chances during the low stakes moments of life, so we’ll never take them during the high stakes moments. Which means every single day we’re wiring ourselves to not listen to what we know we have to do but are unwilling to face it.

And through that process, we miss facing ourselves.

Pre-Order The Leap Of Your Life and Claim Bonuses Now!

So there you have it: I wanted to share the introduction of the book with you, to see if it resonates and connects with you. Like I’ve said earlier: this is the book etched into my spirit, and was created because of two main reasons:

1. It’s the book I wish I had.

When I was waiting, wishing and hoping —I wish I had this book. I needed someone to help me give my dreams permission, otherwise I’d stay stuck and wake up with a sinking feeling of regret.

I felt alone, I felt fear…and there was a chance I’d come home with my tail between my legs. I hated where I lived and I was on the wrong trajectory. I wish I had this material to lean on and go all in on myself and my deepest desires.

2. It’s the book I wish I could give out when I have conversations with people.

These days, I’m constantly in conversations with clients, potential clients, people at live events and even at grocery stores or in the Uber coming home about their dreams and what’s in the way. As a trainer and speaker, I’m paid to notice patterns in human behavior and create solutions to those. The biggest pattern is simply the illusion that “someday” we’re going to figure it out.

But the truth is: every day you wait, you lose a fraction of your belief and spirit of making it happen —until it’s all gone.

To learn more about the core themes of The Leap Of Your life, watch the official trailer below:

If this message connects with you, this book can and will change your life. I don’t say that lightly, and I mean it —my life has been transformed by hearing the right message at the right time and making the bold decision in front of me.

During the pre-order phase, you can head to LeapOfYourLife.com to claim massive bonuses including workbooks, video trainings, and even coaching sessions and gifts from our incredible sponsors.

Once you place your order, email team@resistaverageacademy.com and we’ll send you the bonuses on the pre-order page!

Thank you for all of your support, there’s no way this comes to life without you.

tommy baker leap of your life

Don’t Start (The Power Of Playing The Long Game)

By | Advice, Entrepreneurship
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Don’t Start (The Power Of Playing The Long Game)

Don’t start a podcast.

(There are 630,000 of them already.)

Don’t write a book.

(There are 1,052,803 published…every year.)

Don’t launch a business.

(There are 550,000 new entrepreneurs…monthly.)

Here’s the deal:

Don’t do any of these, unless of course —you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Because I’m here to tell you:

The odds are not stocked in your favor unless your idea of success is putting your entire net worth on Red 27 at the roulette table. In today’s post, I’m going to reveal a crucial concept (and centering question) to ensure you don’t wind up being another statistic.

Because if you’re doing what you’re doing for the right reasons, the worst thing you can do is start with a half-hearted approach. But if you do it right and play the long game, not only can you experience the deep fulfillment that comes with sharing your work with the world…

You can experience world class results and be part of the 5% who seek their goals to completion and never, ever look back wondering where they fell short.

tommy baker long gameAnyone Can Get Started, Few Can Endure

I remember standing in a crowd of people in Killington, VT at 4:30AM as thousands of athletes got prepared to attack the Spartan Ultra Beast.

As it sounds, this is the most intense race the Spartan brand puts on:

Around 30 miles of hiking the steepest double black mountains in Vermont for two days and one bone-chilling night. And yet, at the start of the race —the energy was palpable. It was also crowded, the music was blaring, and everyone felt amazing.

This is normal for what happens at the start of any endeavor:

Lots of enthusiasm and excitement, but the truth is:

When you look to your left, and you look to your right —two out of the three (including possibly you) won’t be there at the end of the race. This is true for the Spartan Beast (the pass rate at the time of my race was 15%) and mostly anything else in business and life. As Angela Duckworth, author of Grit says:

“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”

So, what does this mean to you?

Don’t waste all of your energy on starting —and don’t celebrate too much. Sure, there is power in making a decision and having the courage to get in the game…

But it’s only the start of what’s going to be a long, hilly and unpredictable path.

Because after you start, you quickly hit the place where 99% of people give up: the messy middle.

Rookies waste all of their energy on starting, while the professional plays the long game.

The Messy Middle Of The Long Game

It hit me at Mile 7 as I wiped another bead of sweat off my face and thought to myself:

This is going to be a grind.

Of course, I already knew this —you can’t have a 15% pass rate on any race and think it’s going to be a walk in the park. Especially knowing how curated the signups are: this isn’t your local 5K.

At Mile 7, the enthusiasm of the early morning fist-bumping EDM music was now a distant and forgotten memory:

I was officially in the messy middle.

Of course I’m using the race as a metaphor, but all of your endeavors will have the point in time you hit the messy middle.

This is where 99% of dreams go to die, and the realization is all the same:

This is going to be hard. Like really hard —like I-don’t-know-if-it’s-worth-it hard.

So, what’s the messy middle look like in different projects, businesses and endeavors?

It’s episode 29 of your podcast when you’re having the worst time trying to make another edit.

It’s 9,200 words in of your book when you’re finding yourself off course with no clarity in sight.

It’s 13 months into your business when you’ve had to fire your first employee —and cash flow is tight.

This is the messy middle, and what you choose next will decide your fate. Because here is where the dabblers and quitters move on to the next idea, project and endeavor.

Only to have the cycle repeat itself.

This is the messy middle, and what you choose next will decide your fate.

Most Success Stories Skip The Messy Middle

I love going to events, and hearing people’s stories of starting, encountering the messy middle —and then experiencing breakthrough. It’s one of the common themes on the podcast: leaning into the guests challenges, doubts and moments of deep questioning.

Except too often at the events I attend, people skip over most of what really matters: the messy middle. Of course, there’s great reason for this: in an 18 minute talk, you can’t possibly explain to the audience what’s really going to happen during the messy middle.

You do your best, of course —but the truth is much more complex than a polished talk could ever create.

And what this narrative does is simplify the messy middle and create an expectation in people’s hearts and minds that it won’t last too long.

But it’s not true, because most of your time in any endeavor will be spent in the thick of your own personal messy middle.

Starting is 5%, the messy middle is 90% and your breakthrough (or achievement) will be around 5%.

Let’s go back to how your fate will be decided.

The Messy Middle Is Hard, And Beautiful

So you may be thinking to yourself: why would I ever want to endure through the messy middle?

In a nutshell: this is where all the magic happens. Specifically, this is where you gain the confidence, skillset and belief that will transcend any “making it” moment on top of the mountaintop.

Most importantly: this is when you discover who you really are.

And trust me: there’s no amount of cold hard cash or shiny toys that will hold a candle to this feeling.

(And you don’t have to trust me, because the research is clear and obvious on what this does for your level of purpose and fulfillment.)

You’re also going to experience all types of breakthroughs during your messy middle: small wins, life-changing ones and everything in between.

So, how do you navigate this crucial aspect of your path? Let’s dig into the four tools designed to help you navigate this part of the path —and make sure you don’t get lost along the way.

Tool #1: Focus On Today’s Step

During the Spartan Beast, there were exhausted bodies everywhere. Men and Women sprawled out and ready to give up. For me, it was very easy to focus on them, and want to rest or slow down.

The first tool is to focus on what you can control today. Often, that’s the most important work in front of you —this step, and the next one.

Personally, as a writer —when I’m in the messy middle of a book, distraction is at its most tempting. It’s easy to focus on anything except the words. But these are the moments that make or break the work, and I focus on my 1,000 words for the day.

In your life, project or goal, what is the one thing you can focus on?

Tool #2: Keep Your North Star In Mind

The second tool is to remember where you’re headed —and why. This is the power of clarity: having a North Star you’re going after. I wrote about this in The 1% Rule: we all must have a North Star to guide us during the tough moments.

All we need are small reminders along the way of the what and the why. If you’ve done the work to know what these are, you’ll be in a great spot during your messy middle.

Every single day, remind yourself of your North Star for at least a few minutes. If you have time to scroll through Instagram, you have time do this.

Tool #3: Smile Through The Process

The third tool to help you navigate your goals and stay committed to the long game is to fall in love with the pursuit. I know this sounds like an Instagram quote, but it’s true:

Playing the long game means you’re going to have to love the process as much as the outcomes, checkpoints and breakthroughs.

Personally and with my clients, I work very hard to shift into a state of gratitude when things get really hard. I remind them that this is when most people quit, and every step they’re taking is cementing their belief, confidence and power.

Remember: there are people who would write you a blank check today to experience the challenges you’re going through. Never, ever forget the power of perspective and gratitude along as you play the long game.

Tool #4: Recharge and Refuel Along The Way

Lastly, it becomes impossible to endure during the long game if you’re not taking care of yourself. What I teach in my programs and coaching is to live at both ends of the spectrum: intense, focused work and plenty of open white space.

If you don’t recover, recharge and re-fuel along the way —you won’t last. We all need a radical self care routine: time for ourselves, being outside, walks, massages, reading a great book, meditating, floating and anything that re-centers us.

Often, this is the last stuff we do until it’s too late. Instead, ensure you are scheduling this work and making it a priority in your calendar.

It’s Time To Get Honest

Before you get started with anything, it’s time to get honest by asking:

Are you committed to this, or are you merely interested? Make no mistake: there is a vast chasm between these two, and 90% of people who start anything are not committed.

Because the average podcast lasts 6 episodes before they fold up shop.

(Don’t let this be you.)

The average book sells less than 300 copies during its entire lifetime.

(Don’t let this be you.)

Most businesses fail to ever get off the ground, and 90% fold up shop.

(Don’t let this be you.)

Are you committed to the long game? I’d love to hear it.

The Leap Of Your Life Available For Pre-Order!

tommy baker leap of your life

There’s a bold decision in your life you’ve been putting off…and every day that passes by is another chance of waking up wondering what could have been.

If you’re wanting to get clear about your bold decision and ensure you don’t wake up with regret 1, 3, 5 or 10 years down the line, my new book The Leap of Your Life: How to Redefine Risk, Quit Waiting For ‘Someday,’ and Live Boldly is your trusted companion.

The book is available at all major retailers and you can pre-order to claim some amazing bonuses at the link above or go to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

You’ll never be the same, and that’s a great thing.

tommy baker coaching

How to Hire a Coach, Mentor or Program Pt. III

By | Advice, Entrepreneurship
Reading Time: 9 minutes

How to Hire a Coach, Mentor or Program Pt. III

This is a continuation of a series around How To Hire a Coach, Mentor or Program. If you missed Part I, go here and for Part II, click here.

YOU HIRED A COACH, NOW SUCCESS IS YOURS…RIGHT?

You did it.

You put your dreams on the line and chose to stack the chips and go all in by hiring a coach, mentor or program.

The first time you do this is special —and the transformative energy of writing your dreams a check is palpable.

Right before this moment, there’s fear, doubts and really wondering what the hell you’re doing. But the moment you finish writing the check or paying the invoice —a tsunami of emotions comes through you and you realize what you’ve gone:

You’ve gotten off the sidelines of life where 95% of people are.

You are in the game, you’re not only dreaming big…but acting big. Make no mistake: this is huge, and you should be proud of yourself.

And now it’s only a matter of time before you’re making it rain with stacks of cash in your bank, fueled by purpose and commitment like never before, right?

Possibly, but not always. During Part III, I really wanted to peel back the curtains and give you an inside look at how to maximize your experience.

Because while everything we’ve covered to this point is powerful —not every coaching experience comes with 100% success rate. This may seem obvious, but even with the best experiences that come with proven results, there are people who don’t get out of their own way.

They may have paid, but they stay comfortable.
They may have committed, but they don’t follow through.
They may have made a bold decision once, but don’t repeat those.

For myself, I’ve been part of nearly every type of experience imaginable —including masterminds, virtual programs, one day seminars, 7 day seminars, online courses, Facebook groups, etc. I’ve also run nearly of these and leading people on the other side through my own work.

It’s time to discover how to make your coaching experience an undeniable success by reviewing the rules of engagement I use with my clients. Before any experience, I share this and have each client commit to them, and now they’re yours, too.

Let’s dig in.

tommy baker coaching

Rule #1: Drop The Ego

The number one obstacle in the way of your growth, my growth and everyone else’s is simple: our egos. This isn’t debatable, it’s reality.

Because your ego wants to keep you small. It wants to keep you exactly where you are today. It wants to ensure every part of itself stays in tact, and it doesn’t want to let go.

Letting go to the ego is a form of death —and it can and will do anything to avoid this vulnerable state.

Because I’ve seen people pay tens of thousands of dollars, declare how bad they want or need a program or coach —and then let the ego win. We are not dealing with something simple here: the ego is creative, relentless and stubborn.

So, how do you actually drop the ego?

First, it starts with being aware. If you picked the right coaching experience —you’re going to be challenged and pushed to your edge. Simply signing up means you’re asking for help, which the ego already hates. But during your experience, the ego will look for ways to:

Prove you’re right.
Talk you out of big decisions.
Make excuses to let you off the hook.

Remember: each of these are designed to keep you exactly where you are —and you must be hyper aware of this in real time.

Secondly, you have to keep your eyes on the prize and remember why you started in the first place. Because the ego thrives on the short term, you must remember your North Star vision and deep rooted ‘why.’ Without this, it becomes easy to listen to the voices of the ego and start to believe its false narratives.

Lastly, when your ego is being challenged and you feel emotionally triggered —see this as growth in real time. This is not bad, it’s not a time to quit…it’s a time to lean in to the discomfort and find the gift on the other side.

ACTION: Dropping the ego is not a one time decision. On the path of your growth —it’s a daily one.

Rule #2: Trust the Process

NOTE: This is a small excerpt from my new book, The Leap Of Your Life which is available for early pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retailers.

“I don’t know if I can keep going, man. This is hard.”

I’m sitting three fourths of the way of from my favorite hike in Phoenix, one I’ve done 117 times in less than 3 years. My client flew in from Los Angeles for a one day intensive to create a game-plan for every part of his business and life.

But I don’t start in a conference room at my office, we’re on the mountain and it’s a brisk 103 degrees. It’s July. Steve is 44 years old. He made $200,000 in personal income last year. He’s got 3 kids. And he’s here with me in the sweltering heat, carrying an enormous rock on his shoulders. It hurts. And oh yeah, he paid me to do this.

“You’re focusing on the pain, and that’s why it hurts. Start identifying what the rock means to you, and why you’re carrying it. Let’s go, you’re playing small.”

And the path continues. He grimaces every step of the way. The rock is uncomfortable by design: no matter how one carries it, it restricts breathing. The mountain is hard enough, the rock makes it harsher. This is part of how I help clients experience radical clarity, leading to transformation and results.

Rule number two is about one thing and one thing only: trusting the process of your coaching, mentoring or program experience. It’s about knowing someone else is in charge and has your best interests in mind —and being okay with this.

One of the biggest downfalls of your coaching experience will come with not trusting the short term process. For myself and my clients —I prepare deeply and intensely, creating all types of ways to help them achieve clarity and step into their power.

If they didn’t trust the process, they wouldn’t be standing in the middle of a mountain as I pushed them —holding a rock. They wouldn’t persist in the middle of a coaching session where we’re digging into an anchor from the past that has now become an excuse.

If you can’t trust the process, you can’t expect results.

ACTION: Trusting the process means trusting yourself. Stay present and understand your coach or mentor knows what they’re doing and why.

If you can’t trust the process, you can’t expect results.

tommy baker coaching

Rule #3: Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

The third rule to maximize your success with your coaching experience is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I know this sounds obvious —but it amazes me how many people will commit to something and then not be willing to get uncomfortable.

All four types of coaching experiences will require you to get uncomfortable in a variety of ways. For example:

The informational coaching experience will require you to cross the threshold from “thinking” to doing.

The motivational coaching experience will have you drop your addiction to low emotional states and tap into your peak energy and vitality.

The inspirational coaching experience will have you get rid of the armor, the convenient layers you’ve created and are using as anchors —to remember who you really are.

Lastly, the transformational coaching experience will be a mix of all of the above and will take you to some dark caves —plunging you into the depths of who you are to bring you back as the most powerful, grounded and purposeful self.

If your coaching experience is making you at least slightly uncomfortable, something is missing. To achieve a result you don’t currently have is going to require you to shed old beliefs, ways of operating, habits, rituals and mindsets. Part of this, naturally —means discomfort.

ACTION: Be willing to get uncomfortable and see this for what it represents: your growth, and ultimately results.

Rule #4: Be Radically Honest

There was a time in my life where I needed to get out. I needed to leave my environment, and I’d built a business I now hated. I felt alone, disconnected and started to resent myself for not taking action.

But there was one core reason all of these feelings were bottled up: I wasn’t getting radically honest. No one knew about my predicament, because I chose to hide it.

Being a positive and energetic person —I chose to keep it to myself.

Until I no longer could, and I remember being on a mastermind call and declaring all of the above. My initial expectation was for people to laugh at me and mock me —and of course, that didn’t happen.

They agreed with me and validated my feelings.

Whew.

I let out the biggest exhale ever —and remembered the power of sharing our truth.

Your coaching experience will demand you get radically honest if you want to achieve your biggest breakthroughs. It sounds obvious, but we’re so skilled at building facades with ourselves —it can be a massive challenge to even know what to get honest about.

So, what do you need to be radically honest about?

Where you find yourself today. Your level of fulfillment in all areas of life. What’s not working and how it makes you feel. What you really want to be doing, and why.

Without this crucial piece, you’ll miss out on life-changing breakthroughs, insights and results.

ACTION: Before you start your experience, put all of your deeper truths on paper. Journal why you’re really in the program, and get radically honest.

 Rule #5: No Weak Language

“Maybe.”
“I’ll try.”
“I guess.”
“We’ll see.”

No, not here. The last and final rule of my coaching experiences (and ones you should adopt no matter who you choose to work with) is simply no weak language.

Weak language allows for excuses to come in, ensure you play small and can kill an otherwise transformative experience.

Here’s why this matters: our language provides a behind-the-scenes look at our closely held beliefs, and even more importantly —the level of belief and self trust we have with ourselves.

In my programs, we have a rule where we’re allowed to interrupt anyone at anytime (including me, of course) when they’re using weak or half hearted language.

One of the amazing things that happen when you become aware of your own weak language is how much you see it in other people. You overhear a conversation at your local Starbucks —and you’ll be amazed at how often we use these words that don’t mean anything.

Not here. Instead, when you speak —own it and declare it with everything you’ve got. Be willing to put yourself on the line.

ACTION: Eradicate all weak language, and start catching yourself in the process. Ask others to call you out, too.

tommy baker 1% rule

So, What Are You Waiting For?

We’ve come a long way. I wanted to create this resource, which is nearly 6,000 words —to help you step into a coaching or mentoring experience for one reason and one reason only:

They can, and they will —change every part of your life.

Sure, I’m biased, but I can say with definitive clarity that I would not be where I am today if I had not made that bold decision to go all in on myself.

My story is definitely extreme, but it’s what I needed at the time. Because if I don’t make that bold choice, I don’t have a $55,000 day in business, I don’t move cross country when I knew I needed to, I don’t meet my soul mate and I may be living a completely different life.

So as we finish this experience together, all I have is one question for you:

What are you waiting for? 

I’m often having conversations with people who know it’s time, and yet don’t take action. Each day they put it off —they begin to lose a fraction of their belief and energy to create something new. Until one day, it’s gone for good.

How to Hire a Coach, Mentor or Program Pt. III

I’ll be adding a special Part IV bonus section to this piece, and will link it here once it’s out. But for now, you have all you need.

To go back to Part I, click here. To review Part II, click here. And of course, if you’re wanting to work together in some capacity, let me know.

As of January 2019, these are the experiences I offer:

3P Experience. This is for you if you’re making less than $100K, control your financial destiny (i.e. entrepreneur, solopreneur or wanting to be one) and need to deepen your purpose, power and profit.

Breakthrough Mastermind. The Mastermind is for those making at least $200K and are at a ‘comfortable’ level but leaving so much on the table. You’re wanting to get to the next level and 5X every area of your life.

Private Coaching / Intensive. The last one is a fully customized experience where you come to Scottsdale, AZ and spend a day with me and/or enroll in a 100 day private coaching experience with me.

Fill out an application here, or simply email me at tommy@resistaverageacademy.com and we’ll take it from there.

I’d love to hear from you in comments, especially if you have any questions.

The 5 Myths Of Clarity (Holding You Back)

By | Advice, Entrepreneurship
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The 5 Myths Of Clarity (Holding You Back)

I found myself in yet another conversation with someone about what they’re being held back by, and they told me in desperation:

“Tommy…if I only knew what to doI’d be on fire and making all my dreams come true.”

And while it sounded great on paper, I told them the truth:

“That’s a brilliant excuse, one I’ve used personally —but it’s not true.”

In the personal development, growth, and seven-easy-steps-to-success world, I’m noticing an unhealthy obsession and reliance on clarity.

And I understand I speak of clarity all the time too —on the Resist Average Academy podcast, my books and endless social media posts.

But I’m tired of people using lack of clarity as an excuse to not get started and to sit on the sidelines.

I’ve compiled these myths into what I call the 5 Myths Of Clarity most people use as a convenient excuse to stay stuck…

….and not do the tough and messy work required to face themselves every day and move their life and business forward.

Don’t let these hold you back from creating incredible results this year and in 2019.

Let’s dig in and release them once and for all.

Myth 1: Clarity Is a Destination

The number one clarity myth is the belief that clarity is an end-all, be-all destination. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and yet it’s so common to believe.

Because believing this myth places tremendous pressure on achieving clarity —and people will spend years or decades searching for it.

They may spend time in Himalayan ashrams, or be on an endless loop of information binging their favorite personal development guru and still never find it.

Why?

Because clarity is a process and evolution based on your growth.

Your clarity and mine will change based on who we are today, tomorrow and during the rest of our experience in this game called life.

Release the pressure, and instead —fall in love with the daily pursuit of clarity. Understand clarity increases with capacity, meaning you’ll achieve more clarity as you grow and experience results in life.

(This is why the homeless person on the street doesn’t create vision boards —the clarity they need is how to get their next sandwich.)

Myth 2: Clarity Is Needed to Get Started

“Once I know what to do, I’ll start.”

“I need some more information and planning.”

“Next year once I have my certification, I’ll launch.”

While some clarity is important to start —most people think they need all the answers today. Again, this keeps countless people on the sidelines of life and business, waiting for clarity to get started.

This becomes an endless cycle of wanting to start, getting overwhelmed and then repeating the pattern over and over until you give up.

Here’s the deal: while some clarity is important to get started, it’s overrated.

Because when you execute, you’ll find much more clarity than you ever would thinking and pondering for 6 months.

Myth 3: You Need Clarity On The “How”

I wrote about this deeply in The 1% Rule, and I said the “how” is where dreams go to die.

So often, I’ll be in a client session or having a conversation with someone and I notice how inspired they get about their vision (the what) and their purpose behind doing it (the why.)

But then, I slowly see their body language start to change —and that’s when I know they’re thinking about the gap.

The gap, or the “how” —is connecting the dots between the vision and the messy middle.

But contrary to what most people believe, you don’t need to have clarity around the “how.”

Because when you’re crystal clear on the what, and the why —the how starts to reveal itself.

The only clarity you need is on your first few steps to get started. I’m literally talking about those first 3 action steps you can do this week, and the following 3 you can do the week after.

Everything else becomes a chance to be riddled with fear.

Myth 4: No Such Thing as Having Too Much Clarity

For some people, having too much clarity can actually create so much pressure —they do nothing.

I know, I know…it sounds weird and you’re probably thinking:

“What!? How can too much clarity be a bad thing?”

Let me explain with a personal example. Once every 6 months, I sit back and nerd out with a marker in hand —and put my entire business and life on a massive whiteboard.

(I do this with my clients, too.)

This past year when I completed it —I took a step back and thought to myself:

“Wow….this is amazing. But if you showed me this a year ago, I’d be overwhelmed.”

The lesson is simple: while clarity can be amazing, too much can send people into paralysis by analysis or complete and total shutdown.

Furthermore, as we mentioned above —this constant pursuit of clarity can become an avoidance mechanism for doing what really matters: getting started.

Myth 5: Clarity Guarantees Massive Results

Once you have clarity in life and business —you’re going to make it rain, Oprah’s going to be calling your cell phone and you’ll be on TV, right?

Good luck with that.

While clarity can be a powerful pre-cursor to massive results, it doesn’t guarantee anything.

The truth is lots of people have clarity that they’re on the path to lung cancer if they keep smoking and yet choose to do nothing.

It is my belief most people know what to do next, yet are riddled by fear and lack the courage to take the next step in their lives.

So, remember: clarity is a launchpad, but it’s what you do after that determines your (real) success.

Now, What?

So, there you have it —I wanted to share these with you in the hopes you don’t get stuck thinking you need all the clarity in the world.

These are some of the most common themes I see holding people back from actually having clarity, and most importantly:

Doing something with that clarity—what I call integration.

(This is why I created The Integration Experience audio training, which you can download for free on the front page of the site.)

As we wrap up another year, take the time and energy to get clear —but don’t let yourself fall into one of these myths and instead use your clarity to integrate every area of your life for 2019.

I’d love to hear from you on these myths of clarity in comments and if you have anything to add or share, post below and share please!

The Best Self Development, Business and Personal Growth Books of 2018

By | Advice, Entrepreneurship, Writing
Reading Time: 12 minutes

The Best Self Development, Business and Personal Growth Books of 2018

Ahhhhh, the nerd inside me loves nothing more than to shut off the world and go deep into books. If you’ve ever followed my Instagram, you’d know I’m a little obsessive.

Okay, totally obsessive is more like it. Here’s why:

The knowledge, wisdom and reflective aspect of reading has transformed my life — and Barnes and Noble is my version of a delicious slice of heaven.

At the end of every year, I like to reflect and think back to the books I read and how they impacted me. On any given year, I’ll read between 50-100 books —depending on what I’m working on and which season of my life and business I may be in.

In other words, I read quite a lot. By the way, remember the 10 pages a day rule: if you read ten pages every single day, you’ll read around 12-20 books per year.

Start small, and watch what happens.

According to the Washington Post, only 19 percent of adults read for leisure these days. One of the best parts about reading books is what you don’t do when you make the decision to read: less television, social media and distraction.

So, what were my favorite books of 2018? This is a personal list I choose to share with you, and is not based on anything except my level of learning, enjoyment and connection to the material. This is not a list about literary genius, and all of these works are non-fiction.

These are in no particular order, and few of these authors have been on the Academy podcast which I’ll link to under each section.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

21 Lessons For The 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

best books 2018What is happening in the world today?
Who can we trust for objective information?
Are things as bad as people say they are?

These are all questions I’ve asked, and been frustrated in trying to answer. Part of me wants to ignore it altogether, and the other part wants to dive deep and see how I can contribute to a solution. But awareness is always the first step.

Enter Professor Yuval Noah Harari —author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, two bestselling and thrilling books examining where we came from and where we’re going.

In 21 Lessons For The 21st Century, he deep dives into where we are today to paint a clear picture and how today’s choices will shift us going forward. I love this work, because it makes me think. It challenges me. Nothing is off the table here, including the dominance of Big Data, AI, Religion and the future of life and work.

If you’re someone who feels lost in finding objective sources of information and want at least some clarity about where we are (and how that may impact you) —don’t miss out on this one.

In a world divulged by irrelevant information, clarity is power – Yuval Noah Harari

READ THIS IF:

You want an objective view of what’s happening in today’s world and want to spend time thinking about the world’s greatest problems and opportunities.

The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi

best books 2018I heard Tucker Max speak glowingly of The Courage To Be Disliked on the James Altucher podcast, and I had to get it. The title alone grabbed me, and I realized this book had already been a sensation in Japan.

Told through a conversation between a young Man and a aged philosopher, it’s a refreshing format on the topics of change, transformation, courage, relationships and finding joy in life. It speaks about what gets in the way of our growth and how to navigate our lives.

The backbone of the book’s philosophy comes from Adlerian philosophy, which was something I’d never heard of. A colleague of Freud, Alfred Adler believed in developing oneself individually while balancing the holistic nature of a connected community.

Looking back, I’m realizing I need to read this again: it’s a deep read, but the way it’s told allows it to be a fast one. There’s a lot of wisdom within each sentence. It’s a philosophy mets self development type of book, and absolutely worth reading.

The courage to be happy also includes the courage to be disliked. When you have gained that courage, your interpersonal relationships will all at once change into things of lightness. – Ichiro Kishimi

READ THIS IF:

You’re looking for a refreshing take on change, courage and navigating the complexities of life.

12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson

best books 2018

Jordan Peterson has become an online sensation —and for many, can be quite polarizing. While I’m not here to discuss the politics around him, there is no doubt he is smart, studied and produces great work that makes you think.

12 rules For Life is a blend of philosophy, history and advice strikes a chord for its simplicity and great examples to drive the point home. Chapter titles include “Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping” and “Set Your House in Perfect Order Before You Criticize the World”.

What I love about his work is how simple it truly is. However, as humans…we tend to complicate everything. Peterson’s advice that changing the world starts with cleaning our room may seem obvious, but is it really? I don’t think so: self-reliance is always the first step in authentic leadership. So many people want to change the world, but what about starting with the person in the mirror?

Strengthen the individual. Start with yourself. Take care with yourself. Define who you are. Refine your personality. Choose your destination and articulate your being. – Jordan Peterson

READ THIS IF:

You want a blend of life advice with philosophy, history and all types of examples told in a meaningful way.

The Third Door by Alex Banayan

best books 2018I was standing there in Barnes and Noble (which is kind of my second home to be honest) when I saw the Third Door. And then I couldn’t put it down. Alex Banayan, who’s been on the show —has an incredible story of taking chances and putting himself on the line.

This allowed him to meet Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Steve Wozniak and countless others to distill the best advice on getting started with a career and a dream.

What caught me with this book was the powerful storytelling —combined with the raw enthusiasm jumping off the page. The premise is simple: in life, there are a few ways to operate:

One, we can do what everyone else does: waiting in line.
Two, we can be high rollers and VIP’s: we pay to skip the line.

But there’s also a third way: we can ditch the line altogether, reinvent the rules and play our own game to get what we want. This is the mindset of rebels, trailblazers and industry titans who chose to carve their own path, and The Third Door will inspire you to do the same.

If you actually want to make a difference in the world, if you want to live a life of inspiration, adventure, and wild success—you need to grab on to that exponential life—and hold on to it with all you’ve got. – Alex Banayan

READ THIS IF:

You’re wanting a page-turning adventure full of advice from some of the world’s best minds.

The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden

best books 2018If we want to launch a business, we need more motivation — right?
If we want to make more money, we need more motivation — right?
If we want to thrive in relationships, we need more motivation — right?

Wrong. This myth holds so many people back as they “wait” to feel like doing something, and if they’re not motivated…

They quit. This is why I loved The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden: we need more people who are dishing out the real advice around what it takes to succeed. Way too common is those who are relying on extrinsic motivation instead of choosing to create it every single day. Motivational videos are a dime a dozen, but can you execute on the days you want to stay in bed?

This core message is deeply in line with my work, and how I help people achieve results long term. Because if you think you always need motivation, you’ll miss out on the power of growing when you don’t feel like it.

The problem with waiting for motivation to strike is that it almost never comes with enough voltage to get you started. – Jeff Haden

READ THIS IF:

You’ve felt stuck relying on motivation to achieve your goals and dreams and need to get your power back.

Audience Of One by Srivinas Rao

best books 2018When we’re creating something —a message, our platform or any type of endeavor, we can get caught up in doing it for the wrong reasons. We can think we’re being selfless when we’re creating for others —but in Audience Of One, Srinivas Rao takes a different approach.

Using great stories of artists such as David Bowie, the book creates a compelling argument around creating for one person: ourselves. In other words, true creativity is found when we’re able to detach from others expectations and pour our heart and souls into the work.

One of the reasons I loved this book (along with his first one, How To Be Unmistakable) —the way the book is packaged and presented makes it an easy read.

The second half of the book acts like a “how to” on getting our creative work done in an ever distracted world. I was writing my next book when I read this and it helped me focus and re-center on what matters —and will do the same for you.

This includes great tips for focused work, using our environment and habits to shape our creativity and releasing the noise and pressure we so often put on ourselves.

We must learn to let go of our attachments and expectations if we’re going to derive satisfaction from our work and create art that we’re proud to put our signature on. – Srivinas Rao

READ THIS IF:

You’re feeling stuck creatively and spinning your wheels and/or can’t find the time to do the work you care about.

WILD Habits by Tara Mackey

best books 2018

Tara Mackey’s story is incredible: one of resilience, and overcoming adversity against all odds—including being put on 14 prescription drugs and choosing one day to quit.

Cold turkey.

Her podcast episode blew me away because of how she overcame a deeply troubling childhood to now inspire and empower women all over the world as a successful entrepreneur, author and CEO.

I’m always amazed at what people can create coming form having their back up against the wall. This is why I love bringing people on the Academy to dig into their stories, and show you it’s possible no matter what has happened.

Her second book, WILD Habits —is all about how to build this foundation for ourselves and step into who we really are. WILD stands for: willingness, intuition, love, and discipline.

In my coaching, I’ve found this acronym to be essential for not only achievement —but feeling inner freedom, peace and clarity. I especially love the inclusion of discipline which many people get wrong, to me it’s always been about not breaking promises to ourselves (and others.)

In short, your habits will determine the quality of your life, and if you and I can stack more powerful habits into our lives —the more likely we are to love our lives.

My habits used to get me in trouble, now my habits are building blocks that have shaped my life and helped me grow —responsible for every business achievement and my personal health and mental well being. – Tara Mackey

READ THIS IF:

You’re ready to get back to a place of deep alignment…and stop feeling stuck and like nothing is ever working.

The 1% Rule by Tommy Baker

best books 2018 tommy bakerWait, you’re going to promote your own book on this post!? Of course, because I believe in it. The 1% Rule was written for those who were tired of setting life-changing goals only to wake up a few weeks later with nothing to show for it but wasted enthusiasm.

Furthermore, I wanted to give people their power back. At the end of the day, the process is what makes you who you are, not the outcome. Any big outcome in life is momentary (and surprisingly anti-climatic.)

When you put something out into the world, you never know what’s going to happen. It’s been incredible to watch The 1% Rule impact so many people around the world and give them a blueprint to reverse engineer their success and believe in themselves and their dreams again.

When the what and the why are vivid, the how starts to reveal itself. – The 1% Rule

READ THIS IF:

You’re able to create a bold vision or goal(s) for your life —but lose all hope when you think of “HOW” to make those happen.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

When looking to change our behavior, we should stack a bunch of success habits on top of one another —right? Kind of. The problem with this approach is habit change takes time, and since our brains are wired for extreme efficiency —it becomes easy to revert back to normal.

best books 2018I consider Atomic Habits to be a more academic version of The 1% Rule, as we cover very similar topics. James Clear is a great writer and researcher who simplifies the complexities of behavioral change with topics such as making habits ridiculously easy, shifting your environment for success, and much more.

I loved the audio version of the book and finished it in a day. The book became a quick New York Times Bestseller, so that should tell you something.

What I love about it is the simplicity of say, tiny habits —why aiming to do 10 push-ups a day is better to create a fitness routine than starting CrossFit and doing 5 workouts a week.

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. – James Clear

READ THIS IF:

You want to put most of your successful decisions on auto-pilot and finally stick to behaviors long term.

A Tribe Called Bliss by Lori Harder

best books 2018One of the things I love doing is reading books intended for different target audiences. Why? Because I get to connect with other people who I seemingly have little in common with, and yet realize that’s not true at all.

This year, I’ve read more books intended for women than any other year: because I want to deepen my understanding of the unique challenges they go through, so I can do better too.

This includes how competitive women can be with one another, and feel isolated in their pursuits. Lori Harder flipped the script and in A Tribe Called Bliss, talks about why the old model isn’t working. It leaves women alone, frustrated and always in scarcity mode.

Recent research has shown the key to a successful marriage or partnership is each person has significant same-sex relationships they can lean on to share a safe space of trust and support. I’ve found this in my own life by surrounding myself with Men on similar paths.

No matter how much hope and validation you put on someone’s approval or a destination —those are not bliss. If bliss means getting things, permission, validation or reaching a destination, you’ll miss a lifetime full of it. – Lori Harder

READ THIS IF:

You’re feeling disconnected from having a support system or tribe and want to feel the power that comes from having a community of people who have your back.

This Is Marketing by Seth Godin

best books 2018Marketing. This vast world can be overwhelming, confusing and downright frightening —I know from experience of working with the biggest brands during my copywriting career. And if I’m being honest with you: I’m still trying to figure it all out.

Here’s the deal, though: marketing is the lifeblood of any business. You can be the best in the world —but if people don’t know about you, it’s going to be a matter of time until you’re forced to close up shop.

Enter Seth Godin, someone who has transformed my business life and view of marketing. His ideas, his thoughtful words and the way he challenges me to think deeper —are a complete gift. Classic books such as Tribes, Purple Cow and Linchpin are constantly on my must read lists.

This Is Marketing is another brilliant read, designed to empower you (instead of confuse you) to think bigger about your brand, product or service.

Marketers make change. We change people from one emotional state to another. We take people on a journey; we help them become the person they’ve dreamed of becoming, a little bit at a time. – Seth Godin

READ THIS IF:

You want to be empowered to understand marketing, influence and sharing your gifts with the world in an unconventional manner.

Living With The Monks by Jesse Itzler

best books 2018In a non-stop, microwavable, breaking news world —when do we ever stop? Everyone’s busy, you’ll rarely ask someone how they’re doing without them telling you about it. And yet, our personal satisfaction and connection seems to be at an all time low. Our obsession with smartphones means we’re connected externally, yet lacking something much deeper.

Enter Jesse Itzler, trailblazer, entrepreneur and full immersion author who felt burned out and chose to do something about it. But instead of taking a one day digital detox, he went to live with monks in upstate New York for two weeks. His writing is entertaining, fun and informative: it invites questions about our current routines and 24/7 connected culture.

I don’t know about you, but there are days I want to unplug. Living With The Monks becomes a trusted guide and reminder of what really matters —and how the world won’t end if you and I don’t check Instagram 47 times a day.

The power and temptations of the outside world are great. Train yourself from the distractions. They are the enemies of your goals. Learn to move past the distractions, and you will succeed. – Jesse Itzler

READ THIS IF:

You need a funny, riveting reminder of the power of unplugging —and know you need to create some space for yourself.

When by Daniel Pink

best books 2018Daniel Pink is one of my favorite authors on the topic of motivation and why we do what we do —and this is where When: The Scientific Secrets Of Perfect Timing comes in, his latest book.

Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down: it breaks down why timing matters more than we think, and how to use this as leverage for our behavior.

For example, the book breaks down daily timing —when you and I should be doing our most important tasks. Pink’s example of your chances of parole being much, much higher in the morning, than say —before lunch is fascinating. For me personally, it was a reminder to not be so hard on myself and maximize my focused time (with ruthless boundaries.)

I have incredible energy to start my day and choose to use it wisely on things like focused work, writing and what I call big rocks in business. But around 2PM, I start to feel an intense dip —this book reminded me this is normal, and what to do during this time.

It also reminded me of the power of taking intentional breaks to re-charge, as opposed to say, checking email and Instagram, why naps are amazing for us and why niners (29, 39, 49) are more likely to make life changing decisions before a new decade.

Afternoons are the Bermuda Triangles of our days. Across many domains, the trough represents a danger zone for productivity, ethics, and health. – Daniel Pink

READ THIS IF:

You’re having trouble getting your most important work done and want to learn how to leverage timing for big results in life and business.

The Best Self Development, Business and Personal Growth Books of 2018

There’s something for everyone in here, and that’s the point: sometimes, we need a book to spark a creative insight —and sometimes we simply need to be woken up.

If you weren’t able to read a ton this year, don’t fret. Start in 2019 with 10 pages a day, and use Audible and audiobooks to help you learn while on the road.

I’d love to hear from you: which books impacted you the most in 2018?

Ditch The Runway, It’s Time To Fly

By | Advice, Entrepreneurship
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ditch The Runway, It’s Time To Fly

There’s time we should all be spending on the runway of life: accumulating knowledge, wisdom, practice and repetition. This is where we put our preparation in: the pre-flight checklist, the security measures, the analysis of weather patterns.

And then we start to accelerate. This is where momentum grows, and we’re gathering all the tools we’ll need along our path.

But at some point, if we don’t take off —we will either be forced to abort our dreams or be involved in a fiery crash of epic proportions.

Neither is enticing, and yet how often do we spend our entire lives on the tarmac and runway of our dreams:

Chasing the next certification.
Chasing someone else’s permission.
Chasing a ‘someday’ moment in the future.
Chasing society’s approval to give us the nod to fly.

We’ve all been there, and it never seems to be enough. Once we cross off one checkpoint, we add another.

There has to be a better way —or else our dreams will stay grounded forever.

The Best Time To Start Was Yesterday

We’re on the runway, gaining speed, about to take off —and then we stop. We tell ourselves things like:

“I need more time to research.”
“I need another degree, or certification.”
“I’ll do it when life slows down and I have space.”

And so we start to believe these narratives —and we convince ourselves that one day we’ll make it happen.

Except we won’t, because one day and someday are illusions cut from the cloth of fear and procrastination.

And if we aren’t careful, we’ll live our entire lives on the runway.

We’ll watch other planes with more courage and tenacity take off on their dreams, while we stay safely cradled on the ground as the days, months and years pass by.

So the best time for you to start was yesterday.

Regardless of your current skill level —everything we set out to do will require more work, persistence and overcoming obstacles.

So you might as well start now.

Or else, you’ll get stuck in paralysis by analysis much like I did when picking up a new sport recently.

I Wanted All The Gear Before I Started

Recently, I moved into a new home in Arizona, gloriously tucked away in the mountains with unlimited access to some of the best trails around.

So I chose to pick up Mountain Biking —not really a big think in New York or CT, so I was completely new.

And yet, I found myself on the runway: finding a (used) bike, getting all the gear and spending countless hours studying how to get started.

But I wasn’t actually getting started.

Because I can read all the reviews on the latest gear, but everything will pale in comparison to getting out on the trail and having a split second near-collision with a cactus as I fall in a blaze of glory.

This is what most of us do with our dreams: we waste all our time and energy on preparation —when nothing could prepare us for being in the game.

And then we simply miss out on what really matters:

Experiencing the thrill and gift of life that only comes when we’re flying high above the clouds on our unique voyage:

We’re chasing our dreams, living our truths and taking the call to adventure we all deeply crave.

Not for anyone else, but for the Man or Woman in the mirror.

This unquenchable thrill for life can’t be found in blueprints, spreadsheets and P&L statements.

It happens when we take off, and never look back.

What Are You Waiting For?

Is there a time to harness skills, experience life and gain a level of competency?

Of course.

But way too often this becomes a crutch, a convenient excuse to keep our dreams grounded.

(And a brilliant one at that, because we don’t have face the raw and vulnerable feeling of putting ourselves out there.)

So, what are you waiting for?

Because I know one thing to be true:

Regret will gnaw at our spirits, until one day it has consumed every part of our lives.

You won’t regret giving it a shot.
You won’t regret taking a chance.
You won’t regret betting on you.

But you will regret staying grounded, living a life for other people who don’t have to pay the price of your decisions.

It’s time to pull that throttle back.

It’s time to fly.

Because on the other side of lifting off is a life you can’t imagine.

(NOTE: This metaphor is not my own, I simply expanded on it —thank you to the incredible Liz Gilbert.)

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Written by Tommy Baker.
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