Tag Archives: Craig Ballantyne

Share Your Gifts To The World

How to Stop Holding Yourself Back

By Bedros Keuilian

A lot of people have the E-brake on.

Here’s what that means.

When things don’t work out in our businesses — or at work — we often blame other people or the circumstances.

You blame your co-workers.

You blame the people you hired.

You blame the marketing or sales team.

You might even blame the potential customer.

“The market just doesn’t understand what I have.”

You think you need…

  • Better closing skills

  • A slicker sales funnel

  • A more compelling offer

  • Or the latest sneaky marketing trick being hawked by the so-called “gurus”

After you finish playing the blame game, you simply give up.

But here’s the cold, hard truth about what’s really going on.

You’re throwing the fight.

You aren’t giving your best.

You’re making excuses and taking the easy way out.

I can tell.

You see, thousands of clients have gone through my various coaching programs.

And I know when a person has real marketing problems…

…and when a person has self-sabotage issues.

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Bedros Keuilian 
Founder, FitBodyBootcamp.com,
Fastest Growing Fitness Franchise in America

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In fact, and he won’t mind me saying this, our good friend, Craig Ballantyne, is one of those people. That’s right, Craig himself still has self-sabotage issues.

And you do, too.

I call this self-sabotage issue, “the E-brake problem.”

But it’s not your fault.

Let me explain.

I could give you and Craig a brand new Ferrari, but if the Emergency brake (the E-brake) is pulled, then it won’t go faster than a Honda Civic.

That’s because the car has been neutered.

Likewise, most people have a neutered subconscious mind.

They are holding themselves back.

They’ve got the E-brake on.

You might have a great idea and a hungry market that needs your help, but if you’ve got the brakes on, you’ll never get where you want to be.

But the only way for you to succeed and play up a level is to drop that E-brake.

You have value to add to the world.

You have lives to change.

You have the ability to make a massive impact on the lives of millions…

Just like Craig.

That’s one of the reasons he hired me as his coach — even though we’re business partners.

Craig was wise enough to know that he needed help.

He needed a mentor to guide him and to stop himself from holding back.

You need help releasing the e-brake, too.

It might be that you’re afraid of criticism, afraid of what other people might say, afraid of what your family might think, afraid of failure, and even afraid of success.

Instead of going all out, you hold back because you’re being selfish and protecting yourself from what others think.

So how do you drop the E-brake and accelerate down the road to success?

The answer is that you need to change your belief system.

For example, you might have a negative money mindset that your parents put in your head.

Perhaps they told you that money’s bad, money’s for the rich, that other people have success and we don’t, that we’re the working class and will never be anything else, or that the rich have knowledge that you don’t or ever will.

That negative belief system can be crippling.

It’s one that has held back Craig.

He’s slowly overcoming it, but let me tell you, the anti-abundance chains can be a heavy, heavy weight.

Our childhood experiences shape us, and they shackle us.

You might know the feeling.

There are other pains from the past that can keep us in a mental prison.

You might have been on the receiving end of a cruel comment from a schoolteacher.

Or you might have been abused like I was as a little boy.

Bad things happened to me when I was just a 4-year old kid in Armenia before our family immigrated to America.

Because of this trauma, I found a million reasons in my life to fail at things.

I failed at things on purpose.

Procrastination was one of my bad habits ten years ago before I released the brake.

I’d have a good idea and set aside for “the future,” and then never get around to it.

I went broke in my first business, an online supplement company because I didn’t feel deserving of success.

I didn’t believe that anybody would even want to hear from me.

But the truth of the matter is I had the knowledge to help people and yet I was too afraid to share it.

I pulled my punches.

I threw that fight.

It took years for me to get over it.

But eventually, when I started to work on my personal development, changing my belief systems and cutting out the negative people in my life, I was finally able to break free.

I gave myself permission to succeed.

The time had come to stop holding back, to go out and add massive value to the world, to be an evangelical believer in the message I am here to share.

That’s how I dropped the E-brake.

Join me.

If you’re like I once was, you need to change.

When you drop the E-brake, ideas flow to you and all of a sudden you magically have the courage to take action and overcome the bad habit of procrastination once and for all.

Listen, you have an obligation to get your solution in the hands of as many people as you can so that you can make a change in their lives.

That is how you will free yourself — by first believing in yourself, and then giving of yourself to the world.

It’s the message that I’ve told Craig over and over again, and I can see him believing in it now more than ever.

And let me tell you, he’s a great student.

Everything I instruct him to do, he does.

He takes action.

He works on the skills he needs to improve.

He practices his presentations more than ever.

He asks for feedback.

More important, he is man enough to accept the constructive criticism and then goes back to work on his weaknesses.

And you can too.

Join Craig.

Join me.

Release the brakes.

It all starts with the belief you have a unique gift to share with the world.

And then you need to take massive action.

You don’t need more education.

You just need to take what you know and do it.

You just need to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

Add your value. Sell your message. Do the work.

Get feedback. Fail forward.

And do it again and again.

Each time you do, the E-brake will drop lower and lower…

…And you’ll go faster and faster.

Trust me.

This approach to life is working for Craig, it worked for me, and it will work for you, too.

About the Author: Bedros Keuilian is the embodiment of the American Dream. Arriving in the United States from the communist Soviet Union back in 1980, his family went from being broke to eventually adding value to their new community. Today, Bedros helps over 45,000 fitness experts grow their businesses. Bedros knows the American Dream is NOT dead, because he is living it right now.

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Measure Your Life

How Will You Measure Your Life

By Craig Ballantyne

Clayton Christianson’s book, How Will You Measure Your Life, barely needs reading beyond the title to make an impact. It’s a question I ask myself all the time and one that I’ve taught my coaching clients to use as well. Recently one of my top students emailed me her thoughts on how she uses this mindset to focus on what matters.

“Craig, at one point you referenced a question… something along the lines of ‘in from 5 years — or 5 months — from now, will this problem matter? Will it affect you or anyone else?’ It’s one of my grounding questions. Other ways that help me through tough times and to stay focused are:

1. Gratitude — I’m grateful for the situation no matter how bad because there will always be a lesson for me as long as I stay open to it
2. Be the Light. Give. You can’t out give the Universe.
3. This too shall pass… that’s my mantra these days.”

Mistake

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

My #1 Mistake in Life

By Craig Ballantyne

“The first thing I tell anybody who’s going to be doing interviews is homework,” said Barbara Walters about conducting a great interview. “I do so much homework, I know more about the person than he or she does about himself.”

This year I’ve been interviewed on over 50 podcasts. The best interviews, not surprisingly, have followed Barbara’s formula. The best interviewers did their homework, asking personal questions specific to their audience.

Doing homework on me is not hard. I’ve shared many personal stories here at Early To Rise, and in my book, The Perfect Day Formula. It’s easy for an interviewer to draw out my struggles of battling anxiety or my goose-bump-evoking journey of how I came to be the owner of Early To Rise.

Many interviewers have also taken Barbara’s advice of saving the toughest question to the end. That’s when I’m often asked, “Craig, what’s the biggest mistake you have made in your career?”

It’s a question that I can answer quickly and without fail.

My biggest mistake was not hiring a coach earlier in my career.

I made this foolish mistake because I was cheap, stubborn, and thought I was smarter than everyone else. My hubris nearly led to me losing everything. It contributed to my anxiety attacks, caused me a lot of frustration, and fed my jealousy as I watched others in my industry come out of nowhere and surpass me. And they did so because they were not too proud to do what I should have done.

By late 2003, I was making more than enough money from my online business side venture that I could have invested in hiring a mentor. But it wasn’t until 2006 that I finally set aside my ego and hired my first coach. When I did that, his advice helped me make more money and help more people than I had in the entire six years that I was trying to do things all by myself.

I regret going it alone for so long, figuring things out the hard way, and ignoring the easier path to success that had already been blazed before me by potential mentors. As a result, I was not nearly as successful as my friends and colleagues believed. They all thought I was making more money than I was, and I felt ashamed knowing the truth.

Once I smartened up, I quickly added many mentors to my life and my success continued to grow rapidly as a result. These mentors included paid coaches such as Yanik Silver, Dan Kennedy, Tom Venuto, Matt Smith, and Bedros Keuilian.

Having Professional Accountability from a coach is one of my Five Pillars of Success. It is different than just having friends giving you positive social support.

A coach brings you three gifts that a friend or colleague cannot.

  1. Expert Advice

  2. Experience from someone that has been there and done that

  3. A level of accountability that accepts NO excuses

Your coach should come highly recommended based on these three traits. They should be able to prove their success through client testimonials. They should have years of experience, and a ‘stern-but-loving-parent’ approach to accountability. If they become more of a buddy and stop holding you accountable, you’ll never get the full benefits of their experience and expert advice.

Seth Godin agrees.

“Mentorship works for two reasons,” Godin said. “Certainly, the person being mentored gains from advice and counsel and access to others via introductions, etc. But mostly, it works because the person with a mentor has a responsibility to stand up and actually get moving. The only way to repay your mentor is by showing the guts it takes to grow and to matter.

“Interesting to note, then, that the primary driver of mentor benefit has nothing to do with the mentor herself, nothing beyond the feeling of obligation the student feels to the teacher. Whether or not the mentor does anything, this obligation delivers benefits.”

When I hired my first mentor, Tom Venuto, I was in the midst of struggling with my crippling anxiety attacks. Before each of our weekly phone calls, I had to do a few minutes of slow deep breathing and said a little prayer hoping to make it through the entire call without having a full blown panic attack.

I often wanted to skip the calls, but as Seth said, I had the obligation of showing up. Thankfully I did, because with Tom’s expert advice my business rapidly became more successful than I ever expected. Tom’s coaching was also a big reason I was able to overcome my issues with anxiety. Without his help, I don’t know where I’d be today, and frankly I don’t even want to think about it.

So if you’re struggling, the best advice I can give you is to stop being so stubborn and go get a mentor. Hire a coach today. Find one that has achieved what you want to achieve in life, and that shares your morals and ethics, and find a way to work with them. This changed my life and it will change yours for the better, too.

It’s been 10 years since I hired my first coach. And since that time I’ve come to believe this old saying is true:

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”

You are ready. And I am here.

Don’t wait any longer.

What I Learn About Happiness

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” – Epictetus

3 Secrets to Happiness

By Craig Ballantyne
One morning, a friend called me in distress about her relationship with her boyfriend. There was one misunderstanding after another, and now they weren’t talking. After 20 minutes we worked out a plan and I’ll share it below. But it got me thinking about how easy it is for us to slip from what I call, The Simple & Happy Life Plan.

The source of this plan, one that has made me happier and less stressed than any other resource, is called, The Art Of Living.

It’s a series of short lessons translated from the ancient Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, and it gave me the 3-C Formula for life:

  • Control what you can

  • Cope with what you can’t

  • Concentrate on what counts

I take this to mean:

  • You can only control your thoughts, words and deeds. What you say, how you think, and what you do can make a situation better or worse, so choose wisely

  • You can’t control other people or their moods, or the weather, or traffic. That means we must be prepared to cope with the wild and wacky ups-and-downs of friends, family, and yes, even the weather. Always remember: You control your reaction. You can raise your voice, or you can be calm. It’s your choice.)

  • You must concentrate on what counts. Focus on what really matters in life, not the things that won’t matter in 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days, or 3 hours from now.

But wait, what really matters?

The answer, according to science from Harvard University, is that we must focus our time and energy on people and experiences — these two things matter more than anything else in life when it comes to our happiness.

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In a study that started all the way back in 1938, and has since tracked over 700 people (including JFK!), if you want to be happy, don’t chase money or fame. Instead, spend more time with others that you love.

The most important factor in happiness, long-term health, and wellbeing is:

The strength of your relationships with your family, friends, and spouse.

The study has also led to other interesting findings such as:

  • The #1 thing you can do for your health is to avoid smoking.

  • Alcohol was the primary cause of divorce.

  • Alcohol abuse often precedes depression.

But most importantly…

“The people in the strongest relationships were protected against chronic disease, mental illness and memory decline — even if the relationships had ups and downs. Those good relationships don’t have to be smooth all the time,” said Dr. Robert Waldinger, the current leader of the research study.

“Some of our octogenarian couples could bicker day in and day out. But as long as they felt that they could really count on the other when the going got tough, those arguments didn’t take a toll on their memories.”

So what does the Harvard study suggest we do?

Well, it’s the same sort of plan I gave my friend to help her relationship… (yep, I’m a regular ol’ Dr. Phil here, ha!)

The Plan for My Friend to Regain Her Happiness & Relationship

  1. Stop trying to have the difficult conversations via email. You must talk things through face-to-face. When he gets home tonight, go for a walk. We communicate — and understand one another — better in person, especially when the conversations are difficult.

  2. Once you sort out the issue, do something new together. The Harvard study recommends livening up stale relationships with long walks or date nights. My good friends, Bedros and Di Keuilian, go out every Tuesday for a date night. It’s one of the foundations of their strong marriage.

  3. Don’t ignore conflict. The old saying about “Never go to bed mad” is great advice that stands the test of time. This goes for family relationships, too. According to the Harvard study, we should “reach out to the family member we haven’t spoken to in years — because those family feuds take a terrible toll on the people who hold the grudges.”

No one’s perfect, myself included, and we won’t ever live a life free of conflict, but as long as we work to strengthen the relationships with our loved ones, and focus on people and experiences, we’ll live a long, satisfied, and healthy life.

That’s what it’s about, not money in the bank, job titles, or hours spent at work.

About the Author: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and author of The Perfect Day Formula. His straightforward, sometimes “politically-incorrect” advice has helped millions of people transform their lives both physically and financially. Craig’s secret weapons for success include his personal commandments, his 5 pillars, and his Perfect Life vision. Click here to learn more about how you can implement his 3 secrets to success and live your Perfect Days.

How to Build the Perfect Morning Routine

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” — Marcus Aurelius

How to Build the Perfect Morning Routine

By Craig Ballantyne

Imagine Joe, an average guy with a regular office job. His day starts with waking up to an alarm. He hits the snooze button two, sometimes three or four times, leaving him late for work. He doesn’t have time for breakfast at home so he grabs a large coffee — with plenty of sugar — and a donut on the way to the office. He barely makes it in to work on time — if he’s lucky.

He starts his day without a plan and wastes an hour just getting organized, reading email, and checking Facebook. He’s hungry because he skipped a good breakfast. Lunch ends up being a trip to a fast food restaurant. At 2 p.m. he’s nodding off in his chair.

The next thing Joe knows, it’s almost 4 p.m. and he still has three hours of work to finish. There’s no way that he’ll be able to leave on time. It’s only in this last mad dash under a deadline that he’s finally able to get a few priorities completed, but he is never able to complete his to-do list because of the chaos of his day.

Looks like another late night is in his future. He phones home to let his family know the bad news. He won’t be able to attend little Joe’s ballgame, and he’ll be late for daughter Katie’s dance recital…but he’ll try to make it for the end. Rushing out of the office at 7:30 p.m. he arrives just as the crowd launches into applause. Joe threw away his chance at freedom because his day lacked structure. Another day wasted because it started with chaos, not with control.

Now compare Joe’s life to John, the CEO who knows how to have the Perfect Day.

John spent last night getting to bed on time, thanks to his rules. He sleeps well and wakes up five minutes before his alarm clock goes off. His number one priority at work is managing his team, so he uses the first 15 minutes of his day preparing to run effective meetings.

John exercises and eats a healthy breakfast before heading into the office well prepared for his first appointment. He is on time and energized, not stressed. His day is scripted. Meetings are focused. Projects are finished before their deadlines.

He wraps up on time and makes it home for his kids’ activities, time with his spouse, and he even has 15 minutes for himself that he can spend in prayer, meditation, or gratitude.

John is free. Joe is not. Why? John is structured. Joe is not. John has rules. Joe has none. John is successful. Joe is lost.

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If you’ve had the privilege to experience both sets of days, surely you’d pick John’s results. This is the epic battle for your life. This is what The Perfect Day Formula is all about. It all starts with building the Perfect Morning Routine. Here’s how…

Step #1 – Get Off to a Great Start

The wonderful thing about mornings is you know they are coming. It’s a not surprise, like when your in-laws suddenly knock on the door on an otherwise peaceful Sunday afternoon.

You know your alarm is going to go off. You know you have things to do, places to be, people to see, and teeth to brush.

By age 40, you’ve gone through your weekday morning routine over 6,000 times as an adult. There’s no reason not to do it right.

All it takes to get off to a great start each morning is a little planning and preparation the night before. Get to bed on time. Know what you need to do first thing upon waking, and make it easy to get started.

Step #2 – Make Your Morning Activities Automatic

Imagine you’re a writer, like the prolific horror master, Stephen King, and each morning your goal is to sit down and write 2,000 words. If you spend five minutes the night before preparing a quick outline for your morning writing, it will go much easier than if you begin without any preparation at all.

You’ll also get results faster if you arrange your writing space so that you can sit down and get to work immediately, without fussing over yesterday’s edits or the mail that you tossed on your desk.

Know what you need to avoid, such as the icon that opens your Internet browser on your computer. Eliminate your temptations so you get up, go to it, and hit your word count.

If you want to make morning exercise a habit, lay out your workout gear beside your bed. You can even sleep in it (clean clothes only, of course!). That way, you get up and are 50% of the way to getting started.

No matter what you want to accomplish first thing in the morning, be prepared to get off to a great start — automatically.

Step #3 – Get Up 15 Minutes Earlier

If, like Joe, you wake up chasing the tail of the world each morning, the answer to improving your morning routine is obvious. You need to get up earlier. That starts with getting to bed on time. Follow Mark Ford’s 12-step program here. [http://www.earlytorise.com/how-to-become-an-early-riser-2/] or use my secrets for better sleep [http://www.earlytorise.com/secrets-to-better-sleep/].

Getting up 15 minutes before anyone else in your house gives you a significant amount of time to spend in solitude working on the most important task if your life. If your number one priority is to get out of debt, you can spend this time pouring over your finances, identifying ways to cut expenses, and brainstorming new ideas for increasing your income.

These extra 15 minutes are golden no matter what your goal in life, just as these three steps are perfect for getting off to a great start each morning.

You don’t need to make huge changes in your life. You just need to start with these magic minutes and a few automatic actions so that you can end every day with a sense of accomplishment, being ahead of the curve at all times, and never falling behind like poor ol’ Joe.

Control your mornings, own your days, and you’ll take a big step forward towards living your Perfect Life.

About the Author: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and author of The Perfect Day Formula. His straightforward, sometimes “politically-incorrect” advice has helped millions of people transform their lives both physically and financially. Craig’s secret weapons for success include his personal commandments, his 5 pillars, and his Perfect Life vision.

3 Big Life Lessons From A Dog

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, ‘Wow, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!’” — Dave Barry

3 Big Life Lessons From A Dog

By Craig Ballantyne

Years ago a research study revealed the “pet effect.” Scientists found that if you want to lower your resting blood pressure and heart rate, all you have to do is pet a dog.

When I heard that, my first reaction was, “Great, something to do when I’m an old man.”

Turns out my old man days would come sooner than I thought.

One morning in March of 2006 I woke up with a sense my world was not right. I was coming off another long weekend of late nights spent in big city bars and early mornings with my personal training clients in the gym (where I suffered through a hypocritical hangover). As a result I was anxious, and both physically and mentally exhausted.

Mid-morning the fire alarm went off in my apartment. Exiting the building, I made my way across the street and sat on a park bench in the sunshine. The alarm had made things worse. I tried to inhale slowly and deeply, but could barely catch my breath. My body was seizing up. This would be my prison for the next three months.

I tried everything to escape the tightness in my chest, the tingling that ran from the top of my skull to the end of my fingertips, and the worry racing through my mind. Sleep came in fitful four-hour bursts, and always with strange dreams, before the anxiety would wake me in the middle of the night.

I started attending weekly Qi Gong sessions (a type of standing meditation, like Tai Chi). I hired a yoga instructor. I tried — and failed — to take up meditation. I began listening to classical musical. And one day, remembering what those scientists had found in their research study, I bought a dog.

One of my clients, an animal lover, helped me find a breeder north of the city.

“You better hurry,” the gruff old breeder said when I called him on Thursday morning, “We only have two pups left, and there’s another family coming on Saturday afternoon.”

That weekend I made the 2-hour drive to a small country home tucked into a small forest. Behind the house was a large kennel filled with beautiful dogs, including the patriarch, prize-winning “George.” Weighing 80 pounds and with paws the size of my face, George sprawled out like a lion on the grass, surveying his brood.

True to his word, the breeder showed me the last two puppies left in the litter. Scampering around the lawn clumsily, a little brown puppy caught my eye, and he made his way over to me.

He sniffed my leg. He peed near my foot.

“He’ll do,” I thought, “He’ll do just fine.”

“What do you want to name him?” the breeder asked as we filled out some paperwork.

“Bally,” I replied. “Bally the Dog.”

Finally, I thought, a furry little savior that would deliver me from hell on earth.

Let’s just say this didn’t go as planned.

For the first weeks he did nothing but raise my blood pressure and add to my anxiety. So much for the “pet effect.” Stubborn as could be, he refused to go for walks, preferring to park himself in the middle of the sidewalk where strangers stopped to adore him. Nor would he play fetch.

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Each night he’d cry when put in his crate, so I slept on the floor beside him. It was a pain in the neck, literally. After three nights I gave up and let him sleep on a mat beside my bed. When I left him alone, even for 10 minutes, he barked so much my neighbors left angry notes on my door.

Sigh. This wasn’t going as expected.

Eventually I overcame my anxiety. That’s another story for another day, and since then old Bally the Dog has been one of my greatest mentors in life. Today I want to share with you the 3 greatest life and love lessons the little fella has taught me.

Lesson #1 — You Can’t Control Others

Bally is never going to be invited to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the annual televised spectacle that takes place at Madison Square Garden. He’s simply not the best-behaved dog. Of course, that’s entirely my fault. His master did not train him well.

His canine instincts dictate his behavior. When I lived in the big city of Toronto, he lunged at half-eaten chicken wings discarded on the sidewalk. He chased every feral cat that ran down an alley. Now that we live out in the country, he chases skunks, rabbits, and even deer, ignoring my commands to “stay.”

It’s not his fault. It’s mine. He’s just doing what a dog does. I can’t control him, just like you can’t control the people around you, just as you can’t control the weather or the traffic. When your boss gets in a bad mood, you can’t change it, you can only cope with it. If your relatives are rude, you can’t change them, you can only control your reaction and your attitude.

Understanding what I can’t control, and having the wisdom to focus on what I can control, have made a big difference in my life. I’m less stressed, more forgiving, and frankly, spend far less energy on the drama that can fill my days.

Oh, and I also learned to keep the dog on a tighter leash on garbage days.

Lesson #2 — Time is 700% More Important Than You Think

Everyone knows that one human year is about seven dog years. Even though Bally was born in late 2005, he and I were around the same biological age in 2010. Today he would be eligible for the Senior’s Discount at Denny’s. I don’t know if dogs go to heaven, although it would be hard for even St. Peter to deny Bally entrance once he looked in those big puppy dog eyes.

Owning a dog is a harsh reminder that our lives are passing even faster than you think. It’s inspired me to focus, to concentrate on what counts, and to make the most of my days and our minutes together. Let this be a lesson to you to identify what matters, both at work and at home. You’ve only got one life here on earth, and you better make it count in the short time you have.

Lesson #3 — I’ve Learned to Love a Lot More

The first time my dog met his “Grandma” (my mother), I thought he was going to die. He was just 12 weeks old when she visited us at my small apartment in Toronto. For Bally, it was love at first site. I literally thought his little puppy heart was going to burst with joy.

It was a ridiculous thought, I know. Your heart doesn’t explode because you’re in love, but I had never seen any dog, let alone a person, so happy. Every time she spoke to him he became more and more excited.

Over the years I’ve watched Bally greet everyone he meets with unconditional love. He and I couldn’t be much more different. Growing up I was skeptical of other people, and closed off to strangers, always looking for that one thing ‘wrong’ with them that would allow me to disqualify their friendship.

He and I couldn’t be much more different. Growing up I was skeptical of other people, closed off to meeting strangers, always looking for that one thing ‘wrong’ with them that would allow me to disqualify their friendship.

This served me well in college, where being critical of research studies allowed me to expose fitness myths and create a better weight loss system.

But beyond that, my cynicism handcuffed my relationships and slowed my personal — and professional — growth.

My dog has taught me to live and love with an open heart. He taught me to forgive quickly, to love unconditionally, and to welcome people warmly.

The heart of a dog knows no limits.

Now I know that mine has none, either. And neither does yours. So, take these lessons from my dog to heart. Love more, forgive more, and make more of the time you have with the people you love.

7 Steps to Success

“Be yourself and better yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Resist complacency. Step-up. Don’t settle. Never stop learning and improving.” – Craig Ballantyne

7 Steps to Success

By Craig Ballantyne

In 2006 I dealt with crippling anxiety attacks. They were so intense I visited the emergency room twice, fearing it was a heart attack.

Over the next three months I searched high and low to cure myself, trying everything from meditation to Qi Gong to Yoga in order to overcome the anxiety. Eventually I conquered it because I listened to my own advice.

“Success is simple once you accept how hard it is.”

This is a phrase I’ve been sharing with my body transformation clients and Internet Marketing Mastermind coaching members for years.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that success is easy. I’m saying that it is simple. There’s a big difference.

It’s not easy to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. In fact, it’s brutally hard, as Mark Ford found out. But it’s simple. You put one foot in front of the other, do the work, listen to your guide, and follow the path.

The same approach works for almost everything in life, whether it’s losing weight, overcoming anxiety, getting out of debt, finding the love of your life, or getting rich.


 

You follow your mentor’s advice, you do the work, and you never quit on what’s important to you.

If you understand and accept that success requires sacrifice, you are psychologically prepared to make the necessary sacrifices. Then, and only then, with the right mindset in place, success simply becomes a matter of following a proven blueprint.

After reviewing all of the success stories that have passed through the ETR world, including the 75 winners from my Turbulence Training Body Transformation Contests, as well as the Mastermind members who have built 6-figure, 7-figure, and even 8-figure online businesses, I’ve identified the following 7-Step Success Formula that applies to every area of your life:

SUCCESS = Process Goals + Planning + Accountability + Support + Incentives + The Deadline + Action

Let’s walk you through those 7 Steps.

1) Process Goals

We’re all familiar with traditional goal setting. You pick an achievement and sometimes connect it with a date, and then you declare it to yourself, and perhaps a few friends on New Year’s Day.

“I want to lose 25 pounds before Valentine’s Day,” the world screams. And then they try to make 10 big lifestyle changes at once and burn out before the big day.

That’s okay, it happens to all of us when we rely on outcome goals and neglect to include the more important Process Goals in our plan.

Process goals refer to what you are going to do in order to succeed. When I was overcoming my anxiety, I had to make time each day to practice meditation. I had to show up for my Qi Gong and Yoga appointments for the week. If I missed my process goals, there was no way I’d achieve my outcome goals.

Likewise, for someone that wants to lose belly fat, the process goals will include doing three of my Turbulence Training workouts per week, sticking to their diet 90% of the time, and checking in with their accountability coach or social support network each day. By hitting these process goals, you’ll naturally achieve your outcome goal of losing weight.

Process goals are simple. They are not easy to stick to, but they are simple to stick to. You just have to do the work. But in today’s world of hourly temptations to get off track, how can you stick with your process goals through tough times?

The answer is in using my Five Pillars of Success, which are also the next five steps of our Success Formula. These are Planning, Accountability, Social Support, Incentives, and The Deadline.

2) Planning

You need to plan and prepare better than you ever have before. It’s not enough to plan ‘one day at a time.’ If the deadline for your goal is in six weeks, you need to have an incredibly detailed 6-week plan. Don’t just outline what you need to do tomorrow. Make a plan for everything you need to do each day and every week. Identify who you need on your side. Figure out a way to get them, and implement every one of the next steps with tactical precision.

3) Professional Accountability

Research shows that being accountable to an authority figure increases your chances of success. This might be your doctor or a personal trainer if you are trying to lose weight and improve your health. If your goal is to improve your marriage, you might use your pastor or a therapist.

Regardless of your big goals, you need professional accountability. Your professional accountability partner is there to give you expert advice and to give you a kick-in-the-butt to get back on track when you are slipping in your habits. Tough love is what you want from them.

When taking up meditation to overcome my anxiety, I held myself accountable to Matt Smith, my business partner, and my chiropractor, Dr. Michael Sommers. Both of these men have been long-time practitioners of meditation and gave me expert advise on making my sessions better. Without them, I would have given up, but with their accountability I’ve turned meditation into a daily habit.

4) Social Support

If Professional Accountability is your success coach, then your Social Support network acts as the cheerleaders in your life. They are the people that are always there to cheer you on and support you through the tough times and dips in your days.

Not every step on the climb of your personal Mount Kilimanjaro journey will be easy. You need as many positive people on the sidelines as possible yelling, “Keep going. You can do it!”

You can’t go it alone and expect to succeed. You must find positive people to be there when you need a shoulder to lean on. Research shows that online support groups work as well as ‘real life in-person’ support. Swedish scientists found that the more often a weight loss study participant visited an online weight loss forum, the better the weight loss results. I’ve found this to hold true in the Turbulence Training Transformation Contests in my business. When a member is active on our forums, they have greater odds of success.

You might find yourself surrounded with negative people in the real world, but if you go online and seek out Facebook groups or website forums, you’ll find the positive support you need. It works just as well as having a friend cheering you on in person.

5) A Meaningful Incentive

There are two ways to implement Incentives into your Success Formula. You can use the “carrot” or the “stick.” The “carrot” approach is based on a reward you’ll give yourself for taking action and hitting your process and outcome goals.

For people that join our body transformation contests, the cash prizes motivate them to get started. Eventually they internalize the benefits and don’t care as much about the money as they do about continuing to see results. However, to get over the initial inertia, the idea of winning $1000 is a meaningful incentive.

On the other hand, you can motivate yourself with negative consequences. That’s the “stick” method. For example, you can punish yourself for not taking action or for not hitting your outcome goals.

When I quit swearing, I created a “swear jar.” Each curse word cost me $10 that had to go to a charity I did not want to support. (You can also choose to donate to the political party you don’t support using a website like Stickk.com.) I quickly cleaned up my swearing habits in just six days using a meaningful, negative incentive.

6) The Big Deadline

This is a crucial factor in your success. Without The Big Deadline, we procrastinate and never reach our goals. As the old saying goes, “Dreams are just goals without deadlines.”

Once you have a Big Deadline in place, you’ll be well on your way to success. It’s almost like the old Woody Allen saying, “80% of success is showing up.” In this case, 80% of your success might come from setting that deadline.

Set a hard, but manageable deadline, one that challenges you to push outside of your comfort zone to make big breakthroughs in your life.

7) Action

All the optimism and goal setting in the world does little good without Action. You must plan and prepare to take action. You must force yourself — even on those tough days, for example, when you want to skip your meditation session or workout because you are tired or too busy — to take action. But as I like to say, “Action takers rule the world.”

However, there’s one last truth that I must share with you.

There will be days when you feel like you are doing everything right, days where you are taking action on your process goals, days when you’re checking in with your accountability coach and getting pats on the back from your social support, and yet you’ll find yourself struggling.

It’s okay. We all go through these dips.

On those days, when you feel like you’ve hit the wall and you’re ready to quit, remember this phrase, and better yet, print it out and post it on your computer or your fridge so it’s always there in front of you.

Success comes in spurts.

There will be times when you’ll work and work and work, and you’ll feel like you’re getting nowhere. You might be experiencing this right now.

Believe me, I know how you feel. Back in 2006 as I struggled with my anxiety, there were some very dark days, but I never gave up on looking for solutions.

What I discovered was that no matter how bad things got, I could not quit. Neither can you. The 7 steps to success always come through. So no matter how tough the times in your life right now, you cannot give up. You must keep taking action every day, getting help from your coach to overcome obstacles, and leaning on your social support to power through the dips. And when you do…

WHOOOOOSH. Success will come.

The fear, stress, and anxiety in your life will dissipate. The scale will change by 2-3 pounds seemingly overnight. The person of your dreams will walk into your life. A big break will happen at work. Whatever your big goals and dreams, you will achieve them if you keep taking action and stick to this plan.

It happened to me and it will happen to you too. I dealt with the anxiety every single waking moment for six weeks, and then I finally found the answer to my problem. And POOF! I was cured almost instantly.

Success. It comes in spurts.

This is why so many “overnight success stories” are really 10 years in the making.

Realize that each action you take is a small victory for you, and each accomplishment is another step closer to your big breakthrough.

Trust me on that.

So never, ever, EVER give up on what is important to you.

If you incorporate all 7 steps into your success blueprint, I guarantee you’ll achieve you big goals and dreams in life.

I’ve created the perfect system to help you put all 7 steps into place. It starts with watching this new video, The Perfect Life Assessment, that I’m giving away as a free bonus with my Perfect Day Formula kit. Get it here this weekend only and start changing your life today.

#1 Skill for Life at Any Age

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius
 
 
#1 Skill for Life at Any Age
 
By Craig Ballantyne
It was a little past four when I got out of bed on Sunday morning. The winter’s first snow was still coming down, and the streets and sidewalks were a blank canvas, waiting for early morning artists to leave their mark.

I slowly descended the stairs. My legs are a little stiffer in the morning hours. As I shuffled through the dark to the kitchen, the dog didn’t stir from his mat. He sleeps more deeply now that he’s older. We both hit milestone birthdays this year, 40 for me and 10 for him.

My nose was slightly stuffy from the previous night’s Christmas cheer, and I sniffled a few times while making my morning energy drink.

On a weekday, I would have opened my laptop and written one thousand words for a newsletter or my next book. But that was not my plan that morning. I had something more important to do.

Grabbing pen and paper, I went into the living room, sat in my comfy chair beside the fireplace, and went to work on the most important activity in life.

I started thinking.

The average man hates thinking. He’ll do anything to avoid it. It’s why most people go through life head down, immersed in their smart phones, streaming Netflix, tracking sports scores, and reading idle gossip “newspapers.” The search for external amusement knows no limits.

“Most people fear being without audiovisual stimulation,” Nassim Taleb writes in The Bed of Procrustes, “because they are too repetitive when they think.”

For the average person, thinking is punishment, and they look for the easy way out.

“Thinking is the hardest work there is,” said Henry Ford, “which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”

But if you want to get ahead, you must think. You must set aside time to plot and scheme your way to freedom, like Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption. He did not sit idly by when opportunity raised its head. And neither can you. Thinking is the number one skill you can use to improve your life at any age.

Certainly action is important, but if you act without thinking, you can make things worse. Much worse. If you don’t think ahead and properly plan your course, you become the proverbial person in the deep hole that keeps digging.

After all, what is the first thing you scream at your child when they foul up?

“What were you thinking?!?”

Clear thinking, on the other hand, is the foundation of success.

“An hour of effective, precise, hard, disciplined – and integrated thinking can be worth a month of hard work,” states Kekich Cred0 #44

“Thinking is the very essence of, and the most difficult thing to do in business and in life. Empire builders spend hour-after-hour on mental work…while others party. If you’re not consciously aware of putting forth the effort to exert self-guided integrated thinking…if you don’t act beyond your feelings and instead take the path of least resistance, then you give in to laziness, make bad decisions and no longer control your life.”

Harsh, yet true. But even for those of us that recognize the power of thinking, few of us make the time.

There are no excuses. The beauty of thinking is that it’s best done outside of your regular work environment. The idea for my first million-dollar business came to me on an airplane. One of the side benefits of traveling as much as I do is the time spent alone with my thoughts in novel environments. This provides the right environment for breakthrough ideas.

Our brain operates differently – and more creatively – when we’re in nature, out walking the dog, and doing mindless tasks. That’s why you get flashes of insight in the shower, while washing the dishes, or when exercising.

To foster your ability to think, you need to follow the instructions in my Perfect Day Formula book and get up fifteen minutes early each day. That’s enough time to start making big changes in your life. Eventually you should get up even earlier, but this is good enough for now.

When you are the first out of bed, it’s just you and your thoughts. If you have prepared a plan the night before, you can set your mind to solving the number one problem in your life. You’ll eliminate the obstacles getting in the way of your success and happiness, or preventing you from making great progress on your big goals and dreams.

But if you insist on getting up late and rushing through the day reacting to busy work, you’ll end up with the average results of the average person in a world where average is rewarded less and less each day.

The Art of Thinking gets as much respect as hoarding gold. Both stand the test of time and have endured for centuries amongst wise men, yet its critics dismiss it as a barbarous, ancient relic.

“You don’t need to think, you just need the latest productivity app!” the cutting-edge folks say today.

Such claims cause me to roll my eyes, and shuffle off to a corner seat where I can sit and think, sans smartphone, happy to be the only dinosaur in the room using his own brain.

And so, on that recent Sunday morning, I settled in to do just that, armed with my high-tech thinking tools – pen and pad.

But what should you think about?

It doesn’t have to be about work. That’s just my personal preference.

You can use the quiet early hours of a weekend morning to think yourself out of any problem, from health issues to credit card debt.

Start by dumping out the contents of your brain. Free your mind and then connect the dots. Identify the opportunities. Make a plan to overcome the obstacles. And prepare the correct course of action that moves you towards success.

I like to think about the answers to five questions first taught to me by my mentor, Yanik Silver in his 18th Maverick Business Rule.

“Keep asking the right questions to come up with innovative solutions. “How?”, “What?”, “Where?”, “Who Else?” & “Why?” open up possibilities.”

And so that’s what I do, I sit there and think and scribble down my answers to these questions for my businesses, my health, and my personal relationships.

How can we attract more contributors and customers to the ETR world?

What can I do to help our ETR team members grow personally and professionally?

Where can I be today, this week, and this month to grow my network and meet interesting people?

Who else in my network can I connect with and help today?

Why should I keep doing certain activities in my business or daily routine?

Sometimes I’ll also do the 10 Big Ideas exercise that author James Altucher recommends. I scribble down 10 ways I can help a friend or a business partner. I might write down 10 big connections I want to make or 10 new products to create and books to write.

No editing is allowed. Just big, fast, wild thinking. It’s fun, useful, and puts a smile of optimism on my face. It sure beats spending the same amount of time worrying, gossiping, or reading the horrors on the front page of the New York Times.

And so that is how I start my Sundays.

There are reasons why we all love weekends. It means more family time, watching movies, and playing sports or taking hikes. We reward ourselves with bigger or better meals. We feel no guilt in enjoying an extra glass — or two or three — of wine.

But for me, it means more time for thinking, and more importantly, clearer, better thinking. Weekends mean fewer incoming emails, no meetings, and only friendly phone calls, so you don’t have any of those regular work stresses clouding your judgment. Weekends were built for free, clear, and integrated thinking.

Don’t throw away this opportunity. Embrace your chance to think. When done alone in a creative space you’ll find yourself experiencing the mental breakthroughs that you’ve struggled to find during your regular workweek. You’ll see new solutions to old problems and wonder, “Why didn’t I think of this before?”

After sixty minutes of thinking on that cold and dark Sunday morning, I was satisfied. My mind was emptied, my plans clearer, and my success foundation bigger and stronger than ever. But I wasn’t done yet. Now it was time for the dog and I to stretch our old legs, take a walk, and do more thinking while leaving our mark on nature’s snowy canvass.