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Stop Being a Passenger In Your Life | Live a Rich Life of Intent, Action, Purpose, and Meaning

Stop Being a Passenger In Your Life | Live a Rich Life of Intent, Action, Purpose, and Meaning

Introduction

What is it that you’re living for? What is it that you are so passionate about that you are playing the long game of aligning your mind, your energy, and your resources to achieve or attain? Are you able to fire off answers to these questions faster than a Clint Eastwood quickdraw circa The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, or does it take you a beat to come up with a response? If it takes you a moment then know that you’re not alone, because it takes most people a bit before they can rattle off an answer. So, what does this mean, and what is my point? I’m glad you asked!

My point is that most people don’t have real clarity as to what they’re after in life. Worse, many people are just idly drifting through life. Even worse, many of these people simply don’t care. This path of apathy, complacency, conformity, and acquiescence is all too easy to fall down due to a number of factors, but this road doesn’t lead anywhere towards a life of any significant value. If you find yourself on this path, but you’ve got something stirring inside you that makes you want to break free and live a life of deeper meaning then this article is for you.

We want people to wake up from living a life on autopilot and chase something far better. We want you to chase a rich life that’s filled with intent, action, meaning, and purpose. We want you to maximize your potential, realize your potential, and unleash your gifts onto the world so that you can make the lasting impact on this world that you desire. In this article we’re going to make clear what the goal of living this rich life is, and what it looks like by defining the following as to serve as a clear guide to move from an idle life towards a meaningful life.

  1. What is a Rich Life
  2. What is a Life of Intent
  3. What is a Life of Action
  4. What is a Life of Purpose
  5. What is a Life of Meaning

1. What is a Rich Life

Friggin Rich as Hell

When you think of someone who’s “rich” what images does your mind conjure up? What does this persons life look like? Often our first thoughts are of someone with a big house, a garage filled with a badass Ferrari 812, a Mercedes AMG G-Wagon, and maybe a Porsche 911 Turbo S just to have a practical supercar for a daily driver. These people are dripping in Rolexes, Fendi, Prada, and can often be spotted looking tan on yachts off the Amalfi coast, checking out art in any Gagosian gallery, or making fresh turns from a heli-ski jaunt in Banff.

All that is great, but that’s not what we’re talking about here when we’re talking about what a rich life is and what it looks like. So, what’s our definition of what a rich life is and what it looks like? I’m so glad you asked!

A rich life, by the Upward Spiral definition, is a life that’s full of deep value from the things that really matter. We’re talking about a life oozing with purpose, passion, meaning, knowledge, experience, deep relationships, and love. Imagine someone who knows what they’re about, they know what they want, and they are working day in and day out towards attainment. Now, imagine that this person wants to gain all of this ability, power, and value, not so that they can horde it all for themselves, but so they can turn it onto the world to make the mark they want to make.

This is what a rich life looks like, and it’s most certainly not something that happens by accident or idle means. There are core building blocks to this rich life of of intent, action, purpose, and meaning and that’s what we’re going dive deeper into.

2. What is a Life of Intent

In order to access this type of rich life you must have a mindset of intent. In other words you need to be very thoughtful and specific as to how you want to apply your efforts and time towards achieving your goals. You can’t expect to achieve what you’re after by just floating through life and letting things happen to you. Know what you want and then be intentional about how you want to get it.

A life of intent is a mindset that puts an eye towards the long term while also focusing on the present. If you don’t have intent for both your past, present, and future you’ll likely be stuck in stasis never able to progress forward. This carries us towards at life of action.

3. What is a Life of Action

A life of action is a mindset that brings intent to the present moment. You can’t sit on your hands and wish for things to happen, you need to be proactive about how you want things in your life to turn out. This means thinking long term while also taking action in the here and now.

You can have a very clear picture of your goals, and you can have all the intent in the world to apply yourself towards reaching those goals. However, if you just stay stuck in this phase then your intentions are nothing more than hopes and dreams that never turn into anything tangible. You have to take all of your energy and intent and release it through actual action. Acting on intent is what moves you forward. It’s how you become better, wiser, and stronger.

Know that often the first step is the hardest, but once you get going you start to create sustained momentum and inertia. It can feel like you’re a kid again standing at the top of a diving board several feet above the water. You try and talk yourself up, you count down from three, but you just have false start after false start. Don’t beat yourself up. Just take courage, pinch your nose, and cannonball into action.

4. What is a Life of Purpose

You’ll likely be feeling pretty good after you’ve engaged in intent and action because together they are quite invigorating to your wellbeing. You are effectively moving away from a life of autopilot and you are moving towards a rich life. However, there’s one last step that holds the secret sauce to this rich life mojo which is purpose.

Now you might be thinking, “well intent and action are pretty purposeful if I do say so myself.” Well, intent and action are not the same as purpose. Intent is just an aim or a direction to move towards, while action moves us in that direction. Purpose goes one step deeper because it’s your intent combined with your actions that are tied to your purpose.

Purpose is having intent and action with a clear understanding of why you want the things you want. Your intent, action, intent, and life are all tied together by what really matters to you. Why do you believe in what you believe? What is it that drives your actions or intent? This is your purpose.

5. What is a Life of Meaning

Once you have intent, action, intent tied to purpose, and life all working together it’s time to focus on the true meaning behind why you’re doing what you do. Living a rich life of intent, action, purpose, and meaning is conditional upon having your actions tied to your intent with a clear understanding of what your intent, actions, and life all mean to you. The question that you have to answer is; what is it that you want you life to amount to? What mark do you want to make on the world? What is your legacy?

Live like your life matters. Live so that they’ll know you were there. You have an abundance of talents, intelligence, and creativity. Unleash those traits onto the world and make it a better place.

Final Thoughts

If you’re intent on living a rich life, then it’s time to take action. Start by defining your intent and purpose for the future before taking action in the present moment. All of these actions should be tied together with an understanding of what they mean to you personally. This is how you create meaning in your life that will make it worth living.

If you don’t have intent, purpose, intent, and action tied together by life then your life won’t mean much. You’ll be stuck in a place of emptiness, and boredom; all while feeling like you’re putting in the effort to just get through an endless cycle that goes nowhere. There’s no intent, purpose, intent, action, or life; without you also having a clear understanding of what your intent, intent, action and life actually mean.

Don’t settle for the normal. Don’t live like everyone else by just getting up every day to go through the motions because one day you’ll wake up wondering where all that time went. You’ll look back and realize you’ve been wasting precious moments of your life by not really living at all.

That’s not a rich life; that’s a sad, dull, and boring way to exist. So, what do you live for? What drives your intent? What actions will you take in pursuit of that intent? What will you do with your life?

These are the questions that a rich life demands us to answer. Now, get to work!

Your Rich Life Summary

  • Intent: How will I apply myself
  • Action: How am I going about getting what I want
  • Purpose: What is it that I am after
  • Meaning: What mark do I want to leave on the world. What is my legacy
Your Wake Up Call | Stop Living a Life of Complacency, Conformity, Acquiescence, and Deep Seeded Anger

Your Wake Up Call | Stop Living a Life of Complacency, Conformity, Acquiescence, and Deep Seeded Anger

Introduction | My Story of Unnamed Frustration & The Swelling Anger

Have you ever felt that you’re drifting through life? Are you unhappy, and you don’t really know why? Do you feel frustration and anger swelling just beneath the surface? Does this rumble of anger seem as though it’s been growing and growing slowly in small chunks day by day, week by week, and year by year. Are you angry because you don’t know why you’re angry? Tell me, does any of this sound familiar? If so, then to you I say you’re not alone because “yeah, me too”.

I know this situation all too well because I’ve lived it. Let me tell you a bit about my story and see if you can relate as my story unfolds.

Ostensibly, I had all the reasons to feel good and be happy. I was happily married to a wonderful woman, my kids were great, my career was great, and we had carved out a wonderful life for ourselves by every measure. However, I had something in my life that was out of alignment. I did not know what it was, but I felt it’s subtle presence day in and day out. It rubbed on me. It agitated me, and eventually it angered me. This anger too started out as subtle. However, over time my anger became more persistent and powerful, changing me from someone who a happy-go-lucky cheerful dude to someone that was just a bear to be around. Mind you that I did my best to avoid these feelings. I did the best I could to contain these feelings. My external world seemed fine, but my internal world was crumbling. From the outside looking in it seemed like I had everything together, but on the inside I was coming unraveled more each passing day.

Worst of all these changes impacted those I loved the most. My constant baseline state of frustration caused me to quickly snap at my wife, which put her on a constant state of alert when she was around me. Her standard manner around me changed from happiness and delight to a defensive posture where she actively tried not to trigger me. My deep frustration was palpable to my children too. Like all children they are perfect and innocent, and they unfairly felt my unnamed frustration.

Eventually, I blew up.

There were warning signs along the way (ex. I got shingles in my mid 30’s), but I did not heed them. Instead, I bottled everything up, I did not purposefully seek to address my issues, and one day I snapped. My explosion came out as meaningless and baseless vitreal designed to hurt those most closest to me causing deep damage that took tremendous effort and time to repair.

Why?

Why did this happen? How could it? What the hell caused this and how have I missed it? It has taken me a long time to answer these questions, and the answers are deeply complicated and personal. However, there are some truths that I’ve discovered along the way that are commonly present in other people’s lives.

Unfortunately, my story is many people’s story, I see that more clearly than ever now, and I want to help you figure things out faster so you don’t find yourself singed by your own incendiary outlashing.

This is why I (Cody Strate), along with Davin Marceau (who’s story is similar to mine) have formed the Upward Spiral Group. We want you to learn from our mistakes. We want you to live a rich life with deep meaning and purpose. But first, we want you to wake up.

This is your Upward Spiral Wake Up Call.

As we go forward we will break down the core tenants of what is going on with so many people causing deep unnamed frustration that leads a state of near constant low-level anger, and then we will help you find your way out by covering the following topics. Let’s go, because you don’t have time to waste.

  1. Why So Many People are Asleep, Unhappy, and Growing Angrier
  2. Unmasking the Enemies | Complacency, Conformity, Acquiescence
  3. The Goal | Living a Rich Life with Deep Meaning & Purpose
  4. Urgency | Start Now As If Your Life Depends On It
  5. Where Do You Begin | Orient Yourself Around Purpose
  6. Understand The Cost | Don’t Expect Easy, but Expect It To Be Worth It
  7. Why Meaningful Growth Never Has a Finish Line

Why So Many People are Asleep, Unhappy, and Growing Angrier

I don’t care how old you are, I don’t care who you are, or how much money you have. I know that many of you are unhappy, and you don’t know why. Ask me how I know. Again, I know this because I was you. Look at your life. Look around you. What do you see? Allow me to ask you a series of questions…

  • Have you been working hard all of your life to “arrive” at some point of success?
  • Who defined what success looks like for you?
  • Have you, for all intents and purposes, arrived at this success (ex. you’ve got the good career, the good house, the good family, etc)?
  • When you look at the lives of others does it seem like they are “living the dream” and have it all effortlessly figured out?
  • Are you comfortable in your life?

How frustrating is it that if you said “yes” to most of these, but you still have low-level frustration that’s turning into a rumbling of baseline anger. You’ve got it all right? So why the hell are you angry?

Let’s dive deeper.

Unmasking the Enemies | Complacency, Conformity, and Acquiescence

It may seem somewhat counterintuitive, but there are often big problems that come along with attaining comfort. There are also big problems when you’ve attained a state of success that is defined by others. Problems further develop when you mix the passing of time into the equation. Finally, there are big problems arise from looking at the lives of others and thinking that somehow they’ve got it all magically figured out.

These root problems manifest as complacency, conformity, and acquiescence. When combined these four ingredients form a devilishly toxic brew that when taken over time can lead to the slow death of our soul. Let’s shine a clear light on these four areas and clearly define them.

Complacency

It should not be any surprise that we all want a level of comfort. However, there’s a problem with all of the comfort that we’ve built for ourselves in that it cuts us off from one of our most powerful human forces. You see, we humans are problem solving machines that come alive when we’re working on tough challenges. We thrive when faced with tough work that we’re passionate about. We get our blood pumping, our hearts pounding, and our brain cells firing .

So, the problem problem here is that the more comfort we seek and attain the more we remove challenges from our lives. This comfort deprives us of the challenges we really need, and it serves as a gateway drug to the underpinnings of what our unnamed frustration and anger is built upon. Simply put, too much comfort leads to complacency.

Complacency is built upon being satisfied and comfortable with where you are. When your complacent you try less, you push less, you strive less. In other words, if you’re complacent you’re not advancing, learning, growing, and your life can quickly become stagnant. The comfort that we all seek and attain carries the veiled perils of stagnation which is deeply toxic to our wellbeing and mindset.

Conformity

Some of the most angry people I’ve ever encountered, myself included, are some of the most successful people I’ve met, and it begs the question of why does this phenomenon exist? Is there a correlation between anger and success? If you approach this padox from this position you’re likely not to find any answers that make sense. However, if you look more closely at “success” things get interesting.

What is success? What is your definition of success? Who or what set your definition of success? More often than not our definition of success is heavily influenced by a society that’s trying to sell you shit on a promise of happiness and the way things are “supposed to be”. So, we chase this definition of success as it’s been presented to us, we work hard, and then one day we “arrive” at a state of success only to find that what we were promised is not there waiting for us, or at best those promises of happiness are fleeting.

My point is what you’re doing and what you’re striving for what you want, or is it what you’re told you’re supposed to want. There is not much joy to be had in achieving someone else’s dreams and or some definition of success that we were sold on. Unfortunately, this my friends is what conformity looks like.

Conformity takes place when we choose to make someone or something else’s dreams our own. The really damaging part of this is until we define and chase our own definition of success, we actively lie to ourselves over and over that this, someone else’s definition of success, is what we want. This constant state of lying to ourselves that this is what we should want leads us deeper into into the next stage, further fueling our growing sense of frustration and anger.

Acquiescence

The more that we tell ourselves that this state of “success” is what we want, because it’s what we should want, because it’s what everyone else is striving for, and so on, the more we find ourselves moving towards the dangerous state of acquiescence. We arrive at this state of acquiescence when we stop fighting, and we give in without protest that “this is our life I guess”. You just lie back, accept it, and let the waves of life and time pass over you. This is what giving up and giving in looks like. This is the death of a soul.

The problem is, if you’re like me, you still have something inside you that won’t give up nor will it give in. This nagging sense inside you won’t let you resign to this unsatisfying fate. Unfortunately, all of this energy runs completely counter to your desire for a state of acquiesced satisfaction. These two juxtaposed forces cause emotional friction and turmoil that often serve as the catalyst to convert your deep frustration into a state of volcanic anger. All it takes is time and your persistence of falsely demanding to yourself that you’re satisfied while not looking any deeper into the issue for this rub on your soul to build. If you’re in this state, then just understand that you’re in a state of danger.

A Note on Self-Protection | The interesting thing about being in this state is that most people are hyper-protective of the construct they’ve built for themself. After all, they’re “winning in life”. They’re successful. The last thing they want to do is critically look at their situation, and realize that what they’ve worked so hard for is not actually what they want. We will naturally protect ourselves from a situation where our reality could fallout from underneath us.

A Note on Jealousy | One thing I want to make clear is that jealousy can play a bit part in supporting an external and false construct of success. This situation of jealousy is readily supported by looking at the lives of others through the lense of social media. If all you see of someone else’s life is through the filter of their Instagram highlight reel, then yeah it’s very easy to become jealous. I could go on in this area, but I’ll refrain. Just know that what you often see of others lives is what they want you to see, it’s the best that they’ve got, what you’re seeing is just on the surface, and it’s likely they’ve got the same issues, angst, and insecurities as you and me.

The Goal | Living a Rich Life with Deep Meaning & Purpose

So, what is it that we’re really after then? If we’re proposing a serious wake up call to everyone what does that mean beyond stop with the conformity, complacency, and aquessance? It means we need to embrace a sense of urgency and start intentionally working towards building a rich life with deep meaning and purpose.

We need to determine what is it that really matters to us and what is worth us applying our time, effort, energy, talents, and treasure towards accomplishing. We need to figure out what our purpose is, plug into our passion, determine what kind of impact we want to make on the world, and then make it so. This won’t just happen because you wish it to be, and it certainly won’t happen with a passive approach. This is all about knowing what you’re about, what you want, and then applying intentional effort from yourself in order to make it happen.

Urgency | Start Now As If Your Life Depends On It

One of the common side effects of finally realizing what has been causing this underlying frustration and anger and waking up from a life moving along on autopilot is an intense sense of urgency. You will have a new sense of appreciation for your limited resource of time. You’ve wasted enough time so far, don’t waste any more, start towards the path of living a rich, full, meaningful life now. The problem is that it’s often not very clear where you should start. You may have a clear picture of what you want to move away from, but you’re not clear on where you should move to. Let’s dive into that.

Where Do You Begin | Orient Yourself Around Purpose

As you break free from the mindset that’s restrained your life, held you hostage, kept joy at bay, has not fed your soul, and kept you from experiencing deep meaning and purpose, you may find yourself a bit disoriented and wondering where to start. Trust me, I know the feeling, and you’ll likely have quite a bit of pent up energy that you’re eager to release towards forging a new path. How do you start to reorient yourself so you can apply this new energy? Begin with contemplation around purpose. If you’ve spent all of this time working on a construct of success that did not jive with you then let’s start to redefine that with a look towards sorting out your purpose. Figuring out your purpose is no easy task as it’s not something we’ve really been socially or mentally equipped for.

The best practice I’ve experienced in terms of figuring out how to reorient around a newfound purpose is to consider what you’re passionate about. What is it that moves you and stirs your soul? What is it that really matters to you? What is it that when you’re working in and around it that you seem to have endless energy? These are the telltale signs that you’re operating within or near your passion, and your purpose is in the vicinity.

One thing I want you to consider at this stage is that you should not put too much pressure on yourself to have a hyper-clear vision of your purpose. The process of discovering your purpose is often is an iterative process that evolves over time. Just find a starting point, get to work, and keep your eyes open as you go down the path.

Understand the Cost | Don’t Expect The Process to Be Easy, But Expect It To Be Worth It

This process of waking up from a life of being asleep at the wheel and moving towards building a rich life with deep meaning, purpose, and impact is not easy. Meaningful growth that attributes towards a life of power and impact is hard fought and comes at great cost. If you’re looking for the easy road then just stay on autopilot because this is anything but easy. I want you to enter into this process with complete clarity as to what’s in front of you, so that you’re properly prepared. Here are a few promises I can make you…

  • I promise that you will struggle
  • I promise you will hurt
  • I promise that people who are looking for the easy life will gravitate away from you
  • I promise that you will fail
  • I promise that you will fail again, and again, and again
  • I promise that you this is a slow and iterative process
  • I promise that you’ll periodically lose your way
  • I promise that you’ll get really frustrated with yourself
  • I promise that at times you’ll want to give up and fold under the load

However, I also promise the following….

  • I promise that you do have the strength inside of you to see this through
  • I promise that this struggle will be worth it
  • I promise your life will have more meaning than you’ve ever experienced
  • I promise that you will find more joy in life
  • I promise that people who are more aligned with your goals will show up
  • I promise that you will find you have more grit, power, and strength than you realize
  • I promise your life will have more impact in ways that you desire
  • I promise that you will lift up those around you.

Why Meaningful Growth Never Has a Finish Line

As you go forward on this journey you should also understand that there is never a finish line. Your journey towards meaningful growth and a rich life of deep meaning and purpose is constant. Make your goals incremental, and you’ll grow in experience, competency, and wisdom as you constantly ascend higher going from one peak to the next with your view getting better with each ascent. This may seem like a never ending marathon, and guess what, you’re right. However, what you’ll find as you go forward is that you’ll become better, more efficient, and more resilient along the way. You will ascend to a peak, enjoy the view for a spell, and then you’ll happily begin your journey towards that next peak. It’s a good thing that keeps getting better, because at a fundamental level what you’re doing is feeding your soul.

Final Thoughts

Wake up! Stop living your life being asleep at the wheel just because you’ve attained some comfort. This excess of comfort leads to complacency. Complacency leads to conformity. Conformity leads to acquiescence. Acquiescence is fuel for anger. This anger occurs and grows in most people without an understanding of the root cause, and it can eat you from the inside out. You may have this sense of growing frustration and anger living inside of you today. Don’t plug your ears and try to drown it out. This is your soul screaming out that something is wrong. Don’t try and put a pillow over it and suffocate your soul. You are calling that you are not living the life you were meant to live.

Don’t stand for this any longer. Wake up, and start living intentionally so that you can manifest a rich life full of purpose, meaning, and value. Orient your life towards the goals you want to achieve. Live your life so that you can make the impact you want on this world. You’re not going to get tomorrow back, so don’t waste your today. Go and live, and know that you are not alone.

Mindset | The Power of Living a Life of Intention vs. a Life on Auto-Pilot

Mindset | The Power of Living a Life of Intention vs. a Life on Auto-Pilot

Introduction

How much choice do you have on your life? How much agency are you asserting on your life? Are you being intentional about where your life is going and what you’re doing with your time and resources, or are you taking a passive approach letting your auto-pilot do most of the work? Before we get to any of that let me ask you this… Do you know what your working towards? Do you have a goal or a vision as to what you want out of your life?

The above is a series of questions I revisit and ask myself almost on a monthly basis. The reason I continually force myself to come back to these questions is because the power of our auto-pilot systems is so incredibly strong. We as humans are brilliant habit forming creatures, and this habit forming ability is largely a result of our evolutionary journey. You see, thinking through things requires time and mental energy. As we go through our lives figuring out how to do different things we move past the learning phase, and go into the doing phase which is governed by our habits. For example, once we know how to make a fried egg we don’t have to dedicate the same mental energy to that process as we did when we were learning it. Those extra mental calories can then be spent towards contemplating our day, or thinking about whatever other challenges we have in front of us.

In short, this auto-pilot mechanism we have is extremely powerful by evolutionary design, but we need to periodically check it to make sure we’re still going where we want to go, and using our time effort and energy towards the goals we want to achieve. It is through this periodic checking-in with ourselves that we ensure we’re living with intent versus going about our way on auto-pilot and habit.

If your goal is to live a life matters, then you need to you need to apply intention to your actions.

In this blog we’re going to go through 8 points that will help you apply intention to your actions.

1. What mindset are you living in

2. Do you go on auto-pilot or do you live with intention

3. How does applying intent to your actions affect your life and the lives of those around you

4. How do I set my intentions

5. Tips for setting intentions

6. How do I reset my mind in 10 minutes?

7. The importance of mindset in our personal growth, relationships, careers, and goals

8. Use intentions to create micro manifestations

1. What mindset are you living in.

Let’s go ahead and cover the ever important topic of mindset and how it relates to living with intention. Clearly, you’ve got two general types of mindsets: the fixed mindset vs. the growth mindset. The mindset you have will play a big role in how you approach action. If you have the fixed mindset, mindset in which you believe your traits are set in stone – that is your life then this mindset can keep us from taking risks. People with fixed mindsets (which is the vast majority of people) will life a life much more governed by auto-pilot because this is the much easier pathway. The growth mindset is when individuals believe their abilities are malleable and can grow with effort. This mindset has been shown to promote greater life satisfaction, on the job performance, and has been linked to better health outcomes. People with a growth mindset are going to be much more likely to be willing to do the hard things to achieve meaningful growth because they are living with far more purpose. This growth mindset seamlessly lends itself to one being much more intentional about their actions because they are often striving onward on a path towards experiencing meaningful growth. In other words they want to manifest the growth they want through intention rather than by accident, and certainly the last thing they want is to idly live their life on auto-pilot.

With all of that being said the very first thing you need to do is set the mindset you want. However, I think it’s safe to say that if you’re reading this that you have a growth mindset, so let’s carry on shall we.

2. Do you go on auto-pilot or do you live with intention

As we said earlier, humans are habit forming machines. Our proficiency in forming habits is engrained into us at the genetic level thanks to it’s massive role in our evolutionary development as a species. So, just know that it’s really easy to slip to a habit based auto-pilot mode because it’s only natural. However, given that this is auto-pilot is so powerful it can silently govern a lot of our lives. We need to check in and make sure we’re sticking with our mindset of living a life of intention rather than going about our day unconsciously. From this mindset, it follows that we should be more intentional in the choices we make to ensure that we continue following through on what matters most and that we aren’t letting our mindset slip into unconsciousness action.

We evolve through our lives. We grow based upon what we learn and how we experience the world. Living with intent and applying intention towards your actions factors in what we’ve learned and affects our decisions as we proceed through life. If you have a goal for your life, and are in pursuit of meaningful growth, then applying intention to your actions is an absolute requirement for manifesting your goals into reality.

3. How does applying intent to your actions affect your life and the lives of those around you

The mindset of intention factors in the power of cause and effect. What you think manifests into reality which is why mindset is so integral to living a life of meaning, growth, and purpose. So, how does living with purpose, and applying intent to your actions impact you? The best answer I can give to this questions is summed up in one single word; “powerfully”. If you are know what you want and are intentional about how you spend your time, effort, and energy applying action to achieve your purpose then you are on the path towards meaningful growth. As you experience meaningful growth unlocked by your intentional actions you’ll become rich with experience, competency, and wisdom. Experience, competency, and wisdom are extremely powerful and enable you to live out your purpose and live a life of extreme impact, which brings me to the point of how applying intent to your actions affects those around you.

The power you gain through experience, competence, and wisdom will largely have a binary impact on those around you. Your power will challenge them to grow and they will either a) rise to that challenge and gravitate closer towards your or b) shrink from the challenge and move away from you. This effect is experienced in much greater force the closer closer the person is to you. You have to understand that most people have a fixed mindset, they like the easy life, and are not willing to do the hard things. Be warned that it is very possible, and likely, that the more you grow these people with a fixed mindset will become less involved in your life. This might suck because you may really love these people, but it’s only a natural consequence of your growth process. Again, the process of meaningful growth is not easy, but I assure you that as your progress down this pathway more people with growth mindsets will gravitate towards you and give you the energy you need in achieving your purpose.

4. How do I set my intentions?

Before you can approach the topic of “how do I set my intentions” with any hope that your efforts will be rewarded, you have to know where you’re wanting to go. What would you do if you hopped into the seat of your car full of intention of pressing the gas peddle, but you had no destination in mind? Seems kind of aimless and pointless right? The same thing applies here to intent in that you need to set your destination so that you can apply your actions towards arriving at your desired destination. In this case setting your intentions, you first need to define your goal and break that goal down into it’s smaller parts. Your goals are your destinations, and once you understand this then you can be much more effective in setting your intentions.

5. Tips for setting intentions

Maintaining a routine on a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis is something I propose. There are no right or wrong ways to think about goals. So be careful not to change your objective. It will raise your optimism and encourage you to keep true to yourself if you stick to your goal.

The goal you choose is important. I suggest choosing a goal that you can see yourself living in the future. For example, if your goal is to build an amazing company then continue moving towards that dream day by day, week by week, month by month, and so on… Also, be sure to keep your why’s in check when setting your intentions. What’s your purpose? Are you being honest with yourself about why you are setting this intention? If not, then re-evaluate if it is worth pursuing. Be honest to yourself and strip away any distractions that are bringing you down.

6. How do I reset my mind in 10 minutes?

Again, the pull of going on auto-pilot is strong. I practice, and recommend to my clients, that you find a consistent spot within your daily routine to do a quick pulse check regarding your mindset, your goals, and your intentions. This process is not so different from other meditative formats in that you’re going to take a moment to collect yourself, self-reflect, and redirect if needed. I like to set a timer for 10 minutes, and ask myself these following questions…

  1. What do I have to be joyful of right now?
  2. Reflect on my primary goal and bring it into vivid life within my imagination.
  3. How am I harnessing my resources (intellect, creativity, network, time, effort, treasure, etc) to bring my goal into reality?

This quick process keeps me on focused, it makes me far more effective, helps me stay intentional, and avoid drifting into auto-pilot mode.

7. The importance of mindset in our personal growth, relationships, careers, and goals

Mindset is everything. It’s the main thing in this world that we can control and it’s the one factor that will determine how you face adversity, treat others, and approach your goals. It’s also the thing that you can change to increase your happiness, life satisfaction, and overall well-being.

Being on auto-pilot is no way to live your life. You are capable of so much greatness if you start paying attention to the goals you set for yourself and begin moving towards them with fierce intentionality. It takes courage and a willingness to do the hard things to attain meaningful growth. Don’t expect the journey to be easy, but you can certainly expect it to be worth it if you want to live a life that has significant meaning and makes an impact on the world.

8. Use intentions to create micro manifestations

Let’s say you are working towards the goal of achieving a certain level of income in your life. What do you need to go from where you are right now to the point when you reach that income threshold? You can break down your potential ‘path’ into smaller pieces in order to make it more manageable and incrementally attainable.

It’s wonderful to have big audacious goals, but often these kinds of goals are far off and any associated sense of success may seem just as far off. Breaking your big audacious goal down into smaller incremental parts will allow you to experience victories along the way. This incremental breaking down of a bigger goal is the same method that ultra-marathoners utilize. When they’re on mile 40 or mile 60 they’re not thinking “oh I only have 60 or 40 more miles to go”. Nope, they’re just thinking about getting through that next mile in front of them.

As you intentionally attribute your efforts towards your more incremental goals, as part of your boarder goal, you’ll see that you’re able to create “micro manifestations”. These micro manifestations are tangible situations that you can observe where you applied your efforts to bring your desires from something that only exists in the ether to something that actually exists right in front of you. Use these micro manifestations to incrementally build out your world as you want it.

Final Thoughts

This mindset is not about being on auto-pilot. It’s about using intention to make your goals a reality by breaking them down into smaller pieces and working towards incremental victories along the way. This mindset can help you live an impactful life, achieve success in relationships, careers, and personal goals, as well as feel happier with who you are no matter what happens outside of your control.

In the end choosing to be intentional with your actions and mindset is about the choice to actively engage in your life, decide what you value, decide what impact you want to have on the world given the time you’ve been given, and intentionally setting your actions to bring this to reality.

So the question is what mark do you want to make on the world? Figure that out and then be intentional about making it happen.

Mindset | Why Self-Reflection is Critical for Meaningful Growth

Mindset | Why Self-Reflection is Critical for Meaningful Growth

Introduction

Meaningful growth is what we’re all about here at The Upward Spiral Group, and we want to make it clear that the path to meaningful growth begins with a willingness to engage in honest and genuine self-reflection. What do we mean when we say “meaningful growth”? Simple, it’s growing in ways that really matter in terms of value and your ability to take action to impact the world and those around you in the way you desire. While this message resonates with many people, most of them fall out once the realize that meaningful growth does not come easily. You have to have the courage, drive, determination, and grit to see the other side of meaningful growth, and most people simply are not willing to do what it takes to cross that threshold. One of the most common tests that filter out the brave souls willing to chase meaningful growth from those that are unwilling to do the hard things is found in honest and genuine self-reflection. In this blog we’re going to dive into why true self-reflection is a requirement for experiencing meaningful growth, why it matters, and why most people are not willing to do it. Here’s what we’re going to cover…

1. What meaningful growth means & why it’s the goal

2. Why self-reflection is critical for meaningful growth

3. Why most people are not willing to do it

4. How to approach the process

5. The benefits of doing it right

6. A call-to-action or final words about meaningful growth

1. What meaningful growth means & why it’s the goal

In setting the stage to talk about why self-reflection is really important, we should establish what we’re really after here. As I said at the start of this blog the real goal here is the process of experiencing “meaningful growth”. Meaningful growth is all about experiencing growth that connects with your purpose and passion, and then turning that growth into action with the intent of making your own unique mark on the world. In other words, the goal is living a life that matters which meaningful growth serves.

2. Why honest self-reflection is critical for attaining meaningful growth

Rarely, do things with significant value in life come without a cost. We often think of cost in terms of money, but that’s just one way to look at it. Something can cost your time, your energy, your effort, and so on, but there is a correlation that the higher the value of whatever it is you’re looking to attain the higher the cost.

Experiencing meaningful growth is an incremental process that occurs through one’s life, but this only can happen if you have the right mindset. Your capacity to experience meaningful growth really starts with your willingness to honestly self-reflect. Until you’ve taken this very significant step, you simply can’t absorb the real value of insights derived from meaningful growth.

So what is hosest or genuine self-reflection, and what does it look like?

First off, we use the words of “honest” and “genuine” as a precursor to the type of self-reflection required to attain meaningful growth because this type of self-reflection is a bit more intense than your cursory self-reflection. Honest and genuine self-reflection requires that you strip your mind free from any judgements and predispositions. You have to be fully open as you examine where you are in life, what has brought you to this point, and what you’ve contributed to your circumstances. You have to look be willing and almost proactive towards taking responsibility for your current situation. Where is it that you can take responsibility for your situation, where did you fall short, why did you fall short, what lessons can you learn, will you decide to apply this wisdom and how will this manifest? That’s the underlying basis for honest and genuine self-reflection looks like, and let me be clear on one thing; it’s uncomfortable as hell.

3. Why most people are not willing to do it

So why are most people not willing to reflect on oneself in a honest and genuine manner? What is it that’s holding them back? The simple answer is found in one word; responsibility. Taking responsibility is a far more difficult proposition than the much more simple alternative of assigning blame. You can self-reflect on your situation through the lense of assigning blame, the process is relatively easy, and frankly it feels good. Wagging the finger at everyone and everything else provides a huge boost to the ego and does not challenge the construct of oneself. The saying “ignorance is bliss” finds a very secure home in this situation. It’s not your fault, you’re great! Everyone else is to blame. You’re not the bad person here that needs to do some work on themselves. Nope, you’re the victim here. There’s nothing wrong with you. Everyone else is fucked up.

In the end people are much more likely to take the easy out than submit their ego to examination and criticism. Responsibility, is a heavy burden after all.

4. How to approach the process

So how do you approach honest and genuine self-reflection so that you can set the stage for meaningful growth to occur? Acknowledge that you have an ego. Acknowledge that your ego wants to protect itself. Know that you’re not a bad person because of this. Having an ego does not make you a bad person; it makes you human. Your ego will do whatever it can to protect itself, but it will mascaraed as taking on this task as an altruistic duty or act of protecting you and your sense of self. Don’t be fooled. The ego is there for itself, and it’s song being whispered in your ear of “it’s not your fault” is alluring. Knowing that the ego exists, knowing how it acts, and the reason for it’s actions is a great starting point because you’ll be able to a) identify the ego when it shows up to do what it does and b) you can then make a choice about listening to it or not.

From there you need to change the narrative. Approach your self-reflection from the standpoint of “what can I learn from this” rather than the aggressive blame stance that’s readily available. It will be very challenging as you go through the process of self-reflecting and accepting responsibility to start feeling like a failure. There’s no easy way to put it; this process is difficult, it’s emotionally taxing, and it’s very natural to feel like shit during the process. Again, you’re not doing this self-reflection for the purpose of affirming that your a shit person. No, you’re doing this so you can learn, and get better because your goal is experiencing meaningful growth. Remember, as you go through this process be prepared to give yourself plenty of grace. You are not perfect. You’ve made some mistakes, but you’re trying to get better. That’s not nothing!

5. The benefits of doing it right

So, what are the benefits of going through this gut-wrenching process of honest and genuine self-reflection? We’ve already said it, and you know the score; it’s a accessing a path towards meaningful growth. If you really challenge yourself during this process of honest and genuine self-reflection then you will have earned insights that would have otherwise not be accessible to you. Note that I used the word “earned”. Again, this is a process you’re expending physical and emotional energy on. That’s the cost of this engaging in this process, and the cost can be high. However, remember that cost correlates to value and the value of these insights, along with the growth opportunity it unlocks, are well worth the investment.

6. A call-to-action or final words about meaningful growth

What is my call to action for you?

STOP TAKING THE EASY WAY OUT!

Do the hard thing in setting your ego aside, strip away any preconceived judgements you have, examine your situation as clearly as you can, accept your role that has brought about your circumstances, look for lessons that you can learn, decide how you’ll do things differently for the better in the future, and commit to that action. You’ll find that the insights you’ve earned are well worth the cost in terms of accessing meaningful growth.

Make your life matter. Make it count. Do the hard things so you can unlock your full potential, and then unleash it onto the world to make an impact.

Mindset | Why “Thinking About Your Thinking” Determines Your Success

Mindset | Why “Thinking About Your Thinking” Determines Your Success

Overview

A mindset is a person’s general attitude about things. It’s the way we see the world and ourselves, and it influences our behavior in a huge number of ways. A mindset can be good or bad depending on how you use it. If your mindset is negative, then you will have a difficult time finding success because your thoughts are going to be focused on what isn’t working for you rather than what could work for you. On the other hand, if your mindset is positive, then that will allow you to find opportunities where others don’t see them as well as take advantage of those opportunities when they arise. This article will give insights into why having the right mindset is of paramount importance for business leaders if they want to find meaningful success.

1. Why mindset is paramount for business leaders

2. How mindset can affect your success

3. What mindset should you have as a business leader

4. Why mindset is important to those around you as well as yourself

5. Ways to improve your mindset and stay positive in the face of challenges

6. Tips on how to maintain a healthy mindset despite the difficulties that come with it

1. Why Mindset is Paramount for Business Leaders

Mindset really boils down to the art of “thinking about your thinking”. Unfortunately, many people go about their life on auto-pilot that’s governed by their previous experiences. While a certain amount of auto-pilot is a good thing, we need to periodically disengage auto-pilot in order to look within to reevaluate what’s governing our thinking. This periodic disengagement of our auto-pilot systems is no easy task, we are all creatures of habit at our core, but doing so is an act of proactivity which requires you to take full control over your mindset.

If you are not actively “thinking about your thinking” then your actively forfeiting control over your auto-pilot. This in turn blinds you to a wealth of insight that can be used to inform you of the greater truths at play in your leadership style, what’s happening with your employees, why things are working, and why some things are not working.

2. How mindset can affect your success

How do you see the world in front of you. Do you look at it with eyes that see scarcity, problems, and limitations, or do you see abundance, possibility, solutions, and opportunity? If you see the world through a mindset of scarcity, problems, and limitation then you will most certainly have a difficult time succeeding in life. Life is indiscriminate and can be brutal when it comes to dishing out unforeseen challenges and setbacks. However, it is our decision on how we will respond to these circumstances that often govern how successful we will be throughout life.

If one looks upon what’s in front of them with a defeatists attitude then the game is already lost. If you believe that what stands in front of you will bury you then you will be buried. On the other hand if you approach what stands in front of your with a mindset of abundance, possibility, solutions, and opportunity then you will find yourself swimming in success like an predator taking down it’s prey with ease.

3. What mindset should you have as a business leader?

The better question is what kind of mindset do you want your team to have? If you want them to see their business challenges through the filter of scarcity, and be easily overwhelmed then embrace that mindset yourself as the leader. Trust me, you will set the tone as to how your team approaches challenges. If you find that they are constantly folding under pressure, then you would do well to honestly self-reflect and see what attitude you’re communicating to your team.

Naturally, we want a team with a mindset that is positive, strong, resilient, and determined. However, wishing it to be so is not enough. As the leader you have to embody a mindset of abundance, possibility, solutions, and opportunity. Demonstrate the ability to see the challenges for what they are, set the tone that there is an answer, and that your team is capable of figuring it out.

4. Why mindset is important to those around you as well as yourself

You know the saying 1 + 1 = 3? That’s referring to the sum being greater than their parts, and when a team comes together with a strong mindset at it’s core then the possibilities are nearly endless.

The mindset of one person can be contagious, and has the ability to uplift or drag down those around them. Having a mindset that is positive, strong, resilient, and determined will bring out this mindset in others on the team and elevate everyone. However, the same is true for a poor mindset, but it’s contagious effects are arguably more viral. If you have a team member with a poor mindset do what you can to correct it, but do tolerate a negative mindset to persist at the risk of it’s cataclysmic potential for your team’s mindset.

5. Ways to improve your mindset and stay positive in the face of challenges

Our challenges can sometimes seem overwhelming, and it can be tempting to fold under the pressure. So, how do you keep your head on straight and your proper mindset in tact? The best thing you can do is to decide in advance how you will respond to challenges. Imagine a challenging coming your way, visualize what feels like the best way to respond would be, and then decide to act like that when the challenge eventually arises. Making this decision in advance is the difference between responding and reacting. If you are reacting to a situation then you are applying a near-timer viewpoint to the situation which limits your ability to act effectively.

Apart from making your decisions on how you will respond in advance, the best thing that you can do is go through challenging experiences often, and see them through the lens of mindset. Practice makes permanent, and the more you encounter challenges through a lens of mindset the better you’ll get.

6. Tips on how to maintain a healthy mindset despite the difficulties that come with it

  1. Lean On Your Team | They are good and they are here to help. Look to them for their strengths that they can contribute and to the inspiration they can offer when needed.
  2. Avoid Victim Thinking | Don’t think like a victim. Think like a victor. You will overcome, you’ve just not found the way yet.
  3. Detach from the outcome | Whatever happens life will continue, and in the realm of what’s most important in life it will all be fine.
  4. Frame all problems as challenges, even those that seem insurmountable
  5. Accept responsibility for your mindset and mindset of those on your team

Conclusion

Mindset is important to those around you as well as yourself. Having a mindset that is positive, strong, resilient and determined will bring out this mindset in others on the team and elevate everyone. However, the same is true for a poor mindset; but it’s contagious effects are arguably more viral. If you have a team member with a poor mindset do what you can to correct it, but do tolerate a negative mindset to persist at the risk of its cataclysmic potential for your teams mindset. The best thing you can do when faced with challenges or setbacks is not let them get too big in our mind by looking through their lens of mindset often.

The most important lesson of all is to simply recognize that mindset is extremely powerful, and always at play. You must constantly be “thinking about your thinking” and while avoiding the complacency offered by going on auto-pilot.

Resources

How Growth Mindset Is Based On The Power of Failure

Using Growth Mindset To Get Over Your Fear of Failure

7 Mindsets of Highly Successful (and Happy) People

8 Mindsets That Will Set You On A Path to Success

4 Leadership Lessons from an Army Ranger Turned Executive

Overview

Davin Marceau was an Army Ranger for 17 years. He has seen combat and knows what it’s like to lead troops under the most stressful of situations. After leaving the military he became a Chief Operating Officer in a corporate setting. This blog is about 4 leadership lessons that translate from the battlefield to the boardroom, as well as general insights into leadership development and skillsets needed for success.

The Stress of Combat

What is it like to literally be under fire from an enemy combatant who’s goal is to kill you? What is it like to hear the supersonic crack of a 7.62 X 39mm round from a AK-47 fired by a member of the Taliban fly just above your head? How do you keep your cool in a situation like this? How do you think clearly enough to develop a plan, clearly communicate that plan to your team, and lead them out of danger while simultaneously navigate to complete the mission objectives? Davin Marceau, a 17 year Army Ranger veteran knows this situation all too well. “It takes a tremendous amount of training to prepare for these kinds of situations, and when the reality of combat hits you rise to the level of your training.”, says Davin.

These days Davin still finds himself coming under fire, but he’s in slightly less danger as he’s traded the battlefield for the boardroom. Today, Davin serves as a formidable business leader occupying the positions of Chief Operating Officer at Access and Managing Partner of The Upward Spiral Group. His time operating as an Army Ranger has taught him tremendously valuable lessons in leadership that directly translate to what it takes to succeed in the corporate setting. In this article Davin presents 4 lessons in leadership learned on the battlefield that he’s carried to the boardroom.

Lesson 1 – Contingency Planning

Lesson 2 – Delegate Power

Lesson 3 – Relentless Application of Standards

Lesson 4 – The Mission Above Individuals

“It takes a tremendous amount of training to prepare for these kinds of situations, and when the reality of combat hits you rise to the level of your training.”,

Davin Marceau

Lesson 1 – Contingency Planning

One of the most important lessons learned from Davin’s time in the military is the value of a detailed plan that covers numerous contingencies. There is a considerable amount of time spent planning a mission that involves understanding the terrain you’re about to enter. There is forethought into what the most likely scenarios they will encounter, and what actions they will take as a response. Equipment required to complete the mission objective is considered, and thought is given towards what will happen if that equipment breaks.

The capacity to execute a mission successfully is strongly influenced by meticulous preparation going into it, as demonstrated by numerous likely events and issues that must be considered ahead of time. This directly translates to business. Whether you are approaching a new marketing initiative, a negotiation with a customer, or a potential arrangement with a new partner it is essential to properly plan for the event to increase likelihood of success.

Lesson 2 – Delegate Power

One of the most important lessons that Davin has learned is the importance of delegation. “It’s not always about being the smartest person in the room.”, says Davin. “Sometimes you have to let go of certain tasks because you simply can’t be everywhere all of the time. You have to know how to delegate so you can free up your time and stay on top of everything.”

Davin Marceau

Davin believes this lesson translates easily to business. A CEO or President of a company can’t do everything, but more importantly these leaders need to realize that others are better equipped to do certain jobs. If you’ve hired members of your team who specialize in Operations, Professional Services, Sales, etc there’s a good chance that those individuals have spent 10+ years developing their craft. Simply put most CEO’s need to put their egos aside, get out of the freaking way, and let their better equipped teammates do their jobs.

“If you find yourself with less time or energy than before, start delegating your power to someone else”, says Davin.

Lesson 3 – Relentless Application of Standards

Standards Matter. This is a saying you’ll often hear from Davin. If you want to consistently perform at a high level you have to rigorously enforce the standards that matter; emphasis on “matter”. In the military there is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for just about every single task. While SOP’s are important it is more important to understand what really matters in terms of achieving the objective. High performing teams know the rule book but they have an understanding of what’s most important. You and your team should agree on the standards that are most important, communicate this with your team, communicate why these certain set of standards matter most, and then hold firmly to them without exception.

Lesson 4 – The Mission Above Individuals

During a military operation achieving the mission objective is the most important thing. If things don’t go according to plan and you find yourself in a difficult position you still have to constantly be thinking about how you can accomplish the mission. This focus of “mission comes first” would serve many companies. All too often small to medium sized companies take a “we’re all family here” approach, and while this might feel all warm and fuzzy, it does not always serve the mission objective. whether you have a business to run, or you are running a department, or you are running a team, it is your responsibility to ensure the success of that particular unit. if you fail in meeting your objective the ramifications could be significant in terms of impact. Keep in mind that it’s not just your livelihood on the line but also the livelihood of others. Achieving your company’s mission objectives is critical to ensure the continuation of that business, and all of the people it supports.

Conclusion

Davin spent his time learning these leadership lessons in some of the harshest settings, under heavy stress, and at the risk of mortal consequences to himself and the team he was leading. His lessons in leadership were hard learned, but he’s a better business executive and corporate leader because of it. Take the lessons he provides to improve your leadership skills, and in turn elevate your game.