Have you ever watched a movie that made you sit and ponder, made you go hmmmm…., maybe made you cry, that made you feel good about yourself, or maybe, it inspired you. Or maybe you met someone who made you think there has to be a better way. Every now and then, you hear something that makes you stop and wonder what you’re so afraid of, what stops you in your tracks. And yet, with only 20 seconds of courage, you could change your life, even your world. Just 20 seconds of courage to make a decision.

Most of us are real busy getting ready to get ready, we’re good at it, so we keep doing it. And then there’s other times when we just act, we don’t even think about it, we just do. Which of the two inspires you most, getting ready, or doing? In my younger days I just did things, I rarely thought about what might happen, good or bad. I never really thought about the cost, emotionally or financially, I just took risks. I have to admit, I rarely ever sat down and got ready, putting my ducks in a row. Today, I still don’t know if it would have changed anything, if I had spent time planning and getting ready. Most of the time, I just thought, all I need is 20 seconds of courage, and something great would happen, and it usually did.

Those risks were in my head, there was and probably never will be long drawn out plans, trying to get everything just right before acting. Personally, I don’t believe you learn as much from planning as you do from doing. But that’s my story, you’re not me. I do however, believe in you, and I know you can muster up 20 seconds of courage to make a decision to do something great. Ready? Go!

Have you ever found yourself day dreaming, you see some people and they seem to have it all going for them, and they make everything look so easy. We all have people like that in our lives, we see the grass greener in those people, they’re luckier, they get all the breaks, and you don’t. Come on, admit it, you’ve done it, and you’ve probably done that your entire life! I know I have at times, and I’m 52 years old, and have been around a short bit, which means I have probably thought it a million times over the course of my life. There’s a problem with that kind of self talk, many problems actually, far too many and they are far too deep.

Negative self-talk takes us to a place where fear can get a firm grip on us, it can immobilize us, and we start the downward spiral of feeling sorry for ourselves in a heartbeat. You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, walk with me a bit.

I’ve had many careers, jobs, and have been on my own over the years, and I can tell you that self-talk is critical to your success. I don’t mean getting yourself all jacked up with unrealistic expectations, they will almost always fail, and when things don’t go as planned, you’ll lose your momentum. I didn’t say, don’t have big dreams, that’s not what I’m saying. Big dreams need to be broken down into manageable parts & goals, why, because we need the little victories to keep us going.

Those people in your life, or the ones you might know, aren’t as happy as you think they are, and I’m certain things weren’t as easy as you perceive them to be, they too needed the little victories to get them to where they are today. I struggle daily with not having enough small victories to keep me in a happy place, to keep me motivated, I have to get out of my comfort zone most of the time to get them. I hate that!

I’m willing to wager that when you find yourself having these little envy chats, it’s almost always related to money. I hate money actually, there I’ve said it. Money makes us focus on all the wrong things, it distracts us from whats really important. I’ll let you decide what’s important to you, but what’s important to me is my wife & two boys. I have never heard anyone say on their death bed, I wish I had more money. They will say, and I mean everytime….I wish I had spent more time with _________,you fill in the blank.

So what are those little victories, sometimes we can’t recognize them because we are focusing on the wrong things, or we’re distracted. Most of the time, these little victories are as simple as writing a Blog Post, a chance meeting with someone you never thought you would meet, an opportunity to help someone, it could be a phone call that helps you secure the next project or job. They could be even smaller, telling your wife & kids how much you love them, thank your neighbor for letting you use the lawn mower. But for most of us, it’s usually business related, that’s where the little victories really gets us charged up. Why? Probably because we made money, and we like money. Money is what we measure success by, I think we need to get back to something more valuable for measuring success.

I know in my business, I need to have something positive happen everyday when it comes to cash-flow, when it doesn’t, I start the bad self-talk. We all do it, I’m a failure, what could I have done different, or better? Recognize the questions, we start asking what we did wrong instead of what we did right, and what the next right step should be! One of the problems is, we rely on our own knowledge to solve problems, and you know what? We don’t know, what we don’t know. Success always requires other people, they are the ones who give us perspective and possibly vision. They are also the ones that give us those small victories 9 times out of 10.

I have found over the years, other people helped move me along to the next step, they either encouraged my, gave me an idea, and more importantly, they believed in me. It’s the affirmations, it’s the validation of others that gives us the courage to stand in the gap when times are bad, so we can stand tall with our chin up. Don’t believe me, watch this video and tell me what happens to you while you are watching it.

So, everytime you catch yourself thinking how someone has it better than you, is doing better than you, is smarter than you, STOP IT! Find out what motivates you, and then list the small victories you need from it. Yes, it’s hard work, life is hard work and it sucks, but you are not different than everyone else, why? We all need the small victories too.

It’s easy to get caught up in the Christmas Spirit, we suddenly get nice and more helpful at this time of year than any other time, why is that? I know, I know, don’t get your stuff in a knot. I’m generalizing but let’s be honest, we tend to focus on ourselves or our immediate families most of the time. I want to share a true story with you, no it’s not the story of how I met your Mother. I will try to protect the innocent.

Once upon a time…… there was a girl, she was 13 and was very confused, she was being abused in all the ways you can possibly imagine. She ended up living on the streets, selling drugs, doing drugs, and prostitution became her daily routine. This little girl found herself at the age of 19 and nothing had changed, no prospects of anything changing. That was until someone took a vested interest in her, saw someone desperately wanting something very different than what she dreamed of living.

This someone told her about a program to get her straight and on the right track. This little girl didn’t believe it and didn’t think she was worth it. Imagine going through life thinking that what you were doing was as good as it was going to get.

I have found, that when life gets to be too much, you have to give back more to life and to those around you. To put things into perspective, LIFE is not a thing on a shelf, life is more about the people you associate with, it’s the people you chose know. These are people you carve out your life with, sometimes we make poor choices and sometimes we end up somewhere we didn’t have a clue we were going to happen. Sometimes, we choose to carve out a life with the wrong people, people that aren’t healthy for us. That’s what happened to this little girl, she trusted people she thought her friends, people that were to be her guardians. They didn’t, they abused her, got her hooked and messed up, took what was to be a great future and the kind of life she was hoping to have.

Without going into details I’ll tell you where this young lady is at today. Three years ago she entered a Program, she became a Christian and has been clean for those three years. Not only has she been clean, she has been loved and treated like someone special, that never happened before. Through her walk with God, being off drugs and not selling her soul to strangers, some new challenges arrived and give her more work to do. She has A.D.D. and is struggling with temptation, to do things that are not good for her. You are getting the picture now aren’t you?

Today this young girl is now living with a loving, caring family, they are giving her what she has never truly had, a Mother & Father. I told you this story because I wanted to make you stop and think about others. Think about them all the time not just at Christmas.

You may not be in a position to take on someone who has gone through a rehabilitation program or is in need, but, you can always help by donating your time and money. I encourage you, no, I implore you to do something that matters, make a difference in someones life and in the life you were born to live. Don’t just wait for Christmas to do it, make it an ongoing mission.

You’ve heard me say it and I’ll say it again, How many people are better off because you lived?

As I mentioned in my last post, Chris Brogan also brings it and he to has a great message, he just finished his 4th in a serious on “What it takes to be an overnight success”. Just as I have given Gary Vaynerchuk space here on owengreaves.com, I’m giving Chris Brogan more press as well. I what I like about Chris is his more down to earth and very honest, real message.

Rather than read more of my ranting and perspective, listen to Chris’s 1st video on the serious.