Smile Because it Happened.

What a fitting quote [by Dr. Seuss] to start a brand new year with. I saw it on Twitter earlier and it inspired me to quickly sit down an write this post.

dont-cry-because-its-over-smile-because-it-happened-148Today will be my first day back at work after my festive break and I’m finding myself sitting here – writing this – with a smile on my face.

This has literally had to be the best holiday that I’ve had in my entire working life. It was jam packed; with friends, family lots of laughter, lots of food, lots of wine, a long walk on the beach, reflections and realizations of how easy it is to miss out on things that are actually important in life.

Now, I feel focussed and ready for the 2015. 2014 was tough, but it was necessary and good. There were many milestones that I’ve [you’ve] managed to check off my [your] list and that should inspire us to keep moving forward and setting our bar even just a bit higher in all areas of our lives.

So to you (my; friends, family and acquaintances) who returned to work today, let me take this moment and welcome you to it.

Here’s to more success stories, to reaching more milestones, to learning more new things and smelling all the flowers as we go about achieving our ambitions.

Image Source: http://www.quotesvalley.com

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The Things Successful People Know About Turning Your Passion into a Dream Job

Boeing LandingYesterday, on our way back from a family gathering, my wife got into an intensely stimulating discussion about our dreams and ambitions. It was one of those conversations that had the potential to last for hours. But… in the middle of my tangent – about what I really want to do – vocalizing my elaborate desires and dreams, she utters with a slight hint of a smile; “There goes your passion.” It was a Boeing 737 flying overhead, on its final approach to the nearby Cape Town International Airport.

I immediately went quiet. For a moment I couldn’t believe that I just let go of that dream. I wanted to be a pilot with all my heart and I love flying till this day. I am sure I never pursued my dream due to my inability to stick close to or surround myself with people who were in a position to take me toward that dream. In hindsight I now realize I in fact had such an opportunity (Vanderbijlpark, ZA – 2002) and I didn’t even get the hint. So, I think I needed that nudge and probably even owe a thank you to her for unintentionally dusting off and flipping that switch for me.

And now in celebrating my moment, and perhaps a moment you may have had, I am certain you’ll find the essence of this article as inspiring as I have.

Originally Written By: Michael McCutcheon

A fifth grader from Georgia goes to space camp and experiences weightlessness for the first time. A few years later, he’s standing spellbound at an airshow. At 22, he walks into a conference room to broker the sale of a multimillion-dollar airplane and a business is born. Jamail Larkins, now 30, is the founder and CEO of Ascension Air.

It’s an incredible career full of lessons learned, and if you ask him about it, he’s still at the beginning. Ascension Air leases small aircrafts to pilots, who can then access a fleet of planes for a fraction of the price. It has 24 full-time employees and bases in Atlanta and Ft. Lauderdale and, with $8 million in annual revenue, it’s already a success. But his vision is bigger. Larkins wants to operate in every major metropolitan area. He wants to turn Ascension into a household name.

In an interview with Mic, Larkins, who’s often mentioned as one of the top entrepreneurs under 30 in the country, lays out some of the biggest lessons he’s learned about identifying one’s passion and turning it into a dream job. Because for so many young people who want to make an impact, the challenge is often identifying the what — what do I love to do and how do I make it happen?

  1. Identify the experiences you can’t shake.

Don’t waste a moment sitting behind your desk wondering, “What should I do with my life,” says Larkins. It’s the wrong question to ask.

The better question is: What experiences have you had that you can’t shake, that have had a profound effect on who you are? Build your identity around those.

Upon asking Larkins if there was a specific moment he could pinpoint, where he knew what he was going to do with his life, he laughs. He identifies a few different experiences that stayed with him instead, like going to space camp for the first time and later an airshow: “I thought it would be so cool to be one of those [pilots performing in an airshow] … everyone just watching me.”

He kept following his interests. After the airshow, Larkins started taking lessons. A year later, at 14, he petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to let him fly solo. The FAA wouldn’t let him (you have to be at least 16 to fly solo in the U.S.), so he traveled to Canada, where the age restrictions are looser. By then, flying was his full-blown passion.

  1. Surround yourself with those experiences.

Once you know which experiences really speak to you, immerse yourself in a related industry.

When Larkins got back from Canada, he landed jobs selling flight instruction manuals and washing airplanes. He continued doing things that kept him close to flying.

“I came from an average middle-class family. I realized as a kid that if I’m going to fly when I want to fly, I’m going to have to afford to do it on my own.” That’s when the pieces started coming together.

  1. Make connections and be ready.

It’s one of the most important lessons. Larkins does everything he can to stay up-to-date on the industry and the people in it — what they’re doing, what interests them — so if he’s ever in a room, he can connect with them and be ready for any opportunity.

“Networking is huge,” he says. “It’s hard to describe how important the people you meet and know are … and that’s really about preparation. Whatever it is you want … you’ll never get it unless you’re ready for it.”

When Larkins was in college, a wealthy friend was interested in leasing a plane. Larkins said, “I can help you with that,” and called someone he knew from Embry-Riddle, an aeronautics school, to help him broker the deal. His first one.

  1. People will discourage you, but forget them.

Don’t let other people’s hang-ups over your age, race, gender or anything else deter you. Larkins recalls walking into the conference room to seal that multimillion-dollar deal.

“The closing guy representing the company … when I walked in, he looked at me like, ‘There’s no way that this is the guy signing the paperwork.’ Looks can be deceiving,” Larkins says, laughing. No one knows your dream better than you do.

  1. Keep your eye on your goal and don’t stop.

Big dreams can seem so far away it’s sometimes hard to know where to begin. But if you have the guts to start, with every obstacle you overcome the more you’ll want to achieve.

Today, Larkins operates Ascension Air with bases in Atlanta and Ft. Lauderdale, but he has expansion plans that put every U.S. city in his sights. It’s a daunting vision that leaves an incredible amount of work undone.

“We’ve got a really long way to go,” Larkins says. “We may never accomplish it, but it’s the goal I’m going for.”

  1. Find role models and people you can learn from.

You’re not the first person to walk this path. If you need inspiration, it’s everywhere.

“I read a lot of biographies of people who have nothing to do with aviation,” Larkins says, “but are successful in their own way … and I look at the things they’ve done and try to apply them to my own life.”

Chances are, if you do the same, your career will start taking shape and bend closer and closer to the dream you’ve always had.

 

Information Source: http://goo.gl/BUWaFH | Image Source: http://goo.gl/4spxn5

 

Following your PASSION!

PassionI’ve been listening to David Wood since 2011. I am sure that if it wasn’t for the perspectives that I’ve gained from listening to him – almost every day – over the past 3 years, I would’ve – still today – been a miserable, depressed and broken person.

Through listening to the unrehearsed, honest and transparent conversations he has with his guests on his show; The Kickass Life, I think I felt empowered to – for the first time in my life – give myself the permission to be myself. I felt empowered to be unapologetic about the things that I’m passionate about and that it’s fine that I don’t have it all figured out.

A few days ago I listened to this interview David had with Mike Johnston, man, what a guy. I really don’t mean to spoil the show for you, because it has some serious nuggets in it, but I really gotta tell you this. Not even a couple of moments into the show Mike drops this after David asks him if he was always passionate.

Mike responds to the question saying this; “I’ve always been passionate about teaching. I wanted to retain the information so I can pass it on to somebody else in a more easily digestible way. When somebody taught me history I’m constantly reteaching myself how I was gonna explain it somebody else…. My passion is delivering information to people in a way that they never had it delivered to them before.”

I was like, that’s me, that’s me right there!

I love making things simple and have a pet peeve against jargon in any shape or form. I will figure it out and go on a bend to make it easily understandable for myself and for those affected by it.

Mike accurately worded what I’ve been passionate about for a very, very long time now, and thanks to him, I can finally verbalize yet another one of my passions. Nonetheless an incredibly empowering listen so make some time to indulge, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

321 – Find & Follow your PASSION with Mike Johnston | The Kickass Life Podcast with David Wood.

Podcast Source: http://goo.gl/C8riWF | Image Source: http://goo.gl/p1NS93 | Links to visit: http://www.mikeslessons.com/ | http://www.thekickasslife.com/

The Daily Routines of Geniuses

by Sarah Green | 12:00 PM March 19, 2014

Juan Ponce de León spent his life searching for the fountain of youth. I have spent mine searching for the ideal daily routine. But as years of color-coded paper calendars have given way to cloud-based scheduling apps, routine has continued to elude me; each day is a new day, as unpredictable as a ride on a rodeo bull and over seemingly as quickly.

Naturally, I was fascinated by the recent book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Author Mason Curry examines the schedules of 161 painters, writers, and composers, as well as philosophers, scientists, and other exceptional thinkers.

As I read, I became convinced that for these geniuses, a routine was more than a luxury — it was essential to their work. As Currey puts it, “A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.” And although the book itself is a delightful hodgepodge of trivia, not a how-to manual, I began to notice several common elements in the lives of the healthier geniuses (the ones who relied more on discipline than on, say, booze and Benzedrine) that allowed them to pursue the luxury of a productivity-enhancing routine:

A workspace with minimal distractions. Jane Austen asked that a certain squeaky hinge never be oiled, so that she always had a warning when someone was approaching the room where she wrote. William Faulkner, lacking a lock on his study door, just detached the doorknob and brought it into the room with him — something of which today’s cubicle worker can only dream. Mark Twain’s family knew better than to breach his study door — if they needed him, they’d blow a horn to draw him out. Graham Greene went even further, renting a secret office; only his wife knew the address or telephone number. Distracted more by the view out his window than interruptions, if N.C. Wyeth was having trouble focusing, he’d tape a piece of cardboard to his glasses as a sort of blinder.

A daily walk. For many, a regular daily walk was essential to brain functioning. Soren Kierkegaard found his constitutionals so inspiring that he would often rush back to his desk and resume writing, still wearing his hat and carrying his walking stick or umbrella. Charles Dickens famously took three-hour walks every afternoon — and what he observed on them fed directly into his writing. Tchaikovsky made do with a two-hour walk, but wouldn’t return a moment early, convinced that cheating himself of the full 120 minutes would make him ill. Beethoven took lengthy strolls after lunch, carrying a pencil and paper with him in case inspiration struck. Erik Satie did the same on his long strolls from Paris to the working class suburb where he lived, stopping under streetlamps to jot down notions that arose on his journey; it’s rumored that when those lamps were turned off during the war years, his productivity declined too.

Accountability metrics. Anthony Trollope only wrote for three hours a day, but he required of himself a rate of 250 words per 15 minutes, and if he finished the novel he was working on before his three hours were up, he’d immediately start a new book as soon as the previous one was finished. Ernest Hemingway also tracked his daily word output on a chart “so as not to kid myself.” BF Skinner started and stopped his writing sessions by setting a timer, “and he carefully plotted the number of hours he wrote and the words he produced on a graph.”

A clear dividing line between important work and busywork. Before there was email, there were letters. It amazed (and humbled) me to see the amount of time each person allocated simply to answering letters. Many would divide the day into real work (such as composing or painting in the morning) and busywork (answering letters in the afternoon). Others would turn to the busywork when the real work wasn’t going well. But if the amount of correspondence was similar to today’s, these historical geniuses did have one advantage: the post would arrive at regular intervals, not constantly as email does.

A habit of stopping when they’re on a roll, not when they’re stuck. Hemingway puts it thus: “You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.” Arthur Miller said, “I don’t believe in draining the reservoir, do you see? I believe in getting up from the typewriter, away from it, while I still have things to say.” With the exception of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — who rose at 6, spent the day in a flurry of music lessons, concerts, and social engagements and often didn’t get to bed until 1 am — many would write in the morning, stop for lunch and a stroll, spend an hour or two answering letters, and knock off work by 2 or 3. “I’ve realized that somebody who’s tired and needs a rest, and goes on working all the same is a fool,” wrote Carl Jung. Or, well, a Mozart.

A supportive partner. Martha Freud, wife of Sigmund, “laid out his clothes, chose his handkerchiefs, and even put toothpaste on his toothbrush,” notes Currey. Gertrude Stein preferred to write outdoors, looking at rocks and cows — and so on their trips to the French countryside, Gertrude would find a place to sit while Alice B. Toklas would shoo a few cows into the writer’s line of vision. Gustav Mahler’s wife bribed the neighbors with opera tickets to keep their dogs quiet while he was composing — even though she was bitterly disappointed when he forced her to give up her own promising musical career. The unmarried artists had help, too: Jane Austen’s sister, Cassandra, took over most of the domestic duties so that Jane had time to write — “Composition seems impossible to me with a head full of joints of mutton & doses of rhubarb,” as Jane once wrote. And Andy Warhol called friend and collaborator Pat Hackett every morning, recounting the previous day’s activities in detail. “Doing the diary,” as they called it, could last two full hours — with Hackett dutifully jotting down notes and typing them up, every weekday morning from 1976 until Warhol’s death in 1987.

Limited social lives. One of Simone de Beauvoir’s lovers put it this way: “there were no parties, no receptions, no bourgeois values… it was an uncluttered kind of life, a simplicity deliberately constructed so that she could do her work.” Marcel Proust “made a conscious decision in 1910 to withdraw from society,” writes Currey. Pablo Picasso and his girlfriend Fernande Olivier borrowed the idea of Sunday as an “at-home day” from Stein and Toklas — so that they could “dispose of the obligations of friendship in a single afternoon.”

This last habit — relative isolation — sounds much less appealing to me than some of the others. And yet I still find the routines of these thinkers strangely compelling, perhaps they are so unattainable, so extreme. Even the very idea that you can organize your time as you like is out of reach for most of us — so I’ll close with a toast to all those who did their best work within the constraints of someone else’s routine. Like Francine Prose, who began writing when the school bus picked up her children and stopped when it brought them back; or T.S. Eliot, who found it much easier to write once he had a day job in a bank than as a starving poet; and even F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose early writing was crammed in around the strict schedule he followed as a young military officer. Those days were not as fabled as the gin-soaked nights in Paris that came later, but they were much more productive — and no doubt easier on his liver. Being forced to follow the ruts of someone else’s routine may grate, but they do make it easier to stay on the path.

And that of course is what a routine really is — the path we take through our day. Whether we break that trail yourself or follow the path blazed by our constraints, perhaps what’s most important is that we keep walking.

Source: http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/03/the-daily-routines-of-geniuses/?utm_campaign=Socialflow&utm_source=Socialflow&utm_medium=Tweet