“Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Jim Rohn

If there is one idea that separates me from my competition in the market place, it is my discipline of daily personal development. I spend several hours a week improving myself mentally. Reading books and articles, listening to speakers, presentations, podcasts and anything else I can get my hands on. Over the past 7 years I have learned the importance of self-education and personal responsibility. Although I am not a business owner (yet) or a CEO (yet) and may not be successful (depends on who’s judging), I know a thing or two about being young and getting what I want. I’m here to share a few things I started in my 20’s and I hope you find value in the ideas below. I know how valuable your time is.

Goals- If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never arrive. Know your vision and take constant and massive action toward your goals. Personally, I’m a dreamer. I’m willing to go for failure and I don’t worry about how hard it is going to be or how long it is going to take. A goal is never too big if I’m focused and willing to take the action needed to accomplish it. Once I set a goal, I reduce it to writing and put it on my vision board. I read it 5+ times a day as though I have already accomplished it. I become so focused on my goal(s) that I can’t sleep because I want to wake up and start taking action toward it. If you aren’t working toward your goals, you’ll be working toward someone else’s goals.

Wake up early- I don’t know about you, but in college, I never took a class before 11am. I stayed up late and I didn’t make it to most of my afternoon classes either. I was never stressed and had plenty of time to do what I wanted. As I have grown up and started a family, I have learned how important alone time is. I now make it a priority to wake up and get started while the rest of the world is sleeping. Most days, I have my personal development, exercise, my “hour of power”, goal setting/review, breakfast and a cup of coffee done before 7. If you struggle with “I don’t have time” consider waking up early. I’ve studied many millionaires, billionaires and highly successful people and most of them wake up early and start working on their goals and dreams. If waking up early is good enough for them it’s good enough for me.

Be coachable- I have found more people willing to help me because I have an open mind, work ethic, my willingness to try something new and my love for learning. Not all knowledge is useful, and you may not find value in everything you try. I can tell you from experience though, I’ve learned more from failure and how not to do something than I have from succeeding. The best part about being coachable, you can find someone who has been through the school of hard knocks and they can save you time and energy if you will just listen and discuss. I’ve been told one of life’s greatest pleasures is mentoring someone who is willing to be mentored. I’ve attracted some pretty awesome mentors up to this point!

Be self-confident- Yes, you may be young, but does that mean you aren’t a professional? NO! This has been one of the most difficult business tasks I’ve had to overcome. I see myself as young and assumed more prominent people looked at me the same way. I had a fear of calling on someone with a prominent title… The more and more I have interacted with older professionals, the more I have learned they are normal people. Don’t let your age or lack of a title get in your way from making a contact that could spring board your future! If you don’t believe in yourself, don’t expect anyone else to either.

Be a professional and become an expert in your field- Yes a first impression is important, but give me 5 minutes with someone and I will show why we should do business together.  Let me demonstrate my knowledge and expertise and not only will earn their business, they will come back again and bring their friends. You can act your age or you can become a professional. Just remember, they pay accordingly.

Take full responsibility- This is life changing if you’ll take it serious. You can’t expect someone else to take care of you. Whether you’re 18, 20, 25, 30 or older, it is time to grow up and take responsibility for your future. If you don’t take full responsibility for your future, someone else will. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. If you are willing to work hard, be coachable and always be learning, you will not only find more opportunities, but you will create opportunities.

Start the process with a little self-evaluation. Be honest and open with yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Pick one area and start working on it right now! YOU are the only person who can change your thoughts and actions. I promise, make the decision to work on yourself every day and you open a door to endless possibilities!

Gary Stotler is a father, husband. He is a running, fitness, weight loss and personal development addict. Since 2013, Gary has gone from 400 pounds to ultra-runner. Believing if we take it One Step at a Time, nothing is impossible. He is determined to let his actions show people what is possible and hopes to help you Out Run Your Excuses.

You can find more about Gary at www.outrunyourexcuses.com

If you think you’re beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but you think you can’t

it’s almost certain you won’t.

If you think you will lose, you lost.
For out in the world we find,
success begins with a fellow’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You have to be sure of yourself
before you ever win a prize.

Life’s battles, don’t always go
to the stronger or faster man
But sooner or later the man who
wins is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!
Napoleon Hill from “Think and Grow Rich”

Published by Gary Stotler