The Secret to Beating Doubt

Even after you achieve success and accomplish some of your goals, you’ll still battle doubt. You choose whether or not to let doubt stifle your dream or use it as a measuring stick.

I’ve battled doubt my entire life, just as I’m sure you have. In the second grade, I fell in love with writing because it was a way to communicate words nonverbal. I wrote my heart out growing up.

At 17, I rebelled against my parents and left home. I spent six months living on the streets. At that point, I had to get a job to survive. I gave up my love of writing. In 2011, after a horrible 12 years, I found my love of writing again.

I self-published my first book in 2011 and it completely flopped. You better believe my doubt was screaming at me. In addition to the doubt, there are some major hater that love to criticize everything I do. Here is how I beat doubt and you can too.

Ignore your feelings

If you follow your feelings, you will be on a roller coaster that doesn’t stop. Doubt feeds into your feelings and causes you to believe the worst of what you think. Ignore your feelings, especially when it comes to your dreams. (more…)

The Fourth Worst Day of My Life

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Last post, I told you a secret that was gut wrenching to admit. If you read the post, you’ll understand why the day I’m going to tell you about was so heartbreaking.

I was a blue-collar, everyday workingman who never touched computers. I even thought it was weird when people texted me. I went through a terrible year in 2011 and decided it was time to do something about the train wreck that my life had become.

I got inspired by Amanda Hocking’s story and turned my journal into my first eBook. I thought if I put my book on the “Internet,” people would somehow see it and buy it. This seemed like a slam-dunk.

Leading up to the book’s release, so many people had promised to buy the book. Friends, family members and co-workers had told me how excited they were to purchase it. The day the book came out I was convinced I’d get—at the very least—100 sales.

It took so much of me to beat my doubt and fear. This was new and uncomfortable. I was letting strangers have a peek into my life. It felt so wrong, but I had a dream.

The day I try to forget

I hustled through work on August 11, 2011. This was the day I worked so hard to get to. My hard work would be rewarded with hundreds of book sales, and start me on the path to quitting a job I hated with every fiber of my being.

I got done with work, ran to my bedroom and logged onto Amazon. The number I saw staring back at me was a mirage. I closed my eyes for five seconds. I was convinced the number would be different when I opened my eyes again. It wasn’t.

The number I saw was ZERO…..

As the day went on, I still had zero sales of my book. My book! A blue-collar guy had stepped way out of his comfort zone. This was a story you saw it the movies. There’s supposed to be a happy ending. Right?

I didn’t sell any books that day. I didn’t make any money from my dream, but it went far deeper than money.

I struggled with doubt, fear, self-limiting beliefs, and believing what others had said about my dream. The managers at the bread company joked amongst themselves that I published a coloring book. They were bold enough to laugh in my face knowing I couldn’t do anything about it.

Were they right? Was I a complete failure? Was I destined for a life of grunt work? (more…)

I’m a High School Dropout

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In the last three years of writing this blog, I’ve told you about my life. I’ve told you about having to file bankruptcy when everything was falling apart in 2011. I’ve told you about the time my wife and I separated for four months because of all the problems. I’ve told you about many failures on my journey to create freedom in my life.

There is one thing I’ve never admitted publicly… I’m a high school dropout.

That is one of the hardest sentences I’ve ever written. Tears are hitting my fingers as I write these words. I feel so ashamed, and because of this, I’ve questioned who I am to give anyone advice. For 12 years this held me back from my dream of writing.

The story

I grew up in a deeply religious home. We didn’t watch TV growing up; we weren’t allowed to listen to music or date. When I turned 17, I had enough. My parents told me if I didn’t follow their rules, I had to get out of their home. I did.

I was homeless for six-months. I lived on the street and friend’s couches. I went to high school for a while, but I had to work as much as possible to get off the streets. I left high school to survive.

I eventually got my act together and married an amazing woman. The first thing she did was encourage me to get my G.E.D., which I did. Still, I couldn’t write because I felt like an imposter.

It’s Possible

It’s sad to say, but it took the death of my father in April of 2012 to shake me out of my comfort zone. My last promise to him was that I would learn from his mistakes by not living a life of regret.

I started a simple blog on Blogger. I wrote from my heart and shared what I observed about life. Right away a stranger was quick to point out my terrible grammar and questioned my credentials. I deleted the blog.

My best friends told me to ignore the naysayers and do what they knew I was called to do on this earth. I started this blog. I stopped focusing on the haters; I realized that I’m not doing this for them. I started writing to connect with, and help those who are struggling with the same issues as me. I poured my heart into helping them.

It took three years, and a lot of learning/implementing, but at the end of 2012, I was able to quit a job/business that negatively affected my life. I was finally free.

After the day job was history, I started to heal and work on my weight. I’ve lost 170 pounds and counting. The last piece of the dream triad was where we lived. We were scared of the rising crime in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2010 we vacationed in Maui, Hawaii and fell in love. After four years of planning, we made the move to Maui in April of 2014. (more…)

5 Reasons to Sell Everything and Move to Hawaii

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I know what you’re thinking, “Hawaii is too expensive,” or if you’re local, “We don’t need anyone else moving to Hawaii, it’s a finite resource.” I understand there are sensitive cultural issues at play, and I understand most people can’t afford to live here.

What everyone should understand is that if living in Hawaii or some other destination is your dream, you should do whatever you can to make that dream your reality.

In April of 2010 we vacationed in Maui and feel in love. We got back to Wisconsin and started talking about retiring here. That talk lasted a few months and then “normal” life took over.

It wasn’t until the death of my father in April of 2012 that reality hit us, and I determined to honor him by not living a life of regret. It took a few more years, but in April of 2014 we moved to Maui.

Living in our dream destination has opened my eyes to so many experiences, and changed the way I see life. It’s shown me these five reasons why everyone should move to their dream destination (Hawaii or elsewhere).

1. Life is short

This message has never been stronger to me than it has today. Yesterday, my grandfather died. I knew it was coming, but it still hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m just grateful he got to read the open letter I wrote to him.

We know life is short. We realize all of us only get one life to live, yet we live everyday like we’re immortal. We put off our dreams for another day, but too often that day never comes.

When we deal with death, we get a vivid lesson, but it doesn’t have to take a death for us to be shaken out of our comfort zone. We have to power to live the life we truly want to live, in the place we want to live it. All it takes is doing something about it. Your dream will take time, but if you start today you’re one day closer to an amazing life.

2. Simplicity is freeing

When we moved to Maui, we sold everything and came here with 15 checked bags. It was freeing to start our new life without all the clutter and stuff we never really use. As we’ve added items to our home, we’ve asked if we really need them before we bring them in.

Living a simple, clutter-free life reduces your stress. You don’t have to worry about buying all the new “must get” items. You learn to use what you have and embrace life over stuff. (more…)

5 Better Ways to Spend Your Time

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This year can be one of the greatest of your life or the same as every other year. The thing that determines what kind of year you’ll have is how you spend your time. Time is the one resource we’ll never get back. Each of us only gets one life to live. Each moment is precious and should be used on the things that will better your life, and help you reach the goals you’ve set for yourself this year.

For 12 years I didn’t think about how I spent my time because I was just trying to survive. I was living paycheck-to-paycheck; I was 170 pounds overweight, and living in a place that had us fearing for our life.

I wasted a lot of time that I’ll never get back. I don’t dwell on it because holding onto the past can keep you stuck. When I got serious about making changes, I used every second of my time focused. Here are five better ways to spend your time and ensure an incredible year.

1. Living fully present 

In the chaos of life it’s easy to get caught up in all the things we have to do. We’re busy people these days and there’s a wealth of distractions. Even when we’re with our loved ones, we have to check our phones. We can’t miss what’s new on Facebook. Right?

Living fully present means you focus. You put the phone away and listen to what your kids are saying. You ignore email so that you not only listen; you understand what your spouse is telling you. Living life this way ensures you’re not wasting time and you’re spending it living each moment.

2. Working on your dream

Life is short and at the end of it, you’ll look back and remember. That will either be depressing or bring a smile to your face depending on what you do now. Spending 40 plus hours in a job or business you don’t love will suck the life out of you.

Choose to spend your time working on making your dream your reality. Spending your time trying to rationalize complacency will only lead to a life of regrets. Your dreams can bring you true freedom with your time, and in your life.

3. Improving your health

Your health affects every other area of your life. To accomplish everything you want in life, you’re going to need energy. Investing your time in exercise and eating foods that give your body nourishment, will pay dividends. (more…)

7 Healthy Habits That Helped Me Lose 170 Pounds in One Year

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In 2007, my brother was getting married and asked me to be his best man. I was honored and excited, until the tuxedo fitting for all the groomsmen. Everyone else fit into their tuxedos just fine except for me.

The kind people at the store did the best they could, but there wasn’t a size that would fit me. I was too big. Weeks later they called and had one specially delivered. The wedding went off without a hitch.

The problem came on Facebook after the wedding. People posted pictures, and I was appalled to see how big I looked. I cried myself to sleep that night.

I woke up the next day determined to lose the weight. When I got on the scale the number I saw was 332 pounds! I was determined to lose the weight, but I didn’t understand what it meant to change my lifestyle.

I went on a crazy diet, where I was only allowed to eat 1,200 calories a day, and exercised for four hours a day. I lost 132 pounds in six months. Mission accomplished. Right?

Since I didn’t learn healthy habits, I gained all that weight back plus 38 pounds that next year. Flash forward to June 15 of 2013. Again I was a best man, this time at my best friend’s wedding.

It was the exact same routine. The pictures were posted on Facebook and I was even more appalled. When I got on the scale I was 370 pounds. I worked so hard the first time — how could this happen again? On June 17 of 2013 I didn’t start my weight loss journey, I started the journey to create healthy habits that ultimately changed my life.

In that journey I quit a job I hated and moved to Maui, Hawaii. I talked about that on The Huffington Post. I lost those 170 pounds in one year. At the time of this writing, I now weigh 200 pounds.

Learning these seven healthy habits helped me lose the weight and change my life. If you are struggling with weight loss or making big changes, they can work for you too.

1. Patience

Losing weight takes time, especially if it’s a lot of weight. I started my weight loss journey for the second time on June 17 of 2013. All I could think about, at first, was that big number, 370 pounds. It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror every day and not see major changes.

The old adage finally sunk in: This isn’t a race. It’s a marathon. Instead of focusing on that big number, I focused on taking this journey one day at a time. Every day I would wake up and just focus on what actions I needed to take that day. If I had a bad day, I would go to bed, sleep it off, and wake up determined to make that day better than the day before. (more…)

5 Reasons Why You Should Quit a Job You Hate

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Every week, men and women all over the world are spending 40 hours plus at a job they absolutely hate. The Washington Post tells us that only 13% of people are at a job they can tolerate.

I don’t have to give you the stats, because chances are you are in a job you can’t stand. I worked a job I hated for 12 years, everyday my hatred for the job grew.

When I started this job at 19-years-old everything was fine. I was young, and had the energy of a bull. OK, that might be an exaggeration, but I could handle the long hours. As I got married, and we had kids, the long hours started to wear on me.

It got even worse when my kids started having activities at school. I started this job at midnight, which meant on those nights I would get three hours of sleep.

Sleeping three hours a night, and working 60 hours a week sucked, but what I didn’t realize was the effect it had on my health, and the rest of my life. It was so bad that after I quit this job, I needed a month to detox.

I know there are many reading this that can relate. Every day you go to a job that makes you miserable, wondering if you’ll ever escape. What you may not be thinking about is how this job is affecting your life.

 1. The stress is affecting your health

Stress is the leading cause of many health problems. This article from WebMD points out at least ten of them. When you spend day in, and day out in a job you hate, you better believe you’ll be stressed out.

Over years that stress adds up, and you could end up with the health problems laid out in this article. Whether you realize it or not, you bring that stress home with you, and it affects everyone around you.

Years of stress could shorten your life and make you a bitter person. The longer you deal with the stress, the more problems it leads too. One of the best things you can do in life is avoid stressful situations as much as possible. That’s one reason why I don’t talk about politics on Facebook!

 2. It’s fostering bad habits

Besides the stress, working at a job you hate can lead to, and foster other bad habits. One major problem is bad sleeping patterns. The odd hours I worked had me sleeping three hours a night for years.

You may be getting more than three hours, but if you’re at a job you hate, I’m guessing you’re either getting too much or not enough. The stress and hours might be keeping you from getting enough. The stress could also be making you sleep too much because that’s your escape. (more…)

5 Ways You’re Trading Incredible Sex for a Miserable Job

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When I originally wrote this, I blushed. I’m blushing now that I reposting this here. However, this year I will be focused on helping you create freedom in your work, health, and relationships so this post is fitting.

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You work hard for eight hours, even more if you’re getting over-time. During those eight hours you experience a wide range of emotions: happiness, stress, anger, and confusion.

At the end of that shift you’re exhausted, and emotionally drained. On the ride home you do your best to leave all the junk from work behind, but it’s hard.

You do all the activities you normally do when you come home. All is well and then it’s bedtime. Your significant other starts to rub your back and kisses you, signaling it’s “time.”

At that point your mind and body send out conflicting signals. You would love to rip your clothes off, and do the deed, but you’re tired. You’re angry, stressed, and mentally drained.

Gallup just released a poll that says the average person spends 47 hours each week at work. When you spend that much of your week doing something, it affects every other aspect of your life.

In that moment when you could be experiencing magic, all you can think about is sleeping. In order to get through the horror of those eight hours all over again the next day, you need those precious moments on the pillow.

Your work is affecting your sex life one way or another. The effect it has is up to you, and largely the type of job you have. If you are in a job you hate, which is 87% of us, it could destroy your sex life. Here’s five ways how.

1. The stress is killing your sex drive 

After you spend all day busting your butt at a stressful job, you just don’t have all the energy you need to have for sex. You can muster up a second wind, but that last little bit of energy doesn’t give you enough time to embrace the experience.

Dr. Logan-Levkoff points out five ways that stress is affecting your sex life in a great article for the Huffington Post. The second point she makes is that stress takes a toll on your libido.

Basically, hormones affect our bodies in different ways. Cortisol is one of the hormones produced by stress. Elevated levels of Cortisol being produced for long periods of time, like from a stressful job- day in, and day out- suppresses other hormones. Lower levels of these hormones lead to a lower libido. (more…)

The Last Day of a Job You Hate (Flashback)

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This was the very first article I ever posted on this website (2011). Since we’re starting a new year, I thought it would be fitting to refresh and repost. 

I must have been dreaming pretty hard because I had one of those situations where you hear a noise you think is part of your dream, but then realize it’s your alarm clock. That moment always sucked!

I woke up to a nice pool of my own drool; I got out of bed (reluctantly) and did my usual morning routine. The worst part being looking over and seeing my wife enjoying her sleep. I’m not going to lie, I was jealous.

I bet you’re wondering what my job was. I was a bread delivery driver that woke up at midnight to deliver bread to grocery stores. The job itself wasn’t bad, but the company and grocery stores were soul-sucking.

Every morning that I drove to this job I cringed, but halfway there I remembered a crucial detail: this was my last day!

There were more politics than Washington D.C. at this job, so going there was never fun, but not that day. As I walked into the door to our warehouse, I could smell the B.S. and drama, I looked over and saw the managers that had made my life hell for 12 years.

I thought about shaking their hand and saying, “Have a good life’ but something inside me wouldn’t let me do it. I knew deep down inside that if I was going to heal, I had to vent. (more…)

6 Lessons Moving to Hawaii Taught Me About Life

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In April of 2010 my wife and I went on vacation to Maui, Hawaii. We expected to have a good time but we had no idea that trip would end up changing our lives. The moment we stepped off the plane we felt “something” and by the end of that trip we knew Maui would be our home someday.

We stayed in Maui for one week. We fell in love with the people, the lifestyle, and of course the food. As we started to pack up to head home we talked about how nice it would be to live in Maui. On the flight home we kicked around the idea of retiring here.

You know how it goes. Right? We got home and got busy with everyday life. Eventually even the talk faded away. Life continued on until the death of my father suddenly at the age of 54. I talked about his death on The Huffington Post.

His death was our wake up call to get serious about what we wanted from life. During the planning and eventual move to Maui on April 8th, 2014 I learned some valuable lessons about life.

1. Not everyone will understand.
When we got back from that first trip we told our family and friends about our plans. Most said “that’s great” but I’m guessing they really didn’t believe it. As the planning got serious there were questions. When we finally bought the one-way tickets some just didn’t understand.

As you make big changes in your life there will be people who just don’t get it. That’s ok. You’re doing what’s right for you and your life, not theirs. You can’t live your life for anyone else; you have to live it for you. Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

2. Hope for the best but plan for the worse.
If you’re making a big change in your life chances are there’s going to be money involved. One of the smartest things you can do is set up a rainy day fund. You hope things work out smoothly but life isn’t a movie where things magically work out.

Plan for the very likely reality that there will be an unexpected emergency. The experts will tell you what that number should be but I would tell you to have a little more than you think you’ll need. (more…)