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10 Life Lessons From My Mentors

Four years ago, I dropped out of school and moved into a tiny two-bedroom apartment with my sister and brother-in-law in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

That chapter of my life is now closed, and I’m excited and terrified all in one. I can no longer use the excuse “I’m in school” as a cop out for not doing shit. I actually have to, I don’t know, work and stuff. 

However, I’m not ready to close out the last chapter without some reflection.

There’s been so much growth and so many lessons. So much love and support. So many memories and eye-opening conversations. I’m flooded with gratitude, and for the first time in a long time I’m not feeling nervous about the future. I am actually excited about what the future holds. 

Jill and Jade have taught me so many things that before I started writing this post, I had a rough draft titled “1,006 things I’ve Learned From Living With Jill & Jade.” 

These two are the first true mentors I’ve had, and taught me the value of having a mentor.

Without a doubt I could list out 1,000+ thoughts/ideas/experiences that have changed my life for the better.

These are two of the most successful, driven, intelligent people I have ever been around. I wish I could share everything I’ve learned with all of you, but I only type with four fingers so the struggle is real. 

So instead of the list of thousands, I am going to share the ten big ideas/lessons that have had the biggest impact on my life. 

1) Radical Responsibility 

This is Jill’s catchphrase for owning your choices that shape your life. This was lesson #1 when I moved into “the cave” as the little two-bedroom apartment was called. Stop playing the victim. Stop thinking that things happen to you, and start happening to things. When I moved to North Carolina I had a catalog of things that “happened to me,” and I could write an entire dissertation of why it wasn’t fair, but that never served me. It just kept the vicious circle flowing. Our current life circumstances are an accumulation of all the choices we have made. It’s like when I went to Australia and many of my friends vented “I wish I could do that.” Well, they could, but they choose to keep their job instead. And that’s fine, we need jobs to pay for our rent and Chipotle addiction, but own the choice.

Read: Loving What is by Byron Katie

2) Possibility Thinking 

This second pattern that I noticed within a week of moving in was the amount of positive words used and habit of possibility thinking. Most people I hung out with up to this point used words like “no,” “can’t,” “won’t,” and “should.” Now I was hanging with two individuals who used words like “can,” “will,” “do,” “yes,” “absolutely,” and “possible.” I remember venting out many ideas over the years, and every time, even if Jill and Jade knew I probably wasn’t going to excute, they said things like “DO IT,” “Can’t wait to see it!” There was no “what’s plan B?” or “Well, have you thought of these 1,072 reasons that idea might not work?”

As a result, I did things I wouldn’t have done in a lifetime. 

Read: The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz 

3) Visualization

I learned a lot of tools and tactics, strange and obvious, that blew my mind. But the one tool that has stuck with me is the tool of visualization. Jade is one of the few people I have ever met who lives his life by design. He said he was going to do things and then did exactly that. He said he has practiced visualization, seeing things before they happen, over and over again throughout his journey.

Research on basketball players show that by simply practicing visualizing sinking a free throw over a period of time (WITHOUT EVER SHOOTING ONE) can improve players free throw percentage.

Practice taking 5-10 minutes in the morning and vividly seeing the life you want. 

Read: The Way of The Seal by Mark Divine

4) The Power of Focus

One of the things we talked about a lot was the power of focus. There are so many distractions in today’s culture that it’s hard to fous on what really matters. Check out this Netflix series! Tweet that! Watch this! Read these two articles that completely contradict one another, yet both have scientific evidence!

It’s all bullshit.

This is a tough lesson for me because I’m always checking out what others are doing. I meet somebody who speaks French I immediately sign up for a class. I am thinking about working out when I’m reading, tweet while I’m writing, and want to take dance lessons when I watch my girlfriends shows. 

Distractions are the death of productivity. We need to fight the disease of “shiny-new-thing syndrome,” focus on the task at hand, and let it go that Fabien speaks better French than us. 

Read: The One Thing by Gary Keller

5) Massive Movement 

One of the most powerful forces of success is momentum. Once momentum is gained, it’s hard to turn it around. This is both good and bad news. For example, for the last 36 days I’ve been drinking, eating, traveling, and certainly not writing or exercising. So now that I have momentum, it’s an easy task getting energy up to go to the grocery to get some Blue Moons, and extremely difficult to get creative ideas flowing and burpees churning. 

I learned abot the daily grind. There is no #WeekendMode, there is no 5 o’clock. These two WORK. Day-in and day-out. Why? Because momentum matters. When you work everyday, you start to gain momentum, and when you gain momentum your results will compound on one another, and then success becomes effortless. 

Read: The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

6) Follow Your Passion 

Jill & Jade are passionate about what they do. They love it. It’s easy to work everyday when you live full of passion. Their life is their message. They love teaching. They love inspiring. They love learning. That is why they can work everyday.

If I read an article that told me to work every single day back when I was working at Meadowbrook Farms Golf Course in Katy, TX I would have told them to eff off. No way. 

But when you do things you enjoy, figure out a way to monetize that, fall in love with the grind, then working everyday becomes easy. This can take time to figure out, so be patient.

Read: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

7) Act As If

During my first year living with Jill & Jade, they brought me to the mountains in Asheville, NC. We stayed at the high-end Grove Park Inn and hit the spa all day. Then we went to an expensive dinner and drank the best wine and had the best steaks. It was incredible.

But my stomach was turning a little the whole time. “What an expensive weekend.” I thought, “How will I ever pay them back?”

When I voiced my discomfort about paying the back they looked at me like I was ridiculous. They told me they wanted to pay for me. This is the lifestyle they want to live, and they want to be able to treat friends and families to such experiences.

It’s an important idea. Whether you call it God, law of attraction, coincidence, karma, faking it until you make it, or magic, there is power in acting as if you are something before you actually become it.

Act as if you are confident, and watch you confidence rise. Act as if you are rich, and learn how to be rich. Act as if you speak French, and put Fabien to shame. 

Read: The As If Principle by Richard Wiseman

8) Build your All-Star Team Wisely

Hang with negative, self-loathing people, and watch as you become negative and self-loathing.

One of the most powerful forces of learning is learning by osmosis. Being around people who are better than you requires you to elevate as well. Living with Jill & Jade for four years caused my income, my confidence, my attitude, my ambition, and my thoughts to level up.

This is an important thing for me to remember as I start my next chapter. I want to hang with positive, driven individuals with #goodvibesonly. I need to search out people in Utah who are doing it better than me, and hang around with them. One of my favorite ideas comes from the motivational speaker Jim Rohn who says “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” 

Choose your five intentionally, and carefully.

Read: Twelve Pillars by Jim Rohn

9) You Can’t Afford NOT To

I think this lesson sunk in around the same time we took that first Asheville trip. The “I can’t afford to go attitude was something deeply ingrained in me.” When I voiced that, I was quickly shut down. You can’t afford NOT to go. You can’t afford to miss the experience. You can’t afford to not go to that seminar or buy that book – it would cost you more down the road to miss that education.

Jill & Jade buy education programs that cost thousands of dollars because they believe that it will cost them more than that to not get the education.

I’ve spent over $5,000 on books over the past four years. That’s a heavy part of my budget, but I truly believe that the education from the book will teach me to make 20x the fifteen bucks I spent on it.

Read: The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau

10) Read, Fire, Aim

And finally, Ready, Fire, Aim is the key to making moves and getting results. So many of us live with the caution of Ready, Aim….. but never fire. We think we’re not ready, or not qualified, or too young, or too old, or too whatever else. Flippng the script and firing before you’re ready, then re-aiming, and firing again is how success works. That’s why all successful people have heartache, failures, and pains along the way. You have to fire a lot before your aim is accurate. 

Do. Something.

Read: anything you want. Just take some freaking action! Fire, fire, fire, fire.

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