Weekly Dose of Coach #142: Mental Notes that Matter

Mental Notes that Matter

We are constantly taking mental notes. Many of these notes are from what we see, hear and observe.  These things inspire us, motivate us and maybe even make us think about making a change.  But no matter how many positive meme's or success stories you run into every day, these are not what will eventually drive you to make that change.  

I watched a documentary this weekend that told a story of a DEA agent who was working against the Columbian Drug Cartels in the 80's. While in Miami, he had a hit put on him by drug lord, Carlos Lehder. One day, while at a stop light, he noticed a motor cycle with two men on it approaching him.  He thought this was the end for him.  But as the assassins approached they noticed that the agent recognized them and he had pulled out his side arm.  Instead of the assassins carrying out the hit, they sped off. 

This DEA agent said the mental note of seeing these two men dressed in all black approaching him in his rear view mirror, changed the course of his life. After this brush with certain death, he said, right then and there, he knew what he was put on this earth to do. Destroying the Cartel would become his life's passion. He ended up being a big reason Lehder was eventually taken down. 

When you decide to change the course of your life, it's done so because something is stirred inside of you. This is why all this inspirational stuff we take in is nice, but it's not what we see, hear and observe it's what we actually experience that will change us. 

Experience drives home the mental notes that make us act with passion.  You may be able to think of one or two events in your life that changed you.  Many times these they come with failure, pain, hurt or struggle.  The key word here is experience. It has to touch something deeper.  It can't be something you just think you should do.  And before you find this, life is just mostly...waiting to find this.

I'd like to share with you a difficult moment that changed my life.  It happened only about 6 years ago. I went through a period where I had lost everything I'd worked so hard for, real estate, income, savings, business, all within a year.  I was with my daughters getting groceries at Wal-Mart.  The cart was full.  The total was probably $80 to $100 dollars. As my daughters sat in cart, I went to pay and nothing worked.  I had to leave all the food there in the cart and walk out, my daughters questioning why we couldn't take home the food.  This mental note is with me forever and changed my life.  I decided right there, my family would never experience anything like this again and I'd do everything I could to make sure of it. To this day, this thought, this mental note drives how hard I work every day. 

You have to experience failures, difficulties and embrace what life has to throw at you to make a change.  Leadership expert John Maxwell says there are "change indicators" in a person's life: "1) When they hurt enough they have to, 2) When they learn enough they want to, 3) When they receive enough they are able to."  Of all of these, #1 is the most powerful and delivers you the mental note to drive yourself to change daily.

Don't ever forget the difficult things you go through.  Remember how you feel. Embrace it, and turn it into fire.  Your passions are rarely what you think you want.  Your passions are what you are.  And these passions, driven by powerful past experiences, are what you eventually become.


Go Get it,