The War Within: Here’s The Mindset Shift To Improve Any Aspect Of Your Life And Business


It’s 5:00 in the morning. My alarm goes off and I drowsily open one eye just long enough to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.

I’d wanted to get up in the morning to jog but I’m sleepy and I can hear a cold winter wind outside. So I stay in my bed and sleep longer.

It’s not that I needed the sleep. Rather, it’s that that the comparison between the effort and cold of a winter morning jog compared to the comfort and warmth of my bed is a battle that is hard to win.

Actually, that’s not the real battle happening.

There’s a war going on inside my mind every morning.

… and every moment of the day.

Oh, and it’s happening in your mind, too, as well as the minds of every other person at each moment of each person’s day. In any and every area of your life and business, this is happening… in your health, your financial situation, your relationships, your hobbies, your professional life, your education, and in everything else as well.

The War Within

Let’s skip the really violent imagery and say that’s a tug-of-war. In my mind and yours. Every millisecond of the day.

It’s a tug of war between two people: On the one side is the person you were and on the other side is the person you want to be.

  • The person you were—this person represents stagnation and remaining idle in your comfort zone. This person fears change. This person believes that self preservation is the key to enjoying life, and they’re convinced that you can get by simply by doing things the way they’ve always been done.
  • The person you want to be—this person represents growth and challenge, which occurs outside of your comfort zone. This person acknowledges that growth can mean risk. This person believes that the key to enjoying life is to stretch yourself farther than you’ve gone in the past, and they’re convinced that only the strong survive.

These two people battle back and forth. Sometimes one wins; sometimes the other wins. In some aspects of your life, one is stronger; in other aspects of your life, the other is stronger.

In my own life, I have no problem working out at 4:30 in the afternoon each day, and it’s the challenge-accepting person that I want to be who dominates to get me off the chair and into my workout gear. But at 5:00 in the morning when the wind is howling outside and I’m tired, the person I was is stronger than the person I want to be, pulling that tug-of-war rope over to the side of comfort.

Think about the things in your life that you want to change. How successful is your change? If you are struggling, the person you were is winning. If you are succeeding at making the change, the person you want to be is winning.

There’s One More Person In This Scenario

There’s a third person in this scenario, too: it’s you, right now at this very moment. And the “right-now-you” is watching this tug-of-war happen between who you were and who you want to be. You’re watching… but you’re also participating, jumping in to help one or the other pull that rope.

You-right-now are deciding whether you want comfort or challenge, stasis or transformation, and you are aiding the person you were or the person you want to be to win in that moment.

And look, not every moment of every day can be devoted to growth. That’s going to be exhausting and difficult on you mentally and physically. And you’re not going to grow in every area at an accelerated pace. And maybe there are areas where you are happy and don’t see a need to grow.

… all fine. But the tug-of-war happens anyway. In every moment; in every area of life.

Here’s How You Can Win

Assuming that you want to grow, and recognizing that it’s not always easy to leap out of bed at 5:00 in the morning when the winter wind is howling, here’s what you can do to step up and lend a hand in the tug-of-war to the person you want to be… to help the person you want to be and to hinder the person you were.

  • Create a reason to push yourself. You might want to make a change in your life but you can’t seem to make it stick. When that happens, think about why you are making the change. Sometimes a change or improvement seems arbitrary, and that makes it a hard habit to stick to. But if the change has a stronger, more meaningful reason then it’s easier to stick to.
  • Get rid of temptations. I’m not much of a snacker but if you are, and if you want to snack less, then you need to get rid of the snacks in your house. All of them. Even the ones you buy for someone else.
  • Turn your change into a habit. Remember earlier I said that I had no problem working out at 4:30 in the afternoon? That wasn’t always the case. It was a struggle. I slowly made it a habit. Now it’s an expected part of my day and it’s locked into my schedule and I actually look forward to it… and feel like I’ve missed something important if I don’t workout one day.
  • Become curious. Curiosity is a powerful and often overlooked tool when it comes to change. Rather than saying, “I’m going to try to do this in my business” (which is a statement), get curious about it and ask yourself, “What will happen when I do this in my business?” When you’re overwhelmed with a big challenge, curiosity helps you to explore that challenge and break it down into a smaller one.
  • Make it fun. Our brains are wired to hate risk. Risk is scary. It’s the fearful step out of the warm and safe cave into the scary unknown. But have you ever lost yourself in a fun activity, only to discover that you’ve far exceeded your comfort zone? Let’s say you want to exercise a bit more but you abhor the thought of going to the gym to run on the treadmill. Well what if you and a few friends just started playing soccer in the evening? You’ll get the workout and barely notice it.
  • Turn it into a short-term challenge. This one is an effective strategy for me. Whenever I’m faced with an out-side-of-my-comfort-zone opportunity to grow, that I cannot seem to consistently complete on my own (such as the winter jog!) then I turn it into a short-term challenge. For example, instead of declaring that I’m going to jog every day, I say that I’m going to jog for 30 days straight and that’s it. By the end of the 30 days, it’s a habit that I love and I can more easily continue doing it but the fact that it’s a challenge makes it more enjoyable in that habit-forming period.

Summary

At any given moment there’s a tug-of-war raging in your mind between the comfort-zone person you were and the risk-tolerant person you want to be. And you right now? You’re in the middle watching it happen and deciding on the fly who you want to help win in that moment.

Stay the same or grow. It’s your choice in this very moment.

How I Leapt Off A 22-Storey Building And Lived To Tell About It

Would you leap off of a 22-storey building?

I did. Specifically, the building in the center of this picture…

Here’s How It Happened…

A few years ago, when I lived in Winnipeg Manitoba, I heard about an event where people raised funds for charity and, as part of the fundraising, they could rappel down one of the skyscrapers downtown. It sounded like SO MUCH FUN!

Unfortunately, I heard about it too late to participate that year. In the years to come I wanted to do it but never had the time or the money or the desire to raise funds all at the same time… then over the years I forgot about it.

Then I moved to Regina Saskatchewan. While searching for fun things to do in the city, and for ways to get involved in a good cause, I stumbled over a website for The Dropzone — the exact event that I had wanted to do in Winnipeg… and it was happening here in Regina too.

The Dropzone is an annual event hosted collaboratively between Easter Seals and the Saskatchewan Abilities Council. Both groups work to help people with disabilities live full and active lives. The Dropzone event happens every year across Canada since 2005 and has raised more than $15 million for this cause.

I signed up and committed to raise the funds to rappel. I was SO excited! Rappelling has been on my bucket list for many years.

Preparation

As a requirement of participating in this event, I had to take some training (makes sense!) and I went in late July. It was held at a safety training company; we learned about the equipment and then rappelled off of a simple 2-storey structure inside a warehouse.

I felt comfortable with the process and the equipment, although the harness was excruciatingly painful and left two very big bruises on my stomach. (I was worried that, if I felt that way during the 2-storey drop, what would it be like during a 22-storey drop! Fortunately, someone identified the problem — the shoulder straps were too loose — and it was fixed for the main drop).

Then, it was a waiting game during which I raised money, waited for the day to come, and took silly pictures like this one…

August 19, 2017

The day of the event finally arrived. I was so excited!

Here I am leaving the house. My game-face is already on!

Aaron Hoos

One disappointment from earlier in the week was that my rappel time was scheduled for between 7:45 and 8:15 in the morning. The whole event is supposed to be a fun and party-like atmosphere that happens in Regina’s bustling downtown core at the same time as a nearby farmers market. I thought the atmosphere would have been very fun but doubted that anyone would be there at 7:45! (Although the early drop time turned out to be a good thing… more on that in a moment).

When I arrived, it was SO quiet downtown. Here’s a picture of me failing to get the perfect selfie in front of the building.

Then I entered the lobby of the building, signed a waiver, and started getting suited up with the harness and helmet and gear. Yes, it’s not lost on me that the helmet would serve no useful purpose if the equipment failed. But safety first, I guess!

Then I took the LOOOOOONG elevator ride up to the 21st floor, signed another waiver (!?!) and then had to climb a ladder onto the roof.

The view was incredible. The building I was on is the tallest in Regina (I think!) so I could see all around. Here’s a selfie of the view. I am excited in this picture but also look silly because the helmet is squeezing my cheeks out to make them look really chubby! haha.

Then, it was time to wait my turn and I got super-focused. Here I am, all ready to go in my gear, with full focus. A couple people tried to talk to me and I probably came across as rude and cold but I was really just getting into the zone.

Finally it was my turn to rappel I approached the edge of the building and my safety rope was tied to the tripod.

Once my safety rope was tied, I had to climb up onto the ledge of the building and then lean out into my harness. The ground below was SO FAR DOWN.

It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

I can’t describe how challenging it was to grab hold of the tripod, stand on the edge of the roof, and stick my feet over the building to feel around blindly until I found the ledge… and then I had to lean backward into my harness and trust a rope to hold me.

Here’s a screenshot from the Global News report about the event. I actually look surprisingly calm here but I cannot describe how insanely scary it was to see all those tiny people below!

(You can view the full article and news report at this link, but if you’re looking for me specifically, I appear for one second at about 1:25 into the video. Blink and you’ll miss it.)

I leaned back, gave the photographer a thumb’s up (I’ll post that picture here when they send it to me) and started my descent.

And it was awesome! :)

As soon as I started, the initial fear vanished and was replaced by a rush of adrenaline as I got into the groove. The day was perfect, the view was amazing, and I was doing something that I’d always wanted to do.

Here’s a picture of me very early into my descent. There were two rappellers going at once and I was on the right…

I tried to pause on my descent from time to time to get a good view but that was harder than I thought. I even brought my phone along to get some pictures or do a Facebook Live video but there was no way I could do that because I was wearing gloves and my phone had been tethered to me but was not easy to get to, and I was too busy concentrating on everything.

The thing with rappelling is, it’s trickier than I would have guessed: Your arms and legs are doing 4 things independently of each other, all at the same time. Your right arm is under your butt trying to keep you from getting rope burn, your left hand is up by your chest working with a special lever that controls the speed of your descent, and with your legs you are periodically bouncing off the building and also adjusting for wind.

You’re doing this in windy conditions. In gloves. In the most uncomfortable harness you can imagine. While swallowing your fear. And somewhere in there you need to pause and drink in the experience!

I did stop a couple of times on my descent to enjoy the view but it was harder than expected so I just stuck with maintaining a good descent.

The wind was crazy, actually. It was fine until about halfway down, and then a big gust blew me off course and almost sent me spiralling out of control (which did happen to a couple other rappellers after me). Fortunately I was able to put out my one foot to catch myself against a window to keep from spinning. I believe that’s what the picture below shows: me with my right foot out as I tried to catch myself in a gust of wind.

(Side note: I mentioned earlier that I was disappointed that I had to go so early in the day. However, later that afternoon the wind picked up considerably and they had to postpone the rest of the event so it turned out to be a good thing that I went so early!)

And, as I neared the bottom, I could hear the cheers of a crowd that had gathered, and that was an amazing feeling. And by the time I got to the bottom and got untied, I felt like some kind of rockstar, as evidenced by this hilariously confident swagger…

And here I am after the event. The descent only took about 15 minutes but I was sweating and tired!

After The Event

I was surprised at how exhausted I was after the event. It’s a fast descent but also extremely active the whole time.

Immediately after the event I walked through the farmers market and then took a nearby walking tour of some historical buildings… and then went home and slept.

And then the next day I slept again.

And by the afternoon of the second day I felt stiff in my legs, arms, and back from a combination of the unusual activity and the tension of contorting against the wind in that harness.

But it was fun and I would do it again!

Summary

It was amazing!

A big theme in my life lately is breaking out of my comfort zone to discover new challenges and opportunities. Once you enjoy a bit of business success, it’s easy to get complacent in business and life, and to expect things to continue on in the same way. And this is one way that I push myself just a bit (even while doing something I’ve always wanted to do) to get momentarily uncomfortable and discover new experiences.

On August 19 2017 I raised $1065 for charity, crossed an item off my bucket list, and had a memorable experience that I would do again in a heartbeat!

Thank you to everyone who supported and encouraged me! It was something I’ll never forget.

 


Aaron Hoos, writerAaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He’s the author of several books, including The Sales Funnel Bible.

I’m Going To Leap From The Top Of This Very Tall Building…

Scarth Street is one of my favorite places in Regina (the city I live in).

It’s pedestrian-friendly, a great mix of old and new architecture, and there’s plenty of places to eat, drink, relax, and enjoy the surroundings.

And at the head of the pedestrian-only section of Scarth Street is the McCallum Hill Tower Centre, a 2-tower complex pictured below. (Check it out in Google Earth)

Well, on August 19 I am going to jump off the one on the right.

It’s 22-storeys down.

But not a free-fall, fortunately! ;)

I’ll be rappelling down the side of the building to raise money in support of Easter Seals, a really cool organization that helps Canadians with disabilities live active lives.

If you want to learn more or donate, check out the link below:

http://donate.saskability.com/goto/aaronhoos

I’m pretty excited about it!

 


Aaron Hoos, writerAaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He’s the author of several books, including The Sales Funnel Bible.

It Was A Privilege To Meet Brian Tracy And Mike Michalowicz

Earlier this month I was in New Jersey for a client’s event. My client, Mike Agugliaro, is the owner of two companies — Gold Medal Service and CEO Warrior. He hosts a regular training event a few times a year for business owners.

Mike is one of my biggest clients so I try to get out to his office at least once a year to attend an event or to brainstorm with him.

(Side note: I was a guest on his podcast to discuss the future of copy, in case you want to hear that.)

Earlier this month I was at his event — the Warrior Fast Track Academy — to hear Mike speak, make notes on some projects, and to consult with his team.

As an added bonus, Mike had two special guests, who also happen to be two authors and business experts whose work I admire. I got to hear them speak, had my picture taken with them, and because I’m on Mike’s team, I also got to meet with them outside of the event in a more informal setting.

Brian Tracy shared a lot of wisdom with my the event audience about productivity and business growth. It was really valuable and I took a lot away from his presentation. Here he is, below, after signing a copy of his book, Eat That Frog.
Aaron Hoos and Brian Tracy

Mike Michalowicz is someone I’ve been following for a long time because his work and style matches mine. He founded Toilet Paper Entrepreneur years ago and later moved away from that brand to focus on his personal brand. I followed him at TPE and then was interested in his move away from that brand, which is detailed in this NY Times blog post from 2012. During my client’s event, Mike Michalowicz shared his “Profit First” strategies, which is another concept of his that I’ve been following for a while. Here he is, below, after signing a copy of his book Profit First. (I’d actually met Mike during a conference call I had with him earlier this summer but this is the first time we met in person.)
Aaron Hoos and Mike Michalowicz

Go West, Life Is Peaceful There. Go West, Lots Of Open Air…

Hello again.

Remember me? It’s been exactly 6 months since I posted my last blog post (Thoughts About Life And Business On My 41st Birthday).

And here I am finally writing again.

Here’s the reason for my temporary break from blogging…

My wife and I decided to move… 400 miles west to Regina Saskatchewan, a city we both used to live in (in fact, that’s where we first met exactly 20 years ago).

Relocating may have seemed like a spur-of-the-moment decision to many people but it had been a topic of conversation for a while and circumstances came together to make it a perfect time for us to move.

In July we put the house up for sale, went through the listing process in July and August, sold our house at the end of August, had a moving company move our stuff in the middle of September, and then followed a week later. (That last week was hardest… I’m not cut out to sleep on an air mattress — haha).

(Pictured below) Here we are getting into our car and leaving our beloved Winnipeg house for the last time. We had 12 amazing years in this place. Twelve years ago we said we’d never move but things change, right? (Winnipeg was good to us and we loved it there but it’s time to move on.)
Aaron Hoos

(Pictured below) … And here we are about 4 hours or so into our 6 hour journey, crossing over the border from Manitoba into Saskatchewan.
Aaron Hoos

We pulled into Regina Saskatchewan, and into our new home, to start a new adventure! (I tried taking a picture of that too but we were pretty worn out and 6 hours of driving made us look like crazed serial killers so I deleted the pictures. So just imagine Charles Manson and that’s basically what we looked like.)

What’s next for us in this new chapter?

I’m still writing; in fact, I’m writing more than ever for some pretty amazing clients. (You can see what I do over at Real Estate Investing Copywriter.) I’m hoping to focus a bit more on writing my own books, too. I’m also using the opportunity to evaluate what’s essential in my life and what’s inconsequential — so I can do more of one and less of the other.

It’s an exciting time in our lives… can’t wait to see what this next chapter holds for us!