Thursday, December 7, 2017

Bruised But Not Broken



Last night, while driving home from Goldsboro, NC, I was in an accident. Outside of a scratch and some soreness in my shoulders, back, and neck, I walked away from an incident that could have been much worse. 

It was about 9:30 in the evening and I was only minutes away from my destination when a large deer suddenly appeared in the middle of the road. In response to this new information, I quickly applied the brakes hoping that I could decelerate the vehicle fast enough that I wouldn't run directly into it. With only seconds remaining, I attempted to move over into the left lane and avoid a collision, but then the car started to swerve from the rear. To correct the vehicle, that was now heading toward a ditch, I turned the steering wheel in the opposite direction to compensate for the fishtailing effect that was in motion.

Unfortunately, there wasn't enough room on the highway to apply corrective action a second time because the car was now sliding sideways toward the guardrail. Eventually, the front corner of the vehicle banged sharply into the protective railing and whipped the vehicle around where the backend of the car then slammed into guardrail. Still in a continuous motion, the 2005 Chrysler Pacifica finished its 360 degree spin and then limped across the highway until it came to a complete stop in the median's ditch.

I sat there quietly while the car continued to make various dying sounds. The lights were flickering off and on while a dinging noise alerted me to a message in the dashboard. I could see steam escaping from the front of the vehicle, which smelled like the remnants of the car's coolant hitting the hot engine.

In all of the craziness that just transpired, I begged the question, "Why is this happening now?" It felt like such an inopportune time knowing that I would have to buy a newer vehicle with money that I did not have.

Not understanding the bigger plan, I gave up trying to comprehend the purpose of it all and just sat there peacefully in my seat while saying a prayer out loud. "Thank you, God, for keeping me safe and protecting me from something worse. I don't know why this is happening, but I trust that you will bring me through this. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."

Once the prayer was over, all I could do was laugh. It felt unreal that all of these apparent misfortunes would be happening around the same time. Just as we get through one situation, another one popped up in its place thus adding to the weight that I'm having to carry. For a moment, I thought about Job from the Bible and all that he had to go through. Thankfully, I'm not dealing with the extensive issues he dealt with, but I understood his pain. In those moments when everything seems like it's going horribly wrong, it's then that I feel led to simply thank the Lord for what's right, for the lesson, for the opportunity to grow and improve.

I don't know why or what the plan is for all of this, but it's not for me to worry about. I've placed my fears, concerns, and anxiety on God and trust that he's going to order my steps and find a way where there seems to be no way.

Over the next hour or so, I was accompanied by the North Carolina Highway Patrol and my girlfriend, Brandi. Together, we game planned our next few moves. I would call my insurance company, State Farm, and arrange for the car to be towed to my house where they would later come and pick it up for further assessment. In the meanwhile, Hertz reserved a rental car for me, which I could pick up the following day.

In the time that I was waiting for the tow truck to arrive, Brandi pulled out her small first-aid kit and started cleaning the cut on my face. With a brown band-aid now positioned near my left eye, I walked around the car, took a few pictures, and then began removing personal items that lay scattered around the interior cabin.

While I tried to remain calm, I felt a bit scatterbrained at times. I found myself taking extraneous steps around the incapacitated vehicle while trying to organize myself. What should I be doing now? I asked.


At one point, I walked over the scene of the accident in an effort to remember the particulars of the event. When people say, "It happened so fast" I can totally relate. The street told the complete story as the tire marks outlined the path of my vehicle. I walked the curved lines and replayed the car hitting the guardrail and littering the street with coolant. Dirt and auto parts lay dormant on the pavement leading to the car that rested silently in the dark.


Eventually, Brandi took me home and held me in her arms. Few words were spoken for the remainder of the night. While I knew that the course ahead may be rocky, in that moment I just wanted to focus on the here and now. I can't change what happened and there is no point in asking "why" when rebuilding is far more important. So, I allowed myself to ignore everything and breathe.

At one point, Brandi repeated the words, "One step at a time..." to which I completely agree. With the Lord's help, we've overcome other challenges and we will soon overcome this one, too. Using the words from Pastor Matt Fry, "If he's done it before, he'll do it again."

As I write these words, I just wanted to share with you my story. Yes, it's easy to feel sorry for ourselves and focus on everything that's not going right, but that's fruitless. Instead, I've decided to take a shower, get dressed, make my bed, and go into the next minute with a positive mindset. I'm still here. All is not lost. Yes, things have happened, but it's not the end of the world. Focus on what you can do with what you have and allow the Lord to take care of everything else. Trust that everything will be okay and that there is a reason for it all.

Before I bring this post to a close, I do want to openly thank God for his protection and movement within my life. I also want to thank my girlfriend Brandi for being there during all of the difficult times we've had to face. I would also like to thank State Farm Insurance, Hertz, and the NC Highway Patrol for aiding me when I needed a helping hand.

Moving forward, I'm going to have to find another vehicle. While the rental car will provide some short term assistance, I'm in need of a longer term solution. I guess that part of the story is still unwritten, but know that I will share it with you as it unfolds.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Teach By Example

Teach By Example


About 5 years ago, I made a thoughtful decision to start a business by way of a network marketing company. While the first few days were a bit rocky, I soon experienced a level of success that exceeded my expectations. Over the next 10 months, I worked closely with the leadership and reached another point of achievement. It felt amazing!

Not long after, my friend and mentor, the one who was guiding me on this journey, made a decision to move a couple of hours away. This meant that we wouldn't see or work in the same way that we had been during the preceding months. It was both scary and exciting. It was scary because there was still so much to learn, but exciting because I was being promoted into a leadership role. 

What I realized almost immediately was that I was great as an individual, but wasn't as strong as a leader. I remember one lady on the team telling me that she was happy for my success, but wondered how she could experience it for herself. It was then that I stopped doing the activity that helped me realize success and looked instead to encourage her to increase her activity. My plan was to talk about the strategy that I employed and massively educate the team on the how-to's. 

Eventually, this young lady closed her business and I had to start rebuilding where I left off. The lesson I learned in that moment was to never stop doing what works

A year or so after that experience, I had another amazing run with a team of go-getters. They were hungry, excitable, and highly energetic. It was so much fun and I learned a lot about how to build and support a team of entrepreneurs. I loved it! 

Process for Teaching

Today, as I continue my work with new business owners and share the building lessons that I've learned over the years, I was reminded of the process by which we help others find success in this industry. Not just in this industry, but life in general. The process involves the following steps:
  • Step 1: I tell you how to do it.
  • Step 2: I show you how to do it.
  • Step 3: You do it, I watch you, and then I give feedback.
  • Step 4: You do it all by yourself.
  • Step 5: You teach someone else how to do it.     
Since the very beginning, I was good for telling you how to do it. I would quickly move to watching you do it, with feedback, and then letting you go. While it seemed to work fine, I knew there was something missing. Today, it's as clear as a window after Windex. I completely ignored step number 2, which is the show you how to do it. Be it at the office, at home, at the gym, in the fraternity, or now in the business world, I skipped such an important step in the learning and teaching process.

It is by doing the activity and inviting you to join me on the journey that one gets to hear and see how something should be done. It's small, yet powerful. Again, by going to the gym, attending the class, talking to prospects, loving your spouse, and reading the books that I show you how to experience success in your life. That point was so good, I had to reiterate twice.

So, as we go into this day, let's take the action that we wish to teach and invite others to come along for the ride. "Oh, you want to learn this valuable point, huh? Great, how about you sit back, relax, and watch me go to work." 

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Monday, November 27, 2017

4 Tips for Setting and Following Through on Your Goals




While reading, "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi, I came upon a chapter that talked about setting goals. While the book is focused on improving relationships and connections, the author's dive into goal setting prompted a serious self examine. Honestly, I haven't been great in this department. Yes, I have some written goals, but that's about as far as I've gone. Not good!

As I continue to work on improving me and my overall situation, I realize that without goals I can be quite shifty. Often times, I find myself asking the following questions:

  • What should I be working on? 
  • How should I be spending my time? 
  • What is my number one priority at the moment? 
Without goals, I end up spending time on things that aren't moving me forward toward anything of significance. Yes, I have a well oiled calendar with time allotted for any number of tasks and meetings, but are those activities the right activities? What am I saying "Yes" to that really should be a huge and emphatic "No?"

In the following sections, I share a few ideas on setting goals and ways to hold yourself accountable for reaching those targets.

1. Set A Realistic Goal

The first step is to set a realistic goal with a specific due date. For us procrastinators, having a deadline is a great way to ensure that this goal and all the subsequent tasks do not fall into the "someday" category.

2. Work Backwards from the Due Date

With a goal and date set, now it's time to pull out the calendar and determine what has to happen between now and the due date. What steps or tasks have to be completed in order to achieve the goal? As you come up with those items, be sure to add them to the calendar.

3. Find an Accountability Partner

Personally, having someone other than me to be accountable to is a great way to add pressure. I find that if I keep the goals and their related tasks solely to myself, it's easy to ignore deadlines with plenty of self promises to finish at a later date. This cannot happen if I seriously want to achieve my objectives.

In the past, I have used social media as a way to hold myself accountable. By stating my plans openingly and in the public eye, I had people who were watching my activity level closely. It's uncomfortable and embarrassing to be called out for not doing something that you said that you would do.

4. Up the Ante for Maximum Compliance

While your accountability partner could be your boss, friend, spouse, or business partner, there is the possibility that you will still fall short because there isn't enough at stake. For me, missing a deadline with my boss is something I am not willing to do, especially on important and high profile tasks. However, should you need more pressure, consider doing something that will make falling short extremely painful. 

One example would be to put money on the line. In the event that you don't reach your target, you lose that hard earned money toward a cause that you are adamantly against. This is another place where your accountability partner could come in. Give them a post dated check with expressed instructions to send the money if a goal is not reached by the agreed upon deadline. No amount of excuses or heartfelt pleading can stop the process. The only way to stop the clock is to achieve the goal.   

If you're open to that idea, consider using an online resource like Stickk.com, which is a free service that I've used in the past to lose weight. Instead of writing a check, you set a dollar amount backed by a debit/credit card. Next, you determine the goal, deadline, and weekly tasks that lead to the successful completion. Each week, you check in with a referee (your accountability partner) and report on whether you've completed the tasks for the last 7 days. If not, you lose a portion of the total dollar amount. To really apply pressure, agree to a figure that will cause serious discomfort.

Questions for Discussion

The purpose of this article is to initiate some form of action within our lives. To help get the ball rolling, let's answer these questions in the comment section below:
  • What are 3-5 goals that you want to achieve right now?
  • When are you planning on completing those goals?
  • What are you willing to do each week to accomplish the larger goals?
  • Who will serve as your accountability partner?

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Procrastination: What Motivates Getting Things Done?

Procrastination: What Motivates Getting Things Done? by Damond Nollan



Hi, my name is Damond Nollan and I am a procrastinator.

Yes, you read that correctly. I often delay tasks until the very last possible minute. From as far back as I can remember, there has always been a strong urge to put off homework, chores, taxes, projects, home repairs, and even getting dressed in preparation for the day. It's systemic and it affects just about every area of my life.

Despite the negative connotation associated with procrastination, I still get things done. Ok, before you try and poke a hole in that statement, I will be extremely transparent and reveal that I have yet to finish my doctoral degree. Oh, and if you're my girlfriend, I am very aware of the endless list of tasks that I still haven't completed, like adding all my many books to the four bookshelves you bought last Christmas.

In my mind, I know there are a trillion things that I have to do, but instead of worrying about everything and carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, I focus primarily on what's most important now. What has to be done today? Better yet, what has to be done right now? If I have time to finish it, then it can wait.

Procrastinators vs. Anti-Procrastinators

When I compare my style of task completion to that of a co-worker, I feel like such a slacker. This particular individual begins work the minute she learns about a task. She almost always finishes the assignments first, which tends to ultimately influence how the rest of us complete our contributions.

In my personal life, my girlfriend, much like my mother before her, always wants me to do stuff right now. "When are you going to finish cleaning your room?" She would inquire. "Soon!" I would reply. At this point, you can replace "cleaning your room" with just about anything and it will resemble what an anti-procrastinator would ask. Here are a few more examples:
  • When are you going to file those important papers?
  • When are you going to call the company and ask for more details?
  • When are you going to hang those new drapes I bought?
  • When are you going to clean the garage, paint the girl's bedroom, organize that closet, and get rid of all that junk?
  • When are you going to call the repairman and get the washing machine, refrigerator, sink, staircase, and front door fixed?
  • When are you going to buy a new bed, dining room table, suit, coat, and shoes? 
While each of those things are important, it doesn't require an immediate action. Most of the time, there is still plenty of time to get the issue or task resolved. For open-ended tasks, as in things without a deadline, they will get done when it absolutely has to be finished. Why waste my time and energy doing something that can wait, may never see the light of day, or serves as busy work to satisfy someone else's need for constant change and attention? No thank you! (add boyish smile here)

Bringing in the Big Guns

It was during a recent conversation that I realized how much contention our differences in completing tasks can cause. From my girlfriend's perspective, failure to finish requests within her expected timeframe meant that I didn't care. If it's important to her, it should be important to me. She argues.

This discussion prompted further contemplation around strategies for personal motivation. I always knew that if I wanted my house clean, I would just invite someone over, but how can I apply that same strategy for other tasks? This led me back to a Success Insider podcast episode, hosted by Josh Ellis and Shelby Skrhak, that focused on procrastination. That is where I was first introduced to Dr. Mary Lamia, the author of, "What Motivates Getting Things Done: Procrastination, Emotions, and Success."

What I enjoyed most about the interview was that Dr. Lamia didn't cast a dark shadow over people whose default style is procrastination. In fact, she pointed out that procrastinators are just as likely to be successful as those individuals who get things done early. She even went on to say that procrastinators may even have a higher quality first draft because we ruminate on the job long before we ever take action to complete it.

"Wow! I need to read that book." Says my inner scientist. Understanding motivation would only help me achieve more. Not only that, but I am getting the impression that I will no longer have to walk around in shame because of my default style, but instead can walk around with my head held high as I embrace the natural gifts God bestowed upon me.

If you are interested in reading the book with me or want to engage in a conversation about procrastination and motivational styles, I would love to engage with you. I do have a growing book club on Facebook that you are welcome to join or feel free to comment below.

Either way, I am excited to jump in and devour these 10 chapters:
  1. What Motivates Getting Things Done: An Overview
  2. Deadlines, Deliberation, and Distractions
  3. What Motivates Early Action or Delay?
  4. Anxiety as an Engine for Task Completion
  5. Why You Should Fear Failure
  6. Pursuing Excellence
  7. Relationships and Divergent Motivational Styles
  8. Optimizing Your Motivational Style
  9. Troubleshooting Guide
  10. Looking Back and Moving Forward
As I gain insight and contemplate how I can apply the lessons to my life, rest assured that I will be back to share it all with you. Just make sure you subscribe to my newsletter so you don't miss it when it comes.

Until next time...
   

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What Is The Purpose Of Your Struggle?




"Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records." ~ William Arthur Ward

When I read that quote from William Arthur Ward, I see two messages. The first message speaks to overcoming adversity in order to achieve great things. However, the second message reveals itself in the exploration of adversity and its effect on the broken individual. In the context of this passage, being broken is a sign of weakness or a lack of perseverance. However, I would argue that being broken can actually be good for us.

As I think about real situations in my life, I have gone back and forth on the purpose of adversity. Yes, difficulty has the power to challenge us, inspire us, and push us to new heights, but it also has the ability to deter further action. We most certainly see this realized in the experience of physical, emotional, or mental pain and discomfort.

Here's the question, "What is the reason for our hardship?" Is it meant to break us or to propel us? Should we stop what we're doing because it's the wrong thing or should we push through the suffering until we get a reward from it?

The answer lies within the outcome. Does this struggle make us better or worse? Are we trying to increase our strength, stop a bad habit, or are we just being abused? Are we being encouraged or discouraged? Is it removing the extra baggage from our life or adding to it? Is it uplifting and positive or destructive and hurtful?

If you look at your present situation, how would you describe it? Are the trials you're experiencing forcing you to improve? While painful, scary, and terribly uncomfortable, is the experience causing you to reflect on your life and ultimately grow? If so, then I would encourage you to push through the pain and go get what you deserve. However, if the opposite is true, then it's time to consider getting away from those toxic people and destructive situations as quickly as possible.

I honestly believe that God allows adversity in our lives to either correct us, because we're doing something wrong and something has to change, or to improve us, because we have a lofty purpose ahead and we need to get ready. Come to think of it, he may allow trials in our lives for both reasons at the same time. In the end, we shouldn't run away from adversity, but embrace it for we will be better in one way or another.

When challenges arrive in our lives, and they will come, remember to keep your head up, trust in the plan for your life, and follow the guidance written in Philippians 4:8 (KJV):

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

You are a Champion!

Until next time...

Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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E-mail: Contact Me

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