Home Library Challenge

This week I chose, The Shark and the Goldfish, by Jon Gordon. My review started by simply plucking out lessons. Then, it turned into an inspirational report. I almost posted this one day earlier, challenging the reader to answer the question from each section. I did not want to be a hypocrite. Follow my lead and answer the questions to make progress in your life. According to Gordon, there are four steps to change. I have outline lessons learned from each section and honestly answered some follow up questions. I challenge you to take an hour out of your day and answer each question honestly.

Lessons Learned

Step 1: The wave of change- This book is about a goldfish who finds himself in the ocean (like the opposite of Finding Nemo). This goldfish begins to struggle because he is in the big ocean. He has trouble surviving until he meets a shark. This shark takes pity on him and helps him transform into a shark.  The shark swam through a few steps on how thrive during change.

Question and Answer: 

Q: Describe a time when you were hit with a wave of change. What kind of change was it?

A: When I decided to build a career around the idea that one day I will be a diplomat. Lifestyle and career change.

Q: What Happened?

A: I took my first overseas trip and was introduced to the life of a diplomat. I was introduced to what it feels like to be around other cultures and also got a taste of what it feels like to represent the US. What really did it for me was meeting a collection of interesting people, most of which were expats. The deciding factor was when I spoke with a Deputy Chief of Mission and he told me about the Foreign Service. Singing “Sweet Caroline” with a bunch of expats in an exotic land helped as well.

Q: How did you feel? What did you think?

A: It felt like a natural high. I wanted to learn all I could. It sparked a fire in my spirit. I thought that diplomacy was perfect for the career path because I have an open and friendly personality which makes me very likable. I had a great foundation to work with as I began to build my career.

Q: How did you respond? Did it work?

A: Within four months I took an internship at the US State Department and (on the other side of the world) ran into the same man who told me about the Foreign Service while walking the halls of the State Department.

Q: What kind of wave of change are you facing now?

A: Stepping into the Volunteer leader role and extending my service for another year.

Q: How are you dealing with it?

A: I am 80 percent optimistic and 20 percent uncertain about what is to come within the next year.

Q: In what ways are you being a shark or a goldfish?

A: I am a shark in the sense that I am always moving forward. No matter what adversity comes in my wave. I always find a way to convince myself to push on and that there is “food” out there which should be mine. I am a goldfish in the sense that I feel sorry for myself when I feel alone and try to convince myself that I cannot be successful because no one truly stands by my side.

Q: What are the benefits of being a shark versus a goldfish?

A: Sharks are more assertive and confident. They have a sign above them which says’ “don’t mess with me, you will die”

Lessons Learned

Step 2: Embracing the wave of change– Shark or goldfish: it is your choice; you have more control than you think you do; Events (E) + Positive Response (P) = Outcome (O); embrace change, make it your friend; adversity is the beginning of something better;  if you think your best days are behind you, they are; if you think your best days are ahead of you, they are; accept the fresh start; and ride the wave of change.

Question and Answer: 

Q: What are the challenges associated with the change you are facing?

A: Communication, past failures, impatience, focus, and thin skin

Q: Are you a hero or a victim? Why?

A: I am a hero. There are few people who will go above and beyond for other people. There are even fewer who will stand against the crowd who is being pulled in the wrong direction by a force. A hero has the ability to act and has the confidence to take a stand.

Q: Would you define your life as a horror movie or an inspirational story? Why?

A: My life started out as a horror film. Maybe, that is why I do not like watching scary movies… I already lived one. I remember always feeling small as a kid. I also felt hopeless many times as a little kid. As if I knew the way things should be, but did not have the power to change them. I do not quite see my life as an inspirational tell, but that will come after I build my influence and my efforts equate in some truly world changing wins under my belt. That is not to say my life is currently a horror film. At this moment, I think of it more as a action film. A lot of explosions and fight scenes. 

Q: What can you learn from the challenges you are facing?

A: I can gain the consciousness of the fact that I can impact change on my own. Not saying that I do not need a team. But, that I have the capacity to make the right decisions and I trust that through my work I will refine my skill sets.

Q: How can you grow wiser, stronger, and better because of this wave of change?

A: I can grow wiser through always seeking advice from those who are more experienced than me. Understand there is a time for action and a time to shut up and listen. I can grow stronger through work. Just like going to the gym each day. I need to push myself in the field each and every day. Through hard work I will grow stronger over the next year and a half. I learned a few years ago it really stuck in my mind that humans are constantly growing and losing new cells. We literally are a new person about every 10 years. Each cell in my body is different than my 17 year old version.  And, much like a bodybuilder, after three years of training. I want to be unrecognizable. A much better form of myself, but always strive to be the greatest me

Q: What opportunity does this wave of change present?

A: I will have the opportunity to move into a formal leadership role.  It also gives me the chance to build on current relationships and grow my network in Ukraine and across this region. Personal growth is definitely important as well. I will have much time to master my craft.

Q: What do you want? What is your vision?

A: My vision is to live a life worth replication, gain the respect of and lead millions, and provide security for four generations. I want to make people around me better, stronger, and happier.

Q: What is holding you back?

A: There are times when I have a lazy spirit and am inconsistent. This is not all the time. Maybe, 5 percent of my life. However, if I want to accomplish my vision I need to know that it will take 100 percent of my time and energy.  That 5 percent can easily kill my dream.

Q: What positive action do you need to take?

A: Identify the 5 percent and transfer that energy or situation into something positive. We all get tired at times and need to release tension. However, the way I do this needs to be more productive in nature and help me grow. Even if it is at a small pace

Q: What will inspire you to take these actions?

A: Focus. I need write down the situation I am talking about (drinking hard during celebrations, choosing TV over a book, treating others with disrespect or isolating myself when I get tired or if things do not go my way, and eating unhealthy outside of the house). When these come up; focus on my vision and stay focused.

Q: What is your why? What bigger purpose will inspire you to make a positive change?

A: A childhood moment I will never forget. I remember when I was about 12 years old. On our spare time my older brothers and I would help my single mother clean homes. One day my mom and I were cleaning a mansion belonging to one of our city’s most famous and beloved families. I had not dusted a corner of this rich man’s desk. My mom saw this and grabbed me firmly by the hand. She screamed, “Do you understand! This is what I do for a living! This is how I pay for your food, the roof over your head, and your sneakers for school!” She repeated twice, “this is what I do, this is what I do!” I was paralyzed. I could feel the shame in her soul. Within three years she had followed her dreams and changed her profession. My Why; to make sure that my family will never again have a reason to be ashamed and we will never have to scrub another family’s floor.  My grandfather once told me. Only use our family’s past to succeed and persevere. I will always use the past to produce positive outcomes and success.

Lessons Learned

Step 3: Stay Positive– Your belief must be greater than all of the negativity and doubt; all success starts with belief; positive fish find more food; choose faith over fear; the commonality between faith and fear is a future that hasn’t happened yet; your faith and belief in a positive future leads to powerful action today; expect success and you will find it; the only one who can limit your possibilities is you; don’t let you past determine your future; instead of being disappointed about where you are, and be optimistic about where you are going.

Question and Answer: 

Q: In response to your wave of change, what type of negativity are you facing?

A: Some people instantly attack successful people. I am not talking about people pushing or challenging. But, people who actively want to ruin the reputation of a successful person. Also, I sometimes have the sense to look back at my younger self and regress in the thought that that is who I am. Instead of the form I have become. Who I was is not who I am

Q: Are you dealing with naysayers and doubters? What are they saying? How do they make you feel? How are you responding to them?

A: Haters are people who have need to learn how to be mentors. They would be great because they excel at pointing out weaknesses. They feed on your shit like a fly on the ass of a rhino; festering on it and using it to live their small existence. Naysayers mostly say I have a lack of knowledge and detail. They call me lazy when I rest. If something is a little off. They will focus on that and attempt to discredit me through those small pieces of imperfection (The 5 % I mentioned earlier).This makes me regress to my lesser self and dwell on their hate. To counteract these people, I am patient and controlled with my emotions and response. I put my focus back on my work and their voices fade. I also like to picture them as a fly near my ass or a pebble in my shoe. Yes, the pebble is inconvenient. But, how hard is it to get rid of it? Not difficult at all.

Q: Are you experiencing self-doubt? Do you believe in your ability to overcome the wave of change you are experiencing? Why or why not?

A: Yes, I experience self-doubt. But, one of my strengths is my ability to drive through challenging situation and see the bigger picture. Sometimes I forget to acknowledge the small wins. Focusing on small wins is the best way for me to overcome these challenges. 

Q: Do you believe in an ocean of abundance or scarcity? Why?

A: I see abundance. There are many opportunities in this life. And, just because you miss one, does not mean there will not be another. It is our choice to grab hold of the ones that fit our vision the best. On a daily basis there are outlets for change, connections to be made, and progress which can be made.

Q: What fears does this wave of change bring up for you? Are they holding you back? Why?

A: The fear of failure holds me back. I do not feeling like a fool and that is exactly what happens each time we fail.

Q: What would be an effective way for you to face and overcome these fears? What is the antidote to the fear you are facing?

A: I need to find a stimulus which helps me realize that failure is a part of life. And, make a mechanism which tracks my failures. In this document I would write lessons learned and steps to success. Be conscious of and make it a belief: Failure is a step to success. 

Q: How can optimism, faith, and hope overcome fear and create access?

A: I need to read about people who failed throughout their live and learn from their optimistic attitude. I should study their behavior and replicate their actions when I am fearful of success.

Lessons Learned

Step 4: Thrive because of change– There is no substitute for hard work; focus on success, tune out distractions; don’t settle; you won’t find food sleeping under a rock; know what you want, work hard, and focus on getting it; learn from others and model their success; do not be paralyzed by fear, take action each day; inform, inspire, and empower others when you are a master.

Question and Answer: 

Q: What beliefs and actions will help you create the life you want?

A: I need to believe in others around me and believe in myself. I read a book about being an effective coach and it said that in order to be a great coach, you must believe in the person that you are coaching more than they believe in themselves. I will need to develop an enormous network of people who trust and respect my capacity to lead them in order for my vision to take shape. I need to hone my people skills and work on developing deep relationships with people. This means I must learn what drives people and become a master at fulfilling the needs of those around me. I will reach my vision, if I develop an excellent team or coalition of close friends around me who deeply trust the fact that I will fulfill their needs and who know I will trust their instincts to act. And, each one of them will also need to know that they can should push me and also have the desire to mentor others. If I have 20 trusted friends and they all have 20 trust friends. We have a network of 400 friends If those 400 have 20 trusted friends we will have a network of 8,000. If those 8000 have 20 trusted friends we will have a network of 160,000. If those 160,000 have 20 trusted friends we have a network of 3,200,000. That is 4 steps from our core group, but greater than the population of Mongolia.

Q: Do you believe you have to work hard to be successful? Why or why not?

A: Yes. Ashton Kushner said it best, “success is strange. It looks a lot like hard work.”

Q: What does hard work mean to you? Are you willing to work hard to thrive?

A: Hard work looks like the callous hand of a road worker or the sweat stained shirt of a farm worker. It means that you are not afraid to get up and go after what you want in order to survive in the fashion you see fit. We can all choose our own station in life. But, the amount of someone can elevate in this world revolves around the core discipline of hard work. I am willing to take that challenge.

Q: In what ways do you need to improve your focus?

A: I need to stop worrying about where other people are in life in comparison to me. This is a disease which I need to cure myself of. We all have different goals in life and I should understand that I should not look to my neighbor for motivation, instead I should look within. For instance, if I was driving on the highway, I would look at my own GPS. I would not want to try and see the GPS of the car next to me. And, no matter what our cars look like. We are going different places. Someone may have a better car than I. I can bet my car will take me further because I seek direction constantly and am fueled by an internal fire. I must trust that my fire and direction is mine and only off of my own progress and goals can I gauge my success.

Q: What are three things you need to do each day to help you thrive?

  1. Build self-awareness and my knowledge base
  2. Become more focused and consistent in all walks of life
  3. Spend time developing relationships with other and fostering current relationships.

Q: In what ways can learn, improve, and grow?

A: I can focus on a few difference skills which I want to develop. I need to be specific about exactly what I want to develop and how I want to develop them. For instance, I really want to sharpen my people skills. It is a strength of mine and I am good at knowing what people desire. However, I need to study human behavior and understand the driving force behind people in order to turn my nature ability into a conscious tool which I can use to develop my network. If I want to lead over a million people. I must learn to listen to their needs and respond to those accordingly. Or, if I want to improve my skills to run a successful organization I must learn from the best. Not only stopping at the books, but applying those lessons to my life. By transferring those lessons to my life and making those processes my own. I can become a master.

Q: Who are several possible mentors you can connect with and learn from?

A: Tony, Marat, Roman, Denny, Pilar, Amin, Nastia, Alona, Irina, Inna, Mike, David, Ken, Geoff, Alan, and Nata

Q: Are you passionate and hungry about being the best you can be? Why or why not?

A: 90 percent Yes/ 10 percent No. I have an internal drive that is like no other. Perseverance is my best quality and I will always sharpen that talent by toughening my skill and focusing on my vision. I also have the hunger to make others better and a deep desire to lift up others. I feel I am called to do so. That is why I am a hero. I have an innate drive to counter all the negativity in the world. However, the mornings are the toughest part of my day. This thought runs through my mind many times when I first wake up… “What is the point?” But, after about an hour, I am ready, motivated, and driven.

Q: What will it take to inspire you to be your best? What bigger purpose will inspire you?

A: It will take focus, consistency, and more focus. I have a value statement which I like to live by… You do not need to do everything right now, but you have to plan to do everything. It is good to have a vision, but I must be careful not to live in the vision. I must live in the present and focus on what I can control in order to make my dream come true. I will get there, one small win at a time.

Q: Are you ready to take action?

                A: Yes. Let’s get it on!

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