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THE POWER OF I AM

“I am is one of the most powerful statements we can make. Whatever follows “I am” starts the creation of it.”

– KRISTEN B U T L E R

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Have you stopped lately to listen to what you’re saying about yourself? The words you choose, the actions you take that reinforce these thoughts? I started my year off recognizing this truth by tapping into the word I AM. By doing so, I realized how easily life began to flow to me and for me. Most of all, I loved that I was practicing my knowledge and belief that I was a co-creator with source.

I find it truly empowering that we all have free will or the power of choice. We can choose the direction of our lives, whether that’s positive or negative, rich and abundant or limited by lack. In becoming aware of this, we can change the direction of our life’s course with a simple shift in our words, thoughts and actions.

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I know we can all be hard on ourselves and self-critical at times. I think that’s natural and needed. The real test is not being perfect but more so how we choose to use these hardships. Are we going to kindle the fire and continue harping on what we don’t like or are we going use the pain to promote change? Continuation of anything becomes habit, so the quicker you can shift into a place of progress the better off you’ll be.

AWARENESS is the first step to adjusting and creating a healthier life. The thing I realized was my negative self talk or energy was not only permating me as a person but something larger than myself. It was closing me off from positive growth, people and situations that wanted to help me! And as someone passionately focused on growth and improvement, this was a major RED FLAG.

This brings me to the next step DESIRE. You have to actually reach a point where you can no longer accept the way things are. You know kinda like that phrase, ‘it’s always darkest before the dawn,’ or ‘things will get worse before they can get better.’ Sounds really dark but now I get it. You have to want to change and therefore sometimes it takes some dark moments to search for the light.

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Through desire comes deliberate ACTION. I wanted to feel better, I wanted to speak more kindness and most of all, I wanted to help others. But by falling back into some mental bad habits (which I’m truly grateful for), I realized I could only help others by reframing and working on my own ish-ues. So I took inventory of what was working for me back in the beginning of the year and I did the work.

I love this quote from Kristen Butler from the Power of Positivity; “Our thoughts and words have crafted our present and are currently crafting our future.” This really puts into perspective how we throw words around but if we saw the immediate manifestion of them we might take time to be a a little more selective, ammmmiright? Like imagine if you’re like “I AM FAT,” and in a blink of an eye you gained 200 lbs. I think you would watch yo mouth a lil more, and also, you would appreciate where you’re at more too.

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A poisitive reflection I had in my “darkness” was if I had success in the beginning of the year, I can have it again. This self soothing talk really helped me feel optimistic and then helped me stay on track. So I started writing in my I AM Journal again. I carved out a non-negotiable, consistent practice or a morning ritual. This included morning coffee, journaling and reading. I would write out my gratitude, intentions and I AM statements in my I AM Journal. Then I would read whatever I felt compelled to for my daily inspiration.

I want to reiterate, CONSISTENCY is key.  You have to keep at it to build momentum behind this practice and energy. The best part is once you do so long enough, it becomes a habit (and a postive one might I add). You’ll eventaully get to a point where you won’t wanna have your morning coffee without it. If a daily practice is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

So where are you at today in this journey? I encourage you to take a mental and emotional inventory by sitting quietly and silencing the chatter. Whatever is bothering you, find the contrasting feeling and say or write I AM before it. Know that you’re worthy of it and feel that. As always, feel free to share yours in the comments below!

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I AM STEPPING INTO MY POWER,

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| BRAND |

T H E  G I V I N G  K E Y S

 

| PHOTO |

S T E V E  E R L E 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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| SPECIAL GUEST: KRIS JONES |

“A person who sees a problem is a human being; a person who finds a solution is a visionary; and the person who goes out and does something about it is an entrepreneur.”

– N A V E E N JAIN

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This month I had the pleasure of getting to know Kris Jones. A father, entrepreneur and a true rags-to-riches success story. He is the founder of not one but several apps including, Special Guest AppLSEO.comReferLocal.comFrench Girls App, and APPEK Mobile Apps. He grew a multi-million dollar business while in grad school at Villanova and he sold a separate business to eBay after law school at Albany Law. If that doesn’t give you a dose of motivation I don’t now what will.

As someone who focuses a lot of my time and energy on self-help and personal/professional development, I’m always searching for new tools that will take me to the next level (as I’m sure you do too). The best way to stay inspired is to surround yourself with the wise and great. Kris has achieved huge success and is willing to share some of his secrets with us. In this discussion, we explore the entrepreneur psychology,  how to successfully set goals, and what must be developed to get an idea off the ground.

Before we start, I would like to share a side note and small world ‘coincidence.’ After we connected online, I found that Kris attended law school in my hometown of Albany, NY. How serendipitous that we both share that ‘Albany to Los Angeles’ familiarity. It’s truly inspiring to see someone who had no network and still become wildly successful. With that being said, let’s get right to it, enjoy this month’s special guest, Kris Jones!

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What are your top laws/rules for success?

KJ: Execution over ideas. I’m a doer. I believe strongly that success doesn’t come from ideas, but rather the execution of those ideas. Building up confidence and skills that leads to successfully executing goals is my super power. Everyone has untapped God-given potential.

The key to success is believing that you can accomplish just about anything you set your mind to. You don’t have to wait. You can take action right now. It all starts with the first step toward your destiny. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Get in the game.

What’s one book you would suggest for any budding entrepreneur?

KJ: The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries

What’s the one psychological skill/mental muscle you believe one should develop to succeed?

KJ: Confidence.

Clearly you know how to set lofty goals (100 episodes of ‘Ask Me Anything’). How do you set goals that are big yet attainable?

KJ: It takes practice. One way to increase the likelihood that you accomplish a goal is to share it with loved ones and make it public – we don’t like to disappoint others so it’s more likely that we won’t come up with reasons to quit something once we set a goal and take action. I don’t recommend that people set realistic goals. Realistic goals tend to be puny and are not inspiring.

Instead, I recommend setting goals that are uncomfortable. Uncomfortable goals are stretch goals – they give us little choice but to take immediate action toward the goal. For instance, at the beginning of 2017 I set a goal of creating 100 “Ask Me Anything” videos focused on personal and professional development. For people that don’t know me – (like most of you) I have a lot going on managing multiple businesses, writing monthly for publications like Forbes, Inc., and Search Engine Land, 3 kids, yada, yada, yada. So the idea of coordinating and finding time to shoot 100 videos in 1 year bordered on crazy. In fact, in the final weeks I received a message from someone saying “Kris – it’s OK that you aren’t going to accomplish your goal. It’s hard to accomplish all the goals we set, etc….” Indeed I accomplished the goal by the end of 2017 (with a band might I add) and I was able to do that because I created incredible momentum by setting an “uncomfortable” goal instead of a puny one that was realistic. 

You’ve touched on the necessity of being risk averse as an entrepreneur in one of your interviews. Are there any techniques one could use to strengthen and/or develop this quality?

When I use the word “risk averse” as an entrepreneur I’m referring to something I learned from the author / speaker Malcolm Gladwell at a conference the two of us spoke at 5 or so years ago. In short, he referenced that SUCCESSFUL entrepreneurs are social risk takers, but operationally risk averse. He went on to describe that as social risk takers SUCCESSFUL entrepreneurs don’t care much if people tell them they have a bad idea or that what they are attempting to do has a low probability of success. However, at the same time the SUCCESSFUL entrepreneur is plotting our a highly specific plan from A to Z to execute on his or her idea.

See my response above about how important execution is in success. So the key to building muscle around execution (in effect being operationally risk averse) is to learn and master business skills, such as financial analysis, growth marketing, mobile / web / product development, branding, etc. Again, one of the reasons why “ideas are overrated” is because having an idea isn’t enough – you’ve got to master how to take an idea and turn it into a business – that requires learned skills around business execution. Once you do that (it’s an ongoing process) your odds of business success go up dramatically.

What do you attribute your success to?

KJ: I believe in my potential to be successful. Success is part psychology and part skills. You can’t have consistent success with strong psychology and weak skills – I’m constantly self-educating on how to master my psychology and extend my business skills. I started reading and attending seminars about 20 years ago or so and I haven’t stopped. Everyday is a baseline.

So you’ve got a great and unique idea, where do you begin? What are the necessary steps that need to be taken to ensure it survives, evolves and flourishes?

KJ: Going from idea to business requires an understanding of how to build a business. It’s just that easy. There’s a massive gap between people with idea’s and people with skills to execute those ideas. So the key is the develop the skills. There are a lot of skills required to execute a business idea, but some of the most important are finance (probably #1), marketing, legal, accounting, HR, and development. Of course you can hire talent to fill some of the necessary skill sets, but I have never met a successful entrepreneur that hadn’t acquired ninja skills across all of the most important areas of business execution. In fact, I think it’s required that you develop the proper skills so that early on you can do things yourself and later on you can step in if necessary to hold staff accountable or to do their job if they aren’t.

How do you find your competitive advantage and make an idea/entity so unique that it cannot be copied?

KJ: It’s all about brand. People don’t buy things – they buy how those things make them feel.

 I think you’d agree, most self-starters like yourself are forward thinking. On that note, what’s next for Kris?

KJ: As you know I founded a talent booking platform with actor / comedian Damon Wayans, Jr called Special Guest App. We are currently focusing most of our resources on the Greater Los Angeles market, but we intend to expand that considerably in 2018. I’m also excited about the growth of a two complementary businesses that are growing quickly – LSEO.com is a digital marketing company that I founded in 2014. It offers a range of growth marketing services, such as search-engine optimization, Google AdWords management, and social media management. APPEK Mobile Apps is a mobile and web development company that I cofounded back in 2011 that helps people build apps. In addition to these businesses I’m excited to continue to support the success of a range of technology investments I’ve made, speak at a few select conferences, and focus most of my time on making sure that Special Guest executes on its mission to democratize the booking and experience of LIVE entertainment.

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If you’d like to learn more about Special Guest, be sure to download the app here! For more personal development tips and tricks check out Kris’ “Ask Me Anything” series on Youtube!

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