Years ago when I began my journey as a marriage and family therapist and career success coach, I devoured every book I could read about personal growth, success, happiness and achieving our ultimate visions. I began to hear Brendon Burchard’s name regularly, and decided to read his book The Millionaire Messenger. I was riveted and moved by Brendon’s personal story, and his drive to reach as many people in the world as possible, to help them unlock the keys to their specific brand of “stuckness” and help them move forward towards their biggest dreams and goals. And when we finally spoke, I could feel that Brendon is one of those individuals who, no matter how successful, influential, or busy, he would also find the time to connect from the spirit and the heart, and share his insights and help if he could.
I was thrilled to catch up again with Brendon this week, to learn more about his new course Reignite Your Life and his “secret sauce” of personal growth insight. With over 1,500,000 students having completed his online courses and video series, he is one of the most successful online instructors in history. A Top 100 Most Followed Public Figure on Facebook and #1 New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today best-selling author, he is also the star and executive producer of the #1 self-help series The Charged Life on YouTube.
Here’s what Brendon shares on breaking bad habits, overcoming fear, and building more confidence and momentum:
Kathy Caprino: Brendon, what do you think your secret sauce is that has helped you reach over 1.5 million students from 192 countries? What’s your perspective about life, success and happiness that makes your work so compelling to people, and where did it come from?
Brendon Burchard: I don’t know if I have a "secret sauce!” If anything, I am fortunate to have one of the world’s largest databases on personal development, which has led to an unprecedented volume of comments, student stories and course feedback from real-life people from 192 countries around the world who are actually striving for the next level of potential and high performance. Add to that insights I’ve gotten from the readers of my books about personal development, as well as my seminar and workshop graduates, and you can imagine that I’ve become well-equipped to know the mind of someone trying to improve their lives. What this community has shared on their journey - their struggles to change, what has worked for them, which tactics or habits changed them the most - is my baseline of unique professional expertise.
On a personal level, I’ve been at this for 20 years now: reading a book every week in psychology, neuroscience, self-help and leadership; conducting and recording a new personal growth challenge every 30 days; and writing or filming unique content every week during that time.
We’re also just completing the world’s largest study on high performance, which will be published next Spring. Rather than measuring personality, we measured factors that have been validated to improve performance. It’s awesome pioneering research that will change the conversation on how to hire, train and retain high performers.
All this means is that I’m blessed to have an incredible amount of data and real-life experience that allows me to discern what truly motivates people, what prevents their progress, and what tools and strategies empower them to make lasting positive behavior change.
Caprino: What do you find are the top three fears people need to overcome to build a life of their dreams, and how can they overcome those fears?
Burchard: Fear is concern about experiencing pain. We fear three specific kinds of pain: loss, hardship and disappointment/disaster. Loss is perhaps the most well-known. We fear trying new things because we might lose our status, power, relationships, comforts. We also fear hardship, which are the pains - struggle, doubt, overwhelm - that comes from trying to change. Finally, we fear outcome pain, or disappointment that things won’t go well even if we do succeed at change. All these fears have one thing in common; we fret about a question that sounds like, “What if this negative thing happens?” The trick is to learn to answer that, but also to flip it and ask, “What if instead of loss, I experience gain? What if instead of hardship, I can honor or enjoy the learning process? What if instead of fearing disappointment, I can imagine a positive future?”
Caprino: As we all know, people are exhausted and overwhelmed with what’s on their plates today. How can they overcome this overwhelm they feel every day, in trying to achieve their most compelling goals?
Burchard: Three strategies will help:
First, you have to own your morning.
Without a morning ritual that puts yourself in the right state of mind and allows you time to anticipate the priorities of the day, you’re simply doomed to start your day in reaction.
Second, you have to create “transition recovery moments.”
This means taking a short mental and physical break between two major activities. For example, if you finish answering emails and go to create a presentation next, transition between those two things by closing your eyes after finishing email, taking 10 deep breaths, standing to go get some water, then coming back and asking, “What’s my intention for this presentation?” After a long commute home, before simply hopping out of your car and going into the house, meditate in the car for five minutes or take a quick walk around the block and breathe deeply. Then, before entering the house, ask, “What’s my intention for the rest of the evening? Who do I want to be for my family as I enter my house now?” Simple breaks between major activities makes you more sharp and intentional.
Finally, you have to learn to set boundaries and say “no.”
Overwhelm often comes from taking on too much stuff that you know you should have said "no" to. I advise people to clean out all false obligations and nonsensical work from their lives. To minimize and keep things simple. With a morning ritual, good transition principles, and a plate of things you want to do versus feel you must do, you start to get your life (and sanity) back.
Caprino: What do you believe are the three best strategies for breaking negative habits that keep people stuck in unsatisfying lives?
Burchard: Good question, but in my view it deserves a caveat. Most people are not stuck in unsatisfying lives because of negative habits. They’re stuck in caged lives because of lack of opportunity, lack of exposure to better education, strategies, or role models, and perhaps lack of a clear purpose or direction that would drive them to overcome fear, aimlessness or procrastination. Many people struggle with no or few habits, or perhaps ineffective habits, that are rapidly helping them progress toward a defined set of goals. In other words, it’s less about negative habits and more about a lack of direction and long-term positive habits.
In regard to three strategies for breaking negative habits, though, I might suggest this:
Understanding What’s In The Way
Identify what you want and any recurring thoughts or behaviors that prevent you from moving toward that every week. Meaning, don’t be esoteric about habits. What specifically do you want, and what specifically are you doing on a weekly basis that prevents your progress? Awareness is always the first step to any personal development breakthrough.
Develop New, Positive Rituals
Start new rituals before trying to replace the old. Here is where people often make mistakes — they try to address negative habits, hoping that one day they can break the negative habit and suddenly a new positive habit will magically appear. But that’s not how it really works. You have to start the new good thing, and get some payoff or momentum in that new good thing, before you’ll be willing to go cold turkey on the old bad habit. So ask, “What can I start tomorrow that would help me move toward what I want to experience?” Start that. Then, once you’ve got that ritual running smoothly, start dismantling the old bad habit.
Dismantle The Bad Habit
Don’t even try to do this on your own. If you have a bad habit, discuss it with three friends, or three family members, or a professional coach or therapist. Ask them for tools or support and ongoing accountability to keep you from that habit. You already know it’s a bad habit, so making a list about why it’s bad is too junior varsity of advice. Instead, mobilize. Bad habits are most easily broken by a program of social support.
Caprino: Finally, Brendon, what are the most powerful concrete actions for gaining much needed self-confidence and energy to pursue one's huge dreams?
I’d offer these as the top three:
It’s the small wins that give us confidence for greater achievements. Seek to achieve just three goals every day. These don’t have to be earth-moving, life-changing goals—as you get more wins you’ll start feeling better about yourself and be ready to start working bigger goals.
Integrate The Wins Into Your Identity
After you get a win, integrate it. This means you should take a moment to appreciate what you’ve done, to give yourself credit, to be thankful for any support you received from others. This won’t happen automatically. You literally need to schedule time each night to reflect on the day, remember the small wins, and feel them. That’s the psychological secret to believing in yourself more – allowing yourself time to continually notice and feel the wins so you can appreciate your efforts, strength and momentum.
You are unique among the seven billion-plus people on this planet. Recognize and honor that uniqueness. You don’t have to make excuses or dismiss your powers or heart. It’s okay to feel pride and love for yourself. Take a moment now and just be grateful for who you are, for your desire to improve, for the blessings of your life and breath. Love that you are alive.
Read the original article on Forbes.