Hey there, it’s Mike Cooch.
On this particular day is my daughter, Avery’s seventh birthday. And because of that, this article is going to be a long one. A little bit different than normal.
This will be a different topic because this will be a response to an email I sent last week. It is about the two reasons why you are not getting what you want out of your business or your life. It is about getting that growth that you want.
Those two reasons are why you don’t have a ‘reason’ to inspire and excite you enough to make you run a million miles an hour to what you want.
You have reasons that you are telling yourself which becomes your limiting beliefs or excuses that is keeping you where you’re currently at. Your reasons why you can’t do something or why somebody else is better at something, reasons like that.
Those kinds of limiting beliefs, we all do this to some extent or another. And I sent an email, that challenges you a little bit too.
Push yourself on these two reasons why to try to get more growth personally and professionally. This is a process that we’re always true to some degree or another.
I’m in it, you’re in it.
I’ve been doing a lot of work on this recently, so it’s the very top of mind for me.
That email got more response than an email that I have sent in a long, long time. It had all kinds of people writing back to me.
People are thanking me for sending it and asking for some sort of exercises that might help them with this process of clarifying their big reason why. And of course, the “Why not’s” too.
So I wanted to go ahead and do my best to address that.
The first thing I want to discuss is the reason why you are building your business. The second is the reason why you are trying to improve yourself and make the most out of your life.
That is two things and I want to make sure that we are defining each of them carefully because this is something I struggled with for a long time.
Once I had clarity in this, it really helped me.
Vision and purpose
One is your vision and the other is your purpose.
A vision is some destination that you want to get in a period of time. For example, 10 years from now I want to be this person doing these things, and having these things.
Or I want my company to have achieved these things, to have this reputation, to be number one in its market, or to be the top competitor, to be doing 100 million in revenue.
All that type of stuff, those are VISIONS.
That is something off in the distance that you are aspiring to get to.
And then there’s your PURPOSE.
Your purpose is your reason why you want to get there. The reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. The reason why you’re willing to put in all that effort. All that hustle to try and achieve that vision that may seem somewhat impossible.
It’s so big and so far off.
So those are two separate things. I think it’s really important to be clear on the fact that those are two separate things. That they should both be defined because they are very, very different and they serve different purposes.
How to get that vision and purpose: an exercise
Before I start with the exercise, which will help us, I wanted to say something about it. What I’ve learned through the years of doing this is that this is hard work.
In my business, this is something that we did as a team. Every single year we’d go literally up in the mountains. I call it going to the mountain top.
But that was literally what we did for three days at a time with my executive team. This is something that I still do personally every year as I go to the mountain top
As sometimes it’s on a mountain top, sometimes the beach, sometimes some distance from things.
It is a lot of hard work
Firstly, it’s hard work.
It takes a lot of work. This is not something that necessarily just comes to you easily. Maybe for some of you, it does. But I think for a lot of people it’s something that they have to put time and effort into.
And so I just want to set that expectation. This is not something that you’re necessarily going to sit down and go, “Now I know my vision. Now I know my purpose. Thanks, Mike. Great article off the races”.
It is personal
Second, it’s very personal. There’s no right or wrong to this.
Nobody can tell you that, “Oh, you’ve got a great vision or you don’t”, or “It’s the right one or the wrong one”.
Whatever it is for you is the right one, if it is driving you in getting the best out of you. If it’s not driving you in getting the best out of you, then I would say it’s not the right one for you.
It’s not that it’s not necessarily a good vision or a bad vision.
I’m just saying that if the whole point of having your vision and purpose clarified is to get you to achieve what you want to achieve, if it’s not doing that, then it still needs work.
It is your decision
Ultimately rule number three here is that this is your decision to make you feel free to come out here anytime you want.
This is your decision to make.
It kind of goes along with the fact that it’s very personal. This is not anything that any coach can make this decision for you.
I can’t make this decision for you. Your spouse can’t, your parents can’t, the other members of your company can’t.
This is up to you to make this decision for you and your life. More so, if you are the leader of your business for your business.
It will evolve
And then, the last one I want to share is that it will evolve over time. I feel very fortunate in that I have been keeping these personal development journals, just word documents on my computer for the last 20 years.
I have been documenting while trying to figure out exactly what this article is all about. Documenting it like, “Where am I at in my life right now? What are my goals? What’s my vision? What’s my purpose? Why? What are my values? What are the things that are causing me challenges?”
“What are the things that inspire me? What are the things that don’t? What’s changed in the last year?”
I have been keeping that in documents and also keeping versions of that. I’m now on version 9.1 in that process.
And I feel very fortunate like I said because I can go back and look at how it’s evolved and it does evolve. It does not evolve for me, like really dramatically.
It’s more subtle and I think that’s alright. I don’t think your major vision and purpose should change that much and that often. Because this should be something that’s pretty core to who you are and what you’re all about.
But when you have kids these things will probably change. You get married, you get divorced, these things probably change.
You have a death in the family, something like that. You have a major health crisis. These things can change. You can have a new perspective on life because of any of those things.
You sell a business, you buy a business, or whatever these things can change.
So with all that being said, let me share with you the vision front. Let me share with you some thoughts and some exercises.
Have a timeframe: an exercise
Again, a vision, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to answer or describe x years from now and I will have achieved my vision.
It should be something long-term because this is something that should drive you for a long time.
But essentially what you’re trying to do is to describe very clearly where is it that you want to be in that timeframe. And so when I say where you want to be, that can mean physically like where you want to be located.
“I want to have a home on the beach. I won’t have an office in Manhattan. I want to be globe-trotting, want to have offices around the world. Homes in multiple places around the world.”
But it’s also things like what will I be doing.
“How would life feel? What will I no longer be doing that I have to do now that I don’t want to be doing in the future? Who am I? What is my reputation?” Or “What is our reputation?”
“What will I have? What will our company have? What will we have achieved?”
I think as an entrepreneur on a personal level and a professional. And also, for your company, I think it is very important that those are two separate things. They can be very, very closely related.
But the reality is your company is not you. I’ve learned that you may sell your company and move on and do something else. I think it’s important that you have a personal vision that’s bigger than any particular business you’re in.
But if you are building a business and you’re going to have employees and investors you should have a vision for that business as well.
But it’s really just a matter of answering those questions in as much detail as you can. And I’ll share with you a couple of resources that are really helped me.
It’s like I said, just answering those questions and trying to get as clear of a picture as you possibly can. So when I say to answer these questions in detail, I mean literally in paragraphs.
The more detailed, the better I’ve learned because that activates things in your brain that are, are powerful.
When you have precision, your brain knows what to do. It knows where to go. It’s just like driving a car. If you have a general direction you’re going to generally go that way.
Having something very clear and very specific gives you a better chance of getting exactly where you want to go.
So it is kind of a goal setting but one on one. What I recommend is that you write this out in real detail. I mean, this can be like a dozen page long document by the time you’re done. No kidding. If you answer all those questions, do them in detail.
That’s the case. And then write it as if you’re already there. As if it’s the present tense. As if you’ve already got there.
Create a vision that excites you
Now what’s important about the vision is that this should be something that’s really exciting to you.
This should be something that’s really inspiring, motivating, and something that when you think about that vision you really connect to it.
You’re like, “I can’t wait to run to that vision.” I can’t wait to work my ass off to go through any obstacle to achieve that vision because it’s got to be something that’s exciting and motivating to you.
And particularly if you have employees at your business and you’re doing this for your business. It’s got to be something that’s exciting and motivating to them. You’re just not going to get the best out of yourself and you’re not going to get the best out of your people.
So it’s gotta be exciting.
When Elon Musk said we’re going to colonize Mars. That’s a big fricking vision and he’s getting the brightest people in the world to come and work for them because they’re like, “Hell yeah, let’s colonize Mars”.
Like, how cool would that be? We’re literally going to take life to another planet.
That’s a dream for kids growing up. That they’re going to be able to go to this other planet and colonize these other planets.
So he’s getting people that really literally want to change the future, coming to work for them. Those are bright, passionate people. So your vision should be something big and exciting to you.
Purpose is different. Purpose is why you are doing what you’re doing.
It’s why you’re doing it and this is very, very personal. This, as opposed to the vision, does not have to be anything exotic or glamorous.
I think I made a mistake earlier in my life and thinking that this had to be this dramatic, powerful thing. I want to save the world.
I want to improve humanity and all this type of stuff. It does not have to be that crazy glamorous.
And in fact, that may not be the thing. I was initially writing things like that because I felt like that was what I had to do.
If I’m going to be somebody’s worthwhile and important and stuff, I have to have this grandiose purpose. It just wasn’t real for me, honestly, it just did not actually connect for me personally.
So it does not need to be that. And I would suggest that what you do is you consider very carefully that they’re there.
Six Human Needs
I’m a big Tony Robbins Fan and he teaches that there are six human needs.
The first need is ‘certainty’. So can I put food on the table, a roof over my house, and all that stuff.
Second is ‘variety’. The opposite of certainty.
We need uncertainty in my life. I need to see new things and experience new things. I need to be important. I need to stand out. I need to be recognized as an individual.
And then the opposite of that is connection and love.
I need to be the opposite of significant. I need to be connected to somebody. I need to feel like I am with them. A part of them and they are with me in a part of me. That I’m not alone.
So those are the base four and that everybody has. Those four are kind of like the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Those are the foundation and then above that is growth and contribution. Two other human needs, growth and contribution.
Growth and contribution
Again, Tony Robbins teaches that those are kind of at the top of the pyramid that as you’ve satisfied those more base level needs, growth and contribution are really where the juice in life comes from.
If you’re really living your highest potential life then that comes from growth.
Knowing that you are some way improving, developing things like that then the contribution that you were contributing to others and the world in general.
Maybe that’s just your family, to your friends, to your local community, to the school that you’re a part of. Whatever it is it doesn’t have to be to all of humanity.
Being the best version of yourself
So figuring that out is deeply personal and it’s just got to be in your gut. You have to have that feeling of, “Hey, this is right for me. This is my purpose.”
I’ll share with you mine. I don’t have it exactly written out but it’s generally to inspire others to live their best life by living my best life and being my best version of myself.
That’s always been what’s driven me and I should actually say that it’s not only I have not been always been that clear about it.
When I was younger it was just about just living my best life. Carpe Diem.
I love that phrase. And that philosophy is where I’m just going to suck everything I can out of life.
But over time it evolved to realizing that what really gives me juice, what makes me feel fulfilled is knowing that by doing that I’ve actually impacted somebody else’s life. Like when I’m sharing my experience and my journey.
By doing that, that somebody else is inspired to do their best and live their best life.
And that’s why I do this. That’s why I do these blogs.
This is one of the most fulfilling things I can do because somebody’s reading these blogs. I’m going to work on my vision and my purpose and then a year from now I will hear from them, “Mike, I got clear on that stuff and it’s made such a difference.”
That’s the wind to me.
So since I’ve had children that’s become particularly meaningful to me. If I’m trying to inspire others mostly now when I’m trying to do is I’m trying to inspire them. I’m trying to be the absolute best role model that I can be about how to live a good life and a fulfilling life by being an example.
I’m not a religious guy, but there’s some kind of spiritual thing to me that is just trying to maximize the gift of life.
I don’t think you have to be religious or anything like that to acknowledge that the fact that you’re alive on this planet is a miracle. That we’re alive right now with all the amazing things in our lives, all the incredible gifts that we have and the opportunities that we have.
It’s a freaking miracle. I mean, the odds of you being born at all and living in this time with all these incredible opportunities. It’s a crazy miracle.
And again, I’m not religious, but I feel like if I was not trying to maximize that if I was not trying to be the best version of myself and live the best version of my life there will be hell or like it is dying. Then meeting the version of you that you could have been.
This idea that you could meet the person that you could have become if you had lived to your fullest potential. That’s hell.
I can absolutely relate to that. I don’t want that to happen. My dad died young and I am tied to this idea of one day meeting my dad after I’m dead and gone to heaven.
One day running into my dad and him like looking at me, “Dude, you didn’t live your fullest life. You have the opportunity and you didn’t do it.” That would just be so crushing to me.
The idea of that is so crushing to me that he gave me life and that I didn’t take full advantage of it.
That’s a very emotional, real thing to me. Something about that and my gut, I know in my heart that I don’t need anything else.
Like that’s it. I want that for our little baby to be the very best version of myself so that as she grows up, she sees it. She believes in herself, she believes in the beauty of life. She believes in going for it.
Living her dreams and my other two girls as well. Hopefully, somebody reading does as well. That is enough for me. That is fuel to my fire.
Whatever it is for you, maybe it’s honoring your God if you’re a religious person, it’s honoring your parents or just yourself. Or it’s what really drives you as contributing and helping other people. Whatever it is get clear on that and capture it.
Your purpose is your anchor
That’s the ultimate fuel that when the vision changes, the purpose generally, should stay the same.
That’s kind of your anchor, that’s your foundation. So working through that and figuring out what that is. To me, again, it’s just an exercise of just thinking, journaling, writing stuff down.
And then just at some point or another, it should just feel solid. This actually should not take as long. This to me should be something that’s actually relatively in your nervous system. Like this is what I am about.
It doesn’t need to be anything grandiose. It should just be what really feels right to you.
So that’s purpose.
Destroying limiting beliefs
Let’s talk about destroying limiting beliefs. So this one’s a really fascinating one to me. So the most important thing I’ve learned about this is, that you should absolutely feel the pain of what your limiting beliefs are costing you.
This idea that we will work harder to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure, I believe is really, really true.
And maybe that’s a little bit sad, but I think it’s really true, is that if you can really connect to the fact that your limiting beliefs are costing you things that are really important to then you will replace those limiting beliefs.
You will destroy them, you will crush them because it will be so painful to you that you will have to do something else to like preserve your sanity.
So the trick to that is to understand that these are just stories that you’re telling yourself.
I mean, there’s no reality in, “My business doesn’t grow for the quarter and I didn’t hit my goals and the guy down the street hit his goals. And I’m sitting around sucking my thumb. I’m a loser and they’re just better than me and blah, blah, blah.”
You know, we all do crap like that in our heads, right We all tell, tell ourselves these totally bs stories that one probably has no basis in reality, but two are just not doing you any good.
I mean, there’s just no point in telling yourself that if you’re trying to live your best life and trying to get the most out of yourself, tell yourself a better story so that you get your butt out of bed and get to work every day instead of moping around the house.
So if you can lie to yourself on the negative side, or exaggerate the fact that, “Oh, I’m a loser and I screw all these things up.”
You can exaggerate the other way as well. The first thing to do is exaggerate what this is costing you and get really, really, really emotional about it. The more emotional, the better.
When I went to Tony Robbins event where he does this masterfully. I’m going to describe to you what this is like and maybe you will think this is total BS.
You’re going to think it’s the hokiest thing in the world. I don’t really care. I can tell you that it works and it’s unbelievably powerful.
You’re in an arena with 10,000 people and Tony Robbins is up on stage and he goes through this exercise with you to help you destroy your limiting beliefs.
What he does is he literally has the 10,000 people close their eyes and heads down. They are imagining what is the most painful thing you can possibly imagine that’s happening because of this limiting belief. He does not let you out of that place, he forces you in it.
It was this long very long process. I’m talking like an hour straight of him just asking you repeatedly, what does that cost you. “Who’s life is that destroying? What is it destroying?”, questions like that are being asked over and over and over again.
The point is he wants you to emotionally connect to it as much as possible.
For me, this exercise brings out my purpose. Going back to my kids where I am trying to be a role model for them and live my best life for them. It is what I imagined that if I were to hang on to my limiting beliefs my kids would live these awful lives.
They would end up in these… I can’t even say it out loud because it’s so emotional for me.
Like they would end up awful and because they never had a strong father. They never had a strong role model that they could look at.
That was all because of these limiting beliefs that I was too weak to let go of. I was such a coward that I continued to hang on to them rather than face them and accept better beliefs and operate from it.
I am not joking when I say 10,000 people and let us say 8,000 of them are grown men.
I’m talking about 8,000 grown men crying. Tony Robbins makes you make the sound that you would make if you saw the worst thing that can happen because of your limiting beliefs.
You’re like moaning and groaning. Awfully emotional. It sounds like crazy now, but when you’re in it and you realize the power of connecting really emotionally.
Associating these awful outcomes because you’re hanging on to these limiting beliefs, it’s really powerful.
It’s really powerful the way our brain works. Whatever you can connect to emotionally positive or negative, the stronger those emotions, the more impactful that experiences for you. The more you’re going to remember it.
There’s no rule out there that says you can’t grow your business. That you can’t be a better salesperson or you can’t be a better this and that.None of that.
It’s all just crap that you’re telling yourself. If you can make the pain of that so big, then you can finally break it because that’s what your mind is trained to do, to protect you. That if something is that dangerous, threatening, and painful to you, it will figure out a way to get rid of it.
So do that.
Again, it’s a crazy exercise, but you got to like dig deep and connecting to these things emotionally.
So what that means is you can’t just go, “Oh yeah, if I don’t give up this limiting belief that I’m bad at talking to people, then I’m never going to improve my sales and grow my business because I can’t sell well. Oh man, that would be terrible.”
You can’t do that.
You have to connect to whatever is most important to you. Create this totally exaggerated scenario about how whatever that is what’s most important to you is going to ruin and destroy because you’re not willing to give up that limiting belief.
You have got to emotionally connect with it. Sit with it then try and imagine it. You’ve got to train and feel it. Try and make it as real as possible so that you do emotionally connect to it.
So don’t let yourself off the hook and really go for it.
And then what you want to do is not put yourself in that awful place. What you want to do is you want to come out of that with new empowering beliefs.
Again, if you can exaggerate your story negatively then you can exaggerate it positively. You want to create something that’s an empowering belief, something that gets you fired up, something that makes you feel as strong as you can possibly feel.
So that you can come out of that, replace it with a new empowering belief and have something that you really connect to emotionally that you’re like, “I’m going to frickin go for it now.”
If it’s like, “I’ve always been afraid of talking to people. I’m not going to talk to people because I get squeamish. I don’t feel confident.”
Then do the opposite of that, you’re some fricking superman that you’re so powerful.
You’re so brave. You’re so confident that you have no problem talking to people because you’re not concerned at all what people think.
Whatever it is, you’ve got to figure out that new empowering belief for you and how you connect to that emotionally.
Creating a positive alter ego
You have to do this like you creating an alter ego just like in the Tony Robbins event. I know a lot of pro athletes do this when they step onto the field, they adopt an alter ego. They literally have a name for it and they have a vision of what it looks like.
They mentally then can go into that alter ego and perform better.
I’ve read all kinds of research about this and I’ve listened to all kinds of interviews about this. It’s a very real thing that if we can connect with that alter ego, it’s a very powerful thing.
So give yourself that Viking type of presence. Where the strong brave man had a ‘yah’. I don’t know if you remember a Dead Poet’s Society.
They talk about sounding your mighty ‘yah’ over the rooftops of the world. And your ‘Yah’ was your yell. A yell from your soul.
So for me, that’s what it was. You are in this event with 10,000 people screaming off the top of your lungs and going for it. That is now like my new powerful foundation that if I’m in a bad place, I know I can do that ‘yah’.
I can do that yell and it just ignites something in me. It puts me in a totally different place so that I’m ready to conquer whatever it is that’s challenging to me.
The whole point is how do you put yourself in a better state so that you’re more able to conquer the challenges.
Because the reality is that challenges are going to be there. You’re either going to confront them in a mode of being less powerful and less capable because of the crap that you’re telling yourself. Or you’re going to approach them in the state of somebody who’s looking to win and believes that they can win because you’re telling yourself better things.
But that’s all it is. It’s just stories you’re telling yourself. And when you realize that, “Hey, I can either tell myself crap stories or I can tell myself good stories.”
They’re going to have an impact either way and I can choose the impact. I can choose the stories.
A tool to get your better self
When you realize it’s just a tool to use, then you can realize that you don’t have to continue using the negative stories. Now, this is not something that anybody’s perfect at.
Of course, we all have our little voices inside of our head when we run into some problem. We start to get down or we start to tell ourselves some crap. So the idea behind this is the idea of conditioning.
This is not something that you just fixed once and then you’re all done.
It’s the idea that you got to have a routine that you use. As soon as possible, when you recognize that you’re going into that negative place, that you can reverse it as aggressively as possible.
By going into the more positive place by using that very emotional, physical tool and technique to make sure that you are putting yourself into the best possible place as quickly as you possibly can. But realize everybody’s still has limiting beliefs.
Everybody still suffers from the stupid voices inside their head. It’s just part of being a human being.
It’s part of your brain trying to protect you. And when you realize that, and again, it’s just a tool that you can use to tell yourself better stories to get the best out of yourself.
So that’s destroying those limiting beliefs and putting yourself in a position to more powerfully pursue your purpose and your vision every day.
I love that event. I can’t stress enough. If you ever get the opportunity to go to one of Tony Robbins’ events, you should do it.
You should do it now because the guy’s getting older and he’s had health issues. You should do it as soon as possible. It’s such a powerful experience.
If you’re into personal development and you’re curious about any of these things.
Take it as your advantage
This is just my little cliff notes version of it and I hope that helps you. I hope that it serves you. I hope that by going through these exercises you can use the stories that your brain can tell you.
Use the voice inside of your head. Use the ability of your brain to imagine better things often in the future.
Those are all human things that we have that nobody else has. Animals don’t have any of those they don’t have the ability to step outside of themselves and think of their future.
That’s what makes us human. That’s what makes our brains feel powerful.
But if you can realize that it’s a tool and you can use the tool how you want to in a more powerful way instead of the way that is limiting you and your business then it’s a really fun place to be.
And it’s a really cool place to be.
Voices inside your head
So, one of the resources I’d share with you where I got a lot out of is written by Eckhart Tolle. He wrote the book, “Power of Now”. I think it is one that I have read that was really impactful for me.
It was all about acknowledging and realizing that those voices inside your head are not actually you. It is a little deep and philosophical but it’s just your ego or part of your brain working to try and solve a problem for you.
But it’s not you.
The reason that you know that is because you can step outside of it and you can observe it. So you are the one doing the observing.
And when you get skilled and more practiced at doing the observing, it becomes much, much easier to do these exercises that we just talked about.
Because instead of letting that limiting belief, that voice inside your head run crazy and really get your emotions all swirled around, you can step outside of it and you can look at it and go, “Oh, there’s my brain again doing what it does.”
“Why is my brain doing that while my brain sees this as a threat?”
What it’s doing is it’s trying to protect me by creating this story to try to get me away from that threat so that I no longer put myself in that position or you know, whatever the heck it is.
And when you’re able to look at it objectively like that, it makes it a lot easier to address it.
So I’d recommend that book, get a copy of it, and have a very quick read. You can read it in a couple of hours or on a flight or whatever the heck it is.
I hope this was helpful to you. I’m going to share some resources with you and I would love to hear from you, hear your feedback.
Please let me know. If there’s anything that I can do to help in any way.