5 Ways to Keep Your Comfort Zone from Smothering You

“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.” ~ Ann Landers

My family and I were on vacation in California, and it was the time of year right before fall when the vacation crowds are gone and the pool is on the edge of being too cold to swim in and enjoy. The water felt great in the mid afternoon, but once the sun went down it started to feel borderline icy. You know that scared feeling and anticipation you get on the edge of a pool when your anticipating the water might be cold enough to take your breathe away and you are about to jump in?

Well, don’t jump in dummy? Right? Easy fix. I agree, except I had an excited 4 year old and 2 year old that had been waiting to go swimming with their Dad all day. This stinks. So, I knew I was going in, and before I could count to “1” my 2 year old was in the pool, it took her breathe away and she started swimming and having a ball. And splash, just like that my 4 year old was in and begging for me. Do you remember your younger days when your comfort zone was big enough to handle a cold pool? I do, vaguely. But, somewhere along the line I only started swimming when it was a perfect 85 degrees. I got so used to the comfort of warm swimming water in AZ, my comfort zone had shrunk in so far that I probably would not even be able to swim, at all, in my old state of New York. It’s just too cold.

A funny thing happens if we aren’t paying attention, just like a frog will not jump out of a pot of hot water as long as the temperature raises gradually, we get stuck in a forever shrinking comfort zone. We all do it, it’s part of being human; to seek the comfortable, to walk the path of least resistance.

It used to be easy to jump in cold water, meet strangers, interview for a new job, run a mile, get involved at great risk to yourself for a leadership role, ask your spouse out, tell your friends they mean the world to you, stand up for yourself or someone else, put yourself out there, take a financial risk, or any risk at all for that matter, and the list goes on.

When did you quit jumping into cold water? What has your shrinking comfort zone stolen from you? Playing with your kids, a chance at a better life, new friends, passion? Whatever it is, it’s probably more than you are willing to admit.

Here are a few things you can do to expand the comfort zone:
  1. Jump in and quit thinking. We “over think” everything as adults. And often without progress.

  2. When all is said and done. Be the one who did more than was said. Quit talking about what you will do someday and start being the one who did it, and then talk.

  3. Do one thing every day that pushes you off the edge. You know when your on the edge. So, everyday jump in once for a few minutes – meet the stranger, take a risk, do the unexpected, ask for the raise.

  4. Play. You can always find ways to play and have a good time. The older we get, it seems the more intentional we have to be, but you can do it. Have fun with life, even when the environment you’re in doesn’t seem to be “play friendly.”

  5. Pick up a new hobby. Even if it doesn’t stick, pick it up and look at it anyway. Cooking, art, outdoors, biking, running, games with friends, pogo sticks :), support a cause, volunteer, and you get the idea.
Expanding comfort zones nationally and encouraging you to jump in before you get too comfortable to enjoy life,

Jon Bohm

Date posted: November 19, 2010 | Author: Jon Bohm | 1 Comment »

Categories: Goals Innovation Inspiration/Values Motivation

Top 10 Rules to Dressing Professionally

Realizing this is a giant rabbit hole, here are some absolutely basic and crucial things to understand when it comes to dressing professionally in a way that can help you move your life and career forward. Sorry ladies, I’m not qualified for you, but I will get a post for you in this area as well.

After seeing many leaders and executives fail at these 10 basic rules, here are some things to keep in mind next time you are shopping.

My top 10 list for guys:

1. Dress for the position you want, not the one you have. Poise and style go a long way towards promotion/sales/ influence. However you feel about that from a fairness standpoint, it’s reality.

2. Never wear pleats or cuffs on your slacks. Sorry, to those who disagree. People argue this with me all the time, but pleats and cuffs have been out with everything else you left in 1993. I don’t know why anybody is still selling these to unsuspecting guys.

3. Never wear a white undershirt that can be seen under a dress shirt or even a polo. Time to invest in some v-necks.

4. Your shoulder seam should be right at the top of your shoulder or at most a half inch from the top of your shoulder towards your hand. Oversized shirts make you look sloppy and unprofessional.

5. Wear fitted shirts whenever possible. A fitted shirt has been sewn to remove material from the back and sides of the shirt so that you don’t end up with a bag of extra material around your belt or midsection. Fitted shirts will slim you down and broaden your shoulders. If you have extra weight you are carrying around your midsection you may need a little more room.

6. Sleeve length should hit the bottom of your wrist when your arms are hanging at your side. This allows a nice watch to peek out and keeps extra material from bunching and making you look sloppy.

7. Your belt, watch, and shoes all need to match. Brown shoes means a brown leather watch and brown belt. Black shoes mean a silver or black watch and black belt. Make sure shoes belt and watch all match stylistically as well. In other words, if you wear a formal pair of shoes, then wear a formal belt and “dress” watch with it.

8. Never, ever, ever, never, ever wear a tie with a short sleeve dress shirt. Dwight Shrute (see above). Enough said.

9. Shine your shoes. If you didn’t learn this in the military, from a Dad or friend, go to a nice department store like Neiman Marcus and the shoe dept. can give you a tutorial. Or, click here.

10. Don’t wear cuff links with a casual pair of slacks. The general rule is if you don’t need to dry clean your slacks, don’t wear cuff links with your shirt.

10.5 The bottom of your slacks need to rest barely on the top of your shoes with no more than an inch of material in the left in the length. Again, extra material = sloppy and unprofessional.

Bonus information:
There are many different styles of collars when it comes to dress shirts. Each one is appropriate at different times.

Never wear more than 3 colors at a time. Patterns need to be different and can be mixed and matched if done correctly. Generally a lighter, or more pastel, colored shirt should be worn with a tie that goes with it, but should not match exactly.

Best advice ever! Are you ready? If you are not the average sized guy. For example, taller than 6’4″ or shorter than 5’5″- find a great tailor near your home. If he/she tries to put you in pleats- run away and find another tailor. Always wear clothes that fit. Being tall (I’m 6’5″) is not an excuse to wear clothing that doesn’t fit.

If you are wearing a tie, your pocket cloth should match the dominant color in the tie.

Hope that helps you move toward your goals and not away from them.

Enjoy Life and Shop well!

Jon Bohm

P.S. Every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharped dressed man.

Date posted: November 18, 2010 | Author: Jon Bohm | No Comments »

Categories: Goals Knowledge Leadership

Cleaning Up

Quick question: You walk into a room and you see that the room is flooded. On the far wall a sink is running on full blast and there is a mop leaning against the wall. What do you do?

This is the same scenario I see at many companies I walk into, and there is one of 3 choices that is actively being pursued:

1. The entire team is mopping like crazy – “this economy!” “run faster and work harder” or we will never get this cleaned up!

2. They walk in the flooded room- look around….and then leave. It’s too much of a mess, let’s just close the door and go back to sticking our head in the sand.

3. They turn off the faucet. Then they mop like crazy.

The choice is yours as you lead your organization. I recommend turning off the faucet by finding the root cause of negative results, behavior, or culture. To change behavior without changing the root cause is going to require a lot of mopping for a long time… in wet clothes. Nobody likes that.

Is it time to clean up your organization or life? Is it time to turn off the running faucet?

Making wet businesses dry,

Jon Bohm

Date posted: October 12, 2010 | Author: Jon Bohm | No Comments »

Categories: Goals Knowledge Leadership Motivation

Beware of Re-creating your Past

Be careful of going back to what you once were instead of moving forward to what you have yet to become.

Like water, we have this incredible tendency to sub-consciously settle into the groove, the path, of least resistance. The only problem with this is that it only has one result, re-creating the past.

Many leaders have been leading in the same place, same position, same expectations, and same challenges for so long that this groove is created. A groove that steals passion and innovation one small piece at a time. We feel it sneak up on us like the cold at night. Slowly we find ourselves unchallenged and resting in this emotionless zone of the doing what we have always done.

We can wake up and make the change now, realizing that it’s never too late to be who you might have been . Or, we can settle in and wait until we are fired, forced out, or no longer have the passion to be productive. Only to look back, and realize the powerhouse we could have been, the changes we could have made in the world, or the dreams we could have realized for ourselves or our family.

The Cure is in the way you plan and therefore, the way you lead:
  1. Make decisions based off looking where we have been – Result = Re-create the past
  2. Make decisions based off of looking at our present circumstances – Result = Re-create the past
  3. Make decisions based off looking to the future – Result = Forecasting the future
  4. Move your actions and life into the future and act now, how you want your future to be – Result = Creating and Controlling your Destiny
The choice is ours to make everyday, rely on circumstances and the groove to guide us to the future or decide your own path now and move forward to where you have never yet been.

Beware the gravitational force that is always trying to pull you back to where you already were.

Walking into the wonderful unknown,
Jon Bohm

Date posted: September 23, 2010 | Author: Jon Bohm | No Comments »

Categories: Goals Innovation Leadership

Business Owner today and Entrepreneur Tomorrow

“Nothing is so successful that it can’t be mismanaged. If you lose sight of what you are doing, it could be here today and gone tomorrow.”- Jim Pohlad (Owner of the Minnesota Twins)

What are you doing? Whatever you do to pay the bills or take care of the family, what are you doing it for? Money, kids, to make a difference? This is a very important question and the answer to which must be kept front and center, or it will be gone.

Often, when business owners started their business they new they were doing it to build a better life, have more time, make a difference, etc. But, along the way they became not only the owner but the CEO, CFO, COO, manager, supervisor, and sometimes even the hourly wage worker. The ideals of a better life get swallowed with working harder and surviving and paying the bills. Without much thought, just like that, you can lose sight of what you got in this for in the first place. Same thing with being a Parent, a coach, or a teacher.

Since I can’t speak to everything in a short blog, here is an overly simplified model to entrepreneurial success:

  1. Solve the $ Step – If you don’t plan and save to get far enough ahead to invest in others and better systems you will be left spending everyday and hour (every dinner with your spouse) not thinking about anything, except, how can I make more $ so I don’t go out of business. Some people stay at step one their entire life- this is very sad to me as a coach.
  2. Solve the time step – Use the money you saved or set aside in step 1 to buy yourself more time. Hire, delegate, create, and build new time saving systems.
  3. Use the time you bought for yourself to find inspiration, new ideas, better ways of doing things, and creative energy to build your life and/or your business to new heights.

Where are you stuck? Which step is next? How are you going to get to the next step?

Of course, I’m here to help you do that. Just never lose site of what got you in this in the first place. Have fun!

Enjoy Life!

Creating Entrepreneurs everyday,
Jon Bohm

Date posted: July 30, 2010 | Author: Jon Bohm | No Comments »

Categories: Goals Inspiration/Values Knowledge Leadership

Re-Inventing yourself…What’s next?

If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of potential, for the eye which , ever young and ardent, sees the possible.- Soren Kierkegaard

I was hanging out with my 4 year old son the other day and I was impressed with the excitement he finds in all the little things in life like learning a new word, understanding how something works, the adventure of playing in the backyard, and eating a new food. His energy and adventure is contagious. As we get older, and we have lived a full life and tried everything under the sun. We can have the tendency to write off all the things we don’t like and embrace what we do enjoy, this causes the excitement and passion for life and new adventure to fade.

For example, I would love to get my pilot’s license and then fly the country in my own airplane. This is an adventure and it would be an incredible thrill for me. My Dad, on the other hand, has had his pilot’s license – he has been there and done that. The excitement has worn off, so what’s next? Maybe for my Dad it’s time to get some buddies together and build their own plane, time to take a passion and reinvent it. Re-create it with fresh perspective and new skills.

Once you have traveled the world, fought in 2 world wars, lived, loved and know yourself well. What is left? What excitement, challenge, and fervor for life and adventure is there? Maybe it’s time to re-invent yourself?

Is it time for you to get some new energy from an old passion? Is it time to date your spouse again? Renew your vows? Check an item off the bucket list? Build something? Find a new talent? Or maybe the greatest reinvention is to plant seeds off your tree of experience into the life and mind of someone else?

Enjoy this true story:

Anna Mary Moses loved to do needlework. She had been enjoying it since before she was married. But as she began to get older, she started to lose some of the dexterity in her hands through arthritis. By the time she was eighty, she could no longer perform even the simplest stitches. Therefore she decided to try something different—painting. The brushes were easy enough to handle, even with her arthritis, so she took it up full time, mostly painting farm and country scenes.

One day a traveling art collector stopped for a bite to eat in her town and saw her pictures in a drugstore. He decided that he liked them, and in a very short time the name of Grandma Moses was known throughout the art world. Although Grandma Moses didn’t even start painting until she was eighty years old, she was able to create over fifteen hundred works of art in her lifetime. She had an international following, and prominence as a world-class painter.

All this because she was forced to quit her favorite pastime and take up a new one.

Success cannot be measured in time, or what anyone else thinks. It’s personal and powerful when you are reaching your own goals. Never stop learning, dreaming, and re-inventing the wonderful life you have been given. The world is a playground, and there is always something new to explore. Sometimes the greatest exploration is done inside your own mind and life.

Dream it, find it, and live it. After all… this is YOUR one shot at life.

Jon Bohm

Date posted: July 12, 2010 | Author: Jon Bohm | No Comments »

Categories: Goals Innovation Inspiration/Values Knowledge Motivation

A Star is born

“Many an opportunity is lost because a (wo)man is out looking for four-leaf clovers.” ~ Anon

I was reading my son is bedtime story and it happened to include an interesting story about how a star is born in space. It requires 3 major elements for the star to be born; gas, gravity, and timing. Read more about the science behind this here.

What a great metaphor for each of us. We all want to be “stars” in our own world, family, industry, or peer group. We want to make a difference to bring the right things together and maybe the biggest motivator – we want to be recognized for it. We want to shine, brightly!

It’s easy to think that this is a function of luck.

  • If I had their background, looks, luck, than I would be a star too
  • If I had bought when they bought I would be rich too
  • If my daddy owned “x” company I would be in the right circles
  • If my kids were born without that disability
The more I work with people in a behind the scenes capacity with widely successful people the more I realize there is no four leaf clover, there is no lucky situation, and there is no lottery ticket. The magic bullet to success doesn’t exist.

What appears to be lucky timing or lucky resources is not luck at all – it’s simply preparation, passion to find resources, and the ability to expect opportunity (timing.) 3 ingredients that happen out of purpose and direction. To the skeptical outsider it appears to be lucky. But, it’s not.

You want to be a star? 3 simple ingredients must exist to shine brightly –

1. Prepare yourself to become who you want to become. You want to be a star, act like one, now.

2. Find your passion and you will find the resources. Trust me, if you want it badly enough you will find the resources- or they will find you.

3. Look for opportunity with an expectation, a certainty of someone who knows the sun will rise tomorrow.

Stars are born everyday, in every economy, industry, and family.

The only question is: will YOU look inside for the opportunity and put the ingredients in place or will continue to look for four leaf clovers and lottery tickets?

Expecting great things for you!
Jon Bohm

Date posted: July 6, 2010 | Author: Jon Bohm | 1 Comment »

Categories: Goals Inspiration/Values Knowledge Leadership Motivation

Are you Haunted?

Have you ever had a feeling or a thought you couldn’t get away from? Like it was haunting you?

We typically think of this as a bad thing that occurs after a tragic experience or from the pain of a previous choice. But, I have found that most of the dynamic, driven, and high performance people are haunted by something.

Something that salts their life with passion, purpose, and drive that goes deep within them and pulls their emotions off the sideline and into the game of life.

I have a stress dream (nightmare) I had when I was battling cancer in which I was dying and all of the dreams I had for my future were dying with me, untold speeches, unwritten books, unchanged lives, and a mediocre life for myself. That one nightmare changed my life forever, it has haunted me ever since. I can’t wake up and live without urgency, passion to make a difference, and emotion that drives me to an extraordinary life. It is my “why” to get up in the morning and it haunts me every day of my life. That nightmare was a gift that keeps on giving.

Do you have something that haunts you? That drives you to passion, purpose, that gets you actively and emotionally living your life? If not, find it. Look for it in daily life when you find yourself engaged, enraged, or just happy. Be haunted by your future successes and the fantastic life you have waiting for you, however you measure it.

George Eastman, inventor and founder of the Eastman-Kodak Company, often said that he never set out to become rich. Nor was it specifically his intent to promote photography. Eastman had lost his father while he was still young, and he was forced to watch his mother struggle to provide the bare essentials for George and his two sisters. Memories of his mother mopping floors and washing clothes for other people haunted George like a bad dream throughout his life. Consequently, he vowed to make enough money so that his mother would never have to work again. – One Minute Motivator

Actually, he made millions, and he revolutionized photography—but his real goal was to make a comfortable living for his mother. And that is the power that compassion for another can have.

May we all be so blessed to be haunted by compassion.

Enjoy YOUR Life!

Jon Bohm

Date posted: June 4, 2010 | Author: Jon Bohm | No Comments »

Categories: Goals Inspiration/Values Knowledge Leadership

Dog Cakes on the Path to Success

“Your sweetest successes always come after some of your most sour mistakes.”

Confusing a mistake for a failure is a common thing to do. We often (mentally or emotionally) think and feel that a mistake or a trial and error is a failure to some degree, but really it’s just a part of your next success.

You haven’t failed until you quit making mistakes, and therefore quit moving forward.

A client of mine told me a great story of Saturday pancake breakfasts at his house growing up. His Dad would be up earlier than everyone else and his Dad would start to make pancakes for the family. The smell would fill the house and by the time they got up, there was coffee brewing and a giant stack of perfectly golden pancakes. The family dog was normally a beggar, but never begged on Saturday mornings. Because, as it turns out, every Saturday before the family was up- Dad would burn the first batch of pancakes, which he gave to the family dog. These were the “Dog Cakes.”

The “Dog Cakes” had to be made, they had to burn the oil off the pan before you could ever get to the golden brown beauties that came next. The “Dog Cakes” were a right of passage, an important part of the journey towards a perfect pancake.

When you start a new venture, launch a new product, make your first cold calls, try to connect emotionally, give a speech for the 1st time since high school, or anything else- be ready and willing to have some “dog cakes.” But, don’t confuse a few “dog cakes” with failure.

“Dog cakes” are not failures, or even mistakes, they are a part of the process to the perfect success. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t run from opportunity because of them. Rather embrace them.

Believe me, your greatest successes will come after a short stack of “dog cakes.” The faster you burn the oil off the pan the faster you will taste sweet success.

Hungry for Life-

Jon Bohm

Date posted: May 18, 2010 | Author: Jon Bohm | No Comments »

Categories: Goals Inspiration/Values Knowledge Motivation

The Choice YOU have to make today

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

I went for a hike in some of the mountains near my house the other day and it got me thinking about all the comparisons that can be made between a hike in the mountains and life. One in particular jumped out at me.

When I started my hike, I had to choose which path I would take. The trail map showed a rating for each trail based on:
  • Ruggedness of terrain
  • Elevation height
  • Elevation change
I chose, as I often do in life, to take the most challenging trail. I want the one with the highest peaks and the lowest valleys, I want the one with the hardest trail that can take my breathe out of my lungs and replace it with a burning sensation, the one that makes my legs ache and burn. But, this trail also offers me the greatest breathtaking views, the greatest sense of accomplishment, and the greatest overall rewards.

We have to make this same choice everyday. If you get married you are choosing a path with much higher highs and much lower lows than a single person will have. If you open a business, likewise higher highs and lower lows. If you step out and volunteer to give that speech, to write that book, to handle that challenging situation at work, to commit to a workout program, to ask that person out…you get the idea. Anytime we choose to step into the ring and pick the rugged trail in life with the most elevation change, you are picking a different life than the majority of people who are simply content to go for a stroll on a smooth flat path that will never experience the breath taking views nor the pain of the climb.

Which path have you chosen in your life? Which path will you choose in the future? Which path will you take today?

As for me, call it a curse, but I have to take the rugged trail to the top, the view is just to amazing to pass up on.

See you on the trail, I hope to see at the top!

Enjoy the Climb!

Jon Bohm

Date posted: May 12, 2010 | Author: Jon Bohm | No Comments »

Categories: Goals Inspiration/Values Motivation