“You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
You may find yourself in another part of the world
You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, well how did I get here?”
-The Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime

The Ripple Effect
By Doug Grady

I have always been fascinated with how we become who we are. What creates breakthroughs in our lives? What causes some people to wake up enthused and go to bed fulfilled? How do we create a life we are excited about that also makes a powerful and positive difference for others? Why do so many incredibly talented, gifted, and “fortunate” people end up ruining their lives? How do others defy the odds and live extraordinary, exemplary lives?

My work has been in personal and professional development for over 17 years. I have read hundreds of books and invested thousands of dollars and hours in seminars, training sessions, and personal coaching with the “best” in the business. They taught me how to think and act to be more successful; how to set goals; how to manage my time; how to communicate more effectively; how to be my best. I was an excellent student and became a professional trainer. I have trained thousands of people all over the country how to be more successful in their chosen field over endeavor. Still somehow several months ago I ended up in what you might call a “rut” to put it mildly. My business was losing money, I was physically out of shape, and had a bad attitude. Some of my closest friends and advisors were advising me to consider a new career path. I began to ask myself,

“Well, how did I get here?”

I often brooded over the irony of how I, an intelligent, experienced man in the “success” business could allow himself to be sucked into the quagmire of mediocrity. I wanted desperately to continue to blame it on the economy and bad luck. When I got brutally honest with myself I came to the realization that I was the problem. The ripples created from the choices I had made, the habitual behaviors I had engaged in, and the limiting beliefs I had cultivated had led me to exactly where I was. It was no accident. My mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial state- all of which were suffering, were nothing more than the inevitable result of the choices I had made in the past. I knew something had to change and I had to change it.

Inception: the starting point of commitment.

It had been several months since I had exercised consistently. I felt tired, lethargic, flabby, and weak. I have been athletic for most of my life, but had allowed a hip injury which I incurred while training for a half marathon to become an excuse for not exercising.

Inception is the point at which thought becomes commitment.

My 30 day follow through began the next day. Initially the workouts were unpleasant and inconvenient to say the least, but I followed through. A few days later I committed to making 20+ prospecting calls per day. Several other commitments followed- healthier eating, getting up early, reading something positive everyday. Some of these simply “happened” without much thought, planning or effort on my part. Others (the calls for example) took more discipline. I began to think more clearly; my energy increased; my communication became more effective; people began to respond differently to me. I met (and now hang out with) some extraordinary people I never would have met otherwise. Oh, and my business began to move in the right direction. My life is very different now- mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. One choice led to other choices and to a series of positive outcomes. The ripple changed the course of my life.

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The inception incubator. Perhaps you have been thinking of taking on a commitment that would make a difference in your life. Your inception point occurs when you resolve to act on this thought. I recommend your “inception incubator” include the following:
• Consider that your life is the result of a series of “ripples”. The experiences in your life and you response to them have led you to where you are now.
• Think about the life you really want. Who do you want to be? Who are you at your best? What qualities do you want to develop? How do you want the world to be different because of you? Why are you here? What legacy do you want to leave behind?
• Read something inspiration, educational and/or motivational.
• Listen to your favorite music.
• Go for a walk.
• Get around people who inspire you- people you respect; people who are committed to having an extraordinary life; people who care about you.

Allow me to help cause a ripple in your life right now. What are you willing to take on (or give up?) for the next 30 days?

Choose your commitment
• Choose one. Doing something positive is always better than nothing. Do not worry about making the perfect choice. Perfectionism nourishes procrastination and can keep you stuck. Choose one thing you are committed to do (or give up) for the next 30 days.
• Choose simply. By “simple” I mean “do-able.” Your daily commitment must be manageable in the face of the unexpected. 30 minutes a day was “do-able” and “simple” enough that I believed I could accomplish it on a daily basis no matter what for 30 days (and I did).
• Choose now. Now is the time, this is the place, you are the one.

“I took the road less travelled, now I have no idea where in the world I am.” –Anonymous

Once you have chosen what you are committed to your ripple has begun. The road ahead will undoubtedly contain many twists and turns; unexpected pain and exciting breakthroughs; victories and defeats. Honoring your commitment isn’t always easy.
Your ripple will subside very soon without:

Follow through. Don’t let your ripple die the death of most New Year’s resolutions. Choose everyday to find a way to just do it! I have found the following invaluable:
• Use pain and pleasure to motivate yourself. Scott recommended a daily dose of pain if I did not fulfill my commitment (I chose to make this monetary) and a 30 day reward upon successful completion (I made this a nice dinner with an important person in my life).
• Get an Accountabilty Partner. Scott became mine. I committed to report in every day when I had completed my commitment.
Track what is different in your life since you began your 30 day commitment.
• How do you feel? What experiences have showed up? What results, people, places or things? What other choices have you made? What is different in you and in your life?
• Keep a journal- acknowledge yourself each day you complete your commitment. Write about your challenges, your accomplishments, your breakthroughs, and how you have affected others.
• Share with others what you are doing and what has happened in your life because of it.

For those of you who like formulas (I am one of them), here it is:
Inception (think, choose, commit), Follow through, Track, Repeat.

Your inception point, if you choose, is now.
• I choose to____________ for the next 30 days.
• _____________is my Accountabilty Partner.
• _____________is my daily pain.
• _____________is my 30 day reward.

Welcome to The Ripple Effect. Please include me in the sharing of your experience with The Ripple Effect. I really want to hear from you.

“You may find yourself making more empowering choices
You may find yourself turning your business around
You may find yourself alive and excited each day
You may find yourself in extraordinary places with extraordinary people
You may tell yourself, well I know how I got here”
-The Ripple Effect

Author's Bio: 

Doug Grady is President of High Achievers Network. For over 16 years, Doug has been engaging audiences from coast to coast with his wit and wisdom. Exciting, entertaining and enlightening are words invariably used to describe his unique seminars and workshops. As a business owner, professional speaker and musician, Doug is a jack of many trades and a master of one: helping you master yours. He has been privileged to share the platform with legends Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins, Tony Robbins, and Denis Waitley. The companies he has trained include Sprint, AFLAC, Bank of America, BNI.

“Doug Grady gives you practical, proven ideas and methods you can use immediately, and he presents them in a fast-moving, entertaining and enjoyable style.” -Brian Tracy, Author, Maximum Achievement

“Doug Grady has real world information that will make you listen, make you laugh, make you think, and make you money.” -Jeffrey Gitomer, Author, The Sales Bible

“Although I just arrived during your opening song, I can’t tell you how long it’s been that I’ve felt so totally re-energized; it’s almost like the ideas and contacts wouldn’t stop so I could get to sleep. I have a notepad next to my bed and it was full for the first time the next morning!” -Kathy Bonner, Group Sales Manager Laguna Playhouse