Ken Okazaki Blogging is serious business

27Dec/140

Be a Hero. Be a Dad.

Ken 048-sWhen it comes near the end of the year, we tend to think of the highlights of what we did. Our minds go to our experiences throughout the year. What we DID with the 365 days until now. The highs and the lows, the good and the bad.

This year my highlight was a distinction, an Aha! moment.

Roll back a few years and I remember overhearing one of my young kids arguing:

My dad’s stronger than your dad.

No, my dad is stronger than your dad!

Well my dad is smarter than your dad.

Not true!

Yes, true!

… until I cut in and gently changed the subject.

But somewhere inside I wanted to egg my son on. He wanted to prove something to his friend. I wanted to be all of the things that he was saying.

He wanted me to be all of those things too, because it gave him self-worth, credibility, and pride.

On the outside I brushed it off as something that all kids must just say, but on the inside another conversation was going on.

I asked myself WHY I was downplaying everything that he was saying. WHY was I embarrassed to hear these things?

Then a crazy thought came to mind.

Back when I was studying NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) I learned something called the New Orleans Flexibility Drill. Google it if you’re interested. The exercise is very simple.

You envision a person, real or fictional, alive or dead, standing in front of you. This is a person who’s characteristics you desire to emulate. You make it as real as you can, how they breathe, the posture they hold, jutting your chin just right, shoulders squared, thinking what they might be thinking, focusing on what they would focus on.

And when you make it so real that you can practically feel the heat from their body and the hairs in the back of your neck are standing on end, take a step forward and “into” their body, thus inheriting their traits.

YOU BECOME THEM!

This may sound corny, no it DOES sound corny! But when do you this it can give you the confidence boost you need, the insight you are looking for, or the right frame of mind to make an important decision.

I had to adapt this for me. Something I can do for myself, for my children, for my wife, for my business, for the world!

I had to become the superhero they needed me to be.

I wrote down the characteristics of the superheroes that I liked and distilled it down to these top five:

1. Strength (think: Hulk, Superman)

2. Intelligence (Ironman, Batman)

3. Vast Wealth (Batman, Xavier)

4. Strong Moral Code (Spider-man, Superman)

5. Romantic (Zorro, Spider-man)

Now I don’t expect to reach the level of strength of the Hulk or Superman within my lifetime, but these five seemed like a good place to start.

So how do I use this in my everyday life?

1. Strength, or health and fitness.

This is where I make daily decisions about what I eat, how much I exercise, and everything else that has to do with my body.

2. Intelligence, or continuous learning and experience.

Read books, try new experiences, test myself mentally and keep pushing the boundaries. I’m happy to say that I love learning and it is always a pleasure.

3. Vast Wealth, or total financial freedom.

Robert Kiyosaki explained it very simply: When your monthly passive income is greater than your monthly expenses, then you are financially free. Every day of my life I am looking for more ways to add more income streams to my self and my family. I want to rocket past financial freedom to TOTAL FINANCIAL VITALITY.

4. Strong Moral Code, or having a basis on which to make the tough decisions in life. My morals are based on my Christian background, and I go back to the standards that my parents taught me over the dinner table as I grew up. I do the same for my own children.

5. Romantic, or just being really in love with the one person in your life who matters the most to you and showing them how you feel. Daily. In front of the kids.

Show your kids how much you love your wife. They need to know that no matter how much you love them, their mommy comes first to you.

Too many parents neglect each other for their children. They forget that they will grow up and move on and after that, all you have left is each other. When that day comes if you haven’t been focusing on your partner, you will be in for a rough experience.

That’s my philosophy in a nutshell.

I’ve heard many people’s philosophies that sounded great, but when I tried them on like a shoe, I realized that none of them were made just for me. They were made by someone else for what THEY needed.

I think each person needs to develop their own philosophy. It doesn’t have to be elegant or even make sense to anyone else. It could be a Franken-Philosophy, a mashup of all your favorite bits of other people’s thoughts on life. Do what works for you.

But having my own philosophy has helped me in a huge way.

Hundreds of times throughout the week I ask myself: “What would a hero do in this situation?”

When these words form, the answer is always simple.

Choose the healthy food

Take the bike to work.

Choose the difficult but more rewarding path for my business

Have that tough conversation with my teenage son

Re-invest instead of spending that hard-earned cash

This is what parenting is about. It’s about being a hero.

Be a hero. Be a dad.

Unless you are a mom. Then be a mom.

8Dec/110

How to Be Great – According to Ken

Although you can measure greatness in any way you like, and I respect them all, one thing I know from my experience is that leaning beyond your comfort zone toward your dreams is what expands your capabilities, and opens doors to greater possibilities.

The more often you lean beyond your comfort zone the easier it becomes, and the easier it becomes, the greater steps you take and soon you'll be doing things that you didn't think were possible for you or thought you didn't even want to do.

We all have dreams, some buried deep down from the first time we were made fun of as a child, but we all have them.
The people who are doing something about it, actively reaching out toward their dream in some way each day are the ones who have direction, drive, motivation and guts.

It's just a choice, not natural talent or ability that defines who is happy in the end. For those who are completely filled up and satisfied with where their life is now, I applaud you because you have now what most millionaires today thought they could achieve through their many accomplishments.

There are different things that each of us need to achieve in life to feel complete. When you can say to yourself "If I die today I will die happy because I know I have done the absolute maximum with what God has given me in my life." then you have reached the level of greatness that I aspire to.

11Apr/111

Tribes

This post is a first and I'll tell you why.

So far I've written the blog posts myself, mostly my thinking on the progress in my life and the direction I'm headed.

Reading books is now a regular habit from which I draw much of my inspiration.

Every now and then I read something that just jumps right out at me. It stirs me up inside and makes it impossible to do nothing about it. The author grips me by the throat and forces me to act. Maybe it only works on certain people who are at in the right state of mind at the time, or are in certain circumstances that harmonize with the author.

I'm now reading a great book, called Tribes, by Seth Godin.

This book is Gold!

I would recommend it to anyone who wants a fresh perspective on being a leader. Even if you don't feel you need a change or inspiration or whatever, GET THIS BOOK! It's been added to my all time favorites list, and although this introduction is longer than I expected, I will now insert an excerpt and hand you over to Seth Godin:

Crowbars

With a long enough crowbar, you can rip nails out of a board.

With a long enough teeter-totter, you can lift a sumo wrestler off the ground.

With enough leverage, you can change your company, your industry, and the world.

The levers just got longer (for everyone). the Web and word of mouth and viruses and outsourcing and the long tail and the other factors involved in social media mean that everyone (every person, all six billion of us) has far more power than ever before. The king and the status quo are in big trouble.

Wait. You might have glossed over that last paragraph--perhaps because it's so short but especially because it's so challenging.

What I'm saying is that one person can make a video that reaches fifty million viewers.

What I'm saying is that one person can invent a pricing model that turns an industry upside down.

What I'm saying is that one person--okay, what I really mean is you--has everything. Everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself. That people around you realize this, and they are ready to follow if you're ready to lead.

Seriously, READ THIS BOOK! If you do read it, and it doesn't do it for you, give it to someone else and tell them the same thing I just told you. It will eventually find the right person.

PS. If you order using the link provided here, I will get a tiny little kickback from Amazon, which I do appreciate. Thanks.

16Feb/112

Didn’t Your Dad Teach You To Live Within Your Means?

Well, he was wrong. And this is why.

It's depressing. Everything is falling apart! Have you ever felt like everything around you is caving in? Your credit cards are maxed out, rent is late, and your mobile phone is costing you more than you can afford. If this has ever happened to you, read on.

That's when human nature kicks in. You instinctively start shrinking. Spend less, do less, eat less, be less. Thinking that this is going to help you get back on your feet, you instead find yourself in a poorer state then when you started. You have become less of yourself.

Now you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done if this is what you really wanted.

But I think you'll agree with me that you want more. You want to be more, do more, live more. You want to have more options.

Living within your means is putting a limit on yourself. It's tying a rope around your waist and attaching it to your house so you can always safely find your way back.

The length of the rope is your means.

Staying within it gives you comfort and certainty.
Stepping beyond it represents danger and excitement.

When you are within your comfort zone there is little reason to want more because you accept your new normal.
But it's people like you and me who know that there is more, who won't settle.

Applying the title too literally is not what I'm suggesting, although the fact that you've read this far tells me that it's served it's purpose. I'll explain:

When you find yourself under external financial pressure, don't shrink. Rather, expand. Use the energies that would cause you to shrink and channel it to your creativity and put it to work thinking of new ways to earn more.

External pressure is more effective than self-motivation for most of us to cause us to take action. I'll illustrate that below:

Let's say you want to increase your income by $300 a month.

So you make commitments and plans but things don't go as expected and at the end of the month you are still at the same level: just scraping by, making ends meet. You think: "Oh well, maybe next time."

Now let's switch it around.

You commit to increasing your income by $300 and to solidify your commitment, as soon as you get your paycheck you invest that amount to your plan for increasing your income. You now know that you are going to be $300 short at the end of the month, and start thinking about where it's going to come from.
You know you HAVE to get it or else you are going to face external pressure in the form of your landlord, credit card company etc.

This is where you have to fight the urge to cave in. Take those thoughts and fears and channel them to your financial creativity.

Then the bills come, the ones you can't pay now because you invested that $300 at the beginning if the month. You're teetering on the edge, thinking that this was a bad idea.

Then the magic happens.

The culmination of a month of figuring, thinking and worrying comes together to create something new. Something you wouldn't have thought of if you had not gone through this process.
The key to unlock the door to your financial difficulties.

Now this may seem unrealistic to you, but you will find hundreds, if not thousands of stories of success that happened as a result of strong external pressure, financial or otherwise.

Yours could be on the list next.

Now do yourself a favor and generate some strong external pressure that will propel you to your next level of success. Or, if you have personally experienced it, post your own story below.

Progress always involves risks.  You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.  ~Frederick B. Wilcox

A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for.  ~John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.  ~Ray Bradbury

28Sep/107

Love Your Family, Choose Your Peers

It's a dilemma many of us face at some point in our lives: we want to grow and progress in a certain area but the people we hang out with just aren't into it, or sometimes are downright against it.
You know what I'm talking about: the new exercise routine, the healthy food diet, or the new direction you're taking in your lifestyle altogether.

You know that if you are going to make the kind of progress that you want, you're going to have to shed the things that hold you back, but your friends and family aren't something that you can just trade like baseball cards.
There's no easy solution when it comes to friends who you love but are holding you back, but you have to make some decisions.
The way I see it is as the title says: Love your family, choose your peers.
Your family are the people that God put you with, so love and respect them always--same with your friends.
But here is where you must make a distinction:

Your Peer Group

These are the people who you respect and want to be like, and who you want to spend as much time with as possible. When forming your peer group, which may take some time, strive to be the dumbest one in it. This is not to mean that you should try to be stupid, but that you surround yourself with people who are more skilled or smarter than you in some way.
Many studies have proven that whether we like it or not, we will become like the people we spend the most time with.

Choose carefully.