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Definite Chief Aim

Like Yourself First

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Like Yourself First

A meaningful life is not a popularity contest.
— Marianne Williamson

What is it that we do for each other as humans to create fulfilling relationships that in turn give us a meaningful life beyond the social media “like”?

The glue that keeps any kind of relationship together is trust. Trust happens when there is no doubt that the other person in the relationship has your back and also deeply cares for you (as you do for them as well) - flaws and all.

This includes much more than romantic relationships. It includes those special key relationships throughout our realm of family, friends and colleagues.

The best relationships are ones where we can allow our persona to be most vulnerable having a deep understanding of knowing who we are and what makes each other happy.

Social media gets a lot of bashing these days because it can be based so much on just the surface of our personalities. A like here or a brief comment there, doesn’t always allow us to truly feel connected.  Sharing just the best of our selves, and not necessarily our true selves can be exhausting and feel unauthentic.

However, social media can allow for us to do a different kind of exploration of the human condition and observe the awesomeness each one of us has to offer in our very own way. Liking someone to acknowledge your appreciation for them.

The pursuit of these digital likes can make us forget to like ourselves first. I see this happen all the time and today wanted to remind you about the awesome gift that you provide to the world - you.

It's important that you share your gifts with others, and even more important that you do it for the right reasons. Create passionate content making yourself and others smile in the process. That is a job well done.

Wishing you an abundant week of sharing ahead!
 


Challenge of the Week

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What if you reached out to one social media relationship this week and found a way to deepen the connection with a phone call or direct connection of some kind?  Who is someone you have really been wanting to get to know better?  Trust and be vulnerable…

How could you increase the trust others feel with your presence and shares?  


Video of the Week

Sometimes – it just feels good to listen to a video that makes us feel good.  This video is my latest obsession and I feel good every time I listen to it.  


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To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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Weak Spots

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Weak Spots

It’s not the load that weighs you down – it’s the way you carry it.
— Lena Horne

If you were to ask the question as to what is your greatest strength, how would you answer it?

How about your greatest weakness? You know that “weak spot in the dam” that may consistently be getting in your way and weighing you down in the process.

The reason I am asking is that it’s about this time of the new year that many goals that seemed so amazing just a few short weeks ago get left on the side of the road and abandoned. After all can’t they just want until … next year?

If you are currently getting weak in the knees about the goals that seem to be too tough to get done… what if we spend a few minutes today looking at some antidotes to make this year one that is different from perhaps previous ones? 

Now let’s say that your goal is one you have looked at for a number of years and just can’t seem to get your arms fully enough around to make happen. Let’s look at even one of the commonest goals of getting healthier and losing some weight.

This was one that I had for many years and last year in 2017 I killed it (in a good way)!  Why?  Because I created a goal that spoke loudly enough to my heart that I could get it done.  Through it I looked at my strengths as well as my “weak spots in the damn” in attaining this goal.

The goal for those of you who remember was to ride a Century Ride (100 miles) around Lake Tahoe in June of this past year.  This required right around 1,000 training miles to get it done.  No small feat to be sure.

My strengths – a love for cycling, a desire to do this in honor of my mom and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and my good friend Erica who agreed to do it with me as we formed our riding team – The Pedal Girls.  I also really wanted to drop some pounds and feel good in my body again.

My weakness – Beyond the fact I had been putting this particular goals off for 8 years, I also do not have such a great track record as an athlete.  In fact overall I have a dislike for “working out” just to work out. 

Probably my biggest nemesis of the all was cycling in the mountains (of which there were a lot of them in training and in Tahoe).  This weakness alone had been a huge block for getting the ride done.

My strengths were there to assist me and then the support team I put around me were there to assist me with my weaknesses.  I lost 30 pounds, accomplished one of the biggest physical goals of my life and learned so much about myself in the process.

Here are my 7 secret steps to achieve any goal:

1. Get absolutely clear on your goal and the steps it will take to get there.

2. Give yourself a strong passion for the goal and those steps.

3. Get extra clear on the weak spots that have stopped you before.

4. Give the challenge to the weak spots as you create a new path.

5. Get your accountability buddies ready to step in when you falter.

6. Give yourself the needed time to do the hard work and buckle down.

7. Get crystal clear on the vision of crossing the finish line.

Now we are currently looking for the Century Ride that is going to take the Pedal Girls through 2018.  If you know of any please let me know because we are currently deciding which one to do. 

So again, think about that goal and what you need to get your there. Here’s to leaning into doing what you love while pushing past those weak spots!


Video of the week

One Thing – Develop Your Strength with Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckhingham has been a favorite of mine for along time as he shares the a different perspective on our strengths.


Challenge of the week

Strengths Worksheet

This quick assessment tool takes just a few minutes to have you look at strengths you may have forgotten along your journey. Just imagine your strengths assisting you with the goals you have in the year ahead.  What have you got to lose other than 5 short minutes of your time.


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To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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Where do you stand?

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Where do you stand?

If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.
— Lao Tzu

As you continue to take the important action steps towards your goals this month for the future months ahead, it’s important to remember your lessons learned and special memories from the year(s) gone by.  Then you can begin to turn your focus onto what’s happening right now and fully understand where it will lead you into tomorrow.

A gift from the past

Most of us have pictures from our life gone by that bring us back to another space in time just by a single glance.

Recently as a gift for my grown children I gave them photo albums from their school days - preschool through high school.  This was no small feat for me to be sure that took several months this past fall. It required that I go through a multitude of boxes that were full of pictures that were not so greatly organized I am sad to say... but are now! 

My kids grew up just before the dawn of digital photography so I would develop pictures, get their school photos each year with multitudes of copies, as well as sports, dance and other extra curricular activities that all eventually ended up in these boxes. 

With raising a family, renovating our home, and growing several businesses I found myself too busy back then to organize these pictures in albums. Saving them as I did in fact turned out to be a blessing and a treasure chest of items to give to Travis and Bailey.

What was interesting is that when I spent too much time in a single day working on these albums it would put me into a funk of sorts.  It gave me an aching for my babies that would never be again, the little people who I cherished who no longer existed in that form. Basically, I found myself getting stuck in the past.

While it at times was depressing, it was worth it in the long run because of the smiles it brought to their faces when they opened the photo albums.  As I looked at them as adults enjoying the fruits of their childhood in those albums it shifted everything for me to the present and the ability to enjoy the wonderful adults they have become today.

Stay in balance

The process of it got me to thinking about the danger of living in the past as Lao Tzu speaking of in today’s quote.  In fact this past, present, future part of our thinking is such an intricate balancing act all by itself within our human psyche.  Too much of one can throw the other two out of balance.

The past can be filled with great memories and with great memories can come great sorrows for those people and places that may no longer be in our lives or great times that will never be again.  

There is also a danger if we spend too much of our energy and efforts only living in the present because we might not be paying any attention to the road ahead or enjoying the riches of our past. 

Subsequently, if we spend too much time thinking and working only towards our tomorrow’s we can stop enjoying today!

3 questions

If you are feeling out of sync and out of balance with the past, present, or future elements of your life stop and take a few minutes to journal about these three questions below.  It’s a great wake up call to begin thinking about changes you might want to contemplate.

1. How much time lately have I been dwelling in the past with regret and/or sadness knowing fully well that going back is not an option?

2. What is the coolest thing about my current life circumstances that I should spend more time enjoying? How am I allowing myself to feel in the present?

3. How can I continue to plan for the future without it causing me stress and anxiety – especially if there is a lot of work to be done to get me to where I want to go?  How can I look towards enjoying the steps that will take me there?

For those of you who want to dive deeper there is an online assessment in the tools section of this letter to get some deeper psychological feedback on where you stand. 

I would recommend doing the journaling first as it will warm you up for the many questions in the assessment.  It’s free with immediate results and no email required.

As you discover where you currently sit on this topic it can assist you to make the appropriate adjustments.

Wishing you the peace of enjoying the present moments in this year ahead by finding the clarity and purpose for your tomorrows, driven by the joys and life lessons of your past.


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Workshop of the week

Marketing Confidence Webinar
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
12pm MT (11am PT, 2pm ET)

  • Create your Five-Minute Marketing Plan that will change the way you look at marketing.
  • Zero in on your target audience, learning to appreciate why it's so critical.
  • Understand the power of a content calendar and design it to get your message out in front of the people that matter most - your customers and potential customers.
  • Gain insights, stats, and case studies from those who are fully into the game.
  • Begin to build stronger relationships from the ground up - beginning with your marketing efforts. 

Anyone who has attempted to create successful marketing tactics knows how challenging it can be. From email marketing to social media, this webinar will give you a step-by-step action plan to move forward with the confidence that builds bottom-line revenues.

Be sure to register to get the on-demand recording.


Book of the week

Judgment Detox
by Gabby Bernstein

Release the beliefs that hold you back from living a better life. This is a great book that takes you on a deep dive into how the judgment we have for others and ourselves can affect our life. In addition, how others judgments towards us have effected us along the way.  Learning to love yourself as you let go of those beliefs that don’t serve you. 


Challenge of the week

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The Zimbardo Time Perspective

A quick online assessment (takes about 15 minutes) to see where you mindset sits in a whether positively or negatively as you spend time in your past, present and future. 

Created by two acclaimed psychologists from their book The Time Paradox.


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To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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Yes I Can

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Yes I Can

For most people, the sky is the limit. For those of us who fly, the sky is home.
— Capt. Lynn Rippelmeyer

When I had decided back in early December that “I Can” would be my go to words for 2018, I of course had no idea how much these words would be needed for me to lean on immediately heading into this new year.

This is the cool thing about motivational words: they give us something to fall back on during the times when life hits us right between the eyes with the unexpected.

I want to say thank you to all the outpouring of kind and loving words that came my way from last week’s Victory Letter.

If I have not gotten a chance yet to personally respond to your reply email that headed my way know that I will in the week ahead. They were greatly appreciated and so needed as my sweet dog Izzy said her final goodbye to us last Wednesday morning, January 3rd.

Through the sadness of losing her I am thankful to share with you that she did it on her own terms and with such dignity right here at home. The love of our family and friends was all around her.

After a death in our lives finding the new “normal” is probably one of the most difficult things to do, as we must move through the grief at the same time. The world keeps on turning and we must move right along with it.

I believe this is where having work that you love along with people to support you makes all the difference. Pushing forward past the seemingly impossible obstacle of grief can happen with a little less difficulty when a life purpose is moving you forward.

There are a couple of things that we did as a family – myself, my husband and our two grown children – that helped us to begin to undertake recovering from this great loss we have been dealt.

First, a few hours after Izzy’s passing with some pretty nice Colorado weather in our favor we decided to hike Mt. Sanitas in the mountains above Boulder. We needed to get out of the house and “Sanitas” as it is known well by the locals here is a pretty tough climb and was one of Izzy’s greatest mountain conquests.  It felt good to get out in the open air and push our bodies to the limit. Today’s pic came from that hike.

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Over the course of the next couple of days we then decided to sit down and work through our goals for the year together before Bailey and Travis headed back to their homes in California. The idea was that we could support each other even more as we each face the year ahead.

It was surprising how much emotion this activity brought up for us.  Some topics were heated with anger, some were sorrowful with vulnerability, and other moments were filled with big smiles and laughter from everyone. Throughout this activity we were pulled together with the great love we have for each other.

The process was cleansing and the word that brought us together to finish the task after three days was the word empathy. Having empathy for each other as we get back to the living of our collective and individual lives.

This is the greatest gift we can give ourselves in the memory of our beloved Izzy.

Whose memory drives you forward?

One of my goals for the new year is to give you some extra tools each week to assist you in with areas that you may be a struggling.  Support is key to success and finding the right tools is always a bonus for those of us who are eternal learners! Check them out below.

Cheers to you and a memorable journey in 2018!  Yes, I Can… how about you?

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Podcast of the Week

Yes I Can
Courage to Be the Difference Podcast

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Captain Lynn Rippelmeyer for the Courage to be the Difference Podcast.  I had met Captain Rippelmeyer at a recent conference and just loved her “I Can” career story.

She became one of the first female commercial pilots in the world after being told for years in her role as an airline stewardess that women could not fly commercial airplanes.

How perfect to share her inspiring story with you this week as the reality of 2018 fully sinks in. It’s time for each of step up our game to make this year what we want it to be. No time to shrink back the world is waiting for the difference we each can make.


Transform Thursdays on Instagram

Each Thursday afternoon I share 3 ideas live on video on the Instagram platform to assist you in transforming your thinking and assist you in growing your business.  Simply follow me on Instagram and you will be notified when I go live at 4pm this Thursday. 

Haven’t started playing on Instagram yet?  Now may be the time to do it.  It’s a great place to hangout both personally and professionally! 


Challenge of the Week

Make it Happen (Goals Worksheet)

This one page worksheet is designed to put your goals into action.  The top reason for goals not being achieved is because there is not clear action steps for implementation.  Put your goals to the test right now.  Why wait?


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To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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Curves in the Road

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Curves in the Road

Before you cross the street take my hand.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
— John Lennon

2018 has arrived! Wishing you much abundance, love, and joy in this year ahead.

As we head into this brand new year remember to take those breaths you have in you a little deeper, hug those you love a little tighter, and be sure to make your plans accordingly. 

Life can make some sharp and unexpected curves in the road - even in the freshness of a new year.

We try with all our strength to straighten the unexpected twists in order to continue the journey. Sometimes, all we can do if the curve is tight enough is to find meaning in what is happening around us and navigate accordingly.

Last Thursday morning as I recovered from the joy of Christmas with my family I began my multifaceted plans for all that I want to accomplish in 2018.

Life had other plans. I found myself in the Veterinarian’s office that afternoon as my dog Izzy had started the day having difficulty breathing and not wanting to eat. She is a Yellow Labrador who cherishes every morsel of food so I knew something serious was wrong.

As I stared at the x-rays they took of her my “planning for 2018” crumbled. My Veterinarian shared the devastating news that sweet Isabella had one week left on the planet. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer that was working its way into her lungs. Cancer was once again rearing its ugly head in my life.

Nothing else really seemed to matter in that moment in time. Nothing. My sweet Izzy needed me to be there for her.

Then I had to share the devastating news with my family – those other people in her life who love her deeply as well. It was equally crushing to my heart to have to crush their hearts with the news. 

Izzy has been my rock over the last 8 years since she came into my life. She has been in countless Victory Letters as she has guided me through so many life changes, arriving as a puppy just a month after my mother’s death in 2009.

Now I am dealing with the reality that my life may have to go on without Izzy.

As the days continue on since her diagnosis, the question of course I have been asking myself is how do I keep up with planning and being optimistic about the year ahead with the possibility of my dear companion no longer at my side?

My grown children Bailey and Travis were instantly on a plane to be with her. It’s interesting what love can do to shine a light on everyone’s spirits. Being together to rally through this has been an amazing gift to give each other.

As I write this to you she is laying here at my feet as if everything is normal. A positive outcome from this is that we have upgraded her diet from kibbles to steak and eggs :)

We are looking into alternative medicine along with standard western medicine. If you have any recommendations I would love to hear your thoughts. Simply reply to this email.

The future is uncertain for each of us and it is times likes this I am reminded once again that each breath of life we are given needs to be appreciated every single day.

As I finally start to embark on my “planning for 2018” what I want to talk about a lot in the next 364 days is the critical importance of a positive mindset to get us through the roughest roads.

Here’s to my sweet Izzy who continues with her battle. Every day of her life is another blessing.

Onward we go into this year of 2018!


To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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Step by Step

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Step by Step

Everything big starts small.
— Peter Thiel

No matter what daily obstacles flare up, each one of us has the power to make positive changes happen in our lives and in the lives of other human beings we serve in the process.

In a time when everyone has found the easiest route towards complaining and feeling powerless, it is the power you possess inside of you which can set you free.  

Remember way back… 30 days ago to be exact… when we welcomed in a brand new year?  Along with it we had our hopes, dreams, and goals to get us there. Those beautiful ambitions that made the year ahead seem a whole lot more inspiring!

Well here is the deal: goals take a whole lot more to achieve than just thinking about them.  They take focused work and attention to the details as we have been talking about all month.

The reason 92% of the people never complete a new goal is because they don’t know how to take action step-by-step, inch-by-inch. 

If you are having trouble creating goals in the first place, here is a link to our free Goal Planning Worksheet.

Once you have the rubber meeting the road, it’s time to take those goals and start building them into small pieces that you can actually drive towards. Use the Race to Victory Productivity Worksheet to keep the momentum going.

If this year is the one where you want to make a difference no matter what else is going on in this crazy world of ours then keep asking yourself – “if not now, when?”

To take it one step further, world famous photographer Chase Jarvis had a great little video I stumbled upon this week in which he asked, “What if every time you found the words I don’t have the time coming out of your mouth in response to doing something you responded to yourself loud and clear this is not a priority for me right now.”

When we find the time for what matters most to us, then what matters most to us happens. Look at your calendar… when are you actually making your new years goals a priority in your daily life?  

You also to believe so strongly in your idea that you can look past the naysayers (including your own inner critic) to go ahead against adversity and make this the year you make a difference in a whole new way!

If you are having trouble completing these exercises by yourself I am more than happy to help you with some custom strategy and support.   Simply send me an email with your current pain points and we can talk about how to take the next steps forward. 
 

To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles
Email me: cheri@businessvictories.com 
 

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Energy Remedy

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Energy Remedy

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
— Barack Obama

Stop – Look – Listen

Life gets busy.  There is always so much to do when you are fully in the game. 

Energy by definition is the “ability to do things, vigor, forceful effort, power supply or source, capacity to do work.”  

As I sit to write todays letter to you, these three words are the message I am clearly hearing – and how they affect the energy we walk into each day possessing. 
 

An Easy Solution

Late last week I came home from teaching a workshop, sent out a few emails, and looked at all I had to do that was on my desk, in my calendar and on my mind.  Then I did something I haven’t done in quite some time. 

I went into our new sunroom, laid down on the couch that was full of sunshine coming in through the windows and… took a nap.  Not a quick power nap, but a long, juicy, deep and fulfilling hour and a half nap.  If felt great!

By stopping myself literally in my tracks, I was able to clear my mind from all that was spinning in it and calm myself at my core.  It makes me smile now thinking of how something so simple as a nap can make such a huge difference in terms of energy and workflow.

This is a gift we can easily give ourselves when we take the time to listen to our own inner wisdom.  Turns out the to do’s could wait because the biggest to do was to re-energize!
 

Energy Suckers

What is currently zapping your energy?  What can you do to remedy this?  

Energy comes in all shapes and forms.  Our resistance can be holding us back more than the lack of time we usually blame it on.

Perhaps it’s resistance to daily movement and exercise.  Perhaps it’s resistance to not hanging out with people who you know continue to create negative energy.  

There are many types of energy suckers and when we can realize what’s causing them we can find our own best remedies by not letting them come into our lives.   

There are some people we cannot avoid in our lives both personally and professionally such as a close relative or co-worker.  

However, we can change how we allow their negative energy to affect us.  Sometimes it can be by taking a brisk walk after encountering them or talking to someone else who you know will uplift your mood.  Maybe it’s even playing your favorite playlist! 
 

The Path to Positive

The key is to understand your own best energy sources and utilize them as much as possible. This could be finding time to rest during the day or getting out and exercising - depending on what your body is telling you it needs.  

Focusing on what matters most to you, your business, and your physical body that allows it all to happen is really what will assist you the most in attaining the goals you set for yourself. 

Have a great week ahead doing what serves your personal energy the most!


To Your Successes and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus 
Author, Business Growth Coach, 
and Founder of the Victory Circles   
www.VictoryCircles.com

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Measured Practice

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Measured Practice

What would you say has been your greatest masterpiece to date?

As we craft our year ahead and take the needed look how we want it unfold, it is important to plan out the race before you and insure your masterpiece takes on a new flow in the year ahead.  

There will be shifts in the planned road for sure – and that is when the good stuff begins.  

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Obstacle to Opportunity

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Obstacle to Opportunity

As we move into the second week of the year there has more than likely been an obstacle or two that has already in some shape or form found its way towards blocking some of your path.

It could be something such as acts of nature like the huge dumping of snow we had here in Colorado last week to elements within your business that have stopped you completely in your tracks.

You know, those things that have made you to rethink where you are headed and why?

We are getting dangerously close to the 15th of January. That is the day when 92% of the people abandon their goals primarily because of the obstacles (big and small) that get in the way.

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The Eight Percent

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The Eight Percent

The calendar has reset itself and along with it our hopes and aspirations for the year ahead.

On this 2nd day of the year I think it’s important to note the significance of January 15th. That’s the date that most people abandon their goals and resolutions for the New Year.  For a variety of reasons we only make it 15 days out of 365.

My question for you in the first week of this bright and shiny New Year: Are you going to allow yourself to be included in that 92% of the people who don’t fully embrace the work required behind achieving goals? Or are you going to be part of the 8% that fully achieves their goals?

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