How My Health Transformation Started

Change Begins In a Moment

The moment my change began was a few days after my 45th birthday. I found myself in my doctor’s office (the picture below) for an annual wellness visit and all was NOT WELL. I was busting the scale at mochris rainey 45 years old before picturere than 270 pounds. My 47″ waist was as round as my 8-year-old was tall. My blood pressure and cholesterol was out of control. I was never diagnosed with sleep apnea but when you wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air you don’t need a doctor to tell you something is wrong. My mind was in a continual fog. I wasn’t able to concentrate and focus which impacted everything from my personal to professional life. The list was long.

What Was I Thinking?

That wellness visit only confirmed what I saw in the mirror every single day – the guy I was looking at needed to make some significant changes quickly . But the biggest thing I struggled with wasn’t what I could see in the mirror. My biggest obstacle was found between my ears – my thinking. Food has always been my “go to” for comfort and quick relief in times of stress and challenges.chris rainey before

Life hasn’t been short on challenges and stressful situations to find lots of “comfort” in food. Late night snacks, early morning snacks, mid-morning snacks, afternoon snacks, fast food and junk food binges were the norm for me. Many mornings I swung by the convenience store to grab a slice of “breakfast pizza” and a large diet soda – yeah, I said diet, because you don’t want to add unnecessary carbs and calories, HAHAHA! And then, on the drive home, after a hard day at work, I would stop by the store again to grab a soft pretzel (my kryptonite), something sweet and of course a diet soda, HA! If you work hard you deserve to “treat” yourself – right?!

Decide to Fight!

The “moments of change” continued to take place. I began making the right decisions and saying NO when I wanted to grab fast food to “comfort” myself. I made continual decisions to fight to change my mindset and I do mean FIGHT! I knew if I didn’t change how I thought about food, exercise and overall health the future was not bright.

I was not willing to let the middle of my life become the end of my life because of bad decisions and stupid habits.

Challenges & Transformation

I started making changes with my diet and began to exercise. Over the next two years I lost over 50 pounds and almost 10% of my body fat.

70 Pounds Lighter - January 2016During year one I started to make small changes in my health. I participated in a weight loss challenge and placed in the top 20 of almost 1000 participants. This challenge was a catalyst for me and as the year continued I made several small changes that added up.

Year two was pivotal. I got serious about my eating habits and embraced more of a paleo, ketogenic, low-carb lifestyle. I got serious about exercising, hitting the gym 5-7 days per week and working out for 1-2 hours each time. Half-way through the year there was a psychological shift and I started to crave working out. I could literally feel a change taking place in my brain; the fog and unclear thinking started to disappear.

Even in the midst of a handful of sports injuries throughout the year, I didn’t stop. At times I had to take some days or weeks off to let my body heal. But, as soon as my body was feeling good enough to resume workouts I was back in the gym.

Now I’m in year three of this three year transformation.  To kick off this year right I joined four different health challenges; The 2016 Golds Gym Challenge, Bodybuilding.com 250K Challenge , a challenge with co-workers and then a year long challenge sponsored by 1st Phorm called My Transphormation Starts Today.

I’m more motivated than ever to continue to transform my life. I’m not settling with where I have been. I know I’ve got more and I am determined to grind and do whatever it takes to live my life with NO REGRETS! I don’t want to stop with changing my life but I want to inspire and challenge others that transformation is within their grasp as well.

2016 is the year of MY TRANSFORMATION!

The One Who Struggles Hasn’t Quit

If you are struggling it means you haven’t quit – you are still fighting – you are refusing to give up until the change you want to see happens. Struggle means that you are alive, have something to live for and it means you can still win! But if you are going to stay in the fight and continue until you overcome you are going to need fuel for the fight.

the one who struggles hasn't quit

Three Keys to Winning The Struggle

Know Your Why

When you identify your “why” you will have more fuel to fight. What is your purpose? What are you passionate about? What are you skills and expertise? Where do you add the most value to those around you? If you can answer these questions you are going to be on step closer to winning the struggle you are facing.

Vision For Victory

The Bible says that without a vision people perish. One of the greatest all-time business leaders, Jack Welch said, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.” Welch’s advice applies to us all.

You must have a clear vision that you can easily explain. Without knowing what and where your target is you will never hit it. Then you have to passionately own and commit yourself to that vision. You have to be all in, to the end.

Surround Yourself With the Right People

When you are in the heat of battle you need others who are willing to stand by your side. You need people speaking words that propel your forward. The right people are those who are willing to tell you like it is, to speak the truth and hold you accountable. You need to surround yourself with others who want to see you win and help you get there.

Don’t Give Up!

You have it within yourself to win. The struggle may be intense and seem like a mountain that is impossible to climb. But when you know your why, have a clear vision and are keeping the right company you will win the fight.

Success Isn’t Convenient: Career Edition

Success Isn't Convenient: Career Edition

This line came to me last week as I was sweating my butt off in the gym which definitely seems like an appropriate place to think something like that. But it’s a truth that applies to every area of our lives. If you want to be successful in anything the path won’t be convenient.

There is no such thing as an overnight success. There is no guarantee that your college degree will land you a job, let alone your dream job making a load of money. The road to a successful career is filled with inconvenience. Whether you are an entrepreneur, executive leader, manager or working in a cube your journey to success won’t be convenient.

You may have to make a geographic move to take a position with another company to advance your career. My career has consisted of several moves that have included four states and five cities. Each time I moved it was inconvenient; it was inconvenient for me and my family. You may have to make the hard choice to leave behind friends and family.  Sometimes, many times, when you grow in your career there are times of loneliness.

Nothing is easy. Nothing ever comes as quickly as you want it too. If you are going to accomplish anything worthwhile you are going to face challenges and you will have to fight.

As you move to a new level in your career you will encounter things you don’t know how to do. You will experience things that will cause you to be anxious and sometimes fearful. You will find yourself in situations, personally and professionally that are inconvenient and uncomfortable.

It’s during the inconvenient moments that the familiar things of your past will tap you on the shoulder and tempt you to return to where you came from. When things become inconvenient you have two choices – embrace the challenge and grow OR back down from the challenge and return to your previous level of success. To move forward you have to overcome the fear of letting go of the past.

Don’t let inconvenience rob you of the next level of your career.

Say NO! to giving up – keep grinding so that tomorrow you won’t have any regrets.

 

 

My 3 Words For 2016

IMG_2576Last year I tried the 3 word experiment inspired by the amazing Chris Brogan. If you aren’t familiar with this alternative approach to New Years resolutions check out this post from Brogan where he explains it. In addition to choosing 3 words I took on the challenge of writing 10 ideas each day inspired by the incredible James Altucher.

In 2016 I’m again writing 10 ideas everyday. I’ll also be focusing on becoming 1% better each day. 1% better each day with my health, gaining knowledge, more effective at my job, relationships, awakening dormant dreams and more. Again, this idea came from James Altucher – you can read more about it here.

3 Words

My three words are Grind, Regret and NO! These three words will help guide my 10 ideas each day and provide me with the fuel to become 1% better each day.

GRIND

Grind is more than action to me – it’s a core value. There is no such thing as an overnight success. There is no such thing as something for nothing. What there is such thing as is people who GRIND are people who succeed. When you put in the work you get results. No pain, no gain is real. When you grind you see and experience results.

REGRET

Regret is a powerful two edged sword. You can let regret overcome you and cause you to be depressed or you can let it fuel you to become better. Last year I posted an article on LinkedIn about the topic of regret – you can check out it here. This year I’m embracing the word as a positive. I’m looking to the future and asking myself the question, “If I don’t _(fill in the blank)_ what will I regret?” If I don’t continue to improve my health, what will I regret? If I don’t continue to grow in my professional skills, what will I regret? If I don’t GRIND what will I REGRET?

NO!

NO! with an exclamation mark – you read it correctly. I’m committing to saying no to more and more things. If it’s not helping become 1% better in any area of my life than I’m saying NO! to it. And trust me, this is a challenge. I’m a guy who loves “shiny objects” and “squirrels”. Before FOMO (fear of missing out) became popular I was/am addicted. So, to try and help me overcome my addiction to FOMO and stay focused on things that will bring real value to my present and future I’m going to say NO! more.

If I say NO! to unimportant things I can GRIND at the important things and have NO REGRETS!

Get Serious About Being Curious

The old saying goes ‘curiosity killed the cat’.

It seems the older we get the less curious we become. Maybe it’s because the very nature of being curious means there is risk involved. And as we get older and take on more responsibilities the less we risk.

As much as I would love to hop on a BMX bike or grab a skateboard and join my boys at the skate park this Saturday, for me, the risk outweighs the reward. Why? Because I need to show up Monday morning with my body fully intact :)

You don’t need to be a Red-Bull-drinking-extreme-sports-athlete to live life to its fullest. But, if you are going to truly experience life — you need to be CURIOUS!

7 ways to become more curious today

  1. Try something new. It sounds obvious but try something new and it doesn’t need to be anything huge. Listen to a style of music you wouldn’t necessarily listen too, Spotify has plenty to choose from. Try a new toothpaste flavor. Do jumping jacks in the middle of the afternoon. Eat some bugs instead of chips. Take a different route to work — the road less traveled is sometimes the best road.
  2. Embrace change. I’m sure you’ve heard the statement, ‘the only thing that is constant is CHANGE’. As a curious person you can’t fear change.
  3. Challenge yourself and step totally out of your comfort zone. As a curious person you have to get comfortable with doing things afraid. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. As the famous Thomas Edison quote puts it, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Or, as Mr. Edison also said, “I failed my way to success.”
  4. Vanilla and chocolate aren’t the only flavors — open the door wide and welcome variety into your life.
  5. Become a lifelong learner, develop new skills, read and explore more.
  6. Ask questions like who, what, when, where, why and how.
  7. Write ideas. Take James Altucher’s advice and write 10 ideas every day.

Curious people solve problems.

Curious people are interesting.

Curious people are introverts and extroverts.

Curious people discover and invent things.

Curious people come in all shapes, sizes and ages.

Cultivate curiosity and become a better spouse, parent, employee and person.

STAY CURIOUS my friend!

 

Fear This

This post was inspired by Andy Frisella. Andy is the CEO and founder of Supplement Superstores (and other companies) which has its world headquarters here in my amazing city of St. Louis, Missouri.
As I was I sweating my butFive Things You Should Feart off on the elliptical machine at Golds Gym this past Friday morning I was listening to Andy’s podcast on the things we should and need to fear. Within 15 minutes he plowed through five fears that have always been top of my mind for me when it comes to my life.  Over the past 48 hours I haven’t been able to get these five things off my mind. I catch glimpses of Jerry Maguire writing his mission statement in his hotel room.
There’s no silver bullet here, but there’s definitely a cannon ball that will rock your world if you let it. Let down your guard and allow these five things to sink in. Fear these things and you will live the life you were created to live. Ignore these things and you will settle for much less.

Fear Mediocrity 

Dictionary.com defines mediocre or mediocrity as; only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate: not satisfactory; poor; inferior. Is there any part of your being that wants to be mediocre? Do you want to be a mediocre husband or wife, father or mother, business owner or employee? Absolutely NOT!!
If living an ordinary or moderate quality of life is what you are about you need to spend time reflecting on your life. You were definitely not created to just get by and trudge along until you are six feet under. You were created and purposed for much more than that.

Fear Insignificance

No matter who or what you do, the bottom line is..you are significant. Deep inside each of us is a longing to make a difference, to contribute to our world. Most people want their lives to count for something. A father wants to know that he loved, provided, cared, protected and built a legacy for his children. A mother wants to know that she nurtured, loved, taught and inspired the sons and daughters she was entrusted with. An owner, manager, supervisor and employee wants to know they have given their best to their organization.
When you fear insignificance you are saying you will do whatever it takes to be significant. You will do what it takes to make a positive impact on everyone and everything around you. When you fear being insignificant you will rise early and stay up late doing whatever it takes to live a passionate life of purpose.

Fear Living a Life That Doesn’t Offend Anyone

 
It’s been said that if you aren’t offending someone that you probably aren’t doing or saying anything important. I don’t subscribe to that totally but I do believe that if we aren’t speaking truthfully with our friends, family, bosses, peers and those who report to us that we aren’t doing the best we can.
I do subscribe to the practice of telling someone that they have booger on their nose if they have one there. If you care about someone, your business or organization you are going to speak up when you see something that should or shouldn’t be there – boogers shouldn’t be there.

Fear Regret

 
If there is something that I struggle with on a continual basis its this thing of regret. It is absolutely a two-edged sword. From one side it’s living from the perspective of “if only” and from the other side its living from the perspective of being able to let things go.
Regret is a curious thing. It’s something that gets into your soul. Its something that magnifies the things we have or haven’t done or accomplished. And if we are living from the place that we fear it, that we fear regret, then it can be fuel to live a life that isn’t defined by regret.

Fear of Dying Alone

 
I want a lot of people at my funeral. I do. I don’t just want my wife, kids, grandkids and family members at my funeral, I want the people who feel I have deposited something into their life at my funeral. Seriously, I don’t want people showing up to look at my dead body just because they feel it’s the right thing to do. I want people showing up, looking at my lifeless self and thinking to themselves, “this guy inspired, encouraged, provoked and deposited something into me that changed me.”

Fear Not Fearing What You Should Fear

 
These aren’t the only things we should fear. I’m sure that as you read this post you started to create your own list of things you should fear. Let fear fuel you to live a life you and others will never forget.

How Do I Help You Grow Your Career?

"You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want - Zig Ziglar

Photo found at http://www.ziglar.com/quotes/you-can-have-everything-life-you-want

When our first priority is helping others amazing things can happen. As you focus on serving others, your organization and your customers good will come your way.

One of my favorite life quotes comes from the great Zig Ziglar who said,  “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Since landing my first job at 13 years old delivering newspapers (remember those) for the Detroit Free Press to filling Vice President and President roles at different organizations I have been learning priceless career lessons. From education, resume writing, interviewing, management and everything in between I’ve been a part of it all.

So, how can I help you grow your career? Here’s where to start.

Start with your mindset

If you are always trying to figure out the next move to climb up the corporate ladder or positioning yourself for the next promotion chances are you will miss out on establishing a strong foundation. Approach everything you do with the mindset of serving, adding value and putting others first.

Always be networking

Networking doesn’t always mean cocktails at a mid-week meet up (although that’s not a bad idea). Connecting with co-workers in your department and outside of your department is critical to your success. Don’t underestimate the power of inviting someone to lunch or out for a cup of coffee.

Coaching – receive AND give it

No one ever arrives. It doesn’t matter how much education we have accumulated or how many awards we have won we can all benefit from having a coach or mentor in our life. Nothing beats having someone you can connect with for feedback and counsel. But if you can’t meet with someone in person there blogs, podcasts, books and an Internet full of  “virtual coaches and mentors”.

Truthful and transparent communication

Careers live and die on communication. Where truthful and transparent communication are a priority relationships thrive and your career is strengthened. It doesn’t matter if you are an extrovert or introvert you can be a great communicator.

 

 

3 Things to Include in Any Pitch — And 3 Things to Leave Out

In every area of life we are pitching something. We may put a different label on the “pitch” depending on the setting but a pitch is a pitch. Whether you are “encouraging” your two year old to finish her mashed up banana or “directing” your teenager to clean up his room.

It may be a “conversation” with your boss, a peer or a direct report. When you need to do get things done you are pitching your ideas because you feel they are the best way to accomplish a task or achieve a specific result.

DO:

1. Be specific

2. Mind the details

3. Share what you have learned throughout your career

 

Check out the full article that I have provided a link to down below.

In any given pitch scenario, there are things you can do to aid in your quest for the elusive partnership, as well as things you can do that will get in the way of success.

Source: 3 Things to Include in Any Pitch — And 3 Things to Leave Out

Unless Your Last Name Is Zuckerberg…

A few weeks ago news outlets and blogs were up-in-arms over an experiment Facebook performed without telling everyone they were doing it. The Telegraph reported, “Facebook altered the tone of the users’ news feed to highlight either positive or negative posts from their friends, which were seen on their news feed. They then monitored the users’ response, to see whether their friends’ attitude had an impact on their own.” If you are a Facebook user you agreed, when you signed up to use this free service, to terms that give permission to Facebook to do things like this.

I’m always amazed at how many people scream and seem so surprised, offended and violated by something like this. The bottom line is that unless your name is Mark Zuckerberg then you have very little privacy when using his free service. And I do think the key word is free. I don’t own Facebook, I don’t even rent Facebook – they let me use their service, software, platform, servers and technology at no charge.

If you don’t like Facebook (or Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+) knowing your business then don’t use the service. If you don’t want friends, family, co-workers and the rest of the world knowing your business either learn to use the privacy settings social media services provide or don’t use social media.

I have been involved with providing interviews to the media over the years. There is one thing that I learned early on and that is that NOTHING IS EVER off-the-record. You can apply that same philosophy to your online activity – very rarely is your online activity every totally private.

Unless you are paying for a service or have established a business relationship with an online organization you really can’t get too upset with how they handle your information.

If you don’t want social media services to experiment on you and your information here’s what you can do.

  1. Don’t use social media
  2. Become Amish

So what do you think?

And in the immortal words of Daryl Hall and John Oates, “Private Eyes – they’re watching you…”

 

 

 

Is Your Mobile Email Marketing Campaign Doomed To Fail?

This post comes compliments of my friends at Digital Third Coast Internet Marketing – enjoy!

Mobile email marketing is growing in tandem with overall use of smart phones and tablets for accessing the web and as a result you need to develop a mobile email strategy that integrates completely with your entire online sales and content funnel.

According to statistics compiled by email management company Reachmail, more than 40% of all emails are opened via mobile device and among some demographics (such as those in their 20’s and 30’s) the number goes even higher. The obvious takeaway from this is that you need to use mobile email marketing and make sure you handle it in a way that succeeds with maximum conversions and sales boosts.

Luckily, there’s this extremely informative infographic from Reachmail to guide you through the fundamental mistakes many mobile email campaigns make and how to avoid them. Let’s summarize their 7 key points:

1. Don’t Procrastinate on Total Mobile Integration

You might have optimized your website for mobile viewing but left your emails readable only on desktop devices or vice versa. This is a big mistake. An effective mobile email campaign is only as good as its weakest link and getting the most of it requires that every segment of your email marketing channel be optimized for mobile device use.

Understand that 7 out of 10 mobile users in the U.S use their phones for sending and opening emails and 4 out of 5 viewers will quickly stop browsing a website that isn’t smart phone friendly. Thus, you need to make sure that not only your email messages are mobile optimized but also all of the content they lead to. You get only one chance to impress, because 97% of readers will bother reopening from their desktop an email that they first tried to access via their smart phone.

2. Don’t Forget to Scale your Emails Correctly

Remember that the average screen width of most mobile devices ranges between 250 to 480 pixels and that 7 out of 10 Americans also happen to use corrective lenses for reading. This means that they won’t like your content if it’s designed for 900 to 1000+ pixel screen sizes!

Make sure that your email and content layout as well as text are optimized for easy reading on screens between at least 360 and 480 pixels. Failing to do so could make yours one of those emails that some 70% of readers immediately delete when they can’t read its content.

3. Don’t Plan your Email Send-outs

A mass mailing that you send out to your mobile users at 2 am on a weekend night won’t get seen any time soon after and later it will be completely buried under a bunch of other spam and personal messages. This means dropping conversions and clicks.

Avoid this problem by carefully planning your mailing campaigns so that they get sent out at the ideal mobile mail browsing times. These are between 10 am and 1 pm and then between 4 and 6 pm. Having your message seen within one hour of when you sent it will make it much more likely to get read.

4. Don’t forget about Demographic Segmentation

Many successful email marketers consider this to be one of the most crucial components to successful mobile email marketing. What we’re talking about is list segmentation by audience type and demographic.

Get to know your different types of viewers and adjust your email content according to each group’s habits.

5. Don’t Optimize for Just one Platform

46% of mobile users access their email from their iPhone, but that also means that 54% more do the same from Android devices, tablets and Windows phones! Keeping your conversion rates high absolutely depends on making your mailings readable on all of these different device types.

When you’re setting up your mobile email and content material, make sure that you test it on several different platform types and stick to best practices such as:

  • Keeping your content short and simple
  • Double checking everything for readability
  • Sticking to text and simple layout as much as possible
  • Staying away from clutter such as Flash, Java and memory heavy interactivity

6. Don’t Keep your Call-to-action Hidden

Your email messages and content based call-to-action is the single most important part of your entire email marketing campaign and making viewers play hide n’ seek to find it will only lead to dropping sales and decreasing conversions. Bear in mind that 61% of readers will navigate away from a mobile site that doesn’t get to the point quickly.

Instead, proudly display your call-to-action and display it after a minimal amount of scrolling or reader clicking.

7. Don’t Make Purchasing into a Maze

Just as is the case with your call-to-action, your purchasing process needs to be as obvious and easy to navigate as possible, and especially when it comes to mobile user screens.

Burying your buying mechanism in too much content, too many clicks and too much navigation will only lose you conversions and sales.

Instead, design a purchasing interface that’s extremely easy to use on a smart phone and link your email content directly to your product buying pages.

Doing this and all of the above is crucial not only to creating a successful mobile email campaign but also to creating an excellent customer experience overall.

Reachmail Infographic