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Business Everything Life

Following Your Dreams: Recognizing the Defining Moment

I don’t post here every day because I don’t always feel I have something worth saying. I’d much rather gain your trust over time, so you realize once I do post something on this website it will be worth your time to read.

I constantly take mental notes of what I’ve come to understand since my last entry, where I’ve improved and where I’ve declined. Yesterday I lived a life completely different from the life I lead today. The difference is, I’m learning faster.

The natural progression of life consists of a series of thoughts and dreams, accumulated over time and actualized by the self. Once you can envision your aspirations becoming reality, the only thing stopping you is you.

Your mind is your greatest asset. If you don’t truly believe in yourself and your convictions, the universe will wait for you to believe before actuating them. Life is a game of challenges that never ends. When you die, you’ll have 50 things you still needed to do, should have done, or wanted to do. You simply can’t do everything. Your decisions are yours alone and life won’t wait for you to weigh all the options.

I’ve began to realize many things about success and business, I had no choice but to share them with you.

The key to success is to be happy. The key to life is to Love.

If you love who you are, it shows. When you love what you do, you’ll work tirelessly to perfect your craft. When your work is a labor of love, you’ll feel as if you never worked a day in your life.

The greatest way to experience Love is to share it.

I am fulfilled by helping somebody follow their dreams. Helping them succeed. To do for them what others have done for me.  To reach out at every opportunity to leave the world a better place than it was when I got here.

When our final day in this flesh vehicle comes to be, the universe will open our minds to all its secrets.

“Don’t waste your time living somebody else’s life.” – Steve Jobs

When you follow your dreams, there will be a defining moment you’ll never forget.

You may not have experienced it yet, but if you have you’ll know exactly where I’m coming from.

There will be a moment you look back on everything you have ever done. You’ll remember every time you worked late, every success and every failure, every second you poured into building your dream as you had always envisioned it. You’ll look around you and you’ll look at yourself. You’ll look at what your life has become and what path you willingly decided to take.

And then, you’ll cry.

In these tears of doubt lie the true seeds of success. Because at that moment you’ll be faced with a make or break decision that will alter the trajectory of your life and lay the foundation for your true existence.

It was somewhere around 5am in 2010. I had been up all night working on a website, trying desperately as I have for as long as I could remember, to build my business into what I had always dreamed of.

All of the sudden, I stopped. I looked around. I looked in the mirror. I looked at my unorganized desk and my messy bedroom. I looked at the deflated air mattress I’d been sleeping on for 4 months. I thought of my nearly empty bank account. I looked out the window at the beautiful palm trees swaying in the wind and back at myself in my tiny, dusty bedroom.

I said out loud, “what the f__ are you doing?”. You’ve wasted the last 10 years of your life working for something you’ll never achieve. You’ve wasted your time, your body, your talent, your potential, your mind, your money, for this. And what do you have to show for it?

Then I cried.

I pounded my fists on my desk, put my head in my hands and cried. I thought about my brother, how much I missed the time we spent together and how I wished I could ask him what to do. I felt alone. I thought about giving up.

I won’t tell you that I heard him, I won’t tell you that I spoke to him, I won’t tell you that I know exactly what happened, but after all of my self-doubt boiled over into a self-loathing soup I had never before tasted, my mind went blank and I could only hear one thing.

“Do it.”

It wasn’t until many moons later that I realized this may have been the most important moment of my career. For at that moment, I had reached the bottom.

I awoke later that day with the saltiness of tears still on my face but an entirely new vision of what needed to be done. I wasn’t going to give up this easily. I wasn’t going to give up if it was the last thing I do. I’d come too far, for too long, I’d put in every ounce of my heart into this and I wasn’t going to just give up without dying for it.

For it is at your weakest moment, your greatest moment of self-doubt, when you feel you have completely failed and there is no hope left; at that very moment the decision you make will be the most important. The decision to pursue your personal legend no matter time nor money nor effort required will be the defining moment of who you really are. And it is then and only then will you realize if you can wipe away the tears, get back up and work harder.

Only you can make yourself, and this is when you’ll realize if you have what it takes.

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Everything Life

The Breeze Carries Him

In this life I’ve been rewarded with the greatest of gifts and the lowest of disappointments. In life, relationships, business, finances and education. I’ve ridden the rollercoaster of existence from wavelength to wavelength.

There have been times I’ve been so high on life I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear as I coasted alone through winding Connecticut roads or along the crystal clear ocean of Fort Lauderdale beach. I’ve screamed in excitement to myself alone in my car after some great business deals and also cried alone in that same car while gazing at the clouds asking the universe why this had to happen.

I’ve been up and down, but overall I’ve lived a very rewarding, gifted and amazing life. I feel blessed every day for my loving family, my closest friends, the outrageously sticky situations I’ve escaped and the beautiful ones I’ve found myself in. As time progresses I find myself learning faster than ever, understanding this world with greater clarity with each passing day. Time moves slower but life moves quicker as the evolution of my mind seems to even surpass my capabilities at times. As I ran down the beach barefooted just moments ago I couldn’t help but to remind myself how lucky I’ve been. How much gift and opportunity the world has presented me.

And even in the darkest hours I’ve found peace and understanding through my greatest challenges and disappointments. Each and every day I think about my brother; what he would say, how he would approach a situation and how he could explain me into happiness by simply pointing out how over-complicated my thinking was. He was a genius, and to him I feel forever indebted. At times when we were young he seemed to be my greatest enemy, but as soon as something jeopardized my safety or happiness he would swoop in and save the day.

His mind ran wild and free and his viewpoints on existence will stick to my soul for eternity. I refuse to believe he is gone but instead he has occupied my mind and guided me through the past few years with smooth and unnoticed valor.

As my eyes become clouded with tears its harder and harder to see the screen. I wish I could tell him how much he means to me but somehow I know he’s reading this as I write it. He’s guiding the quiet taps of my fingertips as the cool ocean breeze sends freshness through my veins.

This is a complex life but simple indeed. We complicate things on our own, he was always there to show me how basic things were. “Look around” he would say, “don’t listen to what everyone tells you. If it were that easy to see then everyone would get it.”

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Everything Life

I Can’t Hide From This One

Miami, Florida

Throughout my life and in all the blog posts I’ve ever written I’ve always been very heavy on the importance of introspective thought, analyzing myself and learning lessons from the knowledge I have within. I’ve found comfort in solidarity with my thoughts because I figured at the end of the day the only one who had to deal with my decisions was me.

Unfortunately, throughout this journey I feel I’ve slightly neglected the importance of peer review and the honest opinions of those that I love.  Criticism is tough to hear, but totally necessary to personal growth and self-improvement.  I’ve always been defensive about what people say to me, which I’m sure is no shock to anybody who really knows who I am. I constantly take a position of defense under the notion that I’m being attacked.  I’ve dismissed the opinions of others in certain situations by convincing myself it didn’t matter what somebody had to say about me so long as I was happy with my own decisions.

Though I agree that living your life to please others is severely wrong, I’ve failed to properly acknowledge the undeniable importance of criticism, peer analysis and honesty.  I’ve failed to realize that it wasn’t easy for my friends and family to tell me the honest truth, knowing I would react this way.  I feel that in certain situations I’ve made others less likely to tell me what they really think because they fear I’ll immediately take on the defensive.

It’s tough for me to write about this, especially since I’m basically proclaiming my own miscalculation and error in judgment. However, this is a liberating process. It would be one thing if I realized this but did nothing about it. It’s a whole other experience to broadcast my imperfections to anybody that can spell my name and has heard of Google. (This website has been the #1 result for a “Brett Napoli” Google Search for the past 8 years)

I’ve always been very open with my thoughts and feelings and felt that I’ve never had anything to hide. I’ve known there will always be haters, there will always be people talking shit and there will always be people making fun of one another.  For this reason, I put myself out there and expect to be ridiculed.  I understand that its much easier to insult somebody that opens up and presents the opportunity to be analyzed in a public forum.  Yet, I would rather be open, free and happy than try to hide from every insult.  I would rather plaster my true opinions up for the world to see so I can convince myself this is something I can not hide from.

Just like you, I’m not perfect and I don’t pretend to be.  When people read this, they could believe that I had this motive or that. They could laugh at how foolish I am to write about my faults. Others will quietly acknowledge my honesty and realize how difficult it is for somebody to be so open with their own shortcomings.

For this reason, I make this 3am post not out of haste, but as a recognition that what I truly feel needs to be documented. When I wake up tomorrow, I won’t read this and wish I never wrote it. I won’t quietly delete it from my website and hope nobody had a chance to see it. I will be honest with myself, acknowledge where I’ve been wrong and use this moment of clarity as an indication of growth. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life and I encourage all of you to feel the same way.

To those that have been honest with me, shared their love and experiences with me I am forever indebted. Love is omnipotent. Friendship lasts a lifetime. Family is forever. To those I’ve shared the journey with, I love you. To those I’m yet to find, I’m excited to meet you. I’m not too sure what is next, all I really know is it will work out for the best.

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Everything Life

A Decision to Grow

Time moves quicker as we age, our decisions have more of an impact.  We don’t just determine the events of the day or week, each decision affects us for months, seasons, years. As our social web grows the time with each person shrinks. Time is of the essence, eventually the universe encourages us to pursue our destiny.

Wise choices are seldom easy, our greatest triumphs will be a result of our most difficult decisions. Embrace challenges — the tougher a situation, the stronger and more equipped you’ll be once you overcome it.

Plan for growth and constantly seek new perspectives, increased awareness, improved health and bliss.

The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.
Lao Tzu

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Everything Life

A Guide to Life As I Know It, 24 Revolutions Around the Sun

I’m floating above the clouds.  Above Earth’s cotton blanket effortlessly scooting through the sky like it’s no big deal.  Here at 10,000 feet it seems nothing can bother me. Trees and beautiful houses pepper the landscape as I coast away from the Connecticut backdrop that’s been so familiar my entire life.

Spending two weeks back home was an uplifting and comforting experience.  Football tossing, familiar faces, lifetime friends; watching the eternal movie play out in front of my eyes.  Each day a new scene, each moment a new endeavor and eye-opening experience never to be devalued.

Everything is a lesson. Life is short, you’ve got to go after things. After venturing from the nest, immediately I realized each movement was not only completely new to me, but would prove to teach me some of the greatest life lessons I could imagine, ones that will prove most valuable to me as I continue the dance of life.

I’ve struggled to create a career for over 6 years now, but I’ve realized though there may be overwhelming evidence something will go a certain way doesn’t mean it actually will.  When it comes to success, it’s easy to blame lack of progress on something out of reach.  “Well, if I had that, I’d be successful.” Pursuit of this magic solution begins, only to realize later you had it all wrong.

Nothing good is ever easy, nothing will be handed to you and there is no magic solution to anything.  At the end of the day, you need to provide value.  You need to help people. You need to produce something. And ultimately, you need to work. Hard.

You need customers and you need those customers to be happy.  You need repeat customers. You need to provide something people can talk to each other about.   We’re all just human, everybody poops. Realize that you’re selling to yourself, otherwise your efforts may be completely backwards.

“The key to having a successful business is you have to stick with it.” – Marc Laffer

So I’m back to the drawing board once again, but this time with a slightly different mindset, a mindset that has taken me my entire life to understand.  The journey never stops, all you can do is grow, build, learn and execute. Here are some developments that have helped me understand, hopefully they can help you too.

Keep it simple

This is by far the most important thing to remember.

Focus on what really matters

You’ll never have everything you want. Life is short. What matters most in life is health, family & friends, everlasting love, respect and happiness for all.

Work smarter

Eliminate everything unnecessary. Get out of your head. Most decisions I’ve made in life would likely have played out better had I gone with my original thought. Your gut feeling is correct, your soul channels truth; listen to it.

As a society it seems we do what makes cents, not what makes sense. Money is not evil, greed is evil.  Greedy people are evil.  Don’t blame your problems on money and don’t believe that money is always the answer to your problems.  Money is important, but has its place. Don’t allow money to cloud your vision, let it supplement your vision.

Take care of yourself

Be aware and alert of every move you make. Don’t over-analyze, but always monitor your progress.  There is a weird and unexplainable sensation that comes from writing things down. Documenting your growth. A message from your past, even if it was only an hour ago.

Put your phone away for a minute

I’m all for making plans, connectivity and technology. Mobile devices have and will continue to transform global communication at record pace.  However, you might be surprised how good you feel when your phone is left in the car, at home, on silent or kept it in your pocket while you spend time with people.  Just saying.

Do things by yourself

I arrived in a new city and didn’t really know anybody.  There wasn’t yet enough time to compile a crew with similar interests. One night I thought about what I wanted to do and did it. I went to Miami and danced. For hours. It was everything I wanted it to be. I left at 5am; sweaty, exhilarated and grinning from ear to ear.

Some of the most eye opening moments of my life have come when I examined myself introspectively, looking at what I contribute to the world, society, humanity, my social circle, my family, my country, my environment.  I considered what came to mind when people thought of me and it enhanced my understand of what I’m broadcasting to the world.

Look ahead

Pay close attention and you can see yourself in the future.  Look ‘back’ on your current self and you’ll likely say, “It sure was great being right there, right then, in that moment.”

At 24 years old I often look 10 years into the future and think about how I’d wish I was still 24.  What else do I want to remember?  A great way to understand where you want to be in life is to look at the story you might tell someone down the line.  What you did, how you did it and how it shaped you into the person you are today.

These everyday experiences are of exceptional importance – for they shape the person we design ourselves to be.

Dance

It’s fun.  Perception is everything.  One may interpret somebody dancing in the street in two ways:

  1. Look how stupid he/she looks.
  2. Look how happy he/she looks.

Have you ever seen somebody unhappy, dancing? Perhaps that’s why.  Don’t feel comfortable just coming right out with it? Dance alone. Dance in the dark. Go out of town and dance somewhere you know nobody.  That way if you do the robot, slip on a spilled drink and eat it, you can vanish and never be seen again.

Step out of your comfort zone

Go after it.  Failure is a prerequisite to success. You will fail many times in your life while exploring options and trying new things. Failing is not failure, but a necessary stepping stone to the next level.

Don’t let somebody else to hold the key to your happiness

“Existence is a sport.”  – Tim Napoli

Don’t for a minute believe things will be handed to you without first experiencing seemingly countless trips down the wrong path.

Do Yoga

Doing P90X was one of the greater decisions I’ve made in my life to this point.  It’s not about the workout video, the moves, or even P90X specifically; it’s about stepping outside your bubble.  Staying dedicated, noticing improvement, following through with a commitment and enjoying the reward.

I always dismissed Yoga for some reason, not really my scene.  It requires lots of uncomfortable stretching and weird positions I couldn’t imagine would benefit me. Oh how wrong I was.  Yoga has taught me several key tidbits of information and even some rather significant insights on life:

  1. Stretching is great.
    I used to hate stretching and always rushed through it.  Little did I know that concentrated, calm stretching hits every muscle in your body, makes you feel alive and causes you to sweat from places you didn’t know you could sweat from.
  2. There is a huge benefit in clearing your mind
    Clearing your head for Yoga is the only way to really push yourself.  Same goes for real life. We exert energy from the strangest places and don’t even realize it.
  3. Yoga helps you understand your body
    By relaxing your muscles and focusing on the stretch you can completely engage with the activity and get the most out of your workout.
  4. Take a similar approach to issues in your daily life
    Focus on the task at hand and only that, complete your objective and transfer to the next order of business.

Timing is everything

Never let the opinions, goals, insights or motives of others crush your true aspirations, dreams and ambitions.  Your path is yours only.

Call your Mom

I love you Mom!

Smile

Every situation inevitably improves when you spend more time smiling.  Pleasure radiates.  Broadcast positive vibes or else your cluttering the airspace with negativity.

Understand your fears

Be proactive. Be reactive.  Don’t revel in what you’ve done, plan for what you’ll do next.  Stacking accomplishments will boost drive and self-confidence, the essential and most important ingredients to finding success in anything.

Listen. Then listen to nothing.

Hear. Understand. Silence is golden.

Express yourself

Find a mental and spiritual release, make it a habit of your daily life. Read, write, paint, sing, dance, swim; whatever.  Immerse yourself in nature, you’ll realize the simplicity of it all.

Be independent

But remember we’re all on the same team.

Manage your finances

Everything is peachy when you detach from society and connect with yourself; but remember if you want to revel in the pleasures of society you must return the favor by doing right by your obligations.

Learn yourself

Thinking about how somebody might describe you to others is an easy and quick analysis of who you want to be in the world. Never be afraid to do exactly what you want to do, believe what you believe in or share what matters to you.

Go!

Set achievable goals, then go after them.

If you’re impressed by what somebody else can do, do it better.

Realize there are always countless opportunities surfacing every day.

Tell people how you feel about them

Embrace life. Communicate. Nobody knows what’s in your head unless you tell them.

Understand those who are your true friends; but have compassion for all. You may be standing next to the most amazing person you’ll never know.

Think. Then hustle.

“Thinking is the work. It is hard work. But with thought you can jump from last to first even if you come late.” – Rick Schwartz

My colleague Benjamin Evans once said “SEO is a casserole.” Truth. Similarly, success and growth are a casserole.  A combination of many ingredients, perfectly balanced and added over time.

Proper ingredients won’t make a great pie if it isn’t cooked properly.  A brand new oven can’t make bad ingredients taste good. Find balance in every step of the process.

Stay aware of the present

“Bring it. What do you got in you?” – Tony Horton

Your life can and will completely change at a moments notice.

“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.” – Unknown

“When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” – John Wooden

Good things take time

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” – Harvey MacKay

You know way more than you think you know

Acknowledge that you can drastically change your life by altering your frame of mind.  Your frame of mind is the lens through which you see and interpret happiness.  Your happiness is a direct result of your outlook on life.

Breathe deeply, close your eyes in the Sun, channel the glory of existence and realize once you’ve defeated your fears; the truth is all that’s left.