Just finished a great presentation by Chip Eichelberger at the PMI Virtual Seminar.  He is a motivation speaker and has his own site – GetSwitchedOn.com.  Below are some observations that I wanted to share from his presentation.

To get switched on, you have to first evaluate yourself by asking two questions

  • What have you been neglecting?
  • What will the impact of that be?

Are you familiar with Chuck Norris rules?  Like, Chuck doesn’t wear a watch because Chuck decides what time it is.  There is an old saying, “If you don’t change direction, you are going to get where you are headed.”

Rule #1 is to take care of yourself.  

This is self preservation, not self-gratification.  When there is an emergency on the airplane and the cabin starts to lose pressure, they direct you to put your airmask on first, then take care of others around you.  Execute a few simple disciplines and repeat them every day

  • Don’t smoke
  • 3-5 fruits and veggies
  • 30 minutes of exercise

Rule #2 is that Good is the Enemy of Great.  

There is a huge chasm between adequate and greatness.  That gap could between where you are now and where you could be.  There is a myth that length of time doing something equals greatness.  It doesn’t.

EXERCISE: Ask yourself, “What are the main areas of focus in my life?”  A few examples might be

  • Wife
  • Kids
  • Parents
  • Health
  • Personal Growth – Half in the US never finish a nonfiction book
  • Volunteering
  • Faith
  • Fun – Travel and Recreation
  • Are you enjoying the journey?
  • Work – Cross that off, work is short term
  • Career – Long term

Stockdale Paradox

Admiral James Stockdale was held as a prisoner of war for eight years during the Vietnam War and was tortured in excess of twenty times by his captors. He was able to withstand all of this without losing his mind by employing two seemingly contradictory views: faith that he would prevail in the end no matter the difficulty and facing that he must confront the worst aspects of his current reality.

“Then comes the paradox: While Stockdale had remarkable faith in the unknowable, he noted that it was always the most optimistic of his prisonmates who failed to make it out of there alive. “They were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”

What the optimists failed to do was confront the reality of their situation. They preferred the ostrich approach, sticking their heads in the sand and hoping for the difficulties to go away. That self-delusion might have made it easier on them in the short-term, but when they were eventually forced to face reality, it had become too much and they couldn’t handle it.”

Retain absolute faith regardless of the difficulties – but you must confront the brutal facts of the current situation and be willing to act on the implications.

Now that I’ve evaluated things, it’s time to take action.  Below are the three things to do:

Action #1. Go back to the studio

It all starts with the power of one decision.  For example, taking ownership of an orphaned project.  Then, expand that into a compelling vision and execute a clear game plan.  It’s good to have faith and hope, but that is not a strategy.

Write It Down + Display It + Track It + Own It

You have to own your energy.  I hold myself accountable so I can measure my results – where do you keep score?  Track and keep score someplace that you can see everyday. First, fill in your minimum number.  Then put in a goal and leave a blank for your Actual value.  Avoid the use of should, use must instead.

ASK OTHERS: How can I be a better … ?
… husband? Ask your wife.
… dad? Ask your sons.

Ask key people.

Action #2. You gotta believe in making the change.

In Star Wars, there is this great moment where Luke Skywalker is training with Yoda and his plane gets stuck in the swamp.  He tries to use the Force to life it out of the swamp but can’t because it is too large.  Then, Yoda moves it out of the swamp like it was a toy.  Luke stares in disbelief and tells Yoda that he can’t believe it.  “And that is why you fail.”


There is a difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.  Nothing is good until you are good at it.

Are you working as hard on yourself as you are on your job?  Talent is overrated, execution is far more important.

With busy schedules, how can you commit an hour a day back to you?  That’s a 4% solution. 4% of a day is an hour.  The best time to get exercise is in the morning.  Reclaim that time by waking up an hour earlier and claiming that time yourself.

Environment and association is important to maintain your well-being.  Garbage in, garbage stays. If you read garbage, listen to garbage, watch garbage, what will happen?  Your membership in PMI is an important step in surrounding yourself with like-minded motivated people.

RECOMMENDED ARTICLE: FastCompany.com.  “Change or Die” by Alan Deutschman

The odds are 9 to 1 against change.  90% of the time, patients returns to bad health habits after a heart attack.  Gradual changes often take too long to reflect the results.  Radical changes are harder initially but give you results to motivate you to keep going.

Pick the time for your radical change.  Is it going to be the first five minutes in the office? The first five minutes of the morning?

Action #3. Self generate momentum

Everything is going well when everything is going well. Are you on a roll?

Beware the law of familiarity. Transfer your beliefs and passion to your team. What has gotten too familiar? Become inept because you get used to using the same winning approach to tackle everything. Familiarity breeds contempt. Being around people all the time brings out your bad traits.

What am I doing to be my best?  You have to regularly reevaluate your daily routine to get switched on.  Don’t just do this first thing in the morning.  Do this in advance of each meeting or important call.  And do this again when you walk in the door at home.  Let go of things after they are done.

Motion creates emotion. The way you are moving and breathing will determine where your energy is. Take a little 5 or 10 minute walk in the afternoon. Use Switched On questions? What are the things that get me excited? How am I going to make a difference today?

Don’t be a Seagull Parent or Boss. Don’t let a down moment define your day or week. You can’t swoop in, make your kids feel bad, and then take off again.


EXERCISE: Ask yourself, “What would your 80 year old self say to you right now?”

You will become what you think about most often.  Don’t focus on survival, focus on success. And that starts by delaying gratification and putting in the work each day.

Change limitations to possibilities. Look at what is possible and don’t fall into the trap of doing nothing.

Change from your problems to your blessings. Look at those things that you are grateful for, not those things that you are lacking.

There are two dozen motivational videos at Youtube.com/chipeichelberger.  You can also connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, or @chipe on Twitter.