The first four matter most. The first four essentials in the 12 essentials of personal excellence, BTL’s framework for building within, are the first four for a reason. Order matters. Let me unpack a bit.

You cannot sustain excellence without a strong, figurative CORE. You cannot sustain a strong spine without a strong core, either. Low back pain is America’s most chronic pain because only a few are willing to take responsibility for their own physical health. Only a few. The same is true for the figurative CORE. You cannot build the ability to stand without a commitment to author, own, and strengthen your six pack, BTL CORE. Start here.

Once you’ve gained clarity within and gained the confidence and conviction that comes when one’s worldview, identity, principles, passions, purpose, and process have become a compass like wip & 3P, you’re gonna feel on top of your game and maybe even a bit more. Essential number two here we come. Building humility is the second essential because pride is the enemy of the strong. If this doesn’t make sense now, stay tuned – someday soon it will.

The third essential is building courage. Equipped with a strong CORE, deep seated humility and an OPUS worth pursuing, the pilgrim sets out on her builder’s journey. She makes it around the first few obstacles but the third one looks like a wall – an insurmountable obstacle stretching deep and wide. So, most stories stop here. She stops. He rationalizes. Neither moves. Both start putting it on others and drive each other “bat shit crazy.” Only the strong keep perspective and keep going. Courage, remember, isn’t the abscence of fear, it is the recognition that something is more important. The courageous pilgrim goes through the fear. Progress.

The final of the first four is building discipline. The CORE centered, OPUS inspired, and productively active life requires great discipline. Noise is everywhere. Gain clarity within and with your outer aim, and the noise isn’t going away. If anything it’s going up as email, texts, problems, promotions, commitments, communities, charities, and all kinda opportunities, multiply faster than pilgrims ability to process. Many a pilgrim makes progress early on until the inability to say NO sidelines him. Today, many pilgrims have conquered the ancient fears only to be overwhelmed by the modern classic – too much of a good thing. So, the pilgrim forgets to build the discipline of margin. Filled to overflowing with good people, projects, and possibilities, the modern pilgrim sees his life on his iphone as meaning passes out of peripheral perspective. Overwhelmed.

The great life requires a strong CORE, deep seated humility, large doses of courage, and the discipline of a special force operator in work and life. Start here, friend. Build within and keep building. Embrace discipline. Overwhelmed is the enemy of the modern pilgrim. Over joyed is possible. The road from one to another requires the discipline of margin. Margin. Today, my client left this morning’s practice with some good learning. He’s at a fork in the road where many a progressing, pilgrim has arrived. He’s staring at some choices. More looks really inviting; Margin, not so much.

CORE, humility, courage, and discipline. Build your four, first. The next fork in the road is coming soon. There are multiple roads to the summit. The masses are on the overwhelmed trail and it’s unmarked, but well worn. The few are over joyed. Here’s the difficult piece. Don’t miss this. This could be huge. The overjoyed trail is unmarked, period. In fact it doesn’t exist. You’re gonna have to make your own way up. You gotta figure it out. Nobody can put you on your way. We, the BTL builders are only here to help you find your own. Good.

Over joyed is the great life. God, help me find my way. God, help me choose margin over more. God, help me…

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