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Now that January’s over and you’re ready to throw away all your new years resolutions, here’s a very simple practice I’ve found REALLY works in getting me to where I want to go without all kind of project planning and spreadsheets.

First, here two things that don’t work for me in goal-setting or changing my habits:

  • New Years resolutions
  • Having more than 7 important goals for the year, because it scatters my energy and I can’t easily keep ’em all in my head & need to go back and review pieces of paper or spreadsheets – and I just can’t make myself do that

And the super simple exercise that does work…

Answer This Question:

“If you can only accomplish 5 things this year, what would they be?”

Do this in a thoughtful way and you will zero in on the few, most important things to focus on (whether consciously or unconsciously) for the year.  I can easily hold five big goals in my head, and having these makes it very simple to prioritize what to work on day by day.

The trick is focusing on a few SIMPLE and MEANINGFUL goals that you believe you can accomplish, even if they’re a bit scarey.  They should not be crazy, like “make a million dollars” if you’ve never made six-figures.  If you keep setting goals that you miss and take this too seriously, you train yourself to mistrust yourself.

Treat goals as happy experiments, rather than life-or-death things.  Be totally committed to what you want, but when a goal doesn’t happen, smile and learn from it as a happy experiment!

2010 Goals & Results

1. $250k revenue
2. Become a best-selling author
3. Create three signature products or events
4. Find a full marketing partner
5. Find a full assistant/apprentice

1. Result: I did $190k in revenue, less than my goal but about double 2009
2. Result: I became an author, though not best-selling – yet 🙂
3. Result: I created two, including my “Unique Genius Superhero Program” and my “Call To Adventure” 3-day retreat
4. Result: Not a full-time partner, but found a partner on my launch, Jared Krause
5. Result: Yep, Lex!

I feel like I hit about 80% of my goals, which was perfect – they should be a stretch, but not too much of a stretch and become paralyzing.

The best part – THIS IS SIMPLE!  It takes me a couple of weeks to flesh these out, but it is totally worth it.

This Coming Year’s / 2011 Goals


  1. $240k revenue (this time I want to beat it)
  2. Get paid to speak OR be invited to speak at TED
  3. PebbleStorm 2020 vision co-created with the community
  4. Publish a Unique Genius book
  5. “Aaron Life Manual” documented and I’m using it (this is a combination life vision, “Ideal Day”, core values, etc)

See how these are easy to remember?  I don’t need to check some complex excel sheet to know what is important.

Yours might be much bigger or smaller than mine – DO NOT COMPARE yourself to me.  This is about what is important to you.  A big goal for you this year might be to start a blog, learn a language or instrument, hold your first meetup, publish a first ebook – anything.  What is a big goal to you?


  1. Move to bay area
  2. Develop a Personal Success Routine
  3. Start a new project/product every 2-3 months
  4. Make $25-30K
  5. Write television pilot

With Lex having such a short list of key goals, it makes it easy for her to stay on track. AND…it makes it easy for me to support her in achieving them.

A 6-Step Process To Clarify Your “Top 5 Goals For The Year”

  1. Brainstorm: grab a blank piece of paper and take 5 minutes and list out 10 or more goals.
  2. Envision being one year out (say January 2012), looking back on the current year – what goals would be most satisfying & meaningful if accomplished?
  3. Pick out the top 5 that resonate the most with you.
  4. Write them down in a new place. Edit and play with them for a day or couple of weeks, until you feel solid with them. They should feel like a stretch but not too much of a stretch.
  5. Tell people about them! Post them where you & others can see them.
  6. Take a first step: what is one thing you can do to make progress on one goal? (And you can’t take a baby step that is too small)

See?  It’s simple.  You can do a first draft in five to ten minutes.

Is ‘Make More Money Doing What I Love’ In Your “Top 5”?

Did some version of “making money at doing what I love” come up on your Top 5?  If so, I love mentoring people on how to find your passions and turn them into an inspiring business!

If you’re committed to finding your fulfilling work and making a lot more money with it in ways that feel good, reach out and let’s see if you’re a fit for my mentoring and one of the PebbleStorm Mastermind groups.  We have groups both for 1) people who are “all-in” and fully committed, and 2) for people who are still nurturing their Unique Genius as a side-project.

To find out more, reach out:
Mentoring With Aaron

What Are Your 2011 Goals?

Please share and declare your own 2011 goals in the comments!

How I Lie To Myself

January 26th, 2011

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Sometimes I have rough moments or days and I try lying to myself, telling myself that I’m happy.  But in those moments or days, I’m not.

(It doesn’t really matter why I have those rough times, but mostly it’s because fear, uncertainty or doubt creep up on me and tackle me for a bit, before I can kick ’em to the curb.)

I don’t mean to lie to myself, I do it automatically because I feel like I should be happy ALL THE TIME, given I have a clear life purpose, an incredible business, and an inspiring fiance.

I feel guilty during times I’m not happy, like there’s something wrong with me.  Especially with all the positives in my life, shouldn’t I be happy all the time?

That’s bullshit. I don’t know where my mind picked up the idea that I (or anyone) is supposed to be happy all the time, no matter how “successful” you are.  There will ALWAYS be an ebb and flow in your life.

That’s just not real. Part of being human is having a range of emotions, including forms of fear.

In fact, it’s the challenges you’ve been through in life, the downs, that allow you to truly appreciate the ups.

If I hadn’t worked in the corporate world (including starting a business and having it fail), I wouldn’t be as grateful for my fulfilling work with my authentic Unique Genius mentoring clients.

If I hadn’t gotten married and divorced (and had many other short-term relationships), I wouldn’t be as grateful for my inspiring partner & fiance Jessica.

So be grateful for the downs – especially if you’re in one now!

Learn something from them, and inspire, educate and entertain others based on what you learned.

What past challenges can you be grateful for?

PS: those challenges are, in some way, a part of your Unique Genius, and you can authentically help yourself by sharing your story and lessons learned with others.

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The Unique Genius Superheroes Interview Series is about ordinary people who make money through their purpose & passions. They’ve found ways to combine enjoyment, money and meaning in their work.

A tireless traveler and culinary eclectic, Rod Rotondi has used his unique experience and perspective to translate world cuisine into delicious and affordable raw, organic, and vegan offerings. Rod’s dream was to create an inclusive eatery, one so affordable and delicious that people would eat there daily and make a positive change to their lives.

Here are some of the topics we covered…

  • Why Joseph Campbell’s book “The Power Of Myths” was so influential on Rod’s life
  • What allowed Rod to create “Club Red”, a business that mashed up scuba diving, a restaurant, yoga, meditation, adventures and more…in the middle east!
  • How he lost everything in it…and why he wouldn’t change a thing about it
  • What’s so great about raw food?
  • Rod’s best suggestion for how to start eating better / raw
  • Why being afraid of your food (cooked or inorganic food) isn’t healthy either
  • How Rod’s balancing making money and fulfilling work now with his restaurant, book and products
  • A GREAT kernel of advice for those of you with kids: “When you’re working: work; when you’re with your kids: be with your kids”
  • “If you’re not feeling fulfilled in your work, go and help someone else as a next step. You’ll feel better quickly”

To learn more about Rod and his healthy and wealthy ways of living, please listen to his interview…

Listen To Or Download The Interview

Click here to download…

More about Rod Rotondi

What of these resonated with you? Let me know!

About Unique Genius

There’s a process to discovering your purpose and turning it into a business you love. Find out the latest at

What Was Your Favorite Part Of The Interview?

Please leave a comment!

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If you missed the prior posts, they are:

Do you ever put people on a pedestal and think they’ve got it all figured out? Let me tell you, NO ONE has it all figured out.

It doesn’t matter how many millions they have, “successful” people have just as many issues to work on as you do.  I know I do.  Just ask my fiance, heh – she’ll tell you. (By the way, I got engaged on Xmas eve!  A video of the proposal)

So a “BS Meter” you can use with people is if they pretend to be perfect, they’re lying to you and to themselves.

For example, I procrastinated the hell outta finishing this post and health series.  I have been one lazy SOB the past two weeks, and have distracted myself with all the new shiny many iphone games I got for Xmas and my birthday. Whee 🙂

Plus, it didn’t help that I’ve been eating like crap since before Xmas.  But hey, I’m only human too.  I fall down. And I ALWAYS get back up and keep at it…

It’s probably better anyway that I waited to share this post until after the new year, so that your (and my) holiday gorging is done and you (and I) are ready to get back to the basics…

And now’s the “real” post – enjoy!



Food can be a big source of happiness in your life – or stress.  There are a lot of parallels with it and with work, how it as well can be a big source of happiness or stress.  I make a few specific parallels between the two below.

Authentically Enjoy Your Food & Drinkin’ (Whatever It Is)

<= The picture is of a meal from the super-yummy Leaf Organics restaurant in LA.  If you go there, get the mushroom-avocado burger with the onion bread (gluten-free), it is insanely good.  My fiance and I both LOVE it.  I also have a Unique Genius Superhero interview of the founder, Rod Rotondi. He has a fascinating life and business story.

Much of your health and happiness in life comes from your feelings around food and meals: your happiness goes up when you eat food that you appreciate, are grateful for and share with in good company.  So whatever the hell it is you eat – green or junky – do your best to really enjoy it and the whole experience.

(The same with work: As much of your happiness and wealth in life comes from your feelings around work – your happiness goes up when you have work that is fulfilling & satisfying, are grateful for it, and share with in good company.)

I would rather you had fun eating bread and cheese you love with good friends than having a “I don’t enjoy this but it’s good for me” raw salad miserably alone.

(The same with work: I would rather you had fun at a boring job with good friends than doing noble work in conditions – like doing it alone – that make you unhappy.  It can be lonely starting a company, rebuilding and recreating a work community around yourself…it’s not for everyone.)

Enjoyment from a “quick fix” of a candy bar or Frappacino doesn’t count – that’s a fix, not authentic gratitude or happiness that lasts.  (Unless you’re starving after doing a 28 day Utah survival course, and then get a peanut butter and chocolate milkshake – now THAT is gratitude!  Even though it didn’t stay down…)

A small digression…I did mention the hot chocolate exemption for all this, right?  Heh 🙂  While someday I might give up my hot chocolate habit, for now I truly do enjoy my Huckleberry hot chocolate, because 1) it’s “the real stuff” and feels like authentic goodness, and 2) it’s also an entire enjoyable experience beyond just the drink, because I ride my bike there, and/or share it with my fiance.  On the other hand, if I just walk into some cafe and get some crummy powdered hot chocolate, I do feel guilty.  By the way, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf hot chocolate is terrible – avoid it.

Find ways to ENJOY and be GRATEFUL for awesomely healthy food.  There is so much really tasty stuff out there.  And if you’re eating crap food, instead of feeling guilty, find ways to authentically enjoy it and be grateful for it too.

Guys – pounding on your chest about how much meat you can eat doesn’t count – that’s eating just to get attention. Unless you’re Epic Meal Time, the funniest cooking show on the internet, and the only guys I’ve ever seen who have turned fast food into sushi. Hilariously gross!

OK seriously, now on to the…

7 Ways Make It Easier On Yourself To Improve Your Nutrition (Or Find Your Unique Genius)

The easier you can make it on yourself to make progress, the more likely you’ll do it and stick to it, whether it’s around food or work.  In this case, I’m usin’ food examples:

  1. Spend time with people who inspire you / you want to be like / learn from: Studies have shown that your weight and health is affected by your friends.  Want to gain weight?  Spend time with heavy people!   So spend more time with your healthy friends and family, and less time around your unhealthy friends and family.
  2. Be adventurous: just frickin’ try something new, for God’s sake, it won’t kill you.  Many adults I know – are like little kids refusing to try a green food when they’re young, “it looks icky!”
  3. Go for progress, not perfection as you experiment and try new things to learn what works for you: I don’t believe 100% vegetarian/vegan is for everyone.  Some people should eat meat.  You won’t know where you fall until you experiment.  And after you have a holiday gorging feast (or several weeks of them)…forgive yourself, appreciate it and come on back to the good habits!
  4. Learn from people you trust, but don’t depend on one source (what works for them may not work for you).
  5. Everything in moderation.
  6. Buddy up: if your partner eats worse than you want, don’t criticize them and make them feel guilty – that’ll just make things worse.  Educate them, partner with them, find ways TOGETHER to enjoy being healthier – inspire them and you’ll get better results!
  7. Be persistently patient (with yourself and your partner).  Adopting new eating habits that stick change as fast as your mind does – that is, not very fast at all.  It takes 21 days to change a habit, and as long as 9 months to really lay down new neural pathways stick.

Notice that all of these principles apply to finding your optimally fulfilling work (Unique Genius) too!

Take A Next Step

  1. Read this book: In Defense Of Food, by Michael Pollen.  His sum philosophy: “Eat food. Not too much.  Mostly plants”.  Michael’s definition of food here is ‘real’ food not the imitation food we have now like energy bars and drinks; if your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it, it’s not ‘food’.
  2. Write out an “Ideal Health” vision for yourself. If you had NO LIMITS, what would your body feel like?  How would your family and friends eat, move, practice health?  Your community, the world?  The more you can emotionally connect with an authentic vision, and believe in it, the more likely it will stick as a big enough “why” to inspire you for the next step…
  3. Commit to improving your health and taking baby steps!  Without commitment, it’s not going to happen.  Why is it important to you to do this?  First envision your life 10-20 years out following your current habits.  Then envision what life would be life if you keep improving your habits step by step over those 10-20 years.
  4. A simple first way to start your day off right and add a lot of nutrition: making your own smoothies (not that Jamba Juice crap), especially green smoothies.  I have one almost every day, made from greens (spinach or kale or chard or collard greens), parsley, fuji apples, ginger, mint, a whole lemon with rind, flax/chia seeds, hempseed, maca, goji berries, spirulina, water as the liquid.  I blend it all up in a Vitamix Turbo-blend 4500, which was about $350.   (Also: a blog about Green Smoothies)
  5. Have fun trying new things and exploring – isn’t that the whole point?
  6. Have a quick laugh (or get so grossed out you’ll never eat fast food again) at Epic Meal Time!


What’s Your Next Step?  Or Your 2 Cents?

I’d love to hear what you agree with, disagree with and what works for you – leave a comment below!

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