I recently received an email from my best friend from high school Carrie announcing the release of her husband's new book The Practical Guide to Exceptional Living. I am excited to share my friends' new venture - friends I've known since I was, oh, about thirteen years old. What can I say? These two have the goods on me, and I'm grateful they've never demanded hush money to keep quiet the stories all my teenage stumblings they saw on a daily basis back at Thomas Edison High School.
More than that, I love seeing these dear friends do so well and share their blessings and abundance in such creative ways. Without further ado, meet Jim Garland, entrepreneur & author...
Hello Jim...Thank you so much for taking some time to hang out over here at Swirly Girl. I was so excited when I got the email from Carrie about your new book. I've read the synopsis on your website & blog, but I'd love for you to share with everyone here what your book is about.
When and how did you first come up with the idea for your book?
Writing this book was something that I had been thinking about for 10 years. I started to really hone in on the concepts and the reality of the book in the fall of 2008. I have read hundreds of books on self development and I wanted to create one that was coming from someone who was an entrepreneur not from someone who makes their living writing these books.
Is the actual book much different from your original idea and vision? If so, how did it evolve and change?
The name and some of the content continued to change over time but the core principles and ideas for the original book remained the same. I always wanted it to be a 3-4 hour read and a book that gave a lot of practical info in an easy to understand and useable form My goal was always to have a book that could be read by anyone, a house mom, an executive, a doctor, an artist, or a student, anyone can read this book and find something that will help them shift their thinking.
I love that your book title includes the words practical and exceptional. To me that implies you are taking big ideas and grounding them in concrete, workable messages. Can you tell me what each of those words means to you?
These two words can become very powerful when they are used together. My goal was to provide very practical information that if used correctly could produce exceptional results.
Using the word Practical meant to me that it would be easy to understand and could be applied very easily to anyone’s life. The book had to be practical and not to outlandish or hard for people to grasp..
The use of the word Exceptional was an interesting choice for me. To me exceptional has nothing to do with size and that was important. I am not telling people they will achieve huge results, or full bank accounts, or 6 pack abs. I am simply asking people to look inside of themselves and determine what an exceptional life would mean for them and then create. What is exceptional for me might be something completely different for you, and that is the point. We all have different views and ideas about what an exceptional life can be.
What I do in my book is give people concepts and ideas that can be easily implemented into their daily lives immediately and that can lead to exceptional results. There are no quick fixes or get rich quick ideas here. My book is really more about shifting how you think which in turn will shift how you act or react.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to live an exceptional, creative life?
The first thing you must do is live with gratitude every day. You must be able to get yourself into a mental state where you are grateful for all that you have in your life right now at this moment. This was a big shift for me. When I started to appreciate all that I had and stopped always trying to make my life better, everything changed. You must then figure out what things in your life currently bring you joy, what are the things you could do all day every day and still enjoy them. From that figure out a way to create a business or career that allows you to harness that creativity to produce a sustainable living.
Along with that I would suggest balance. A balance between all of the things that can bring happiness to our lives, this can include but is not limited to the following things. Your relationships, your income, your career, your time, your health, your leisure activities, and your faith.
Balance, as simplistic as it may seem has been what has created what I consider an exceptional life for me, my family, my employees, and my friends. I have plenty of time to spend with my wife Carrie and our four beautiful children whenever I want. I have a business that gives me the income I need and the stimulation of running a business, along with a team that loves doing their job every day. I have time to exercise, spend time with m y friends, golf, surf, and create, as I have done with my book and my speaking.
You must have written goals that you can read and refer to daily. Most people know this and very few actually follow through on this very simple commitment.
The last bit of advice would be patience. Some will look at what I outlined above and say wow that guy is so lucky. For those who know me they understand that this journey started in 1991, 18 years ago. It has taken time, effort, trial and error, many mistakes and redirects, sleepless nights and sacrifice to get to the point where I truly feel at ease.
What and/or who inspires you on a daily basis?
Carrie and our kids, Bayley, Ellie, Jack, and Benjamin, you know all of them, and they are truly amazing. I am so grateful to have all of them in my life and I am constantly striving to be the best role model, husband, and father that I can be. I am also inspired daily by the opportunity we have in this world and for all of the blessing that God has given us.
In one of your blog entries, you ask the question How do you think about life? So, Jim, how do you think about life?
I think about life as one giant unbelievable thrilling adventure. I believe that we are all here to try to make the world a better place and to help better our fellow man or woman. I am constantly asking myself how I can make the world a better place. I apologize for pitching the book, but two of the exercises I suggest in the first chapter is to write, what I call your Legacy Goal and Your Ultimate Life Experience. When you do this it will really shift how you think about your role here and what impact you want to have while you spend this short amount of time on earth.
When you look back at yourself in high school - was there any part of the life you are living now you saw then?
I knew early on that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Carrie. When we were seniors in high school and were departing for different colleges we discussed spending the rest of our lives together. I do not think this was by chance I believe we were always meant to be with one another.
Thank you again for visiting with me and sharing more about your book The Practical Guide to Exceptional Living. Congratulations on your new book and on creating a life that inspires so many.