Twelve Pillars; book summary and notes

This is one of the very few “novels” that you will see Brian Willett read.  It isn’t a typical novel though, it is a story that we all have seen and heard, and maybe the story it tells could even be one of us.  The authors of the book are Jim Rohn and Chris Widener.  To learn more about Jim Rohn click on this link.   This man has had serious impact on my life and I never met him.  Chris Widener.

The story starts off with a guy who is forty years old, married to his wife of 15 years that he no longer is very connected with, and two kids who he barely sees.  And a boring job where he makes about 40K as a sales rep.  His car breaks down on his way to a sales meeting.  He didn’t have a phone so he walked to the closest house.  This house had a large brick and wrought iron fence stretched at least 500 feet along the roadside. And the gate was at least 10 feet high.  Behind the gate was a house that was well over 10,000 square feet.  It was white plantation style home that had twelve two-story pillars across the front which made sense since the sign at the side of the gate said “Twelve Pillars”.  He runs into an old man who was a bout 70 years old in some old overalls.  The man asked if he could help him.

The man takes him to this garage and they start talking.  The old man pretends that he doesn’t own the home, which you find out later in the story that he does.  Instead he tells the young sales guy that he is the yard guy for the very wealthy man who owns the big house.  They start a relationship where the sales rep comes by and meets with the old man for months and each week that he comes back to meet with the old guy the old man teaches the sales guy a principle of the twelve pillars.  So it is a story with a powerful message weaved in.

Pillar #1:   The only way things are going to change for you is when you change. 

A lot of people think working hard is the key to success, and it is, but it is only one piece of the success puzzle.  For you to get a better job, with more money, and more opportunity, you must increase your skill set.  Which requires you to change your thoughts, your actions, and what you do everyday.

The conversations between the two of them are deep and every sentence has a pearl of wisdom.

Pillar #2:  You should make sure that the outside of you is a good reflection of the inside of you. 

Pillar number two is total well-being.  The body is made up of three parts: the body, soul, and the spirit.  You have to give equal attention to all three to have a healthy overall well-being.

Pillar #3:  Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationships flourishing and growing.

The old man asks the sales guy to tell him about his family.  He tells him about his struggles to find the time to spend with his family and that his relationship with his wife could be better. The message is that we must cultivate any and all relationship that is important to us.  Just like a garden it requires constant upkeep to keep the weeds out.  If you don’t weed for a few weeks, what happens to a garden? It doesn’t take much time and the weeds will take over.  It is no different for our relationships with our family, friends, and colleagues.  Maintenance of a garden is easier than starting all over again.

Pillar #4:  The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it.

Goal setting is deciding where you want to go and then designing a plan to get you there.    Setting goals that stretch you and make you do things differently is what will lead you to a future that you want.  Don’t wait for people to set goals for you.

Pillar #5:  Everyday has many opportunities, but only one best opportunity.

We all must suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.  The difference is that discipline weighs ounces and regret weights tons.  Your best opportunity each day are those that align with your overall goals and should be what you spend your time on. Don’t just go through the day, get from the day. Don’t spend you time on urgent, spend your time on what is important. We must be our own designer of our lives.

Pillar #6:  Don’t join an easy crowd; you wont grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.

Ask yourself these questions:  Who am I around?  What effect are they having on me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most importantly, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the final question: is that okay?

Friends of convenience.  This is an interesting concept.  Is it easier to keep certain people for friends, instead of pursuing new friends. Successful people look for relationships with other successful people who will push them, challenge them, and encourage them to become better. To attract attractive people, you must be attractive.  Not physically but mentally and who you are.

Your attitude is greatly influenced by the people who you associate with.

Pillar #7:  Formal education will make you a living.  Self education will make you a fortune.

Self-education is what you teach yourself.  It is what you learn along the way so that you are constantly improving and growing. Most people don’t continue to learn and grow, to separate yourself from everyone else, be focused on continuous learning.

Learning is the beginning of wealth.  Learning is the beginning of health.  Learning is the beginning of spirituality.  Searching and learning are where the miracle process all begins. Most of life is lived after your formal education. That means the rest of it is up to you.

You have to read the books.  Books are and will continue to be the best learning tools of mankind.

Pillar #8:  One key to having influence with others is to have others perceive you as a person of talent and virtue.

All of life is sales.  Sales is really just the application of having influence and that is a skill that we must all possess in life to get the things we want and desire.   Talent and virtue are the foundation of successful influence and sales, whether you are selling a product or selling yourself–and a successful person is always selling him or herself.

Skills of sales:

  • Know your stuff. You can’t teach what you don’t know.  You cannot share that which you do not feel. You cannot translate that which you do not have. You cannot give that which you do not possess.
  • Talk to lots of people. 
  • Never take no for an answer. 

Pillar #9: What you become directly influences what you get.

The skills you develop to become a millionaire is more important the than money itself.  Money can always go away.  You can lose it.  You can get sued, inflation can eat it away.  It can be stolen.  Every year you hear of what were once millionaires and multimillionaires having to file for bankruptcy, going from hundreds of millions of dollars to nothing.  However, many of them can come back from these things because of the skills they learned to accumulate such wealth.  The skills can never be taken away.

Income seldom exceeds personal development.  Th increase your paycheck, you must increase your skills.

Pillar #10:  Communication is two or more people working together to find the common ground of understanding.  And when they find that common ground, they are positioned to have tremendous power together.

Success is based on human relationships and communication is the foundation for people working together. A lot of people spend their time communicating to convince the other person to their way of thinking, instead look for areas that you agree on, and then build from that. Look for common ground. It isn’t just what you say, it is how you say it, when you say it, and the receptiveness of who you say it to. And that is only half of it.  The other half of it is making sure you really listen.

Pillar #11:  To lead others is to help them change their thoughts, beliefs, and actions for the better.

Leadership is a misunderstood concept.  Most people when they hear the term “great leader” think of people who lead nations, corporations, or social movements.  Leadership means you have mastered the art of influencing others. To lead others is to help them change their thoughts, beliefs, and actions for the better. Sales and Leadership are similar because they are both the art of influencing others.

Managers help people see themselves as they are, and leaders help them see themselves better than they are. If you want to get paid more, bring more value to others by becoming a better leader. Leaders talk about what could be. Learn to help people with more than just their job, help them with their lives. Great leaders are interested in people.

During this book each week and each meeting that the sales guy has with the old man he teaches him the twelve pillars and the methodology around it.  All the while referring to a guy who owned the house.  When the sales guy goes to meet with him to learn the twelfth pillar, he gets there and finds out that the old man had died.  He learns this from the old mans wife, and this is when he learns that he (the old man) was the wealthy guy that owned the house and came up with the twelve pillars.  The final pillar, number twelve is given to the sales guy by the old mans wife in a letter from the old man. Leaving a legacy.  In the letter the old man talks about the growth and development of the sales guy he has witnessed and that is when he reached the final pillar on legacy.

Pillar #12:  Live a life that will help others spiritually, intellectually, physically, financially, and relationally. Live a life that serves as an example of what an exceptional life can look like.

You cannot choose how long you will live, but you can choose how well you live. You can also help others along the way and when you help others that is when you will build a legacy.  Helping others and giving to others is what life is really about and when you are dead and gone, be remembered for what you did for others and not what you have.

This book was an easy read.  It is a such a great story and it is one that we can all relate to.  I hit on many of the highlights that I saw as very valuable throughout the book, but the book is full of some of the greatest success principles you anyone can learn.

Please share this book summary with someone who you think could you use it.  Also read the book.

To your success and your future.


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The Millionaire Mind book summary/notes

Thomas Stanley Ph.D. wrote the book The Millionaire Next Door in 1996.  This book highlighted how millionaires accumulated their wealth; they classified millionaires by people who have net worths over one million dollars.  A follow-up to the millionaire next door is The Millionaire Mind.  Which was published in February of 2000.

Below are my highlights of the book the Millionaire Mind by Thomas Stanley Ph.D.

  • 4.9% of the households in America have a net worth of a millionaires.
  • Income statement millionaires.  Have a high income and high debt.
  • Balance sheet affluent are of the millionaire mind. They usually don’t have any credit balances.

To create the research group to identify the millionaires in America.  Dr. Stanley worked with a highly specialized demographer.  They identified 226,399 areas/neighborhoods in America that would most likely have a high concentration of millionaires.   They paired that group down to 2,397 homes and sent them surveys to complete. Of the 2,397 homes that received the survey, 1,001 responded to survey and of that number 733 of the respondents were actually millionaires.

Some of the statistics on these 733 homes that responded.

  • Most of the respondents were in homes that were built-in the 1950’s and even the 1940’s in well established neighborhoods and cities.
  • 1 out of 4 millionaires  were married and had been with their spouse on average of 28 years.
  • On average these millionaires had three children
  • 92% of the millionaires were married
  • 95% of the millionaires have children
  • Only 3% widowed
  • Only 2% had never been married
  • 9.2 million average net worth; With the median being around 4.3 million net worth
  • 749,000 income; median 436,000
  •  On average they never spent more than $41,000 on a car
  • Did not spend more than $4,500 on engagement ring.
  • Never spent more than $38 dollars for a haircut.
  • Never spent more than $340,000 on a home
  • Only 2% of them inherited their homes.
  • 61% never received an inheritance or gifts from others to accumulate their wealth.
  • Only 1 in 4 paid more than a million dollars for a home.
  • 1 out of 3 are business owners.
  • 1/5 are Senior Executives within a company
  • 1/10 are attorneys
  • 1/10 Are doctors
  • 1/3 are middle managers, sales professionals, engineers, and professors
  • Business owners are the richest.
  • 50% of the wives don’t work outside the home
  • 90% are college graduates
  • 50% have advanced degrees
  • Average age is 54

This book goes onto highlight eight key areas that were vital in these millionaires to become millionaires and ultimately have what the author calls “The Millionaire Mind”.

1.  Success factors

These 733 millionaires were asked to rate 30 success factors.  The 30 they were asked to rank came from a list of 100 success factors that were created by the author through interviews and other research the author conducted with groups of millionaires.

Of the 30 success factors the three that ranked the highest are Honesty, Discipline and Social skills.  I doubt there is anything here that should surprise any of us.

Here are what some of the millionaires said about these three success factors:

  • Integrity is not a pass fail course.
  • Millionaires don’t wait for people to tell them what to do at work, in their personal life, or anything else.  They set their own agenda, they create their own goals.
  • I am a finisher in a society of starters.
  • Leasing a Mercedes doesn’t make you rich.
  • Finding a source of discipline when you find your self lacking in discipline. I really liked how one of them said this.  We all lack discipline at times, but the difference is that people of the millionaire mind realize the lack and seek out a way to find the discipline needed.
  • 94% of millionaires ranked getting along with people as one of the most important factors of getting rich.

The author tells a great story of being in a meeting with several former players of the legendary coach Bear Bryant, who were all now successful business owners and senior executives in companies.  The author asked questions of the former players. Instead of asking the typical questions you would ask, the author asked a simple very focused question.  What is the first thing you learned from coach Bryant.  All of the former players tell this story:

On the first day of practice he asked one question. Have you called your parents to thank them?  He then says.  None of you got here on your own.  It required your parents to sacrifice many days taking you to little league practices, school, and feeding you and ensuring that you could play football and ultimately be on this team.  None of us got here on our own and we will not win on our own.

The message from coach Bryant was clear.  You must have an attitude of gratitude and realize they we all need each other to get where we want to go.

The millionaires in the study agreed with coach Bryant’s assertion.

To be a leader and to get a long in the work place you must have social skills and the ability to get a long with others.  This is not only important if you want to grow in your company and be promoted, but it is also necessary to be able to get things done, which will then allow you to accomplish things, get you noticed and get you promoted.  If you are a business owner social skills are a must to grow your business.

Lastly, discipline to do the things you don’t want to do, when you know they must be done. This is the mindset the people with the millionaire mind have.

2. Schooling

A majority of the millionaires surveyed did not attribute good grades or the school they attended as playing a role in their ability to accumulate wealth.

  • Questioning the status quo and the norms are all skills that allow people to accumulate wealth.
  • 2% of millionaires surveyed graduated in the top of their college class.
  • 3 out of 10 said that they made more A’s than B’s, C’s, and D’s.
  • 90% graduated from college with an average GPA of 2.9.

Schooling is important but it is not necessary.  Although 90% of the millionaires surveyed had a four-year degree, they all said that it isn’t the only thing that contributed to their wealth.  They ranked it very low on the list of success factors.

 3.  Relationship between courage and wealth

All of the millionaires surveyed said it requires courage to accumulate wealth.  To accumulate wealth you must be willing to take financial risk as well as risk that goes along with challenging the status quo.

  • One of the respondents said it like this: Working for others puts you at greater risk than working for yourself. Having one source of income is a bigger risk than taking a risk on doing something on your own.  I had never looked at it quite like this before, but how true it is.
  • Becoming wealthy is a mind game.  You must overcome your fear and worry.  Overcoming fear is one step in the process of accumulating wealth.
  • How do you overcome fear:  Belief in yourself.  (Read the Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale)
  • Almost all millionaires surveyed say that belief in yourself is the number one way to accumulate wealth.  They are not always confident, but they have a way to find confidence even when they are not confident.
  • It is hard to be motivated and to motivate others if you don’t believe in yourself.
  • Fear and worry are never all the way defeated. Confidence is built through the process.

4.  Vocation

Choosing a vocation is one of the major reasons for many of these millionaires success.  Although many of them agree that a stable upbringing, love from a spouse, and warmth from family is critical in success, being passionate about what you do everyday is a major success factor.

  • Business owners is the largest category of millionaires, next to doctors, lawyers, and senior corporate executives.
  • All confidence begins at home.
  • Only 55% of millionaires say that they chose their career or vocation because they loved it. But over time 80% say that it is because they love their vocation that they accumulated wealth.
  • 58% chose their field because it showed the opportunity for wealth accumulation.
  • 2 out of 3 millionaires don’t retire even though financially they can, because they love their vocation.
  • 81% of people chose their career because it allowed full use of their skills, passion, and abilities.
  • Specialization in a certain field is one way to become a millionaire.
  • 46% of millionaires say that intuition is what led them down the path of wealth and opportunity.
  • There are more than 22,000 different opportunities within the defined business areas.

5. Choice of spouse

What is it about marital status that allows couples to accumulate wealth?

  • With dual incomes the ability to take more financial risks are created. Which could lead to successful businesses and larger investments.
  • The support a loving spouse can provide when things aren’t going well can get their partner through tough spots.
  • The decision-making ability a person with a millionaire mind has in choosing their spouse was well discussed at length in this book.
  • Millionaires and people with the millionaire minds have the ability to pick spouses. They have the ability to pick mates that have patience and are caring.
  • 96% of both the husband and wife believe that telling the truth is important.
  • For every 100 millionaires that say that their spouse wasn’t important in accumulating wealth, there 1,317 that say that their spouse was extremely important.

6.  Economically productive Household

All the millionaires surveyed ran very ecumenically productive households that you wouldn’t think you average millionaire would do.  Things such as:

  • Having furniture refurnished instead of buying new.
  • Never buying from a phone solicitation
  • Using coupons
  • Buying household products in bulk.
  • Having shoes resoled instead of buying new.

An interesting statistic with a great example in the book was: An average household spends $10,000 a year on food.  Which is $400,000 – $600,000 in a lifetime.  By couponing if you are able to cut just 5% of the cost down, that would be roughly $25,000 over a lifetime. If you invest the money saved in a mutual fund.  That money could grow to a half million dollars.

  • Millionaires are future focused.
  • Millionaires don’t spend time on things that they aren’t very good at. For example: Putting in a hot water heater.  You are better off hiring and paying someone than doing it yourself.  You would think that being frugal that a millionaire would want to save the money and do it themselves.  However, millionaires know that there is an opportunity cost associated with doing it themselves.  They lose the opportunity to go and accumulate new business or skills that would earn them more money.
  • Millionaires are frugal when they need to be.  The DIY is not always the cheaper way.  You are better off to earn income from your vocation than being a do it yourselfer.
  • Ask yourself:  is there better use of my time
  • 4 out of 10 millionaires have clothing altered versus buying new.

 7.  How millionaires choose their home

  • Average purchase price: $560,000 and hold onto in for it at least 10 + years.
  • 53% of have not moved in the past 10 years.
  • Balance sheet affluent versus Income statement affluent.  I loved how the book really highlighted the differences between the balance sheet affluent and the income statement affluent.  There are lots of people who make a lot of money (income statement affluent) but they spend it all.  Balance sheet affluent have a high net worth because of assets and other investments.
  • High Incomer earners in their 30’s and 40’s have a disproportion amount of the higher value mortgages in the market.

Millionaires use these guidelines to pick homes:

  • 1.  Be willing to walk away from any deal on any home at any time.
  • 2.  Don’t pay the initial asking price for any home. If you have ever paid the asking price for any home, most likely you are not a millionaire.
  • 3.  Never try to buy a home in a short span of time.
  • 4.  Look for an estate sale, divorce sale, or a foreclosure.
  • 5.  Only 27% of millionaires ever had a custom-built home.  1 out of 5 millionaires actually ever bought a spec house.
  • 6.  Always buy homes that you can afford.   Appreciation of the home and whether or not you can afford the payments easily.

What is affordable?  Assume that your annual income is cut in half a year after you buy a home.  Could you still afford it? If not, then it is not affordable for you.

 8.  Lifestyles

The 733 millionaires were surveyed and asked what activities they were engaged in within the last 30 days.

There were 27 lifestyle activities that these millionaires were engaged in.  Here are the top 3.

1.  Socializing with children and grandchildren

2.  Entertaining close friends.

3. Planning of investments

  • Millionaires don’t spend money so they can have fun.  They don’t buy boats, they don’t take exciting vacations.
  • Most millionaires are not do it yourself types.  On average they make $325 an hour.  They don’t put shelves up in the house, when they could be doing something else to earn $325 an hour.
  • Golf ranks 13th on the list:  However, most of the millionaires said that golf was not only a recreational activity, but it was a business activity that was one of the success factors that led them down the path to accumulate wealth.
  • Most millionaires in the study on average paid over $300,000 in taxes.  1 out of 5 paid over 1 million dollars in taxes.  One of the activities was that they all had met with a tax professional within the last 30 days.
  • Don’t borrow money for a new venture.  Bootstrap any business ventures.
  • Attended religious activities

These are my notes from the Millionaire Mind.  I hope you enjoyed the summary and picked up a few nuggets of wisdom along the way.  Please share.

To your success and your future.



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Create your own Blue Ocean

As we wrap up 2014 and shift our focus to 2015. I have already been thinking about what I plan on accomplishing and what I plan on not accomplishing next year.  I recently read the book Blue Ocean Strategy; How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant.  The book gives a playbook on four action steps a company can take towards making the competition irrelevant as it states in the title of the book.  The book uses the metaphor of oceans and explains that a red ocean is full of companies and products doing the same thing, selling the same things, and focused on the same customers.  A blue ocean strategy is where you are out in front, wading in the blue water all alone, because you have created a niche that no other company is competing with you.  A good example of companies that have done this would be Southwest Airlines, Apple did it with iTunes, and Google, to name a few.

The four action steps that companies can apply to business are also the same strategies that a person can apply in their own life.  These four action steps are the steps I am using in 2015 to create my own blue ocean and make the competition irrelevant.

The four action steps:

1.  Eliminate factors:  Some companies continue to keep certain features of their products because that is what they have always done and must keep doing. Additionally, the competition has these features so we must keep them as well is the thought process.

Just like a company there are certain things and activities that I have done the past few years that I think I must continue to do for my success, whether it is at work or my personal life.  In 2015, I plan on eliminating tasks, activities, and even people who I have thought I needed to continue my personal/professional success or advance my success.  I am going to do exactly what the book says that companies should do, I am going to eliminate certain factors that are no longer necessary to my future success.

2.  Reduce Factors: My mentor said that sometimes we spend major time on minor things.  Companies spend too much time and energy on factors that are well above the necessary requirements from the customer.  For example:  Having a top of the line break line when a less expensive break line that does the same thing is sufficient enough.

For me in 2015, I am reducing the amount of time I spend on tasks and activities that don’t matter as much.  There are many, I am not saying that they are not important tasks, but the amount of time I spend on them should be greatly reduced so I can spend more time on the areas in the next two action steps.

3.  Raise up factors:  There are some factors of a product that could add a lot of value to the product and the competitive advantage for the company producing the product, if the company would spend more time in raising up the standards in those areas.

In my personal and professional life there are activities that I will raise up and focus on more and raise the standard of which I have been allocating for them.  As I stated above, I will spend major time in these areas, because they have the potential to create the blue ocean opportunity for me personally and professionally.

4.  Create new factors:  In some product lines and industries there are factors that aren’t currently being offered by anybody.  This is where the greatest opportunities exist. What do customers want that they don’t even know they want?  If you create a product or highlight a feature of a product that is new, a blue ocean opportunity could be created.

This is the area that I am really excited about in 2015.  What are some new areas of growth and opportunity for me personally and professionally. What are some areas that I have never thought about focusing on that could bring great value to the marketplace and to my company.

The frameworks of eliminate, reduce, raise-up, and create is an easy process that any of us can apply in our jobs, our departments at work, and as I stated here,  in our lives  personally and professionally.


To your success and your future.


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The three C’s of decisions

Today and everyday you have an opportunity for greatness.  How do we get to greatness?  You have one of three decisions to make.  They are:

Chance:  The possibility of something happening.  Which means you are just sitting around waiting for something to happen.  Maybe it will happen maybe it wont. Sometimes chance can be a good thing as long as you are working to put yourself in places or situations where “chance” is more likely to occur.  But if you are hoping by chance that your next promotion will just happen because you have been on the job the longest, or your next in line, this is not a very good strategy.  Don’t wait for chance, prepare and decide.

Coercion: Out of the three C’s I would say this is the one that I worry about the most.  Which is why I try to stay in front of it.   Coercion is the act of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner.  How can coercion impact you?  It can come in two forms.  It can be Psychological or Physical.  Lets hope that nothing physical happens to you, but it could.

Sometimes things happen in our lives that force us to make decisions that we wouldn’t have made otherwise.  I do a lot of interviewing of people for jobs.  Some interviewees are looking for their next career path and an opportunity in the space I am in and some are just looking for a job because they lost their other job and need to pay the bills.  They have no desire to really do what we would require them to do, and they really don’t want to do it, but because of their current condition they have to take whatever they can get.  Don’t get caught up here.  Don’t allow external factors forced upon you to guide your decisions.  Be proactive and intentionally pursue your own decisions.

Choice: The last C is choice.  We all know what it means to make a choice and decide to do something.  It just means more and it will most likely lead to a desirable outcome that we envision for ourselves because we are controlling it.  However, you have to make a choice for your choices to make you.

What do you want to do, where do you want to be, how much do you want to make, where do you want to live, what do you want to do, who do you want to do it with? All of these are choices we can make, and we can make them every second, every hour, every day, and every year.  Make a choice and decide what is important to you and go after it.  If you don’t know how to do it, ask somebody that has done it before, if they can’t tell you how they did it, ask someone else.

As we wrap up 2014 and are thinking about our goals for 2015, what choices are you going to make?  What do you want to accomplish?  Don’t sit around and wait for a chance, don’t let some external factor coerce you in to making a decision, choose where you want to go and where you want to be, and go do it.

To your success and your future.



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Making payments

This weekend I have the fortunate opportunity to be in Atlanta, GA participating in the Dale Carnegie Training Leadership Certification process.  I have been a leadership trainer for years.  The process to become certified (official, with a credential) requires me to attend a four-day training event that is conducted by the company to see if I understand their material enough to represent them and deliver it.  I have my own material personally, however the certification with a 100-year-old training company gives me a pretty high level of credibility in the marketplace.

This four-day training is just one piece in the certification process. The process actually began over five years ago when I took the course the very first time.  It is a seven week course where you attend once a week for 3.5 hours.  Once you attend the course, you must be a course coach (graduate assistant twice), yep another 14 weeks.  I did all of that the last three years or so.  This weekend is the next step, and after this weekend, I will have to conduct another two classes (7 weeks a piece.)

This weekend as a trainer it is pretty challenging. The master trainer basically gives you a reality check.  They coach you on every single word you use in front of a live audience.  They provide you feedback and coach you on the spot in front of class participants and several other trainers.  The process is very humbling to stay the least.

As challenging as this process has been, is now, and will be in the future. I know it is necessary for me to get to the next level.  This weekend one of my colleagues and I when ever we get coached hard and are challenged, after it is over we just will look at each other and whisper (Making payments).  Yep, that is what we are doing,  We are paying the price, making the payments, investing.

1st thing about paying the price:  You have to do it.  There are no free rides.  You have to go through the process.  They just can’t say come up to me and say “You are now a trainer.”

2nd thing about paying the price:  If you didn’t pay the price you wouldn’t learn anything.  The process is what makes you better.  The credential is cool and I need it, but more importantly is the skills I am learning.

If you are reading this congratulations.  My challenge for you is this.  If you are looking for a magic pill that will help you lose weight, playing the lottery thinking that you will become wealthy, in your mind you deserve that promotion, ask yourself “Am I paying the price?”  If you don’t pay the price none of it matters, the skills you learn, the processes you develop, the initiatives you take, the sacrifices you make is what makes the process what it is, and it also makes them stick.

I’ll close on this.  Are you willing to do what others had to do, so you can do what they do.  If you are looking at a promotion or increased sales, what do you have to do. You want to be skinnier and healthier, are you willing to do what it takes and pay the price.  If you are, start making the payments. You have to pay first.  There is no way around it.

To your success and your future.


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Doing work that matters

“Doing work that matters”.  Don’t we all want to do work that matters?  I believe any work and any thing can be work that matters to anyone.  Because we all have different definitions of work and we all have opinions on whether or not the work that we do matters or not.

I am in a group on Facebook titled WeHungry.  This group has about 140 members or so in it.  The group was created for its members to post pictures, links, and statuses of the workout/exercise that they accomplished that day.  We have some people in the group that never post and we have some that post everyday.  The community that has been developed with these people who I dont even know (with the exception of one or two of them) is amazing.  We hold each other accountable to our fitness goals and our exercise routines.  When a person hasn’t posted for a few days some of the other members will actually call them out and ask them why haven’t they posted.  It is an amazing group.   And we are all doing work that matters.  It is not only my own personal goal to work out for my own reasons, but I think putting in the work in my workout and then posting that workout is “work that matters” its matters to me which is important, but it matters to that group and the individuals in that group.  There are days when I dont want to workout, we all have those. But when I see pics and posts of the people in that group doing the work in their workout it pushes me to not be a slacker.  We are all doing work that matters.

I have friends, colleagues, and some family members that are full-time working single parents.  Although I am not a single parent, I have been around working single parents enough that I can say without a doubt that I think it is one of the hardest things a person can do on their own.  The work that a single parent puts in at their real work (call it their job/career) is only the tip of the iceberg.  The work that begins in the morning to get a child up and out the door to school, or to a babysitter is hard, but it matters.  The work that they do after their job to get the kid to practice or to a meeting matters.  The work that the parents do to put dinner in their child’s belly, matters.  We all know that the work has to be done, but it is all “doing work that matters”.   It matters to the child, it matters to the parents, and it matters to society.

This past year I have become a blogger.  I don’t know how many people see my blogs, read my blogs, or even care to read my blogs.  However, I believe that the work that I put into the blogs matter.  It may matter to one person or 100 people, it doesn’t matter to me, I am going to keep doing it.  Why?  First it matters to me.  It makes me better as a person, executive, trainer, and leader. Secondly, it matters to someone.  I believe that the work that I put into the blogs, the twitter posts, Facebook posts, the book summaries, and everything else, matters to someone and at sometime it will matter to someone who needed it at that time.  I have come across and read something from someone else at a time when I really needed it and it mattered so much to me at that time. I believe it is my job to do the same.  That is “doing work that matters.”

I live in a fishbowl, and you do as well.  We all live in our own little fish bowls.  You could be the most well read and most networked individual on earth and maybe your fishbowl is a little bit bigger, but it is still a fishbowl.  In our fish bowls we know what we do and what we like and what we have. However, we can’t let the fishbowl prevent us from “doing work that matters.”  We can’t get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that we don’t think about “doing work that matters”, or in some cases realize that the work we are doing, matters.

This week I was working with a colleague of mine.  She was on her way to do the Angel Tree adoption.  The Angel Tree Adoption in case you live under a rock.  Is a tree that may have families, children, and teenagers background and what they need and maybe what they would like for Christmas.  The exact criteria to be on the tree and available for adoption I don’t know, but I do know it is for lower-income families and foster children.  She and a group of friends were adopting a family and providing that family with a Christmas.  This is “doing work that matters.”

Today, on your way to the office, you may stop at your local coffee-house or gas station and pick up a cup of coffee or you may have another routine.  Regardless you will come across some people on your way in and out of that establishment.  Take a minute and say good morning to the person who checks you out, take a minute and hold the door for someone behind you, or just say good morning or Merry Christmas to a stranger.  This is “doing work that matters”.

As you can see to me “doing work that matters” encompasses a lot of different things and can be accomplished in a lot of different ways.

So my question for you are you “doing work that matters” maybe you already are and you don’t think that you are.  Reflect and think about the work you are doing.  I am sure it matters.  It matters to you and most likely it matters to someone in your family or in your circle of friends and colleagues.

My commitment in 2015 is to do as much work as possible that matters.

To your success and your future.



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Good intentions and intentionality

Don’t we all have good intentions?  I have put together a brief list of a few items of intentions that I have had personally and a few that I think we all may have now or have had at one time.

  • Save X amount of money $$$$ in savings
  • Contribute X percent to my 401K
  • Lose X amount of weight
  • Exercise more
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink less
  • Quit facebook
  • Eat less
  • Spend more time with my family
  • Make it to church every Sunday
  • Write a book
  • Blog everyday
  • Read more
  • Network more
  • Go back to school and finish or start a degree
  • Stop complaining about my job
  • Change my career
  • increase my income

We all have intended on doing one of the above, or many of the above at one time and fell short of realizing those intentions. (unless you are just different from everyone else)  Why is it that we fall short of the good intentions we have?

This is where Intentionality comes in.  Intention is really just a desire or it could be a wish. Intentionality is the plan to get you to the intention.  You can’t go into battle without a plan, if you do it will be bloody and you will most likely lose.  You have to have a plan.

How can you turn your good intentions into reality?  You have to design a purposeful and intentional plan and then execute the plan by being intentional about everything you do, or more importantly, things you don’t do.

There are days, weeks, months, and years where your good intentions don’t get fulfilled?  Or is this just me.  Why don’t they?  Maybe something comes up?  Maybe something changes?  Maybe this or that.  Guess what, this will always happen, that is why we must live our lives with purpose and be intentional about everything we do.  Since I am a sports fan I like to use sports as my examples.

Do you think  Coach Pitino or Coach Calipari intend on winning every game?  Absolutely.  So when they are preparing for their next game and the offenses and defenses they will execute with their opponent, do you think those plans are not designed intentionally?  Absolutely they are. They intend on running those plays and they intend on winning the game don’t they?  Now at times something happens that we all hate?  They don’t play the game with intentionality and focused execution and the intentions don’t get realized.  We all hate that don’t we.

So live your life with purpose and intentionality today.  Turn your good intentions into reality.  The biggest gap in the world is a topic I have discussed before and is a great segway from this topic.  Click the link to learn what this gap is

To your success and your future.

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Influence the Eager by leading with Swagger (free download)

Many years ago I started out on a leadership journey.  At that time I didn’t know what leadership really was other than I knew it required me to work harder than everyone else. Which I did this pretty easily.  This is a good place to start I might add.  However, I didn’t have a playbook on how to lead, how to pick the people I should lead, and lastly a major piece that I didn’t see or understand at that time was how to lead yourself.  So after 10 years of grinding it out, learning from my failures, being blessed with some awesome opportunities, and then lastly taking really good notes, I have now created a playbook on what I call the fundamentals of leadership.

I have managed baby boomers, generations X, Y, and now even generation Z.  Here is what I have found about each of those generations in leading them.  They are all just people.  And people are the same today as they were since the beginning of time.  They want to be treated with respect and dignity, they want to be included, and they like to have relationships with others.  What they want from a leader is a vision that they can get excited about, they want their leader to ask their opinion, they want their leader to model the behavior that they are being asked to model.

This blook (a series of blogs turned into a mini-book) hits on exactly the things I mention above.   I call this blook the playbook on how to INFLUENCE people.  There are nine letters in the word INFLUENCE, by following the nine principles I outline, you will no doubt have more influence as a leader, mentor, friend, colleague, and parent.  As a leader it is your job to get people to do the things you want them to do, and you can only do this when you are influential.  This second part of the blook is about hiring people.  Which is a critical function of all leaders.  Leading and managing is one thing, but I outline what you should look for in a team member.  Lastly, and what I think is probably the most important part of the blook, and that is leading yourself.  I call it Swagger.  If you want to have influence and lead people you must have some swagger yourself.  I outline a solid game plan on how you can get more swagger.  Believe me, in leading in today’s business world swagger is not only needed, but it is required and is a must for you to be effective as a leader.

If this blog post has you interested in reading the blook.  You should be able to read the blook in 15 or 20 minutes or less.

Go to, click on the selfdevelopmentaddict blog and you will see the same blog title in this page.  Click the blog title and it will take you to the page. Input your name and email.  (I don’t sell your names to anybody, it’s just me.)

It is not required, but I would be curious if you could put in the message field what prompted you to download the file. 

Or can you just put the link below in your browser and it will take you there.  If you have any issues with the download let me know.

To your success and your future.

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I’ll take a 7 and 7, but hold the second seven

I was reading this morning some of my notes from a book that I have read and that I suggest you read as well, if you have time.  Or you can shoot me an email and I can send you some notes.  I will be posting a book summary on my website  in the next few days.  The book is Napoleon Hill’s famous “Think and Grow Rich.”

The book was first published during the Great Depression. At the time of Hill’s death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold more than 20 million copies and by 2011 over 70 million copies had been sold worldwide. It remains the biggest seller of Napoleon Hill’s books. BusinessWeek Magazine’s Best-Seller List ranked it the sixth best-selling paperback business book 70 years after it was published.Think and Grow Rich is listed in John C. Maxwell’s A Lifetime “Must Read” Books List.

In the book, Hill discusses the 14 emotions that we all have.  Seven of the 14 are considered positive emotions and we should embrace and allow them to push us.  The other seven are considered negative and we should avoid them.  I have included some commentary in each below.  The commentary is my thoughts and although I believe most of what Mr. Hill writes, I have added my thoughts on each emotion as well.

Desire: The emotion of desire is where it all begins.  We should embrace and look for this.   Without it we will accomplish nothing, but with it we can accomplish anything.

Enthusiasm:  What is more contagious that enthusiasm?  With an enthusiastic desire, nothing can stop a person from anything they put their mind to.  Think about the things that you get enthusiastic about.  Now, how can you do that all day, everyday.

Faith:  What is faith?  Faith is belief in something that you have no evidence that exists.  All you have is your experiences with or without faith and you allow that to control your attitude towards believing that it can or could exist.

Love:  We all seek to be loved and want to provide love to someone or something else.  This is the strongest emotion we all have.  We should embrace it and love often.

Sex:  It is one of the most potent emotions we have.  It can drive us to do some of the most positive things in our lives or it can drive us to do some of the dumbest things in our lives.

Romance:  What a great emotion we all have the opportunity to experience in our life.  To have that emotion with another person, it is such an emotion that can drive us to be something better than we would be without that person or that feeling in our presence.

Hope:  In my upcoming book 7 Ways to More.  I use the words faith and hope interchangeably.  Hope is the belief that something can or could exist when you don’t have any evidence that it does.  It is an attitude and a powerful one that can change your life.

Fear:  Although Mr. Hill states fear as being a negative emotion and I agree with him: Only if you allow fear to control your life.  Prevent you from getting out of your comfort zone or not doing something you should do.  However, fear can be positive in these ways.  Being fearful of going broke if you keep spending everything you make, or being fearful that you have to find a way to make more time to spend with your children so they have the mentoring necessary to become successful in life. These are fears that can drive you to desire. The key is to not allow fear to drive you to not do something, but let it drive you to do something.

Jealousy:  I can’t think of a better (better in this context) waste of time: than time spent on being jealous of another person.  If you just took the time you were spending on being jealous and put it towards accomplishing something for yourself, who knows what could happen.

Hatred: I really try to not use the word hate.  Although, it has crept into my vocabulary at times.  When we allow hatred of another person to be all-consuming is where we get into trouble.  It can push us to be someone we are not, or to do something we wouldn’t typically do.  So we can hate something, but we shouldn’t hate the person, but the thing the person is doing.   

Revenge:  A person cuts you off in the middle of the expressway.  You take off chasing after them in a high rate of speed, and before you catch up with them, a cop pulls you over.  Sound familiar?  Maybe not to you, but this is a story that is repeated over and over everyday on the roadways.  Seeking revenge is can cause this, but what if you actually caught up to the person?  How have we seen these stories end?  

Greed: We all have met greedy people haven’t we?  They are usually not very enjoyable people to be around.  They only care about themselves and how they can benefit from a situation or another person.

Superstition:  When you read this definition, it becomes very clear why this is a negative emotion, don’t allow this kind of thinking to creep into your thoughts.

Anger:  I have seen people lose the love of others, their life, and many other things just because of this strong emotion of anger.  Although we can use it to fuel us at times, we must be cautious of its power and not use it very often. 

These are 14 emotions we all have at times.  The key to all of the above emotions is to be aware of your emotions and how you use them.  Self-Awareness is always the first step to managing emotions.

For those of your who don’t know a 7 and 7 is a drink.  Click the link below to learn more about it.  Just like the drink, it is important to manage your emotions like you do the two liquids that make up the drink.

To your success and your future. 



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Winning is easy

What do you consider winning?  Is it landing the next promotion?  Acing the next exam?  Living a life that God wants you to live?  Be able to provide for your family?  Having more than enough to live off of?  Having money left over in the bank after all the bills are paid? Whatever you definition is of winning, it is really easy to do isn’t it?  All it requires is doing a little more than you would normally do.

Isaac Newton figured it out long ago.  The natural pull is downward.  If you don’t believe me.  Get on top of your house and throw a rock off of it and see where it goes. Look at a bird, sure it can glide for a few seconds, but if it isn’t flapping its wings it is falling down.  So if the natural pull is downward, and you look at the above list as winning, how do you win?

I believe it begins with making a commitment to win.  Meaning you will do whatever it takes to win.  When I say whatever it takes, I mean, it must be moral, ethical, and legal.  But it requires you to make a commitment.  Don’t forget to add the why to your commitment.  Your WHY is what will keep you going when the work gets hard.

You have made the commitment, now what?  Well now it is time to make a game plan.  You just can’t go into this thing without some preparation and a well designed plan.  A poorly designed plan is better than no plan at all, but why not take the time to develop the best game plan you can to win the game.  How much time do you think Nick Saban spends on designing a game plan so his Alabama Crimson Tide can win on Saturday afternoons?  It is a lot of time.

So now you have made the commitment to win.  You have designed a game plan.  What is next?  It is now time to go to work!  Nothing can be accomplished without the work.  Nothing happens until the labor is done.

When the work gets hard, remember your why.  I am not sure any of my suggestions on winning fits what you would classify as winning.  However, the game plan as outlined above is the same for everybody.  You must make the commitment, design a game plan, and go to work to make anything happen.

My mentor Jim Rohn talks about the ant philosophy in this video: check it out by clicking on the link we can all learn a few things from the ants.  They have no choice but to win everyday, because if they don’t they die.  What if we took that approach to everything in life that matters.

To your success and your future.

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