3 Things I learned last week 8/24-30/2015…

Experience is a great teacher, but reflecting on those experiences is even better teacher.  Each week I post a blog stating what learned the week before.  This little exercise forces me to reflect on the meetings I attended that week, the people I interacted with, the actions I took or didn’t take, did I pursue my goals and dreams and live each day intentionally.  This blog post is for me and it is an exercise that makes me better, but I love sharing it with others.

So what did I learn last week: 

The value of a coach:  Those who read my blog know that I realize the value of having a coach.  And if you know me personally, you know that I have a coach (that I pay) to hold me accountable in different areas of my life.  These coaches in these different areas of my life hold me accountable to the things that I said I was going to do.  I say I am going to become a nationally recognized speaker/consultant, they are holding me accountable to the activities that will allow me to get there. I say that I am going to become a top ranked sales person in my field.  My coach holds me accountable to the activities that will get me there. Regardless if you pay someone for coaching or you don’t, we all need coaches in our life to get us where we want to go.  If you were able to do it on your own, you would have already accomplished those things.  Sure your coach can be a friend, a colleague, a spouse, however, are they going to hold you accountable?  The second question?  Are you willing to be held accountable?  I know that for me to get where I want to go, I must continue to bring coaches in my life. I know this, but this week I was reminded again how critical it will be.

Be careful with your time:  Last week there were a couple of days that I allowed a few meetings and a few people to hijack my time.  I allowed the meeting to go a little longer than it should.  I allowed an individual to take more of my time than was productive.  We all know that our time is valuable. It is actually the most valuable and important resource we have.  Sure, we all have meetings and interactions that we must be involved in, but the ones we can control, we have to manage to not allow them to take more of our time than necessary.  When you burn a day, you don’t get it back.  So we have to be sure how we use our time.  I know you know this and I know this, however, going in to this week, as I look at my calendar, I see a few interactions that I know could take more time than it should.  I am preparing myself to be sure that I don’t let those interactions take more time than necessary. 

Comfort zone: “Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.”–Mark Twain.  Now, I know that we don’t mind getting out of our comfort zone. Matter of fact if you are reading this blog, you are probably doing it pretty frequently.  So the question I have for you is this:  Do you do it intentionally or do you wait for it to happen?  I can only speak for me here.  There are times where I will only do it when it happens by circumstance or through the natural course of the day or something.  I am always a gamer and will step up to whatever it is.  But where I have to be better is intentionally doing it on my own.  These last two weeks, I have been intentionally getting out of my comfort zone in several different ways in my life.  Am I growing?  Yep.  And I getting better? Yep.  So I must continue to do the things that stretch me.  I am learning that this intentional living is getting me closer to my goals and my dreams.

I hope you had a great week last week, and you are planning to have an awesome week this week.  What did you learn last week that you could share?  Please share with us.

To your success and your future.

 

 

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4 Things I am doing today that you are not doing

What day is it?  Come on, you know.  Say it!  Say it!  It’s hump day.  We have all seen the commercial by now.  It is a really funny commercial.

So what is hump day?  At noon today, the workweek will be half way over.  Have you accomplished everything you wanted to so far this week?  Are you any closer to your goals?     Are you wishing the weekend was here already or are you embracing the remaining time left in the week?

  1. Don’t wish your life away–I have been here before as well.  I wish the weekend would hurry up and get here.  I wish the vacation that I have planned would hurry up.  I wish that it was already summer.  Maybe it has something to do with age or witnessing a lot of death. But I try really hard to not wish time to go by.   Our time is very limited on this earth anyway.  We need to embrace every minute of it and enjoy it all while we are here.   Instead of wishing time away, seek out a career, a lifestyle, a passion that you don’t want to get away from or wish away.  When you are passionate about something you want more time to do it.
  2. Assess where you are–So how do you stop wishing your life away?  Take inventory of where you currently are and where do you want to go.  If you are not in the job you want.  Then what do you need to do to get the job you want.  If you don’t have the kind of lifestyle you desire, then define what kind of lifestyle you want, and then what do you need to change to get to that kind of lifestyle.  To get where you want to go, you have stop and look around and see where you are.
  3. Take massive action–So we stopped wishing our life away.  We have taken some inventory and we know where we are and where we want to go.  Now we have to take some massive action.  This is the hard part by the way.  As of writing this blog this morning.  This is where I currently am in this process.  I know where I am and I have a pretty clear target of where I want to go.  I am currently taking massive action to get there.  I am doing more work, more work, more work, and more work to get there.  In my business, I am trying to go from obscurity to becoming more known as a leader and influencer in a few different spaces.  To do this, it is requiring me to do a lot of different things, but I am doing it.  Most of it is for free as well, meaning I don’t get paid.  But to get where you want to go, it requires massive action and in many cases there is no return for you for a while.
  4. Create more time–It just seems like there isn’t enough time in the day, do you agree?  I would.  That is why my goal is to maximize the time I do have.  Which includes creating more time to pursue the things I need to pursue. In the morning, what would an extra half hour do for you?  Its only 30 minutes.  At lunch instead of taking the whole hour to eat.  What if you just grabbed a bite in fifteen minutes and then used the other 45 minutes to pursue the massive action.  It could be studying, working on a side project or something you want to launch.  The other piece to creating more time is ensuring you focus your time on the areas that are most important to your success and your future.

It’s only Wednesday morning.  You have three more days technically to pursue all of the things outlined above.  So the question is what are you going to do?  I know what I am going to do.  I started doing it about three hours ago.  Are you going to join me in doing these things or are you going to be like everyone else and do what you always do.

To your success and your future.

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3 Things I learned last week 8/16-23/2015…

What a week of learning I had this past week.  I not only learned some new things, but I was also reminded of things that I already know.

Leadership:  Crappy leadership is everywhere.  This is a whole blog within itself, but I was reminded from a few examples this week on why I believe bad leadership is everywhere.   The reason I share this opinion this week is I hope to inspire my readers, especially the ones in leadership positions that have the ability to change this.  So why and how did I witness crappy leadership this week:

  • Leaders don’t get emotional.  Sure we can get emotional about a topic or a subject, but we can’t get emotional and let others see or hear our emotions in a negative light.
  • Leaders must hold themselves accountable first.  You know the old saying: “Do as I say not as I do”.  NO!  NO!  that is not the saying. “Do as I say and as I do”.  Or leading by example.  Leaders must lead by example.

The good news and the bad news is that there is crappy leadership everywhere.  The reason it is bad, because we need strong leadership in our communities, our workplaces, and our lives.  The good news, is that there are a lot of opportunities for those who want to take on leadership roles.

You have more in the tank:  I am a runner.  On Saturday I participated in a 5K race.  I have run in many 5K’s before, but I chose to run in this one kind of last-minute.  I set a goal to run this race in a time that I have not run before.  I wanted to set a PR (Personal Record) for myself.

I am pacing well half way through the race, but I get to the last half mile of the race and the final hill of the race, and I am just gassed. To accomplish my PR, I have to run the 3.10 miles at a 6 minute and 25 second pace, give or take.  I ended up running the race in a 7 minute and 1 second pace.  So roughly 36 seconds slower than I needed to.

I finished the race first in my age/gender class, and 20th overall.  It was victory.  But I had more in the tank.  I know I did.  My body wasn’t tired, but my mind convinced me that it was.  I could have pushed through not only during that final hill, but many times throughout the entire race. I had more in the tank.

This week, when you think you are exhausted and out of gas, dig a little deeper, don’t give up, you have more in your tank.

Don’t listen to everything the people who haven’t been where you want to go say.  Kind of a long statement.  But here is what it means.  You are desirous of going somewhere aren’t you?  Maybe it is in your career, your relationships, your health, or some other area of your life.  There are most likely several people in your life that are giving you advice.  Maybe they are telling you how to do it.  Maybe they are telling you, you cant do it.  Or maybe they are just cheering you on, to do it.  In some cases they may be doing all three.

Here is what I want you to takeaway though. Don’t listen to everything they say.  Sure some of it may be valid and worth listening to but we have to remember “don’t take all the advice from people who have never been where you want to go.” Get around the people who have successfully navigated the waters of the places you want to go.  They know how to maneuver in the waters to successfully get you to the destination.

It was a great week of lessons for me this past week.

What did you learn last week?  Please share with me and my readership.

To your success and your future.

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Four F words for your Friday

How was your week?  Did you get everything you wanted to accomplish completed?  Did you complete that home project? Get your children back in school?  What about that project at work?  I am sure you had a great week full of accomplishments and milestones.  It is now time to change our mindset and focus on the other areas of our life that are just as important, if not more important.

Be sure you do all of the following sometime this weekend:

Fun:  This weekend be sure you do something fun.  What is fun to you?  Only you know what that is.  If you haven’t done anything fun in a while and don’t know what it is you want to do?  Do a quick google search and see what is going on in or around where you live.  Google search “Fun things in ______” (your town, city, state).  There are plenty of things to do.  Just go and do them.  Don’t think about why you shouldn’t do them, think about all the reasons why you should do them.

Family/Friends: Life is all about our relationships with family and friends.  Do you have a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while or a family member?  Can you give them a call and see if they would like to do something? Even if it isn’t someone you haven’t seen in a while, be sure you make the time to be with family and/or friends.  Make time to enjoy those relationships this weekend and do something fun with them.

Find: Sure we will have some fun this weekend with our family and friends.  We will do some things that we may have not done in a while, if ever.  But I also want to challenge you to find the time to think about your future. Find the time to focus on your faith.  Find the time to focus on your finances.  Find the time to focus on your fitness.  Whatever is important to us we will find the time to commit to it.  The weekend is the best time to do some of these things.  You don’t have the excuses of life in your way.

Forget about it:  Did you not complete everything you wanted to complete at work?  Can it wait until Monday?  If the answer is yes.  Then forget about it, until Monday.  I know it is hard to forget about things and get our minds off of certain things. This weekend, I challenge you (and myself) to do just that.  Get our minds off of things and forget about it.

I hope you enjoy your weekend.  I know I will.

To your success and your future.

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13 Reasons why you should skip Happy Hour

It is 4:45 pm on a Thursday.  Or maybe for you it is any day that ends in Y.  But you are eagerly waiting to go to the closest Happy Hour at your favorite watering hole.  You are so excited that it is like you are a child on Christmas Eve.

We all have seasons in our life where going to Happy Hour is just what we do.  However, if you look at any of the below thirteen comments and you can relate, then my suggestion for you is to stop going to Happy Hour.

If…

1. You are broke:  You don’t have any money.  Go home and save your money.

2. You haven’t read a book since college or since someone made you. Invest in your mind instead.

3. Your family thinks you work late every night: Your family hates your company, because they think they work you too hard. Go home and spend time with them.

4. Your gym recently called you to see if you were still alive:  You are overweight and out of shape. Invest your energy into your most precious resource, you.  Get healthy instead.

5.  Work later so you can get the project completed: It’s already overdue, get the job done so you can move onto the next.

6. You went yesterday: It has become routine for you. Take a week off, at least.

7. Your college credits have dust on them: How many credits do you have?  Finish the degree, you aren’t getting any younger.

8. Nobody else is going but you: It’s not called happy hour if you go by yourself.  Its called alcoholism.

9. You haven’t met someone new since you met your spouse: Attend a networking event. Meeting new people opens up doors. If the only people you know in your industry are the people in your office, that is a problem. Get out and meet some people.

10. Your happy hour usually turns into an all nighter: You can’t stop at one or two, you go all night like it is a party.

11. Your skills haven’t been enhanced since Microsoft Windows Millennium edition came out: Attend a seminar, a class, a course, invest in developing your skills, a new skill, or a pursue new venture.

12. You treat it like a college party: Happy Hour is a for a few drinks, not keg stands and shots.

13. Your last goal was to graduate college:  It’s time to set some new goals.  Spend some time charting out what you want your life to look like.

As I stated above, at different times of our life we are going through different seasons.  There are some seasons where happy hour makes sense and we can do it without any regrets.  Then there are other seasons where we have to take care of the most important things first.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

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7 ways to make the most of one’s self

Coach John Wooden is considered one of the best coaches of all time.  He led the UCLA Bruins collegiate basketball team to 10 NCAA Titles, including seven in a row from 1967-1973.  In twenty-seven seasons of coaching he won 620 games.  At one point his teams had a winning streak of 88 consecutive games.  They had four perfect 30-0 seasons.  Won 38 straight games in NCAA Tournaments and a record 98 straight games on their home court. Coach Wooden won the NCAA College Basketball Coach of the year seven times. He is one of the most winningest coaches of all time.  He was inducted into the Basketball hall of Fame as a coach and as a player.  He is a legend.

One of the things I admire about Coach Wooden (even though I never met him) is he had a high level of integrity and cared about others.  I have read several books on John Wooden, watched many biographies, and listened to many of his former players tell stories of the man.  I read a story of John Wooden recently that I believe illustrates why he was as successful as he was.

When John was twelve (1922) his father gave him a card with seven things written on it, and it was titled “Make the Most of One’s Self”.  John carried that card with him until his death at 100 years of age.  Johns father was a great leader that inspired John Wooden to become the great leader that he became.  John lived these principles every single day in every single way.  The way he lead himself and his team was through these seven principles his father shared with him.

Here are the seven things his father shared with him:

  • Be True to yourself    (Don’t be something you are not)
  • Make each day your masterpiece   (Excellence)
  • Help others    (Volunteer and share what you have) 
  • Drink deeply from good books   (knowledge)
  • Make friendship a fine art    (Relationships)
  • Build a shelter against a rainy day   (Money)
  • Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day   (Gratitude)

A twelve-year boy receiving this gift is one thing, I am not even sure at twelve I could even comprehend what these seven things meant.  At 36, I look at these and I say, WOW, what a good way to live every day.  If I just lived every day of my life by these seven principles I would be doing just fine.

When you read the above seven principles what do they mean to you? Next to the principles in parenthesis, I put my thoughts, and I would love for you to share yours.

To your success and your future.

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3 Things I learned last week…8/10-16/2015

Another week and a few more learning experiences that I learned this week.

The more we need to do something, the more resistance we will have towards doing it.  Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.”The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed. Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down and do our work.–The War of Art; author Steven Pressfield. 

This passage and this book really challenged me to think about what I am currently putting off.  As I stated above, the things we really need to do are the things that we usually have the most resistance to.  Things such as saving money, losing weight, writing a book, taking the class, attending the session, etc. We can come up with all kinds of reasons why we cant do it, but these are usually the very things we need to do.

Criticism:  None of us like to be criticized. I especially don’t.  Some criticism makes us better while other criticism is a deliberate intent by someone else to devalue what it is that we are pursuing.  This week I learned a new way to look at criticism.  Maybe it isn’t new to you, but it is new to me.  Criticism, in any form.  Whether it is in jest, a joke, a snarky comment, a response to a tweet or Facebook post, in any form.  The person doing the criticizing is secretly upset that you are pursuing your passion, stating your thoughts, or communicating your passions, and they are upset with themselves that they can’t or won’t do the same.  From here on I will ignore criticism that is not productive.

My goals are too small.  If you are reading this blog the chances are you are a very deliberate and intentional goal setter.  I am as well.  This week as I was looking at my goals and what I have accomplished thus far this year and in my life I am pretty satisfied.  However, I am starting to wonder have I set them too low.

I have studied and listened to some of the most successful people on this earth today and ones that were highly successful and are no longer alive. I have also listened to countless seminars on the art of goal setting.   One of the things that many people say is that you should set realistic goals.  I have done this with a lot of success.  However, if you want to accomplish bigger things and create bigger opportunities you have to set goals that are even bigger than you can conceive at this point. This week as I studied and listened to some of these highly successful people, I am encouraged now to set bigger goals than ever before.  One of my favorite quotes that I heard this week was this:  “Set goals so big that you are embarrassed to tell someone what they are.”

I am not sure if any of these things are that significant to you, but they are to me.  As I have shared with you in previous posts.  Experience alone is not a great teacher, Reflective experience is how you learn.  By reflecting on your experiences on a given day or a given week, or certain situation, is how you get better and this is what this blog is for me each week.

I hope you enjoy my thoughts.

To your success and your future.

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No more pointless questions

Do you ever ask questions that don’t provide very good answers?  I do!  Which is why I continue to study the art of asking better questions that can provide me with better answers.

Here are four kinds of questions that lead to better answers:

Ask questions that show you are listening to what they are saying.  Who do you ask these questions to?  Whoever it is you are talking to.  Maybe it is your spouse, a friend, a colleague, a client.  To become a better questioner you must listen more intently so you know what questions to ask.  Most people listen because you know if you listen long enough you will get a chance to talk. Change this.  Instead listen with the intent to ask another question and see what happens to your conversations and your influence with people.

Ask questions that evoke thought.  Whenever you ask a question and the person you asked it to has to pause, and their eyes look up before they respond.  It means you are requiring them to think about the question.  I call these vertical questions, because they require a person to look up and think about how they will respond.

A good example of a question may be to a friend: “If given the opportunity again, what would be a different approach to that situation?”  A client “When your business is operating at its highest efficiency, what are some of the things that are happening to get it there?” Both of these questions require some thought before they would respond to them.  This gets them both thinking about the situation and how it could possibly work better.  Your influence and value increases in the persons eyes when you get them thinking at this level.

Ask open-ended questions that create greater clarity, possibility, or new learning.  We all know that we should ask opened ended questions, don’t we?  We do, but do we ask them?  Open-ended questions are the Who, What, When, Where, How, Why questions.  What is the value of these kinds of questions?  They bring clarity to the conversation.

Instead of just saying “Does your business use vendors?”.  To get clarity on what types of vendors, a better question would be “What kinds of businesses do you all usually partner with for services”.  Or “Who are some of the vendors you have used in the past.”  Both of these questions require clarity.  To better understand a situation and get the person you are speaking with to better understand their situation, asking questions that provide clarity generates a better response and shows more value to you and especially the person who is answering the questions.

Ask questions that move people toward what they desire, not questions that ask for them to justify or look backward.  Instead of asking your friend why the last diet they were on didn’t work.  Say something like, “What would it look like for you 6 months from now, if you were able to eat a more balanced diet and workout consistently.”  This requires them to think about the future and what a future desired state would look like.  By getting them to think about how it will feel and what it will look like, they are mentally already starting to think about the suggestion you may have made or will be making so they can get to the desired future state.

So why do we want to ask better questions?  If you are reading this blog post, it means you are seeking to have more influence and knowledge. To have more influence and show more value to people, you have to learn the art of asking questions that get the person answering the questions to think about their situation.  When you help them do this you become a person that adds value to them and you become a more influential person.

To your success and your future.

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3 E’s to getting people to listen to you

We can all agree that we want others to listen to us.  At work, when you are working with others on a project you want them to implement your suggestions.  At home when you are talking to your spouse you want them to agree with you or you want them to do something based on your suggestion as well.  When you are meeting with a colleague or a friend, inevitably something will come up that you will know something about and you will make a suggestion.

Your hope is your friend/colleague listens to your suggestion for two reasons.  The first reason, you sincerely believe what you are suggesting will work.  And secondly, you want them to come back and tell you later how it worked and thank you for the advice.

I am not the only one that feels this way am I?  Yes, I want to help people and I will share whatever resources I have to do so.  But we all like to know that whatever resource we use a suggestion, a process, an actual physical object, etc., we want to know that it worked, and like to be told that it worked.

So how can we get others to listen to us?

Earned the right:  You cannot speak of something that you don’t know yourself.  You must have experience in dealing with whatever you are suggesting.  Now there are many ways to earn the right.  It could be you have first hand experience with something, worked with someone once before on something similar, or have completed something totally opposite but the same rules would apply to this scenario.

For example:  If you have a friend who is seeking to quit smoking. If you used to be a smoker and quit.  Then you have the earned the right to suggest some ways to quit smoking.  But what if you have never smoked before.  Lets say you had an addiction to soft drinks that were caffeinated.  Smoking and caffeine are similar kinds of habits that you would apply the same processes to quit either of them.  So in this case you have earned the right to make a suggestion.

Excited:  To get someone to listen to us we must be excited and enthusiastic about whatever it is we are trying to convey.  The examples I used above would obviously be something a person most likely would be excited about since they have had direct experience with doing it as well.  You cannot get someone else excited about something that doesn’t invoke excitement in you.  So if you want someone to listen to you, your excitement must be apparent and be articulated to whatever it is you are speaking about.

Example:  Have you ever met a small business owner that actually invented the product that they are telling you about?  Or a small business owner that hasn’t invented their product, but their life has been impacted by the product?  Either one of these examples are great examples of people who are excited.

Eager To Share:  Lastly, if you want others to listen, you have to be eager to share your experiences and stories with them.  Using the example of the small business owner.  We agree that they are excited?  And they are eager to share?  They are so willing to share, that you know that if you start talking to them you will be in that conversation forever.  Now sometimes they may be overeager to share. Regardless, we as listeners appreciate their passion and willingness to tell us about their product, even if we aren’t interested.  If we are interested, we are definitely willing to listen as long as we have to.

So do you have the 3 E’s in your daily communication with others?  Look for ways to incorporate the 3 E’s in your daily communication today and let me know how it works for you.

To your success and your future.

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3 Things I learned last week…8/3-8/15

I am coming off a very busy week.  But aren’t they all busy! It seems like mine are for sure.

What I learned this past week…

1. Rich people buy time and poor people sell their time.  How much is your time worth?  That is a good question for all of us, one that we should all seek to find some answers to.  We all have a definitive amount of time here on this earth (we don’t know what it is), in our month, in our week, in our day.  How do you want to spend your time?  Rich people have the resources to buy more time.  They don’t cut their grass (that is an hour back in your day and your life), they maybe don’t clean their own house, (that is a few hours back in your life), they don’t wash their cars (thirty minutes), house projects (unless they really  want to, but how long do these take?).

How much time do we spend at work on the job?  I know we all love what we do and where we do it.  However, what we are really doing is selling our time for a price, a wage. Maybe your wage is awesome and you love it, that’s great, but what would you be doing if you were rich and didn’t have to sell your time to someone else?   These are questions I am asking myself daily right now.  Am I buying time or selling time?  Grant Cardone is a best-selling author and he has challenged me with this kind of thinking this week.

2.  Say yes and then try to figure it out.  About a month ago I said yes to something that I really didn’t know that much about.  I knew enough to know that it would stretch me and grow me, but I really didn’t know the details of it.  I spent this week trying to learn the details and then on Thursday I executed the decision. It was a great experience that took me way out of my comfort zone and I grew from that experience on that day.  It may also lead to some future business opportunities.

The lesson I learned was sometimes we hear a good idea or something we think we might like, and then we spend time trying to find reasons not to do it.  When we do this we don’t grow and we don’t have a chance to enjoy new experiences or new people.  We don’t want to say yes, and waste our time, however, we do want to say yes to the things that will make us better and get us closer to maximizing our full potential.  Next time a good or unique opportunity presents itself, just say yes, and then try to figure it out, it might just be one of the best experiences you have.

3. You have to mix it up. In the past two weeks I started changing up my workout routine, a lot.  And I am extremely sore.  My whole body hurts.  It is a good hurt, but it hurts.  The hurt is because I used different muscles and body parts that I have not been using.  By using these different muscles and body parts my body has now become stronger because I am strengthening more of it.  This is the same in our work life as well.  If you get used to doing the same kind of work, the same kind of decisions, the same kind of leading, the same kind of managing, you aren’t growing.  Your muscles in those areas are just like the muscles in your body, you have to work all of them, and if you are only working parts of them you get really strong in those areas, but you may be missing other areas that need the work.  This week I challenge you to mix it up.  If you are used to leading in one way, try something else, and see what happens.

To your success and your future.

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