11 Super-Duper Short book summaries

In this world of 8 second attention spans (myself included), twitter, and emojis and pictures instead of words. I have compiled my reading list to date for 2015, and my super-duper short book summaries on what I took away from the book.  My suggestion is always to read the books, read as many books as you can, and I suggest reading the books below, well, maybe one of them I wouldn’t. My hope is that after reading these short one or two sentence summaries you may decide to actually read the whole book.  If not, enjoy my thoughts on them.

What to do when its your turn and it’s always your turn; author Seth Godin

  • Take advantage of what is in front of you and act now, don’t wait for permission, you already have permission.

The Speed of Trust; author Stephen MR Covey

  • Trust is the essential ingredient to success in life.  You must have it in all relationships that you encounter throughout your career and your life.  Learn how to build it.

Freakonomics; authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

  • A bunch of case studies that added zero value to my life.

How to Kill a Unicorn (How the Worlds Hottest Innovation Factory Builds bold ideas that make it to Market); author Mark Payne 

  • Most good ideas are killed before they ever have a chance to fully develop, put in the work to find a really good idea and then do whatever it takes to see it through.

The Reputation Economy (How to Optimize your digital footprint in a world where your reputation is as good as cash); author Michael Fertik

  • If you are online or have ever been online, you have a digital footprint.  You must protect your identity at all costs, it can either hurt you or you can learn how to monetize it for gain, learn how to do the latter.

The Seven Levels of Communication; author Michael Maher 

  • Your network will drive your net worth.  The more people you add value to the more value you will receive in return.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Wealth and Wisdom; author Ben Franklin

  • Be intentional about everything in your life and don’t be lazy, most people are poor because they are too lazy to pursue things that can lead to wealth.

SPIN Selling (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need and Payoff); author Neil Rackham

  • When you help a buyer discover how many problems they have, or could have, that they didn’t even know or think about, the chances of you making the sale goes up.

Well Being (the Five Essential Elements); author Tom Rath and Jim Hartner

  • Be sure you are in a career that you are passionate about and like, because it drives all areas of your life and well-being.

Tom Coughlin: Earn The Right To Win (How success in any field starts with Superior Preparation); author Tom Coughlin 

  • Show up early, practice hard, plan every detail, and be disciplined in everything you do each day and success will come.

Decide (Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, And Lead By example); author Steve McClatchy

  • You have two choices to make with your time: You can focus on all of the maintenance things you “have to do”, or you can make time for the things you “want to do” which leads to improvement in your life.

You can click on this link  http://www.thebrianwillett.com/literature/favorites/ it will take you to a page to see other favorite books I have read.  Also, if you click on the picture of the book it will take you to amazon so you can order the book if you wish.

As always I welcome your feedback.

To your success and your future.

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SPIN Selling; book summary and notes

SPIN Selling: Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff; author: Neil Rackham http://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/

SPIN selling was published in 1988, and at that time it was considered to be the most heavily researched book on sales ever created.  The research was compiled over 12 years and 35,000 sales calls, and 1 million dollars in research.

The study was compiled from 116 factors that might play in part in sales performance. The studied was centered around the larger sale. Up until this time a lot of sales training was centered around the smaller scale.  In small sales the consumer is less conscious about value.  As the size of the sale increases, successful sales people must build up the perceived value of their products and services.  The building of perceived value is probably the most single important selling skill in larger sales. The SPIN model is developed around this concept.  The study found that the salespeople who didn’t successfully transfer handling larger sales were those who had a difficulty building the customer’s perception of value.

Four stages of a sales call:  

1.  PreliminariesThese are important, but have less impact on the sale than originally though in the study.

2.  Investigating: Asking better questions can increase sales by more than 20 percent the study found.

3.  Demonstrating Capability: As the size of the sale increases the ability to demonstrate that your solution can solve the customers problems is a must.  The bigger the problem that you can help the buyer discover, the more likely you have to sale them your solution.

4.  Obtaining commitment: Finally a successful sales call will end with some sort of commitment from the customer.  In smaller sales it is a purchase.  In larger sales it is a lot more.  They are called advances.  Small commitments that get you closer to the bigger sale.


Situation questions:  Dont irritate your buyer with questions that are not relevant.  Don’t overuse them because to many question can bore the buyer.

  • Are used more in calls which fail
  • Are overused by inexperienced sales people.

Needs: (In this book the author uses the term to describe the buyers wants and needs)

  • First sign of a need is when the buyer shows a slight discontent or dissatisfaction.
  • Starts with minor imperfections
  • Evolves into clear problems, difficulties, or dissatisfaction.
  • Finally becomes wants, desires, or intentions to act.

Implied Needs: Statements by the customer of problems, difficulties, and dissatisfactions.

Explicit Needs: Specific customer statements of wants and desires. EX: We need a faster system.

  • Less successful sales people don’t differentiate between Implied and Explicit Needs, so they treat them the same way.
  • Very successful sales people, often without realizing they are doing so, treat Implied Needs in a very different way than Explicit Needs.
  • In small sales the more Implied Needs you can uncover, the greater the chances of success in selling.
  • Implied needs are buying signals in small sales, but not in large.
  • In larger sales the ability to take the Implied needs and convert them into Explicit Needs is where success occurred in the study.  The purpose of your questions should be to uncover Implied Needs and to develop them into Explicit Needs.

Problem Questions:  These are questions that identify problems or concerns for the buyer. Questions like: “Is this operation difficult to perform?”  “Are you worried about the quality that this machine performs?” These questions explore problems, difficulties, and dissatisfaction in areas where the sellers product can help.

  • Problem questions are more strongly liked to sales success than situation questions are.
  • In smaller sales the link is very strong the more Problem questions the seller asks, the greater the chances the sale will be successful.
  • In larger sales, Problem questions are not strongly linked to sales success.  Theres no evidence that by increasing your problem questions can increase your sales effectiveness.
  • If you can’t solve a problem for your customer, then there’s no basis for a sales.  But if you can uncover problems you can solve, then you’re potentially providing the buyer with something useful. 

Implication questions: In smaller sales, sellers can be very successful if they just know how to ask good situation and problem questions.  In larger sales this is not enough, successful people need to ask a third type of question. Implication questions: EX: “How will this problem affect your future profitability?” “What effect does this reject rate have on  customer satisfaction?”  Implication questions take a customer problem and explore its effects or consequences.

  • Are strongly linked to success in larger sales
  • Build up customers perception of value
  • Are harder to ask than Situation or Problem questions.
  • Implication questions increase the size of the problem in the buyer’s mind.
  • Decision makers respond very well to Implication questions.  They are the ones whose success depends on seeing beyond the immediate problem to the underlying effects and consequences.
  • Implications are the language of decision makers, and if you can talk their language, you’ll influence them better.

Need-Payoff questions:  EX:  “Would it be useful to speed this operation by 10 percent?” “If we could improve the quality of this operation, how would that help you?” In the studies, they found that top performers ask more than 10 times as many Need-Payoff questions per sale than average performers.

  • Are strongly linked to success in larger sales
  • Increase the acceptability of your solution
  • Are particularly effective with influencers who will present your case to the decision maker.
  • Need-Payoff questions have succeeded in focusing customer attention on solutions rather than problems.
  • Need-Payoff questions reduce objections.

These questions do two things:

  • They focus the customer’s attention on the solution rather than on the problem.
  • They get the customer telling you the benefits. EX:  How do you think a faster machine would help you?”

How to use SPIN questions:

  • Before the sale, write down three potential problems which the buyer may have and which your products or services can solve.
  • Write down actual problem questions that you could ask to uncover each of the potential problems you’ve identified.

Planning Implication Questions:

  • Write down a potential problem the customer is likely to have
  • Then ask yourself what related difficulties this problem might lead to and write these down. Think of these difficulties as the implications of the problem.
  • For each difficulty, write down questions it suggests.


  • Have a positive effect on small sales.
  • Are neutral or un-persuasive in larger sales.
  • Users respond more positively to Features than do decision makers


  • Facts or characteristics of a product or service.
  • Shows how a feature can help a customer.
  • A Benefit must have a cost saving for the buyer
  • A Benefit is any statement that meets a need.
  • A Benefit has to appeal to the personal ego needs of the buyer, not to organizational or departmental needs. 
  • A Benefit must be something which you can offer and which your competitors can’t.
  • A benefits gives a buyers motive.


  • Show how a product or service can be used or can help the customer.
  • Have a positive effect on small sales but little effect on larger sales.
  • Have less impact late in the selling cycle.

Focus on the problems that your product solves and on thinking up the questions that will uncover and develop these problems, is a proven successful method of selling. 


  • Objection handling is much less important skill than most training makes it out to be.
  • Objections, contrary to common belief, are more often created by the seller than the customer. 
  • In the average sales team, there’s usually one salesperson who receives 10 times as many objections per selling hour than another on the same team.
  • Skilled people receive fewer objections because they have learned objection prevention, not objection handling. 
  • Customers are most likely to raise price objections where the seller gives lots of features.  It seems that the effect of Features is to increase the customers sensitivity to price.
  • You will get an objection if you provide a solution before you have developed the need. 

Objections too early:  Customers rarely object to questions unless you have found a way to ask offensive questions. Dont do this.  Most objections are to solutions that don’t fit needs. If you’re getting a lot of objections, it probably means that instead of asking questions you have been prematurely offering solutions and capabilities. Don’t talk about your solutions until you’ve asked enough questions to develop strong needs.

Objections about value: If most of the objections you receive raise doubts about the value of what you offer, then there’s a good chance that you’re not developing needs strongly enough.  Typical value objections would be it’s too expensive, I don’t think its worth the trouble of changing from our existing supplier. In cases like these, customer objections tell you that you haven’t succeeded in building strong need. The solution lies in better needs development, not in objection handling. Particularly if you are getting price objections, cut down on the use of features and, instead, concentrate on asking Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff questions.

Notes about closing: 

  • In low value sales, given unsophisticated customers and no need to develop a containing customer relationship, closing techniques can work very effectively. With professional buyers closing techniques make you less effective and reduce your chances of getting the business.
  • In larger sales since it requires many steps in the sales process and may people.  The close may be an advance.  Which means the sales is advancing to the next step.  All good sales people realize what they are looking for during each step of the sales process.
  • If you can convince buyers that they need what you are offering, then they will often close the sale for you.
  • Instead of focusing on closing the sale, look at it as, opening a relationship.

My hope is that you found a few nuggets in here that will help you be more successful in selling.  This is obviously a book summary and my notes (what I highlighted in the book), so if you want more information I would encourage you to read the book.  My summaries are an attempt to add value to someones life, my hope is that you did receive that value.  If you did, show me, and please share with me your thoughts and takeaways.

To your success and your future.


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Decide; Work Smarter and Lead, book notes and summary

Decide; Work Smarter, Reduce your Stress, and Lead by example. author: Steve McClatchy

Link to book: http://www.amazon.com/Decide-Smarter-Reduce-Stress-Example/dp/1118554388/

Steve McClatchy has taken time management and priorities to a different level.  He presents the material in his book in a unique way with stories and illustrations that really make the points he is conveying.  This is one of the best books I have read this year so far.  I highly highly recommend this book.

The book starts out with the first Chapter titled: Two forms of human motivations: Gain and Prevent pain. Either gain or prevent pain pushes you toward completing every decision and activity you pursue.  And although it could be a combination of both, one is always in the majority.  You have 51 percent or more of one of those motivations driving you to do that specific task. The most important difference between the two is the results they produce.

Tasks that you are driven toward by Gain produce more significant positive results in your life and your business than tasks that are driven toward by prevent pain.

  • Gain tasks are focusing on something you want.  You are figuring out how to produce results that you desire in your life.
  • Prevent pain tasks such as paying the bills and doing laundry.  Cleaning laundry isn’t something we desire out of life.  We do it to prevent pain of not having any clothes to wear.

Prevent Pains Tasks are:  (Have To’s; One thing they all have in common:  if neglected, someone else will eventually bring it to your attention)

  • Have to do’s.  Sure you can choose not to do them, but you will have face the consequences of not doing them.
  • Simply prompt us to do what we have to do.
  • No matter where you are in life and the responsibilities you have or don’t have, you can always fill up your day with prevent pain tasks.  There is always something to repair, maintain, clean, feed, keep up with, pay for, care for.  The reason that prevent pain tasks go on an on is that they never actually go away; they just eventually repeat. EX:  You don’t really cross off doing dishes off your to do list; you just move it to the bottom because the next night, you will have to wash them again.
  • Tasks such as putting gas in your car, checking email, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, never end, they are never finished.
  • Prevent Pain tasks come with varying degrees of urgency.  You have to complete them, such as assignment for work, according to deadlines.
  • Others such as housecleaning, have a little more flexibility in terms of timeline, its your responsibility to get them done some time or deal with the consequences of failing to complete them.
  • There is nothing special about prevent pain tasks.  Making good grades in school, doing the laundry, meeting the minimum expectations at work, all of these things will not differentiate you from anyone else.  The only way you can differentiate yourself is doing Gain Tasks.

Gain Tasks (Are never urgent)

  • Urgency is a great human motivator.  But when it comes to results, urgency alone can’t deliver.  It is not a great criterion for deciding what is most important or what will produce the most significant results in your life.
  • Gain Tasks can always wait.  There are no deadlines or reports due for it.  You don’t owe it to anyone.
  • Your only motivation to do a Gain Task is to improve your life in some way. It is never an urgent situation.
  • You don’t have to do Gain Tasks.
  • Motivation to complete a Gain task comes from the opportunity to gain improvement and results in your life, not from fear of the consequences that may arise if you don’t do it. No one will ever ask you about it or follow-up on it.  Theres only one reason why you would do it: because you want to, not because you have to.
  • Nothing bad will happen, but nothing good will ever happen either if you don’t complete gain tasks.
  • You wont move toward that goal or enjoy improvement. Your life will stay the same for as long as you let it.
  • The reason to complete a Gain Task is because you desire the results that task will bring.
  • Whenever we are motivated by a Gain, we are thinking about the results our time and effort will bring us in our lives, in our relationships, and in our business.
  • You cant delegate a Gain task to anyone else.
  • The nature of a Gain task or goal is only you can do it.  No one else can do it for you.
  • You cant delegate your goals and dreams to another person.

Examples of Prevent Pain:

  • Laundry
  • Taking out the trash
  • emails
  • following up on voice mails
  • Paying bills
  • daily personal grooming
  • grocery shopping
  • fixing broken things
  • caring for pets

Examples of Gain Tasks:

  • Pursuing an advanced degree
  • Getting a certificate in something
  • Writing a book
  • buying an income property
  • closing a big deal
  • Consumption goals:  Short term reward for the hard work you have done.  (vacation, night out, a concert, major purchase such as purse or watch)
  • Creation Goals: When you reach these goals your life will be better.
  • Creation goals have a lasting, longer term impact and you will remember them as being significant.
  • Although fun and uplifting, consumption goals have a more fleeting impact.

Prevent pain tasks versus Gain tasks:  Prevent Pain tasks are maintenance where Gain tasks are for improvement.

The best way to combat burnout and stress and achieve a feeling that your life is balance between what you ahem to do and what makes you feel alive is to continuously seek improvement in some area of your life.

The author goes on to explain that your to do list should be prioritized by A, B, C tasks.

  • A tasks:  Goals, Leadership, Improvement
  • B tasks: Important maintenance responsibilities (a report, paying bills, taking inventory)
  • C tasks: Maintenance: dishes, laundry, grooming


  • Your brain is hardwired to prioritize survival over improvement. Prevent Pain over Gain.  You brain is not necessarily a mechanism designed for success, fulfillment, happiness, and growth, it is a mechanism designed for survival.
  • It will always at attend to what you need for protection and survival first. To take risks and make choices that lead to Gain, you have to override your brains natural instinct.

Procrastination and Motivation: 

  • Motivation exists when there is a distance between where you are and where you want to be.
  • Two categories of motivation are fear and desire. We fear the pain of consequences of not doing something we have to.  We desire the results brought out by gain and improvement in our lives.
  • Energy and motivation to do prevent pain tasks come from pursing gain tasks.
  • Procrastination is how we use fear to do something we don’t want to do.
  • Problems with procrastination:  Lower quality products are produced, we have less control and convenience over it, stress comes from it.
  • Procrastination is not as much as of a time management problem as it is a decision-making problem. 

Nothing about prevent pain tasks sets us apart from anyone else. The results you get everyday are not determined by the “have to” tasks. 

Everything we do everyday can be broken down into three categories: Habits, To Do items, and calendar events. 

Habits:  Mostly influence parts of our life such as hygiene, health, eating, repeat spending, relaxing chores, emails, and rote tasks.  We doth have to write them down, because we wont forget to do them.

To do Lists: maintenance tasks that you don’t want to forget. Updating a file, sending out an email, checking in with a client, going to dry cleaners, grocery shopping, paying a bill.

Calendar: For things that are time specific: events, appointments, and anything you gave to be on time for, whether its business or personal.

Use your calendar for Gain:

  • Anything on your calendar you will defend and protect.  You wont skip.
  • Use your calendar to give your goals the attention they deserve.

Without the strong self-identity that comes from pursuing gain, your ego will try to compensate by cementing with and comparing you to people around you.

To live without goals is to love without passion for anything, and that will only lead to burn out.  Working toward creation is what ends the burnout and the competition.

Your work too hard to just prevent pain everyday.

This is a little bit of a unique book summary, but I hope you see the points the author is conveying.  I included the major points of emphasis that I really liked throughout the book.

Summary of the summary and notes: 

  • Identify where you spend most of your time.  Preventing Pain or Creating Gain.
  • Be sure to create Creation Goals and Tasks and be sure they are on your calendar.  The important stuff goes on your calendar and that should include your Gain Tasks.
  • Make better decisions and don’t procrastinate
  • Your brain will go into survival mode before it goes into improvement mode.  Change this natural tendency.

To your success and your future.






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What will your dash say

Kind of a morbid topic on a Friday.  But nonetheless it is the one that is on my mind.  And why not write about this, maybe it will fire you up a little.  This week I have had a million things going on.  I am sure you are in the same boat.  We all have a million things going on all of the time. Some of these things are just maintenance types of things.  Such as cleaning the house, going to the grocery, Drs. appointments, responding to emails, etc. Let me ask you though?  Did you push anything forward that is on your “want to do” list?  Did you get closer to your biggest goals you have in your life?

I am reminded this morning once again about this quote: There’ll be two dates on your tombstone. And all your friends will read ‘em. But all that’s gonna matter is that little dash between ‘em. – Kevin Welch.

What will your dash say?  As the quote states you will be remembered for the little dash.  I want that little dash to be awesome. Not only for the people who have the chance to look down at the dash, but mainly because I am living the dash right now.  Which means I can still make my dash awesome.  I want my dash to say that I was a person of high character and big values.  I want my dash to say he enjoyed life.  I want my dash to say that he gave all he could to all the ones he could.  I want the dash to say that while he was here he contributed a lot.  He gave more than he took.  He got things done.  He lived a life of intentionality.  He loved and in return he was loved.

Most people, now this doesn’t include you, because you aren’t most people.  But most people don’t think past today or maybe they think a little bit longer and may be thinking about the weekend.  Successful people have the ability to think long-term.  They think about their actions and what the consequences will be for those actions not only today, but in the future as well.

So what actions are you taking towards a better future?  What actions are on your “want to do” list that you just haven’t got around to?  If you haven’t got around to them just yet, you must, I mean you must figure out a way to make them happen.

Make sure your dash is awesome today.

To your success and your future.

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Stop Whining and Start Working

Throughout my career I have tried to learn something from just about everyone I have interacted with.  I believe that every single person we interact with has the ability to teach us something that we didn’t already know. You just never know where little life lessons and nuggets of wisdom will come from.  So you have to be open-minded and on the lookout for these learning opportunities.

I was working with a colleague of mine a few years ago and they taught me this little saying, they were applying it in the context of sales.

SW-5: Some will, Some won’t, So What, Stop Whining, Some are Waiting.  In the context of sales, they were saying some will buy, some wont buy, so what (control what you can control), stop whining about the losses, and find the ones that are waiting to buy from you.

I really liked that quick and easy to comprehend process.  In leadership, I like to use the SW-5 method in this way:

Some Will:  You have some team members that are bought in.  They come in early, they stay late.  They are committed to the companies cause.  They are engaged.

Some Won’t:  Some team members won’t do all of the things I described above.  I personally don’t believe you should keep them on your team.  I get some people’s position on this matter: all great teams have role players that come in, get their job done in the traditional hours and may not show it the same way as others.  But, if you have a team member that is not engaged, you have to fix it.

So What:  Now if you are in leadership you can’t have a so what attitude towards your team members.  However, in the context of hiring decisions if you have made a bad hiring decisions, SO WHAT, fix it and move on.  Don’t let bad decisions stick around.  They are not like wine and get better with time, they are the opposite, they get worse.

Stop Whining:  My hope is that you have created a culture where your team members aren’t whining.  But if they are whining about a decision you made or something else that you know is pushing the organization forward, then let them whine (if it becomes too much, you have to fix this).  That is why you are the leader.  Your job is to continue to challenge the status quo and push the organization or your department forward. Oh and you can’t be a whiner if you are the leader, its hard to lead if you are whining.

Start Working:  Everyone should just focus on the work that needs to be done.  When everyone is doing that, the company wins, the customer wins, and in the end everyone wins. With more revenue, the company has more resources to serve the current customers better and bring new customers on board, and more resources for the team members in raises and other benefits.

I like both of the SW-5’s.  You can use them in any context you want.  I would be curious how you apply them. Please share with me your thoughts.

To your success and your future.

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Why being broke sucks

I grew up in a lower middle class family.  We didn’t go without and parents worked very hard to give my brothers and I everything we ever wanted, and what they could afford.  I never thought about being rich or being poor.  However, as an adult I can look back on my youth and say that there probably wasn’t a lot of money left over after food was put on the table and the bills were paid.

I am not a financial expert by any means.  However, I have studied finance now most of my adult life and can say honestly I am just now really figuring it out.  You want to know how I figured it out?  I have made a study of it.  Yep I study and listen to the wealthy.  As I said I am not an expert, actually I would say that I am in elementary school when it comes to finances.

However, as I have studied it and I experienced money myself, I have learned a few things that were opposite of what society and people who I know taught me about money and finances.

  • You don’t have to have a car payment to drive a nice car. Most of the people I know have followed this thinking that you will always have a car payment.
  • Your credit score has nothing to do with money and wealth. All it shows is that you have borrowed money and paid it back with interest.  It takes $100,000’s of dollars in interest to have a really good credit score.
  • It’s not that things are too expensive, you just cant afford them. This is a mind shift. Don’t wish it were cheaper, focus on the thing you can control, earn more.
  • Income very rarely exceeds your personal and self-development and your want and eagerness to learn. For you to have more money, you have to increase your skills and value in the marketplace.  You are earning what you deserve, or what value you bring to your current employer.  If you want to earn more, you have to learn more.
  • Having one source of income is risky.  Sure you should be loyal to your company if you have a full-time job and they treat you well.  At the same time you owe it to yourself to be sure you protect yourself from others when it comes to your household, and don’t rely on one income.
  • Net Worth.  All of my life I have been focused on earning more money.  I always thought I could out earn my stupidity with money.  I am now focused purely on what are my assets and what are my liabilities (eliminating these) and how do they fit in the bigger picture.
  • Invest. Look for things to put money into that will deliver you a return on that money.  A lot of people think of their house as an investment.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.  I am not smart enough to explain the mathematics here.  Here is what I do know, if you have a big house payment it doesn’t leave a lot of money to invest into other things.  Having all of your money tied up in one investment is never a good thing.
  • Financial Independence: The ability to live off of the income that your assets and resources you own produce.  This is the goal.  

I don’t have all of the answers when it comes to finances and money. As I stated I am just learning.  Here is what I know though, life is hard and life is fun.  I would rather go through life with some money instead of going through life broke.  The more you earn, the more you can save, and the more you save, the more you can give, that is the objective.  Earn all I can, Save all I can, and Give all I can.

To your success and your future.


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WellBeing; The Five Essential Elements; summary and notes

Title:  Well Being; The Five Essential Elements.  Authors: Tom Rath and Jim Hartner.  Tom Rath is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Strenthsfinder 2.0.  Strengthsfinder was listed by USA Today as the best business book in 2008.  Mr. Rath partnered with Jim Hartner who is the Chief Scientist for Gallup’s international workplace management and wellbeing practices.

Just like in the book Strengthsfinder, link here for this book: http://www.amazon.com/StrengthsFinder-2-0-Tom-Rath/dp/159562015X/     Mr Rath and Mr. Hartner created an assessment for the readers of the book to take as well.  This assessment creates a profile based on where you think you are in each of the five essential elements of wellbeing.

The Gallup Wellbeing Finder was developed based on foundation of world research and a history of studying wellbeing.  The tool they created in this book is their best attempt to summarize what makes most people’s lives and days fulfilling.  The Wellbeing finder is designed to create an awareness of measurable and actionable issues.

The Five Essentials of Wellbeing: 

Career Wellbeing: People who weigh high in Career Wellbeing wake up every morning with something to look forward to.  They also have an opportunity to do things that fit their strengths and interests.  They have a deep purpose in life and a plan to attain their goals.  In most cases, they have a leader who motivates them and makes them enthusiastic about the future and friends who share their passion.  While you might think that people with high Career Wellbeing spend too much time working at the expense of their relationships, our results suggest that they actually take more time to enjoy life and don’t takes things for granted. This results in them loving the work they do everyday.

  • Career wellbeing is arguably the most essential of the five elements.
  • People with high Career Wellbeing are more than twice as likely to be thriving in their lives overall.
  • Boosting your Career Wellbeing might be one of the most important priorities to consider for maintaining good health over the years.

Social Wellbeing:  We often underestimate the impact of our closest relationships and social connections on our wellbeing.  However, our wellbeing is dramatically influenced by the people around as well as our friends’ independent network of relationships.  Some of these friendships help us to achieve, while others motivate us to be healthy. Social Wellbeing is about having strong relationships and love in your life.

People with high social Wellbeing have several close relationships that help them achieve, enjoy life, and be healthy.  They are surrounded by people who encourage their development and growth, accept them for who they are, and treat them with respect.  They deliberately spend time investing in the networks that surround them.

People with high Social Wellbeing are more likely to make time for vacations and social gatherings with their friends and family and this strengthens their relationships.  They report having a great deal of love in their lives, and this give them positive energy on a daily basis.

  • Our research showed that just 30% of employees have a best friend at work. Those who do are seven more times as likely to be engaged in their jobs, are better at engaging customers, produce a higher quality of work, have a higher wellbeing, and are less likely to get injured on the job.  In contrast, those who do not have  a best friend at work have just a 1 in 12 times chance of being engaged.
  • The single best predictor is not what people are doing, but who they are with.

Financial Wellbeing:  Money may not buy happiness, but it is hard to be happy if you cannot meet your basic needs.  Beyond that, the actual amount of money you have has less of an impact on your overall wellbeing than financial security and how you manage and spend your money.  Financial Wellbeing is about effectively managing your economic life.

People with high Financial Wellbeing manage their personal finances well and spend their money wisely.  They buy experiences instead of just material possessions, and they give to others instead of always spending on themselves. At a basic level, they are satisfied with their overall standard of living.

Their successful strategies result in financial security, which eliminates daily stress and worry caused by debt.  This financial security allows them to do what they want to do when they want to do it.  They have the freedom to spend more time with the people they like to be around.

  • Harvard researchers found that spending money on yourself does not increase your happiness, but spending money on someone else does.
  • Income, debt, and net worth are the most common used metrics to measure the health of a person finances.

Physical Wellbeing: The short-term choices we make can have a long-term effect on our overall physical health.  When we adopt healthy habits and make smart lifestyle choices about diet, exercise, and sleep, we feel better, and have more energy, look better, and live longer.  Physical Wellbeing is about having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis.

People with a high Physical Wellbeing manage their health well.  They exercise regularly, and as a result, they feel better.  They make good dietary choices, which keeps their energy high throughout the day and sharpens their thinking.  They get enough sleep to process what they ave learned the day before and to get a good start on the next day.

Because of their healthy lifestyle, they are usually able to do all the things people their age would normally do.  When they wake up well rested each day, they look better, feel better, and have more energy.

  • One study found that men who have a specific gene that predisposes them to prostate cancer were able to suppress the expression of this gene substantially by eating the equivalent of just one broccoli portion a week.  To a certain degree, we can control the amplification and suppression of how our genes affect our health over time.
  • People who exercise at least two times a week are happier and have significantly less stress.
  • The Mayo Clinic stated that a “lack of energy” results from inactivity.
  • A comprehensive analysis of more than 70 trials found that exercising is much more effective at eliminating fatigue than prescription drugs used for the same purpose.
  • Each night of sleep allows our brain to process what we learned the day before. As a result, we are more likely to remember what we learned if we get a sound nights sleep.
  • So while we have known all along that a goods night sleep helps the next day, it is just as important for encoding information we learned the day before.
  • 75% of medical costs are due to legally preventable conditions (stress, tobacco use, physical inactivity, and poor food choices.

Community Wellbeing:  At a basic level, we need to feel safe where we live and secure about the quality of the water we drink and the air we breathe. We also need to have a house that meets our needs and a community we can take pride in.  When we get involved in our community and give back to society, it benefits us as well as the recipients of our entire community.  This well-doing promotes deeper social interaction, enhanced meaning and purpose, and a more active lifestyle.  Community Wellbeing is about the sense of engagement you have with the area you live.

People with high Community Wellbeing feel safe and secure where they live.  They take pride in their community and feel it’s headed in the right direction.  This often results in their wanting to give back and make a lasting contribution to society.  These people have identified the areas where they can contribute based on their own strengths and passions, and they tell other about these interests to connect with the right groups and causes.

Their contributions to the community may start small, but over time, they lead to more involvement and have profound impact on the community in which they live.  These efforts are what create communities we cannot imagine living without.  The positive outcomes of high Community Wellbeing may be what differentiates a good life from a great one.

  • More than 23,000 people surveyed said that they get an emotional boost for doing kind things for other people.
  • Experimental research suggest that creating sustainable change may be two or three times as likely to happen in the context of a group, company, or community organization.
  • For example a weight loss program:  If you do it alone.  There is a 24% chance you will maintain your weight loss after 10 months.  If you join a group with three strangers, there is a 50% chance you will maintain the weight loss after 10 months.  If you enroll with three friends or colleagues the odds of you maintaining the weight loss after 10 months is 66%.

Which of the five elements is most important?

  • The five elements of this book are arranged in order by importance (they are in this blog post as well)  This order was the average of the people surveyed. This means that, on average Career Wellbeing has slightly more influence than Physical Wellbeing or Community Wellbeing.  Yet every one of the five elements is a robust predictor of various life outcomes. You decide which is more important to you.

Book Link: http://www.amazon.com/Wellbeing-Essential-Elements-Tom-Rath/dp/1595620400/

To your success and your future.

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Movement versus Improvement

It is 4:00 pm and I have accomplished a lot today.  Take a look at my to do list. There are a lot of things with lines through them that I was able to get done today.  Does this sound like you at the end of some days?  It does for me as well.  I am that to do list kind of person. The feeling I have when I look at that list and I have marked off a bunch of things just really gives me a sense of accomplishment.

In this day and age, my guess is that at least 90% of us live by a calendar of some kind.  My calendar is on my phone and I use technology to manage my life events.

Most of us have a to do list, a calendar of events, and then we have our habits.  These three things drive our everyday actions.

The To Do lists are usually for movement.  I am not saying that they don’t provide you with some kind of overall improvement. Like going to the grocery.  Sure you have to do it, so you can eat.  However, these are just maintenance tasks.

Your habits can be positive or negative.  You can decide that for yourself.  I have several good habits and a few bad ones that I still do everyday.  The good one is that I exercise every single day.  The bad one is that I stop at my local coffee shop almost everyday and get a mocha.  Yes a mocha.  I love it.

I don’t know you, so I can’t see your calendar.  My guess is that you have the important stuff on your calendar.  Maybe things like a wedding you have to attend.  A parent, child, or spouses birthday.  A meeting with an important client or a person.  A Dr.s Appointment.  A vacation.  A concert.  You get the point here.  Everything you put on your calendar are tasks that are very important.

What goes on your calendar is very important and you schedule it in advance, you will defend it at all costs, and you will neglect your to do list when it is time for a calendar event.  Calendar events are for improvement things.  

Whats not on your calendar though?  What about things that move you forward in your life and your career.  Do you have a budget meeting with your spouse on your calendar.  Do you have prospecting on your calendar? (for those sales people) Do you have finishing school on your calendar? 

Calendar events make our relationships more meaningful.  They help us in our career.  They focus around planning a better future for ourselves so we can live the life we want to live.

It is real easy to get caught up in the movement of our everyday lives.  Responding to emails, dropping the kids off at practice.  Be sure to make time for more calendar events, these are the things that you will remember and these are the things that improve your life. 

To your success and your future.

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You should study more

When I use the word “Study” with most people look at me like I am crazy. The word “study” is used primarily in formal education and in most cases in our society it means study enough to learn the material, pass the test, and then you can move on.

My challenge for you today is to pick a subject and study it.  The great Peter Drucker was known to pick a particular subject and dive into that subject for months and even years to learn as much as he could about that subject.  He not only understood the importance of lifelong and continued learning, but he was curious to learn as much as he could about as many things as he could.

Many people go through life and think they know it all.  I am sure this is not you.  Or, they took a class on it in college or maybe attended a seminar on it once or twice.  I am not talking about that kind of study.  I am talking about a deep study of a particular subject where you become such an expert on it that you could write the book.

This morning I finished reading my 25th book related to selling in the last three years.  These books are books that have the words sales or selling in the title.  It doesn’t include all of the books on influence, psychology, and emotional intelligence which all relate to selling in many ways.  Some of the books were very similar, some were way off the mark, some were process driven, some were theory based, and some were application based.  In some of those books I picked up a lot of new knowledge and in others, I may have picked up one or two new concepts.  Either way, I learned something new that has led to an accumulation of knowledge that allows me to be more effective in the marketplace on many different fronts.

I can remember a time when I was reading a book on selling around a good friend of mine.  She grabbed the book out of my hand, thumbed through it rather quickly, and gave it back to me. She then said, I already know all of those things.  At the time, I didn’t see it as anything other than her being herself.  Looking back on that small interaction now, I can see how that approach and that thinking really limits a person’s ability to get ahead and stay ahead in the marketplace.

In an earlier post http://wp.me/p4eY1f-9d I talk about the “Forgetting Curve.”  I believe that this study and this concept is more relevant today than it was when the study was conducted.  In our over saturated media and content market, it is much easier to forget and not focus on things.

So what should you study or as Mr. Drucker would say,  “what should or are you curious about?”

Your business/profession:  My first suggestion is to be curious about your business and your profession.  You should learn and make a study of everything possible about your particular business and your profession.  If you plan on staying in that business then you should continue to develop your skills and knowledge in it.  The only way to do that is to study it and know it.

Something you hate: A lot of the great inventions and technologies of the world have come from a belief in “there must be a better way”, or “I can’t tolerate this.” What is it that you hate?  Find that concept and study it and get to know it.  When you study it and understand it, I mean really understand it, then who knows what kind of solutions you may be able to find.  And a long the way you become a more informed person about that particular subject.

Something you Love: My hope is that you love your work and you want to study that and will study it.  But what else do you love.  Maybe it is photography, emotional health, wellness, music, etc. Pick a subject and study it.

Families/Relationships:  I will go out on a limb here and say that most of us have or belong to a family and value the relationships that we have with our family, friends, and colleagues. If that is the case, then why wouldn’t we study it and understand how to be better or more informed in this area.

Finances: Regardless of where you are financially making a decision to study money is beneficial.  I think I read recently that millionaires spend about 20% of their time a month with an accountant.  They are learning where and how their money is doing and performing.  So as you can see the more you have the more you should study it.  Or you could surmise that the more you study your money the more you would have of it.

My list is not a comprehensive list of things you should study, but it is a start.  What areas do you suggest we should study?  Please share with me your thoughts and ideas.

To your success and your future.



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3 ways to increasing your income

I am around a lot of people who want to increase their income.  I think that is a worthwhile and valuable goal to have.  It is a goal that most of us have on some level, I know I do.  Now is the time when I can hear some of my readers saying: “It’s not all about money”, “What about being happy”, “Work-Life balance”.  This post isn’t for the ones saying that, so you might want to stop reading now.

No, this post is for the ones who do strive to Be Happy and Make Money.  For some reason our culture thinks that if you want to make a lot of money, you have to work 24/7 and be miserable.  That just isn’t the case.  The goal should be to do work that matters, and to do work that you love.  When you are doing both of these things your income will go up and you wont be miserable.

What does it take to increase your income. I can only speak for me when I give advice in this area.  My suggestion is this.

1.  Do work that matters and you love:  If you are miserable. Stop doing that.  If the money is too good to quit, then you need to work on an exit plan. An exit plan could be going back to school to increase your skills.  Taking a class on a certification of some kind. Your exit plan could also be a side job that you are passionate about.  I know some people take side jobs for the money.  Well, that is only motivational for a period of time.  Doing something for the money regardless of how lucrative it is eventually becomes hard to do on the side.  You eventually lose that motivation.  It has to be something you are passionate about, that you want to do.

2.  Work: This is obvious right?  I think it is as well.  Most people are putting in a lot of work.  But a lot of work towards what?  A lot of work in the job that pays them a good salary.  Sure, you should do that.  But you eventually hit a ceiling.  Yep, a ceiling on what you can earn.  In Seth Godin’s book, LinchPin, he discusses the org chart of value.  The more value you bring to the marketplace, the more money you can earn.  The top three tiers in that chart are in this order from bottom to the top (there are other ones as well):  Sales, Connecting, Creating.  If you have the ability to sell, you bring a lot of value to the marketplace and your company.  If you can sell and can connect the right people, and have the right connections, you bring a higher value to the marketplace.  And then lastly, if you can create something you create your own value in the marketplace and the earning potential is endless.

Sales, Connecting, and Creating all require work.  The key is finding the time to do it.  Maybe you already do this in your job.  If not, think about how you can get yourself on that path.

3.  Invest: Using your own money and putting it into something where you seek a return or a profit.  I believe the best investment you can make is in your own personal and self-development.  The second best investment is into something that will give you a return on your money invested.  I personally like real estate. Stocks and mutual funds are great as well. Investment into a business where you can get a return when the company is successful can be a very lucrative way to increasing your income as well.

I am a person on this journey of life, like everyone else, just trying to figure it out.  Sometimes I think I have it figured out and then I realize I don’t.  But I know that the three things I mentioned above will get you closer to the income you desire.

To your success and your future.


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