How to leave a voicemail that prospects will bend over backwards to return

Humans are really easy to understand if you think about what makes us tick, gets us excited, scared, angry, etc.  Yes we are emotional beings.  And we only care about ourselves.  I know, someone out there is saying to themselves right now.  I don’t only care about myself.  I put others before myself. Blah, Blah, Blah.  Maybe you do.  But what if I told you your were fired.  You wouldn’t be thinking about the money you spend each month on your charity of choice.  Nope. The first thing you would think about is how you are going to pay your mortgage, car, or put food on the table.

This week, I was reminded again, how selfish most humans really are.

As a sales manager, I not only sell but I also manage a sales team.  In my business, some sales reps stay for a while and there are some that stay for a season and move on.  Thats okay.  It happens, what we do is hard.

I get the resignation letter and we have a conversation. The employee tells me they are willing to work out the two weeks.  I really needed that person to do that so we could get things in place to make a smooth transition.  They weren’t going to a competitor, so I was good with it. We get three days into the two weeks they are to work, and the person goes awol.  They don’t return my phone calls. They are not sending emails or returning my texts.

Look I am a pragmatist.  I have been in business long enough that I understand that when people have made a decision to leave their position, in their minds they have already left the position. Most likely, they left the position weeks or months ago. But now it is just final, because they finally let their manager know.  So the fact they weren’t returning my calls. I understand.  No hard feelings.  We will both move on.  However, don’t expect to get a two-week paid vacation; in between jobs at my expense.

After the third day of no return calls, texts, or emails. I left a message for the sales rep.  It sounded something like this.

“I was just calling to let you know that this will be your last day on the payroll.  I appreciate your willingness to work out the two weeks, but it is evident that you have already moved on.  And that is okay.  But we will be ending your employment as of today.”

Again, I am not upset at this point. We both are moving on. That is life.

So after leaving voice mails for three days and not getting any response. I leave the above voicemail. And wouldn’t you know, I get a call back within one hour of leaving the message.

So we talk about what needs to happen and everything is ok. They were a good colleague and in the future we will most likely do business together.

But as I was talking with a colleague of mine about this situation, they reminded me of what a great illustration of how to leave a voicemail that the person receiving the message will actually care enough to return.

As my story illustrates very vividly.  When we leave a voicemail with someone we must communicate what we offer and how it could directly impact their bottom line, as it did in this case, it creates the urgency for them to take action.  I have no idea why they didn’t return my calls the three days prior, and it doesn’t matter.  However, when you do finally strike a nerve that impacts them directly, emotionally, and in this case financially, it will cause action to occur and they will return your phone call.

So today as I making phone calls to prospects I will be reminding myself constantly about this interaction. If I want to get my phone call returned, I must leave a message that states how the person can either benefit by calling me back or lose something if they don’t call me back.  We are all interested in anything that can help us.

To your success and your future.

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Just admit it, You are wrong

Dale Carnegie and Associates recently conducted a global survey of 3,300 full-time employees across the globe.  The research was centered around leadership and the impact leadership has on the employees motivation to work and to stay with the company.

One of the staggering statistics that came from the research was that 4 out of 10 employees surveyed are looking for a job now and would like to be in a different company and position in 2017.

One of the topics they asked the respondents was:  Comparative Importance and Performance of Supervisors of Effective Leadership Behaviors.  This means what is an important leadership behavior that you want your leader to have; and do they.

84% of the respondents said that having a supervisor who has the humility to admit when they are wrong or when they make mistakes is a very important leadership behavior they want in their leaders. And 51% of the respondents said that they have supervisors that admit it consistently.

I don’t think we have to discuss why 84% of the respondents believe it is important.  We all have been around someone who we knew was wrong before.  And that person, most likely even knew they were wrong, but they wouldn’t admit it. How did those situations sit with you?

The chances are you were furious.  You were annoyed.  You were perplexed that this person was wrong, and you knew it, they knew it, and everyone else knew it, but they were unwilling to admit it.

In our personal lives when this scenario plays out we are more likely to call the person out.  You might say something like “Come on man, you know you are wrong”.  “Are you serious, do you really not see that you are wrong on this”.  “Admit it you are wrong”.  Growing up with two brothers I know I have said this many of times, and they said it to me as well.

However, on the job people are not as casual about it, especially to their supervisor, and definitely not to senior leadership.  Most employees would not call out the leadership this way.

So instead what happens, the employee goes back to work.  And like I said in the scenario above.  They are frustrated, annoyed, furious, and perplexed that the supervisor or other leaders was wrong and everybody knows it, but they wouldn’t admit it.

I am not a psychologist, but I understand that we as humans have an innate desire to not be wrong. We like to believe that we don’t make mistakes.  That we do the right things. That we do what we say we are going to do. That we are always on top of things.  But if you are reading this, it means you are a human and as a human you know that this is just not the case.

We are not always on top of things and we are definitely not always right.  We are going to make mistakes.  If you are in leadership you are going to make them a lot, because you are making lots of decisions everyday.  That is really your job.  To make decisions.  And you aren’t always going to make the right decisions, because you won’t always have all of the information.  Which is okay.  It is impossible to have all of the information.  You take what you have at the time, decide, and move on.

Because the nature of leadership is making decisions.  If you are a leader you have to become better, I mean really good at admitting mistakes.  Just admit it.  Own up to it.  Once you do this it shows your team that you are genuine, that you are transparent, and this makes them trust you.  And this is what it all comes down to.  TRUST.

The statistic of 4 out of 10 employees surveyed are looking to find another job.  Why do you think that is?  Well, if they can’t trust their supervisor or the leadership, then why work at the company. Trust is a fundamental requirement to all relationships.  Without trust nothing can exist in my opinion. Trust is the foundation.

If you aren’t willing to admit when you wrong then you are technically a liar, or you are stupid, which is worse.  People don’t want to work for a liar, and they definitely don’t want to work for an idiot, which is another blog for another day.

To your success and your future.

 

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6 Things Sales People can Learn from Donald Trump

If you are a republican you might really like this post.  If you are a democrat the chances are you aren’t going to like this post or what is in it.  I want to challenge you regardless of which way you lean politically to read the post and learn something from it.  I am not writing this from a political perspective.  I am writing this from a how can I learn from what Donald Trump did and apply it to what I do perspective.

We all now know that Donald Trump won the presidential race.  He won it pretty easily. Causing massive disruption in the political arena.  He did it with out the support of most of the news media, he did it without the support of the establishment republicans, he did it really without the support of most of the career political people making up the news media, pundits, long time politicians, print news, etc.

So how did he do it with all of these people against him?  He did it his way.  He did it in a way that was unconventional and caused massive disruption to the political establishment.

Here are the six things Donald Trump applied to winning the 2016 presidential campaign that you can apply to your sales approach to win every day:

Social Media:  Donald got criticized all of the time about being angry and unfit to be president because of his rants on twitter.  I am not talking about his messages in his posts. I don’t even remember what half of them were.  Here is what I remember:  The news media talking about his posts.  They talked about it all of the time.  That is all they talked about.  By applying some of the following things that I outline below through his social media platform, he was able to get attention all of the time to the people who wanted to hear his message.

Lesson:  Embrace Social media to get your message out to your audience.  It is a great platform to target and pinpoint the people you want to reach.

Lead with an Opinion: Not everyone is going to like to what you have to say.  However, nobody likes a person that says nothing. Also, nobody likes it when you are a fence rider, meaning you wont take a stand either way.  You have to make a stand and have a strong opinion for people to notice you.

Lesson: Whatever it is you believe, state it, stand behind it, and when you get push back don’t back down. Your opinion is yours lead with it.

Make big claims: This is the one that drives people crazy more than anything.  When Donald would make big bold statements about what he was going to do.  Half the people said he could never make that happen.  And the other half of the people were excited that he said it.  That is just the reality of the world we live in today.

If I told you today, that you could spend eight hours with me working and you would earn $500 dollars.  Depending on your current financial situation you may or may not take me up on the offer.  However, if I said you could make $10,000 dollars for the same amount of time, the chances are you would listen.  And that is all Donald Trump was doing when he was making big claims, getting people to listen.

Lesson:  If you want to get the attention of people today, you have to give them a BIG reason to listen.

Get Attention:  The world is as noisy as it ever has been.  With the news media 24/7, Sports of some kind on 24/7, twitter, Facebook, advertising, current events, the holidays, etc., you name it, you have to do be bold and do something to get attention.  Attention is what we all need for our prospects to get to know us.

Lesson: Your biggest challenge in sales is nobody knows you or your product.  If you want to become known, get massive attention by applying some of the ways I outline here.

Talk to your prospects: We all know that America is divided pretty evenly when it comes to politics.  I am sure it probably has always been that way.  Especially in today’s world, where there is more transparency than ever before.  Between twitter, videos, print news, and anything else you can think of, there is always a record of what you have said.  The key today is to define your prospect with clear pinpoint accuracy and then create messages to speak to them.  Again, love him or hate him.  Donald knew what message his prospects wanted to hear.  He was able to create specific messaging to them.  Which fired them up and got them out to vote.  You have to fire your prospects up about your product and then get them to spend money on it.

Lesson: Figure out who you want to reach, and then create a message stating what they want to hear.

Embrace your haters:  As I said earlier.  We live in a country where it is pretty evenly split politically.  So the bottom line is if you are going to win, you have to get fifty percent of the people fired up and hope that the other side doesn’t fire theirs up as much. When you embrace your haters and take them head on as Donald did, it again creates more attention which is what we all want.

Lesson:  Your haters can fuel your desire.  Your haters provide you content to feed the people who love you. Use your haters to define your message to the other half of the people who want to hear your message.

The main thing is that we all our seeking attention in this 24/7 world.  In sales, it is the easiest it ever has been to get your message out.  In most cases it is free to do so.  However, because it is so easy and everyone is doing it, it is harder than ever to get people to hear your message. To go from obscurity to at least being known to people you have to do things unconventionally and be ready to handle the response.

To your success and your future.

 

 

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5 Signs Your Company is about to fail

Many companies have a huge problem right now. Some realize they have this problem, while others are clueless. They are trying to fix symptoms of the problems instead of the problem itself.

You can read poll after poll about the disengagement that exists in many companies right now. Dale Carnegie Training and MSW research partnered in 2012 and discovered that out of 1,500 employees polled that close to 70% of these employees are disengaged from their current employer and in their job.

So what does disengagement mean?

There are three classifications for workers in these studies.

Engaged: Employees who are committed and actively involved in contributing to the company.

Not engaged: Employees that show up everyday, but will not go the extra mile for the company.  Are really looking for a reason to leave.

Disengaged: Are really seeking to hurt the company.  These employees have negative attitudes and do more harm than good.

As the chart below by Gallup shows , millennial’s have the least amount of engagement in the workforce compared to their peers.

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The research conducted by Dale Carnegie and Associates found that there are three major contributors that determine engagement by employees in the workforce.

  1. The employees relationship with their immediate manager
  2. Belief in Senior Leadership
  3. Belief in the organization

For years I have heard this saying “People don’t quit companies, they quit people” (managers).  They quit bosses or so-called leaders.  I know this is true first hand, and you most likely do as well.  The research by Dale Carnegie and Associates confirmed this is true from the respondents, by discovering that the number one reason for engagement at work is the relationship a person has with their immediate manager.

Managers, Directors, Supervisors, etc. are the ones managing the day-to-day operations of a business. These leaders are the ones that are required to keep the employees engaged in getting the job done.  Unfortunately, many of these leaders are not fully engaged themselves.

These day-to-day leaders are instead dealing with the problems amongst themselves from the decisions that are being made at the Senior Leadership level.

Here are five reasons that lead to disengagement that I have been a part of my self, and witnessed in many companies.  These five things are driving disengagement at the manager and director level.  Which is trickling down to the rest of the organization as well.

  1. The leaders who are making the decisions about the business are the ones furthest away from the actual day-to-day business.
  • I understand that most companies are one step away from being sued for any reason a slighted employee can think of. However, in an effort to keep everything consistent, many great employees are being prevented from earning more or getting more perks.  Which causes great employees to be less enthusiastic about the work. These decisions are usually made by senior leadership or a department that knows very little about the day-to-day jobs of the employees.

2. When people are more concerned about protecting their territory than making the best business decisions.

  • It is a blood bath sometimes at the different levels of leadership within an organization.     I have watched senior leadership make decisions strictly to go against the best interest of the company, all in an effort to make themselves look better and to show they have control over another leader.

3. When decisions are based on emotions instead of facts.

  • Often times we as humans make decisions strictly on our emotions.  If you think for a few seconds you can come up with a recent decision you made strictly on feelings and emotions.  If this is the case for most individuals, why would we be any different at work?  The answer is we are not.
  • Unfortunately, the people who have the ability to make many of the decisions are not making the decisions on facts, instead they are making them on emotions.  Those emotions could be nostalgia, the decision could go against a previous decision that they made, it could be ego, or insecurity.  All of these are emotional reasons.  And guess who is not that emotionally tied to the decision?  The manager or employee that is looking at the issues objectively.  Which then creates more discontent with the individual that has to live with the emotionally determined decision.

4. When leaders make decisions, but don’t implement strategies to manage the decisions.

  • I can remember many times in my career where a major initiative was decided upon by senior leadership.  The initiative might have been a decision to serve the employees better through some kind of perk or incentive.  Or it could have been a major process or policy change that could alleviate a lot of frustration or extra work among a certain department or group within an organization.  These decisions were made and communicated to everyone that needed to know about it.  Then after a few months or a in as short as a few weeks, everyone could tell that this decision wasn’t actually that important, because no measurement or management was implemented to ensure that the decision was carried out.

5. Everyone wants to be a gangster until its time to do gangster shit. (Tony Soprano)

  • I have found that most leaders just want the title.  Especially at the Senior Leadership level. They get the title, but they don’t want the responsibility.  Unfortunately, by the time they get the title it is too late.  Poor executives/senior leadership will hire a manager or director and hope that this new hire or promoted internal candidate will fix everything.  This is rarely the case.  Senior leaders are relying on managers and directors to carry out the hard stuff while they sit back and dictate what needs to be done.  Unfortunately, the managers and directors are watching senior leaders who aren’t willing to do the hard stuff themselves.  This is their example.  Guess who gets hurt in all of this lack of decision-making and accountability?  The employees and the company.

So what do you do about this?  What can you do if you have this in your organization?

It starts with candid feedback for everyone within the organization.  It requires a senior level leader to take a hard look at what is going on within their company and then having the desire and the nuts to fix it.

The other way to get a grip on it.  Is to hire a company or an individual to come in and do an assessment and get a feel for what is going on within the organization.

In either case, leadership has to be willing to take the necessary steps to change the culture and organization around. This is where the hard stuff begins.

Senior level leaders can’t expect managers and directors who are running the day-to-day operations to be engaged in the business and get others to be engaged in the business if they are not doing what they can to ensure the managers and directors are engaged first.

To your success and your future.

Research: Dale Carnegie and Associates Employee Engagement study (2012)

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An underdog story!

We all love the underdog story.  The story of the team, the person, the company, that was not given a chance to win.  All of the odds were against them.  Their backs were against the wall.  Nobody believed in them. Everybody said they couldn’t.

While all of the naysayers, their so called friends, their colleagues, their supporters, and their haters were telling them to give up. To quit.  That it couldn’t be done.

They instead didn’t listen to the people.  You know who those people are.

They are typically the ones who never got into the game to begin with.  They are the ones that didn’t care to win as much as the underdog wanted to win.  They are the ones who have never taken a risk.  They are the ones who said, “Hey, if you go first, I will follow you!”  They are the ones that don’t know what passion is.  They are the ones that at the first sight of a challenge, they are saying we have to stop.

So what does the underdog do.  They do go first.  They lead. They do take a risk.  They do lay it all on the line.  They say you know what, our backs are against the wall.  We are out of money, we are out support, but you know what?

I believe.  I believe in this cause.  I believe we are winners.  I believe we have what everyone needs and wants.  The market needs our product.  The people need to hear our voice.

You might be thinking right now that the author is talking about Donald Trump.  And you would be right.  But the author is also talking about Hillary Clinton, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, William Wilberforce, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Apple, Ford Motor Company, Kentucky Fried Chicken, IBM, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Cavaliers, and countless other people, teams, and businesses.

I don’t know where you are in your life right now.  Maybe you are in a good place and doing well.  If so, congratulations.

However, maybe you are not in a great place, now that this election is over, you are tired, scared, and worried about your future. Maybe you don’t know what the next step is for you. Maybe your back is against the wall. Your money is running low, your self-esteem is low, your friends aren’t supportive, and you just want to quit.

My advice is simple.  We are all underdogs at one point or another.  Most of us have some highs and lows, hopefully never too low.  But life truly is a rollercoaster.  Rollercoasters are supposed to be fun, but they aren’t when you are riding one every single day of your life.

What you need to do now is remember that your story is waiting to be written. You might be an underdog today, but you can be a champion tomorrow.  You might be broke today, but you can be rich soon.  You might be lonely right now, but you can have all the friends you want if you just try.

Today, take the next steps to becoming the person you want to be.  You can be anything you want.  Donald Trump is now the president-elect.  Hillary Clinton was the first female to be a presidential candidate for one of the two major parties. Neither one of them earned those credentials overnight.  Nope. It took years and years of fighting back and being an underdog time and time again, to finally become an underdog story that we now look to for inspiration.

To your success and your future.

 

 

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6 reasons why your career has stalled

You know Bob don’t you.  Bob is three cubicles down for you.  Bob is a nice guy.  He is a great employee for your company.  He has worked there for about five years.  He has nice family.  His wife is great, she also has a great career. His three kids are all in public school, although he would rather they be in private school.

Bob shows up to work on time everyday.  He will also stay late when needed.  His work is always done very well.  Bob is well liked by all of his colleagues.  He is the nice smart guy, as they call him.

Bob has been in the same position with the same title for about five years.  He likes his job, but Bob would also like to make more money.  Private school tuition is expensive and his wife would like to move to a nicer newer home in a different neighborhood.

Bob has put in for a few positions that have opened up in his company, he interviewed with the hiring manager, but Bob has always felt like they already had someone picked out that would be taking the job. So Bob didn’t think he had a chance anyway.

Question for you?  Do you know Bob?  Do you have a Bob at your company?  If you can’t think of a Bob at your company, maybe it is a Suzy, or maybe it is you?

My guess is if you are reading this blog, it means you at least aware enough to realize that reading information like this may be able to help you get where you want in your life and your career.  You may be a seeker of new information, knowing that you need to do something different to get a better result than you are currently getting.

Here are 6 things that may have contributed to your career stalling:

  1. You havent invested in your skills since, well, you don’t know when:
    I used to work with someone who in their mind should have been running the company, but at the very least, they felt like they should have been the leader of the entire department.  This person was a lot like Bob in many ways as far as work goes. Except they had closer to like fifteen years of experience.They had not taken a course, a class, read a book, or anything for about as long as they have been in their career out of college.  Is this you? You might be thinking, well I have went to the monthly, quarterly, or company training for all of these years.  I have learned a lot from these, and I have done what they have asked.

    Good for you.  Let me remind you. So as everyone else in your company.  Nobody cares that you have done what is mandatory or required. The question is what have you done on your own.  What kind of resources (time and money) of your own have you invested to enhance your skills.

  2. You don’t cross party lines: 
    In an organization it is really easy to get caught up in your day-to-day job.  You eat lunch with the people in your department, you go on breaks with the people in your department, and you even spend time out side of the office with people in your office.

    These are good things for your job, but not good things for your career. You have to make it a point to go and hang out with other people from other departments.  You have to make it point to get to know the leaders with other departments.

    Unfortunately, leaders are selfish, and the leader in your department might not want to promote you and have to replace you. I hope that is not the case, but it could be.  Get out and meet other people in your company.

  3. You haven’t done anything hard in a long time.
    “Today we have a new initiative that will need strong leadership and someone take on some new roles! Who would be willing to take on this challenge?”  Everyone on your team immediately looks around the room at the other people.

    This happens every single day in business.  A leader creates an opportunity for someone like you or Bob to take on a new challenge, and instead of being the first to raise your hand to sign up for it, you look around and let someone else take it.  Or even worse the leader has to assign it to someone.

    If you haven’t done anything out of your comfort zone in your current job in quite some time, at best you aren’t getting noticed by anybody, and at worst you are bored out of your freaking mind.

    Do something different, take on the new task the new challenge.  I have watched many people take on these news challenges and a whole new career opens up for them that is more exciting and even paid more than the current one they were in.

  4. You don’t promote yourself.
    Working with companies as a consultant/coach as well as being in a company in various leadership positions for most of my career. I know it is easy for a senior leader, company owner, or a manager to get used to getting great work from you or someone like a Bob.

    The unfortunate or fortunate reality is you are a solid performer.  It is fortunate because your co-workers or your boss know they can rely on you.  It is unfortunate because they take it for granted.

    As often as necessary you have to remind your boss and whoever else needs to know in your company that you do great work and you are capable of more.

    Early in my career I made it a point to be seen when I knew others (higher-ups) could see me. If you just grind it out day in and day out, you wont be noticed, you have to get out and get noticed.  If you work remotely, you have to find a way to get noticed (contact me if you are interested in brainstorming ways to do this).

  5. You aren’t leading from where you are:

    Who said you must have a title to be a leader?  Answer:  Everybody has.  When we all think of leadership we think of position or title.  You can be a leader in any position within your company.  Leadership is not a certain position or title, it is a way of thinking, it is actions, it is characteristics and it can also be these things and a title, but a title is not necessary.

    If you are Mr., Ms., or Mrs. Grumpy about the fact you haven’t got promoted, or if you still want to sit at the water cooler and talk about all the things that are wrong with the company.  This is not leading.  Nope, this is fitting in with the crowd, this is staying where you are.

    Leadership is hard, leadership is going against what everyone else thinks.  Leadership is doing the things others don’t or can’t do.

  6. You stopped working for you: 
    Here is a myth that we all have fallen victim to.  We all have fallen for the “I work for ….” and “Do ….. at this …… company”.

    Why is this is a myth?  Because it is what we all have been doing for years and years.  Working for a company is great.  Being part of a company that is meeting its goals and growing, is an awesome thing.  I have been there and done that.  However, where I and many others got sideways is thinking that is all we are doing.

    Often times, I and maybe you as well, get so focused on helping the company meet their initiatives and meanwhile the company is not helping you meet your goals, your personal mission and vision you have for your life.

    Look, it is hard to find a position that is perfect match, where the company and the job  utilizes your skills and you are excited about what you do. But working for a company that doesn’t utilize your skills and you are not excited about is even harder to work for.

    My advice is simple.  Remember that a company is renting the skills you bring to the table.  They are renting your habits and your skills.  They pay you X and you lead people to a goal.  They pay you X and you put together so many widgets for them.  They pay you X and you organize things for them. They pay you X and you sell something for their company. They pay you X and you do the accounting for them.

    Keep in mind you collect the rents from them and while doing so, you continue to invest in yourself and become the best YOU, you can be.

    As a landlord I collect rents from my tenants.  The money is good most of the time.  However, if I don’t invest back into my properties, I eventually can’t charge as much for rents.  You are no different.  You can collect the rents for as long as you want from your company, but remember YOU have to invest some of the money back in to you, so you can continue to charge more for the rent.  And you can no longer be like Bob.

So has your career stalled? Do any of the thing six things sound like things you are or aren’t doing? If so, what are you going to do about it? It is up to you.

If you would like to meet with me for a one on one free consultation complete the form below and lets talk. It is free, and it could change your life. However, remember its up to you to do the work.

To your success and your future.

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Three truths and a lie (Selling Intangibles)

I recently played a fun game called three truths and a lie with a group of colleagues at the office.  It is a good way to get to know others that you work with and find out interesting things about each other. It is a great icebreaker in meetings and just an overall fun game to play to get to know people at a different level than you might know them currently.

How does it work:

  • Each person in the group gets a turn
  • When its your turn, you tell the group three things about yourself that are true and one thing that is a lie.
  • You can tell the truths and lies in any order you want, some people play two truths and a lie, but I prefer three truths, because then we get to know someone a little bit better.
  • After you tell your three truths and the lie, the group then guesses which of the four statements was a lie.
  • You can facilitate this a variety of different ways. The purpose of this exercise is to get to know the person at a different level than you currently know them and maybe find out something interesting that you would have never guessed about the person.

This game sparks a lot of different conversations, because people then become interested in learning more about whatever it is that the person revealed about themselves and many times people find that they have common interests or hobbies.

I am going to start writing a blog called tree truths and a lie.  Since it is my blog it is my opinion, you may disagree with my opinion, but I don’t care.  My hope is that you will respond to this post in the comments section and tell me which of the four statements you think is a lie.

I will be posting this blog once a week on a variety of different topics.  I look forward and appreciate your feedback.

There are many truths and lies about selling intangibles but here are mine:

  1. The most important thing to know about an intangible product is that the customer usually doesn’t know what they are getting until they don’t get it.
  2. It is important to remind the buyer regularly of what they are getting from your service.
  3. Unique to tangible products is that the customer is seldom aware when they are being served well.
  4. An intangible product is harder to sale and differentiate in the market.

Which of the four statements is a lie?  I look forward to reading your responses.

To your success and your future.

 

 

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8 Curable diseases that exist “IN” your company

The word disease in humans often refers to any condition that causes pain, dysfunction, distress, or social problems. It can also be used to reference injuries, disabilities, syndromes, and disorders.

Diseases are usually diagnosed through tests because a person has some symptoms or signs that give clues to a possible disease could exist. A good doctor with experience can listen to a patient and conduct the necessary tests and exams to determine if they have a certain disease or some other abnormality.

Unfortunately, some diseases are not curable, however a large majority are. Modern medicine has made this possible. It just requires a person to be aware of themselves and their body.

What about the diseases that I see in business, in companies, and in leadership on a daily basis that are curable as well? Many of these leaders and companies are not aware of the symptoms and signs, so they are not even thinking they have a disease.

Instead they have their head buried in the sand, or they sit in their offices all day. They don’t realize the impact that these diseases are having on their business and the people in their company.

Many leaders are so unaware of the signs and symptoms that these diseases exist. Instead these diseases are causing adverse effects on the people within the company and the company itself from realizing its full potential.

Here are the eight diseases that I see in business and leaders that can be cured.

Indecision: The inability to make a decision.

Have you ever been paralyzed by a decision that you need to make and delayed it. In some cases you delayed so long that it didn’t have the result you had hoped, because you waited too long. It could be a decision to change careers, buy this home over another home, implement this new process or not, promote this employee over another, etc.

Second question: After you finally made the decision. Did you say to yourself “I took the right amount of time to make that decision?” Speaking from experience as I look at most of the significant decisions I have made in my life, the chances are I delayed making the decision longer than I should have.

In most cases, the decisions that were most positive that I eventually made, I never said I took the right amount of time to make those decisions. I would say that I wish I would have made the decision sooner in almost all decisions that have been of significance.

As a leader what is the impact on your company and your people by not making a decision?

Indifference: The lack of interest or concern.

As a leader you have to be interested. If you aren’t interested, then we know you aren’t leading. You have to be interested in people and your business. I have heard leaders and people say they don’t care and therefore they don’t have an opinion. This is not leading. If you are leading your life, or if you are leading others, you have to be interested. You can’t have a ho-hum, it will be what it will be attitude. Nope, you have to be all in and your action must show that you are all in.

Indifference is a disease, it will eat away at you over time and will cause you to just exist and not make your presence known. Leaders of people can’t be indifferent, you have to be concerned and you have to be interested.

Inaction: Staying still and not moving things forward.

I am sure you are no different from me and have had a sickly feeling where you just didn’t feel like doing something. Maybe your stomach hurt a little, not so painful that you were bent over, just a little achy. Or maybe it was a headache, that could be caused by seasonal allergies, or just a little stress. Again, you are not dying or anything you just don’t feel well.

I have had that feeling many times and without a doubt when I get up and start moving I feel so much better. I get involved in something and almost forget that I even felt bad.

This same feeling happens to people and companies as well. When a leader isn’t moving things forward and action is taking place, people get lethargic and can even fall sick. Leaders realize that inaction can kill success and any momentum they might have and they act.

Insanity: Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.

The most common definition we use for insanity in business it the one I used. And it is a disease that has taken its toll on many leaders and many companies. In Charles Duhiggs book “The Power of Habit.” he states that 70% of the things we do everyday are driven by our habits. Meaning we don’t even have to think about doing them. Our minds do them automatically. Kind of scary isn’t it.

If this is the case in our life, what about our business? What are the things we are dong over and over, because that is just the way we do them?

Leaders have to stop the insanity and look for new ways of doing things to get different results. There is an old saying: “If we keep doing what we have always done, we will get what we have always gotten.”

I believe that is false now. I believe that “If you keep doing what you have always done, you won’t get what you have always gotten, you will get less, and in many cases a lot less.”

Insecure: Lacking self-confidence

If you show me an insecure leader, I will show you a leader that is failing or about to fail. Insecurity is an internal problem. Let me give you an example. As a leader if you can’t realize that you are not competing with the people on your team on how good you look or how much authority you command, then you are insecure.

Leaders must be secure in their jobs and their own skin to allow others to take credit for what they have done. Leadership is not taking credit, it is not showing your authority, leadership is getting the right people for the job and allowing them to look like the hero.

If you are in a leadership position, and you can’t take a back seat when things go well and allow others to have some of the credit, then you should not be a leader.

Indirect: Not saying it clearly and to the point.

I once had a leader tell me that they were so nice to people that when they conducted a termination, the employee came back to work the next day thinking they still had a job. I know you are currently thinking, how dumb are they (the leader).

The point is that this leader was trying to be so nice that they beat around the bush and the message that needed to be communicated did not get communicated.

How often does this happen in business though? Instead of being direct and getting the message across, a leader instead tries to massage it, and by doing so it has unintended consequences. One of my favorite quotes of all time is “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Look at the example I shared about the leader not clearly communicating to the employee that they were terminated. How unkind was it when that employed show up the next day at work. Sad. Direct is better.

Inefficient: Wasting or failing to make the best use of time or resources.

Working in a fairly large business for the last twelve years of my career. I have realized the inefficiencies a company and leaders can create. This costs the company money and they also cause a lack of motivation from its employees, which also costs a lot of money.

Smart people don’t want to be jacked around or manipulated. They want to know what it is that needs to be done, and they will go out and do it. When leaders suggest to employees that they should invest their time and resources into a project, a concept, a task, and the employee does so. Once they come back around and make recommendations based on what it is they learned by investing their time and resources. Good employees don’t want to find out that this was not something that was that important or something that is going to be considered be the company.

When this happens the leaders not only wasted the company’s time and resources by having the employee do that work, but they also just told the employee that they don’t value their time, as evident with allowing them to waste their time pursuing a project that wasn’t even being considered.

Insensitive: Showing or feeling no concern for others’ feelings.

You might be saying to yourself how can you be not “Indirect” as well as telling us that leaders need to be more sensitive to its employees. Here is what I say to that:

I can be direct and still have feelings. I can be direct and still care. When it is time to be direct with someone, the sensitivity should have already been established. If it is hasn’t it is too late.

Each and every day as a leader you are making deposits with your team and people within your company, these deposits should display that you are sensitive to their needs and you are aware of their contributions and existence. The likelihood of having to be really direct and challenging to someone on a daily basis is probably very slim. Business just doesn’t work that way. However, you do have to be sensitive and aware on a daily basis and the good leaders realize that and make it a point to demonstrate it daily.

Many diseases are curable. Many diseases if treated can be eliminated. Not all, but most. The above diseases can be cured in all cases. How do you cure them?

By doing the following leaders can start to cure them if they exist.

Realize: Are we realizing our full potential or are we missing the mark on what we are capable of as a company or as an individual leader.

Then: You have to become aware of the symptoms and signs. Maybe that can be done by someone internally, but more than likely you need someone from he outside, a specialist ( a doctor), to take a look at your company to see if these symptoms and signs exist. When you have gotten used to the symptoms and signs, they just become normal to you, having someone else look at them is the only way.

Secondly: Are you committed to eliminating the diseases? What does it take and am I willing to do it? My hope would be that the answers to these questions would be yes.

Lastly: Make the commitment and do it. It will require coaching. It will require a shift in thinking. It will require training and development. And lastly, it may require a change in some of the leaders in your organization.

We all know that when a disease is not treated that it can spread and spread. The best way to eliminate a disease is to diagnose it and treat it immediately before it has the chance to spread. That is the same way you treat these IN’s within your company. You identify it and you treat it.

To your success and your future.

Brian Willett is an author, trainer and speaker. You can find more articles and resources at brianwillettgroup.com

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The one thing we all have to embrace NOW!

I am that thing you wanted to do, but for some reason you have failed to realize my significance.
I can be your best friend when you need me the most, but I can also be the thorn when you want me the least.
If you aren’t implementing me in your life it can be hard for you to thrive, however there are times when I show up and you may just want to die.
I am necessary for you to realize your potential.

What am I?

I am Change.  I am disruption. I am the opposite of status quo.

In 1879, Procter and Gamble’s best-selling item was candles. But the company was in trouble. Thomas Edison had invented the light bulb, which meant it looked as if candles would become obsolete. Their fears became reality when the market for candles plummeted since they were now primarily used on special occasions or as gifts.

The outlook appeared to be bleak for Procter and Gamble during this time. However, it seemed that destiny played a dramatic part in pulling the struggling company from the clutches of bankruptcy. A clumsy employee at a small factory in Cincinnati forgot to turn off his machine when he went to lunch one day. And the result? A frothing mass of lather filled with air bubbles. He almost threw the stuff away but instead decided to make it into soap. The soap floated. Thus, Ivory soap was born and became the mainstay of the Procter and Gamble Company.

Why was soap that floats such a hot item at that time? In Cincinnati, during that period, some people bathed in the Ohio River.  Yes the river. So floating soap would never sink and consequently never got lost. Ivory soap became a best seller in Ohio and eventually across the country.

Like Procter and Gamble, never give up when things go wrong and always be willing to change.

Proctor and Gamble’s story is a successful story.  The only issue with it is that they were forced to change by the circumstances they found themselves in.  Most people don’t make changes until they are forced to change.

Here are some of the reasons we fail to change.

  1. Our pain is not painful enough:  Yep that is right.  What if you went to your local burger joint right now and ordered the triple bacon, three-cheese, double quarter pound hamburger with the extra super large fries, and the gallon of your favorite soft drink.  After you scarfed all of that down you immediately started feeling sick and your chest started to hurt and you passed out.  And when you woke up you were in the emergency room with doctors and nurses over top of you.  You asked them “What is going on” and they told you that you were having a heart attack.This scenario usually doesn’t happen does it?  Nope, but if you do it everyday for many years it could happen.  Sure there might be other factors that play into it happening, but if this scenario played out every single time you had that food you wouldn’t eat that meal anymore.  Nobody wants to experience that pain and all of the other troubles that goes along with it.The point is this.

    We don’t make changes because we don’t realize at the time the consequences of not changing.  There is no pain associated with our lack of change. Instead, it takes a cumulation of neglect to ultimately force us to change.  Very seldom can one thing force us to make the change we need to make.  It is usually a cumulation of issues.

  2. The decision is not enough:  I can remember a few years ago when I was working for a company.  I was at the executive level, but most of the decisions were made by the owners.  I had influence, but only one person made all of the decisions.We were having a meeting one morning on something.  And the owner said “Brian, we have decided to do this.”  He was very proud and excited about his decision.He then tells me how quickly they are (he is) at making decisions. I looked at him and said, “It’s great that you made that decision and I am glad you did.  However, you are good at making decisions, matter of fact you make decisions all of the time. But you suck at managing the decisions.”He was obviously taken aback by my statements.

    This is like most people though.  You make a decision to do something and you are proud that you have decided to do this or that.  You even will tell other people about your decision.  You put it on Facebook. Then you don’t do anything to manage the decision you made.

    The real work begins after you make a decision.  The actions that you put into your life or business to manage the decisions is where the real work begins. The decision to do something is just the start.  Managing the decision is where it happens.

  3. Your delusional: For a period of time I worked in college admissions working with high school seniors and non-traditional students and getting them enrolled in to college. These two classifications of the different students that I worked with are important, because they both have different delusions.Lets start with the high school student: I can remember when I graduated high school, I was a mess and didn’t have a clue on what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be, and I think that many high school seniors feel that way upon graduation.  But one of the biggest delusions that I heard over and over when I was working with the college and high school seniors was this:”I am going to delay college so I can earn some money, and then attend college.”

    Time after time, I would see those students not start school right after high school and come back in the admissions office the next semester. I would ask them how much money they saved.  And the answers were always zero.

    Hey, I get it, if you aren’t ready for school, don’t go.  It is too expensive of a mistake to make. These kids were serious about school and they were serious about thinking they would save money, they weren’t just telling me that.

    The reason, I share this story is to make the point.  Don’t be delusional about change. The time is never right to do something that is difficult and necessary.   Most people are delusional in thinking something will change at some point in the future that will make the situation easier to change.  As Albert Einstein famously said “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

  4. The need goes away: Things get better in the short run, but the problem is there.  In the same position with the college I worked with adult students.  These students usually had full-time jobs, a spouse, children, and the other busyness that can come with being an adult.  They would come in to the college gung-ho about going back to school to finish their degree, or to start a degree.Many of them would be there for a couple of the same reasons.  The reasons were usually that their boss was a jerk, and they felt like they were more qualified to be the boss and they needed the degree to get their bosses job.  Another reason was they may have missed a couple of rounds of layoffs and felt that they would have more security with a degree. There were other reasons as well.  Over the years I had countless numbers of students give me these same reasons.They came in with these concerns, but before they got started in school or while attending school, something would happen and they would now feel more security either to not start school or drop out of school before finishing.  Their concerns were alleviated for now, but the problems didn’t go away.  They still didn’t have their education.

    This is what happens to most people. They feel the pain, but then the pain goes away temporarily, but even though the pain goes away, the problem is still there.  It just isn’t on the surface right now.  It will eventually resurface itself, it always does.

  5. We wait to be told:  Most of the change that I have taken in my life was started because I wanted to make the change. It was on my own accord that I saw that for me to get where I wanted to go and to be where I wanted to be, I had to change what I was doing. However, most people stay committed to whatever it is that they are doing, thinking that they will be fine and will be able to do things the same way forever.I am reminded of a quote by Bill Gates founder of Microsoft. He said “We come to work every single day to work on products to put ourselves out of business.”  Meaning we work to create products that will outsell our current products. He says “If we don’t work to put ourselves out of business, someone else will. There is always someone out there, some company, that is working to do it.  So we have to do it first.”

    I can remember when I worked for a company years ago.  About two years into my tenure there was a major shift in leadership.  The new leadership team was committed to changing the direction of the company and was focused on making a lot of changes.  Things such as new processes, new accountability metrics, new technology, etc.My colleague and I had both been there about the same amount of time.  I was excited about all of the new changes, I embraced it, and I actually used the changes to find a place where I could grab a project that I was able to call my own that helped push the new leaderships team vision forward.

    My colleague on the other hand, was the opposite.  They went against everything that the new leadership team was wanting to do.  They actually went as far as trying to block some of it by sabotaging it.

    In this situation we both had a choice to make.  We could get on board, or think if we pushed back something would actually change the new direction we were heading.  I embraced the change and thrived, and he did not and was ultimately let go.  He thought if he pushed back that the change wouldn’t impact him.  That is not the case.  Change before you have to.

    The point here is clear I hope.  Unless you are king of the world, the chances are you will eventually have to change. My advice is to change before you have to, because if you wait until you are forced it is too late. You either lose your market share or you may lose your job.

It is probably cliché anymore to try to sell someone on the fact that the need to change.  It is talked about so much that most of us know we have to change.  As pointed out, we know some of the reasons we should change, but how do we do it?

Cold turkey:  Maybe this is a southern thing.  We use the term “quitting cold turkey”.  I looked up this saying to see where it came from, and I am more confused than I am knowing where it came from.

Quitting cold turkey simply means stopping whatever it is you are doing immediately.  You don’t think about doing whatever it is you want to stop doing anymore, you just quit it now.  Quitting things cold turkey is probably one of the hardest things to do, because it requires the most discipline.  And depending on what it is you are changing, immediately stopping it is very hard because your body is conditioned to want it.

For example:  I know a lot of people who have quit smoking.  Cigarettes have something called nicotine in it that people become addicted to.  Their body relies on it and needs it, especially if you have had the habit of smoking for a long time.  Quitting smoking really impacts the mind and the body pretty significantly, because you are depriving the body of something that it wants and has gotten used to.

Quitting something cold turkey is very difficult.  Most people aren’t willing to make that type of commitment unless forced to do so.  What happens is many people try to “smoke less” thinking they will eventually wean themselves off of smoking altogether.  I have found that this rarely works.

Making changes “Cold turkey” is the hardest, but I honestly believe it is the best way.  Either you fully commit to whatever change you want to make or you don’t.  There are no such things as half commitments, that doesn’t even sound right does it.

Incrementally:  I am in sales, well, we all are in sales whether we realize it or not.  Much of my time has been spent managing sales people over the years.  Like most sales managers do, they are constantly telling their sales staff that if they want to make more sales they have to make more outbound phone calls to potential clients.  Many sales managers get into the habit of managing activities, i.e. phone calls.  I was guilty of this early on in my career as a sales manager as well.

I had this ah ha moment one day when conducting a coaching meeting with one of my sales representatives. I was asking them what they needed to do to be more successful.  Like always, they said they needed to make more outbound phone calls.  This particular sales rep was making about 20 phone calls a week.  They told me that they were going to start making 200 outbound phone calls now.  I looked at them and said that is impossible. You are not going to go from 20 to 200.  It is just not part of who you are.  You can’t make that significant of a change.  I said lets shoot for 25-30.

The point here is we all think we can go from 0 to 100 in a matter of days or weeks, and this just isn’t the case.  Most of the changes we are looking to make in our life and in our business require more time than that.  Our behaviors are not wired that way either. We can’t just immediately change over night or in a week. We have to focus on making incremental changes at times to ultimately make the entire change we are seeking to make.

What changes are you looking to make.  What incremental changes can you make right now or today that can get you going down the right path to achieve your ultimate goal?  Remember, trying to change everything can sometimes do more harm than good focus on measurable progress.

Focus on loss:  Humans are hardwired to be more focused on what could be lost versus what they will gain.  Over the years I have been in a position to give lots of people career advice. I am the person that people turn to when they are looking at pursuing a new job or a new profession and they ask me for my opinion.

In most of these conversations I have had over the years, what we spent the majority of the time talking about is the comparisons between the two jobs.

For example: The person asking for advice would say:  In my current job I have a lot of flexibility with my schedule.  If I have a doctor’s appointment or a child care issue, I have some flexibility in handling that.  I don’t want to lose that.  Or they might say. I am guaranteed a x % raise every single year.  I know what I have to do to get it.  At this new company I might now have the same opportunities.

Now in these scenarios described above, there is obviously more to making a career change or job change. From my experience most of my conversations have always centered around what they might lose, versus what they might gain.

This fear of loss versus excitement of gain is something that is ingrained in humans DNA.  They say it goes as far back as cavemen days. We were hardwired to be more worried about what we could do and have today, versus what we could do and have tomorrow. We wouldn’t give up anything today, food, shelter, etc., that we knew we already had in our possession to go after more and better for tomorrow when it was uncertain if we could actually get it.

Loss aversion is more motivating than what we could gain. So how do we use this loss aversion mindset that is ingrained in us to make changes?  Easy.

What are you losing or you could you lose if you don’t change?  If you don’t stop smoking you may lose your life or your health. Which means you won’t see your children grow up or your grandchildren born.  If you don’t change your attitudes at work, you could lose your job, which means you won’t be able to take your children to Disney World.  If you don’t change your money habits and save more, you could lose your house.

When you start thinking about your losses in this way, you might just become more motivated to make the changes necessary.

Do something that scares you: I think we have discussed and proven that change is hard.  Making changes cold turkey and incrementally are some ways to make change.  Then there is just jumping and doing something that scares you.

It has been proven and most people would agree that two of the biggest fears of most people, are the fear of death and the fear of public speaking.  I would add a third to that.  The fear of singing in public.  I would say that singing in public could be number one.

Years ago when I was becoming a trainer and speaker, I was always nervous about speaking. Then I took this course that required us to actually sing.  My goal was to ultimately teach and train this particular course, which would require me to sing every single time I taught the course. I was frightened. Like most people I felt like my voice was horrible. And you know what people confirmed that over and over to me when I would sing. But I learned to not care.  I actually became a singer, kind of.

What I did to get over this fear of singing in public is, I just did it.  I went to karaoke bars, I went to a friend’s house who had a karaoke bar in his house.  I jumped all in and took the opportunity to sing whenever I could.  I just took it all on head on.

What happened by doing something that scared me and taking it head on, is I became less anxious or nervous about it.   I have now sung in public enough that I don’t even think about it anymore.

To make necessary changes in our life we sometimes just have to jump all in and not think about it. When I am at karaoke bar now I just get up and put in a few of the songs I know I can sing (decently) and I just do it.  I have a blast when I am doing it now, I enjoy it for what it is.

Find a coach:  We have discussed change pretty exhaustively now haven’t we?  We know why we want to change, and how we want to change, and I have provided a few ways for you to make the changes. My hope is that you do some of these things on your own. However, there comes a point where no matter what you do and how you do it, you just can’t make the necessary changes you want to make.  And guess what?  That is okay.

We all need some coaching in life. A good coach can set down with you and help you determine what needs and changes you desire to make. They also can assess your commitment level to these changes and needs.  They can then provide you tools, and most importantly, accountability to make sure you do what is required to make the changes you seek to make.

A few years ago, I was seeking to get better in my delivery of training and speaking.  When you are training and speaking to an audience you can’t ask them how you did speaking fluently, or how was my grammar, how was my pronunciation, things such as this.  The audience is not looking to critique you on those things, even though they are.

I knew that I could be better in these areas, so I hired a coach to come in and listen to me and give me feedback on these things I wanted feedback on.  That is what I coach can do.  They are there to help you see your blind spots.  Things you may not be aware of and once you become aware of them you can now start to change them.

The best thing I have ever done is hire coaches in all facets of my life.  In my health and fitness, my dieting, my speaking, my training, my writing, etc. We all need some coaching all of the time.  It is how we all get better and reach and realize our full potential.

Let me ask you a question.  What is it that you need to change?  What is it that you have been wanting to accomplish but just haven’t done so yet.  What behaviors are preventing you from getting you to the promotion you want?  What money habits do you have that is preventing you from buying a house or your first rental property?  What is that is holding you back from realizing your full potential?

Change is hard, Change is rewarding, Change is necessary, Change is awesome, Change is scary, Change is required.  My belief is that you are where you are, because your decisions and your habits have gotten you there.  But I also believe that none of us have to stay where we are, IF, we want to go somewhere else. If you want to go to a different place and have different results, then take change head on.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

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These two things are killing your self-esteem

What if I could promise you that you would always be the most confident person all of the time, in every single situation, no matter what the situation is?

You would probably call me a liar.  And for most people you would be right by calling me a liar.

So what is confidence and what is self-esteem.  The definitions of both are below.

Confidence: a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.

Self-Esteem: confidence in one’s own worth or abilities.

So which one comes first?  That’s easy.  You have to build up your self-esteem well before you can ever be confident in something.  Self-esteem is an inside job.  Let me repeat. Self-esteem is an inside job.

You have to become confident in your own worth and abilities, and in doing so you will become more confident in your abilities and qualities.

What prevents us from having more self-esteem?  There are two killers to self-esteem.  Procrastination and Easing up.

We’ll start with procrastination first.  This is more important than easing up, because if you don’t get started there is nothing to ease up on.

Procrastination, like self-esteem is an inside job as well. It begins with you.  I say it is deadly because in our heads we really don’t think it matters that much to delay.  We just keep putting things off until we are forced to do it by someone else. Or our situation becomes so bad that we have to make a change.

Here is an example: That little light that comes on in your car when your gas gets low.  When those were first created many Americans continued to drive and would, “surprise, surprise”, run out of gas.  Many of the automakers increased the amount of fuel, thus increasing the distance you could drive because of all the complaints they received.  To this day according to one study, some 827,000 people still run out of gas every year.

This example illustrates the point doesn’t it?  Even when people know the inevitable they will still procrastinate.  So why?  Here is a list of a few of the reasons why.

  1. We think we have more time: As the low fuel light indicates, many people think they have more time than they actually do.  This is many people’s approach to life as well.  We think we have more time than we actually do.  Not trying to be morbid, but our time is finite here on this earth.  We only have so much time.  There is only so much time in a day, in a week, and a year.  Many people go through life thinking they will have more time, when the only time we know we have is right now.
  2. It’s not the right time: Quick story:  I can remember when I was 18.  I had just graduated high school and I was working all of the time.  Since I worked so much, even though I was young, I just wasn’t as active as I had been and I was gaining weight.  I made the decision that I was going to start lifting weights and exercising. This is around November or so.  I was telling a good friend of mine about my decision and that I would start the first of the year.  I can still remember his response “Why are you going to wait, why not start now?”  As silly as it sounds, I didn’t have an answer for him.  So, I did what he asked. I started that day and I have never looked back.Now I know many of you are saying well I have this or that to do.  “Right now the kids are in a lot of sports”, “I have too much going on at work”, “I will once the winter gets here.”  All of these are excuses.  The time will never be right.  If it is that important to you there is no reason you can’t start now.
  3. We don’t find the time:  One of my favorite quotes is: “If it is important you will find the time, if it isn’t important you will find an excuse.” How important it is to you is where it all begins.  When the why is strong the how gets easier.  You have to find the time and the why.
  4. You waste your time: Once you burn a day that day is gone forever.  It will never be back.  Have you ever been driving home in the evening after work, totally exhausted, and you are thinking about the day and asking yourself, “What did I accomplish today?” and you can’t think of anything worthwhile that you accomplished. Now, I am sure you are saying, “Things come up that are out of my control”.  Yep, I am sure they do, and they always will.  We have to prioritize our time, or we will allow things to always come up and prevent us from doing the things we want to do.

There are other reasons that we procrastinate as well.  Things such as we are perfectionists, we don’t know how to do it, we don’t know what to do, the project seems too big to take it on.

All of these excuses lead to procrastination.  Every little thing we make a decision to procrastinate on it silently digs at our self-esteem. The problem with this little dig, is we don’t feel it.  If we got shocked as if we had a shock collar on every-time our self-esteem was diminished, we wouldn’t do it, but that isn’t the case, thankfully.

Why does procrastination hurt my self-esteem again?  Human beings innately are action oriented and are always seeking more. It is in our DNA, it is ingrained in our heads. We know we are capable of more. We know we can learn more. Do more. See more. Give more.

Because we know we are capable of more, when we do less than we know we are capable of doing, internally we know it.  Our brains know it. We know we could have and in many cases should have given more than we gave.

Let me say the opposite way. Think about a big accomplishment you have made. I mean a big one. Maybe you graduated from college, purchased your first home, bought your own car, lost a bunch of weight, ran your first marathon, etc. Pick one.

When you accomplished that milestone why was it such a big moment of celebration and enjoyment for you?

You know what it took to accomplish it.  It took hard work and dedication.  It took delayed gratification on your part. You had to scrimp and save.  You had to run lots of miles to give you the stamina to run a full marathon. You had to eat less and exercise more.  All of these little things you had to do to accomplish the milestone was you taking action and made them happen.  Procrastination does the opposite.

When you hit your milestone and accomplishment your confidence and self-esteem was at its highest.  You felt so good about yourself, because you know your worth.  You know you have the abilities to do it, and you know the qualities you possess within that allowed you to meet your goal.  These things build up your self-esteem, and procrastination does the opposite.

The other killer to self-esteem is easing up.  Although procrastination is responsible for a higher level of lack of self-esteem because you can’t build self-esteem if you never do anything. I think easing up causes more anxiety and disappointment than procrastination does.

I have this friend.  He has a shorter body type, you know the type, short and stocky.  Short and stocky people tend to add weight pretty quickly.  I am not a doctor, I am just an observer and that is what I have observed.  He has struggled with off and on weight gain for most of his life.  A few years ago he got really into health and fitness. He was working out all of the time, eating very healthy, and doing everything the right way. He really looked good and felt good.

Well, then he had an injury.  This injury was one of those injuries that is more of a nag than something that prevents you from not doing anything at all.

He had two choices. He could quit or he could modify. Like most people he chose to quit. Look I am not him and I don’t know his level of pain.  However, here is what I do know. Day after day, week after week, he is constantly talking about getting back to that same level of health fitness that he was at a few years ago.  While talking about getting back he has taken no actions to do so.  In his case he eased up and ultimately quit.  That is the worst case scenario under the easing up category. You ease up so much that you ultimately quit.

I personally believe easing up and ultimately quitting is worse for your self-esteem than never getting started.   The reason is simple: you have proven you can do it already.  You have been there, don’t that, and now you have squandered it all.  That takes a huge toll on your self-esteem. When you wake up everyday and say to yourself I know I can do this, because I have done it, but I have lost it all again.  All of my hard work, all of my commitments, all of my successes are now gone.  That loss is heart breaking and is a self-esteem killer.

Some of the other problems with easing up. We know that easing up can lead to quitting which is the worst case scenario, but here are few other issues and ways we ease up.

One of the ways I have “eased up” is this. At one time I made the commitment that I was going to write every single day. Now looking back on that decision, I should have modified that decision some at the beginning because it is hard to go from zero (no writing) to 100 (writing everyday).  I did ultimately modify that some. I went to three days a week. Its not the point though.  When I made that decision I stuck with my commitment pretty solidly for about a year and a half.  I was writing at least three days a week. But then something happened. I eased up some.

You know what easing up sounds like don’t you?  “I have already done a lot of writing”. “I wrote a book, and that was the ultimate goal, I don’t need to write as much.” “I am much further in my writing than I ever thought I would be.” “If you knew where I started from, you would be amazed on how far I have come.” You get the point with these phrases don’t you?  You go into justification mode. We all do it and have done it.

When we start using the justification phrases like I did, you know you are slowing down.  And when you start slowing down, you are one step closer to quitting. Which means you are one step closer to your self-esteem going back down to where it was and lower before you ever started.

Do you want to be more confident in everything you are doing?  Than you have to make commitments and see them through.  You have to fight off procrastination and easing up.  Literally, you have to fight it sometimes.  It is lurking around the edges all of the time, just waiting for an opportune time to sweep in and kill your hopes and your dreams and ultimately your self-esteem.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

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The conduit between I can and I will

Discipline is the one word that can be associated with the success and failures of most people.  Discipline is the willingness to commit to something and see it through. Most people are willing to stand up and say “I commit”.  However, it is a different story altogether when it comes time to implement the necessary disciplines to see the commitment through.

How important is discipline?  It is the most important thing. Again, there are lots of people voicing commitments all day, everyday. But, many of those people never implement the right disciplines to accomplish what it is that they say they are committed to.

Discipline is the conduit that bridges the GAP between “I Can” and “I Will”.  Most of us can make a change.  Most of us can do more than we get paid to do.  Most of us can show up earlier.  Most of us can stay later.  Most of us can eat less, and workout more. Most of us can spend less and invest more. However that GAP between “Can” and “Will” can be as big and as wide as the Grand Canyon.

Discipline is the difference between the sales person that makes five phone calls a day when they should have made 20. The first day that they make 5 instead of 20, isn’t a big deal.  However, if they do it repeatedly over a month or two months, this one little lack of discipline adds up to be a significant problem for them.  By month three, their pipeline of sales have dipped and now they start to see the lack of phone calls showing up in their pay check.

Discipline can also show up or not show with the person who is doing all of the right things when it comes to their health and fitness.  They have the commitment to eat healthier and are making their way into the gym or some kind of physical exercise pretty regularly. However, because they have implemented a few really good disciplines, they allow some slack in their commitment of cutting out certain foods and other activities that are negating the benefits of the other disciplines. So they find themselves in this constant cycle of not getting the results they want.

There are a few steps to discipline. The first step is the awareness that we need to have more discipline in our lives.  Unfortunately, most people never have this awakening to the truth.  They go their entire life living an undisciplined train wreck and then wonder why they can never get the results they desire.

The second step goes back to what was stated earlier in the text.  And that is most people “Can” but the question is “Will” they. Will they make the commitment to a new routine, a new strategy, to bridge the GAP between “I Can” and “I Will” and do what is necessary to achieve what it is that I want to achieve.

The third and final step is your commitment to see it through.  “I can”, “I will”, and I will make sure I see it through all the way to the end, by implementing new disciplines in my life to achieve my goals.

It is without a doubt that one discipline leads to another. Once you make a commitment to a new discipline, the results that come from that new discipline are so motivating that it pushes you to create other ones in your life.  A disciplined life changes your attitude. It is fuel for all of your desires once you start seeing momentum, all it takes is the decision to make the change and implement a new discipline.

Most people get so focused on the destination that they don’t think about a new direction.  Sure, we all seek to get to a new destination, but to get there it requires us first to see and go down a new path, a new direction.

So what can you do now.  The first step is become aware of what it is in your life that needs some additional attention.  Become aware of the person you are and the person you want to be.   Then decide. Make the decision that today “I can” and “I will”.  I will do whatever it takes to accomplish the person I want to be. I will bridge the gap, between “I can” and “I will” and become what it is I was destined to be. And then lastly, I will commit to see it all the way through until the new me is accomplished.

Discipline bridges all gaps, when you are first starting out you may not know where and how to get there, by creating disciplines to seek and take action it will eventually lead to that place you are seeking to go.

To your success and your future.

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