3 Reasons you missed the opportunity that knocked on your door.

I am sure we have all heard the old saying when “Opportunity knocks you have to answer the door.”  A little old school saying.  It is so old school that the chances are, you don’t even hear the message that lies within this little saying.

I know a lot of people who are walking around saying that their card has never been punched, or their numbers haven’t been picked, or opportunity has never showed up and knocked on their door.  And the problem with all of these statements is they are false. You have had many chances. Opportunity has presented itself several times. Your number would have been picked if only…., etc.

No matter who you are, opportunity has knocked and you just didn’t answer the door. You were too damn busy playing on your smart phone to answer the door.  Or you had your damn ear buds in and didn’t hear it. I am joking.  Kind of.

#1:  You were too busy to see hear it or see it:  I told you I was kind of kidding.  The reality is that you were probably too busy to see it or hear it when it knocked.  I don’t know what you were doing at the time.  However, my guess is you were doing life.   You know.  Working, taking care of kids, making sales, dealing with problems, and just doing what we all do.  So yes, you were just too busy to get the door.

So what do we do.  Well, life isn’t getting any less busy is it?  Nope. We have to constantly make sure we are aware of what is going on around us.  We have to take the time.  Yes. Take the time, and make the time. To become aware of what is going on around us.  There are clues all around us.  We just have to be aware of them.  We have to be more intentional about what is around us at all times.

#2: You weren’t ready: I can remember when I bought my first car.  It was a 1984 Ford Tempo.  It cost me $400.  Within three weeks I was without a car again. The motor blew up or locked up.  All I had saved was the $400 dollars and that is all I could afford. About three weeks later a better car popped up and it was $1200, and I didn’t have the money.  So I couldn’t buy the car.

The point of the story is that when the opportunity to buy another car popped up, I wasn’t prepared,  because I didn’t have the money.  I wasn’t equipped with what I needed, money.  To buy the car I wanted.

Another situation where I learned a lesson from a leader I had many years ago was along the same lines as this. I had just finished my bachelors degree and I was thinking about getting a Master’s degree.  I went to my Senior Leader at the organization I was with and asked him if he thought I should pursue the Master’s degree.  His answer was simple: “It is nice to have when you need it.”  Meaning, when an opportunity presents itself and you need a Master’s degree, it will be nice to have it.  What he said was when you need it, you want to make sure you have it.  All you can do is prepare yourself now so when the opportunity presents itself you are ready.

#3: You weren’t ready to hear it:  The other day I was listening to one my favorite radio sports guy.  His name is Colin Cowherd.  He is an intelligent host. He is smart business guy, and a smart guy in general. He not only talks sports, but he gives a lot of advice that can provide you success in your life. I digress.

He had Jay Cutler on the show.  Colin was actually out that day so there was a fill-in host that asked the question. If you are a NFL football fan, you know that Jay Cutler just recently retired to become a commentator.  He was a starting quarterback for more than ten years in the NFL.  The host asked Jay this question.  Keep in mind.  Jay had a reputation for being a highly emotional guy, that wasn’t a very good teammate or leader at times.

The host asked him, “If you could go back to the rookie (first year in the NFL) Jay and give him any advice on how to be successful in the NFL, what would you tell him?”

Jay answered the question very quickly with this answer.  He said “I couldn’t give that guy any advice, because he wouldn’t have listened to me.”  Meaning at his younger age.  I think 22-24, he thought he knew it all and wouldn’t listen to any advice anyone would give to him.  He had to figure it out on his own.  He wasn’t coachable and wouldn’t listen to the people who have already been there before and learned the hard lessons.

Ask yourself.  Has opportunity knocked for you and you were in one of the above three places at that time?  The chances are you were.

So what can you do about it. Very simply is this.

You have to make the time to become aware of what is going on around you.  It could be in your organization, your team, your business, your industry, the world, etc.  As I said before there are clues all around us that things are going to change.  We just have to be aware of them.

Secondly, you have to prepare.  Prepare today, so you will be ready tomorrow.  That is the only way you can stay ahead of it, and be ready to take action when an opportunity presented itself.

And lastly, be open to feedback and coaching.  There aren’t any new situations that someone out there hasn’t already been through.  We just have to be open to hearing it from them.

To your success and future.

 

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How do you motivate people? My response is always the same.

I meet with a lot of people in my business.  As a trainer and expert in the area of leadership, training, and motivating. I get asked quite often how do I get people motivated to want to work hard?  The people who ask me this are typically in a leadership position and have a team of people that they are responsible for.

Here is how I respond. You can’t motivate People.  It can’t be done.  It is impossible for anybody or any person to motivate another person.  The definition of motivation tells us why this is impossible.

The word motivation comes from the root word.  Motive.  And the simple definition for motive: is a need or want that causes a person to act.  The suffix ation means: indicating an action, process, state, condition, or result.  When you put the words motive and ation together, it simply means: the state or condition that causes a person to act. 

You can look the words up yourself and come to your own definition. As you can see though, motivation must come from internally.  Another person can’t get you motivated.  You have to motivate yourself.

So the real question people should be asking me is this.  How do I get people to motivate themselves?

Now this I can answer, but they typically look at me with uncertainty with my response.

Here is how I respond:  You show me someone who isn’t motivated, I will show you a person who doesn’t have any goals set for themselves.  And if they do have some set, (they usually don’t, at least not clear ones, and why) they are usually not big enough, or exciting enough, for the person to do what it takes (motivation) to accomplish them.

It is as simple as that.  When we have established clear goals on what it is that we want, we will find the motivation to do whatever it takes to get it done.  We will get up early, stay late, spend money, cut expenses, work harder, do things differently, etc.  We will do whatever it takes to accomplish our goal.

What I have found though is that most managers that ask me this question can’t answer the question themselves, because they don’t have very clear goals set.  At least not ones that are more personal.

Sure the company gives managers a goal to hit X targets, or X revenue goals, etc.  However, those are not their goals.  They are the goals the company has set and told them to hit.  To get motivated you have to know how hitting the companies goals are going to help you hit your own personal goals. They go hand in hand.

And most managers and leaders haven’t set their own personal goals on what it is they do and why they do it. Which makes them incapable of helping their employees excited and motivated about hitting their goals for the company.

A person can’t give that of which they don’t possess. So as a manager, if you don’t know clearly why you do what you do, and what motivates you to do what you do.  You will be unable to help others do what they need to do.  And when you do have to get others motivated, you don’t know how to do it.

I have tried to simplify the process as best as I can, but it can be complicated or clunky when explaining via words on a page alone.  If you are interested in learning more about what I am discussing, reach out to me at bwillett555@gmail.com

Simply put.  To get others motivated you have to create an environment for them to be motivated.  Which means the individuals must have set some clear goals for themselves personally and professionally, and when they see how the job or the company can help them achieve their personal and professional goals, they will be motivated to take whatever action is necessary.

To your success and your future.

 

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The real Freedom that you should be seeking

The word freedom is a term that is used a lot in the United States.  We say we want our freedom to say what we want.  We want our freedom to be able to do what we want.  We want our freedom of speech, of religious beliefs, sexual beliefs, etc.  We want to go to war, because we believe by going to war we are protecting our freedoms.  Many of what politicians say or do, usually comes back to the word freedom.  They say by doing this or that, they are protecting the freedoms that we have here in the United States.

And no matter what party you stand behind. You and I both, are always willing to stand up and agree with the politician or whoever else says it.  That we must do this or that, to protect our freedoms.  Or they might say, if we “don’t do” this or that, it could erode our freedoms.

Lets face it, we as Americans will say or do a lot of shit to protect or enhance our freedoms won’t we?  We love that word.

Here is the irony though.  As much as we all agree with protecting and enhancing our freedoms from a political or religious point of view.  We never look at what true freedom is.  I am not saying that the other freedoms aren’t important.  They are, however, they usually don’t impact me as much as the daily freedom that I seek in my daily life.

So what does the word freedom even mean?  Here it is, I looked it up for you.  I personally like this definition, because it makes the case for the freedom I am looking for. “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.”  Which ever definition you choose to agree with or like it doesn’t matter.  We all have a similar belief of what freedom is to us.

The political shit, although really good talking points if your business is “Politics”.  And yes, I mean your business. Because it is a business, like any other business. For almost 241 years the United States has had freedom as its own country.  For those 241 years, we have done whatever we can to protect our freedom, our soil, and our livelihood as a country.  Could that be harmed?  Maybe, but it is doubtful as this point in time.

Here is the freedom I am looking for. Here is the freedom that is more important to me. Here is the freedom that I care most about.  It is the freedom in my own life to do and have whatever it is that I want.  Absolute freedom means this to me. I don’t have to rely on anything, anybody, any entity, or anything for my own survival. Which means:

  • I don’t owe anybody anything. (except for real estate that generates a profit over and beyond the cost)
  • I don’t want to have to rely on one customer to pay their bills.
  • I don’t want to have to rely on the government to pay my bills.
  • I don’t want to have to make sure I pay my car payment on time.
  • I don’t want to have to make sure my credit cards are paid.
  • I don’t want to have to rely on my employer to pay me.
  • I don’t want to have to rely on my social security check.
  • I don’t want to have to rely on a doctor to cure me from the problems I created with my health.
  • I don’t want to have to report to a boss that is an asshole.
  • I don’t want to have to work for an organization that I don’t believe in.

I don’t want to have to do anything for anyone that I don’t personally want to do. To me this is the ultimate freedom.  Some of you think that is unrealistic.  Depending on where you are today, maybe it is.

However, it doesn’t mean that it will always be unrealistic. You have the freedom to choose a different path.  You have the freedom to make a choice today to change how you will continue to live your life. The question is will you make the decision to do something different or continue doing what you have always done?

I am not sure if it is clear to you by now or not. But the point I am trying to make in the post is to get you thinking about what freedom is. You already have a lot of the freedoms the politicians say you are in jeopardy of losing.  Whether you are really in jeopardy of losing these freedoms or not, is exactly what they want you to believe.  That keeps their business going. Many of the stuff they are talking about, we are not going to lose.

That is why I am focused on the true freedom that I seek to have. The freedom in my daily life that can allow me to live the life that I seek to live.  I am not to the point in my freedoms where I want to be.  I am getting closer.

Hey, this stuff takes time, when you finally figure it out.  I am working my way towards it.  I will tell you the one secret that has allowed me to get closer to this ultimate freedom.

It is very simply that I made a choice to design a life, instead of living a life.  Which means, I invested more and more money into my personal development and my self-education.  This is the one thing that has netted me more and more returns as I continued to invest more and more in it. You should be making those investments too.

To your success and your future.

 

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5 Ways to build Trust, Credibility, and Respect for yourself

Tomorrow I will be doing a presentation to a group of Young Professionals.  I will be speaking around the topic of Leadership; How to build Trust, Credibility and Respect.

Obviously an interesting topic for this group of people.  Most of the folks that will be in attendance fall into a few different categories in the workforce. They are either starting out their careers.  They could already be in their second career. Most likely most of them, if not all of them, will be looking for an edge to continue to grow in their current role and in their organization.

I will allow them to come up with their own playbook of what they think it takes for them to build their leadership skills to be trusted, and have the respect and be credible to those in higher positions in their company or in their communities.  As they decide for themselves what they think it takes. I will share my thoughts as well.

Here are five things they can do, and you can do to: To become a trusted, credible, and well-respected leader in your organization or in your community.

  1. Invest in yourself: There is no better way to become known as a person who knows what they are talking about than actually becoming that person that knows what they are talking about.  The best way to do this, is to first become an expert in your business or the work you do.  Sign up for any trade magazines in your industry, email lists, newsletters, etc.  Whatever you can get your hands on, do it.  In addition, to getting your hands on that information you need to attend seminars or conferences in your business.  If your company will pay for it. Great. If not.  Pay for it yourself.  Become known as the person who is willing to do whatever it takes to become an expert in your business.
  2. Develop your foundational skills: Yes I said foundational.  Most people call them soft skills.  However, I call them foundational, because if you don’t have a strong foundation built it is hard to put or build anything on top of it.  You have to become a better speaker, communicator, connector with others, small talker, influencer, etc. There are  two ways to develop these skills.   First, you can attend courses to learn how to do this more effectively.  Like a Dale Carnegie Course or Toastmasters. Secondly, you have to practice a lot.  You have to go out of your way to attend networking events, find ways to speak in public, and just go out of your way to always be connecting and communicating with others.  The more you do this, the better you will become, which in turn allows you to become more known and more credible.
  3. Brand You: The first two items on the list, obviously help build you up amongst your peers and colleagues.  However, if you are working really hard to build yourself up, but meanwhile you are doing things that can pull you down. It isn’t going to help you become more respected and trusted.  Here are a couple of things to not do. Don’t be negative.  You know who those people are.  You try to avoid them don’t you?  They are the ones that are on Facebook or on your lunch breaks, complaining about everything. You don’t want to be known as that person.  Secondly, don’t feed in to the gossip.  When someone starts the gossip, exclude yourself immediately from the talk. Avoiding the negative talk and avoiding the gossip scene will help separate you from the pack and let people know that you are trustworthy.
  4. Listen and think before you speak: You could easily put these into the foundational category above.  However, I believe it needs its own space here at number four.  First of all, most people are not very good listeners.  People respect people who will listen to them.  We want someone to sincerely listen to us. Secondly, if we become good listeners, we will have the correct and accurate information before we start speaking.  How many times have you heard the old saying “Foot in my mouth” cliché.  Too many to count most likely.  And the reason people have to say it so often, is that they didn’t do enough listening on the front end to learn what they should or shouldn’t say.
  5. Speed, Accuracy, Consistency: I am still waiting for a returned phone call from a Realtor from two weeks ago.  How much credibility do you think that person has with me right now?  You got it.  Zero.  I believe you must become known as a person who does things quickly.  Lets face it.  We now live in a world where I can have pretty much anything I want within a few hours, at the longest, a couple of days.  We are all conditioned, and getting more conditioned every day, to have less patience than we used to.  If you want to become more respected and credible, become known as the person who gets things done quickly. I know when we speed things up, the chances of accuracy and consistency can be affected.  But you can’t allow that to happen.  You have to deliver everything with speed.  It must be accurate, and you must be able to do it consistently.  Period.  Look at Amazon.  They do all three.  Become known as the Amazon to everyone you know.

These are five simple things you can do to become that respected, credible, and trusted person at your office, within your organization, within your community, etc.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

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No matter what…

One of my mentors eloquently stated that most people are not very creative because they haven’t committed to whatever it is they are trying to accomplish.  They say that commitment precedes creativity.  Most people aren’t creative because they aren’t committed.  Once you make a commitment to whatever it is you are trying to accomplish, you will find a way, hence the creativity part, to make it happen.

What is commitment you ask?  I am sure that you have your own definition of what commitment is.  And you can look it up online or pick up a Webster’s Dictionary (Do they still make these?)  One of the definitions I read for commitment is: “it obligates you to do something.”  Now a little more Language Arts class here for you.  I apologize, but most people never take the time to look up the definitions of words.  They just assume they know what they mean.

The word obligate: “to bind legally or morally”.  Now we are getting heaving into what a commitment is. Lets review here: “A commitment is something that you must do because either legally or morally you must see it through.”  I like that definition.  However a definition by itself isn’t going to help you see your commitments all the way through.  I instead like to suggest to the uncommitted on how they can become more committed with a very simple instruction.

That instruction is this:  “No matter what”.  Meaning:

  • No matter what…happens today you will fulfill your commitment
  • No matter what happened yesterday you will fulfill your commitment.
  • No matter what happens tomorrow you will fulfill your commitment.
  • No matter how you feel you will fulfill your commitment.
  • No matter how busy the day is you will fulfill your commitment
  • No matter what your spouse says or does you will fulfill your commitment.
  • No matter what your children do or have done you will fulfill your commitment.
  • No matter what happens at work or doesn’t happen at work you will fulfill your commitment.
  • No matter what the weather is you will fulfill your commitment.
  • No matter what the situation is, or could be, you will fulfill your commitment.

As my mentor said.  All of the above are excuses that the uncommitted come up with that give them permission to not fulfill their commitments. And until you fully commit. I mean totally sell out on your goals, your commitments, your future, your obligations.  Whatever it is for you, you will never become creative enough to make sure you meet those commitments.

So let me ask you.  Have you sold out and fully committed on whatever it is you say you are committed in achieving? Come on, have you?  Have you put a stake in the ground and said “No matter what” I will make sure I pursue this commitment all the way through, no matter what gets in my way?  Also, keep in mind.  As the definition states. A commitment is an obligation.  Which means it could be legally or morally binding.  My guess is that your goals and your future are not legally binding.  However, they should be morally binding.

The biggest lies we get told every single day are the lies we tell ourselves.  The “I am doing everything I can.” Are you really?  Everything?  “I am committed to get this done”,  Are you?  When is the last time you worked on it?

If you can’t trust yourself, than who can you trust.  Your commitments are a moral contract between you and yourself. It is your obligation, as the definition states to see them through.

Final question for you.  Have you truly committed and sold out to your commitments, your goals, your future self, the one you desire to be?  Have you put that stake in the ground and said “No matter what” happens I will make sure I make a constant effort to these commitments I made to myself?

To your success and your future.

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The missing link between training programs and performance change

 

I recently conducted a training session for the Association for Talent Development.  I discussed the missing link and followed up that training session with the article below.   

Training is supposed to change performance by changing behaviors.  So often this is just not the case. In this program, we discussed the missing link between training programs and achieving the performance change our training is designed to enhance.

The three key areas we focused on during this session:

  • Learn the Cycle of Performance Change
  • Discuss how to get better performance through changed behaviors.
  • Identified three ways to get participants engaged in training.

Cycle of Performance Change: 

Most training programs fail to actually state what the real objective of the training is.  In developing a training program, it is critical to actually state the key objectives of what it is the participant (learner), will actually learn and should be able to do at the end of the training.  This allows the participant to know what they are getting, and what they should expect.  By doing this it also allows for the participant to state what their objectives of attending the training are as well.  None of this happens in silence.  All of this should be discussed in advance of the training and throughout the training.

Once we have identified the goals and objectives, we can now move to what we call attitude.  With attitude, it is pretty simple.  Does the participant see the need to make a change?  If yes.  Move forward.  If no.  Then find out why.

If they see the need.  We now have to determine; do they Want to?  If yes. Move forward.  If no.  We need to find out why.  Then we have to assess skills and determine if they can make the necessary change. And secondly, does the participant believe they can make the necessary change.

Lastly, we have to assess whether or not the participant will make the changes.  This is not only for trainers to determine, but the participant must determine this for themselves as well.

Attitude comes down to this:  Do they see a need, Do we see a need?  Do they want to, Do we want them to?  Do they think they can? Do we think they can?  Lastly, Will they do it, Will we follow up to make sure they do it.

After we have determined our goals, assessed the participants attitudes toward training and changing their performance.  We can now impart new knowledge to the participants.  This new knowledge is techniques, information, processes, etc. that can enhance their skills when used.

There is no point to provide training to someone who doesn’t have the right attitude to take the training and actually use it to get better results.

Now that we have equipped them with the new information, we now have to get them practicing the new concepts, processes, and techniques.  Once they start practicing the new techniques they can then start to become more comfortable with it.  When practiced enough, they will turn those new skills into a permanent way in which they conduct business.

So, the new skill becomes a changed behavior in how they conduct business.

Three ways we can get participants engaged in the training. 

Before, During, and after.  These are the three areas most critical to success for a training program.  Training is not something you just go to.  Training is an ongoing requirement for everyone, especially for those who are seeking to get better results.

Before the training:  We sit down with participants and get their buy-in on the training and why they think it is important for them to attend the training. As pointed out above, we also let them know what the objectives of the training are and we get their objectives for the training as well.

During:  There are many ways we can get participants engaged in the training while we are actually delivering the training.  Here are just a few.

We facilitate versus lecture.  I think everyone knows this.  However, it is still happening.  Adult learners learn best by doing. The best way for us to teach is to get them practicing sooner than later.  The process I use, is simple.

  • Introduce the concept
  • Give an example of the concept being used.
  • Have the participant practice the concept using their examples.
  • Give some coaching to the participant while they are practicing.
  • Summarize how it worked and when and how they will apply it.

Another way to facilitate is by having the participants works in pairs, triads, groups, and then the entire group as a whole.  In each of the different pairings they have the ability to learn from each other.  As a pair, they may be more willing to be honest.  In triad, they have an extra person holding them accountable and giving them feedback.  In groups, they get the benefit of seeing what others learned by applying the concept.  Mixing these pairings and groupings up create a more engaged participant.

After the training.  This is one of the most critical pieces of an effective training program that is often overlooked.  After the training, you can do some assessments to determine what was remembered.  You can also assess the program to see if the expectations were clear.  But what is most important, is following up with the participants to ensure they are using the new concepts discussed. It is hard to change a behavior.

If you have a veteran employee, this step is even more crucial, as it will be easy for them to fall back in to the old ways of doing things.  While a newer employee, might be more open to the changes if they haven’t had anything specific they were using.

When we use the Cycle of Performance Change correctly we can change the behaviors of people, which in turn makes our training programs more effective.   Getting participants involved in the training from the very start, through the end, gets their buy-in to the training and creates an atmosphere of wanting to learn versus having to learn. It is also makes the training experience more enjoyable when they get to practice the newly learned concepts.

There is no perfect way to ensure all training leads to an actual changed performance.  The key is to be creative, keep it simple, use lots of examples, and lastly, get them involved in the training and practicing the material.

 

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Three reasons why you will never fulfill your true potential

This weekend I ran my sixth half marathon.  I personally believe that there are very few things or activities, outside of running, that stretch you and challenge you the way running does.  When I got in to running several years ago, I did it just to lose some weight.  I didn’t know that it would be a catalyst to a process that has pushed me in so many ways.

Most of us have not, or will never, put ourselves in situations that require us to be uncomfortable.  It is not totally our fault, it is unfortunately ingrained in our DNA.

Here are three reasons many out us will never fulfill our true potential and what you can do instead to prevent this from happening.

You will never put yourself in the situation:  When I first got into running, I didn’t know anything about it at all. I just started doing it one day.  Then, I read somewhere that running an eight minute mile was considered really good.  It meant that you were a good runner.  A really good friend of mine told me that anything less than an eight minute mile is considered jogging.  He considered the eight minute mile to be the great separator between runners and joggers.  He said do you want to be a runner or a jogger?

I decided that running an eight minute mile would be my first goal in my new exercise program.  The first time I ran an eight minute mile, I quickly learned what the difference was between what I was doing before and running that eight minute mile.  I felt like the eight minute mile was full on sprint.  I didn’t realize how slow I had actually been running. The day I ran that eight minute mile, everything changed for me.

I now knew what it would take for me to become better than average at running. I then set my next goal.  Which was to run three eight minute miles with an average of eight minutes per mile.

I am proud to say I have accomplished that and then some since then.  I have accomplished many of the goals I have set, and I am still seeking to accomplish a few that I have set that I just can’t seem to get to.

The best thing I did was to put myself in a situation to actually get me out of my comfort zone and push me beyond what I thought I was capable of. As I look back on my life, I now see that of all the things I have accomplished, it required me to go first and actually put myself in situations that I wouldn’t normally put myself in to.

To realize your full potential you have to seek out situations and activities that you have never been in before.  They just won’t happen on accident.  You must go to them.

You seek comfort over growth:  We all have been really sick before.  You know the feeling.  You just don’t feel very well, and you are not at home.  You may be at work.  You may be on a trip.  Or just visiting with family.  But you are really, really sick and you can’t get comfortable, because you are not at your house and in your bed.  You have to travel back home somehow, and for some length of time.  All you can think about is that bed and how comfortable it will be when you finally get home.  When you finally do get home, and you get in your bed.  You immediately have this comfort feeling wash all over you.  Now don’t get me wrong, you are still sick, but you are at least comfortable.

The comfort we seek in our every day life is no different from the comfort we seek when we are sick.  The only difference is, when we are sick we know we are uncomfortable and we seek what will provide us comfort.  Our bed, may be some type of medication, etc.  However,  when we are not sick and we are just living, we are never forced in to an uncomfortable situation. Instead we just live in the comfort zone.  Most of us will never force ourselves outside of our comfort zone, because we don’t have to.  We go through each day just being comfortable.  It is easy, it doesn’t require much.

To get out of your comfort zone it requires you to put yourself in a situation where the chance to get out of the comfort zone could occur.  Most of the time, people avoid this possibility at all cost.  For you to grow and realize your full potential.  You have to get outside of what is comfortable and plan, prepare, and seek opportunities that will force you outside of your every day comfort zone.

You think you have all you need:  I recently talked to a person that said they have everything they need.  They are an accomplished professional that has their own business. They live in paradise, they have their health, and everyone in their life seems to be doing well.  Most people would agree that this person has it all.  Having it all is great, and I have no doubt that this person is happy.

However, when you get to a point where you feel like you have everything you need and you are satisfied with  where you are in your life, many times you stop seeking growth and development.  Life is not all about getting to a point and saying, “I have made it, this is all I am going to be.”  No.  Life is all about maximizing and realizing your full potential.  All of us have to be willing to try to reach our full potential.  If you are capable of more, you must be willing to go out and do more.  This is what life should be all about.

Like the individual I recently talked to that said they everything they need.  The really interesting thing is that they said they have everything they need.  In their conscious brain, they believe this to be true.  However, in their subconscious brain, the part of the brain that doesn’t allow ourselves off the hook, is telling them that they are capable of more.  Which is why I connected with them in the first place.  They came to me, looking for more.  They came to me and said, I know I need to work with you on these things.

What this situation tells me and what I already know.  We as humans are always seeking more.  In it is built-in to our DNA and genetic code.  Many people may say they are content, but that is only because they have decided that is what they want to say.  The real you, inside of you, is wanting more, you just have to listen to it and be willing to embrace it.

As I have recovered this weekend from my sixth half-marathon, I have already started planning for what I must do next.  I am not satisfied with my results from my last race, because I know I am capable of more.  I know I haven’t maximized and reached my full potential.

Let me ask you.  Have you reached your full potential?  Are you capable of more?  Let me answer for you.  No.  You have not reached your full potential.  And yes.  You are capable of more.  The question is: What are you going to do about it?

To your success and your future.

 

 

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5 Reasons you shouldn’t take advice from most people

Lets face it.  If you have lived on this earth for very long at all, by the time you are reading this post.  The chances are, you at least somewhat agree with the title.   If not, maybe you will be thoroughly convinced by the end of reading this post.

Most people don’t have a clue:   Yes, I do believe this is true in most cases.  I am not saying nobody knows, or everyone is clueless.  No, I am saying “most” people don’t have a clue.

Ex:  You could probably ask the five closest people you are around right now this question:  “Do you consider yourself a Facebook expert”?  The chances are they will respond with a yes.  Most people think they are experts because they use something frequently.  That doesn’t make them an expert.  If they are telling you to be sure you advertise on Facebook. Are you going to take their advice, or someone who really knows? Meaning, the small percentage of people and experts who actually understand marketing and Facebook advertising.  Not your buddy, who thinks they know what they are talking about just because they use it.

People give you the advice that they are comfortable with themselves:   Maybe you are thinking of a new career.  Or a new job opportunity.  The position or the new career sounds really awesome.  You are qualified for it, you like the people you will be working with.  You really think this is the right move. Keep in mind, you really like your current job as well, but you are slowly getting bored with it. You just don’t feel challenged anymore.

So you ask your buddy. Who has done the same job for the last ten years, and really hasn’t done anything to grow their skills in any other areas, so they most likely plan on staying where they are.  You tell them about this new opportunity and tell them you are thinking about leaving your current position. What advice do you think this buddy of yours is going to give you?

It’s not a bad thing that your buddy has a long-term employment record with a company.  However, it does show that they prefer stability and consistency.  Which is perfectly okay to like.

However, they might not be as risky as you are.  Or as anxious for a new opportunity as you are.  So they might not give you the advice that someone else who may have switched careers every five years to pursue new opportunities would give you. Their suggestions or feedback on the possible change might be “stay where you are”.  “You are just getting started”. Or something along those lines.  This is the advice that they have given themselves.  This is the advice that they are comfortable with and that is the advice they will give you.

They haven’t been where you are going:  We all have done this.  Shit, I sometimes still do it.  You would think I would know better by now.

Have you ever thought about doing something that sounded a little different from what everyone in your circle is doing? Maybe you are thinking of starting your own business.  Or maybe it is some product you have thought about creating.  Maybe it is taking a trip to a place that people like you don’t take trips to normally.  Or, it could be just changing the way you interact with people at work, or how you do your work.

Regardless of what it is.  The chances are you have at some point decided to go against the norm.  Well, the norm that is in your circles.

So, you do like most of us do and run it past a few of your closest friends.  And they can’t wrap their brains around what you are saying.  They have never thought like that, which means they can’t fathom doing what you are thinking about doing. They tell you the risks. All of the bad things that could happen.  And in many cases you would think they are an expert on what ever it is you are thinking about doing.

Lets be honest.  They are not experts.  Matter of fact, they are the furthest thing from it.  They can’t even fathom what you are doing, much less add any value to what it is you are attempting to do.

Most people are showing you a facade. What is a facade? an outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality.

You know some of these people.  You have seen glimpses of them from time to time.  They are all around you.  That person that has the really nice new cars, nice new house, nice new clothes, etc.  Whatever it is.  They are showing you the appearance that they have it all going for them.  Mean while.  They are about to lose their house, their marriage, and their nice new cars, because they can’t afford the lifestyle.

In today’s world, this facade could be on Facebook or some other kind of digital platform. Again, you are looking at the high light reels of someones life and you think they are the right person to seek advice from.  They are not.

The most obvious one: Have you ever made a decision to live a healthier lifestyle?  You know what this includes.  Bringing your lunch to work.  Your lunch bag or box filled with vegetables, carrots, humus, or the leftovers from some healthy meal you cooked the night before. In addition to the change in eating habits, you have also started exercising a lot more.  You talk about the workout you did at your local gym, or some running program, or some other kind of home workout program.

Whenever you do this.  You inevitability will always get a person that is in your circles that is the expert on everything you are doing.  They know the best workouts.  The best foods to eat. And everything else “health”, you can think of.  However, you have never once heard them talk about this stuff before.  They also use words like “used to” a lot.  Which means they are trying to tell you something about something that they are currently not doing themselves.

Or it could be the real obvious ones.  The person who doesn’t have the shape, size, or physique you would ever want.  Trying to tell you what you should do.  Or the person who never seems to have any money, telling you what you should do with yours.

In all of the cases I mentioned above we have all been around similar scenarios. I am not saying you shouldn’t seek advice from people.  I am actually telling you the opposite of that.

I am suggesting that you be careful in who you seek your advice from. For most of our lives we have been listening to the people around us. In many cases, this is a good thing.

However, when you get dissatisfied with the results you are getting in your life. Or you are inspired to make a change.  You can’t seek guidance or advice from the people in your life that don’t know or understand what you are going through, much less give you any good advice on how to make it happen.

To your success and your future.

 

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Three resources you have to manage daily, if not hourly.

If you are in business you are well aware of all of things you have to manage. Things such as costs, cash flow, and revenue to name a few.  These go without saying.  These are just as important in your personal life as well, aren’t they?  Maybe you don’t call them that. Here is what you might call them. Your expenses, your account balances, and your income.  No matter what you call them we all know that these are important to a businesses success as well as an individual’s success.

It goes without saying that you are well aware of the importance of the above three resources.  But what about the three resources you might not be thinking about that are just as important. You might say they are even more important, because these three resources are what allow you to manage the three above even better.

Your time: Time is our most precious resource and should be our most valued.  We only have so much time in a day.  If we don’t manage our time, we will see it pop up in other areas of our business.  If we don’t make time to focus on revenue generation, then we will see that our revenue will go down, which makes our expenses become a bigger issue.

How and where you spend your time will determine your success or failure.  Whether you are a business owner, a sales rep, or work for a company.  Your time and how you spend your time towards profitable activities, is what determines your business success or your company’s success.

Your energy: You could make the argument that time and energy are similar.  Because where you spend your time, is where you are spending your energy.

Well, this isn’t always the case. You could zap your energy on a making a simple decision that you don’t necessarily need to be making.  There is something called decision fatigue. And we as human beings have to make thousands of decisions every single day.  The research shows that every single decision we have to make takes some of our energy.  Causing us to fatigue.  Why do you think most diets blow up in the evening.  Most affairs happen after a long work day.  I am not saying either of these always happen at these times.  However, research shows that the longer we are awake and depending on the nature of our jobs, that our energy gets drained from all of the decisions we have to make.

Your opportunity cost: The definition of opportunity cost: the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.

Each day we all have to make decisions, hence why we have to manage the decision we make as stated above, because it can zap our energy.  Secondly, we have to manage our opportunity costs.  When you make a decision to invest your time and energy in one area of your business, you are deciding not to focus on another part of the business.

And there in lies the opportunity cost.  When we decide to invest our capital in to a new software system, in means we won’t have the capital to invest somewhere else in our business. We might not be able to hire another employee, or outsource a function to a vendor.  None of the decisions we make on a daily basis are made in a vacuum.  Every single decision we make, we are in essence making two decisions.

We are making the decision “to do” this and “not do” this.  So there is a cost associated with the “to do” and a cost associated with the “not do”.  Whatever the decision is that we are making, we believe that whatever it is we are going “to do” is more valuable and profitable than the “not do”.  However, we must realize that there is a cost associated with both of them.  We just have to believe that we are making the more profitable and smart decision.

Obviously, much of this blog was written from a business perspective.  However, these same rules apply to our personal lives as well. We have to mage our personal time. We have to manage our energy in our personal lives and we definitely have to manage our opportunity costs in our life.  All of these decisions impact each other. None of them are made a lone.

Are you managing your resources to your full advantage?

To your success and your future.

 

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Your two options: Nothing or Something, which one will you choose?

Everyday I give myself two options.  I can either go to the gym or go out for a run.  These are my two options that I give myself.  These are the only two options I give myself.  I am not saying that from time to time that I don’t take a day off.  However, 99.9% of the time, I am deciding on which of my two workouts I will do on a given day.

This morning started out like most Monday mornings.  Regardless, of how much sleep I get or don’t get on Sunday night.  I always seem to wake up on Mondays pretty easily and with a lot of energy.  Today was no different.  Like many days of the week, I threw on my running shoes and took off.  My goal was to run for an hour.  This is my last week of prep before next weekends half-marathon.  This will be my sixth time running in a half marathon.

The reason I only have these two options is because I refuse to give myself any other options. I refuse to allow myself the option of doing nothing.  This doesn’t even cross my mind.  I have erased that option from my head.  It doesn’t even come in to play. I eliminated the “nothing” decision years ago.  My health is too important to allow a do nothing decision to even be considered.

There is a famous quote that states this:  “If it is important you will find a way. If it’s not important, you will find an excuse.”  Most people spend their day wasting their energy on this decision by itself.  They haven’t made the decision that whatever it is they want to do is important.  They instead have to make this same decision every single day:

  • “Is this important enough to me to do something” or
  • “Maybe it is not important to me, so I should do nothing.”

We as humans know that we can’t leave ourselves to have to make these decisions every day, because when we are left to do this, we will eventually start making the decision to do nothing.

Today, you have to decide in your head whether or not you will make the decision to pursue something or do nothing. You can’t leave yourself to battle with yourself everyday on whether you should or should not do something. You have to make the decision in your head that you will not allow any excuse to cross your mind any more.

What is it for you that you need to decide on. Is it going back to school to get a degree, or an advanced degree?  Is it eating healthier?  Is it making exercise part of your daily routine?  Is it pursuing a new career? Is it creating a budget, so you can get out of debt?  All of these decisions are decisions you need to make today. You don’t want to leave yourself the option to do nothing. Instead you want to make the decision that no matter what happens you will do something today to pursue a better future for yourself.

To your success and your future.

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