Three truths you need, but you don’t want…

On a daily basis it is my job to give others, feedback in areas of their life and their career.  Most of the feedback I provide is not harsh, but it is usually met with some resistance.  Now I know it is important to give the good feedback with the bad. However, most leaders/coaches are either good at one or the other.  Most leaders are either good at telling people how great they are.  Which means the person thinks they are good at everything.  Or you have leaders that all they do is point out the faults or shortcomings of the people they lead.  There has to be a balance.  You have to do both.

In my business, I spend most of my time giving truthful feedback in these three areas.

  1. You are capable of more: I understand you are busy.  You have a lot to do.  Everyone does.  The question I have for you though is,  “Are you efficient with what you have to do?” And secondly, how much of what you are doing, should you actually be doing. I don’t know you or your business.  However, if I were to guess, the chances are you, especially if you are a leader in an organization, are currently doing a task, or job, that you should have someone else doing.   Thats first.  Look at all the things you are doing and ask yourself.  Is this what I get paid to do?  Or am I focusing on things that I should be delegating to others?

    The second reason you are capable of more. You are not maximizing your full potential. Sorry, you are not.  Humans are the only species on earth that can decide to slow up and coast.  The chances are you are doing the same job you have always done. Maybe in a bigger company with different challenges, but it is the same thing you have always done.  It is not stretching you and getting you outside your comfort zone causing you to develop new skills. The goal here is to develop new skills.

    Most of us get to a satisfactory and acceptable level of performance in whatever it is we do, and we just stay there.  But you don’t have to.  You can become more than you are today by learning and doing more than you are currently doing. You have the capacity.

  2. You are not as good as you think you are: The chances are you have never been given the feedback you need to get you to change who you are.  Like I mentioned earlier, most leaders don’t give the critical feedback that is necessary to get you to grow.  So, instead you go through your daily life in business and even personally, thinking you are great at…. whatever it is. And the reality is, you are not that great.  I am sure you are a great person, all of us are, or at least we want to be.  We just aren’t aware of our own shortcomings until someone points them out.
  3. You can change:  As you already know some people just aren’t willing to change.  They honestly believe that they are either on the right path for success and they can continue down this path.  Or they just don’t see the need to change.  Here are the four questions I ask to determine if a person can change.  If they can answer yes to the first two questions, then there is hope.  If they don’t answer yes, it is going to be a struggle.

    Need:  Does the person see a need or have a need to make changes?
    Want: Do they want to make a change?
    Can: Do they believe they can change?
    Will: Will they do what is necessary to make changes?

The chances are if you have made it to the bottom here and are still reading this blog.  It tells me that you realize that you are capable of so much more.  You agree that you aren’t as good as you can be. And you know you can change and are willing to do whatever it takes to make a change.

Now the question is, “What are you going to do about it?”  Dale Carnegie Training is the original Thought Leader in the Training and Development space.  For over 104 years, we have focused on changing behaviors that are holding people back from having more self-confidence in themselves. Changing behaviors to enhance their ability to have stronger and deeper relationships with people. We have also equipped people with the processes to communicate more effectively that has allowed them to have great impact and influence with everyone around them.

If you have a need or see a need in any of the above three areas and know that right now is the time for you to make a change. Connect with me by responding to this post wherever you read it.  Or reach out to me directly at brian.willett@dalecarnegie.com

To your success and your future.

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What I was thinking four years ago… and a few lessons to remember

This morning, I did something that I don’t do nearly as often as I should. I pulled out my journals from four years ago. I am trying to make this a habit, but it is something that I just don’t get around to as much as I want.

A few observations from these notes that I have.  At the time I of these notes I was in a bit of a challenging situation.  I was performing a job that wasn’t actually my job at the time.

Lesson here:  Always be willing to help when needed, but don’t let anybody or any employer take advantage of you.

In this interim role I was performing, I had the chance to work with a lot of people who I don’t normally work with.  This group of people, which included a few different departments, managers, staff, etc., were all meeting and discussing procedural issues and challenges. I sat in countless meetings during this time.

Lesson here: Most of the time companies have pretty sound or decent processes.  It is usually the people and the personalities involved in the processes that are causing the most problems. Strong leadership is required.

During these countless meetings I was involved in.  It seemed to me that most of the participants pointed out the flaws in the others sides processes and follow-up.  Very rarely did either side admit that they were at fault.

Lesson here: It is easy to point out another persons, or another departments (which includes people) faults.  But, you have to take some responsibility yourself, the other side can’t always have 100% of the fault.

How many times have you heard someone tell you “I am doing the best I can?”  And deep down in your heart, you know they are capable of so much more?  Whether they can or they can’t do better, it is not important.  It is their attitude that is telling you that they aren’t doing the best they can.  Attitude determines most successes and failure.

Lesson here: You can’t just do the best you can, you have to do everything you can.

How many times have you taken the easy way out?  How many times have you watched someone else take the easy way out?  I get it. It is called the easy way out, because it is easy and doesn’t require much effort, time, money, etc. from whoever is pursuing it. However, what usually happens when we take the easier approach?  My experience tells me this.

Looking at my journal writings some four years ago. I now have the data to support why the easy way out is never the best. If you are looking to hire, and you decide to go with the person who has been around the longest, has the most experience, has done a great job, etc. Just because they have all of this going for them, doesn’t mean that they are going to be the best for this new position, especially if the person has never demonstrated leadership, and you are looking for a leader.  They may have been a leader by title, but did they demonstrate leadership?  Which includes doing what is hard, pushing things forward, having a vision for the future, challenging people, processes, and thinking even when it isn’t the popular thing to do.

Lesson here: If you decide to take the easy approach, be prepared to do more work in the long run. Be prepared to not get as far as you want individually or as a company, because the easy approach is very rarely the best approach.

The final lesson in my short look in my past was this.

Doing little things makes a big difference.  Saying hello to someone even when they don’t say it to you.  Getting a card for someone for their birthday.  Sending a text to someone just to tell them to have a great day.  I am sure we do all of these things for our families and close friends, but what if you did these little things for the people who don’t expect us to do anything for them?   This is where you can make a big difference in people’s lives and truly have an impact.

To your success and your future.

 

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My Top 21 books from the 300 I read in six years.

I have a confession to make.  I can’t honestly remember reading very many books through my years of formal education. K-12, and even college.  I am sure I did, or I would not have graduated, but the only reason I did was because I had to, not because I wanted to.

Then something significant happened. In my first real professional position where I had significant growth opportunities and the possibility to earn more money. I got promoted to a leadership position where I was now formally in charge of eight people.  I use the term “in charge” to mean working with, because that is what it was and is.  We work together, I just happened to have a different title.

At this time, I am now responsible for leading people.  As I look to my education for guidance, where I earned a Bachelors and an MBA in Business, I couldn’t recall one idea that really set me up for success in this new role.  I am sure there were several, but I was just taking classes and not applying the stuff, so it didn’t stick.  So I turned to the next best thing, which was reading lots and lots of books.  This time because I wanted to.

As much as I thought I hated reading, I really hated to fail even more.  So, I started reading any leadership book I could get my hands on.  This turned into a real passion for me.  I would have never thought I would become a big reader, but there I was, reading book after book.

I then had a mentor, an author, ask me this question:  He said “Do you have a personal development plan?”  My answer was a very clear, No.  Even though I was reading and attending seminars.  It was more random than planned. After he asked me that, I made it a point to make personal growth and personal development a strategy.  And by making it a strategy, it meant I must manage it and measure it for it to become a part of what I do.

All of this started happening in and around 2006 and 2007, but it didn’t become part of what I did until 2011.  Since 2011, I have been tracking how many books and what books I have read.  I also, have a very simplistic grading system where I rank the books on a scale of 1-10, by using asterisks. One asterisk means it was not a very good book, and ten asterisks means it was a great book.

Another simple way I grade the books I read is by highlighting the books on my spreadsheet that have had a major impact on my. In some cases seriously altered my way of thinking and changed my life.

Change my life is a rather big and bold testament.  Let me clarify.  What I mean is that these books shifted my way of thinking.  It challenged me in a way that no experience or other book had.  It usually took something that I thought I knew or had experience with, and gave me a totally different perspective on whatever it was.  These highlighted books are game changers for me.  They usually also gave me success in whatever it was I was doing at the time I read them.  These books help shape who I am today.

What is interesting as I finished up my 300th book this past week. I was surprised to see that only a handful of them were highlighted.  I have compiled

I am sharing that list with you here today.

Philosophy

As a Man Thinketh; James Allen https://www.amazon.com/As-Man-Thinketh-James-Allen/dp/1503055361/

Leading an Inspired life; Jim Rohn https://www.amazon.com/LEADING-AN-INSPIRED-LIFE/dp/1935944991/

Five Major Pieces to the Life puzzle; Jim Rohn   https://www.amazon.com/Five-Major-Pieces-Life-Puzzle/dp/0939490021/

Success Mindset 

The Wisdom of Andrew Carnegie as Told by Napoleon Hill; Napoleon Hill    https://www.amazon.com/Napoleon-Hill-Wisdom-Carnegie-8-2-2005/dp/B00HTJSNJU/

Think and Grow Rich; Napoleon Hill   https://www.amazon.com/Think-Grow-Rich-Masterpiece-12-Nov-2014/dp/B011T7M4SI/

If You’re not First, You’re Last; Grant Cardone     https://www.amazon.com/Youre-Not-First-Last-Competition/dp/0470624353/

Relentless (From Good to Great to Unstoppable); Tim S. Grover      https://www.amazon.com/Relentless-Unstoppable-Tim-S-Grover/dp/1476714207/

Business

Rich Dad Poor Dad; Robert Kiyosaki   https://www.amazon.com/Rich-Dad-Poor-Teach-Middle/dp/1612680011/

Linchpin (Are you indispensable); Seth Godin    https://www.amazon.com/Linchpin-Are-Indispensable-Seth-Godin/dp/1591844096/

Marketing

Hot Button Marketing (Push the emotional buttons that get people to buy); Barry Feig    https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Button-Marketing-Emotional-Paperback/dp/B015QKCOBG/

What Clients Love ( A field guide to growing your business); Harry Beckwith   https://www.amazon.com/What-Clients-Love-Growing-Business/dp/0446556025/

Selling the Invisible (A field guide to Marketing); Harry Beckwith   https://www.amazon.com/Selling-Invisible-Field-Modern-Marketing/dp/0446672319/

Leadership and Management

Coaching for Performance (Growing Human Potential and Purpose, the principle practice of managing and leading); John Whitmore    https://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Performance-Potential-Principles-Leadership/dp/185788535X/

Coaching for Improved Work Performance; Ferdinand F. Fournies   https://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Improved-Work-Performance-Revised/dp/0071352937/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485946404&sr=1-1&keywords=coaching+for+improved+work+performance

Primed to Perform (How to build the highest performing cultures through the science of total motivation); Neal Doshi and Lindsay McGregor    https://www.amazon.com/Primed-Perform-Performing-Cultures-Motivation/dp/0062373986/

Sales

Go For No; Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz   https://www.amazon.com/Yes-Destination-How-You-There/dp/0966398130/

Spin Selling; Neil Rackham  https://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/

The Challenger Sale  https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Sale-Control-Customer-Conversation/dp/1591844355/

Productivity

Decide (Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, And Lead By example); Steve McClatchy,  https://www.amazon.com/Decide-Smarter-Reduce-Stress-Example/dp/1118554388/

Money

The Richest man in Babylon; George S. Clason    https://www.amazon.com/Richest-Man-Babylon-George-Clason/dp/0451205367/

Creating Wealth, Robert Allen https://www.amazon.com/Creating-Wealth-Retire-Allens-Principles/dp/1451631588/

I know for a fact that all three hundred books have contributed to my growth and to my success thus far.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today without investing the time in reading.  I have a goal to get to a thousand books read in ten years, and I can’t wait to hit that milestone.

As I always say.  If you want to earn more, you first have to learn more.  This learning must include reading, doing, attending seminars, taking courses, finding a mentor, etc.  All of these learning efforts will help you get where you want to go, much quicker than you could ever do it on your own.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

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Six things I hate and try to eliminate daily in my life.

What we hate says a lot about who we are, what we value, and what we care about. Most people look at the word hate, and say the word is too harsh. It has a negative tone and we shouldn’t use it.

I believe just the opposite.  I believe hate can motivate us more than love does.  Hate can create more inspiration and motivation for an individual than love. People don’t end world hunger by loving people only.  No, these people hate the fact that people are starving and we live in a day and age where this shouldn’t be the case.

You can sum up all of human motivation into two areas:  We are either excited to pursue pleasure or avoid pain.  And the avoidance of pain has proven over and over and over again, to be a stronger desire than pursuing pleasure.

I was thinking about some of the basic things that really drive me crazy and things I hate more than anything else.  The words that kept popping up in my head, are actions or adjectives that no matter what position I have been in life and in my career, they have always drove me crazy and I have always hated them.

These six words are the words that kept popping up.

Complacency: definition: a feeling of calm satisfaction with your own abilities or situation that prevents you from trying harder.

I have watched this disease set in on many people over the years. And I do believe it is a disease. I would go as far as saying that this is probably the number one reason many of us don’t achieve everything in life we could have.  I honesty believe everybody wants to do better.  I sincerely believe that.  However, what happens is that most people don’t seek to find the information first, and then take that information and implement it.  Even if you are a person who seeks the knowledge. The action part, which is the harder part of the success equation, is where most people don’t put in the work or discipline.

Where can you take immediate action today? 

Blame: definition: place responsibility on something, or someone else, instead of taking personal responsibility.

We all have had that person we know personally; it could be a friend, family member, and we all have definitely worked with someone who refuses to take responsibility and own something.  There are times when things can be taken out of our control. However, most of the good things and the bad things that happen in life to us, are because of us. They are a product of our decisions, or lack of decisions. Bad things happen to good people.  People get sick, or get an illness.  I am not talking about that kind of stuff.  I am talking about the other 99.9% of the things in life that you can control.

Be the person who doesn’t place blame today. I won’t either. 

Inconsideration: definition: lacking in care or thought for others.

Lets not get this messed up here. Inconsideration can mean a lot of different things. I am not talking about lacking care or thought of others that are in need, sick, live in a country where they are oppressed or under constant war.  I think we can all agree that we all care about those things.  However those are things that are not in our control.

I am talking more personal here.  Things such as being late for a meeting. Not responding to a person that you said you would follow-up with.  Someone having a responsibility to follow through on something and they do not.  The person who takes a personal call during a meeting.  The person who is having a conversation on a speaker phone at Starbucks for everyone to hear.  The person who refuses to put their phone down while they are checking out at the store or restaurant.  These little things that come up in daily life that demonstrate an inconsideration for others.

Be the person who is considerate of others when conducting business today. 

Insincerity: not expressing or showing true feelings

Lets call this what it is.  Insincerity is lying.  That is what it is.  If you are not showing or expressing your true feelings, you are a liar.  We all have been guilty of this at some point in our life.  And all it does is hurt ourselves and hurt others as well.  One of my favorite quotes of all time: “To be unclear is to be unkind.”  This means that when we are not expressing our true feelings to others than we are actually hurting them.

I apply this and teach this in my leadership courses.  Managers that are unclear about the expectations are bad managers first of all.  But the managers who try to sugarcoat a persons shortcomings, is unclear in explaining a persons shortcomings in areas they need to improve, they actually hurt the employee and the company.  When you are unclear the person who is falling short doesn’t know and doesn’t have an opportunity to improve.  Which means they will continue to perform unsatisfactory until they are told clearly what it is they need to improve.

Other areas include business deals where the parties aren’t interested in moving forward, but wont tell the other side that this is how they feel. All of these things take time and do more harm than good.  When we are sincere with others, everything moves forward because everyone knows where they stand.

Who do you need to be more truthful to today? 

Uncommitted: definition: This is my own definition: Not “all in” on any particular thing, belief, activity, goal.

I see a lot of people who are committed when they want to be committed.  Meaning when things are easy, they are committed.  When things get difficult they bail out.  I see people who say they want to save money, but spend like they always have. I see people who want to live a healthier lifestyle, but can’t keep the discipline required long enough to get the result they want, and in many cases, any result.  Most people either set on the fence and never take a stand, or they make a half-hearted commitment. Which means as long as it doesn’t require too much from them, they will do it.  We all know anything worthwhile requires commitment and discipline, especially if it is a new venture for them.

What is an area where you have lacked a full commitment? Go “all in” today. 

Arrogance: definition: an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from ignorance. This definition is more specific to what I believe.

When a person who is overweight preaches their version of health and fitness to you, you immediately think to yourself, “really, you haven’t earned the right.”  When a person who has been married three times and divorced, wants to give you marriage advice.  We all think to ourselves that they may not be the right person to take advice from, regardless if they have learned lessons or not.

Now more than ever we have a culture who believes their opinion and thoughts are better than another persons opinions or thoughts.  While I believe we should all have opinion and thoughts on things, and we should express those thoughts. What I strongly hate is when a person believes that their thought or opinion is any more factual than the others.

Secondly, when a person who has an air of arrogance in their opinion when they themselves are not buttoned up in areas of their own life. Like I said above. You have had to earn the right in my opinion.  The person who judges someones charitable giving and they themselves aren’t charitable. The leader that thinks they are a great leader when their people can’t stand them. The person who knows it all, but has every little experience in anything at all.  All of this is arrogance that hasn’t been earned.

What areas of life have you earned the right to be arrogant in? Areas you haven’t?

As you can see from my short list of things I hate, it is really a values list.  Which means, I value the opposite of the above things. However, if you call me uncommitted, I am more driven to prove that you are wrong.  If you call me committed, I am thankful, but it is doesn’t push me any harder necessarily.  Sometimes we have to look at things from the opposite viewpoint to push us to do things that we want to do.

As I start my day, I am going to look at areas of my life that I may have become a little complacent in.  If I look to blame, I am going to take ownership. If I find myself being inconsiderate, I am going to be sure I correct it in the moment. If I am insincere in anything today, I am going to quickly ensure I tell the truth, even if the truth could potentially upset the other person.  I know there are areas in my life that I have not gone “all in” and I am going to make sure the areas that are most important to me, I am fully committed in my time, my money, and my focus.  And lastly, I am going to be an expert in the areas that I know I am an expert in.  I am not going to be arrogant about something that I am not fully educated in, nor experienced in.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

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5 Reasons you aren’t as successful as you want to be

It is what it is.  I am sitting here after my third or fourth rejection of the day.  And that is okay, because I am in sales, and when you are sales, you get rejected a lot.

I am not equipped at this point in my life and my career to tell you how to make a million dollars, because I haven’t been able to do that myself.  If you add up my income over the last few years, I easily would have had a million dollars come through my hands, however, I am not consistently making a million dollars.

Here is what I am equipped to tell you about though, because I have done it. I have successfully made $175,000 dollars a year for several years.  Now, maybe that is not enough for you.  Maybe, you want to go with the 10X theory, which means you should take all of your goals and multiply them by ten.  All of that is good stuff. However, if you haven’t made $100,000 dollars a year, why would anybody think they could go from five figures to seven figures without a few steps along the way.

I could easily get in to the steps I used to create a $175,000 a year in revenue generation for myself.  But I will save that for another day.  I instead want to talk about what I set out to discuss in this post. That is, why you aren’t as successful as you want to be.  My goal was to make $175,000 a year at one time, and it was important for me to determine that number.  However, what was more important than that number, was what I had to do to ensure I hit that number.  And that is what this blog is about.

As I stated at the beginning of the blog.  I literally have been rejected three or four times, maybe more, since the morning started.  I am not upset with the rejection.  No, I am more upset with the fact that the people who rejected me told me that they were actually interested in improving their life, because they told me so. Or the lives of the people they either support or manage within their company.

Let me take a little personal ownership here.  I am quite confident I could have done something differently in the initial sales process that could have made the outcome different at this point.  Meaning I would not have been told no this many times already today.

However, I know that the sales process has just begun and I will eventually change my initial errors into wins and I will eventually make the sale.  I know this because, I deliver with excellence and give more value to people than they actually pay for.  So I may have lost the battle, but I will win the war.  I digress.

Why is it that people say they are interested in making a change that could impact their life?  They have the opportunity right in front of them.  They agree, that it could change their life, but for whatever reason they fail to take the next steps? Thus they don’t create the success they want?

Here are my five reasons we aren’t successful as we want to be:

We lack commitment: You aren’t fully committed to what it is. Be honest with yourself here.  Have you ever done one of the following:

  • Purchased the book, but you didn’t read it
  • Bought the workout program, but never used it.
  • Bought the fitness equipment, and then used to hang your clothes on.
  • Went to the seminar, took the notes, but never followed up on them.
  • Requested more information. Got it. And then did nothing with it.
  • Downloaded the app. Put it on your last screen on your phone. Or deleted it totally.
  • Went to the website, but never made the call.
  • Cleaned out the kitchen to make way for the healthy stuff, it stayed that way for a month before it went back the old way.
  • Created a savings account, put the required money in it, and that is all the money you ever saved.
  • Took the job. Kept your resume out and your phone line open to other positions.

All of the examples above are what I call half-commitments. Or you were committed for about an hour.  Then the desire wore off, or the change was just too hard, and you weren’t committed to the goal you thought you were committed to.

Commitment means that you are all in on whatever it is you are looking to achieve.  Meaning you will spend whatever the amount is that needs to be spent.  You will make the time for however much time is necessary. You will make the sacrifices that will be required to make to get where you want to go.  Until you are ready to do these things, your aren’t ready and your aren’t fully committed.  I was committed to the $175,000 a year and that is why I was able to achieve it.

We don’t take action:   My mentor said it this way.  He called it the Law Of Diminishing Intent. Which meant the “The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”  He also said that when the desire is the strongest, is the best time to take action.

For every second that goes by that we don’t take action on something that we like, and know that it could be beneficial to us, our desire to take action will lessen and lessen until we are no longer excited about the possibility anymore.  The key is to take action as quickly as possible. When you buy the book take action and start reading it now. When you buy the fitness equipment, make a plan to use it. When you download the app, start using it this second. When you download the budgeting document, put your budget in it now. When you decide to workout, start today.  When you attend the seminar and the information is great and you see how it could benefit you, pay for it today. Lock yourself in that commitment.

I believe sometimes for us to get the change we truly want, we have to trick ourselves into thinking we have no way out.  If I put all of my money in a savings account that I can access, but it is more difficult to get. If I want to save more money, I just put it in there. The trick is that it is more difficult to get out.  And sometimes that little bit of difficultness will, and has kept me from withdrawing the money, which means I saved more. Some other ways I have tricked myself is around eating less, getting up earlier and getting things done faster.  If you are interested in learning more about that, hit me up at bwillett555@gmail.com and I can share that with you.

Create a plan for your success:   The old saying is true and has been validated for over 6,000 years. If you want a different result, but you keep doing the same things, you are insane. That is as eloquent as I can put it.

The plan is important part of the equation here.  You have to be committed and you have to take action.  These are crucial, especially at the beginning. As you get further into this new way of life, the plan or the process becomes increasingly as important.

There are all kinds of programs out there around managing food portions so you only eat the right amount of food and don’t over eat. There are budgeting programs out there for managing your finances. There are development programs on how to become a better sales person.  If you are seeking to have success in anything in life, the chances are there is a program, or a plan out there that you can find.  And my advice is to look at them all. Over the years I have looked at different plans in all facets of my life when it comes to health and fitness, money, career development, dating, creating a business, etc. What I have found is that when I look at several different programs and plans, I can usually pull pieces from them all that I like, and I create my own plan.

The main thing to remember though is this.  We all are much better and more successful when we have a plan or a process that we can follow that is easy to do.  It can’t be too difficult, it is has to fit us, meaning we can and will do it as long as we are committed and taking action.

We think we got it all:  I was a business major in college.  Because of the system my school was on, I had to take three accounting courses at the undergraduate level to get my degree. Accounting 101, 102, and 103.  I can remember taking these three courses and saying to myself.  “I know everything there is to know about accounting.”  I obviously realize now, and even then, that this wasn’t the case, I didn’t know it all. Because there were several other accounting courses accounting majors had to take to learn about accounting.

At that time, I thought I knew enough to be able to go out and start doing accounting.  I felt like I had enough information that I could start doing accounting and be successful at it and I would learn more as I started doing it.

All of this to say.  Most of us download the information, go to the website and look around, read the table of contents of the book, watch the YouTube video, and think we have all the information or knowledge we need about a particular subject.   If you take and google search the title of this blog, you will find 45 million responses around this topic.  It is obviously an important topic that everyone talks about.

However, with as much information we all have access to, via internet, YouTube, groups, etc., still a majority of the population are looking for the answer, “to what it takes to be successful.”  I am one of those people.

And what I have found is no matter how much I study success, no matter how much success I have through experience, no matter how many books I read, people I listen to around this topic. I still don’t have all of the information, because it is an ongoing pursuit to find success and what it takes to be successful.

The four ideas I suggest here are a good start, but even if you do the first four well, if you don’t have the fifth you will never get the success you want.

Someone holding you accountable:  You made the commitment, you took immediate action, you found and created a process that you can consistently do and you have some good information about the topic.  Now who is going to make sure you do it?

You don’t like the word accountable.  You say you do, but you really don’t.  If you did, you would ask for feedback more often, you would seek out discomfort, you would do something different, and you would fulfill all of your commitments and achieve success in everything you pursue.

I’ll use myself as an example here.  I am committed to working out.  I have no problems taking action, I do it everyday.  I have a plan and a process that works for me. I have made a pretty good effort to go out and get information to help me live a healthy lifestyle that includes both working out as well as eating well. Where do I lose and fall short?  In accountability and growth potential?

From time to time I will visit a gym or workout with someone who is into fitness at a higher level than me. Lets start with visiting a gym.

I have visited several gyms over the last few years.  When I have visited the gyms, I have taken no less than five-ten takeaways from the gyms and the people in the gym, on how to get a better workout.  They pushed me outside my comfort zone.  I use the techniques and the information and implement them in my own workout routines.  Secondly, when I workout with someone with a higher level of fitness than me. Again, these people push me and challenge me in my workout that I don’t get on my own.

My point with all of this is this:  Even though I am committed at all four of the ideas around being more successful at health and fitness, and I am pretty damn good at the first four, but I don’t utilize the fifth idea of someone holding me accountable and pushing me. I have not met all of my goals in the area of health and fitness because I have yet to invest enough money and time in the last and most important idea, which is having someone hold me accountable to my goals in the area of health and fitness.

In the area of health and fitness, I have fallen into the same idea that many of you have as well.  “I am good here.”  Which means I have met a level of performance that I am satisfied with. This is why we aren’t as successful as we want to be.  Because we all in some areas of our life have determined mentally, and in our actions, that we are satisfied with where we are today.

Which means we have quit making new commitments. We take enough action to keep us where we are. We like and know our current processes help keep us where we are, so we refuse to change them.  We are open to new information, but we don’t do anything with it.  And we havent invested time or money into any kind of accountability tool or an individual that could hold us accountable, because we are satisfied and we don’t want that level of accountability.

Let me ask you this.  Why aren’t you as successful as you want to be in…?  Whatever that is.

Which of the five ideas above are you lacking in?  And what are you going to do about it?

To your success and your future.

Brian Willett is a published author, trainer, speaker. Brian seeks to provide information and knowledge to others that can help them achieve the success they want in their life. Brian works with companies and individuals to create sustained changed behaviors that lead to sustained and changed performance results. If you are interested in learning more check out brianwillettgroup.com or email him at bwillett555@gmail.com

 

 

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Three myths you have about your potential

The definition of potential is having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.  Which means we all can become something we are not currently.  We all have the ability to work on a particular skill and become better at that skill tomorrow than we are today.

Unfortunately, many people go through life thinking that they are getting better at something by just doing it, when all research and evidence says other wise.  Yes we can develop potential. And yes we can become better at something when we work hard at it, but there is a certain way this must be done.  It can’t only be done by performing the skill or activity over and over.

Here are the three myths about your potential that you most likely have been told:

1st myth:  We are limited to what we are given.  A lot of people believe that we are born with certain innate abilities and skills that allow us to be successful in certain endeavors.  Although there are certain attributes that can help you be more successful when utilized, those attributes by themselves alone will not make you successful.

 

2nd myth: If you do something long enough you will get better at it.  Lets be honest here.  How many people do you know who have been driving for thirty or even fifty years, and you wouldn’t get in a car with them driving to go around the block?   Extreme case here, but true.

3rd myth: If you try harder you will get better.  Unfortunately, this is a common response we give people to encourage them.  But it is actually bad advice.  Sure, if we feel that a person lacks a certain work ethic and they are not putting in the effort, we may suggest that they try harder.  However, if you are in a professional position such as sales, management, etc., if you are not practicing techniques designed to specifically improve in these areas, trying harder will not get you very far.

So how do we realize our potential:

Anders Ericsson in his book Peak, Secrets from the new Science of Expertise, 2016.  Tells us the only way to become better at something and maximize our potential in an area is by utilizing the concept of purposeful practice and deliberate practice.

If you have not heard of Anders Ericsson he is the person who conducted the research that has now become known has the 10,000 hour rule.  The 10,o00 hour rule is what Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, The Story of Success brought to life.  In Gladwell’s book, he discusses the research conducted by Ericsson on what elite performers did to become elite in their chosen field or specialization.

In Gladwell’s book, he references Ericsson’s research that all studies showed that it takes 10,000 hours of practice in a chosen field to become an expert in it.  Although, some of this is correct, Ericsson points on in his book Peak, that 10,000 hours is important, but what it is in those 10,000 hours is what is more important.  And depending on how you practice, you can speed up the 10,000 hours.

Ericsson uses the term deliberate practice to explain the process of how someone can develop a chosen skill.  For deliberate practice to occur the practice must include these traits:

  • Deliberate practice must be overseen by a teacher, mentor, or coach.
  • Deliberate practice must take someone outside their comfort zone. Not too far, but just enough to stretch their current performance. Which means it will require the maximum effort from the individual.
  • Deliberate practice must have well-defined goals and often involves improving one targeted area.
  • Deliberate practice requires total focus and effort by the individual.
  • Deliberate practice must include some kind of feedback from the coach, manager, teacher on how the person did on the specific task.

The three things we have always been told or may have even said ourselves are myths, because they don’t include the traits of deliberate practice.

1st myth: We are limited to what we are given.  This is incorrect because we all start out as novices in a chosen field or skill and we have developed those skills over time and we are now better.  We might not be experts, because we have gotten to the point of good enough, which is where most people stop.  We all have the ability to continue to develop our skills as far as we want to go with them.

2nd myth: If we do something long enough you will get better at it.  Again, if we look at the traits of deliberate practice this is not true.  If we are performing good enough, we never stretch ourselves to see if we can actually do better. We never seek feedback from other people to see how we may be able to do something a little bit better.  If we do both of these things; seek feedback and stretch ourselves, we can actually get better at it, but just doing it doesn’t make us better at it.

3rd myth:  If you try harder you will get better.  If we are trying harder, but we are not actually changing how we are doing the activity, then more effort is not going to produce better results.  We have to get feedback on how we are doing something and use a different technique or process to get a better result, which we all can do.

The question I have for you is this:  When is the last time you worked on a skill or technique by using all of the traits of deliberate practice?  Your answer is most likely, “it has been a long time.” Probably since you started in whatever it is you are currently doing.

Something we use to always say in leadership is this: Some people say that have ten years of experience, when they really have one year of experience, ten times.  Meaning that they have been doing whatever it is for ten years, but they have yet to get past the first year of knowledge in their abilities.  They haven’t increased their skills past the first years development. It’s like a toddler learns how to walk, but never learns how to run.

What are you going to do to ensure you continue to develop your skills in your chosen profession?  What are you going to do to implement the traits of deliberate practice into your daily life, so you can continue to develop your skills to become better and increase your potential in your chosen field?

To your success and your future.

References:

Peak; Secrets from the new Science of Expertise; author: Anders Ericsson, 2016

Purchase the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Peak-Secrets-New-Science-Expertise/dp/0544456238/

 

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Two behaviors that will make you more successful

I have studied people for the last ten years or so.  When I say study, I mean deliberately and frequently observe and evaluate people and their behaviors.  Sure, we all have done a study of people for as many years as we have been on this earth.  But when it is your job to manage and encourage people to change their behaviors, and then evaluate them on whether they actually did, you are looking at it differently than just casual observations of other people in our daily lives.

I have studied people from a management perspective.  Overseeing a large number of people in an organization provides a real unique opportunity to see and be around people. It allows you to get a bird’s eye view of people and how they go about their daily lives.  You see habits and behaviors, good and bad, that either help people on the job and in their personal life or hurt them in both of these.

In management one of my jobs, and all managers jobs, is to provide knowledge, ie. training, to people who foster behavior changes that increase performance.  Training and development sessions also provide a unique opportunity to look at behaviors of people and gives you insight that you might not get otherwise.  When you spend hours and days with people, it provides the chance to see how someone learns and applies what they learn in real-time.

After managing and leading for ten years I then started training and development full-time. And this is what I have done the last four years. Moving from training within one company to provide training and development to many companies and the public at large, you get the opportunity to see people at their best and their worst.

Out of all the behaviors I have coached and trained on from listening better, to speaking less, to developing processes, to time management strategies, and any other behavior that can allow for a person to have success, I have come up with two that I believe and know can make the biggest difference for people.  They are living with intentionality and being self-aware. 

Living with intentionality means: the fact of being deliberate or purposive.  Now I know you are thinking that you already do this.  And maybe you are, but most people don’t. Most people instead get up every day and live their life as it happens.  For example:  If you are reading this right now, today is January 12, 2017. Which means it is a new year. All of the studies and facts say that since we are now two weeks into the new year, that most people who have set new years goals, also called resolutions, have already gotten off track and are no longer pursuing these goals and resolutions they have.

Some of you are thinking that you get up every single day and go to work, do your job, take care of your family, and all of the other daily activities that life requires of us.  And you think that is living with intentionality.  Certain aspects of it is. However, the chances are you have been doing those some things for years and maybe even decades. Which means you are most likely doing these activities on autopilot, which requires very little thought or different approaches from you to get these things accomplished.  It is not being intentional, it is just living.

They are habits and because they are habitual you don’t have to think about them. It’s like brushing your teeth.  You don’t have to think about brushing your teeth, you just do it.  You pick up the brush, put the toothpaste on it, brush, rinse, and your off to the next thing.

Living with intentionality means setting up a plan whether it is certain goals, milestones, or how you will go about your day and do things differently so you can get a different result. If you are reading this, and don’t care to have different results, then this blog is not for you. However, my guess is you are seeking to get a different result at work, or at home, maybe it is your bank account, your health, etc.

The other behavior that I have observed that makes people more successful is self-awareness. I believe when you start living with more intentionality you also become more self-aware.

Self awareness can be described as a conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires. Once you are aware of these attributes within yourself, you can then see how your interactions with the world around you impacts those attributes within you.

Lets look at each one of the attributes that make up self-awareness.

If you don’t understand yourself, it means you can’t understand someone else.  So when we use the word feelings.  It could be sadness, anger, excitement, enthusiasm, etc. or any other feeling humans have at any given time.  To be effective in life it requires us to have successful and sustainable relationships with other people. In almost any successful endeavor in life and especially in business, it will require a person to have successful interactions with other people.

The word motive is thrown around a lot. A motive is simply: something within that drives you to do something.  Motives are hidden under the surface and requires a person to really understand themselves, to be able to understand what is that motivates them to do something.

Again, as I stated earlier, when people are aware of their own motives, they can the help other people identify their motives.  Leadership, innovation, sales, are all positions within the marketplace that require people to understand other people. In leadership, you have to understand what the motives are of the people you lead may have to keep them within your company and excited to do their job.  In sales, you have to understand someones motives to purchase a product. And innovation requires people to understand what someone else may be willing to buy to solve a problem or appeal to a motive they have.  All three of these positions require a person to be self-aware of what they like, and to have impact with other people, to understand what it is that other people may like.

I believe motives are usually under the surface driving people, while desires are more surface.  I may have a desire to own a Ferrari because it looks pretty and is a fast car.  But the motive for me to own the car, would be deeper. It could be something like having a sense of “I made it” or more ego focused, like “I own a very exclusive car”.  These motives are deeper and more under the surface and people usually wouldn’t admit them, but a successful sales person or leader can identify these motives and then create an environment to appeal to those motives .

Self-awareness; understanding what it is that makes you tick and then how your interactions impact those around you.  I always say that a person must be able to read a room.  Meaning they should be able to go in and understand what the feelings are of the people in the room. which would allow that person to understand how they need to interact with the people in that room.

When you are aware of your own strengths and weaknesses you can develop strategies and methods to enhance your strengths.  Doing what you do best.  And minimizing your weaknesses.  Getting others to do what you don’t want to do, or aren’t very good at doing.

Self-awareness and living with intentionality are two behaviors that can change everything for you and your success.  It can change how the world receives you and how you receive the world.  Since none of us live in a vacuum, it will always require us to interact with the world around us.  In life there are positions that are more valuable, meaning they pay better, because it requires the people in those positions to understand other people.  The only way to be able to understand other people, is to first be able to understand yourself. And when you become more self-aware, and you start living your life with intentionality in everything you do, you can have the impact you want to have, and the success you want.

To your success and your future.

 

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The one book on thinking you must read

Years ago, my mentor turned me on to a little gem of a book. This little book had such an impact on my life, that since then I have read it no less than three to four times a year, because of the words that the author brilliantly put together in this masterpiece.

Like many of us, as you start out the new year, you have big goals and desires to make changes in your life.  These changes are all being driven by one thing, your thoughts.  What you think about is what controls you.  This books lays out how powerful your thoughts are.

The book itself is barely one hundred pages, but with words and concepts as powerful as they are, anything longer would have been just taking up space.

If I haven’t convinced you by now to read the book.  Maybe reading the following quotes and excerpts from the book may encourage to read the book.

Another one of my favorite authors and best-selling authors Napoleon Hill said “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”  This quote says a lot in a few words.  However, the book by James Allen tells you exactly how and what to think.

James Allen: Born November 28, 1864 – January 24, 1912 was an author and philosopher. His philosophy on writing was very simple and it is one that I live by myself today.

“He never wrote theories, or for the sake of writing; but he wrote when he had a message, and it became a message only when he had lived it out in his own life, and knew that it was good. Thus he wrote facts, which he had proven by practice.”

As a Man Thinketh can be purchased online or at any bookstore.  There are usually several copies of the classic on the shelves.  You can also go online and type in the title and a free PDF will usually pop up.  I would encourage you to get the hard copy of the book.  The words are too powerful to read only online.  You will want a copy of this book in front of you that you can constantly go back to and highlight different words and concepts that strike you every time you read it.

Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from the book.

There can be no progress nor achievement without sacrifice, and a man’s worldly success will be by the measure that he sacrifices his confused animal thoughts, and fixes his mind on the development of his plans, and the strengthening of his resolution and self-reliance. The higher he lifts his thoughts, the greater will be his success, the more blessed and enduring will be his achievements.

In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results. The strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not. Gifts, powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort. They are thoughts completed, objectives accomplished, visions realized.

Every man is where he is by the law of his being; the thoughts which he has built into his character have brought him there, and in the arrangement of his life there is no element of chance, but all is the result of a law which cannot err.

Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.

Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.

The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. At the bidding of unlawful thoughts the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts it becomes clothed with youthfulness and beauty.

If you would perfect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautify your mind.

As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking.

The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step.

My hope is that one of these excerpts provoke a strong desire in your mind that you have more ability than you ever thought.  These words hopefully inspire you to take action towards your goals and make the changes you need to make to have the year you have always wanted to have.

To your success and your future.

James Allen: As a Man Thinketh, 1903

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Decisive; How To Make Better Choices in Life and Work; summary and notes

As a reader of lots of books, I sometimes find it difficult to remember everything that I want to remember from a book.  I am like most people in that I highlight or circle certain parts of text when I am reading an actual hard copy of a book.  Something I have done for years, is take those notes and put them in my journal.  Well, now instead of putting them in my journal for only me to see, I have put them here so you get the benefit of them.

This book summary is not really a summary.  It give you the gist of the book.  But this summary is really my highlights and my notes that I pulled from the book.  The information I thought was cool and important. I hope you find it to be useful as well.

Decisive (How to make better choices in life and work); by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.  Click here to purchase the book from Amazon.

This book is one that I have looked at many times over the last two years, but I always thought to myself.  I make good decisions, what could I possibly learn about decision-making?  So I never bought the book, until now.  I have to say, this book has taught me a lot, and my hope is that you read my notes and decide to buy the book.

Decisive:

Four Villains of Decision Making:

  • Should I do this or that?  Instead ask yourself, is there a way I can do this AND that?
  • Be aware of the conformation bias and do whatever you can to fight it off. Confirmation bias is when we think or know we believe a certain way, our minds immediately look for information to confirm what we already feel or believe.  It happens to us all more frequently than we would like to admit.
  • Short term emotion: When we make decisions based on emotions only and don’t seek out a different perspective.
  • Overconfidence: People think they know more than they actually do about how the future will unfold.
  • You encounter a choice. But narrow framing makes you miss options.
  • You analyze your options. But the conformation Bias leads you to gather self-serving information
  • You make a choice. But short-term emotion will often tempt you to make the wrong one.
  • Then you live with it. But you’ll be overconfident about how the future will unfold.
  • Then I personally would add a fifth: You become too attached to the decision from an ego perspective that you won’t change the decision. (not in the book)

Sometimes the hardest part of making a decision is knowing that there’s one to be made.

In the book the authors recommend this process:

WRAP:

W   Widen your options
R    Reality Test your assumptions
A    Attain distance before deciding
P    Prepare to be wrong

Opportunity Cost with decisions:  Everything comes down to opportunity cost.  What am I giving up when I make this decision.

EX:  If I chose to spend my money to go on a vacation for four days.  The cost is the money for sure.  So what else could I have done with that money instead of taking the vacation. You could have paid off debt, you could have saved for retirement, you could have purchased something that you really needed.

We make opportunity cost decisions all of the time. Some are not too costly, because you never actually feel them, but what if your budget truly is limited.  Your time is truly limited. Then weighing in opportunity cost is critical.

A study in the book shows that when presented with the actual opportunity cost of something, people make better decisions.

Example from the book:

Imagine that you have saved your money to purchase a video.  The video is $14.99. It has your favorite actresses and actors in it. You have always wanted to see the movie and you have actually been thinking of purchasing it for quite a while. 

The researchers asked people to check A or B.

A) Buy this entertaining video
B) Not by this video

Given the choice, 75% bought the video and only 25% passed on buying it.

Later the researchers asked a different group of people the same questions with the same scenario. Except they asked it this way.

A) Buy this entertaining video
B) Not buy this video. KEEP THE $14.99 FOR OTHER PURCHASES.

Do we really need to be reminded that if we don’t purchase we can do something else with the $14.99?  Apparently so, because the results were different. 45% decided not to buy the video.  Simple reminder helped twice as many people not buy the video.

How would these reminders impact your decision-making?

When making a decision force yourself to find other options, because it is very clear that we can find different options when we are forced to do so, and we make better decisions.

Ask yourself this question:  If all of the options I am currently looking at disappeared what would I do instead?

When pursuing a project a manager can ask for three different options.  Multi-tracking as it is called in the book. This does several different things for the employee when you multitrack.

1st. If you only have one option that you have put all of your eggs in to.  It makes it harder to get over your ego when you get feedback on that one option. Its harder to hear the truth.

2nd:  It does a way with politics. Because if you have several people working on a project pursuing different options, it helps keep egos open-minded.

Prevention mindset versus promotion mindset. In a study of 4,700 public companies decisions during recessions in 1980, 1982, 1990, 1991, 2000 to 2002.  A group of researchers studied the decisions the leaders made at these companies during these tough times. They found that the leaders who did a fair amount of prevention such as cut backs, layoffs, cutting expenses as needed coupled with investing in talent, training, new products, etc. fared better than the companies that just did one or the other.

Most companies focus on too much of either prevention or promotion.  Both can be detrimental to decision-making and success. You have to combine both.

When faced with a problem another way to apply a decision-making process to making better decisions, is asking who else has faced this problem before?  Ask others. Secondly, researchers and scientists looked at analogies to find the answers to a lot of issues.  Analogies have a way to make the problem more clear and it proposes certain ways to address the problem or decision that needs to be made.

Ask yourself “What would have to be true” for this to work.  This question framed up this way allows people to dissent without sounding disagreeable.  When providing feedback just ask “What would have to be true for this option to be the very best choice?”

When we assess our choices we automatically take the inside track.  We have to condition ourselves to look at it differently.

We are really bad at predicting the future.  All of the so-called experts get it wrong most of the time.  Stop trying to predict the future an instead use other tools where possible.

The one they recommend is ooch when possible.  Meaning if you can ease into the situation without going all in, do so. For examples: all studies show that leaders are really bad at interviewing and a so-called “great interview” with a candidate usually ends up being a bad hire.  A better predictor is actual work or grades from school, more so than an interview. Instead of hiring someone can you offer them a short-term contract and see how they do? This is called ooching before making the full decision, test it out.

Researchers have discovered over and over that people act as though losses are from two to four times more painful than gains are pleasurable.

In one study researchers gave half a class on a college campus a coffee mug with the university’s log on it. The students who weren’t given a mug were asked, “How much would you pay for the one of those mugs?” On average they said $2.87.

The surprise came from the students who’d received the mugs.  Asked what price they’d sell the mugs for, they reported they couldn’t part with them for less than $7.12.

Five minutes earlier, all the students in the class would have presumably valued the mugs at $2.87. Yet the students who received the mugs grew attached to them in the span of a few minutes.  The perceived pain of giving up their new gift made it unthinkable to sell at $2.87.

Loss Aversion is a real thing.  Think about it.  As the research suggests a simple coffee mug causes people to want to charge two an a half times the price of what they would have said it was worth.  This makes the point that when it comes to decision-making that we all are more worried about what we lose versus what we could gain.  This causes us to not make a decision usually and stick with the status quo.  We have to find a way to fight this.

Researchers have confirmed over and over again that when we give advice to others that we think about the bigger picture pretty easily, but when we think of our own decisions we get stuck in the weeds.  That is why it is so important to get an outsiders perspective.

The authors suggest that when you have a decision to make ask yourself this question “What would I tell a friend in this same situation to do?”

When it comes to decision-making we all must make our priorities list.  By doing this it allows you to make decision better and quicker.  If you don’t know what your priorities are or values then when put in a situation you wont have any guard rails that can help guide your decisions.

Our calendars are great scoreboards for our priorities.  Jim Collins the author of “Good To Great” says this. When it comes to prioritization and managing your time, everyone needs a stop doing list.  What do you need to stop doing.

We can’t control the future, but with some forethought, we can shape it.

Prospective Hindsight: Is a term that the authors used when thinking about a decision.  Here is their example:

How likely is it that an Asian American will be elected president of the United States in November 2020? Jot dow some reasons why this might happen. 

Prospective Hindsight spin on this.

It is November 2020 and something historic just happened: The United States just elected its first Asian America president.  Think about some reasons why this might have happened. 

The second way it is asked gets you to think differently about the scenario.  It asks you in a way to make you feel different about it. The authors suggest that you approach situations like this.  Work backwards from the decision, this allows you to think about it more clearly.

Use trip wires to help you make a decision.  A trip wire is simple. It is built-in system that tells you when to act.  Example: A lot of people have heard the story about Divas in the music industry or in certain professions.  That they require certain items in their dressing rooms, certain food, etc.

One famous incident of this is Van Halen.  Van Halen was one of the biggest bands of all time.  When they were touring back in the early 1980’s their concerts were unbelievable. Their elaborate stage designs, pyrotechnics, and everything else that went with their performances made them legendary.  Traveling around the country setting these elaborate performances up required them to contract with various companies in a local market where they were playing a show to help them achieve this.  The contracts they had with all of the specifications of what was required to set these stages up, were like books.  But to ensure that it was done correctly every single time. Van Halen set a trip wire into the contract.  There was no way for the band to actually check to ensure everything was done like it was supposed to be done. So this trip wire helped them do this.

In all of the contracts Van Halen required a bowl of M&Ms’s on the stage with all of the browns M&M’s taken out of the bowl.  This was the trip wire.  Instead of checking every single thing with the stage and all of its production.  They could just walk over to the bowl of M&M’s, if the company actually read the contract.  No M&M’s, they really didn’t read the contract. M&M’s and brown ones included, means they didn’t read the contract either.

This trip wire that Van Halen used allowed them know when they needed to check closer or not.  This is what a trip wire can do for you.  It lets you know when you need to do something immediately.

Boundaries are necessary because of people’s tendency to escalate their commitment to their choices.

I highly recommend this book for people to read.  All of us our making major decisions on a daily basis in our work or in our personal lives.  How much thinking are we actually putting into those decisions?  The chances are not enough.  This book has equipped me with a few other things to do and be aware of when I am making decisions.  Most importantly conformation bias.

I hope you found this book summary to be helpful.  If so please share with someone you know.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Distance = Rate X Time, Which piece is missing from your equation?

When I was growing up I can remember playing outside for hours and hours with my friends.  Anything from riding bikes, playing basketball, or street football.  The school year always seemed to drag on forever and summer vacations flew by like a squirrel trying to get across the highway to avoid an oncoming car.

Regardless of how we spent the time, either in school or playing, it always felt like we would always have more than enough time to do what we wanted to do and we had our entire lives in front of us.

Then something happened. I turned 30 years old.  Maybe it was a little bit sooner, but at 30 years of age or around 30 years of age, I figured out that we don’t, I don’t,  have some endless trove of time, our time on this earth is truly finite.

This is not a typical time management post.  Nope, I can do that as well. See some of my other blogs.

No, this is a time realization post.  Meaning you have to realize that everything in life revolves around time.  And you are either trading time for money, trading time for nothing, or trading your life away thinking you have more time than you actually do.

I had a vision at 30 years of age.  I said, I would work really hard and be able to retire at age 50.  Pretty simple right.  The problem though wasn’t the vision. It is a pretty solid vision.  Nope, the problem was I didn’t understand the equation.

Let me get a little wonkish with you here:

Rate = Distance/Time
Distance = Rate x Time
Time = Distance/Rate

Example:  If you want to run two miles in 20 minutes, find rate:  2 miles (distance) / 2o minutes (time) = .10 move the decimal two spots and you get 10 mins. Rate equals 10 mins per mile.

Example: Find distance: Car doing 50 mph for 3 hours, goes how many miles?
50 mph (rate) x  3 hours (time) = 150 miles (distance)

So lets look at my situation.  I have 20 years.  Age 30-50.  Simple enough. So we know what the time is don’t we.  So what is the rate?  And what is the distance?  These are the two missing variables from my situation.  I didn’t have either one of these in my vision.

So around 35, I got a little bit wiser and I said.  Okay, I need to have 10 paid for houses by the time I am 50.  So that makes it a little easier doesn’t it?  Throw dollars out of the equation and just use the amount of houses for the numbers.

We now have Time = 20 years.  We have distance = 10 houses. But, I need to solve for rate.  10 houses / 20 years = Rate of  .50.  Which means I would have to buy a half a house a year, for 20 years.  Now we all know that I can’t buy a half a house. So what if I only bought 1 house a year for 20 years. Than I would exceed my goal by a lot right?  I would double my rate, which would allow me to get there sooner.

To get to 10 houses, paid for, by age 50, means I would have to add in some dollar figures. What would I spend on the house? How much would it cost me to maintain? and how much revenue can I generate by renting them out during this period?  These numbers would allow me to make the target even more concrete on how I would achieve it.

Why does any of this matter?  And why should it matter to you or me?  Many of us are walking around with the time in our head, but we don’t have the other two pieces of the equation.  We don’t know what the distance is, meaning we haven’t set a target.  We don’t know where the hell we are going.  And since we don’t have a target, we don’t know what rate of speed we should be going.  We are aimlessly walking around thinking we are traveling well, but we really don’t have a clue.

As you wrap up 2016 and are thinking about 2017, what are your targets?  If you have some targets, good for you, you are better off than most. However, the second and most important question is, “Do you know what your rate is and the amount of time it will take to get there?”  Just like I pointed out before.  I had a target, but it wasn’t clear, once I made it clear, I knew that I needed to buy a half a house a year (1 at least) to get where I wanted to go.

Rate and speed is one of the most important pieces of most decisions we have to make.  The reason I say that is this:

If you have a good thought, or are motivated to take action.  The amount of time that passes between the thought and your first step towards action will determine your success in pursuit of this new motivation or thought.

Example:  Lets pretend that its Saturday (which it is as I am typing) and I have gotten up early and I decide that I am going to clean the house before we have this party to go to this afternoon and the basketball games that I want to watch start.

Instead of taking action and starting the cleaning, I decide to cook some breakfast, go for a run, and do some work that I wasn’t able to get to during the week.  I had the thought at 8:00 am to clean the house, and by the time I do all of the other things I decided to do instead, it is now 12:30 and we have to be at the party at 3:00. It will take me an hour to get ready and an hour to get there.  So that means, I only have 30 minutes to actually do the cleaning.  Well, we all know that is not enough time to clean, so I put it off.

Sound familiar?  This happens to everybody, everyday. It is that vicious cycle that we all have fallen victim to at one time or another.  We plan on doing something very good for us and very rewarding.  Which I think, having a clean house fits for both.  Instead of doing it, we allow others things to get in the way and we never get it accomplished.  Now cleaning the house isn’t going to kill us is it?

But what if we don’t act quickly on cutting some unnecessary spending in our budget, what if we don’t start on that assignment for work, what if the doctor tells us that if we don’t change our diet that we are going to be in trouble with our health, etc.  You can input your own scenario here if you wish.  If our rate of speed to action on any of these are too slow, they could have some very negative consequences.

This is what happens every day for most people though.  They don’t act quick enough. When too much distance gets between a decision and the first step towards taking action on that decision, your chances of doing something around that decision goes down significantly.

My favorite speakers and authors of all time Jim Rohn calls it “The Law of Diminishing Intent”; the longer you delay something, the less probability you have of actually doing it.

Rate and speed are very important pieces of the equation and we also know that having the right target, or in the equation Rate (x) Time = distance.  Which means you must know your distance (target) to know how fast and how much time it will take to get there.

So what about time.  In this blog we started off by talking about time and how we all think we have more of it, especially when we are young, than we actually do.

I read somewhere that the late great Steve Jobs believed that he was going to die young. He didnt know when, obviously, none of us do, but he felt like whatever it was that he was going to accomplish, that he needed to do it quickly because he felt like he only had so much time.

Now whether or not he felt like he was really going to die early, or he felt like an avaerage lifetime wasn’t long enough. Either way, he believed that time is our most precious commodity and that we must use it wisely and only do things we are passionate and excited about.

In our previous discussion around my vision to have purchased 10 houses between the ages 30-5o, and have them paid for.  One of the realizations I had recently, thankfully, is that I don’t want to wait that long.  I don’t want to wait until I am 50 years of age. I want it sooner. I want these houses now. I want the money theses house bring now.  I want to be free now.

What if I don’t make it to 50. I hate to be morbid, but that can happen. I changed my target to 40. How can I get to 10 houses paid for by age 40? That is the new goal.  That is the one I am working towards.

Time is the unknown and I can’t control time.  I can control what I do with my time, but I don’t know how much of it I have and I can’t stop it or slow it down.  I can only work within the 24 hours a day that I have until I can no longer do it.

I go into each day knowing that I have the time, the key question I ask myself is “What am I doing with that time?” I want to increase my rate and speed on everything I am doing.  I can control my rate.  I can control the speed of which I pursue everything.

Remember the equation above, to get to the target sooner, I must increase my rate, which in turn decreases the amount of time I have to invest in it.

Watch:  1,000,000 million dollars (target) So what is time and rate.

4 years (time) X 250,000 (Rate) =  1,000,000
3 years (time) X 333,000 (Rate) = 1,000,000

When I increase my rate, I decrease my time to get to my target.  That is the goal.  And that should be your goal.

My mission in 2017 is to speed everything up.  It is going to be a challenge in some cases, because I can’t do everything. It will require me to spend money, it will require me to make sacrifices, it will require me to rely on others, and it will require me to give up somethings for the sake of other things. And all of this is okay.  I have finally figured it out that if I want to truly speed things up, it is going to require a different approach.

One of my mentors said it this way.  The rich buy time and the poor spend time. What they meant by this is:  Rich people have the money to hire others to do things that they dont want to do and get others to expand their influence by paying someone to go out and do more of what it is they are attempting to do.

Example:  If I am a plumber.  And a really good plumber and I work on my own.  I can only service and do so much plumbing.  Plus I have to do marketing, Have to manage my books and accounting, I have to do business development, I have to do ordering of materials and supplies, etc.  You get the point.

If I am desirous to grow my business, there is no way I can do it when I have to do all of these things.  I have to hire others to help me do it.  This allows me to buy some of my time back and it also allows me to focus on the things I am really good at.  It would also allow me to get really good at the things I need to get really good at, which is finding more customers.

In order to speed things up, I have to find and seek out ways to increase everything.  I have to increase my spending to get others working on things, I have to increase the rate of my thought leadership posts, I have to get more quantity of everything out quicker than I have ever done before.

I started this post talking about a more simple time in my life.  It was such a simple time because that is all I knew at the time.  All I knew was riding bikes and having fun.

However, I now know that my potential us unlimited, my options on this earth are unlimited, the amount of houses I can own, the amount of money I can earn, the amount of influence I can have, all are unlimited.  The only thing that is limited is my time, but it is only limited in what I can do within my time.  The amount of time I can buy, the speed I can create by getting others involved, and the target I will hit are all up in the air and I can get them all, when I understand the equation of distance=rate X time.

I will close the gap on the amount of time something takes by increasing the rate at which I do it, and I will always know what the target is, you should do the same.

To your success and your future

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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