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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To your success and your future.

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Three truths and a lie (Selling Intangibles)

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

How does it work:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To your success and your future.



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8 Curable diseases that exist “IN” your company

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indecision: The inability to make a decision.

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

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

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

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

Indifference: The lack of interest or concern.

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

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

Inaction: Staying still and not moving things forward.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Insecure: Lacking self-confidence

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

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

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

Indirect: Not saying it clearly and to the point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To your success and your future.

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

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The one thing we all have to embrace NOW!

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

What am I?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some of the reasons we fail to change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To your success and your future.





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These two things are killing your self-esteem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To your success and your future.





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The conduit between I can and I will

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To your success and your future.

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Selling the Invisible notes and summary

There are times when I read a book that really changes the game. Either the information in the book does it, or the excitement I get from reading the book does it. In this case, it is both.

I have now read three books by Harry Beckwith. They are all very similar. The book Selling the Invisible which is a New York Times Business bestseller and rightfully so, is by far the best. I guess that is why it is a bestseller.

Like all of my quasi book summaries and notes. Below are my highlights from the book. My takeaways so to speak.

These notes are directly pulled from the book. Read the damn book though. If you want to change the game in sales and in marketing, read the book.

Almost three in four Americans work in service companies.

America is a service economy with a product marketing model. Services are not products, and service marketing is not product marketing.

When you buy a haircut you cannot see it before you buy it or try it out. It is a service.

Most prospects are shaking with worry. Your marketing must start; with a clear understanding of that worried soul.

Most doctors do not buy pacemakers; they buy that expert pacemaker salesperson who can go into the OR and advise on the device, procedure, and programming. Pacemaker buyers buy a service.

If you sell software, your core product is the software, but that critical part of your product is all the augmentations, the documentation, toll-free services, publications, upgrades, and support and other services. Your users are buying a service.

Faced with products just like their competitive products, today’s product marketers typically have two choices; reduce cost or add value.

This book is all for all those service marketers: the 80 percent of us who do not manufacture products and the other 20 percent who do.

In such a complex world there is nothing more powerful than simplicity.

This is a how to think book.

The core of service marketing is the service itself.

Get better reality.

Too often service, sucks.

Before you write an ad, rent a list, dash off a press release— FIX your service.

The Average American thinks he isn’t”, someone once said. Psychologists have proved it. We think we are better than we are. When researchers asked students to rate their ability to get along with others, 60 percent rated themselves in the top 10 percent. Ninety-four percent of university professors say they are doing a better job than their average colleague. Most men think they are good-looking.

Most companies think they offer great service. The chances are they are not.

Marketing is the brains of service marketing. If the brain fails, the heart soon will fail.

Stage 1 of business: meet acceptable standards

Stage 2 differentiation of your product because competitors have entered.

Stage 3 (few companies enter this stage) Go beyond what customers ever thought about. Disney. Apple. Lexus with heated seats and all of the other bells and whistles. Surprise the customer.

Create the possible service, don’t just create what the market needs and wants. Create what it could love.

People won’t tell you what you are doing wrong. Your prospects won’t tell you. Clients wont tell you, Your spouse won’t tell you. So how do you improve? ASK

Phone surveys produce more revealing information than in person surveys. On the phone people are willing to open up and give their real opinion and the information you need.

Don’t ask someone what they don’t like. People don’t want to answer because they won’t want to admit that they made a mistake.

Everyone in your company is responsible for marketing your company.

So much of what passes for brilliant insight in helping a company is reporting what everyone in that company could see, if only they could still see clearly. It’s hard to see the real scope of your business. Ask for help.

The walls in a business do more than keep the cold air out. They seem to block out clear vision of the world.

Every act is a marketing act. Make every employee a marketing person.

In planning your marketing, don’t just think of your business. Think of your skills.

People don’t buy hamburgers from McDonald’s, they are buying an experience.

Find out what clients are really buying.

Clients are experts at knowing if they feel valued

In most professional services, you are not really selling expertise, because expertise is assumed, and because your prospect cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead you are selling a relationship. And in most cases this is where you need the most work. If you’re selling a service, you’re selling a relationship.

All people crave one thing, and this is appreciation. Before you try to satisfy the client, understand and satisfy the person.

With a few exceptions, companies are not battling to share that market. They are battling to create it: to get prospects to want to use their service instead of doing NOTHING or performing the service THEMSELVES.

If you implicitly criticize your competitors, you aggravate your worst problem: the prospects doubt that anyone in your industry can provide the service and value the prospects needs. Your real competitor is often sitting across the table.

Go where the competition ain’t. It isn’t only location it could be in a vertical.

Every service company should have a director of technology who studies and regularly tells management how new technologies can be used for competitive advantage.

Be second to none in all of your technologies.

Service businesses are about relationships. Relationships are about feelings. In good ones, the feelings are good, and in bad ones, they are bad.

Work performs a social function, most people want to be in office for the social interaction.

Even if you can identify and predict people’s attitudes, it’s not that helpful, because behaviors don’t always follow attitudes.

There are two tragedies in life: One is to not get your hearts desire. The other is to get it.

Accept the limitation of planning.

Second: don’t value planning for its result. The greatest value of the plan is the process, the thinking that went in to it.

Third: don’t plan your future. Plan your people. Develop people and skills.

Tactics drive strategy.

Todays good idea almost always beat tomorrows better one.

It appears that organizations actually are subject to the law that governs sharks: If a shark does not move, it cannot breathe. And it dies.

Think dumb.

Too often the path to perfection leads to procrastination. Don’t let perfect ruin good.

Any ideal might fail. If you’re doing anything worthwhile at all, you’ll suffer a dozen failures.

Most organizations work like groups of apes which we evolved. The alphas dictate what the group does and thinks. Alphas are not better at making decisions, they are better at taking control.

Appeal only to a prospects reason, and you may have no appeal at all.

People choose what seems most familiar. We tend to choose the one we hear the most about. even though the truth is that more people die from stomach cancer than car accidents.

This is because of human trait called attribute for getting. You have to make yourself familiar to your clients.

People don’t look to make the superiors choice, they want to avoid making a bad choice. Forget looking like the superior choice. Make yourself an excellent choice. Then eliminate anything that might make you a bad choice.

People remember the first and last impressions, but forget the middle. The rule of last impressions is reflected in dozens of ways. Consider apologies and forgiveness, for example. The last impression a person makes, by apologizing, often obscures the persons memory of the event that led to the apology.

Build quality into your service but make it less risky too.

The best thing you can do for a prospect is eliminate their fear. Offer a trial period or a test project.

Rather than hide your weakness, admit them. Tell the truth event if it hurts, it will help.

The more similar the services, the more important the differences.

You must position yourself in your prospects mind.
Your position should be singular: one simple message.
Your position must set you apart from your competitors.
You must sacrifice. You cannot be all things to all people, you must focus on one thing.
Stand for one distinctive thing that will give you a competitive advantage.

Rather than sacrificing opportunities, a narrow focus creates opportunities. To broaden your appeal, narrow your position.

In your service, whats the hardest task? Position yourself as the expert at this task; and you’ll have lesser logic in your corner.

We as people associate and judge. We assume prettier people are smarter and more put together. But it isn’t always true. That is why it is important to say one thing you are good at, because people will associate with many.

If people see differences in products such as catsups, flour, pickles, and sugar which are all identical, then people will definitely see differences in your services.

No company can position its self as anything. You can focus on one thing, but ultimately the market and the customers put you in your position. Dont fight it.

Avis knew they couldn’t be number one. So instead they said they were number 2. And said “We try Harder”. This allowed their business to grow.

Positioning Statement:

Who are you:
What business are you in?
Whom do you serve?
What need? What are the special needs of the people you serve?
Against whom: With whom are you competing?
Whats different: What make you different from those competitors?
SO: Whats the benefit: What unique benefit does a client derive from your service?
Example: Bloomingdale’s

Fashion focused department stores.
trend conscious, upper middle class shoppers.
looking for high-end products
Unlike other department stores
Bloomingdale’s provides unique merchandise in a theatrical setting
make shopping entertaining
Choose a position that will reposition your competitors, then move a step back toward the middle to clinch the sale.

You are what you are.

If no prospect can describe your position, you don’t have one.

If you think you can afford not to focus, think of Sears.

No matter how skilled you are, you must focus your skills.

Timberland was struggling in the early 1980’s. The company made a good boat type shoe and priced it below the leader, Topsiders. A great product for the price, but not a good business. Then Timberland did something fairly simple. It increased its price to be well above Topsiders. Sales boomed. Dont assume logical pricing is smart pricing. Maybe your price, which makes you look like a good value, actually makes you look second-rate.

If no one complains about your price, it’s too low.

If almost everyone complains, it’s too high.

Fifteen to 20 percent of people will complain about any price. Some want a deal. Others are mistrustful and assume every price is overstated. Still others want to get the price they had in their mind when they approached you, because it’s the price they hoped for an already have budgeted in their mind. So throw out the group that will object no matter what price. Then ask: In the remaining cases how often do I encounter resistance. Resistance in 10 percent of the remaining cases for a total of 20 percent is about right. When it starts to exceed 25 percent, scale back.

Setting your price is like setting a screw. A little resistance is a good sign.

If you are the high-priced provider, most people assume you offer the best quality. If you are the low-cost provider, most people assume you deliver an acceptable product at the lowest cost, also a desirable position. But if your price in the middle, what you are saying is “We’re not the best, and neither is our price, but both our service and price are pretty good.” Not a very compelling message.

Cutting costs require little imagination.

There is nothing unique about pricing. Be unique.

What is talent worth and why is some worth so much? What can you reasonable charge?

Dont charge by the hour. Charge by the years. Pablo Picasso.

If your primary selling position is good value, you have no position. Value is not a competitive position. Value is why every service company promises. In services, value is a given. And given are not viable competitive positions.

If good value is the first thing you communicate, you won’t be effective.

if good value is your best position, improve your service.

A name like Creative Design contradicts itself. The name after all, could not be less creative.

Never choose a name that describes something that everyone expects from the service. The name will be generic, forgettable, and meaningless.

If you need a name for your service, start with your own.

A brand is more than a symbol. In the publics eye, a brand is a warranty.

Customers will buy brands sight unseen, so brand names are less expensive to sell.

As time shrinks, the importance of brands increases. And time in America is shrinking; companies have down sized their staffs and upsized the workloads of all the survivors. This people need shortcuts every waking minute. They turn to service and brand products.

Your greatest competition is not your competition. It is indifference.

Saying many things usually communicates nothing.

Give me one good reason to buy. Not Ten. You can’t sell a confused person.

People are interested in other people, and their stories.

Stereotypes: Accountants are humorless. Lawyers are greedy. Collections agencies are bullies. Doctors keep you waiting. Attack your first weakness, the thing you are known for.

37 percent of people say doctors lack a genuine interest in their patients. But patient view the relationship side as so critical, there’s even a name for it, bedside manner, they think medicine is failing as a service.

How often are you looking for the best service? The best baby sitter, the best dry cleaners, the best tax adviser? Not often. How often do you know the best when you find it? Never. How long are you willing to look for the best? (not long) Nobody is looking for the best. You aren’t. So convey that you are good and people will buy.

People notice marketing communications that refuse to strain the truth because people notice the unusual, and understatement is unusual.

People hear what they see. Let them see greatness.

People trust their eyes before they will every trust your words.

The industry that best understands the importance of visualizing the invisible offers the least visible service of all. insurance. Prudential has its Rock Of Gibraltar. Travelers as its Umbrella. Allstates has its good hands. Transamerica has its tower. Each uses a visual metaphor. Make sure people see who you are.

Restaurants are not in the food business, they are in the entrainment business. People go there for the experience.

If you are selling something complex, simplify it with a metaphor.

Of course you are committed to excellence. People don’t listen to clichés. Get rid of them.

Get to your point or you will never get to a close.

Most presenters don’t know what their point is. Tell people one thing. Why they should buy from you instead of someone else.

There is no such thing as an uninteresting subject, only an uninteresting person.

Find out what they want.

Find out what they need.

Find out who they are.

Missions statements are for you. Keep them private.

Revlon founder said this: In the factories we make perfume. In the Stores we sell hope.

People are buying happiness or the hope for it.

Dont make a client think you can do more than you can actually do.

A customers expectation is the GAP between what the customer expects and what the customer gets.

There is no such thing as too often, too grateful, too warm, or too appreciative.

Say PM and deliver AM.

To fix sales people, fix your message. If they don’t believe, it is your fault that your marketing doesn’t make them believe.

Sales is risking yourself. Nobody likes to risk themselves, but that is what sales people do daily. Rejection.

Services are human. Their successes depend on the relationships of people. People are human, frustrating, unpredictable, temperamental, often irrational, and occasionally half mad. But you can spot patterns in people. The more you can see the patterns and better understand people, the more you will succeed.


To your success and your future.

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A million dollar conversation

Yesterday, I had one of those aha moments. You know, one of this moments where you either see something more clearly, or you get some additional information you didn’t have before, or you get smacked across the face because you thought you were doing the right things, but you weren’t.

My aha moment falls into the smacked across the face moment.

I am a Real Estate investor. I have learned a lot of things in my last ten years of real estate. The normal stuff, what to do, what not to do. What I prefer to own for my investments and what I don’t like owning and messing with. The value of a property manager, and how I am really not good at finding people to rent my properties.

This week, I am attending a conference. In my group is a guy that is a real estate investor. He has purchased a lot of properties throughout his lifetime. He has purchased big apartment complexes all the way to single family homes. He also just happens to be a former NBA basketball player as well, so that is cool.

As we are talking, I asked him a few questions that I have asked a lot of people. How do I buy bigger properties? Not just a duplex, four-plex, or single family homes. I am talking about 16 unit places, 40 unit places, etc. Much bigger properties that I am used to buying.

His advice was simple. He said it isn’t hard to find the money to buy these places, what is hard to find is the right deal. You have to find the right deal when purchasing these places. And finding the right deal is the hardest part.

The million dollar advice: He said, I made it a point to go around town and find the properties that I would like to own. Once I identified those places, I reached out to the owners and asked them if they would be willing to sell. He said, in many cases the owners weren’t wanting to sell. He didn’t stop there though, he then made it a point to cultivate a relationship with those owners and stay in front of them.

He said in a lot of cases that some of these deals would take two years, but he would eventually get a call from an owner of a property that said they were interested in selling now, and that he had the first right of refusal.

Now if you have read this far, you are wondering why this advice is worth a million dollars?

A couple of reasons. I haven’t been doing this. I do it the traditional way. I call up my agent, tell them what I am looking for, and then they go and see if it exists. I need to be more intentional about it like he is.

Secondly: I have been asking the wrong people for advice. Sure I have asked people who own real estate how to make these purchases. But in many cases, the people I have asked are very similar buyers to me.

What is the point. The two lessons are extremely profound. By cultivating relationships with owners of properties I would like to own, will set me up in the future if they decide to sell. Real Estate can be emotional. It is the old saying “one mans garbage is another mans treasure.” After a while, owners get rid of properties for a variety of different reasons. By having a relationship with these owners, I may get first right of refusal to purchase their property.

The other reason is this. I have not been getting my advice from the right people. I must ask the people who are at, or have been to the places I want to go. Period. I can’t ask a person who has never been a millionaire, on how to become a millionaire. I can’t ask a person who has never successfully run their own business, how to successfully run and operate my own business. I have to become more strategic in picking who I seek advice from and who I look to for mentorship.

To your success and your future.

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50 Reasons on why I want to be Rich!

If I have heard it once, I have heard it a million times.

“Brian, you work too hard, slow down.”

“Brian, money isn’t everything.”

“Brian, your work shouldn’t be your identity.”

“Brian, be careful or you will burn out.”

The same people who say the above statements are also the same people, who probably don’t have any money, or think consumer debt is a good thing, or just don’t know what else to say.

Over the last couple of years I have become a writer, ( I can call myself that now).  I have told my readers that one of the main reasons I write is because it gives me clarity and ultimately holds me accountable to my words and my actions.

Here are 50 clarifying thoughts, things, and concepts that I am going to hold myself accountable to.

  1. I don’t want to be the opposite.
  2. I can use my time to do what I want to do.
  3. I can buy my soon to be wife whatever she wants.
  4. I can have flexibility in my day.
  5. I can become even more generous with my giving to others.
  6. I can give more of my time to people and things that I care about.
  7. I can protect myself from a major disaster wrecking my finances.
  8. I can buy the best that can be got.
  9. I can buy whatever I want.
  10. I can buy more time.
  11. I can tell a customer, I don’t need your business.
  12. I can provide opportunities to those less fortunate.
  13. I can travel wherever I want.
  14. I hate cooking, I want someone else to do it for me.
  15. I want to make more time to read the books I want to read.
  16. I want to leave a legacy.
  17. Lack of money causes stress, believe me I know. I want to eliminate that stress out of my life.
  18. The people with the money have the power, and some of those people are idiots.
  19. I want to give my friends and family nice stuff.
  20. I want to pay for my nephews college educations.
  21. If I get rich, I can help others get rich.
  22. I can write more.
  23. I can be wherever I want, whenever I want.
  24. Freedom is the number one objective of all human beings.
  25. I like nice stuff.
  26. I really like fine shoes.
  27. My soon to be wife likes nice stuff.
  28. Waterfront property costs more money.
  29. When I get there, I know I did it myself. (no head-starts here)
  30. My brother died way too early in his life. I owe it to him to live for the both of us.
  31. The last time I looked, they don’t just give those $5 dollar coffees away.
  32. I want to say how much, not how much do I have to put down.
  33. When my final day is here, I want to say I did all I can with what I had.
  34. Because I live in America, and we have the opportunity.
  35. My Lexus is a 2006.
  36. My mom.
  37. My dad.
  38. I buy a lot of running shoes.
  39. I actually waste a lot more money than I should.
  40. Because it is the right thing to do.
  41. I want to prove to myself that I can do it.
  42. Because I don’t want to rely on anybody but myself.
  43. I don’t want to have to do things I don’t want to do.
  44. I will pay more taxes.
  45. I like to have fun.
  46. On days that I am sad, I can buy myself something that makes me happy.
  47. I am tired of driving, I want a driver.
  48. You will always have a seat at the table.
  49. Investments take money.
  50. Organic and health foods are more expensive.

I am not sure my list included every reason, but it is a start and it is from my heart.

A goal properly set is 50% percent complete. Now I have to do the other 50%.

I just set 50 goals. I encourage you to do the same.

To your success and your future.

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5 Steps to Behavior Change

In the world of behavior change there are many models out the that show a way, a process, to make behavior changes.  My advice is pick one that works for you.  My goal is to share the information with you, and my hope is that it finds a way to help you in your growth and development.

In the 1980’s, alcoholism researchers James O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente developed and tested transtheoretical model (TTM), the one most widely applied and tested in health settings.  TTM presumes that at any given time, a person is in one of five stages of change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, or maintenance.

The idea is that people move from one stage to the next. Each stage is a preparation for the following one, so hurrying through or skipping stages is likely to result in setbacks.

Most of the evidence for this model comes from studies of alcohol, drug abuse, and smoking cessation, but it’s also been applied to various health behaviors, including exercise and dieting.  Anyone motivated to change can use it to assess their situation and formulate strategies.

Stage 1: Pre-contemplation: At this stage you are not aware that a change needs to be made and have no intentions of doing so. You may lack the necessary information or you may have failed in the past to make a change. To move past this stage you have to become aware of new information that points out that this behavior is preventing you from accomplishing what you want to accomplish.

Stage 2: Contemplation: In this stage you are aware of the behavior and know that you need to change it.  However, most people tend to stay in this stage for months at a time before actually doing something about it. You will actually start thinking about adverse effects of making a change.  For example:  If I start working out, then I won’t have time to work as much and I could lose my job, because I won’t get certain things done like a should.  I know this seems like an extreme example, but people do it.  Another example: If I stop smoking, I will gain weight.  So in our minds we think the current behavior is better than the negative effects of changing the behavior.

Stage 3: Preparation: At this stage, you know you must make a change and you also believe you can.  You start making plans to make the change quickly, maybe in the next week or so.  At this stage it is important to make measurable goals that you can hold yourself accountable to.  For example:  I will make sure I get up at 5:00 am at least 3 times this week.  I will work out at least 4 times this week for no less than 30 minutes.  It is critical that you create measurable goals that you can track.  Like the ones I give here.

Stage 4: Action: At this stage you have made the behavior change.  You have had some obstacles of making the change and worked through them.  You’ll need to continue to work through these obstacles because they will continue to challenge your new lifestyle and well-being. It is also important that you stay very clear about your motivation to change and constantly remind yourself of your reasons for the change.  This will keep you pushing through to make this change a permanent change.

Stage 5: Maintenance: At this point you have been practicing this new behavior, this change, for at least six months. Now you’re working to prevent yourself from falling back into the old way of you. It is critical to also continue to put in safeguards that protect you from yourself, I always say.  For example: I don’t buy sweet foods and put them in my house.  Items such as cookies, ice cream, snacks, etc.  I know on a late night, it is easy for me to eat those things, so I just protect myself from them by not buying them.

I have been studying people for most of my life, however, in the last 10 years I have had the front seat to watch people and their actions and reactions to life, leadership, personal growth, career advancement, and other facets of life. My conclusion is this. Change is hard and it is extremely hard if you don’t have a process and someone holding you accountable.

Applying the process above can get you headed down the road to make a change, but the chances are you will need a good coach or mentor that can help you identify the behaviors that need doc change and coach you through the changes.


Here is the sad thing: Most people are good at making decisions.  I can make a decision to lose weight, eat healthier, not be an ass to my coworkers, budget better, be a better husband, spend more time with my kids.  Most of us can state this and make the decision to do one of these things.  Here is the challenge though, we typically aren’t very good at managing these decisions. A coach can help you manage these decisions.  Make a decision and then manage those decisions until the change is made. The easier part is making the decision and the hard part and the real work is managing the decision.

To your success and your future.



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How to live a mediocre life

After reading this scientific study, I now know why it is easy for any of us to live a mediocre or average life.

Researchers Michael Ross and Anne Wilson out of Waterloo Ontario, Canada, studied the links between, self assessment and autobiographical memory.

Self assessment is an assessment or evaluation of oneself or one’s actions and attitudes, in particular, of one’s performance at a job or learning task considered in relation to an objective standard.

Autobiographical memory contains knowledge of the self, used to provide information on what the self is, what the self was, and what the self can be. This information is categorized into three broad areas: lifetime periods, general events, and event-specific knowledge.

Ross and Wilson validated that people generally view themselves as improving over time, relative to their peers and colleagues. The research suggests that this sense of improvement is delusional.  This false sense of improvement is driven by, and motivated by, the desire for an individual to enhance themselves.

This sense of improvement comes from the subjective feeling of temporal distance.  Or also called Temporal Self appraisal theory.  Which states that uplifting events of individuals often seem quite recent in time. Therefore, individuals, tend to perceive these positive moments as more relevant or representative of their current life. While upsetting events seem further back in time.

Depending how close a situation is to the present, if the situation was a positive experience, the research shows that people tend to praise themselves accordingly. If a situation is negative, the research shows that the people will criticize themselves and believe that the event was further in the past. Depending on the implications of the situation on the current self.

Layman’s terms: 

The research confirms that we will do whatever we can to show that our current self is a better version than our past self.  Even when nothing quantifiable and verifiable has been done to improve our current self.

But Brian, we should always want to be positive and give ourselves credit that we are moving forward.

Hey, I agree! I want to be positive as well. But the problem with delusion is you start to believe it after a while.

In all of the research, participants evaluated themselves as being better than the past self and better against their peers, when they had done nothing to become better. Wilson and Ross suppose that by contrasting our present selves to a lesser earlier self enhances how the present self looks.


Reading the above facts. And they are facts, based on research.  It is easy to see how we can go through life being average and never get ahead. So what are the implications and what can we do about it?

The implications: First, if we didn’t like ourselves before, the chances are we haven’t done anything quantifiable that says we have made any progress to get any better.  So we need to create some goals and measurements for ourselves that can prove that we are getting better in whatever it is we are engaged in.  Work, Health, Life, Money, friends, relationships, etc.  To ensure we aren’t delusional or comparing our current self to a past self that is marginally better or the same, clearly stated measurement and goals can verify your growth.

What can we do about it: Become a student of yourself.  Sounds kind of selfish, but it is true.  When you learn to study yourself: your actions, your tendencies, your commitments, your weaknesses, your strengths, etc. You become better in all areas of your life and you might stop comparing yourself to a past that is similar or worse than your present.


To your success and your future.

For more resources and information on how to start changing your habits and behaviors to fulfill your true mission and live the life you have always wanted, contact me and let’s have a conversation.




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