21 reasons your Admissions Representatives aren’t motivated

I have been in the higher education sector for the last fifteen years of my career.  Primarily working with admissions managers and admissions representatives. I have worked in the for-profit sector, the non-profit private sector, and even the public sector.

As a manager myself for many years, and as a consultant for just as many, I have found the following 21 ideas, things, excuses, or whatever you want to call them.  To be true in every one of the higher education groups I have worked with.

I am not only blaming the admissions representatives or the schools themselves for this lack of motivation.  They are all in it together. From the top down, everybody has to be held accountable and understand the mission.  And no matter what your Tax status says you are.  For-Profit, Non-Profit, or Public, no institution would exist if they didn’t have students paying tuition.

Ultimately, this responsibility falls on the admissions representatives and the admissions managers. They are both equally responsible for the livelihood of the school.

Here are 21 things that could help you diagnose the problem you might have on your team right now.  I am not going to solve your problem in this blog post.  However, the first step to all change is realizing that you need to make a change.

After you read the post, if you feel like your team needs some additional skills please reach out to me.  I have perfected a training system for Admissions Teams.  We call our product the Admissions Advantage.

Do you want an advantage for your team and your school?  If so, let’s have a conversation.  If not, use this information and make the necessary changes.  It is up to you.

21.  They don’t like their job

  • I don’t know why they don’t like their job.  It could be a variety of different reasons.  They don’t believe in what they do, or they don’t believe in the leadership.  You need to find out why and see if this can change.  If not, you know what needs to be done.

20. They don’t see a career path for growth.

  • On the first day of the job everybody wants to know two things.  After they learn how much they are getting paid.  What is it that I am responsible for?  And where do I fit in here?  They want to see where they are now and where they could be in the future. Show them.

19.  They don’t know the bigger picture.

  • Show them the marketing budget, show them the instructional budget, show them everything.  And then show them how the revenue they generate from the students they enroll make the budget work.

18. You have some toxic people on the team bringing everyone else down. 

  • Who are the negative people.  All teams have them.  You have to get rid of them ASAP. Why haven’t you? Quit waiting.

17. They don’t get respect from other departments 

  • Admissions representatives are going to push other people to do things they don’t want to do. They should do it respectively, but at the same time, they need to have the respect across the board from the other departments.  Everybody in the institution needs to know that without students none of them will exist. Period.

16. They are too focused on their next steps instead of the current step they are on. 

  • If we aren’t happy in what we are doing we are going to be looking for what the next step is. In many colleges and schools this is usually being done on the schools dime.  With additional educational benefits.  I am a fan of this, but admissions representatives must be doing their full-time job first.

15. They have too much free time. 

  • Free time is not good for any of us.  Especially an admissions representative. If your people are not seeing enough prospective students then you have to figure out a way to get everyone busier.  Too much free time will make them lazy and they will get in trouble.

14. They don’t know the consequences of missing budget or goals 

  • When is the last time you wrote someone up or let someone go because of a lack of performance.  I understand that everybody got a little scared under the previous administration and the rules. However, if you don’t have consequences for not doing your job, then mediocrity will creep in and kill your school.

13. They don’t know what excellence looks like 

  • I have seen it a hundred times.  You have one person that is killing it.  And that becomes the standard.  What if their standard is not that high though?  Then everybody else is trying to live up to a low standard.  Get some A players in and set some new standards.

12. They don’t know what it means to own something 

  • If your staff is younger, the chances are they haven’t lived long enough to truly own something. You must teach them how to own their career and their goals on the job.  This will keep them motivated to performing.

11. They are short timers

  • You have some people who just took this job because it is the one they were offered.  And you were sold in the interview. If this is the case get them out and make them really short timers.

10. Top leadership doesn’t remind them of how important they are.

  • A supervisor must be setting the standard every single day and showing the team appreciation.  However, the top leadership must do it often as well. It just means more when they hear it from the top leadership.

9. Direct supervisors are uninspiring.

  • If you are a manager and are reading this.  I am sorry.  It has just been my experience.  The question I have for you.  Are you motivated?  If not.  Why not?  What can you do to get excited again?

8. They don’t know what accountability is.

  • Accountability is a bad word.  Everybody says they like it until they get it.  But without it, there is no motivation to do better.  You must have systems in place that not only inspire the team to perform better, but you also have to have systems in place that show them when they don’t and what happens if they continue to not perform well.

7. They are too close for their own good. 

  • If your institution has hired a lot of graduates of your school then you know what I mean here.  They are either selling the schools features too hard and their experiences, or they talk to candidly about all of the problems with the school.  Either way, you have to teach them some skills to eliminate some of these tendencies.

6. They know they aren’t very good and they are being allowed to stay. 

  • Most people know when they aren’t performing very well.  And if they are being allowed to do it, they will just ride it out as long as they can.  Why not.  Especially if this is your first position in your career.  Management must figure this out immediately and make the changes.

5. They aren’t bought in. 

  • Again this is a management problem.  If you have some people on the team they aren’t bought in, you must figure out why.  And it all starts with creating a plan for their career and their growth while there.  Everybody needs to see how they can grow in their career and make more money ultimately. When you do this.  They will buy in to this path and their current position.

4. They lack the communication skills required. 

  • If you suck at communication, which unfortunately is not a skill that is learned the way it used to be. Then you aren’t going to be able to communicate to people internally or to your prospective students in a way that encourages them and motivates them to want to attend school.

3. They haven’t learned any people skills. 

  • Similar to communication.  People skills aren’t being taught the way they used to be.  The bottom line is that we have to teach people what basic people skills are, and then build upon that and teach them what it means to influence other people.

2. They are scared to be assertive. 

  • If you have grown up being passive and have never been taught what it means to take initiave and make things happen, then you wont know how to do it. You have to show them how.

1. They don’t have the self-confidence. 

  • Some people think that the younger generation has too much self-confidence when they get on the job. However, they don’t have the self-confidence to do what it takes to get people to walk through the doors to your institution.  This requires the confidence to say hard things and be assertive and direct with parents and their peers. This again, is not something that is being taught, but it can be taught.

Wherever you are reading this blog, I would love to get your feedback and thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree?  What else would you add?

Here is the one thing that I want to share.  All of the ideas in this article can be trained.  You can increase a persons self-confidence by increasing their skills.  If you aren’t investing in your admissions representatives development.  And I don’t mean formal education.  I mean real skill development on how to communicate to people to take action, phone skills to get people to call you back, and all the skills required to perform at their job better. Reach out to me and let’s have a conversation and see if the Admissions Advantage could help your institution.

bwillett555@gmail.com

To your success and your future.

 

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142 days of motivation!

Writing my goals down has been a deliberate action that I have taken the last eight years.  When I look at my spreadsheet from 2010, I laugh because I wasn’t very good at it.  My goals were small, they weren’t very specific, and there also wasn’t very many of them.

Fast forward to today, and I look at my goal sheet and it looks more like a ten-year strategic plan for a very successful and large organization.  And as good as I am in the area of strategic goal setting and accomplishing the goals I have set for myself, there is always room for improvement.

A couple of years ago my mentor challenged me to write down my goals every single day.  Yes.  Every day.  He writes them down in the morning and again at night.  I don’t do this, although maybe I should.

So around a year and a half ago or so, I started doing this.  I started writing down my top ten to fifteen goals I have in my life every single day. These goals could be one year, two-year, or even ten-year goals.

These goals are not the strategic document that I write down at the end of the year for the following year.  That document is much more comprehensive and very specific.  I do write down the ten to fifteen overarching bigger goals that I want to accomplish in my life though. The big things.

By doing this I have learned that I am much more motivated to stay motivated and accomplish the goals.  I am reminded every single morning that I must do this, or take this action or that action, because if I am going to accomplish the goal, that is what is required.

I have learned that although I had a very good goal setting and goal accomplishing process that I could be even better than I was.

One of the big goals that my wife and I had in 2018 was to buy her a new car with cash.  Not a brand new car, but something a few years old.  And since we both like really nice cars, I knew this would be an expensive endeavor.  When we sat down at the end of 2017 and the start of 2018, we wrote this goal down as something we were going to do in 2018.

We didn’t know when we would do it in 2018, there wasn’t an exact date.  It really came down to when we chose to do it, and when it made sense based off our income flow of the business.

Here is one thing though, I didn’t want to use our money to buy the car.  I wanted to use someone else’s money.  Which required me to get up every single day and make sales calls, follow-up with clients, and find new clients so we could get the money to buy the car.

From the time I first wrote down the goal on 12/7/2017 to 4/28/2018, it was exactly 142 days.   I wrote the goal down for 142 days just like this:

“We paid cash for a brand new car this year.”

If I am honest, I will tell you that I started off writing down the goal as:

“We paid cash for a brand new Lexus this year.”

But my wife decided that she did not want a Lexus.  Probably because I have one.  So the goal changed over the 142 days to just a car. Because we didn’t know exactly what she wanted until the day we bought it.  As you can see by the picture I didn’t get what I originally wrote down.

I tell you my story not to brag but to encourage you to set goals.  You must write down your goals for your life. This is required.  Whether or not you choose to write them down every day is up to you, even though I would highly suggest you do. Especially the bigger goals and even the more immediate goals you are going after.

As an executive coach and trainer I work with companies and individuals to help them accomplish their companies goals and their personal goals.  If you are interested in learning my system let’s have a conversation.  Hit me up at bwillett555@gmail.com

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why your Marketing Campaign isn’t working at your College or University

One of the biggest questions I get asked all of the time when I speak to colleges and universities, is

“How can we get more leads?”

They follow that question up with this statement: “We are spending more money than ever on marketing through traditional means as well as all of the digital channels. But our enrollments are flat.”

After hearing this cry for a few minutes.  I immediately follow-up with this simple question:  “How much money have you invested in your Admissions Reps development?”

After hem-hawing for a few seconds or so, I usually hear “We just launched a new CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) or Student Relationship Manager.”

Or I hear “We have this automated email system.”  Or if they are really old school, I will hear that they have a very strategic program that includes both email as well as snail mail.

After hearing all of that.  I ask the question again. “How much money have you spent on developing your Admissions Reps?”

Taken aback by my question thinking they just answered it. They will finally say what do you mean?

In which I say.  How many Admissions Reps do you have that are responsible for recruiting students.  After I get that answer I ask again, when is the last time you provided some training for those folks that are responsible for recruiting the students for your school.

Again, I hear how educated the staff is.  They all have bachelors degrees or most now even have masters degrees.  Many of them have graduated from the college or university they are now working.  They have a connection to the school, and they are probably the biggest fans of the school you can find.

Unfortunately no matter how big of fans they are.  They don’t know what it takes to recruit students.  There are times when I will find a few Admissions Reps that are rock stars and just knock it out of the park, but most of the time they have a lot of average on the staff.

Here is what I have found.  Schools are not investing the money where they should.  Sure marketing is important. But what is the point of spending all of that money on an inquiry and then turning it over to a person who doesn’t have the self-confidence to make an outbound phone call to the prospect.

Or even worse, instead of calling the prospect, they email them four hours after they receive the information on the interested prospect.

This is the reality of what I see out there in a lot of places.

Self confidence is a skill that is not talked about enough in the workplace. And yes it is skill, because it can be developed and enhanced the more it is done.

Most of the schools that I work with, or have worked with, have very capable people who are highly educated.  Unfortunately, they haven’t been educated on the right things.  They haven’t been educated on influencing or selling (yes I said selling).  This is what you have to do.  And it takes self-confidence to sell.

If you have never sold before, which isn’t true.  Everyone has sold something their entire life. But Admissions Reps have to be reminded that this is what they are doing, and secondly, they must have the self-confidence to unapologetically make it happen.

If you want to see an ROI on your marketing spend, then I would highly recommend you invest an equal amount of money in the development of the people responsible for converting the inquiries and prospects generated from the marketing efforts.

As a long time Admissions Rep and Admissions Manager, I have developed a five step Enrollment process that includes lots of admissions tips and techniques that can equip an Admissions Rep with more self-confidence.  When a person gets more self-confidence they are more motivated. People who don’t know what to do, or don’t feel comfortable in doing something aren’t going to do it.

If you want to get more from your people than I would highly recommend you reach out to me and lets see if my program would fit your school or schools.

Ask me about a free workshop.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

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3 Reasons why people say they hate sales people, but shouldn’t.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say that they hate sales people.  And my response is always the same.

“You hate people who help you solve problems you didn’t know you had, or maybe you did know that you had them, and you’ve had them forever, and the salesperson is trying to create some urgency for you to fix whatever the problem is?”

You hate people who are helping you solve your problems?

But Brian, they are pushy.

I can’t speak for everyone.  But a sales person is pushy because they know that their solution (product) will solve your problems. Period.

Look, the only reason you feel like they are being pushy is because you haven’t sold yourself. Or for some reason you have used similar products in the past and either didn’t use them as you were supposed to, or you didn’t use them at all.  Whose fault is that? Yep.  Yours.

I also believe that we currently have such a laid back society that anything that seems a little assertive, (hence the word assertive not aggressive) is looked at as being pushy.

The bottom line is most of the decisions in your life that could significantly alter or change your life, required a little push.  If you didn’t get the push you didn’t do it.  Matter of fact, I would say if you haven’t been pushed you most likely haven’t pursued the things that could change your life.

They are just trying to earn a commission.  

Life is a commission.  You are getting up right now and you are headed in to your job to earn a commission.  The only difference is that your commission may already be established fo you.  If you earn a salary.  The company you work for said they will pay you X amount of dollars every week, every two weeks, a month, or a year for the work you said you would do.  You earn your commission in advance in many cases.  There is no guarantee that you will actually do the work you said you would do.  Kind of dumb really, but that is what society is.

Or maybe you earn an hourly rate.  And that is okay.  But once again you earn your commission for every hour you work.  If you don’t work, you don’t earn the commission.

Sales people earn their commission when they have done their job properly.  I know a lot of people in management, salaried positions, as well as hourly people, that never even do their job at all.

They don’t listen. 

Look I train sales people for a living.  And I understand what you mean.  However, nobody listens in society.  Right now, you are trying to get your kid to do something and they aren’t listening to you.  It doesn’t mean you hate them or you aren’t going to work with them anymore.

If you are in management, you are going to lead some people today that aren’t listening to you right now, and they won’t be listening to you when you get to work either.  It doesn’t mean you are going to stop working with them.

Nope! What you are going to do is get what you can out of your children and your employees, and continue to guide them down the path to help them get what they want, because when you help them get what they want, they will help you get what you want.

And that is what good sales people are trying to do.  They are trying to help you get what you want.  And just like you have to be as a parent and as manager, you have to push people some times.  You have to remind them of the bigger picture.

Look, you don’t want a bunch of sales people working for free.  What would be the incentive to get you in the right solution if that was the case.  There wouldn’t be any reason for them to push you.

This week if you run across a sales person that you feel like is doing any of these things.  Roll with it and see if they help you solve your problems.  The chances are if you let them you will get what you want and they will get what they want.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

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Transition Points: The undersold sale

Life is and should be a constant transition point for most people.  If you don’t have very many transition points, then I would highly encourage you to read further.  Also, as a sales person or a person who wants to influence others, understanding transition points of others can help you sell more and influence more.

So what is a transition point?

A transition point could really be described as any transition from one place in life to another, but there are a few very specific transition points that everyone will go through at some point in their life, especially if they live long enough.

  • Teen to Adult
  • High School to College
  • College grad to first employment (wage earner)
  • Single to Married
  • Non-parent to parent
  • Employed to Unemployed
  • Unemployed To Employed
  • Old job, old field to New Job, New Field
  • Old job, old field to Same Company, New Job
  • Spouse to Divorce
  • Family to Single
  • Promotion in a company
  • Change of Job to another company

Again, if you have lived long enough you can already see that you have been in one of the transition points already.

With a transition point each of us now have a new role or responsibility that has some certain identities that accompany it.  Some of these new identities are known to you and everyone else. And some of these new identities, may be a perception that you have that you must live up to.

When I was twenty-two I got married to my girlfriend at the time.  The marriage lasted about nine months.  But during that relationship and the marriage I had assumed many roles and identities that come along in a relationship and marriage.  Many of these identities are the ones that society is aware of and expects as well.

We had the new house, we had the dog, we had the two cars, we had the large yard, we had all of the yard equipment, and I had the pickup truck that made practical sense to me at the time.

After this lengthy five-year relationship that ended in divorce.  I had accumulated all of these assumed roles, responsibilities, and identity that I no longer wanted to be identified with.  I am at a transition point.

The very first thing I did, well after I took care of the major things.  Such as shelter, food, and clothing.

I moved on to the next big thing, which at 22, was “What the heck am I driving around in this old man pickup for!”

I can’t be seen on the dating scene with a pickup truck that married guys drive.  I was taking on a new identity.  And I didn’t want my identity to be associated with this truck.

At thirty-nine years old, it would be much more acceptable. But at twenty-two, it was in no way in my mind acceptable for me to be driving around in this pick up truck. I obviously bought a new vehicle pretty quickly after.

I was in a transition point.  And when people are at transition points in their life, they have new identities that they are attempting to live up to.  As a sales person, you can play to those new identities and help shape the one that a buyer wants.

Another example of this is a really good friend of mine.  Now since we are both in sales, we understand people pretty well.  We both understand that all consumers have needs and desires, but ultimately there is one reason why people buy.  And that is always the emotional reason they want something.

Like in my example, it was really image that was driving my purchasing decision, and not logic.  Especially since I bought a vehicle I couldn’t afford with money I didn’t really have at the time.

But back to my friend.  At age forty or so, they went through a transition point.  They took a new job as an executive in a company. This was really their first time being at that level in their career. With this new role there was a certain identity that comes with it. In their mind and in most people minds.  They felt like they needed to live in a different house.  An executive house.  An executive house has a lot of parameters, but to just name a few.

It must be in a very desirable location in the city they live.  Meaning it has to be some what exclusive and even hard to get and purchase.  The neighbors must be similar people as they are.  High income earners with very high-profile positions in the community and especially in their organization or they must own their own businesses.  The size of the house and the look and lure of the house all matter.

Although my friend had many reasons to buy a new house.  A growing family, a more desirable location based on their lifestyle, etc.  The real reason they purchased the home was because they felt like this new identity and role they were now in,  had certain expectations associated with it.  They spent more than they really wanted to at the time, but it didn’t matter to them.  And they ultimately sold that house and made a very nice return I am sure.

Again, as in my personal example, and in my friends example.  These transition points in our life forced us, and inspired us, to consider making different purchases than we were currently making at the time.  As practical buyers we both could have easily stayed in our current situations.  It made much more sense financially.  But I bought a new vehicle and my friend bought the house.

If you are hiring people for a new job, if you are trying to inspire people to stay motivated on the job, and if you are in sales or leadership.  Understanding these transition points can help you have the influence you want to have.  But you have to understand and know the situation better to actually appeal to the persons needs, desires and wants.

All of this is done through asking questions.  But most people don’t do a very good job at asking questions.  Leaders don’t spend the time with their employees enough to understand what it is they want and are seeking.

And as a sales trainer and a buyer of products for the last thirty years of my life, sales people definitely don’t do a good job at asking questions to understand the buyers desires and actually try to understand their situation.

When you understand where a person is at this point in their life you will be able to appeal to their motives and desires and sell them exactly what they want.

If you are interested in learning how to do this.  Shoot me an email at bwillett555@gmail.com

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why closing these Gap’s are vital to your life and success.

If you had to sum up life it could really be summed up in one sentence.

You spend most of your life trying to close the GAPs in the most important areas of your life.

The GAP between what you might be asking.  The GAP between you and everything you want out of your life and want in your life.

So what is a GAP?  Lets get a definition for this first.

A GAP is described as a break in continuity.  I also like the definition of an, unfilled space or interval.

So where are some GAPS in your life?

Here is a quick list of GAPS that may or may not pertain to you?  This list is by no means final and is up to each person to create their own.

A Success GAP:  The GAP between the expectations you have of yourself and where you currently are today.

The Health GAP: The GAP between your current health situation and the health situation you would like to have.

The Relationship Gap:  This could be a lot of different relationships in your life such as: with your wife, your boss, your children, your parents, your neighbor, etc.  The GAP between where your relationship is today and where you would like that relationship to be.

The Confidence GAP:  Where you stand today with your confidence in your own abilities and skills in an area of importance to you versus you pursuing that of which eludes you.

The Communication GAP: Most likely this GAP exists in a variety of different ways in your life. It could be the lack of communication from your boss, the lack of communication you and your spouse may have, and may more areas of your life that are important.

The Income GAP:  This is the GAP in between your current financial status and the status you want to have.

So how do we close the GAP?  That is really all we can seek to do.

Like everything in life.  The first thing you have to do is become aware that it exists.  In this case, you have a GAP in one of the above described areas, or another area in your life. Once you identify the GAP.  Then you can seek the information to help you close the GAP.

Lets use the Health GAP as an example.  What is the GAP? What is the current situation for you and secondly, what is the desired situation you want.

I’ll use myself as an example.  I have a GAP in between where I am today and where I would like to be ten months from now at age 40.  At age 40, I seek to be in the best shape of my life.  Which would require me to be at 195, my blood pressure being at 120/75, my BMI at 15-20, and have all of the major health tests conducted and show that I am a healthy forty year old man.  I would even love it if they said I was better than average.  I don’t want to be just average.

So where is the GAP?  I currently weight about 200 or so.  My BMI is closer to 24, my blood pressure is usually around the 120/80-83 mark.  And I haven’t had all of the major tests a forty-year old should get yet.  Although I know the surface level GAP’s of where I am and where I want to be, I have to go to the doctor to get all of the necessary facts to totally see the entire picture.

Once the GAP is identified, I can now learn and create an action plan to close the GAP.

For you to close any GAP in your life, you first have to go through the process of determining that a GAP exists.  The GAP is the space between where you are and where you want to be.

After the you identify the GAP, the big question becomes how bad do you want to close the GAP?  What is the intensity of your desire to make this GAP smaller and smaller.

This GAP will exist as long as you want it to exist.

Now here is the GAP Closer.  Now that you have identified the GAP, and your desire to close the GAP is strong. What do you do?

You go and get the knowledge and education you are missing to close the GAP.  Now the chances are you may already have some of the knowledge and education, but you just aren’t applying it.  That is another blog for another day. But for you to close the GAP in anything you have to apply the necessary knowledge and education you already know, or go out and find the right information and knowledge and then apply it.

This is the only way to close the GAP.  Once you start this process, you can speed the process up, or you can take forever to close the GAP.  It is up to you.

The key to closing a GAP in any area of you life, is identifying you have a GAP.  Once you do this, you then have to identify your motive and desire to close this GAP. After that, you either must apply what you already know, or go out and get the information so you can apply it to closing the GAP.

Life is really a big GAP that you are costly managing and seeking to close.  If you don’t have any GAP’s in your life, then my guess is you don’t have any goals or dreams, which is probably the reason you don’t have any GAPs.

If you want to start closing some GAPS in your life, then reach out to me.  I coach leaders, sales people, and individuals who want to close the GAPs in their life.  I have found that without some help and accountability, closing GAP’s can be very difficult.  Everybody needs someone to push them to accomplish the things in their life that require them to change something in their life.

How big are the GAPs in your life?  How bad do you want close them?  The only way to closing the GAP is getting the knowledge and education you are missing, and then having someone hold you accountable to applying it.

To your success and you future.

 

 

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How I set a goal to find my wife.

I talk to lots of people all of the time that tell me they are just not getting what they want in their life.  It could be a certain career, better children, more money, investments, relationships, health and fitness, etc.  You name it and I have heard it. I have been there myself many times.

About five years ago, I was one of those people who said I need to find a partner/woman who I want to spend the rest of my life with.  Someone who is aligned with the way I think, we want the same things in life, business, and everything else.

I challenged myself with this question:  “Am I the person, the person I am looking for is looking for?”

That is a big question isn’t it?  It required me to take a deep look at everything I was doing in my life at the time.  It challenged me to ask myself what do I need to change to find the person that I want in my life.

At the time I was thinking about this ideal person and ideal wife.  I had been in a long-term relationship off and on that was just never going to go anywhere.  We have all had one of those relationships.  There is nothing wrong with you, and as much as you may agree or disagree, there wasn’t anything wrong with the other person.

If the relationship you are in or was in, is just really jacked up, than shame on you.  Don’t be stupid.  But most of the time, relationships aren’t that jacked up.  If it is, get the heck out of it.  Mine wasn’t. It was just two people who had fun together, but were on two different pages in life and other things.

So I asked myself the question “Am I the person the person I am looking for, is looking for?”  I then got out of the current situation that I was in.  Then the next step was to put together a list of what it was that I wanted in a person.

This is the process for all change to occur in our life.  This is the process to setting goals, changing behaviors, and getting what you want out of life. You ask yourself the questions.

Where am I?  Is this where I want to be?  If the answer is no.  You get out of that situation, if it is a situation that you have to get out of it to move things forward.

And then you ask yourself the final question before you get to work finding it.  Which is “What do I want?”

I asked myself “What do I want?”  I am not going to give you my full list here, but if you have attended one of my workshops or seminars, then you have heard the list, or you can attend and get the list.

But here are a couple of things:

  • Goal Oriented
  • Doesn’t blame others for their problems
  • No Kids
  • Career Minded
  • No debt or very little debt
  • Certain income level
  • A good heart
  • Spiritual

I got even more specific in my list creation than what I have shared here, but you get the point.  You could say black hair, no hair, height, weight, etc.  Its your damn list and your life.  Put whatever list you want.  Whatever you do, don’t ever settle for less. Settle for more.

Now you can’t find out all of this stuff on one date or two dates, it takes some time. But here is the deal though.  If you actually go through the process of creating a list and doing the work in advance of what it is you want and don’t want, then you will know it when you see it.  That is the value of the list.

If you haven’t found the person you want yet, it is because you don’t know what you are looking for.  That is how goals work.  You have to set them in advance, because that is how you will know when you see the opportunity or in this case, the person, when you see it.

My wife sometimes reads my stuff and sometimes doesn’t have the time, so just in case she reads this.  My guess is she will since her title is in the subject line.  I am going to make sure I add this.

I got everything on my list and then some.  I settled for more.  She is amazing and beautiful and I definitely won.

I want you to win as well. I challenge you to go through this process.  Visualize the person you want, make the list, and then you will find it.  Until you do this you will never get what you want or deserve.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

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How many Thursdays do you have left in your life?

I don’t know about you, but no matter what I do, it seems like I always use more time to do something than I should use.  This is not a new phenomenon.  Actually if you look it up there is actual supposed law for this belief.  Called Parkinson’s Law.

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, actually wrote about this law in a humorist essay he published in the British publication, “The Economist” in 1955.  Parkinson was actually referencing the fact, and the math to support his belief on how bureaucracies expand over time.  Long story short, he was talking primarily about how officials in government seeks to grow subordinates over time, and as they grow the staff, the work increases, but the results do not increase.  Because the bureaucracy creates more work for itself.  But I digress. Go here and read about it yourself.

In my world, Parkinson’s Law manifests in certain projects that I want to complete.  The best example of this I can give is the one I am working on this week. I have to give a keynote presentation next Friday.  I have delivered several presentations that are similar to the one I am giving, but I have to change this one up for the audience more than normal. This week has been a light week for me, which has provided me a lot of time to work on this presentation.

I started on Monday, and I am 75% complete.  But I should be 100% complete and not have to look at it again until next week.  But I know I have until next week to do it.  Well, really Monday or so.  And because I know this, I haven’t completed it yet.

I have always tried to do whatever I can to get the most out of my time, but I still find myself, like in the above example, using more time than I should.

I recently was listening to a book where the author asked me “How many Wednesdays do you have left in your life?”  Well, I had never thought about the question like that before. I never thought about how many Wednesdays an average person lives, or any other day for that matter.

After hearing this question I thought about it, and like most of us would do, and maybe you are doing it now.  I started doing some math.  The math I will do today is on how many Thursdays I have left, obviously I hope I have more, but lets just play the averages.

I am 39 years old. My dad died when he was 60 (ugh), not sure how that plays in.  One of my grandfathers lived until 86 and the other lived until 83.  However, this plays in, I don’t know, but it gives me some benchmarks.

So how many Thursdays do I have left?

  • If I make it to 60 = Currently week 15 of my 39th year, 1,077 Thursdays left.
  • If I make it to the average for males in the United States: 78: 2,013 Thursdays left.
  • Average of my two grandfathers 83+86=169/2=84.5, 2,325 Thursdays left.

If you think about life experiences how many times do you really do certain things.  For example:  How many Super Bowl parties do you really attend.  Lets just say you started going to Super Bowl Parties when you were 18.  Then you if you just use an average life span, (78), you could have only attended 60 Super Bowl parties throughout your life.  It seems like a lot, but when you look at it like this it makes it seem really small in my mind. Not sure how you think about it.

Now that I got you thinking.  Well me too.  I am trying to create a stronger sense of urgency in everything I do.  Look, I consider myself, to be very disciplined, very focused, and very consistent in just about everything I do.  But even I have a room for improvement.

This little exercise challenged me to think about how many days I really have to do what I want to do, and need to do.  When you are a kid, you think you will live forever.  And then as an adult you are too busy to think about living forever. Then you wake up one day and realize you have been out of high school for 20 years.

I have accomplished a lot.  I don’t know if it is more or less than I thought I would accomplish, because I never really thought that much about it.  However, as I am sitting here today in Naples, Florida where I have lived for the last two years, typing this blog, and now that I think about what it is I am achieving and accomplishing, I can honestly say I have accomplished a lot.

However, I know I am capable of so much more, and you are as well. We just have to quit falling victim to Parkinson’s Law and create the urgency to do whatever it takes to start and  finish things quicker.

To your success and your future.

 

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Why I will always rent the home I live in, unless I do this…

If you haven’t heard of Robert Shiller before, then my guess is you haven’t been watching the news or anything related to money or economics.

Shiller is the economist that predicted the housing bubble in 2006 that sent the world as we knew it into a tail spin for the next five years and I am not sure if everyone has yet to recover from it.

Shiller and his team did something ridiculously simple, yet effective. Shiller simply looked at U.S. housing prices dating back to 1890, stripping away inflation. He “benchmarked” the 1890 prices at a value of 100 and tracked relative housing costs through the lens of inflation-adjusted dollars.

Here is what they found:

  • A house in 1897 cost the same as a house in 1997, adjusted for inflation.
  • If you benchmark 1890 prices at a value of 100, you’ll notice that U.S. housing prices have stayed within the 100-120 range over the past century.
  • In 1950, for example, the index stood at 105; in 1996 the index stood at 106. Real estate didn’t make any gains (other than inflation) during that 46-year timespan.
  • Starting in 1997, an unprecedented bubble began forming.
  • Every housing ‘peak,’ or bubble, is followed by a tragic, painful, ugly fall.

Shiller and his team have created the Case Shiller Home Price Index.  Below is the image of the current one.  This index is created quarterly.  If you look at the most recent spike.  Right before the recession hit.  You can now see why he was able to predict the housing bubble.  What is even scarier.  Is that you can see a current one is being formed as I type this.

 

So you are saying right now Brian, you are silly.  A home is an investment.  Over time, this appreciable asset can be sold for more money.  Everybody makes money on real estate.

Well, let me tell you a few other reasons why I will never buy a home again as my primary residence.  First of all, I own five homes.  They are all rented out and make money each money.  Matter of fact they are very profitable.  But I rent where I live. And here are some other reasons why I will always rent, other than the fact as you can see by the chart above it isn’t a very good investment.

The only time I will not rent is the day I can write a check for the place I want to live in.  Meaning I don’t take out a loan.

My other reasons.

Mobility:  I don’t plan on staying put.  I stayed put in my hometown from birth until age 38.  I am not doing that anymore.  I want to move.  I want to see the world. I want to see the United States.  My plan is to move at least every three or four years or so, or maybe sooner.  Look, I get bored easily.  I like new things.  I want to move around and see new things and be in new areas.

Assets vs. Liability: The lie you have been sold is that a home is an asset.  Its not. It is a liability.  It doesn’t make you money every month.  It costs you money every month.  I know, so does rent.  And unless you plan on staying in a house for more than five years, and depending on price, it doesn’t make sense to buy a home unless you plan on staying in it over five years.  Which is not the case for a lot of people.

An asset is something that can provide you cash flow.  If it doesn’t provide you cash flow, then it is not an asset. Simple definitions, an asset makes you money every month.  A liability costs you money every month.

But I am getting the gains from appreciation?  What is the point of appreciation if you can’t do anything with the money?

Costs:  The average down payment of a $150,000 home should be, $30,000, 20%.  If you invest that $30,000 into a home, you have to think about opportunity costs associated with that 30K.  Which means, since you invested your 30K into this home, it means you can’t invest it into something else.  Like a mutual fund, a business, or some other kind of asset that can provide you a return.  So this money is tied up.

I, like you have been sold the “American Dream”, whatever that is.  I think most would say, home ownership is the “American Dream”.  I subscribed to that thinking growing up as well.

But to me the “American Dream” is “Ultimate Freedom.”  Freedom from doing anything I don’t want to do.  Freedom from any debts or obligations to others.  Freedom to come and go as I please.  Freedom to live off of my own assets that I have accumulated.  Freedom to travel and live where I want to live.  Freedom to get up on a Sunday and not have to worry about cutting the grass.

If you like to cut the grass, good for you. I don’t. Life is too short to spend one hour a week  cutting grass.  I have better things I want to do.

In 2006, I bought my first rental property.  It was a $175,000 dollar duplex.  At the time, I was renting a great apartment/duplex in the best area (in my opinion) in my city at the time. That duplex gave me cash flow every single month that helped me establish a love for real estate and a love for seeking pure freedom in my life.  I am closer today to this goal than I was then.  And I get closer every single day.

If you are not sold, I would encourage you to do your own research instead of just taking my word for it.

At age 21, I bought my first house.  To live in.  At that time, that was considered to be the biggest achievement one could make, at least in my circles at that time.  Hey, I am not discounting it if that is what you want to do.  If this is one of your goals, and you do it, then good for you.  I am glad you set a goal and accomplished it.

But for me, ultimate freedom is the goal.  And conventional and traditional ways of thinking have never got anyone I know to this goal.

Also, if you looked at the above chart, this should be a concern if you plan on selling your home over the next few years.  We could be at the top of the bubble.

To your success and your future.

Chart:  http://www.multpl.com/case-shiller-home-price-index-inflation-adjusted/

 

 

 

 

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Can people really change?

This is a question that I have been asked many times by people.  You most likely have a strong opinion on this question as well.  Can people really change?  Especially if they are more experienced (older) and more stuck in their ways.

As a leader for well over twenty years now, a full-time corporate trainer and speaker the last five years. I have come across lots of people in a variety of different environments. I have also studied human behaviors for the last ten years or so.  When I say study, I mean not only through observation, I have been doing that for my entire life.  I mean studying the research that has been conducted and collected by some of the experts in the field of human behavior since the beginning of time.

One of the best books I have read on the study of human behavior, and specifically on the question of whether or not humans can Change, is a book titled Change or Die, The Three Keys to Change at work and in Life.  

In the book, the authors look at research conducted by doctors on people who were diagnosed with severe heart issues.  Some of the participants in the study even have had open heart surgery to other heart related surgeries.  The question was simple.  When faced with death, would the patients change their behaviors to prevent future heart related issues.

What do you think they found?  Did people change their behaviors?

The study concluded that after one year after the diagnosis, or the surgery, that well over 50% of the patients had stopped taking the medication they were supposed to be taking.  At after two years, well over 90% were back to the same behaviors and lifestyles they had before the surgery or diagnosis.

This example says a lot about change doesn’t it?  It says that even when faced with death, change is very hard. Luckily most of us are not in position at this moment that we have to make a life or death decision, and our willingness to change determines what the outcome will be.

However, many people are in situations where making some changes could greatly impact their career and success. The question is, are they willing to make the changes necessary. As the book would tell you, most people aren’t.  But the book, also shares many stories on where people did make changes and how they did it. And in my business, I see the same thing.

From my observations through meeting thousands of people in my training seminars and courses, I have watched people significantly change to get better outcomes in their life and their business.  But there are some conditions and questions that must be answered for those changes to occur in those people.

First, the person must have a need to make a change.  As my mentor said, we make changes for two reasons.  We are either inspired or desperate.  Obviously, both situations lead to change.  I just prefer to make the changes before I am desperate to have to make the change.

For example: Lets says I am an employee at a company.  I have been there for five years.  I know my business pretty well.  So well, that I don’t listen to feedback very well.  Matter of fact, I dismiss most suggestions people make.  In addition to being dismissive I am kind of known as a jerk that nobody likes to work around.

This person could become inspired to make changes, because they realize the impact they are having on the coworkers around them.  Or they could be sat down by their manager and told how they are perceived, and if they don’t change it they will no longer work there anymore.

In either case, a need has been identified, but the better path is to become aware of the change yourself and start to make shift.

My experience tells me that people who do make changes see the need.

The second piece to change is the want.  Do they want to make the change.  Again, it comes down to motivation.  How motivated are you to want to make the change.  If you are about to lose your job, you may be highly motivated, however, are you sold on the concept?   You could fake it for a while, but eventually it will come out on whether or not you really want to change.

In my observations, the people who really see the need and then really want to change are the ones who can make the changes.  And I know it isn’t that simple.  The environment has to be right, and then the right support has to be there as well, but when the need and the want are strong by the individual, change will occur.

The third piece to making a change is a question the person will ask themselves. Can I change?  The simple answer is, Yes, they can change.  But it is the follow-up question that is more important.  Will I change?  We can all change, it is just whether or not will we change.  These two questions, have to be asked and answered with a yes.

To answer the question I posed at the beginning.  Can people change?  Yes, I whole heartedly believe people can change.  They must answer the four questions above though.

Do they see a need to change, however the need is presented to them.  Either they see the need or someone shows the need to them.  Do they want to change?  And then lastly, do they think they can, and will they do whatever it takes to make the changes. When these four questions are answered, and how they are answered, you will know whether or not someone will make a change.

Once these four questions are answered, and answered correctly, the person is willing to do whatever it takes to make whatever the change is.  Then they must get in to the right system or program to make the changes.  This is where it can get complicated.  What is the best system.  I’ll keep it generic on my suggestions as far as what the right system is.  I will just tell you what I believe the system must include.

First the system, must have a singular focus.  It must be focused on whatever the change the person is trying to make is.

Secondly, it must have daily accountability of some kind, that requires the person who is making the change to have to be accountable to.

Thirdly, they must receive some kind of coaching along the way.

Lastly, it must be at least a year-long process with accountability and follow-up.  This is by far one of the most critical things.  The bottom line is change is hard, we know this.  People would rather die than change, as the book validates.  And this kind of change doesn’t happen over night, it takes at least a year to make sustainable changes to a behavior that we have had for a long time.

I have watched people in my training courses make significant changes in their behaviors over the years.  Whether it is a leader that changes the way they interact with their employees and peers.  Or the sales person that has to change their work behaviors to make more sales.

These people were able to make these changes, because they not only answered the four questions.  They had a need, they wanted to make the change, and the sad they Can and they said that they will.  But they also found the right system, with a singular focus, with daily accountability and coaching, and they were committed to at least a certain period of time to work in the system to make the changes.  They haven’t always been year-long processes, but they were lengthy periods of time.

Here is the question for you.  Can you change?  Are you willing to make a change?

I know the answer to the question.  People can change. Will you?

To your success and your future.

 

 

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