11 Personal/Self-Development Tools that can make you money

There are many tools that could be used on a daily basis that can assist you in your personal and self-development.  Below is a list of the ones that I have found to be the most useful for me.  I have found that investing time and energy in each of the areas below have made me more money and the people I associate with can provide you with the same testimonial.

Live Training:  Being a trainer and having the fortunate opportunity to get exposed to a lot of training during my life, I think it is still one of the best personal and self-development tools that any of us can invest in.  Some people want it for free (and there is a lot out there for free) but usually (not always) you get what you paid for.  My best personal and self-development (growth) has come from LIVE on the SPOT coaching from a coach on a particular subject.  It’s not how much something costs, it is what am I getting.  I have seen live coaching and training turn into millions of dollars for people.  YES, millions! Do a study and see.  When a person develops a skill and talent at a high level due to some coaching they received, it impacts their income for years and that can be millions of dollars.

Audio/Video seminars:   Many times people attend a seminar and they get highly motivated and that high they have while there is gone in a matter of a week few weeks or days.  So what you include in your audio/video library can greatly affect your life.  Also, many times you can just a purchase a seminar that you couldn’t afford to attend live or just couldn’t find the time to attend live.  I also, like to purchase these seminars through some of the personal development resources that sell them. YouTube actually has these on there as well.

Books:  Books are probably by far the most inexpensive and most impactful tool for development that I have found.  Books on any subject and any category can be found on Amazon or through the public domain.  Many audio books can even be listened to on YouTube and you don’t even have to purchase them.

Blogs:  There are a lot of blogs out there on a variety of subjects. What I have found for me, is that I could literally have thousands automatically sent to me everyday if I wanted to.  However, I don’t need that much information.  So I strategically sign up for about five or so and get those for a period of time and then unsubscribe from them and find others.  This allows me to keep the message fresh.  Find a few blogs that you like. Also, as I state below, twitter is one of my favorite mediums and I follow many people on there that blog and just read it on there when I have time, versus having it sent to my email.

Email subscriptions:  There are a few books that I have read that the authors or publishers include a weekly or monthly email on trends on the particular topic or subject that they are known for and you read a book on.  Again, these are infrequent but very valuable in my opinion.

Twitter:  I am one of the biggest fans of twitter.  I do tweet information out a lot, I think I have tweeted over 2000 times since opening my twitter account.  But I use twitter for my own personal development because there is so much great content on twitter.  Every author, organization, magazine, trade publication, government organization, etc. has a twitter account and they put out lots of great content.  If you don’t tweet that is fine, but open an account for your own personal and self-development so you can get lots of great content.

LinkedIn Groups:  This is one that is very valuable that I don’t use enough.  There are millions of groups on LinkedIn I am sure.  For just about any sector of work from realtors, sales people, followers of certain authors, companies, you name it, there is a LinkedIn group associated with it.  By joining these groups you can learn what others are doing in your sector and in your business.  It is really a great resource.  You can get the updates sent directly to your email, or you can make it a point to log in everyday and see what is going on in the group discussions.

YouTube/YouTube channel subscriptions:  There is so much information on YouTube it is ridiculous.  You can listen to audio books, listen to speeches given in a lecture at Harvard, to listening to a specific person in your industry give a presentation to a company.  There is just so much information and you should include it in your personal development arsenal.

Magazines and Trade Publications:  I have a subscription to SUCCESS Magazine and I also get a copy of the local Business newsletter here in Louisville. Most of the information in these publications are actually sent out via a twitter feed before the magazine or journal hits the stands, however, getting the hard copy of both is valuable as well.

Action:  After getting a lot of the great information you seek and learn, putting it into action is the most important element.  Many people attend a seminar or training and put the manual on the shelf and never look at it again.  I used to read the books and assumed I had all of the information in my head, I now write about a page or more (depending on how good the book was) in my journal.  This allows me to solidify the message and takeaways in my head.  Action is the most critical of all personal and self-development.

The people you spend your time with:  Lastly, but probably one of the most important is who you spend your time with also adds to your personal and self-development.  This particular category can make or break you.  So choose wisely, who you spend your time with has the most influence over your success or failure.

These are just a few that I use pretty frequently in my own personal and self-development. Many of the above categories send notifications or updates via email.  I have all emails around my personal and self-development sent to a specific email account that is used for this purpose only.  This is my way of keeping it all organized.  If you have too many emails coming in it can be overwhelming, and I have found that sending everything to one account allows me to keep it all together.

Please share your personal and self-development tools that I may have missed. Andrew Carnegie stated that “A mans great asset is their desire to learn.”


Brian Willett



My Favorite thing to do

This morning I am doing something that is by far my most favorite thing to do.  I am going to sit down and talk to someone about their desires for growth and development.  This person has taken it upon themselves to become more educated on how to grow and develop a career and a life that they want.  I get to ask lots of questions and I will listen to their story.  I love listening to other people’s story, (it is more interesting than mine, I know mine already.)

What is interesting about this meeting, is it stemmed from a class that I recently conducted with a group of about 20 people.  What is really interesting about that, is they are 1 of 20 people who actually followed up and asked for a meeting.  Does that make them different?  Yes it does actually, a lot different considering they are 1 of 20.  Meaning 19 other people didn’t do it.   I want to be around people who are different, that are seeking to get better and go above and beyond to be successful.  I like different.

I don’t have all of the answers, I am just a seeker like they are.  I have a few things I do well, but I will be learning from them just as they are learning from me.

My mentor told me that inspiration begins with education.  I know this is true, because the more educated I have become the more inspired I have become.  I am just trying to figure it all out though.  So as a friend and a colleague, my plan is always to educate someone. We don’t know until we know.  And once we know that can change the whole trajectory of our entire life.  So maybe I will say something in a way that they haven’t heard it before, or through our conversation they will say something that I have never heard before.

Here is what I do know.  I like to be around inspired people.  They just have more fun and say things and add things of value to my life.  They are a lot more fun to talk to, than the uninspired.

So as I prepare my thoughts and goals for today, I know that I am truly blessed because I get to do one of my favorite things to start my day.

Brian Willett

5 (new) Super Short Book Summaries, if you’re interested

In this day and age, brevity is better.  So in my attempt to share with others and add value to others, here are my super short book summaries for my last five reads.

Title:  How to Be Rich (Its not what you have. Its what you do with what you have);   author: Andy Stanley

  • Your success with regard to wealth is determined by your objective with regard to wealth. Selfless generosity allows you to take hold of life as it was meant to be lived.

Title: The Fred Factor;    author: Mark Sanborn

  • We all have the ability to create memorable impressions with people, make it a point to do something special for your customers, your friends, family, etc.

Title:  Now You’re thinking (Change your thinking transform your life);   author(s): Pearson Education 

  • If you think you can, you can.  When people put their minds to something and decide to pursue that with vigor and passion, the impossible can become possible.

The Go-Getter;   author: Peter Kyne (Dave Ramsey)

  • Don’t allow anything to get in front of you and your goals. There may be a $10,000 dollar a year job on the other side of one of those goals, and in 1920, that was a lot of money. 

Title:  How to Live on 24 Hours a Day;   author: Arnold Bennett

  • We never shall have any more time. We have, and we have always had, all the time there is.  How we use that time is what makes us successful or unsuccessful. 

Brian Willett

Before or After work

I have had some what of a revolutionary discovery for my self. Almost three years ago, I decided to start doing my workouts (gym time) in the morning, instead of the evening.  When I did this I also started a more intentional growth plan for myself, that included reading something every day for at least 30 minutes. Now some three years later I have discovered that I am much more productive with my “before work” time than I ever was or am, with my “after work” time.

Here is what my after work time would consist of three years ago. Get up at 6:30 or 7:00 am.  Go to work.  Get off work somewhere between 5-6.  Go to the gym.  Get finished with that around 7-7:30.  Go home and cook dinner and watch the O”Reilly factor and Sean Hannity between 8-10.  Or some sporting event that would be on.  Also, with my schedule and line of work, you never really know what will come up through out the day or when you will actually get off of work.  So on some days the workout would get canceled or not be a priority.  Or happy hour would be so appealing after a long day of work that I could easily be persuaded to attend that instead of the workout.

Through this discovery of intentional growth I stumbled upon the great Benjamin Franklin’s quote “Early to bed, Early to Rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”  

I can honestly say that when I made this change some three years ago.  I really did it out of commitment to getting my work out completed.  It has now become a way of life for me.  Over these three years, I have seen my growth and development go to places I would have never thought they could go, just by being intentional about it.  I have seen my health and wellness and commitment to my health soar, and my wealth, I’ll just say I am on a good path.  I have become a better employee to my company because I am a better person to myself.  Because I am focused on development in the morning when I am fresh, it makes me a person that can bring more ideas and vigor to the workplace.  

Andrew Carnegie states that most people have 3 parts to a day.  You have Work, Sleep, and your spare time.  What you do in spare time will determine your success.  You can use your spare time to watch reality television (I have been there and done that), or watch the next American Idol winner (I never really go into that), watch the 24 hour news cycle, or you can do something productive.  The time in the morning before work I am much more productive, focused, and committed, plus there are no distractions.  If you work off shifts, like 2nd or 3rd.  The same rules apply.  Get up earlier and do the things that will make you a  better person and employee before you go to work.

My goal now is to see how much time I can create before I go to work.  How early is too early, we will see.

Brian Willett

What I’m grateful for before 7:00 am

I just finished a book on “How to be Rich”.  This book is not a finance book, it is a book that encourages you to realize how “rich” you already are, and how to live a life full of generosity as well.   The book states that the average income in the United States is about $37,000 a year and that makes you fall into the category of the Top 4% of wage earners in the world.  Meaning you are richer/have more than 96% of everyone else in the world.

This book also challenged me to think about what I am grateful for today.  Because I am rich (not monetary only) but in other ways, and I need to realize that more often.

  • I woke up
  • I have my health
  • I slept great on my comfy mattress and blankets.
  • I have a TV that I was able to watch the news on.
  • I have an awesome supportive family
  • I have friends that care about me.
  • I have colleagues that I call friends.
  • My house was warm.
  • My shower was really warm.
  • I was able to buy a $5 cup of coffee.
  • I put on a suit to go to work
  • I have a cell phone
  • I have a mac computer that I am typing this blog on.
  • I was able to read a book this morning that I was able to buy.
  • I know how to read.
  • I had a great breakfast
  • I have a job/career
  • I have a garage
  • I have a car
  • I have a home
  • I had some text messages from people who care about me to read.
  • I was able to look at Facebook and read some inspiring messages.
  • I am planning to help people grow today.

Be grateful today and realize how much you have already!

Brian Willett


The Daily Miracle

“Philosophers have explained space. They have not explained time. It is the inexplicable raw material of everything. With it, all is possible; without it, nothing. The supply of time is truly a daily miracle, an affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it. You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. A highly singular commodity, showered upon you in a manner as singular as the commodity itself!

For remark! No one can take it from you. It is unstealable. And no one receives either more or less than you receive.

Talk about an ideal democracy! In the realm of time there is no aristocracy of wealth, and no aristocracy of intellect. Genius is never rewarded by even an extra hour a day. And there is no punishment. Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the supply will never be withheld from you. No mysterious power will say:—”This man is a fool, if not a knave. He does not deserve time; he shall be cut off at the meter.” It is more certain than consols, and payment of income is not affected by Sundays. Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get into debt! You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste to-morrow; it is kept for you. You cannot waste the next hour; it is kept for you.

I said the affair was a miracle. Is it not?

You have to live on this twenty-four hours of daily time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect, and the evolution of your immortal soul. Its right use, its most effective use, is a matter of the highest urgency and of the most thrilling actuality. All depends on that. Your happiness—the elusive prize that you are all clutching for, my friends!—depends on that. Strange that the newspapers, so enterprising and up-to-date as they are, are not full of “How to live on a given income of time,” instead of “How to live on a given income of money”! Money is far commoner than time. When one reflects, one perceives that money is just about the commonest thing there is. It encumbers the earth in gross heaps.

If one can’t contrive to live on a certain income of money, one earns a little more—or steals it, or advertises for it. One doesn’t necessarily muddle one’s life because one can’t quite manage on a thousand pounds a year; one braces the muscles and makes it guineas, and balances the budget. But if one cannot arrange that an income of twenty-four hours a day shall exactly cover all proper items of expenditure, one does muddle one’s life definitely. The supply of time, though gloriously regular, is cruelly restricted.

Which of us lives on twenty-four hours a day? And when I say “lives,” I do not mean exists, nor “muddles through.” Which of us is free from that uneasy feeling that the “great spending departments” of his daily life are not managed as they ought to be? Which of us is quite sure that his fine suit is not surmounted by a shameful hat, or that in attending to the crockery he has forgotten the quality of the food? Which of us is not saying to himself—which of us has not been saying to himself all his life: “I shall alter that when I have a little more time”?

We never shall have any more time. We have, and we have always had, all the time there is. It is the realisation of this profound and neglected truth (which, by the way, I have not discovered) that has led me to the minute practical examination of daily time-expenditure.”

This one chapter sums up the miracle of life that we all, who are able to read this, possess.

This is the first chapter of a book titled: How to Live on 24 hours a day; Author: Arnold Bennet.

Born: May 27, 1867, Hanley, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Died: March 27, 1931, London, United Kingdom

5 Super-small book summaries

Super small summaries of my last five books that I read!

Title: Tribes; author: Seth Godin

  •  Find your tribe and cater to them and to only them. All tribes need an influencer, you can be that influencer. #leadership

Title:  Crazy Busy (A Mercifully short book about a really Big Problem); author: Kevin Deyoung

  •  We all live a busy life.  We must make a plan and prioritize our hours in the day, plan your time with your family, and plan time for God. #prioritymanagement

Title: Flow (The Psychology of optimal experience); author: Milhaly Csikszentmihalyi

  • To experience flow one must set goals for ones actions to win a game, to make friends with a person, to accomplish something in a certain way. The goal in itself is usually not important what matters is that it focuses a persons attention and involves it in an achievable, enjoyable activity. #inthezone

Title:  Purple Cow (Transform your business by being remarkable); author: Seth Godin

  • The best marketing book on how to be unique and create a memorable experience for your customers. A simple guide to be different in business. #beawesome

Title: The Little Big Things (163 Ways to Pursue Excellence); author: Tom Peters

  • Excellence isn’t a sometime thing, it is an always thing.  You must pursue excellence in everything you attempt to do in business, leadership, customer service, sales, and all aspects of business and in life. #excellence

Brian Willett

It’s going to be a good day…

Today we wrap up an eight week sales course that I have been the lead instructor for.  It is a really cool day for me, because at the end of this class today I will now be a certified Dale Carnegie Instructor.  What a long road it has been to get here.  I am excited that I have finally completed the instructor training process, but at the same time I am sad that this class is now over.

I plan on closing today with this group and sending them off with their new acquired skills and knowledge with the philosophical view of the 10,000 hour rule.  The 10,000 hour rule states that to be an expert in a field you must devote at least 10,000 hours to that trade or skill.  The premise is that you can only devote about 3 hours or so a day to a skill at maximum efficiency and focus.  So if you devote that much time to something for 7 days a week. that is roughly 21 hours a week.  Then times that 21 X 52 (weeks in a a year) = 1,092 and then times that by 10 (10 years) it is 10,920 hours.

For example:  To be an NBA basketball player.  Most people start playing when they are about five or so.  But they don’t start getting coached at a high level until they reach high school in most cases.  So by the time they reach high school (4 years of organized coaching) and then college (4 years of organized coaching) they have accumulated about 10,000 hours of time to that skill.  The 10,000 hour rule doesn’t work unless you have a coach to help you work in the areas of which you need help.  How long does it take to become a doctor.  4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and then you become specialized in a  certain discipline of medicine.  So when you add it all up, it is more than 10 years.

So my fellow colleagues and class participants will have had about 32 hours of focused discipline, practice, and effort on learning a processed selling skill set.  So for them to become experts on selling they will need a lot of practice and a lot of coaching.  Some of them will leave the class and say “Whew” I am glad that is over, I will get back to what I have always done.  Some of them will have taken away a few nuggets and they will start applying them and have already started applying them since the course began.  Some of them will put the manual on the shelf and never pick it up again. Some will look at the manual every now and then.  Some will embrace it and become an expert in it.

I am going to challenge the class participants with this:  There are 4 ifs to life and life can be worthwhile if:

Life is worthwhile if you try:  Why wouldn’t you at least try something.  Give it a shot.

Life is worthwhile if you learn:  I have discovered life is a lot more fun and lot more opportunities come my way, the more I learn.

Life is worthwhile if you care:  Man, if you don’t care, nothing much can really happen.

Life is worthwhile if you stay:  The 10,000 hour rule represents this, if you just stay dedicated and focused to something, life is worthwhile.  Ask Tiger Woods, ask Michael Jordan, ask Bill gates, Ask Steve Jobs.  They all stayed.

A few simple rules…

I was recently speaking to a person who was new to their company.  This person asked me to advise them on what they can do to grow within the company.  I don’t think I said anything earth shattering to them.  It was really just a few basic rules that worked for me, I have seen them work for others, so I am sure they would work for them.

  • Work hard
  • Get in early and stay late
  • Don’t count how many days you worked or how many weekends you have worked.
  • Don’t bring your life into work.
  • Love what you are doing or quit.
  • Volunteer for everything
  • Be intentional
  • Speak up
  • Seek solutions to problems, don’t be an habitual problem finder with no solutions.
  • Get along with your colleagues, peers, and your boss.
  • Walk away from the water cooler talk.
  • Work on yourself harder than you do on your job.  The better your attitude and skills are, the better you are as an employee.
  • Do what others aren’t willing to do. This is how you get noticed.
  • Set your goals with a time line.
  • Get your job done and be able to ask for more to do.
  • Have the right attitude.
  • Show how you can help others do their job.
  • Be grateful

The above are rules that must be done everyday.  They are not a sometimes thing, or when I feel like it thing.  They are an everyday thing.  The rules are more of an attitude, a way of life than anything else.

Brian Willett




What Ground Hog Day taught me

Have you ever watched the movie Ground Hog Day? In June 2008, AFI revealed its “Ten top Ten”—the best ten films in ten “classic” American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Groundhog Day was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the fantasy genre.– Wikipedia.  Culture and society now reference bad situations that keep repeating themselves as “Groundhog day.”  So this movie has had a major impact on our society.

A quick overview of the movie: It’s about a meteorologist named Phil Connors (Bill Murray).  He is kind of a Scrooge, mizer, ego-maniac kind of guy.  He is really self-centered and focused on himself.  Phil (Bill Murray’s character) a meteorologist is sent to cover the story and festivities of Ground Hog day located in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  Phil wakes up the morning of Groundhog Day in a bed and breakfast and meets his colleagues at the park where the festivities take place.

The movies centers around Phil repeating this same day over and over for most of the movie.  But what happens during the movie is pretty neat.  He starts out as the person I described above.  Once he repeats the day a few times he then selfishly tries to capitalize on it by taking advantage of the situation. One example is that he asks a lady he meets a series of questions and uses the data to create a connection that he uses to his advantage.  He also does that with his co-worker who much of the movie later centers around.  He then has a hopelessness about him and tries killing himself, of which he does by running off a cliff in a truck and dropping a toaster in the bathtub.  Again, each time he wakes up the on the same day at the same time with the same music on the alarm clock.

What happens though is he eventually realizes that he is stuck in this day and decides to do something good with this opportunity.  So he starts to take piano lessons, he learns ice carving, he learns foreign languages.  A child falls out of the tree and he makes sure he is there each day at that time to catch him.  Phil actually makes a reference to the kid, that he has never once thanked him for saving him.  He helps some elderly women fix a flat tire. He then decides to help a homeless man with feeding him.  What happens is the man dies everyday at the same time, and Phil tries to save him everyday, going as far as having him at the hospital at the exact time he dies each day.

This movie has some very dry humor throughout.  If you haven’t watched the movie I would encourage you to do so.  It is hilarious and it was during Bill Murray’s prime.  You just never know which way the movie will go, so it will keep you engaged.

The movie was such a hit because it illustrates life in so many ways for some of us.  We wake up each day expecting something different to happen and it never does, unless we decide to make it happen.

Three major takeaways for me from this movie:

Ground Hog day is now used a reference in our culture as a bad situation that keeps repeating itself over and over.  Lets be intentional about our life.  Lets set goals and take control over what happens to us and not wait for life to happen.

My mentor said if you want to be an attractive person (not in the physical or visual sense of the word) but the characteristics, the personality, the qualities of an attractive person do things to become more attractive   Once Phil started working hard on making himself better, he became a more attractive person to the woman in the movie he wanted to be with. The assumption at the end of the movie is that they get together. 

Although Phil doesn’t use it appropriately in the movie, he does illustrate a point on multiple occasions in the film.  When he takes a genuine interest in learning and listening to others he creates an engagement and connection that develops a stronger relationship between him and the other person. 

Don’t keep repeating each day and expecting something to change if you aren’t willing to change and become interested in learning and talking about something someone else is interested in before telling them about you.

Watch the movie and enjoy.  If you have any suggestions on other movies please share.

Brian Willett