Don’t hit the snooze button

I am the type of person that usually gets up before my alarm clock goes off in the morning.  Actually, most mornings it is well before it goes off.  I have that internal clock now that just knows when it is time to go.  Each morning there a few ways that we all can be woken up.  If you are like me (95% of mornings) you just wake up because you have had enough sleep.  Some people, like children require a parent to wake them up and then lastly, maybe you are woken up by your alarm clock.  I think the alarm sound on my iPhone has to be the most annoying sound on the face of the earth.

Just like we are woken up on a given day, life experiences can sometimes do the same thing.  I recently had this experience personally.  As I mentioned above, I am the guy that gets up well before the alarm goes off.  Alarms to me are loud, frighten me, and are annoying.  Alarms remind me of being in school where we had those fire drills. I can remember walking down the halls and when you would walk by the actual alarm you had to cover your ears because it was so loud.  That is how I think of alarms.  So I would prefer to stay away from alarms.

In a recent experience in my professional life the alarm has gone off to awaken me to some realities of my life.  For the first time in my life, it required the alarm clock to go off instead of me getting up on my own.  I can now hit the snooze button on the alarm, or jump up and get moving.  We have all heard the story of a person that is over weight and lives an unhealthy lifestyle.  Then one day it happens, they get the chest pain, the sweats, the numbness in the arm.  They had many of these signs along the way, but they just kept sleeping, they didn’t change their ways.  So now the alarm has gone off, and they are at the ER about to have a Heart Cath and they find out that they are having a heart attack.  See the Heart Attack is the alarm.  They allowed the alarm to go off, and now it is time to change, because now they must change.

I recently had the alarm go off, (Luckily I can’t die in this situation, physically at least, mentally maybe)  I can hit the snooze button or make the necessary changes so I can get up before the alarm goes off next time. What happens when you hit the snooze button? Well you are usually running behind all day, or even worse, you are actually late to work or wherever else you need to be.  I am going to choose not to hit the snooze button.  See, I am usually up before the alarm goes off, that is how I live my life, this time the alarm has gone off, and I must choose not to hit the snooze button, and get up right now.

Brian Willett


“Never Go Back”

I just finished an awesome book.  I was so inspired by it that I finished it in one sitting.  That is really big for me.

The name of the book is “Never Go Back” 10 Things You’ll never do again, the author is Dr. Henry Cloud.  This book was recommended to me by Dave Ramsey.  What was really interesting about this book, is I have a draft of a blog that I haven’t published yet along the same lines as this book.  I’ll post my version soon.

At first I was thinking this book may be about relationships, and it is, our whole life is all about relationships.  Everything we do in life (unless you are a hermit) involves relationships.  Personal relationships, relationships with your boss, relationships with your colleagues, your neighbors, etc.  Everything in life is about relationships really.  However, this book is as much a personal development book, a career guide, a business book as well.  We have to be constantly looking forward in this life to be successful.

The 10 Things that You’ll never do again:

1. Never again… Return to what hasn’t worked:  Before you ever think about returning you should ask your self these three questions.  Tomorrow should be new and improved, always!

  • Am I different in some way that would make this work?
  • Is the other person or persons different in some way?
  • Is the situation fundamentally different in some way?

2.  Never again…Do anything that requires you to be someone you’re not. Before you invest in a person, a relationship, a team, a company, a career, a church, or anything that you will become part of in a meaningful way, ask yourself this question:  Can I do this and still be me?  Obviously, most things require compromise and sacrifice, but never sacrifice being who you are.

3.  Never again…Try to change another person.  I can’t get someone to do something they don’t choose to do, either because they can’t or because they don’t desire to do it.

4.  Never again…Belive that you can please everyone.  To please everyone it requires you to be multiple people.  This just isn’t physically or mentally possible.  And worse, if you are making everyone happy, you are making the wrong people happy.  The people who are hardest to please are often the most self-centered and are only happy when you do what is good for them and that is usually not good for the whole.

5.  Never again…Choose short term comfort over long-term benefit.  The bible refers to a sluggard.  I didn’t even know what a sluggard was, I could assume.  The true definition of a sluggard: is someone who avoids pain. Anything of value usually has some kind of pain attached to it.  If we avoid pain now, the payoff will never come.  And more pain will. Pain first, payoff later, discipline before strength, investment before return, no pain-no gain. A moment of pain can lead to a long time of relief, if we are willing to go through what successful people go through all of the time, face a season of pain, disruption, discomfort, effort, something that hurts a bit.  Here is a rule:  Suffer first, and benefit later.

6.  Never again…Trust someone or something flawless.  The world is imperfect. Period. No one thing is without flaw.  When we are deceived by the portrayal of perfection, we set ourselves up for a great fall. When someone or something looks to good to be true, he, she, or it is.

7.  Never again…Take your eyes of the big picture.  Thrivers always keep the big picture in mind, while strugglers get caught up in what is happening at the moment.  No one thing that happens to us can determine who we are.  When you keep the bigger picture in mind, you will always have hope for another day.  Don’t let the little defeats keep you from pursuing your bigger goals.  This is just part of life.

8.  Never again…Neglect to do due diligence.  Successful people take their time.  They investigate all of the facts and try to make the best decisions after uncovering as many facts as they can.  This can be about  a person, a company, or any situation, always do due diligence.

9.  Never again…Fail to ask why you are here and where you are.  Never ignore the part you play in being where you are.  You should constantly be asking yourself:  What am I doing, Is this working, Why am I here, What am I becoming.  These are all questions that require you to look at yourself and your situation and know the part you are playing in your life.  When we begin to change, then the situations we find ourselves can begin to change as well.

10.  Never again…Forget that your inner life determines your outer success.  Our life is never on the outside.  It is always on the inside.  The invisible life always produces the visible life.  Life works “inside out.”  Our happiness is determined by who we are on the inside and who we have become.  People who invest themselves in developing their real talents and strengths and then put them to use are more fulfilled.

This book gave a lot of insight on the above things that most of us have probably experienced at some point in our life.  The question is Do you go back, or do you learn from the experience and move forward.

I highly recommend this book to anybody who is trying to move forward in their career, their personal life, or other areas in their life and just can’t seem to make any progress.

Brian Willett





Genuine Appreciation

Most of you who read this blog know that I am certified trainer through Dale Carnegie Training.  Dale Carnegie is 102 year old training company founded by Dale Carnegie and the foundations of all of the training courses are centered around the 30 Human Relation Principles.

As a trainer I continue to see this lesson, this nugget, over and over again.  I am currently conducting an 8 week Sales Course.  During these 8 weeks we teach a five step sales process.  The typical participants in this course can vary from people who are just starting their sales career or seasoned veterans with 40 years of experience.  So you can say it can be a challenging course to tailor to meet everyones needs.

Each week there are a number of contests and awards that are voted on by the participants in the class.  Dale Carnegie Training is all application based.  Meaning each week in class we teach a new concept and then the participants are asked to apply those concepts over the next week and come back in the following week and tell the class how they applied those concepts and the results.  This is what makes the course so unique, is that is all application based.  So we facilitate a format where all participants tell everyone how they have applied the concepts and then the class participants vote on the participant who applied the concepts the best. The votes by the class are counted up and awards are handed out and the end of the class that night.  It is one of my favorite parts of this course and the class, handing out the awards.

In the Sales Course, the Lead Trainer and Course Coaches have something called a Recognition Award that we hand out every week.  The Recognition Award is an award for a person who we feel added a lot of value to the course that day, who is working hard, and going above and beyond to learn the material.  As I mentioned before we have varying levels of sales people in the course.

I recently recognized a person in this course with the Recognition Award.   I believe this person was surprised to say the least.  I typically just say what the award is for and hand it out to that individual.  This time I gave a little pre-amble on why we chose this person.  It really came down to this:  This person was the most skeptic in the beginning.  You get that in training sometimes, people are sent to training because their boss said so.  Even with their skepticism, they come back each and every week and they work hard in the class to learn and apply the material.  Maybe it isn’t perfect they way they apply it.  It doesn’t matter to me, the fact that they are trying hard each and every week matters to me the most.  We made this persons week with this award.  That is powerful stuff.

Genuine appreciation for others can be done in many ways.  I have the fortunate opportunity to teach this awesome material in a course, but we all have the opportunity to show genuine appreciation for our spouse, our kids, our friends, our colleagues, that person in the other cubicle that drives you nuts sometimes, that neighbor, etc.

I encourage everyone to try to show some genuine appreciation for someone today.  Honestly, I like to be honest with you 🙂 when I show genuine appreciation for others, the feeling I get from doing it and saying it, makes me personally feel better.

Brian Willett

Are you in a Growth Environment?

I heard this lesson years ago from my mentor John C. Maxwell.  Many of the elements he suggests for a growth environment have inspired my leadership style and my thinking to develop a growth environment for people in my circle.

This morning as I look at my 2014 goals and see which ones I have accomplished or can accomplish by the end of the year, I had to come back to this lesson again.  I searched through my archives and found it because I had to hear again, especially right now. In this lesson, John talks about being 27 years old and having to make a critical decision in his life on which way to go.  He said he had to be in a growth environment and this was the basis for his decision at that crossroads as well as his entire life.

What is a growth environment?  John provides a great checklist to determine if you are in a growth environment.

  • Others are ahead of you

If you are always out in front, then you are not growing.  You can’t, it is impossible.          You have to be around people who push you.  The only way to be pushed is when others are challenging you to think differently than you are thinking, they are out in front of you.  You get better when you are around better.

Example:  In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Kenyan David Rudisha set the world record in the 800 meter race.  Seven of the eight runners set their personal bests during that race.  The last place runner was the fastest last place in the history of the event.   David Symmonds fifth place time would have been good enough for a gold in every Olympics, except one in 1896.

  • You are continually challenged

What is a challenge?  I don’t consider challenges to be the same stuff that you have already done time and time again.  I think challenges are new challenges, seeing things and doing things you haven’t done before.  Those are the challenges that are fun.

  • Your focus is forward

When you are thinking forward in “How can we”, “In what way can we”, “If we do this”, “We do this, we can expect this”, all of these statements require us to think and “DO” things with a forward thinking mentality.

  • The atmosphere is affirming

When the atmosphere is affirming, it means that it is stated and recognized as being an environment where growth and development is encouraged publicly.

  • You’re often out of your comfort zone.

A growth environment must have you out of your comfort zone a lot.  Not out of your strength zone, but out of your comfort zone.  Doing things that you have done, but doing them differently than you have ever done them before.

  • You wake up excited

A growth environment makes you get up early and stay late, because you want to.

  • Failure is not your enemy

You are encouraged to fail, a lot.  If you are failing a lot, it means you are trying lots of different things.  In a growth environment failure is not a bad thing, it is a good thing and it is celebrated.

  • Others are growing

When the people around you are growing and everyone is thinking about growth and development of the business in every way, then you are in a growth environment.

  • People desire change

Change is hard, but for things to change you must change.  If you want success and you are not having success, then something must change for that success to happen. For this to occur, change must be actively pursued and implemented.  The key is implementation of the changes to be made.  No lip service or one of these days we will.  If it is good enough to talk about, it is good enough to implement now.

  • Growth is modeled and expected

If you are the only one growing that means you are the model, and if you go back to the first bullet point above then it would be very clear that you are at the head of the class.  So there must be models of growth around you.  The expectation of personal growth, which in turn will lead to business growth must be modeled, expected, and sought out.

The question John doesn’t answer is this.  Can you have some of the elements above and not all of them.  As I look at the list, my answer is no.  A growth environment must include all of the elements for it to truly be a growth environment. What kind of environment are you in?  Are you growing, or are things about the same they have always been?  Do people really desire change?

Brian Willett