It’s a miracle

In my business I have a chance to talk to a lot of people about their career and their goals.  Many of these people are incredibly talented and work extremely hard.  What I have found is that most of these people do set goals and some of them even write them down. But the difference I have found in-goal setters that write them down versus the ones who don’t write them down is what is really interesting.  Here is an example of this difference:

Mark McCormick in his book What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School tells of a Harvard study conducted between 1979 and 1989.

In 1979, graduates of the MBA program were asked to set clear written goals for their future and their plans to accomplish them. It turned out only 3 percent of the graduates had written goals, 13 percent had goals but they were not in writing and 84 percent had no specific goals at all. 

Ten years later, in 1989, the researchers again interviewed the students of that same graduating class. They found that the 13 percent who had goals that were not in writing were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent of students who had no goals at all. Most surprisingly, they found that the 3 percent of graduates who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, 10 times more than 97 percent of their graduating class. The only difference between the groups was the clarity of goals they had set for themselves when they graduated. (research pulled from

As I mentioned earlier, I have been a goal setter for all of my life and did okay.  About four years ago, I became an intentional goal setter that actually wrote them down on paper (or electronic). About two years ago, I purchased a program (a very expensive one I might add) on goal setting.  The last two years, I have seen exponential growth.  The last two years I have spent no less than eight to ten hours in December on setting goals and writing them down for what I would like to accomplish the following year.  This is where the miracle occurs.  First of all taking the time to focus on doing this.  The time invested to plan out a game plan for the next year is valuable within itself.  Secondly, writing very clear and specific goals down. These two activities are truly miraculous in my opinion.  Something magical happens when you do these two things.

There are seven or eight key areas in everyone’s life.  They include career, financial, family, health, spiritual, relationships, social, business, etc.  Having very clear, written, specific goals in each of these areas is what separates the goal accomplishers versus the people who just get by.

Is this another article, blog, or Facebook post about goal setting at the end of the year.  Nope, I hope not.  Here is the difference when setting goals, what you want to accomplish next year is just as important as what you want to accomplish in the next 30 days, or 10 years.  The kind of goal setting I am talking about is “designing a life” not just setting some goals. My mentor told me this: he said don’t set your goals too low, set them high so you have to stretch to reach them.  In 2015,  I plan on accomplishing goals that require me to stretch and are a piece of my puzzle in the life I am designing.

Lastly, if you would like to schedule a one on one meeting with me to discuss some goal setting for you and your life.  I am meeting with people right now for a discounted rate of $100 an hour.  Please go the   and contact me and I we will schedule a face to face meeting or over the phone.  Lets see what we can accomplish in 2015.

To your success and your future.



Who am I?

I am your constant companion.

I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.

Half of the things you do you might as well turn over to me and I will do them – quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed – you must be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of great people,
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine though
I work with the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a person.

You may run me for profit or run me for ruin – it makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet.

Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I?

I am Habit.  

Author Unknown.

Habits can be your greatest asset or your biggest liability.  We must learn to maximize our good habits and minimize the bad habits.

As we approach 2015, just a few days a way.  I am looking at my bad habits and challenging myself to minimize them as much as possible, and focus more effort in all of the areas where my good habits exist.

The first step in eliminating bad habits is to acknowledge that you have them.  For example:  At one time I used to get off of work at six o’clock or so and I would be starving.  It had been five or six hours since lunch, so it made sense to be hungry.  However, there would be certain days where I would be just really really hungry, we all know what that feels like.  I would eat a big meal thinking that is what I needed, and then go to bed a few hours later.  I think you can see a few problems with this scenario.  Needless to say, I was not in very good shape.

What I eventually discovered was that on days that I was overly stressed out with projects or just normal day-to-day stuff, I would be hungrier.  There would be periods of time in our business cycle that I would go for weeks and do this.  Once I discovered this correlation between my stress and over eating, I was able to manage it better.  Are there still times this occurs?  Absolutely!  However, I am aware of this habit and now that I am I can plan accordingly to manage it.

What triggers your bad habits?  What triggers your good habits?  Be aware of what drives the things you do, this is the first step to maximizing the good and eliminating the bad.

To your success and your future.


Challenger Sale; Taking Control of the Customer Conversation; notes

Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson have written a sales book that really challenges the status quo and gets you thinking differently about top performing sales reps.  The title of the book, The Challenger Sale; Taking Control of the Customer Conversation is a book that has a lot of research that support, the “Challenger” sales person is one that has the most success in selling.

The authors researched hundreds of frontline sales managers across ninety companies around the word, asking those managers to assess three sales reps from their teams–two average performers and one star performer–along forty-four different attributes.  The initial model was built on an analysis of sales reps representing every major industry, geography, and go to market model, it has now been increased to over 6,000 sales reps all over the world.  The sales reps included field reps, inside sales reps, and all gender and races.  The study wasn’t an examination of sales reps personality or personal strengths.

Here are some of the areas that were looked at:

Attitudes: desire to seek issue resolution, willingness to risk disapproval, accessibility goal motivation, extent of outcome focused, curiosity, discretionary effort.

Skills/behaviors: business acumen, customer needs assessment, communication, use of internal resources, negotiation, relationship management, solution selling, teamwork.

Activities: sales process adherence, evaluation of opportunities, preparation, lead generation, administration.

Knowledge: industry knowledge, product knowledge.

So of the forty-four attributes they defined five kinds of sales reps that made up the study. (% is number of sales reps that made up that category of the reps studied)

1.  The Hard worker (21%): Always willing to go the extra mile, doesn’t give up easily, self motivated, interested in feedback and development.

2.  The Challenger (27%): Always has a different view of the world, understands the customers business, loves to debate, pushes the customer.

3.  The Relationship builder (21%): Builds strong advocates in customer organization, generous in giving time to help others, gets along with everyone.

4.  The Lone Wolf (18%): Follows own instincts, self-assured, difficult to control

5. The Reactive Problem Solver (14%): Reliably responds to internal and external stakeholders, ensures that all problems are solved, detail oriented.

After compiling the data the authors asked the sales managers to tell them which of the individuals they submitted fell into the top 20% of their sales force as measured by performance against goal.  They then categorized all the reps in the sample by performance.  The Challenger Sales Rep made up 40% of all high performers studied in the research. 

Of the forty-four attributes:  Six of them showed up statistically significant in defining a Challenger Sales Rep:

  • Offers the customer unique perspectives
  • Has strong two-way communication skills
  • Knows the individual customers value drivers
  • Can identify economic drivers of the customers business
  • Is comfortable discussing money
  • Can pressure the customer.

Based on the unique six attributes the authors categorize them into three areas in which Challenger Sales Reps do very well.  This is a major emphasis in the book.

Teach:  With their unique perspective on the customers business and their ability to engage in robust two-way dialogue, Challengers are able to teach for differentiation during the sales interactions.

Tailor: Because Challengers possess as superior sense of a customers economic and value drivers, they are able to tailor for resonance, delivering the right message to the right person within the customers organization.

Take Control: Challengers are comfortable discussing money and can, when needed, press the customer a bit.  In this way, the Challenger takes control of the sale.

In the study only 7 percent of all-star performers fell in the Relationship builder profile, far fewer than any other. The authors go on to provide data on this and also mention that this is not an indication of the importance of building relationships.

Challenger Sales Reps (CS) versus Relationship Building Sales Reps (RB):

  • (CS) push customers out of their comfort zone, while the (RB) want to be accepted into it.
  • (RB) tends to adopt a service mentality, while (CS) will be more focused on customer value.
  • (CS) creates constructive tension in the sale, while (RB) tends to try to resolve or diffuse all tension, not create it.

In complex sales, Challengers absolutely dominate with more than 50% of all-star performers falling into this category.  The only group that came close was the Lone Wolves, and as all the managers stated, they are hard to find and even harder to control.  The (RB) fall off the map in the complex sales.

Rather you’re asking customers to change their behavior–to stop acting in one way and starting citing in another.  To make that happen, however, you have to get customers to think differently about how they operate.  You need to show them a new way to think about their business.

If you seek to a provide a more value based or solutions based oriented sales approach, then your ability to challenge the customers is absolutely vital for your success going forward.

From here the book goes onto tell you how to develop Challenger Sales Reps.  From here forward I have included my Highlighted notes.

  • The thing that really sets Challenger Sales Reps apart is their ability to teach customers something new and valuable about hot to compete in their market.
  • Challenger’s tae control over the conversation about money and instead of providing a 10 percent discount, they bring the conversation back to value.
  • Just like a teacher must push its students Challenger pushes their customers.
  • Challenger’s don’t believe that the customers know what they need, they realize that the customers needs are simply waiting to be unlocked, either willingly or begrudgingly, through the mastery of our interrogative approach.

How customers buy:

  • 19%: Company and brand impact
  • 19%: Product and Service delivery
  • 9%: Value to Price ratio
  • 53%: Sales Experience 
  • Only 9 percent of customer loyalty is attributable to a suppliers ability to outperform the competition on a price to value ratio.
  • If the customer is focused solely on the cheapest option, the chances are they will be focused on the cheapest option the next time they buy as well, so there will be no loyalty.

Power of Insight:

Fifty or so attributes were tested in a loyalty survey, seventeen of them fell into the sales experience category, each reflecting at least a marginally impact on customer loyalty. When the list was ranked by “impact” on the sale, they found seven attributes that was most important in the survey.

  • Rep offers unique and valuable perspectives on the market
  • Reps helps me navigate alternatives
  • Rep provides ongoing advice or consultation
  • Rep helps me avoid potential landmines
  • Rep educates me on new issues and outcomes
  • Supplier is easy to buy from
  • Supplier has widespread support across my organization.

Each of these attributes speak directly to an urgent need of the customer not to buy something, but to learn something.

  • The best companies don’t win through the quality of the products they deliver, but through the quality of the insights they deliver during the sales process.
  • The best reps don’t win the battle by providing customers information on what they know they already need, but teaching them a new way to thinking altogether.
  • If your reps primary goal going into a sales call is to discover the customers needs, you’ve lost the battle before you’ve begun to fight, because frankly, your customers don’t want to have that conversation

The book gets into sales process.  I highlight below a few of my notes.

  • A great warmer question:  We’ve worked with a number of companies similar to yours, and we’ve found that these three challenges come up again and again as by far the most troubling.  Is this what you’re seeing too, or would you add something to the list?
  • In its purest form, solution selling is customization in the moment. The reps primary job shifts from discovering needs to guiding the conversation.
  • Challenger sales reps aren’t focused on what they are selling, but on what the person they’re speaking to is trying to accomplish.
  • Challengers understand that the goal is to sell a deal, not just have a good meeting, they are focused on moving ahead.
  • If the Rep is not willing to convince the customer that the problem is urgent, then they wont be able to convince the customer its worth solving. 
  • Relationship Builders will do things that are not in their best interest or in their company’s best interests. For instance proactively offering a discount when the customer hasn’t even asked for one.

Sales Managers:

  • Coaching of sales reps is ongoing.  It’s not a one-off event.
  • Coaching is customized to each sales rep.
  • Coaching is behavioral, its nt just obtaining the skill and knowledge it’s about demonstrated application of that skill and knowledge.

Decades of research into human behavior has uncovered a number of human biases that commonly hinder open thinking.  The six most common are:

  • Practicality bias: Ideas that seem unrealistic and should be discarded
  • Confirmation bias: Unexplainable customer behaviors can be ignored
  • Exportablity bias: If it didn’t work here, it wont work anywhere.
  • Legacy bias: The way we’ve always done it must be best.
  • First conclusion bias: The first explanation offered is usually the best or only choice.
  • Personal bias: If I wouldn’t buy it, the customer wont either.


  • If your sales reps can’t say what differentiates you, why your customers should buy from you instead of your competitor, you cant teach them to value what makes you different.

Sales process:

  • Be memorable and not agreeable.
  • Build a pitch that leads to your solution, don’t lead with it.

This book ranks in my top 10 of last years books that I read.  It is a great read for sales managers as well as sales reps who are looking to get better.

Please share.

To your success and your future.


What it takes to be #1; Vince Lombardi: notes

Vince Lombardi is one of the greatest football coaches in the history of the professional game.  In 10 seasons as a head coach in the National Football League–9 with the Green Bay packers and 1 with the Washington Redskins, Lombardi compiled a truly amazing record: 105 wins, 35 losses, and 6 ties.

His Packers played in six World Championship games and won five, including the first two Super Bowls. His post season record with nine victories and a single defeat is unrivaled in the history of professional football.

So how did Vince Lombard become number 1.  Without a doubt he is the epitome of DOMINANCE.  His record alone is amazing.

Vince Lombard, Jr. Wrote the book: What it takes to be #1, Vince Lombardi on leadership.  In this book the author gives us his fathers playbook.  This book summary/notes has a lot of depth to it.  This book was just that amazing.  I will try to capture the essence in my summary.

Vince Lombardi never talked about Luck with his players, he only talked about preparation.

Rule #1:  Know yourself.  You can’t improve on something you don’t understand.

Rule #2:  Build your character. Character is not inherited; it is something that can be and needs to be, built and disciplined.

Rule #3: Earn your stripes.  Leaders earn the right to lead. How?  They manifest character and integrity, and they get results.

  • No leader, however great, can long continue unless they win battles.  The battle decides all.

Rule #4: Think Big picture.  The Big Picture is your road map and rudder. It can’t change in response to minor setbacks.  But it must change as the competitive environment changes.

Rule #5: Leaders are made not born.  Leadership grows out of self-knowledge, character and integrity, competence, and a comprehensive vision.  When these building blocks are in place, the leader can lead.

I just outlined the basis of this book.  You now have the playbook of the great Vince Lombardi.  If you care to continue reading these notes, you will now see my notes for each of the chapters for this book.  Also, each of the chapters have something called Lombardi’s rules, these rules are the summary of what the chapter discussed.

Self Knowledge: The first step to Leadership

  • We comprehend the world not as it is, but as we are.
  • Define your values, who you are, and your core principles that never change.  All winning teams have this, but it begins with you defining that for yourself.  As a person, leader, and a teammate.
  • In business, it is incumbent upon each of us to figure out our own plays.
  • If you are not reflecting, you are not thinking.
  • Adversity is the first path to truth. Prosperity is a great teacher, adversity is greater.

Why is purpose so important?

  • It allows us to connect deeply with the spirit of life that dwells within each of us,
  • It allows us to express our unique gifts and talents, and
  • It allows us to feel that our lives matter.
  • Link goals to purpose.

Lombardi’s rules: 

  • Leadership begins with self-knowledge.
  • Self knowledge comes (only) from self discovery
  • You can’t build a team that’s different from yourself. 
  • Find your own tools
  • Link goals to purpose
  • Ask yourself tough questions
  • Know your spark
  • See of you see daylight between purpose and career. 

Character and integrity 

  • Character is founded on unchanging principles.  It is your underlying core.
  • Commitments are more important than self-interest.
  • No self-interest is worth your reputation.


  • Watch your beliefs; they become thoughts
  • Watch your thoughts; they become words.
  • Watch your words; they become actions.
  • Watch your actions; they become habits.
  • Watch your habits; they become character.
  • Your character is your legacy. 

Leaders must be both analytical and skeptical.  Ask questions.

  • Have humility.  Humility is defined as the quality of being unpretending.
  • Healthy ego:  Ego is belief in yourself.  Ego is pride that pushes you to accept nothing less than your personal best.

Lombardi’s rules: 

  • Write your character
  • Find the truth and your purpose
  • Act; don’t react
  • Study the past; live in the present
  • Have faith
  • Be proud and humble
  • Search out and story prejudice
  • Cultivate compassion

Developing winning habits

  • If you don’t think you are a winner, you don’t belong here.
  • The desire for the reward overwhelms the human instinct to quit and compromise, to take the safe route.
  • You can’t be courageous without fear.  Not the kind of fear that debilitates you, but the corporate pressures that motivates you.  Without that kind of stress, you’re probably doing mediocre work.


  • If you can’t get emotional about what you believe in your heart, you’re in the wrong business.
  • Theres nothing personal about any of this. Any criticism I make of anyone, I make only because he’s a ballplayer not living up to his potential. Vince Lombardi.
  • Passion and enthusiasm are the seeds of achievement.


  • I think you’ve got to pay a price for anything thats worthwhile, and success is paying the price. You’ve got to pay the price to win, you’ve got to pay the price to stay on top, and you’ve got to pay the price to get there.
  • Character takes sacrifice: the giving up of one thing for the sale of another.

Total commitment:

  • Id rather have a guy with 50% ability and 100% desire, because the guy with 100% desire is going to play every day, so you can make a system to fit what he can do.
  • Demand total commitment. From yourself first and then the others around you.
  • The only way I know how to coach the game is all the way.


  • Discipline helps you make the hard decisions.  It helps you endure the pain associated with change.

Lombardi’s rules:

  • Own your habits
  • Use your courage
  • Embrace your passion
  • Be prepared to sacrifice
  • Demand total commitment
  • Weed out the uncommitted
  • Work at it
  • Be disciplined on and off the field
  • Be mentally tough

Inspiring others to greatness:

Be authentic

  • Building trust is done through patient investment and long association.
  • The trustworthy leader tells people what to expect, with a bare minimum of sugarcoating.

Insist on excellence:

  • The word excellence come forms latin words that mean “to rise out of”. So excellence is the state of superior performance rising out of and original state of potential.
  • Chase perfection and settle for excellence.

Lombardi’s Rules

  • Be authentic
  • Earn trust through investment
  • Use your mission
  • Create a shared vision
  • Align your values
  • Know your stuff
  • Generate confidence
  • Chase Perfection
  • Live what you teach
  • Strike the balance

Building the winning organization

  • One must not hesitate to innovate and change with the times and the varying formations.  The leader who stands still is not progressing and they will not remain a leader for long.
  • Good leaders provide their people with what they lack including training, information, confidence, and discipline.
  • Common goals create drive and energy
  • Motivation comes from the gap between the way things are and the way an individual or team wants them to be.
  • Simplicity and flexibility are two core elements to success.  Keep it simple so everyone understands it, but flexible enough so you can make changes when necessary.

Lombardi’s rules:

  • Pick the right organization
  • Demand autonomy
  • Respect authority
  • Delegate the second tier stuff
  • Check your hat
  • Be brilliant, but don’t be stubborn about it
  • Import
  • Build skills
  • Let’em see you sweat
  • Build team spirit
  • Innovate without complicating

Motivating the team to extraordinary performance

  • People are motivated by things that promise to give their lives purpose and meaning.
  • Lou Holtz said it best:  Motivation is simple: You eliminate those who aren’t motivated.  People motivate themselves.
  • When two teams meet that are equal in ability and execution, it’s the team that has pride that wins.
  • You cant coach without criticizing, and its essential to understand how to criticize each man individually.
  • You need to create momentum through short rearm wins that give credibility and staying power to your vision. People must periodically see that their efforts are producing results.
  • Changes take time. They do not take place overnight.
  • Leaders enjoy a diversity of opinions.

Lombardi’s rules:

  • Offer people meaning
  • Keep enormous pressure on
  • Motivate the group
  • Counter expectations
  • Motivate the individual
  • Win respect, affection may follow
  • Motivate by inches
  • Go where the wisdom is. 

Vince Lombardi on winning: I’m here because we win.  You’re here because we win. When we lose we’re gone. 

  • Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will all be judged on one thing; the results.
  • Leaders get paid for one thing and that is results, not for being right.
  • If you are right all of the time, you are not taking enough risks.
  • Winning isn’t everything, its the only thing.  Lombardi is well known for this saying.  He also says that the “will to want to win” is one of the most important things.
  • In business you are either first or last.
  • Make your competitors react to you, be on the offensive and not defensive.
  • Even ugly inches count for movement.

Lombardi’s rules on winning

  • Run to win
  • Beware of the power of quotability 
  • Winning is the only thing–but only in context
  • Try to win them all, but play by the rules
  • Be a good winner
  • Block and Tackle
  • Play to jump on opportunity
  • Play for elegance, but take any win you can get. 
  • Play on tradition
  • Understand the dangers of winning

Epilogue:  Al the man there “is”.  You don’t do what is right once in a while, but all of the time.

  • Lombardi demanded one thing above all else, that was personal responsibility.
  • Three pronged approach to accountability: Tell people exactly what you expect of them. Giving players all of the tools to do the job.  Get out of their way and let them do it.

Lombardi’s rules

  • Embrace paradox
  • No excuses
  • Build accountability
  • Treasure your legacy

For many years Lombardi Jr. watched his dad do some amazing things as a leader and coach.  He captures his fathers leadership playbook in a well defined and easy to read format in this book. I challenge all readers, especially leaders and aspiring leaders to read the book or at least read these notes.

To your success and your future.




Start (Escape Average, Do work that Matters); notes

Jon Acuff is a New York Times bestselling author.  The book Start; Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do Work That Matters.

The intro on the inside of the book cover says it this way:

No one aims for average, No one sets to for status quo, No one longs for ordinary.  But one day you wake up and ask yourself, How did I get here?  You wonder if there is a way to be more awesome, more often.  A way to punch fear in the face, escape average, and do work that matters

There is, and it’s not even that complicated.  Since the dawn of time, every wildly successful life has gone through the same five stages.  They used to be tied to your age.

  • 20’s–Learning
  • 30’s–Editing
  • 40’s–Mastering
  • 50’s–Harvesting
  • 60’s–Guiding

But the great news it’s no longer about when you were born; it’s about when you decide to live. You don’t have to be in your 20’s to learn, and you don’t have to be in your 50’s to harvest.

It used to be that your 20’s was a time to go to college, the military, or find a job.  You spent that time exploring and learning.  Then you move into your 30’s and you take what worked well and what you liked in your 20’s and started pairing it down to the most important things.  Such as career, relationships, and every other part of your life. Then you get to your 40’s.  You now started mastering things such as your career, your marriage, raising your children.  You have greater awareness and certainty about your life. Then you make it to your 50’s all of the seeds you planted in your 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s started blooming.  In your 60’s you started giving back and helping others.  This is the path that most people take, this is the path to average.

  • The only thing you have to do on the path to average is not die.
  • The average path os the easier of two paths, and its dangerously comfortable.
  • The path is to awesome is dangerous as well, but it is right now awesome.

The internet revolution isn’t over, it’s just getting started.

I’m not a futurist, I’m a presentist.

Regardless of your age you just have to start.

The first step isn’t easy.  You have to be a realist and a dreamer, practical and impractical, and logical and illogical.

To start: 

  • Find your true purpose
  • Be your true purpose
  • Live your purpose
  • Repeat as necessary

Living with purpose allows you to 

  • Start today
  • Start where you are
  • Start on what matters to you

Forget finding purpose.  It’s a never-ending story that will leave you empty.  Live with purpose instead.

We all have to go through the stages learning, editing, mastering, harvesting, and guiding. However, we have the potential to accelerate them like never before.  Here are four ways:

  • Start earlier
  • Stand on the shoulders of giants
  • Work harder and smarter
  • Harvest someone else’s fields

The second you choose to be more awesome, fear will ask you a question: “Who are you to that?”

To start:  All you need to do is commit 30 minutes in a week.  This is a good starting point for anyone.   Get up before everyone else does, or stay up late.

  • Nobody gets up early on the road to average.  Nobody stays up late on the road to average.

Ask yourself this:  “If I died today, what would I regret not being able to do?”  2nd question: Are those things I’m spending time doing right now?

The new definition of volunteer is any activity that lets you trade time for expertise.

The book takes you through the five stages and gives you a play-by-play on how to approach each area and focus on results.  The underlying theme of the book is we all must go through each of the five stages, but how quickly we go through them is up to us.

Here are some additional highlights of the book from me.

  • What gives you the most joy?
  • Content is king.  Content is currency.
  • Unless you’re dead right now, it’s never too late.
  • If you don’t kill your voices, they will kill you.
  • Some people have two speeds.  Waste all of my time or try to be impossibly perfect with my time.
  • We each have a reservoir of will and discipline. and it is depleted by any act of conscious self-regulation, whether that is resisting a cookie, solving a puzzle, or doing anything else that requires an effort.

To manage you willpower and discipline:

  • Get up earlier because you want the best shot at success.
  • Get up earlier because you want to access your best willpower.
  • Get up earlier because you want the way your brain works and the way your physiology reacts to be your friend, not your foe.
  • Be a student of you.  We usually don’t take enough time to study ourselves.
  • Don’t allow the size of the crowd to determine your awesomeness.
  • You should never chase awesome with someone else’s definition.
  • To become an expert you must do reps.  Repetitions. Repetitions, Repetitions.
  • In 1968 Andy Worhol said in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.
  • Joy is an incredible alarm clock. 
  • Helped people help people.
  • The talent we have the hardest time recognizing is our own.  As author Derek Stivers says, the way you look at the world is obvious to you, but often amazing to others. You cant see it because you have seen it for years, if not you whole life.  But for other people.  You awesome is fresh and new and worthy of being shared.  
  • Learning allows us to transcend our genes.

What I liked most about this book is that Jon is so on point with all of the things we each feel when we are starting something new.  He is so on point with the way you might feel right this moment about your life.  I have been there and he has been there, but the difference between average and awesome is to start.

To your success and your future.

Twelve Pillars; book summary and notes

This is one of the very few “novels” that you will see Brian Willett read.  It isn’t a typical novel though, it is a story that we all have seen and heard, and maybe the story it tells could even be one of us.  The authors of the book are Jim Rohn and Chris Widener.  To learn more about Jim Rohn click on this link.   This man has had serious impact on my life and I never met him.  Chris Widener.

The story starts off with a guy who is forty years old, married to his wife of 15 years that he no longer is very connected with, and two kids who he barely sees.  And a boring job where he makes about 40K as a sales rep.  His car breaks down on his way to a sales meeting.  He didn’t have a phone so he walked to the closest house.  This house had a large brick and wrought iron fence stretched at least 500 feet along the roadside. And the gate was at least 10 feet high.  Behind the gate was a house that was well over 10,000 square feet.  It was white plantation style home that had twelve two-story pillars across the front which made sense since the sign at the side of the gate said “Twelve Pillars”.  He runs into an old man who was a bout 70 years old in some old overalls.  The man asked if he could help him.

The man takes him to this garage and they start talking.  The old man pretends that he doesn’t own the home, which you find out later in the story that he does.  Instead he tells the young sales guy that he is the yard guy for the very wealthy man who owns the big house.  They start a relationship where the sales rep comes by and meets with the old man for months and each week that he comes back to meet with the old guy the old man teaches the sales guy a principle of the twelve pillars.  So it is a story with a powerful message weaved in.

Pillar #1:   The only way things are going to change for you is when you change. 

A lot of people think working hard is the key to success, and it is, but it is only one piece of the success puzzle.  For you to get a better job, with more money, and more opportunity, you must increase your skill set.  Which requires you to change your thoughts, your actions, and what you do everyday.

The conversations between the two of them are deep and every sentence has a pearl of wisdom.

Pillar #2:  You should make sure that the outside of you is a good reflection of the inside of you. 

Pillar number two is total well-being.  The body is made up of three parts: the body, soul, and the spirit.  You have to give equal attention to all three to have a healthy overall well-being.

Pillar #3:  Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationships flourishing and growing.

The old man asks the sales guy to tell him about his family.  He tells him about his struggles to find the time to spend with his family and that his relationship with his wife could be better. The message is that we must cultivate any and all relationship that is important to us.  Just like a garden it requires constant upkeep to keep the weeds out.  If you don’t weed for a few weeks, what happens to a garden? It doesn’t take much time and the weeds will take over.  It is no different for our relationships with our family, friends, and colleagues.  Maintenance of a garden is easier than starting all over again.

Pillar #4:  The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it.

Goal setting is deciding where you want to go and then designing a plan to get you there.    Setting goals that stretch you and make you do things differently is what will lead you to a future that you want.  Don’t wait for people to set goals for you.

Pillar #5:  Everyday has many opportunities, but only one best opportunity.

We all must suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.  The difference is that discipline weighs ounces and regret weights tons.  Your best opportunity each day are those that align with your overall goals and should be what you spend your time on. Don’t just go through the day, get from the day. Don’t spend you time on urgent, spend your time on what is important. We must be our own designer of our lives.

Pillar #6:  Don’t join an easy crowd; you wont grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.

Ask yourself these questions:  Who am I around?  What effect are they having on me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most importantly, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the final question: is that okay?

Friends of convenience.  This is an interesting concept.  Is it easier to keep certain people for friends, instead of pursuing new friends. Successful people look for relationships with other successful people who will push them, challenge them, and encourage them to become better. To attract attractive people, you must be attractive.  Not physically but mentally and who you are.

Your attitude is greatly influenced by the people who you associate with.

Pillar #7:  Formal education will make you a living.  Self education will make you a fortune.

Self-education is what you teach yourself.  It is what you learn along the way so that you are constantly improving and growing. Most people don’t continue to learn and grow, to separate yourself from everyone else, be focused on continuous learning.

Learning is the beginning of wealth.  Learning is the beginning of health.  Learning is the beginning of spirituality.  Searching and learning are where the miracle process all begins. Most of life is lived after your formal education. That means the rest of it is up to you.

You have to read the books.  Books are and will continue to be the best learning tools of mankind.

Pillar #8:  One key to having influence with others is to have others perceive you as a person of talent and virtue.

All of life is sales.  Sales is really just the application of having influence and that is a skill that we must all possess in life to get the things we want and desire.   Talent and virtue are the foundation of successful influence and sales, whether you are selling a product or selling yourself–and a successful person is always selling him or herself.

Skills of sales:

  • Know your stuff. You can’t teach what you don’t know.  You cannot share that which you do not feel. You cannot translate that which you do not have. You cannot give that which you do not possess.
  • Talk to lots of people. 
  • Never take no for an answer. 

Pillar #9: What you become directly influences what you get.

The skills you develop to become a millionaire is more important the than money itself.  Money can always go away.  You can lose it.  You can get sued, inflation can eat it away.  It can be stolen.  Every year you hear of what were once millionaires and multimillionaires having to file for bankruptcy, going from hundreds of millions of dollars to nothing.  However, many of them can come back from these things because of the skills they learned to accumulate such wealth.  The skills can never be taken away.

Income seldom exceeds personal development.  Th increase your paycheck, you must increase your skills.

Pillar #10:  Communication is two or more people working together to find the common ground of understanding.  And when they find that common ground, they are positioned to have tremendous power together.

Success is based on human relationships and communication is the foundation for people working together. A lot of people spend their time communicating to convince the other person to their way of thinking, instead look for areas that you agree on, and then build from that. Look for common ground. It isn’t just what you say, it is how you say it, when you say it, and the receptiveness of who you say it to. And that is only half of it.  The other half of it is making sure you really listen.

Pillar #11:  To lead others is to help them change their thoughts, beliefs, and actions for the better.

Leadership is a misunderstood concept.  Most people when they hear the term “great leader” think of people who lead nations, corporations, or social movements.  Leadership means you have mastered the art of influencing others. To lead others is to help them change their thoughts, beliefs, and actions for the better. Sales and Leadership are similar because they are both the art of influencing others.

Managers help people see themselves as they are, and leaders help them see themselves better than they are. If you want to get paid more, bring more value to others by becoming a better leader. Leaders talk about what could be. Learn to help people with more than just their job, help them with their lives. Great leaders are interested in people.

During this book each week and each meeting that the sales guy has with the old man he teaches him the twelve pillars and the methodology around it.  All the while referring to a guy who owned the house.  When the sales guy goes to meet with him to learn the twelfth pillar, he gets there and finds out that the old man had died.  He learns this from the old mans wife, and this is when he learns that he (the old man) was the wealthy guy that owned the house and came up with the twelve pillars.  The final pillar, number twelve is given to the sales guy by the old mans wife in a letter from the old man. Leaving a legacy.  In the letter the old man talks about the growth and development of the sales guy he has witnessed and that is when he reached the final pillar on legacy.

Pillar #12:  Live a life that will help others spiritually, intellectually, physically, financially, and relationally. Live a life that serves as an example of what an exceptional life can look like.

You cannot choose how long you will live, but you can choose how well you live. You can also help others along the way and when you help others that is when you will build a legacy.  Helping others and giving to others is what life is really about and when you are dead and gone, be remembered for what you did for others and not what you have.

This book was an easy read.  It is a such a great story and it is one that we can all relate to.  I hit on many of the highlights that I saw as very valuable throughout the book, but the book is full of some of the greatest success principles you anyone can learn.

Please share this book summary with someone who you think could you use it.  Also read the book.

To your success and your future.


The Millionaire Mind book summary/notes

Thomas Stanley Ph.D. wrote the book The Millionaire Next Door in 1996.  This book highlighted how millionaires accumulated their wealth; they classified millionaires by people who have net worths over one million dollars.  A follow-up to the millionaire next door is The Millionaire Mind.  Which was published in February of 2000.

Below are my highlights of the book the Millionaire Mind by Thomas Stanley Ph.D.

  • 4.9% of the households in America have a net worth of a millionaires.
  • Income statement millionaires.  Have a high income and high debt.
  • Balance sheet affluent are of the millionaire mind. They usually don’t have any credit balances.

To create the research group to identify the millionaires in America.  Dr. Stanley worked with a highly specialized demographer.  They identified 226,399 areas/neighborhoods in America that would most likely have a high concentration of millionaires.   They paired that group down to 2,397 homes and sent them surveys to complete. Of the 2,397 homes that received the survey, 1,001 responded to survey and of that number 733 of the respondents were actually millionaires.

Some of the statistics on these 733 homes that responded.

  • Most of the respondents were in homes that were built-in the 1950’s and even the 1940’s in well established neighborhoods and cities.
  • 1 out of 4 millionaires  were married and had been with their spouse on average of 28 years.
  • On average these millionaires had three children
  • 92% of the millionaires were married
  • 95% of the millionaires have children
  • Only 3% widowed
  • Only 2% had never been married
  • 9.2 million average net worth; With the median being around 4.3 million net worth
  • 749,000 income; median 436,000
  •  On average they never spent more than $41,000 on a car
  • Did not spend more than $4,500 on engagement ring.
  • Never spent more than $38 dollars for a haircut.
  • Never spent more than $340,000 on a home
  • Only 2% of them inherited their homes.
  • 61% never received an inheritance or gifts from others to accumulate their wealth.
  • Only 1 in 4 paid more than a million dollars for a home.
  • 1 out of 3 are business owners.
  • 1/5 are Senior Executives within a company
  • 1/10 are attorneys
  • 1/10 Are doctors
  • 1/3 are middle managers, sales professionals, engineers, and professors
  • Business owners are the richest.
  • 50% of the wives don’t work outside the home
  • 90% are college graduates
  • 50% have advanced degrees
  • Average age is 54

This book goes onto highlight eight key areas that were vital in these millionaires to become millionaires and ultimately have what the author calls “The Millionaire Mind”.

1.  Success factors

These 733 millionaires were asked to rate 30 success factors.  The 30 they were asked to rank came from a list of 100 success factors that were created by the author through interviews and other research the author conducted with groups of millionaires.

Of the 30 success factors the three that ranked the highest are Honesty, Discipline and Social skills.  I doubt there is anything here that should surprise any of us.

Here are what some of the millionaires said about these three success factors:

  • Integrity is not a pass fail course.
  • Millionaires don’t wait for people to tell them what to do at work, in their personal life, or anything else.  They set their own agenda, they create their own goals.
  • I am a finisher in a society of starters.
  • Leasing a Mercedes doesn’t make you rich.
  • Finding a source of discipline when you find your self lacking in discipline. I really liked how one of them said this.  We all lack discipline at times, but the difference is that people of the millionaire mind realize the lack and seek out a way to find the discipline needed.
  • 94% of millionaires ranked getting along with people as one of the most important factors of getting rich.

The author tells a great story of being in a meeting with several former players of the legendary coach Bear Bryant, who were all now successful business owners and senior executives in companies.  The author asked questions of the former players. Instead of asking the typical questions you would ask, the author asked a simple very focused question.  What is the first thing you learned from coach Bryant.  All of the former players tell this story:

On the first day of practice he asked one question. Have you called your parents to thank them?  He then says.  None of you got here on your own.  It required your parents to sacrifice many days taking you to little league practices, school, and feeding you and ensuring that you could play football and ultimately be on this team.  None of us got here on our own and we will not win on our own.

The message from coach Bryant was clear.  You must have an attitude of gratitude and realize they we all need each other to get where we want to go.

The millionaires in the study agreed with coach Bryant’s assertion.

To be a leader and to get a long in the work place you must have social skills and the ability to get a long with others.  This is not only important if you want to grow in your company and be promoted, but it is also necessary to be able to get things done, which will then allow you to accomplish things, get you noticed and get you promoted.  If you are a business owner social skills are a must to grow your business.

Lastly, discipline to do the things you don’t want to do, when you know they must be done. This is the mindset the people with the millionaire mind have.

2. Schooling

A majority of the millionaires surveyed did not attribute good grades or the school they attended as playing a role in their ability to accumulate wealth.

  • Questioning the status quo and the norms are all skills that allow people to accumulate wealth.
  • 2% of millionaires surveyed graduated in the top of their college class.
  • 3 out of 10 said that they made more A’s than B’s, C’s, and D’s.
  • 90% graduated from college with an average GPA of 2.9.

Schooling is important but it is not necessary.  Although 90% of the millionaires surveyed had a four-year degree, they all said that it isn’t the only thing that contributed to their wealth.  They ranked it very low on the list of success factors.

 3.  Relationship between courage and wealth

All of the millionaires surveyed said it requires courage to accumulate wealth.  To accumulate wealth you must be willing to take financial risk as well as risk that goes along with challenging the status quo.

  • One of the respondents said it like this: Working for others puts you at greater risk than working for yourself. Having one source of income is a bigger risk than taking a risk on doing something on your own.  I had never looked at it quite like this before, but how true it is.
  • Becoming wealthy is a mind game.  You must overcome your fear and worry.  Overcoming fear is one step in the process of accumulating wealth.
  • How do you overcome fear:  Belief in yourself.  (Read the Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale)
  • Almost all millionaires surveyed say that belief in yourself is the number one way to accumulate wealth.  They are not always confident, but they have a way to find confidence even when they are not confident.
  • It is hard to be motivated and to motivate others if you don’t believe in yourself.
  • Fear and worry are never all the way defeated. Confidence is built through the process.

4.  Vocation

Choosing a vocation is one of the major reasons for many of these millionaires success.  Although many of them agree that a stable upbringing, love from a spouse, and warmth from family is critical in success, being passionate about what you do everyday is a major success factor.

  • Business owners is the largest category of millionaires, next to doctors, lawyers, and senior corporate executives.
  • All confidence begins at home.
  • Only 55% of millionaires say that they chose their career or vocation because they loved it. But over time 80% say that it is because they love their vocation that they accumulated wealth.
  • 58% chose their field because it showed the opportunity for wealth accumulation.
  • 2 out of 3 millionaires don’t retire even though financially they can, because they love their vocation.
  • 81% of people chose their career because it allowed full use of their skills, passion, and abilities.
  • Specialization in a certain field is one way to become a millionaire.
  • 46% of millionaires say that intuition is what led them down the path of wealth and opportunity.
  • There are more than 22,000 different opportunities within the defined business areas.

5. Choice of spouse

What is it about marital status that allows couples to accumulate wealth?

  • With dual incomes the ability to take more financial risks are created. Which could lead to successful businesses and larger investments.
  • The support a loving spouse can provide when things aren’t going well can get their partner through tough spots.
  • The decision-making ability a person with a millionaire mind has in choosing their spouse was well discussed at length in this book.
  • Millionaires and people with the millionaire minds have the ability to pick spouses. They have the ability to pick mates that have patience and are caring.
  • 96% of both the husband and wife believe that telling the truth is important.
  • For every 100 millionaires that say that their spouse wasn’t important in accumulating wealth, there 1,317 that say that their spouse was extremely important.

6.  Economically productive Household

All the millionaires surveyed ran very ecumenically productive households that you wouldn’t think you average millionaire would do.  Things such as:

  • Having furniture refurnished instead of buying new.
  • Never buying from a phone solicitation
  • Using coupons
  • Buying household products in bulk.
  • Having shoes resoled instead of buying new.

An interesting statistic with a great example in the book was: An average household spends $10,000 a year on food.  Which is $400,000 – $600,000 in a lifetime.  By couponing if you are able to cut just 5% of the cost down, that would be roughly $25,000 over a lifetime. If you invest the money saved in a mutual fund.  That money could grow to a half million dollars.

  • Millionaires are future focused.
  • Millionaires don’t spend time on things that they aren’t very good at. For example: Putting in a hot water heater.  You are better off hiring and paying someone than doing it yourself.  You would think that being frugal that a millionaire would want to save the money and do it themselves.  However, millionaires know that there is an opportunity cost associated with doing it themselves.  They lose the opportunity to go and accumulate new business or skills that would earn them more money.
  • Millionaires are frugal when they need to be.  The DIY is not always the cheaper way.  You are better off to earn income from your vocation than being a do it yourselfer.
  • Ask yourself:  is there better use of my time
  • 4 out of 10 millionaires have clothing altered versus buying new.

 7.  How millionaires choose their home

  • Average purchase price: $560,000 and hold onto in for it at least 10 + years.
  • 53% of have not moved in the past 10 years.
  • Balance sheet affluent versus Income statement affluent.  I loved how the book really highlighted the differences between the balance sheet affluent and the income statement affluent.  There are lots of people who make a lot of money (income statement affluent) but they spend it all.  Balance sheet affluent have a high net worth because of assets and other investments.
  • High Incomer earners in their 30’s and 40’s have a disproportion amount of the higher value mortgages in the market.

Millionaires use these guidelines to pick homes:

  • 1.  Be willing to walk away from any deal on any home at any time.
  • 2.  Don’t pay the initial asking price for any home. If you have ever paid the asking price for any home, most likely you are not a millionaire.
  • 3.  Never try to buy a home in a short span of time.
  • 4.  Look for an estate sale, divorce sale, or a foreclosure.
  • 5.  Only 27% of millionaires ever had a custom-built home.  1 out of 5 millionaires actually ever bought a spec house.
  • 6.  Always buy homes that you can afford.   Appreciation of the home and whether or not you can afford the payments easily.

What is affordable?  Assume that your annual income is cut in half a year after you buy a home.  Could you still afford it? If not, then it is not affordable for you.

 8.  Lifestyles

The 733 millionaires were surveyed and asked what activities they were engaged in within the last 30 days.

There were 27 lifestyle activities that these millionaires were engaged in.  Here are the top 3.

1.  Socializing with children and grandchildren

2.  Entertaining close friends.

3. Planning of investments

  • Millionaires don’t spend money so they can have fun.  They don’t buy boats, they don’t take exciting vacations.
  • Most millionaires are not do it yourself types.  On average they make $325 an hour.  They don’t put shelves up in the house, when they could be doing something else to earn $325 an hour.
  • Golf ranks 13th on the list:  However, most of the millionaires said that golf was not only a recreational activity, but it was a business activity that was one of the success factors that led them down the path to accumulate wealth.
  • Most millionaires in the study on average paid over $300,000 in taxes.  1 out of 5 paid over 1 million dollars in taxes.  One of the activities was that they all had met with a tax professional within the last 30 days.
  • Don’t borrow money for a new venture.  Bootstrap any business ventures.
  • Attended religious activities

These are my notes from the Millionaire Mind.  I hope you enjoyed the summary and picked up a few nuggets of wisdom along the way.  Please share.

To your success and your future.



Create your own Blue Ocean

As we wrap up 2014 and shift our focus to 2015. I have already been thinking about what I plan on accomplishing and what I plan on not accomplishing next year.  I recently read the book Blue Ocean Strategy; How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant.  The book gives a playbook on four action steps a company can take towards making the competition irrelevant as it states in the title of the book.  The book uses the metaphor of oceans and explains that a red ocean is full of companies and products doing the same thing, selling the same things, and focused on the same customers.  A blue ocean strategy is where you are out in front, wading in the blue water all alone, because you have created a niche that no other company is competing with you.  A good example of companies that have done this would be Southwest Airlines, Apple did it with iTunes, and Google, to name a few.

The four action steps that companies can apply to business are also the same strategies that a person can apply in their own life.  These four action steps are the steps I am using in 2015 to create my own blue ocean and make the competition irrelevant.

The four action steps:

1.  Eliminate factors:  Some companies continue to keep certain features of their products because that is what they have always done and must keep doing. Additionally, the competition has these features so we must keep them as well is the thought process.

Just like a company there are certain things and activities that I have done the past few years that I think I must continue to do for my success, whether it is at work or my personal life.  In 2015, I plan on eliminating tasks, activities, and even people who I have thought I needed to continue my personal/professional success or advance my success.  I am going to do exactly what the book says that companies should do, I am going to eliminate certain factors that are no longer necessary to my future success.

2.  Reduce Factors: My mentor said that sometimes we spend major time on minor things.  Companies spend too much time and energy on factors that are well above the necessary requirements from the customer.  For example:  Having a top of the line break line when a less expensive break line that does the same thing is sufficient enough.

For me in 2015, I am reducing the amount of time I spend on tasks and activities that don’t matter as much.  There are many, I am not saying that they are not important tasks, but the amount of time I spend on them should be greatly reduced so I can spend more time on the areas in the next two action steps.

3.  Raise up factors:  There are some factors of a product that could add a lot of value to the product and the competitive advantage for the company producing the product, if the company would spend more time in raising up the standards in those areas.

In my personal and professional life there are activities that I will raise up and focus on more and raise the standard of which I have been allocating for them.  As I stated above, I will spend major time in these areas, because they have the potential to create the blue ocean opportunity for me personally and professionally.

4.  Create new factors:  In some product lines and industries there are factors that aren’t currently being offered by anybody.  This is where the greatest opportunities exist. What do customers want that they don’t even know they want?  If you create a product or highlight a feature of a product that is new, a blue ocean opportunity could be created.

This is the area that I am really excited about in 2015.  What are some new areas of growth and opportunity for me personally and professionally. What are some areas that I have never thought about focusing on that could bring great value to the marketplace and to my company.

The frameworks of eliminate, reduce, raise-up, and create is an easy process that any of us can apply in our jobs, our departments at work, and as I stated here,  in our lives  personally and professionally.


To your success and your future.


The three C’s of decisions

Today and everyday you have an opportunity for greatness.  How do we get to greatness?  You have one of three decisions to make.  They are:

Chance:  The possibility of something happening.  Which means you are just sitting around waiting for something to happen.  Maybe it will happen maybe it wont. Sometimes chance can be a good thing as long as you are working to put yourself in places or situations where “chance” is more likely to occur.  But if you are hoping by chance that your next promotion will just happen because you have been on the job the longest, or your next in line, this is not a very good strategy.  Don’t wait for chance, prepare and decide.

Coercion: Out of the three C’s I would say this is the one that I worry about the most.  Which is why I try to stay in front of it.   Coercion is the act of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner.  How can coercion impact you?  It can come in two forms.  It can be Psychological or Physical.  Lets hope that nothing physical happens to you, but it could.

Sometimes things happen in our lives that force us to make decisions that we wouldn’t have made otherwise.  I do a lot of interviewing of people for jobs.  Some interviewees are looking for their next career path and an opportunity in the space I am in and some are just looking for a job because they lost their other job and need to pay the bills.  They have no desire to really do what we would require them to do, and they really don’t want to do it, but because of their current condition they have to take whatever they can get.  Don’t get caught up here.  Don’t allow external factors forced upon you to guide your decisions.  Be proactive and intentionally pursue your own decisions.

Choice: The last C is choice.  We all know what it means to make a choice and decide to do something.  It just means more and it will most likely lead to a desirable outcome that we envision for ourselves because we are controlling it.  However, you have to make a choice for your choices to make you.

What do you want to do, where do you want to be, how much do you want to make, where do you want to live, what do you want to do, who do you want to do it with? All of these are choices we can make, and we can make them every second, every hour, every day, and every year.  Make a choice and decide what is important to you and go after it.  If you don’t know how to do it, ask somebody that has done it before, if they can’t tell you how they did it, ask someone else.

As we wrap up 2014 and are thinking about our goals for 2015, what choices are you going to make?  What do you want to accomplish?  Don’t sit around and wait for a chance, don’t let some external factor coerce you in to making a decision, choose where you want to go and where you want to be, and go do it.

To your success and your future.



Making payments

This weekend I have the fortunate opportunity to be in Atlanta, GA participating in the Dale Carnegie Training Leadership Certification process.  I have been a leadership trainer for years.  The process to become certified (official, with a credential) requires me to attend a four-day training event that is conducted by the company to see if I understand their material enough to represent them and deliver it.  I have my own material personally, however the certification with a 100-year-old training company gives me a pretty high level of credibility in the marketplace.

This four-day training is just one piece in the certification process. The process actually began over five years ago when I took the course the very first time.  It is a seven week course where you attend once a week for 3.5 hours.  Once you attend the course, you must be a course coach (graduate assistant twice), yep another 14 weeks.  I did all of that the last three years or so.  This weekend is the next step, and after this weekend, I will have to conduct another two classes (7 weeks a piece.)

This weekend as a trainer it is pretty challenging. The master trainer basically gives you a reality check.  They coach you on every single word you use in front of a live audience.  They provide you feedback and coach you on the spot in front of class participants and several other trainers.  The process is very humbling to stay the least.

As challenging as this process has been, is now, and will be in the future. I know it is necessary for me to get to the next level.  This weekend one of my colleagues and I when ever we get coached hard and are challenged, after it is over we just will look at each other and whisper (Making payments).  Yep, that is what we are doing,  We are paying the price, making the payments, investing.

1st thing about paying the price:  You have to do it.  There are no free rides.  You have to go through the process.  They just can’t say come up to me and say “You are now a trainer.”

2nd thing about paying the price:  If you didn’t pay the price you wouldn’t learn anything.  The process is what makes you better.  The credential is cool and I need it, but more importantly is the skills I am learning.

If you are reading this congratulations.  My challenge for you is this.  If you are looking for a magic pill that will help you lose weight, playing the lottery thinking that you will become wealthy, in your mind you deserve that promotion, ask yourself “Am I paying the price?”  If you don’t pay the price none of it matters, the skills you learn, the processes you develop, the initiatives you take, the sacrifices you make is what makes the process what it is, and it also makes them stick.

I’ll close on this.  Are you willing to do what others had to do, so you can do what they do.  If you are looking at a promotion or increased sales, what do you have to do. You want to be skinnier and healthier, are you willing to do what it takes and pay the price.  If you are, start making the payments. You have to pay first.  There is no way around it.

To your success and your future.