3 Things I learned last week 9/21-27/2015

Keep doing what you are doing:  In my line of work you sometimes don’t know what kind of impact you are making.  Sure, I can go into a company and measure sales results before and after training.  I can work with a coaching client and see that they made a lot of progress on their goals during the time I worked with them.  But what I don’t know and what excites me, is the impact I am having that I will never even know I had.  That is what keeps me doing what I am doing.  If you are passionate about what you do keep doing it.  You are making a difference and sometimes you will know you are and most of the time you wont. But keep doing it.

I hate to say it, but it is reality. I had the unique opportunity to celebrate a major milestone this past week with a good friend of mine.  This celebration was about them and their life and their achievements.  Have you ever been around people who chose to make it about them and not the person who it should be about.  I have watched this in leadership so many times throughout my career.  Here is what I have observed and have witnessed in leadership and I will put it in the context of how some leaders feel about success and achievements of others:

  • Congratulations, but don’t think you are ahead of me.
  • Congratulations, this isn’t that significant really.
  • Congratulations, I am glad I was so impactful in you achieving this accomplishment.
  • Congratulations, don’t forget that I was apart of this.

The reason this stands out for me this week is I am around a lot of leaders all of the time. Some leaders I know are really good at allowing all the credit go to others.  Some want to be sure they are included.  And others, well, they want to give themselves the credit either blatantly or indirectly. And if they don’t get recognized for their part in it, well, they will try their hardest to remind others if they can.  Here is what I think real leadership is.  Congratulations, great job, well deserved.  A great leader doesn’t ask for anything or say anything, they just do what they do and stay behind the scenes when it is time for others to shine.

Some books are better listened to than read, and some books are better read than listened to.  I am always reading one book in paper form and listening to a book at the same time.  That is just what I do. These last two weeks,  I am on a bad run.  The last two out of three book purchases I made on audible haven’t been very good to listen to.  I guess I could make the argument that they may not be good in general.  But I learned a few lessons this week with regards to my book purchases.  If the book has a lot of chapters in it, meaning the chapters are short but there are a lot of them, I should purchase the book and read it. The reason I say this, it is the only way I can remember the information in the book.  That is the lesson.  Now that I made this mental note I will keep that in mind for my next purchase, which I am doing now.

What did you learn last week?

To your success and your future.

 

4 annoying statements successful people hear

If you are a successful person the chances are you have heard at least one of the followings statements before.  The reason I can say that is you wouldn’t be successful or appear to be successful if you didn’t possess or demonstrate one of the following thoughts or actions.

What success means to you is up to you. You have to define your own definition of success.  I just know what I hear and see when it comes to my life and success and here is what I think about it.

“You need to have a work life balance”: I don’t feel like I don’t have balance.  Work life integration should be the goal, not balance.  How can you surround yourself with people and activities that feed both your work, your life, and your passions.  You can’t have two personalities. If you do, we call you crazy. You can’t be one person part of the day and another person the other part of the day.  So this balance thing is what people say who either hate what they do, or they hate the fact that you like what you do.

“Money isn’t everything”: If I had to rank these statements, this one would be number one.  Because I know money isn’t everything.  If you read my book here you will see that I don’t even have money down as one of the seven ways to more. Here is what I do know though.  Money gives me options.  Money allows me to help others.  Money gives me freedom to do the things I want to do. Money gives me access. The reality of life is that everything costs money.  I don’t know about you, but I like nice things and I like to do fun things, both of these require money.  So you can either take the approach that I don’t need a lot of money and don’t do anything fun with your friends and family, or you can take a different approach and try to earn all you can, so you can save all you can, and give away all you can. 

“You have a lot of extra time”: Nope, I have the same amount of time as you do.  I just choose to prioritize my time. With the time I do have I ensure I do the most important tasks consistently and do them first.  I make time.  You should make time as well.  “You either run the day or the day runs you” –Jim Rohn.  I control my day and my daily activities revolve around my goals that I have in my life and in my work.

“You like to read that kind of stuff”: I assume you mean stuff that makes you think.  Stuff that can help me in my businesses. Stuff that I can use to help others.  Stuff that I can use to encourage others and inspire others to seek their full potential.  Stuff that I can read to help me understand a better way to do something, or don’t do something. Assuming something is usually a bad thing.  However, when it comes to this statement, my assumption is usually correct and validated once the person continues speaking that they don’t like to read much of anything.

What are some of the annoying statements you hear?  How do you respond to them?

To your success and your future.

 

5 Things you can do and computers can’t

The last twenty years has been really interesting for all of us.  Technology is rapidly taking over many of the things we as humans used to do.

In Geoff Colvin’s book “Humans are Underrated” What High Achievers know that Brilliant Machines Never Will” he describes what jobs and high value skills cannot be replaced by computers and technology and why.  You can access the book here

So what are the high value skills that humans have that computers and technology don’t have and never will?

Empathizing: Throughout the book the author looks at research and data that shows time and time again that we as humans seek empathy and we as humans seek to give empathy.  When you can empathize with someone you connect on a deeper emotional level that allows you to show someone you really care.  Technology and computers don’t have the ability to empathize.  A computer will eventually be able to give you a bad test result on your health.  But it wont be able to deliver that result with an empathic side that gives you hope that it will be ok.

Collaborating:  A computer can only provide information and perform specific tasks.  Both of these are actions that we need.  Sure the computer can perform these two actions, but they can’t take the information and work with that information with a group or team to come up with a solution that makes sure all angles are looked at to meet all of the needs from all of the involved parties.  Only humans have the ability right now to collaborate and make necessary changes as needed.  In business things change all of the time.  Conditions change and even people will change along the way in a big project, only humans have the ability to collaborate with each other and ensure these changes are handled and the project still gets accomplished.

Creating:  There are computers that are currently successfully creating art and providing possible solutions to problems.  However, where computers fall short is where things are not black and white.  Only humans have the ability to create.  Only humans are able to look at problems and say “There has to be a better way.”  This is a high value skill that is needed in the marketplace right now and as things change it will continue to become a sought after skill.  How good are you at creating solutions for problems?

Building Relationships: One of the basic cores of all humans is the want and need to have interactions with others.  It is ingrained in our DNA to have interactions with other people.  Look around everyone belongs to a Facebook group, Alumni association, a club, or something similar.  Why do we belong?  Sure we appreciate the group for what it is, but we also seek to be a part of something and have interactions with others. Children are a good example of this basic need.  Go to a playground and look around.  Children don’t even know each other, but they will be playing around with each other and trying to build relationships.  It is ingrained in us, it is something a computer can’t do, only humans can do.  How can you continue to work on building better relationships to make yourself irreplaceable?

Leading:  Leadership is one of the most needed skills in the marketplace.  Look around when you think of good leaders who really comes to mind?  Maybe a coach?  Maybe a politician?  Are they really the best example?  There are some.  However, the marketplace needs leaders now more than ever.  It is a skill that can be learned and a computer cannot do it. Do you want to be a leader?  Are you working on that skill?  

Which one of the skills above do you need to work on?  If you continue to develop the above skills the sky’s the limit and your work will never be replaced by a computer.

To your success and your future.

 

3 Things I learned last week 9/14-20/2015

As I reflect over last weeks experiences and learning opportunities here is what I remember most.

Be spontaneous:  Those of you who know me well would not use the word spontaneous to describe me.  Nope, the word would be disciplined, routine, or something along those lines.  Nonetheless, at times, I do have a little bit of spontaneity.  And you know what?  Every time I do this, I have a blast.  On Saturday I had the chance to do something different and it turned out to be something that I enjoyed and I most likely will do again.  It seems that throughout my life some of the best experiences I have had in my life have been the events that were not planned.  Some of those experiences are: a great party that we just happened to go to when I was younger, a detour that led to a great discovery, or like Saturday a random stroll up the street that turns into a great experience of learning a new genre of music and history lesson that made it even more enjoyable.  In all of these experiences though, it is really the people who you are with that make the experiences most enjoyable, don’t forget that, it’s the people you around that determine the outcome of the experience.

Be intentional:  Oddly enough I am intentional in almost everything I do in my life.  I am intentional about what I eat, read, in my exercise and health, my personal growth, and in many other areas of my life.  That intentionality has led me to extreme success. However, there are some new actions and new disciplines that I am pursuing where I haven’t developed that intentionality and discipline just yet. I am in the process of doing so, but it isn’t ingrained  into my daily routine.  To ensure that these new actions create the intentionality needed to have success, I must develop some new strategies to accomplish the goals.  Intentions and intentionality are two totally different concepts.  Everyone intends to do something, but inevitably those intentions can be easily derailed.  When you are living intentionally you are ahead of it and you get things done because you are proactive. Live intentionally so your good intentions can become fulfilled.

Be around creative people:  I don’t consider myself an over creative person in many respects.  However, from time to time I am able to do something that is different and unique.  Here is what I have learned though.  When I am around creative people I am inspired to be even more creative.  Creativeness gets you looking at something differently than you have ever looked at it before.  Last week, I had the chance to see a different approach to a concept that I have known and understood to be delivered in a certain way for many years.  This new approach that I was blessed to see takes something that could be considered blah, and makes it exciting to learn or at least gets someone thinking about it.  Being around creative people makes me more creative.  I know this to be true, and I will continue to associate with creative people.

What did you learn last week?  Have you had time to evaluate it?

To your success and your future.

It’s your choice, which one will you choose?

Who will you be today?

If you woke up today you have a chance to be whatever you want.  These adjectives can either be positive or negative depending on the situation.  However, we need to be each of these if we want to accomplish our goals and desires.  Who will you be today?

  • Be Relentless
  • Be Unreasonable
  • Be Focused
  • Be Committed
  • Be Unwavering
  • Be Determined
  • Be Better
  • Be Great
  • Be the Best
  • Be Aggressive
  • Be Intense
  • Be Resolute
  • Be Hungry
  • Be Thirsty
  • Be Uncompromising
  • Be Devoted
  • Be Engaged
  • Be Enthusiastic
  • Be Consistent
  • Be Absorbed
  • Be Disciplined
  • Be Habitual
  • Be Early
  • Be Excellent
  • Be Tough
  • Be Productive
  • Be Effective
  • Be Efficient
  • Be Positive
  • Be Visionary
  • Be Humble
  • Be Generous
  • Be Faithful
  • Be Optimistic
  • Be Curious
  • Be Thankful
  • Be Gracious
  • Be Ambitious
  • Be Creative
  • Be Diligent
  • Be Fearless
  • Be Honest
  • Be Successful
  • Be Content
  • Be Passionate
  • Be Results focused

The above describes what I will be today.  If you can’t be all of them, which one will you choose?  Please share with me your “Be _____”

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

5 Things you can do to ensure you are fully present

This is something that is on my mind today and at times it is something I struggle with as well.  How can we be more present?  Fully present with our minds, attention, body language, eye contact, etc. when we are with other people? According to Wikipedia here is a link on some of the research and studies that have been conducted in the area of attention span:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention_span

According to a study conducted by Microsoft, we as humans have lost our ability to focus on something by 4 seconds in last 15 years.  Here is a link to that study: http://www.cnet.com/news/goldfish-the-actual-fish-not-the-crackers-may-have-a-better-attention-span-than-humans/

So that is the data and the facts, so what do we do about it?

Here is what I say:

Actually Care:  Yep, it’s not much more difficult than that.  Care enough to give the person you are talking to your full attention.

Put down the damn smartphone: You are addicted to your phone.  Turn it off or put it away.

Ignore it: If you are so addicted to your phone you can’t put the damn thing down, at least ignore as your text messages and emails are rolling in if you are talking to someone.

Respect: “But some people are boring!”  Yep, I know they are.  In some cases they know they are.  Regardless if they are boring or not, let’s be human and show them the same respect that we would want ourselves.

Multi-tasking is BS:  If I am told one more time that “I am a multi-tasker and I am listening to you and sending a text.”  Let me pontificate on this a little more for the sake of argument here.  There have many studies conducted in the area of multi-tasking and the ability of someone to do this effectively.  IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!  There is no way your mind/brain can focus on two things at once.  You are either paying attention or you are doing something else, PERIOD.  The proper term in the area of multi-tasking is actually called “switching”.  Which means you are switching from one task to the other, which in most of the research it states that you are less productive when you are switching.

So to sum it all up.  When you are with other people, be fully present.  It really goes back to the golden rule, “treat others how you would like to be treated.”

To your success and your future.

What happens if I only achieve 50% of it?

Several years ago I was listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio and he was talking about the one time he ran a marathon (26.2 miles) and how it about killed him and it was his first and last marathon. He tells the story much better than I do, but it makes my point.

He had run several half-marathons (13.1 miles).  He was telling the story on how he was challenged to run the full marathon, not sure I need to say full, but you get the point.  A friend of his said this to him:  “Dave, I have never known Dave Ramsey to only do half of anything.”  Well, obviously that is all it took for Dave to take on the challenge and run the full marathon.

This brings me to my point though.  What if you only do half of something?  In Dave’s case a full marathon is nice, but there are a lot of benefits to only running a half as well, isn’t there?

Are there times when half is good?  I think so.  Let me give you a few examples. At the beginning of this year, I set a goal to purchase one rental house/property a quarter in 2015.  That would obviously be four for the year.  I have only purchased two as of this date in September.

I am a runner, just like Dave.  I set a goal for the year to run in a race a month.  An actual race that I have to sign up for and prepare for.  Sure, I run several times a week, but I believed setting a goal to run a race a month would keep me motivated.  As of typing this email I have run in six with two more for the year that I have already signed up for.  Lets say I don’t sign up for anymore for the year, which is highly likely just because of timing.  However, what if I end up at eight for the year?  A little better than half.

Lastly, I have a standing goal each year to read a book a week.  So yes, that would be 52.  The last two years I have accomplished this goal.  Well, this year a mentor of mine challenged me to read 150 books this year.  Now that is a stretch goal, but I took the challenge.  As of typing this email I have read 60 books, with four months still to go.  Not sure where I will land, but it will be closer to 100 than 150 is my guess.

So what is the point.  Well, in each of the cases above I set a goal.  Sure you may say some of the goals were stretch.  But in each of the cases I will be somewhere between 50% and lets say 75% of the goal.

The big question is! Am I better at 50% of the goal I set than I would be if I had set no goal at all?  The answer to that question is YES.

Are there some goals you must be at 100%.  Absolutely there are.  In no way am I saying that you should set a goal and if you only make 50% of it you are ok. NO! What I am saying is set a goal, work your ass off and hit it the dang thing.  If you come in a little short, that’s ok.

The goal is to set some goals (Let me emphasize: SET SOME GOALS, and WRITE THEM DOWN) that stretch you, get you doing something different, require you to get out of your normal routine.

If I didn’t set a goal to buy four properties, I might have only bought zero or maybe one. If I had not set a goal to run a race a month, I might have only run three or four. If I had not set a goal to read 150 books, I may have only read another 52 for the year, which I have already done that, so I already beat the previous two years numbers. I am not bragging, I am using my examples to encourage you to create your own.

If you are interested in becoming a more intentional and strategic goal setter, contact me and let’s see if we can work on your game plan.

To your success and your future.

3 Things I learned from last week… 9/7-13/2015

I had a great week spending time with some very smart and influential people.  Here are just a few of my takeaways.

Quit thinking about loss and focus on gains:  At times I am really good at doing both of these.  I can see an opportunity and the gains in some things and I have no reservations about pursuing them.  However, there are times when I allow my mind to over think and concern myself with keeping whatever I already have and focusing on that more than pursuing gains and new possibilities.  But here are the steps I will take this week. I will look at all opportunities and pursue the ones where I think the biggest gains are.  I wont stop thinking about what I already have, but I wont think about it as much.

Humans have a natural tendency to form an opinion and look for ways to validate that opinion: I spent part of my week working with some of the best professionals in the world in the area of executive coaching.  These are some really successful and smart people.  We discussed how people form an opinion of someone or something, even it is just their perception, and then they will look for things, situations, and even other people to validate their opinion.   It is a natural tendency for all humans to do this.  It can be on anything.  It can be an opinion on what kind of car is best, why a particular restaurant is good or not good, etc.  Instead of always seeking to validate your opinion, why not take the opposite approach and see what happens.  What if you heard or perceived something about someone or something, and then looked for ways to go the other way.  What if you looked for evidence to not support your opinion?  Just a thought. I am going to try it this week.

Pursuing too many things at once ensures you won’t be very good or present at any of them: As I mentioned above, I had a chance to work with some of the most successful executive coaches in the world this week.  These guys have coached executives at Microsoft, Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, to name a few.  I learned a lot from the material and the content they shared with us.  But what I learned most, is something I already know.  These guys have made it their life work to coach executives.  That is what they do and they don’t really do much else.  That is why they are at the top of their field. They are financially successful and don’t do any marketing or active selling.  All of their business is strictly on referrals and name recognition.  The reason they have accomplished this success is they have focused on their craft for many years.  In this crazy busy world, I have been pursuing multiple things for many years.  For the most part I can balance them pretty well.  But balance shouldn’t be my goal.  Balance is like average. If you want to be great at something, you have to go all in on it.  You can’t do it every now and then.  This week, my focus is shifting from balance to all in.

What lessons did you learn this week?

 

 

3 must haves for leadership, do you have them?

I am sure all of us could come up with an exhaustive list of our own thoughts on what qualities a leader must possess and demonstrate to lead people effectively.  A simple google search of “qualities a leader must have” only returns about 60 million searchable links.  So we know there are lots of opinions out there.

Here are three qualities that a leader must demonstrate to the people they are leading.

Courage:  Leadership is hard.  You have to be willing to do the uncomfortable things that push an organization forward or people forward.  You have to be willing to make a decision that is best for everyone, and not just someone.  Leaders have to be willing to be vulnerable and admit their faults publicly.  This is where I have watched first hand many leaders fail miserably.  They don’t have the courage to be vulnerable, admit they are falling short, admit that their way is not working, show support for a differing opinion, or get out-of-the-way and let someone else lead.

Question: Do you have the courage to make a behavioral change and share that publicly with your team?

Discipline:  Do as I say not as I do.  I have watched this so many times in my career.  Have you?  Leaders must be disciplined in every thing they do and say. Show me an undisciplined leader and I will show you an ineffective leader.  Leaders must show up early, stay late.  They must follow-up when they say they are going to follow-up.  They must implement a process and a plan and be disciplined enough to continue to follow it.  They must demonstrate disciplines in their own personal life as well.  A person in leadership that doesn’t have discipline in their personal life, it will eventually show in their business life.  I believe they are not separate.  Who you are, is who you are. And that person is at home and in the office.  You are not two different people.

Question: What are the disciplines you need to show and display to lead others more successfully?

HumilityAnd lastly, a leader must demonstrate humility.  I have heard leaders say they are humble and will actually tell others that they are humble. To me, the fact that you are saying you are humble verifies that you are not humble.  The real leader doesn’t have to say anything, they just are what they are.  They don’t have to show everyone that they are the boss.  They can take a step back and not have an opinion on everything.  They can give recognition to others. CS Lewis said it this way: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” I believe he sums humility up best with that quote.   

Question:  When is the last time you demonstrated humility with a peer or a subordinate?

Whether you are a leader now, or aspire to be a leader.  The above three qualities are necessary for you to be an effective leader, and by effective I mean, being a leader that others want to follow.

To your success and your future.

 

3 Things I learned last week 8/31-9/6/2015

I had a great week last week.  Like always, as I played back the game tapes from the week before, here are a few of the things I learned and learned again in many ways.

Getting caught up in thinking about something instead of just doing it: If I were to look back over all the blogs I have ever written, I am quite sure I have talked about this before.  However, I, just like many of you, there are times where we over think about something that we would be better off just doing.  Matter of fact, if we would just do it, all of the anxiety and thinking about it will go away.  I found myself in this situation last week.  I am usually a doer in most situations, however, I have to remind myself to just do it. I sometimes over think things, when just doing it would get me past the anxiety and concerns I have in doing whatever it is that needs to be done.

Everything must be taken to the next level: I have some friends and colleagues that are CrossFit fanatics.  I love them all by the way.  I also have a friend that is a P90X fanatic.  Again, I love him as well.  They are all very passionate about their methods of fitness.

They tell me about their workouts and the amount of different sets and reps they do when they are working out in either one of these different methods of fitness.  The one thing that both of these styles of working out do a great job with is mixing things up so your muscles stay confused and you are constantly doing new things to mix up your workouts.  This prevents your body and muscles from getting used to the same workout, which if you continue to do the same workout over and over it loses it benefit.  I don’t know all of the science behind it, but I get it enough to realize its value and benefit.

It is the same with everything though isn’t it?  We eventually have to take everything to a new level to get more and better results.  After a while, our results can plateau and we may not make much progress. Again, I know the value of coaching and I have many coaches in different areas of my life.  However, I have reached some plateaus in a few areas and to take my results up a notch I am going to have to explore some new coaching methods, and just like Crossfit or P90X I have to mix things up.  Last week, I started laying the foundation for this and I am looking forward to taking the next steps to even better results.

The hardest thing for Adults to change is their behavior: I have been studying human behavior for about four years now.  When I stay study, I mean I am reading all of the books and studying how people are in their everyday life.  I am truly trying to understand people and their behaviors.

Here is what I have discovered.  Changing behavior is very difficult.  Matter of fact most people don’t take the time to realize that they should change a behavior or what behavior they need to change to have a different outcome or the outcome they want. If a person is able to make a change in their behavior, having lasting change is what becomes the next big hurdle. To have lasting change requires you to continue to work on that change forever.  My mentor and author Marshall Goldsmith says it this way: “Getting in shape and staying in shape, requires commitment and discipline and we can’t stop going to gym once we get into shape, because we wont maintain it.”  So we have to continue to work on the behavioral changes we want to make forever.  Do we get better at it?  Sure.  Does maintaining require as much work as getting there?  Usually not.  But we have to stay focused on the change forever to maintain it.

To your success and your future.