3 Things I learned last week…10/19-25/2015

Another great week and another three lessons that I learned once again.

You are where you are because of what you did or didn’t do.  This past Saturday I ran my fourth half marathon.  Since it was my fourth, I knew what to expect from the race and the energy it takes to run it.  Unfortunately, I didn’t put in the right preparation leading up to the race.  Sure, I worked out and I did some runs like all runners do, but, I didn’t prepare the way I should have prepared.  I knew I didn’t have the correct preparation going into the race on Saturday and I was a little nervous because of it.  So sure enough about six miles or so into the race, I knew I wasn’t going to meet the goal that I wanted to meet.  I didn’t quit, I didn’t make any excuses. Nope, I sucked it up and I finished the race.  What I said to myself was this: Brian, this race tells me exactly where I am with regards to my fitness and endurance.  This race/test is a measurement of my preparation.  The great John Wooden said this: “When the opportunity presents itself, it is too late to prepare.”  In this case the opportunity just didn’t present itself, I knew about it well in advance and I didn’t do what I needed to do to prepare.  I will not make that same mistake again.

I prefer warm weather.  Like most Louisvillians there have been many times and occasions where I have said, I love Louisville because we get to experience the four seasons.  Sure it is true, I have enjoyed the experiences of all four seasons in the past. In the past that is.  I spent five days in South Florida last week and even though I knew I loved warm weather, especially as it starts to get colder here, I have come to the realization that the older I get the more I prefer it to be warm all of the time.

Disciplines are hard to develop and easy to break. This past week I have been taking some inventory on a few areas in my life where I have been a little undisciplined.  These areas include my finances, health and fitness, recreational activities, etc.  Now I agree that you have to splurge and have a good time. If not, you are crazy and you will never have any fun.  However, if your undisciplined tendencies start happening too frequently then you can no longer call yourself disciplined.  Most people aren’t disciplined, because it is hard to do.  Most of the disciplines that I have developed in the areas I mentioned above took me years to develop, and in some cases, have been broken in just a few months.  Now, what is the value of having disciplined behaviors that have taken years to develop?  The value is that even though I have strayed away from a few of the disciplines it is easier for me to get back on track because I realize that I am not as disciplined.  If you are always undisciplined you would never know that you were being undisciplined. That is the value of developing disciplines and habits.  When you have them, you know immediately when you are not following them.

To your success and your future.


3 takeaways from reading 200 books

In 2011, I was introduced to a guy who would change my philosophy towards life, success, personal development, relationships, money, and work forever.  The man was Jim Rohn.

At that time I was a hard worker.  Matter of fact, some said I worked too hard and that if I didn’t slow down, I would burn out or burn up.  Up to that point in my career and life I had success.  I attribute that success to really two things:  Hardwork and doing what I had to do.

Hardwork:  Well my parents taught me this.  They taught me to always show up, show up early, and to do my best when I did show up.  That was easy.

Doing what I have to do:  I haven’t always done what I needed to do immediately when I had to do it.  Sometimes it would take me a few days or a few attempts to do it, but eventually I would get it done.  The best example of this is home work while in school.  I didn’t always do it on time, but eventually I knew I had to do it.  Another example of this is attending college.  I tried to take a few different routes, but eventually I knew college had to be done.  I always end up doing what I have to do.  I may not like it, but not everything in life that has to be done is something we like to do.

Having these two fundamentals instilled in me at the time I was introduced to my mentor really paved the way for what was going to happen next.  We have all heard this “The teacher will appear when the student is ready”.  So in 2011, when my mentor/teacher appeared I was ready.  Why wouldn’t I be, I had been preparing my entire life.

My mentor challenged me with reading books.  Lots of books.  As many as I can on as many subjects as I can.  At that time, I think I could remember on my two hands how many actual books that I had read.  And I know I hadn’t read very many since high school, which was many many years ago by that time.

Based of the recommendations of my mentor,  I made the decision to and set a goal to read a book a month in the years of 2011 and 2012.  I easily accomplished this. In 2013, I upped the goal to a book a week. In the year 2o14 a book a week, and in 2015 my goal is to read about 150 books.  We will see how close I get to this in a few months.

As of this morning I just finished book number 200.  I am proud of this accomplishment.

As I accomplished this milestone this morning, it has me thinking about what I have learned through this journey.  I have learned more than three things obviously.  But I thought I would keep the broader picture in mind when thinking about this accomplishment.

What I learned:

  1. I have so much more to learn:  I am sure you are thinking to yourself right now, duh!  But it isn’t a duh moment for me.  I am asked all of the time why do I read the same kinds of books all of the time.  Books of the same genre and same concepts.  The answer I give is this:  Every book I read, even if it is the same concepts for the most part, I learn something different.  A different author may say it in a way that didn’t make sense before, or apply a fundamental in a way I never thought to apply it before.
  2. Books make me money: Without getting too personal here. I will just say I have doubled + my income since becoming a reader.  Now this may not be your motivation, but it was mine.  I know the more I earn the more good I can do.
  3. Books inspire me: There are days and times in all of our lives where things may not be going your way.  It may be in a relationship, a job/career, my finances, my faith, you name it.  I know that when I pick up a book on one of these subjects I can get inspiration. Knowledge precedes inspiration.  When I expose myself to new information (knowledge) I become inspired.  My mentor told me years ago.  Motivation comes from two sources: Inspiration or desperation. I prefer to be inspired.  That is what books do.

Where do I go now?  I am going to keep feeding my brain from the pages of great books.  My advice is you do the same. Many of us work hard and show up and do what needs to be done. For me this wasn’t good enough. I wanted more. The only way to get more is to learn more. Many smart people have written books to inspire and educate others on almost any area of life, I would advise you to take advantage of them. I shared with you above the benefits that I have received, you can do the same.

To your success and your future.

3 steps to your happiness today

A lot of people are in search of happiness.  What is happiness?  What does it look like?  When you get there will you know it?

The old saying is: You reap what you sow.  What I do in my daily agenda determines my level of my success and my happiness.  And I do believe that I am happier when I am more successful.  Why wouldn’t I be happier?  If I am making progress towards my goals and in my life and career, I am happier.

The great Zig Ziglar said this: “If you help enough people get what they want, they will help you get what you want.”

So here are three things that I do daily to help people get what they want, which in turn helps me get what I want, and propels us all forward to being happier.

  1. Have a good thought:  Years ago, I took a survey that was surveying my happiness. The survey wasn’t overly sophisticated, it was pretty simple actually. If you watched the news a certain amount of the time or talked about the news, it gave you a lower score, which in turn meant that you were less happy.  Sure it was a subjective, but it is correct. I stopped watching the news.  Bad weather, Bad politics, car crashes, murders, etc.  What you think you will become.  Someone once said don’t let your head or your stomach become a trash can. Meaning don’t put garbage in your head (read/watch/listen) or in your stomach (eat healthy).  If you put bad news, negative thoughts, negative opinions in your head this is what you will think and it impacts your happiness.
  2. Say good words:  The words you use for yourself and toward others determines your level of happiness.  Look around.  The people who don’t have anything good to say, typically have a certain level of unhappiness and contempt towards society or towards people in general. Say good things about yourself and about others.  When you do these things it can only make you more positive and a happier person.  Nobody wants to be around a negative person.
  3. Lastly, do something good for someone: Without a doubt.  When you give to others, especially to people who can not do anything for you in return is one of the best ways to have happiness for yourself.  Humans innately are empathetic beings.  We want empathy from others when things aren’t going well in our own lives, which means we should give it to others when things aren’t going well for them.  If you can do something good for someone daily or more often, your happiness will increase.  It has been proven over and over again through research.

Take a look at this article here which describes some of the findings of one of the most in-depth studies of happiness that has ever been conducted.

To your success and your future.  Be happy today.

3 Things I learned last week…10/12-18/2015

Same old stories: When I was 17-20 years old, there was a group of us guys that hung around with each other all of the time.  We did what a lot of people that age do, which is enjoy life, go to college, party, work, and get in to things that I would never do now, at least not on purpose.  By the time we were 21-25 years of age many of us were at very different stages and milestones within our lives.  We would tell those stories of the good old days and what we did back then.  We would relive those moments over and over again. Then I remember this one day when we were reminiscing about the good old days, which is fun and I always enjoy it and always will, I said we need to create some new stories.  Some new experiences. Some new adventures.  And throughout my life I have tried to do just that.  Remember the good stories, but create new ones.

This week I was reminded again what happens when you don’t have any new stories to tell.  You don’t have new experiences to share. You don’t have new situations, good or bad, to talk about.  If you are telling the same stories over and over again, reminiscing about the good old days, it means that you aren’t living with the a mindset to grow and try new things.  Sure we don’t want to do what we did in our late teens, or in my case, my middle twenties. However, if we are telling the same stories over and over again, with the same concepts, it means there hasn’t been any evolvement or growth, and new experiences is where fun and growth take place.

Watch what people do, not what people say:  The great Andrew Carnegie said this many years ago. I know this to be true as well, however, at times you can get faked out.  We all can get faked out.  Doing is always more important than saying. In the last week, I have watched a lot of people do more saying than actually doing.  Watching this has really motivated me to always be sure I am a doer not just a sayer.  We all need these reminders in our lives at times to keep us on the right path.

Old information packaged differently always looks new and exciting:  One of my mentors said to me a few years ago to read the books of dead people.  The more books I read from a few generations ago, the more I realize that fundamentals never change.  The human psyche and psychology of what motivates us, is what it is, it is ingrained in all of us as humans and although we have evolved our human nature of what drives us and motivates us hasn’t changed.  I have read some of the latest business books or books in the area of personal and self development and many of them are very similar to what was written decades ago on the same topics, just packaged a little differently.  It is fun to read the new and the old. Both are critical to your success.

To your success and your future.


3 Things I learned last week…10/6-11/2015

Some good lessons learned last week.

Why the internet won’t replace people: Years ago someone told me to be sure I have the following professionals on speed dial.  An attorney, a doctor, a banker, an accountant, a mechanic, etc.  I am not sure who else they told me to be on that list, but this is a good start (feel free to add to my list in the comments.)

Last week, I met with an attorney.  I am working on several projects and I had a few questions.  I went online to try to find some of the answers myself. Maybe it is me, but I can never find what I want exactly.  Maybe I don’t know where to look, who knows.  What I do know, is that after 30 minutes with this attorney they answered all of my questions and then some. I spent some time online and actually consulted with a few “so-called experts” with very reputable companies.  I even called the government offices/agencies that should have had the answers to the questions.  So after investing that time and energy, at least a couple of hours. I finally got a referral to an attorney and got all of my questions answered.

So is the internet good for a lot of things? Absolutely! However, meeting with an expert and having them answer your specific questions is still the best way in my opinion.

You really are only as good as the people you associate with:  Disclaimer here:  I am not saying get in to the comparison trap.  Comparison trap is not a good thing, however raising expectations based on what others are doing is a good thing.

I look to my left and I look to my right.  On neither side do I see people doing what I do.  Do I have some people who may be doing somewhat similar things?  Sure.  The key to growth and development is to get around people who are doing the things you are doing, but at a higher level. Example: I thought reading a book a week was a good goal, until I got around someone who was reading a 150 books a year.  To grow even more is to get around people who are doing things that you never thought of doing. This is really how you grow. These things/activities they are doing are not things that you aren’t interested in, they just might be just outside of what you are thinking about.  That is what I learned the last week.  I learned it through observation, now I have to apply it. To change your thinking, you have to change your thoughts.

Get away from people who say “use to”:  I am not sure why this is so strongly on my mind from last week, but it is.

Let me give some context:  Have you ever heard these statements before?

  • I “use to” eat healthier…
  • I “use to” workout consistently everyday…
  • I “use to” be highly engaged and energetic just like you are…
  • I “use to” read a lot of books…

Above are just a few examples.  Last week, I used this statement myself.  I said I “use to” drink a healthy protein shake every morning.  But I haven’t done so in about three months or so.

I had this aha moment when I said it. Basically by me telling someone I “use to” do something that was good for me and I stopped doing it, really diminishes my credibility.  It does so, because why would I stop doing it if it was so good for me?  Secondly, I am not doing it anymore so why even bring it up, it is a waste of breath.  It adds zero value to the conversation that I am having.  Now if I said I “use to” smoke crack, but I don’t anymore. Or I “use to” drink on days that end in Y, but now I don’t.  Those words have credibility.  You would be willing to listen to what I have to say.

So I guess the reason this “use to” is on my mind, is I had this aha moment.  “Use to” only works, adds value, has credibility, when “use to” is something negative that you were doing and not something positive you were doing.

See if you use the words “use to” today?  If so, be sure it adds value or credibility to what you are saying and not take away from your credibility.

To your success and your future.

Can you see it?

Seeing What Others Don’t; THE REMARKABLE WAYS WE GAIN INSIGHTS; author Gary Klein. Click here for a link to the book.

I recently finished this book. In my a typical quasi-book summary, I will include the overall outline and them of the book as well as my notes that I took from the book. The author sought out to answer a few questions.

  • What sparks an insight?
  • What prevents us from grasping an insight? Even when it sits dangling in front of our eyes, ripe for the plucking?
  • Third question: Are there any practical ways to increase the flow of insights?

The author studied 120 cases and classified the studies into five different strategies for gaining insights:

  • Connections:  The strategy offers a clear image of insights as connecting the dots. And it suggests that we can increase insights by exposing ourselves to lots of different ideas that might help us form new connections.
  • Coincidences:  Spotting some events that seem related to each other even though they don’t seem to have any obvious causal link. People who can pick up on trends, spot patterns, wonder about irregularities, and notice coincidences are an important resource. They may often be wrong, so we shouldn’t automatically believe them even if they feel very confident. Nevertheless, they should be listened to, rather than ridiculed, because they just might be on to something.
  • Curiosities:  Curiosities provoke people to investigate further, just as coincidences do. Curiosities differ from coincidences in one way: They are sparked by a single event or observation rather than by the repetition of a pattern.
  • Contradictions: Contradictions are different from curiosity insights. Curiosities make us wonder what’s going on, whereas contradictions make us doubt—“That can’t be right.” 45 out of 120 of the cases involved contradictions insight. 
  • Creative desperation: Creative desperation requires finding a way out of a trap that seems inescapable.  Backed into a wall, insights happen, because you are forced to have one. 

All the 120 cases fit one of these strategies. Most relied on more than one of the five strategies. 

  • Connection insights accounted for 82% of the cases; 98 out of the 120 cases.
  • Contradictions accounted for 38%
  • Coincidences played a role in 10%
  • Curiosities contributed to 71⁄2 %
  • Impasses and creative desperation were found in 25%.

As you can see, the total for all five adds up to more than 100 percent because some of the cases coded for more than one of the themes. They weren’t mutually exclusive.

To improve performance, we need to do two things.

  1. Reduce errors
  2. Increase insights.

Performance improvement depends on doing both of these things.  It is a balance.  Several cases in the book were highlighted on how if a company tries to be too perfect, solely focused on reducing errors, it can stifle insights.  Part of insight is connecting the failures.

Insights transform us in several ways. They change how we understand, act, see, feel, and desire. They change how we understand. They transform our thinking. They change how we act. In some cases insights transform our abilities as well as our understanding.

The habits of mind that lead to insights, our tendency to spot connections and coincidences, curiosities, and inconsistencies are what move us forward.

So what do we do now that we know how to have insights?

We must first eliminate these things:

  • Flawed beliefs; we eliminate this by not fixating on them.
  • Lack of experience; we eliminate this by gaining more experiences.
  • Passive stance; eliminate this by being more active.
  • Concrete reasoning; create more playful reasoning.

By doing the above we create a more advantageous environment to have insights.

Organizations stifle insights because of forces locked deep inside their DNA: they value predictability, they recoil from surprises, and they crave perfection, the absence of errors. Surprises and errors can play havoc with plans and with smooth operations. In their zeal to reduce uncertainty and minimize errors, organizations fall into the predictability trap and the perfection trap.

To increase insights we must allow more mistakes.  In an effort to reduce errors we don’t allow ourselves the necessary failures or errors that will lead us to insights that will move us towards a better answer.

This book illustrates the 120 cases that the author researched.  Each of the cases support and paint the picture of the five strategies highlighted above. I encourage everyone to read this book, it will challenge your current thinking and get you outside the box of your current thinking and it may provide you with an insight on something that could transcend your career or your business.

To your success and your future.

Sometimes You Win Sometimes you Learn

I recently read John C. Maxwell’s book: Sometimes you win Sometimes you Learn; Life’s greatest lessons are gained from our losses.

In my typical book summaries, I will provide a basic outline of the book’s key concepts and my highlights (takeaways) from the book.  The bolded areas below are statements or quotes that I really found to be above and beyond and by highlighting them they are put into my memory.

John’s motivation for this book, is for us as the readers to see the value of losing and keeping the proper perspective in losing.  Like the title states, it is not losing, it is learning. If we can remember that losing is learning, then our perspective changes on how we approach success and failure in our lives.

When you’re losing, everything hurts.

  • When we win, nothing hurts; when we lose, everything hurts. And the only time you hear someone use the phrase its only a game is when that person is losing.
  • Failure is far more common than success; poverty is more prevalent than wealth; and disappointment is more normal than arrival.
  • The most important person you can ever talk to is yourself, so be careful what you say.
  • The most important person that you will evaluate is yourself, so be careful what you think.
  • The most important person you will love is yourself, so be careful what you do.
  • Professional basketball player Jerry Stackhouse said this:  Win and forget. Lose and forget.
  • A loss doesn’t turn into a lesson unless we work hard to make it so.

Humility: The Spirit of Learning

  • Pride is concerned with who’s right. Humility is concerned with whats right.
  • Success lies not in eliminating our troubles and mistakes but in growing through and with them.
  • Show me a guy who is afraid of looking bad and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time.
  • Wisely humble people are never afraid to admit they were wrong. When they do it, it’s like saying they’re wiser today than they were yesterday.

Reality: The Foundation of Learning

  • Its easier to go from failure to success than it is from excuses to success.
  • Life is difficult.  Life is difficult for everyone.  No one escapes problems. Its called life.
  • Most people spend their entire lives on a fantasy island called “Someday I’ll”-Dennis Waitley.
  • You can deal with reality sooner, or later the reality will deal with you.

Responsibility: The first step of learning

  • Responsibility is the most important ability that a person can possess.
  • Nothing happens to advance our potential until we step and say “I am responsible.”
  • Truett Cathy (founder of Chick Fil A): “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”
  • Losses are inevitable, but excuses are optional.
  • Failure isn’t the best teacher. Neither is experience. Only evaluated experience teaches us.

Improvement: The focus of learning

4 response methods to problems:

  • Blow up: react with anger and resentment
  • Cover up: Hide your mistakes.
  • Back up: Withdraw and distance ourselves.
  • Give up: Throw up our hands and quit.
  • Success doesn’t always bring growth, but personal growth will always add to our success. 
  • The most important question you can ever ask yourself.  It’s not what am I getting.  It is what am I becoming. 
  • Improvement demands a commitment to growth long after the mood in which it was made has passed.
  • Losers don’t lose because they focus on losing. They lose because they focus on just getting by.
  • The most common trait in successful people: They have conquered the temptation to give up.
  • Small differences over time create a big difference.  Improvement is achieved in inches, not giant leaps.
  • Knowledge may come from study, but wisdom come from learning and improving in the wake of your mistakes.

Hope: The motivation of learning

  • Losses in life are never fun, but there is one loss no one can afford to experience, the loss of hope.
  • Hope always has a future.
  • Optimism is the belief that things will get better. Hope is the faith that, together, we can make things better.
  • Optimism is a passive virtue, hope is an active one.
  • It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope.
  • Positive thinking must be followed with positive doing.

Teachability: The pathway to learning

  • Possessing the intentional attitude and behavior to keep learning and growing throughout life is teachability.
  • Living to your full potential requires you to keep learning and expanding yourself.
  • Mark Murphy: founder and CEO of Leadership IQ. His organization tracked twenty thousand new hires over a three-year period and found that 46 percent of them failed (got fired, received poor performance reviews, or were written up) within the first eighteen months on the job. The main reason for the failure was not a lack of technical competence. Weakness in that skill area was a problem for only one person in ten.  The main reason for failure, 90% was because of attitude.  Top reason for failure was lack of teachability. 26 percent of the people failed weren’t coachable.
  • Being teachable requires two things: Capacity and attitude.
  • It’s good to remember that in science, mistakes always precede discoveries.  Be teachable.
  • As long as I am still learning, I will always have something to say and be able to add value to others.

Adversity: The catalyst of learning

  • People begin to make the biggest changes when they hurt enough to have to.
  • Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and then become more extraordinary because of it.
  • Circumstances does not make the man; it reveals him to himself. That is true only if you allow it to.
  • Circumstances are the rulers of the weak, but they are the instruments of the wise.
  • Turn your wounds into wisdom.
  • Some people treat adversity as a stepping stone, others as a tombstone.

Problems: Opportunities for learning

  • Positive thinking is how you think about a problem. Enthusiasm is how you feel about a problem. The two together determine what you do about the problem.
  • Lou Holtz said this: Don’t tell you problems to other people. 80% don’t care and the other 20% are glad you have them.

Bad experiences: The perspective of learning

  • Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experiences–Dennis Waitley.
  • Failure is the cost of seeking new challenges.
  • Ninety Percent of those who fail are not actually defeated they simply quit.
  • Succèss lies in having made the effort; failure lies in never having tried.
  • Most failures are people who have the habit of making excuses.
  • Ignorance means you didn’t have the necessary knowledge.  A person can hardly be blamed for that. Stupidity is the result of knowing what to do but not acting upon that knowledge.

Change: The price of learning

  • When you aren’t willing to pay the price of learning by changing you will eventually pay the price of losing.
  • Leaders resist change as mush as followers do, unless the change is their idea.
  • For everything we gain we lose something.
  • No change means no growth.
  • Most people would rather change their circumstances to improve their lives when instead they to change themselves to improve their circumstances. 
  • The person who insists on using yesterdays methods in today’s world won’t be in business tomorrow.
  • To grow you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. 
  • Chance occurs only under these three conditions:
  • They HURT enough that they have to.
  • They LEARN enough that they want to.
  • They RECEIVE enough that they are able to.
  • You are only one defining decision away from a totally different life-Mark Batterson.
  • Change occurs by following this process: New Information is accepted. A new attitude is adopted. A new behavior is practiced. New conviction influence others. 
  • When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at actually begin to change.
  • Successful people are realistic about their problems and find positive ways to approach them.
  • Successful people don’t allow their feelings to determine their behavior. They behave their way into feeling so that they can do what they must to grow and keep moving forward.
  • Successful people do two things that many other people don’t: They initiate action, and they finish what they start. 
  • Unlearning is a prerequisite for growth. 

Maturity: The value of learning

  • Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom though failure. We get very little wisdom from success.
  • If I had my life to do over again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.
  • We first make our habits, and then our habits make us. 
  • Maturity is knowing that you need to give up things today for greater gains tomorrow.

Winning isn’t everything, but learning is

  • Success is a lousy teacher. It makes smart people think they can’t lose-Bill Gates.

8 reasons why people prevent themselves from winning tomorrow:

  • Been there done that: They hit a milestone and make it a tombstone. Lose their curiosity.
  • The banquet tour: When you win, you start speaking about how you won. You forget to keep doing.
  • Success gurantees success: Just because you won, it means you can do one thing well, when you win maintain your perspective.
  • The momentum myth: Peoples natural inclination after a win is to take a break. Don’t do this, capitalize on the win and use the momentum.
  • One hit wonders: You are successful once and you are still trying to live off of that win.
  • The entitlement mindset: People who have something that they didn’t win for themselves start thinking they are entitled to more. To keep winning you must stay hungry. It’s why inherited businesses go out of business.
  • Playing not to lose: Don’t become to cautious and defensive. Try to win, don’t try not losing.
  • The arrival plateau: Some people become so focused on a goal that when they hit it they give up. Don’t give up set new goals.
  • Greater learning comes from greater thinking.
  • You haven’t learned anything until you take action and use it.
  • Risk taking with ability to leads to increased learning and success.

I hope you enjoyed this quasi summary.  I encourage you to read the book.  It is a quick and easy read with so many more insights.  Please share this with someone who you think could get something from it as well.

To your success and your future.

3 Things I learned last week 9/28-10/3/2015

Like always, there are some lessons in the three that I already know, but as always, we must keep looking at our experiences and ensuring we are learning what we can from them.

You know when you know:  Last week I heard Kobe Bryant responding to a reporter at a press conference asking when he thinks he will retire.  Kobe said that he spoke with Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, and a few other very prominent athletes, who had retired and asked them the question “When did you know it was time to retire.” He said that all of them said something different.  He didn’t really go into details on what they said, he just said that they all had a different view-point on retirement and when they chose to do so.  So to answer the reporter’s question of when does he plan on retiring, Kobe said “He said I will just know.”

In no way am I Kobe Bryant, nor will I be retiring soon.  However, in life when something gets to the point that it is no longer beneficial, or you are no longer excited about it, you no longer are committed, you know it is time to walk away.  Sure athletes retire, because they can no longer perform physically the way they did at one time.  Which is why many of them retire.  But physically, emotionally, attitudinal, etc. you know when it is time.  It is a just a feeling that is overwhelmingly strong.  We all have been in situations in work, relationships, committees, teams, etc. or we will be in situations when you know that is no longer beneficial and serving you and in many cases the other party.

Your response tells us everything: I have a confession to make.  I don’t know what it is, but I enjoy listening to one sports talk radio show.  It is Colin Cowherd.  I am not sure if it is the sports I really care about, because I don’t watch or follow 90% of what he talks about.  However, what I like is insight on all of it.  Colin is extremely smart and funny.  Now that I justified my listening.  Last week Colin was responding to some people he offended.  He made a brilliant statement. Colin said: “Your response to criticism tells us exactly how true the criticism is.”  So if you brush it off likes it is no big deal, the chances are the criticism is probably unfounded and not very accurate.  But if you respond hastily and defensive, the likelihood of the criticism being accurate and you even knowing it is accurate, is probably more likely. He also has very smart people thought leaders, entrepreneurs, successful business people, etc. on the show as well.  More justification for me.

When you look at it all and it all makes sense, it probably makes sense: We all have very big decisions to make in our lives.  Should I buy this house, or that house.  Should I go to this college or that college. Should I be in a relationship with this person or not.  Should I but this software or that software. Should I buy this car or that car. Should I eat this or that. These are all decisions we have to make each and every day. Now my hope is in each of these decisions you have done your due diligence and investigated the case or you had someone do it for you.  But you eventually have to make a decision and if the decision you are weighing all adds up and makes sense, it probably make makes sense.  Act on it now.

Please share with me what you learned the last week.  We get better by learning from our evaluated experiences.

To your success and your future.




Do you have the achiever mindset?

One of the hardest jobs of a leader is finding, hiring, and then developing the right people you want on your team.  Finding the right friends, colleagues, spouses, partners, etc. is one of the hardest things we as individuals do as well.  As leaders and individuals we want to be around people who are achievement focused, especially if you are achievement focused.

David McClelland studied achievement and motivation throughout his life and career.  His work is of the same vein as Abraham Maslow.

In McClelland’s research he came up with three basic needs for workers and people in general.

The three basics needs are: the need for achievement, the need for authority and power, and the need for affiliation.  These three needs are very basic in all of us.  These three needs are what drive is to do what we do.

McClelland was most intrigued by the achievement motivated people.  He asserted through his research and studies that the achievement minded person makes the best leaders and team members.  He also stated that achievement minded people make the best entrepreneurs because of their success driven and results driven mindset.

Here are characteristics and attitudes of achievement minded people according to McClelland:

Achievement is more important than material or financial reward: Do you have the mindset to get the job done?  The mindset to do it better than another person?  Or to do it to the best of your ability and know that you did everything you could possibly do?  This is the achievers mindset.

Achieving the aim or task gives greater personal satisfaction than receiving praise or recognition. Can you win and then go on about you business? Move on to the next task?  Achievers don’t need the spotlight.  The glory they need is knowing that they achieved what they wanted to achieve.

Financial reward is regarded as a measurement of success, not an end in itself. As one of my mentors said: Money isn’t everything, but it is good way to keep score and to see how you measure up. It’s easy to count as well, which makes it easily quantifiable.  Achievers know through achievement financial rewards will come.

Security is not prime motivator, nor is status. This is one of the primary motivators that separate entrepreneurs from everyone else.  They are more motivated by the achievement and the accomplishment than they are being secure or being held in high regard.

Feedback is essential, because it enables measurement of success, not for reasons of praise or recognition (the implication here is that feedback must be reliable, quantifiable and factual). No matter what you do or how well you do it, feedback is necessary to achievement and success in everything.  The greatest minds in Silicon Valley  say that whatever you are creating, get it to a point where it is good enough.  Then take your product to the market and let the market give you feedback to make improvements.  As an individual your willingness to accept feedback positively and adopt it will allow you to make changes that are necessary for you to continue to grow and work with others effectively.

Achievement-motivated people constantly seek improvements and ways of doing things better. Achievers have a mindset of “there is always a better way”, “If I would have done this”.  These two phrases are what you hear from achievement minded people.  Achievers realize that good enough is only good enough in the moment.  They know that they must seek improvements to be good enough again.

Achievement-motivated people will logically favor jobs and responsibilities that naturally satisfy their needs.  (Jobs that offer flexibility and opportunity to set and achieve goals, eg., sales and business management, and entrepreneurial roles.) Achievers want to achieve.  In many jobs, measurements and accountability can be hard to measure.  That is why achievers typically favor jobs that allow flexibility to get a job done and navigate towards leadership, sales, and entrepreneurship.  These roles allow for goal setting and achievement to occur on their terms.

Do you have the achiever mindset?  If not how can you get it?

I am in the process of researching and writing my next book. I will be looking at the above concepts and showing how they apply in our everyday lives as well as how they apply in the workplace.

To your success and your future.

6 I’s that I am focused on today and so should you

Every day we have an opportunity to focus and get the most we can out of a day, or we can meander and just try to get through the day.  When you are just getting through the day it means you have no purpose or vision.  We are blessed today with a “present”.  I guess that is why we call it the “present” because it truly is a “present” a “gift” that we get to enjoy.

How can we enjoy the “present” and get the most out of it?

Ignore:  Yep, there are some things and some people you just have to ignore.  It’s not personal, you just cant allow people and anything else prevent you from pursuing and achieving your goals. I get it that there are some things that don’t help us in our pursuit of our goals that we can’t ignore. I am in the same boat.  What we can do is work through them as fast as we can, so we can move on to what we need to do to achieve what we want to achieve. Who and what do you need to ignore today?

Invest: 1. I am investing in my future today by having clearly defined goals. 2. By only doing the things that lead me to achieving those goals. 3. By investing in the tools necessary to assist me in accomplishing the goals. Everything in life requires us to invest first and benefit later.  You have to pay first. What are the areas in your life and your career where you need to make an investment to accomplish your goals?  Maybe its money, time, or attention?

Involve:  All this week I have been calling and reaching out to people who I need involved in what I am accomplishing.  I am going in a different direction, in some cases I don’t even know where it is or how to get there.  But there are lots of people who do know.  Those are the people who I am connecting with and talking to. So who do you need to get involved with?

Imagine:  Imagining what could be gets you thinking bigger than you currently are thinking.  In my book 7 ways to more, click here to purchase. I discuss, how we all must find time to think.  When you make the time to think you develop an environment that allows you to be more creative.  Creativity leads to excitement, because you get excited about the possibilities.  When you are ony grinding and not thinking, it can become mundane and boring.  Sure you have to do the work, the grind, however, you have to find time to think and imagine what could be.  Do you have some time carved out today to imagine what could be?

Increase:  One of my mentors is challenging me to 10X everything.  What he means is take everything you are doing and increase it by ten times.  In all of the activities that you are currently doing, what if you increased them by ten times?  Example:  If you are saving $10 dollars a month. What would be the impact of saving $100 dollars a month. If you are making sales calls to twenty people a week, what if you were calling two hundred people.  By increasing your activity in the different areas of your life you will get to where you want to go quicker.  Most of us don’t realize we can do more until we do it.  What are a few areas you can commit 10X to today?

Impact: One of the focuses in my life is to make an impact on other people’s lives.  I have the fortunate opportunity to do that in my current position as a trainer and leader.  However, we all have the opportunity to do it.  We can buy coffee for the person behind us at the coffee shop.  We can hold the door open for the person behind us.  We can tell our office buddy what a great job they are doing in their job.  In what ways can you have impact today?

When you Ignore it frees you up to Invest. Investment gets the right Involvement, that gets us to Imagine that we can Increase our actions so we can have greater Impact.

To your success and your future.