3 Things I learned last week…3/7-13/2016

There is always someone better:  Have you ever felt like:  “I got this figured out. I am really good at this.”  Or “I have been doing this for a while, and my results speak for themselves.”   Come on you know what I mean here.  You get arrogant or to say it nicely, you get really confident.  I believe confidence is critical to anyones success.  It is an absolute.  However, whenever you get arrogant or not open-minded to learning is where the issue can arise.  Last week, I had the chance to watch someone do something that I have done myself at least a hundred times.  I felt pretty confident I did it pretty well.  However, after watching this person do the same thing, I said WOW, mine could be so much better.  Very few of us are the Michael Jordan’s of our respected fields.  Sure we are good, but if we were at the Michael Jordan status, the chances are others would know about us. So what I learned and I encourage you to think about is this. What are you really good at?  Go find at least five people who do the same thing as you and see how you rank.  Maybe you are really good, but be sure you keep an open mind to learn.

To avoid criticism: Say nothing and Do nothing.  Now, most people, including me already know this.  However, how often do we practice it?  We don’t speak up, because we think we might sound stupid?  Or we don’t step out of our comfort zone, because we are worried about what someone will say.  As I have mentioned before, the reason I write these posts and blogs is because it stimulates thoughts for me.  This week my goal is to say a lot and do a lot, both of these with purpose and mission to pursue my passions. 

Speed trumps everything: I have a joke, well I guess it isn’t really a joke, more of an observation.  And that is: Some people only have one speed.  Now some people have one speed and it is really fast.  And others have one speed and it is really slow.  The latter is what I am talking about. Years ago, one of the owners of my company said to me.  “Brian, you can tell everything you need to know about a person by looking at how fast they walk.”  “Are they slumped over just kind of moving their legs.”  “Or are they walking with their back straight and with a purpose and on a mission.” Since then I have watched that with every single person I have interviewed.  It is true in almost all of the cases.  A person that walks with a purpose and moves with a purpose, like they have somewhere to be and something to do, tends to get things done.  So when it comes to running my business, getting out of my bed in the morning, taking a shower, eating breakfast, going to my car, and doing just about anything I can think of.  I am sure to do it with a purpose.  In business and in life speed matters.  Now the haters out there are saying.  “Well, you better slow down, you’ll make more mistakes.”  Oh well, I’ll learn quicker as well. Today and everyday be sure you are moving with a purpose. When you are making a decision, be sure to do it quickly (after you thought about it enough).  Speed always wins.

To your success and your future.



3 Things I learned last week…2/29-3/6/2016

Making informed decisions: I am sure you have heard the phrase “paralysis by over analysis”.  Which means you are thinking, discussing, and analyzing a decision so much that you haven’t, won’t, or can’t make a decision.  So you are paralyzed, meaning you can’t move on, hence the word paralyzed.  So why do we do this?  I know we all want to make the right decision and some decisions need more time.  However, the thing we have to do is look at all of the current facts, and say what other facts are really necessary and should or would those facts change any of the outcomes or consequences of the decision.  The answer here is usually no.  So my advice is to ask yourself what is the big decision you are analyzing in your life right now.  What other facts do you need to help you make a decision?  And lastly, if you got those additional facts, would that impact the decision or not?  And then make your decision.  Most of our life is all about making decisions and most people would rather analyze a decision instead of making one.  So make the decision and move forward.  I did last week.

Equal by definition is not fair:  Here is a definition for equal: Having the same quantity, measure, or value as another. In the eyes of god, in the eyes of law, in the eyes of our family, in the eyes of others, we should all be equal.  So this is not me talking about your equality as a human being.  No.  What I am referring to, is equal in the marketplace.  As the definition states above.  Having the same value as another.  Well, in the marketplace we all don’t have equal value.  A CEO makes a certain amount of money because of the value they bring to their company.  You may make less than your colleague because they may have more education, more experience, or some intangible that may not show up on paper that you don’t have.  The marketplace determines values for everything we buy.  The iPhone you have in your pocket, the car you drive, the house you live in. etc. The good thing is we all have the opportunity to increase our value.  We can make a decision today to become more valuable to the marketplace. We can do this by developing more skills, pursuing further education, developing our ability to lead and influence others. If you want to become more valuable, invest in you, and you will see a return.

If I decide:  I can make anything I want to happen, happen.  Seems rather simple doesn’t it?  Sure it does.  So why is something so simple so hard?  Many people decide to lose weight, quit smoking, get out of debt, go back to school, etc. every year on January 1.  After a few weeks, statistics show that most of the people who decided to do those things are no longer pursuing them. So the statement should read like this “I have decided”.  Once you decide you must make yourself accountable to that decision. You must determine why that decision is important to you, and then lastly the action plan (the change(s)) you are going to make to ensure it happens.  Last week, I made several decisions. Some big and some small.  Some I laid the action plan out, some I didn’t.  I have already started seeing results from the decisions that I decided to pursue and made the necessary changes to do so.  However, the ones I haven’t made the changes necessary, I am about where I was. Why would I expect anything else? And why should you expect something different when you haven’t made the necessary changes?

To your success and your future.

3 Things I learned last week…2/22-28/2016

There will always be distractions:  I am not sure about you, but for me, it is really easy to find something else to do.  You know what I mean.  On Saturdays, instead of cleaning the house, I have to run errands instead.  On some mornings, instead of reading at least one chapter, I must read the emails from yesterday afternoon or the ones that came through the night.  On payday, instead of sending more money towards my mortgage, I really need a new dress shirt, or to go out for a friend’s birthday party. Maybe you have found yourself in one of the above aforementioned scenarios.  I have found that distractions from what I should do will always be there.  In most cases, like 99% of them, I don’t even have to look very hard, they will just show up.  What is distracting you from doing what you need to be doing?

Paying for it everyday: I have been doing this set of exercises now for about six months or so.  It is a quasi-crossfit workout. It is basically a 25-30 minute cycle that consists of five actual workouts that include sit-ups, squats, kettle bell swings, burpees and a few other exercises. I typically do fifty of one of the activities and then I do rowing, running, or something called Jacobs Ladder in between the sets of the other exercises.  It gets my heart rate really high and at the end of the session I am thoroughly exhausted.  There are some days I can do the session pretty easily.  But most days, the session is killer.  I consider myself to be pretty fit and in shape.  But this workout is really hard and it seems to never get easier.  And even if it seems easier, I still have to do it frequently, because if I don’t do it for a few days it is even harder when I do it the next time.  Like most things in life.  You have to show up every single day.  You have to work hard every day. You have to be trustworthy everyday.  You have to do most things everyday to become good at it.  Don’t show up for work for a few days in a row and see if they still pay you.  The same things apply in life. Everything requires you to show up everyday.  You can never get where you want to go without showing up everyday and paying for it everyday.

Everybody has the opportunity: I have found that in most things in work and in life, in general, we all have equal opportunity.  Sure, are some people set up better from the onset.  Absolutely, but in general for most of the things in life we all have the same opportunity.  For example: We both have equal opportunity on the job to show up everyday and do the best we can.  We both have equal opportunity to invest in our 401K.  We both have equal opportunity to take advantage of the additional training that is offered.  We both have equal opportunity to have the right attitudes towards policies and procedures. We both have equal opportunity to work overtime.  We both have equal opportunity to stay late or show up early and do the extra work to see a project through.  Even though we all have equal opportunity to do the above, how many actual do it?  That is usually the difference.  We all have equal opportunity, but not everyone takes advantage of the opportunity. And that is what separates all of us in just about everything in America.

To your success and your future.


3 Things I learned last week… 2/15-21/2016

My mentor said “make a study” of everything in life.  My weekly “Three things I learned” is exactly that.  It allows me to study my life and my experiences, which gives me insight.

Moving from “Should I” to “How will I”:  There comes a time in all of our lives that we have to make a decision.  We have to fully commit. Can you think of something right now that you are still in the “Should I” phase of the commitment?  Meaning “Should I” really be doing this. “Should I” really try to only eat this or that”, “Should I” really try to show up to work earlier. “Should I” try to really cut my life down to nothing so I can pay off my debts. “Should I” really go above and beyond at work”.  The chances are, at this moment you are faced with a “Should I” question about something in your life.  Here is what we all have to do.  That is we must change our thinking from “Should I” to “How will I”.  When you make this shift in thinking you are now becoming fully present and fully committed to whatever it is.  When you say “How will I”, you are saying no matter how I feel, how I look, how I do it, I am committed to seeing this through.

Your problems should be changing all of the time: One of my mentors shared this with me a few years ago. He said if you are still dealing with the problems you were dealing with a year ago, it is your fault.  Duh!  Right!  We all know this don’t we?  I am sure we do.  But how many of us are aware of the problems that have been around for too long?  It could be one week or five years.  If I am growing.  If I am changing. If I am moving things forward, then be definition my problems should be changing as well.  Because when I grow.  When I develop.  When I expand my business. When I expand my investments. When I take on a new job. A new position.  I should also be presented with a new set of problems.  If my problems never change, it means I have not moved forward at all.

Trust: I have been in some kind of leadership position for the last twelve years of my career.  I have learned a lot about leadership and a lot about working with the people.  It could be people who are on my team, up the ladder from me, or my peers.  With all of these people the one thing that matters most is, trust.  If you have it, everything is fine.  When you don’t have trust, everything is bad.  A leader’s job is to establish trust with his team in everything they do.  It is also everyone’s responsibility on the team to do the same thing.  It is everyone’s job to foster a trusting environment.

To your success and your future.


3 Things I learned last week…2/8-14/2016

According to Leadership IQ: They studied 5,247 hiring managers from 312 public, private, business and healthcare organizations. Collectively these managers hired more than 20,000 employees during a three-year study period.  They found that 26% percent of these new hires were terminated due to their inability receive coaching.  This is most likely not a new statistic, it is one that has probably been around for quite some time, it just wasn’t studied in this detail.  I have found the same to be true.  The ability for a person to receive coaching and feedback tells me exactly who and what they are. Open mindedness to want to get better is one thing, receiving coaching and feedback and implementing it is another, but to really separate yourself from the pack, seeking coaching and feedback is what makes you in a class all alone.

When you have to tell someone: Have you ever noticed the people who have to tell you how busy they are?  Sure.  If someone asks me how things are going, I might respond by saying ” I am pretty busy”.  This is common.  What I am talking about are the people who have to actually tell you that they are busy, before you ask them.   It is a lot like the people who have to tell you how great of a “_______” they are.  You fill in the blank.  The chances they are that great at whatever the “_______” is, is most likely debatable.

The natural pull: Sir Isaac Newton was the mathematician that founded the theory of gravity. Sir Isaac Newton discovered that gravity depends on a few things; such as mass, distance and placement. The natural pull of gravity is downward.  If you throw an object off of a building it will be pulled down.  If you jump off of a building (don’t test this by the way) you will be pulled down as well.  Look around you and see what others are talking about.  The chances are what they are talking about are also things that can pull you down.  It could be the bad weather, the bad economy, the bad boss, the bad candidates in the upcoming election, the bad commercials, the bad press, the bad you name it.  All of this is pulling you down. Then you take what is easy.  Things that are easy to do are usually in the down movement as well.  It’s easy to run down hill.  It’s easy to show up late and leave early.  It’s easy to skip the gym and say I will go tomorrow.  Gravity is naturally existing, just like the object being thrown off the building it is easy for it to fall to the ground, because it is naturally going to be pulled that way.  No force, no assistance is needed for this to take place.  It is no different from most things in life. No effort or no discipline is really necessary to spend freely on whatever you want to spend your money on.  No effort or no discipline is needed to sleep-in.  No effort and or no discipline is needed to stay at work and push things forward.  My advice for myself is and my advice for you if you have read this far. Whenever you have a natural pull towards what is easy.  Do whatever you can and go the other way.

To your success and your future.

3 Things I learned last week…2/1-7/2016

Change is coming: I witnessed this first hand last week.  It can happen to any of us.  We are blinded by our own habits, our own ways of doing things, our own processes, our own opinions, our own solutions, our own “you name it.”  I am sure you currently have your “own” set of whatever that makes you who you are, and it definitely drives everything that you do.  So what happens when we don’t see change coming?  Sometimes it comes out of the blue, but that is very rare.  Usually there is a building up phase that occurs.  For whatever reason you are not seeing it during that building up phase.  There are clues, but for some reason you are not paying attention to it.  And then lastly, when it does happen, THE CHANGE occurs, you have to either scurry and adopt to the change or make a decision to do something else.  Either one is a good solution for you depending on how and where you are in your life and your situation. Years ago, I learned this little statement.  “Change before you have to”.  When you finally make the change because you have to, it is usually too late.

I did the Math: It may sound a little morbid, but I did it anyway.  At times I find myself lacking some urgency.  At times I think I have more time to do it.  At times I think I can do it tomorrow.  So last week.  Yes it was my birthday week as well.  I did the Math on how many Sundays I could potentially have left in my life.  I calculated by my average life span (whatever that really is, who really knows) by 52 Sundays a year for those amount of years.  I got the number.  It is now in my head.  So what do I do with the number?  Well, since calculating it I have already used it to challenge me in a few different areas. I have already used to lay out some goals and some longer term plans, but most importantly the fact that I did it and I know the number it has made me walk even faster and attempt to accomplish much more.  It created some urgency like I have never had before and I consider myself a very intentional and urgent person.

Ability and Willingness:  Some people have all of the ability. They have all of the talent, the education, the training, the right environment, the right mentors, the right guidance, the right everything.  But for whatever reason that don’t have the willingness.  Willingness is three things:  Confidence, Desire, Incentive.  A leader’s job is to some how find the right people who have the ability and the willingness. They can do this through incentives, but these rarely work long-term. Sometimes the leader has to help a person find their desire so they will be more willing to attempt the desired outcome. This is where willingness can really take shape.  It is when a person has the desire within them to accomplish the necessary tasks and goals. However, sometimes no matter what a leader does the people involved may not be willing.  At this point change is not going to happen.  Let me ask you: Do you have the ability and the willingness to change?

To your success and your future.

3 Things I learned last week…1/25-31/2016

Experience alone doesn’t teach us anything.  Only when we evaluate our experiences do we actually learn from them.  My weekly blog post “3 Things I learned…” is exactly that.  It is my opportunity to evaluate the week before and say “What did I learn” or “What can I learn.”  I suggest you do the same, that is how we get wiser and learn from our experiences.  In some cases my lessons learned are from others and then a lot of time they are from my own actions.

Don’t second guess so much: Have you ever second guessed yourself?  You know what I mean.  You just keep questioning yourself.  You kind of have a feeling in your gut that this is the right way. Then you start saying to yourself “Is this the right way”, “What should I do”, “If I do this, what will the consequences be”.  As humans I think it is natural for all of us to do this.  And guess wha,  sometimes it can be good, depending on the situation and what the risks associated are with the decision and the people involved.  However, I believe that there are many times where we second guess too much and we don’t get anything accomplished.  Instead it stays the same and nothing happens.  At one time I will admit I would “shoot” and then “aim”.  Now I have gone the other way in some cases, and I “aim”, “aim”, “aim”, “aim”, “aim” and I never pull the trigger or when I do pull the trigger and shoot, it is too late, the opportunity is missed. Timing does matter, ask Napster founders.  I am not going to do anything crazy here, but I am going to go with my gut, and if my gut says shoot, I am going to shoot and shoot more often.

Am I the best I can be: There is something we all suffer from as humans.  That is, we give ourselves more credit than we deserve.  For example:  We think we are better drivers than we are, we think we are smarter than we are, we think we are better employees than we are, we think our jokes are funnier than they are, we think we are better leaders than we are, we think we are better communicators than we are.  I could keep going, but I won’t.  I know you don’t feel this way, haha.  But it is a reality that we are all faced with.  This is the value of having someone come in to our lives and give us a different perspective.  We all need coaching in our lives, but very few of us seek out coaching and rarely do we appreciate it when we get it unsolicited.

Systems work: I am in a new position as a leader.  This is fun and challenging at the same time.  It’s fun, because there are lots of new stuff that I haven’t done before.  It is challenging, because I inherited a team of people who have done it a certain way for so long.   Years ago, I was put in to this situation as well.  I was the person who had been around for a while and a new leader came on board.  And we had done it a certain way for so long. The new leader had a system that they had followed and it worked in those previous situations.  I could either trust the new system or not.  Either way it was my choice to make.  I chose to adopt the new system, because I knew the old system didn’t work.  I had the results to prove it.  So as I fast forward to my new position.  I am in the process of implementing the system I have developed throughout my career and my life. This system has been proven to work.  We have the results to validate it. So the chances are this system will work again because that is what good systems do, they work.  Develop a system and follow it.

To your success and your future.

3 Things I learned last week…1/19-24/2016

When given the opportunity most will choose the easy way: My mentor told me years ago this little gem.  That is: “What is Easy to do, is also Easy not to do”.  Being in leadership I have watched people on my teams do some interesting things just to avoid “doing”, what it is that needs to be done.  Does it take time to do it?  Absolutely it does.  Does it require effort?  Yes.  Does it require your focus? Yes.  Now what is interesting, is that almost anything that is worthwhile to pursue will require, time, effort, and focus.  So why wouldn’t you do it?  A different context for you.  It is easy to ignore your child’s bad behavior one time.  Or it is easy to not say something about your employee showing up late one time.  However, what happens when you choose not to address the issue at hand and the bad behavior becomes a habit overtime, and eventually your child becomes a juvenile delinquent that can’t be controlled. Or your employee becomes very unproductive and requires your company to miss a deadline on a major project and you lose that customer which represents 20% of your company’s revenue. Everything has consequences.  My advice is this: When you are thinking about doing it or not doing it?  If you have to think about it, it is probably best that you do it.

Tangents will kill your productivity: A tangent is described as a total different line of thought.  I was recently in a meeting where this team of managers were in the meeting to discuss one thing.  A very small issue that needed to be addressed now.  What happened in the meeting was that in the matter of an hour the group got off on no less than ten tangents.  Ten different topics other than the one that they needed to discuss.  Now let me be clear.  I am as guilty of this as the next person at times.  That is why I am writing this blog.  It holds me accountable to the words I write.  And by writing (typing) them I become more accountable to them. Tangents are killing your business. You must stop them now.  My goal is to become a tangent killer, and not a tangent creator.

Transparency is good, but TMI (Too much information) is just that:  We live in a world nowadays where being genuine is more appreciated than ever before.  I am sure being genuine has always been a quality people in general has wanted from others, but maybe it is just said more or we have more exposure to it because of social media and all the ways we receive information and communication. So where is the line between transparency (genuine, honest, real) and too much information (TMI).  Last week, I witnessed in person with a group of people, where someone revealed just a little too much information about themselves.  It wasn’t bad information and it was harmful.  However, it was a little too much for that setting at that time. How often have you seen someone do that?  My advice is to always go conservative in these cases.  You can always share more, but you can never share less. I have been guilty of this myself at times as well. However, there are consequences to sharing too much, too early.  Be cautious and be aware.  That is what is best.

To your success and your future.

3 Things I learned last week…1/11-17/16

Welcome to 2016 Brian:  Ok! I am sad to admit it.  I am a slow adopter to technology sometimes.  Sometimes I want the best immediately and sometimes I don’t really care.  Well, my girlfriend Jenn Logsdon introduced me to something that I have never paid any attention to… automatic bill pay.  If you are reading this, you are probably laughing at me right now.  Why I wasn’t utilizing this little feature before, I don’t know.  I have done the auto drafts and some of the other automated processes out there before.  However, for some reason I have never used the automatic bill pay feature through my bank.  I have learned that my life has become much simpler because of automatic bill pay.  I am a little old school.  There is something about writing out a check that makes me more accountable to my money.  Well, not anymore.  I am going with convenience now. Automatic bill pay is awesome. I am so glad I finally caught up to life. Thank you Jenn.

Sometimes you just have to endure some pain: In October of 2015 I started having some pain in my lower back and my hip.  This pain has lingered through today. I have taken some days off from running and tried to not put any pressure on that leg at times.  Instead of running, which is what I prefer to do, I use the elliptical.  When I do the elliptical I don’t have any pain. When I first started having the pain, I saw my doctor.  He said just stay off of it for a while and see what happens.  Well, I obviously can’t do that. Instead I went to a Chiropractor.  No luck with that.  Pain was and is still there.  I went to a Physical Therapist.  Yes, I still have the pain.  And now lastly, some 12 weeks later I have finally went and seen an Orthopedic Doctor.  He did some X-Rays and looked me over and said that there wasn’t anything wrong with my hip, and my pain was coming from my sciatica nerve.  He gave me some pills and sent me on my way. Long story short.  I have been running some since that meeting with the doctor.  I have some level of pain.  But I think it will get better.  It is not getting worse.  And that is what I have learned.  I am wired for making progress and accomplishments.  I have always been moving forward and doing something, especially when it comes to fitness.  I will just have to endure the pain for a while.  Life is like that as well.  When you want something bad enough you have to endure a little pain.

Always have a deadline: I am not sure I have written about this before.  However, it is something I know, and I must continue to hold myself  and others that I lead to as well.  Setting deadlines is critical. You just can’t allow things to be up in the air.  I know at times this annoys people.   Most people prefer things to be up in the air.  Then they can’t be accountable if it doesn’t get done. If you and I can get in a habit of setting deadlines for everything more success is sure to come my way and yours.  Last week, I assigned some tasks for myself and others on my team.  Some of them were accomplished and some were not.  This week my focus will be to attach a deadline to everything.  You should as well. 

To your success and your future.

3 Things I learned last week…1/4-10/2016

To be unclear is to be unkind:  I must give proper credit to one of my mentors Dave Ramsey.  I heard this statement/quote from him.  I have since adopted it.

In each of the last five years I have had a theme or even a word or two that would describe my focus for that year.  Last year it was net-worth.  Two years ago it was intentionality.  This year I have a few words and phrases that I am centering my goals and objectives around.  One such theme is this: To be unclear is to be unkind.  Why you ask did I chose this statement/quote?  A couple of reasons.  First: Our society is obsessed with being politically correct.  Whatever that means.  People just don’t call a spade a spade. I have been guilty of this as well.  Secondly, I have watched organizations rot from the inside out because the people within that organization were not clear and speak with candor.  Years ago, Jack Welch, who over the years I have written about quite a bit, said the same thing as Dave said.  Jack said it this way in his “six rules for success”.  “Be Candid”.  Jack lived his life this way.  If we aren’t clear with people they can’t get better. If we aren’t clear about the state of affairs, we aren’t facing reality as it is, which in turn means we can’t fix it.  Whether you are a leader, a sales person, a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a friend, a colleague, it is your responsibility to always be clear and candid with others.  You are serving them better with this approach.

I failed last week:  One of my goals in 2016 is to spend 15-30 minutes a day thinking.  Yep, thinking.  Not doing anything else.  I mean totally focused on getting away and not having any distractions that can prevent me from thinking.  I have only accomplished this goal a few times since 1/1 and it is now 1/11.  When I have the ability to do this, I always walk away from the session with a lot of benefits.  I have worked through major problems.  I have come up with better language on an issue I have to address. I have had an original thought that led to something bigger.  There is just so much value in this.  So I included this in my list this week, because it is now in front of mind again and will be a focus of mine this week.

Move faster:  Although you or I could make an argument for this on some occasions, I had to put it on the list anyway.  Through out my life I can’t think of very many times where I said I wish I would have “moved slower” on that decision.  I wish I would have thought it through more. I wish I would have investigated it more.  Nope, in many cases, it is usually the opposite.  I have gotten to the other side of decision or finally made a decision and said, “Why didn’t I do this sooner”.  I am taking this approach to 2016 and you should as well.  Lets move with purpose and conviction.  Our guts are usually right.  When your gut tells you something, make a move.  The chances are you will regret not doing something more than you will taking action and doing something.  Matter of fact there have been many times I hit publish on this blog and when I went back through it I said I wish I would have said this different or written that different.  But you know what? I will the next time.

To your success and your future.