Michael Jordan: The Life (What MJ has taught me)

I have read a dozen or so biographies of some of the most historic and prolific individuals that have contributed to our society.  I grew up watching Michael Jordan and I can remember the 1992 USA Olympic Team and my buddy Wes and I playing the Sega or maybe it was the Nintendo basketball game created from that team and the teams they played during those summer games.  The average margin of victory for the “real” team that summer was 30 points, I think our average margin of victory on the game console was more like 60 points.

We have all heard the many stories of Michael Jordan’s competitiveness and his intense pressure that he put on himself as well as his team mates.  But after reading this book, I have a new appreciation for Michael, not necessarily for what he accomplished.  We know what he accomplished and has accomplished, but I just really appreciate his “pursuit of excellence”.  He is truly a man who pursues excellence in everything he does.

Michael worked EXTREMELY HARD.  Michael was the first person at the gym in the morning and the last one to leave.  He is the best ever, but he still knew that he had to work hard to maintain being the best.

  • Where are you in your career?  You have to show up first and leave last, if you want to be the best.

Maybe you don’t like your boss, but if you are good (great) they will leave you alone.  I had heard the Michael and the General Manager Jerry Krause didn’t get a long.  However, even though Jerry was the boss, he gave Michael his space to do what he needed to do.

  • My advice to anyone is that you don’t have to love your manager or leader (it helps, but it isn’t necessary) but if you are really great at your job they will give you space to make things happen, just like Jerry did for Michael.

When others on the team weren’t giving it there all, Michael called them out.  Time after time the book tells stories of how Michael would challenge players in practice to give it their all, and if they didn’t they would get the scorn of Michael.

  • If you really care about the team and your company you have to not only give it your all, but it is your job and responsibility to make your other team mates give it their all.

There were no off days.  I knew Michael worked hard.  However, in the book there are countless stories of when the Bulls would come back from a series of games on the road, that players would be exhausted from the road trip and would attempt to not push too hard in practice, Michael refused to allow them to do this.  He would work even harder in practice and make them work as well.

  • Have you had a great day at work or maybe even a great week, and you think you can not push it as hard?  What would happen if you pushed hard all day everyday.

Don’t complain about the conditions, just play.  Before the Bulls had nice practice facilities and awesome resources for the players.  They shared an old gym at a community center.  It was old and not much there.  Michael took one look at the facility and threw his gym bag down and said lets play.

  • The conditions will never be perfect. However, your play can be, it’s up to you to change your attitude and just play.

Respect the chain of command.  There were many things that Michael may have disagreed  with over the years with coaches and with his general manager.  However Michael always respected the chain of command and never said things to media or others to discount their authority.

  • You can respect the chain of command by talking to your manager or your leader in person, never do it behind their back or to others on the team.

You have to give it your all even when you don’t feel like it. Yes, we have all heard about the Flu game.  Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals Michael was sick with the flu and ended up with the following stats. Jordan played 44 minutes, finishing the game with 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block

  • You are a professional and what if you approached your job this way everyday?  Now I know if you have the flu we don’t want you in the office getting everyone sick.  However, the point here is that there are times throughout the week, the month or the year, that you are needed.  Be there no matter what.

You can talk smack when you can back it up. I can’t even recall all of the stories in the book and the many players that were quoted for the book describing the language that Michael used to talk trash to them on the floor.  But Michael backed it up, play after play.  

  • If you are going to say your are the best, be able to back it up with results and evidence.

Be humble. Michael was one of the most dominant players to ever play the game.  However, he never put him self above the other players he held himself to the same standards as everyone else (even higher really) and never got too big for the game and fame, even though he could have.

  • You are never bigger than the team or the organization, remember that and always give appreciation to others for their contributions.

Be coachable. Michael was the best player of all time.  He knew it and everyone else knew it.  Michael was his own hardest critic.  However, he would still listen to the advice of his coaches and his fellow teammates on things that he could do better.

  • We are never perfect and we must be willing to be coached, learn, and get better.  Once you think you have it all figured out, you will never reach excellence.

Have fun even in the moment of intense practice and preparation.  Michael was one of the most intense and competitive athletes of all time, but there are countless stories of Michael joking and playing around in practice and in games once the task that needed to be complete was complete.

  • Once your job is complete, make time for cutting up and have fun.  However, only do this once the job is done.

I remember watching the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan during their run in the mid 1990’s, however, I didn’t know the man (Michael) the way I do now. I just knew how good he was on the court.   Michael hated losing more than he liked winning.  A loss in basketball, table tennis, golf or anything would just eat at him.  He hated losing, which pushed him to make sure that he won.

I have a greater appreciation for Michael and who the man is.  His daily pursuit of excellence and not settling for anything is amazing.  I would compare Michael’s style to that of the late Steve Jobs.  Jobs and Michael both believed in not doing anything half way, and always giving it their all. These two iconic figures both changed the world.  Michael transformed the NBA and the athletic shoe and apparel industry.  He helped Nike become the dominant force it is now.  Jobs created an entire industry and truly change the world.

Michael was definitely provided with great gifts such as height and athleticism, however, he focused on those gifts and developed and refined, practiced, and worked at them to become what he became and is now one of the most transformative figures of all time.

Define and develop your gifts that you have with the same approach as Michael did and what can you accomplish?

To your success and your future.



The opportunity is in the problems you solve

I have spoken with people about their own growth and development for years.  This to me is the starting point for a bigger job, a promotion, more money, more opportunities, etc.  You can’t get to the next level without some kind of development to get you there.  Some have been able to get all of the things I mentioned and others have not.   Why is this I wonder.  Could it be that the opportunities don’t exist?  Could it be that the fix is in, and no matter what they do it wouldn’t matter?  Could it be the leadership that they report to is not the kind of leadership that promotes growth and development for some reason?  Or is it just the person?  

A lot of variables to the questions I throw out.

Could it be the opportunities don’t exist? Maybe they don’t.  However, I have seen it over and over again.  And I think Jesus may have said it.  “Your talents will create a place for you.”  Throughout my career I have seen this many many times.  A position is created for a person that has many skills and talents in a particular area.

Could it be that the fix is in, and no matter what they do it wouldn’t matter? Could it be the leadership that they report to is not the kind of leadership that promotes growth and development for some reason?  I think it all begins with your ability to show that you bring so much value to your current job and everything that is included in that job that your managers believe that you could serve in a higher position with more responsibility, to help them achieve the bigger goals of the department and organization.  I have seen it over and over again, that the good leaders (Yes Leaders not Managers) look for talent and develop it.  If they see it, they will find a way to maximize the potential of the talent.  So to answer the above questions for yourself, is it you or is it them.  You have to do an honest assessment of yourself and your situation.

Lastly, Is just the person. Yes you.  Answer, you have to ask yourself that question.  As I mentioned above, how much value do you bring.  I have heard it said like this.  The greater the problem that you can provide a solution to, has a direct correlation to the money and opportunities presented to you.  Example:  The problem:  Having software on a personal computer that everyone could have access to.  Solution:  Microsoft Windows.  Big Problem, Big Solution.  Great riches.  Problem:  Men/Women feeling better about their appearance when wearing certain clothes.  Solution:  SPANX.   This was a big problem for a lot of people and it was solved by this particular product.    

So how big is the problem that your skills and abilities provide a solution to?

To your success and your future.



How to get others to follow your lead

Whether you are a parent, a spouse, a sales person, a colleague, a leader, a subordinate, you name it, you are constantly seeking to have influence over others.   What I have found in the corporate environment as well as with my personal relationships, when I follow the following acronym I am much more influential.

Today, follow some of the below statements and see how it works for you.  See if you get a different outcome than you would have previously by following a different method.

Also, as always I appreciate your feedback on any post I have.

I      nitiate meaningful conversations through asking questions
N     ever be critical of yourself or another person
F      ind common ground and points of agreement
L      isten more than you talk
U     nderstand the other persons point of view
E     ncourage people through appreciation and recognition
N     urture relationships through trust and respect
C     onnect by remembering and using a persons name
E     arnestly believe that the other person seeks the same results you do.

To your success and your future.

How to get promoted on the job

I work with lots of people who ask me all of the time “How do I get promoted”.

Here is a solid game plan to get promoted or to make more money in your position.  I have seen this work many, many, many times over and over in my career as well as many others.

Get to work one hour earlier.  What is the old saying?  The early bird gets the worm.  Yes this is true.  When you get to work earlier than everyone else something  magic happens.  You don’t have any distractions and research shows that you can do three hours worth of work in one hour when you don’t have any distractions.

Work through your lunch hour.  I am not saying don’t eat.  But don’t leave the office.  Again, when everyone is leaving for the hour, you can stay back and get things done by maximizing your un-interrupted time.

Stay one hour later.  Yep.  Why not, the traffic is bad anyway.  By staying one hour later you again get the uninterrupted time.

Lastly, my advice as a manager for many years.  Don’t tell your boss, colleagues, etc. how much you work if you implement the above schedule.  They will see you, you don’t have to tell them.  They know.  And your results will show as well.

What if there are no opportunities to get promoted?  Do you want to earn more money?  The above is a sure-fire way to earn more money as well.  The more value you bring to the marketplace the more money someone is willing to pay for your services.  You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.  The more value you bring to one hour of work, the more someone will pay you for that hour.

Personal note here:  I know how much I make an hour and you do as well.  My goal and a solid goal for you should be to multiply that rate by 10 times your current hourly rate.  What if we did that?  What would that do for us?  That is my goal.  Those who say it can’t be done are the ones watching the ones doing it.  Lets go out and do it.  I know we can.

To your success and your future.


Hot Button Marketing “Push the Emotional Buttons that get People to Buy.”  This is the ninth book I have read this year on sales and marketing.  What I liked most about this book is that it really gave a lot of examples of how effective marketing works.  Also, as a trainer I have been training people on finding the dominant reason a person wants to purchase something, and this book really expands on this concept and fleshes out a lot of great information regarding this subject.

These are my notes from this book (which are my highlights) I attempt not to highlight the entire book, I sometimes do it seems like.

  • People don’t buy products and services.  They buy satisfactions of unmet needs.
  • People buy for the desire to look good for a boss, the desire for achievement, the desire for power and dominance.
  • People rarely buy products, they are buying fulfillment.
  • People buy for two reasons. 1. The rational Reason  2.  The real reason
  • Hit the heart and the head will follow. Rocky Marciano  This works in business to.
  • If you can’t sell your products in a single sentence, you really don’t have an effective selling proposition.
  • Consumers are usually not aware of their needs unless you show them a stimulus, that is: they aren’t aware of a need for a product unless you show them the product and how its going to affect their lives emotionally.
  • How does your product improve the consumers life emotionally?
  • You’re not marketing against consumers.  You’re helping them fulfill a need.
  • The frustrating part is that consumers don’t need or want anything until you hit the right sales note.
  • People didn’t know they wanted a machine that baked bread.  Why?  because the store-bought stuff was pretty good.  But then a bread maker was sold.  People latent need for self achievement (hot button) rose to the surface. The bread makers loved the need that people have to create something.
  • It’s not how a consumer see him or herself in reality.  Its how they see themselves as they aspire to be.
  • A CEO has two hot buttons.  A family and a need for approval from stockholders or a board.
  • Nice to have —-Want to have.  turn these in to must to haves.
  • Consumers use products to achieve the characteristics they envision for themselves.
  • In all countries wealth is a symbol of status. It doesn’t matter that wealth is measured in dollars, the number of cows you have, real-estate, car,.  This hot button depends on age, ethnicity and background.
  • Values systems may differ, but the hot buttons remain the same.
  • Needs are nonnegotiable.  You want them now. No ifs, ands, or buts.  Needs are who we are or what we aspire to be. They are fundamental and necessary to all human satisfaction.
  • Interests are roadmaps for our needs.
  • Starbucks is selling community and companionship and prestige.
  • People who are lower on the social ladder often prefer tangible goods rather than services that only have abstract benefits.  Their hot buttons are often about being smarter and getting the most that one can get for the money.
  • Hot button selling is all about selling to the consumers aspirations.  It’s about selling to the way consumers want to be, rather that the way they are.
  • As a hot button marketer, you are an enabler selling products and services that enable consumers to be what they aspire to be.
  • Hot button research seeks to thoroughly understand the unspoken motives and beliefs held by a customers and prospects in regard to a brand, product, or service.
  • Here is where we go wrong:  We think we know why customers want what they do.  Customers usually don’t know, so how can we.
  • Ninety percent of a sales pitch should be you asking questions.
  • Engage the five senses as much as you can in any sell.

#1:  Hot Button,  The desire for control:

  • Control is one of the strongest Hot buttons.  People want to make their life better. Loss of control is synonymous with a  fear of the unknown.
  • People want control over finances, health, safety and health over loved ones, our own acquisitions, our jobs, our self-respect and the respect of others.
  • The longer people wait of for something, the less control they have (or perceive they have) over it.
  • Control over ones destiny is what drives the at home business phenomenon.
  • How many times have you heard this:  Would you bu willing to cut out a pack of cigarettes or s ingle dinner out each week to be able to afford this home or car.  Reducing a financial picture to the lowest denominator is a great sales technique.  People want to feel like they can control their finances.  This makes it seem like they can.
  • Companies like control as well.  They prefer to stay with suppliers they can trust rather than shopping around.  They feel like they are in control.

#2 Hot Button,  I’m better than you:

  • It is a reflection of your consumers desire to belong or fit in.
  • The desire for higher status is universal across all people and cultures.
  • People are willing to pay dearly to enhance themselves in the eye of their peers.
  • Vodka is neutral and tasteless. Yet research sows that consumers–especially in lower-income areas will go for the name brand in spite of high price.
  • Cost is an essential part of the prestige factor.  The more expensive the better.
  • People wont admit that they buy a product on status appeal.  As with most hot buttons, consumers aren’t aware that they are buying products based on snob appeal.

#3 Hot button,  The excitement of discovery

  • Discovery is something learn or found–it includes both the new and unexpected.

#4  Hot button,  Revaluers

  • Revaluers are a segment of the market that is self motivated, self-directed, and self focused.
  • Don’t sell to them, Allow revaluers to make their own purchasing decisions.
  • Revaluers are a mixture of regret and anticipation.
  • Revaluing hot button is responsible for the rise in health and beauty care products.
  • Revaluers are more into self enjoyment rather than self achievement.
  • Theres a new kind of store in town.  A health food store.  Where you get to pay twice as much for the same products they can find in a super market.
  • Revaluers focus more on the experience of buying a product rather than the products.  Whole Foods is an experience.

#5 Hot button, Family Values:

  • The hottest of hot buttons
  • Disney World and the entire Disney brand sells family values
  • according to the book Why they Buy, by Robert Settle and Pamela Alreck, only one in twenty families fits the bill of a single marriage, two parent, two children household.
  • Family Values are the key to selling houses.
  • Children affect over 60 percent of the families market purchases. The trick is to find which 60 percent they do impact.
  • Kids look up to older kids.  To be like the big kids is an essential kid like desire.
  • Smoking cessation programs sometimes include kids at introductory meetings because research has shown that kids are the biggest motivators to get prints to stop smoking.

#6 Hot button,   The desire to Belong

  • People are social animals.  Emotional connections are critical.
  • We all long to be accepted.  This need to belong is all wrapped up in our sense of personal and physiological well-being and our sense of personal worth.
  • Athletes when they retire never talk about their accolades that they will miss.  It is always about the camaraderie in the locker room that they will miss.  Being with the others.
  • The strongest affinity associations is based on age.
  • People will belong to clubs or organizations to fill this need.  They will wear certain decals or logos for this reason.  To belong.

#7 Hot Button,  Fun is its own reward

  • We all have a desire to laugh and have fun, it is universal.
  • Newspapers offer comic strips because people have a desire to laugh and to be entertained.
  • People have a fear of boredom.  People want to be stimulated.
  • Most sales are made when the sales people take the clients out.  The feeling people get when they have fun is more important than the product.  People want to have fun.
  • More deal are done on the golf course than in the boardroom.

#8 Hot button,   Poverty of Time

  • Consumers have more time than ever before, but they tend to use all the time they have.
  • Geicos commercial give us 15 minutes and we can save you money was huge for them.  All you need is 15 minutes to save cash.  People will spend 15 minutes to save money.
  • Saving time is one of the biggest motivators for men and women ages 25-45.  Especially women of child-bearing years.
  • Humans are the only animals that will procrastinate.  A cat won’t look at a mouse and say I’ll annoy you later”  They do things as they come up.

#9 Hot button,  The need to get the best that can be got

  • This is not only luxury, it is as people move up their tastes change as well.
  • Coveting the goods of your neighbors used to be hot.  Now with reality television and marketing, people covet what the rich and famous have.
  • Harley Davidson motorcycles have a tendency to breakdown, but people still covet them.  Same as jaguars.
  • People get an emotional high out of buying the quintessential product.  Sometimes the product itself is not that great, they enjoy the buying of it though.
  • Self satisfaction is most important to this person since it fulfills a private dream and the reward is inner gratification.
  • The best that can be got is beyond money, beyond power, it is a feel good thing.

#10 Hot Button,  Self Achievement

  • Self achievement is a major goal for people.  Find out what the deepest desire for your product is.
  • Business psychologists know that as adults we seek praises from our bosses as much as we seek a good paycheck.
  • People always want to become better.
  • Feeling good is the heart of success.  It’s the ultimate in self achievement and success.
  • Feeling Good is the ultimate psychological need of any human being.
  • The strongest word in the human language is a personas name.  The second strongest is you.
  • Personal growth is important to everyone. You just have to find out what that is.

#11 Hot Button,  Sex, Love, And Romance

  • Ads focused on primal instincts works faster especially for men.
  • The desire to love and to be loved is a strong hot button
  • Sexual interest and romantic interest are two of the most basic emotions.
  • Sex can be explicit or implied.  Men want explicit and women want more subtle images.

#12 Hot button, The nurturing response

  • Make Mom and Dad the hero not the product
  • This hot button is about the need to give care, comfort, growth, and support to others.
  • Nurturing is an innate, instinctive emotional response in most of us.
  • Good will industries is a great example.  People want to feel like they are giving back to poor people.  However, Goodwill industries is a for profit company.  But they use the nurturing appeal well in their marketing.
  • Girl Scout cookies plays to this hot button.
  • Michelin tires and the baby sitting in a tire.  Why wouldn’t you buy a Michelin tire to protect your child.

#13 Hot button, Reinventing Oneself

  • Reinvention can happen at almost any age.
  • Most often people don’t change unless thy are uncomfortable.
  • Dissatisfaction with who people think they are, their role in life, or economic dissatisfaction forces people to take inventory of themselves. They want to fix it.

#14 Hot Button, Make me smarter

  • Half of knowledge is knowing where to find it.
  • Knowledge is an innate desire for humans.
  • People want to think they are smart
  • People want to know more than their peers, neighbors, and friends,
  • Knowledge brings a feeling of empowerment and enables consumers to make better buying decisions.

Does your product do one of these things for people?  How many of these does your product do for your customer? 

  • Entertain
  • To make better choices
  • To improve ones life
  • To keep ones mind occupied
  • To learn something new
  • To keep ones mind sharp
  • To improve mental efficiency
  • To hope
  • To build self-confidence
  • To find out something new
  • To discover alternate plans that can be followed when Plan A doesn’t work.

#15 Hot button,  Power, dominance, and influence

  • Personal Power and positional power
  • Wealth is equated with power.
  • In middle management you sell by whats in it for the middle manager (secondarily the company).  It could be a promotion, more money, or an in to more power. It’s up to the sales person to make the middle managers look good
  • Middle managers tend to buy things that increase their personal dominance and may help them look good to higher-ups.  Upper management usually wants products that are good for the company, because in their minds they are the company.

#16 Hot Button,  Wish Fulfillment

  • Find out what your prospects want and how to fit that into their dreams.  Help them get what attainable.
  • The advertising industry exploits wish-fulfillment by suggesting an association of their product with a specific desire (good health, attractiveness, or power)
  • Sell the results of the dream not the dream itself.

The most common wishes are for friends, happiness, health, marriage, money, success, self-improvement, and to help other people.  More men than women wanted sex and power.  More women wanted happiness, a better appearance, and greater health.

Some of the hot buttons, like status, nurturing, and dominance, are primal and are shared with our cousins in the animal world.  Some are distinctly human, such as control and self achievement.  Most of our physical needs are met, but not our psychological needs.  As humans our minds and emotions are the most difficult to discern.  Good sales people get past the facades and break down the psychological wants and needs.

If you are in sales or marketing I would encourage you to read this book.

Hot Button Marketing (Push the emotional buttons that get people to buy); author Barry Feig


40 hours is the starting line

This morning I was listening to the recorded version of the Dave Ramsey show like I do every morning.  In all his wisdom (which is why I listen) he said to someone who called in that they had competing goals.  I believe the caller was asking if her husband should go back to school or they should pay off debt.  I can’t remember the full context of the story.  However, Dave talked about competing goals and gave a few illustrations of what competing goals look like.

Maybe your goal is to grow within your company.  But you also want to spend more time with your family.  We have some competing goals here don’t we.  So what do you do?  Life is full of seasons.  You may be in a season right now where you have to pay now so you can play later.  Nothing in life is forever, seasons come and go. Summer is almost over and it will soon be fall, so seasons constantly change.   

You can’t get ahead by working 40 hours.  The bottom line is 40 hours is basically the starting line.  What you do after that first 40 hours is what will lead to success.  I have seen it, witnessed it, and experienced it.  So what is your goal?  

Yesterday I was talking to a good friend of mine. He likes to play golf, he is a big time golfer and is really good at golf.  However, in our weekly accountability meeting we discussed the fact that he doesn’t have much time for golf right now because his goal is to sacrifice now, so it will pay later.  He made his decision and even though one of his goals is to maintain being really good at golf.  What is more important right now is putting in 60 hours a week in work, training, education, etc. So he can feed his family and prep for his future desires. Which is even more important. After 40 Hours is where his real work begins.

Competing goals.  In the pursuit multiple high priority goals, one is diluted.  You can’t serve two masters. Pick a goal, pursue it, and don’t look back.  I say this many times: The reason I write/blog is for my own accountability.  I have competing goals right now in my life and career.  I have to find more focus, pick a major goal and stick with it.

Remember life is full of seasons.  Just like a baseball player, basketball player, or football player, the more seasons we have the closer we get to greatness.  Athletes during their season don’t do anything else except focus on the goal, which is a championship.  We should do the same.

What is your definition of championship?  Is it a promotion?  If so, it is time to focus on the season you are in or need to be in and pursue that goal.

What season are you in

You know the longer I am in business and in life, I find that this is more true.

  • The second mile, the third mile, and fourth miles are really not that crowded.  The crowd thins out the longer you run.
  • During the week at the office.  The one hour or the two hours before everyone is supposed to start work is really not the crowded either.
  • Saturday mornings at the office you don’t have to worry about the coffee pot getting emptied very quickly.
  • By February of a new year, you can usually get back to your favorite machine during the time you go to the gym.
  • There are usually not traffic jams past 6:30 pm during the workweek. Probably closer to six depending on where you live.
  • Most volunteer organizations struggle with attendance at events they hold.
  • Most diets fail within the first seven days.

I could probably create a more exhaustive list than this, but you get the point.  Most people aren’t willing to pay the price for success.  The natural gravitation pull is down.  I think we can all agree that down is usually associated with easier and less challenging.  If that is true, then we have to find ways to rise up and push up so we can realize the benefits of success.  Success has a price tag.  Are you willing to pay the price for success.

Remember life is full of seasons.  Seasons don’t last forever.  Summer is not 8 months out of the year.  Winter is only a few months.  So investing the time and resources for a season  has the potential to pay off big time.  What season are you in?

What are you willing to do this week to pay the price for success?


Work, Play, and Deliberate Practice

I have learned, in some cases the hard way, that you can’t see the entire field when you are playing the game. Why do you think coaches are so vital for success in any activity. They help you see the things you can’t. A good coach helps you see the rest of the field, the court, or whatever it is.  They can bring an objective viewpoint to the situation that you can’t see because you are too close or you can’t see because you are engaged in the activity at that time.

I was introduced to the 10,000 hour rule by Malcolm Gladwell in his book titled “Outliers” (The story of success).  In his book Gladwell talks about Anders Ericsson’s extensive research on how to become an elite performer in anything you must devote at least 10,000 hours to this venture.  After reading this years ago, and being reintroduced to it here recently, I have read the research conducted by Ericsson and his team that validates or substantiates the 10,000 hour rule.  The data is pretty convincing and based on the research I can conclude through my own experiences that this 10,000 hour rule is pretty close to being exact.

When involving yourself in any activity you have three options.  You can work at it, play, or have deliberate practice towards tis activity.

Working. When you are working at something, you are working and motivated by some kind of extrinsic motivators.  Such as money, fame, accolades, recognition, winning, etc.  Which means you don’t have time to actually think and fix any mistakes you make while working on this activity.  For example: If I get paid to deliver a speech.  I am not practicing and fixing words, I am just delivering.  I can’t fix or rethink any of what I want to, regardless if I want to or not. Another example:  A baseball player.  They get anywhere from 3-7 at bats per game.  When they are at bat they are just playing, they are not working to get better.  Work alone will not allow you to become elite at any activity, unless you do a lot, and you will not be very good for most of that time.  To be great you must have both work and deliberate practice to be truly elite.

Playing.  When you are engaged in activity for play, you are not working to get any better or improve techniques, you are just playing for the fun of it.  This is fine and is required, but there is only one way to get better and improve your performance.

Deliberate practice.  This is when you deliberately practice and work on enhancing the skills and competencies you understand while pursuing areas of your skills for a desired activity that you are not very good at it.  Which means you are consciously practicing for improved performance.  A more comprehensive approach to deliberate practice is to have a coach, mentor, teacher, etc. that actually helps you to work in each of the areas that make up the activity in which you are engaged. This is when and only when you can improve performance.

After much research on this topic I am convinced that most people (I see it daily) prefer and spend most of their time and approach in life, in the area of work when it comes to an activity.  Which means they are practicing while they are working, they don’t do anything outside of that to improve performance.  They think or believe that their performance will improve by the fact that they are practicing while they are working. I guess it kind of reminds me of “practice what you preach” which means don’t say something that you don’t do yourself.

I personally see this in leadership quite often.  They say “I am a leader” I inspire others I empower others, I recognize others, so I must be a great leader.  This is one piece of the equation of good leadership, but the other piece of leadership is coaching for improved performance and the only way to increase a person’s performance is by helping them enhance their own skills on the job, as well as in their life. Someone once said that leaders help a person see something in themselves that they don’t or can’t see.  That goes back to coaching, doesn’t it?  We can’t fix what we can’t see.  Leaders must be willing to push themselves in their activities to become better.  They must have a coach. They can’t push others to get better, when they are not doing it themselves.

Who is coaching you to improve your performance?  Who is helping you see the entire field?  The big question is this, ARE you coachable?  Or do you already know it all? That is the problem I see with most people.  They already know it all! How can you help me?  When you think you know it all, you have failed.

I am currently coaching clients in the areas of goal setting, sales training, leadership, and career progression. If you would like access to some of the free resources I have please email me directly at bwillett555@gmail.com

Brian Willett

Game Changers do this

What is a game changer?  The first use of this term (according to google, so it must be right?) was in 1993.  The definition:  a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way.

Most people want to be Game Changers.  Here are some things that game changers do to ensure they can change the game.

1.  They realize they must change first.  WHOA!  Why wouldn’t this be true? How can you change anything if you aren’t willing to change yourself.

2.  They position themselves in the right environment. We all here about game changing things.  Lets all think back to the 1990’s and how the internet changed the game.  Sometimes environmental factors allow us to facilitate game changing incidents. Game changers realize that they must position themselves in the right environment where game changing things can occur.

3.  Compare. Game Changers don’t compare themselves to others. Why would you?  Since most people are average, doing average things, game changers know that they must be different and they won’t compare themselves to others, because their standard is higher.

4.  Don’t worry about others.  Game changers don’t think about what others are doing.  They don’t care.  They are too busy to care.  They are too busy to even look at what others are doing, much less have time to think about it.

5.  Practice.  We all know what Game Changers are in the world of sports.  They can be inserted into a game at any time and they have instant impact on the game. Do you think that happens by accident?  Nope, it doesn’t.  They practice every day to be able to discipline themselves to perform that way when it matters. Game changers practice until it is built into their muscle memory.

6.  Lead.  Yes game changers are leaders.  They don’t lead by title, they lead by influence. Which means they are doing what others won’t do.  They add value to others because they have added value to themselves first. I work and have worked with lots of people who just manage and in some cases they don’t do that very well.  But leading requires initiative, leading requires vision, leading requires excellence.

Are you a game changer?  Do you want to be?  Which of the points do you need to work on?

Brian Willett


Are you EAGER?

As a hiring manager potential candidates that want to work for our company ask me “What are you looking for in an employee?”  I have written about this subject a lot, but I have narrowed it down to something that is easy to remember and illustrates exactly what we are looking for when we hire someone.

We are looking for people who are EAGER.  The dictionary describes EAGER a few different ways, but the definition I like best is “very excited and interested: feeling a strong and impatient desire to do something or for something.”

I love acronyms (because it makes it easy to remember) what does an EAGER person who has a strong desire to do something and is very excited and interested look like?

They are:

E  ngaged:  We all know when people get engaged they are committing to each other that they plan on being together and taking the next steps to marriage.  An engaged employee is committed.  That means they are committed to being in the relationship between themselves and the company.  What this should mean is that they will do no harm, speak no harm, be fully committed 100% to the success of the company, and care about where it is going and their involvement in that direction. Sounds kind of like a marriage doesn’t it?

A ction Oriented: An employee that is eager is without a doubt action oriented.  They not only talk, but they put up.  They talk the talk and walk the walk.  They get things done.  They push things forward.  A person who is action oriented looks at a situation and then develops a plan to take action and follows through.

G  oal Oriented:  A person who is eager realizes to be excited and passionate they must set goals and have a desire to achieve those goals.  The kinds of goals they set are personal goals, health goals, and career goals.  Show me a person who isn’t eager and I will show you a person with no goals.  Goals push us to be more so we can become more and accomplish more.  Some people wish for things, and while those people are wishing, the people who are goal oriented and action oriented are achieving.

E  xcellence:  If you are looking to work with my team, you must get up every day and pursue excellence.  Excellence means you are not merely trying to do the minimal, you are trying to do more.  Average people do average work, talk about average things, and watch the clock, keep track of their hours, and count the days.  The ones who pursue excellence look at each day and say, I won’t stop until I accomplish what needs to be accomplished to push us forward and achieve our goals.

R  esourceful:   I love the definition of resourceful on the web. def:  having the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties.  WOW!  These are the people I want to be around. Resourceful people find ways to get things done, they don’t complain about the wind, the weather, or give all of the excuses, they find a way to make things happen.  And I like how the definition of resourceful states that they find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties. Which means these people are solution finders and not fault finders.  WHOA!  Fault finders is a blog topic all within itself.

So are you EAGER?  Please share with me your insights!  What does EAGER look like to you?

Brian Willett