My Favorite thing to do

This morning I am doing something that is by far my most favorite thing to do.  I am going to sit down and talk to someone about their desires for growth and development.  This person has taken it upon themselves to become more educated on how to grow and develop a career and a life that they want.  I get to ask lots of questions and I will listen to their story.  I love listening to other people’s story, (it is more interesting than mine, I know mine already.)

What is interesting about this meeting, is it stemmed from a class that I recently conducted with a group of about 20 people.  What is really interesting about that, is they are 1 of 20 people who actually followed up and asked for a meeting.  Does that make them different?  Yes it does actually, a lot different considering they are 1 of 20.  Meaning 19 other people didn’t do it.   I want to be around people who are different, that are seeking to get better and go above and beyond to be successful.  I like different.

I don’t have all of the answers, I am just a seeker like they are.  I have a few things I do well, but I will be learning from them just as they are learning from me.

My mentor told me that inspiration begins with education.  I know this is true, because the more educated I have become the more inspired I have become.  I am just trying to figure it all out though.  So as a friend and a colleague, my plan is always to educate someone. We don’t know until we know.  And once we know that can change the whole trajectory of our entire life.  So maybe I will say something in a way that they haven’t heard it before, or through our conversation they will say something that I have never heard before.

Here is what I do know.  I like to be around inspired people.  They just have more fun and say things and add things of value to my life.  They are a lot more fun to talk to, than the uninspired.

So as I prepare my thoughts and goals for today, I know that I am truly blessed because I get to do one of my favorite things to start my day.

Brian Willett

Before or After work

I have had some what of a revolutionary discovery for my self. Almost three years ago, I decided to start doing my workouts (gym time) in the morning, instead of the evening.  When I did this I also started a more intentional growth plan for myself, that included reading something every day for at least 30 minutes. Now some three years later I have discovered that I am much more productive with my “before work” time than I ever was or am, with my “after work” time.

Here is what my after work time would consist of three years ago. Get up at 6:30 or 7:00 am.  Go to work.  Get off work somewhere between 5-6.  Go to the gym.  Get finished with that around 7-7:30.  Go home and cook dinner and watch the O”Reilly factor and Sean Hannity between 8-10.  Or some sporting event that would be on.  Also, with my schedule and line of work, you never really know what will come up through out the day or when you will actually get off of work.  So on some days the workout would get canceled or not be a priority.  Or happy hour would be so appealing after a long day of work that I could easily be persuaded to attend that instead of the workout.

Through this discovery of intentional growth I stumbled upon the great Benjamin Franklin’s quote “Early to bed, Early to Rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”  

I can honestly say that when I made this change some three years ago.  I really did it out of commitment to getting my work out completed.  It has now become a way of life for me.  Over these three years, I have seen my growth and development go to places I would have never thought they could go, just by being intentional about it.  I have seen my health and wellness and commitment to my health soar, and my wealth, I’ll just say I am on a good path.  I have become a better employee to my company because I am a better person to myself.  Because I am focused on development in the morning when I am fresh, it makes me a person that can bring more ideas and vigor to the workplace.  

Andrew Carnegie states that most people have 3 parts to a day.  You have Work, Sleep, and your spare time.  What you do in spare time will determine your success.  You can use your spare time to watch reality television (I have been there and done that), or watch the next American Idol winner (I never really go into that), watch the 24 hour news cycle, or you can do something productive.  The time in the morning before work I am much more productive, focused, and committed, plus there are no distractions.  If you work off shifts, like 2nd or 3rd.  The same rules apply.  Get up earlier and do the things that will make you a  better person and employee before you go to work.

My goal now is to see how much time I can create before I go to work.  How early is too early, we will see.

Brian Willett

5 Super-small book summaries

Super small summaries of my last five books that I read!

Title: Tribes; author: Seth Godin

  •  Find your tribe and cater to them and to only them. All tribes need an influencer, you can be that influencer. #leadership

Title:  Crazy Busy (A Mercifully short book about a really Big Problem); author: Kevin Deyoung

  •  We all live a busy life.  We must make a plan and prioritize our hours in the day, plan your time with your family, and plan time for God. #prioritymanagement

Title: Flow (The Psychology of optimal experience); author: Milhaly Csikszentmihalyi

  • To experience flow one must set goals for ones actions to win a game, to make friends with a person, to accomplish something in a certain way. The goal in itself is usually not important what matters is that it focuses a persons attention and involves it in an achievable, enjoyable activity. #inthezone

Title:  Purple Cow (Transform your business by being remarkable); author: Seth Godin

  • The best marketing book on how to be unique and create a memorable experience for your customers. A simple guide to be different in business. #beawesome

Title: The Little Big Things (163 Ways to Pursue Excellence); author: Tom Peters

  • Excellence isn’t a sometime thing, it is an always thing.  You must pursue excellence in everything you attempt to do in business, leadership, customer service, sales, and all aspects of business and in life. #excellence

Brian Willett

It’s going to be a good day…

Today we wrap up an eight week sales course that I have been the lead instructor for.  It is a really cool day for me, because at the end of this class today I will now be a certified Dale Carnegie Instructor.  What a long road it has been to get here.  I am excited that I have finally completed the instructor training process, but at the same time I am sad that this class is now over.

I plan on closing today with this group and sending them off with their new acquired skills and knowledge with the philosophical view of the 10,000 hour rule.  The 10,000 hour rule states that to be an expert in a field you must devote at least 10,000 hours to that trade or skill.  The premise is that you can only devote about 3 hours or so a day to a skill at maximum efficiency and focus.  So if you devote that much time to something for 7 days a week. that is roughly 21 hours a week.  Then times that 21 X 52 (weeks in a a year) = 1,092 and then times that by 10 (10 years) it is 10,920 hours.

For example:  To be an NBA basketball player.  Most people start playing when they are about five or so.  But they don’t start getting coached at a high level until they reach high school in most cases.  So by the time they reach high school (4 years of organized coaching) and then college (4 years of organized coaching) they have accumulated about 10,000 hours of time to that skill.  The 10,000 hour rule doesn’t work unless you have a coach to help you work in the areas of which you need help.  How long does it take to become a doctor.  4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and then you become specialized in a  certain discipline of medicine.  So when you add it all up, it is more than 10 years.

So my fellow colleagues and class participants will have had about 32 hours of focused discipline, practice, and effort on learning a processed selling skill set.  So for them to become experts on selling they will need a lot of practice and a lot of coaching.  Some of them will leave the class and say “Whew” I am glad that is over, I will get back to what I have always done.  Some of them will have taken away a few nuggets and they will start applying them and have already started applying them since the course began.  Some of them will put the manual on the shelf and never pick it up again. Some will look at the manual every now and then.  Some will embrace it and become an expert in it.

I am going to challenge the class participants with this:  There are 4 ifs to life and life can be worthwhile if:

Life is worthwhile if you try:  Why wouldn’t you at least try something.  Give it a shot.

Life is worthwhile if you learn:  I have discovered life is a lot more fun and lot more opportunities come my way, the more I learn.

Life is worthwhile if you care:  Man, if you don’t care, nothing much can really happen.

Life is worthwhile if you stay:  The 10,000 hour rule represents this, if you just stay dedicated and focused to something, life is worthwhile.  Ask Tiger Woods, ask Michael Jordan, ask Bill gates, Ask Steve Jobs.  They all stayed.

A few simple rules…

I was recently speaking to a person who was new to their company.  This person asked me to advise them on what they can do to grow within the company.  I don’t think I said anything earth shattering to them.  It was really just a few basic rules that worked for me, I have seen them work for others, so I am sure they would work for them.

  • Work hard
  • Get in early and stay late
  • Don’t count how many days you worked or how many weekends you have worked.
  • Don’t bring your life into work.
  • Love what you are doing or quit.
  • Volunteer for everything
  • Be intentional
  • Speak up
  • Seek solutions to problems, don’t be an habitual problem finder with no solutions.
  • Get along with your colleagues, peers, and your boss.
  • Walk away from the water cooler talk.
  • Work on yourself harder than you do on your job.  The better your attitude and skills are, the better you are as an employee.
  • Do what others aren’t willing to do. This is how you get noticed.
  • Set your goals with a time line.
  • Get your job done and be able to ask for more to do.
  • Have the right attitude.
  • Show how you can help others do their job.
  • Be grateful

The above are rules that must be done everyday.  They are not a sometimes thing, or when I feel like it thing.  They are an everyday thing.  The rules are more of an attitude, a way of life than anything else.

Brian Willett

 

 

 

What Ground Hog Day taught me

Have you ever watched the movie Ground Hog Day? In June 2008, AFI revealed its “Ten top Ten”—the best ten films in ten “classic” American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Groundhog Day was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the fantasy genre.– Wikipedia.  Culture and society now reference bad situations that keep repeating themselves as “Groundhog day.”  So this movie has had a major impact on our society.

A quick overview of the movie: It’s about a meteorologist named Phil Connors (Bill Murray).  He is kind of a Scrooge, mizer, ego-maniac kind of guy.  He is really self-centered and focused on himself.  Phil (Bill Murray’s character) a meteorologist is sent to cover the story and festivities of Ground Hog day located in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  Phil wakes up the morning of Groundhog Day in a bed and breakfast and meets his colleagues at the park where the festivities take place.

The movies centers around Phil repeating this same day over and over for most of the movie.  But what happens during the movie is pretty neat.  He starts out as the person I described above.  Once he repeats the day a few times he then selfishly tries to capitalize on it by taking advantage of the situation. One example is that he asks a lady he meets a series of questions and uses the data to create a connection that he uses to his advantage.  He also does that with his co-worker who much of the movie later centers around.  He then has a hopelessness about him and tries killing himself, of which he does by running off a cliff in a truck and dropping a toaster in the bathtub.  Again, each time he wakes up the on the same day at the same time with the same music on the alarm clock.

What happens though is he eventually realizes that he is stuck in this day and decides to do something good with this opportunity.  So he starts to take piano lessons, he learns ice carving, he learns foreign languages.  A child falls out of the tree and he makes sure he is there each day at that time to catch him.  Phil actually makes a reference to the kid, that he has never once thanked him for saving him.  He helps some elderly women fix a flat tire. He then decides to help a homeless man with feeding him.  What happens is the man dies everyday at the same time, and Phil tries to save him everyday, going as far as having him at the hospital at the exact time he dies each day.

This movie has some very dry humor throughout.  If you haven’t watched the movie I would encourage you to do so.  It is hilarious and it was during Bill Murray’s prime.  You just never know which way the movie will go, so it will keep you engaged.

The movie was such a hit because it illustrates life in so many ways for some of us.  We wake up each day expecting something different to happen and it never does, unless we decide to make it happen.

Three major takeaways for me from this movie:

Ground Hog day is now used a reference in our culture as a bad situation that keeps repeating itself over and over.  Lets be intentional about our life.  Lets set goals and take control over what happens to us and not wait for life to happen.

My mentor said if you want to be an attractive person (not in the physical or visual sense of the word) but the characteristics, the personality, the qualities of an attractive person do things to become more attractive   Once Phil started working hard on making himself better, he became a more attractive person to the woman in the movie he wanted to be with. The assumption at the end of the movie is that they get together. 

Although Phil doesn’t use it appropriately in the movie, he does illustrate a point on multiple occasions in the film.  When he takes a genuine interest in learning and listening to others he creates an engagement and connection that develops a stronger relationship between him and the other person. 

Don’t keep repeating each day and expecting something to change if you aren’t willing to change and become interested in learning and talking about something someone else is interested in before telling them about you.

Watch the movie and enjoy.  If you have any suggestions on other movies please share.

Brian Willett

 

 

What is average?

What is average?  As many of my closest friends and colleagues know, I am reading books on excellence.  In each of these books I have found that the company’s, the people, the country’s, the leaders, the CEO’s, etc. are not doing extraordinary things, they are just doing the ordinary things very well.  There are about five to six things that they are well above average in doing.  I am on a journey to be above average in areas of my life that I have been average in.  There are many areas in my life I have been above average, however there are some goals I have made that I am painfully stuck in being “average” and it is because of my lack of commitment to do what is necessary to become above average. So today’s list is a pledge to myself to be above average in areas of my life where I have allowed average tendencies.

So what is average:

  • Average company’s say process over people.
  • Average says that is the way we have always done it.
  • Average leaders have no vision for themselves which means they can’t have a vision for the people or company.
  • Average says don’t rock the boat, its not worth the trouble.
  • Average says I will do it later, instead of how can I get it done now.
  • Average says I will watch the show instead of reading the book.
  • Average says how much do I have to do, instead of what can I do.
  • Average says I will save for retirement later, instead of how can I start saving now.
  • Dave Ramsey says most people (average) say: How much will it cost me a month, The rich (above average) says how much does it cost.
  • Average says one more piece of cake won’t hurt me, instead of that is enough for now.
  • Average says: you’re in a safe place don’t take the risk.
  • Average allows the day to run them instead of them running the day.
  • Average allows their calendar to be dictated by others instead of controlling it themselves.
  • Average says I know it all, instead of what can I learn.
  • Average says it will always be this way, instead of saying how can I change it.
  • Average says networking is not important, instead of making time for it.
  • Average hits snooze instead of getting up (I did this today)
  • Average stays in their comfort zone.

This list is really for me and it is my public commitment to myself to continue to be above average in everything I do and seek to do. I hit snooze today on my alarm, I do this too many days in a row and I will become average. In the pursuit of excellence I go today!

Brian Willett

 

Leaders share, sharing 6 thoughts on the mind today

I am sure there will be many times throughout my life that I will think and ponder the lessons I have learned that I don’t want to forget.  At 35 years of age, I have been thinking about it and like most things in life, in work, and in just about everything, there is not a dozen things I need to know or do to be successful.  There is typically just a few things we must do well, a half a dozen or so that lead to success.  The great Vince Lombardi said football is just “blocking and tackling.”  When you break things down to their simplest form and focus on the simplest things it brings clarity to the situation.

So as I think about life and success I really wanted to pair down some philosophical views that I think have led me to success and more importantly views that I think have shaped and continue to shape my daily pursuit of doing and accomplishing great things.  My definition of success is “steady progress towards ones personal goals.”

Seeking excellence in everything I do is the goal.

Why wouldn’t I, I gotta stay here until I go, why not do whatever I do the to the best of my ability.  There have been times in my life as I look back and say, I could have done better there, I should have done this, I could have done that.  I hate thinking that way.  I don’t want to live in the past, but it is ok to think about the past as an education and an investment in your future.  If you don’t learn from your past and you just dwell on it, then we call you a complainer.  But if you learn from it, we call you smart.

I am now at a point in my life, where I am challenging myself daily to be excellent in everything I do.  If I am in a relationship I need to be an excellent partner in that relationship. If I am not, I should not be in the relationship.  If I am a leader, I need to be excellent in leading, which means I start with leading myself first.  In whatever I decide to invest my time or my money in, I will do it to the best of my ability and pursue excellence in it.

There is a direct correlation between formal education combined with personal education and self-development and your income.

My mentor Jim Rohn says this:  “Formal education will make you a living and self-education and personal education will make you a fortune.”  The first time I heard that it changed my life.  I was already dabbling in the area of self-development and taking additional training, reading a few books, etc.  But when I heard that statement my life hasn’t been the same since.  I can an honestly say that my income has increased about 40% and my assets have doubled since then.  John Maxwell who is another mentor of mine, asked the question one day “What is your growth plan?”  “And are you intentional about your growth.”  I answered both of those questions with “I don’t have a growth plan that is intentional.”  Since that day, I have had an intentional growth plan, and I invest a percentage of my income towards personal growth and self-development.

There are two areas of personal growth and self development that I work on.  Personal growth is reading the right kinds of books with a goal.  Three years ago, I set a goal to read a book a month.  I have accomplished that goal each of the last three years, actually reading more than a book a month.  I am sure everyone who is reading this blog probably reads a lot as well, and you are saying I read all day long.  Emails, certain websites, blogs, etc.  However, you have to be more intentional than that. Pick a subject and become engrossed in it.  My goal this year is to read four books a month.  That is the funny thing about goal setting, is that when you accomplish the goal, you will set new goals and you accomplish even more, I get so excited about goal setting.

Self development is a little broader.  Reading the books, watching the seminars, listening to the recordings, etc. is a piece.  But your health is a piece of this as well.  A person who can have the discipline to be healthy can also have disciplines in other areas of their life as well.  So health and fitness is just as important to me as mind fitness and education fitness, you have to do them all everyday. Being disciplined in health to me includes exercising and eating correctly.  Eating correctly is being conscientious of my eating habits, and be disciplined in what I eat and drink.  I have found that discipline in this area of my life leads to other disciplines in my life that are all positive.

Without the journey the destination doesn’t mean anything:

I have heard for many years from much wiser people than I am, to enjoy the journey, that it is not about the destination.  I am sure we have all heard this and it makes sense, but without an example of the application in our own lives I don’t think it makes much sense or you can’t really understand the true meaning of this message.  I think a better way to say this is.  The destination doesn’t mean a damn thing without the journey.  The journey is where the growth happens. The journey is where the learning takes place.  I personally feel that we never truly arrive at the destination and I am constantly moving the goal line.  My mentor Jim Rohn says we all must make “measurable progress in reasonable time.”  I think that is a good goal to achieve in most things.  Some things can’t be hurried.  For example, it has taken me about 35 years to become this philosophical where I can actually think long enough to type a blog of this nature.

Destination disease.  I am trying to remember who I heard that from.  I think it was John Maxwell.  He says that many leaders have destination disease we all want to get somewhere, because leaders are goal oriented and we want to achieve something.  I think that is where we must have a vision for ourselves and everything we do in our daily lives, activities, work, etc. should be in pursuit of that vision.

Enjoy the journey and take notes, so when you do arrive to destination you will know how you got there.

The hardest and best lessons learned were probably the hardest to take at that time 

Growing up I spent a lot of time at my grandparents house, especially during the summer. What a blessing this was for my brother and I as well as my parents that we were able to spend that time with our grandparents while my parents worked.  We have all heard a story of the lesson you can learn from touching a hot stove.  Well, I actually touched a hot stove when I was kid and learned that lesson. It hurt.  That is a lesson that I have never had to learn again.

Many of the lessons I have learned throughout my life so far have hurt in one way or the other.  Hurt can be physical pain, financial pain, opportunity lost pain, relationship pain,  etc.  I remember buying a vehicle I couldn’t afford and I didn’t want to afford any longer.  So I made the decision to sell the vehicle.  The offer I received wasn’t enough to pay the vehicle off.  So I had to get a loan to cover the rest of the money to be able to sell the vehicle.  What a lesson I learned.  When you are making payments on absolutely nothing, you tell yourself, “I won’t do that again.”  Another example of something that hurt.  Here am I doing what I can to make a difference and drive business in a position that I am in.  I think I am doing things well, and really making the team and everyone around me better.  My boss, pulls me to the side one day and says, my colleagues are not happy with me, because I am too aggressive.  It was a good lesson in being more aware of people around me.  I had no idea that I was being divisive. Lesson learned, but I was kind of upset at that time.  I thought I was doing the right thing.

Many times we learn what to do, from doing what not to do.  The way we learn what not to do, is to try new things more often.  I have not failed fast enough to learn more lessons, I am just now at a point in my life where I am taking more risks and learning from my failures more often.  The only way to learn is to try new things.  This is my goal, fail more often.

My retirement, My health, and My wealth is up to me. 

Being a single hard-working guy this is not meant to say I don’t care about the people in my life and that the people in my life don’t care about me. I am just being very specific in saying, what happens to you in your life is up to you.  Nobody but you can control the above mentioned.  Why does this one make my list?  Well, it is a reminder to me that I must control those things and that ultimate responsibility of my health, my wealth, and my retirement is up to me.

No brainer right?  Sure it is.  But do you really know this. I have great friends and a great family.  I am truly blessed in this area beyond my wildest dreams and have been my entire life.  However, at the end of the day, or the beginning of the month it is just me and my responsibilities. Recently, I had a surgery (minor at best) but its surgery and it isn’t just a cut on your hand.  I had family that helped me to the hospital and back, I had friends and colleagues that asked me how I was doing, I was so blessed to have this in my life.  However, at the end of the day, when it came down to healing and getting better, it was up to me.

Time Flies

Many people talk about milestones in their life.  Maybe it was when they turned 16 and could drive, maybe it was when they turned 50 (not there yet), maybe it was 30.  It seems that we all have a number in our head that we joke about and when we get there we can’t believe we are that age.  For me, age 16 was significant, because I could start driving, but I wasn’t sophisticated at that time to think about anything else, so now at age 35 (seems like it was just yesterday I was learning how to drive), I look up and I say time flies.  How did I get to 35!  When I say 15 years ago I was 20, and in 15 more years, I will be 50.  I know how fast the last 15 years have gone by, and if the next 15 flies as quickly as the last 15, I will look up and be 50 before I know it.  Knowing how quickly time flies, I am committed to getting things done quicker and more efficiently.

I am going to do the things I have to do quickly, so I can focus on doing the things I want to do–Jim Rohn.

Since I have started blogging, I have become more organized in my thoughts, more disciplined in daily activities, more clear in my goals, and all of these things have made me a better trainer, leader, friend, and mentor.

Thanks for reading the blog.  I always welcome feedback.

Brian Willett

 

 

Opportunity

  • a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.

This morning as I was reading the word opportunity came up over and over.  It has also been on my mind because in my business with my employer, we talk about taking advantage of the opportunities we have at our disposal all of the time.   My employer offers a lot of huge additional benefits and opportunities outside of a stable paycheck (better than average wages for similar positions), great working conditions, a good insurance package, great training, to name a few.

My mentor Jim Rohn said:  Don’t waste too much time trying to figure out why some people decide to spend all of their money first and save what is left and other people save first and spend what is left.  We don’t know why people do this so don’t spend too much time thinking about it.

I have asked this question so many times here of late why some people don’t take advantage of the great opportunities our company offers.  Why some people respond to emails that ask for a response and some don’t.  Why some people actively participate and some don’t.  Why some people are coachable and some are not. Why some people value training and appreciate it and some don’t.  I guess it is just like my mentor said:  We DONT KNOW!  So don’t spend your time thinking about it.  Get on with getting on, with the people who do want to take advantage of the opportunities and those who don’t will just have to watch the others.

The beginning of this blog started with the definition of opportunity.  What a great definition: A set of circumstances that make it possible to do something.   Read that definition a few times.  The word possible has to be the most powerful word in the english dictionary doesn’t it?  I know I am going to take advantage of the circumstances and not only do what I know is possible, but also seek to do what we might not even know is possible until we do it.

Brian Willett

 

 

Choose Excellence!

One of my favorite coaches and leadership mentors is Vince Lombardi.  One of his most notable quotes is “Strive for perfection and settle for excellence.”  I think he goes on to say, that perfection may not be attainable, but when you fall short of perfection and land in excellence, you are still in a good place.  Since I read this quote for the first time it has resonated with me on a consistent basis and in most endeavors I attempt to achieve and be excellent. However, I can think of areas of my life currently (cleaning them up now) where I haven’t been excellent.

I have a mentor/friend (Chase) that I work with on a daily basis.  Through out the day we will text each other, call each other, and email each other and ask ourselves to rank how we are doing so far for the day.  On a 1-10 scale where do you fall right now.  It requires us to be accountable.  We are both professionals and we don’t need that level of accountability.  However, it does require me to take a minute and ask myself, “How am I performing so far for the day?” He also stated to me in one of our many conversations that Jesus never did anything that was not excellent and that we (Chase and I) will not accept anything less than being excellent in everything we do, because that is how we are wired. I know personally there are times I may not be as excellent as I should be, but with our relationship I have no doubt there are areas in my life that are becoming more excellent and will continue to become more excellent.

I am currently reading two books on “Excellence.”  Tom Peters is an author and has written a few books on this subject.  To pull a quote out of his book titled “The Little Big Things, 163 Ways to pursue excellence.”

Excellence can be obtained if you:

  • care more than others think is wise
  • risk more than others think is safe
  • dream more than others think is practical
  • expect more than others think is possible

Tom Watson (IBM Legendary Boss):  You achieve excellence by promising yourself right now that you’ll never again knowingly do anything that is not excellent–regardless of any pressure to do otherwise by any boss or situation.

It is obviously up to an individual to determine whether or not they are being excellent and pursuing excellence in any endeavor (at work I guess it is your boss)  However, many of my writings revolve around personal and self-development and leadership. If you use the above highlighted outline as the basis for excellence, when you apply those four statements to life, work, your career, your family, you name it, you will be seeking excellence in all areas of your life and great things are sure to occur.

Brian Willett