5 reasons critical thinking is dead

One of my all time favorite books is “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.  It is an all time classic and to this day.  80 + years later, it is still one of the top selling books every year.

The word “think” is subtly layered into the title because Rich is the obvious eye-catcher that makes you want to learn more.  The author chose the word “think” for a reason. He makes the case in the book that you can’t grow, and you definitely can’t get rich, without learning how to think.

In today’s go go go society and emotionally driven society. Many people don’t invest the time to think before they respond, act, do, you name it.  I did say “invest’ for a reason, because you are making an investment when you slow down, think, make a plan, and then take action.

Critical thinking is by far one of the most unused skillsets in today’s culture.  The culture instead is constantly being told what to think, and then people decide whether they agree or disagree with whatever it is based on their biases. In most cases, depending on who said it is more important to them on whether they believe it or not. The test is who said it, not is it true or not.

There are many definitions of critical thinking.  The one I like that I believe is one of the better and clear ones is this:

Disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence. Now I would add a few additional adjectives to the definition, such as without emotion, and evidence based means: objectively clear facts that are substantiated.

Unfortunately we now live in a society and culture that has very little to no ability to think clearly for themselves. They haven’t learned how to critically think.  And I believe that these five reasons are driving the lack of critical thinking.

  1. Math:  I don’t know if it is because many people learn to hate math at an early age.  Is it because teachers are not very good at teaching it?  Or is it just hard and most people never try hard enough to be good at it? I am not going to solve this problem today. However, if you are unwilling to look at the numbers, the evidence that supports something or doesn’t support something, then critical thinking is out the window.
  2. Emotions: We now live in a world that is driven by feelings.  I am not sure when this started, but it is rampid and it is scary.  I have talked about this many times.  Any time we make very difficult decisions on emotions and not facts or reasoning, we typically are going to get ourselves in trouble.  A simple example of this is when people buy cars that they can’t afford.  Which is any car that you cant pay cash for, but I digress. They love the feeling that a new car provides to them and even if the math doesn’t make sense, they will try to rationalize a way to get the car becasue of how it makes them feel.
  3. Opinions:  Whoever is the loudest usually gets the most attention.  It has nothing to do with the credibility of the person.  It really comes down to who has the largest platform and can reach the most people.  The problem with opinions these days is too many times they are packaged as “real news”, when in reality they are not news based on facts or evidence.  It is usually based on subjective views of a given situation.
  4. Media: I was listening to two very mainstream personalities over the weekend who both have very successful podcasts and very large audiences. They were both talking about the fact that even though most would call them both center-left from a political standpoint.  That neither one of them can go on CNN or MSNBC, because they both had been on Fox News and most likely will disagree with the anchors they would speak with on CNN or MSNBC.  I am sure people may say the same thing about other news stations as well.  However, if you spend too much of your time watching one station only.  You are only getting one side of a situation.
  5. Fear: We are living in a moment of time right now that when someone holds a different viewpoint on something that is against the masses, and expresses that viewpoint, they could lose their job, their career or any other personal interests.  It’s the sad and harsh reality.  When active debate can’t occur, then ideas don’t get enhanced.  When there is fear of retribution to disagree, things don’t’ get better.  To solve complex problems everyone needs to be in the discussion.

In most companies the problems that exist are very complex and the leaders within the organization don’t have all the answers.  They need employees that have the ability to think critically and solve problems within the business.

Unfortunately, when we start school in kindergarten or first grade all the way through college in many cases.  You learn the answers to the test, take the test, pass and move on to the next. If you don’t know the answers, you can pull them up on google and most likely find them in a matter of seconds.

This is not the real world.  The real world requires a process of thinking about the problem.  Putting some of the best ideas on the table and working through them to see which ones can be pursued with limited financial resources and human capital.  This is the process and it must be followed. When it isn’t we will get what we have always gotten.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

 

The secret to accomplishing everything you have ever wanted is here.

Perhaps by now you have heard about the research study that was conducted at Harvard or Yale University on written goals?  You know the one.  Where so many people of a certain graduating class had written goals, and a certain percentage of the class didn’t have any written goals.  And after several years, they followed back up with those graduates to see what they had achieved.

What they found was that the 3% of students who had written goals, clearly defined, accomplished 10 times more than the students who didn’t have written goals.

Well, just so you know, that research was never substantiated.  Because it never existed.

As a person who has studied goals and speaks on goals a lot to others. I have to admit, I had actually referenced this fictional research myself.

Luckily, a professor of Research by Dominican University of California psychology, Dr. Gail Matthews actually conducted some research that supported this urban legend.

A total of 267 participants were recruited from businesses, organizations, and business networking groups. However, only 149 participants completed the study. The final participants ranged in age from 23 to 72, with 37 males and 112 females.

Participants came from the United States, Belgium, England, India, Australia and Japan and included a variety of entrepreneurs, educators, healthcare professionals, artists, attorneys, bankers, marketers, human services providers, managers, vice presidents, directors of non-profits, etc.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of 5 conditions (groups):

  • Group 1- Unwritten Goal;
  • Group 2- Written Goal;
  • Group 3- Written Goal & Action Commitments;
  • Group 4- Written Goal, Action Commitments to a Friend;
  • Group 5- Written Goal, Action Commitments & Progress Reports to a Friend.

Participants in Group 1 were simply asked to think about their goals (what they wanted to accomplish over the next 4 weeks) and then asked to rate that goal on the following dimensions: Difficulty, Importance, the extent to which they had the Skills & Resources to accomplish the goal, their Commitment and Motivation to the goal, whether or not they had Pursued this goal before and if so their Prior Success.

Participants in Groups 2-5 were asked to write (type into the online survey) their goals and then to rate their goals on the same dimensions.

Group 3 was also asked to formulate action commitments.

Group 4 was asked to formulate action commitments and send their goals and action commitments to a supportive friend.

Group 5 was asked to formulate action commitments and send their goals, action commitments and weekly progress reports to a supportive friend.

At the end of four weeks the participant were asked to rate their performance.

The results showed:

Types of goals: Participants pursued a variety of goals (in order of frequency reported) completing a project, increasing income, increasing productivity, getting organized, enhancing performance/achievement, enhancing life balance, reducing work anxiety and learning a new skill. Examples of “completing a project” included writing a chapter of a book, updating a website, listing and selling a house, completing a strategic plan, securing a contract, hiring employees and preventing a hostile take-over.

Which Group achieved the most?  Group 5 achieved significantly more than all the other groups; Group 4 achieved significantly more than Groups 3 and 1; Group 2 achieved significantly more than Group 1.

76% of the participants in group 5 achieved their stated goals and only 43% of the participants in Group 1.

And groups 2-5 had a 50% higher chance of accomplishing their stated goals than did group 1.

So what do you need to do to achieve more in your life?  Very simply, do what the participants did in Group 5.  Write down your goals, and create an accountability system with someone other than yourself.

If you want to learn more about how to do this.  Please contact me at bwillett555@gmail.com

To your success and your future.

Pieces of this blog pulled from this link 

The #1 reason most people don’t hit their goals, and it is not what you think.

This morning my wife and I started our day off in one of our favorite coffee shops in the world, located in our hometown of Louisville, Ky. We are here visiting family for the holidays and we will stop there every morning while we are here.  It not only has the best coffee and mochas on the planet, but it is also owned and operated by the best people.

As we are sitting there this morning we were doing something that I have done in the coffee shop for years before we were married.  That is taking inventory of how I did with my current year goals, and start writing and planning what I would like to accomplish in  the next year.  This year was different, because when I was single, I just did it by myself.  And now that I am married it is very important to do this activity with my wife as well.  We still have our own individual goals, but we also set goals as a couple for our life.

The first thing my wife and I discussed, was the definition of a goal.  This is par for the course, because even though we have a great marriage and we have been together for a couple of years, it can still be difficult for me to think as a couple versus as an individual.   However, I continue to get better and better at this, and sitting down and doing this yearly ritual that I have always done by myself, with her, is a great example of my growth in this area.

Once we settled on a definition of a goal, meaning we agree to disagree.  I think hers is the typical definition of a goal: an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envisions, plans and commits to achieve.   I don’t disagree with that definition, I just add another piece to it.  I add that a goal is something that you weren’t going to do otherwise.  Meaning you had to do something different, ie. change a behavior, invest money or time.  Cut out something or add something to achieve.

Some people say, I am going to show up to work everyday at least fifteen minutes early.  Well, the chances are, you were going to do that anyway.  What did you have to change?  Or they say, I am going to go to the gym 100 times this year.  Well, last year you went 100 times, what are you having to change?   Once you hit a goal, I believe you have proven that you can hit it.  Which means you did whatever was necessary to demonstrate the behaviors  or invest the time and money, you cut out or added the necessary resources to accomplish the goal. So you must change the objective to have growth in that area.

So there we are setting our goals.  We worked on this for about an hour or so, and we got about seven to ten very solid goals for 2018 written down. To some, that may seem like a lot. To others, you might be saying that seems like a little.  I agree with both of you.

The reason I agree with both of you, because setting good goals is hard.  A good goal is something that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time sensitive. Also, known as SMART goals.  They also have to be worthwhile towards your life.

Setting goals is hard work.  And as I have learned, it is even more difficult to do it with someone else and have to agree on what they are.  This is why most people never set very specific and targeted goals.  It is hard to sit down by yourself, and even harder with someone else, and lay out specifically what it is you would like to accomplish for the next year and your life.

This is why most people don’t usually accomplish much.  They don’t do the hard work on the front end. Which is sit down, think about what it is you want out of your life, career, marriage, relationships, finances, church, God, health, etc. And then write out specifically what you want in those areas of your life to look and feel like a year from now or ten years from now.  And that is why I believe this is the number one reason people don hit their goals.  They never set them to begin with. You can’t achieve what you don’t know you want to achieve.

Before I became a very strategic and successful goal accomplisher.  I did what most people do.  I would say I want to grow in my career.  I want to make more money.  I want to have a partner in life.  I want a better relationship with this person or that person.  I would say all of this in my head, and in many cases, I would be successful in accomplishing those things, over time.

I got most of these things, but I didn’t get them in the amount of time that it should have.  It took way more time than I even care to share.  When I started to sit down and said I want to be a VP by this year.  I want to make X amount of dollars by x date.  When I said I want a wife that has these characteristics by this date.

Once I started setting goals this way, I have since achieved a lot more in my life, my career and in so many other areas of my life, that I would have never accomplished if I didn’t do the hard work on the front end and decide what it is I wanted to accomplish.

If you want to accomplish more this year than you did last year, do the hard work now and decide what it is you want to accomplish and then write it down.  This is another blog for another day, but writing your goals down is one of the major contributors to the success of you accomplishing your goals as well.

If you need help to do this reach out to me at bwillett555@gmail.com and I can help you achieve everything you want to achieve in 2018.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

How one word changed my life and how it could change yours too

Each year I pick one to three words that I plan on living by and using to guide my decisions for that year.  The reason for this is, I believe each year is a new season for your life. Sure, it could be a continuation from the previous year, or previous several years.

However, if you want to grow, accomplish new things, change the status quo, modify your behaviors, etc. Creating a theme or a mantra to live by, allows you to challenge yourself, because you have already identified the changes you want to make.

About five years ago I decided to take the leap.  No, not get married, but something just as close. A friend and I decided to go in to business for ourselves.  So we started a business and ultimately left are good paying jobs to pursue this new business venture. If you want to read more about that venture and what I learned click here

The bottom line is, we ultimately both went back to working full-time jobs and our business has grown since that time.  But when I went back to work then, I was on a mission.  I wanted to make sure that when I decided to leave again that I would be ready. I knew I would eventually leave that full-time job, working for someone else. Again.

So I called the next year, and really that next stage of my life “Preparation”. That was the theme that I lived by for the next couple of years.  Even though our little business is still running today, I wasn’t prepared as much as I thought I was.  I knew that for me to eventually leap again, I would have to have better skills, more money, and be better prepared.

By declaring that my mission in my life at that time it helped me make decisions.  It helped me to have a patience.  It helped me to know where to spend my time.  I knew in the back of my mind, that I would eventually do something other than what I was doing at that time and I wanted to make sure I was prepared for it when that opportunity presented itself again.

Company’s and businesses do it all of the time. You can call it core values, or a creed that they live by.  Regardless of what it is called, when a company or business decides what it is and why it is important for them, it allows everyone in the organization to be able to make better and quicker decisions. Because what is important has already been decided.  Now they just have to make decisions accordingly.  And companies change these core values or creed as time goes on.  What may have been important five years ago, may not be that important now.

As an individual person, the CEO of me.  I have to do the same thing.  I have to decide today what is going to be important for my business and my company this year and maybe even the next few years.  They all go together. By making the decision today, you wont have to think about what is important tomorrow, you’ve already decided.

A few years ago, after the business venture. I decided that real estate and investing was the theme for a few years.  It still is today, but a little different.  When I decided that real estate investing was the theme, I set a goal.  I had already owned real estate. But I wanted to increase my portfolio by ten over the next few years.  That is what I did.  For the next two years, I increased my portfolio by five.  I saved all my money, I cut out all of the wasteful spending, because at that time the theme of my life was to invest in real estate.

Again, by making that decision, that theme for my life, prior to the next year, allowed me to decide and execute much easier, because I had already decided what was most important.  Keep in mind, the real estate investments went right along with me eventually making a decision to do something different in my career.  I knew if I had income coming in from real estate it would make my decision to do something different that much easier in the future.

You can now start to see how these themes come together and work with each other as you progress through each year. This evolution is how growth, change, and success accumulate.

Fast forward to last year.  I knew 2017 was a going to be the year of change for me.  Because of my commitments that I made and executed that I described above, it was now time to make that leap again. In addition to making that leap again, I decided to get married, move to a new state, 1000 miles away from where I currently lived.  Also, buy a new business and leave a six figure plus good paying job and career to start making zero dollars in a new career.

The words I chose to make for my theme for 2017, were simple, but I needed them to help guide me each and every day as I was now doing something that I hadn’t done before.

The words were disrupt and interrupt (this was a theme by itself), cashflow, and relentless.   The most important asset to any business, especially small businesses is cash flow.  It is really the most important asset to you as an individual as well, but that is another blog for another day.

To get the business I was going to buy off the ground and producing, my focus was how can I generate cash flow daily.  From that theme I created very specific goals around it. Just like I did before with real estate.

Also, the other words, disrupt and interrupt was the mantra that I would have to live by every single day to go out and generate the cash flow that I needed for the business.  So as you can see these two themes go together.

The result I wanted was cash flow, but the mentality I had to have was disrupt and interrupt people to buy my services and pay me money. And lastly, the behavior that I had to demonstrate was to be relentless.  Which means never stop until you achieve the goal.

As I wrap up 2017 and I am planning 2018.  I am working on what the themes will be for next year.  They will be somewhat similar to this past year, but they will help me get to the next level.

I don’t know where you are in your life and your career.  But what I do know about human nature is that we focus on whatever it is that is most important. By choosing a theme for your life for next year and the years after, it will allow you to start focusing on those areas of your life.

I can only speak from my experience that when I started focusing on preparing, real estate, and being relentless in creating cash flow.  These words were at the top of mind every single day.  They guided every decision I made.  They got me up in the morning and helped me go to bed at night.

Make the decision for your life and your next season of life today.

If you want to learn more about how to do this.  Hit me up at bwillett555@gmail.com or just put something in comments wherever you read this.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

A $50,000 dollar risk, and what I learned from it.

“No risk equals no reward”. It is cliché to say the least, but clichés are clichés because they are accurate. This cliché is definitely true.

Throughout my life I have never achieved any kind of benefit, at least, a significant benefit that was worthwhile and beneficial, without taking some risk that included money, time, effort, energy, etc.

Two years ago, I started preparing for the next stage in my career.  When I say two years ago, I mean it was go time. I had been preparing myself for several years prior to that time, but now it was leap time.

At the time, I thought I knew what that next stage was it was and what it looked like.  I had been preparing myself for years for this next stage.  I invested the resources to enhance my current skills.  I made it a priority to seek out and develop new skills. I put in the work and time that was required to ensure I was ready to take the leap into this next phase.

Secondly, I also made sure that my personal finances and life in general was in order. I  didn’t want any financial concerns or constraints to prevent me from making this leap.  Nor did I want to make the leap and fall flat, because I didn’t have things in order.

So with everything in order, it was go time.  I did it.  I knew it would be hard, I knew there would be hardships.  I knew that in the short run, that things wouldn’t be the same as they were before.

I was used to living off of a six figure plus salary.  I was used to spending freely and doing what I want.  I was used to not thinking too much about how and where I spent every single dollar.  I had enough disposable income that money wasn’t a constant concern.

I took the leap, and now that I am on the other side of it.  I can tell you exactly how much it cost me.  I can tell you exactly how much less I had to spend this year, versus the previous ten years. I took a $50,000 dollar risk.

As I planned the leap I didn’t know what the cost would be.  Actually, I thought it wouldn’t have been that much.  Well, honestly, I didn’t know what it would cost.  You know why?  Because I had never been here before.  I had never taken a this leap before. I had never taken this risk.  It was all new.

Monetarily I know what the cost was this year.  It is easy to see.  What isn’t as obvious is the growth that I had this year.  The things I learned that I would have never known if I hadn’t taken the leap.  The things I learned about me and what I like and don’t like. My true strengths and some of my weaknesses.  What is best for me, and what is not good for me.  How business works and doesn’t work.  I learned about people.  You can’t put a dollar figure on any of these things.

Most of us never venture out far enough to actually see how far we can go. We instead have to play it safe, because we are afraid or because of our lifestyle, we have to stay close to the dock, and never really swim out far enough to realize we can swim as far out as our mind will take us.

As you wrap up 2017, let me ask you:  Would you be willing to take a $50,000 risk for your growth and development?  Or maybe a better question is this:  Can you even do it?

The second question is probably the more important one.  Have you put yourself in a position to know what you are truly capable of.  Or have you been doing the same things for so long and getting the same results, that you can’t even begin to fathom what it would be like to do something else.

Are your debts and obligations such, that you have to keep doing what you have always done? Again, I know what this looks like, I did it for many years before I learned that I had to prepare myself today for the future I want tomorrow.

If you want to learn more about how I did this, and how you can do it.  Reach out to me and lets talk.  We all need a little coaching in our life. Someone to hold us accountable and help us get to a place where we have never been before.  Are you willing to take a risk?

To your success and your future.

 

 

Why you and college athletes should get paid more

I don’t normally write about these kinds of topics on my blog.  However, given the current events in my hometown of Louisville, Ky, I felt compelled to write about it.

I am on record stating that Rick Pitino should have been fired after the whole Karen Sypher story.  I don’t want to rehash that entire thing, but if you are reading this you know what I am talking about.  If you don’t, just google search Rick Pitino and Karen Sypher.

That incident and the fact he wasn’t fired after that charade, told me everything I needed to know about what was important and what isn’t important with Rick Pitino and Louisville Cardinals sports.

But I am not here to talk about the lack of integrity of Rick Pitino, the University of Louisville Sports, or any of the other people included in the string of issues that have occurred at the University of Louisville.

I want to talk about something that I am known to talk about, and constantly do so across all of my social media channels. And that is.

Getting paid for the value you bring to a company, the market, sports franchise, a college sports team, etc.  Everyone wants to get upset about what CEO’s, athletes, entertainment stars, and even certain people within your company are earning.

Lets set some ground rules before diving into this:  Would you agree that you would like to get paid the fair market value (and probably more) for the skills, talents, and abilities you bring to your current employer?  Let me answer for you.  Yes.

The second thing.  Would you agree that companies, businesses, a sports team, etc., have to pay the going rate for positions within any of those entities.  In your company, you have to pay your engineers a certain rate, fair market or more.  Or you won’t attract any engineers to your company.  If you’re a sales person.  A really good one.  Then a company has to pay you a very competitive salary and commission structure for them to attract and keep you at their company. And then lastly, your favorite NBA team, or NFL team, or MLB team has to pay the going rate to attract the best point guard, quarterback, or pitcher to be able to get that player to play for their team.

So we both agree.  We are looking for fair market value for our skills.  And secondly we agree that companies, sports teams, etc. must pay the going rate for positions, employees, and players.

Now that we both agree on this.  You will see my logic on the fact that college sports is a big joke. It is a market or marketplace that has become a very big business. Billions of dollars are generated in college sports on a yearly basis.

College sports is the only business that doesn’t pay its personnel a fair wage for the amount of money that they generate.  We all know that these major college sports programs would not be making the money that they do without good players that are competitive. If the school is not competitive, it is up to the school and the coaches to go out and get the best players so they can become competitive again, and get on television, etc.

College Sports teams are no different from any other business. They have to recruit and retain top talent. If they don’t, they won’t be in business very long.  However, in business you can pay a fair wage and a competitive salary with benefits. In college sports, they are not allowed to do this under the current rules and regulations.

I used to be one of the people who thought college athletes shouldn’t get paid either.  I believed, like others, that the scholarship, the opportunity to go to college, in many cases for free, and all of the other perks they get was fair pay for the work that they did.

Then one day I woke up and said, I am trying to earn as much money as possible for the skills and talents that I possess and continue to develop. Why should I feel any different about an eighteen year old that has unbelievable skills or genetics for that matter, and them wanting to get paid as much as possible for their skills and talents.

We all want to think that a university or a college is different, and we have treated them differently because of the corrupt NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association).  This so-called non-profit that oversees all of college sports.  College Sports is big business and continues to become even bigger business.

It is time to change the rules and allow collegiate athletes to get and earn whatever it is they deserve to earn.  Many of you think, I am just stating this because of the University of Louisville issues that have come out.  Obviously, this issue has forced all of us to take a look at how we feel and think about our positions and opinions on this topic of college athletes getting paid.

I believe everyone should get paid for the value they bring to whatever market they choose to do business in.  I don’t care if it is college sports, business, non-profits, you name it.  We all want to make the going rate of whatever profession we choose to take on.  It should be no different in college sports.

 

 

 

 

5 books on sales that everybody should read, especially sales professionals

Sometimes a new book isn’t what you need.  Instead you need to go back and reread a book you have already purchased and read.  I can never get it all the first time around.  So going back and reading it again, and again, I can get closer to really understanding the material and ultimately practicing what I learned.

This year I have read about eight new sales books.  This doesn’t count the number of sales books that I have reread this year.  I have read 58 books in total for the year thus far.

The five books I included on this list are books that I have read and reread several times. The reason for this, is I have found these books to be the most significant books to really understanding sales, people, and ultimately why people buy.

Are they the best sales books ever?  I don’t know.  It just really depends on what you are looking for.

What I do know, is this list is a great start for anyone who is in sales and for anyone who may want to do one of the things below:

  • to learn a process to sell more effectively
  • understand some of the reasons why people buy
  • learn a technique on how to overcome fear
  • how to differentiate yourself from your competition
  • learn techniques to be more persuasive.
  • understand people’s motives, understand your motives for that matter.

title: Rejection Proof; How to Beat Fear and Become Invincible
author: Jia Jiang
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jia-Jiang-Rejection-Invincible-2015-04-24/dp/B016KX651S/

What I liked most about the book: This guy was on a mission, or is on a mission, to overcome fear.  And some of the things that we are most fearful of.  Such as talking to people, doing things that could be humiliating, making yourself really, really uncomfortable. The author does it all.  And he tells you how it worked for him. You may have heard of some of his crazy ideas and stories already. I hadn’t, but I really enjoyed his strategy and his commitment.

Why you should read it: After I read this book, I immediately was more motivated to go out and do some of the things I was most fearful of.  I picked up the phone and called a CEO that had been putting me off.  I wasn’t scared of the CEO, or at least, I would have told you I wasn’t.  However, what is the worst that can happen.  There is no growth without a little fear, hesitation, and some discomfort, but that is also where the growth and success exists as well.

title: Spin Selling; Situation-Problem-Implication-Need-Payoff
author: Neil Rackham
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/

What I liked most about the book: First of all, this book was first published in 1988. At the time, it claimed to be the most well researched book on sales to ever be written.  Matter of fact, the book cover says that 35,000 sales calls, used by the top Sales Forces across the world, are included in the research for the book.  That alone gives it a lot of credibility.  Plus the examples included in the book gives you a word for word account of actual sales calls that were either successful or not successful.  So you learn a lot by reading this book.

Why you should read it: All sales people should read this book no matter what.  You will learn something that you didn’t know before. To pick one thing that I thought was most interesting, was the part on objections. As a sales trainer, this is a topic that is brought up the most in my training courses.  This book was the first that I have read that actually took a different approach on why sales people get objections.  And the way they write about why we get objections and how to overcome them. This is a process that sales people, as well as people who just want to get people to do things, such as employees or children, can also use.

title: The Challenger Sale; Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
author(s): Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Sale-Control-Customer-Conversation/dp/B0073TG3LQ/

What I liked most about this book: Similarly to SPIN selling, this book was well researched.  I believe the sample size was something like 6,000 sales professionals were analyzed and researched.  I am not saying that I am research snob, however, the way it is researched and how the conclusions are come to, you can see how.  Many books, are just one persons opinion on how something should be done or sold.  A well researched book, is validated by more than one person.

Why you should read it: Everybody is looking for the one thing to separate themselves when selling their product or themselves. This books tells you, based on research, how the most successful sales people do this effectively. And it is most likely not the thing you are thinking.  I’ll give it away a little here.  The title of the book, is also what differentiates successful salespeople from every one else.  The sales person who is willing to challenge the thinking of the buyer, is the sales person who is most successful.  And that theory is validated in the research.

title: Hot Button Marketing; Push the Emotional Buttons that get people to buy
author: Barry Feig
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Button-Marketing-Emotional-Paperback/dp/B015QKCOBG/

What I liked most about this book: This was the first book that I had read, and still have read, that actually broke down the reasons people buy, and the reasons why we as human beings make decisions.  That is why this is a book that I think everyone should read. The sixteen motives are broken down with such great examples, that you will instantly start looking at your prospects in a new light that will help you achieve better sales results.

Why you should read it: Most of us look at purchasing decisions, and if you are in sales, you look at the buyer and try to sell to them logically.  We all know that human beings are more emotional than they are logical.  This book breaks down the reasons why we do what we do, and the true emotions and reasons behind it.  This information is critical to anyone who wants to be more persuasive in getting people to take action.  Whether you are in leadership, a parent, or in sales, this book will help you become more persuasive.

title: The Five Great Rules of Selling
author: Percy Whiting
Link to amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Great-Rules-Selling-Revised-Enlarged/dp/B00005VA8T/

What I liked most about this book: Years ago, I had a trainer who was training me to become a trainer.  He asked me to read this book.  I looked at the year it was published, 1957.  And I thought why should I be reading such an old school book.  How does this information even apply today?  Here is what I learned.  Selling hasn’t changed much since the beginning of time.  I never thought about how reading these old school books, and learning the techniques they taught back then could apply today.  After reading this book, I then set a new goal of reading more and more books by dead people.  You know what I mean here.  Old books. And by doing so, I have become a better sales person and communicator.

Why you should read this book: In today’s technology driven world we all have lost are ability to communicate as well as we used to face to face.  It is no ones fault.  It is what it is.  Technology has allowed us to not have to do it as frequently.  Because of this, it is more important than ever for all of us, especially sales people, to learn techniques, language, and style when communicating face to face.  This book provides language and processes on how to get in front of more people, and then what to say when you do.

I hope you find these books as helpful as I did. If you do, please share it with others.

To your success and your future.

 

“Man in the Mirror”

Growing up in the 1980’s there was only one music star that was above all other music artists.  And that was Michael Jackson.  The music he was making in the eighties was the best and is timeless.  You can turn on the radio today and his music fits right in, as if it were created today.

Yes I had the black and red thriller jacket and the white sparkling glove.  And I wore it everywhere.  No shame here.  My first album was the “Thriller” album.  Yes millennial’s and generation “Z”. An album.  Those large circle disk things.  It required a needle to scroll across the disk and the music would play. That is how we listened to music back then. By the way.  I am thankful for todays technology.  A much better listening experience.

A song that had, and still has a strong message that he came out with in 1987 was “Man in the Mirror”.   I am not sure if I really understood the message at the time.  I was only eight or nine years old.  I do remember watching the music video.  Even at the young age, it evoked a response in my heart and in my head.  It really drew on the emotions of anyone who watched it.

It showed racism, it showed death of some of our countries best leaders and presidents, it showed homelessness, oppression, etc.  It also showed, great leaders men and women, who were interested in making a change.  It showed Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy, and numerous other people like Mother Theresa, who made it their cause to make it a change in whatever the cause was.

The music video, the lyrics to the song, and how Michael Jackson put all of his heart and soul into singing the song pulls a lot of emotion out of anyone who listens to it. What I appreciate most about the song is the message that is contained within it as well as the title.  It is a simple, but a very clear one.

The lyrics are below as well as a link to the actual music video.

Here is what I want to say though.  The song and the video are tackling a lot of the bigger worldwide issues that are very important.  Many of those issues that are in the video are still around thirty years later and were around before the video as well.

But remember, that every change starts with the man or woman in the mirror.  No matter how big or small the issue is.  One person can make a change if they decide to.

You can decide today to change your personal life.  You can decide today to make a career change.  You can decide today to make a life changing decision.  You can decide today to serve others.  You can decide today to give to the homeless. Give blood.  You name it.

Everything begins and ends with the man or woman in the mirror.

So as you look at yourself in the mirror today ask yourself “What are you going to do to make a difference in your life, someone else’s life, or make the world a better place?”  You can’t make changes with anything else or someone else until you are willing to make a change with yourself first.

You can watch the official music video here

I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right…

As I turn up the collar on my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin’ my mind
I see the kids in the street, with not enough to eat
Who am I, to be blind? Pretending not to see their needs
A summer’s disregard, a broken bottle top
And a one man’s soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
’Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to know

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It’s time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel
to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they’re
not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody’s broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern on the wind, ya’ see
’Cause they got no place to be
That’s why I’m starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself and then make a change)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways – ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make that…
(Take a look at yourself and then make that…)
Change!

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror – Oh yeah!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
(Take a look at yourself and then make the change)
(You gotta get it right, while you got the time)
(’Cause when you close your heart)
You can’t close your…your mind!
(Then you close your…mind!)
That man, that man, that man, that man
With that man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror, oh yeah!)
That man, that man, that man
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
You know…that man
No message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself and then make a change)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah
(Oh yeah!)
Gonna feel real good now!
Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah!
Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah
(Ooooh…)
Oh no, no no…
I’m gonna make a change
It’s gonna feel real good! Come on!
(Change…)
Just lift yourself
You know
You’ve gotta stop it. Yourself!
(Yeah! – Make that change!)
I’ve got to make that change, today!
Hoo!
(Man in the mirror)
You got to
You got to not let yourself… brother…
Hoo!
(Yeah! – Make that change)
You know – I’ve got to get that man, that man…
(Man in the mirror)
You’ve got to
You’ve got to move! Come on! Come on!
You got to…
Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!
(Yeah! – Make that change)
Stand up and lift yourself, now!
(Man in the mirror)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Aaow!
(Yeah! – Make that change)
Gonna make that change…come on!
You know it!
You know it!
You know it!
You know…
(Change…)
Make that change. 

Written by Siedah Garrett, Glen Ballard • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

To your success and your future.

 

 

Why you and I have to quit relying on this one person

The chances are that at some time in your life you had to rely on the approval of one person, one individual, one decision maker that held YOUR fate in their hands.  Is this not the worse feeling in the world?

Lets go way back.  I was not the popular kid.  No, I was the kid that could get a long with just about everyone.  Sure, people naturally gravitated to me in some circles, while in others, I was nothing more than an outsider.   However, the playground is tough and children make it so.  And like every neighborhood, there are always a few kids that are more popular than the rest. Depending on how the wind is blowing any particular day your connection to the rest of the kids can rest on whether or not a very select few other kids want you to be part of the group or not.

I can remember many times, that I went home because I wasn’t chosen or included.  Luckily, as a kid the wind always can blow differently the next day.  So one day you are out, and the next day you are in.  However, there are always a few chosen kids that help decide this.

Then you grow up and you go to work. You are working at the local grocery store, fast-food restaurant, or retail store.  Mine was the fast food restaurant, McDonald’s, and the grocery store.

I was the hard worker, I did the right things, I always showed up early and stayed late.  However, none of that seemed to matter when you really wanted that day off to go to the football game, the concert, or the local state fair.  Nope.  When you asked for that day off, all of your hopes and dreams of seeing that awesome concert, or hanging out with your friends rested on one individual on whether you were going to get to do whatever it is you wanted to do.  Your immediate manager or some general manager of the store.

In many cases, the immediate manager would be a little bitch and say that the general manager said you couldn’t have the day off.  But you know and I know that many times, they were just scared to tell you themselves.

Then we get our first professional job and we think everything is going to be different. We have our credentials and we are now working in a company that values people and values our contributions.

After several years of commitment, dedication and hard work.  We finally have an opportunity to be promoted and make more money.  We know who the people are that will be interviewing us.  We know that we are the right person for the job.

Whether we get the job or we don’t.  We later find out that one person had the power in their hands to either give us the job that we wanted and we felt like we deserved.  Or this same person could crush us with one swoop by giving the job to someone else in our company or on our team.  Or even worse, hire someone from the outside.

All of these stories may be something you have experienced.  If not, I am sure you experienced something similar.  At one time or another, we have all had our fate resting in the hands of one person.

If you are in sales, I am sure the final decision on whether the sale was made or not made.  Or the consulting agreement signed or not signed, came down to one persons signature.

Or if you have ever interviewed for a job with a company.  Which is probably one of the most difficult.  Because many times you don’t even know who that one person is that will  either get you hired or prevent you from being hired.

So you go in blind trying to figure it out.  And in the end you either get the job, and later discover who that person was.  Or if you don’t get the position, you just go on wondering “Who was it” and what could you have done differently during the interview process.

Again, all of these scenarios are the same.  They have one person tied to the final decision. They are the final voice.  They are the make it or break it people.  That can either say “yes” and you get to go to the concert with the hot girl you have tried to take out for the last three years in high school.

If they say yes.  You get to play the game with all of your other friends that day.

They say yes.  And you get the promotion, the sale, the contract.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of relying on one person to control my destiny.  I am sick of one person deciding whether my family gets to go on the vacation, or this year, it is another staycation.

I made the commitment years ago, that I will have freedom.  Freedom from all financial obligations that I don’t control.  Freedom from having to be around idiots.  You know who they are and what I mean.  No explanation is needed.

To get there we have to make the decision today and everyday that we will no longer rely on this one person to control anything in our life.  We will create a life with endless opportunities and possibilities and ultimate freedom and control.

Don’t put your hands in a select few any longer.  Create an abundance of opportunities for yourself and for your family.  You are in control, so take it.

I am committed to it, are you?

To your success and your future.

 

Thankfully, I was saved from myself, and here is how to do it

Unfortunately, we don’t get the luxury of benefiting or learning from something until we have actually fully committed to doing whatever it is we are pursuing.

How often do you really get to try something out to see if it works?  See if it is what you thought it would be?  Or if it is what it was advertised as? Or see if you like it?

Sure there are some things you have the opportunity to do this with, but not every many. Especially not big things or big decisions.  Sure you can take a car overnight to see if you like it.  But you don’t get to keep it for a month.  Sure you could go and rent one for a month, but who really does that.

What about taking a new job with a new company.  You don’t get the luxury of  keeping your current job for a period of time while checking out the new job.  No, you have to gather enough information about the people, the company, the culture, etc., in those few interactions you have during the hiring process.  You then have to make a decision to take the job or not, if you get the job offer.

What about buying a new home or renting a place. You do everything you are supposed to do.  You check out the neighborhood.  You run a check online to see if there are any sex predators that live in the area.  You get the home inspected.  You may even go as far as asking neighbors around the place you are seeking to buy or rent, to see what they think about the neighborhood or place.  No matter what you do, you eventually have to make a decision to purchase or rent the place based on the limited knowledge you have.

You don’t get the opportunity to check the place out for a period of time before you commit to it.  No, instead you have to take your limited knowledge and act and it is usually rushed. The process may not be rushed, but whether or not you want to act, and the final decision is usually rushed.

Let me ask you this:  Have you ever acted, made the decision, and regretted it?

If you answered no.  You are a liar. We all have.  We all have made a decision and once we got in to it we wished we hadn’t.

Have you ever not acted, and then later your decision was confirmed that you made the right decision?

Yes.  We all have.  Sure there is a certain bias that helps you answer yes here today.  You look back on the home, the car, the job, etc., and say.  I knew that it was a bad thing.  I knew I was making the right decision. But did you really know it at the time you had to make the decision?  In some cases you do, but in many cases you have to go with your gut (which is usually right) and make the decision on the limited information you have.

In these scenarios, job, house, car, etc. have you ever known that it wasn’t the right decision or right thing, but you talked yourself into it anyway?

Again, if you answered no.  You are a liar.  Lets be honest you can talk yourself in to anything.  It is really easy to create more reasons to do something that you want to do, buy, have, etc. then create reasons you don’t want to do it. Especially when your heart is set on it.  In your mind you are already in the house, or driving the car, or making more money on the new job.

However, if you really look at it objectively you know that you can’t afford that car payment.  You really aren’t willing to cut out eating out for lunch everyday.  Or you really aren’t willing to cut out your two lattes or pack of cigarettes.  But at the time you tell yourself you are, because you are so emotionally connected to the new car, you are already driving it in your mind.

What about the house.  This is the house you always wanted.  It has the right amount of bedrooms, baths, square feet, etc. However, you talked yourself into the neighborhood.  You talked yourself into the fact that it is really a longer commute to work than you really want.  You tell yourself that you will renovate the kitchen at a later date.

It is amazing how when we really want something to happen we can talk ourselves in to it.  I have done it and you have done it as well. My hope is that I get wiser as I get older and I make better decisions.

However, I was recently in a very expensive, large and lengthy purchase where I originally didn’t think it was the right thing for me, then I talked myself in to it.  Thankfully, through wise counsel and divine intervention the purchase was halted.

The challenge we all face when making these decisions is knowing when to stop pursuing it.  Which sign is the final sign that says to us “walk away” this deal is not for you?

I am not sure I know the answer to this.  Maybe you do, please share if you do.

If it is the house, the car, the new job, or in my case a business.  You have to determine what your absolutes are.  Absolutes are those things that must absolutely exist for you to purchase or take the new job or business.

Absolutes are exactly what you think.  For example:  This house must be in a neighborhood that is within a twenty-minute drive for both my wife and I.  If it is set as an absolute, then you won’t go down any rabbit holes and get yourself in a house that is forty minutes away.

If it is a new job.  An absolute for you may be flexible hours.  When you ask if the job has flexible hours and they tell you. “Well, we can make arrangements as needed”.  Then you have to ask yourself will this job be what you are looking for.

By setting some absolutes for yourself you give yourself guard rails that help you make the right decision and you don’t get in to a situation that you will regret later.

Once you set these absolutes, these guard rails, you have to stay committed to them.  You can’t waiver.  If you waiver on them, this is where you run into trouble. That is where bad decisions are made.

In my recent situation. I had some guard rails, I had some absolutes.  Luckily, I was dealing with people who were more interested in making a process difficult, that it provided me an opportunity to talk myself back out of something that I had talked myself in to.

Think about your next major decision or purchase.  Define your absolutes that must exist for you to make the decision or purchase.  This will set those guard rails in place and hopefully you stay within them and make the best decision.

To your success and your future.