The first law of motion

If you watch TV at all you have inevitably watched the commercial for Celebrex which is an arthritis drug. The commercial states that “a body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest stays at rest”.

This commercial is based on the first law of motion that Issac Newton published in 1687.  Which states that an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless it is acted upon by an external force.

This week I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine about this very concept. Not Issac Newton, we aren’t that smart.

We were talking about running. I was explaining to him that as a runner, it is very easy for me to go out and fall into a pace that my body is very comfortable with.  It could be an eight minute mile or a seven minute mile.  It just depends on your conditioning.  Whatever that pace is, it is easy to stay at it because your body can do it without efforting.

I am sure there are more scientific ways to explain it, but I am not scientific.

To increase your speed and accomplish running goals you have set for yourself, you must break the inertia, the temptation to stay at the comfortable pace.

It is hard to do, that inertia is so cozy, easy, and feels great that your mind wants to stay right there.  You may call it your comfort zone. But as long as you do this you will never increase your speed or times towards any distance goals you might want to accomplish.

I was a runner for close to six years before I learned how to really train.  For those first six years I definitely became a better runner, with better speeds and times, but it wasn’t until I started training my body to become very uncomfortable that I made significant gains.  By gains, I mean faster miles, longer distances, and winning races I competed in.

In running that training starts with forcing yourself out of that comfort zone for small periods of time over and over and over, until it stops being that uncomfortable to you. As you continue to do this repeatedly you eventually become better conditioned and you start moving the needle towards whatever goals you might have.

At almost 42 years of age, I am probably twice as fast I was when I was 32.  Its isn’t that that I am getting better with age.  That theory doesn’t hold up in athletics and age. Instead it is I am a more educated and I am better at training.

If I would have known how to train at age 32, who knows what I could have accomplished as a runner.

Whether it is running, biking, writing, speaking, investing, you name it.  For you to break any slump or cycle, you must break the inertia.  You must apply force someway and somehow to move yourself out of the comfort zone.

I am a real estate investor. I have purchased many single family homes. When I first started doing it, I was always a little scared.  I would just think things like this.  “Is this a really good deal”, “Will I be able to fund a tenant”, “What if something goes wrong”, “What if someone destroys my property”.  All of these question ran through my head.

Many years later, I never even think about those things. Purchasing single family homes is easy for me.  I never over think it.  However, it is too easy and too comfortable for me, that I can easily fall into the trap of continuing to only purchase single family homes.

For me to scale my real estate portfolio the way I want to, it is going to require me to buy bigger deals.  Multi-Unit/apartment buildings is now the direction I want to go and I must go.

Many of the same concerns and questions I had early in my investing career are popping up in my head. “Will I be able to find tenants for all of the units”, “What if all of my tenants move out at the same time”, “What if all of my hvac systems go out”.

As these questions pop up in my head it is easy for me to want to stick with the single family homes that I am comfortable with. But I am pushing through because I know I must get to the next level and the only way to do this is to go in the new direction.

I share these stories with the intent to inspire you to force yourself out of the comfort zone you find yourself in. Inertia is a bitch.  Without additional force and pressure from yourself or others you will never get out of the rut or zone you are in.

To your success and your future.

You have to make the decision now

You are what you are until you decide to become different than you are.  It is a hard thing to change but it can be done.  It just requires you to make a commitment and then do the work necessary to change your circumstances and your life.

I was recently speaking with a friend of mine about the current pandemic that we find ourselves in.  We were talking about how things were going with business, work, and life in general.

One of the things they said they were doing was watching a lot more television.  They  rattled off all of the shows they had watched. It was quite impressive.

I shared with them that I had been working out a lot more.  Instead of working out 60-80 minutes a day, it was more like 90-120 minutes a day of focused workouts.  In addition to more walks around the city where we live.

The conclusion that I have come to and you already know this as well.  We default and become more of who we are even during times of uncertainty, success, failure, and life as a whole.

My mentor explained it to me this way.  He said you have to decide if you are going to be a charitable person or not.  He said the amount of money you have or don’t have doesn’t matter.  You can be charitable when you are making fifty thousand dollars a year or a million dollars a year.

You are either charitable or not.  If you don’t create the habits and mindset to be a charitable person now while the stakes are lower, you definitely won’t do it when the stakes are much higher.

Many people are setting around saying to themselves “When I _______.”  Fill in the blank.

  • make more money, I will invest more
  • make more money I will give more
  • have more time I will volunteer more
  • am not raising kids I will go back to school

I am not sure where you are in journey but you have to decide now, the person you want to be and then do whatever it takes to start implementing the habits and decisions that will make you that person.

There is no “there” out there.  You don’t magically arrive one day. Life is an evolution. You have to continue to evolve, but the first step to evolution is to decide who you want to be.

Repetition and Frequency and why you need both for success

A good question to ask yourself is “How often should I get a check up on my health?”

At my age, health, and background, my doctor believes once a year is sufficient.  As I age, it will become more frequent than that.

Someone very close to me goes to the doctor more often.  It seems like at least once a month, if not more.  They have several chronic illnesses and they have several medications that they are taking.  Which requires more tests and check ins.

Repetition and frequency for them is more important because of their situation.

Success in your health, life, career, etc. all comes down to the repetition and frequency.  And you have to do both of these to have any success in life.  I believe the more you do them both the quicker and more success you will have in the thing you want success in.

Repetition is the act of doing something over and over again. The more we repeat something, the better we should get at it.  I say should, because the level of complexity of the thing is also part of the equation.

If you take a job that now requires you to give more presentations than your previous position.  When you first start that job and start giving presentations.  You most likely won’t be very good at it.  But over time you will become better at it, or at least you should become better at it.

This is where frequency comes in to play.  The definition of frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event in some time period.

This is the game changer and why you need both repetition and frequency to have success.

What if you had a job where you delivered a presentation once a month.  By the  third month you would become better at it.  However, if you had to get up every single day and do it, your number of occurrences would be 2900% more, than doing it once a month for three months.  You would have 87 more occurrences. In each of the occurrences you would have refined your presentation and delivery and gotten better at it.  Which in turn you would get better results from it.

Most people can do some level of repetition in their life.  That is the easy part.  But where they typically fail is in the frequency part. They allow too much time in between occurrences of the the activity they are repeating.

I like to use fitness as an example. If you are over weight and unfit and decide to change.  You can’t say I will start working out once a week. Its not enough frequency (occurrences).   You could repeat the exercises once a week for the next seven months and you would most likely not change much.  Because of this you would end up quitting. Plus your body would not change much.

If you instead decide to workout every other day, your would dramatically increase your chances of having success.  You would start to see results sooner, which would motivate you to keep going.

The more often you do something the more success you will get from the act or the results from that act.

If you want to have success in anything in life, I believe you have to increase the repetitions and the frequency. And yes you can accelerate your results depending on the frequency you do the repetitive act.

So the question becomes how quickly do you want to change something?  How quickly do you want to change your financial situation?  You have to either increase the frequency you are paying towards your debt. Or you have to increase your output (work) to be able to earn more to put towards your debt.

Take a look at any area in your life today where you are not getting the results you want.  Now look at the frequency at which you do the activity that should deliver the results for you in that area.  What if you increased the frequency? I guarantee if you do you will get better results.

To your success and your future.

 

 

Show up

Success in life really comes down to these two words:  Show up.  

There is nothing magical or hard about it.  When you show up good things will eventually happen.

When you show up you are keeping the commitment that you made to yourself.  This one thing alone is just as important as the showing up part.  Once you quit lying to yourself, you can take control over everything in your life.

Humans suck at commitments.  We don’t like to make them to ourselves and we definitely don’t like to make them to there people and be held accountable to them.  When we commit we are putting ourselves out there. We are taking the chance that we could fail.  Humans don’t like failure and we will avoid it all cost. Because of this we don’t go “all in” on commitments.

Work is a commitment that you keep because there is an incentive tied to it.   I am not talking about these commitments.  These are the easy ones.  I am talking about the commitments that you don’t have to make.  And you definitely don’t have to keep them. These are the hard ones and these are the ones that will impact your life the most positively.

When people aren’t getting the results they want.  When they are not accomplishing their goals.

It comes down to their lack of commitment to them.  If you haven’t fully committed, you won’t show up.

Take inventory of your life today and ask yourself the simple question.

Are you showing up to the things you said were important to you? If the answer is no.  Then I would challenge you to ask yourself how committed you really are to the thing.

My mentor said it best.  “action follows commitment.”  You won’t take action until you are committed.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

21 reasons your Admissions Representatives aren’t motivated

I have been in the higher education sector for the last fifteen years of my career.  Primarily working with admissions managers and admissions representatives. I have worked in the for-profit sector, the non-profit private sector, and even the public sector.

As a manager myself for many years, and as a consultant for just as many, I have found the following 21 ideas, things, excuses, or whatever you want to call them.  To be true in every one of the higher education groups I have worked with.

I am not only blaming the admissions representatives or the schools themselves for this lack of motivation.  They are all in it together. From the top down, everybody has to be held accountable and understand the mission.  And no matter what your Tax status says you are.  For-Profit, Non-Profit, or Public, no institution would exist if they didn’t have students paying tuition.

Ultimately, this responsibility falls on the admissions representatives and the admissions managers. They are both equally responsible for the livelihood of the school.

Here are 21 things that could help you diagnose the problem you might have on your team right now.  I am not going to solve your problem in this blog post.  However, the first step to all change is realizing that you need to make a change.

After you read the post, if you feel like your team needs some additional skills please reach out to me.  I have perfected a training system for Admissions Teams.  We call our product the Admissions Advantage.

Do you want an advantage for your team and your school?  If so, let’s have a conversation.  If not, use this information and make the necessary changes.  It is up to you.

21.  They don’t like their job

  • I don’t know why they don’t like their job.  It could be a variety of different reasons.  They don’t believe in what they do, or they don’t believe in the leadership.  You need to find out why and see if this can change.  If not, you know what needs to be done.

20. They don’t see a career path for growth.

  • On the first day of the job everybody wants to know two things.  After they learn how much they are getting paid.  What is it that I am responsible for?  And where do I fit in here?  They want to see where they are now and where they could be in the future. Show them.

19.  They don’t know the bigger picture.

  • Show them the marketing budget, show them the instructional budget, show them everything.  And then show them how the revenue they generate from the students they enroll make the budget work.

18. You have some toxic people on the team bringing everyone else down. 

  • Who are the negative people.  All teams have them.  You have to get rid of them ASAP. Why haven’t you? Quit waiting.

17. They don’t get respect from other departments 

  • Admissions representatives are going to push other people to do things they don’t want to do. They should do it respectively, but at the same time, they need to have the respect across the board from the other departments.  Everybody in the institution needs to know that without students none of them will exist. Period.

16. They are too focused on their next steps instead of the current step they are on. 

  • If we aren’t happy in what we are doing we are going to be looking for what the next step is. In many colleges and schools this is usually being done on the schools dime.  With additional educational benefits.  I am a fan of this, but admissions representatives must be doing their full-time job first.

15. They have too much free time. 

  • Free time is not good for any of us.  Especially an admissions representative. If your people are not seeing enough prospective students then you have to figure out a way to get everyone busier.  Too much free time will make them lazy and they will get in trouble.

14. They don’t know the consequences of missing budget or goals 

  • When is the last time you wrote someone up or let someone go because of a lack of performance.  I understand that everybody got a little scared under the previous administration and the rules. However, if you don’t have consequences for not doing your job, then mediocrity will creep in and kill your school.

13. They don’t know what excellence looks like 

  • I have seen it a hundred times.  You have one person that is killing it.  And that becomes the standard.  What if their standard is not that high though?  Then everybody else is trying to live up to a low standard.  Get some A players in and set some new standards.

12. They don’t know what it means to own something 

  • If your staff is younger, the chances are they haven’t lived long enough to truly own something. You must teach them how to own their career and their goals on the job.  This will keep them motivated to performing.

11. They are short timers

  • You have some people who just took this job because it is the one they were offered.  And you were sold in the interview. If this is the case get them out and make them really short timers.

10. Top leadership doesn’t remind them of how important they are.

  • A supervisor must be setting the standard every single day and showing the team appreciation.  However, the top leadership must do it often as well. It just means more when they hear it from the top leadership.

9. Direct supervisors are uninspiring.

  • If you are a manager and are reading this.  I am sorry.  It has just been my experience.  The question I have for you.  Are you motivated?  If not.  Why not?  What can you do to get excited again?

8. They don’t know what accountability is.

  • Accountability is a bad word.  Everybody says they like it until they get it.  But without it, there is no motivation to do better.  You must have systems in place that not only inspire the team to perform better, but you also have to have systems in place that show them when they don’t and what happens if they continue to not perform well.

7. They are too close for their own good. 

  • If your institution has hired a lot of graduates of your school then you know what I mean here.  They are either selling the schools features too hard and their experiences, or they talk to candidly about all of the problems with the school.  Either way, you have to teach them some skills to eliminate some of these tendencies.

6. They know they aren’t very good and they are being allowed to stay. 

  • Most people know when they aren’t performing very well.  And if they are being allowed to do it, they will just ride it out as long as they can.  Why not.  Especially if this is your first position in your career.  Management must figure this out immediately and make the changes.

5. They aren’t bought in. 

  • Again this is a management problem.  If you have some people on the team they aren’t bought in, you must figure out why.  And it all starts with creating a plan for their career and their growth while there.  Everybody needs to see how they can grow in their career and make more money ultimately. When you do this.  They will buy in to this path and their current position.

4. They lack the communication skills required. 

  • If you suck at communication, which unfortunately is not a skill that is learned the way it used to be. Then you aren’t going to be able to communicate to people internally or to your prospective students in a way that encourages them and motivates them to want to attend school.

3. They haven’t learned any people skills. 

  • Similar to communication.  People skills aren’t being taught the way they used to be.  The bottom line is that we have to teach people what basic people skills are, and then build upon that and teach them what it means to influence other people.

2. They are scared to be assertive. 

  • If you have grown up being passive and have never been taught what it means to take initiave and make things happen, then you wont know how to do it. You have to show them how.

1. They don’t have the self-confidence. 

  • Some people think that the younger generation has too much self-confidence when they get on the job. However, they don’t have the self-confidence to do what it takes to get people to walk through the doors to your institution.  This requires the confidence to say hard things and be assertive and direct with parents and their peers. This again, is not something that is being taught, but it can be taught.

Wherever you are reading this blog, I would love to get your feedback and thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree?  What else would you add?

Here is the one thing that I want to share.  All of the ideas in this article can be trained.  You can increase a persons self-confidence by increasing their skills.  If you aren’t investing in your admissions representatives development.  And I don’t mean formal education.  I mean real skill development on how to communicate to people to take action, phone skills to get people to call you back, and all the skills required to perform at their job better. Reach out to me and let’s have a conversation and see if the Admissions Advantage could help your institution.

bwillett555@gmail.com

To your success and your future.

 

Bring the pain and the results will follow.

At the first signs of pain, most people usually quit.  It could be the pain associated with exercising.  The pain of having to cook dinner instead of going out to eat to save money. Or, it could be the pain of finally tackling that project that you have been putting off.

Our ability to endure pain, physical or mental, could be the secret that leads to success or failure in accomplishing our goals.

Karel Gijsbers, a psychologist at the University of Stirling, in Scotland, published an influential paper in the British Journal of Medicine in 1981. Gijsbers along side one of his graduate students, put 30 elite swimmers from the Scotland National team through a series of pain tests and then compared those results to 30 Club Level swimmers and 26 non-athletes.

The protocol for this study involved cutting off the circulation to the subjects arms with a blood-pressure cuff, and then having them clench and unclench their fist once per second. The “Pain Threshold” was defined as the number of contractions needed to produce a sensation that registered as pain rather than merely discomfort. “Pain Tolerance” was quantified as the total number of contractions before the subject gave up.

The first finding was that the pain threshold was essentially the same in all three groups, starting around 50 contractions.  The second time the test was conducted the results were different. The pain tolerance of the National Team swimmers endured an average of 132 contractions before calling it quits.  Compared to the 89 in the club swimmers and 70 in the non-athletes.

Gijsbers remarked that because of the more systematic approach in which the National Team Swimmers exposed themselves to pain during training, that they had created or harnessed brain chemicals like endorphins, or perhaps simply thanks to psychological coping that allowed them to endure more pain.   He also said that “pain” can be strangely motivating or even required to the highly motivated athlete.

Gijsbers conducted these studies three more times throughout the year and found that the National Team Swimmers scored highest in June, which is their peak racing season; lowest in October, which is their off-season, and somewhere in the middle during their regular training period in March.

These seasonal fluctuations suggest that pain tolerance is linked to the type of training that the swimmers were doing during each of these testing periods. During the season, they were pushing their limits every single day, which provided them more tolerance based on their daily training schedules.

Similar studies have been done since Gijsbers studies in 1981, and they have all concluded with similar results.

So if pain is required to have more success, how do I train myself to be able to endure more pain?

For the purposes of this writing, I will stick to the topic of just exposing yourself to more pain.  To be able to endure more pain, you have to set a goal a reason for that goal.  I have covered those topics extensively in other writings.  Email me if you are interested in reading those bwillett555@gmail.com

In a recent book I read, it discussed the fact that when it comes to exercise that most of us will quit long before we ever run into any possibility of really hurting ourselves.  Our body is hardwired to shut down well before we could possibly ever get in to serious trouble of actually dying.  But if you have ever worked out before, really really hard, you may feel like you are about to die while you are in the moment.

At this peak of exhaustion and mental anguish is when most people quit. They don’t push themselves through the pain, because most of us are don’t want to feel this kind of pain.  However, when you are feeling this pain it is when you are actually burning the most calories and optimizing the benefits from the actual exercise you are doing.

I’m not suggesting you go forever, I’m just suggesting you may want to push yourself during this pain for a certain amount of time, and then each workout after you continue to push yourself to stay in that zone longer and longer.  This is where you will start to see more results and growth.

What about the pain associated with eating dinner at home versus going out to eat.  I have been there before, I was in debt and spending close to thirty to thirty-five percent of my monthly income on going out to eat.  If you are spending that much money on eating out and you add-on top of that twenty-five percent in housing costs, and then all of your other expenses, including the debts.  You can see real quickly that you won’t make much progress on eliminating your debts.

My suggestion is to first figure out how much you are spending and on which days do you typically do this.  I am sure you will see a pattern.  Then decide which days or day you will pick to stop doing this. It could be on Mondays or Saturdays.  It depends on your pattern. It could be on the days you attend class or your kid plays sports.

Now that you have the day picked out, decide what you will do instead. Will it be cooking at home that day.  Or should you pick another day to make additional food, so you can eat leftovers on the day you pick?   Seems like a lot of work doesn’t it?  It is so much easier to just eat out instead.

Yes it sure does. But this isn’t getting you any closer to your goals of paying off debt.  Your ability to endure the pain is what will either help or hurt you in achieving this goal.

I am quite sure that if you are reading this your goal is not to be an Olympic Swimmer.  However, I do think you are like most people and want to find a way to get ahead and move you and your family closer to your ideal situation financially as well as lifestyle wise.

To do this, it is going to require you to do things that you haven’t been able to do before successfully.  As my mentor told me, “To get what you have never had, you have to do something that you have never done.”  Maybe this is you as well.

Enduring pain and making sacrifices is not a forever thing.  It is only for a season, a period of time, it isn’t going to last forever.  If you endure some pain during a workout for three months or so, each day enduring more and more.  Eventually you will hit your goal.  If you don’t eat out for a period of time, you will eventually get to a better financial position than you are currently. Believe me, I have lived this personally.

So the question is are you willing to endure some pain to accomplish your goals?

To your success and your future.

If you need some help with this contact me at bwillett555@gmail.com I am currently meeting with clients to help them achieve the things they want in their life and in their career.

Excerpts for this blog taken from the book Endure; Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance written by Alex Hutchinson. 

 

 

 

 

My first business purchase and why you shouldn’t listen to most people

“Was that a roach?” My buddy said to me as we were walking through the property.  This had to be one of the nastiest homes I have personally ever walked in and he said the same.

As I walked through the apartment of this three bedroom and one and a half bath bottom unit of this duplex, it was hard to see the carpet because of all the boxes and trash bags piled on top of more garbage.   It’s as hard to tell what color the walls were because of  the layer of film on all of the  walls from years of smoking.  The smell that permeated throughout the twelve-hundred square foot of living space was a combination of old boxes, body odor, and food that had been sitting in the garbage can for days.

As we walked through each of the bedrooms, I couldn’t believe that children actually were allowed to occupy the space.  I also never understood how every single light fixture or wall socket, was missing the little plate that hides the electrical wires in the wall.

As we walked into one the bedrooms, a 1980’s television set was on, and had the old bunny ears were attempting to put a picture on the screen that was even watchable.  Keep in mind it is now 2006 when I was in walking through.

We walked out of that apartment to the upstairs apartment. This apartment was exactly the opposite of what we were just walking through.  It was the same size and dimensions. However,  this apartment was clean, uncluttered, and the white paint on the walls were white. We didn’t spend as much time in that apartment.  My decision was made.

As we exited both apartments:
My buddy said “What do you think?”
I said “Lets put an offer in on it.”
He said “What?”
I said, “Yes, I want to buy it.”

And about a month or so later, I now owned my first official business.   I bought that duplex and it was my first of many rental properties.  I didn’t know it at the time, because I was twenty-seven years old and didn’t know really what I was doing.   Nobody in my family that I was close with, at least not my immediate family, had ever owned rental real estate before.

As I was in the process of buying this property, I had many people in my family and my friends asking me the questions, of which you have either asked yourself most likely.  Or if you own rental real estate someone has asked you.

Questions like.  “What are you going to do if you don’t have a renter?”  “Renters will mess your place up?”  “Who is going to do all of your repairs?”  “How will you find renters?”  “What do you know about owning real estate?”  “You know that this will impact your taxes?” “You will get calls in the middle of the night.”

All of these statements, that are posed in a way of a question were asked of me.  Many of the people who made these statements had never owned rental real estate in their life.  Many of the people didn’t have a clue of what it was like to find a renter.  Paying taxes on rental properties. Doing repairs on rental properties.

This first rental property investment I made was such a learning experience for me.

First, I had to see through all of the muck and junk and realize that there was an opportunity to make some money.  The bad smells, the dirty walls, the ripped carpet that was so filthy that I was scared to even walk on it with shoes.  But I saw through it all.

And in life, most of the good opportunities and possibilities are usually covered up with a little muck and junk.  It is up to us to not listen to the conventional wisdom and to go against the grain and decide to pursue the opportunity anyway. Also, you have to work to clear out the muck and junk to expose the opportunity.

The second thing I learned was.  That most of the people telling you not to do something.  Or questioning why you would want to do something.  These same people are usually the ones that have no experience with whatever it is they are questioning you about.

I am a big believer in learning from other people.  However, many times I have listened to people who don’t have the experience with that of which I am trying to learn about or attempt to do.  Most of the naysayers in my life, and your life, are trying to tell you something they don’t have any experiences with.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I know now.  That for any of us to accomplish something that we have never been able to accomplish, we will have to do something that most people we know haven’t done or haven’t done well. Because we are all a product of our own environments at some level.

Quit listening to the people who don’t have the ability to help you to begin with.

To your success and your future.

 

 

One of my greatest embarrassments, and why I should do it more often.

There I was standing on the stage in front of one hundred and forty-three people.  These people were all high performing sales people, vice presidents in our company, sales managers, sales assistants, etc.  I was kicking off a two-day sales training event. As the Corporate Sales Manager, all of these people had dotted line responsibilities to me.  I knew most of them very well, and some fairly well.

I had spoken in front of large groups before, but standing there that day, it was really the first time I was doing something like that and of that magnitude.  As the person who spearheaded the event and was kicking it off, I felt extra pressure that day to set high expectations and create excitement and enthusiasm, that would create momentum for the next two days.

As I was standing there facing that group to my front, behind me was what was really making me nervous.  It wasn’t the one hundred and forty-three people staring at me.  It was the one person that was right behind me on the stage.  This person was the type that would judge and comment on everything I said and did.  And they didn’t give a shit either. They would do it right there on the stage if I created the opportunity for them to do so.   This person was the owner of our company.

I had a great relationship with him.  I spent a lot of time with him.  And because of that I knew what to expect or not to expect at any given time when you were in his presence.  He had a way to undermine you and call you out in such an awkward way that you would want to run and hide.

As I am standing there on that stage that morning, I decided to do something that I had never done before to kick-off the meeting.  I decided to tell a joke. I had heard this joke at least fifty times.  One of my colleagues who had been in the business for forty years, who I highly respected. Had told this joke at lots of different meetings with internal and external customers over the years.  He was, and still is, one of the best public speakers I have ever known or met.   The joke always landed when he told it. His southern draw and timing with this joke was impeccable.

I went to him and asked if I could use it.  He said sure.  Go ahead.  He probably knew that I was in trouble.  However, he told me to go with it.

This joke was fairly complex.  Well, at that time it seemed complex to me. It had four characters in it.  And I had a sentence or two on each one of the characters in the joke.  Maybe it wasn’t that complex, but it was all new to me at that time.

The stage is now set.  I am kicking off a two-day sales meeting, in front of me is the entire executive committee and sales team, behind me is the owner and my supervisor. In my head is my colleague who had set the bar extremely high for me.

And what happens…I chickened out that morning on telling the joke. Well, not totally.  I told the joke, but I decided to read it from note cards instead.  I was so nervous that I would screw it up, that I decided that reading it from note cards was the better option.

I tell the joke, reading from the cards.  Not directly reading, but using it as a guide mainly. The joke had a message about how timing and things being in the right conditions have to exist and we must seize those opportunities when they present themselves. I then tied that into the two-day training event being the right time and the right conditions.  So everyone in the group must seize the opportunity.

It was really a beautiful message.

As a read the joke from the cards, I screwed it up.  My timing was off.  And the joke didn’t land. After that I was to introduce the owner of our company and my boss, and we were going to conduct a panel interview with submitted questions from the audience in advance.

As I walk towards where I was going to sit.  Right next to the owner of our company. He was mic’d up already and leans over to me and says “If you are going to tell that joke, you need to learn how to tell it without reading it.”

Since I am being honest here.  I agree with him. He was right.  It is not what I wanted to hear at that moment, because I knew it was weak and could have been so much better.

The next two days I facilitated an awesome event.

I learned several things that morning.  First, never tell a joke that you can’t tell without note cards.  Duh!  I know. I will never forget that.

The big thing that I learned was this though.  That for me to grow and to develop, I must be willing to be embarrassed from time to time. Yep.  Embarrassed. Most people cringe at the thought of being embarrassed, much less actually doing something that could end in an embarrassment.

By taking that risk that day, I learned more about public speaking and telling jokes than I would have ever learned if I wouldn’t have done it.  I took a risk to do something different and it failed, but I learned and I have told that joke a hundred times since.

If you aren’t willing to be embarrassed from time to time, then the chances of you growing are greatly diminished. Be willing to take risks, screw up.  You learn more in the screw ups than you do in the successes.

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.

 

 

The one question that changed my life

When is the last time you bet on yourself?  I mean really bet on yourself.  Did something outside the norm.  Required you to do something that had a level of uncertainty. Did something that you weren’t too sure how it was going to actually turn out.

If you are like most people, the chances are you haven’t done this in a very long time.  Maybe the last time you did it was when you took your current job.  Or when you went on that date with that guy or girl.  Or attended the meeting that you weren’t too sure about.

Whatever it was, and whenever it was, the chances are it has been a very long time. So the question I have for you, is the exact same question I asked myself years ago.

Why not me?  Yep.  That is the simple question that changed my life forever. Why not me?

Let me give you some context around it.

Why not me?  To run this company.
Why not me?  To get a Masters degree.
Why not me? To quit this safe and secure job, and actually do better somewhere else.
Why not me?  Find someone who loves me for me and I want to marry.
Why not me?  To own as many houses as I want to own.
Why not me?  To run an 8 min. mile.
Why not me?  To have homes located in several parts of the country.
Why not me?  To make a millions dollars a year.
Why not me?  To run this department or division.
Why not me? To read over 35o books over a period of time.
Why not me?  To get paid for something I love to do.
Why not me? To own my own businesses.
Why not me? To save enough money to buy several houses.
Why not me? To leave a profession and go to another profession.
Why not me? To cash bigger checks.
Why not me? To make more in one day than I do the entire year.
Why not me? To get all of my debt paid off.
Why not me? To achieve all I have ever wanted.

My life changed forever, when I started asking myself this simple question.  It changed my thinking from.  “Its not for me”, to “Why not me?”  I changed that statement into a question.  That one question expanded my thinking to think 100 times bigger than I had ever thought before.  I have accomplished some of the things in that list and some of them I am still pursuing. And as I look back on the last ten years when I started asking myself that question, it is very simple on what I must do going forward.

And that is to keep thinking bigger, dreaming bigger, pursuing my current dreams and the ones that I would never even think about dreaming of.  If you aren’t embarrassed to tell others your goals and your dreams, the chances are they are not big enough.  Go big!

So the question I have for you is this “Why not you?”

To your success and your future.