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.

 

 

Never quit, but you can pivot

One of my favorite topics to write and talk about is goals.  Not because I consider myself to be an expert in setting and achieving them.  It is quite frankly the exact opposite.  I actually come up short on them more often than I would like to admit.

How I learned the value of never quitting but learning how to pivot as necessary.

When I was 33 years old.  I became a student again.  This was seven years after I completed my MBA.  I consider all of my formal education, K-12, associates degree, bachelors degree, masters degree.  That formal education something I just had to do.  It was required.  Not because it was forced on to me by my parents. I knew to compete in the world I had to be prepared with those credentials.

At 33 is when I started to take my personal education more serious and became a student once again.  I became a strategic goal setter.

At 26, I was a landlord.  I had purchased a duplex.  I had always had a desire in the back of my mind that I wanted to own real estate one day that I would rent. I am not sure why this thought entered my mind.  No one in my immediate family that I knew of had owned real estate.  The only thing that I can remember as a young kid that would have prompted me to think this way, could have been a good friend of mines grandparents who I spent a decent amount of time around when I was younger.

My friend was a really good student.  One of his motivations to be a good student was very simple.  For every A he would get on his report card he would get $50 dollars from his grandparents.  B’s were worth $25.  I can remember him showing me the money after every report card. I was jealous. Keep in mind this started around middle school up until tenth or eleventh grade.

To me my friend was rich, because his grandparents were rich.  I couldn’t imagine having that much money handed to me. Being around his grandparents I knew that they owned a lot of rental property.  That was the extent of my knowledge.  Outside of that I didn’t know exactly how much or how long, etc.

This is the only thing that I can thing of that would have planted the seed of me wanting to own real estate.

Fast forward back to age 33, I had owned the duplex for seven years.  I had not purchased anymore property up until that point. At 33, after purchasing a goal setting seminar.  I decided to set a goal of owning ten rental properties by age 40, and I wanted them all to be paid off by that time.  I didn’t know how I was going to achieve this goal. But I said if I can buy one house every quarter.  I could get there.

I set this goal and reminded myself of it daily.  For the next three years.  I purchased another five houses.  Now at age 36, I had seven total tenants and 6 properties. Seven if you included my own personal home.

I was well on my way.

Like most of life though, things happened and things changed.

In 2015, I met my future wife.  My dad died unexpectedly and about a year later in 2016, my wife and I decided to pack up and move to Florida.  When deciding to move to Florida, we also decided to sell the duplex I had owned since I was 26.  This is something I regret now, but at the time it made a lot of sense. I had also sold my personal residences a few years before.  We now had just the five rental properties. Two of them I paid cash for and the other three had mortgages.

Once we made it to Florida.  I took a position where I was 100% commission.  Meaning if I don’t sell, I don’t make any money.  For about the first year, my income was really unpredictable.  I had good months and months were I didn’t make any money.

Now during this time, I continued to put all of my money that came from the rental properties back in to paying off the mortgages I had.  Once I paid each mortgage,  any remaining money I would put towards the principal of my lowest dollar amount mortgage.  I knew if I could get one of them paid off quicker, it would make the next one even easier.  Because I would have more money to put towards it.

Once I started making some more predictable income with my new position in Florida, it was around the year and a half mark.  Also, at this time.  My wife and I decided that we were going to pack up and move again.  We didn’t love Florida, and we were now moving to Dallas.

During this time in Florida, I continued to look at real estate every single day.  My income wasn’t predictable enough at the time where we felt comfortable enough to buy anything.  But I continued to look and knew if I could find something I would figure out a way to buy it.

Now that we are in Dallas, I once again found myself with zero income.  This time, I was going to go out on my own.  I had been freelancing for years.  I knew where some opportunities existed and where I could make a difference and build a business.  So I poured all of my resources in to doing that.

Keep in mind I still had that goal of 10 rental homes by 40 and all of them paid off.

At this time I am now 38/39.  I am putting a lot of money into my business.  Pretty much most of everything I would make would go right back in the business.  I did this for about a year or so.  It was hard.  Really hard.  And it wasn’t bringing me any joy.

Once again, I pivot and take a position with a great company last fall. By this time I am now 40.  I was excited to take this new position because once again, it was 100% commission, but the product was a great and it had great market presence. I knew I could crush it.

This past February I turned 41.  I didn’t make the goal of ten houses by age 40 and all of them paid off.

I was only able to get four of the five paid off.  Yep.  I am sitting here today, and my goal wasn’t accomplished and if you gave it a measurement.  I guess you could say it took me a year longer, and I only accomplished 40% of what I wanted to accomplish.  This is true, if you look at it this way.

However you want to look at it.  Here is what I know.

Life is really hard. Things change.  People change. Our priorities and our goals change.  The world around us changes.  I know that with out the constant reminder to myself of what my goal was, I wouldn’t have even accomplished the 40%.  It may have been zero.

One of my favorite shows of all time is Boardwalk Empire on HBO.  if you haven’t watched it. You should.  The main character says something that has stuck with me ever since. He said “You always need to have something planned, because you need something to look forward to.”

I believe goals are a lot like this. You need to have them set because they give you something to look forward to, but even more importantly they give you a direction and more importantly motivation to do what it takes so you can achieve them.

 

 

 

5 reasons I have to get back to writing again

Wow!  It has been almost two years since I posted a blog on this site.  I did write a lot on another site I own for about a year, but I haven’t technically done any writing for the last nine months or so.

So what compelled me to pick it back up?

I felt like that I had lost some of the really good habits and emotions that created opportunities for me in my life when I was writing before. So here I am making a commitment to myself to start doing it again.  Writing provided a lot of different things in my life, but here are a few of those things along with my opinion on why I want to get back to writing.

  1. Consistency: If you know me, you would probably say that I am very consistent in most of the things I do.  Whether it be exercising, working, or emotionally.  I am a consistent person.  But to me working and exercising are those things that I really do enjoy, but at the end of the day, I have to do them.  Yes.  I have to do them.Writing on the other hand is not a “have to do”.  My livelihood will not be in jeopardy if I don’t do it, like it would be if I didn’t work.  Or my health is not at risk, if I don’t write. Writing is truly extra.  Nothing bad will happen to me if I don’t do it.  However, that is the reason I choose to do it. It forces me do something that I don’t have to do. Forcing yourself to do things you don’t have to do is a muscle that needs to be worked.  And frankly I am not very good at writing, but I love the benefits of it.
  2. Thinking:  Writing forces me to think.  Thinking isn’t something most people spend enough time doing.  Most of us are too busy doing things to think.  Whether it is working, spending time with friends and family, or watching sports or Netflix.  I have found myself the last nine months just doing and not thinking as much as I should.  I want to force myself back in to thinking more and that is what happens when I write.
  3. Clarity: My mentor told me that putting things on paper, written or typed.  Is the best way to crystallize our thoughts and to make things more clear.  Over the last nine months and really the last couple of years, I have continued to journal daily, but it has gotten shorter and shorter.  I am not spending enough time doing it.  I feel like I need clarity more in my life than ever before and writing helps me have that.
  4. Audio/Video: The world is now audio and video dominant.  Everything is consumed in these two formats.  And I have bought right in to it as well.  I have gotten in the habit of watching videos to get my news, to get additional training on a subject, to be entertained, you name it.  Video is everywhere and I consume it as much as the next person.Audio is the same way.  I am always listening to a podcast, a book, an interview, etc.  These are great mediums to get the full context of someones words and they are great when you are trying to do two things at once.  Like working out, driving, and working.  Personally, I have started to rely on these too much for my information, education, and entertainment.
  5. Focus (attention span): My attention span sucks right now.  Seriously.  It is a weakness.  I can’t even read an entire article on something I would be interested in reading.  I skim through it and sometimes I will scroll down to see how long the article is, and if it is too long, I will bail out on it altogether.  Even though I am interested in it.Writing forces me to focus.  It requires focus.  Look, I am not a great writer.  If you have read this far, you probably have cringed at my grammar, sentence structure, my misspellings that spell check didn’t pick up, etc.  But for me to get this far, (679 words) I had to really focus. Because it is really hard for me to put together what I have put together.I believe focus (attention span) is a muscle.  Like all muscles if it isn’t worked and exercised over time it becomes weaker and weaker.  This is what has happened to me.  I haven’t worked the muscle enough and I have lost, frankly, a lot of my ability to focus on the things I need to focus on.

Focus, clarity, thinking, and consistency are all great habits to have.  When you are at your best you are implementing them all to have success.

Today’s society, and life in general has taken some of the gains I made in these areas that provided me a lot of success in my past, away from me.  I have to get what I lost back and build even more on them so I can get to the next level of success.   Writing allows me to work the muscles in each of the areas I mentioned in the post.

To your success and your future.

Why closing these Gap’s are vital to your life and success.

If you had to sum up life it could really be summed up in one sentence.

You spend most of your life trying to close the GAPs in the most important areas of your life.

The GAP between what you might be asking.  The GAP between you and everything you want out of your life and want in your life.

So what is a GAP?  Lets get a definition for this first.

A GAP is described as a break in continuity.  I also like the definition of an, unfilled space or interval.

So where are some GAPS in your life?

Here is a quick list of GAPS that may or may not pertain to you?  This list is by no means final and is up to each person to create their own.

A Success GAP:  The GAP between the expectations you have of yourself and where you currently are today.

The Health GAP: The GAP between your current health situation and the health situation you would like to have.

The Relationship Gap:  This could be a lot of different relationships in your life such as: with your wife, your boss, your children, your parents, your neighbor, etc.  The GAP between where your relationship is today and where you would like that relationship to be.

The Confidence GAP:  Where you stand today with your confidence in your own abilities and skills in an area of importance to you versus you pursuing that of which eludes you.

The Communication GAP: Most likely this GAP exists in a variety of different ways in your life. It could be the lack of communication from your boss, the lack of communication you and your spouse may have, and may more areas of your life that are important.

The Income GAP:  This is the GAP in between your current financial status and the status you want to have.

So how do we close the GAP?  That is really all we can seek to do.

Like everything in life.  The first thing you have to do is become aware that it exists.  In this case, you have a GAP in one of the above described areas, or another area in your life. Once you identify the GAP.  Then you can seek the information to help you close the GAP.

Lets use the Health GAP as an example.  What is the GAP? What is the current situation for you and secondly, what is the desired situation you want.

I’ll use myself as an example.  I have a GAP in between where I am today and where I would like to be ten months from now at age 40.  At age 40, I seek to be in the best shape of my life.  Which would require me to be at 195, my blood pressure being at 120/75, my BMI at 15-20, and have all of the major health tests conducted and show that I am a healthy forty year old man.  I would even love it if they said I was better than average.  I don’t want to be just average.

So where is the GAP?  I currently weight about 200 or so.  My BMI is closer to 24, my blood pressure is usually around the 120/80-83 mark.  And I haven’t had all of the major tests a forty-year old should get yet.  Although I know the surface level GAP’s of where I am and where I want to be, I have to go to the doctor to get all of the necessary facts to totally see the entire picture.

Once the GAP is identified, I can now learn and create an action plan to close the GAP.

For you to close any GAP in your life, you first have to go through the process of determining that a GAP exists.  The GAP is the space between where you are and where you want to be.

After the you identify the GAP, the big question becomes how bad do you want to close the GAP?  What is the intensity of your desire to make this GAP smaller and smaller.

This GAP will exist as long as you want it to exist.

Now here is the GAP Closer.  Now that you have identified the GAP, and your desire to close the GAP is strong. What do you do?

You go and get the knowledge and education you are missing to close the GAP.  Now the chances are you may already have some of the knowledge and education, but you just aren’t applying it.  That is another blog for another day. But for you to close the GAP in anything you have to apply the necessary knowledge and education you already know, or go out and find the right information and knowledge and then apply it.

This is the only way to close the GAP.  Once you start this process, you can speed the process up, or you can take forever to close the GAP.  It is up to you.

The key to closing a GAP in any area of you life, is identifying you have a GAP.  Once you do this, you then have to identify your motive and desire to close this GAP. After that, you either must apply what you already know, or go out and get the information so you can apply it to closing the GAP.

Life is really a big GAP that you are costly managing and seeking to close.  If you don’t have any GAP’s in your life, then my guess is you don’t have any goals or dreams, which is probably the reason you don’t have any GAPs.

If you want to start closing some GAPS in your life, then reach out to me.  I coach leaders, sales people, and individuals who want to close the GAPs in their life.  I have found that without some help and accountability, closing GAP’s can be very difficult.  Everybody needs someone to push them to accomplish the things in their life that require them to change something in their life.

How big are the GAPs in your life?  How bad do you want close them?  The only way to closing the GAP is getting the knowledge and education you are missing, and then having someone hold you accountable to applying it.

To your success and you future.

 

 

How I set a goal to find my wife.

I talk to lots of people all of the time that tell me they are just not getting what they want in their life.  It could be a certain career, better children, more money, investments, relationships, health and fitness, etc.  You name it and I have heard it. I have been there myself many times.

About five years ago, I was one of those people who said I need to find a partner/woman who I want to spend the rest of my life with.  Someone who is aligned with the way I think, we want the same things in life, business, and everything else.

I challenged myself with this question:  “Am I the person, the person I am looking for is looking for?”

That is a big question isn’t it?  It required me to take a deep look at everything I was doing in my life at the time.  It challenged me to ask myself what do I need to change to find the person that I want in my life.

At the time I was thinking about this ideal person and ideal wife.  I had been in a long-term relationship off and on that was just never going to go anywhere.  We have all had one of those relationships.  There is nothing wrong with you, and as much as you may agree or disagree, there wasn’t anything wrong with the other person.

If the relationship you are in or was in, is just really jacked up, than shame on you.  Don’t be stupid.  But most of the time, relationships aren’t that jacked up.  If it is, get the heck out of it.  Mine wasn’t. It was just two people who had fun together, but were on two different pages in life and other things.

So I asked myself the question “Am I the person the person I am looking for, is looking for?”  I then got out of the current situation that I was in.  Then the next step was to put together a list of what it was that I wanted in a person.

This is the process for all change to occur in our life.  This is the process to setting goals, changing behaviors, and getting what you want out of life. You ask yourself the questions.

Where am I?  Is this where I want to be?  If the answer is no.  You get out of that situation, if it is a situation that you have to get out of it to move things forward.

And then you ask yourself the final question before you get to work finding it.  Which is “What do I want?”

I asked myself “What do I want?”  I am not going to give you my full list here, but if you have attended one of my workshops or seminars, then you have heard the list, or you can attend and get the list.

But here are a couple of things:

  • Goal Oriented
  • Doesn’t blame others for their problems
  • No Kids
  • Career Minded
  • No debt or very little debt
  • Certain income level
  • A good heart
  • Spiritual

I got even more specific in my list creation than what I have shared here, but you get the point.  You could say black hair, no hair, height, weight, etc.  Its your damn list and your life.  Put whatever list you want.  Whatever you do, don’t ever settle for less. Settle for more.

Now you can’t find out all of this stuff on one date or two dates, it takes some time. But here is the deal though.  If you actually go through the process of creating a list and doing the work in advance of what it is you want and don’t want, then you will know it when you see it.  That is the value of the list.

If you haven’t found the person you want yet, it is because you don’t know what you are looking for.  That is how goals work.  You have to set them in advance, because that is how you will know when you see the opportunity or in this case, the person, when you see it.

My wife sometimes reads my stuff and sometimes doesn’t have the time, so just in case she reads this.  My guess is she will since her title is in the subject line.  I am going to make sure I add this.

I got everything on my list and then some.  I settled for more.  She is amazing and beautiful and I definitely won.

I want you to win as well. I challenge you to go through this process.  Visualize the person you want, make the list, and then you will find it.  Until you do this you will never get what you want or deserve.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

How many Thursdays do you have left in your life?

I don’t know about you, but no matter what I do, it seems like I always use more time to do something than I should use.  This is not a new phenomenon.  Actually if you look it up there is actual supposed law for this belief.  Called Parkinson’s Law.

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, actually wrote about this law in a humorist essay he published in the British publication, “The Economist” in 1955.  Parkinson was actually referencing the fact, and the math to support his belief on how bureaucracies expand over time.  Long story short, he was talking primarily about how officials in government seeks to grow subordinates over time, and as they grow the staff, the work increases, but the results do not increase.  Because the bureaucracy creates more work for itself.  But I digress. Go here and read about it yourself.

In my world, Parkinson’s Law manifests in certain projects that I want to complete.  The best example of this I can give is the one I am working on this week. I have to give a keynote presentation next Friday.  I have delivered several presentations that are similar to the one I am giving, but I have to change this one up for the audience more than normal. This week has been a light week for me, which has provided me a lot of time to work on this presentation.

I started on Monday, and I am 75% complete.  But I should be 100% complete and not have to look at it again until next week.  But I know I have until next week to do it.  Well, really Monday or so.  And because I know this, I haven’t completed it yet.

I have always tried to do whatever I can to get the most out of my time, but I still find myself, like in the above example, using more time than I should.

I recently was listening to a book where the author asked me “How many Wednesdays do you have left in your life?”  Well, I had never thought about the question like that before. I never thought about how many Wednesdays an average person lives, or any other day for that matter.

After hearing this question I thought about it, and like most of us would do, and maybe you are doing it now.  I started doing some math.  The math I will do today is on how many Thursdays I have left, obviously I hope I have more, but lets just play the averages.

I am 39 years old. My dad died when he was 60 (ugh), not sure how that plays in.  One of my grandfathers lived until 86 and the other lived until 83.  However, this plays in, I don’t know, but it gives me some benchmarks.

So how many Thursdays do I have left?

  • If I make it to 60 = Currently week 15 of my 39th year, 1,077 Thursdays left.
  • If I make it to the average for males in the United States: 78: 2,013 Thursdays left.
  • Average of my two grandfathers 83+86=169/2=84.5, 2,325 Thursdays left.

If you think about life experiences how many times do you really do certain things.  For example:  How many Super Bowl parties do you really attend.  Lets just say you started going to Super Bowl Parties when you were 18.  Then you if you just use an average life span, (78), you could have only attended 60 Super Bowl parties throughout your life.  It seems like a lot, but when you look at it like this it makes it seem really small in my mind. Not sure how you think about it.

Now that I got you thinking.  Well me too.  I am trying to create a stronger sense of urgency in everything I do.  Look, I consider myself, to be very disciplined, very focused, and very consistent in just about everything I do.  But even I have a room for improvement.

This little exercise challenged me to think about how many days I really have to do what I want to do, and need to do.  When you are a kid, you think you will live forever.  And then as an adult you are too busy to think about living forever. Then you wake up one day and realize you have been out of high school for 20 years.

I have accomplished a lot.  I don’t know if it is more or less than I thought I would accomplish, because I never really thought that much about it.  However, as I am sitting here today in Naples, Florida where I have lived for the last two years, typing this blog, and now that I think about what it is I am achieving and accomplishing, I can honestly say I have accomplished a lot.

However, I know I am capable of so much more, and you are as well. We just have to quit falling victim to Parkinson’s Law and create the urgency to do whatever it takes to start and  finish things quicker.

To your success and your future.

 

Can people really change?

This is a question that I have been asked many times by people.  You most likely have a strong opinion on this question as well.  Can people really change?  Especially if they are more experienced (older) and more stuck in their ways.

As a leader for well over twenty years now, a full-time corporate trainer and speaker the last five years. I have come across lots of people in a variety of different environments. I have also studied human behaviors for the last ten years or so.  When I say study, I mean not only through observation, I have been doing that for my entire life.  I mean studying the research that has been conducted and collected by some of the experts in the field of human behavior since the beginning of time.

One of the best books I have read on the study of human behavior, and specifically on the question of whether or not humans can Change, is a book titled Change or Die, The Three Keys to Change at work and in Life.  

In the book, the authors look at research conducted by doctors on people who were diagnosed with severe heart issues.  Some of the participants in the study even have had open heart surgery to other heart related surgeries.  The question was simple.  When faced with death, would the patients change their behaviors to prevent future heart related issues.

What do you think they found?  Did people change their behaviors?

The study concluded that after one year after the diagnosis, or the surgery, that well over 50% of the patients had stopped taking the medication they were supposed to be taking.  At after two years, well over 90% were back to the same behaviors and lifestyles they had before the surgery or diagnosis.

This example says a lot about change doesn’t it?  It says that even when faced with death, change is very hard. Luckily most of us are not in position at this moment that we have to make a life or death decision, and our willingness to change determines what the outcome will be.

However, many people are in situations where making some changes could greatly impact their career and success. The question is, are they willing to make the changes necessary. As the book would tell you, most people aren’t.  But the book, also shares many stories on where people did make changes and how they did it. And in my business, I see the same thing.

From my observations through meeting thousands of people in my training seminars and courses, I have watched people significantly change to get better outcomes in their life and their business.  But there are some conditions and questions that must be answered for those changes to occur in those people.

First, the person must have a need to make a change.  As my mentor said, we make changes for two reasons.  We are either inspired or desperate.  Obviously, both situations lead to change.  I just prefer to make the changes before I am desperate to have to make the change.

For example: Lets says I am an employee at a company.  I have been there for five years.  I know my business pretty well.  So well, that I don’t listen to feedback very well.  Matter of fact, I dismiss most suggestions people make.  In addition to being dismissive I am kind of known as a jerk that nobody likes to work around.

This person could become inspired to make changes, because they realize the impact they are having on the coworkers around them.  Or they could be sat down by their manager and told how they are perceived, and if they don’t change it they will no longer work there anymore.

In either case, a need has been identified, but the better path is to become aware of the change yourself and start to make shift.

My experience tells me that people who do make changes see the need.

The second piece to change is the want.  Do they want to make the change.  Again, it comes down to motivation.  How motivated are you to want to make the change.  If you are about to lose your job, you may be highly motivated, however, are you sold on the concept?   You could fake it for a while, but eventually it will come out on whether or not you really want to change.

In my observations, the people who really see the need and then really want to change are the ones who can make the changes.  And I know it isn’t that simple.  The environment has to be right, and then the right support has to be there as well, but when the need and the want are strong by the individual, change will occur.

The third piece to making a change is a question the person will ask themselves. Can I change?  The simple answer is, Yes, they can change.  But it is the follow-up question that is more important.  Will I change?  We can all change, it is just whether or not will we change.  These two questions, have to be asked and answered with a yes.

To answer the question I posed at the beginning.  Can people change?  Yes, I whole heartedly believe people can change.  They must answer the four questions above though.

Do they see a need to change, however the need is presented to them.  Either they see the need or someone shows the need to them.  Do they want to change?  And then lastly, do they think they can, and will they do whatever it takes to make the changes. When these four questions are answered, and how they are answered, you will know whether or not someone will make a change.

Once these four questions are answered, and answered correctly, the person is willing to do whatever it takes to make whatever the change is.  Then they must get in to the right system or program to make the changes.  This is where it can get complicated.  What is the best system.  I’ll keep it generic on my suggestions as far as what the right system is.  I will just tell you what I believe the system must include.

First the system, must have a singular focus.  It must be focused on whatever the change the person is trying to make is.

Secondly, it must have daily accountability of some kind, that requires the person who is making the change to have to be accountable to.

Thirdly, they must receive some kind of coaching along the way.

Lastly, it must be at least a year-long process with accountability and follow-up.  This is by far one of the most critical things.  The bottom line is change is hard, we know this.  People would rather die than change, as the book validates.  And this kind of change doesn’t happen over night, it takes at least a year to make sustainable changes to a behavior that we have had for a long time.

I have watched people in my training courses make significant changes in their behaviors over the years.  Whether it is a leader that changes the way they interact with their employees and peers.  Or the sales person that has to change their work behaviors to make more sales.

These people were able to make these changes, because they not only answered the four questions.  They had a need, they wanted to make the change, and the sad they Can and they said that they will.  But they also found the right system, with a singular focus, with daily accountability and coaching, and they were committed to at least a certain period of time to work in the system to make the changes.  They haven’t always been year-long processes, but they were lengthy periods of time.

Here is the question for you.  Can you change?  Are you willing to make a change?

I know the answer to the question.  People can change. Will you?

To your success and your future.

 

 

Spaghetti and Marshmallows and why kindergartners beat CEO’s in this task.

If you had to make a bet on which team could perform a certain task better between a group of kindergartners, or a group of business students amongst some of the top elite schools in the United States and abroad.  Who would you bet on?

Peter Skillman, an engineer, put together a competition to answer this question.  The task was simple.  He assembled groups of four people at several colleges and universities.  Their task was to see who which group could build the tallest possible structure using the following items:

  • twenty pieces of uncooked spaghetti
  • one yard of transparent tape
  • on yard of string
  • one standard size marshmallow

The contest had one rule.  The marshmallow had to be the final thing on top of the tower.

Who did you bet on?

The students took the approach of first tossing ideas back and forth.  They asked questions to each other.  They looked at several different options.  It was very strategic and professional.  They then decided on an approach.  Divided up the tasks and started building.

The kindergartners did something different.  They didnt strategize. They did not analyze anything or generate any ideas, or banter back and forth. Nope they stood amongst each other.  Grabbed the materials and started building.  No plan.  No strategy.  They started putting things together, and as they got in to it.  They would say to each other.  “Lets try this”.  “No, here”.  “Lets put that here.”

So who did you bet that would build the taller structure?

If you bet on the business school students, you are wrong. In dozens of trials, kindergartners built structures that average twenty-six inches tall, while the students from these universities average structure was about ten inches tall.

Teams of kindergartners not only consistently outperformed business school students, but they also conducted these same trials with lawyers and CEO’s.  The lawyers averaged fifteen inch structures and the CEO’s averaged twenty-two inches structures.

So how is it? and Why is it?  That kindergartners could outperform all of these highly educated and skilled groups of people?

The simple answer is that kindergartners:

  • Don’t have any egos.
  • They are not trying to prove their intelligence
  • They are not trying to be in charge.
  • They aren’t scared to speak up because they may be wrong.
  • They are not afraid to say no to each other.
  • They are not trying to adapt to any social norms.

Nope.  The kindergarteners are just looking at a task that they have been asked to do and just doing it.  Although the research doesn’t mention this, but maybe the kindgartners also have a better imagination.  They are not trying to put limits on themselves and say what can’t be done. Instead, they just try to do things.  This by itself leads to better outcomes, because if you aren’t willing to fail, which it doesn’t even cross the minds of these kindergartners, than you will never know what truly could be done.

In today’s world, probably as you are reading this.  You are on your way to work where either you, or someone you will work with today, will be trying to solve a problem.  Instead of trying to decide who is boss.  Or who should be doing this or that.  I would encourage you to instead take the same approach as the kindergartners did in this research and determine what is the best way to do this and forget everything else.

I know this is a hard ask.  But if we would all approach issues at work, or in our own personal lives this way, we would accomplish a lot more.  There would be less tension and conflict amongst our peers and in our own personal relationships.  And we would just be happier altogether.

See if you can approach life-like a kindergartner today and see how it works out for you.

To your success and your future.

You can watch the TED talk on this research here as well.