Give Up or Press On?

Let's start out with an obvious "given" in's not always going to be easy. Even more so, if you should choose the route of an entrepreneur, you're asking for the odds of hard times and difficult situations to multiply. You're going to run into circumstances where you need to choose - should I just give up, or should I lean in and press on? These are the situations where you make a choice of who you really are and what you really want. How high does the hurdle have to be before you give up?

So many people give up so easily at the slightest push back. Here's what they either don't understand, or aren't willing to pay the price for - Anything worth doing is going to come with hurdles to overcome! It's as predictable as the ocean tides. It's going to happen, so bank on it and prepare for it. What's worse is that often times when people give up, they are just around the corner from a breakthrough or from exponential growth in their business. They may not see it, but it's there for them to grasp; they just need to push past to the other side.

If one issue is going to cause you to want to quite, you have to ask yourself two questions. First, if you're going to give up that easily, were you even committed to what you were trying to accomplish in the first place? Second, you need to ask yourself what your motivation is in trying to accomplish what you're pushing towards. If it's a shallow reason, such as just for money, recognition, etc., then that kind of motivation will only last so long and will only motivate you through a certain level of difficulty. You need to be motivated by a deeper sense of why than that. If you're motivated by a burning desire, passion and sense of purpose, it will drive you to push through those challenges when they come. Not only that, you will even look forward to them because you know that not only will you be able to get through them, you know that both you and your business will end up stronger for having gone through it.

Now for a bit of perspective. Life was not meant to be lived without challenge or difficulty. We're meant to be out in the arena of life, swinging the sword on the battlefield. Living life sitting safely in the stands watching everyone else live an extraordinary life is not truly living. You are meant to live an extraordinary life! Sure, you may save yourself from some tough situations if you choose to live "safely", but at what expense? At the expense of personal growth. At the expense of not challenging yourself to do the best you possibly can, to contribute your verse, and to see what you're made of and what you can accomplish. At the risk, worst of all, of regret; looking back and wondering, with only your imagination to help you experience it, "what if"...what could have been if you'd just gotten out of your own way and pushed forward. Leap over those hurdles and push through the walls. Let your passion and your purpose drive you and achieve the dreams you were meant to live out.

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. Calvin Coolidge
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Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. Calvin Coolidge
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Wisdom From Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon, the book written by George S. Clason, is a regular revisit for me, at minimum on an annual basis. Written in story form and fairly short, it's a simple read, but full of the wisdom of handling money and building wealth. Here are some highlights of the great wisdom shared in this classic book. The concepts are fairly basic and practical, and yet most do not heed these simple rules of money that will, over time, create a fortune for them.

  • A part of all you earn is yours to keep - Set aside at least 10% of your income. Save it and invest it, don't spend it.

  • Seven Cures For a Lean Purse
  1. Start thy purse to fattening - Only live on 90% of your income. As stated above, you need to have the mindset and discipline that a part of all you earn is yours to keep.
  2. Control thy expenditures - Cut your expenses to the essentials. It's ok - and I believe necessary in order to keep your sanity and stay disciplined - to have some "fun" money set aside as an essential, but be realistic and keep it reasonable. You likely will have to cut some things out, but keep something you enjoy doing on the table. Use those things you want to do but can't fit in your budget to motivate you to get yourself in a position where you can add those things back in.
  3. Make thy gold multiply - Invest wisely the money you have been diligently setting aside. Put your money to work for you.
  4. Guard thy treasure from loss - Protect your principal from loss. Invest in secure investments, not "blue sky" propositions. Gain knowledge of what you're investing in. Find those who are knowledgeable and heed their advice.
  5. Make of they dwelling a profitable investment - Own your own home.
  6. Insure a future income - Put proper insurance and other protection in place to protect yourself and your family and provide for your needs as you get older.
  7. Increase thy ability to earn - Increase your knowledge and your skill set, and your ability to earn more will increase with it. Don't rely on policy or your boss for an increase in pay. Make yourself more valuable and the opportunities will come, or even better, you can create them for yourself.

  • The Five Laws of Gold
  1. Gold comes gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family.
  2. Gold labors diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment.
  3. Gold clings to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.
  4. Gold slips away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.
  5. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who follows the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers, or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

    Here are a couple great little "one liner" pieces of advice as well:
  • Better a little caution than a great regret.
  • We cannot afford to be without adequate protection.
  • Where the determination is, the way can be found.
  • Opportunity waits for no man.
  • Men of action are favored by the goddess of good luck.
If you're in debt (and I'm talking here about "bad" debt such as credit cards or car payments, etc. There are plenty of instances, especially in business, where debt makes sense and can be used as a tool. We'll talk more about this in a future post) the book gives a simple formula to chip away at those balances that are hanging over your head. Live on 70%, use 20% to reduce your debts and pay off your obligations, and at the same time do not neglect to put aside 10% to save and invest. You can do it. Find a way.

I implore you to take these nuggets of advice seriously, and if you're not practicing them in your life, start doing it today. Not tomorrow, not next week, but today. Why won't most do this? First of all, it requires discipline, which is unfortunately severely lacking in our culture. Our "have it all and have it now" instant gratification mindset that is throw at us from every angle, easy credit and extremely little, if any, training on money before we get out into the real world all contribute to the reason why such a small number will even attempt this. Trying to keep up with your neighbors and their new cars, boat, RV and beautiful home (who, by the way, probably put themselves enormously in debt acquiring those things) will only strap you down and make you a slave to debt. Remember point 3 of the "Cures For a Lean Purse" - Money should be working for you. Make it your slave and make it produce a return for you. Don't put yourself in a position where it's the other way around.

Another reason most won't attempt these simple formulas is that it takes time. Again, in our culture, we want the instant gratification and the "quick fix". Everyone's hoping for a windfall. They sit there waiting for a "big hit" that (they think) will take care of all of their money issues. Just look at the number of people that play the lottery and you know it's true. Look closer at those who actually win, or who inherit a large amount of money, or who make it in acting or sports and all of the sudden have a huge sum of money but have no knowledge of the Rules of Money. Does their stroke of luck fix the situation? Rarely. More often than not they end up more broke than they were before. Why? It's because without the knowledge of how money works, more money flows through your fingers just as quickly as less. Money itself does not solve the problem. More money only makes you more of what you already are, and if you're terrible with money, with no plan or discipline, more money will just make you even worse with handling it. Knowledge and discipline are what gets you and keeps you in the place you want to be; with money working for you instead of you working for it.

Make your decision today to start following these simple but extremely effective rules of money. Remember, they're rules. They're how money works, so don't overthink, analyze or try to argue the points. Instead, embrace them and put them in action in your life. It will take time, it will take discipline, but I promise you will reap the rewards of it over the long term. Stay focused and stay disciplined. Teach these rules to your kids! Most of us aren't exposed to these philosophies until much later in life, when we've already lost time and made mistakes. If you haven't read "The Richest Man in Babylon" pick up a copy now and read it. You won't regret taking any of these steps now and not putting it off to another day.

Hard Work Beats Talent

I just got back from our end of season celebration for 3rd grade basketball. As the coach, I wanted to pass something of value on to the kids that they could take into next season and make applicable to life. I know, they're 8 and 9 year olds, so I tried not to make it too deep, but the sooner we start building the right mindset in our kids the better off they'll be. We struggled this season, with a team of kids that largely hadn't played much, if any, basketball in the past. Most of the other teams started the season way ahead of us in that sense. But the kids all worked hard and improved a ton, which was fun to see.

When I was passing out their season end awards, I made sure to point out the phrase I had added to their trophies. "Hard Work Beats Talent". I wanted to encourage them that, although there may be other players that might have more natural ability than them, if they were willing to put in the effort and work hard, they could do better than the kids that just rely on their talent to carry them. We see this in sports all the time. Kids in college who are super talented get arrogant or complacent, and instead of dominating in the professional world, they dive right off the cliff and are out of the league. Especially at that high of a level where everyone is working so hard to beat you, you can't just rely on talent.

If you rest on your talent alone and expect it to carry you, it never will. If you use the talent and abilities you have wisely, you can accomplish great things. It's something that's a truth not just in sports, but in business, as well as everything else in life. You can never be of the mindset that your natural abilities will carry you. You must have a learning and growth mentality - that you'll never know it all and that you can always be improving yourself. Not only that, if you are willing to put in that extra effort and have the right mindset, you'll not only be able to reach great heights, but you'll even be able to surpass those that might have an "advantage" over you at first glance. Just look at the big businesses that get lazy with their place in the market, only to later find themselves struggling to stay on top with the introduction of a new competitor that has the drive and the hustle to get it done. They may not have the smartest group of leaders, they may not have the capital, but what they do to dig deep and just make it happen makes up for any of those disadvantages. Again, many examples can be found in sports as well, where the obviously dominant team is beaten by the underdogs who have less talent, but more heart and work harder in preparation and during the game.

Hustle and hard work will always beat straight talent. Use your talents wisely. Develop them and don't take them for granted. Work just as hard even if you do have the natural abilities. If you don't, know that just going all-out and working as hard as you can will beat out the majority, since most won't give it that kind of effort. You can control how hard you work, which means you have the ability to achieve anything you desire if you're willing to go and get it.

When the Day Just Doesn't Go as Planned

Sometimes days just don't go our way. We start out with a plan, with the whole day outlined of what we're going to do and when, and all the things we're going to get done. It's of course possible to set yourself up for success and have a day go just as planned. But the question is, what do you do when that doesn't happen? How do you respond when something unexpected happens, or when your day gets completely thrown off by something you didn't see coming? What do you do when your entire calendar for the day blows up and you have to completely change your day?

The common reaction is to get frustrated, throw up your hands and count the day as lost; to think about all the things you needed to get done but weren't able to because of whatever came up and stole that time. It's also easy to start pointing fingers. However, none of these reactions are going to do anything to improve your results or change the situation. In fact, all it does is increase your stress and frustration. So, since we know it will happen, what can we do to be prepared for it when it does, and how should be respond?

  1. Don't Overschedule Your Day - I'm certainly not advocating giving less than your best effort, but one of the ways to minimize the possibility, or at least the impact, of something not going exactly as planned is to have some flexibility in your day. If every single minute is planned out and needs to be 100% productive on specifically set tasks, that leaves no room for the dynamics of life and business. Leave some margin in your day to deal with any necessary changes in focus or direction.
  2. When Something Does Interrupt or Change Your Day, Deal With It - Ignoring it won't make it go away. If you need to change your focus for a minute, or your schedule changed because of something out of your control (or even something in your control), accept it and deal with it.
  3. Don't Stress - Stressing out about it won't help make the situation better. It will only make you more frustrated and less effective in getting the rest of your day finished out on the right track.
  4. Learn From It - What could you do in the future to avoid a similar situation from happening? Could you be better prepared or pay more attention to detail to avoid a mistake that cost you time? Could you reprioritize your schedule to make more sense with the natural flow of your day? Figure out what changes or adjustments you can make to lower the chances of a similar interruption in the future.
We're all going to have days that don't go exactly as planned. What we do and how we respond during those times has more of an impact on the final outcome and how we feel about it at the end of the day than the actual cause of the derailment. Set yourself up for success by creating margin in your schedule, deal with issues and changes when they come up, know that it's just a part of life and business and don't stress about it and, most of all, learn from those situations so you can be better in the future.

Don't Plan, Just Go

Planning, preparing and setting a course is a great thing to do. It's important to have a clear idea of what it is you're after and what you're trying to accomplish. After all, how can you have intentional action towards achieving something if you don't even know what that is? You also need to know what steps it will take to get there. Having a plan is important and definitely has it's place as a necessity to achievement.

However, it's easy to get caught up in the planning, to the point where we get so focused on the plan that we fail to leave room for anything outside of that plan. It's not that you don't want to be committed to the plan and follow it through. What you have to remember though is that life and business are dynamic. They're always changing. There is no way to completely plan out your course ahead of time. You want to stay on course as best you can, but you have to be willing to adjust your sails along the way. Technology, systems, laws, economies - everything is changing constantly. If you can't adapt and change along with it, if you're too set in your predetermined path and step-by-step plan, you'll just get frustrated and you'll never make the progress you could have otherwise. Those that plan but can adjust are those that will be most successful.

Life itself is dynamic. We don't know what tomorrow will bring. Again, you need to be able to flex with the changes and keep moving forward. Not only do life circumstances change, but we change as we stretch and grow. The thing we set out to do 5 years ago that was all we could think about doing may not end up being what we ultimately want to do those 5 years later. If we're unwilling to divert from the plan, we'll be stuck continuing to move forward at something we no longer have our passion in, simply because it was "part of the plan".

It's also easy to get so stuck in planning mode that you fail to take any action. A plan is no good if you never take the first step! If you're going to wait until the plan is perfect, and every little detail is worked out, you'll never move forward. Remember, everything is going to change along the way, so no matter how perfectly you plan out the entire process, it will never turn out exactly the way you planned it anyway.

Plan, prepare, set out a roadmap and detailed steps to get there. But don't get so caught up in getting down every single detail before you move forward, and don't be so rigid that you can't adjust when something doesn't go exactly as planned. You can plan well, but you can only plan so much. Forever planning without taking action will get you nowhere, and having no flexibility in the plan will mean disappointment and an inability to adapt to the inevitable changes, whether those changes are something out in the world or something within yourself.

One Month Down

Wow, just like that we're through January and into February. We're officially 1/12 of the way through the year, and it seems like it just started! So, the question then is this - how are you doing so far this year? We all know the high percentage of New Years resolutions that are already shot, likely thrown out the window weeks ago before they even had a chance to take root. How are you doing with your 2016 goals? Are you anywhere near where you thought you would be? Have you made the progress you need to at this point to be on track for your year-end goals?

It is critical to take time consistently to review where you are and if you're doing the right things to achieve your goals for the year. Without keeping them top of mind and continually reviewing what we've accomplished so far, we have no idea if we're on track. Worse, if we're not on track, we don't know we're not, and we also can't figure out what needs to be adjusted to get back on track. Remember, you're not going to be one of those that looks back in December wondering where the year went and why your goals were not reached.

I do a quick overview of my goals every morning to remind myself of what I've set out to do. I also take a closer look at progress at least once a week, so I can see how I'm doing and make any adjustments. Once a month I sit down for a longer period of time and really dive into the details so I can discover what I can do better to accelerate hitting those goals. It's also important so I can make sure I'm not getting distracted by other projects that will not help me in reaching them, and to add back in any tasks that are necessary and may have been neglecting. Another important reason to do all these reviews is because, as you grow, as your business grows and as you are pursuing and changing, your goals may change as well. It's ok to adjust and change your goals throughout the year, as long as it's an intentional change for a new or better direction and not an afterthought or because you've slacked off and are behind.

Take some time this week, as we're now through the first month of the year, and assess how you're doing. If you're on track or ahead of schedule, great! If you're lagging behind, don't hang your head and give up! Figure out why and resolve to pick up the pace. Identify the things you need to be doing consistently to be where you need to be to reach your 2016 goals. You can reach those lofty goals!

Taking Time to Reflect

I just spent part of this morning doing something that would, to most people, seem like a waste of time. I went for a walk in the woods. With so many other things to do, with such a long list of things to get done, why would I take the time to do this? The answer is right in the question. It's because of all the things I need to do that I take the time to step back every once in a while, get in a quiet and peaceful place, and spend some time in thought and reflection.

Life is extremely busy. We're all pulled in so many different directions, with so many things we need to get done, that it's easy to get lost in the grind and forget what we're working towards. It's easy to just keep your head down trying to keep up with all the demands of your business and your family. While taking an hour or so out of your crazy schedule may seem counterproductive, let me tell you why it's an extremely important ritual you need to incorporate into your calendar on a regular basis, starting today.

  1. Time to breathe - As I said, life is crazy busy. Stepping back from the chaos is a necessity to clear your mind and just be able to breathe and not be trying to accomplish or think about a million things at once.
  2. Reflection - When you're alone with your own thoughts, without the distractions of all the things you need to do, you can gain a lot of perspective on where you are in your life, and where you'd like to be headed. Being so busy and always having so many things to think about means we don't really ever have time to look at what it is we're really trying to accomplish and what we're spending our time and energy on. Time to reflect just doesn't happen unless we intentionally create the time and space to do it. Too often we get so caught up in trying to keep up that we don't even pay attention to if what we're doing is even what we want to be doing or if it's getting us any closer to our objectives. When is the last time you asked yourself if what you're doing day to do is what you really want to be doing, or if what you're spending your time on is helping you reach the goals you've set out to achieve? If you don't take time to reflect on this, you can waste years of your life only to finally look back and realize you spent all that time on something you either didn't enjoy or that didn't help you in your quest to reach your goals and pursue your passions.
  3. Reconnect with your "why" - This is a perfect time to remind yourself and think on what your "why" is. Remember why you're working so hard, what it is you're trying to accomplish. When things are busy we can lose touch with what that is for us as it gets drowned out by the noise of our daily lives. Get away from the day-to-day "what" you do and re-focus on why it is you're doing it. Go even deeper if you can. Is your currently defined "why" still your why, or have you or your business changed to the point where you need to redefine it? Do you even have a "why"? Have you ever even thought about it? These are the tough questions that you need to ask yourself to challenge or confirm if you're on the right path.
  4. Adjust your path - It may not be during the first time you do this, but if you keep the ritual, you will discover things about yourself, gain perspectives you didn't think about before, and think of new ideas or paths for your business or personal life. Don't just have these moments and forget about them! If it's something you can make an adjustment on now, do it today. If it requires some additional preparation or planning, set some tasks up and put things in motion right away to head in that new direction. I always have a journal with me so I can log my thoughts as soon as they enter my mind.

Here are some tips to make the most of your time of reflection.

  1. Plan in advance - Decide where you will go, what setting you will be in, and some of the things you want to think on during your time. This isn't set in stone. For goodness sakes don't bring a "to do" list with you! However, having a general idea of what you want to be thinking on will help direct your thoughts towards those things. That said, sometimes it's good just to go, clear your mind of the clutter, and see where your thoughts go. It's also good to be open to spontaneity and just finding a place nearby, especially if you travel a lot. 
  2. Find a quiet place that speaks to you - What speaks to you and what helps you think deeper and more clearly? For me it's usually going for a walk in a wooded area or spending time somewhere in nature, but it could be anywhere you are comfortable, feel inspired and won't be distracted.
  3. Eliminate all distractions - Turn off your cell phone, get away from the conversations around you and get off by yourself. You need to get away from all of these things to give yourself time to get into your own head and listen to your own thoughts. Your phone ringing or dinging at you will completely disrupt your flow of thought and won't give you the opportunity to get truly into deep thinking.
  4. Let things go - Your time won't be well spent and you won't get anything out of it if you're just thinking about the work you "should" be doing instead. Let those things completely go. They can wait for an hour.
I urge you to etch some time into your schedule to do this. Make it a regular occurring event. Not only will you gain additional perspectives and be able to refocus on your foundational thoughts, but you will actually find you'll be more productive in the long run. The break gives your mind the freshness it needs to perform at a higher level. It also identifies what things you may be spending time on now that you need to change or eliminate, therefore reclaiming that time for better activities. In the end, the net result is more clarity, and ultimately you will gain that invested time back.

Leverage Your Time

Deciding what to do with your time is only half of the battle. You must also figure out and clearly decide what not to do. We all have so many different ways we could be spending our time. We're all asked to help with this, to volunteer for that, or to pitch in here, on top of our business and family obligations. Worse, if you're a typical entrepreneur, often times it's hard to let go of business responsibilities for fear of giving up control. The problem is, we can only do so much. There's only so much time in the day and only so much energy we can give. You can't possibly get it all done or fulfill all of your commitments if you say "yes" every time someone asks you to do something, or if you insist on being involved in every aspect of your business and do it all yourself. Even worse is if you try to do it all in your business and your personal life. If you do, your life and your business will always be limited to that which you can accomplish with your own single effort. You need to be able to leverage your time to create maximum results.

Here are a few tips to take some of this stress off your back and free up your time.

  1. Decide what tasks you really should be doing - What is it that you excel at? What are the main tasks and activities in your business that honestly only you can do? These are the things that you really can't hand off and are the heartbeat of your business. They're likely also the things you enjoy the most and that give you the most energy when you're doing them. Why would you do anything besides these things anyway?
  2. Decide what tasks you should not be doing - What can you hire out or delegate? What are you not as good at that you can easily hand off to someone that will do a better job. Even if you are good at it, if it's not essential that you personally be the one to do it, and if you can hire someone else that can do it well, for a reasonable cost, and it will free up your time, than do it.
  3. Let it go - Don't just decide what you shouldn't be doing. Decide, hand it off, and let it go. The worst thing you can do is hand something off and then micromanage it. Not only is this counterproductive (how can you be saving time by handing something off if you're just going to babysit it anyway?), but you'll frustrate yourself and the person who you handed it off to. Trust them to do it and let it go.
  4. Hire the right people - This helps immensely with the trust side of handing things off. If you hire good, competent people, you'll be more likely to give them greater responsibility and trust them to do it. It will be a lot easier to let it go if you  know it's in good hands. If you try to be cheap and just hire anybody for as little as possible, you'll get what you pay for and spend more time training or re-doing or checking in on what they've been doing for you. You need to be able to let them take it off your plate completely and have them get it done right and effectively or it's not accomplishing what you've set out to do.
  5.  Keep trying, reviewing and adjusting - It takes time to figure out exactly what you should and shouldn't be doing, and who you should be handing the other things off to. Start with the obvious, and constantly be analyzing and looking back to see if you should take a task back (but not because you're being a control freak), hand an additional task off or delegate it to someone else. They point is to start recognizing you can't and shouldn't be doing everything, and to start surrounding yourself with the right team to help maximize your time.
Spend some time now making a list of the things you need to do, both in your business and personal life. What are your commitments? What are the tasks and activities you need to be doing on a daily or weekly basis? Write everything out. Figure out which tasks are essential that you personally do yourself. Is it face-to-face meetings? Is it proposals? Negotiations? Customer relations? What specifically do you need to do that creates the most results? Next, figure out where you can trim back. What doesn't really need to be done? What commitments can you back off on? What is on your "to do" list that can fall off and really not make a difference? Finally, figure out what you're currently spending time on that isn't a good use of your time, either because you're not good at it or because there are higher value tasks you should be doing instead, but that still needs to get done. Find a way to delegate or hire out those lower value or less productive tasks. Hire a personal assistant, add an extra employee or outsource to another company. If you're doing it to open up time, thought space and energy to do your most productive, highest value tasks, the investment will be well worth it and you'll see it produce dividends quickly. Not only that, but you'll be less stressed and more excited for your day, because you're spending your time on the activities you enjoy, are good at and that drive your business and your life. Learn how to leverage your time. You'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

The Real Definition of Sales

We've all heard it said of someone before, whether they were talking about themselves or someone they know. "He could sell ice to an eskimo!", suggesting they are the ultimate salesperson. That no matter the obstacles, they can make the sale. On the surface this sounds great, right? In your organization, you need top performers. You need those that can close the deal. Closing the deal is what brings in the revenue. But let's step back and take a look at what sales really is all about.

Sales is the process of leading a buyer to making a buying decision that is for their benefit.

Sales is first and foremost a process, not an event. But beyond that, it is about what's good for the customer, not what's good for the salesperson or the company. The second part of that definition of sales is the last three words - "for their benefit". Take a look at that common phrase we started with. If you're selling ice to an eskimo, or in other words getting someone to buy something they have no use for, then you're not a salesperson - you're a con artist. Sales is not about manipulation or convincing someone to buy something they don't want or need. It's about identifying the person's or organization's needs, helping them to also see that need, and leading them to a decision that will help them fulfill that need. It's about creating solutions for the customer, not about notching another order at someone else's expense.

Sure, you can probably get away with the former version of "sales" for a while. You might even do very well. You may be taking that approach right now and think I'm full of it. But eventually your funnel of business will run dry, because now you're looking for the next "victim" as you leave a trail of destruction behind you, instead of building something long-term by providing a service that people will remember, repeat and refer. The short cut version is short lived. The longer, building brick-by-brick version is the sustainable path. People appreciate and remember someone who helps them through the entire sales process and isn't just looking for a signature on the order form.

Invest in yourself to increase your knowledge and your ability to negotiate and persuade others to make a decision that is the right choice for them. Sales is a skill, and you can learn and improve upon it daily. Take the longer - but also longer-term - path of providing value and being a salesperson of integrity. You won't regret it, and you will reap huge rewards in not only your business, but in the relationships you create along the way.

--If you haven't read Zig Ziglar's "Secrets of Closing the Sale", it's a must ready for anyone in sales of any kind and has a ton of examples and techniques for honing your skills as a salesperson with this same perspective of serving first, identifying needs and leading to a decision that's good for the buyer. See the "Success Resources" tab and pick up a copy today. $10 is nothing to invest with all the wealth of knowledge in that book--

What You Deserve vs What You Need

Wrapping up this series on mind shifts is a thought that comes from a comment Jim Rohn made in his "Challenge to Succeed" seminar. That comment is that life is not designed to give you what you need, it's designed to give you what you deserve. This is an extremely powerful statement. Falling into the opposite mindset of this is asking for disaster!

We live in a society where people are constantly talking and complaining that their needs are not being met, and that they don't have enough to live on. The "answer" is often in the form of increased social programs, increased minimum wage and all these other programs to try to make sure everyone has what they need. While I'm not saying there aren't some real issues that we need to address, there is one big philosophical error surrounding most of the arguments and the actions that are typically taken to resolve this. Life does not give you what you need; it's designed to give you what you deserve for the value you create. If you are only providing the minimum amount of value that you can, whether that's because you don't know how to provide more or because you just choose not to, you will be and should be compensated the minimum amount regardless of whether it's a sustainable amount to live on. The value you create to the marketplace does not have anything to do with the value you need to survive! Why would the market reward you more for providing less, simply because the "less" is not enough to meet what you feel are your "needs"? The marketplace rewards when value is provided, and according to the amount of value they feel was provided.

So if the market determines how much to compensate you based on the value you provide, what does that mean for you? Here's the positive side of the equation, and it gets exciting when you start making this shift in your philosophy. If life gives you what you deserve, there's a simple solution. Deserve more. How do you do that? By becoming more valuable and contributing more. Why is it that some people are making minimum wage at a fast food restaurant, while others are making millions working as CEOs of huge corporations? What about the customer service representative versus the surgeon? Is it because society is unfair? No! It's because they're delivering more value to deserve that difference in compensations. The value you create will be rewarded, and the market will tell you when you're providing something they see as valuable by increasing what you get. You want to increase the amount of what you get for the exchange for your time? Seek to become more valuable first and it will come.

You get to choose how much value you create! We don't need a $15/hour national minimum wage. Do you know why? As Rohn would say, "it's already on the ladder." You can already make that much! Nobody is stopping you from doing that. The key is you need to first figure out how to create enough value to deserve it. We don't need legislation to tell us that, and you can't legislate value creation. If you're goal is to stay at the bottom or your entire life, then maybe we do need an increase in minimum wage. But what kind of a life is that? Become more valuable and there are no limits. Forget $15 per hour. If you so choose, you can provide enough value to make $1000 per hour. Or more! That's the amazing thing about the time we live in and the opportunities before us. The only limits we have are those that we place on ourselves.

We as a society are stuck in this rut of thinking we should only provide as much value as we are paid for. I would agree with Jim Rohn and would argue that you should go out of your way to provide more value than you are paid for. Don't wait until you're compensated for the extra value; create the extra value first. Doing so will not only help you stand out as an exceptional employee or businessperson, but it will also increase your own skills and abilities, making you even more valuable. Lead with value, and provide it with the right intentions, and the rewards will follow.

We're all compensated for the amount of value we bring to the marketplace. Learn more skills, gain more knowledge, and you will become more valuable. As you do so and you provide that value, you will deserve more in exchange. If you choose not to, your value and therefore what you get in exchange will continue to be less than what it could. It's up to you to decide to increase your value, and you'll deserve the increased exchange you get for doing so. Don't give away your power by falling into a victim mindset. Better yourself, figure out where you can create value, and go out and increase the amount you deserve out of life. We're so fortunate to be in a position to be able to do that and you have literally no ceiling as to what you can do and what life can give you. All you have to do is go out there, increase your value, and make it happen for yourself.


Abundance mindset. This is another critical mind shift you need to make that will significantly increase your results, because it completely changes your perspective, as well as your interactions and attitude when dealing with people.

Let's start with looking at the opposite of abundance - scarcity. Scarcity says "there's not enough to go around". It implies that, for you to get something, someone else has to give something up, or at the very least that it's taking from a pool of limited supply that won't leave as much for someone else. It says someone has to be the loser and someone has to be the winner; that someone else has to miss out. You see what the problem is with this mindset? Especially if you're working from an ethical standpoint, if you really believe that this is true, then you're going to have a very hard time convincing yourself to get a win on your end if you believe someone else, even if it's not someone directly involved at the moment, has to be on the losing end of it. How can you negotiate a win for you when you feel like someone else is getting a less than desirable result on their end?

On the other hand, abundance says "there's more than enough to go around for everyone to be able to benefit". This mindset believes you can always create win-win-win solutions; that there doesn't have to be a loser. This means negotiating deal doesn't have to mean you getting what you want and the other person getting the raw end of the deal. It means there's always a solution that will result in both sides getting what they want, if you take the time to figure out that solution. Sure there will be some give and take on both sides, some negotiation, but that doesn't mean one side or the other loses. That's just part of making a deal. An expert negotiator will find a way to make everyone happy, and if they're really good the other side wont eve know it's a win-win. All they'll know is that they got what they wanted, even though it may be exactly what the other person wanted as well. In your thinking on negotiation, shift from thinking about being on opposite sides of the table, fighting against each other for different outcomes, to being on the same side of the table, working together to find a solution that works for everyone.

Scarcity is a fear mentality. Often those that are of a scarcity mindset are afraid to lose what they have. They're afraid that if they share their resources, they'll lose out, so they hoard their money and their knowledge and try to keep it from other people, thinking that keeping that to themselves will prevent others from gaining that expertise. They think this gives them an "edge", because they have something someone else does not. Here's the problem. First, pretty much anything you want to find out these days is free access to anyone. If someone wants to know something or find a resource, all they need to do is "google it" and there are literally thousands upon thousands of resources available to learn whatever it is you want to learn. You're not hiding anything from anyone or keeping anything to yourself; it's already out there! Second, how in the world to you think you're going to achieve any results when you're trying to hide what you know or are trying to do under a rock? Having a scarcity mindset and being afraid of someone else doing what you're going to do means you'll always be afraid to talk about it, and how can you get the word out to the world about your business or your goals if you don't tell people about it? Even better, how can you expect to have healthy business relationships (let alone find anyone to work with you in the first place) if you're not willing to openly share and work together. A lot of times a scarcity mindset is also rooted in a self-esteem issue. They're afraid that if someone else knows, they will be edged out because they're not up for the competition or don't believe they can stand up in a crowd. They're not confident in their own abilities, so the answer is to make sure no one else has the opportunity. Here's the real answer to that - GET BETTER. If you're not improving yourself, your declining, especially in today's rapidly changing world. If you're putting in the work to improve yourself and always growing in your knowledge and abilities, you will always have opportunity. If you're lazy and stop learning...well, that's another story.

Here's another example of an abundance mindset. I am involved with a group of real estate investors that meets on a regular basis to discuss everything from the current market to investment strategy to marketing to specific deal or business issues. Here's the thing - we all invest in the same market. We're competitors, yet we're collaborating together to learn from each other and become better at our craft. It goes beyond that even. We all genuinely want each and every person in that group to succeed. How can competitors share what they're doing in their business, and feel free to give honest feedback to another investor? Someone that very well could come across the same potential deal as they do? Abundance mindset. Not only that, but it actually provides opportunity to work together, whether it's just talking through an idea to get a deal together, or fully partnering to take something down that would be too much or too difficult for one of us. Without the abundance mindset and openness, those opportunities would be lost. Sure we push each other and there is a level of competitiveness, but it's far from the cutthroat "it me or you" scarcity mindset.

Zig Ziglar said it best when he said "You can have anything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want." This is exactly what the abundance mindset is all about. Helping other people as a priority, doing what you can to share your knowledge and recourse to help them succeed, and ultimately you will reap the benefits of success on your end as well.

Check your mindset. Be someone of abundance. Believe there is a way to work together to create solutions. Don't hide your resources or your knowledge. Share it with others who need it and I promise you'll see the rewards.


Failure. The word brings negative thoughts and feelings to the majority of those who think on it. After all, who wants to fail at something? Who wants to try, to give their effort and their heart, and not succeed? Who wants to look like they don't know what they're doing or take a hit to their self esteem? But, if you're going to achieve anything significant, you need to get past these feelings and shift how you feel about failure.

One of my mentors has a great philosophy he shares of "success upon delivery", meaning that your definition of success should not be rooted in whether or not someone accepts your proposal. The outcome is not a factor in whether you have succeeded or not. The fact that you delivered your message, you did what you showed up to do, is what matters. Why this is so important, especially in a sales or business environment, is because it takes the power away from the person you are making the proposition to and puts it fully in your hands. You can do your best, learn negotiation and sales skills and so forth, but the other person is still ultimately in control of their decision, not you. If success or failure depends on their acceptance or rejection, you're never really in control of whether you succeed or not. Not only that, but with this change in perspective, since winning is just delivering the message and asking the question, you succeed every time you do that. Think about how much of an impact that can make on your outlook and your attitude throughout the day. If all you get all day is "no", you still succeeded because you followed through on your end and you asked the question. If your definition of success is someone saying "yes", you'll be getting beaten down all day long and by the end of the day you'll be feeling completely drained instead of energized and positive.

Failure is also a learning experience. We figure out what doesn't work, and we can change our approach and be better next time. Without failure and the feedback we receive from it, we can't make those necessary adjustments to become better at our craft. Failure is a key component of becoming more successful and learning what to do, and not to do, in the future. The important part is that you need to take the time to reflect on the failure so you can take the lesson from it. Don't dwell on it. But do analyze what happened, figure out how to avoid it in the future, make the adjustment and move on.

Let's face it, if you're not failing at something, you're not trying very hard. You're also not doing anything that stretches your ability. Anything worthwhile is worth doing poorly at first, until you learn from experience; and you can't learn from experience unless you jump in and try it, knowing you'll probably mess up at some point! We're all human and we all make mistakes. You can't live life in fear of failing, or you'll never try anything new.

Challenge your thinking and your relationship with failure. Do you see it as a positive or a negative? If most of your thoughts and feelings are on the negative side, work at shifting to more positive ideas around the word. Remember the "success upon delivery" formula, and that half the battle is just getting out there and taking action. The more you try, the more you fail, and the more you ultimately will succeed. Get out there and fail a bunch, learn, adjust and move forward with confidence.

How One Word Can Make the Difference in Your Results

Ok back to the "mind shifts" series, and the second mind shift you need to make to increase your results exponentially. Like a lot of these, this one goes back to your wiring. What you believe is often rooted in how you were taught or brought up as a child, or the experiences you had along the way. It could also just be part of your personality. But regardless of why it's there, we need to examine these installed beliefs to make sure they are serving us and not holding us back. This one, for me personally, was huge.

Here's the mind shift we're going to look at today:

You can have anything in life that you want, and that you're willing to work hard and ethically for.

I want you to pay close attention to the "want" part of this philosophy. A lot of people get trapped with a similar, but very different philosophy, just by changing that one word from "want" to "need". Let's take a closer look at how this makes such a big a difference. Let's say you're building a business, and you need $100,000 in gross revenues to pay your business overhead and your minimum personal living expenses. This is just an example; use whatever number makes sense for your situation, business or demographic. Now, here's the key. If that's what you need, and your philosophy says you can have anything you need, you're already subconsciously deciding that's what you should make and no more than that. You don't need $200,000 gross revenue, and you certainly don't need $1 million gross revenue. You also don't need the freedom that could grant you, or the nicer home you could buy, or the extra vacation you could take. What you need is what it takes to survive and take care of your basic needs. What you want, if you're trying to grow and achieve bigger results and significance, is very different than that.

Take a close look at your own thinking behind this one piece of philosophy. Do you believe you should have what you want? Or are you wired to believe you should only have what you need? I'm telling you right now, if you believe you should only have what you need, and you're trying to accomplish anything large scale or grow your business or your resources, you'll constantly struggle because your beliefs are in conflict with your goals. Challenge your current beliefs on this and make sure they are serving you and your purpose.

New Year, Fresh Start

2016 is here and under way. While you can hit the proverbial "reset" button at any point in your life or during the year, this is typically the time of year most of us reflect on the past 12 months, and look forward to the next 12 and beyond. We plan, prepare, write out goals and on paper make our next 12 months the best we've had yet. And then life happens, we get distracted or other things come up, and we lose sight of what our plans were; lost until we look back at the end of the next year, only then to see we fell off the track half way through January. Here are a few tips to keep that from happening to you.

  1. Start With Clarity - Be completely clear about what you want to achieve this year (and beyond). Vague ideas will only confuse you and you'll let yourself get pulled in a million different directions. Know what you want, clearly define it, and make a plan as to how you'll get there. Only then can you get focused and get to work.
  2. Set Realistic Goals - What I'm not saying here is to set the bar low so you won't be disappointed. What I am saying is be realistic on what you can accomplish in a year. Absolutely you can make a ton of progress in a year. But you need to fully evaluate your current situation. What is your knowledge base and does it need to increase in certain areas? What are your available resources? What is your available time? What does your current job or business look like? If you currently work 60 hours a week making $40,000 for the year, you're probably not being realistic in setting a goal to be a millionaire by the end of the year. Your goals should stretch the limits of what you think is possible, but still be in that realm of what is likely, and more importantly what you think can be done. Remember, you're not motivated to work towards something if you don't actually think you'll achieve it. And as you achieve, the definition of what you think is possible will grow and expand as well, leading to bigger goals and possibilities.
  3. Give Yourself Realistic Daily and Weekly Tasks - Again, the key is realistic. We all have way too many items on our "to do" list, so simply acknowledge that and know they won't all get done. The key is to prioritize the tasks that are necessary to your job or business (outsource or hire out the easier tasks if at all possible), as well as the highest impact tasks. The rest can wait until later. Log your thoughts and tasks in an organized way so they're not clogging up your brain while you're trying to focus on your current tasks. Don't overbook your schedule or just try to cram them all in on your calendar. Just because they're all on your calendar doesn't mean you'll have the time to get them all done, and you'll be stressed out all the time trying to do so. Be realistic about how long each task will take, and book enough time. If it doesn't fit for today, or for this week, it needs to wait, and you have to be ok with that.
  4. Track Your Progress - Again, you're not going to be one of those who looks back in 12 months and wonders what happened. The way to avoid that is to continually be tracking your progress towards your goals. I review my goals every morning before I start my day. As I hit certain milestones or achieve certain tasks, I log it and it's impact on my larger goal. I personally use Goals On Track to track my progress, in addition to a couple apps on my IPhone to track some of my daily or weekly tasks I need to perform.
  5. Don't Give Up if You Fall Behind - Let's be honest. We're all super busy, and likely at some point you'll fall behind in at least one aspect of your goals (and you'll know that, because you're tracking and reviewing it on a regular basis, right?). Don't kick yourself and get down that you're not keeping up. Evaluate what could be causing it, adjust, and continue forward. Continually reviewing and adjusting is part of the game.  Don't give up just because you're lagging behind. Also remember, if you're a business owner, likely you have some up and down trends, so lagging behind on an annual revenue goal, for instance, could just mean you need to really focus and produce during an upcoming busy period.
Follow these 5 tips and I promise you will see a difference in your results. You'll be one that's looking back excitedly at the end of 2016 saying "wow, look what I did!" instead of looking back with frustration saying "look what I was supposed to do".

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action Commercial Real Estate