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    Posts tagged 'motivation'

    What's Your Unfair Advantage?

    January 6, 2020 3031 Views No comments

    Want to pay less? Sometimes you don’t even have to ask. Sales Force Magazine claims 75% of sales people offer a lower price before it’s ever asked for.

    “Most of us,” says Florida consultant Jaynie Smith, “will buy value if we know what it is.” Value is defined in a company’s competitive advantage, its positioning; how the company values its difference with the competition. This is their “unfair advantage.”

    Smith is one of Vistage International’s top speakers. Smith asks the CEOs who come to hear her to identify their competitive advantage(s). Most suggest items such as “outstanding customer service,” “our people,” or “our quality.”

    Her response? “Blah, blah, blah.” Not quantifiable.

    The question she urges be answered is “why us?” And she suggests that answer be crisp and quantifiable.A magazine ad for Zurich insurance contends their programs are as efficient as a well-run factory, citing “have achieved, on average, a 13% reduction in claims frequency and reduced costs by more than an average of 25%." Perhaps that explains why more than 60% of the manufacturers on the Fortune 1000 list are Zurich customers. Zurich has made clear what its competitive advantages are by quantifying them for the marketplace.

    Smith suggests companies should look for “only statements” about their company –‘only,’ she contends, “provides a competitive advantage.” Examples she offers include, “we are the only company offering xxxx.” Or, “we increased xxxx by xx%” - whatever the Xs are.

    “Ninety-five percent of employees lack agreement as to their company’s competitive edge,” she contends. Not sure? Then try this exercise: Identify what you perceive your competitive advantage to be, and then ask your employees what they see it to be. Are they aligned? Not likely. “There is a sharp disparity,” Smith says, “between what management and their subordinates believe is important to their customers.” Take the exercise a step further and get the viewpoint of your customers.

    Complicating matters, Smith contends, “prospects don’t value the same things as customers” and urges using double blind research studies to find out from your customers and from those you would like to be your customers what they value. CEOs often resist spending. However, Smith suggests it’s all in the math and asks, “Would you spend 10 to 40 thousand dollars to get the information necessary to help you close 10% more business?” If so, it’s an investment, not a cost.

    “Most businesses today,” Jaynie Smith claims, “are playing chicken in the price game,” leaving money on the table before the potential customer ever comes into the room. How about you? What’s your competitive, unfair advantage?

    -Bud Carter, author of Great Quotes for Great Businesses and Vistage International chairman

    Want more business insights? Check out Great Quotes for Great Businesses>>

    Dream On, Dream On

    December 9, 2019 2931 Views No comments

    Blessed with a personal friend who is an amazing, profound writer - Steven Tyler of Aerosmith - I’ll quote a line from one of his hit songs: “Dream on… dream on… dream until your dream comes true.” As we sit here on the edge of a brand new year, it’s the perfect time for us to dream about tomorrow and the future. After all, there’s a future for those who dream about it, plan for it and work toward it.

    At seventy years young, Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer and music industry icon, Steven Tyler, still dreams on. When we first met and started building our friendship, Steven dreamed of launching a solo career in country music concurrent to his work with Aerosmith. He aligned with “Loving Mary,” a Nashville-based band and worked to pursue his dream and had a successful 25-plus city tour and one of his songs, “Love Is Your Name,” rose to the number one song on the Country Music Billboard. Dream on. Dream on.

    Many of us are familiar with the Latin phrase, “Carpe Diem,” which means “seize the day." I propose we also consider “Carpe Manana”… seize tomorrow.

    “Seize” is the key word. Dreams can come true if one has the courage to pursue them, reach for them, grab them, seize them and capture them. It’s all about pursuit. Dreams alone won’t cut it. Dreams blended with conviction (belief), courage, confidence and passion are the ingredients necessary for a fully-baked plan to rise and prosper. Success is all about the courage of conviction.

    Why, one might ask, are dreams so important?

    1. Without dreams and aspirations, one can quickly move from hopeful to hopeless. Without dreams, you have little to live for.
    2. Dreams keep you young. They provide motivation to think and act for tomorrow and the future. Dreams bring forth optimism.
    3. As you mature, you have the benefit and wisdom to selectively choose those realistic dreams that make sense and have personal relevancy.
    4. Your dreams are exclusively owned by you. You have the pride of ownership, and if your dreams are realized, you also have the power of accomplishment.
    5. Dreams have no limits. After all, there is only one rule in life, and that one rule is there are no rules! Don’t forget you created your dreams. They operate under your rules.
    6. There is nothing sweeter than seeing a dream come true. Regardless of how massive or minute, the realization of a dream is absolute bliss.

    Successful people dream about their “endgame”… the results they’d like to achieve. Beginning with the end in mind through “creative visualization” can be incredibly beneficial in building your plan to fulfill your dream. Creative visualization is the cognitive process of purposefully generating visual, mental images - with your eyes open or closed - and working to visualize what something will look like at the end of an endeavor.

    It’s the golfer who stares at his ball on the green before ever pulling his putter out of the bag, then mentally visualizes softly stroking the ball as it rolls straight into the cup. In his mind, he might also hear the ball drop into the hole, ka-plink. That’s creative visualization.

    Creatively visualizing what a dream, hope or aspiration might look like once you complete the activity helps you dive into the process. For instance, if your New Year’s resolution or bucket list objective is to be able to play children’s songs for your children (or grandchildren) on the piano, closing your eyes and creatively visualizing the children joyfully sitting around the piano wide-eyed and excited as you showcase your “new” (or “renewed”) skills to their delight mentally moves the activity from a dream closer to reality. Once you visualize something and emotionally feel what the endeavor would be like at successful conclusion, it provides motivation that will likely lead you to focus, work and ultimately achievement.

    Over the years, when thinking about another new year, I moved my messaging and wishes to family, friends and business associates from “Happy New Year” to a more robust “Happy YOU Year!” In short, my wishes and hopes for those I care about is to encourage them to make the “New” Year truly a “You” Year - filled with hopes, aspirations, wishes, objectives, plans, dreams, dreams, and more dreams all in place to lead you (and yours) to a more fulfilling place and a brighter future.

    In the classic Broadway musical, South Pacific, there was a line from a song in the show worthy of repeating: “If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true?”

    Dream on. Dream on. Happy YOU Year!

    -Ira Blumenthal, author of Your Best is Next

    For more on pushing forward towards new goals, check out Your Best is Next>>

    Resolve, Resolve

    December 2, 2019 2835 Views No comments

    As a VERB, “resolve” is defined as “…firm determination to do something and committing to a course of action.” Example? “This new year, I resolve to train for and run in a marathon.”

    As a NOUN, “resolve” is defined as “…consistently displaying the characteristic of determination, commitment and focus on forward thinking and forward action.” Example? “When it comes to an unwavering focus on exceeding customer expectations, she has great resolve.”

    My first entry in this blog begins with “resolve” appropriately and importantly. After all, regardless of what our plans are and how we believe they will be accomplished, we need to start with defining a specific, realistic and important objective. Using words, lines and thoughts from my Simple Truths’s book, Your Best is Next, establishing a goal and even building a plan comes after the commitment. Let us not forget that “commitment” is an act, not a word.

    Legendary, iconic women’s basketball Hall of Fame coach, Pat Summitt (“Coach of the Century” per the NCAA) told a story about how her son, Tyler, was cut while trying out for his school’s eighth grade basketball team. Tyler came home after learning he didn’t make the squad and told his mother, with tears in his eyes, “I didn’t make the basketball team… I was cut.”

    Coach Summitt looked at her sad son who stood before her with basketballs under each of his arms and said to him, “Tyler, I promise you that if you start working today and wear out both of those balls practicing hard, you will make the team next year.”

    Tyler responded, holding back his tears, “Mom, will you help me?” Pat Summitt then replied to Tyler with incredibly profound words we all should remember especially as it relates to “resolve.” She said, “Tyler, of course I will help you… but I will not start your engine!”

    Commitment is the first step in starting our very own engine.

    Commitment is an act, not a word. The keys to building a commitment to try new things, to do new things and to accomplish new challenges are:

    1. having a crystal-clear purpose
    2. making uncompromising sacrifices
    3. adopting an unwavering determination

    However, and it’s a big “however,” you first must commit to starting your own engine.

    Not starting your engine and avoiding making a commitment to your “next” endeavor is clearly an obstacle to growth. Although we all need to be flexible in our approaches to fulfilling various commitments and objectives, it’s still an undeniable fact that having no commitment leads you to having no attainment.

    Having a crystal-clear purpose is vital. Purpose, in short, is tightly attached to direction. Ask yourselves the following questions to chart your direction:

    • How will I define success?
    • Why is this important me?
    • Does this light my fire and excite me?
    • What is my (specific) destination?
    • Which way should I be heading?
    • What is my contingency plan if course correction is needed?
    • How will I know when I reach journey’s end?

    People who resolve to committing to a course of action and people who are respected because of their resolve either find a way or create a way to achieve their objectives. They ignore thoughts or enticement for turning back and giving up.

    Reverend Theodore Munger wrote, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education, alone, will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

    Persistence is vital. It has been said that a river runs through rock not by its power but by its persistence. It’s a continual process.

    Passion is also vital. It’s often the driving force that leads to commitment and to successful conclusion. If you want something badly enough and accept that hard work, diligence, focus, persistence and a major personal commitment (time, resources, energy, etc.) is necessary to achieve your goals, you will surely be on the first rung of the ladder climbing to fulfillment.

    It takes courage to face the challenges, make the choices and even face the uncertainty that comes with your commitment to a purpose. Action is the key. Remember, commitment is an act, not a word.

    Resolve. Resolve!

    -Ira Blumenthal, author of Your Best is Next

    For more on pushing forward towards new goals, check out Your Best is Next>>

    Make Presence Your Gift

    November 25, 2019 10116 Views No comments

    As the Winter holidays approach, face it: if you’re like most of us, you’re going to feel busy. Overwhelmed. Scattered. Like you can’t keep up with it all.

    And when you swipe through Instagram, Facebook, or any other social network, you’re going to feel like everybody else is having a perfect, twinkle-lit hashtag holiday while you’re simply trying to keep up.

    How did this happen? Wind back the years and maybe you’ll feel nostalgia for the slower pace of time gone by…the fragrant smells, jingling sounds, and warm connections of what the holidays were once meant to be…and wonder why it all feels so frenzied to you.

    If so, take a moment. And a deep breath. Pause, and relax. You’re not alone in getting swept up in the “more more more” that this season has somehow unintentionally become.

    And I’m not alone in attributing that frenzy to the rise of social media and our dependence on our mobile devices as a primary point of connection. In the years since mobile phones found their way into nearly 5.5 billion hands worldwide, we’ve become more distracted, stressed, and, heartbreakingly, depressed than we were only a decade ago. Warnings about the “disconnection” our mobile devices (despite their promise to “connect” us) have risen over these years, It’s a topic I first explored on the TEDx stage in 2016, and it’s only become more concerning with time.

    Close your eyes and imagine the holiday season you’d most like to have. It’s likely pretty different than the one nagging at you from your calendar (or your holiday-planning app).

    What to do? Well, it may feel like you simply have to go with the holiday flow – yet the good news is you actually don’t. We’ve all gotten swept up unwittingly in the frenzy. Yet there’s a way to step back. My recommendation? “Make presence your gift” – and here are three science-backed ways you can make that happen.

    1. Slow things down. You know all those shortcuts we’re taking to try to get more done in less time? They may not actually be helping.

    See, the brain does some lovely stuff when we slow down. The Default Mode Network (DMN) – a special cognitive pattern that kicks in when the “busy” modes shift gears – helps us come up with new ideas and even new perspectives on ourselves. By integrating cognitive modes that otherwise work independently, the DMN helps the brain form new connections between recent thoughts and experiences and ones we’ve had before. That’s an important process that can’t happen when we’re rushing around.

    When we slow down, veg out, and do habitual, repetitive tasks, it’s an invitation for the DMN to activate in ways that can help us gain new insights, update our narratives about what’s happening in our lives, and see things around us in new light.

    Want to turn it on? Rhythmically chop those veggies. Carefully wrap those gifts. Stare out the window and watch the leaves rustle in the winter breeze. Invite a sense of quiet. Let yourself reflect and relax. Your brain will be listening, and will use that little vacation from the hustle to get caught up on some important work that might deliver a new cognitive gift to you.

    2. Check the tech. For at least one of your holiday experiences, put the mobiles out of sight and out of mind. Simply SEEING a mobile phone shifts our focus, researchers say, distracting us from conversations and activities for up to 23 minutes.

    Break the cycle by giving yourself, your guests, and your tech a break. I’m hearing more and more people say they’re putting an “ unplug box” or phone-collecting basket near their front doors and corralling devices there.

    Sure, it can feel weird not to have those always-on distraction optimizers at hand, ready to give us a neurochemical jolt once we’ve scrolled or liked or posted.

    But weird can be good: use it to shine a light on how strong the tech urge has become for each of us, and consider what you might want to do about that as a new year beckons.

    3. Surprise a sense. When we shift the usual way of doing things, we challenge our usual ways of experiencing things. Suddenly we notice things we may have overlooked before.So…why not do that as part of your holiday? Open your mind and consider…let’s be curious here…playing classical music rather than the usual holiday tunes…getting your table guests to enjoy one course in silence… opening a present with eyes shut and trying to feel what it actually is.

    Something tells me you may have thought of something that’s even better than those ideas. If so, make it happen. Simple changes, especially when enjoyed together (hello, mirror neurons) can awaken whole new experiences.

    The frenzy of the season is real, but that doesn’t mean we have to let it take over. Take a breath. Unplug. Do something slow that you enjoy. And pay attention in a way you might forget to indulge in other seasons. In other words, open the real present: your presence. Close your eyes and think about that and you’ll connect with a true gift.

    -Ellen Petry Leanse, neuroscience educator and author of The Happiness Hack

    For more brain hacks, check out The Happiness Hack>>

    Let Go of These 5 Things to Start Living a Better Future

    November 18, 2019 2846 Views No comments

    There are a lot of things you can do this coming year. This could be the year in your life where everything changed, because you finally got clarity and put in the work. However, there are certain things you must let go of to start having a better future. Once you give up these 5 things, everything in your life could change.

    1. Other People’s Definition of Success

    In the words of Srinivas Rao, host of The Unmistakable Creative podcast:

    “At some point, I realized that I had to give up other people’s definition of success. This is one of the most difficult things to give up because it is so deeply embedded in our cultural narratives that it becomes the standard by which we measure our lives. Even as entrepreneurs we have collectively agreed that fame and fortune are the markers of success.

    But, giving up other people’s definition of success is incredibly liberating and ultimately leads to the fullest expression of who you are and what matters to you. It’s not a one-time thing. It’s a daily habit of comparing less and creating more.”

    “Success” doesn’t just mean what the larger mob of society says it means: lots of money, fame, and fortune. Many people with fame, fortune, and money have terribly empty, imbalanced lives.

    Your success isn’t defined by what other people say.

    No one can define your success but you. If you continue to let others tell you what success is, you’ll never reach it. Even if you did, it wouldn’t be a true success, because it’s not what you really valued.

    No, living an extraordinary life means defining your own version of what success is. You can begin to spend your time on what really matters to you.

    • Do you really want 1,000,000 Twitter followers?
    • Do you really need to be in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list?
    • Do you really want to be a New York Times best-selling author?

    Or is your version of success more nuanced, more narrowed, more focused, more specific?

    If you want to live an extraordinary life, your definition of success must be your own. If we are always chasing what other people tell us to, we’ll never experience true success.

    Let go of other people’s versions of success. Define your own success, and achieve it.

    That is true success.

    2. Looking Good

    Here’s an old parable:

    “Once upon a time, there was a wise Zen master. People traveled from far away to seek his help. In return, he would teach them and show them the way to enlightenment.

    On this particular day, a scholar came to visit the master for advice. “I have come to ask you to teach me about Zen,” the scholar said.

    Soon, it became obvious that the scholar was full of his own opinions and knowledge. He interrupted the master repeatedly with his own stories and failed to listen to what the master had to say. The master calmly suggested that they should have tea.

    So the master poured his guest a cup. The cup was filled, yet he kept pouring until the cup overflowed onto the table, onto the floor, and finally onto the scholar’s robes. The scholar cried “Stop! The cup is full already. Can’t you see?”

    “Exactly,” the Zen master replied with a smile. “You are like this cup — so full of ideas that nothing more will fit in. Come back to me with an empty cup.”

    Most people believe they already have it all figured out, yet wonder why opportunities, luck, and success continues to elude them.

    Choose to become a student first, and success will find you.

    If you want to look good — if you want everyone to think you have all the answers — then you’re fooling all of them and yourself.

    True success comes from knowledge, humility, and becoming a student of your craft. You can’t have that if you insist on looking like you have all the answers.

    3. Busyness

    “The most successful people I know are not busy. They’re focused.” -Jeff Goins, best-selling author

    How you spend your days is how you spend your life.

    A lot of people love being “busy.” They wear it as a badge of honor. When you ask them how they’ve been, what’s the response? “I’m so busy,” they lament. But it’s a subtle brag. They like the feeling.

    But when you’re busy, you don’t really do anything — just because your calendar is full of meetings, appointments, and commutes doesn’t mean you’re actually making any progress towards your true goals.

    Are you focused, making tangible action steps towards what truly matters?

    …Or are you just “busy?”

    When you’re busy, you are on autopilot. You can’t see the hours slipping away, time you’ll never get back.

    But when you choose to be focused — to spend your time and energy on achieving your true goals — that’s where the magic happens. That’s where focus turns into flow states, hyper-focused mental efforts to make fast progress.

    Most people prefer the emotional boost of bragging about how “busy” they are, instead of actually doing the real hard work. Choose focus, not busyness.

    4. Entertainment and Distraction

    “Successful people don’t see it as ‘free time.’ They see it as the only time they have to do the things they really want to do in life and they don’t take a minute for granted.” -Nicolas Cole

    Reinvesting your free time is one of the most important ingredients to your success.

    If you’re working a full-time job, with a commute and family and bills, you don’t have a lot of free time. If you’re like most people, the precious little free time you do have is spent on entertainment and distraction, not learning and growing.

    This is low-level thinking, and it will lead you to a, frankly, low-level life.

    But true success requires sacrifice. A common misconception many of those sleep-when-you’re-dead hustle-entrepreneurs claim is that you need be working all the time.

    The truth is, you need to work your butt off — for a time. After you’ve spent the time creating your life, you can sit back and enjoy the work you’ve done.

    I like aimless free time, and it’s important no matter who you are or where you’re at.

    But if you want to make great strides and achieve a truly extraordinary life, you need to reinvest your free time into learning new skills, putting in the work, and being productive.

    It won’t last forever. But you need to put in the time now, so later, you can have the life you want.

    5. “Kinda-Good” Opportunities

    You can do amazing things with your life — but only if you have the time to do them.

    When my wife and I moved to South Korea for a year to teach English, my #1 goal was to become a full-time writer by the end of the 12 months.

    During that year, I was offered several high-paying, interesting jobs:

    • Youth basketball coach
    • Career coach
    • Private tutor
    • Remote data analyst
    • Musician for a church worship group

    But in the end, none of these kinda-cool opportunities would help me achieve my #1 goal. On the contrary, they’d take up what little free time I had.

    I said no to all of them. By the end of 12 months, I was making a full-time income as a writer. I had a signed book deal, tens of thousands of new followers, and I was getting hundreds of thousands of views each month.

    There’s great power in saying no to kinda-good opportunities. There’s also great consequences if you spend all your time on the merely “good” opportunities — it means you won’t have time for the truly great ones when they come.

    In Conclusion

    Good things come from sacrifice.

    If you want what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done. It’s to start sacrificing the right things so you can have a better future.

    Don’t let anyone define success but you. Stop being “busy,” and start being focused. Don’t worry about looking good, concentrate on learning all you can from everywhere you can. Spend your time wisely, because many things want your attention and energy. Make sure they’re the right things.

    -Anthony Moore, author of What Extraordinary People Know

    For more on living your best life, check out What Extraordinary People Know>>

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