Posts Tagged ‘character’

“The Process”

You might not be a fan of the University of Alabama or college football, but if you are a fan of SUCCESS, I think you will find what I am about to share very helpful. Nick Saban, head football coach at the University of Alabama, has won 5 national championships … one while he was head coach at LSU and four at Alabama. His four championships at the University of Alabama have happened in span of only seven years … the best run in college football history.

In football, you can only put 11 men on the field at one time … it’s your best against their best, so having great talent is critical, but not everything. So, what is the magical formula for success at Alabama and why do so many teams have trouble duplicating it? A few years ago Coach Saban asked me to present a program on communication to his coaching staff. In his world, recruiting star athletes is paramount to their success, and he wanted his coaches to make the best presentations possible to the athletes they wanted to play for Alabama.

I learned a lot of things about Coach Saban and Alabama football preparing for my three hour program. There are a lot of coaches, managers, bosses and leaders out there who never mix it up with the people who are on the front lines. Not Coach Saban; he is all about being on the ground level, getting “dirty” in the details. He understands that old saying, “The devil is in the details,” so he leaves no stone unturned and assumes nothing. I don’t believe I have ever met anyone as detailed as he is. Meetings and practices are planned to the minute and everyone understands what is expected of them and how they are to accomplish it. I don’t have time to go into all that I learned about him in this short article, so I decided to share one of the most important elements of how he has become so successful in what the college football world knows as “The Process;” Coach Saban’s way of winning.  As he says, The Process is much more important than the result.”

The critical element of his success is a simple way of breaking everything down into manageable parts. He owes this technique to Dr. Lionel Rosen, a Michigan State University psychiatry professor he met when he coached there in the late ’90s. Dr. Rosen had studied cognitive therapy used in the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery program and found the best way to succeed is to deal with the “moment” … not the future, nor the past. If you handle the moment correctly, the final result will work out. Dr. Rosen pointed out to Coach Saban that the average play in a football game lasts about seven seconds and that is where he needed to concentrate. What happened on the last play is done, it’s the next play, the next seven seconds that counts. By making sure his players (and coaches) fully understand what they have to do in those seven seconds, without hesitation, and prepare them properly so they can execute it … is all that matters. He teaches those young men that the game is played seven seconds at a time.

The same is true in business. By breaking down what you do into manageable segments of time and function, you will be better able to achieve the results you desire. But remember, everyone needs to understand what is expected of them and how they are to accomplish it. I would like to leave you with one last powerful thought from Coach Saban:

Saban - Two Pains - #3

The Future is Yours

I just did a program for a large multinational manufacturing company, who has been in business for over 70 years. My client’s theme for the conference was … The Future is Yours. In preparing for the program, I decided to do some research on great quotes and statements that have to do with our future. I ran across a statement made by the esteemed economist Dr. Lowell Catlett that really surprised me. He said they did a study in 1960 and again in 2010, which involved over 7,000 economists, that rated their accuracy for forecasting future economic trends; their accuracy rate was 47%. He elaborated on that statement, saying: “What I just told you is, you can flip a coin and beat 7,000 economists by 3%.“ He concluded his point by saying, “You can’t predict the future, but you sure can prepare for it.”

So, I thought I would share with you some thoughts/quotes on “Achieving Success in Your Future.” I think these quotes will help to give you a productive perspective on addressing your success in the future.

The future is unknown, but a somewhat predictable unknown. To look to the future we must first look upon the past. That is where the seeds of the future were planted.Albert Einstein

Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to … doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you imagined. – Anon

I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.George Burns

The more you take responsibility for your past and present, the more you are able to create the future you seek. – Anon

Your future is created by what you do today … Not tomorrow. – Anon

The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Abraham Lincoln

If I had to pick my favorite quote of all of them, it would be the second one: “Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you imagined.” I don’t care where you are in life, how low you have gotten, or how bad it has been … tomorrow you can start fresh, creating a better future. All great achievement begins with deciding what you want and then dedicating yourself to achieving it. So, my perspective on having future success is learning from our past.

Past

If you don’t apply the lessons you have learned from your past … you will never improve your future. There is no rule that says your past is your destiny. You possess the power to create a great future: we all do. Remember, your future success is dependent on your present efforts … so, do something today that you will be happy you did tomorrow.

Let your regrets fuel your future …

so your future will have fewer regrets.

 

 

 

SKILL & WILL

Let’s get one thing straight … we all begin as a NOVICE. No one, let me repeat that, NO ONE starts as an expert. We all have to learn to walk, talk, eat, swim, count, write, and read. We all start at zero, the bottom, from scratch, zip … with absolutely no knowledge, experience, or understanding of the “THING” we are about to learn. I actually like that fact; for once, everyone starts at exactly the same place. No one has a head-start when it comes to learning.

So, then the journey begins; your progression from being a Novice, then Average, then Skilled, then a Specialist, and finally an Expert is all up to you. I really like the title of “EXPERT” because it has to be earned. You can assign someone a title of Vice President or Sales Manager, Boss or Director … but EXPERT, that title is something to be revered, respected, and admired.

EXPERTS have put in the time, effort, and study to EARN the title. They have dealt with the pains, frustrations, exhaustion, stress that come with obtaining the title of EXPERT. In fact, it’s really not a title at all, it’s a designation or confirmation that the person you are dealing with is very, very good at what they do. I like being around experts, because they have traits in their character that can do nothing but help me. You see to be an EXPERT you have to have passion, conviction, focus, discipline, dedication, drive, purpose, commitment, spirit, determination … and the undeniable WILL to perfect your SKILL.

According to the American Society for Training & Development, American workers average 6.5 minutes per day developing their skill. That statistic alone explains why there are so many average performing people. Most people just aren’t WILLING to put in the time and effort needed to raise their skill level.

Your success has a great deal to do with your level of SKILL, but not everything. I know a lot of talented, smart, well-educated people who have, in no way, come close to reaching their full potential. I was speaking to a Vice President of Sales yesterday, who was expressing her frustration at several of the sales people working for her who have the skill but not the will. She told me they have all the talent, but yet they still don’t excel. She went on to say they have the training, knowledge, understanding and a huge opportunity, with thousands of potential clients available for them to call on, but they accept being average.

You have the FREEWILL to succeed, if you have the WILLINGLESS to do it. The big question is WILL you? Who would have ever thought such a simple word as WILL would have so much to do with your success. Here are a few quotes I want to share with you that should hopefully broaden your prospective on how important WILLPOWER is to your success. They are by people you may have never heard of … ( de Balzac, Min, and Crowley respectively) … but the brilliance of their words is indisputable.

  • “There is no such thing as great talent without great willpower.”
  • “Lack of willpower leads to more failure than lack of intelligence or ability.”
  • “In the absence of willpower the most complete collection of virtues and talent is wholly worthless.”

Anyone can go from Novice to Expert if they have the WILL to do it. But, the “Skill Knob” below can only be turned to the “Expert Notch” if you have the WILL to make it happen and the discipline to study, learn and practice to perfect your SKILL.

Skill Knob

Willpower is a muscle.

The more you use it, the stronger it gets.

(Anonymous)

 

Passion is Powerful

A few months ago I had the pleasure of working with Germania Insurance (based in Texas) at their annual sales conference with all their independent agents attending. The night before, at dinner, I had the opportunity to talk to several of their agents. I was fortunate to sit at the table with Matt & Kara Sodolak. (Matt is the insurance agent, and his wife Kara is in banking) I use the word “fortunate” because, I was about to witness what I would best describe as TRUE PASSION for your profession. 

I asked a question of Matt that I have asked countless times …“How do you like being in the insurance business?”  His response surprised me. Without any hesitation he said, “I love it. It’s my job for life.” In all my years of interviewing people, I have never had anyone say this is my “job for life.” The passion, sincerity and conviction in his voice just knocked me over. He sat forward in his chair and followed his statement with, “I love helping people and I get to do it every day.”  There was NO DOUBT in my mind the passion Matt felt for his job, career and the company he worked for. I felt that anyone who had Matt as their agent was so fortunate. He never mentioned commissions … he talked the whole time about protecting his clients and how people counted on him to make sure they had the proper coverage in case something disastrous happened.

Unfortunately, something disastrous did happen; Texas has been slammed this year with enormous floods destroying millions of dollars in property and causing havoc to people’s lives. I heard from Matt last week and he shared a quick story about one of the people who works in their claims department. He wrote:

 “Rob, one of our most valued Customer Service Reps made a comment that made me think of your message and how you said, ‘you must make a commitment to your career to be successful’.  She said, ‘being in the insurance business, all of our customers’ problems become our problems and we have to be here to help them through it that’s why they do business with us and that’s what keeps our lights on; you gotta love it or you are at the wrong place!’”

It doesn’t surprise me that anyone who works with Matt would also have a passion for their job; he would attract other people who would want to do, help and care for others. Let me share a few anonymous quotes with you about the Power of Passion: 

  • Lack of PASSION is fatal.
  • Do it with PASSION or not at all.
  • Talent isn’t much without PASSION.
  • PASSION is the difference between having a job or having a career.
  • Purpose is the reason for the journey – PASSION is the fire that lights the way.

Maybe the one thing that is causing your career from not taking off … is that you aren’t looking at it as a career; it is simply a job to you and your customers, associates, managers and boss can sense that. There is always going to be frustration, toil, hassles, problems, glitches, hitches and difficulties in any job (that is why they call it work). But, if you look at it from a different perspective … that what you are doing is helping people in some way … then it all becomes worthwhile. Galileo, the great Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician, once said: “Passion is the genesis of genius.” So, let your passion become the start of something great for your career.

When there is Passion in your Purpose

you give Power to your Potential.

 

How Many Fans Do You Have?

In the world of entertainment, sports and business … entertainers, athletes, athletic teams and companies have fans. 142 million people follow Katy Perry on Twitter and Facebook. Soccer great Cristiano Ronaldo has 138 million fans following him. Justin Bieber (136M), and Taylor Swift (128M) followers. 59 million people follow McDonald’s, Disney (51M), Red Bull (45M), Starbucks (43M), and Pepsi has (36M) followers. The world of Social Media is rampant with fans.

My question to you today is, “how many FANS do you have”? If you plan on advancing in your business career, it is imperative to have FANS; people who will vouch for your talent, integrity, creativity, resourcefulness, positive attitude, tenacity, thoroughness, and/or energy. Do you have any FANS who will vouch for you?

I am not talking friends … I am talking FANS who are impressed with your skills and talent. Let’s look at FANS from a different perspective for a moment; your perspective. “If you were assigned a big project by your boss, that meant keeping or losing your job, and you were allowed to pick any 5 people out of your company to help you with the project, who would you pick? Would you pick your best friends or people you know are the most talented and who would be able to help you do an amazing job on the project?” I know what my answer would be without any hesitation; I’d choose the talented ones.

The five people that I would choose have a FAN base. They would be known throughout the company as REALLY GOOD! Their work ethic and record for getting things done is known by their peers. Their associates, managers and bosses all know who they are. Everyone wants them on their team. Associates ask them for help and advice and they are always happy to oblige. Doing the bare minimum is not in their DNA.

Developing a FAN BASE is no easy task. FANS are hard to impress. FANS are demanding and expect YOUR BEST all the time. FANS want winners. FANS require consistency, reliability, trustworthiness, stellar performance and are not impressed with words, promises and plans. FANS are impressed with accomplishments, not rhetoric. FANS hate excuses and apologies. Think back on the 5 people you would have selected for the project and ask yourself why you would choose them. Write down the things they do that impresses you. You now have identified why you would choose them … so why would anyone choose YOU? Here is an acronym that will help you with developing FANS. Be Formidable, Awesome, have Nerve and be Steadfast. 

F  ormidable … inspiring respect through being impressively intense and capable

A  wesome… causing awe; inspiring an overwhelming feeling of admiration

N  erves… courage and control under pressure, fortitude, stamina, and boldness

S  teadfast…loyal, committed, dependable, solid, and trustworthy

If You Want Fans

Then Give Them Something to Cheer About

How Many Crayons are in Your Box ?

If we were to compare the life we live to a box of CRAYONS, unfortunately, a lot of people will settle for a box of only 8 crayons containing the colors … red, yellow, blue, green, orange, brown, purple, and black. But, to be really successful in life and business, we don’t need to limit our options. There is a box of crayons with 24 color choices and even one with 64 color choices … in fact, there are currently 120 crayon color choices: 23 reds, 20 greens, 19 blues, 16 purples, 14 oranges, 11 browns, 8 yellows, 2 grays, 2 coppers, 2 blacks, 1 white, 1 gold and 1 silver…now we are getting somewhere.

If we stay within the confines of 8 colors (limiting our choices), when it comes to deciding what we need to do next and how we need to do it, we will greatly limit our chances to succeed. To be successful, we need to think freely and not be bound by old, limiting rules, policies or practices (limited colors of crayons). If someone were to start a taxi company, I would guess most people would think they need to go buy some taxis. But Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no taxis. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the world’s most valuable retailer has no inventory.

I have heard so many people tell me that they aren’t that creative, imaginative, ingenious, innovative, inventive, original, prolific, visionary, or clever; my response to them is start mixing colors and see what you get. A great chef will come up with a wonderful new recipe by simply adding some different ingredients.  World renowned scientist Albert Einstein once stated: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

There are those who hate to hear the overused statement … “you need to think outside the box.” So, for those who don’t like that statement … would it be better to say: “ You need to expand your horizons, think differently, be more creative, think of other possibilities, or consider alternatives?” Here is a statement that will get people looking for more alternatives (crayon colors): “You either figure out another way to do it or you’re fired or we lose or we go bankrupt.” Necessity is the mother of invention and that statement just created some serious necessity.

Eli Whitney was laughed at when he showed the cotton gin.

Edison had to install his electric light free of charge in an office building before anyone would look at it. People scoffed at       the idea of railroads. They thought that traveling thirty m.p.h. would stop the circulation of the blood.

Morse had to plead before 10 Congresses before they would even look at his telegraph.

In the early 1980’s, the great consulting firm, McKinsey, forecasted that a worldwide market for mobile telephones would top out at 900,000 by the year 2000. By the year 2000 there were 900,000 people signing up every 3 days.

Research didn’t predict the success of the telephone, radio, television, cable, personal computer, fax machine or mobile phone … unconventional thinking made them happen.

One 3M executive said that more than 50% of their new product innovations in his division came from ideas of complainers … not 3M … but from customers.

Your success is dependent on never confining yourself to one train of thought, one way of thinking, or limiting beliefs. Sometimes, there are different ways to accomplish the same thing; here are 25 ways to do things you may have never thought of.   https://goo.gl/yKSvoR

How many crayons are in your box? Most computers display 16.8 million colors to make a full-color picture, so as far as I’m concerned, 120 crayons just got waxed. (no pun intended). Get out of your box, start mixing colors, looking for alternatives, considering possibilities and never discount any idea as nuts. If everything you ever wanted was one step out of your comfort zone (your box) … would you have the courage to take the step? I hope so.

“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit

when there are footprints on the moon.”

Anonymous

SETBACKS

The great writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, once wrote, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Nothing could be further from the truth. There are countless stories of people (and companies) having second, third and even fourth acts. Okay, so things didn’t work out the way you had planned, or you failed miserably, or, or, or … I could go on and on with examples of things that have caused people pain, heartache or money. But no matter what occurred, they then had a decision to make … move on or give up. Sometimes moving on is a whole lot easier being said, than done … but it is truly your only option if you want to be successful. 

When bad things happen, I simply define them as SETBACKS. Setbacks come in many forms, but they all take a toll on us in one way or another. Setbacks can be caused by us, by other people, by nature, or by poor health that we did or didn’t have anything to do with. Today, I am not going to get into why the setback occurred, but I would like to address what you should consider doing next. In my opinion, this one point has everything to do with you succeeding or failing in life.

One man decided to climb a mountain that no one ever had made it to the top. Fifteen people before him had died attempting to conquer this 29,028 foot high beast. The first time he failed miserably, but the next year he tried again and succeeded. I guess we should introduce Mr. Fitzgerald to Sir Edmund Hillary; the first man to climb Mt. Everest. But, how about attempting something totally absurd, where 756 men who attempted it, all died. Admiral Robert Peary wanted to stand at the top of the world, the North Pole, and he finally did it on his 8th attempt.

But, these people put themselves in harm’s way, attempting what seemed to all, to be impossible; they caused their own misery. How do you deal with setbacks that you had nothing to do with? U.S. Triathlon Champion, Karen Smyers, had more setbacks thrown at her on her journey to the championship then any human should ever have to endure. A storm window broke-out in a severe storm and sliced her hamstring requiring and operation to repair it. Then she got struck by an eighteen-wheel truck that broke six ribs along with giving her a lung contusion and shoulder separation. But we aren’t done yet. She took a terrible spill on a bicycle and broke her collar-bone. All of those injuries seemed small compared to her then getting diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which required six hours of surgery to remove the tumors. Unfortunately, they didn’t get it all and she had to have a second operation to remove the remaining cancer.  I would call that quite a list of setbacks, but she never gave up.

I would like to refer you to the profound words of former President Calvin Coolidge who said: “Press on. Nothing can take the place of perseverance. 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. The slogan, ‘press on’ has solved, always will solve, the problems of the human race.”  If I leave you with anything today, it is for you to consider taking advantage of something that no scientist has ever found, but we all know exists: the amazing power of the Human Spirit.

BAD things are going to happen to all of us, but our success rests on what we do next. You might have to step back, regroup, and heal, while you are regaining your spirit and strength. But, just say to yourself, BAD stands for “Begin Again Determined”. You see…

Winners Look at a Setback as the

Starting Point to Their Comeback

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