Tag Archives: business

Nobody Cares What You Look Like

People in business today speak often of the “optics” of a situation, a behavior, or event. Of course, it’s just a fancy way of saying, “We’re worried how it’s going to look.” But the over-fixation on optics can be paralyzing and stifle innovation. The best ideas often come from disruptive ideas and alternatives to established norms.

Of course, it’s easier for new market players to shoot-for-the-moon with bold ideas, while long-established players feel they have more to lose by “violating the trust” of their long-time customers. The “New Coke” debacle of the 1980s is often cited as a reason for staying the course, even in the face of intense competition.

Most of the innovative, brilliant, game-changing ideas that are percolated, fostered, and pitched in boardrooms and coffee shops never see the light of day. Ideas are considered, debated, and squashed at an alarming rate because they are, by their very nature, risky. Then again, the most dynamic, innovative companies in the world have become successful for the very reason that others have failed to thrive. Innovators worry less about how it will look and focus more on who they can help and what they can achieve.

Twenty years ago, I was visiting a dear friend outside of London. She had invited her sister and her teenage niece, Liberty, to join us for dinner at her home. I remember that Liberty was mortified that she had a big zit on the side of her nose and was worried about what everyone would think. Her Aunt, my friend, looked at her and said calmly: “LIbby dear, nobody cares what you look like. They only care what they look like.”

Such great wisdom and advice. Worry less about the optics and more about the impact.

One of the most in-demand Customer Experience speakers and consultants in the world today, David Avrin, CSP has shared his content-rich, very entertaining, and actionable presentations with enthusiastic audiences across North America and around the world including recent presentations in Singapore, Bangkok, Melbourne, Brisbane, Antwerp, Buenos Aires, Bogota, Mumbai, Sri Lanka, Abu Dhabi, Manila, Rotterdam, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, London, New Delhi, Johannesburg, and Dubai. David helps organizations better understand and connect with their changing customers and clients to help future-proof their businesses.

Mick Jagger has daily habits. What are yours?

Secrets for insurance and real estate agents to skyrocket their sales.

Every real estate agent and insurance agent wants more and better clients to make more and better sales.

This is not a secret.

What is a secret are the lies some agents tell themselves as to why they don’t have more and better clients that lead to more and better sales.

People in sales who are struggling always have a list of excuses as to why they are not doing better. These excuses help them rationalize and reinforce what they are doing, even though it is wrong.

Excuses are their way of not holding themselves accountable.

Excuses are how they blame others for their failures.

Excuses are often lies they use to avoid doing the real work involved with being successful.

Lots of people believe their own excuses.  Excuses absolve us from responsibility.

That is why they are excuses and not actual reasons.

Here is the difference:

Excuse: “I did not sell any cars this month because no one has financing.”

Response: “Ha!  You mean from all of the people who walked into your showroom in the past month, not ONE had financing options? Statistically, that is improbable.”

An actual reason is a legitimate explanation.

Reason: “I did not sell any cars this month because I tested positive for COVID and was too sick to work.”

Response: “I hope you and the people around you are healthy soon.”

Many people confuse excuses and reasons.

The secret to consistently good sales is consistency.  Every day, the best agents and sales people, in their given field, are consistent with three things:

  1. Their outreach
  2. Their follow-up
  3. Their excellence in serving their customers

Sales strategies need to be done every day.

My friend, Meridith Elliott-Powell, author of the brilliant new book, Thrive: Turning Uncertainty Into Competitive Advantage has a daily routine, regardless of late night travel, early morning keynotes, or book deadlines.

Every morning she exercises, reviews her goals, and makes 2 client calls.  Every morning.  She never misses a day.  The habit of reaching out to her clients is as routine as brushing her teeth.  She does it consistently and it works.

Is it easy?  No.  Especially when the flight the night before was 7 hours late and Meridith lands at 2:47 AM. It would be easy for her to make excuses: “The flight was delayed by 7 hours so I am going to skip the calls today.”

But Meridith doesn’t make excuses.  As a result, she is recognized as one of the world’s top sales thought leaders.

1. Outreach

What are you doing on a daily basis to find new and better customers and clients?

Where are you looking?

How are you attracting people on a daily basis to buy from you?

Where are your buyers online? In-person?

Where do you have to go, either online or in-person to connect with your buyers?

Where do they want to connect with you?

2. Follow-up

One of the questions I ask sales people during sales programs is whether they could do a better job following up with their customers and clients.  Practically everyone says they could do a better job with follow-up.

The follow-on question is “what can you do to follow-up with your people?”  Sales people always have a great list of things they could do to follow-up with clients.

They just don’t take the action.

So why don’t we follow-up the way we should?

Some people think they are bothering their customer and clients.  If you are providing valuable information, you are not bothering them.  You are staying top of mind.

Others make excuses that it is the wrong time of day, they don’t have new information, or that they are waiting for a better time.

Let’s focus on the follow-up.  The time is now.  Make the call.  Send the email.  Show up.

Do it every day.  Be consistent.

If you need ideas on follow-up, the 5-Minute Follow-Up Plan is free here.

3. Serve

Agents who get into sales for the quick buck usually don’t last very long.  When certain markets are hot, they attract more agents.  The bad agents get washed out fairly fast.

Great real estate agents know that for most people, buying a home is the single largest investment their clients will ever make.  We need great real estate agents.  A car is the second largest investment most people will ever make.  We need great car experts.  Protecting homes and cars and the people inside them is why we need great insurance agents.

Clients want their agents to be knowledgeable about their unique situations, have solved similar problems, and be able to make the complex processes a little easier.

Customers want a good quality product.  They want great advice and guidance.

They want interactions with salespeople to be pleasant.  They want the process to be easy, with trustworthy communication every step of the way.

Great agents work for their clients.  They watch out for what is best for their clients.  In real estate, they do not encourage them to buy a more expensive house even though their commission is usually based on the purchase price of the house.

Great agents of all kinds serve their clients in a way that is best for the clients.  And they serve consistently.

Mary Kelly-PhD, is a US Naval Academy Graduate, an Internationally known Economist and Award-winning Leadership Expert and Keynote Speaker, Best-selling Author, and a retired US Navy Commander! Mary has spent over 25 years teaching and training more than 40,000 military and civilian personnel. She is now on a mission to spread her message of success with audiences worldwide, sharing with them the secrets to being a true leader in today’s workplace. Call 888-766-3155 to book Mary for your upcoming events.

Two Faces of Courage

In his book, Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy, then a senator, wrote about three pressures that kept his fellow senators from acting with courage. that kept his fellow senators from acting with courage. 

While Kennedy wrote about what he called “political courage,” his insights apply beyond the legislative chambers. Anyone in leadership is prone to such pressures. 

The three pressures

“The first pressure to be mentioned,” wrote Kennedy, “is a form of pressure rarely recognized by the general public, Americans want to be liked – and Senators are no exception.” The same applies to many people in positions of authority. It is so much easier to get along with people if they like you. At the same time, if the price of being liked is to forgo hard decisions, the costs can be ruinous. The role of a leader is to make hard choices. Often those choices are not between right and wrong, but rather between two rights (whom to hire or whom to promote) or two “bad” (what people to let go).

Kennedy got to the root of political expediency with his next statement about pressure. “It is thinking of the next campaign – the desire to be re-elected – that provides the second pressure on the conscientious Senator.” Politicians run for office and want to stay there. Same for executives. Their campaigns for higher office are not in public, but they are long and arduous. They involve doing what it takes to move up the proverbial ladder. They may endure hardships in the form of long hours, time away from family, and even competition from rivals. Better to keep your head down and go with the flow than decide that while good, your boss is, in reality, bad for the team.

“The third and most significant source of pressures which discourage political courage in the conscientious Senator or Congressman,” Kennedy wrote, “is the pressure of his constituency, the interest groups, the organized letter writers, the economic blocs, and even the average voter.” Outside pressure is nothing new to senior executives; no business operates in a vacuum, and it should be responsive to the needs of its stakeholders. At the same time, when what’s good for business is bad for the community, or what’s good for the community is bad for business, the executives must make the tough calls.

Courage is the ability to remain resolute in the face of crisis, show bravery, and persevere in adversity. Doing so with grace under pressure is the mark of leadership, an example that encourages others to follow.

Globally acclaimed and award-winning business leadership speaker, John Baldoni is an educator, thought leader, certified master corporate executive coach, and author of 15 books that have been translated into 10 languages. John’s thought leadership is reflected in his writing as well as his choice of media: columns, videos, and books. Even today John continues to experiment. He integrates piano improvisations into his keynotes which he illustrates with his still life photos.  John is also the host of LinkedIn Live’s Grace under pressure interview series, a platform that has enabled him to interview more than a hundred global business, academic, and thought leaders and doers.

Is Your Thinking Stinking, Stagnant, or Strategic?

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

Forget for a moment what you think and focus for a bit on how you think. The way you think about things shapes the way you act on those things. 

Stinkin’ Thinkin’ – Thinking that is corrupted by untruth or that produces counterproductive outcomes. Alcoholics Anonymous has talked about this for years. It involves convincing yourself A will produce B when it has consistently produced C! Einstein said the definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results!” Stinking Thinking in business includes expecting a poor performer to get better with no intervention, seeing your company as better than it really is, committing to a way of behaving that actually hurts your chances for success. 

Stagnant Thinking – Thinking that is static, blind to new information, and that resists creativity and innovation. It is easy to get stuck in a rut. It takes work to pull yourself out. Many people and companies are on “thinking” autopilot! Examples of stagnant thinking include: assuming the way you did things in the past will get you into the future, not believing you can ever be bested, getting stuck in redundant processes, and not thinking your way out of them.
Strategic Thinking – Thinking that produces a plan based on a purpose. Strategic thinking overcomes barriers, forges new roads, and creates new worlds of opportunity! It is focused and creative thinking about things that make you better. Strategic thinking breeds success! Companies and people that think strategically are perpetually unsatisfied with roadblocks and think to overcome them. Intrigued by how to do things better and faster. Continual improvers. 

Action: Listen for a week and make a mark beside each kind of thinking you hear at your company. If it is not heavily strategic, let’s change that! 

After 20 years of running his own business and consulting Fortune 500 companies, Dr. Daren Martin will use his international experience to motivate your audience to “Create a Culture of Service.”   Dr. Daren’s thought leadership and change strategies in transforming companies earned him the title “The Culture Architect.”  Combining humor, thought-provoking content, a dynamic, and his engaging presentation style; Dr. Daren Martin teaches company leaders how to turn team members into owners. Call 888-766-3155 to book Daren for your upcoming event.

Five Keys to Protecting Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset: Its People

Your company’s most precious cargo is its people. Each day that you walk into your office, establishment or organization, you are responsible for cultivating the culture. You are responsible for fostering a workplace culture that is one based on commitment and trust. As you nurture and grow the culture of your workplace, it is imperative you realize that your most valuable resource – your most precious cargo, as they say in the aviation business – is your people.

As you look to understand what you can do each and every day to impact your company culture, you need to look at the ways you can best take care of your teams. The foundation of taking care of your people is creating and cultivating a culture of trust. It is only when you cultivate cultures of trust and commitment that you can truly begin to support your company’s most valuable resource: the people within it.

A simple way you can create the professional environment you want is to implement a model, the C.A.R.G.O. model, designed to create and nurture the workplace ecosystem that thrives on commitment and trust.

When the right tools, training and resources are provided, people know they have all they need to succeed. Shown here is chain saw safety training led by Donny Coffey, CTSP, and funded by an Arborist Safety Training Institute (ASTI) grant. Photo by Max Babe.

C: Creativity to address challenges

As you look to take care of your people, it is essential that opportunities are provided that allow for creativity. This creativity is useful for many things – primarily in addressing the many challenges that present themselves constantly in the workplace. When you trust and empower your people to harness their creativity to address and solve problems, it accomplishes many things across the many levels of your organization. Freedom to be creative instills a sense of intrinsic trust and helps reinforce an employee’s innate abilities and talents. Creativity to address challenges strengthens the case as to why you hired them to work in your organization in the first place.

A: Access to tools and resources

When the right tools and resources are provided, people know they have all they need to succeed. Too often there is an expectation of the people in an organization that cannot be fulfilled due to a lack of resources or support. Effective leaders must be prepared to properly equip their teams with the right people in addition to the right tools and resources to set them up for success. Access to the appropriate tools and assets is imperative to creating and building a company culture that is rooted in trust.

R: Responsibilities

It is essential that team members are empowered to own their unique responsibilities in an organization. When team members truly own their piece of the daily duties, tasks and projects, it reinforces the reality that their work really matters. When your team members are aware of their value to the entire operation and that others are counting on them, just like a combat aircrew, they will step up and perform to their best abilities. Empowerment of staff , ensuring that the training and processes clearly define and delineate their responsibilities, will lead to an empowered organization. This empowered organization will be full of team members who know what they are responsible for and are ready to tackle the tasks at hand.

G: Goals and objectives

Goals and objectives of your team(s) and organization have to be plain and clear and articulated in a way the team members can understand and appreciate. The best leaders must share the goals and objectives with the team. Your team needs to know its leaders are fully invested. In turn, it’s necessary for members of your team to share their individual goals and objectives with each other and the leadership. This ensures that everyone holds each other accountable. Beyond holding one another accountable, knowing each other’s goals and objectives allows you to know that everyone is committed, in some shape, form and fashion, for the greater good of the organization and each other.

Goals and objectives of your team(s) and organization have to be plain and clear and articulated in a way the team members can understand and appreciate. The best leaders must share the goals and objectives with the team. Your team needs to know its leaders are fully invested. Photo courtesy of Chippers, inc.

O: Opportunities for success

As a leader, you must provide the opportunities for your people to succeed. These successes exist as large and small opportunities. When provided with incremental chances to succeed and win, team members will stay engaged and continue to be committed to the organization and the team. Consider opportunities for team members to succeed in the simplest ways, ways that lead to team wins, that lead to organizational wins. Everyone loves to win. Everyone loves to be on a winning team!

The most precious resource in your organization, the most precious cargo in your aircraft, are your people. As you conduct business each and every day, are you and the leadership team equipping your people to sustain themselves and your organization through the inevitable turbulence they will encounter en route to accomplish their mission? When you provide your people with the right C.A.R.G.O., you will create, promote and cultivate a workplace culture of trust that is bound for success!

Jason Harris is a motivational speaker, consultant, and certified character coach who values dedication, service and excellence. As a decorated combat veteran, Jason brings unique perspectives gained from his battlefield experience to your organization, empowering you to unleash the untapped potential of your employees. Using real-world examples, Jason sheds light on how the invaluable talent each person brings to your organization can positively impact your mission. He teaches you to Trust Your People Like Your Business Depends on it, because it does! To book Jason: https://bit.ly/3rcqRu9

Do You Want Less Stress and Higher Prices?

If you are a small business owner, independent contractor, or have any career in which you predominantly work for yourself, you’ve probably experienced a time when you’ve been without clients or otherwise out of work.

This is always incredibly stressful; even if you’ve got money in the bank, at some point you can’t help but worry that you’ll never work again. You wonder how you’re going to pay your bills, and what will happen if you’re out of work for more than a couple weeks. Then the minute you get a new job, client, or contract, you most likely throw yourself right into the work. You get excited, devote all your time to it, and get everything accomplished quickly and efficiently. After all, getting the job done with speed and thoroughness is the best way to serve yourself, isn’t it?

If you’ve answered yes, you unfortunately are at least partially responsible for those dry spells when you’re completely without work. Even though it seems like a good idea to do your job both well and quickly, focusing solely on that means you aren’t spending any time on building new business.

If you get too involved in the project at hand, your sales and marketing will lapse and there won’t be anything in the pipeline for when the project is over. Building a successful business, whether you’re a business owner or contractor, is a process.

To rely on that process, you must work on building new sales and doing the necessary marketing. Doing a great job for one client is valuable and can certainly get you more work if they hire you again or exalt your skills to friends and colleagues. However, setting a slightly later deadline to complete the task and using the extra time to ensure you have new projects lined up will serve you far better.

So what is the magical balance between sales, marketing and delivery that is the secret to having consistent work and driving up your prices?

The answer is simple: 80 percent delivery, 20 percent sales and marketing. You’re probably familiar with the Pareto principle – the idea that 80 percent of your results are derived from roughly 20 percent of your focus.

Here, my version of the rule is a bit different; it dictates that in order to ensure that 80 percent of your efforts are delivering on paid work, 20 percent of your time weekly should be spent on marketing and sales activities.

When I tell this to clients, they often ask: why weekly, rather than just 20 percent of my total work time? The answer is simple; technically if a job took 16 days then you dedicating four days to marketing that would be 20 percent. However, the unfortunate thing about sales is that it isn’t that simple. When considering sales, you must consider the time it takes:

  • to get a meeting with the prospective client
  • allow potential clients to make their decision
  • And, if they hire you, to prepare for you to start.

If you wait until the end of your current job to do this work, you’ll end up sitting at home with nothing to do. You will start to feel desperate for work and in many cases, instead of driving your price up; you will negotiate your price and possibly lower it just to pick up work. Ensuring that the phone call you make this week becomes a meeting next week and a full-fledged job on week three requires you to set aside that marketing and sales time this week, and do so every week hereafter.

So what if you are busy with a project and spend five full days on it? Well then you should be spending a sixth work day on sales and marketing. Working a full week on a project doesn’t give you a pass to stop; it is necessary to the health of your business. People always tell me,”I only want to work 40 hours a week.” If this is the case and you want a successful business, then only commit to 32 hours of paid work and spend the other 8 on sales and marketing activities.

It really is that easy. As a result of following this extremely basic idea, you will run far less risk of being out of work for periods of time. This is especially true because clients will see you have constant work and they will perceive you as busy, talented and in demand. If the standard rule for a restaurant applies to your business, we know that customers will pay more for in demand talent.

To give you a real-life example, last year I coached a contractor who, when she was booked, worked 60 hours per week. If she believed a job would take 120 hours, she worked two full weeks without stopping, investing no time into marketing or sales. Then, after the two weeks were over, she had no work. She would panic; we would have a coaching call where I helped her reduce her stress by reminding her that the only reason she didn’t have work was due to the fact that she hadn’t called anyone.

I motivated her to reach out to her contacts, suggesting she act as though she had a space coming up, but then became fully booked- that way, she introduced a sense of urgency while seeming like the most desirable candidate for a job. Finally, I reminded her that once she got work, she needed to commit to a delivery date that allowed her to spend only 80 percent of her working time on the project itself. She repeated this cycle of neglecting her sales marketing, and therefore her own well being, numerous times; however, eventually the idea stuck. Since that time she has reaped the rewards of higher pay rates, consistent work, and reduced stress from having more reliable and profitable work.

I have also worked with a client in a more corporate position; he supplies organizations with gift hampers. He hated marketing and sales, so every time he had an order to prepare for, he completely let that aspect go.

Then, when an event was over, he was without work and forced to layoff staff, only to hire all new personnel the next time he got a job. Hiring and training the new staff would eat up a great deal of time and effort when he was already busy with event prep.

I suggested to him that if he devoted time to marketing and sales on a weekly basis, he might be able to afford keeping seasoned staff on permanently. Initially, he responded with hundreds of reasons why that wouldn’t work, including the customers’ expectations of a swift delivery date; however, once he agreed to submit to the process it resulted in far less fluctuation in the amount of work at any given time, and a steadily growing business rather than one that continuously fluctuated between growth and shrinkage.

If you only concentrate on the job at hand, you do yourself a disservice; you’ll have to experience the fear and stress of looking for work without a safety net, and you’ll never be able to increase your rate. If you always have business, you’ll be able to raise the price you charge, because you won’t fear being out of work, and because people naturally desire the services of a busy person.

After all, the general consensus is that such a person must be the best at their job; it’s the reason they’re always fully booked. On the other hand, if you don’t have work, you’ll get desperate and your rate will stay the same or may even lower. So, begin blocking out a day once a week for sales and marketing. Invest that 20 percent of your time in your healthy, sane, and busy future.

Matthew Pollard is an International Award-winning Top Keynote Sales Expert Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Best-selling Author. If you’re looking for a keynote speaker with an edge, who provides absolute return on investment, who will assist your organization in achieving unprecedented results, Matthew Pollard is your Rapid Growth® Guy!  Book Matthew Pollard today https://bit.ly/345Gz1r

Do You Need More Joy in 2020?

Have you heard about choosing a “Word” for the year as promoted by Jon Gordon, Best-selling Author and Speaker? At http://jongordon.com/blog/choose-your-one-word-2020/ Jon explains how doing this and applying it can change your life, including your business!

We have done this for several years here at Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau, and we have seen the results of taking the time, meeting with our staff and coming up with that one special word that we each will apply to our lives and our business relationships all year long.

As we welcomed in a New Year, New Month, and New Decade, our “Word” for 2020 is Joy! We saw that choosing Joy puts us in a positive mindset, and it will guard us from those negative thoughts that can rob us of the life we can have! We even have it featured at the entrance to our headquarters!

One of our Remarkable Speakers, the humorous mindset expert, Dave Caperton, when he heard we had chosen Joy he was estatic! He is known as “The Joy Strategist” https://bit.ly/2TQehCV and he sent to me “5 Small Things That We Can Do” to have more joy in our lives! I am sharing them with you in the hope that this just might be the key to you having a successful year ahead!

  • Keep a JOY-nal-   Writing what you’re grateful for each day rewires your perceptions to enjoy more happiness and less stress.
  • Do Kindness-  Small kindness is a form of magic anyone can do. What could you do right now that could conjure a smile or make a problem vanish? 
  • Use Names- Personal connections start with names. Practice today with your server or your driver. See what a difference it makes.
  • Make a Face- Research shows that the mind and emotions take cues from the body. Want to feel happier? Smile!
  • Humor Yourself- Compassionate humor is stress-relieving, healing and bonding when we share it with others. Look for the humor potential in every moment, especially the frustrating ones. 

    Can you see why Event Planners and Dave’s audiences’ love having him at their events?

We wish for you a Remarkable 2020 and have a joyful time along the way!

Sue Falcone, CEO- Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau,
is honored for the opportunity to “earn your business”
and loves to showcase her Remarkable Speakers. Call
her today at 888-766-3155 or contact her at https://bit.ly/3aFeY7Z
to set up a time and day that meets your schedule!

Your Worst Employee is Your Website’s Contact Form- Fire It!

When was the last time you left a voice mail message for a company you were considering doing business with? For example, if you had a leaky faucet and called a plumber, but got their voicemail, would you leave a message? For the vast majority of us, the answer is “No.” We just move on and contact the next vendor on the list. The bigger question is “Why don’t we — or won’t we- leave a message?”

The Three Reasons are:
1. We simply don’t want to wait. We have become accustomed to getting the answers we want when we want them. Whether it is being able to order items online 24-7, or simply asking Alexa or Google Home for the answer to a question. Today we don’t wait for a response. The information is at our fingertips and purchases are available with just one click.

2. There is an almost endless selection of other options available to us. Virtually everyone is good these days because if they weren’t, the marketplace would “out” them in short order. Face it, quality choices abound.

3. We don’t know when, or if, someone will get back to us. The same dynamic exists with your website contact form. The “contact form” is the answering machine of the internet. Nobody wants to fill it out. They want direct contact information to a real person. Get rid of it!

Here is the uncomfortable truth: If the only way for your customers (or prospective customers) to reach a real person at your business is through your website’s contact form, then you need to know that your form is driving away more prospects than your worst employee. It’s costing you a fortune in lost business.

To be clear, I understand why you have a contact form. You want to funnel all your messages to one person or department. You want to capture their contact information. You want to get a sense of what the question or problem is before you return their call. You want to avoid scaring people away with your unpublished price so you have them fill out the form so you can ascertain their needs and have a sales rep call them back to have a real conversation and tailor your solutions to their individual needs. Blah, blah blah.  The reasons go on and on.

The problem is that they are YOUR reasons. News Flash: Your customers don’t care about your reasons and they certainly don’t want to contact you the way you want them to. Your customers want to contact you the way THEY want to. And if you restrict their access or their communication options, you are driving them away — in droves.

The solution: Give them options! Sure, you can have a contact form, but also post a key staff directory with contact options. Give them phone numbers, email addresses and after hours options. I know you are reluctant, but your customers don’t care! Your customers want to connect with a real person. If you won’t let them, then they will contact your competitors. Trust me, it happens millions of times every day. Look! There goes another one!

David Avrin, CSP is a sought-after international speaker on Customer Experience and Marketing. He is the author of the best-selling book: Why Customers Leave (and How to Win Them Back) named by Forbes as:
“One of the 7 Business Books Entrepreneurs Need to Read!” Book David Today:
https://bit.ly/2m1WutK

Guaranteed to Show You How to Successfully Reinvent Yourself in 12 “Easy” Steps

Guaranteed to Show You How to Successfully Reinvent Yourself in 12 “Easy” Steps

By John Baumann

INTRODUCTION

If you have decided that you desperately and passionately commit to transform yourself no matter how much effort, time and sacrifice that it will take, keep reading, this information is for you. If you are willing, you will have to work harder than you ever have before and sacrifice more than you thought possible. It is not “easy.”

I wrote DECIDE SUCCESS: Twelve Action Steps to Achieve the Success You Truly Desire as an easy-to-understand, step-by-step process for building your own personalized success plan complete with written exercises for each action step. While pragmatic and academically sound, it was not intended to, nor does it attempt to, address the emotional (and even spiritual) foundation often necessary to succeed. I will attempt to provide that foundation here. Just as the steps in DECIDE SUCCESS are hard to stick with, the same will be said about these self-improvement “edicts.” This process or program or, better yet, set of ideals are not for the faint of heart. You got to want it bad enough to get through the pain that is transformation.

As the well-known expression goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expect that you are going to get a different result.” Many of us have never learned this lesson. We hold on to familiar approaches to life issues when deep down inside we know that we will get the same result, although unhealthy, one that we are actually comfortable with. Doing something different takes either a very brave person or very desperate person. I recommend that you take the bravery route and not wait for you to become desperate, some call it “hit rock bottom.” Being exposed to someone who is brave enough to transform, or is in the process of transforming, his or herself, a mentor, makes a tremendous difference because you realize that it is possible to succeed, “If they can do it, so can I.” Seek out a mentor.

I have broken this book down into two parts using an old adage adapted to fit my needs. First, “out with the bad.” Then, “in with the good.”

Part I: OUT WITH THE BAD

Out with the bad. I am not proposing that the proverbial baby be thrown out with the bathwater. Quite the opposite. A complete and honest review of your life is necessary from all angles to decide what unhealthy things (including people) need to be removed and who and what have the privilege and honor of remaining in your life. It is “your” life after all. You only get one chance at life and for a very limited time at that. One of the first things you need to do is to stop watching or listening to the news. You may be thinking, “Is this guy kidding?” or “Is this guy for real?” Bad or negative stories are the lifeblood of the media. Uplifting or positive stories are an afterthought or allowed on the air after, I believe, much arm-twisting. Turn off mainstream television and watch documentaries instead. Learn something. Get in touch with the energy emitted by people. In particular, whether the comments made have a negative bent or a positive one.

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when I was 41 years old. We, in the Parkinson’s community, use the example of a snowflake when describing how the disease affects each individual differently. Just like every snowflake is unique unto itself, every person with Parkinsons has their disease progress at a different rate. Since there is no test to determine how long one will maintain their quality of life, moments become precious. As with any life-changing medical condition, a sense of urgency develops. We may not have the time to wait to transform our lives. Thus, the following fall under the category, “Out with the Bad.”

Chapter One: BURN THE TICKS OFF

This may be a little bit gross, but ticks will embed themselves into a human body by inserting its head below the surface of the skin. If you pull the tick off, the head will remain. The way to remove the tick completely is to apply a flame to its body or use an alcohol swab. In this way, the head comes out and the whole tick can be disposed of.
There are ticks in your life that have embedded themselves into you. You may have grown accustomed to having them attached to you and feeding off you. It may seem ordinary and usual to have them connected to you. You feel like they belong. You may even feel a sense of superiority to have these people dependent upon you. What you need to realize is that they are slowly, but surely, sucking the life out of you.

You need to properly and honestly determine who are your ticks and “burn” them off. Ask yourself, “Am I better off with this person in my life or without this person in my life?” Do they add to my healthy enjoyment of life or detract from it? Do the things they say tilt toward the positive or the negative. What energy do you feel? A clear signal is, if after spending some time with someone, you feel like you need to take a long, hot shower to wash the muck off, you might want to rethink the amount of time you spend with that individual, if any. Burning the ticks off is not easy. Ticks have a vested interest is remaining embedded in you. There will be resistance. Serious resistance. It takes courage. It takes guts. It takes resilience. Most of all, it takes discipline. You have to stick to your decision even when doubt creeps into your head. Burn, baby, burn.

Chapter Two: STOP TELLING YOUR SOB STORY

Everyone has a sob story. Some have a whole book of them. Some have enough to fill a small library. Just stop. No one really wants to hear the tragedies that have befallen you in your lifetime. Don’t wear them like some kind of badge or medal. Realize that no one has a perfect life. I don’t mean to belittle or minimize the horrific things that we, as humans, have been forced to endure: death of a child, sexual assault, disease, disasters, concentration camps, addiction, etc. However, you need to look at yourself as a survivor and move on. I am not saying forget, but, by telling your “story” over and over just for the sake of eliciting sympathy, you become the story. It becomes who you are. It becomes your identity. You stop growing. You get lost in the “woe is me” syndrome and your life, for all intents and purposes, is over.

Just as with all the others, this will not be easy. Some people have held on to their sob story for decades and don’t want to move on. Nothing worth anything is easy. But isn’t getting “your” life back worth it? As my wife, Bernadette, says, “Send the Boo-Hoos Bye-Bye.”

Chapter Three: GET OVER IT
Glenda, a wise friend coined the expression, “STOP or I can’t help you.” Any time anyone is involved in some way in a “Life-changing Event” a flood of emotions come with it. For me and my Parkinson’s, what I call the “emotional rollercoaster” started with disbelief, moved to shock, then to denial, isolation, embarrassment, sadness, depression, and finally accepting and even embracing my Parkinson’s.

Its at these times that Glenda’s words of “Stop” or otherwise remain present, regroup and I’ll help you move forward is all my wife needed to realize that she had to shift her thoughts toward a place of “I can” and begin a renewal process. She did. There are positive people around you that are in your life for all the right reasons, might not be forever, but they can just show up and carry you when you need to be carried. This is the support of love and compassion that strengthens a person and pulls them out of the hole, helps you fight. It’s the team, the brigade, the peers, the mentors in your life and your faith that you need to move forward. Then, and only then, can you be lifted. Stop or they can’t help you.

Interestingly, I have not felt angry about having Parkinson’s, who am I going to be angry with? God? Not smart. A pretty powerful force to be mad at. In reality, no one was to blame for my Parkinson, at least not that I know of.
But often someone is to blame, and anger becomes a major blocking emotion. Very justified. Also poison to the soul. You allow the perpetrator to dictate sometimes the remainder of your life. I’m not saying that you, me or anyone else would be able to get over someone taking the life of someone you love or any other evil act. And I am not oblivious to the time necessary to heal. But, I think you would agree that the faster we move through these emotions, the better.
So, I term this simply, “Get over it.” There is no standard for the time it should take, but there comes a time that you need to just “get over it.” Sooner rather than later. Any way that is right for you (and legal, of course) works. Spiritual. Exercise. Primal scream. Yoga. Fitness Boxing. See a therapist or a doctor. Or, as bold and simplistic as it sounds, just make the decision “to get over it.”

By now you know what I am going to say next: It will not be easy, in fact, depending upon the severity of the incident, it may very well be the most difficult thing that you ever do. But you have got to do it. Getting stuck on any negative emotion takes a tremendous amount of energy and blocks you from moving forward. In fact, when people truly “get over” an emotion, whether it be denial, anger, sadness, depression or any other, they typically report some sort of feeling that a weight has been lifted off of them (usually their shoulders). Why wait? Why not control your own circumstances?

By way of example, why wait for the justice system to procure (or worse, not procure) a guilty verdict in the situation where you or a loved one was harmed by another to take your life back? You have the power to move forward through the natural emotions that you experience in as quickly a fashion as possible.
Shock. I had every right to be in shock. I was 41 with Parkinson’s. I needed to “get over it” and did. Denial. Anyone would understand why I would be justified in being in denial. I was so young to have an “old person’s disease.” But I needed to “get over it” and did. Sadness. Interestingly, most of my sadness appeared when I disclosed my illness to others. I had to deal with the emotions experienced by family especially my mother and father. I had to actually help them “get over it.”

Depression. I experienced depression both because I could see my future in other people that I meet with Parkinson’s (wheelchair, uncontrolled movements, inability to swallow, etc.), but also the chemical reaction in the brain to loss of dopamine that is the pleasure center of the brain. Although I do take medication to combat my depression, I don’t rely solely upon the medication. I still do what I can to “get over” my depression. Eat healthy, exercise, stay mentally active, pursue my life’s purpose, etc.

This “get over it” philosophy is necessary to move forward from wallowing in a negative emotion and applies to more than just being diagnosed with Parkinson’s or any other incurable disease. It applies to emotions associated with becoming a caregiver for someone with such an illness. The loss of a parent. The loss of a sibling. God forbid, the loss of a child. Injury of you or a loved one. Divorce. Being cheated upon by a spouse. Loss of a job. I could go on and on. The response stays the same, “Get over it.”

Addictions produce very complex issues. Addictions from drugs to eating disorders, etc. are not likely something that one can just will oneself to just “get over.” Intervention, medical personnel, counselors are necessary. But there is still a critical element of the person, somewhere deep inside themselves, making the affirmative decision to “get over” the addiction.

Chapter Four: QUIT BEING MEAN

After discussing such sensitive areas thus far, it may seem trite to provide an edict called, “Quit being mean.” The significance of this statement should not be trivialized. People provide ample opportunity to be criticized, made fun of, teased, bashed, bullied, abused, etc. You need to resist the temptation to somehow build yourself up by tearing someone else down, whether to his or her face or behind his or her back. I’m just saying. It’s exciting to be mean. We get a rush from it. In fact, watch most of the shows on television. Meanness abounds. You must, on some level, be affected by watching people being mean on these shows. The meaner the host, the better the ratings. Stop the insanity and choose different programs to watch.

Chapter Five: FORGIVE

I’ll end the “out with the bad” section with the most significant edict. Forgiveness. What a powerful word. Who do you need to forgive? Everyone. That includes YOU. Though we should always strive to be, no one is perfect. Sometimes we come down hardest on ourselves. I am not saying forget, but give yourself a break. Learn from mistakes. Learn from failure. As I state on the first page of my website, JohnBaumann.com, “It’s through the pain and fear that builds a warrior.”

You absolutely can, and must, forgive even if it is something that you will never forget. We need to learn from our experiences, but that does not mean that we cannot forgive. It is totally within your power and control to forgive anyone. The other person does not have to ask for your forgiveness or say that they are sorry for you to forgive them.
Your forgiveness does not entitle them to avoid the consequences of their actions, that is their issue. But you don’t have to carry around the anger or other baggage associated with the situation. You have the option of simply forgiving them in your heart. Think back to the people who have wronged you over your lifetime and, one-by-one, forgive them.

I know I sound like a broken record, but, as simple as it sounds, truly forgiving someone, let alone everyone, is also a very difficult thing to do. It takes strength. It takes all kinds of strength, including spiritual strength. “To err is human, to forgive divine.” You may question whether you can forgive. What if you were molested? Lost the ability to walk due to the intentional act of another? Had a loved one brutally murdered by someone? Yes. Yes. Yes. And there are many more circumstances, too many to be able to include in this publication. As monumental as the task, you cannot improve until you have relinquished the anger and pain of your unique past.

Part II: IN WITH THE GOOD

Now that we have removed the bad, we have created a void. We need to fill that void. It is just human nature. What do we fill it with: Good. In with the good. After all, this is self-improvement. It is time to discuss the improvement part.

Chapter Six: PICK A CONCRETE DAY

Many, if not most, people naturally procrastinate, especially when it comes to doing things that are hard or difficult. So, you need to, as my friend Terri says, “Just pick a day to start and stick with it.” If you don’t decide upon a day to begin, you never will get going.

I recommend that you jump right into your transformation, but some people need to start slowly and build up steam. Whatever works for you is fine so long as you are moving forward and not backtracking. It can be a random date or a date that has some significance. Just don’t make it too far into the future or leave it flexible. Focus hard on the date and set it in concrete. Tell people that are important to you the date. Gain ownership in the date.

Chapter Seven: SEEK OUT POSITIVE

There are positive people out there. You just have to keep your eyes open. Look for them. Join a gym. Take up a hobby. Something you really enjoy. Get involved with a charity. Go to a place of worship. Meet new people. Make the time to do what you truly love to do. Surround yourself with the most positive, upbeat, fun-loving people that you can find wherever you go.

Seeking out positive goes well beyond people. Create a positive environment in your world. Open the shades and let in the light. Build a fire in the fireplace on a cold, winter’s night. Feel the warmth. Schedule time to just do nothing.

Go for a walk in the park.

Have real conversations with people. Discuss things that matter. You don’t have to discuss politics or religion to have a real conversation. If in a group, a good rule of thumb is to speak no more than one quarter of the time and listen intently to what others are saying the remainder of the time. Are they confrontational? Are they conciliatory? Are they really listening to what others are saying? Are their comments of a sexist or racist nature? Then, pick out the ones that you want to consider a friendship relationship. Slowly at first, but remain in touch and engaged with them.

Chapter Eight: BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU HAVE

Although I recognize that there are many, many people with no material possessions, there are also many people who have shelter and food to eat on a daily basis. We get so caught up in adding to our “stuff” that we forget what we have. You need to constantly remind yourself to maintain perspective.
When you wake up in the morning, practice making your first thoughts be a relationship that you cherish, could be your relationship with a parent, a sibling, a close friend, a higher power, etc. Or maybe the comfortable bed that you just woke in, the roof over your head that is protecting you from the elements, the ingredients necessary to make your breakfast, etc.

Chapter Nine: BE HEALTHY

Being healthy covers a range of topics. First, eat “clean” (healthy food). Make sure that you put fuel into your body that will aid in living a quality life, make you healthier. You need to eat organic foods to minimize the ingestion of pesticides and other damaging products used in non-organic and processed foods. It would be best to grow your own vegetables and fruits in order to make sure that the soil is not depleted and has the necessary nutrients. If that is not possible, farmer’s markets are popping up all over. Develop a relationship with some of the producers.
In one form or another, sugar is contained in almost everything food purchased in a store. You need to read labels and wean yourself off sugar and sugar substitutes. If you choose to eat meat, focus on locating sources that don’t add steroids or other growth stimulators, treat the animal humanely during its life and the manner of its death, and handle the animal parts in a proper, sterilized and refrigerated environment. Again, start with a farmer’s market.
Drink water. Lots of water. Cut out soda and diet soda, any drink that is sweet. Go cold turkey if you have to. No discussion. No negotiation. It is that bad for you.

I found that when I started eating healthy, I could eat a lot more food, I never had that bloated full feeling, I have more energy, I can exercise more effectively and, so long as I am prepared, I almost never feel hunger pains. What I mean by prepared is to have food always ready to eat no matter where you are, just in case. For me, an Ezekiel wrap of hummus and length-wise cut cucumbers. This removes any excuse to ever be tempted to go to a fast food restaurant.

Remember, food is your body’s fuel. At first, you will struggle giving up many so-called “comfort foods.” I know that I sure did. But as your system cleanses itself, the cravings diminish and then disappear. For the first few months of your transformation, think of food as fuel for your body to operate efficiently and not a source of pleasure or reward. Sure, some of the clean food you eat will taste good, but, temporarily, don’t focus on taste, focus on nutrition.
Second, exercise on a daily basis just beyond your comfort zone. I was attending a conference on Parkinsons when one of the speakers made this statement. It shook my world. I immediately went home and started to exercise on a daily basis, no excuses allowed. I put a definite time on my schedule. I progressively moved from walking on the treadmill to spin bike, etc. Sixteen months later, I do, on alternating days, an hour of strength training in a kettlebell class called G-FIT at Core Combat Sports and 90 minutes of hot yoga at Bikram Yoga Louisville.
I, over the past sixteen months, unintentionally went from 215 pounds to my optimal weight for my height of 180 pounds. I can honestly say that I am healthier and fitter now, over ten years into my Parkinsons, than I have ever been even before I started exhibiting the symptoms of Parkinsons.

Chapter Ten: TOUCH

Make human connection. Many may scoff at this notion. I have an “old school” doctor who during my appointment is in constant contact with me whether it be my forearm, hand, wrist or shoulder. It is unusual and, I’ll admit, I was somewhat uncomfortable with it at first, but, when I got used to it, I realized how soothing it is. I have come to realize how important hugs are in appropriate circumstances. I hug my son and daughter every time I see them. My wife has to remind me sometimes to stop writing so we can hug. For us, it is a minimum of 20 seconds.

Chapter Eleven: BE KIND, COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING

Wow, what a mouthful. But doesn’t everything boil down to these five words. What is the golden rule? What are the teachings of most, if not all, religions? The message of many self-help or self-improvement gurus can be summarized to be more kind, compassionate, and especially loving.

Chapter Twelve: FIND YOUR PURPOSE

I discuss extensively in my book DECIDE SUCCESS having faith that your life has purpose. Once you have accepted the fact that your life does have purpose, the next adventure is to uncover what that purpose is. You don’t create it. Often, you don’t decide what your purpose is. You just uncover it.

For me, I thought my life’s purpose had something to do with working as an attorney. I was wrong. As it turns out, what I uncovered was that my life’s purpose has to do with inspiring people. Go figure. I found out that I have a gift. My genuineness, kindness, compassion, empathy, joy for life, optimism, love comes out whenever I am asked to inspire a group or even an individual. I can bring back hope where hope had been lost. I can help people see beyond what is apparent. I can work with people to create a more positive “End-vision.” I had to develop Parkinson’s disease to uncover my life’s purpose. I now not only accept my Parkinson’s, but actually embrace it. God does work in mysterious ways.

What is your life’s purpose? I know one thing, if you don’t burn the ticks off, slam the door on unfulfilling dating relationships, stop telling your sob story, get over it, stop being mean, forgive, pick a day to start, seek out positive, be aware of what you got, be healthy, touch, be kind, be compassionate and be loving; you will not be prepared or ready to uncover your life’s purpose. It takes work, hard work, to move forward, but, I can tell you, it is worth every bit of it. I hope that I have set a positive example for the people with whom I come in contact. After all, that is what being a mentor is all about.

 

Most would give in and give up when diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (or any other chronic illness) at the age of 41.  John made the decision to “Decide Success.”

He had a wonderful life and believed he was fulfilling his “purpose.” He graduated from Cornell Law School, and had practiced law for 15 successful years. Then his world was turned upside down. He had no idea how quickly the symptoms of this horrific, debilitating disease would progress. It totally changed his perspective on life.

What no one would see as a positive development, John decided to make one. He worked for seven more years as a full-time attorney. He contributed to several books and wrote one of his own aptly named, “Decide Success-You Ain’t Dead Yet.”John joined the faculty of the University of Louisville, and was honored as “Most Inspiring Professor.”

But his most important decision was to reinvent himself as an Inspiring Success Speaker and Workshop Facilitator. Now over 15 years later after that first diagnosis, John speaks on topics he knows he is an expert in, and maintains an honest, genuine, real, humorous approach.  He has truly “uncovered his purpose!” 

Nonprofit Caregivers Need Help, Too

NONPROFIT CAREGIVERS NEED HELP, TOO

Every day dedicated nonprofit professionals are working to help those who have suffered misfortune, aiding victims in need of care, and finding solutions to someone else’s problems.

Nonprofit professionals deal with situations that can range from the simple to the complex and, often to the tragic.

The daily pressure and stress can be mentally, physically, and emotionally challenging. Even the most compassionate and consummate professional can feel the cumulative impact of such a demanding career.

Unfortunately, the intensity of this already stressful workplace environment is growing. While budgets are being cut and calls for help are escalating, staffs are being pushed to do more with less.

So who props up those who prop up others? The answer could be You.

As a high school basketball player, I was barely good enough to make the team, and my prospects for actually getting into a game were close to nonexistent.

In spite of my bench warming role, my three younger sisters showed up at games to loudly cheer for their brother. Their pleas to “put Hardy in” didn’t persuade the coach but did totally embarrass me.

Through the years, my sisters have continued their encouragement. They recognize a need and offer support. My once youthful embarrassment has grown into appreciation and the realization of how fortunate I am to have such great cheerleaders in my life!

You too can have a positive influence on those you work with by being a cheerleader who provides co-workers with a much needed boost.

Help create a supportive environment that will assist in re-charging those whose batteries are running low. Offer words of encouragement to those dealing with a particularly difficult situation. Recognize when someone may be struggling, and help find a way to temporarily lighten his or her load. An act of kindness will go a long way toward deflecting frustration, fatigue, and even burnout.

Acknowledge those who are making a difference. The feeling of being appreciated is a powerful motivator.

Champion the effort to get everyone working together as a team. Celebrate the individual and collective successes your organization is having so each person can share in the glow of accomplishment.

People who work to meet the needs of others are indeed special. But even those who help others need help and deserve recognition and encouragement themselves.

A sister can be a great cheerleader. And you can too!

Speaker Hardy Smith is your Go-to Resource who works with NonProfits and Associations that want an Ongoing Culture of Performance. Organizations across America have benefited from Hardy’s 30-plus years of experience working in the high-performance world of NASCAR racing. His extensive involvement with nonprofit, volunteer-based, and community groups nationwide gives him a keen understanding of nonprofit and association needs. Hardy’s offerings include keynote addresses, seminars, workshops, leadership retreats and strategic planning sessions, such as, “Why Don’t Board Members Do What They’re Supposed to Do?; leadership training; strategic planning; and innovative and results-oriented consultation.  To hire Hardy for your upcoming event ct 888-766-3155.