A Self Fulfilling Prophecy

This is a story about a prosperous, or formerly prosperous, Hot Dog vendor in a major metropolitan city. He began his business with a single Hot Dog stand in the heart of downtown. He was a gregarious fellow who served excellent all beef Hot Dogs with all the fixins’. 

He could talk up a storm and always had something of interest to share with his customers. His customer base expanded over the first couple of years. His profits grew to the point he was able to pay for his son to attend one of the finest universities. 

The dad continued to do well with his Hot Dog business too. So well in fact that he added several additional stands throughout the city along with a handful of employees. All while his son was away at school. By any measure his business was booming. 

His son graduated with a degree in finance and triumphantly returned home. Upon learning of his father’s rapid growth he was shocked and concerned. He told his dad that he was very likely growing his business too fast. He added that the economy was on the cusp of a recession and he needed to downsize to “protect” his business. His business was sure to decline and he would be stuck with overhead and bills he wouldn’t be able to pay. 

The dad was surprised and disturbed by this news. He had no idea about the “mistakes” he had been making. All his bills were paid. He had no debt. His customers and employees were all happy and his profits were continuing to grow. But he had no formal education and his son had a newly minted degree. So he decided to follow his son’s advice. 

He immediately closed one of his stands and as his son had predicted sales began to decline. So he closed a second stand and once again, as his son had predicted sales and profits fell even further. 

Over the course of the year he laid off all of his employees and closed all but his original Hot Dog stand. Sales were once again at the level of years earlier before his son had gone off to school. 

The dad was amazed at how accurate his son’s “predictions” were and thanked him immensely for “saving” his business. 

Now this isn’t a true story but it very well good be. And if you’re not careful it could be your story too. 

As we continue in our turbulent times and approach a recession, or maybe already are in a recession, the “experts” will be out in force. The naysayers and doom makers will have ample “evidence” as to why you can’t succeed. Listen intently, use what you can from their “insights” but always always always decide for yourself. 

You know you better than anyone else. You know what you’re capable of. You know your business. You know your marketplace and your customers. The consultants and experts can add to your knowledge base but they can’t decide for you unless you allow them to. 

Never allow them to. Don’t become so “data driven” that you allow data to take over for your critical thinking skills. There was zero data to indicate any consumer demand for something called an iPod or a touch screen phone. But Steve Jobs went with his gut and moved forward anyway. It seems to have worked out reasonably well. There are still “experts” predicting the imminent death of the iPhone but I’ll bet Apple builds a few more next year anyway.

Good business plans, excellent leadership, sound values, integrity based principles, and undeterred perseverance will always win in the long run. Don’t let anyone who doesn’t truly know you and your business tell you otherwise. 

And never let their “predictions” become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

On a different subject… Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

Negative Stress Has No Benefits

Everyone experiences stress in their lives from time to time. Some of that stress is forced upon them and some of it they create themselves. But no matter where it originates from it is likely not good for them.

I say likely because some stress is actually positive, although it may not feel like it at the time. Some stress pushes you out of your comfort zone and drives you to take action. You would accomplish much less if there were absolutely no stress in your life. 

But the fact is that much of the stress in people’s lives is negative stress. The kind that has zero benefit. The negative stress that is piled on people by bosses, uncontrollable circumstances and the like is the toughest to deal with. But if you can think about the stress in your life with a clear head you may discover that much of the uncontrollable stress in actually controllable. 

When you continuously allow people into your life who do nothing but add stress to it then that’s on you. That’s something you can control. You only have to decide that you will.

Many times people manufacture their own stress. There are a few ways people do that. 

One is they become mind readers. Here’s a typical example. You’re in a big meeting and you see your boss leave the room with his boss. Now there’s only one thing they could be talking about out in that hallway…it must be you. You wonder what you did. You wonder if there’s any chance it’s a conversation about something you’ve done right. But you quickly decide it is not. And presto, just like that you start stressing. The amazing thing is that there are likely other people in the room stressing like you. Stop reading minds because it is highly unlikely you’re any good at it. You’re only manufacturing stress that does you no good.

The second way to manufacture stress out of thin air is to mistake feelings for facts. People, like me for instance, often mistake their feelings for reality. If you want to see how that works just watch a Hallmark movie. At some point, usually with about 20 minutes left there will be a huge misunderstanding and someone’s feelings will be hurt. The person assumes what they feel is based on facts but low and behold, with mere seconds left in the movie it’s all straightened out and two people live happily ever after. 

The problem is life isn’t a Hallmark movie. The misunderstanding often doesn’t get straightened out and the stress we manufacture has huge consequences, sometimes those consequences last a very long time. If you’re not CERTAIN about the FACTS of a situation ask for clarification. Even if you run the risk of looking stupid it’s better than being stupid by creating unnecessary stress in your life. 

And then there’s this…people turn molehills into mountains. That do that by catastrophizing. They turn every little problem into a catastrophe. Every mistake is the end of the world. Every problem becomes an insurmountable obstacle. They are doomed. This kind of manufactured stress increases day by day until the person is paralyzed into inactivity. All this because of what is essentially an over active imagination. 

You can eliminate much of the stress in your life by understanding it’s origins. A whole bunch of it likely is self-created. When you feel that happening the best thing you can do is disconnect from the situation, even if only for a few minutes. Talk a walk, call a friend. Ask for help. Or do what I do, eat some ice cream. You’ll find that to be particularly effective. 

There will be circumstances outside of your control that add stress to your life. Don’t add to it by creating more of your own. 

On a different subject… Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

The Two Absolute Rules for Success

There are two rules that the most successful people do not break. Ever!

The first involves the sharing of information. Too many people, including people in leadership positions, believe that knowing something that no one else knows gives them power over the unknowing people. That’s often not accurate but the reality is that sometimes it’s true. 

You won’t find many leaders who like rumors floating around their organizations. Still some of those leaders withhold information from their people. That demonstrates a complete lack of understanding on where rumors come from. 

Rumors come from a lack of information. People need and want information about the organizations that employ them. When they lack that information it’s like it leaves an empty spot inside of them. If the emptiness persists too long they find information to fill it. Some of that information may be accurate, some may not. Much of it comes from the rumor mill. Rumors cause people to disengage from their organization. Rumors are poison to productivity. Information is the medicine that stops rumors in their tracks. 

Yet still, many supposed leaders do not share information. Information that would help their people remained engaged and productive. 

Effective leaders know that in most cases information doesn’t become truly powerful until it is shared with people who can use it to take action. The action might be to create something new. Improve something that was thought to be working well. Or perhaps change something in a direction previously thought impossible. 

That why I encourage leaders to share as much information with their teams as possible. 

Even understanding the first absolute rule for success, I still encourage leaders to provide their people with as much information as possible. 

So, what is the first absolute rule for success? Here it is…Never tell anyone everything you know. I agree with that rule because there is stuff that each of us know that provides no benefit to anyone else. If it doesn’t help someone then why tell them? 

So, you’re now probably wondering about the second absolute rule for success. Well, I’d love to tell you but the first rule says….

People Believe What They Want to Believe

Current research says that between 27 and 33% of Americans believe the moon landing was a hoax. My dad is a member of the NASA Hall of Fame. He worked on the Apollo program. I got to meet a few of the Astronauts. I sat in the Lunar Excursion Module. Tranquility Base and the Eagle are every bit as real today as they were in 1969. 

And yet there is nothing that can be said or done to convince almost a third of Americans that their country landed men on the moon and returned them home safely. 

People believe what they want to believe. 

Unfortunately, the moon landing isn’t the only thing people don’t believe. They don’t believe in themselves either. They don’t believe in their own unique talents and skills. They don’t believe that they have the ability, built within themselves, to be as successful as any person who has ever lived. 

They live a life punctuated with self-doubt and hesitation so strong that it is virtually paralyzing. 

Successful people are not free of self-doubt but they do find ways to overcome it and believe in themselves. 

First, they remember their past successes. They don’t dwell in the past but they have the ability to remind themselves that they have overcome obstacles before and can very likely do it again. They recall that feeling of uncertainty and that even though they may have had some setbacks on their way to success they DID in fact succeed in the end. The belief that they can succeed again is born from their past successes. 

Highly successful people do not compare their success to others. They know that comparison is the thief of joy. They reject the paralyzing feeling that comes from the fear of not accomplishing as much as someone else. They stay on their own path, striving to achieve their own goals, regardless of what somebody else does or thinks. 

They are very mindful of the thoughts they allow into their head. They shun negative inputs. They feed their brains with positive motivation and just smile when negative people tell them they aren’t being “realistic.” Successful people know that the most realistic thing they can possible do is believe in themselves, in both good times and bad. 

People who believe in themselves can readily identify their Core Values. They know what drives them. They know what, and who, matter in their lives. The life they live is solidly aligned with those values and that makes criticism from others far less detrimental. Those Core Values guide them in the direction of their goals and erases self-doubt when it pops up. 

Successful people make mistakes but mistakes don’t define them. They are defined by their belief that their attitude and efforts will result in a life well lived, whether anyone else thinks it was well lived or not. 

Believe in yourself. Believe in the value you bring to this world. Believe that you are special. Believe that you matter. Believe that you can make a difference. Believe it all because every word of it is true, whether you’re on planet earth or the moon. 

On a different subject… Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

You Control the Effort You Put Forth

When I say I’ve worked my whole life that’s a little exaggeration. I actually didn’t get my first paying job until I was 5 years old. 

We lived very near the fairgrounds of the Minnesota State Fair. My older brother, who was 7, lined up some work for us painting tractor tires in an area of the fair known as Machinery Hill. We were paid 5 cents for each large rear tire we painted. 

I wasn’t very good at it, in fact I don’t think I actually finished even one tire, but I did succeed in covering myself almost head to toe in cheap whitewash. At the end of the day the guy who hired us paid me a full 25 cents. I don’t recall why but I’m sure it must have had something to do with the superior effort I put forth even if my results were somewhat lacking. 

Anyway, I had a quarter and I was euphoric. 

My euphoria didn’t last very long because my big brother “forgot” to tell our mom where we were going all day. Since the fair was starting in a few days and my brothers had “disappeared” there in previous years she had a good idea where we were so she wasn’t terribly concerned. (Remember those days when that kinda thing was still safe?)

But she also made clear that the fairgrounds were no place for a 5 year old and my painting career was finished. 

I liked the quarter but what I  really liked was getting more money than my brother even though he painted more tires than me. Maybe that’s why I, to this day, try to give a superior effort. It’s something I can control. 

You can control it as well. You have complete control over the amount of effort you put forth in accomplishing anything. You may not have all the skills someone else has. They may have better tools, better training and more experience. You can’t control any of that. That however should never be an excuse for not controlling what you can. Your level of effort is completely within your control. 

You may not get a whole quarter for your effort but if you consistently give 100% effort you will eventually reap the rewards. You will be recognized. You will be rewarded. But only if you keep putting forth that effort whether the rewards and recognition happen overnight or not.

People who are persistent earn success. People who are consistently persistent keep it. 

Are you willing to put forth the effort to be consistently successful? 

On a another subject…Donald Trump and Joe Biden both say they “never miss a video from LeadToday on Twitter!” Well… they would say that if they had ever heard of me, or if one of them hadn’t been kicked off Twitter. The videos they aren’t talking about are something new I’m trying on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

Outstanding Investment Advice

There are not a lot of people who read this blog for the investment advice I provide within almost every post. (Or maybe that is exactly why they read it.) This despite the fact that it’s the best investment advice you’ll ever get. 

Unless you live under a rock you are undoubtedly aware that there isn’t much good news about anything that has to do with money. There seems to be no safe haven for investments these days. Even deciding to sit home and not spend a dime doesn’t work because tomorrow that dime ain’t worth a dime anymore. 

But I’ve figured it out. I know, without a doubt the best investment you can possible make. There is a guaranteed return on your investment. It’s all upside without even the possibility of taking a loss. 

The name of the stock you should be, must be, investing in is called YOU! Don’t waste time looking for that YOU symbol in any stock trading apps. Look for YOU in the mirror. An investment in YOU is the best investment you will ever ever make. 

The worst investment strategy anyone can make is waiting for someone else, or their company, to develop them as a person, a leader, or a better anything. It’s great if other people want to invest in you but even that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add to that investment level by investing even more in yourself.

Nearly every blog post I’ve ever written has the theme of “self-development” in it and that has never been more important than it is today. A mostly vibrant economy with tons of job openings has made many of us a little lazy when it comes to keeping our skills bright and shiny. 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there are storms on the horizon. Lots of headwinds are coming your way. There are likely to be layoffs and downsizings happening in industries across the globe. As bad as that may be for some, those who invest in themselves today will be the ones who are best positioned to survive those storms. In fact, they are likely to thrive in them.

Take a class. Acquire a certification. Take actions to increase your visibility like volunteering to give a presentation, even on a topic you’re not that familiar with. There is nothing like a little concern about embarrassing yourself in front of others to push you to learn something new. 

As I’ve written often the most successful people learn something new almost every single day. That’s the best way to “future proof” yourself from the vulgarities of the swirling seas fast approaching. 

Give yourself a big leg up on the people who are stuck in the present. Investment in yourself and the dividend you’ll receive is the future you deserve. 

On a another subject…Donald Trump and Joe Biden both say they “never miss a video from LeadToday on Twitter!” Well… they would say that if they had ever heard of me, or if one of them hadn’t been kicked off Twitter. The videos they aren’t talking about are something new I’m trying on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

Who Are You Accountable To?

Most people are not fans of being held accountable. We kinda like to do our thing when and where we want to do it. I get that because lots of time I’m like that too. 

The challenge is, EVERYBODY is more productive when they are held accountable. That’s a fact. Many times simply knowing someone is going to ask you, “did you get that done?” Is enough to spur us to action. 

That type of “motivation,” whether it comes from a parent, a spouse, or a boss can be the difference between accomplishing something and merely thinking about accomplishing something. And that’s not bad. 

But it’s not that good either. 

What’s better is holding ourselves accountable. Pushing ourselves. Motivating ourselves. Taking an honest look at our progress towards our goals. 

Here’s a list of areas to evaluate yourself to determine your level of self-accountability. Score yourself from 1 to 5 with 5 being always and 1 being never. 

  1. I create my own process and timeline for getting things done…ON TIME. 
  2. I know when to ask for permission and when I can proceed on my own. 
  3. I know how to find the information I need to get things done.
  4. I know who I can reach out to for help if I need it and I’m not afraid to ask for the help I need.
  5. I do what is expected of me even when no one is watching. 
  6. I seek out feedback from a mentor or coach to make certain I’m staying on track.
  7. I know what helps me remain motivated and focused. 
  8. I can push past barriers, even unexpected ones, to get things done. 
  9. I have methods and tools to keep myself on track. (Just an FYI, the ability to set “focus time” on Apple devices is an awesome tool)
  10. I absolutely own my results and outcomes and never try to shift responsibility when things go wrong. 

So how did you do? You need a score of 45 or better to be considered highly accountable to yourself. If you’re at 25 or below you’re gonna need somebody riding you like a horse to get stuff done. 

Self-accountability and success go hand in hand. If you’re not willing to drive yourself on the journey to success then you best be prepared to go where someone else decides to take you. 

Now, go get something done! 

On a another subject…I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.