The Benefits of a Generous Spirit

Sir Winston Churchill said “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

No matter how much or how little you have, you have something that you can share with others. That something has the potential to change someone’s life for the better. IF you’re willing to share.

There are many logical reasons to give. It has been proven that giving can lower your blood pressure. It reduces the stress in your life. You will experience less anxiety and giving helps keep depression at bay. It also increases self-esteem.

But here is the best reason to make a difference in the life of someone else…because you can.

Some of you reading this are saying to yourself I’d give if only I had something to give. But as I said before, you absolutely have something to give. You only need to broaden your perspective about what you have that is valuable.

During this particular time in history there are many people experiencing profound loneliness. They would love for someone to talk with. If you have a willing ear and a mouth that works then that someone could be you.

I’ll bet there is an organization in your community that is matching up willing “givers” with people who could use a bit of conversation to brighten their day. If you Google it you can find that organization. 5 or 10 minutes a day to do a little good, maybe a lot of good, maybe even save a life.

That’s just one of a million ways you can give back this very day!

Still some of you are saying I’d do that if only I had the time. As anyone who has ever heard me do a Webinar on “Using Your Time Effectively” time is just an excuse for people too busy…or lazy, to make a real excuse.

You have plenty of time to do everything that is a priority in your life. And this is a bit off topic but if you have more than a small handful of priorities in your life then you probably don’t have any real priorities.

You might be thinking I can’t “spend” time giving back because I have kids, work, homeschooling, plus tons of stuff. So DON’T SPEND time on anyone, instead “INVEST TIME” with everyone in your life.

That change of mindset will improve every relationship in your life.

The benefits of giving far outweigh whatever perceived “costs” there may be. You don’t need money to give, you don’t need some special gift or skill to give. You don’t need more time in the day to give.

You just need a willing heart and a desire to help.

Giving to others is one of the nicest things you can do….for yourself. I think you deserve it, don’t you agree?

One Small Step

Sometimes success begins by taking a mighty leap of faith. Sometimes, but not very often. Most often, success begins with one small step.

As small a step as it often is, many people just can’t make themselves take it. They might see success somewhere on the path they want to take but it appears to be a long way off. Between where they are standing and the success they seek are obstacles called risk, failure, effort, problems, lack of financing and other various unknowns.

Those obstacles cause many people to wait. To wait for the obstacles to magically disappear. To wait for someone or something to remove the obstacles for them. These people have a desire for success but their desire is small when compared to what they have told themselves are huge obstacles.

But here’s a funny thing about obstacles on the path to success…the closer you get to them the smaller they turn out to be.

But sadly, many people will not get to experience that because they never take that one small step that starts them down the path to success.

The journey of your success will always begin with the small step of taking a risk. Whether in business, in personal relationships, or in life, all success most often starts with that small step made with a hefty desire to be more. To be better. To make a difference. To leave behind a legacy that’s not soon forgotten.

Despite what you may have heard or hoped, success in NOT available to everyone who wants it. It is only available to those who are willing to work to achieve it. That work includes overcoming any and all obstacles. That work includes maintaining a “can do” attitude, even when you’re surrounded by a pack of “can’t do” people. That work includes making an effort every day, not only on the days you feel like it.

That work includes taking one small step on the path towards success. Sometimes that’s the hardest work of all. The question isn’t whether you want success, the real question is whether you’ll work hard enough to achieve it.

Well, will you?

Creating Permanent Success

As a very young salesperson I had some early success. I had no idea why but I enjoyed what I was doing and as far as I knew, I was selling.

I had an engineering degree and fell into sales completely by accident. That by the way is how a great many salespeople enter the profession of selling. Not too long into my sales career some of the Corporate big shots came to town and scheduled rides with our sales team. I was less than pleased when I discovered that on 3 consecutive days I’d have one of the big shots with me.

I assumed it wouldn’t take someone as smart as these guys claimed to be to figure out that despite my early success I really had no idea what I was doing. I apparently figured wrong.

In their report they said I was the best salesperson they had ever worked with. One of them made a comment that I could sell ice to an Eskimo. So my Sales Manager starting asking me questions about what I did when the big shots were with me.

I hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary stuff I did every day and I had no clue as to why they said what they said about me. Then some smart guy asked me exactly what I would do to sell ice to an Eskimo.

I thought for a minute and then it began to dawn on me why I might be having some of that early success.

My answer was I wouldn’t sell ice to an Eskimo in the first place because they didn’t need any.

To this day that philosophy is what has helped separate me from common salespeople. I get the financial aspects of selling crap to people that they don’t need. But selling something to someone who doesn’t need it is not a sustainable strategy for success in sales.

Manipulating someone for your benefit at the cost of their wellbeing, be it financial or otherwise is not a sustainable strategy for success in life.

When I finally figured out what was helping me succeed in sales I became more intentional about building relationships, trust and friendships. That required that I find out exactly how my product could help people. It required that I know enough about a particular customer to know precisely how my product could help them.

That caused me to walk away from a good many potential sales and while I lost a few sales I never lost a customer. Helping your customers, being honest with them at all times, having the courage to occasionally disagree with them and always keeping their best interests in mind are the keys to long-term, sustainable sales success.

If anyone tells you otherwise they do not have your best interests in mind.

“Selling by helping” is the sales philosophy I’ve taught for a long time. I started doing training for two reasons, one was to help more people have better buying experiences with the salespeople they dealt with. The other was to help more salespeople have long-term success and make lots of money doing it.

The selling professional can be very rewarding, “selling by helping” increases those rewards ten-fold. It is also the certain path to permanent sales success.

If This, Then That, If That, Then This

The problem with making a plan is that the plan often fails. Some unforeseen “thing” happens and the whole plan falls apart.

That’s why I never make a plan. Instead, I make plans. My plans take on the look of a flow chart. It is full of one contingency after another. If this happens then I’ll do that. If that happens then I’ll do this…and on it goes. It is like having plans within your plans.

I review those plans on a regular basis and rewrite them as necessary at the beginning of each New Year. There is no better stress reducer than preparation and that has never been truer than in this particular year.

My “if this, then that” plans could never have foreseen what is happening in the world right now. But the combinations of my “if this, then that” plans do in fact account for nearly every single change and related consequences we’ve seen so far. And for me, as for many of you, some of those have been whoppers.

The whole “if this, then that” strategy comes from a single principle from a life changing book by Dale Carnegie. The title of that book is “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” It is far from Mr. Carnegie’s most famous work. But people who have also read his legendary “How to Win Friends and Influence People” would give the edge to what Carnegie folks call “The Worry Book.”

The principle says to “Consider the worst that can happen. Accept the worst. Try to improve upon the worst.” I don’t suppose Mr. Carnegie realized it at the time but that translates pretty well into “if that happens I’ll do this, if this happens I’ll do that.

Knowing what you’ll do in difficult circumstances offers you great peace of mind when those circumstances arrive. Making big decisions before they need to be made allows you to make much better decisions.

I guess I’m supposed to be stressed out by all that’s going on around me but I’ve reviewed every single “if this, then that” in my plans. I can’t find a single one that says “be stressed” so there is no stress to be found.

There is no stress because my wife and I are implementing plans we made 25 years ago. Frankly we are a little farther into the “if this, then that” scenarios than we would like to be but that’s fine because we are in complete control of our futures. No one else gets to decide them for us.

You can have that same authority over your life IF you make plans that contemplate every possible outcome. This type of planning takes a pretty serious investment of time but the return on that investment is peace of mind and that my friends is priceless.

I may not get to decide all of my circumstances but I have complete control over how I respond to them. You too can have complete control over the circumstances of your life if you’re willing to make the effort before you need to.

As for me, I’ll just follow my plans because I know exactly where they lead.

Creating Your Personal Reality

It’s very likely that you are far more powerful than you think. So powerful in fact that you have the ability to create your own reality.

How do I know that about you? Well because you’re human. Every human has the ability to create their own reality. Not only do they have the ability, they in fact DO create their own reality. Every person on earth creates their own reality out of their thoughts.

What you think you become. What others think of you matters very little when compared to what you think of yourself. Negative thoughts about yourself linger for a long long time. Self-doubt kills more dreams than all other obstacles combined. Yes, even more than lack of money. Actually, lack of money isn’t much of an obstacle at all, far more dreams are killed by lack of effort than lack of money.

You attract people to you who are often identical to the person you believe you are. If you think you’re a loser than you’ll invite losers into your life. Now the term loser isn’t very nice but I can’t think of a more apt description. Misery indeed loves company and if you think you can’t succeed you’ll attract people who think the same as you.

Since we are all basically a compilation of the five people we spend the most time with you want to make certain your five people build you up. If those 5 people tell you often enough that you can succeed you may start to wonder if they could possibly be right…and that can be the start of something magical.

Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

You have to be so careful about what you think. Your thoughts become your words and your words become your actions and your actions become your reality.

You’re creating your reality this very day. Everything you think, say and do plays a part in the future you’re creating for yourself. If you master the discipline of controlling your thoughts there won’t be much else in life you can’t master.

My recommendation is to start EVERY day with five minutes of positive self-talk. Those might be the most vital 5 minutes of your day. Those five minutes will set the tone for the next 1435 minutes of your day.

Those five minutes could very well change your life. Now that’s reality!

Not Everyone Will Like You

There are few things in life I’m more sure of than this…not everyone likes me. I think I’ve always been fine with that fact. If there was a time it bothered me it was so long ago that I can’t remember.

I’d would much rather be unliked by some and happy than be liked by everyone and miserable because I can’t just be me. I suppose somewhere in the world there might be somebody who is universally liked and happy too but I’ve not yet met them. And I’ve met a whole lotta people.

I want to urge you to resist the temptation of thinking it’s bad when someone doesn’t like you. I strongly urge you to ignore that little voice in your head telling you that it’s your fault they don’t like you.

There is no fault. Some people will love you, some people will like you and some people won’t like you. That’s neither good or bad, it simply is what it is.

You should pay attention to the advice you receive from the people who love you. They may not, in fact they will not, always say the nicest things to you. But if they love you they will have your best interests in mind, so consider everything they say to you, whether you want to hear it or not.

When it comes to the people who like you I’d advise being very cautious about listening too closely to what they say. You may disagree agree with this but “friends” don’t always have your best interests in mind. Unlike the people who love you, their motives may be questionable. I don’t mean to disparage anyone’s friends, I’m only saying to be aware.

But what about the people who don’t like you? Well this may surprise you but you can learn a lot from those people. Their “advice” is often not meant to be advice. It may be delivered in a hostile manner or even through a third party behind your back.

But you would be wise to give it serious consideration because if one person sees a possible flaw in you others may see it too. Maybe not but maybe. The most successful people are willing to consider even the harshest criticism as an opportunity to learn and grow. People who don’t like you may in fact be more honest with you than the people who do like you.

Their intention may be to hurt you but that’s their problem. You still have the potential to strengthen and improve yourself with the very words that were intended to do you harm.

Or, you may determine, as I often do, that their words carry no merit and you can dismiss them. But DO NOT dismiss them without a pretty healthy dose of HONEST self-reflection. You will be better for it.

There’s enough people in the world who don’t like me that if I failed to learn from them I might not learn very much at all. It might be the same for you…just a little something to consider.

Moving Heaven and Earth

My mom used to say that she would move Heaven and Earth to help “you boys” (that would be me and my brothers) any way she could. I was too young to understand what that meant the first couple hundred times I heard it but I came to understand that it meant our well-being was the most important thing in the world to her.

She would, and frequently did, do everything in her power to protect us, even when that sometimes meant not protecting us at all.

Her priorities were crystal clear. She didn’t have to tell anyone what they were, they were completely visible to anyone who cared to look. Her family mattered above all else. That fact was reflected in everything she said and did. Always.

I share that with you as a set-up to a question I want to ask you…

Can people SEE the priorities in your life or do you have to keep telling them what’s important to you? I ask that because the fact is, people DO see the priorities in your life, you show them every day.

What you say are your priorities may or may not be. But what you do in your life are your real your priorities.

People get frustrated with my response when they tell me “they don’t have enough time in the day.” They get frustrated because I tell them that they absolutely do.

What they don’t have are identifiable priorities. They act as if everything in their life is so important when in actuality it is merely urgent.

The most successful people understand that what is urgent is seldom important and what is important is seldom urgent. People who don’t understand that do urgent things that won’t matter two weeks from now at the expense of truly important things that could be life altering.

When you act according to your priorities you’ll discover that you do have enough time to accomplish everything that is important to you.

If I followed you around for a week I could tell you exactly what your priorities are. In most cases you would disagree with me and argue that your actual priorities are different. But they are not.

I know many people reading this won’t like this but you SAY what you want your priorities to be. You DO what your priorities actually are.

For skilled, disciplined and successful people what they say and what they do are one and the same.

What exactly are your priorities? Not what you say they are but what you would truly move heaven and earth to achieve. Watch yourself and you’ll soon find out. If you don’t like what you see then either change what you say or change what you do. When you align your actions with your words you’ll accomplish more than you ever thought possible…with time left over.

You may not get all those urgent things accomplished but that’s okay because urgent things are only urgent for a short time. You can make a darn good living by focusing on those urgent things. If however you want to make a fulfilling life you’re gonna need to start focusing on the important stuff too.