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.

Do Your Best…Because You Deserve It

We’ve all likely heard lots about the great resignation or great reshuffle or whatever you want to call it. I hear one of the reasons is that people seem to be searching for something better. Something that will keep them engaged. Someplace where they will matter.

Organizations that do a poor job of keeping their people engaged risk losing them. Or worse, they risk having them stay while remaining disengaged. You can find tons of articles about what companies and organizations should do to keep their people engaged. I don’t disagree with any of them. 

But I have a different idea. It’s pretty old fashioned. Some would say very outdated. More still would say it’s completely unwoke. But I don’t care, even if I’m the last person who thinks this way. 

The idea is that people who accept a paycheck from a company should figure out for themselves how to stay engaged. 

They should realize that accepting that paycheck obligates them to keep themselves engaged. Perhaps they need to accept responsibility for giving their very best effort even on the days they don’t feel like it. 

The very best companies with outstanding leadership are very intentional about working with their people to help them stay engaged and motivated. But most companies aren’t the best and many lack even mediocre leadership. 

If you’re in one of the companies not blessed with outstanding leadership and you’re waiting on your boss or leader to keep you engaged then you’re gonna be waiting a real long time. 

If you’re waiting for your company, boss, or anyone besides yourself to make you happy and feel fulfilled then I have bad news for you…or maybe it’s good news… you must develop the attitude of “If it’s to be then it’s up to me.” 

You have within you the power to keep yourself engaged. You have the absolute ability to motivate yourself. It’s great when you get some help along the way but don’t count on it. Stop looking out for the “stuff” that will keep you motivated and engaged. Start looking within because that’s the only guaranteed source of motivation. 

There would be far less movement of people in the workforce if more people accepted responsibility for their own results. Blaming someone else because you’re a crappy employee or poor team member is a sure sign of galactic irresponsibility. 

It is your responsibility to always give your best effort. It’s your responsibility not only for the company paying you. The fact is YOU deserve the satisfaction that comes with knowing you did your best. No matter what anyone else thinks. 

If you find yourself in a situation where it simply requires more effort than you can give to keep yourself motivated then you need to understand that it’s your responsibility to separate yourself from that situation. As soon as possible. 

If you continuously find yourself in those situations no matter where you’re working then perhaps changing jobs isn’t the change that’s needed. If you can’t determine what needs to change I’d suggest you consider investing in a mirror and looking there. 

On a completely different subject…I’m trying something new out over 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 regular Twitter followers. 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!”

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, I can’t promise it will last for a long time but I can promise the content will be helpful as long as it does.

How You Doin’?

We’re a little bit past the middle of the year and some of you have already decided whether this is going to be a good year or not so good. For those of you who have struggled thus far let me remind you we’re a little bit past the half-way point. You have plenty of time to turn things around. For those of you who have done well so far let me remind you too, we have a whole lot of this year left. If your year has been good so far then there is no reason it needs to stay that way…you can change it into a great year.

The key to moving from not so good to good is the same as moving from good to great. You must know where you are today in order to know what you need to do to be someplace else tomorrow. 

Many people reading this have not yet invested any time this year to determine exactly where they are and how they got there. Now is the perfect time for some self-reflection. 

What have you been doing that is not working for you? What haven’t you been doing that you should be doing? When was the last time you sat quietly and reviewed your goals for the year and your goals for life? Are you spending time with people who feed you negativity or investing time with people who build you up?

NOW is the perfect time to ask yourself those questions. The opportunity to change direction remains yours to seize. The decision to speed up your progress is yours to make. 

Wherever you are at this point in time it’s vital that you understand that you put yourself there. Your decisions, choices and actions have consequences or benefits. If you’re blaming others or blaming your circumstances then you’ve lost control of your year…maybe even your life. 

The most successful people don’t blame their circumstances. They create circumstances that give them the best chance to succeed. They create those circumstances with thoughtful decisions, good choices and taking appropriate action to follow through on both. 

Self-reflection requires that you be honest with yourself. Sometimes brutally honest. It also requires an understanding that you are the master and creator of your future…if you choose to be. 

Invest some time today to take a mid-year assessment of your current situation and your desired situation. Adjust what you must and be fearless in jettisoning the things, actions and maybe people, who add no value to your life. 

You still have time to make this year exactly what you want it to be. Perhaps even better than you could have imagined. Just remember, if it’s to be it’s up to you to make it so.

Keeping Score

I was recently invited to join a Saturday morning golf league. I’ve never been asked to join this type of very unique league before. What made it so unique was that they don’t keep score. Apparently not keeping score is supposed to make the game more fun. 

I know there will be people who disagree with this but I see no point to playing golf…or any sport if you’re not going to keep score. I kind of understand the people who say that very young kids should be allowed to play sports without the “pressure” of keeping score but I’m not entirely bought into the idea. 

But for adults I believe keeping score in most areas of life is essential. 

Professional sales people who don’t know their percentage of wins vs opportunities have no way of truly knowing if their approaches are effective. Companies who don’t track their market share have no idea if they are gaining or losing customers. Retailers who do not track the amount of customers entering their establishments have no clue if their marketing and advertising is working. 

The “score” is simply a reference point on your journey to ultimate success. If you don’t track what actions and tactics are working for you then you’re very likely to get lost on that journey. 

How often do you stop to check your personal success score? Do you invest time to reflect on what’s working in your life? What’s not working? 

Most everyone I talk to claims to want a better tomorrow. They seek improvement in many areas of their life. But many of them want the improvement to come without making any changes. They want to do the same thing today as they did yesterday but they want a better result. That is not very likely to happen. 

Improvement doesn’t come from making changes. Improvement comes from making the right changes and the only way to know what changes will be the right ones is to keep score. 

The “score” is your result. Measuring results informs our decisions on what we need to change in order to have that better result we seek.

One more point, when you keep score make sure you’re being honest with yourself about what’s working and what’s not. Accepting responsibility for your actions or inactions is step one on the road to improvement. 

Denial might get you down that river in Egypt but it won’t get you far on the road to success.

So…do you know your score?

I HAVE to add this very last point. Keeping score in relationships is a losing game. It’s a losing game because believing you can “win” an argument with someone is a fool’s errand. The sooner you realize that fact the sooner your relationships in life will begin to improve. Sorry for kinda tacking that on to the end of this post but I felt it had to be said. 

Are You Necessary?

I’ve never really thought about job security. I’ve never considered that “job security” could or should come from a person’s place of employment. I don’t even think I like the term “job security.” I much prefer the term “income security.”

The most successful people I know do not count on a job to help them feel secure. They count on their ability. If you can do something others cannot do then you will always have security. If you can do something better than most others can do it you will always have security.

No job can make you necessary. You must make yourself necessary. When you make yourself necessary you will always be needed.

If you truly want to be secure then learn to create, innovate or be someone other people can use and need.

It’s a stressful time for people out of work. But only for people who count on a company or someone else for their income security.

There are people who have made themselves necessary and those people are getting multiple job offers in the middle of a pandemic. So I ask you…are you necessary?

It’s entirely possible you’re more needed than you know. It’s all in how you look at it. If I ask most salespeople what they do for a living they would tell me “I’m in sales.” While they may be very good salespeople that statement puts them in the very same pool as a gazillion other people who try to make their living peddling who knows what to anyone who will buy it.

But if the same salesperson has a mindset of success, the mindset of sales professionals who have made themselves necessary, they will answer my question by saying something like. “I help people overcome challenges and succeed. I do that through selling and by representing only the finest products and services. The kind of products and services that make a difference in the world and in the lives of real people.”

If I ask a person in a leadership position what they do for a living most will answer “I manage the….. and then tell me what department of what company they work in. There’s lots and lots of people like that…they aren’t all that necessary.

But if I ask an actual leader what they do for a living I’ll almost always get some variation of, “I help people grow in their careers so they can help their companies grow as well.” They very often DO NOT mention where they happen to be working until I ask a follow up question. Their income security does not come from where they work, it comes from what they do.

Making yourself necessary requires you to constantly be improving. Necessary people do not wait for an employer or company to help them get better. They make themselves better. They study. They learn. They have a coach or a mentor.

No one can make you necessary but yourself. It begins with a change of attitude. Develop an attitude that you’ll be better today than you were yesterday and you’re on your way to becoming a necessity. Even if it turns out you are not a necessity where you’re at today, you will be a necessity wherever you are tomorrow.

Be the Very Best You

You are more, way more, than good enough. There is no need to try to be something you’re not just because some fool may have told you at some point in your life that you weren’t good enough.

You are special. You are unique. You are the way you are for a purpose. If other people don’t know your purpose then that’s their problem. If you don’t know your purpose then that’s your problem…and it’s kind of a big one.

It’s a problem for you because not understanding your purpose will often prevent you from accomplishing it. Not knowing, and living, your purpose in life can also cause you to attempt to live a life you’re not meant to live. It can cause you to pretend to be something, or worse, someone you’re not.

This is a pretty big statement but I’m going to say it anyway: you are always better off being yourself then you are trying to be someone that somebody else thinks you should be. I do not believe it possible to be truly happy living solely for other people. I do not believe life-long happiness can come from chasing other people’s dream for you. No matter how well meaning their dreams for you might be.

To stop any temptation to try living out someone else’s idea of what your life should be you need to discover your purpose in life. That can be a life long journey and it can change over time. That’s okay. If whatever you’re doing today is on purpose and for a purpose then it doesn’t matter if that purpose is different from last year or next.

People discover their purpose in life in different ways. Some kind of stumble upon it and some are very intentional about finding it. Some people are living it and not even realizing it. But living it and not realizing it still makes it possible for someone else’s judgment about your life to knock you off the track of a purposeful life.

So I recommend the intentional route.

Try to discover what drives you. When I was a younger salesperson I loved chasing a deal. I especially loved earning the business of a customer who had previously said they would never buy from me. Sales kinda came naturally to me.

But what was even more fulfilling to me was helping other people chase down a deal that I believed they could get even when they didn’t. I don’t know why but I’ve always liked seeing other people succeed with my help, even if I didn’t get “credit” for it. I admit that hasn’t always served my career well but it has served my life well.

Discover what you’re willing to sacrifice to live a life of purpose. It sounds like a generality but if you’re not making any sacrifices to live a life of purpose then the life you’re living might not be all that purposeful.

Lots of people want to do things. But out of all those people it’s the ones willing to make a sacrifice to do them that will actually accomplish them. Most everyone you ask would say that they would like to make a difference in the world if only they could. But when asked what they would give up to make that difference too many lose interest pretty quickly. Those people will always struggle to live a purpose driven life.

When I think of living a purpose driven life I’m reminded of a poem I first heard years ago. Here it is: “Your task is to build a better world,” said God. I answered, “how? The world is such a large, vast place, so complicated now. And I, so small and helpless. There’s nothing I can do.” And God, in His great wisdom said, “just build a better you!”

One of the most effective ways to discover your purpose in life is to focus on building a better you. If you’re living the life that someone else wants you to live or if you’re pretending to be someone you’re not, the process of building a better you will stop that in its tracks.

Don’t try to be someone or something you’re not. Be the very best you that you can possibly be and you’ll have success and happiness all the days of your life.

It’s 2020! Can You See Clearly Now?

I’ve never been clear on whether a year like 2020 is the end of the decade or the beginning of a new one. There are a high percentage of “experts” that would tell you the beginning of a decade is the year ending in 01, not 00.

I remember seeing Hubert Humphrey speak after he has lost the 1968 Presidential Election to Richard Nixon. I was very young but something he said has stuck with me to this day. He said you had to be very careful what you said in your concession speech after losing an election. He said it wasn’t your last speech of the just lost campaign, it was actually your first speech of the next, yet to be officially started campaign.

That’s why to this day I recommend to salespeople that they send a Thank You note thanking a prospect for the opportunity to earn their business after the prospect purchased from someone else. You see, that isn’t the final communication of the just lost sales cycle, it’s the first communication of the yet to be started next sales cycle.

But whether you see the New Year as a beginning or an ending it’s a pretty good time to take stock of where you are currently. Also to determine where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years in the future.

But the key to determining where you will be in the future is knowing where you are today. Really knowing.

Try getting directions from Google Maps without inputting a starting point. It doesn’t work. Neither does making plans for the future without seeing clearly where you’re starting from.

You must be brutally honest with yourself in regards to your strengths and weaknesses. If you can’t do that then you’ll need to find a coach or a mentor who cares enough about you to be honest for you. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know my thoughts on mentors….anyone, regardless of their level of success, age, or occupation will be better off having a mentor in their life.

Here’s the thing about being more successful tomorrow than you are today. You need to worry less about your weaknesses so you can focus more of your energies on developing your strengths.

If that seems counterintuitive to you don’t worry, you’re in a very large group. It’s the group most often called average. I don’t mean that to be insulting in any way. It’s just that most of us believe being better means turning our weaknesses into strengths. That is not always true. The most successful people invest less than 20 percent of their efforts trying to eliminate every weakness. They invest 80 percent of their time further developing their strengths.

There are times where those percentages won’t hold true. If you have a glaring weakness that is holding you back then you had best deal with it immediately. One example that comes to mind might be substantially below average human relations skills. If that’s the case it could affect your efforts in every other part of your life. In that case some of your strengths development will have to wait.

If you’re in that average group I’m guessing you have not invested a great deal of time over the past years to truly take stock of your strengths and weaknesses. “Truly taking stock” means more than a vague awareness of what you’re good at and what you might not be so good at. It requires a good bit of reflection. Reflecting is the only time I recommend looking to the past. I only recommend looking there long enough to learn what you can from your successes and failures. Then turn immediately to the future because that’s the only place you’ll find additional success.

How clearly you see yourself, your current situation, your current weaknesses and your current strengths will determine your level of success in the future.

But hey, it’s 2020, if you can’t see clearly now I don’t know when you will.