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.

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.

Nothing Works Until You Do

I remember back in the days I was selling Dale Carnegie Training. It can be argued that the Dale Carnegie Organization provides the best training in the world. It is most often argued by those people and companies who sell a competing training program. It is seldom argued by people who have completed a Dale Carnegie Course. 

What can’t be argued is that Dale Carnegie is the oldest training company doing business today. They also have by far the most “graduates” around the world. Despite many companies trying, Carnegie classes have never been successfully duplicated by another company. 

Yet when I was working with Dale Carnegie I refused to guarantee that successful completion of a course would result in the desired outcome. That’s because even though I knew the training would work I had no idea if the participant would. 

Many people who participated in a Dale Carnegie course viewed it as a kind of “magic bullet.” They assumed merely completing the course would be sufficient to experience positive growth and change. 

I remember working with one person from a large window manufacturing company. He was fairly desperate to improve his public speaking skills and was considering the Dale Carnegie Course to help him in that area. He had a lot of questions about the course. Particularly about the requirement that participants give a short presentation during each session. He asked if we had a course that could help him learn to overcome his fear of public speaking without having to actually speak in front of a group. 

I sensed he really wanted to get over that fear but he wasn’t ready to put in the effort required to do it. He wanted the course to do it for him. I declined to sell him the course.

I still see lots of people like that guy. They are willing to invest money or time in training programs but not the effort required to make the training work. They want something to change in their lives without being willing to change anything about themselves.

To those people I would say stop wasting your time and money on training programs. The best trainers and the best content will not work unless you’re personally willing to also work. If you lack the commitment to improve yourself you’re simply not going to improve. You are the only person who can make a long-lasting change to your life or career circumstances. 

You can’t buy confidence. You can’t buy the ability to sell more, you can only buy a course to help you develop those skills on your own. 

There is not a professional or personal development program in the world that will work if you’re not willing to work yourself. Not one. If you find someone trying to sell you a program who says their program “does the work for you” then you should know they are taking advantage of your laziness and lack of commitment to self-improvement. 

If you want to get better at anything then FIRST commit to put in the effort. If you’re unwilling to do that then keep your tuition in your pocket, it’ll do you just as much good there.

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.

Small Steps to Success

One of the primary reasons more people don’t succeed is that they try too hard. Well, not really too hard, they actually try to succeed too fast. The desire for quick success causes the passion for success to flame out even quicker. 

We hear about so many overnight successes that we all want to be one. What we don’t hear is how many nights of hard work, perseverance, and dedication it took before that big night arrived. Oftentimes it’s many years of nights. 

I don’t think I’ve met anyone who wasn’t willing to work hard for success. I have however met many people who were not willing to work very long for success. By very long I mean more than a day or two. Yes, literally a day or two. I’ll bet someone has statistics on how many people join a fitness club and only go one time. The last numbers I saw it was something like 70% of the people make it to the club less than three times total. The good news for the clubs is that the direct payments from bank accounts for the memberships continue on much longer. 

Dieting is another great example. Millions of people are on a diet this very day. More than half of them will quit by tomorrow. No worries though because millions more will begin again the next day. Dieting is a huge business because most people on a diet don’t actually make the effort required to succeed. They want to buy weight loss. What they can’t buy is the opportunity to actually lose weight. 

Succeeding at anything takes effort. Often very little effort. Yes, you read that right, very little effort.

Here’s what I mean by that.

In 1981 Jan Carlzon was appointed CEO of Scandinavian Airlines System. The company was facing huge challenges and had just lost $17 million dollars. They were one of the lowest rated airlines in Europe. 

By 1982 they were one of the highest rated airlines in the world and made a profit of $82 million dollars. In 1983 they were named Airline of the Year by an industry trade association. 

People wanted to know how Mr. Carlzon accomplished this amazing turn around. Clearly he had made huge changes within the company. But Jan Carlzon surprised people by telling them he didn’t make any big changes. Instead of trying to find one or two things were he could make a big change he looked for 100’s of areas where he, and his people, could make small changes. No one in the organization felt as if they were being asked to make sweeping changes that required Super Hero efforts. They only had to make a small change. 

There is a Chinese Proverb that says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So it is with all success. 

If you want to be more fit don’t try to do 1000 sit ups. Do one more today than you did yesterday. If you want to lose 20 pounds don’t try to lose 20 pounds. Lose 1 pound 20 times. Even if it takes 20 weeks or 40 weeks eventually you’ll wake up one morning and get on the scale discovering that “overnight” you lost your 20 pounds. 

Success doesn’t require super human effort, it requires consistent human effort. Few people would describe their journey to success as one that includes leaps and bounds. Most would describe a journey of trips and stumbles. Most would say their success was built on lots of little things done over a substantial period of time. 

Successful people make progress and they know that even a tiny bit of progress each day will eventually get them where they want to be. Do you know that too?

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.

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.

The Will to Succeed or the Will to Prepare

I don’t know if I’ve ever talked to someone who didn’t want to succeed. Even the most negative people, even people who are certain that they can’t succeed, want to succeed.

But most of them don’t succeed. If they all have the want to succeed then why don’t they? I think it’s because they lack the will to succeed.  So is having the will to succeed the “secret sauce” for success? Nope, it puts you in a better place then just having the want to succeed but not by much. 

I think the true key to ultimate long-term success is the will to prepare. 

Preparing means putting in effort, many times a ton of effort, with no immediate return for those efforts. 

A bunch of years ago after a particularly poor round of golf with my dad he convinced me that I really needed to focus on my short game. He was an excellent golfer and offered to help me with it. So one morning I called I said I had some time around lunch to do a little practice. I said “how about we meet at the practice range for an hour?” 

He replied if all I had was an hour then there was no point. He said 4 hours of practice at least a few times a week would be about right. I told him if I had 4 hours to spare I’d use it to play golf, not practice golf. He replied with some carefully worded comment about that might be why I suck at golf. 

He went on to say that every golfer “wants” to be good, but most aren’t “willing” to make the effort required to earn what they want.

I work with lots and lots of salespeople who want to sell more. Some even have to will to sell more, they make more calls, they see more people and they repeat the same mistakes again and again. They refuse to prepare for a sales call to maximize their opportunity with a prospect.  They decline to learn the art of selling, instead focusing on working more instead of working smarter. 

I see many people who really want to make a difference in the world by leading. But want doesn’t get it done. They struggle because that lack the will to make themselves an effective leader. They won’t invest a minute of their time in actual leadership training, many won’t even read a book a leadership. They don’t prepare to succeed as a leader and therefore they don’t succeed. 

What about you? I can safely say you want to be more successful. You may have the will to be more successful but do you have the will to prepare for success? Abraham Lincoln once said “If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.” 

He had to want to succeed, the will to succeed and most importantly, the will to prepare to succeed. 

Can the same be said about you?

A Guaranteed Wrong Decision

I was asked years ago to do a Goal Setting workshop for a group of High School Seniors. We were talking about short term goals and I asked how many of the students were planning on attending college in the fall. 

The answers were varied but one stood out. The student said they had not yet decided about attending college in the fall so they were taking a year off school and then they would decided. I replied “so you’ve decided to not attend this fall.” They again said that had not yet decided about college in the fall so they were taking a year to “review their options” and then decide. So I gave the same reply. I added that by not deciding they had decided. They would not be attending college in the fall. 

The young student was frustrated with my answer. They were certain that they had not yet made a decision. But in fact the decision had been made. 

You may be tempted to cut the student a little slack given their age of lack of experience with making big decisions. Except the inability to make decisions has little to do with age or experience. 

It has to do with confidence. It has to do with being okay with failing once in a while. It has to do with the willingness to suffer the consequences of make wrong decisions. It has to do with with having the discipline to try again. And maybe again and again. 

People who can’t make a decision, or more likely, won’t make a decision, fail to understand that not making a decision IS a decision. It’s a decision to not change, to not take action, or it’s a decision to cling to a past mistake because you invested so much time in making the mistake. 

Not making a decision is guaranteed to be a wrong decision. I maintain actually making a decision that turns out to be wrong is often easier to fix than no decision because at least you’re now certain what doesn’t work. 

When you’re making a big decision and you’re not sure what to do then break the big decision into a series of smaller ones and do the next right thing to do. No matter how little that “right thing” is you’ll be creating momentum towards the big decision. You’ll be making progress and progress is always a good thing to make. 

If you think you truly can’t decide between a couple of options then simply flip a coin. I can promise you when that coin is in the air you’ll know exactly how you want it to land. Then, regardless of how the coin actually lands, you’ll know which option to choose. 

That may sound silly but it works amazingly well. But in order to find out for yourself you do have to decide to try it out.