Saturday, October 31, 2009

Successful People

Success is not for everyone. It should be… but, it’s not.

There are two things stopping most people from achieving the success they desire: successful thinking and successful behavior. In the tradition of the “Chicken or the Egg?” debate, some people waste their time asking, “Which comes first... successful thinking or successful behavior?" Of course, the correct answer is: “Both!”

Without successful thinking… you will rarely have successful behavior. Without successful behavior… you will never become successful. Like most things in Life, while that might not be that easy… it is that simple.

Do you think and behave like a successful person? What if you did?

Friday, October 30, 2009

"It's Easy!"

“It’s easy!” That’s what Pat (my Southwest airlines flight attendant) told me when I complimented and thanked her for excellent customer service during my cross-country flight (#1691) today from Chicago-Midway to Oakland.

From her bright sincere smile when I entered the plane… to her concern for my leg room immediately after I sat down… to her hilarious (and informational) flight announcements… to her continuous care for me and the full plane of passengers… to the gifts that she gave me (a pen and some playing cards)… to her final “Good-bye, we’ll see you next time!”… Pat was the model of Excellence. I’m confident that she would have handled her ‘real’ job of caring for us in an emergency if that had occurred. Yes, Pat… it is easy!... Unfortunately, it is less than common… it is very rare.

What if every person in your organization cared that much for your customers… and represented your brand that well? (Punch Line: They can because… it’s easy!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


My son and I took a long walk yesterday. We had a great 90-minute conversation about… everything. While that in itself makes me happier than words can express… the coolest part about it was that we did it totally ‘disconnected’. In other words, we both left our cell phones and iPods at home.

It was a good old-fashioned Father-Son experience. Recently, most of our father-Son moments have included multiple types of distractions (phones, text messages, e-mails, television and/or iPods). “That’s very interesting, Dad. Hold on while I respond to this text message!” “I’m sorry, what did you just ask?” (I was listening to the best part of this song from the ear phone stuck in my ear.)

Distractors! Can’t live with them… don’t want to live without them. What is standing between you and having meaningful conversations with the ones you love?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Quality Time

I spent several hours with my parents the other day. That’s the great news… because any time spent with “Mom” & “Daddy-o” is precious to me.

We spent most of our time together doing ‘busy work’ – making a quick trip to the bank… and me providing technical support on the new computer. I ‘blinked’, and it was time for me to leave. While I felt blessed to have had another day with two people who I Love, I was overwhelmed with the question I ask myself sometimes, “What if this is the last time?”

Was that the best use of our precious time together? Should it have been spent re-living memories… asking unanswered questions… taking a walk… getting one extra hug… or ‘just’ spending quiet time together? Most of us say that they want to “live life to the fullest”, but rarely do we appreciate what we have until it is gone.

Who should you be spending Quality Time with… while you still have the chance?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Understanding Needs vs. Developing Wants

I have been teaching & coaching sales professionals for over 25 years about the art of understanding needs. While that skill will always be a critical part of every human interaction, I have been neglecting possibly the most important human emotion: Want.

We all know what we need to do... but the one thing that holds most of us back is wanting the end result enough to actually do something. When we truly want something, we learn the information… develop the skills & behavior… ignore the fear… and work hard & long enough to get it.

In addition to understanding needs, we must focus on developing wants in order to help others (and ourselves) be more successful.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Secret to Success

Step 1: Learn what successful people know

Step 2: Be where successful people are

Step 3: Do what successful people do

Step 4: Repeat

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Expenses vs. Investments

“I can’t afford that!” is what most individuals & organizations say on a daily basis. Cutting expenses is a top priority for everyone these days. Reducing headcount (that means firing employees)… forcing time off (that means cutting pay)… eliminating training (that means stopping skills development)… are just a few of the first things to happen when times get tough.

Here’s the problem with those tactics: employees are not an expense… the work that they do is not an expense… developing skills necessary to succeed is not any expense… They are investments. You cannot cut your way to success. You must grow your way there.

At this point in my life, I cannot afford to buy a telephoto lens for my camera… I cannot afford to take my wife to a fancy restaurant… I cannot afford to take a vacation… However, I did just invest $350 in a training course that I believe will quickly make me a social media expert. It was an investment (in me) that will have immediate and long-term benefits. As my father once taught me, “People find ways to afford what they really want.”

What investments are you making for your personal & professional success?

Friday, October 16, 2009

America's Next Top Model

Are you a top professional model? NOT fashion. I am referring to business. Do you set the standard… project the image… have the beliefs, attitude and behavior that others respect? Do you act professionally at all times? Have you created such a consistent individual brand that everyone thinks of you in the highest regard?

Looking good is only part of being a top model. Belief… Understanding… Skills and (most importantly) Behavior make all the difference. Everything that you say or do represents who you are.

What are you doing to become America’s next top model?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I have an idea...

I have an idea... let's spend $20 to see a movie about the end of the world.

I have an idea... let's watch a tv program about murder, rape, sorrow & despair.

I have an idea... let's listen to music that promotes the mistreatment of women.

I have an idea... let's complain about everything that's wrong with our lives.

I have an idea... let's NOT!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

"What Have You Done For Me Lately?"

Proud individuals or organizations often attempt to live exclusively off of past successes. This practice can only last for so long, and it tends to be extremely dangerous. Eventually, everyone must start delivering results again.

Sports franchises that have not produced a winning product for years… Companies that have not been leaders of their industry since back-in-the-day… Individuals who continue to dust off testimonials that are decades old… mistakenly allow themselves to live comfortably in the past instead of facing the reality of the present.

“Learn from the past… Prepare for the future… Live in the present”

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Simple Things

Your customers are a lot like cats. They can be very particular. They like what they like… and ignore what they don’t.

I was in a pet store the other day, and I realized that pet accessory providers want me to purchase an expensive cat 'haven' (with multi-levels and luxurious carpet)… but my cat? He likes to hang out in a plain paper bag.

While most people understand that the real target market for cat havens (and cat food for that matter) is the cat owner, it’s never a good thing to ignore the end-user completely. Often, all they want are the simple, convenient and familiar things in life.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Belief drives Behavior

"Would you like to be a motivational speaker some day?" By asking this seemingly innocent question to novice public speakers, I quickly determine their level of confidence, drive and probability of achieving their goal... because they really should give only one of two answers: "No"... or "I already am!" Their attitude makes all the difference.

Please note that I did not ask, "Are you a great motivational speaker?" The question was not, "Are you a professional motivational speaker?" I did not inquire, "Are you a successful motivational speaker?" But, that is the way that most people hear those questions, and (tragically) that is the way that most people behave. They think that they must achieve a certain level of proficiency before they can 'be something'. As a result, many people rarely become something.

The moment that you believe you are a motivational speaker (instead of just wanting to be one), you will behave differently. You will search out great motivational speakers for advice... you will read books on public speaking... you will join Toastmasters... you will watch you will speak as often as possible (for fee and for free). Belief drives behavior.
Stop wanting... Start being!

Monday, October 5, 2009


It feels like we cannot go through one day, news broadcast, interview, article or conversation without people calling each other a name. They recklessly put a blanket stereotype label on an individual, group or organization because that’s the easiest way to express a one-sided thought.

“Liberal!” … “Conservative!” … “Socialist!” … “Feminist!” … “Racist!” … “Terrorist!” … “Idiot!” … “Bum!”

It requires very little thought or effort (regardless of your side of an opinion) to yell out a label and attempt to move on… Here’s a challenge: Don’t let anyone (especially yourself) get away with putting a label on somebody. Describe the behavior that bothers you, and be prepared for a civil debate to make your point.