As we get into the end of the year and the holidays, I think we all welcome some real downtime. A break from it all. A break from the pandemic, a break from the rigorous day to day to keep business going, and a break from social media, the news - the bombardment of life.
This year will offer us a good opportunity to take that break, even if it is for just a few days or so. And when that time comes, it's always nice to lose yourself in a good book.
With that said, here are 3 of my favorites to enjoy during your break.
Top Fiction Book
I have really enjoyed delving into the James Rollins Sigma Force series of books this year. If I had to describe them, they are part Indiana Jones, part Jason born. And they are also "faction," and this is what I love most about James - he meticulously researches to find truth from history and science and builds an awesome story around it. I am always amazed at how much of the things in his books are true. So, not only are the stories/adventures page turners, I get to learn things as well. His latest book is called the Last Odyssey and is the book I started with before going back and starting the series from the beginning. The nice thing about the Last Odyssey is that you don't need to read the series to understand what is going on, so it is a great place to start. But, if you want to start from the first book, pick up Sandstorm. The "opening scene" of the book is awesome.
Top Non-Fiction Book
My top non-fiction book for the year is The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather. It is about the man who volunteered to go into the Auschwitz death camp and bring it down from the inside. I have mentioned this book before, not just because of how amazing the story is and how well written the book is, but because of what you will learn about what really happened in the Nazi death camps and get a healthy dose of reality and lessons for life. This book is not for the faint of heart, but is a must read.
Top Book to Make You Think
My top book for making your thinking and looking at society in a different way is The Parasitic Mind by Gad Saad. I admit, I recently started this book, but it is already incredible. It is all about how easily common sense can be destroyed by "idea pathogens" in our live and what we can do about it. It really helps you to better understand reason and become a better independent thinker. Dr. Gad Saad is one of the top behavioral science and marketing thinkers of our time.
Anything can be learned. I'm serious. Anything.
If you want to be a rocket scientist, you can learn to be one. If you want to learn how to pilot a plane, you can learn how. If you want to learn how to be a better entrepreneur, you can do that too.
So, then, why if anything can learned, do so few reach their goals, dreams, or new heights to which they aspire?
One word, Desire. They lack the desire, the will, to do what it takes to learn the things they need to learn to reach the goal. They don't want it bad enough and thus are not willing to put in the time, effort, sacrifice needed to learn. Anything can be learned - we just really don't want to learn it.
I'm reminded of a great quote by Robert Heinlein, “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
He's right - specialization is for insects. We can and should learn to be much more than we are today. All it takes is a little desire, will, discipline, and commitment.
Look at your life and ask, "Is this it? Is this all I am destined for?" I think you know the answer. You have so much capability and personal power waiting to be unleashed. Don't waste it or the time you have.
Anything can learned, so get learning, and put it into action!
Decision making is one of the most important skills you can develop for your success. Not only will making good decisions help you in business, but in all areas of life.
But how do you know you are making good decisions? Here is how.
First, in order to make a good decision, you have to understand that emotions can will affect it. That is OK. But you need to recognize the emotions that are impacting the decision and decide if they are useful or detracting to making the best decision in the moment. For example, is fear driving the decision? If so, is it truly warranted or is the fear unfounded and not to the level the emotional reaction is giving?
Second, see all sides. Take the time to see the different sides of the decision and their impacts - look at things objectively and understand the potential benefits and consequences.
Third, seek advice if warranted. Don't go it alone. Ask those your trust for their thoughts or for things you may be missing. This is a check and balance to make sure you've looked at all sides and that you are not letting emotions run the outcome.
Fourth, take your time, sleep on things if you must - but don't overanalyze. Once you've gathered the information and seen all sides, you'll have a pretty good idea or inkling of which way to go. Don't procrastinate on it.
Lastly, stick to your principles and own it. As a final check, make sure that you are not violating your principles and values in the decision you make. The own it. Take responsibility and see it through.
If you follow the advice above, you'll be able to make smart decisions and boost your success!
Motivation is important to success. In order for you to do the things you need to do to succeed and get off your butt and make them happen - you have to be motivated.
But, contrary to popular believe motivation does not come from watching a video or a speech or some sort of external source. These things can energize and create a feeling of motivation that is short lived, but lasting motivation, the motivation that is needed to really succeed and do it consistently, come from one place.
The only way to consistently succeed and keep going in spite of all the challenges put in your way is to motivate yourself. But, how do you do that?
It's simple. You make the choice every day. You make the choice every day that you are not going to be stopped. You make the choice every day that you are in control of your own destiny (aside from God). You make the choice to keep going and overcome. You make the choice to reach your dream and live it, breath it, love it, and all that comes with it.
When you make the choice, you wake up with a purpose, a mission. You know where you want to go and you figure out and take steps to get there. Because you know the reward that waits for you. And when you do this, you don't need outside motivation. You don't need a speech or a video, because all the motivation you need came from the choice that you made. The choice to be great and reach your goal or dream.
So make your choice, let it motivate you, and go after what you want today!
The habits we have in our lives shape us, our lives, and our success. I once asked Zig Ziglar's son, Tom Ziglar, "What is the fastest way to success?" His answer was, "The fastest path to success is to replace a bad habit with a good habit." It's that simple. You pick a bad habit, replace it with a good habit, and then cement. You can then move on to the next. Think about if you did this multiple times in the course of a year - where would you be? You'd be in a completely different place that you are today.
So, with all that said, here are 3 habits you can start doing today that will make a major difference in your life.
You've no doubt heard about the power of writing things down and journaling. Many of the most successful people in their fields do this every day. Why? Because it works. When you write things down and get your thoughts out of you on paper - it helps you to crystalize them and get them in order so they aren't just bouncing around in your head. Taking 5-10 mins a day to write your thoughts down will help you be better organized, know what to prioritize, help you to know yourself better, and help you be more successful. My favorite tool for helping someone do this is the 5 Minute Journal. It makes it easy by giving you the structure, so you don't even have to think. And it takes 5 minutes to do each day! Click Here to Get a Copy!
This is an easy. Start going to bed and waking up at the same times each day. Set your times and adhere to them, even on weekends if you can. Studies have shown that your quality of sleep directly affects your energy levels and mental capacity. By going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, you create a habit of consistency for your body and its sleep rhythms that will help you be more rested, have more energy, and be more alert and on your game each day.
Commit to Personal Growth
You know this one, but it bears repeating because you can do it today. They say you are the sum of the 5 people you hang out with. I like to take that further by saying you are not just the sum of those you hang out with, but of the books you read and the things you put into your mind. And if you don't take the time to put anything into it, you cannot learn, grow, and get better. If you want to increase your success levels, you must grow yourself. Start small - pick one new book to read a quarter. Then maybe one per month, and go from there. Listen to podcasts like the Misfit Entrepreneur or take courses on things like Udemy. Whatever you do, commit to a personal growth plan. As Jim Rohn said, "Formal education will make you a living, self-education will make you rich!"
There is just no substitute for great customer service and taking care of people. I was recently reminded of this when dealing with a provider in one of my businesses. They lost their relationship with me because of how poorly they treated me.
The company offered a service I use to help manage my business and then one stopped access to it for the business. I checked and everything was up to date, there had been no issues or anything that we could find. I then got a cryptic message saying they had suspended service and to get service back up, I needed to provide more detail about my business.
I thought this was odd, so I got on the phone with their support and discussed why they needed the detail they needed. They were less than helpful and would not give me a good answer. Instead, they said that in order to re-instate services, I would need to provide the requested details. They told that if I did so, in 24 hours things would be resolved and that it would be restored. I obliged and gave them the detail they asked.
3 days later I got a message back from them stating they needed even more detail and wanted things that didn't even make sense for the services they were providing. At that point, I was done. They were rude, not forthcoming, and did not live up to their promise in that if I provided what they originally wanted, things would be re-instated.
This company lost a long-time customer simply because of their service and the way they treated me and my business. It today's age, it can month's to find a customer and seconds to lose one. It is much easier and less costly to keep a customer and care for them than it is to lose them. This company forgot that rule.
In any business, customers are your lifeblood and you should love them and do everything you can to take care of them. It's a simple lesson that gets forgotten more and more - There is no substitute for great service, period!
The Halloween season wouldn't be complete without a post about skeletons!
But the skeletons I want to talk about today are different. They are your business' skeletons.
Business skeletons? What are those?
Your business skeletons are the things that you know have needed fixed or done in your business for a long time, but you have not gotten around to or keep putting off because you can continue operating with them the way they are. They might a lack of processes or not being buttoned up legally or in accounting. They could be keeping a line of business that should be removed. They could also be something that is embarrassing and to confront it would bring it to light.
Business skeletons exist in a lot of different ways and if not dealt with will eventually cause issues and come out. It's best to confront them head on now, than to wait til later.
What kind of issues can they cause? Well, let's say you've built a nice business, but have been lax in your contracting with clients and thus have no consistency or even records of contracts in some cases. If you have a problem with a client you have nothing to go back - no clear set of rules for your relationship. Or worse yet, maybe you go to sell the business, but have no record of contracts with your clients - the buyer would definitely red flag that and your value would probably not be what you expect.
Another example is not delegating and creating processes with systems for others to follow. As your business grows, you will reach a breaking point and could get crushed under the weight of tasks that fall only to you making you a giant bottleneck and limiting the growth of the business.
Every business has skeletons. The key is to admit it and fix them long before they can become an issue. Yes, they are often things we don't want to deal with or don't seem as important as the day to day in the business - until they are. Deal with them now and you'll find it much easier to grow, scale, and succeed!
A friend of mine sent me the video above. It won an Oscar for Best Animation. And as I watched it, it made me think about an old adage I used to talk about, called R.A.K.
It stands for Random Act of Kindness. As you watch, think about how you can incorporate R.A.K. into your life daily and make a difference - Because YOU CAN.
What a world it would be if we all practiced R.A.K daily!
One of the biggest challenges for people and that limits their potential is their own self-destruction. But, here's the rub - most people don't know that they are doing this to themselves.
Wait, what? How can someone be self-destructing to themselves without knowing they are doing it? One word: Subconscious.
You see, we have 2 minds, a conscious and subconscious mind. The conscious mind is the mind we "think" with and use to process information into our inner core, the subconscious. You can think of it this way. When you learn to drive a car, the conscious mind is at work where you have to think about everything - "hands at 10 and 2, blinker on when turning, checking mirrors, etc." Most would agree that it is awkward at first, but after a while, "we get the hang of it." Now think about this, the last time you drove a car, did you really have to think about it? No, you just got in started it up and went. What changed? The subconscious mind. Because you have now driven so many times, it is almost automatic, just like throwing a ball or brushing your teeth. Your subconscious mind has filed all of the reactions needed to the scenarios when driving a car and automatically reacts without you having to think.
Once you understand this, you can start to see how the subconscious can automatically affect other areas of our lives. It is truly the most power part of our brain and when we learn how to use it properly, can be our biggest asset. If we don't, it can become our biggest liability and hinder our success.
How can it hinder our success? Over time the subconscious is "trained" by the influences throughout our lives, our experiences, and trauma that happens through our lives and begins to create responses to situations and scenarios that come up. The subconscious is also the animal part of our brain that puts survival above all else and avoid pain wherever possible. So, when put in a situation where you need to push your limits or get outside of your comfort zone, your subconscious will automatically respond in a way that keeps you safe and where it is used to and has been trained to be.
And these automatics reactions and responses stop people from reaching higher levels and capabilities. If you are wondering why you cannot break out or a rut or keep having trouble getting to a new level, it's most likely your subconscious at work.
The good thing is that you can change this. Awareness is the catalyst to change in anything and the key growth. Now that you are aware to the fact that your subconscious runs a lot of areas of your life without you even knowing it, you can begin to recognize these patterns and change them.
for example, if you find that you seemingly spend every dime you make and never have money leftover to save, you can recognize this self-destructive money management problem from your subconscious and start to change the pattern. Maybe you start by writing out your monthly expenses and tracking where you spend your money. And then start small, setting a mini-goal like saving $10 per week in a "money jar" on your counter that then get's put in a savings account. You begin to develop this habit and a new pattern and your subconscious sees the money being "saved" and begins to change it's automatic responses/reactions to money situations. Over the course of a few weeks and months, you can completely change your subconscious conditioning to saving money.
Remember, first become aware to subconscious and it's potential to self-destruct or stop you from reaching what you desire. Then start to change it's programming or patterns incrementally over time and create new patterns that take you where you want to go. And while, you are at it, embrace the amazing responses/reactions that your subconscious has that bring greatness and good into your life and that you want to keep. Make the most of them. Lastly, know that this process is a lifelong one and will require effort, but it is a lot of fun to start to see the success that can happen when you do. Now go out and make it happen!
What makes a great brand? What creates loyalty? What makes you want to keep coming back time and time again to buy from a brand?
Picture a brand you truly love. Why do you love it so much? I bet you could list a number of things.
I've spent some time thinking about this lately and have come up with a lot of signs of a great brand. But, after some further thought, I was able to distill things down to 4 signs that signal a great brand and are always present in great brands.
1.) The brand engages you on an emotional level
Great brands stir our emotions. We absolutely love them and are major advocates for them to them point where we will even stand up and defend them when others disparage them. Some may saying that getting emotionally involved with a brand is going a little too far, but think about your favorite brands - the ones you know, count on, and love in your life - you are emotionally involved with them. That is OK and perfectly normal. It also means the brand has done a good job in creating a relationship with in addition to #2, #3, and #4.
2.) The brand provides a truly unique and incredible service to it's clients
Think of your favorite brands and how good they service their clients, including you. Their service may be one of the reasons you love them so much. They aren't perfect, no company is, and they know it, so they go above and beyond to provide service to their clients and make sure they have a great experience.
3.) The brand takes care of you
To go along with great service, the brand actively works to take care of you - not just when you have a service issue, but as a customer in general. They may give you special offers. They may check in on you from time to time just to see how you are doing. They reach out in unique and creative ways. They show genuine gratitude for you putting your trust in them. They go above and beyond to take care of you and make you feel like part of their family.
4.) The brand listens to you
Lastly, on top of service and going above and beyond to create a great relationship and take care of you, a great brand will truly listen to their clients and work to serve them in the ways they want. They will take the feedback, both good and bad, and use it to create better products, services, customer environment, and tailor things to what people are asking for. And they will prove to go above and beyond in doing so and not just say they do it. They will show it and they will keep their clients engaged and updated on the progress.
If you look at those 4 signs of a great brand and think of your favorite brands, they no doubt have them and if you embrace them in building your business and commit to them, you will develop deeply loyal customers who are raving fans and great advocates for all you do.
Click Below to Join Misfit Nation and Get Your Free Copy of "The Top 10 Lessons to Thrive and Succeed!"
Follow Misfit on Facebook!