The times I have made the biggest strides in my life and work have always come when I put an intense focus on my personal growth and development.
I am always reading and studying something - most of the time because I enjoy it and it keeps me learning new things, but there is a difference between passively learning something and being intently focused with a goal.
I have found that when I set a goal to learn a subject to use the information to generate true results in an area of my life; I learn it better, I use it better, and I retain it better.
And the periods I have been able to do this best are when I have slower times or downtime in my life. Times when I don't have as many distractions and obligations taking my time and I can focus better. For example, when I am working on a product launch over a 6-8 week period and am reiterating with my teams and working late hours seemingly up to the last second to get it right; it is not a great time to set a focused personal growth goal.
But, when the launch is over and we've celebrated our success and things calm down - I find it a great time to immerse myself into learning a new skill or subject.
One thing that the Coronavirus has done for most people, is slow things down. It has given many people a great opportunity to focus on personal growth in their lives. In fact, now is one of the best opportunities in years to focus on learning new skills and subjects, not just because we have, but also because there are so many great resources available to us.
If what I just shared makes sense to you and you want to make a commitment to your personal growth, here is my advice to you.
Now is the THE time to grow in your life. Don't waste it!
I was listening to the song, Get Along, by Kenny Chesney the other day and was struck by one lyric. First, I am big fan of the message of the song and you can read the chorus above. Who wouldn't agree with that message?
If you read the lyrics, you will see at one part, Kenny sings "Scared to live, scared to die, we ain't perfect, but we try."
Scared to live.
I thought about that one lyric as I listened to the song and found myself asking the question, "Am I scared to live? What does that mean?"
As I thought on it for a while, it became clear that there have been times in my life, where I have been scared to live. Times, where I have been scared or stopped short of stepping out or standing up. As I have gotten older and learned more about who I am and dug deep into what I truly believe - as well as have chosen my values and principles, it has been much easier to NOT be scared to live.
Over the years, I have developed an unshakable faith in myself and the power I have as an individual - the power we all have as individuals. And because of this, I am no longer afraid to be me. I am not afraid to step out. I am not afraid to be criticized or disliked. Most importantly, I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in.
And it truly feels like a giant weight has been lifted. Fear is a giant albatross that weighs us down. It keeps us from becoming our best self and who we are meant to be. But, in order to conquer this fear and not be scared to live, we must learn to love ourselves and have faith in who we are.
In today's world of cancel culture and demonizing of people because they say or believe something different than a group or movement, it is important, now, more than ever to find ourselves and not be scared to live. We must have the conversations, the uncomfortable ones. We must be willing to stand firm for what we believe in. And we have to be OK with the fact that not everyone will like us, but we must put in the effort to "get along."
If we do, we will find that on about 90% of things, we agree. People will never agree on everything. It's what makes us unique and creates the amazing world we live in. And when we realize that, I hope we will have the bigger realization that we should not destroy each other over the 10% when there is so much that we have in common.
Always give love the upper hand. Paint a wall, learn to dance, call you mom, buy a boat, drink a beer, sing a song, make a friend, can't we all just get along?
Don't be scared to live!
One of my favorite scenes in the movie Ocean's 11 is where Rusty (played by Brad Pitt), explains the "art of conversation" to Linus (played by Matt Damon). It is a short scene, but it offers some great business lessons.
The biggest one I take from it, is that less is more. When selling, don't say more than you have to close a deal. When leading people, don't push people past their breaking point when inspiring them. When setting targets, keep them simple, short, measurable, and easy for everyone to understand. When reaching for new levels in your success, don't take on more than you can handle.
Less is more. Simple is simple. And simplicity, executed well, leads to great results.
Watch the clip below and see what lessons you takeaway from the "art of conversation."
I was recently reminded of a very important lesson in life. My daughter put herself in danger of drowning because she pushed herself and her limits too far.
First off, my daughter is an incredibly strong swimmer for an almost 8 year old. One of the best I've ever seen. She's going to be amazing on a swim team some day. Over the 4th of July holiday, we were in the pool with some family visiting and she was showing off her ability to swim underwater and hold her breath. She can swim all the way down and back in the pool without needing a breath! After a few times, she didn't take much rest and went to do it again and this time, got about halfway back when she passed out underwater.
Thankfully, my wife and I were right there to scoop her out of the water and administer care. I know it seems like I am casually writing this story, but I cannot explain the terror that went through me as I pulled what seemed like her lifeless body from the water. I immediately noticed she had a pulse and was moving a little, but I got her down and started a couple breaths into CPR and she came to. She did not spit up any water or show signs of water in her lungs and after about 10 mins was completely awake and back to normal. We then took her to the ER and stayed for several hours while they monitored her and then discharged her with a clean bill of health.
There are so many lessons I can speak to from this experience and probably will in a future Lessons for Hannah episode, but a very important one that everyone can learn from is to understand your limits. After she was back to normal, I asked her what she remembered right before things happened. She told me she remembered her lungs hurting, but she thought she could make it - and then everything went black.
She passed out because she did not heed the warning signs of her lungs' limits. When they started hurting her, she should have immediately come up for air, but she decided to push things without understanding the limits she had. Of course, this is after repeated conversations with mom and dad over time about how to be safe in the pool, etc.
And that is the hardest part, sometimes we don't know our limits until we reach them or try to blindly push through them. This can and does get us into trouble, or can end in tragedy. Thankfully to God and quick action by my wife and then me and our whole family, we didn't have a tragedy - but my daughter learned about her limits the hard way and it could have cost her, her life. I don't think my adrenaline came down until after 2am in the morning that night - as a father, this is the hardest thing I've ever experienced.
But, the lesson you can take is to know and understand your limits and be careful when you push them.
I am all for pushing your limits and reaching new heights, but doing so in a calculated and planned way.
You must learn to know when you are going too far and back off.
We are very lucky and we have a lasting lesson to share with others. I hope you take this to heart and don't learn about your limits the hard way!
This won't be a long post, but it is an important one.
At this point, we are over 4 months into the Wuhan Coronavirus being unleashed on the world. Every aspect of life has been impacted and in many cases turned upside down. A lot of people when this first began, thought that it would come and go rather quickly and things would go back to normal.
I hoped for that, but at the same time I sat back and mentally prepared. I asked myself, what I would do if this went on for 6 months, a year, 2 years, etc? What if things never got back to being the same and in the midst of it all, the world changed, the way business is done changed - basically, what if everything got turned upside down? Would I be able to handle it? Would I be able to adapt? What would I need to do and prepare myself and my businesses to do?
You may have asked some of the same questions. And as we get into the 5th month of lockdowns, business shutdowns, riots, and general unease throughout the world, it is most important to remember one thing.
I see a lot of people beginning to crack or even break under the pressure, fear, uncertainty, and changes to their lives and businesses. As entrepreneurs, we must lead the way. Change and dealing with problems and and challenges are our every day lives. And yes, now we are throwing in the virus and all this other stuff - but we must remain and stand strong. We must prepare for things to go longer and be worse than we ever thought and at the same time, power through it.
Entrepreneurs were made for these times and we are the ones who will help pull the world out of it. We will do it with our will, our faith, our spirit, and never give up attitude. I just wanted to remind you of this. Stay strong, endure, and keep pushing. These times will eventually fade to different and better ones - just be prepared to keep going until those times come.
Timeless wisdom from the Bible to help you in your success. Take the time to think on each below. 'Nough said!
Sometimes we just need to be reminded of reality and the facts of life. No matter how much we keep them at bay or seek to change them, there are certain truths that will win out over time. And there are certain truths that when we live by them have proven to make us more successful, happier, and free'er in our lives.
I was thinking about this the order day in the midst of much of the chaos around the world and started making this list. While it's not complete and something I will probably noodle on for a while, I wanted to share it with you. I hope it will spur you to think critically and differently and question what is being hailed as "normal" in our lives.
One of the things that is very evident in today's world is the lack of a major and very important skill for success and for life in general. Maybe, it is because of the fast paced nature of life. Or maybe, it is because it is not discipline concentrated on in schools. Or maybe yet, it is not something taught at home because parents never learned to master it or practice it.
The skill I'm talking about? Emotional control.
Emotional control, or Emotional Intelligence as is often called, is one of the most impactful skills to learn in your life.
Most people do not learn to control their emotions. Instead, they just "react" to a situation impulsively. They don't take the time to study and understand where that reaction comes from and why it exists. If they did, they may find that it is not the reaction they truly would like to have. And that is why so many times people will react and do something only to regret it later or ask themselves "Why did I do that?"
It's because of lack of control over their emotions. And is the lack of this skill that I believe is responsible for many of the problems in people's lives and in society. So, why isn't more attention placed on it? Because it's hard. It's hard to understand. It's hard to teach. And most importantly, it is damn hard work to put emotional control into practice. It is so much easier to be emotionally lazy and just react.
Case in point. Just recently, a member of one of my sales teams was working with a client on a specific solution. We work with a number of partners in our business and some offer similar solutions. We are careful that when we refer a new client, we give the information for all of them so that they have a chance to showcase why they should be the provider for the client.
In this case, the client was already a client of one of our partners, but the solution they asked my sales person was not a solution provided by that partner. In fact, we only have one partner that can and does provide what the client wanted. So, the sales person did what was best for the client and let them know that we could do the solution through the other partner. There was no maliciousness. There was not intent to hurt the current partner that does not provide the solution. In fact, they client would have been happy to use both solutions for their needs.
So what happened? When the CEO of partner that was currently in use at the client found out that the sales person had referred their "competitor," they went ballistic. They sent a scathing note to the sales person that was unprofessional and copied in my business partner and CEO. When they sales person responded stating that the client wanted a solution that the partner company did not provide and that they were doing their best to take of the client's needs, the partner showed not understanding and doubled down - even threatening some extreme action like cutting off service for all existing clients.
This was obviously an emotional reaction with made up assumptions for what was really a non-issue. The client needed a solution and in doing what is best for them, the sales person helped them. There was no threat to the partner's business or in losing the client as it was a very specific solution that they did not provide. Nevertheless, it caused a major uproar where things were put into writing in an email by the CEO of the partner that have damaged the relationship permanently as I will not do business with someone that treats people, especially my employees in that way.
This situation could have easily been avoided, if instead of just emotionally reacting, the CEO just did two things, 1.) Gave the benefit of the doubt and 2.) Gave me a ring. They should have controlled their emotions and asked themselves, "Is this company who I have worked with for years without issue and that has referred me business, really trying to take clients away from me? " If they had asked that, they would have come to the conclusion that is probably not likely. Secondly, all this CEO had to do was call me and say, "Dave, I don't want to believe this, but "scenario" happened and I want to know if you are taking clients from me." At that point, we could have discussed it and come up with a way to handle the situation together as true partners. Since an instance like this is rare, we could have mutually agreed how we could handle it in the future. I would explained how I understand their point of view on it and worked with them to create a better outcome and better partnership for the future.
But, no. Instead, lack of emotional control has hurt the possibility for that to happen as when I reached out to discuss it, the CEO just reacted and shut me down. They had made up their mind - even though their facts and assumptions were wrong. And that is how easily lack of emotional control can mess things up. I have no doubt that we will find a way to get things back on track with this partner, because regardless of this incident, we both need to do what is best for our clients. But, the whole incident was unnecessary and could have been avoided.
Learn to control your emotions. Learn to recognize them and choose your reactions so that you don't react off of assumption or partial information. Use logic and work through your challenges. You'll be much more successful in all areas of life.
Sometimes, we just need a little inspiration and a good video with a uplifting message is one of the best ways to get it. Below are 3 of my favorite inspiration videos I want to share with you. Enjoy!
Les Brown - You Gotta Be Hungy
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