Sometimes the best conversations come in the most unlikely places.
I was recently at my fitness center, which is a world class center with an Olympic pool, etc. A lot of the top athletes from the area train there - Pro-Athletes, Top College Athletes, other Ironman competitors that I train with, and even a few Olympic hopefuls.
After finishing a training session the other day, I was happy to find myself with time to spend 10-15 minutes in the sauna (a great benefit to your body after a training session). One of the Olympic hopefuls for swimming, who I've spoken with from time to time, happened to be in there and we got to chatting.
I asked him how things were looking as he is getting into race season and readying for the Olympic trials in early summer. He explained how physically he was in a good place and was starting to focus more on studying the times when he races his best to get more of an edge. I asked him to tell me more and he detailed how the best races he has are when he feels calmest before the race - almost at peace. I listened and asked, "Isn't that how you feel for most races at this point?" Ironically, he said "No." He went on to talk about how he has always had an issue where gets anxiety before races and at times it has derailed him from performing at his best.
Now, I swim a lot in training for Ironman racing and I've seen this guy workout in the pool - he's the prototype, Michael Phelps like swimmer with perfect technique, everything. Physically, he's as good as anyone trying out for or going to the Olympics. Right away, I could tell that this challenge of anxiety weighs on him and something he knows he needs to overcome to be his best...so I dug in a little and asked him to tell me more.
After several rounds of questions, we finally got to the cause. When he was in his early teens and an up and coming swimming phenom in the area, he wrote down some pretty lofty goals of what he wanted to do and the times that he wanted to reach as a swimmer - even at a young age. When he showed them to others that he respected and were close to him, instead of building him up and giving him encouragement, they shot him down. They told him that those goals were too big and that he should be more realistic. And, of course, after getting that feedback, when he didn't reach the goals he had put down that year, he developed a set of beliefs around what was possible for him that got cemented into his subconscious.
So, ever since, when he gets to the moment of the major race, the one in which he knows he can have a breakout performance, he feels the anxiety. I told him that I expect it is his subconscious drawing on that conditioning from years ago from that specific incident that still haunts him. His subconscious is giving him anxiety because if he really goes for it and fails like he did when he was in his early teens it will be another, "I told you so" moment for him. Another failure for those he respected to see and cement that he can't reach his lofty goals. Essentially, his subconscious is sabotaging his ability to break out - even though he is basically an Olympic-level swimmer!
When I said this, he paused and then asked me the magic question, "Then, how do I overcome this?"
I'll cover that in Part 2, but the BIG lesson you should learn to this point is that your subconscious, your mind, most often is the biggest obstacle to your success. And many times, it sabotages us without us even realizing it. This Olympic hopeful had this specific incident rattling around in his mind haunting him for over a decade and has still yet to release himself from it's impact on him. That is how powerful the mind is.
In Part 2, I'll cover how, in about 15 minutes, we worked through this and he now has the tools to help him overcome this debilitating influence in his life.
I love history. Aside from the fact that it is enjoyable to learn about the incredible things that have happened in the short span of human history; there are incredible lessons and amazing wisdom that you can apply to your life and business. History holds a lot of the answers that you seek in life.
With that said, I've pulled some of my favorite quotes the WWII battlefield that apply to entrepreneurship and want to share them with you.
1.) "…we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…" - Winston Churchill
2.) "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - FDR
3.) "If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking." - Gen George Patton
4.) “Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.” - Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower
5.) "Which would your men rather be, tired, or dead? - German Gen Erwin Rommel
6.) "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. - Pastor Martin Niemoller
7.) “Nuts!” - Army Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe
He led the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge. The Americans were outnumbered, surrounded, and running short on supplies when a German delegation requested their surrender. McAuliffe was awoken with the news and sleepily responded “Nuts!” before heading to meet his staff who had to draft the formal response to the German commander. The staff decided that the general’s initial response was better than anything they could write. While under siege and near constant attack, the paratroopers typed the following centered on a sheet of paper:
December 22, 1944 To the German Commander, N U T S ! The American Commander
8.) "It is fatal to enter a war without the will to win it." - Gen Douglas MacArthur
9.) "Live for something rather than die for nothing." - Gen George Patton
10.) “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” - Winston Churchill
Each of these quotes holds a great lesson and wisdom for entrepreneurs and business leaders in general. Think on them and decide what they mean to you!
As we begin a new year and a new decade, we all have aspirations and things that we want to be, do, and have in our lives.
Most will never get these things because of one major challenge that haunts us as human beings. That challenge is "choice." It haunts us not in the way you may think. We make choices every day, Making a choice is easy for us. Making the right choices...the deep life-changing ones...the ones that truly allow us to get to completely new levels in our lives are extremely hard. And because of this, we make the opposite choice. The choice to keep things the way they are or settle for much less (But, hey, we feel better).
At the core of things in our lives, it comes down to the choices we make. The choices we make are driven by the principles and beliefs we have as they drive our results. To truly make a life-changing choice requires great commitment, resolve, sacrifice, and tenacity over a long period of time - as well as the ability to deal with fear. And that goes against what we have been conditioned to in our instant society. If people don't see results fast, they move on. And nowadays, not even a little result is good enough. It needs to be significant right now or it's a failure.
Sadly, most people fall prey to this way of thinking and running their life, time and time again, when the true path, the real breakthrough, comes over the long-term.
Case in point. As I write this, it is the beginning of the year. Fitness centers are going to be filled for the next month with all those people that "are finally going to lose the weight and get into shape." But, what happens after January? Most people have started working out, but haven't seen any real results. They may not have lost a pound. They didn't get that immediate gratification they thought they'd see, even after putting in soooo much more time than they thought they should to get a result. Right. Because just 3-4 weeks of fitness is going to drastically reverse what took years to create.
If people would look at things from the perspective of what can be accomplished over the course of the year if they keep at it, they'd see a massive difference. Sure, they'd probably lose some weight, but even more importantly is the fact that they would be healthier, be in better shape both internally and externally, and would have discipline that can last for years for them - effectively changing their life and probably helping them live longer.
It all comes down to that BIG choice. Not the half-hearted, "OK, I'll try it" choices that last for a short time. No, it is that deep, life-changing choice, that you sit down before making, and think deeply on it as a total change to your life and your future. That is the ability you have right now for anything in your life. Make the RIGHT choice(s) and see it or them through this year and into the rest of the decade. You have the ability to change your life. Choose wisely.
In every episode of the Misfit Entrepreneur, we get amazing wisdom, success tips, lifehacks, and strategies for how to perform at our highest levels. But, my favorite part of the episode is when each Misfit Entrepreneur gives us their Misfit 3.
The Misfit 3 are their 3 most important pieces of advice that each guest wants you to take away above all else. If you have not gone through the episode archives and checked them out, you should make it part of your weekly personal growth routine in 2020.
To help you, I have gone through all of 2019's Misfit 3 from each guest and come up with my Top 25 for you. There is so much wisdom in the following thoughts. Feel free to print the list to refer back to help you succeed in 2020!
The Misfit Entrepreneur "Misfit 3" Top 25
I recently found this poem that really resonated with me. I do not know who originally came up with it, but it has a very deep and important message that I want to share with you.
Read it and give some thought as to what it means to you in your life...
He was going to be all that mortal should be—Tomorrow;
No one should be kinder nor braver than he—Tomorrow.
A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,
Who’d be glad of a life and who needed it, too,
On him he would call and see what he could do—Tomorrow.
Each morning he stacked up the letters he’d write—Tomorrow;
More time he’d have to give others, he’d say—Tomorrow.
The greatest of workers this man would have been—Tomorrow.
The world would have known him had he ever seen—Tomorrow,
But the fact is he died and he faded from view, And all that he left here when living was through,
Was a mountain of things he intended to do—Tomorrow.
As we get into December and the last month of the year, it's a great time to set things up for success in the new year. Just about everyone knows that they can get better, but the biggest challenge is where to start? What do you actually need to do to set yourself up for future success?
Here is a 5 step plan to follow that will put you on the path to success in the new year.
1.) Know Who You Are and What Guides You
Who are you? What do you believe? What do you stand for? These are questions that most people never think deeply about in their lives. On the surface, they think they know the answers, but when they dive deep into who they are and what they believe, most of the time they find the real answers to be much different.
So, how do you learn who you truly are? You ask a lot of questions - but start with defining your principles and your standards. What are the principles you will live by and not sacrifice for anything? What are the standards you will live up to in your life. Principles are you foundation, your core. Standards are how you maintain that core in your life. For example, one of my principles is to act with integrity. One of my standards is that I will carry myself as though my daughter is watching me in all situations. This standard helps to ensure my integrity principle in my life.
2.) Discover Your True Passion
What are you deeply, truly passionate about? What makes you excited in anticipation like a kid waiting for Christmas morning? What truly invigorates and excites you? You're answers may be surprising. I never thought that one of my deepest and most important passions would be loving to teach people, but it is. And I use it throughout my businesses. It brings me deep satisfaction to help someone discover how to get better or create success in their lives. What are truly passionate about and how can you maximize it's impact in your life and the lives of others?
3.) Set Goals with Milestones
Once you understand who you are with your principles/standards and what you are deeply passionate about, it makes it easy to decide where you want to go. But, in order to get there, you need milestones - things to strive for. In running Ironmans, the final portion, the marathon, is typically the toughest part for people. After all, you are doing it after a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride. The best advice I ever received was not to focus on running a marathon - it's too overwhelming at that point - but instead to focus on running to the next aid station, fueling up, and the to the next one and so on. The aid stations are the milestones and each one you make it to, the closer you are to your goal of finishing. It is the same with your goals. Once you know where you want to go, you can set the big goal for yourself, but then you need to break it up into your milestones, your personal aid stations.
And remember, people overestimate what they accomplish in a week and underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. Focus on getting the next milestone and you be amazed at how fast you can get to your larger goal.
4.) Write Down Your Goals with Milestones and Share Them
The next logical step once you have your goals and milestones is to write them down, so you have your plan. But, most people don't take the most important step and that is to share them with those that can help your achieve them and that will help hold you accountable. No matter what, to get to your goals, you will need help in some form or another, so sharing your goals will open up those opportunities. But, most importantly, you will put it out there for others to see and help hold yourself accountable to what you are going to do.
5.) Set Deadlines and Execute
Lastly, you need to set deadlines in place and start executing. Deadlines are important as they are set in stone. Don't use time frames because "time frames" are expandable and let your weasel out of hitting your milestones and goals. Of course, none of this matters unless you act on your plan and execute - so get rid of any excuses and resolve to act every day toward your next milestone.
This simple 5 step exercise will help you know yourself better, identify what really matters, your true goals, and ensure you act on them. All you have to do is take action and follow it. Here's to your success in the new year!
I was in a meeting with the leadership of a pretty successful company the other day where we were discussing ways to speed up the revenue growth of the organization over the next year. There were a number of good ideas discussed, but one in particular really made me shake my head.
At some point, the group got on to the discussion of "Why don't we just focus on selling what is easiest to implement as that will speed up the time to get paid and grow revenues faster." On the surface this seems logical, but if you've been in sales for any length of time, you will immediate notice a few flaws in the logic.
First, when I looked at the products that had the shortest implementation time, they were also the ones that added the least amount of revenue - they were ancillary products. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with selling ancillary products, but those are typically add-ons to the main product set which is the higher revenue generator. And to be able to sell ancillaries, you need to sell the main products or you run our of ancillary opportunities.
Second, the group also failed to look at the sales cycle of these products. Just because it is an ancillary doesn't mean that it necessarily sells faster than other products. In fact, in talking to one of their top salespeople, I found that a lot of times it can take just as long or longer to add an ancillary after an initial sale. The best opportunity to sell the ancillaries is when the initial sale of the new product is done. This tells me that if they want to sell more revenue, the group should focus on creating a highly enticing and valuable offer for the ancillary upsell at the time of a main product sale.
Third, the company is in the process of creating an entirely new marketing plan and process and it is not ready yet, so there is a lot of unknown and alignment with sales/marketing is yet to happen.
So, needless to say, even though this company has been pretty successful, they need to take a step back and really think through their plan for the year. Selling is not as easy as "sell more of our products that are easy to implement." Their salespeople are selling everything they can, but they must sell to what the customers want and need. The organization can't just sell what it wants because "it is easier for them." That is a reality that doesn't exist.
Now, there are some things that this company can do to speed up revenue growth without the potential pitfalls discussed. First, as mentioned above, they can introduce a better ancillary offer at the time of a main product sale to capture more revenue at this most opportune time. Second, they could offer clients a discount if they pay in full for the year. Third, they can also focus on becoming more efficient in implementing their main products so that they drive that revenue to the top and bottom line faster. Fourth, they could automate the selling of ancillary products to existing clients through email marketing, evergreen webinars, and special offers - that way the salespeople can stay focused on selling the main products that drive the revenue. Lastly, if they really want to drive more sales of products that according them, "just flip a switch and it's turned on for the client," they could offer a free 14 day trial of them to clients. (Again, this could be done through automated email marketing)
This company already has great growth rates, but they can turbocharge them by doing a few right things right. Selling...it's not that easy. But with a little ingenuity and willingness to look at things differently, it can be made easier.
There is an incredible power in 5 minutes of time. It all comes down to how you use it.
A number of years ago, I started a daily habit that takes me about 5 minutes to do. It was a little awkward at first, but didn't take long to prove itself as one of the most important things I do in my day.
In fact, it has helped not only my focus and productivity, but also my attitude and way that I look at life.
What is the habit? It is my daily "3 to Thrive" exercise. In this exercise I do the following:
The reason 3 to Thrive works so well is the simplicity of it and the way it focuses you. First, you choose 3 things to be grateful for. This makes a big difference in your attitude and makes you think about what really matters. It also makes you feel good and start your day with good in your life. Next, you choose the 3 most important priorities for you to accomplish that day. This focuses you and puts the most important things right in front of you from the start of the day keeping them forefront. Lastly, I say a little prayer. This centers me and allows me to communicate directly with God each day. Whether you are religious or not - having a way to center yourself before you start your day is critical. What that is for you is up to you.
I have done this routine now for many years and although I'm not perfect (sometimes I miss a day), I can say it is the most important daily habit that I have. This one little 5 minute exercise has made a major difference in all areas of my life over the years and I know it will do the same for you. Try it for a week and watch the difference it makes for you. It's amazing what a little 5 minute habit can do.
Motivation comes from within. No one can keep you motivated long term, but yourself. But, that doesn't mean you don't need inspiration.
I have a lot of quotes I go to for reflection and to make me think. Here are 5 quotes that read when I need inspiration and perspective to motivate myself and keep going.
Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other. - Brian Tracy
But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
Change is inevitable. Now matter what business you are in or what you do, things are going to and will have to change. If anything is for certain in today's fast-paced world, it is change.
And sometimes change happens when it is not needed, or at least when YOU don't think it is needed.
So how do you embrace change, even when you don't want to? Over the years, I've come up with a set or principles to help me do this.
1.) It's Not About You
The first challenge in embracing change is to separate yourself from it and realize that you are not the only one affected. You have to take a holistic view and look at how it affects all involved, especially in business. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it isn't in the best interest of the business as a whole. Only once you have looked at things objectively from this level, can you logically move forward.
2.) Accept Reality
I teach investors how to trade in the markets and one of the things that I start with is the 4 Phases of the market. Disgust, Disbelief, Acceptance, Euphoria. In the markets, when there is a downturn, you get "disgust." Then usually the market rallies in "disbelief." This is the stage where the market finds some footing and people can't believe that pain they are going through in losing money is over, so they are skeptical. But, after a little while seeing the market stay at or above a certain level, they begin to "accept" it and that when things start to get back to normal again. Then, of course, the emotions of fear and greed take over and your get into the last stage of "euphoria" where you get irrational exuberance and people taking more risk fueling the market higher until it doesn't any more - then the cycle starts over.
It's the same with change. Initially when big changes happen, there is disgust. It is then followed by disbelief - "Can this really be happening?" "Are we really doing this?" But, eventually, people accept it and move forward. Now, you can either choose to thrive in the new reality that you have to live in or you can sit on the sidelines. Reality will always win - so the sooner you can get to acceptance of reality and find a way to thrive in the new change, the more successful you (and your business) will be. Beware of euphoria though, which is when people get so swept up in the new changes that they become emotionally charged and make all decisions from emotion instead of using logic. You must balance the two.
3.) Don't Go It Alone
Change can be tough, don't stick yourself on an island. You need to voice your thoughts and opinions around it and have an outlet to discuss all sides as well as get independent feedback. This is where having mentors, personal advisers, or people that you can go to outside of the group involved in your business and talk things through with them. An objective, independent voice is important when going through change. It will give you different perspective and open your eyes to things you may have not thought about before. Most importantly, it will give you an outlet to let your emotional side out and work through.
Change, especially big change, always has it challenges, but using the principles above, I have been able to navigate major changes and complete business overhauls while coming out successful on the other side. Put them to work for you and see the difference they make the next time you have a big change in your life.
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