99.9% Won’t Cut It

Every day I make a point to set aside time toward my personal growth and development. Sometimes it’s a chat with a mentor, being part of a mastermind group, etc – but at the very least I read and write every day. Sometimes it’s a blog that ends up here, sometimes it’s part of a keynote I’m working on, sometimes it’s nothing more than just random ideas on a scratch pad. The important thing is that I make a point to spend some time every day – investing in myself. One of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned is that the greatest investment we’ll EVER make is in ourselves. (I wrote an entire blog about that…scroll down…you’ll find it.)

I say all of that to say this: I was reading tonight and came across something that I wanted to share. This comes from Jack Canfield’s (he’s the guy behind all of the Chicken Soup For The Soul books) book The Success Principles. If you don’t own this book – I highly recommend picking it up. Anyway, I want to share an excerpt from “Principle 35: 99% is a bitch; 100% is a breeze” -

Why won’t 99.9% cut it? Here’s what 99.9% quality would mean in the following situations:

  • One hour of unsafe drinking water every month
  • Two unsafe landings at O’Hare International Airport each day
  • 16,000 lost pieces of mail per hour
  • 20,000 incorrectly filled drug prescriptions every year
  • 500 incorrect surgical operations performed each week
  • 50 newborn babies dropped at birth by doctors every day
  • 22,000 checks deducted from the wrong account each hour
  • Your heart failing to beat 32,000 times a year

Can you see why 100% is such an important percentage?

Pretty staggering when it’s put in those terms, isn’t it? The author closes the chapter with this:

“Just think how much better your life and the whole world would work if you were committed to 100% excellence in everything you do.”

The next time you’re tempted to cut a corner or “let something slide this once” think back to this list. Refocus and recommit yourself. It’s worth it. YOU are worth it.

Make It Happen

I was talking with a friend earlier about the importance of making things happen for yourself. Whether it’s having well written goals, a vision board, daily affirmations or incantations…the root of all of them is the same.

You have to believe these things will happen to you or for you long before they do. It all starts with your own mindset and approach to, well, life. One of my favorite sayings is “we don’t get, in life, what we want…we get who we are.” You want to be a person that makes things happens and challenges the status quo – unless you’re already doing that – you’re cheating yourself.

People don’t fail in life because they aim too high and miss…they don’t reach their full potential because they aim too low and HIT!” ~Les Brown

In his New York Times bestselling book “Getting Things Done” David Allen puts it this way:

“When you start to make things happen, you really begin to believe that you can make things happen. And that makes things happen.”

Success isn’t accident. Success won’t show up on your doorstep with an instruction manual. Napoleon Hill said “riches are shy and timid…and must be attracted.” Attraction requires action. If you’re really looking for change…make a change.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Start with your daily routines.

Start now.

“Houston, we have a problem.”

So many people wish life was easier, with less challenges and obstacles but without challenges, life becomes stagnant and we stop growing.  Challenges help us uncover who we are and it allows us to become better people.

Let’s examine a very simple 4-step method to overcoming challenges.

First, state the problem clearly.  When we are faced with challenges, we tend to avoid the issue and run the other way burying our heads in the sand hoping it goes away.  Or we may say – ok, there is an obstacle, instead of heading right to it and plowing through, I am going to look for another path and even though that is not the way I want to go – it looks easier… less headache… but rarely does that work out.  When we avoid or go out of our way, we cause more headache in the end.  It takes more of our time, it takes more of our energy and we don’t get the end result we are looking for.  So take this time to understand what the challenge is.  Ask yourself what is the question, what is asked of me, what is the main goal? Write this down on paper.

Second, identify what you have at your disposal – what resources are available to you to work through this challenge? List all of these resources out.  These should include things such as tangible assets – money, computer, books, etc.  And then what skills you have, what are your strengths to work through this?  Don’t forget others – what access do you have to others that can help?

Third, design the strategy to overcome this challenge.  Utilize all your assets to create a plan of action.  You may find this plan will need to be tweaked as you execute and that is ok.  Keep at it.

Lastly, execute the strategy with effort and determination.  Do your very best with all you have to overcome your challenge.

If you find that you still cannot overcome a challenge, then re-evaluate.  If your strategy just won’t work because it isn’t viable or effective then change it. If your strategy doesn’t work because you didn’t execute it well enough, be persistent and tweak your efforts, giving it more.

Practice this method on small challenges and see how easy it is to overcome.  Then try it on the big rocks!

Don’t Just Exist

Don’t just exist – excel!

Exist: to live.

Excel: To be exceptionally good.

Just looking at the two definitions which you would prefer? The definition of exist just sounds boring. Plain. Every day. But when you read the definition of excel, it just feels different. You can actually feel the difference between the two words.

So you might be sitting there reading this thinking “okay, yes, you’re right. I don’t want to just live and go through the motions. I want to create experiences and truly live the life I was destined to live…but how? What’s the key that separates that from what I’m doing now?”


We are consistently our own biggest obstacle, and we must learn to get out of our own way. You wouldn’t start on a road trip without knowing where you were going or how you were going to get there, right? But in our daily lives – we do it every single day. The sad part about that is we’re not talking about a weekend road trip to Branson, we’re talking about our livelihoods, our futures, our ENTIRE lives! Why do we leave the most important things in our lives to chance?

Okay, so now what?

Evaluate where you are, determine where you want to go, and map out a plan to get there.

  • Step 1. Establish your goals. Be specific. Don’t just say “I want to be a better person.” or “I want to make more money.” Instead, say “I want to be an executive in my field, making at least $XXX per year, living in X city, by X (date).”  Be realistic, but aggressive. Most people don’t achieve great success NOT because they aim too high and miss…but because they aim too low and hit!
  • Step 2. Once you’ve established your long-term goals, break them down into smaller short term goals. If your long term goal deadline is 5 years from now…where do you need to be 4 years from now? 3 years? 1 year? 6 months from now? Once you’ve established those milestones, you’ll have a way of tracking your progress along the way. This will also give you the opportunity to celebrate victories along the way as well. (Celebrating your wins on the way to your goals is EXTREMELY important!)
  • Step 3. Don’t quit. You’re going to get discouraged. People are going to tell you that you’re crazy. You’re going to have doubt and fear. All of those are indicators of change! If you’re not feeling those from time to time, you’re not outside of your comfort zone and you’re not growing. These aren’t negative emotions! Channel that energy into your drive and your mission!
  • Step 4. Assign yourself an accountability partner. This goes hand in hand with Step 3. Your AP is someone that you trust and will keep you focused. One of the most effective ways to ensure your success in achieving a goal is to make it known publicly what you’re trying to accomplish. Once people know what you’re trying to do…they’ll be watching to see if you can do it…and this will serve as an additional motivator for you. (You don’t want people to see you quit…especially after they said you were crazy for attempting it to begin with!)
  • Step 5. Ask for help when you need it. Not one successful person ever achieved great success alone. Surround yourself with great people, and great things will happen for you! I guarantee it.

From now on…don’t just live. Excel!

As my mentor, Les Brown, says…”You have GREATNESS within you!”


You’re Doing It Wrong

One of the reasons that I chose to work with The John Maxwell Team is John’s fundamental view on leadership. John will tell you that EVERYTHING rises and falls on leadership. Our leadership ability determines our level of effectiveness in everything we do. We will only ever be as successful as our ability to lead. (Law of the Lid, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership)

So what is leadership? I love John’s definition: Simply put, leadership is influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.

There’s an old saying, “it’s lonely at the top.” If you get to the top of your business or organization and you’re alone – you’ve done it wrong…and I wouldn’t get too comfortable because you’re probably not long for that world.

Effective leaders have followers. There’s a difference in subordinates and true followers. Followers have leaders. Subordinates have managers. A follower is behind their leader because they believe in their leader’s mission, vision, and truly want to see everyone succeed. Subordinates follow because they have to, and there will always be a part of them that wants to see their “leader” fail. If the people on your team secretly want to see you fail – you’re doomed. Period.

So how do you turn subordinates into followers? Your influence. So how do you increase your level of influence? Your ability to influence people is a result of adding value to people. People will never care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

If you find yourself alone at the top – you’re not a leader…you’re a hiker.

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in – a company’s most appreciable asset (100% of the time) is its people. Love your people and they will love YOU! Support your people and they will support YOU! Believe in your people and they will believe in YOU!

There’s a reason that every time a professional or college sports team starts doing poorly they fire the coach; underperforming restaurants fire the general manager; radio stations fire the program director; etc. If your business is struggling…the FIRST thing to work on is your leadership. Improve your leadership and your business will follow. Every time.


It’s Not Always Easy, But It’s Worth It

Being negative is automatic. Every where you turn, there’s bad news. Negativity requires no energy or effort because it’s rooted in apathy, but ositivity is rooted in self-confidence. Being positive takes effort, and it’s not easy – but it’s worth it. 

This always brings to mind one of my favorite poems that deals with this topic directly. It’s something I’ve read over and over for years.

If you think you are beaten, you are;

If you think you dare not, you don’t; 

If you like to win, but think you can’t, 

it is almost certain you won’t. 


If you think you’ll lose you’ve lost, 

For out of the world we find

Success begins with a fellow’s will – 

It’s all in the state of mind. 


If you think you are outclassed, you are – 

You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.


Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man;

But sooner or later the man who wins

Is the man who thinks he can.

-Author Unknown


I posted on Facebook the other day this quote and I think it’s appropriate here as well: 

“Don’t allow someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.” 

If you’re not believing in yourself – why should anyone else?



Laying On A Nail

The other day I heard a story about a man visiting a farmer. As they sat on the farmer’s back porch, the man couldn’t help but notice the farmer’s dog was whining and moaning.

The man asked the farmer, “what’s wrong with your dog?”

“He’s laying on a nail,” replied the farmer.

Confused, the man asked, “well, why doesn’t he get up?”

Without skipping a beat, the farmer said “it doesn’t hurt bad enough for him to move.”

I think there a lot of us laying on nails, right now. We’re unhappy, but not miserable so we just accept it. I’m here to tell you – It doesn’t have to be this way, and you deserve better!

What nails are you laying on?

Often, it doesn’t require a huge change to make a huge difference.

Get off that nail TODAY!