Your “REAL” Job

The overall message in the emails I send out, the blogs that I write, coaching sessions, speaking events, truly everything I do, is that if we can just change the way we think about things (anything and everything), we have the power to change our lives in really dramatic ways. I learned something from Tony Robbins a while back and ever since I’ve been sharing it with my staffs regularly to get them thinking differently. This “thought shift” really pertains to your professional career. No matter whether you’re the CEO of your company, the receptionist, salesperson, or anyone else in the organization, your job is really two fold:

 

Innovation and marketing.

 

That’s it. Those are your two main objectives and responsibilities if you want to grow, create lasting change in your business, and realize success that few people in your industry will ever achieve.

 

And…THIS is where people start to panic.

 

We hear the word “innovation” and immediately jump to “invention” and the thought of trying to invent something scares the crap out of us. That’s when the “I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not good at those kinds of things” start flooding our minds and we become paralyzed. So stop that, and hear me out.

 

There is a KEY difference between innovation and invention. First, look at the definition of innovation:

 

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Innovation is all about simply coming up with new ideas. It’s about breaking the chain of “this is just how things have always been done” and being open to new and more creative and efficient ways of doing things. All it takes to be innovative is a different thought process.

 

Necessity may be the father of invention, but creativity, rather, is the father of innovation. While invention often provides the solution to a problem, innovation offers an alternative to a problem or situation that people may not even be aware of.

 

Innovation gives an answer to the question that no one knows to ask.

 

There are SO many examples of this, but my favorite is probably Sony. In the late 70’s and early 80’s the “sound” world was getting bigger. The bigger the speakers, the better the sound. Boomboxes were these incredibly cumbersome stereos that people did their best to lug over their shoulder…looking back it’s laughable now. In the era of bigger equals better, Sony’s founder, Akio Morita, was an innovator. He gave consumers a solution to a problem they didn’t even realize they had, and introduced the Sony Walkman. There was absolutely no need to have one of those incredibly clunky sound systems when you could have the same quality sound out of a device that fit right in your pocket. An idea that, in a lot of ways, changed the world.

 

Netflix is another example. Did you know that Blockbuster had the opportunity to buy Netflix for around $50 million and passed on it? Something tells they’d take that offer today…haha!

 

The lists of stories like this goes on and on…IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Toyota, etc., etc. They operated from the mindset that their two main functions in business (and life) were innovation and market. Think outside the box, and let people know about it. These people and companies created a product or service that their consumers didn’t even know they needed!

 

I hope this inspires you to take action on one of those ideas within you. You could be the next Akio Morita, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Tony Robbins, or anyone else for that matter. The only difference between you and them is they took a chance and acted upon their “crazy” ideas. Now it’s your turn.

 

It’s not what you know, it’s what you DO with what you know that matters.

 

Do something today. You owe it to yourself!

 

Also, if you’re not a member of the “Inner Circle” – sign up here! I send a daily (relatively) email similar to this blog. Will guard your email address with my life and do my best to never bore you.:)

 

Listen Up!

I had dinner the other night with a business colleague at a really nice restaurant, and everything was going well…but one thing really stood out to me. Sure, it was busy and our server’s section was full, but I could tell his mind was elsewhere. This proved to be the case when the food that was delivered to the table wasn’t what we ordered. It was CLOSE to what we ordered, but the detail wasn’t there and several things were wrong.

There’s a big difference between listening and hearing. In fact, the definition of the two paints a pretty clear picture:

Listening – (verb) to take notice of and act on what someone says.
Hearing – (noun) the faculty of perceiving sounds.

One thing should stand out immediately…one is a noun and the other is a verb. One just “is” and the other requires energy. If you’re going to ever have any level of influence with anyone…this is paramount. When you hear someone talking…you do just that…you hear them. It’s very passive, requires no energy or effort, and you will almost always tune out and your focus will be attracted elsewhere.

However, when you LISTEN – you’re taking an active role in the conversation and giving someone the gift of your attention. In reality, more often than not, this is really what people want the most in first place…they simply want to know someone is actually listening and paying attention to them. Here’s the beauty of this…through active listening you’re able to hear the things that aren’t being said.

People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. If you’re able to show them that you care by being an active listener and responding with questions…you’ll be amazed at the things that people will tell you. Rephrase what they’ve said to you back to them in the form of a question. For instance:

  • So if I’m hearing you correctly…
  • If I’m understanding what you’re saying…
  • Just so I’m clear…are you saying….?
  • Do I understand you to mean…?

Active listening and using clarifying questions like those will absolutely strengthen just about any relationship you’ve got…personal and professional. Guys…are you looking for a way to really impress your lady? Do this. Trust me. It’s really that simple.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would the people around me consider me an active listener?
  • What was the last thing someone said to me? (If you don’t remember, it’s likely you weren’t really listening)
  • Do I regularly ask clarifying questions?
  • Do I interrupt people?

Great listening skills will automatically put you leaps and bounds ahead of most everyone else. Don’t be the person sitting on the edge of your seat ready to jump in with your opinion. Check your ego at the door and be interested in the person you’re communicating with. Remember…in order to be interesting, you must first be interested.

Here’s a challenge for you. (I wish I could take credit for this, but this came from John Maxwell’s book):

Schedule a listening appointment. Set an appointment with the most important person in your life, and dedicate an hour to just communicating. Give that person your undivided attention (no phones, emails, texts, TV, etc) and do not spend less than 2/3 of the conversation listening to him or her.

Do that…and email me your stories! I’d love to hear how that worked for you, what you learned, the impact it had on your relationship, etc. Don’t be surprised if the person you ask to do this gives you a blank stare or looks at you like you’ve lost your mind (in fact, if that happens, I think it’s pretty clear what kind of listener you truly are), but do it anyway.

You’ll be glad you did!:)

Leave something for the rest of us…

One of my favorite places in the United States (I would say “the world” but I’ve not really ever been outside of the United States…so I can’t really go that far) is New York City. There’s just an energy in NYC that is really unmatched by any place I’ve ever been. NYC is the epitome of, what I like to refer to as, the cycle of success. You see people at the top of their game and people at rock bottom, often on the same street corner.

A few years ago, I was in NYC and was just sitting on a park bench in Battery Park when it hit me. It was almost as though the city of New York spoke to me. It became very clear at that moment that New York City, and the world for that matter, doesn’t care whether or not I make it or whether or not I’m successful. Whether or not I’m sitting on that park bench at that exact moment, everything that was happening around me would still have happened. My presence there, at that moment, other than the lesson I was learning…in the grand scheme of things…absolutely didn’t matter.

Now, you’re probably sitting there reading this thinking “wow, JR, I thought these were supposed to be uplifting…I think I’ll just go get back in bed if no one cares…”

Here’s my point…

Basically, the world will continue to rotate on its axis at a 1000 miles per hour and revolve around the sun whether you achieve your goals or not…but each and every one of us has, within us, the ability to create change that could impact lives from this point forward. Whether you introduce those gifts/ideas/dreams to the world, or not, doesn’t affect the gravitational pull, however, you DO have the ability within you to change the experience for yourself and everyone around you. The world, from a scientific standpoint, doesn’t really care if you’re successful or not. It was here before you and will be here long after…BUT…the world from the humanitarian aspect not only wants you to win…it NEEDS you to win.

A few weeks ago I posted this on Facebook: “Whoever you are, there is work that will never be done if you don’t do it. You have a purpose. The world needs you.”

I’m a person of faith and I believe, as it’s written in Jeremiah 29:11, that God has already mapped out the plan for our lives and everything we need to live to a life of prosperity and abundance is already in place…but it’s up to US to make it happen. It’s as if the road to success has already been paved, but it’s up to us to get in the car and drive.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “you can’t take it with you when you go” and “you never see a hearse pulling a u-haul trailer” or any of the other funny variations. I believe that sends the wrong message.

In reality, when it comes to the things that really matter…you take EVERYTHING with you when you go. The only thing left are the things YOU leave behind. I had someone ask me one day what I thought the richest place on earth was. I was thinking Fort Knox initially, then maybe the Taj Mahal or the ancient pyramids of Egypt for what they represented…and my friend just laughed. His answer?

A cemetery.

Because in every cemetery lies stories that were never told, ideas that were never invented, books that were never written, songs that were never sung, and gifts that were never utilized.

If you’ve got an idea, a dream, or a goal – it’s up to YOU to take action on it and make it happen not just for you, but for the rest of the world. I believe ideas, dreams, and aspirations are given to us for a reason and when we suppress and ignore them…we put one more thing on the list that will eventually die with us.

For every person that dreams of one day recording music…know that somewhere in the world is someone that will experience something in their life that simply hearing your song will have a life changing impact on their situation…unless, of course, you never sing it.

My message to you today is simple. Take action.

The next time you have a crazy idea or your imagination gives you a glimpse into what life COULD be like IF…write it down. Envision it as if it already exists…and think of things you could do and ways you could take even the smallest step toward making it happen.

The road has been paved for you. The right people are already along the way waiting for you. Get in the car, buckle up, and step on the gas! You were created for a reason and given a gift…and without you…the world will never experience it.

You have a purpose, and the world needs you!

Make today count!

Lies…all lies.

    This is a subject that I’ve actually written about before, probably more than once, but I feel so strongly about it I keep coming back to it. If we lied to other people HALF as much as we lie to ourselves, we’d have no friends or credibility. Think about that for a second. It’s true!
    One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves has to do with the existence of a “comfort zone.”
DISCLAIMER: This is the part of the email where I tell you that some of what you’re about to read is considered “tough love,” but I’m not in the business of telling you what you WANT to hear…I tell you what you need to hear. This is one of those. 
    Tough love fact #1: There is no such thing as a comfort zone. We attribute “comfortable,” or I guess a better word would actually be “familiar,” with secure and it’s simply not true. Unless you’re completely financially independent (I’m talking Bill Gates, Richard Branson, or Forrest Gump after the fruit company, level of financial freedom), you are no more secure hiding in your “comfort zone” than you would be actually taking control and living your life. Let’s face it – you could get laid off tomorrow. You could find out that your CFO has been embezzling money for years and your “stable” job was an entire house of cards and it just collapsed. Your boss decides to get out of whatever business you’re in, sell the company, and close the doors. Just like that…your “comfort zone” is gone. There are a million different scenarios like this.
    Tough love fact #2: The idea of your “comfort zone” actually just means you’re most likely unprepared should one of the scenarios listed above actually occur. One of my mentors, Ed Decosta, has a book called “Ascend” and in the book we learn this:
“Psychologists teach us that a comfort zone is an artificial mental boundary within which you maintain a sense of security and out of which you experience great discomfort.” 
    Like Ed mentions in his book, of course, while these boundaries may be artificial in the eyes of the world’s psychological professionals, they can be very real to you and me. But it’s important to recognize it for what it is…a lie.
    Tough love fact #3: Your “comfort zone” is really just a nice way of saying “doing nothing,” because that’s exactly what we do in our comfort zone. Nothing. You’re certainly not growing, because in order to TRULY grow you have to take some sort of action. Growth does not occur within your comfort zone. Period.
    “But JR, I’m paralyzed by the fear of what might happen if I leave this warm, cozy, and familiar place,” you say.
    Tough love fact #4: You’ve already experienced this AT LEAST once before! Think about it…at some point along the way…what is familiar to you now…was new and unknown. You made a decision to do the things you’re doing now, and the result was your NEW comfort zone.
    Tough love fact #5: You’ve already proven that you can change. In fact, you’ve not only proven that you’re capable of making a decision for change, but proven that it CAN work and you CAN be “comfortable!”
DO IT AGAIN!
“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal!” ~Robin S. Sharma
    Tough love fact #6: The life you want, and the dreams you “wish” and “want” to come true already exist outside of your comfort zone. All you have to do is go get ’em. The journey of a thousand miles begins with that first step…take it! Create your new normal, and remember that time is not on our side…so start now!
    I’ll leave you with this life lesson from Lucille Ball:
“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t.”

The 3 W’s

    You’ve heard me reference “Think and Grow Rich” several times by now, and over the past few months, I’ve been in deep study on the subject of “thinking.” Believe it or not, it’s something that not a lot of people do. Sure everyone has thoughts, but most people don’t pay any attention to them and just “go with the flow.” Few people actually make an effort to be intentional about their thinking, and subsequently suffer because of it.
    Having said that, I also believe that everyone would like to be happier, healthier, and wealthier…it’s just that very few people are willing do what it takes to achieve any of those, and it’s because it’s not easy. If it were easy, we’d all have Bill Gates bank accounts, the Dalai Lama’s demeanor, and the body of that guy from the P90X infomercials. But we don’t. Because it’s hard, and we don’t do things that are hard. Or if we do, we don’t them for very long. The best example of this is your local fitness club. Try to find an empty treadmill on January 6th…then go back and try to find someone using a treadmill on April 6th. Working out is hard, so we don’t do it.
    I’m still working all of this out, so bear with me, but I think you’ll appreciate the point here. I don’t know what I’m going to call this yet, but for now, we’ll call them the “3 W’s”
    The first W:
    I wish…
    I would venture to say that a majority of people are stuck here. Sure, they’d really like for their lives to improve, but for now…it’s simply a wish. “I wish things would get better.” “I wish I could find a job.” “I wish I wasn’t single.” I wish…I wish…I wish. What is a wish? A wish is a desire or hope for something to happen. It’s aimless and completely dependent on luck and circumstance. You have absolutely no control over a wish, and therefore little to no effort should be put here. Genies grant wishes. Genies don’t exist. See where this is going?
    Here’s the next W:
    I want…
    Okay, we’re inching closer to something that can actually make a difference, but this still is not it. This is better than a wish, because at least with a “want” you can actually begin to see the effects of whatever it is in your life. If you want a house, you see the benefit of having a home and everything that it would mean for you to own your own home. You’re still not doing anything about it, but at least at this point, we’re not hoping a genie will appear.
    And the final W:
    I will…
    This is where it gets good and things actually begin to happen. When you say the words “I will” you begin to speak things into existence. You’re no longer talking about dreams and desires, but rather stating your intention. Once you make that commitment to yourself, you’ve now taken a wish and/or a want – and turned it into a goal. Wants and wishes require an outside force to do all the work to make something happen. A goal is actionable objective that YOU now have control over. You now have the ability to create a plan of action and create results!
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way” – English Proverb
    There’s a reason that famous saying doesn’t mention wants or wishes! It’s because they won’t get you anywhere or anything. Stop wishing and wanting and start doing! Creating a clear goal allows you to formulate a plan of action and begin taking the necessary steps to THEN go from “I wish” and “I want” to “I will” and “I have!”
    This blog actually started as part of my email series “The Inner Circle” – if you’re not part of the group, I’d encourage you to click here and sign up! It’s absolutely free, and I’ll never sell your information to anyone, ever. It’s just a daily (mostly) email that goes out Monday through Friday with stuff like this blog. Again, no obligation, and if you get sick of learning, you an always opt out. (see what I did there?) I hope you’ll join! 

The “Success Inner Circle”

A few weeks ago I created an email group that I call my “Success Inner Circle” and I send out emails…very similar to what I’ve been blogging for the last however long. I try to send an email every day (Mon-Fri) because, seriously, no one should have to check their email on the weekend.

The emails come directly from me and any replies also come directly to me. This is just something I really enjoy doing and I’ve gotten so many requests from people to do something like this…so here it is.:)

Oh, and I’ll never sell or trade any of your information…ever.

If you’d like to sign up, and I hope that you do…click here.

Like I said, you’ll get emails from me that I hope you’ll find value in, and I do this absolutely free of charge. Just my gift to you. This will also give you first dibs on any Mastermind Groups, Master Class Studies, or anything else cool that we come up with.

So get signed up! All the cool kids are doing it!

~JR

Why You Can’t Keep Employees

I realize the title of the blog may be a little aggressive, especially considering the overall tone of 99% of the other postings on this site, but as you’ll read in this blog – it not only fits…it’s appropriate.

If you work for, manage, own, and/or operate a company that is having trouble attracting quality employees, or keeping them once you do hire them; this is for you.

I can sum it up in one word: culture.

Culture is the absolute most powerful aspect of any organization. Culture is about behavior. It’s the personality of the organization, and people do what people see.

A mentor of mine said that culture eats vision for lunch. He meant, if you don’t have a culture that is truly conducive to growth and success, the quality and clarity of your vision is moot. If you don’t have the buy-in of the people that are responsible for executing your vision, you’re going to fail. John Maxwell says it best:

“The leader finds the dream and then the people. The people find the leader and then the dream.” (21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership)

People don’t go along with people they don’t get along with. The good news is that it’s not difficult to develop a culture truly conducive to success for everyone involved! It’s important to understand a couple things, first, though. For instance, most people don’t believe in themselves. Too many people believe they’re destined to fail. Not only that, most people also lack someone in their life that has faith in them. Then they come to work for a company that constantly reminds them of both of those self-limiting beliefs. Again, I say, there’s an easy fix to this.

One of my favorite quotes:

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – John C. Maxwell

In most companies, it’s just easier to fire someone than it is to train, coach, develop, and equip them. It’s a sad fact that 95% of “leaders” never develop another leader. I use quotations because the entire purpose behind leadership is to develop other leaders. If you’re not adding value to people, you’re not a leader…you’re a boss. They’re not following you because they want to go wherever you go and charge the hill for you, they’re following you because at the moment you’re the means in which they pay their bills. Trust me when I say the moment something else comes along, they’re gone. Focus on growing people, and your business will grow faster automatically.

Here are 5 things you can do to immediately improve (or create) a culture that people will want to be a part of:

  1. Value people. People want to know that what they’re doing matters and that someone actually cares. 
  2. Think of new ways to add value to people. Believe in them before they succeed. It’s easy to have faith in people that are already successful, but it’s much more valuable when you’re able to show people you believe in them BEFORE they’ve “proven themselves” 
  3. Look for ways to add to value to people. Emphasize their strengths. Find reasons to congratulate and offer praise. 
  4. Do things to add value to people. When you congratulate your people – do so publicly. Any reprimands should always happen in private, but the opposite is true for praise and recognition. 
  5. Encourage others to add value to people. This is what causes a culture to permeate an entire building and company. When you add value to people, offer praise and congratulations publicly, and then encourage everyone to do the same thing…it starts to catch on. Instead of gossip and backbiting, your team members are encouraging, empowering, and lifting each other! 

You probably picked up on the pattern there, and it likely seems elementary at best. The fact is…hardly anyone actually does this. It’s impossible to sustain growth without equipping and developing people. Take the time and do the little things that show people you care. It’s really that important.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Richard Branson:

“Invest in and train your people so that they could walk away from your company and be total rockstars elsewhere in the industry…but treat them so well that they’d never consider it.”