Mastermind Takeaways

This week I spent a day with my mastermind group. Don Yaeger (11 time NYT Bestselling Author and incredible speaker). Ruby Newell-Legner (Former President of The National Speakers Association who helps professional sports teams create an incredible fan experience) Chad Hymas (Hall of Speaker and quadriplegic World Record Holder) We have been friends for years, we get on the phone often, and once a year we get together in person. These are three of my favorite people in the world, three incredibly successful speakers and smart business owners. Here are 5 of the key takeaways I took away from our mastermind meeting this year and they are more about relationships: – All distractions are equal – If you need help, ask directly for what you need – Assume that people have the best intentions – People like to work with busy people – When everyone tells you that you are
Continue Reading

Do’s and Don’ts of A Good Listener

Listening is an essential skill in business and life. We could all improve our relationships by improving our listening skills. Below is a list of do’s and don’ts to help you brush up on your listening skills.   Do – Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smiles) Ignore distractions   Don’t – Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone’s sentences  
Continue Reading

What Type of Thinker Are You?

  Our mindset, the way we approach life, the way we think about the world around us dictates so much of our happiness. In the book, Supercoach, author Michael Neill outlines three different types of thinking – Acquisition-based thinking places the power outside us in the visible physical world. If we want some of that power for ourselves, we need to go out and get it. When we don’t get what we want, it’s either because the world is rigged against people like us or we just aren’t trying hard enough. Attraction-based thinking places the power outside us in the invisible metaphysical world. If we want to tap into that power, we need to align our thoughts, feelings, intentions, and desires. When we don’t get what we want, it’s either because God/the universe has a higher plan for us or we just aren’t thinking positively enough. Creation-based thinking recognizes that
Continue Reading

The Three E’s of Great Conversation

My wife Sarah is a great conversationalist. She connects well with others; people love talking to her and they often describe her by saying, “it feels like I’ve known her my whole life.” Those are goals we should all strive for – especially as leaders. Over the years, I have watched her in conversation with others and I’ve deciphered that great conversations require 3 E’s: – Engagement, Energy & Empathy A great conversation first requires engagement. How often are we distracted in a conversation? With texts, email or wandering though processes. When we are engaged both physically (through body language & eye contact) & mentally (through concentration & focus) we make the other person feel important. The second part of a great conversation is energy. Think about how you show up for a potential client or a friend you haven’t seen in years. There is an energy you bring to
Continue Reading

Energizers vs. Drainers

We are all busy.  Running from this to that to the next.  It’s just the pace of life these days.  While a lot of that busyness is necessary and enjoyable, it also is a drain on our energy.  We only have so much energy and we need to make sure we spending the majority time, or at least our discretionary time, on activities that energize us and not drain us.   Below are two lists, the first a list of “energizers” and the second a list of “drainers”.  While sometimes “drainers” cannot be avoided and are a necessary part of life, we can look for healthy ways to reduce or eliminate them.  When we look for opportunities to do more on the “energizers” list, we find ourselves feeling more positive, enthusiastic and hopeful.   Things That Energize Me Hanging out with people who inspire me Loving my children Teaching Reading books Developing ideas Exercise Hobbies I
Continue Reading

Three Secrets To Improve Your Performance

My friend Mark Sanborn just released a new book titled The Potential Principle. Mark is an incredible thinker and this new book has some amazing insights. One of the ideas that stood out to me was Three Secrets To Improving Your Performance. Regardless of what you do for a living – improving our performance should be a constant priority. Here is an excerpt from Mark’s Three Secrets To Improving Your Performance. First, Performance Improves When You Enjoy It Here’s a rhetorical question: Do you perform better when you are enjoying yourself? Of course you do. You might suffer through a performance that is stellar, but that is rare. A superb performance isn’t just about what you do, how well you do it, or what others think. It is about how you feel when you are doing it. What is the point of better performance if you don’t feel better too?
Continue Reading

The Leadership Formula for Success

Brian Tracy said that the formula for success is Ambition + Empathy. Real leaders speak in what often seem to be contradictory voices. I like to think of it as a balance. Leadership is an art and it requires balance. Ambition reflects a leader’s desire for results. It shows up as direction, organization, vision, and control. Ambition pushes leaders to take action and inspire others to get the job done. The negative connotation attached to ambition is that the ambitious are only in it for themselves and that they will win at any cost. Ambition is balanced with Empathy. Empathy reflects a leader’s concern for people. It embodies humility, compassion and cooperation. Empathy focuses a leader to prioritize people over processes and teaches them to win in the people business. The negative connotation to empathy is that it can create a sluggish or passive approach, but that is overcome with
Continue Reading

How Do You Listen?

The focus of an influencer is always on the audience. If you are a speaker – it’s about the people listening to you. If you are in sales – it’s about your customer or prospect. If you are a leader – it’s about the people you are leading. If you are a teacher – it’s about your students. If you are a parent – it’s about your children Almost everyone has this backwards. They think being influential means they need to become polished or powerful. Influence, though, is all about the audience. Be it an audience of one or one thousand. When it’s about them, they get it, and we grow in their eyes. By thinking out instead of in, by concentrating on others instead of on us, a tremendous transformation takes place. We go from inner directed to outer directed, from taker to giver, from self-centered to others-focused, from
Continue Reading

Leaders Are Salespeople

  Last week I had a call with a CEO for a company I’m speaking for in a few weeks. He started the call by saying, “We are interested in your message around storytelling but our leaders don’t sell anything, I just believe storytelling is a crucial business skill.” I agree that storytelling is a key skill for leaders to develop. He told me more about the leaders that would be in the room when I speak. He explained their roles, challenges, fears and successes. He said he wanted to create common language so they would tell a unified story and he wanted to have me give them insights on how to tell stories effectively. I asked if there was a key story they need to tell or a scenario where they need to use storytelling. He said, “These leaders have to present often to the board to get buy
Continue Reading

The Leadership Attribute That No One Is Talking About But Every Leader Needs

Last week I had lunch with an executive team following my speech at their leadership conference. One of them asked, “In your opinion, what is the most important leadership attribute?” I said, “My answer will probably surprise you because it is a leadership attribute that nobody is talking about but every leader needs – I think it is meekness.” He questioned me – “Meekness?!” You see, meekness is crucial but it’s misunderstood. Robert Wells said, “We don’t usually think of successful executives as meek; nor can we accept the idea of a “meek,” successful quarterback on a winning football team. In fact, to us, success in anything seems to involve quite the opposite. In the minds of many, meek means being submissive, passive, retiring, placid. Their mental image of a meek person is that of a compliant “doormat” who is so timid and unassertive that he accomplishes nothing, seeks nothing,
Continue Reading