Monday Motivation

Give Yourself Permission to:

Get Lost

  • In Life
  • In Love
  • In Training

Explore, find new paths!

May you are on the wrong one

Get off the beaten path and don’t be afraid to blaze a new one!

Get where you need to be.  Get lost, be afraid, fight to find yourself, your home!

Get lost, be afraid, survive, repeat, grow!

Find you!

Authenticity in Work

After writing and posting the previous post, I am devoting this entire week to the importance of authenticity.  I took a rather simplistic approach in the first approach and received some solid feedback.

Thank you for replying and emailing me.  I appreciate it!

So today, I wanted to just touch on the importance of authenticity in our companies and in how we go about our daily work life.  Then Friday, if you are so inclined, the faith workout this week will focus on what authentic faith looks like.  There you have it a week sponsored by becoming more authentic!

I need to use that word a little more often – let’s be authentic!


 

There is a huge reason that businesses and teams fail.  They just are not authentic.  They go after the wrong customer (and going after every customer is going after the wrong customer).  You cannot be all things to all people and still be true to yourself.  You can treat all people well, and show them the respect they deserve, but you cannot be all things to all people and be successful.

Part of being authentic with your business as a whole is knowing what you stand for, what you represent and what is going to truly be something that represents you.  If you create something that is not you, then you will hate it.  There is no amount of blood, sweat and tears that will make you love something that does not accurately represent you.

I am sure that many of us have left jobs because something was off.  I am sure many of us have stayed in jobs because we needed to put food on the table, but we also kept our eyes open for something that was more in line with who we were at the core.  Authenticity in your business is important to your customer as well.

I work as a personal trainer and a small business adviser.  It is what I love to do.  When I have my trainer hat on, I only work with people that I know I can be authentic with.  This means that I have had to tell people that I would not work with them.  There are times when I have had to do this because my skillset was not adequate for what they needed to accomplish.  Other times, our values were drastically different and we just would not click and be as honest with each other as would be necessary to have a successful partnership.

When I work with a small business to help them get started or moving in the right direction, I start with finding out who they are and how their product or services fit within who they are.  Then we start cutting and removing everything that does not line up or connect with their authentic self.  We work on interacting with the customers on a real level and adding meaning and value to the products and services.

We stop trying to be something we are not.  Your business has to come from this place or your customers will see right through it.  Greed, sadly, is an authentic trait.  If the quest for money is all that drives you, you will probably find money, but I am not sure what else you will find.  I would hope that money would be a secondary bonus as your business grows to represent the authentic you.

If you do not run your own business, authenticity is dying in the workforce.  People just don’t know how to be real and own who they are.  An authentic employee is a blessing to have.  They are comfortable with who they are.  They are willing to stand up and be themselves.  They know what drives them and what terrifies them.

For me, an authentic employee or co-worker is that person that actually appreciates their job and work because they know it represents them.  They are also able to answer the question “why” without much hesitation.  They understand their motives and are not scared to put it on the table.  And when they mess up, they own it.

I want authentic people on my team.  I don’t want yes men and yes women.  I want people that know themselves and are not afraid to let that person out and into the world.  All of our jobs and businesses would be in a better position if we quit trying to be the same and were just our authentic selves.

More than likely we would find ourselves in better jobs that we enjoyed because we quit trying to be something we are not.  Our teams would accept us and better know how to relate to us because we are not hiding behind our masks of insecurity and doubt.  Our relationships with peers and customers would be stronger because we are not trying to guess who they want us to be, but rather they already know who they are dealing with.

Don’t be afraid to bring authenticity into your business…your customers are looking for you!

Are You Authentic?

I did not know how to best categorize this because I think that it is one of the most important things in all areas of life.  I think that this single item is central to having a solid positive mindset, being successful in your journey of faith, and critical to having a successful business.

I am going to start this exploration with a simple question for you:

How are you doing today?

That simple question is asked of each one of us several times a day.  We are faced with it frequently.  It is the foundation of more than we realize.  So how do you answer that on a regular basis?  Do you give an authentic answer, or do you have a pre-programmed response.  Are you good every day?  Are you alright generally?  Or do you answer with authenticity on a regular basis?

I have recently found myself working on how to be authentic to those around me and with myself.  This question about my day triggered something as I was walking today.  It made me think about whether or not I am always living in complete honesty with myself.  So often, the people I am around determined the responses I frequently gave.

With some people, life was always miserable because to them life was always miserable and I wanted to blend in or not have a fantastic day knowing they were struggling.

Other times, I was always ok because life was not great, but not terrible.

Today, I responded to the question about how I am doing, by simply stating.  I am stressed but making it.  It was an authentic answer.  It is a step towards being authentic with others.  It was a step in knowing and accepting that I do not have to be someone else or lie about what I am going through.

This opens the door to people having a better understanding of what I am going through.

But the bigger thing that being authentic with others has helped me with, is that I am not lying to myself.  I am not putting my life into a negative state of mind by having to have a negative to talk to some people about.  It also means that when I am struggling, I don’t have to lie about it.  I can be honest and let others know that I, honestly need a little kick in the pants or support.

So I ask you, where are you in your authenticity journey?  What do you feel is the key takeaway from being an authentic person?

I will take this idea and throw it into the business world tomorrow.  Any thoughts on the importance of being authentic in your business…Leave me a comment on Facebook!

Big Rocks…Balls…Your Purpose…Part II

Alright, I admit it, I am a day late.  I even put in a post a couple days ago that had nothing to do with all the balls and tasks that I left you holding in part I.  If you have not read part I…please do.

Done?  Good, let’s wrap this up.

So here you are holding all the balls that make up who you are.  It might be in a relationship, family, or work.  It might be all the roles you see yourself fulfilling on a daily basis.  I cannot say for certain how you chose to do the exercise in part I, but I know that physically or mentally you have come to the conclusion that you are holding a lot of roles.

You do a lot!  Take a minute to take that in.  You have a lot of value and purpose and when we slow down we can recognize that…hopefully.  If you are only holding one or two balls, then you did not think hard enough.

The purpose of this exercise though is not to show you how much you do.  You know that you do a lot.  You never needed me to tell you that.  So what is the purpose?

The purpose is for you to recognize that holding the balls is not enough!

That’s it.  I want you to look in your arms and see all the different types of balls that you are holding.  I want you to look at them and tell me, are you able to use them as they are intended?  If you have a football can you throw it long, kick a field goal?  Could you tee up that golf ball and then a club and swing it?  What about dribble the basketball?  Could you swing a bat at the baseball, even if I put it on a tee for you?

I am guessing that you probably couldn’t.  I am guessing that if you tried to use the ball as it’s intended one of two things has to happen…you either absolutely suck at it because you won’t put anything else down, or you are going to lose some of the balls as your focus shifts and you try to accomplish the task.

So…what’s the point?

Stop trying to be everything at once and hold everything at once!  You suck at it!  You were not made to do it all at once.  You were not made to keep plates spinning or holding everything in your arms.  You have to learn to put it down, accomplish the task and then pick up something else.

I watch as people fight over who has what job in relationships and people burn out of jobs because they believe that they have to do everything and that putting the ball down is a sign of weakness.  If putting a ball or two down allows you to be a better partner, parent, business owner, employee, then put it down for a little bit.  Get done what has to be done.  Then pick it back up.

Do what you can to master the tasks and each role.  The next thing you know, you might just be spinning a basketball on one finger while driving that golf ball with the other arm.  And there in the corner sits the football…you have your name on it…but you don’t have to hold it.  Put down some of the burdens…it’s ok!

Should I Lower My Prices?

I sit in many a group that deals with issues that face all small businesses.  I get it, you want to keep your doors open and if you are a service-based business, you need the clients to keep walking in.  I understand that.  I know the fear that you face when you hear that a company that does that exact same thing is opening within 5 miles of you.  You freak out.

They are running a special.  They are selling their services for 75% of mine.

What do you do?

Take a minute, breathe and think about it.  What runs through your head in those moments?

One of the thoughts that runs through our minds, out of fear, is the idea that we should lower our prices.  We have to stay competitive or everyone will end their time with us and go to the new, shiny place just 5 miles away.  I hope that before you make that plunge you think about two very important things.

  1. Do you provide the same, more, or less value than the new place you are not competing with?
  2. What are you NOT doing that would cause your current clients to leave?

Through many of the books, podcasts, and other business resources that I have access to, dropping your prices only makes sense if you are admitting that you offer an inferior product than the other person.  If you look at it with a critical eye (and not an over-inflated sense of value), can you truly say that you offer more to your clients, then why would you even think about or worry about dropping your price?

Keep your price relevant to YOUR value, not the prices of a competitor.  It is a race to the bottom then if everyone wants to undercut everyone else.  It is a slippery slope that ends with people out of business.  Everyone is out of business, not just you.  Set your prices based on the value you provide.  If you have superior talent working for you, that increases your value.  If you have more programs that are of high quality and unique, that adds value.

Clients want access to that value and are willing to pay for it.  If someone is basing their decision on cost alone, that is probably not a client you want.  I can guarantee you that they will not be taking the time to refer anyone to you.   Those people who base everything solely on price are not who you build a solid business foundation on; they should not be the core of your business.  They are the ones that will leave when the next deal comes to town.  Loyalty is a foreign term to them.

So should you drop your prices?  I wish I could tell you yes or no, but all I can honestly tell you is that you need to look at yourself with a critical eye and see what you are offering.  If everyone is providing more than you for less, you might have to explore lowering the price to be competitive or you have to up your game.  Start finding ways to add value to your offerings that no one else is.  Find opportunities to not be cookie cutter and the same.  Start seeking ways to be different.  Find a different crowd to cater to, find your niche, be the business that focuses on philanthropy or some other area that gives you a unique selling point and perspective.

And second…and almost as important…FOCUS ON YOUR EXISTING CLIENTS!

I cannot tell you how crazy I think it is to spend all your resources and energy on the clients you do not have already.  I sit back and see all the switch for free ads and laugh.  Why are you spending all your time going after people who are content?  How many times do we see (and I have been guilty of this) specials for new clients only?

How do you feel when you see that as someone who has been a paying user of that service for years?  I’m looking at you cable and satellite companies!  Switch now!  Leave your tribe!

I would encourage you to take care of the clients you currently have and spend less time worrying about the one’s that you don’t!  Do you know their birthdays’?  Do you know when they have a major life event?  Do you reward them for being a loyal customer and sticking with you, even when you had some growing pains?  Or do you rely on ads to bring in new people you have to convince should be using your product?

If you take care of your current members and clients, they do the selling for you.  They bring in people that are already wanting to buy your services.  You do not have to convince them, you simply have to continue to be you.  They expect the same treatment and service that you are giving the person who referred them.  And since you are already crushing that relationship, it should not be that hard!

But we do not do that.  We focus on the other fish out there in the sea and neglect the ones that we have already caught.  We neglect the one’s that are already putting food on the table and keeping the lights on.  So we work harder than we have to…dropping prices so that we have to have more clients to reach the same goals.

And I will not even touch on what happens when existing clients hear about the cheaper rates…because we all know they love paying more for the same thing.

Start thinking about your business from the perspective of the value you provide and charge accordingly.  Be able to back that cost up and own it.  The people who get it and understand that are the people you want.  Take care of them and your business will grow.  Be patient, and enjoy the ride.  It is worth it!

Big Rocks…Balls…Your Purpose

I am sure many of you have seen the following video or seen the demonstration in some shape, form, or fashion.  We all understand that concept of priorities and “Big Rocks”.

We all know that in order for us to be successful and have time to accomplish all that we need to, we have to put first things first and let all the smaller things in our lives fill in the gaps.  We cannot start with the foundation of things that are less meaningful and hope that there is room for the important things.  When we mess up priorities, we create stress, strife and chaos.  We lash out at others and shift blame.  We, as people, generally suck at looking in the mirror and admitting that the reason we are in the position we are in is because of decisions we made…not someone else.

As I have ventured through the past couple of years, I am reminded of the big rocks.  As this new year started, I found myself trying to regain focus on the big rocks and had to remove some of the other rocks.  If I were to add anything to the big rocks discussion it would begin with the following.  I will probably break this down into a couple parts…I might even make a video for this little tidbit of wisdom.

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I want everyone for a minute to put the rocks in the jar and walk away from them.  I want you instead to think about sports for a minute.  I want you to go around your house and find as many balls as you can.  they can be big or small.  Find a basketball, a baseball, a golf ball, a football…you get the idea.  But you need a lot of them.  You need one ball for every role you fill in life.  If you want to make it easy and still get a general idea, find enough balls to fulfill the roles that you have just within your family or just within your profession.  You have to be specific in what you do.

For me, it might look something like this:

  • husband
  • father
  • to school driver
  • bedtime sensei
  • gymnastic coach/ driver
  • dinner maker
  • co-counselor
  • etc.
  • Trainer
  • Dog Feeder

Think about all that you really do.  The first step with this is to simply assign each task with a ball.  I know you saw that coming.  For every role you hold, you have to have a ball assigned to it.  The ball type does not matter.  This challenge is not about making sure the bigger balls go with the more important roles.  In fact, the variety is key.  In fact, if you are breaking down a role, you already understand that you are working within the confines of a big rock!  (Let that sink in for a minute).

Don’t worry, I am not going to ask you to juggle them.  I just want you to pick them all up and hold them.  That’s it.  You just have to hold them in your arms.  Figure it out.  You already do it on a daily basis.  Let’s just make it a little more tangible.

Now that you are holding all of them…just keep them there until Wednesday when we will wrap up our little experiment.

How Will You Succeed?

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In the last post, I shared about how “what-if” never enters the arena, so I hope you are taking the steps necessary to step into the arena and face some demons, slay some dragons, fight?

I hope that you are not staying out in the world of what-ifs that someday become might have been’s and eventually regrets.  If the only thing that is holding you back from taking on a new challenge is the ever-present scary question of:

How will I succeed?

Then let’s find an answer together.  I get it, we are a society that is built upon the idea that if we try something we have to be able to guarantee our own success.  If we are going to do something, we have to know deep down that we WILL be successful.   It’s why we start our to-do lists with items that we have already accomplished for the day.

  • Get Out of Bed
  • Drink Coffee
  • Feed Kids

They are there already.  We set ourselves up to succeed or, at least, have something on the list that we can cross off before we have really done anything.  I do not know what huge task is out there looming on the horizon for you, but I can bet with relative certainty that your definition of success is grand.  Your definition of success probably has huge dollar signs or changes to humanity…or maybe that is just me.  I can accept that.

But if you truly want to guarantee your success, you just have to keep caring, keep moving, keep pushing, and keep learning.  If you, as an individual, are no longer growing and learning, then you are failing.  Your business could be thriving, your deadlift could continue to get bigger and bigger, but are you really succeeding?  Do you even care anymore?

For me, that is where success comes from.  I will continue to write these posts, film my tips and tricks in business and the gym, function as a personal trainer, do it all until I just don’t care anymore.  If I ever get to the point where it doesn’t bother me that I only got one post up this week.  If I ever get to the point where I celebrate my clients failure to show up to train with me, I will shut down the site…close the garage and be done.  How do we guarantee success is

How do we guarantee success in our endeavors, we constantly care about them.  We invest in them.  We find fulfillment in the small steps, not solely based on the end target.  We find that success is the continual investment in the process to become something more.  Success is every moment you say “yes” to your dream and to caring about it.

And sometimes success is accepting the stepbacks and failures that come, but learning from them and coming back stronger.  It might mean a PR is missed or the business doors close for a little while, but we don’t stop.  The scale and BMI might go up, but we show up again the next day, ready to go!  We don’t stop.

Success is the journey…and we guarantee that success, but accepting the detours, making our own paths sometimes, accepting that we might be lost, not know where we are going, and all alone at times, but we keep going.

“What If” Never Entered the Arena

Today, I needed that extra little shot in the arm that we call motivation.  There was a video that had been passed along to me, so I went ahead and gave it a watch…If you are so inclined you can watch it here:

I hope you stuck around to read a little more…if not, I understand.  I was motivated after watching it.  As I watched it there was a single line that struck a chord with me:

What if never entered the arena

That phrase…”What if?” gets us nowhere.  It only leads to regrets.  It seldom leads us to a truth.  It leads to a lot of false beliefs about ourselves and who we could have been.

Entering the ring, succeeding or failing, reveals the truth.  Entering the ring and trying teaches us the sometimes harsh and often times rewarding reality about what exactly we are capable of.

The fight is the lesson.

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but we always learn about who we are.  We learn about the pain we can endure, the challenges we can overcome and the areas that we must improve.

What if I go up in weight on the barbell?  Forget the what if…Go up in weight on the barbell!

What if I start a new business?  Forget that…start it!

What if I fail as a writer?  Fail as a writer, put yourself out there.  Someone, even in your failure, needs to hear what you have to say.  Someone needs to know that they are not the only one scared but enter the arena anyway.

Stop waiting for the perfect time.  If you have the dream, take a chance…risk failure, and stop being afraid of your own success!

So please, do me a favor…starting Monday…live a week with no what if’s.  Decide and commit!  No what if’s…succeed, fail…learn…grow!

I’m Batman…So What?!?!

In my house, my kids know that I love Batman.  They even call me Batman, my wife is Wonder Woman; one daughter is Super Girl, and the other is Batgirl.  We live it up.  We laugh and chase bad guys around the house.  We live our superhero lives.

What is your superhero identity?

Don’t be afraid to be a superhero.  Embrace it!

What’s wrong with it?

What’s wrong with your wife and kids wanting to see you that way?  Believing and knowing that you are going to do your best to protect them.

What’s wrong with your kids wanting to be superheroes?  Wanting to help others, and make the world a better place?

What’s wrong with being a family of superheroes?  Believing the best about each other and wanting to live life to the fullest.

Don’t be afraid of tapping into your inner superhero.  Once you accept that you have an inner strength that is more powerful than the doubters and the haters…you can find freedom.  Once you accept that there is a hero inside of you, then maybe you won’t be afraid to slowly let the world see that person, the real you!

Follow your passions and your dreams and find that inner strength to push beyond the challenges that we put on ourselves in the name of fitting in!  Forget fitting in, leaders don’t fit in!  They stand out..they set the standard and the others see something different in them.

So I ask you again…what’s your superhero identity?

You Have Permission to Succeed

This past weekend, I celebrated a birthday.  It was great, and I am not worried about being another year older.  Life moves on and there are amazing adventures ahead.  You have adventures coming as well.  We both do.  We all want to be better, do better and change something. It might be our career, our finances, drop some bad relationships and trade them out for some new ones.  I do not know what it is, but you have a right to do that.

The point became real to me this weekend as I was going for a drive.  My wife purchased me a weekend at a cabin in the woods for a writing getaway.  I chance for 3 days to spark imagination, queue curiosity or get my thoughts in order.  It was a perfect gift for me because I am a person that puts my family first.  Weekends are recharge as a family time.  No matter how much I want to lock myself in a room, or how many times, I have been told “Go write!” there is always something that pulls and tugs at me and says no.

So I do my writing daily on lunch breaks and edit in little breaks here and there as the day allows.  This gift, though, was permission to disconnect from the family for a little bit.  This gift allowed me to give myself permission to be ok being disconnected from everything and focusing on my writing.

We all need to feel this.  We need to know that it is ok, to chase our own dreams and focus on our hopes and goals.  We need to know that it is ok to be successful.  So often we get in the trap of feeling like we are not allowed to succeed when we see all those struggling around us.  Why?

Why don’t you deserve success?  It doesn’t mean that you do not still have empathy for others.  Success does not make you bad, or evil…it makes you successful.  That’s it.  If you want to help others, you have to be successful…somehow.  You have to give yourself permission to chase after those things when your heart and your head don’t always agree.  You have permission to succeed…and fail!  You have permission to learn and be great!

So stop beating yourself up over wanting more.  Go put in the WORK!  You have permission to eat all the fruits of your labor.  Get out there!  Work!  Succeed!