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I’m Not the Expert…I Just Care! Keys to Success

One of the things that you see all over the place as you explore how to be a success in any field is the idea that you have to insert yourself as being the expert in the field.  I work with IT for a large university, mentor small businesses, and in the fitness field as a personal trainer.  I am constantly growing and learning in all areas of relevance so that I can be the best that I can be.

If you are looking to grow your name at a break-neck pace, then inserting yourself as “the expert” might be the way to go.  But you might also be proven to be just another person claiming to know more than they actually do.

One of the things that I emphasize is to provide the most value and knowledge to the people that trust you.  I encourage people to approach their business how they would want to be treated by the companies they choose to work for.  Don’t be like the cable companies and telephone companies setting up deals to get people to switch to you.  Take care of the people that have been with you and reward longevity.

The same holds true with being an expert.  Focus on becoming an expert in your one-on-one relationships.  Focus on providing the value to the people who already have chosen you.  Constantly grow in the areas that they need to develop.  Most of the people that you work with are going to have very specific needs to reach their goals.  Increase your value to them, by focusing your talents and efforts on making sure they know that their areas of concern are the very issues that you are devoting yourself to growing.

Let them know that your goal is to stay on top of the latest trends that will help them with their specific needs.  For example, if someone is looking for a coach or trainer.  I like to sit down with them and ask about what their goals are.  From there, I will talk to them about setting up a basic program for their general health and well-being.  From there, I take pre-existing knowledge and incorporate it into their training to meet their specific goals and explain exactly why I am introducing and training them the way that I do.  The next step is to grow my knowledge base in the areas of helping them and sharing that knowledge with them.

I am not the expert in my space, but I am the expert of my people.  If you want to be successful, you have to give people a reason to stay with you.  That generally comes not from how much you know, but in how you develop your knowledge and make it personal to them.

I see too many people that want to be the expert and expect to have huge client basis just because they have inserted themselves as an expert.  For me, that is not the best path.  If you only have one client, be an expert on their business and their needs.  Give them a reason to talk about you and refer you to others.  Your business will grow if you devote your time to the needs of your clients first and foremost.  They are telling you what is and is not important to know about.  Focus on them, they are the one’s that need your services…and they need it now!

 

Houston Spartan 2016 aka Mud Fest,Friends, and Fun

Hard to believe that this is the first post that I have made for the month of March.  The month is halfway over.  I apologize for having an off month.  Wish I could blame it on the weather or something, but I just have not put fingers to keys or pen to paper as much as I would have liked.  (Although, I did get a children’s book written and started work on a novel…)


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This past weekend, my family and some friends loaded up and headed to Houston to tackle the Spartan Sprint, 2016 edition.  For me, this was my third Spartan race to take on.  It was the second Sprint that I have done and it was a unique experience for me.  The race was about an hour from my home, so we knew that the weather had already done it’s part to make sure this event was going to be special.  It had poured down rain during the week leading up to the event.

The night before we were set to run the email was received stating that parking was a “no-go” and we would all be bussed to the site of the race.  The inner sadist in me was actually excited about the challenges that were being presented.  The father in me was cursing about having to somehow maneuver a 2-year-old through what would be more than just a little bit of mud.  (Thank the Lord for amazing wives…desperate housewife she is NOT!).

We parked at the stadium, loaded the bus, stroller and all and were headed to the venue.  We were ready to rock and roll.  My friend and I would be tackling the Sprint (he was probably better prepared for it than I was, but I did make him run a couple times).  My daughter, 6, was going to take on the Spartan Kids race…she snuck in and took on the full mile (proud daddy moment)!

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The race itself was full of 24 obstacles (25 if you count the mud itself), but it was a lot of fun.  It had all the old favorites there – bucket brigade (only you couldn’t put the bucket down many places or it would sink), over-under-thru, walls and pyramids a plenty, cargo net, atlas stone carry and the like.  Some of the obstacles had a new twist to them.  The sandbell carry with the crawl station was new to me.  I liked it, even if my wrists did not like me burying them in the crawl.

It was my understanding that they did have to take down the barbed wire crawl, but I am not going to complain about that.  I believe that was the only modification that was made.  We finished the race right at the 2-hour mark.  It was a little slower than I had hoped for, but I was content after seeing the course conditions.

With the conditions of the course and everything else, this course was an upper body thrashing.  This is true of most of them, though.  I am a fan of Spartan and have read and enjoyed Spartan Up.  This course lived up to the goals that Joe De Sena sets out and that was to still find a way to test you physically and mentally.  This course did that.  The biggest challenge for me came right at the end.  The back-to-back challenge of the rope climb and then the odd object monkey bars proved to be too much on the forearms and I did a set of 30 burpees.  I have now decided to create the baseball/ softball pullup implements so that this obstacle will not stop me again.

Overall, I thought that this was a well laid out course.  It was not one that took you so far away from Spartan Village that you felt all alone on the course.  With it weaving back and forth, you would be reminded that there is, in fact, a finish line and you just had to keep going.  I am looking forward to tackling the Spartan Super in April in Austin.  This year, I will complete the trifecta.

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003 – Faith Workout – Indeed in Our Hearts We Feel the Sentence of Death

Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9, ESV)

This one is out early this week.  I did not get it up yesterday, sorry, but it was a long day.  But that being said, it reinforced the need for what I wanted to share this week.  In continuing to grow off of the post from last week asking you to live an authentic faith this week…I was forced into being reminded of my favorite verse.  That is the one at the top from 2 Corinthians.

My favorite book of the Bible… Job!

There is a pattern to what stands out to me and what I empathize with.  What always strikes me and resonates with me are the following:

  1. There will be dark days.
  2. We have those to increase our faith and dependence on Christ, not to pull us away from it

As you go through this week and focus on living out your authentic faith, please include in that some reflection the dark days and times that you have been through.  How did you respond to those times and those struggles?

 

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Did you doubt Christ was there?  Did you cling harder to the cross?  Did you pray more, less?  Did you pray at all?

When I examine life, it is pretty safe to say that we are all just like the disciples in any telling of Jesus calming the sea.  We are the disciples and we are the sea.

We fall into a trap of thinking that just because we do not see Jesus moving and working that He is not protecting, providing and delivering us to safety.  We forget that He is in the boat and so when the wind and the waves and the storms of life attack, we pay more attention to them than the fact that we have Christ with us.

In Mark’s telling of this story, the following is said:

He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40)

And this is each and every one of us…daily.  We see the storms, that chaos, the confusion and we get afraid and lose faith.

We do not have to run down below and wake Jesus up from his sleep, we have to remember that He is in the boat.  That He controls the wind and the waves and they will be calmed when the time is right.  We need to stop focusing on the storm and take refuge in the one who can calm the storm.

But we don’t.  When there are dark days and rough times, we immediately go to a place of how can I fix this, what did I do to be in this position, or why is God punishing me?  When a lot of the time, it’s not about fixing, it’s not about what you did, and it is not punishment.  It is a call to trust, a call to cling to the one who raises the dead.

Dark days will happen.  Some days will be darker than others, but as we go through them and face them…we must trust that Christ will calm to storm and be drawn closer to Him.  The seas will calm, and we will make it to the other side.

 

“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?

Coaches Are Everywhere! Are You Coachable?

This might turn into a rant, but I will try to keep it pretty low key.  Everyone out there that has found this blog or any other blog out there that they use for motivation wants to be better.  They want to get better in all areas of life.  They are seeking out some sort of motivation or lessons that click with them and help them to grow.

That is cool.  I get it.  I am glad you stumbled onto this site and hope that in some way, I can help you out.  I am a pretty open book.  With that being said, we all have to be better about being coachable.  We all have to stop thinking that we know everything there is to know about life.  I watch my various feeds on social media, people watch, and look around with an open mind as often as I can…and fail a lot to keep it that way…and see that we all are really good at giving advice, but really bad at taking good, quality, corrective criticism.

We will look around and acknowledge that the world needs to be more accepting, grow up, change, but we seldom look in  the mirror and really accept the truth that some of that change has to start with us.  We have to be open to being wrong.  We have to be open up to the truth that we all have dark spots and skeletons in closets that we want to ignore.  We have to be willing to ask those closest to us for advice on what we need to work on and not react when they are honest.  If they are speaking the truth, and we usually know when they are, we have to accept that.

We do not get bent out of shape when our trainer or coach in the gym tells us we are not keeping our back tight on a deadlift, or makes us watch a video or our bad technique on the clean.  Truth be told, we get mad when they let us continue to lift without saying something, but when it comes to who we are as people, that is a no-fly zone.  It is a zone that we protect and guard and wonder why relationships start to falter and live gets chaotic.

I know this reality all too well.  I am one of the best at building walls around my life.  I am one of the best with the excuse “I’m doing the best I can”…and that is an excuse for me a lot.  It is another way of saying, “leave me alone…accept me for who I am.”  And I get that, but I have recently learned that trusting someone to be real with me is about them not accepting anything less than what I CAN be.  The advice and criticism they give me are not because they do not love me, but rather it is about the reality that they do love me and know that I can be more.  When I open myself up to the critique, like with my lifts, I am only setting myself up to be better and get better.

So my challenge in the new year is to accept the criticism as they come…listen, learn and grow. Here’s to making this world a better place, starting with me.

The Motivation to Change

I was doing ok.

I coached my 4 nights a week of classes.

I managed a gym.

I tucked my kids in at night.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I walked away.

Why?

What motivates us to make changes in our lives?  What is “motivation”?

Motivation is the drive and belief that we can do better!

It is the notion that we have more to give, whether it is in something as simple as a workout or in life.  I love seeking out motivators.  I love going on a quest for people that aren’t afraid to get in your face and scream “You’re holding back!  Stop it!  You have more in you!”  And more importantly, they believe that whatever more you have to give benefits the world.

And so what motivated me, was that little voice that said you are being held back, you love it, but you can give more.

Give more to your wife.

Give more to your daughters.

Give more to your readers.

Give more to the world.

If you just let go…so I did.

It hurt and still hurts on days when I drive by the gym.  I think of it as MY gym, but it isn’t.  I did not own it, I managed it as best as I could for years.  I poured my heart and soul into running the classes I did.  I was the every-man coach.  No athletic background, but an eye for detail and a quest for knowledge and wanting to get better.  But at the end of the day, it still wasn’t mine, it was just a part of me.

It still motivates me to know that it is out there and think about the athletes there.  I love them…and they better know it!

But with the change, I was given the opportunity to give more to those I train as well.  I got smaller.  I train out of my garage with a simple philosophy…

One Athlete, One Goal, One Success

I have been able to truly focus on the different things that every athlete is looking for and wanting out of their training.  Want general health…I can do that.  Want to get bigger numbers on the lifts…got you covered too.  Just want to work on those Olympic lifts…Let’s get it.

So I am motivated by the dream of helping someone change in the ways that they want to.  I get to be the voice in their head that says “You can do more!  You have more in the tank!”

And that voice hopefully pushes them to make the hard decisions, knowing it will make them better, and able to give more!

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Year in Review – What’s Coming in 2016

I am a day or so late in getting this one out, but the extra day of reflection was good for me.  I took a little more time and spent it with some loved ones.  I took my daughter to a movie and spent most of the day reflecting on just what the past year was all about.

I will not call it a bad year, nor will I call it a good year.  I will leave it at being a learning year.  It was a year when I look back, it is easy to point out the hard moments and several moments I wish would have been different.  I find many moments that need to have their endings re-written, but then the lessons would have remained locked away with the pain.  Stories that end up perfectly, do not teach us the hard lessons and those had to be learned.

So as I look back on the past year, it is a year of stepd being taken so that I can become more and more the man that I want to be.  It was a year where decisions were made that allowed me to grow into the father, husband,friend, and coach that I want to be.

I attended a few too many funerals for those lost all of a sudden, but I learned how to open up my heart to those that were mourning.  I learned the power of a hug when it is needed and wanted.  I learned the value of laughter in mourning.  I learned what it means to sit in the silence of the ashes and just know that I want to be a part of the healing process.  In these moments of sudden loss, I witnessed true strength.  The kind that you cannot develop on a barbell, but only through the will to stick with someone when their life gets rough.

I walked away from some of my safe places in the hopes of learning more by living in some chaos.  I took that steps to try and live a larger purpose more committed to the ones I love, including myself.  I stepped out of some safety and put some burdens on the ground so that I can grow.  It will always be a bittersweet moment, but I know that I left my mark in those safe places and it is time for them and me to move on to new challenges and new adventures.

And through all the rough pathches, there has been growth.  There has been a growth of internal strength and will.  It has helped me to know that sometimes, it hurts, but you cannot stop and other times, you have to stop because the pain will just be too much to continue on.

And there have been gorious moments.  Moments where you know that you were put on this planet for this moment and to meet certain people.  There were days where I introduced people to my love of the barbell, the kettlebell and the odd object.  I attended several certifications that helped me to learn that it is ok to be different.  Just be you, do what you love and let the chips fall where they fall.  Do you!

I fell in love with the puzzle that is small business.  I rekindled my passion with writing and let those things come together and start to form something unique that is leading into the new year.  I am excited about the risks and challenges that are coming in the new year…what does the new year look like?

No idea, but my eyes, ears and heart are open for whatever is thrown my way!

Start with a Clean Slate…Goals in the New Year

I write something about goals every year.  Like most people, I see the start of the new year as one of those rare chances to have a clean slate.  That is to say, when the year ticks over to read 2016, I can safely say…

I haven’t messed up this year

And it’s not a lie.  It is not a false statement but rather a challenge to see how long I can maintain that status.  I have learned over the past year one big thing, and that is, that in order to have a strong and successful 2016, I need to prepare for it starting now.  I actually need to start cleaning the slate now.

So how are you going to get prepared for the changes that you want to make in the new year?

First and foremost, I recommend that you go out and buy a journal that is devoted specifically to your goals and the process you are taking to achieve them.  In fact, I recommend you buy a nice journal for this purpose, think of it as investing in your own success.

New journal = New Opportunities.

The second thing that I will recommend is to take a little time getting to know how you tick.  What motivates you, what leads you on a path to success and what doesn’t?  If you are someone like me, then you are going to need to figure out how to build accountability into your goals.  Based on the work of Gretchen Rubin, I am probably a pretty solid “Obliger”.  That simply means that I am more likely to succeed when someone else is counting on me.  I work best with deadlines and clear expectations. If you want to know more about her Four Tendencies, take the quiz or buy the book. (I bought the book on iTunes and listened to it.)

For example, knowing that I am an Obliger, I now post my workouts to my followers in the morning with a statement that I will post my results after I complete it.  I have created a system when I am accountable to them.  If I did not do this, I probably would not work out or I am more prone to allow someone else’s problem cause me to push back my workout.  You can get this same accountability simply by joining a gym with a friend and committing to meet there at the same time.

The biggest thing though is to start taking a little time to know what will most likely make you successful.  Once you know a little bit about how you tick and how you react in situations, you can move into the next phase of breaking the goals down.

I recommend that you take the time to break your goals down into short term, medium term and long term goals. It is a simple method to measure success and accept that changes and accept that success does not happen overnight.  That is a really good start to your goal writing process.  There are several more steps that I recommend, but I will save those until tomorrow.  For now…take the time to:

  • Buy a new Journal
  • Figure out how you tick (what do you need to make successful habits)
  • Write out your goals
  • Break them down into three categories (short-term, medium-term, long-term)

And if you need help…ask!

When Letting Go is Good…Business Basic

It has been a while since I wrote something that is 100% solely focused on running a business.  This tidbit of advice is like many things, powerful, simple but not easy.  It is my attempt to pull in the advice of several of my mentors, Zach Even-Esh, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Bob Burg and John David Mann.  

This piece of advice is simple.

If you want to succeed you have to help people find the right product, even if it is not yours!

The first part of that is pretty straight forward.  And most people would stand up and say…I do that.  I help people find the right product.  Most people chase customers and try to find new and creative ways to get them into their doors.  But most of us tend to live in the delusion that our product is the best and that it meets the needs of all people.  That if we can “sell” them on us, then we are good to go.  We live in the world that a sale is a sale is a sale and we need lots of sales.  But do we really?

All of the people listed above will talk about things such as finding your niche, finding your tribe, building your brand and identity, and providing more value to your customers experience and they all fit together into a nice, neat package that includes being willing to direct your customer to someone else.

Why would anyone say no to a sale?

That is the ultimate question, right?  We all have bills to pay, employees to pay and lights to keep on.  Why in the world would I want to turn someone away?  The answer is that by simply selling to them, you are not selling your true product and they are not getting what they are looking for.  As Seth Godin would say, you are trying to pull someone from another tribe into yours.  This will not end well for you.

If you promise a product that does X, Y, and Z and cannot deliver, guess what your reviews will look like?  What do you think that customer is going to tell their friends about your product or services?  How many people will you lose because you tried to fit that square peg into your round hole?

And from the other angle?

Let’s say you direct that customer to a product that is exactly what they are looking for, how are you viewed?  If you asked that customer for a simple review, don’t you think that they would give you glowing praise because you cared?  What do you think happens when their friends ask them about your business?

Their response, hopefully, transitions from one of, “they told me they did this; but lied” to one of “they were honest with me that their product wasn’t the best for my needs, but cared enough to help me out.  They might be a good fit for you.”  You are still getting positive feedback in spite of not making a sale.  The image and perception of your business is one of caring and not one of making the sell at any cost.

It is hard, though.  It is hard to not get caught up in the quest to make the sell because we all see the looming bills and challenges, but I challenge you to make sure you are growing your tribe the right way.  I encourage you to be willing to say no and help people find the best product for their needs.  I encourage you not to change your standards in order to make a sell.

Care about the customer and sometimes, that means letting the sale go.